Friday, 21 September 2018

Blow the wind southerly

There’s something horribly humourless about the colour of the sky today, the featureless greenish white of a well-used handkerchief. Which has me appreciating more than ever the colourful and vivid imagery presented for our delectation and delight this week. Re someone else doing the judging - more of that in a couple of weeks.

For reasons I haven’t fathomed (unlike the rest of my family I lack the analytical gene) so cannot say exactly why R J Wayne’s ‘The Guardians‘1.2  had such a strong impact, but it went into the number 1 spot early on and stayed there; David T's 'Daddy's Home' came a close second.

Words for next week: deadlock intercept maiden

Entries by midnight Thursday 27th September, words and winners posted Friday 28th

Usual rules: 100 words maximum (excluding title) of flash fiction or poetry using all of the three words above in the genres of horror, fantasy, science fiction or noir. Serialised fiction is, as always, welcome. All variants and use of the words and stems are fine. Feel free to post links to your stories on Twitter or Facebook or whichever social media you prefer.

99 comments:

  1. Way to go RJ and David. Two very good stories.

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  2. Delayed Attraction (with a borrowed line from a TV show)

    “What do you want with me?” said the fair maiden.

    “You must be mistaken. I’m waiting for a bus.”

    “I’m a woman of fine standing. You’ll never have your way with me.”

    “Look, lady, we’re at a deadlock here. I have no desire for you.”

    “Fine, but you can go no further than second base.”

    “If I may intercept your misguided thoughts, I’m not interested in whatever you have in mind.”

    “You simply must have me home by noon tomorrow so I can feed my cat.”

    “And that,” said the man to his grown son. “Is how I met your mother.”

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    1. Surprisingly sweet, John. Thank you.

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    2. I loved that show. Quite the poignant piece here. I mostly write in the supernatural or sci-fi realm but I do enjoy the human drama. I can picture this as if it were a quirky play

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    3. John,you set the bar on the high side with this story to lead off the week.Good dialogue all leading the that last line to tie thing up.

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    4. Congrats to R.J. and David T for their excellent stories last week and for sure, many more to follow.

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    5. Not a clue about the TV show, but well-appreciated the tale.

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    6. Must admit that I never did watch the show, but this little tale was thoroughly enjoyable nonetheless.

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  3. Bravo RJ, bravo David T! I so enjoy reading these wonderful miniature tales. A world of stories in bite size treats.

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  4. Thank you, fellow writers. And thank you, Sandra. That is quite the compliment.

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  5. The Guardians
    1.3

    If she closed her eyes, she could see them. At least what she imagined they looked like since no one had ever seen them. The images were disturbing. The detail unreal. She had a momentary thought that they were intercepting her thoughts.

    That they were looking through each others eyes.

    She gasped as through those awful eyes, she saw her own face at the window. Staggering back, she collided with an orderly.

    "Careful, young maiden."

    "Sorry." Her voice was a whisper. She closed the door of her minds' eye, throwing the deadbolt to keep them out.

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    1. It would be so hard to have these horrifying thoughts and not be able to scream. A really good continuation of this story.

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    2. I'll second John with this being a quality continuation. Only four spoken words in this well done story.

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    3. I was hoping there would be a further instalment of the guardians and here it is. Superb insertion of the prompt words RJ.

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    4. Oops. I meant to put deadlock, not deadbolt.

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    5. The horror of this unexpected and insidious. I've a feeling it can only get worse.

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    6. creeping horror, the best kind. Great stuff.

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    7. And the suspenseful horror continues. The serializations here just get better and better.

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  6. Black and White

    The maiden meeting of the teams proved the game could become an alternative to war. Deadlocked for nearly a decade, the white queen was astonishingly intercepted by a mere pawn during a routine exercise period. The black knights guarded the queen around the clock, one sacrificing its freedom to assure she was not re-taken by a brazen white bishop. The remaining knight sounded the alarm and the blacks united until the whites agreed to trade a strip of contested land for their queen. The peaceful settlement was revered by all, especially the pawns, who finally felt properly represented.

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    1. Sounds like chess merged with capture the flag. This is a second very good story this week. It's different and you sprinkled the prompts in.

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    2. Wow two well crafted offerings this week John.
      I liked this one a lot.

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    3. Disappointed only that you did not include 'zugzwang' - there's something powerful in chess and its possibilities, isn't there?

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    4. Very, very cleaver approach, John. This was a fun read.

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    5. excellent depictions there, John. I must start stand alones again!

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    6. Beautifully put together. I know next to nothing about the game of chess but with such a well-crafted story, such knowledge is most definitely unnecessary.

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  7. Squatter’s Rites-6

    “Fortuna, what do we have?”
    “They’ve tried to intercept your entry to the house.”
    “They’ve! I’ve two ghost’s in my house? How did they?”
    “A couple, maiden fair and gentleman savoir faire. It’s called a deadlock spell, our kind can’t pass.”
    “Can you remove the impediment?”
    “With a cost to them”
    “I don’t give a shit, do it!”
    Fortuna lit a censer, producing mauve smoke, which she wafted toward the house. It suddenly flared up, causing her to drop it.
    “Are you okay?”
    “Yes and thank you. Is your word your bond?
    “It is.”
    “Like them, married we must be!”

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    1. This is definitely expanding into a great serialisation Jeffrey. Your clever dialogue moves the action so well it leaves me wanting to read more than just the 100 word limit.

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    2. Like Terrie, I'm greatly impressed by your ability to weave dialog into such vivid images, Jeffrey.

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    3. Nicely done continuation. As always, dialogue in this vein is assuredly your strong point.

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  8. Congrats to RJ and David T for their fine entries last week!

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  9. The Silencing of the Crickets

    O’Brien called his Winchester the maiden. She was always on his arm. She’d shattered the deadlock on the front door of many a bank. Now he held her tensely to his shoulder, watching for signs the darkness.
    The horses snorted and kicked their hooves when the Outlaw unfurled like a wraith from the church. Three Crows a step behind, eyes raw from her tears.
    “Where to now?” I asked.
    “Shenandoah.
    The Outlaw’s uncanny voice silenced the chirruping crickets.
    The anomalous hush made me shiver.
    “We’ll intercept Coyote there.”
    Each word he uttered felt like an incantation.

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    1. 'The outlaw unfurled like a wraith' what a unique image David. You've packed so much tension and atmosphere into this story it makes it so easy to visualise.
      A brilliant last line too.
      More please.

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    2. A very beautiful episode, David. Well crafted setting to amplify the plot.

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    3. This feels widescreen epic, chock full of characters, and I'm sitting patiently, awaiting the next development.

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    4. good instalment, creeping horror again, superb images.

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    5. And yet another magnificent installment of an amazing serialization. Your are truly making these characters come to life.

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  10. Small typo. Should be signs in the darkness

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  11. Visitors this week so probably no time to compose stories. Will try to return with comments later. Many congratulations to R.J. and David T. for their exceptional tales last week.

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  12. The Secret Armadillo Soldier (SAS) Diaries - entry 23 M.I.A.


    Fat Frank’s door remained closed.
    Dark, flickering, shadows now dead-locked the landscape into better hiding spots and getaway routes.
    Atlas sighed, brushed away thoughts of Brenda and the berry-lipped maiden, and concentrated on his twofold mission.
    Hoping to intercept Armi before he stirred, he exploited the drapes of dapple-shaded undergrowth and reached Armi’s hiding place.
    Fluttering in the crook of a low-branched berry bush, he found a frayed, and slightly soiled, pass-ticket for Fat Franks. Below it, in a luscious pile, soft-winged moths lay in a neat offering.
    Atlas was surprised, and slightly concerned, to find his wily friend missing.

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    1. It fascinates me how much I am enjoying these tales, especially since I'm so strongly anti anthropomorphic. Something (much!) to ro with the quality of your writing, methinks.

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    2. I think the key to our accepting the 'dillos is that they are surprisingly human in their outlook and yet retain their own identity. No mean feat, Terrie!

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    3. Dapple-shaded undergrowth was great! You see Terrie, others agree with how well you humanize the 'dillos. Maybe a longer story or book version should be considered?

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    4. I always absolutely adore these 'dillo adventures and have to agree with Antonia that the delightful critters are surprisingly human while managing to maintain their true identity. What an amazing talent!

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  13. I am assuming, from unprecedented lack of comment in the last 43 hours that there is some problem with Blogger. I'm trying to discover what, so far without success ...

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    1. And, having removed the three posts I put up, it DOES seem I was responsible - some HTML failure. Apologies.

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    2. Did you repost, Sandra? I don't see anything from you.

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    3. I did repost, then took them down, fearing I might have put the kibosh on again. I will do so again in the next hour or so.

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  14. Warden [3]

    Gold eyes met green across the beer-splattered table, neither blinking, as their overturned drinks dripped onto the floor. Hand on her brother’s sword, Sayla could not see a way out of this deadlock. She doubted she could intercept the man’s hand if he lunged with his knife, but perhaps her longer blade would be quicker.

    A hand, more boulder than flesh, fell onto her shoulder. “You’ve insulted the maiden,” a jovial voice boomed.

    The man facing her gaped, his ruddy cheeks paling. Abruptly, he dropped his knife and straightened fully, raising both palms. “No offense meant, Warden Draeyn.”

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    1. Rich with marvelous images, Zaiure. "More boulder than flesh" among them.

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    2. definitely rich with images, that I can echo wholeheartedly.

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    3. So visually satisfying - like a tapestry.

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    4. Well done descriptions that put the reader in the tavern. Liked the 'who needs an introduction, I'll start with action.'

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    5. Your contributions never fail to be a visually-inspiring treat. This one is no exception. So many outstanding phrases and such, that it is impossible to select one or two...and so, I'll just reference them all.

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  15. THUMBS DOWN

    The combat was deadlocked. Both warriors - the epitome of the realm’s manhood - were severely wounded. They faced the Sovereign and the beautiful maiden who would be awarded to the champion.

    The girl whispered to the Sovereign, and the warriors unsuccessfully tried to intercept her message. She nodded then pointed to the warrior on the left and turned her thumb down. He fell to his knees as his rival triumphantly raised his arms.

    The girl then turned her thumb down again. Both warriors had their throats slit by soldiers behind them.

    The girl shouted, “Bring in the next pair.”

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    1. way to go, surprise and nasty ending!

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    2. Oh yes!!! Another "you go girl" moment set in what comes across to me as something of a medieval world.

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  16. Stop the Week, I want to get Off (15)
    We need to clear some furniture which is sticking, so we can put up more shelves. Shaun can’t get to discuss the lockup he’s interested in until next week. I need to change the windows and dust… patience will break the deadlock but patience doesn’t come easy when there’s 100 ft of glass shelving, thick with dust, in the loo…ready to intercept any move to get behind it for items stored… Going for change, this fair maiden had 3 inches chopped off the hair today. More to come… I want a new look to match the shop new look.

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    1. I hadn't thought of the dusting required ... nightmare!

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    2. Would you consider putting a picture of the new look as your profile picture? I don't mind dusting, home or when I'm volunteered to help clean the small store my wife, Shaun, and daughter Tempest have but I do all the dusting, while they 'manage' me.

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    3. the profile pic has been changed to the one I will use as the cover. I can't take a photo of the 'new look' me, it isn't there yet and I don't have a phone so I can't do selfies anyway. But... the photo defines the book which is called By 'Royal' Appointment. Apparently the Victorian Strollers (the people in the photo, a professional group of re-enactors) love the title, I am told! I use it on shop advertising a lot.
      Dusting in a shop like ours is a nightmare. I limit it to the pieces that need attention, windows, etc. and I polish some of the wood with lemon oil to ensure the shop never smells musty and damp (it isn't but old furniture can smell) and to enrich the wood anyway. Last time I worked on a table every day for a week, we sold it the following week. I order the oil in from the USA as no one in England sells it. I need so little to do a piece of furniture it is well worth spending the money, a bottle lasts for ages.

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    4. I hate dusting. Seems no sooner do I whisk it away than it settles back down again. Endless cycle of frustration! However, your wonderful little snippet has lightened the chore considerably.

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  17. The Mad Italian 74.
    If we could but intercept the thoughts in the minds of the elected, we could avoid the deadlock caused by clashing ideologies. But, maiden and experienced member alike, close their minds, lose their individuality and follow the party line slavishly, unless of course it looks as if there might be promotion in an act of defiance against the status quo. The problem is deciding when and where to stand up for principles and not risk the seat in parliament. For no matter what, their standing with their fellow members comes before all else, even their constituents.

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    1. Morality or principles, always a difficult choice. Another enjoyable posting.

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    2. Sheep, often resulting in innocent lambs to the slaughter. I don't think there's much for me to say about our Wise Italian that I haven't already voiced.

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  18. Winter-Song

    Clutched in icy deadlock between weathered world and barbarous air,
    Stony outcrops curl sharp flinty fingers, into wintry vapours of rolling white
    that intercepts the hem of a grey, granite, sky and torments the startled hair
    of conifers, standing like green maidens darkly against the light.

    Rime crusted and stiff, they arch against the cold kiss of arctic storms,
    While the frozen earth holds life, captive, in a hard embrace below their feet.
    Spiked snow covers and clings, crunches and sings, as it melts and warms
    Drip by drop in metered, muddy, pulse, exposing a hidden, hopeful earthy beat.

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    1. I want to write poems like this. I can't...

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    2. Poetic thoughts at their very best. You have such a talent for this type of visual-provoking rhyme. The descriptions are superb and fit perfectly.

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    3. You use not just to evoke put to poke at the readers emotions and memories. Well used and placed prompt words.

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  19. The Rainbow Warrior


    Valen parked his Ducati and walked toward the partying tourists. The Demons seek to break the deadlock. Why here? He saw them running toward the tourists, still invisible. Ten churls, each a six and a half foot long monstrosity and a Pazuzu, its large chicken legs, human sized head of a fly and torso with a panthers legs for arms. I can intercept them and might be able to save them all.
    “May the Virgin Maiden guide my arm and protect the innocent.”
    He ran, launching himself off the ledge. Valen tumbled into the melee, surprising them all.

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    Replies
    1. Some strikingly horrific images here, Jeffrey. Do we get to know the result of this heroic charge?

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  20. The Adventures of Rosebud, Pirate Princess #148
    Command Vacuum


    Ah Ha! The fifteenth town has trains! Too many actually, they’re deadlocked in the yard.
    “Hello sir, do you know why the trains are stopped?”
    “No, they won’t let me into the station. Maybe they’ll let you in. You look like a harmless sort of maiden.”
    “Thanks. I’ll go ask.”
    On my way to the doors I intercepted a baggage handler and hid in his cart. Once the cart stopped I scrambled out and snuck over to the offices. They were all empty!

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    1. As far as I recall, you don't often tackle dialogue. This was an enchanting change of pace. I trust we'll get to find out more about this "fifteenth town" and its trains.

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    2. I suspect 'harmless sort of maiden' was uttered by someone half-blind - I cannot imagine Rosebud looking innocent.

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    3. I always enjoy your excellent Rosebud installments and glad that others get the opportunity to enjoy them as well. Just love the ending.

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  21. whoo hoo, and? cliff hangers? really? not fair!

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  22. Yes... Yes... and then? You must continue this engaging tale, Rosie.

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  23. Pause in the shade of a tree [Threshold 221]

    So long since I’d ridden, by the time we took our first stop my thighs ached like a maiden on her wedding night. Which surprised me – not as if I’d lacked that sort of exercise over the past few weeks. Raven, intercepting my inadvertent tumble as I dismounted; his surprise at the necessity, reminded me of my condition, of which he was still ignorant, and thence (from the previous occasion) of the aching deadlock of whatever ligaments connect femur to pelvis.
    Switching mind to mission, I asked, ‘Food. Exactly what d’you have in mind?’
    Raven’s glance duplicitous. ‘Wait and see.’

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    1. A very enjoyable story with a most delicious ending.

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    2. Well this was a rather saucy installment with its thinly-disguised innuendos. I am wondering what Raven's reaction might be when he is informed of the upcoming "blessed event."

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  24. Change of focus [300]

    Once again, Filip deadlocked the car doors, intercepting Yanno’s determination to unite himself with Aleks, regardless of the consequences.
    Disgusted as a maiden regarding her first prick, ‘Christ Yanno, you used to have some common sense, what the hell happened?’
    ‘I used not to have a son–‘
    ‘So giving him a grandstand view of your death will teach him a lesson in mortality, eh? If he had the wit to get up there, he’s not lacking sense. Unless he jumps –‘
    Yanno twitched, impotently, reached again for the door-handle.
    ‘– Joking, man. Don’t keep looking – he’s got a plan.’

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    1. I read this several times, the words, descriptions and I broke it down to the fox recognized the trap and was figuring out how to steal the bait.

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  25. Toss Up

    Cricket.
    A stultifying week of test team deadlock reliant on bat intercepting ball surrounded by inanity: jokes of bowling maiden overs and that oft-repeated chestnut of ‘batsman’s Holding bowler’s Willy.’

    Or my best friend’s hen party.
    All women, sand and spas and Cuba Libras, drunken renditions of dire and mis-remembered pop-song choruses while ludicrously dancing, inappropriately dressed.

    No contest, since best friend’s to-be-husband’s likely to be bowled out first.
    And I well-enough impressed by memories of holding his considerable willy.

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    1. You are definitely in a saucy mood this week, Sandra. Yet another gem to add to your ever-growing repertoire of amazing "shorts."

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  26. This is what happens when one procrastinates. My apologies for this drivel.

    Fortuitousness

    Almost too late, I drove straight at him, obliquely hitting the speeding motorcycle impossibly hard. The greasy pile of crap was moving too fast, and wasn’t veering away from the frozen children one degree.
    I always wondered if I could be a hero. I guess that question was now in the hands of the jury. Not if I was able to act, for I most surely could. Panicking, forgetting to brake, my husband and his damned bike became a glistening red stripe on the road. No, the question is, am I a hero, or a murderer. I myself am deadlocked.

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    1. Aaaand, i forgot a word. Do over!

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    2. Please ignore this. I am so ashamed.

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  27. Not sure what to make of this vignette. I know I'm missing something. The middle description brought back some interesting college memories of karaoke contests and fraternity pledge events.

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  28. Fortuitousness

    Almost too late, I drove straight at him, obliquely striking the motorcycle impossibly hard. The greasy pile of crap was moving too fast, and wasn’t veering away from the kids one bit.

    I always wondered if I could be a hero. I guess that question was now in the hands of the jury. Not if I was able to act, for I most surely could. Panicking, forgetting to brake, my husband and his damned bike became a glistening red stripe on the road. No, the question is, am I a hero maiden, or a murdering bitch? I myself am deadlocked.

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    1. Drivel, indeed. Bite your tongue, sir. I love that this ended with a question. I would ask for an answer but this is so much more intriguing left as it is.

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    2. This is actually quite deep; is certainly thought-provoking, as well as very visual, that "glistening red stripe" uncomfortable for one like me, married to a dedicated motorcyclist.(Not the speedy sort, however.)

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    3. Bless you both, kind hearted and generous ladies. Thank you.

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