Blank

“Well mother, the doctor’s recommendation is that you do some puzzles. It will help with your memory. He did say crosswords, but until then improvising is the name of the game…” With these words she placed a box full of Leah’s alphabet beads in front of me.

“Leah’s going to cry until she gets these back.”

“How she feels is not pertinent. She was prancing around playing princess of the castle, scattering everything about. As queen of the castle I made her a deal; I get to annex the beads for a day and she doesn’t have to clean up her room until then. Every princess knows that agreements must be honoured, so she wont ask for it. At least not today. Which mean, as queen mother, you get to use them.

Now let’s see… ah, how about you spell out our family tree. Daddy and you, below that Micky and I, our spouses, children, etc. And then you build the tree upwards with grandma and grandpa’s families. Tell you what, you should use the empty room. More floor-space.”

So, there I sat, hours on end, doing nothing, because today of all days, I just wasn’t sure of her daddy’s name.

Photo credit: Morguefile.

Written for Roger Shipp’s Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner using words from the prompts:

Ragtag Daily Prompt (empty room), Your Daily Word Prompt (annex), The Daily Spur (recommendation), Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (pertinent), and Word of the Day Challenge (improvizing).

To Google or not to Google

Fandango’s Provocative Question #93 asks:

Do you think that the government (federal and state) should break up Google for having a virtual monopoly in the search engine arena? If so, why? If not, why not?

First, I’m not too knowledgeable about this. But when has that ever stopped anyone 😉

Second, I am a little conflicted about this. So, I will answer it in two parts.

In principal, I believe monopoly is not a good thing for either the consumer or the market. We have seen enough cases where companies when they start, offer tones of freebies, and loyalty perks and great customer service. But once they capture the market, all that great service and low cost goes poof. Meanwhile this monopoly has been gained by killing or absorbing the competition, and in the process snubbing out any new entrants.

I also have a problem with companies that discourage portability or inter app compatibility. That was my primary gripe with Apple.

Google, on the other hand has offered us great service without thrusting their own groups of apps down our throat. Thus far.

In short, while I love Google, I also believe that absolute power corrupts.

However, you cannot wake up one fine day and penalize someone for good business sense. Instead, the government should have issued and enforced guidelines and directives to ALL companies, that protect and encourage entrepreneurs and open source. Don’t allow the big cats to eat up the little ones. That in itself will act as a check on the big firms.

My only problem with Google, is that they, like all other companies, literally stalk us and sell our data to advertisers, and obviously push their preferred links to the top of the stack. Which again is good business strategy. It is the government’s responsibility to set guidelines that restrict such practices for all.

In summary, should the government break Google up – No. Should they set guidelines – Yes.

Bills a’ringing

“Sorry ma, I know that the loan’s overdue. But I have a good job now, so I will send you some money soon… No, no. I’m OK. Really ma, I’m fine. Don’t worry about me, OK. Bye… I love you too.”

She checked her watch. It’s past 10pm back home. They probably just finished dinner. How she missed ma’s hot fluffy chapatis.

Stretching her aching back, she sat down and resumed carving. Pumpkins carved by an Arts major – what a distinguished job indeed. But beggars couldn’t be choosers. Twenty-nine done and one to go. This would earn her 150 dollars.

But she needed more. A lot more.

Image by Bikurgurl

Written for Bikurgurl’s 100 Word Wednesday 172 challenge

Inevitability

The man at the reception issues me a curt instruction – “utilize the time wisely.”

A rather redundant warning, seeing as this was the moment that I had been dreading all week.

With much trepidation, I perch upon a cold hard chair. There was something chilling about the place, like a crypt that disseminates an aura of hopelessness and despair. Never again, I promise myself.

Seconds stretch into a minute and a minute into over ten minutes. My heart is now beating in synch with the creeping clock on the wall. Tick Tock… Lub Dub… Tick Tock… Lub Dub…

Eventually the door at the other end screeches open and in he comes. I admit, I did not expect a friendly or jocular countenance, but neither did I expect the walking dead. He appears to glide in and descend upon the chair. I am tempted to check for feet.

Tick Tock… Lub Dub… Tick Tock… Lub Dub…

I look towards the exit. If I leave now, would mother create too much of a fracas?

Slowly he raises his head. Cold disapproving eyes stare at me. Had my portion of breakfast been anything but miniscule, it would have been knocking at my throat right now. As it is, I feel a lump that I try to gulp down.

Eventually he hands me the marksheet.

*****

Written using words from the prompts:

Ragtag Daily Prompt (fracas, week), Your Daily Word Prompt (jocular, portion), The Daily Spur (promise, reception), Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (disseminate, utilize), and Word of the Day Challenge (chilling, crypt).

Rightfully

It doesn’t look like her.

Well, it’s obviously her, I’m not visually challenged, but she doesn’t look like her. She never used to laugh so much. She flicks her hair back giggling like a common harlot. That beautiful silky blond hair that I could still feel on my pillow. An egg blended with olive oil was how she nourished it. Disgusting weekly ritual that she would never stray from. Made the bathroom stink. No man wants to get back after a hard day’s work to that foul smell. Told her as much. She swore that she’d stopped, but I could always smell the rot.

A car whizzes by, and its light reflects off of her hair like a swath of fire. I quickly turn away, pulling my hat lower as I pretend to inspect the local merchandise. But I can’t look away for too long. My head starts buzzing and the speculation starts.  

What does she see in him with his nifty clothes and fancy mop of hair? He sure doesn’t dress like an honest working man. One of those white-collar types, I suppose. Did she fuck him already? That’s all that he wants. That’s all they all want. Doesn’t she see it? How can she be so dumb! And the bitch takes out a restraining order on me. A man does not stalk his wife, he looks out for her. No damn piece of paper changes the fact that she’s my wife. Always was, always will be.

I note down his car number.

image from Renate Vanaga at Unsplash

Written in response to Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge 89, using words from the prompts Word of the Day (stalk, order), Fandango’s One Word Challenge (merchandise), Your Daily Word Prompt (speculation), The Daily Spur (fire) and RagTag Daily Prompt (swath).

Endings

It’s strange but his allegations don’t topple me anymore.

A decision of this magnitude should make me nervous. But take into consideration the vigorous fights and open hostility, and we have long been underwater. My heart is now tightly locked into a vault of its own making.

Endings should not be so easy. Yet this is.

(56 words)

Written for these daily prompts: Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (allegation, magnitude), Word of the Day Challenge (nervous), Your Daily Word Prompt (vigorous), The Daily Spur (endings, consideration), and Ragtag Daily Prompt (topple, strange). Also for Sammi Cox’s Weekend Writing Prompt, where the word is “vault” and we must use 56 words.

Also, a special shout out to Fandango for being my pathway into many new and interesting prompts.

Scones

We met over scones.

“Are they really ‘the best this side of town‘?” twinkling eyes had asked. “The best this side of the country.”

Takeaway soon evolved into breakfast. It’s not like we sat in the café. That would not be proper. We usually strolled by the flower beds as he regaled me with his always intriguing, sometimes scandalous, tales of travel. Amazing how he could simultaneously devour his scones, and ofttimes even mine. But then buttery warm scones will make you do that.

“These are the best. I’m going to miss them,” he had said.

I don’t know… somehow, they just don’t taste as good anymore.

PHOTO PROMPT – © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Written for the Friday Fictioneers prompt of 23 Oct 2020 hosted by our wonderful Rochelle.

Cheers to you on your  8th anniversary as Friday Fictioneers facilitator and God bless.

The time and place

Fandango’s 92nd provocative question of this week is – Do you blog anonymously? Why or why not?

The blogsphere, to me, is a place where I go to express my feelings unfettered. I blog anonymously so that my blogger persona is not constrained by the constrictions of my ‘world’ persona.

I call neither persona my real self. My true self is definitely a consolidated embodiment of all my persona.

But I was brought up to be a ‘lady’ in the conventional sense of the word… Which means that I was always told to colour within the box, mind my words, and not utter every thought that pops into my head without first weighing it. In all fairness my parents did not set off to control me; just mould me into what they believed was a polite, considerate and respectful person. Their ideology shaped me into who I am – a very stable and amicable person who will never offer an unsolicited opinion or advice and who will just nod politely when I don’t agree with you.

Being politically correct and sensitive to other’s feelings was prudence and consideration, and there would be ‘a time and place for everything’.

Well, I finally found that time and place in blogsphere.

The Search Party

I hear them call my name.

Or am I just imagining it. At this point, I hardly know. Perhaps my desperate mind has started hallucinating… like seeing a mirage in the desert.

At least the cold has reduced. But then I think back to all those movies. The victims always stop feeling cold when they are about to die. Maybe I’m dying… This is it… The end. Yet I feel no fear. No panic. I feel nothing. I’m standing on the outside looking at this stranger. Look people, here she is.

The leaves rustle again. I’m too exhausted to even look.    

Image by Bikurgurl

*****

Written in response to Bikurgurl’s 100 Word Wednesday 171 prompt