Copyright Sandra Crook

“Gumdrops?!” The line foreman’s voice reverberated into the rafters.

“Yes, it’s our only option,” replied the union rep.

Just last month the members had agreed to a pay cut in order to afford roof repairs before winter. Some of them even volunteered to haul materials from the shipyard on their days off. Now they were expected to retool before Christmas for a new confection just because the president demanded they increase production or shut down permanently.

“You’ve ruined us,” said the foreman.

“The output of suckers is only one every minute. Gumdrops will make you great again,” promised the rep.


Friday Fictioneers are here again. Rochelle Wisoff-Fields is the boss and Sandra Crook supplied this week’s prompt. Thanks, Ladies! **Late addition** I just realized that Sandra provides the prompts that prompt me the most to speak my mind and try to use humor to make a point. For that, Sandra, I am truly grateful.


It’s Veterans’ Day here in the good ol’ U.S.A. and as a veteran, a woman, a person of conscience, hell, just a human with a pulse, I would be remiss if I did not remark on the bizarre events that occurred this week here in the land of the free. Politics is not my thing. I abhor fakes, frauds, predators, and provocateurs. Who gets what and how much, that’s what politics means to me. I have been unrepresented for so long that I have learned how to get by (with a little help from my friends, of course). It occurs to me that we’ve been looking for leaders in all the wrong places. Many people work diligently every day to serve their families, communities, and the greater good in the world at large. It is these servant leaders who deserve our respect, but even more, they deserve our cooperation and participation in the business at hand. What is that? The business at hand is this:

Talk to your kids about civility. Talk to them about sex and sexual predators. Listen to your kids. Model the admirable qualities that you want them to demonstrate, because you can be damn sure if you rely on government to foster civil behavior, well, prepare to remain dysfunctional. Too many children have no idea that they matter to anyone. Too many children operate in survival mode and become adults who struggle with chronic crisis.

There are no words of dismay or disgust that have not already been written or shouted about American politics. So, I cannot see the point of regurgitating vitriol for the sake of having my say. What I can tell you is this: Be encouraged by the fact that there are plenty of people who share your pain. Lead by example. Do not relinquish your self-respect. Ever.


34 thoughts on “Trouble At The Lollipop Guild

  1. Some of your images in the story reminded me of Germinal in a Willy Wonka way… I have to say I was devastated by an election that will affect so many that couldn’t vote…

    1. HonieBriggs says:

      There’s no earthly way of knowing
      Which direction we are going
      There’s no knowing where we’re rowing
      Or which way the river’s flowing
      Is it raining?
      Is it snowing?
      Is a hurricane a-blowing?
      Not a speck of light is showing
      So the danger must be growing
      Are the fires of hell a-glowing?
      Is the grisly reaper mowing?
      Yes, the danger must be growing
      ‘Cause the rowers keep on rowing
      And they’re certainly not showing
      Any signs that they are slowing!

  2. Sandra says:

    I loved your story, and I loved your rant. I hope you feel better, because you certainly made me feel so. 🙂

    1. Sandra says:

      And lovely to see you back again, I missed you.

      1. HonieBriggs says:

        You supply the best prompts, Sandra! Some weeks the stories come easier.

    2. HonieBriggs says:

      So happy you did. There’s nothing like a good rant now and then. 🙂

  3. Well said, even if a byproduct of reading this is walking around with that song stuck in my head for the next eight hours!

    1. HonieBriggs says:

      I do what I can, Mr. Petruska. I do what I can. 🙂

      1. You torture innocent ears, in other words?

        1. HonieBriggs says:

          I like to think of it as sharing. I’m a benevolent sort, you know.

  4. I’ve been looking for a way to accept what is and creates some good of it. Your story is an inspiration.

    1. HonieBriggs says:

      Hi Dawn, my husband tells me that I operate in a “what is” mode while others (himself included) operate in the “what if” mode. I think it takes both to work through difficulties. Collaboration and reciprocity make the world go ’round. And money, of course. 😉

  5. neilmacdon says:

    Wilie Wonka for leader. I loved the whimsy and the acid anger beneath it

    1. HonieBriggs says:

      The whimsy is all me. Anger beneath the surface is how absurdity turns to anarchy. Like the great gumdrop rebellion, flying monkeys and all!

  6. Carrie Rubin says:

    “Talk to your kids about civility… Model the admirable qualities that you want them to demonstrate”–Hear hear. If only more parents did this, we wouldn’t have so much hate-filled rhetoric out there. They learn it from someone, and that someone is usually at home.

    1. HonieBriggs says:

      Home is where the heartbreak is. One of the hardest things to overcome is childhood trauma. Some people never do fully recover. Instead they tumble in a drama cycle that gets passed on to their kids. Personal problems compounded by bad public policy cause feelings of powerlessness and disenfranchisement that fracture families and whole communities. Hatred fills the cracks.

  7. I love where you took the prompt. Most of all I love your “rant.” Thank you for your service! Happy Veterans’ Day. Thank you.

    1. HonieBriggs says:

      Alicia, it was my privilege to serve. Still is, just in a different way. The prompt led me down a yellow brick road. We are definitely not in Kansas anymore, and it’s unclear where we are headed. One thing I know for sure is the day I can’t rant, well, that’ll be the day! : o

  8. Life Lessons of a Dog Lover says:

    Oh if all it took was gumdrops to make us great. You can’t see me but I am standing and applauding your heartfelt comments on the elections.

    1. HonieBriggs says:

      Your applause is much appreciated. I wonder if we all made lists of what we believe makes us great how similar they would be.

    2. Count me in! Well said.

  9. Dear StepHonie,

    Well written as always. More than that I will not add, other than, “Thank you for your service.”

    Hugs and Shalom,


    1. HonieBriggs says:

      Dearest Rochelle,
      It was my privilege to serve.
      Hugs & Shrugs,

  10. How have I missed you on FF?!! Love this story and the metaphors it brings. Your words after go straight to my broken heart. I am one of those adults who has lived with chronic crisis… trying to get out from under it. I woke up Tuesday morning, only to find my awakening stomped on, 12 hours later… still processing that, and how not to fall back into that other place. Wonderful words for so many of us, Stephanie; thanks for this! xo

    1. HonieBriggs says:

      I see it too much, Dawn. Families struggling to escape multi-generational poverty and violence, parents unprepared for the unplanned lives they will either nurture or neglect. Trade agreements which abandon American workers, exploit labor markets in developing countries, and line the pockets of unscrupulous moguls injure us all. This reply turned into a mini-rant. Anyway, thanks for your kind comment. Hurrah for metaphor!

      1. I do love your rants, though. xo

  11. Iain Kelly says:

    Nice take. For all their troubles I would still love to work in the sweet factory! 🙂

    1. HonieBriggs says:

      I would be as big as a house. My weakness, one of them, is sweets.

  12. Susan Newell Portman says:

    To my favorite veteran, thanks and good job.

    1. HonieBriggs says:

      Susan, you honor me with your friendship and encouragement.

  13. Happy Veterans’ Day, Honie and hear, hear for civility!

    1. HonieBriggs says:

      Happy Veterans’ Day rightbackatcha, Michelle. Shoulder to shoulder into the fray!

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