American Caricature

Yesterday I wrote a great story for this week’s Friday Fictioneers prompt. It was funny. Very funny. It was a really, really great story. And so funny. Taking my writing cues from the new leader of the free world, I can say that readers everywhere would have thought “Campfire Girls All Grown Up” was a great title for my great story about old childhood friends who had met life’s challenges head on with the support of their group which they now called The Drunken Poets Society. This great, really great, story takes place at the twenty-second annual Drunken Poets Campout. I was all set to hit publish. Then last night something happened. I went with my son to see John Cleese and Eric Idle in their Together Again At Last…For The Very First Time North American Tour.

If you don’t know who these guys are, what cave have you been living in?

The two comic giants played to a sold out house at the Majestic Theater in Dallas. The first act got off to a slow start. What else would you expect from two old farts? Still, it was entertaining and informative. For instance, I did not know that the first PBS station to broadcast episodes of Monty Python’s Flying Circus in the U.S. was KERA in Dallas, Texas.

Two red armchairs cushioned the iconic, and well-worn, actors as they reminisced about the good old days of Monty Python. Name dropping mixed with comedy sketches and songs, it was like sitting at the knee of a profane uncle and loving every minute of it.

What this has to do with my Friday Fictioneers story, you may be wondering. Or not. Well, last night in my sleep, Eric Idle came to me and said, “Campfire Girls All Grown Up isn’t funny. In fact, Honie, it stinks. Then he sang me a song he’d written just for me. I can’t share it here due to copyrights, quid pro quo trade negotiations, Brexit ex post facto, ipso facto e pluribus unum and all that, but suffice to say, it was really, really, great. Really.

So, this morning I woke up a little hung over curiously sober, and in the light of day I decided to embrace the absurdity of being American. Here’s my new and improved story.

campsite-jwf
Copyright Jan Wayne Fields

 Isolationism

I read the news today. Oh boy! Frackers and hackers have surrounded the backpackers. Obese schizophrenics protest en masse. No one knows for sure what has offended them today, but they are armed with selfie sticks, free with every purchase at Starbucks.

I experience fever then chills then uncontrollable laughter. Nausea follows. I want to run, sleep, and vomit all at once. I call my doctor’s office, calming down on hold while I sing along, “Billie Jean is not my lover.” The virtual nurse comes on the line.

“If this is an emergency, please hang up and call 911. Goodbye.”

***** 

Thanks to Rochelle and her trusty companion, Jan, for this week’s prompt. Check out more FF stories here. Thanks for reading.

Once Upon A Mistake

bjorn
Copyright Björn Rudberg

Julianna’s big sister had entertained her with bedtime stories for as long as she could remember.

“Is this going to be one of your ‘he sold his car to buy strings for her cello and she sold her cello to buy snow tires for his car’ stories?”

“My god, JuJu, how much do you think cello strings cost? No. Just listen. You haven’t heard this one; I promise,” Marie whispered. “Devon was a handsome cellist. He played here with a chamber orchestra before you were born.”

Marie closed her eyes, summoning her courage.

“Nine months to be exact.”

 

*****

Well, there you have it. My 100 word story prompted by the genius, the poet, Björn Rudberg. Rochelle Wisoff-Fields is the name of the dame who keeps Friday Fictioneers rockin’ and rollin’. Check out more FF stories here.

Trouble At The Lollipop Guild

crook-roof
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.

 

Antipodes

She is the same old girl she used to be. Her smile, once a thin disguise for turmoil going on beneath the surface, no longer feels awkward from the inside out. She liberated herself from the private hell we all find ourselves when a fumbled attempt to put our best foot forward results in putting the other foot right in our mouth. An event usually intensified when alcohol is involved.

Business functions are not the place to get your drink on, but they almost always include adult beverages for those who choose to imbibe. Many’s the rubber chicken dinner she has endured with a glass, or three, of something from the bar. She dreads the social function season that begins with Labor Day and doesn’t let up until “Auld Lang Syne” becomes a chorus of “never again.” She is not alone.

Over the years she learned to not roll her eyes while pretentious small talk buzzed in her ears. She mastered the art of walking in her business appropriate footwear, lest she stumble and snag her hosiery. She now manages to hold back the avalanche of rebuttals to bloated bloviators’ sexist remarks because she knows that they are feeling the heat of their own personal hell. She is far, far from where she began with miles to go before she’s done. She won’t let anything or anyone stand in her way. 

Yes, she is the same old girl she used to be, only better.