Changing Our Mind

Every Saturday as a small boy in a one horse town on the Canadian prairies I raced down the gravel streets six blocks to the ramshackle Odeon theatre with 25 cents clutched in my little fist. I bought my ticket rushed into the dark and musty cinema hall and settled into the ragged seats. I clutched the arm rests in anticipation of another exciting matinee ride with Sergeant Preston of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

                Sergeant Preston, in his brilliant red surge on Rex, a shining black stallion, rode the highways and by-ways of the Yukon in pursuit of every sourdough villain in the north. Accompanied by only his faithful companion a pure–blooded malamute husky called Yukon King they always got their man. And after every episode I was convinced that one day I would join the RCMP and ride with Sergeant Preston.

                A few years later I was benched for showing off on the ball field by our little league coach who was the local RCMP officer. He had also reported me to my parents for riding my bicycle recklessly on the town streets and playing knock-out-ginger with the horns on the tractors parked in an implement dealership lot. By then my conviction on a partnership with Sergeant Preston was a tad shaken.

                A few more years and potash was discovered under the fields adjacent to that one-horse town. Large mining companies moved in and I was seeing the world from a new perspective. New people with material possessions that I had only dreamt of were everywhere. The new wealthiest and most prominent citizens in our town all seemed to be engineers and I got to thinking I should rethink my choice of a career. At that point I pretty much abandoned my thoughts of ever riding with Sergeant Preston.

                Some 30 years later during an engineering career that led me into the financial side of administering large capital projects I was selected for jury duty on a historic fraud case in Saskatchewan. Eleven weeks of pouring through multitudes of documents that presented the case. I loved every minute of it. Following the conclusion of the trial and back at my real-life day job I learnt that one of my colleagues who was the company comptroller had at one time worked as a forensic auditor for the RCMP. My immediate thoughts were of a career move to the RCMP. I could once again see myself riding with Sergeant Preston. Like some Rudyard Kipling-combatants we would ride into the jaws of evil and into the mouth of crime and we would capture felons and find every defrauded dime.

                But there were clouds starting to form over the RCMP. The media was shocked by various commissions that found that a male dominated paramilitary organization was sexist. Even after a musical ride of multitudes of recommendations regarding diversity and sexism the force pretty much remained unchanged. After a series of management changes a woman was appointed as chief commissioner. Within months she was embroiled in a political conflict of interest scandal with the Liberal government in its attempt to implement gun regulations in the country. And an after-the-fact investigation into the protests of the freedom fighter’s convoy that took over a large section of the country’s capital city suggested that RCMP officers were providing inside information to the protesters with regard to planned police movements. Top this off with the knowledge that John A Macdonald, the first Prime Minster of Canada, was instrumental in establishing the RCMP as a national police force. In 1867 Macdonald was the dominant figure in Canadian Confederation annexing a number of provinces and completing the construction of the Canadian National Railway that joined Canada from sea to shining sea. He was also responsible for the execution of the Metis leader Louis Riel and the development of the residential school system designed to assimilate Indigenous children. The clouds darkened, especially with regards to the residential school issue, as social justice warriors and representatives of First Nations tribes from all over the country were calling for the tearing down of statues of Macdonald and changing the names on any buildings or streets bearing his name. As a result, those of us who are holier than the pope when it comes to political correctness were shying away from the red surge and boy-scout hats.

                The media continues to report on a number of deaths of RCMP officers who are protecting us as we sleep in the safety and comfort of our beds. On every chance the media gets, it questions the decisions of officers who are facing danger each day. And with RCMP officers riding with danger and disgrace I decided one more time that I wouldn’t be saddling up with Sergeant Preston. 

Write a story that starts with the sentence. We were supposed to meet each other on the Bay Bridge at midnight, but he never showed up.

By Henry Dumas

January 31, 2023

    “We were supposed to meet each other on the Bay Bridge at midnight, but he never showed up.” Marlene told her best friend Sally Conner at school the next day.

     Marlene Williams was a typical high school girl. She had a Barbie doll figure, long blond hair, and beautiful hazel eyes. Her smile lit up the room, and all the popular boys wanted to be with her.     

Read more: Write a story that starts with the sentence. We were supposed to meet each other on the Bay Bridge at midnight, but he never showed up.

      The first time Marlene saw Allen was in high school, and she wondered why she hadn’t noticed him before. She couldn’t take her eyes off him and wanted to say hello when they passed each other in the halls. But she was too shy.  

       Allen was tall and handsome. His long, dark brown curly hair hung down to his shoulders and his baby blue eyes sparkled when he was happy. He hung out with a small group of friends and he didn’t consider himself one of the cool kids.

      As the years passed by, she watched him as he sauntered down the halls and tried to find the courage to say hello. That day finally arrived in their senior year.        

      It was late in the afternoon as Marlene hurried over the Bay Bridge on her way home. The bridge was a shortcut, and she didn’t enjoy being on it in the dark. She saw Allen walking toward her, and was surprised when he stopped.

      “Hello Allen,” she giggled.

       Suddenly, he blurted out. “How about watching a movie on Saturday night? There’s a dusk-to-dawn thrill- a-thon at the Burke theater. All my friends are coming. Do you want to come?”

         “S… sounds good to me,” she stuttered. Wondering how she would get out of the house without her parents finding out. Her dad would ground her for life if she got caught.

   “We can meet on this bridge at midnight and walk to the movie theater together.” They both said at the same time.

    Saturday night came. Marlene waited for him on the bridge, and it surprised her when he didn’t show up. She was heartbroken, and decided to give him a piece of her mind at school on Monday.

      She looked for him at school. He wasn’t there.

       “I’ll ask Sally. She lives two houses down from him. Maybe she knows why he didn’t come.” Marlene mumbled to herself. She hustled down the hallway and saw Sally standing at her locker.

“Where’s Allen?” she shouted!

      “His father got a job offer in a different town,” Sally replied with a shrug of her shoulders.

     “He moved away and didn’t leave me a forwarding address. Marlene scoffed. Why didn’t he tell me he was moving?  At least he could have given me his updated address or phone number?”

      Sally slammed the locker door shut. “Sorry, I don’t know why.” She replied.

     The days turned into months, and the years quickly passed. Allen married Sally Conners, and they raised their only daughter, Christine. Sally passed away several years ago.


       Alen stood six feet tall. His long curly hair with gray splashes still hung down to his shoulders. He still had his boyish handsome looks and what he called old man strength. He recently retired from his job as a fireman. At this point in his life, he didn’t want to be in a romantic relationship. He spent his bachelor-like life playing cards with his friends, line dancing on Thursday nights, and hanging out with his only grandson, Lawrence. When friends asked him if he was going on dates. He jokingly told them, “I would rather have a milkshake.”

     It was late afternoon. Allen strolled down the grocery store aisle wearing a bright flowery Hawaiian shirt, khaki short pants, and New Balance running shoes. He wouldn’t get caught dead wearing sandals. It was the most appropriate outfit for the one-hundred-degree weather. He hummed a tune from an old country and western song Buicks to the moon and danced a western two-step as he pushed the shopping cart down the aisle. 

     “You look cute in that Hawaiian shirt,” she said. 

      He looked over his shoulder and saw an older woman about his age standing so close to him they almost touched shoulders.  Her beautiful hazel eyes, gorgeous smile, and the aroma of her perfume caught his attention.

   “I probably purchased the shirt from Amazon. I buy a lot of stuff from them,” he laughed.

     “No,” she smiled. “I think you look cute in that Hawaiian shirt with your long, curly gray hair and baby blue eyes. You remind me of someone special from my past.” She reached over and brushed back a lock of his unruly hair. 

    “There, that looks better,” she said.

    “Thanks,” he replied as he danced away. 

       As he danced down the aisle. A dozen questions raced through his brain. “She looks familiar? Who is she? Was she putting the moves on me, or just being friendly? She acted like she knew me?”

     He stopped and looked over his shoulder at her. She was still standing in the aisle, staring at him as if she wanted to say something more. There was something about the beautiful women standing in the aisle that made him want to turn around and go back, but he thought that would be silly.

       He slowly walked across the blacktop parking lot, sat in his car, and drove away. He stopped his car at a stop sign and said it out loud. “I should go back.”

       He paused and shook his head from side to side. “Maybe she’s married or has a boyfriend.” He mumbled, “Some things are better left alone.” He spun the car around and drove away.

       His mind quickly changed to the weather. “It’s hot outside and I need a cold drink,” he whispered to himself.

      He stopped at a convenience store, ran inside, and filled his drink mug.

     He put the drink on the counter and rummaged in his pockets. “I have the exact change,” he said to the cute middle-aged cashier standing behind the counter. 

     He placed a pile of loose change on the counter.  “Old people always have the exact change,” he laughed.

      The cashier smiled, “you look like you are having a wonderful day.”

       “Yes, I am, he said. I got lucky today. I saw a beautiful woman in a store and she reminded me of someone special from my past,” he replied.

        “Wow, your eyes are sparkling. Who was she?” the cashier asked.

         “I don’t know,” he replied.

      He looked at the cashier, took a deep breath, and paused. Suddenly, his eyes lit up as if a light bulb had just turned on in his head and he shouted at no one in particular. “Marleen, her name is Marlene. We were at school together.” He paused again. “She didn’t have a wedding ring on her finger,” he exclaimed. “I hope she’s still in the store. I have questions I want to ask her.”

    The lady behind the counter burst out laughing. “Good for you. Give me a high five,” she said. She stepped out from behind the counter and held out her hand. They clapped their hands together and smiled at each other as he turned and ran out the door, leaving his drink on the counter. 

      “I hope you get lucky tonight,” the cashier shouted, still laughing.

      Getting lucky was the furthest thing from his mind. He just wanted to see her again.  And he had so many questions he wanted to ask her.

    Allen was sorry he couldn’t meet her on the Bay Bridge that night. His father was transferred to a new job, and he needed to start work the next morning. He spent the night packing bags and loading the family truck. He didn’t know Marlene’s address or phone number. Lucky for him, Sally Conner was Marlene’s best friend. And Sally lived down the street from him. He put a note in an envelope addressed to Sally in the Conners’ mailbox.  

    The note said. “Marlene, this is my up dated address. Please write to me. We can exchange phone numbers. I like you and would like to be friends.”

    Marlene never got the note, so she didn’t reply. Sally wrote frequently. Allen and Sally exchanged phone numbers, and one thing led to another. Two years later they got married, and the rest is history.

   “Why didn’t she contact me?” He said out loud, pounding on the steering wheel.

      He ran into the store, searching up and down the aisles. She was not there. He stopped at the checkout counter, tried to describe what she looked like, and asked if anyone had seen her. No one remembered her. She’s disappeared like a ghost.

    Tears ran down his cheeks. He couldn’t believe he had lost her again. He shuffled toward the door and walked out into the bright sunlit afternoon. He saw a woman standing in the parking lot. The afternoon sun surrounded her in a halo of bright sunlight. For a moment, he thought she looked like an angel. Her blond hair was now gray, and she still had her Barbie doll figure. She looked at him with the same beautiful smile he remembered from high school.

     “Hello Allen,” Marleen said, walking toward him. “I came back. I hoped you would still be here.”

       He reached out, took her hand, and felt electricity surging through his body. He could tell she felt the same way.

Summer Thoughts About Fellow Writers

R. Munch/ Aug/2022


                Each spring Saskatchewan snow birds feel the call of the north and journey home seemingly under the spell of some Broadway musical … “Saskatchewan. Where the wind comes blowing down the plain. And the waving wheat can sure smell sweet. When the wind comes right behind the rain. We know we belong to the land. And the land we belong to is grand!”  And if you believe any of that I have a bridge that I can sell to you for a really good price. Saskatchewan is warm for three months of the year and bitterly cold for six months of the year, with three months of heavy sledding.  Summer is the time when the CT scans, MRI’s, and bone scans are scheduled as doctors attempt to determine if they have slowed the progress of the cancers that have attacked my body. There are tee times with friends but one has only to play a few rounds of golf to know how humiliating and frustrating that can be.

                There is however a shining light. Back home I get to spend more time with my daughters. Upon retirement that became the most important thing on my bucket list. However through the summer my thoughts are often of winters in Arizona. For some reason a number of occurrences this past summer took my thoughts back to our Joy of Writing Club.  Obviously Judy’s zooming keeps me linked but there were other occurrences that sparked memories.

                My wife is a most accomplished gardener and each summer she creates a back yard resplendent with multitudes of blooming flowers. One day this summer I watched her lovingly tending to a small plot of sunflowers.  I smiled thinking of Doreen ripping those weeds from her corn fields back in Iowa. And of course every time the radio blasted American Pie I thought about how her corn fields are so close to where the music died.

                On another occasion I was assisting my granddaughter with her high school on-line English class. She was writing an essay on a particular scene from Hamlet. The scene made me think of one of my fellow writers, who as a young and rebellious girl, would have heard her father, the local sheriff, give his own example of a Shakespearian soliloquy,   …. “ Carol! Get thee to a nunnery!”.

                On a visit to a family gathering, in Moose Jaw no less, I enjoyed the look on my great granddaughter’s  face as the wheels were turning in her little head while her mother read to her of the volcano king and the little Hawaiian girl in Pam’s children book.

                A TV documentary that I watched one evening told of a municipal and national park initiative in Durango Colorado. The initiative was a training course for the citizens of Durango on how to live and co-exist with black bears as co-inhabitants of their city. Actually one citizen spoke of how he was sure a mother bear, who was peering in his window, was crying because she had lost her cubs. I thought her sadness was more likely due to missing a meal. But I knew without a doubt that a Durango resident like Dorothy, our Okie from Muskogee, could write a sonnet worthy of note on the thrill of meeting one of her co-inhabitants in front of the courthouse yet emphasizing on how “white lightning’s still the biggest thrill of all”.

                A more intriguing documentary investigated the Alaska Triangle. It is an area in Alaska known for unusual activity, including mysterious disappearances, sightings of strange creatures, lights in the sky,and encounters with ghosts. The documentary included interviews with a few heavily bearded local hunters sitting around a campfire with beers in hand. They all swore of the presence of Bigfoot. Each attested to:  sightings while hunting, the stench of suspected Bigfoot resting areas, and of hearing its blood curdling screams. My first thought brought to mind strains of dueling banjos. My second thought was should I ask Larry, whose family has lived in Alaska for a few generations, about these ramblings. Or would he think I was some simple minded and gullible not so nice Canadian. My next thought was maybe he does already. The documentary then changed focus to a new group of interviewees who swore the disappearances were due to aliens. They all spoke of sightings and personal abductions while describing the life forms and the horses they road in on. My thoughts quickly switched to Henry.  He could find some good grist for his writing mill talking to those folks.       

                Clearly the writers of our Joy of Writing Club have informed, entertained and made an impression on me.          

Art Appreciation

by Randy Munch

The Joy of Writing Club members were presented with a color photo of Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s painting The Luncheon of the Boating Party. The assignment was to write an art appreciation essay on the masterpiece. However believing me, a linear thinking professional engineer, can write an intelligent dissertation on a Renoir masterpiece is as absurd as thinking that masterpieces are painted on black velvet canvases. But what the hell – engineers are known for thinking that with a little study of the subject they can figure out how most everything works …. So here goes!

I like paintings that are realistic. The perspective must be accurate. Walls must be portrayed as vertical planes that intersect at right angles and parallel lines must extend to the same vanishing point on the horizon. I expect water surfaces to lay flat reflecting the sunlight as opposed to standing straight up and down like a window pane. I suspect that my preferred style is realism and “the Luncheon of the Boating Party” is an example of impressionism. Art historians write that Renoir’s preferred style in his early years was realism. One of his early works was a most realistic study of a buxom nude. The picture was considered improper by the French – by the French no less! So he put a hunting bow in her hand, a dead dear at her feet, and the skin of an animal across her lap to make her nakedness less blatant.  He then named the painting Diana – Goddess of the Hunt. While the subject was hardly realistic in that only a fool would go hunting in the woods completely naked, his adaptation to produce a work that could be placed on sale in a public gallery was economic realism. That painting went on to become one of the great figure paintings of nineteenth century realism.

I like art work that induces you to think about the subjects and a possible sub-plot. Art historians write that the “Luncheon” is an actual party with Renoir’s friends and over the years each person has been identified. There is a story there amongst the guests. They are of the upper class evidenced by their top hats, bowlers, and yellow straw boaters and the fact they are attending a party on a deck overlooking the Seine. Were there really six people at the party wearing yellow hats? In France yellow signifies betrayal and weakness. Had some of them lost favour with Renoir? Or does Renoir just take direction from Van Gogh – “How wonderful yellow is”?

I like art works that contain various peculiarities scattered across the canvas. In many of Renoir’s paintings there is an uncanny amount of portrayals of the hands of his subjects which are painted most realistically. This is evident even in his impressionistic works. In the “Luncheon” there are 12 hands clearly evident. Such a strong focus on hands is ironic in that toward the end of his career he suffered from severe crippling rheumatism in his hands. Art historians expound on how Renoir changed his style of painting throughout his life concluding that during this period he changed his preferred style to reflect different brush strokes with less definition. Seems to me that being so handicapped that the fact he couldn’t pick up his brush on his own would dictate a different quality to his work and not some preconceived  change in style.

Questionable observations of this nature by art historians and art critics are all too common. Recently while visiting our nation’s capital city and touring the National Gallery of Canada we came upon a large room that displayed a highly recognized piece of art. The room was empty except for a piece of string that was connected at the floor in one corner of the room and that extended kitty corner across the room to be attached at the opposite corner on the ceiling. I was infuriated that my tax dollars funded a National Gallery that would display such a worthless piece of junk; that my tax dollars paid the salary of a curator, presumably an art aficionado, who would actually approve the display of such a waste of rental space in the building, let alone suggest that it was art. I appreciate that beauty is in the eyes of the beholder but there was nothing to behold but the utter stupidity of including the string as a work of art.

In 1990 that same Gallery purchased an 18 foot tall canvas with nothing more than a vertical red stripe between two blue stripes for $1.8 million. At that time Canadian tax payers were infuriated. The purchase has since been justified by the fact that the value of the painting, and others by the same artist, have inflated over 20 times the original purchase price. Which in of itself is ludicrous?

 The demand for this type of art and the gullibility by the art community and the art critics that promote these pitiful works confirm the message in Hans Christian Anderson’s nursery story that embraces authenticity. The public feared being seen as stupid if they were to assert that the emperor wore no clothes and thus they cheered him along his route. But his lack of beautiful new garments was clear to the eyes of an innocent child.

Romantic Mysteries (Fortune Cookie)

by Randy Munch

A long time practice of mine is to remain quiet when all the Asian cuisine diners are reading their fortune cookies. Invariably they insist that I tell them what mine says so I offer with something to the effect …. “there are gorgeous women who think you are handsome and intelligent who are asking about you” …. Most smile and my wife always replies … “you are such a liar”

Getting home last Monday after writing class I sat down beside my wife as she worked on her easel. I boasted of my creative endeavors and of my next assignment. I opened my fortune cookie while she watched and I read it exactly word for word … “A romantic mystery will soon add interest to your life”  ….  “she promptly put down her paint brush and said …. “You are such a liar”.

At that point my fortune cookie had added more ridicule than interest to my life. Knowing full well that the chances of a romantic mystery actually occurring in my modest existence is about as likely as seeing a screen door on a submarine. I therefore presumed that the fortune was proposing that the writing of a romantic mystery would bring interest to my life.   

        Wikipedia tells me that a romantic mystery generally refers to a work of writing where the mystery is the prime interest of the plot with the love interest being secondary. The romantic aspect allows the author to give some reality and life to the protagonists.

In keeping with the cookie wisdom my wife tells me …. “expand your horizons and write some romantic fiction”. She’s saying that to a husband who loves her dearly but gave her the extra-large, gift wrapped order of Omaha steaks for a Christmas present. Anyway Margaret Attwood, a highly successful Canadian novelist, says that a good writer is a good reader and you must read reams of work written in your genre of interest. Nora Roberts is a highly successful romantic mystery novelist and she has written more than 200 novels. There are 500 million of her books in print. She began writing under the pseudonym of JD Robb because she was writing too many books to publish under one name. The exclamation mark of my ignorance regarding romantic mysteries stands with the fact that not only have I not read any of her 200 works but I didn’t even know who she was.

Actually I completed four years of an undergraduate degree and a couple of post graduate years in a college of engineering in the late 1960’s. That’s six years of continual reading books on technologies. Unlike Frank Lloyd Wright’s school of architecture in Scottsdale there was no requirement of engineering students to have any or to learn of any of the fine arts.  For that entire period the closest I came to reading a work of fiction was Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring”. Her book marked the beginning of the environmental movement and at the time I was studying for a career as an environmental engineer. Thus there was an underlying motivation to read it. Since then I have found little other motivation to read fiction.

Except of course the time when one of my daughters was at university majoring in English literature. She insisted that her Dad, if he was to purport to having even a semblance of worldly intelligence, had to at least be familiar with well-known Canadian fiction writers. Subsequently I read a couple of the works of Robertson Davies. His books “The Fifth Business” and “The Manticore” were my ventures into the world of fiction. While his books were strangely entertaining the one thing that I remember thinking was that the dude that wrote that stuff had a mind that worked in some weird and bazaar ways. I politely passed on any more recommended readings from my daughter.

So it’s no mystery why I won’t be writing a romantic mystery or most any noteworthy fictional work. I read biographies, autobiographies, memoirs, some history, and I especially like investigative journalists. I think Margret would see me and romantic mysteries as likely as those screen doors on submarines.

It’s An Ant’s Life by Antonio, the ant

By Larry Meath

(This was an activity in anthropomorphism, giving human characteristics to a non-human object.)

Let’s start with this fact, there are lots of my relatives on planet earth.  Twenty quadrillion, give or take, by latest count.  Yeah, you heard me right–even though you probably have no idea how many that really is.  That’s a 20 followed by 15 zeroes.  Or put another way, that’s nearly three million of us for every human on terra firma…or even terra not so firma.  There are only roughly 7 billion of you—way too many in my estimation—but humans are a tiny minority compared to us.  You are an ant-iclimactic statistic in our view.

According to Dan the man Webster, we are of the family of colonial hymenopterous insects.  That’s a mouthful, I know, but basically, we are highly specialized critters.  Furthermore, we have a complex social organization and various castes performing special duties.  Like ruining picnics and building tunnels.  Our ant-ics aren’t always appreciated. 

But before you get too ant-sy about our numbers, let me tell you some fun facts about us.  You guys have been screwing up the planet for a measly 200,000 years but we’ve been trying to improve things for closer to 2 million.  We watched the dinosaurs come and go and we’ll likely do the same with you.  You could say we are ant-iques on the planet’s timeline.

And we’re practically everywhere.  Ant-arctica is one exception.  Clearly the name is a misnomer. 

We communicate in sophisticated ways: not with phones but pheromones to be exact.  And we have a sort of group think where we act as a collective…one for all and all for one…kind of like a football team.  We are the ultimate team players—the ant-ithesis of humanity’s narcissism.

We make up roughly 15-20% of earth’s biomass despite our small size.  Thank goodness we don’t taste all that great although I have heard of people who cover us in chocolate to make us palatable.  I’m not sure what goes into ant-ipasto, but despite being named Ant-onio, I’d be careful around Italians. 

And speaking of eating, some ant species enslave and even eat other ants.  Yeesh!  Cannibals!  They apparently do this without Pepto Bismal or other ant-acids

But overall, we just want to live in harmony with humanity.  Make love, not war.  But don’t forget…we can also sting if need be.  So, a final word of caution–don’t ant-agonize us. 

On the porch.

By Henry Dumas

September 25, 2022

The assignment: Anthropomorphism is the attribution of human characteristics to something that isn’t human, such as an animal or object. Write a scene or story that includes anthropomorphism.

            That evening, Steven and his girlfriend sat together on a wooden swing on the front porch, watching the sunset over the mountains as the last moment of daylight disappeared. They both wondered what the next few days would bring, and they hoped for a good outcome.

            Cindy, his black Labrador retriever, laid on the cool cement porch next to Steven’s girlfriend and enjoyed having her ears rubbed as her dark brown piercing eyes investigated the darkness.

            “What’s out there?” Cindy said to herself, trying not to look alarmed. She didn’t want to disturb the humans from their mating ritual. She knew they had special plans tomorrow, and it included her carrying a ring to Steven. A task she had practiced for several days in secret and she didn’t want to mess up such an important job. The thought of making a mistake caused her to whimper, and the unseen disturbance in the tree lined meadow across the street didn’t help her anxiety.

            Cindy sat up and said out loud to the humans sitting on the porch swing. “I can see something across the street,” she whimpered at the humans.  She could see movement in the darkness, but couldn’t identify what was moving. Her long black hair on the back of her neck stood up like porcupine quills as she leaned forward.

             “Do you see something in the dark, old girl?” Steven asked.

              Cindy was too occupied to reply with words. The only thing that came out of her mouth was a growl.

             “I hope it’s not the black bear everyone has been talking about,” His girlfriend said out loud to no one in particular, as she squeezed Steven’s hand firmly.

            Steven reached under his shirt, gripped his concealed weapon, and put his hand on the back of Cindy’s neck.

            “I know what it means when he puts his hand on my neck.” Cindy said to herself with a loud growl, letting Steven know she was ready.     

             “Get it!” Steven shouted.

               “I got this,” Cindy said out loud as she leaned forward on her tippy-toes and leaped off the porch like a swimmer, jumping into a pond of muddy water not concerned at what was at the bottom, and ran into the darkness, barking and snarling at the unseen danger. 

              A small gray squirrel darted up a tree, making chirping sounds and yelled, “better luck next time you stupid dog.

             “I’ll get you next time, you furry squeaky rodent,” Cindy yelled loud enough for all the forest creatures to hear.   

           “Good girl,” Steven said. As Cindy jogged back to the porch with what looked like a smile on her face, knowing she had saved the day.

            “Looks like you saved us from a wild squirrel,” Steven jokes.

            Cindy took her place next to Stevens’ girlfriend on the porch knowing lots of ear rubs were coming her way, closed her eyes and drifted into a deep sleep dreaming about tomorrow and the special job she practiced, knowing she could do it flawlessly.

How I spent my summer vacation.

By Henry Dumas

September 11, 2022

Assignment: Write about that happened in your life since our last meeting in June

 I wish I had something interesting to write about, like traveling to far off galaxies or meeting a beautiful, older, busty alien female that needs to be rescued from evil green skinned androids. I could write about riding off into the sunset and living happily ever after. 

Continue reading “How I spent my summer vacation.”

An Airplane’s Orchestra

The airplane’s landing gear drops, kerplunk         

All passengers, as if on cue, jump.             

As it descends to the landing strip,          

nervous passengers tighten their grip.   

The wheels hit the ground, a loud thump they make       

and screech as the pilot pumps the brakes.

A chorus of cell phones when turned on,

chromatic dings creating a song.

Seat belts unfastened, click, click, click, click,

adding percussion to the mix.

Overhead bins opened with a bang,

add unique sounds to the strain.

Passengers head to the exit, quick, quick,

toward destinations they all had picked.

A Deck of Playing Cards with Attitude

My brothers, sisters in law, nephews, and I gathered one Saturday night for a rousing evening of playing games.

One game required several decks of cards, so we opened new packs and threw them in the mix and the game began.

We had neglected to remove an information card from each deck and simply tossed them aside and kept playing.

At the end of one round, I read the card. I re-read it. I read it aloud. It contained the following script:

Thanks very much for playing car brand playing cards, these cards are made of worldly best paper which is imported from German and it deal specially with exquisite procedure. We believe that you will feel the special softness, flatness, and folder-proof when you playing it. Its feel and quality is obviously larruping.

Everyone stared, then looked incredulously at me, and then started laughing.

We speculated as to which country produced the cards. Couldn’t the manufacturer find someone who could speak and write the English language? We think we figured out the overall message but had differing ideas on some of the phrases. Of course, that is a lawyer’s delight-to argue differing meanings of the same written word. And three of us are attorneys, so we spent far more time on this than necessary.

For instance, what on earth is “worldly best paper?”

A dictionary defines “worldly” as relating to, or devoted to this world and its pursuits rather than to religion or spiritual affairs or possessing or displaying significant experience and knowledge about life and the world.

Could it have meant “made of the world’s best paper?” Or is the paper a material thing of the earth and not a spiritual thing? How can paper be capable of either? I guess it could be from the earth if the paper is made of the wood from trees, which have their roots in the earth. Was the writer using personification? Based on the poor grammar throughout the card, I think not.

And that worldly best paper is imported from German. Does it mean imported from Germany? Or imported from a German paper manufacturer? That does not necessarily mean the paper was produced in Germany. Or is the producer/manufacturer of the worldly best paper named German?

That worldly best paper, imported from German, it deal especially with exquisite procedure. What is it? Is it the German manufacturer who produces the cards with exquisite procedure? Could it mean imported from Germany? Or is “it” the way cards are dealt in play, that is, does the manufacturer deal cards with exquisite procedure?

Which led us to wonder what exactly is an exquisite procedure? The dictionary defines exquisite as “of special beauty or charm, or rare and appealing excellence, as a face, a flower, coloring, music, or poetry; extraordinarily fine or admirable; consummate; or intense; acute, or keen, as pleasure or pain, of rare excellence of production or execution, as works of art or workmanship.” We examined the cards, and all agreed the cards looked like any other cards, we could not ascertain any exceptional differences.

We decided at this point another round of adult beverages would be in order.

We tried to picture an exquisite procedure on many levels, such as a surgical procedure, written procedures for employees to follow, directions for filing court documents, computer manuals, electrical engineer’s schematic circuit designs, recipes, and on and on. We failed to identify any procedure as “exquisite.”

Next, we tackled the phrase We believe that you will feel the special softness, flatness, and folder-proof when you playing it.

What is “folder-proof?” There are fire-proof folders, water-proof folders, accordion folders, manilla folders but we could not find anything remotely to folder-proof. Are the cards designed to not being able to be placed in a folder? We thought it refers to the fact that the cards are sturdy and do not fold easily. Conducting our own quality testing, we felt the cards to see if we felt any special softness, flatness, and folder-proof qualities. OK, now we were really getting a kick out of how do you feel whether or not a card is folder-proof? So, we bent one. It bent like any other card. But we also ran our fingers over the cards with many oohs and aahs as we noted the special softness.

We almost reached hysteria as we read the final sentence- Its feel and quality is obviously larruping. Seriously? Skipping the obvious subject and verb error, we concentrated on the word larruping. We had to look it up in a dictionary. It means very or exceedingly. As we examined the cards, we all agreed that it was obvious the cards were larruping, even to the most casual observer. How could we not find otherwise?

We continued to play that evening, occasionally pausing to comment on the special softness of the cards. Who would have thought a deck of cards would provide such larruping entertainment? Plus, we all learned a new word.

While we had different opinions on the meaning of several phrases, we all agreed the manufacturer should have quit after Thanks very much for playing car brand playing cards.