Rules Can Be Good

It’s my first Friday Fictoneer’s entry! You can read the prompt here:

Cricket stumbled into her position on the factory floor. There were piles of bud to seed. It must not go out with seeds in it. The seeds belonged to the factory owners.

Demand was up, up, up. Cricket was down, down, down.

A little wouldn’t hurt.

Cricket smoked to her hearts content. She woke many hours later when it was dark. Everyone was gone.

The ganja had worn off. The sign made sense. No smoking in the factory.


Tipsy Lit Prompted – “The Glowing Ones”

I wrote this story in response to this week’s Tipsy Lit prompt. You can see the original prompt here:

You can vote for your favorite entry in this week’s challenge when the poll is posted tomorrow. We appreciate the time you spend supporting us and voting in our challenge.

“The Glowing Ones”

Jessie walked with Mr. Dalbert. No, he reminded himself. Not Mr. Dalbert. It was Grandpa now. Grandpa Gerald and Grandma Betty.

Jessie’s first summer visit to his new grandparents’ home included a trip to the outdoor market.

Grandma Betty slyly tucked a crumpled bill into Jessie’s hand. Grandpa Gerald had done the same moments earlier when Grandma Betty was out of the kitchen.

Mom and his new stepdad, Brian, sent spending money with him for the trip. Going to the market was sounding like more fun now. His new grandparents were okay for ancient people.

The three of them climbed the hill. Jessie held the leash of the surprisingly spritely black Labrador, Boris. Boris had grey chin hairs and slept all day. Maybe he only came to life when he saw the leash.

Booths with colorful canopies stood end to end along three sides of the plateau at the top of the hill. People greeted his grandparents cheerfully. Jessie heard whispers about himself as he passed. “Heard his dad died a couple of years back. Bad business. Involved in the crime world.” “What did Brian bring into this family?” “The mother’s something to look at. That makes a smart man dumb, you know?”

Vicious. Typical. Nearly all of it was true. His mother was beautiful. Dad was dead. Brian did bring them into his family.

“Gerry,” cried an older woman in her housedress. “How lovely to see you! Is this your grandson? Hi, I’m Margie. I used to teach your stepdad when he was your age. You’re around 10 years old, right?”

Margie’s genuine warmth took some of the sting away from the bitter comments the others flung around without thought to Jessie’s feelings.
Jessie nodded, then was spared further questions as Margie moved in to hug Betty and ask about her germanium patch.

Wood airplanes hung from the ceiling of the purple canopy. A few boys and one little sister stood in front of the booth, fondling a large airship. Two lucky children in town owned one of the coveted airships. One was Bradley, the only son of the wealthiest family in town. The other was Tommy, a boy who was only now coming home from his hospital stay for chemotherapy treatments. The airship had appeared on his doorstep the day he came home.

Boris tugged hard at Jessie’s arm so that he could pursue a yipping poodle across the way. Jessie ordered Boris to sit. Boris complied, groaned, and tossed dirty looks at Jessie and the poodle.

Grandpa Gerald slinked away from talk of jam recipes to admire the airships with Jessie. “Unparalleled craftsmanship. Would you like one of these, Jessie?”
“I’ve never seen anything like it,” was his non-answer.

Grandpa Gerald gauged that his new grandson wanted the airship as much as he himself would have wanted it when he was Jessie’s age. It was time to put a bug in Betty’s ear.

“A gift.” Mag-Tri offered a basket of candy to the children gathered in front of the airship.

Jessie noticed Mag-Tri for the first time, noticed the slight glow to his skin. Jessie nudged Boris with his foot to prod the big dog into a run-walk that would take them to Grandpa Gerald and Grandma Betty quickly.

“You saw the glow,” Grandma Betty empathized. She took him aside to where they could speak plainly. “They’re called the glowing ones.”

“Are, are, they a- aliens?” He whispered, trying not to glance back.

“No one knows, Jessie,” Grandma Betty assured. “They’re perfectly lovely people. Notice how good it feels to be near them. Most of us go to them when we’re under the weather. Being close to them is enough for most things.”

“How do you know they’re safe?” Jessie asked, prodding for more.

“Safe? They’ve been here longer than anyone else. They’re wonderful. No one in the towns around their valley goes hungry. If you have hard times, they will drop food on your porch. If your home is damaged and you can’t afford to fix it, they will do it for you. In the fall one or two of us will become like them. I’ve wished since I was a child that it would be me.”

“You mean like pod people?” Jessie was horrified.

“I wish I knew. If it happens to you, you’ll begin to glow. Then you’ll go down to Circle Valley and there you’ll stay. Their numbers only increase. We don’t believe they die.” Grandma Betty’s cheeks took on a rosy glow while she wished in her mind that it would happen for her.

“You make it sound so normal!” Jessie cried, outraged.

“It’s anything but normal.” Grandpa Gerald joined them. He put a soothing hand on Jessie’s shoulder. “But people come from all over the world to live near them in hopes that they can become one of them. The rest of us are satisfied with eating what they grow and buying what they make.”

“But-” Jessie’s rebuttal ended when Grandpa Gerald handed him the airship.
“I’d like you to meet Mag-Tri. He made your airship by hand.” Grandpa Gerald made the introductions.

Jessie unwillingly held his hand out to Mag-Tri. He wanted nothing, nothing to do with him. Or his airship.

Mag-Tri smiled at Jessie. Jessie’s arm relaxed. Jessie raised his hand again, moving forward for the glowing one’s hand. Mag-Tri took it gently. No other argument entered Jessie’s mind, then or since.

“Jessie, could you take Boris out for his night walk?” Grandma Betty asked from her armchair.

Jessie closed the hatch of the airship, tucking some of the carved figurines into his pocket. Opening the hatch to discover a crew and handfuls of accessories was a fabulous surprise. He couldn’t part with all of it to take Boris out.

Boris led him back up the hill, where Jessie looked out over Circle Valley.
Mag-Dela and Mag-Vort walked up the hill behind them, holding hands and humming between them. They were bright enough to rival the moon.

“Two Brides” – Tipsy Lit Prompted – View from the Fishbowl

Those of you who have had the pleasure of meeting Amelia Mennano from “One Red Flower” should enjoy seeing what happened to the lovely lady Dawn.  The original prompt is here:



Marianna Mennano took one final look at the two bridal showrooms. Her brides would be there soon. They were both getting the full treatment. Both wedding parties would be choosing their gowns and accessories. They would sip champagne, take pictures, and nibble on delectables.

Marianna chose the slightly nicer room for Dawn. Dawn was special to all of them. She had brought a magic to her little Amelia’s life that led to Marianna having her own shop. Marianna’s talents earned reviews and repeat business that put her on the map. Yes, Dawn would get everything Vanessa would today.

Vanessa arrived with her mother, her fiancés mother, and her 15 wedding attendants. Some of them she hardly knew. It was time for her to be married at 28. It was advantageous to her and Reginald Patterson III to marry one another. She liked him enough that she might even spend some of her time with him when she didn’t have to.

Dawn Lassiter arrived 30 minutes after Vanessa’s party. She was with her mother, mother-in-law to be, her maid of honor, three close friends who would be bridesmaids, and her fiancés niece who would be their flower girl.
Seeing the room Marianna had put together for them brought tears to Dawn’s eyes. “Oh, Marianna! It’s lovely.” Dawn walked gracefully to the table holding a centerpiece of stargazer lilies. She lifted the flowers to her face and breathed in their sweet scent.

Dawn’s wedding party hugged and beamed smiles all around while they enjoyed the champagne, cake, cheese, and fruit that Marianna arranged for them.

Marianna’s sister poked her head into the room, looking for her. “A moment, please, Marianna?”

Marianna motioned to the selection of dresses they were starting with so that Dawn’s party could begin looking through them before she went to talk to her sister.

“It’s a disaster in there, Marianna. The bride is rejecting everything we have. We even brought out that fancy designers book that’s in the news and she said it wasn’t good enough for her. She demanded that we bring her a better champagne and a low calorie cake to eat with it. What do I do?”

Marianna soothed her. “I’ll take care of her. You stay here with Dawn and her family.”

“Oh, thank you,” Pamela breathed as though being pardoned from the gallows.

Marianna placed a call to her husband’s pastry chef and asked him to whip up something suitable for the discerning bride and their best champagne. She soothed Vanessa’s ruffled feathers by asking her what she wanted in a gown. They could design it for her. Of course they could place the diamonds by hand. Of course they could locate the finest lace. Marianna assured Vanessa that each of her demands would be met. Vanessa seemed temporarily appeased.

The rest of Vanessa’s party chatted together. Some chose a dress or an accessory. No one thought anything of Vanessa’s demands.

Two exhausting hours later Marianna rejoined Dawn’s family. Vanessa had an appointment with the attorneys that cut her shopping short. The rest of her party left with her.

Marianna gratefully returned to see Dawn standing in front of the mirror with her bridal party, gorgeously resplendent in their wedding clothes. The photographer laughed, as did Pamela, in tearful joy to be part of such a blessed day. These photos would go on the wall.

The Mystery of the Hidden Truth

This is my entry into this week’s Tipsy Lit Prompted. If you’d like to see the original prompt follow this link: care-to-make-a-wager/

As always, I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

The Mystery of the Hidden Truth

“Do you mind if I sit with you?”

Paula nodded, feeling numb. Patisserie Chocolat was her hangout. Strangers didn’t approach you at your table and ask to sit with you even if there weren’t any other tables open.

As they made small talk, Paula realized two things; this was Geneva Bloom, the infamous mystery writer known and loved by millions for the unfathomable diversity of her books; and that she shared too many characteristics with Carla, a new regular that favored sitting at adjacent tables. Paula’s eerie feeling that Carla was listening in on her writing meetings with her coach was turning into a solid lump in her stomach and a fast tattoo for a heartbeat.

Geneva smiled like the proverbial canary. “You’ve figured me out, haven’t you, Paula.”

Paula swallowed the boulder that was now lodged in her throat. “You’re Geneva Bloom.” Her idol. The one that had inspired her to write the story that was staring at her from her screen at that very moment. The one she had slaved and polished for years now.


Something wasn’t right with her idol. Paula knew it with gut twisting certainty.

“I have a proposition for you. It’s superbly simple. You see, I like to give chances to hopeful talents like yourself. Here’s yours. I’ll work on that tome of yours with you. If after one month I like what we’ve done and I feel that it’s worthy of my name, I’ll endorse it and put you in touch with all the right people.”

A fantasy? But still, there was something off about Geneva/Carla. Paula took a deep breath and looked her in the eyes. “That’s an incredible offer.” Then, tentatively, “Is there more to it?”

“You’re clever. That’s why I chose you.” She paused, watching her worm dangle on the hook. She was certain she had the right prey. You did have to be careful about these things, after all. A well-buried law suit or two could resurface.

Paula nodded, motioning that she was ready to hear the rest.

“Paula, if I don’t like what we’ve put together in a month, you must give me the manuscript and never make mention of any of this to anyone. The work will be mine to do with as I please. You and I will never speak again. Of course, you’ll have your talent and can start something completely new. But I warn you, it must not resemble this manuscript in any way.”

Paula would have asked if she’d done this before, but clearly she had. Sadly, she now knew what motivated her favorite author to write such a wide variety of stories in so many different voices. She also knew that Geneva Bloom was known for endorsing unknown authors. Some had won the wager. It tempted her. Fame. They had all risen to a level of fame that she craved for herself. Years of work sat in front of her. She knew it was her best. She knew it would take years to get there again. Years of scrounging any block of time she could to work on her dream. Or in a short time she could be living her utopia.

The next day Paula met her coach at J&B’s. She was filled with new confidence. Her book was good enough to steal.

A link to vote for your favorite response to this weeks prompt will be posted tomorrow.  Happy voting!