Cats Love Milk

My wife Judy called me into the living room and when I arrived, she said, “Look at what your little girl is doing?”  I said, “That is just like you, when she is doing something wrong, she is my little girl, but I am not the one who gave her a cup of milk without a lid and her sippy straw.  You know that Erica is only supposed to get milk during her meals or snack time, as the pediatrician clearly stated that could lead to tooth decay.  I think it is a very funny picture, so I will get my phone and post this on Facebook.”  Judy said, “Don’t do that, as I don’t want everyone seeing our daughter eating off of the floor like an animal.  We might be questioned by the Division of Child Protection and Permanency and end up having Erica taken away from us for because they think that we are bad parents.”

I took the picture with my phone, but I didn’t post it online and then I picked Erica up off the floor and told her that there are probably germs on the floor and that eating anything that is on the floor could lead to health problems.  I told her about the 3 second rule, where it is ok to eat something that was dropped on the floor only if it is picked up in 3 seconds or less and if it is laying there for more than 3 seconds, then it has to be thrown away.  I asked Erica to count to three for me and she did, and then I told Judy, “Now she is my girl, as she is so smart.”

Judy remarked on how the cats were enjoying their special treat and that as soon as they were done, she would mop the floor.  I chased the cats away from the spill and told Judy that this is probably going to make them all sick.  I said, “Kittens can feed off of their mother’s milk, but after they reach 6 months old, they lose their ability to produce the enzyme lactase, so then they can no longer break down or digest lactose, resulting in bad news for their stomach and digestive system.  Kittens lose their ability to process milk after being weaned, so our cats are too old to be lapping up milk.”  Judy said, “I always see cats drinking milk on TV and in the Tom & Jerry cartoons, Tom waits for the milk deliveryman to bring a bottle of milk to the door.”  I told Judy that there is a big difference between real life and cartoons.

Written for Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge #174.

The New Divide

Beccy has a class in Political Science this semester and she brought this new book along with her on this camping trip.  She is enjoying the book so much, that she can’t put it down.  Her friends went out for a walk and she decided to stay in the tent to finish reading more of the book.  Beccy never had any interest in Politics before, but she loves the way this author writes who calls himself Fandango.  This author tells it like it is and doesn’t hold anything back and maybe that is why he chose an anonymous pen name.  His book is titled “The New Divide” and it is all about the problems that Americans are facing now.  Chapter One was titled Shoot Em Up and it covered all the gun violence going back to the Columbine massacre and that actually happened on the day Beccy was born, so she was hooked from the start.  Chapter Two covered the Opioid Epidemic and it showed how pharmaceutical companies and doctors colludes together to get people hooked, so they could get rich.

Chapter Three went into Black Lives Matter and it showed a light on those groups of people who oppose racial justice.  She finally reached the chapter that she had been waiting for called Start The Steal which is about the shameful President that this country once had.  Fandango knew everyone involved with the January Sixth Committee and he had one on one interviews that disclosed all of Trumps dirty little secrets.  Fandango even went to the prison where Trump is being detained to interview the creep, and a big smile came to her face when she read that he still believes that he won the 2020 election.  What a crazy world!

Written for Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge #173.

Mixing the Music

Joe is in the studio today trying to achieve the desired effect of the sound, so the record would sound good.  He knows how the studio is set up, how it runs and what buttons he should push and when to push them.  He has the experience to translate what the producer was asking him to do so he is able to enhance the music.  It starts with microphone choice and placement, and he has the uncanny ability to get the clearest sound from the musicians.  He works closely with the musicians and as he analyzes every track, he hears things that he tunes out, or augments to boost, develop, enrich, heighten and tweak to add a fuller sound.  He is able to do this on several different levels at the same time and he can bring all of the elements together.

This can be a very challenging job trying to fit everything in together, but Joe loves his job, and he wouldn’t want to do anything else.  He thinks of sound mixing as a combination of art and technology and his goal is to create beauty from a raw product.  He only considers it to be a good mix when he is able to go beyond all of the technical aspects, when he can transmit the song’s message by enhancing all of its intended emotions.  He tows this line carefully, not wanting to step on the feet of the artists who recorded the music, but always making sure that they are on the same page, so they can put the musical aspects first and foremost.  Joe will apply his technical skills, deep knowledge of processing gear, and interpretation of visual levels to accomplish an artistic result.  He is not fond of the term “mixing sound”, as he sees his job as mostly combining and balancing the sounds.  Joe will brighten up some sounds, darken others, and take all of the unnecessary frequencies away.

Joe figures out which instrument or instruments should be featured and at what time that should happen.  He might tune up a guitar lick while downplaying a drum beat and fool around with this until he feels that he got the best sound.  It is all about achieving the proper space and dimension, which he gets by paying attention to details and then he surrounds this with the right tone quality, pitch, and timbre to attain the proper color for the recording.  Some musicians have gotten upset with him when they felt that he had taken them out of the mix, but Joe always explains why he had to mute them.  He lets them listen to the headphone leakage or noise that resulted in his decision and eventually they all go along with his decision and that is why Joe is one of the best sound engineers in the business.

Written for Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge #172.

Considered to be Art

14 enormous bronze statues all laughing at us for paying the sculptor 1.5 million dollars to create this display of laughing men.  They are all exhibiting different poses, but they actually look kind of creepy to me.  These sculptures are supposed to inspire laughter playfulness and joy for everyone who goes to see them, but I just don’t get it.  Maybe it is a Canadian thing, but if I ever go to Canada, I think that I will be skipping this attraction.  It is certainly not the worst work of art that I have ever seen, and some of the gestures that these statues are posed in are amusing, but it just doesn’t seem to bring a smile to my face.  Maybe if the statues did something, like actually laughing, or even talking, or better yet, making some farting noises, then it would be more to my liking.

Written for Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge #171.

Family Tree

Joe and Carol were out shopping when this sculpture caught his eye and he said, “Now that looks like a real conversation starter”, and Carol said, “It sure does, but it’s not going in my house, as we agreed that we were going to get something that is simple, modest, elegant, and unpretentious.”  Joe said, “You are right honey, but just think about the stories that I could tell if this piece was displayed in our living room.  I could talk about the voodoo hex that was put on this woman who left her family behind because her stepfather beat both her sisters and now that they had left, she was frightened because she knew that she would be next.  The voodoo hex made her life a nightmare filled with restless sleep and unpleasant dreams.  In these dreams, her hair grows straight above her head like the trunk of a tree and branches out with small, humanoids emerging from the blossoms on the branches.  She is haunted by the tragic circumstances which caused her sisters to leave without even saying goodbye to her.  They are naked up in the tree hanging their heads down in shame, because of the things that their wicked stepfather made them do.”

Joe continued saying, “She found out that her stepfather had planned to sell her into slavery, and when she noticed that doll that looked like her with the pins stuck in it in her stepfather’s room, she knew that she must be under some type of magical attack, and she needed to step up her game.  She had to do whatever it takes to break or lift the curse, hex, or spell that is harming her.  She found her mom’s hand mirror, which she knew was a magic mirror and it could be used in a self-defense reversal spell, as it was capable of reflecting any hostile intent and bouncing it back to the sender.  The mirror worked on energy derived from the moon and once it was charged with the light of the full moon, she could use it to open up a doorway to the void between the worlds and banish her stepfather there.”  Carol laughed and said, “You are so full of shit Joe, and I know that you only like this sculpture because of the naked boobies, but if you insist on buying it, you can keep it out in the yard, as it is not going inside of my house, or else I will banish you to a void between the worlds.”

Written for Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge #170.

Modern Dating

His daughter Jessica explained everything to Daniel, and she helped him to sign up for the Our Time senior dating site.  Carol Jessica’s mother and Daniel’s wife had died five years ago, and they both felt like they had spent enough time sufficiently processing the death, going through the stages of grief, and it was appropriate now, as Daniel wasn’t getting any younger and if he didn’t pursue a new relationship, that he may never be ready.  Daniel was lonely and Jessica wanted her father to be happy and not have to spend the rest of his life alone.  Jessica told her dad that meeting new people could be exciting, but she warned him that he needed to be cautious anytime that he was interacting with someone he didn’t know.  Jessica helped her dad to set up a profile and upload some pictures and she put the dating app on his phone, so he could look at the other members.

Daniel had met a nice lady named Lilly on the dating site and they have been chatting online for several months and they both decided that it was time to take the next step and meet in person at this coffee shop today.  Lilly was also a widow and she had been warned about meeting in a safe place for their first date by her son Carl.  Carl told her that first dates are filled with unknowns, and there was always a chance that they won’t hit it off, as this person that you don’t really know yet, could turn out nothing like you expected them to be.  Carl was the one who suggested this coffee shop and he insisted on chaperoning his mother on her first date, even if it added a new level of awkwardness to an already awkward situation, as he felt that it’s important to prioritize her safety first and foremost.  When Jessica heard about this, she decided that she would also come along, and she brought her laptop with her.

While Jessica and Daniel were waiting for Lilly and Carl to arrive, she said this situation reminded her of that movie Opposite Day, where the world goes backwards, and kids become the parents and parents become the kids.  Jessica said, “Taking care of your parents later in life is an important responsibility not to be underestimated and since you cared, nurtured, supervised and guided me, I am going to be here for you every step of the way.  I know that you are perfectly capable of functioning on your own, and I really hope that things work out for you and Lilly.”  Daniel said, “Speaking of Lilly, I just got a message from her that her son Carl was in an accident, and she is not going to make it here today.”  Jessica said, “That is too bad, I hope that Carl is OK, and I was really looking forward to meeting Lilly.”  Daniel replied, “Carl is going to need a new kidney and Lilly just asked me if I could give her $2,000 for the operation.”  Jessica laughed and then said, “Lilly is a scammer, and she probably lives in Nigeria.  You need to cease all contact and block her from sending you any more messages and we should report this to the dating website.  Remember when I told you that scammers take advantage of people who are looking for romantic partners, so let’s just have our coffee and be satisfied that she didn’t get any of your money.”

Written for Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge #169.

Just Friends

Ed knew Sara would be down by the railroad tracks, so he picked a bouquet of flowers for her.  He hoped she would be delighted, as he started to develop romantic feelings for her.  This was a big step for him, as he really liked her as a special friend and he didn’t want to make things awkward between them.  The last time they were together he almost asked her if she wanted to hold hands, but he chickened out and he knew it was time to proceed to the next level.  He didn’t develop these feelings for her overnight, as they have been building up every time, he saw her smile.  They have been really good friends for a while, and he felt comfortable being with her, and he wanted her to know that he liked her.  He had been playing it safe with her, because he feared rejection, and this was his time to step up and be a man and try to woo her.

Ed held the flowers behind his back and Sara smiled at him as he approached her.  Sara looked lovely in her white summer dress and Ed held out the flowers for her and said, “I picked these especially for you.”  Sara grabbed the flowers, sniffed them and said, “What are these for?”  Ed responded, “These are just because I think that you are lovely.  I thought the flowers would express the romantic feelings that I have for you, keep you on your toes and allow you see me as a dangerous man that is unpredictable.”  Sara said, “Ed you are a sweet guy and I enjoy your company, but I don’t want to get involved with anyone at this time.  I just don’t want to have to think about anyone in a sexual way right now.  I have a lot going on in my life and I don’t want to drag you into my problems.”

Ed told her that he was not going to question her reasons for not wanting a relationship as he knew that she was not just playing hard to get.  He said that he would respect her wishes and he understood clearly that she had said no to his advances.  Ed had been rejected before and he realized that this is a normal part of dating that everyone will experience at some point.  He felt hurt and embarrassed, but after it happened, he thanked her for her honesty, wished her well, and decided that he should move on.  Ed spoke to Sara and said, “Its probably for the best, as if we were to start holding hands, that would lead to us kissing and then I would try to feel you up and get into your pants.  You want to think of me as your friend, but we are actually already in a relationship, whether or not you are willing to admit it.  Everyone in this world is just trying to survive and you can do this alone, or we could do this together, but I am not willing to wait around for months, years or decades for you to figure your life out.  Since sex is off the table this will be the last time that we are together, because I am not interested in being just friends in a platonic relationship with you, so I am no longer going to keep up this pretense.”  Ed walked away and never hung out with Sara again.

Written for Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge #168.

A Kiss is Just a Kiss

When I was young, I had a lot to think about, but I finally realized that there is no reason why two girls cannot kiss each other.  The other day I saw these straight women making out with each other and I remembered how much fun it was when I tried it.  I had kissed a lot of boys, but I always wondered what it would feel to be kissing another girl.  We sat next to each other in Geometry class, and I started to feel differently around her in ways that I hadn’t felt around a girl before.  Initially, I tried to ignore those feelings, but once I realized how powerful my feelings were for her, I couldn’t help falling under her spell.  She was fun to be with, and she was beyond beautiful, being drop dead gorgeous.  She was nice, and I felt lucky that I knew her.  Her lips looked inviting, and the butterflies in my stomach wouldn’t go away, as my entire body felt weird.  I started getting feelings for her and it was hard to stop myself from flirting with her, as I just loved being near her.  I was unsure if she would accept or welcome my advances and I didn’t want to make a fool out of myself.  I kept thinking that maybe I am a lesbian or bisexual, but I had never been with a girl or did anything like that.

I wondered if she would be open to kissing girls, or perhaps she’s bi-curious, maybe she would desire a new experience, or want to experiment like I do.  I needed to take a gentle approach and give her some signs that I am interested in being intimate with her.  We started becoming best friends, complimenting each other on what we liked about each other’s looks and the outfits that we wore, normal girl stuff.  We would fix each other’s hair, we painted each other’s nails and put make up on each other.  I was shy but flattered the first time that we went into the girl’s bathroom stall together and she talked the whole time while she watched me pee.  I enjoyed being alone with her, but it was awkward as fuck, as we barely spoke a word to each other for hours after that.  She wasn’t catching any of my signals, even when I held her hand and looked into her eyes and smiled at her.

I had never made a move on a boy before, as they always chased after me and I was confused and excited at the same time.  I was afraid of being rejected, but even more than that, I wasn’t ready to get swept up into a relationship.  Then it hit me, holy shit I’m not straight and that explained a lot.  I figured it was time for me to take a more direct approach, so I casually asked her if she had ever kissed another girl, just to gage her reaction.  She confided, “Sort of… but just once and it was not because I wanted to.  I only did it because it was part of a truth or dare, and stupid me, I picked the dare.  I didn’t mind it, and it wasn’t unnatural, it actually felt pretty normal.  It was a quick kiss, basically a peck and I don’t remember having any good or bad feelings at all about it.”  I told her that I never had done anything with a girl, but that I wanted to with her, because her skin felt so soft and sensual and that was such a turn-on for me.

I asked her if it was okay with her if I kiss her and she said that would be fine.  It felt right, like I should’ve been doing this the whole time and we made out for hours like our lips were always meant to be on one another.  It felt like a dream, she was so affectionate, and she made me feel loved.  When our lips locked together, I looked into her eyes while holding her face, and I remember thinking, holy crap this stunning girl really likes me.  We never went any further than kissing, and soon after, she and her family moved away, and I lost touch with her.  My granddaughter showed me how to use this thing called Facebook and I located her the other day and sent her a friend request.  Sometimes when I lie in bed at night, I can still feel her soft lips on mine.  I hope she likes the picture that I am sending her.

Written for Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge #167.

Time of Our Lives

I never felt like this before, I could have danced all night, and still have begged for more.  She was more like a beauty queen from a movie scene.  Her name was Billy Jean and we danced around the floor.  She was a dancing queen, who put on her red shoes and danced the blues.  Yes, she put on her dancing shoes and danced away the blues, dancing into the night.  She said, “Let’s get up on the dance floor and dance some more, as I saved the last dance for you.”  I rose out of my seat, as I just had to dance.  Way down in the south of France all the ladies love to dance.  I figured that I would take a chance, as the ladies do love to dance.  She can dance a Cajun rhythm, he can dance and stroll and Susie-Q, do that crazy hand jive too.  Oh, I wanna dance with somebody, I wanna feel the heat with somebody.  Music loud and women warm, I’ve been kicked around, but I got up, got out, got down and kept on moving.  We found love in a hopeless place, dancing side by side.  Have you heard about the new dance craze, you slam your body down and wind it all around?  Don’t stop ‘til you get enough, give me the music, everybody starts dancing now.  Everybody will have a good time, and we are all going to lose our mind (Woo!).  The way you move it baby, I am losing my mind over you.  So, the kids they dance and shake their bones, oh baby, do you wanna dance?  We could dance under the moonlight, hug and kiss all through the night.

Written for Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge #166.

Mr. and Mrs. Fandango

They parked their bikes and stopped at a bench for a short rest.  Fandango checked his phone and told his wife that he now has 40 likes and 23 comments on his last post.  Mrs. Fandango told her husband to stop boring her with his WordPress statistics, as it was much too nice of a day to be spending it taking about blogging.  Fandango told her that this was the most important thing in his life beyond her, their children and their pets and that he did not enjoy her continually criticizing his posts and giving him orders about what he should write, as this makes him feel like he is henpecked.  He told her that he is the one who wears the pants in this family.  Mrs. Fandango said, “Tonight, I am going to dress you up as a woman to spice things up in our bedroom and you are going to enjoy it.”  Fandango replied, “What if I resist and don’t want to”, he said defiantly.  She said, “Having control over you makes me feel powerful and you only have two chances of winning this argument, and they are slim and none.  You will do what I say and think what I tell you to think.”  Fandango’s last words were, “I apologize.”

Written for FOWC with Fandango – Henpecked and Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge #163.