Carl grew up being a Christian, but he never felt like he identified with that faith, although he still viewed religion as being a very important part in his life. He tried being Jewish, but that was not working for him, so he switched to the Muslim religion, then he became a Buddhist and then he converted to being a Hindu. Carl was conflicted, nothing gave him the satisfaction he was seeking until he ran into a man that was starting a new religious movement of Omnism, that combined all the beliefs of God together, so everybody’s God was the same. Carl knew that there was an element of truth in every religion that he had practiced, but all of them were missing a key ingredient, which never allowed him to feel close to God. He felt this message was so powerful that the light emanating from this religious unity should be able to illuminate the whole earth. Carl was invited to the sacred temple where he was dressed in a red robe and told to stand before the Four Giant Heads which represented the living God on Earth. Carl felt that he would finally be able to establish the relationship he was looking for by being in the vicinity of the great and powerful living God, but nothing happened. He started praying and then something came to him, but it was not giving him the satisfaction he craved. It was more like a déjà vu moment of Dorothy’s dog, Toto pulling back the curtain on the all-powerful Wizard of Oz revealing that he was a fake. Once that curtain was pulled back, all his faith was gone.
Written for Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge #195.
Alfred cursed himself for never learning how to type, because he was a writer, and everything took that much longer when he had to look at the keys. He knew the alphabet and he thought the typewriter keys should follow that arrangement, but no, as the structure of the keyboard was determined years ago by Christopher Latham Sholes. He read that this layout prevented the early typewriters from having mechanical jams and it also made it easier for transcribing Morse code, but nobody was sending telegraphs anymore. Alfred was able to type about 8 words a minute because he didn’t learn about the home row, or that his fingers should be placed in their starting position, so all this made it difficult for him to find the desired key. Alfred had thoughts in his head, but he had trouble getting them on paper, because he was always hitting the wrong letters and his fingers had no muscle memory, which just made him feel stupid. Alfred was determined to finish his novel even if it killed him and it did,
Written for Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge #194.
We met in a rather run-down motel which became our love nest for our regular roll in the hay and this was always the highlight of my week. My lover thought that we should try to spice things up by trying some fun new things and he ended up talking me into trying a threesome which he said would boost my experience. Hank was married and we got together just for the physical act, so there was no emotional love connection between us, and I figured what the hell, I would give it a try and see how it went. Sex is complicated and I wasn’t sure how I would feel about trying something new, but I have never had the opportunity to have a threesome before, and I thought that they were merely the stuff of fantasies. He is married and we are in an open relationship, but I thought that having another girl in the room with us was probably going to be weird, although I wondered if the connection and sensation of sex between two people feels good, would it be even better with another person.
To make sure that everyone was on board we decided to meet at a bar that was across the street from the motel, and I needed a little bit of alcohol to make me feel comfortable so I would not be worried about anything when we got to our room. I have never had a same sex attraction before, and my lover ensured me that he would be the center of all the attention. He said that the other girl was totally straight, but he cautioned me that you can never tell what will get somebody in the mood. He told me that he would find it hot if us girls started kissing each other and he wouldn’t mind at all if I decided that I was heteroflexible. I have seen many girls that I thought were cute, but I knew that if it was going to happen, it would probably just be a one-time thing. The problem with this rendezvous today was that my sister Emily was visiting me, and I didn’t want to abandon her, so I told her about my affair, and she gave me her blessing, telling me to have a good time. Emily lost her husband six months ago and we shared all our secrets, or at least I thought we did. Emily told me that she wanted to start dating again, but she wasn’t sure how to do that.
Hank was at the bar when I arrived, and he handed me a martini as he kissed me. I asked him if the other girl backed out and he assured me that she was coming, but she was going to be a little late because she was dealing with a problem she had with her sister. I was beyond shocked when Emily walked into the bar and sat next to Hank and asked him if he got the room yet. Emily winked at me and said, “Let’s have a good time together. I am happy that you are willing to share, and I will be patient and wait for my turn.” Hank introduced us to each other, and we told him that we were already acquainted with each other. We all had a drunken buzz when we got to the room, and I unbuttoned Hank’s shirt and helped Emily out of her dress. I knew that Emily needed this more than I did, so I told her that I would wait outside in the car for them to finish.
Written for Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge #193.
My brother just told me that he has aids acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, which shocked me. I am not interested in how he contracted the HIV, as all I want is for him to be able to live a good life managing his health properly and learn how to deal with it mentally. He did tell me that it was the result of an exchange of bodily fluids, but I stopped him there saying that was way too much information. I don’t want to know if he’s gay or not, as that is his business and if he is, it is not like there is anything wrong with that. I am barely a Christian, as I don’t pray and I don’t go to church, so I don’t care if others say that homosexuals are sinning against God, as I feel that all people deserve to be treated equally, regardless of their gender identity or the way they express themselves. Everyone should be allowed a choose how to act on their feelings and they should have the right to engage in sex without whoever they want, as long as this is consensual. We still don’t have a cure for HIV, but it is possible to live with it. I am actually happy that my brother didn’t get HIV from sharing needles, as I think that would be a lot worse. The road is long with many a winding turn. I have no idea where it will lead, but I’m strong and he ain’t heavy, he is my brother.
Written for Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge #192.
Johanna was tired of going on dating sites and browsing profiles, she needed something different to do when she saw this flyer about recreational art classes. Joanna was a bisexual single woman who was the mother of an eleven-year-old daughter. She had satisfying sex with both genders, but she was more physically attracted to men and more emotionally attracted to women. The flyer said that this would be a great way to meet new friends while learning new skills. She signed up thinking that learning something exciting and trying new things could be just the ticket for her. She had already tried cooking classes, singing lessons, several different dance classes, a gardening class, interior decorating, and she learned to speak Spanish, but since this Quarantine didn’t seem like it was going away in the foreseeable future, so she needed something to occupy her time.
Johanna had these visions that conquered her mind, and they kept her up past the dawn. A tea kettle haunted her dreams, and she knew that she had to paint it so she could repress her inner demons. She had just come back from a trip to London, and she couldn’t understand why British people thought that putting the kettle on is going to solve everything. She knew this was their way of showing solidarity and that it would never fix a problem, but it was an act of kindness that could lead to conversation and maybe that could help people feel better. Johanna was gaining confidence as her brush swirled around on the canvas, and by letting her creativity flow, it was helping the unconscious aspects of her personality, which was very soothing. She finished the painting, but the tea kettle dream was still keeping her awake at night, so she decided to destroy her work and now these visions of Johanna are all that remain.
Written for Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge #191.
Every time that forklift breaks down, I have to use this pallet jack to haul everything around and this causes a great disruption in the workflow. I saw the out of service sign on old Tiger this morning and I am almost certain that it is the same problem with the steering, which has been causing the left wheel to drift. Ever since that worker on the night shift got high and drove it through a concrete wall, it has never been the same. Well at least he got fired for that, as I never liked him anyway. Old Tiger is only 22 years old, but they stopped making those models and it is hard to get parts, so I am sure that it will be out of commission for a while. The recycling plant is making money recycling cardboard, plastic, glass and cans, but it is an ever-changing business with spiking costs and even though management knows that we need a new forklift truck, they keep hesitating on their decision to buy one. The township pays us to collect all the stuff that the residents put out by the street, but there is a lot more to the recycling business than collecting.
There is sorting, separating, bundling, stacking and so many other things that go on inside of the recycling plant that most people don’t know about. I am able to push much more weight with the pallet jack than I am able to pull but pulling a load across a flat surface increases my maneuverability, letting me direct the pallet where it belongs. I like being able to stretch my back out when pulling, but excessive pulling can result in me injuring my back. When I pull the freight, I am able to check for any hazards that may be up ahead, such as pedestrians and there are a lot of blind spots when you push the pallets. Pallet trucks are actually quite simple to operate, but since a warehouse is an industrial setting, there is always a chance for an accident to happen which could cause an injury. It is not that busy here today, so I turned the music up and I am listening to Cumberland Blues by the Grateful Dead, which is an awesome work song.
Written for Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge #190.
Looking at this picture helps me to calm down when I get overstimulated, as sometimes it becomes difficult for my brain to process all the information it is gathering. The 100 billion neurons that are connected to more than 500 trillion points through synapses that travel 300 miles/hour allow my brain to process around 70,000 thoughts each day and not all of them are about sex. It can become difficult for me and sometimes it is near impossible to fully process all of the information that I am receiving. This picture has a great composition of colors and balance that always calms me down, while it nourishes my creative juices and tells me that I can respond to this prompt. It is a picture of my wooden table with my orange knit scarf laying on it. My mom knitted that scarf for me when I was reading Lord of the Rings. I told my mom that Bilbo had a scarf which he got from Elrond, and it has magical properties that made it always smell good. My mom told me that she didn’t have any magical powers, but that she would wash it for me when it needed it, and I always treasured this scarf, and I wore it every winter. My cup of coffee is also sitting on the table in this photo, and when you think about it, life is like a cup of coffee, but most people just concentrate on the cup, and they fail to enjoy the coffee. I took this photo with my Cannon camera and the leather camera case is in the picture. There is also a pen, and some paper, and a black and white photograph.
I had just trimmed my Wandering Jew plant and some of the withering leaves that were still attached to their long stems were also laying on this table. The Wandering Jew is a myth about a man who became immortal, because he taunted Jesus while he was carrying his cross on the way to be crucified, so he was cursed to walk the Earth until the Second Coming, which is described in Revelation. I don’t think that story has anything to do with the plant, but I like stories, so I threw that in. I heard that Trump attacked the American Jews and said that they better get their act together, because no President had done more for Israel than he has. Trump said that it would show disloyalty for any Jew to vote for a Democrat and he feel that he should have stronger Jewish support. Trump actually thinks that he could be the next Prime Minister for Israel, but he lives in a fantasy world. Maybe I should stop following the news, because it seems like I am getting more input from my five senses than my brain can sort out and process.
Written for Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge #189.
Knowledge is power and just like in the movie Citizen Kane, John knew where all the bodies were buried. John was never involved in any murders, so this phrase should be taken figuratively, but he did know the closely guarded secrets in the business world, and this gave him power when it came to negotiating any contracts. Some of these secrets are criminal, some are immoral, and others are just simply embarrassing, but in his time, he gained the confidence of his business partners and that gave him access to proprietary information. John had contacts in City Hall, and he was able to press all the right buttons to get things done. John owned a bar that was more like a strip club, and it served as a front for his escort service where he came into contact with many unsavory characters. John was in love with a 14-year-old girl named Saffron and some people frowned at this relationship, but nobody could call him a pedophile, as that involves being sexually aroused by children who are 13 or younger. Saffron had an electrical banana, and she was playing hide and seek in the woods dressed up like Tweety Bird to blend in with the yellow autumn leaves. John walked out on the wooden path wearing his yellow raincoat to try and find Saffron and he started singing, “I’m just mad about Saffron and Saffron is mad about me. They call me mellow yellow.”
Written for Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge #188.
The grand chess master Wesley Anatoli held a press conference before his match against the robot known as Humanoid Villain. A reporter asked him what he thought his chances were in the upcoming match and Wesley said that if he didn’t think that he could win, then he would not be playing. He realized that no human has beaten a computer in a chess tournament in the last 15 years and that even though his brain is creative and intuitive, it lacks the ability and processing power to completely avoid making any mistakes. Wesley felt that he had a chance in a one-off game, but he knew that he wouldn’t be able to win consistently over a computer. Wesley knew that the robot was trained to beat male opponents, but Wesley had recently been studying female behavior and he thought this might give him an upper hand. Women are known to be less assertive, less bold, and it is thought that they lack confidence, which prevents them from grabbing opportunities without hesitation. Wesley was going to use what he learned to create a successful game strategy against the robot. The reporter asked Wesley if he could share what he learned by studding women which he thought would help him against the robot. Wesley replied, “I don’t think it is respectful to reveal such information, as that would betray a confidence and I am not the type of person who will kiss and tell.”
Written for Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge #187.
I got a flat tire on my bicycle and that is why I am walking it back home. It looks like a beautiful sunrise, but hurricane Ian is headed this way, and the old adage “red sky in morning, sailor’s warning” is in play here. My dog Jake has no clue of what is happening, but it is scarry for me. I have lived in Florida my whole life and I am sort of used to hurricanes, but this one looks like a direct hit and evacuation orders are in place. The current trajectory has it hitting Tampa Bay at 6 AM Thursday as a category 2 with winds around 90 miles an hour. The thing is that nobody knows exactly what will happen with this storm and other forecasts have it off the coast of Tampa Bay and heading for the panhandle. It is not that I am wishing this storm on anybody else, but I don’t want it landing here. It would be nice to have a better idea where this hurricane is going and what its intensity will be, but I am going to make some preparations in case it hits me. The closer it gets, the more urgency I feel. I have taken all of the patio furniture into the house and tomorrow, I will move my gas grill into the garage and take my American flag down.
Written for Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge #186.