Old Man of the Sea

Most spoke of the low but omnipresent rumble of water, or its dulcet lap against a hull, but that was not how he missed the sea.  He was a lover of boats and ships and sailing and he told stories about explorers, shipwrecks and people drowning.  His friends called him the old man of the sea, but his real name was Ulysses.  He met Princess Nausicaa of the Phaeacians, after he was shipwrecked and he washed up on a beach on the island of Scheria, which is off the coast of Epirus.  He had been battling Poseidon’s storm for three days sailing through tremendous waves, which threatened to crush him, and he finally was able to steer his ship near the river’s mouth, but by that time he was exhausted and he fell overboard.  He looked very frightening to the princess and her maidens, as they were very surprised to see a wild naked man while they were washing the linen of the royal household.  He looked like, a storm-tossed wanderer, shabby, unkempt, in a tattered state from being washed ashore, as the rocks and waves had covered his whole body in seaweed.

Nausicaa saw to it that her maidens cleaned up the poor pathetic man with the water that was in the cisterns, and she ordered her attendants to give him clothing, as she thought that nobody needed to see his naked body parts flailing around everywhere.  His skin was bruised from being scrapped along the rocks, so they rubbed him with olive-oil, which made him glisten.  The clothing made him look more presentable, being in more worthy shape to Nausicaa.  She enjoyed gazing at his comely personage, and now that he was dressed, she thought he might be a king, or some type of hero.  The princess secretly wished that the gods would be pleased to give her such a husband, but she did not want to pay too much attention to him, fearing that gossip that would spread.  He thought it was nice being on dry land and being treated well by a princess, but the sea was calling him and he had a wife that he wanted to get back to.  The Phaeacians gave him a miraculous ship and when he prepared to sail away, the Princess stopped by to wish him good luck on his journey back home.  He said, “I will never fail to worship you all the rest of my days.  For it was you, lady, who gave me back my life.”

Written for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie First Line Friday hosted by Dylan.

Dream the Impossible

“Screw you, lover boy”, was the last words that I heard from her.  She couldn’t do what I asked her to do and she couldn’t face the fact that our marriage had failed, because she only liked the missionary position.  Then I met Jane who told me that I could screw her any time I wanted and she would take me around the world so much that it would make my head spin.  She was a unicorn with a rare talent for kinky acts who could think outside the box and make love feel really special.  Those were the days and Jane surely knew how to take care of me.  It seems impossible, but just 3 days after we met, my heart was filled with devotion for her.  I didn’t ever want to lose Jane and I knew that I had to act quickly, so we took a vacation to the romantic island of Maui, Hawaii.  I was having the best time of my life till I ate that Puffer fish at the luau, which was poison.

Written for Sheryl’s Daily Word Prompt – Devotion, for the Daily Spur prompt – Make, for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie First Line Friday hosted by Dylan, for FOWC with Fandango – Impossible, for February Writing Prompts – Those were the days, for Ragtag Community – Vacation, for Teresa Grabs Daily Writing Rodeo Round-Up Prompt – where we are asked to feature a character with a strange talent that someone falls in love (or out of love) with, for Di’s Three Things Challenge prompt words – Heart Poison Care, for GC and Sue W Weekly Prompt – Special and for Word of the Day Challenge Prompt – Quickly.

Don’t Ease Me In

The wind cut into his skin and grey skies pressed down on the rotting town, but at least he was home.  The guy had been “all night long coming home”, so he probably did a lot of drinking with his friends and even though he is back home now, he is not ready to end the party.  On September 28, 1939, legendary jazz pianist and composer Jelly Roll Morton played ‘Don’t You Leave Me Here’ for Alan Lomax, which is very similar to the Texas Ragtime song ‘Don’t Leave Me Here (Don’t Ease Me In)’ that was recorded by Henry Thomas in 1928.  On several songs, Thomas accompanied himself on guitar and on quills, a folk instrument fabricated from cane reeds.  The instrument is similar in sound to the zampoña, used by musicians in Peru and Bolivia.  His legacy is sustained by four songs. ‘Fishin’ Blues’ which was covered by Taj Mahal and The Lovin’ Spoonful.  ‘Bull Doze Blues’ which was recorded by Canned Heat with new lyrics, and retitled ‘Goin’ Up The Country’ and ‘Honey Won’t You Allow Me One More Chance’ which was covered by Bob Dylan as ‘Honey Just Allow Me One More Chance’.  His song ‘Don’t Ease Me In’ was covered by the Grateful Dead.  Henry Thomas made a series of recordings from 1927 to 1929, before he decided to retire from music.

Tracing the origins of old songs can get confusing and lead to chaos, as in the chorus of the Henry Thomas song, he sings “I’m Alabama bound”, which can be traced back to a 1910 instrumental single by Prince’s Orchestra that was written by John J. Puderer and Robert Hoffman.  Adding to the confusion, Trixie Smith recorded ‘Railroad Blues’ in 1925 and that song contains the lyrics “I’m Alabama bound”.  The song ‘Alabama Bound’ was a hit for Papa Charlie Jackson in the mid 20s, & in different forms found its way into the repertoire of such diverse artists as Jelly Roll Morton & Leadbelly.  In an interview with Alan Lomax, Jelly Roll Morton claimed to have written the song ‘Alabama Bound’ in 1905 which he recorded in 1939 as ‘Don’t You Leave Me Here’ claiming that he made the song up when he was in the Alabama barrel house circuit.  A bar where whiskey is served straight from the barrel is called a barrelhouse.  Add a piano and you’ve got yourself a party.  The barrelhouses of the rural South were rough wooden shacks where the African American laborer community gathered to drink and dance at the edge of small towns and levee camps.  I can’t dance.  No really, I can’t.  Please stop asking.  I am glad we got that settled.

What is this song about, do the lyrics have any significance?  To ease is to make milder or less severe, to relieve or assuage one’s grief or pain.  He “was standing at the corner Talking to Miss Brown” and when he “turned around, She was way cross town”, but she was probably not up to any type of treachery or involved in any conspiracy, she just knew how to jet away.  He is out with a dollar in his hand “looking for a woman”, even though he has one at home that is “sweet and true”.  Some people just can’t be trusted, as when you turn your back and they steal pickles and maybe this guy was the pickle thief from La La Land.  His girl brings him coffee and tea which are both wet and probably quenched his thirst after a long night of drinking.  I am sure that she would have given him a beet, if he asked for that, as they are packed with essential vitamins, minerals and plant compounds, some of which have medicinal properties, but maybe he did not like beets, thinking that they taste like tar.

Don’t ease, don’t ease
Don’t ease me in
I’ve been all night long coming home
Don’t ease me in
I was standing at the corner
Talking to Miss Brown
Well I turned around, sweet moma
She was way cross town
So I’m walking down the street
With a dollar in my hand
I’ve been looking for a woman, sweet moma
Ain’t got no man
The girl I love
She’s sweet and true
You know the dress she wears, sweet moma
It’s pink and blue
She brings me coffee
You know she brings me tea
She brings ‘bout every damn thing
But the jailhouse key

Written for Sheryl’s Daily Word Prompt – Assuage, for Roger Shipp’s Daily Addictions prompt – Beet, for Normal Happenings Daily Inkling prompt – I Can’t Dance. No Really, I Can’t. Please Stop Asking, for the Daily Spur prompt – Significance, for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie First Line Friday hosted by Dylan, for FOWC with Fandango – Conspiracy, for Christine’s Daily Writing Prompt – La La Land, for Linda G. Hill’s ‘Life in progress’ JusJoJan January prompt – Chaos, for January Writing Prompts – The pickle thief, for Ragtag Community – Retire, for Di’s Three Things Challenge prompt words – Wet Tar Jet and for Word of the Day Challenge Prompt – Community.

Astigmatism

The scroll of the screen continued even after she closed her eyes.  The long and short arrows pointed left and right, up and down as the ophthalmologist measured the curvature of the front of her cornea by using a non-invasive medical imaging technique to map the surface curvature of the outer structure of her eye.  The test determined that her vision is blurred because her cornea (the clear front cover of her eye) is irregularly shaped, but she also had cataracts.  Jade was a popular blogger who wrote poetry and she also enjoyed the sound of music, participating in Song Lyric Sunday and the MM Music challenge every other Friday.  There was a vast wonderland out there and jade was missing some of it because of her vision, so she decided to schedule the surgery.

With the surgery and the new lenses implanted, she would be able to spot familiar faces again, drive her car with more confidence even if there was rain.  Jade had been making a lot of typos on her posts and after the operation, she hoped to cut down on these five finger fiascoes.  Jade wanted to dive into this new story about Mother Nature wanting to strike back against the fossil fuel companies who were ruining the Earth.  Jade knew that Global Warming was not false and she was embracing the impeachment process against Trump and she would shout, “Hurray”, when he was gone for good.

Written for Sheryl’s Daily Word Prompt – Vast, for Roger Shipp’s Daily Addictions prompt – Dive, for the Daily Spur prompt – Rain, for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie First Line Friday hosted by Dylan prompt – The scroll of the screen continued even after she closed her eyes, for FOWC with Fandango – False, for Christine’s Daily Writing Prompt – The sound of music, for Linda G. Hill’s ‘Life in progress’ JusJoJan January prompt – Jade, for January Writing Prompts – Five finger fiascoes, for Ragtag Community – Wonderland, for Reena’s Exploration Challenge #118 prompt, for Di’s Three Things Challenge prompt words – Story Popular Strike and for Word of the Day Challenge Prompt – Hurray.

Unwanted Present

“That is the ugliest sweater I have ever seen.”  “Well I can’t take it back, as I got it at a garage sale and it was marked as is and anyway, I did not get it for you”, responded Debbie, Jack’s wife.  “I figured you could give it to your brother George, because last year he gave us each one of those stupid Solar Powered Air Fan Cooled Baseball Hats, which was the dumbest gift ever and this is payback and the year before that, he gave us that shower radio, which broke a week after we got it.  I wouldn’t wear that thing to a dog show and the one time that I did put it on my head in the backyard, the breeze knocked out my contact lens.”  Jack said, “Yea that is the perfect gift for my idiot brother.”

Written for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie First Line Friday hosted by Dylan.

Lurking Below

A crack like a gunshot pierced the frozen air and the ice broke.  The sonic boom from the fighter jet shook the whole town, but what people didn’t realize was that a long-dormant bacteria or virus that was trapped under the ice, was released into the atmosphere.  It wasn’t till people near the lake started dropping like flies, that the town realized there was a problem.  The CDC Center for Disease Control was brought in and the endless battle to find a cure for the deadly pathogen which had been absent for thousands of years has begun.  The water in this lake was always frozen, but I guess this global warming thing is not just fake news, however people did notice that the ice had been getting thinner and thinner over the last several decades.

Expert opinions seemed to alternate on the actual cause of these deaths as more and more people wondered what else was lurking beneath the frozen tundra.  This town had always been placid, calm, tranquil, and a serene place and that was the main reason why people lived here, but now it had taken a turn for the worse, as it was being wiped off the map, as all the residents were forced to vacate their homes and move away.  The town was reduced to being an off-limits tumbleweed trail, where nobody dared to venture.  It was almost Christmas and although this scrooge like decision to evict all the residents was made with the support of the law, nobody thought it was tasteful to evacuate a 50-mile-wide area.  Armed guards patrolled the perimeter of the wasteland and they kept finding reindeer corpse’s infected with the mystery disease.

Written for Sheryl’s Daily Word Prompt – Placid, for Roger Shipp’s Daily Addictions prompt – Water, for the Daily Spur prompt – Move, for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie First Line Friday hosted by Dylan – A crack like a gunshot pierced the frozen air and the ice broke, for FOWC with Fandango – Map, for December Writing Prompts – Tumbleweed trail, for Ragtag Community – Scrooge, for Di’s Three Things Challenge prompt words – Alternate It Turn and for Word of the Day Challenge Prompt – Tasteful.

I’m a Voodoo Child

He came down from the mountains as autumn aged, before the paths could pile with snow and the bridges bowed with ice. He was mad at the mountain and decided to give it a karate chop, which broke it into pieces.  He took all the pieces and made them into an island with a sandy beach.  He was brought up listening to Rock ‘n’ Roll and that voodoo music was all that he wanted to play.  This island was going to be used to create the best Rock ‘n’ Roll and Blues songs ever.  He doesn’t want to be a bother to the Lord and take up all of His time, but he felt that whatever time he did take up, he would return.  If they don’t meet in this world, he is certain that they will meet in the next.  He hopes that the Lord will be punctual and arrive at the arranged time.

In May of 1968, Noel Redding stormed out of the Record Plant studio, because Hendrix kept inviting strangers over to hang out.  Jimi Hendrix went out to a club in NYC and he brought back Jack Casady to play bass, Steve Winwood to play organ along with guitarist Larry Coryell and regular Experience drummer Mitch Mitchell to play his composition ‘Voodoo Chile’, which went on to become his only #1 hit Voodoo Child (Slight Return).

Well, I stand up next to a mountain
And I chop it down with the edge of my hand
Well, I stand up next to a mountain
Chop it down with the edge of my hand
Well, I pick up all the pieces and make an island
Might even raise just a little sand
‘Cause I’m a voodoo child
Lord knows I’m a voodoo child
I didn’t mean to take you up all your sweet time
I’ll give it right back to you one of these days
I said, I didn’t mean to take you up all your sweet time
I’ll give it right back to you one of these days
And if I don’t meet you no more in this world
Then I’ll, I’ll meet you in the next one
And don’t be late, don’t be late
‘Cause I’m a voodoo child
Lord knows I’m a voodoo child
I’m a voodoo child

Written for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie First Line Friday hosted by Dylan.

Toccata Followed by a Fugue

Carson pulled at his neck tie as the air became heavy with organ music and she approached clouded in white.  Carson had just moved to a new town in Northern California, where he was friendless and alone, until he met Veronica and her older sister Monica.  Veronica and Monica lived next door and Veronica was a gymnast and she often had a little cloud of white chalk that puffed from her body, as she used the chalk to keep her hands from sweating too much.  Chalk absorbed the sweat and made it easier and safer for her to do her routines.  When they first met Carson felt butterflies when he was near Veronica, his hands got cold and clammy as this mushy feeling overwhelmed him, rendering him unable to speak.  Carson was able to get over this and he became thankful that he met the two sisters, as they helped him to ramify beyond his normal nerdy interests and this allowed him to become less nervous.

Monica played the organ every night with her hands on a keyboard and her feet on the pedals.  Monica kept practicing her new song ‘Toccata and Fugue in D Minor’, which sounded really spooky and every time she played it, the whole neighborhood became terrified.  They scattered like marbles among the leaves thinking that Lerch or Thing from the Addams Family, or some other bugaboo was making the music.  Monica would always quote Johann Sebastian Bach saying, “It’s easy to play any musical instrument: all you have to do is touch the right key at the right time and the instrument will play itself.”

Written for Sheryl’s Daily Word Prompt – Ramify, for Roger Shipp’s Daily Addictions prompt – Night, for the Daily Spur prompt – Thing, for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie First Line Friday hosted by Dylan, for FOWC with Fandango – Bugaboo, for October Writing Prompts – They scattered like marbles among the leaves, for Ragtag Community – Thankful, for Di’s Three Things Challenge prompt words – Cold Mushy Speak and for Word of the Day Challenge Prompt – Nervous.

Off To See The Wizard

The woods waited for her, everyday she passed the ancient sickly trunks, she felt the wind still with their bated breath. They left Emerald City very disappointed after getting to see the wizard of Oz, who they thought would resolve all their troubles.  Dorothy wanted to be sent back home with her dog Toto, the Scarecrow lacked a brain, the Lion had no courage, and the Tin Man had no heart which the wizard seemed to already know all about.  The beneficent Oz tells them that he has every intention of granting their requests, but only after they prove themselves worthy by bringing him the broomstick of the Witch of the West.  Not a small task for anyone, especially since they were about to encounter spooks in the haunted forest.

Dorothy, Toto, the Scarecrow, the Lion, and the Tin Man enter the dark forest, and they notice a sign that indicates the direction to the witch’s castle.  The group wanders towards the sign, then towards the castle, when they suddenly notice owls and vultures hooting in a nearby tree.  The Tin Man says he doesn’t believe in spooks, and then he suddenly goes flying into the air inexplicably and falls to the ground with a crash.  The Lion is terrified as he mutters to himself, “I do believe in spooks!”.  The Witch was able to watch them from her crystal ball.  She turns to Nikko, the captain of her squadron of Winged Monkeys and issued him a command for an assault.

The witch said, “Take your army to the Haunted Forest and bring me that girl and her dog. Do what you want with the others, but I want her alive and unharmed.  They’ll give you no trouble, I promise you that.  I’ve sent a little insect on ahead to take the fight out of ‘em.  Ha-ha-ha-ha.  Take special care of those ruby slippers.  I want those most of all.  Now fly, fly!”  That little insect she spoke of, was one of the witch’s secret weapons, a creepy, crawly jitterbug that stings and she kept this up her long, black sleeve to use in desperate situations.  She wanted the ruby slippers, because they had the power to transport the wearer anywhere that they wished to go.

Written for Dylan’s First Line Friday.

Cloud Seeding

“I liked the rush, I liked the crunch. Never did look back at the fallout”, said Sonny.  As Hurricane Dorian strengthened and slowed over the warm Atlantic Ocean, atmospheric scientist Sonny Daye came up with a plan to divert it toward Brazil to help put out the forest fires that were ravaging the country.  Sonny heard that Trump wanted to nuke the hurricane to dissipate it before it reached Florida, but he knew that doing this would just make it radioactive.  Sonny was working on a method to manipulate the temperature, moisture, and wind inside of the hurricane, so that he could steer this storm in a different direction.  He invented these giant tubes that were filled with dry ice and cooling aerosols that would create crystalline structures in the upper atmosphere to freeze the storm.  The idea was to drop this mixture into the eye of the storm to take away its intensity.  This would also make the eye grow wider and help to collapse the storm and then it could be pivoted to a new direction.

The South American continent is rarely affected by tropical cyclones, but right now the Amazon is burning at an alarming rate as tens of thousands of fires lay waste to the world’s largest tropical rainforest.  There have been more than 74,000 wildfires across Brazil this year, up 85% over the same period in 2018, and about 40,000 of them are burning in the Amazon, so it really needs a good soaking.  Sonny is the leading expert on cloud seeding and the Twomey effect and he also spent a lot of time in Brazil researching how to prevent rain from ruining the 2016 Summer Olympics.

Sonny conducted a computer animated test and then he directed the aircraft when to launch and what direction they should follow.  After they dropped their loads, and all they could do was wait.  Then radar detected that the cloud’s water particles were getting bigger and the storm had reversed direction, but it was not heading to Brazil, it was heading back to Africa where it came from.  The news media found this to be funny and that did not bring any comfort to Sonny, as in his view he saw them as being churlish.  Florida lifted the emergency warnings and they began gathering essential supplies to be sent to the new victims of the storm.  They collected tons of rice and thousands of wax candles which should clear customs with no problem.  The revised belief was that the storm would hang off the coast for a few days before it made landfall.  When the storm finally hit, it picked up a hippopotamus with a raspberry nose and wonky whiskers and this became the front page story.

Written for Tyler M Deal 5 Words Prompt – Raspberry Found Customs Essential Rice, for Sheryl’s Daily Word Prompt – Animated, for Roger Shipp’s Daily Addictions prompt – Funny, for the Daily Spur prompt – Hang, for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie First Line Friday hosted by Dylan, for FOWC with Fandango – Churlish, for August Monthly Writing Prompts – Wonky whiskers, for Ragtag Community – Emergency, for Sara’s Closet Full Of Notebooks Prompt – Belief, for Paula’s Three Things Challenge prompt words – Comfort Wax Hippopotamus and for Word of the Day Challenge Prompt – View.