Lyrical Challenge – In Case You Missed The 60s

‘On the Road Again’, not the Willie Nelson song, is one of the greatest boogie songs of all time.  On September 22nd 1968 ‘On the Road Again’ peaked at #16 on Billboard’s Hot Top 100 chart becoming Canned Heat’s first hit and one of their best-known songs.  Legend has it that Bob “The Bear” Hite took the name “Canned Heat” from a 1928 recording by Tommy Johnson called ‘Canned Heat Blues’, a song about an alcoholic who desperately turned to drinking Sterno, which is cooking fluid that gave you a cheap but dangerous high.

The song features Alan Wilson as the lead singer and harmonica player and it was released on the aptly titled album Boogie with Canned Heat.  ‘On the Road Again’ is a psychedelic blues song about rambling down the path of life.  The guy is tired because he is constantly on the road and he would love to have a woman to call his special friend.  He is a bit of a mama’s boy, but he doesn’t want his mama to cry when he is all by himself.  It’s one of two signature hits for Canned Heat, which are an LA-based blues-rock outfit that was founded by Alan “Blind Owl” Wilson and Bob “The Bear” Hite.  Blind Owl got his nickname because of his extreme nearsightedness.  Wilson was the singer, guitarist, harmonica player, and musical mastermind, and he sings lead on both “On the Road Again” and the group’s other smash, “Going Out to the Country,” which became known as the unofficial anthem of Woodstock.  Wilson had a way at expressing this type of music, through his extensive knowledge.  Blind Owl was a musicologist, and he knew a lot about that old country-blues and he found a way to make it all work together.

Wilson shares co-writing credit on “On the Road Again” with a Chicago blues musician Floyd Jones, whose 1953 song of the same name forms the basis of the track.  It’s essentially a cover of Jones’ tune which was based on the Delta blues musician Tommy Johnson’s 1928 song ‘Big Road Blues’, except that Canned Heat uses guitar harmonics and an Eastern string instrument called the tambur or a tambura drone to give the song a hypnotic effect and a psychedelic edge, that sort of fit into that whole thing with Ravi Shankar at the time.  Wilson had gained a knowledge of Eastern music after studying the veena (an Indian stringed instrument) while at Boston University.  Wilson was given a veena by guitarist John Fahey, a UCLA student who would go on to change the face of acoustic guitar music.   Fahey loved the early blues, but  he couldn’t play this instrument, so he gave it to Al, who quickly learned how to play it.  This band was initially intended to be an unplugged jug band, but once they started plugging in and turning up, Fahey made an abrupt exit.  Canned Heat mostly started out by doing takes on blues staples by heroes like Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker and  Elmore James.

Emerging in 1966, Canned Heat was founded by blues historians and record collectors Alan “Blind Owl” Wilson and Bob “The Bear” Hite, who sang vocals, and played harmonica, flute and guitar.  They were joined by Henry “The Sunflower” Vestine, another ardent record collector who was a former member of Frank Zappa’s Mothers of Invention.  Rounding out the band in 1967 were Larry “The Mole” Taylor on bass, an experienced session musician who had played with Chuck Berry and Jerry Lee Lewis and The Monkees and Adolfo “Fito” de la Parra on drums who had played in two of the biggest Latin American bands, Los Sinners and Los Hooligans.

Like many bands that capture the spirit of their times, Canned Heat wasn’t destined to remain in the spotlight for long. Wilson apparently committed suicide and on September 3, 1970 as he was found dead on a hillside behind band mate Bob Hite’s Topanga Canyon home at the young age of 27.  The autopsy identified the cause of death was acute barbiturate intoxication.  Wilson reportedly had attempted suicide a few months earlier, attempting to drive his car off a freeway in Los Angeles.  He was briefly hospitalized for significant depression, and was released after a few weeks.  Although his death is sometimes reported as a suicide, this is not clearly established and he left no note.  Wilson’s death came just two weeks before the death of Jimi Hendrix and four weeks before the death of Janis Joplin, two artists who also died at the same age.  Wilson’s recording career lasted just three years, before he died of a drug overdose.

Canned Heat almost missed the Woodstock festival, as guitarist Henry Vestine quit just two days before the festival, because of a fight that he got into with bass player, Larry Taylor at the Fillmore West.  Harvey Mandel who was nicknamed ‘The Snake’, because of the way he played his Fender Stratocaster was drafted into the band only to find that drummer Adolpho ‘Fito’ de la Parra felt they didn’t have sufficient time to rehearse for Woodstock, so he also left the band.  Their manager got into the reluctant drummer’s room where he had locked himself and talked him into changing his mind and they flew to Woodstock by helicopter arriving in the nick of time.  It was Harvey Mandel’s third gig with the band.  As Canned Heat played, day turned to night and they had secured a prime slot on the already late running second day.   Mandel is featured on two tracks of the Rolling Stones album Black and Blue, ‘Hot Stuff’ and ‘Memory Motel’.

Bob ‘The Bear’ Hite was a Blues music collector and a would be Disc Jockey from Torrance, California who died on April 5th in 1981, which ended a chapter in this band’s history.  None of his Canned Heat band mates took great notice when Bob “The Bear” Hite, fell down on a dressing room floor during an apparent overdose.  Instead, they returned to the stage for a second set at the Palomino Club in North Hollywood.  He had collapsed so many times before, from drugs usually, that the band became used to leaving him when he passed out onstage and anyways none of them were able to lift him, because he weighed 300-pounds.  Every other time, he’d wake up the next morning he would say, “What the f— happened?”, and they would respond, “Er, you got wasted again.”  Hite had reportedly injected a gram of cocaine when he was approached by a fan carrying a vile of heroin, which Hite snorted after making a boast, “This s— ain’t even gonna get me high”, however moments after, Hite passed out.  Someone then apparently tried to revive him with two huge lines of coke, which Hite snorted without seeming to wake up.  Roadies were dragging Hite out to the van by his ankles as Canned Heat continued their show.

The band is still together and Canned Heat is playing concerts in Boston, Cincinnati, Chicago, Nashville and Atlanta next month.  A bedroll is a sleeping bag or other bedding (blanket or pillow) rolled into a bundle which makes sleeping on the ground, or out under the stars comfortable, warm, and weather resistant.  I wrote bedroll as being the lyric in the line, “I didn’t have no bedroll”, as that makes the most sense to me, but other people say it is ‘payroll’ or ‘fairo’.  Apparently a fairo is a sweetheart or a lover, which would also make sense, but this term seems to have faded away just as the early rural blues of the 1920s did over the years.

Well, I’m so tired of crying
But I’m out on the road again
I’m on the road again
Well, I’m so tired of crying
But I’m out on the road again
I’m on the road again
I ain’t got no woman
Just to call my special friend

You know the first time I traveled
Out in the rain and snow
In the rain and snow
You know the first time I traveled
Out in the rain and snow
In the rain and snow
I didn’t have no bedroll
Not even no place to go

And my dear mother left me
When I was quite young
When I was quite young
And my dear mother left me
When I was quite young
When I was quite young
She said “Lord, have mercy
On my wicked son”

Take a hint from me, mama
Please don’t you cry no more
Don’t you cry no more
Take a hint from me, mama
Please don’t you cry no more
Don’t you cry no more
‘Cause it’s soon one morning
Down the road I’m going

But I ain’t going down
That long old lonesome road
All by myself
But I ain’t going down
That long old lonesome road
All by myself
I can’t carry you, baby
Gonna carry somebody else

Lyrical Challenge – Tangled Up in Blue

Paula Light of Light Motifs II creating order out of chaos, and vice versa challenged me to write about a song and since I love writing about music, I need to thank her for this.  I had this song running around in my head that was written by Bob Dylan, a musical genius whose mysterious lyrics often frustrate me, so that is what I am going with.  It was written when Dylan was going through a tough period with his wife Sara and they got divorced two years later in 1977.  As part of the settlement, she got half the royalties from the songs Dylan wrote while they were married, including this one.  Tangled Up in Blue appeared on Dylan’s Blood on the Tracks album in 1975.  It was released as a single, which reached #31 on the Billboard Hot 100 and Rolling Stone ranked it #68 on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.  Dylan said that he wrote this song after spending a weekend immersed in Joni Mitchell’s 1971 album Blue.

I am not sure if I can untangle this song, as it features several characters, many vivid images, and a variety of settings, but I will give it my best try.  This song also has a narrator in it, who describes things, but at the same time he is confusing, not being clear about how the things that he describes fit together, where and when events actually occur, or who precisely the characters are.  It’s a love story about an unknown man and an unknown woman meeting and falling in and splitting apart, but it has an unconventional use of time throughout the song, twisting from the present, to a memory, to the future.

The song starts off with this guy thinking about a woman that he has not seen in a while and he wonders if her hair is still red.  He reflects back on how her parents disapproved of his family not liking the dress his mother wore and the little bit of money his father had.  Then rain is falling down on him and he is headed East doing his job as a performer.  When they first meet she is married and they begin a love affair and drive out West, this ends when the car breaks down and they mutually agree to split, but she tells him that they will meet again.  The third verse describes many unsatisfying jobs that he had, working in the great north woods, as a cook, on a fishin’ boat where she was always on his mind.  The fourth verse is in the voice of the narrator and it appears to be a flashback about when they first met.  She was workin’ in a topless place and it seems that she made the first move saying, “Don’t I know your name?” and then she bent down to tie the laces of his shoe.  I am guessing that they went back to her place where, “She lit a burner on the stove” and offered him a pipe.  She thought that he would never say hello, because he looked like the silent type.  She asked him to read some poetry which had real meaning to him and they established an intellectual connection.

This fifth verse is the most confusing part of this song, as it seems to be out of place with the rest of the song lyrics, but Montague Street is in a nice area in Brooklyn by the Brooklyn Bridge, where there was a music venue called Capulet’s, and Dylan would sometimes hang out there.  Romeo was a Montague and Juliet was a Capulet, but a rose by any other name would probably be in Brooklyn.  This is probably an earlier flashback, as in the 1960’s there was radical activity around there and the American Communist Party held meetings on Montague Street.  My best guess is that the narrator is living with a couple in a basement apartment on Montague Street and possibly they are Communists and the husband starts getting into dealing with slaves, and the bottom falls out, so he decides to bail out on them, “Like a bird that flew”.  The last verse says that he wants to see this woman again, but it has been such a long time and everything has changed.  All the people they used to know, he has not kept up with, but is still on the road doing his thing.  He says that, “We always did feel the same, We just saw it from a different point Of view.”  It is kind of like the way that Galileo explained the Theory of Relativity and how understanding the motions of the universe required a frame of reference to know what is actually going on.  Dylan was married to Sara Lowndes Dylan, who was a model and Playboy bunny and she was married before she met Dylan.

Early one mornin’ the sun was shinin’
I was layin’ in bed
Wondrin’ if she’d changed at all
If her hair was still red
Her folks they said our lives together
Sure was gonna be rough
They never did like
Mama’s homemade dress
Papa’s bank book wasn’t big enough
And I was standin’ on the side of the road
Rain fallin’ on my shoes
Heading out for the east coast
Lord knows I’ve paid some dues
Getting’ through
Tangled up in blue

She was married when we first met
Soon to be divorced
I helped her out of a jam I guess
But I used a little too much force
We drove that car as far as we could
Abandoned it out west
Split up on a dark sad night
Both agreeing it was best
She turned around to look at me
As I was walkin’ away
I heard her say over my shoulder
We’ll meet again some day
On the avenue
Tangled up in blue

I had a job in the great north woods
Working as a cook for a spell
But I never did like it all that much
And one day the axe just fell
So I drifted down to New Orleans
Where I happened to be employed
Workin’ for a while on a fishin’ boat
Right outside of Delacroix
But all the while I was alone
The past was close behind
I seen a lot of women
But she never escaped my mind
And I just grew
Tangled up in blue

She was workin’ in a topless place
And I stopped in for a beer
I just kept lookin’ at the side of her face
In the spotlight so clear
And later on as the crowd thinned out
I’s just about to do the same
She was standing there in back of my chair
Said to me “Don’t I know your name?”
I muttered somethin’ under my breath
She studied the lines on my face
I must admit I felt a little uneasy
When she bent down to tie the laces
Of my shoe
Tangled up in blue

She lit a burner on the stove
And offered me a pipe
I thought you’d never say hello, she said
You look like the silent type
Then she opened up a book of poems
And handed it to me
Written by an Italian poet
From the thirteenth century
And everyone of them words rang true
And glowed like burnin’ coal
Pourin’ off of every page
Like it was written in my soul
From me to you
Tangled up in blue

I lived with them on Montague Street
In a basement down the stairs
There was music in the cafes at night
And revolution in the air
Then he started into dealing with slaves
And something inside of him died
She had to sell everything she owned
And froze up inside
And when finally the bottom fell out
I became withdrawn
The only thing I knew how to do
Was to keep on keepin’ on
Like a bird that flew
Tangled up in blue

So now I’m goin’ back again
I got to get to her somehow
All the people we used to know
They’re an illusion to me now
Some are mathematicians
Some are carpenters’ wives
Don’t know how it all got started
I don’t know what they’re doin’ with their lives
But me, I’m still on the road
Headin’ for another joint
We always did feel the same
We just saw it from a different point
Of view
Tangled up in blue

Child Abandonment

The typed note said, “I am a victim of incestuous rape and I am not fit to be a mother. I named her Tuesday, because that is when she was born, but who ever finds her can rename her whatever they want.”  Eric being the genius that he was, realized that the baby was only two days old, because today was Thursday, or possibly it was a week and two days old, but he really had no idea and it could have been a few months old and two days.  Eric felt that this was better than getting bit by a rattle snake, or for that matter getting hit by a javelin, but Eric knew that he did not want this baby and he would have to figure out something to do with it, so he could get on with his busy life.  It was kind of a cute baby and he always liked that song Tuesday Afternoon.  Eric wondered how any mother could not feel any emotional attachment for their own baby and that is when he crouched down to pick the baby up.  As he grabbed the baby, he heard a voice say, “No stupid, you have give her proper support because she is still developing, so put your hands under the baby’s head.” Eric looked around and saw…

I need to select someone to continue this story, so take it away Reena Saxena.

Written for finish the story, started by Wordsmith, picked up by Paula Light and then by Fandango.

Friday Funday Challenge

I’m sitting on this barstool, talking like a damn fool. Got the blues from too much Trump on the news, maybe I should enjoy a cold bottle of brew.  Is it any wonder that I have too much time on my hands?
Here are the rules to play:

  1. Thank the nominator — Thank you Fandango.
  2. Answer Q1 – Q19 — See below
  3. Nominate three bloggers of your choice and notify them. Sorry I am not doing this, thus there is no need for Number 4.
  4. Each selected blogger MUST answer 16 of the asked 19 questions, but also insert 3 new questions to make up the 19 complement. Every time a new blogger is selected, he or she MUST only answer 16 of the asked 19 questions as well as answer their own 3 new questions. And then they should choose 3 new bloggers.
  5. Questions 14 and 20 must always remain intact.

The infamous 19 questions.

1] If you were facing the death penalty what would be your last meal choice?

I have had beef Wellington, Duck ala orange, chateaubriand and surf and turf, but I have never tried Eggs Benedict, so that sounds good. I guess I should order a desert to make it a meal and I have already had Crêpes Suzette, Cherries jubilee and creme brulee flambe, but I have never had Baked Alaska so that would work.

2] Have you ever whispered Candyman five times in front of a mirror?

Nope, but I did chant “Bloody Mary!” thirteen times in front of a candlelit mirror to summon Satan to help me with a post that I was writing.

3] Have you ever had your tarot read?

No but I am a member in good standing of the Illuminati and I also possess Solomon’s ring .

4] What unsolved murder unsettled you the most?

Jonbenet Ramsey.

5] Would you sleep inside a coffin underground for a night?

Sure, if someone sexy is in there with me.

6] What is your best detective series?

Read my post: https://jimadamsauthordotcom.wordpress.com/2018/07/09/steel-hammer-and-friday/.

7] Is there a horror movie you simply could NEVER watch because of the advertising hype?

I have never been a fan of horror movies.

8] What did the president know and when did he know it?

He knows that when he is accused of anything, his best strategy is to change the topic.

9] Are you afraid of clowns?

I say kill all of them and the mimes also.

10] Would you agree to take part in a seance?

I think it needs that accent over the e to make it séance, but it is not necessary because I talk to dead people all the time.

11] Of all the ways a person could commit murder which do you think is the worst? Why?

Having to take a shower with Norman Bates because he would not stop talking about his mother.

12] If you were a detective investigating a murder, what would your first steps be at the scene of a brutal death?

I would draw a chalk line around the dead body just in case it decided to move.

13] Hanging, Injection, guilotine or firing squad what would you prefer?

I guess I would bite the bullet and again you spelled guillotine wrong.

14] Which 3 questions will you be deleting to add your own in?

I went with the second option on 8 and I corrected spelling mistakes on 10 and 13.

15] What time of the day is the best time to commit a murder?

When no one is watching.

16] Do you look guilty?

I look fabulous.

17] Uh oh, you have witnessed a murder, and you think the killer may have seen you but you are not sure, what would you do?

I would do what Trump does and change the topic and point my finger at Obama and Hillary.

18] You are a suspect in a murder enquiry that you “know about,” what is your alibi to throw them off your scent?

I would offer up the pee tape for clemency.
18] Are you religious? If so, how religious and why? If not, why not?

I only like to answer questions that are fun.

19] While gardening, the body of a neighbor is discovered in your back yard that everyone knows you had a feud with, what are you going to do to prove your innocence or?

I would have sex with his wife.
19] What is your favorite way to spend your discretionary time, and why?

My discretionary time would be spent not talking about my neighbor’s wife, because that would not be discreet.

20] The three bloggers you are nominating are:

Don’t It

Every picture tells a story and since creativity is better than copying Diogenes the Greek Cynic philosopher of Sinope said that one original thought is worth a thousand mindless quotes.  A picture is worth a thousand words is a way of saying that it is often easier to show something in a picture than it is to describe it with words, however there is a fundamental difference between looking at a picture and reading something.  Our visual system evolved to process images essentially in parallel, whereas when related to text, which only appeared a few thousand years ago, reading requires our visual system to scan individual characters, one at a time, recognize them, and piece them together into words, and then into sentences.

Since a pixel typically consists of 8 bits or one byte it is worth 1024 bits, thus its value can be anything between 0 to 255, therefore a picture with a lot of pixels could be worth thousands of bits.  A single ASCII character is 1 byte. So if you have a plain text file, the size of your file is equivalent to the number of characters, including spaces, line-breaks, tabs, and other “invisible” characters that are in your file.  In a plain text file, this is easy to add up as there is nothing going on behind the scenes to inflate your document, so you always have a pretty good idea of how large it is.  When you start considering a file produced by a word processor like Microsoft Word, all that goes out the window, because of the variations in paper size, font, line-spacing, and whether the text is dialogue-containing prose, poetry, text-heavy non-fiction, and even whether one or more characters happens to play a heavy roll in your writing.  There is no easy formula, but in general the longer and the more complicated the formatting of the text is, the larger it will be in bytes.

Does this mean that one Monet painting would be worth 1,000 Shakespeare plays, and if millions of virtual monkeys have already typed out the entire works of Shakespeare by bashing random keys on simulated typewriters, wouldn’t they be able to do the same thing and create a Monet?  The experiment is an imperfect reproduction of the infinite monkey theorem, because it saves correct sections of text while discarding wrong guesses.  According to Napoleon Bonaparte, a good sketch is better than a long speech.  A long speech might put you to sleep, where as sketching can help you to recall many things.

Teresa the Haunted Wordsmith posted a new Worth A Thousand Words #2 writing challenge that is associated with the above picture.  The first thing that I thought of was Dorothy being stuck in Oz and the wicked witch saying, “Now they will sleep, poppies will put them to sleep.”  The power of the poppy is well known and when there are many of these flowers together their odor is so powerful that anyone who breathes them will fall fast asleep, and if the sleeping person is not carried away from the scent of the flowers, he sleeps on and on forever.  Hamlet says, “To be or not to be” not being sure if it would be better for him to live or die.  Hamlet cannot decide if it is better to give up and die rather than facing his troubles, but he is frightened that he will dream when he is dead and never get any peace from his earthly troubles.  To sleep – perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub, for in this sleep of death what dreams may come.

Of course this field is not filled with poppies and you would be more likely to get stung by a bee if you ran through this field, than be put in a drug induced sleep.  For the last several years scientists have fretted over the future of bees, and although research has shed much light on the crisis, those in the bee business, from hive keepers to commercial farmers, all say the insects remain in deep trouble as their colonies continue to struggle because the use of pesticides is wiping them out.  Bees are so much more than a bunch of pesky stinging insects as they are great pollinators.  About 30% of everything that we eat requires insect pollination, and the vast majority of it is done by honey bees.  The Apis Mellifera, better known as the Western honeybee, should be thanked for 1 out of every 3 mouthfuls of food that you eat every day.  Queens are not laying as many eggs as they did just a few years ago, however honey bees aren’t going to disappear from the face of the Earth in the near future.

Around 2006, commercial beekeepers began noticing something disturbing, that their honeybees were disappearing. Beekeepers would open their hives and find them full of honeycomb, wax, even honey, but they were devoid of actual bees. As reports from worried beekeepers rolled in, scientists coined an appropriately apocalyptic term for the mystery malady, being colony-collapse disorder (CCD).  Besides pesticides, a big problem that bees face is the Varroa destructor, a parasitic mite that attaches to the bees and sucks out their equivalent of blood.  Varroa doesn’t kill bees outright, but it weakens them to the point that viruses, diseases and other pests are able to finish off the colony.  Another problem is honey bee nutrition, as farmers nowadays are planting fence row-to-fence row, so there are more commercial crops that don’t produce the pollen and nectar the bees need and fewer wild flowers that do.

According to all known laws of aviation, there is no way a bee should be able to fly.  Its wings are too small to get its fat little body off the ground.  The bee, of course, flies anyway, because bees don’t care what humans think is impossible.  Bees rarely fly in a straight line.  They hover and zigzag, with a purpose known only to the collective brain of the hive.

1,004 words

Written for Teresa the Haunted Wordsmith Worth A Thousand Words #2 writing challenge.

The Offer

Gerard was never satisfied with his lot in life.  Others always had more money, better clothes, better looking women, okay they at least had a woman.  One day Gerard is made an offer he can’t refuse, he is to do as he is told, or else he will be killed.  The Godfather was not known for making threats, he only made promises that he followed through with.  The Godfather told Gerard that even though they have known each other many years, that this is the first time that he ever came to him for help and that he had never extended an invitation for him to visit his house, not even for a cup of coffee, even though his wife is godmother to Gerard’s only child.  The Godfather said, “Let’s be frank here, you never wanted my friendship, because you are afraid to be in my debt.”

Gerard wanted permission to date a girl who was connected to the rival Tattaglia family, who were dealing drugs which the Godfather was against.  Don Corleone agreed, but only after he dispatched his main man Luca Brasi to infiltrate the organization, however during the meeting Brasi is stabbed and killed.  Gerard is told that he is to become the new informer, as he is already trusted by the Tattaglia family and there is nothing that he can do except comply to the wishes of the Godfather.

Gerard knew all about what happened with Johnny who signed this contract when he first started out with a big-band leader.  Johnny being a godson to Don Corleone wanted to get out of this contract as his career got better.  The Godfather went to see the bandleader, and offered him $10,000 to let Johnny go, but the bandleader said no.  So the next day, Don Corleone went to see the bandleader again, only this time with Luca Brasi.  Within an hour, the bandleader signed the release, with a certified check of $1,000, as Luca Brasi held a gun to his head, while the Godfather assured him that either his brains or his signature would be on the contract.

Later the famous singer Johnny Fontane came to visit Don Vito Corleone and asks for his help to secure a film role that will boost his fading career.  The head of the film studio, flat out refused to give Fontane the part, but Don Corleone tells Johnny, that he would make him an offer that he can’t refuse.  The next day the studio head wakes up to find the severed head of his expensive racehorse in his bed.  Unsurprisingly, Fontane is subsequently given the part.  Gerard knew that he had to do whatever he was told.

Written for Swimmers the New Community Pool prompt – God and for Haunted Wordsmith Nothing But Ideas Today Story Starter.

Word Limits

“He was the stuff schoolgirl dreams were made of.  Unfortunately, she was no longer a schoolgirl.”  She had become a woman of the world, a High School graduate studying Nursing at the local Community College and now she was only interested in real men.  Tom lived down the street from Lauren and one time they played strip poker in the woods next to the school with the rest of the kids on the block.  Lauren was 13 at the time and her breasts has just started budding, so this was a big deal for her, but kids get tired of playing spin the bottle and this was the next step in juvenile sexual discovery.  The game ended before anything happened, as Mr. Jones approached the kids when he was walking his dog and they all scattered.

Tom was still in High School, he was a Senior but he had no plans for College and he was going nowhere with his life.  Lauren wanted to marry a doctor, or someone else that was successful and she despised the way Tom would whistle at her everytime he saw her.  She wondered why boys have to be so immature and act like such jerks.  The persistent sound of his rude whistling was maddening to her and it annoyed Lauren to no end.  She knew that she had to put a stop to his absolutely unacceptable wolf whistling and catcalling, so she developed a plan.  She told Tom to meet her in the …

250 words

I hate it when I run out of words and that is why I hardly ever enter writing challenges with word limits, anyway this was written for Deb Whittam’s 50 Word Thursday #9, where she gives you a photo and phrase prompt and your story needs to be written in multiples of 50 words with a maximum of 250 words.

The Chasm

Teresa Grabs the Haunted Wordsmith gave us seven of her Morning Ideas which we can use to create a story from. I decided to try the one where she sets up a situation about a fish store and the guy selling the fish disappears.  My story will start in the second paragraph, as Teresa wrote the first one as a premise for this story.

It was a normal fish tank. It looked that way at least.  Jim loved fish and he always wanted a tropical fish tank, so he bought it.  He took it home and set it up, waited a few days, then went back to the store and asked for some fish.  The man behind the counter must have been new because Jim didn’t recognize him, but he seemed very knowledgeable about the fish.  The man picked out some fish for Jim and handed him the box filled with bags of fish.  As Jim was leaving the man started laughing and said, “I know you’ll love those fish.”  When Jim turned around to thank him again, the man was gone.

The pet store was in Florida, so Jim was not all that surprised when he was no longer able to see the man, as Jim had seen plenty of sinkholes open up and swallow all types of things. Jim recalled that just last night he felt the tectonic plates shift and he was certain that a deep fissure in the Earth would open up somewhere.  A rift, or an abyss can pop up out of nowhere without giving any notice or warning of any kind and at the drop of a hat you could be here today and gone tomorrow.

Jim decided to go in back of the sales counter where the man was standing to see if he could offer any assistance in case the man did not sink too deep down. When he did get around the back, Jim saw that it was not a sinkhole at all and it appeared to be a rabbit hole, which sort of made sense as this was a pet store.  Jim felt that it was a rabbit hole, because it contained bunnies.  This was a strange situation for Jim, he was perplexed as this seemed illogical, and since all he saw were the bunnies, Jim thought that it would be hard for the man that disappeared to escape from.  Jim figured that the man was on an adventure into the unknown, but since Jim had his fish in the bags and he knew that he had to take them home and put them in his fish tank, he left the pet store in a state of confusion and wished the man good luck. As Jim left the store, he started singing, “Like a steam locomotive, rolling down the track, he’s gone, he’s gone and nothing is gonna bring him back.”

Written for Haunted Wordsmith Morning Ideas.

The Human Bean

Scientist: It worked, I am going to be famous for creating the first human bean.

Assistant: That is amazing Doctor Plant, how did you accomplish this?

Scientist: It was done through gene splicing where I inserted human DNA into the stem of a coffee bean plant.

Assistant: I know a lesbian masturbator who goes bean stalking quite often, flicking the bean if you know what I mean, but this creation is totally freaking me out.

Scientist: Why in tarnation are you talking about vaginal stimulation?

Assistant: I am not sure, I guess my mind just wanders sometimes and you saying tarnation makes me think about North Carolina.

Scientist: You must train your brain to focus and you could start by trying to guess the color that I am thinking about.

Assistant: That is easy, you are thinking about mocha.

Scientist: No more meandering, stay focused and put on a pot of coffee.

Assistant: Right away Doctor Plant, are we going to brew the human bean?

Scientist: Not just yet, we have to test his IQ first.

Assistant: I hope the human bean gets a higher score than the rutabaga did.

Scientist: I agree as that human rutabaga was a real disaster.

Written for RayNotBradbury ‘The Stalking Challenge, where you pick any inanimate object and describe a stalking situation in 13 sentences.

The Coven

The High Priestess Umbra Cloven called the meeting to order with Tabitha Black, Sybil Pickering and Rowena Tempest present, who were all wearing black robes and they gathered to make potions and cast spells.  They had thirteen in their group just a short time ago, but the recent which hunt dwindled down their numbers because people had discovered evidence of witchcraft in the rural peaceful neighborhood, which caused moral panic and mass hysteria.  Nine former witches went back to being housewives, although no one was accused, caught or punished.  This group started out innocently enough as a group of women who all loved the Harry Potter books, and for several months witchcraft was never mentioned, but magic was always an irresistible influence or fascination.  None of these ladies featured warts on their skin, wore pointy hats, rode on broomsticks, or owned a black cat, however they were all middle-aged and left-handed.

The sudden bizarre disappearance of seven black cats in the neighborhood made people fear that something sinister was going on and perhaps they have been snatched by witches.  Posters were put up everywhere, as these cat disappearances were a complete mystery.  Witches were being blamed for the missing cats, how off the wall is that logic?  The police investigation found no conclusive evidence and someone in the neighborhood started capitalizing on public fear by condemning witchcraft.  Witches always seem to get the blame for bad things, simply because their beliefs are different from what is considered to be normal and not because they have actually done anything wrong.

The four remaining witches, Umbra, Tabitha, Sybil and Rowena all started practicing the Dark Arts also known as Dark Magic after the witch hunt began, honing their magic to cause harm, control, or even kill their victims and there was no going back for any of them now, as they would never see the world as they did before.  They had plunged down the rabbit hole after the other former witches dropped out of their coven and they saw black magic and using their supernatural powers as their last resort for getting back at the witch hunters.

The four witches were all obsessed with the idea of powerful objects, and very curious about things that they really didn’t fully understand yet.  They sat on the floor in a circle with a mysterious old book opened in front of them.  Umbra read the cryptic words aloud from the Codex of Evil, and everyone knew what was going to happen next, as they all bowed their heads and held their breath. Umbra invoked the devil and all hell broke loose.  The creepy ominous occult spell made the whole house shake and a scent of blood filled the air.  Satan did not come, but they were able to connect with a malevolent spirit from another world.  The Satanic code allowed them to make a pact with this demon, so he could inform them how to dispose of the witch hunting party.

They seemed satisfied with the advice that was given to them and they decided to adjourn the meeting.  As they were leaving, Tabitha reached for the light switch, but Rowena stopped her before she was able to shut the light off.  Rowena told Tabitha that the light must always remain on because the person who wrote the Codex of Evil had sold his soul to the devil and the book maintains its power by always being in the light.