A Man and His Mother (prompted flash fiction)

She watched out the window as the man in rainbow suspenders argued with his mother.

“Mom, how many times do I have to tell you? She’s not my girlfriend.”

“Is she a girl?”

“She’s 37. I’d say she’s a woman.”

“Oh, a woman. I see. A loose woman, I suppose.”


“I know what women want. Women want only two things. And you ain’t got money.”

“It’s not like that.  You… Why, you’re a woman. Is that what you want?”

“I’m not a woman. I’m a mother.”

“I can’t believe I’m having this conversation.  Mother, I’m 53 years old. If I want to take a woman to Starbucks for coffee, I can darn well do so without answering to my mother.”

“That’s right. It’s a free world. Do what ever you want. It’s all the rage now. Coffee. Cappacino. Venereal Disease.”

“I’m leaving now, mother.”

“When will you be back?”

“I don’t know.”

“How will I know when to start dinner?”

“Fix something for yourself when you’re hungry. I can always eat leftovers.”

“Oh, it’s like that now, is it?”

“What, mother?”

“You’re going to put coffee with a strange woman over dinner with your mother?”

“Okay. Fine. I’ll be home by 6.”

“Six is awfully late to eat, isn’t it. What about your acid reflux?”

“5:30 then. Now, I have to go. Goodbye mother.”


“What, mother?”



“It’s just. I love you.”

“I love you too, ma.  Now go take a nap.”

Sonny smiled as he slid into his Ford Escort. He might never understand women. But he knew his mother pretty well.

Dating Advice for my 60-Something Year old Mother--What Are The Rules?

 from Melissa Chapman

The first line was provided in a writing prompt from Today’s Author.

The Buzz (prompted flash fiction)

om: Do you want to lift weights?

David: “Are you sure you want to do that before the game?”

Tom: “Yeah.  I’ve got energy to burn.”

Tom placed three circular 10-lb weights on either side of a barbell and began to curl.

Tom: Did you hear what Pam said to Jennifer in Algebra today?

David: What’s that?

Tom: She said she was going to break up with Tad.

David: Seriously?

Tom: Absolutely.  Now’s your big chance.

David: I don’t know.

Tom: What’s not to know? Strike while the iron is hot.

David: What does that even mean?

Tom sits down the barbell.

Tom: You got any french fries?

David: You’re not going to eat before the game, are you?

Tom: Just a snack. I’m hungry.

David:  You can check the freezer.

Tom grabs a bag of frozen fries out of the freezer, and sets the fryer knob to “high.”  He then starts galloping around the room.

David: What are you doing?

Tom:  I told you.  I have energy to burn.

David: You’re going to burn yourself out.

Tom: I can’t help it. I can’t sit still. Hey what was he lecturing on in biology today? I was busy writing a story.

David: The decomposition of the human body. What’s your story about?

Tom: Oh, I’m writing a parody of our class. It’s called, “No Biggy.”

Tom stops running.  The oil is bubbling.  He places a handful of fries in the burner. Stepping back, he tilts his head to the left.

Tom: Hey, what’s that sound?

David: What sound?

Tom:  That buzz.  Is there a bee in here?

David: I don’t hear anything.  Hey, Tom, why don’t you sit down?

Tom: I will. But where’s that damn bee?

David:  Tom!

Tom: What?

David: Sit down.

Tom: Okay.  First, where’s your salt?

David: You can check the cabinet above the stove.

Tom opens the cabinet drawer.  Spices come falling out. Tom jumps back.

Tom: What the hell?

David: Tom, let me get it.  You sit down.

Tom: You guys needs some organization.  Just give me just a second.

Tom starts to pull out the spices out of the cabinet.

David: What are you doing?

Tom: Just give me a minute. You’ll thank me later.

David:  Stop it, Tom. Sit down. Now.

Tom: Where is that damn bee!

Tom walks over near the fryer and leans over. There is a loud splash. Tom jerks his head back.

Tom: Son of a bitch!

David moves over and unplugs the fryer.  He grabs Tom by the shoulders. 

David: We’re going to the hospital.

Tom: No. It hurts. But it’s not that bad.

David: Something’s not right, Tom. You’ve got to see somebody.

Tom: I’ll be okay.  Just guide me to the sofa.

David: I don’t know.

Tom: Come on.  I’ll be fine.

David takes Tom by the arm and leads him to the sofa.  Tom takes a deep breath.

David: How you doing?

Tom: Perfect.  Couldn’t be better. Just. Could you do me one thing?

David: What’s that?

Tom: Would you kill that damn bee?


Honey Bee

from JLD Webfocus 

This story was sparked by a writing prompt from the IU-South Bend Creative Writing Club, with help from a random word generator from Text Fixer (serving over 37 1/2 people).

What Matters: Prompted Flash Fiction

For the first time in his life, he believed his opinion mattered. People would listen. Lives would be changed. The world would become a better place.

Robert went into the kitchen and reached for a bag of Guatemalan Fair Trade coffee beans, smiling to himself.  Pouring the beans into the hand grinder he inherited from his grandfather, he measured the right amount with his mind.  No need for scoops.  He knew what was best.

Turning the handle of the grinder in a steady, confident motion, he looked out the kitchen window.  His neighbor Mrs. Grumsfeld was weeding her rose garden. Her wide-brimmed straw hat with the red ribbon reminded him of his grandmother, God rest her soul.  If only she could be here to see him today.

At the appointed time, the grinding stopped.  He placed a filter in the basket, emptied the grounds from the wooden drawer and affixed it in place. Moving to the refrigerator, he reached for the pitcher of filtered water. Closing one eye, he filled the maker to the four cup mark, closed the lid and pressed the “on” button.  A ritual as meaningful as prayer.  Done to perfection to produce the perfect results.

Mrs. Grumsfeld was kneeling beside her bushes, looking up at the empty sky. She was clenching her straw hat to her chest.  Motionless.  Her knees covered in earth.  Unnoticed.

As the coffee perked, Robert picked up his laptop and plucked the keys as a poetic performance.

“WordPress.com” he repeated as he typed.

“Start a New Blog.”  He grinned and pressed “Enter.”


(animated) Typing typing typing.


(The first line was provided by the “Write Now Prompt for November 5, 2013” at Today’s Author)

The Language of Relationships: A Blog Hop Story


Bruce: “Here’s a nice bench.  Let’s sit here.”

Carl: “What a gorgeous November day this is.” 

Bruce: “It sure is. So peaceful.  So calm.”

Carl: “What’s for lunch today?”

Bruce: “I have pastrami on rye.”

Carl: “Ah!  With hot mustard?”

Bruce: “Mayo.”

Carl: “Mayo?  Who puts mayo on pastrami and rye?”

Bruce: “My wife does. She puts mayo on everything. It’s sort of a thing with her.”

Carl: “Why don’t you say something to her? Or make your own sandwiches?”

Bruce: “I don’t want to take that away from her.  She thinks she’s being helpful. God love her.”

Carl: “She’s a sweet lady. But you shouldn’t treat her so delicately. Let her grow up.”

Bruce: “Since when did you become a relationship expert?”

Carl: “My third wife was a marriage therapist. She taught me a lot.”

Bruce: “Hey, Dr. Phil, how about helping me move that log over for a stool?”

Carl: “Sure.”

Setting down their lunches, they roll a large log over beside the bench.

Carl: “So Alexandra, my third wife, the therapist, used to say, ‘A woman is a vowel. A man is a consonant.  A woman can stand alone, but together with a man can express more meaning.”

Bruce: “Wow.  That’s profound.  Whatever happened to Alexandra?”

Carl: “She ran off with a mime.”

Bruce: “Oh, sorry for that.”

Carl: “Yeah, it was tough for awhile.  Until I met Samantha. Sam is the long ‘e’ to go with my ‘m’.  She fits me perfectly.”

Bruce: “Boy, you could write greeting cards.  You know that?”

Carl: “Thanks. So how’s the pastrami?”

Bruce: “I’ve had better.”

Carl: “Even with mayo?”

Bruce: “No. The mayo pretty much ruins it. You want the rest?”

Carl: “No thank you. I’ll stick with my ham and swiss.”

Bruce: ”Unlike your wives.”

Carl: (laughs)  Hey, I resemble that remark.  No, I don’t see how you do it.  How long have you and Joanna been married?

Bruce: 23 years this October.

Carl: Boy.  23 years. What’s your secret?

Bruce: Avoidance, mostly.  Things are better left unsaid.

Carl:  Like the mayo?

Bruce: (laughs) Exactly.

An alarm sounds.

Carl: Well, time to head back to the spaceship.

Bruce: Yeah, we don’t want them to send out a search party.

Carl: No. Hey, whatever happened to that Lewis fellow that was always late coming in for lunch.

Bruce: They vaporized him.

Carl: Oh.

Bruce: Hey, that reminds me of your ex-wife with the mime –  a long “o” with a silent “h.”

Carl:  Ah.  That, too.

(This story is part of the Blog Hop found at Writings and Ruminations. Photo courtesy Leanne Sype)

Building Community by Featuring Followers III

 It’s Sunday afternoon.  Morning worship is over.  The Colts have the game well in hand. Over two hours before evening worship.  It’s time to fire up the virtual grill and welcome a few more followers over, carrying casserole dishes of flash fiction, bags of poetry, and coolers of life reflections.  A good time will be had by all.  To join in the fun, simply visit any of the sites or featured posts and tell them Tony, who has “A Way With Words” sent you.

To read more, visit my new blog address by clicking on the title below —

“Building Community by Featuring Followers III”

Bon Apetit!

the planet blue potluck!

Building Blogging Community by Featuring Followers II

I had so much fun and have received such a good early response to my previous post featuring seven of my blog followers, that I thought I’d feature seven more.  If the first post was a pot-luck, this is like going back for seconds.

To read more, visit my new blog address by clicking on the link below —

“Building Blogging Community by Featuring Followers II”


Stopping Along a Well-Paved Road: My Birthday Blog Hop Story


(randomly generated) Mandatory words: potato, magazine, carrot, day, cough

A balding 49-year old Hoosier with an unquiet mind and a way with words lifts a voice recorder from his shirt pocket and pushes the “record” button.

49 years old and what do I have to show for it?  Another rejection from an on-line magazine.  A former smoker’s cough.   A body that increasingly looks like a potato. 

Still, it’s a beautiful day.  The road is well-paved before me.  I can’t see into the distance, but well-rooted trees line my path.

He clicks the “stop” button.  He puts the recorder back in his pocket, sits down on a bench and pulls a carrot out of a brown paper sack.  As he puts it to his lips, two squirrels scamper up to his feet.

He smiles, breaks the carrot in half and places a half on the ground next to the squirrels.  One squirrel begins to munch on the carrot.  The other looks up at him with a pleading expression.

He smiles.  “The Lord gives and the Lord takes away,” he says to himself, laying the other half of the carrot next to the second squirrel.

Blessed be the name of the Lord.”

Word Count: 199

Character Sketch Exercise: Papa Joe Romano

At my character development workshop, we drew names out of a box and were asked write something about them.  I drew the name “Papa Joe Romano”.  This is what I wrote.

Papa Joe Romano had no children, but he did have a pizza shop, “Papa Joe’s Place” where you could get a large cheese pizza on Wednesdays for just $5.99.  Papa Joe’s nephew, Joey worked at the shop with him and was always trying to get him to modernize, to reach more customers, to diversify the menu.

“What I wanna DI-VER-SI-FY for?” asked Papa Joe, spitting out the word like it was an anchovy trapped in his teeth.  “I’m a pizza guy.  I sell pizza.  Cheese.  Pepperoni.  Sausage.  Pizza.  Plain and simple.”

But the neighborhood was changing.  Gentrification, they called it.  College professors and computer techs were buying up homes plumbers and policemen used to own.

“Say Joey,” asked Papa Joe one day.  “To DI-VER-SI-FY.  I don’t gotta put pineapple on the pizza, do I?”

pizza guy

“pizza guy” from Peter Hvid in My Photography