Long time no see, my invisible friend

“Hi, Tim.”

“Who said that?” Tim asked.

“It’s me, your childhood friend. All grown up now.”

“You look old, friend.” Tim said.

“I’m the same age as you.” the voice replied.

“And fat, and bald, and gray where you aren’t bald. Boy, you didn’t age well at all. What happened to you?” Tim said.

“That’s no way to greet a long-lost friend. Those statements are hurtful.”

“But honest. Seriously, what happened to you. The last time we spoke, I was getting married.” Tim said.

“You didn’t need me anymore. You replaced me with someone new.”

“I suppose I did. It’s been more than 27 years now. We are still very happy. The children are adults now. We may someday have one or more of them moving out.” Tim replied. “What about you?”

“I wandered the earth seeking another friend but never found one like you or like you did.” the voice answered. “Look at you. You still have your hair and it’s not gray. How did you manage that?”

“I married my best friend. She made me a better person and the benefits carry on for many years.” Tim responded.


Many of us had imaginary friends as young children. If your imaginary friend grew up alongside you, what would his/her/its life be like today?

Kitchen – Home’s Heart

The storm pushed against the farmhouse making it creak. The hand-hewn pegged beams held firm as they had for more than 150 years. The five giant maple trees at the road bore the storm as they had for almost 200 years. Their thick trunks barely moved as the top-most branches bent in the wind. The family sat at the kitchen table listening to the storm as they played cards.

“I’ve got the two of clubs.”

“Let’s see who has the queen of spades. Hunt that rabbit!”

“I’m going to run them.”

“No more points for me. I can’t afford any. I’m close to going over.”

The banter was light. It helped pass the time as the storm intensified outside. Winds gusted erratically causing the house to shudder a moment. The family heard a loud “CRACK”  outside and the lights went out.

“Sounds like a limb broke and took the power lines down with it.” Dad said.

Mom got up and lit two hurricane lamps and set them on the table. The kids continued to play cards in the glowing light. Mom then moved to stoke the fire in the wood cook stove. It was more than 80 years old and had a large flat surface and an oven they had once used to roast a holiday turkey. She added some small diameter birch sticks with a few larger maple pieces. The fire responded quickly and the room warmed comfortably.

Mom took a large cooking pot and thumped a chunk of homemade butter into it. She added what sounded like little pellets next and put the cover on. Applying a gentle rocking motion she used to soothe countless babies to sleep, she gently moved the pot to prevent the kernels from sticking and burning.

After a few moments, they began to burst inside the pot, launching others around inside like bullets that pinged off the steel. The cacophony grew for less than a minute before settling under the muffling caused by the popped corn. When the activity slowed to sporadic bursts, she slid the pot off the hottest area of the cooking surface and carefully lifted the top allowing a plume of steam and aroma to escape.

She poured the popcorn into a few other bowls and placed them around the table. Card playing slowed for several minutes as the family grabbed handfuls of the buttery and crunchy treat.

“Still hunting the queen. I wonder who is getting stuck with it.”

“Not me. I’m not taking any more tricks this hand.”

“You hope.”

“Let’s find out. Play.”

The storm continued outside. The family never worried about it as they sat in the kitchen.

Safe. Warm. Together.

Yes, I Shot Bambi’s Mom

Looking at the activity and response to my morning post, while many people stopped by, not many “Liked” it.

My initial response to the prompt “Fourth Wall” to put myself in my favorite movie was which one to choose. We have watched so many over the years and getting put on the spot to name your favorite before a morning cup of coffee is hard. I read the prompt aloud and my wife interjected “Bambi” as an idea.

While this Disney classic would not even approach the top of my personal list, it is readily recognizable and just her voice was enough to inspire my quick writing. I took her suggestion and used Bambi as the baseline movie.

Connecting the movie with two other prompts (Photo challenge: Refraction and DP: Reverse Shot) ignored earlier in the week propelled me forward.

Sorry if the post brought up painful memories and feelings of overwhelming sadness for you. My intent was to simply portray a scene from the hunter’s perspective. I specifically avoided delving into their motivations. Why were they hunting? Sport only? Necessity? Other? Doesn’t matter. For the response to the Daily Prompt whatever flows in the morning gets posted.

One wonders if the WP prompters get pleasure from triggering deep emotional responses from bloggers. Are they toying with us? Much like the real world, I suspect WordPress can be a cruel place.

A cruel place indeed.

Just when you least expect it, BLAM! There goes Bambi’s mom.

Movie Magic

The dawn fog settled on the meadow obscuring everything beyond a few feet. I sat motionless only seven yards within the tree line and waited. I had been in position since 3:30 this morning. Now the sun crept over the unseen horizon and began piercing the fog. They would arrive soon.

My friends had taken flanking positions nearby. Whichever one of us got first opportunity would take the shot. Steve was in a tree stand 25 feet off the ground to my left. Mike lay prone between a log and a boulder to my right. Together we formed a skirmish line 100 yards wide. We hoped it was enough.

The fog grew patchy in the sunlight. Cleared portions of the meadow grew more visible by the moment. The heavy dew bent the grass and flowers with sparkling drops. The moment approached.

I heard them coming. Hesitant footsteps at the far edge of the clearing. They stopped and held their position for a long time. They peered out into the open meadow. It was a dangerous place to be at this time. No cover. Men with guns could be all around in ambush. They stepped forward again and froze directly ahead of me. Just 40 yards away. Headed left to right. Exposing their flank to me. A perfect shot.

I raised my bolt-action rifle and sighted down the barrel. Inhaled slowly. Exhaled some, and held my breath. Squeezed the trigger and broke the morning silence with a deafening explosion of sound.

Steve called out from the tree stand, “You got her! A big doe!”

I got up slowly, stretching for a moment to release the tension. Mike joined me in a walk across the meadow to see our prize. As we approached the body, I heard noises in the brush. I looked and saw a young fawn scrambling away with others of his kind.

“A little bambino,” Mike said. “You’re right. This is a good place for deer hunting.”

You get to spend a day inside your favorite movie. Tell us which one it is — and what happens to you while you’re there.

Not the Shortest Distance

“Hey man, know where I can score some weed?” he asked from his car.

It was 2 a.m. and the bars in town were closing. Business at the all night gas station always picked up at this time. It was the only 24-hour station in town. From 1 – 3 a.m. a sporadic stream of drunks (partial or fully) wove their cars in and out of the pumps and sometimes made odd requests.

“Got any rolling papers? Do you know where I can get some? Are there any prostitutes in this town?”

As the lone attendant, it was unsettling at times. You just never knew who would stop and request another strange item. This guy wanted drugs. I never used them. Never saw the attraction or need. I didn’t even drink.

I looked at the driver. His bleary eyes watered and the aroma from his car was heavy with the smell of beer.

“Sure,” I told him. “Go straight for three lights and turn right. Go two blocks and stop. The building you want is a large stone one with wide steps leading up to the front door.”

“Three lights?” he asked.

“Yes. This is your first light, right here at this intersection. Go straight two more, turn right and go two blocks.” I repeated.

“Thanks buddy. You’re cool.” he smiled at me.

As he drove off, I made a phone call.

“Springfield Police Department, Officer Janson speaking.” the desk sergeant answered.

“Hi. This is the attendant at the 24-hour station. I just gave directions to a customer looking for drugs. He’s pretty drunk too and probably shouldn’t be driving. He should be coming up to the station steps in a few minutes.”

A stranger knocks on your door, asking for directions from your home to the closest gas station (or café, or library. Your pick!). Instead of the fastest and shortest route, give him/her the one involving the most fun detours.


Earth Slowed by Double Impacts

NASA screwed up. Not that it matters now. Placing blame does nobody any good. But I blame NASA anyway. The rotation of earth has slowed. A full day now spans almost 25 hours.

Conspiracy theories abound in what is left of the internet. With millions of people huddled in bunkers, caves, or other underground shelters with not much to do but shiver, the blogs are full of wacky ideas. I read one post about how NASA missed the things that hit us.

They say the janitor at Jet Propulsion Labs (JPL) took the job to be close to the brilliant people there. A genius in his own right, he could have been part of an engineering or programming team if he applied himself, but he preferred the simplicity of cleaning up after other people. No one noticed him hanging around the Mars rover control desk late in the evening. The rover operator, Phil, had gone on his dinner break to a local buffet and probably wouldn’t be back for hours.

The janitor used his hidden skills to send text messages from the rover by making it draw letters in the sand. Nobody seemed to notice. Nobody cared what the rover did anymore. NASA had made driving a remote controlled car on another planet into something truly boring. The last reported event on the planet, a surprising rock that had moved, turned out to have been hit by the rover and rolled down an incline. So, nobody cared if NASA was having interplanetary vehicle accidents. Nobody looked anymore.

Except Astrid. She worked in NASA’s Near Earth Object (NEO) project. It was woefully underfunded and understaffed too. Charged with the duty to locate, identify, and plot the trajectories of space objects that might hit the earth and give warning, it was a failure. With almost no money to afford real astrophysicists, they used starving, lonely graduate students and sometimes high school astronomy club members to monitor the skies.

Astrid was lonely. Bored one night, she moved the focus of her instruments to see the surface of Mars. She eventually found the rover and noticed a pattern in the sand. Were those letters? She changed her settings and gasped. God was speaking to her! There in the sand of another planet was a message just for her!

hook up

After staring at it for several moments, she sighed. This wasn’t God. It must be those bored engineers at JPL again. With sufficient funding and toys on another planet, why did they waste time sending horny text messages only she could see? She knew she had commitment issues. Now, anyone looking at Mars knew it too.

The janitor had to cut the message short. The rover only had so much power available each day. If his words took too long to form, the batteries would drain and have to wait two more solar cycles to recharge. The warning would not be seen in time. He originally planned the message to read, “Asteroid, Comet, LOOK UP!” but soon realized he didn’t have enough power or time to spell out full words with punctuation. He shortened it using his Twitter skills. He couldn’t help the slope in the rover’s path that distorted the “L” into an “h”.

In the end, it didn’t matter. NASA’s NEO project failed to report the incoming asteroid and comet until just hours before they hit New York and Los Angeles. The impact devastated both coasts of the United States. New York City was gone along with a large portion of the surrounding states. The asteroid that smacked LA triggered the big earthquake always feared and the coastline now began near what used to be Death Valley.

Much of the US Government survived. The President had been on a golfing trip at an Air Force base in the Rocky Mountains. Much of Congress was on break from their 153 working days (each year) and had picked up where they left off blaming the other party for the lack of preparedness.

Now we huddle underground in a miniature ice age. The ash and dust launched into the sky has cooled the earth so much people are setting wildfires to burn entire forests in a rapid attempt to get global warming going again.