Tag: fiction

Most Inappropriate Holiday Newsletter Contest – My Entry

For EF's most inappropriate holiday newsletter contest, I present a letter I "received" from Mrs. Judith Ozark, a 3rd cousin, twice-removed.  Any resemblance to anyone, living or dead just means I didn't disguise things well enough – pretend they're just coincidental resemblances instead, please.

Dear Loved Ones, Friends, Family, and anyone else who happens to read this letter,

Wow!  It's been another whole year already since my last Christmas letter to you all!  I was so happy last year to receive letters from 4 of you (Mom & Dad, Aunt Esme, Aunt Matilda, and Grandma Ruth).  Hopefully the rest of you are doing well!  Send me a note to let me know you're not dead!  Ha ha.

Things have been wonderful here in the Ozark household.  Mitch, Cassandra, Buddy, and little Rufus all send their love to you all.  (Rufus actually said "arf arf" and "grrrrufff ruff", but I translated doggy-talk into human for you all!)

Mitch is still the man of my dreams (even if I didn't dream about him having an affair with his secretary.  Ha ha).  But now that I found out about that, he's been well behaved and we've been going to regular counseling sessions.  The roleplaying has done wonders for us (especially in the bedroom, ROWR!).  The doctors say that ED is not very common in 35-year-old men, but since Mitch doesn't have any heart conditions (yet!) he's a suitable candidate for Viagra or Cialis.  He complains they give him headaches, but he's willing to "take one for the team", if you know what I mean.  Between his golf, tennis, and bridge games, I don't see a whole lot of Mitch on the weekends, but since his work forced him to cut back to part-time, I see enough of him during the week to make up for it!  Ha ha.

Cassie is your typical twelve year old, complete with mood swings and embarrassment to be seen with her mother.  I've tried to have "the talk" with her, since she's turning into a very pretty young woman, but she just keeps telling me she "knows all that stuff already."  It's a good thing I can trust her, because it seems all of her best friends are boys.  And she's assured me that their parents watch them like hawks whenever she's over at their houses studying, so I feel fine letting her hang out with them as long as her grades haven't dropped below the C+ average she needs to keep in order to keep her iPod and computer.

Buddy and Rufus are inseparable.  You'd think a three year old would lose interest in a puppy after a couple of months, but he just can't seem to get enough of him.  I did have to keep them apart for a while when Rufus got pinworms, but it didn't seem to help as Buddy got them just the same (did you know it takes up to a MONTH to get rid of pinworms, and you can be contagious for that whole time?)  I'm considering getting Rufus neutered, but Mitch is resisting.  (I think he is afraid that it will psychosomatically affect HIM, but I don't see how he can get any worse than he is now, ha ha).

As for me, I'm staying busy.  I just signed up to be considered as a candidate for becoming a surrogate mother.  Did you know you can earn up to $35,000 for a single pregnancy?  Plus, I just miss the feel of being pregnant (something you never have to worry about Allison, right? Ha ha).  Oh, and it helps a nice couple that can't have their own baby, so I feel like it would be the nice thing to do.  The only thing is the doctor I talked to said I would have to stop smoking first.  That's going to be awful tough, especially when I go out for drinks with the gals and everyone there is smoking.  But I think I can manage it if I just keep thinking about what I get out of the deal.

I hope everyone out there is happy and healthy and may you all have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! (Except for you, Shannon – I hope you and your husband and kids have a good Hanukkah – eat some pancakes for me! Ha Ha.)  Until next year, everybody!

Love,

Judy (and Mitch, Cassie, Buddy, and Rufus) Ozark

P.S. We didn't have time to get a family portrait taken this year, so here's some pictures from our beach trip this summer.  I didn't get any good pictures of Mitch after his rash cleared up, so you'll just to imagine him without the blotchy face!

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Caption Booth #1 – Literary Indignity

Dolores Umbridge was not having a good day.  In fact, she hadn't had a thing to smile about ever since that hack J.K. Rowling had first named a character after her.  It wasn't HER fault that little Jo Murray had nearly failed her writing examination while in the sixth form at Wyedean School – why did she have to go and brutally besmirch her good name in those "Harry Potter" novels?

Nowadays, she couldn't introduce herself without evoking a snigger from the people around her.  She could almost see their brains making the connection between her and the prissy, toad-like woman in those trashy stories.  Children in her neighborhood made fun of her behind her back, imitating her walk and precise diction.

Just as a flare of disgust at this thought ran through her head once again, an errant gust tugged at the umbrella in Dolores Umbridge's hand, snapping the cheap metal struts and flipping the whole mess of an umbrella inside out.  Amidst jeers and catcalls from the children on a nearby football pitch, she increased her stride and continued the walk to her flat, where she could wrestle indignantly with the umbrella in the presence only of the kittens painted on her fine china plates.

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Caption Booth #1 – Playing the Blues

Click on the link above to view the full-size photo.  Here's my first attempt at a caption booth entry for the Caption Booth groupContest #1 is going on right now…why don't you go pick out your own picture to caption?

(Note: Mine is on the long side of the word count – most will be shorter than this).

Wolfgang Amadeus Hollabeck was the best trumpet player the world had ever known.  The world just didn't realize it yet.  The best gigs he could get were in seedy bars in downtown Zurich, with a bumbling trio that could barely carry a tune, let alone carry one of his Gillespie-like solos.  He had tried to save up enough money to cut a demo, but between his bar tab and bus fares, he was left with barely enough money to cover the rent.

Wolfgang took a day job to make ends meet.  Now, decked out in lederhosen, he puffed and blew his way through a bevy of traditional songs on the alpenhorn outside a little cafe every day.  He put up with the jeering catcalls of spoiled American tourists asking if he had a cough drop for them, but the ones that really hurt his pride were the locals who visited to eat on a regular basis.  As the days passed, their polite smiles faded to indifference as they studiously avoided eye contact every time they walked past.

Wolfgang Amadeus Hollabeck shifted from the slow melodic notes of his current song into the the upbeat tempo of "A Night in Tunisia".  A couple people glanced his way and smiled before he caught movement out of the corner of his eye.  The cafe manager was coming out to speak with him about his musical choices, once again.  He sighed and switched back to the traditional folk song he had been playing, counting the minutes until he could get home and cut loose with a jazz solo that would bring down the house, if only he could find people to listen to it.

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100 Words – Cross My Palm With Silver…

They say she can tell your fortune from the stars above, the status of your love life from the palm of your hand.

They say the spirits whisper in her ear about who you will meet and who you will marry.

They say that her tarot readings are touched by the divine, and that not since the time of Cassandra has someone been this accurate.

I, for one, am a little bit more skeptical.  After all, if she is really that good, why does she first run a credit check on you with that computer she hides behind the curtain?

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5 Word Challenge: Best Friends Forever?

"It's the way he paws at me," she confessed to me.  "Like he's some kind of animal.  I think I could deal with it if he was at least making an EFFORT to include me, but it's like he just doesn't care what I feel.  Like he's just…"

"Using you?" I prompted.

"Exactly!"  The sunlight filtered through the leaves of the oak tree overhanging the patio.  The pattern of light and shadow danced across her face, playing tricks with her expression.  I saw frustration, suffering, and confusion there, but couldn't be sure which were real and which were products of my imagination.  "I…..I think….I think I'm going to give him back his ring…."

I stayed quiet, expressionless.  I knew she she wanted a response.  She had asked me here for this purpose – best-friend-turned-sounding-board for the biggest decision of her life.  And she expected my….approval?  I couldn't tell yet.

"I mean" she continued, "if he's so inconsiderate right now, how are things going to be in a year, or five years?  It's not like I expect him to come home every night with a dozen roses and a bag of my favorite candy.  But are we going to be still talking to each other?  Still having inside jokes?  Is he going to still put up with my bad habits?  Or is it all going to go downhill, like the sex?"

An errant gust blew her hair into her eyes.  As she brushed back the airy strands, she pleaded with me with her eyes.  "I just don't think I can be with him anymore.  It's not that he's changed, or I've changed….it's just….not right….anymore."

All she wanted was confirmation.  For me to tell her she was right, that she was making the right decision, and she'd be better off without him.  All I had to do was act the friend, support what she had already thought through, and she'd be happy again.  Alive again.  Single again. 

But still not available.  I couldn't chicken out any longer.

"Um."  I cleared my throat, suddenly blushing self-consciously as I tried to put the words in some magic order. "Look.  I know this is probably the WORST possible time for me to say this, but if I stayed quiet here, I know you'd hate me later.  I can't tell you to leave him…I can't be objective….because I like you….a lot…….a whole lot"  I could see a cloud of bewilderment in her eyes as she tried to switch gears and understand what I was saying. "I…..DO think he's an asshole, and I DO think you need to break up with him.  But…if I just told you that today, and let things be…."  I'd lose you all over again, I thought to myself.  Out loud, I finished up, "…I'd hate myself, and if you ever found out later why I supported you in this, you'd hate me too."

As I was talking, I could SEE the change come over her.  Confusion and anguish gave way to complete anger, her eyes afire with it.  She was beautiful, even when she was angry.  "Look," I said again, before she could interrupt.  "I'm sorry I brought this up just now.  I'm sorry I even waited until now to tell you.  But I'm NOT sorry that I told you.  I can't JUST be your friend anymore.  I know that this probably means we won't be friends anymore.  But I don't want to…no…I CAN'T keep this a secret from you.  Not and still be the friend I have been.  I hope you do give the ring back.  I think you'll be happier.  But do it because you want to, and not just because I wanted you to."

I stood up, almost in tears as I turned away and walked away from her, out from under the oak tree and into the blazing afternoon sun.  "Goodbye," I murmured.  "I hope it isn't goodbye forever."  And with that, I left her, my stomach churning, my shoulders tight and tense, and my mind dizzy with what I had just done.

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Yod’s Weekend Photo Scavenger Hunt, Take #5

(Notes:  1. Camera phone pictures ahead, again I apologize for the quality of the pictures.  2. It may be worth it to click through the pictures for additional commentary…then again, it may not be worth it.  Guess you'll have to make a judgment call ;-P )

EXTRA EXTRA…
READ ALL ABOUT IT IN
THE GOLDBERG GAZETTE!!!

Secret Behind Yod's Slow Shipping Revealed!

September 8th, Somewhere in California

In a shocking investigation by California's best CHimPs CHiPs, it has been uncovered that Yod's Weekend Photo Scavenger Hunt prize winners are not only NOT getting their prizes, but the prizes are not even actually being mailed!  When confronted with this news, Yod acknowledged this issue, but thrust the blame squarely on his delivery service.

Reptile Parcel ServiceReptile Parcel Service2

Authorities believe this is why Yod has been so slow at getting the Yod Hunt prizes out.

"Those damn reptiles in the Reptile Parcel Service [RPS] are moving slower than molasses!" Yod was quoted as saying to one reporter.  "I have a mind to go down to their main office and fix me up some snake stew, if this keeps up."

One other source, who wished to only be identified as "J" had this to say: "I told him not to go with RPS.  But nooo, would he listen to me?  When I saw those pictures, I yelled at him – You idiot, you didn't even check to see if they employed REAL reptiles!"

The local representative for RPS could not be reached for comment on the issue.

Old Barn Responsible for Slow Decrease in Home Property Values

September 8th, Somewhere in North Carolina

As you drive down the street of one residential neighborhood, you find yourself smiling at the family-sized red brick houses that line the road.  Each house has its own special touches – a beautiful flower bed here, a elegantly designed walkway and entrance there.  With the rising prices for housing in the area, you would never know that this neighborhood was currently being subjected to a plague worse than any known to its residents in the history of the area.

Residents of the area remarked that they would have rather been a victim of a nuclear explosion than have the pictured building in their neighborhood.

The issue is a barn.  Old and dilapidated, this once-quaint structure now screams out in anguish as the tin roof tiles slowly rust and fall from the rotting wooden structure.  One side has settled and appears to be caving in, while a constant parade of squirrels and cats stream in and out of the structure – proof that although this old goat barn may be old, it still provides enough shelter for vermin and wild animals.

The owner of the property has done little to clean up the pile of junk on the second level, even though when interviewed, he promised he would be boarding this over sometime in the near future.  When pressed, he had this to say: "Well, that couple that built that fence there put it so close to my old barn that I'm not sure I can do it now without putting a ladder into their yard."

When the owners of the property in front of this barn were informed of this response, they replied: "We've been here for a year now, and he's never once asked us if he could put a ladder on our property to board up the barn.  We'd be more than happy for him to do so.  We heard this house was on the market for 9 months without a single bid because of that barn.  Frankly, we bought the place knowing the barn was there, but figured it'd probably collapse sometime in the next 3-4 years, and we wouldn't have to look at it anymore after that."

It is unknown how badly this barn is affecting property values in the area.  One local real estate mogul claims the barn has no influence on neighborhood prices.  "We've got plenty of properties in that neighborhood that people have been putting up for sale, and they've been getting quality bids coming in.  I don't see what the big deal is.  If you don't like rustic barns, I've got some great city properties I can show you instead."

Vox Vandalism On the Rise

September 8th, In Your Backyard

Once again, police have determined the recent slew of "picture vandalism" reported by concerned citizens is the work of none other than webloggers using the blogging service provided by Vox.com.  Although the specific individual responsible is still unknown, the rash of crazy photos witnessed by tens of households around the nation has specific clues leading the police back to this internet journal website.

The Work of a Crazy BloggerSnapshot Frenzy on Tree Stump

There are no suspects, but police believe this was the work of crazed bloggers on a scavenger hunt.

Detective Cannutfine Myown-Tuchus had this to say on the matter: "Someone obviously took the time to print out these pictures and do something with them.  There seem to be specific user names on each photo, possibly the login credentials to individual blogs, or gang names.  We are doing everything in our power to track down the criminal behind this flagrant act of vandalism, and I personally have no doubts we will get our man within the week.  Unless he's in another city…then it might take a little longer, since we have to pay for our own long-distance calls."

Cat Burglar Caught After Police Pursuit

September 8th, Somewhere in the United States

After a 24 hour manhunt, police pursued and apprehended the infamous cat burglar Jeff "The Boarder" Bigg, responsible for at least a dozen break-ins and at least one actual robbery.  Mr. Bigg, whose trademark involves wearing winter sports gear while committing his crimes, was picked out of a downtown crowd.  "It's pretty easy to identify 'The Boarder' when it's 97 degrees out and he's wearing a parka and ski-cap," one astute citizen mentioned.

Reporters arrived late on the scene of the capture of Mr. Bigg, and were unable to gather any specifics as to how "The Boarder" was finally apprehended by police.  Captain Ima Winner would not divulge any information regarding the techniques the responding officers used to pacify the individual in question.  "We may need to use these techniques again," says Winner. "The last thing we want is some criminal figuring out how to outsmart us because he knows all our tricks."

It is unknown how this chase ended.

Retractions

The Goldberg Gazette must apologize for the article published in last week's paper.  From the number of complaints we received, we now understand that our photo caption of "Fig. 3-11: Human consuming treat" was ambiguous.  Many wrote in asking if it was supposed to be "Human, consuming treat", or "Human-consuming treat".

We were able to get some better photos for the original story and are publishing them here in this edition of the Gazette.  Hopefully this clears up any confusion.

Human, Eating Treat or Human-Eating Treat?Human, Eating Treat or Human-Eating Treat?

Fig. 3-11: Human consuming treat.

Well, it appears that BOTH interpretations are correct.

Sincerely,
The Editor

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