Chimney Pines

Prompt: Dormant

field of daisies

Welcome to Chimney Pines.

To keep our community verdant, clean, and enjoyable for all, please observe the following regulations:

  1. No smoking in public areas or near doorways.
  2. Sidewalks must be cleared of snow, leaves, dirt, sand, and footprints at all times.
  3. No trees above 7’ in height. No fruit trees. Positively no evergreen trees of any kind, as they shed needles and attract vermin.
  4. No flags containing colors other than red, white, and/or blue.
  5. No flagpoles.
  6. Community board members are elected. Please contact the community office in person for information regarding nominations, campaigning, campaign funding, debate schedules, signage (not permitted), and legal matters. Legal advice is provided without prejudice and is not binding.
  7. Community board members must be over eighteen (18) years of age, and under ninety-five (95) years of age, except with a doctor’s note.
  8. No open fires, indoors or out. No gas fires.
  9. No brick siding, protuberances, or outbuildings.
  10. External door jambs must conform to community standards. Color information and color wheels available at the community office during office hours, 10 am – 3:30 pm. Paint available from Fred Armor’s Building Supplies, on the corner of Maple and Signature Streets, approximately six blocks from the community gates.
  11. No potluck dinners in the community hall, as we are not insured for food-related deaths.
  12. No patterned window coverings.
  13. No bird feeders, as they attract squirrels.
  14. Pets permitted on a case by case basis.
  15. No dogs.
  16. No cats.
  17. No birds.
  18. No rodents or rodent-like animals, or animals the size or texture of rodents.
  19. No bouncy castles.
  20. Fences must conform to community standards. Plans and photographs are available at the community office during office hours. All fence-related products should be purchased at Fred Armor’s Building Supplies, or contact Fred Armor in Unit 2.
  21. No daisies of any kind permitted in view from streets, sidewalks, or helicopters.
  22. No overt displays of affection, including kissing, amorous hand-holding, hugging excessively, sexual intercourse, or licking. Bare feet are permitted during summer hours— seasonal information pamphlet available at the community office.
  23. No formal hats after April 2, even if it falls on a Friday. Straw sunhats and some baseball caps are allowed— seasonal hat information available at the community office except during lunch time hours.
  24. No quoting from political or religious sources, unless complete context is clearly presented.
  25. Ice cream trucks must register at the community office, and may be required to obtain a community work permit. Cash only.
  26. No sirens.
  27. No bulbs or any plantings that require dormancy.
  28. Swimming in the pool is permitted. Pool maintenance is ongoing and may cause temporary pool closure. Please do not contact the community office about pool closures.
  29. No running, spitting, hitting, horseplay, loud noises, or confusing facial expressions at the pool, or anywhere.
  30. No student drivers, learners, or neophytes of any kind permitted on community property.
  31. Only male service animals are allowed on the premises.
  32. Cheese products are not necessarily real cheese, and may not contain dairy products. For information about real cheese, send a written request to the community office.
  33. Logical fallacies are frowned upon. Apply only when outside of community property.
  34. Grandparents permitted on a case by case basis.

Thanks for choosing Chimney Pines!

–F. Armor, Board Chairman

Seasonal Mushrooms

Prompt: Lollipop

shirly-temple-http-www.spisa_.nudrinkImagesdi_10195_3

Jack wore a toupee that was obviously a toupee. It perched uneasily on the top of his head, the dark brown sides not quite blending in with the lighter brown of his own hair at the temples. The problem was, Benni noticed this on their first date but said nothing; now it was too late to point out that the hairpiece “wasn’t working” the way Jack or God intended.

They both ordered a scallop, lemon and sun-dried tomato entree, but when the server set the plates of food in front of them, it was obvious the sun-dried tomatoes were absent. There was nothing red or reddish in the dish at all. Jack had the grace to mention this to the waiter with great dexterity.

“Well now, Jason is it? Jason this looks delicious, but it seems to be lacking an ingredient that was delectably described in the menu, which is to say, sun-dried tomatoes.”

Jason sighed, audibly. “We’re out of them in the kitchen. I can take it back, look for something resembling a sun-dried tomato, insist that it is one, and you eat a lie; or you can sit back and enjoy the scallops which are just fine without the sun-dried tomatoes.”

Benni said, “I would like the dish as described, and if that is not available I will have the Steak with Seasonal Mushrooms, medium rare, thank you, Jason.”

A louder sigh than the first one ensued. Jason begrudgingly swept up the two plates and left silently, rolling his eyes.

“What a dickhead,” said Benni. She wore a new dress, black and white, the pattern of which inadvertently made her look like a French maid. Benni noticed this had a slimming effect, but Jack’s first impression was that she was in costume. He said nothing except that she looked very nice, which she really did.

“I’m guessing they are out of Seasonal Mushrooms,” said Jack.

“I trust your intuition. There was a taco truck on the other side of the parking lot…?”

As they crossed the tarmac to Tio’s Tacos’ (sic) Benni was rooting around in her black leather bag for some cash, since Jack confessed that he had none in his wallet, they heard footsteps and shouting from the back entrance to the restaurant.

“Hey you mo-fuckers!” It was the unmistakeable voice of Jason. He was waving a small slip of paper as he made what appeared to be a hostile approach. Jason was not a very tall man, but had the broad shoulders and meaty forearms of someone who worked out regularly. In truth, he had a girlfriend who was an employee at the women’s gym, She-Shape, who let him in during off-hours to use the equipment, providing he wiped it down carefully after use, which he usually did.

“Thank you Jason, for coming to say good-bye, and we do apologize for our abrupt departure, yet we are no longer motivated to eat any of the food you serve.”

“See this?” said Jason, as if he hadn’t heard Jack’s heartfelt apology. “This says, four dollars for one Shirley Temple and five-fifty for one rye and coke, seven dollars for one side salad with apples and nine-ninety-nine for the meatball/quinoa skewer, and fifty-two dollars for two Steaks with Seasonal Mushrooms, medium rare.” He put his nose only inches from Jack’s, and then slipped the receipt between them so Jack could clearly read it if he crossed his eyes.

“What are the Seasonal Mushrooms?” Benni asked.

Jason broke eye contact with Jack and stared at the French maid. “They are seasonal, out of a can, because there aren’t any growing, so they are seasonal canned mushrooms, and they are fine, as they are still mushrooms,” he growled.

“We felt the food and service lacked any justification for giving you money,” said Jack.

“Well that’s just too damn bad,” said Jason. He grabbed Benni’s purse out of her hand, found her wallet, and started pulling five and ten dollar bills from the banknote compartment. Benni simultaneously reached for her wallet and the cash, and a brief struggle ensued.

Jack then kicked Jason directly on the back of both knees, causing him to pitch forward, at which time Jack swiftly pivoted so that he could punch him in the forehead.

Instead of indulging in tacos, Jack and Benni quickly decided to get into Jack’s car and leave the parking lot while Jason was sputtering, spitting, and incapacitated.

Jack’s apartment was more professionally decorated than Benni would have expected or imagined. Muted, neutral tones combined with splashes of blinding colour, like a neon lime cushion on the grey sofa, and an original abstract oil painting in dizzying shades of yellow hung on the wall over the fireplace.

The kitchen had a concrete counter top, which Benni loathed despite best intentions. “I don’t like it, either,” said Jack, as he filled a stainless steel pot with water and set it to boil.

They had spaghetti with sardines and chick peas, which was better than it sounded, and sat out on the small balcony with their dessert Fudgsicles and coffee.

Later, Benni saw an ideal moment to bring up the bad toupee. They were having rather rough first-time sex in Jack’s king size bed, and in a moment of passion, Benni grabbed the hair at the back of Jack’s head and vigorously pulled, while gasping, “Oh Jack, oh Jack.”

Jack shouted in pain, and the hair did not come away. They stopped, and chests heaving, stared at one another. “I’m sorry,” said Benni. Jack’s hair was a mess, a strange blend of colours, and his own.

“You are not the first one to do that,” said Jack.


The Easy Way

Prompt: Disastrous


Dear Wednesday,

Dry weather and a sudden, widespread dry lightning storm were mostly responsible for more than 200 forest fires so far this summer in British Columbia, Canada, closing highways and causing roughly 40,000 people to be affected by evacuation orders. Depending on wind direction, most people in the province (and also the people in neighbouring states and provinces) will wake up at one time or another to a smoke-filled sky.

The media likes to headline their stories with phrases like “BC is Burning”.

In light of the dry, brittle kindling that comprise much of the forest floor and cover the hillsides this hot summer, were such devastating fires inevitable?

What if BC’s First Nations revived the art of firekeeping? This was a highly valued and spiritual art, passed down from generation to generation, and generally involved controlled burning to clear out brush and create natural fireguards. The population is far greater now, and the scale of the fires much vaster, so perhaps the time of the firekeepers has passed. But I think we lose so much when we turn our backs on natural wisdom and tradition. What do you think? First Nations Firekeepers.

Meanwhile, if you are a minnow, there are minnow disasters to worry about. May I present a small selection of my favourite seaside-themed cartoons?

cartoon beached minnows


cartoon birds hitchcock


cartoon pelican costco


Have a safe and happy summer!

~~FP

Moxie

Prompt: Moxie

dachshund tan

There once was a doxie named Moxie
Who lived in a town called Biloxi.
He liked to play Yahtzee
While hearing Tchaikovsky
Then read a nice pamphlet by Trotsky.

There was a young doxie named Moxie,
Whose foxy young bitch was called Roxie.
He gave her a necklace,
She threw it in his face—
“I want diamonds, I don’t want Swarovski!”

 

Chocolate Chips

Prompt: Tailor

pumpkinseeds1-1020x765

“Your mother wants to be a spy?”

“She keeps applying,” said Chai. She gave her younger brother Flax, who’d been walking quietly beside her on the leash for the past few minutes, a chocolate chip. She read that when leash-training dogs, anyway, that the trick was positive reinforcement. You correct bad behaviour but do not punish. You reward good behaviour, which in Flax’s case was an occasional chocolate chip.

“How do you apply?” Jon asked.

“They give you tests. But they hire people who already work for the government, and so she’s also trying to land a federal job.”

Chai felt the odd drop from an unthreatening rain shower. It was cooling, refreshing. The walks home after picking up Flax from nursery school were so much less stressful now, and Jon was easy company. She would offer him a sandwich when they got to her house— far from the delights of Carly’s basement, but the best she could do.

Chai said, “She has an interview at the federal prison.”

“I thought she was a teacher.”

“She is, but she wants to be a spy.”

“What is her actual name?”

“Her actual name? You mean her name name?” Chai slipped a milk chocolate chip into Flax’s mouth and ruffled his hair. “You are such a good boy, Flax! Poppy. My mother’s name is Poppy.”

“Why is everyone except you named after a seed? There’s Poppy, Pumpkin, Flax, and then you.”

“Well, legend has it that as first born, I was a giant pain. Long labour, painful delivery, complications all around. She tells me about it every so often.” Chai shrugged. “When it came time to write my name on the form, she got confused. She was tired and drugged; apparently they drugged mothers. Painkillers. I’m lucky I’m not addicted to morphine.”

“No kidding.”

“My father was no help.”

“Why not?”

“He was drugged too. In fact they had to admit him around the time my mother was discharged.”

“Your family is kind of interesting, compared to mine,” said Jon.

“So that’s why I’m named after a tea instead of a seed,” said Chai.

Flax stopped in his tracks. “Come on, kiddo,” Chai said, tugging ever so gently.

In one expulsion, Flax emptied the contents of his stomach onto the sidewalk. It was chocolatey brown.

“I’ll try baby carrots next time,” said Chai.


A Little Song, a Little Dance…

Prompt: Bury


Dear Wednesday,

Have you ever made a speech at a funeral? I haven’t. I’ve lost my fear of speaking in front of small groups but there is no way I could pull myself together (and I’m not proud of this) and speak about someone I loved who had just died, without getting choked up, weepy, and unable to pay them proper respect. I did write the occasional eulogy which my older brother would then read. Are you, as a writer, asked to compose eulogies or newspaper notices?

In any case, may I present, in lieu of a selection of my favourite cartoons, the classic excerpt from the Mary Tyler Moore show, The Funeral of Chuckles the Clown.


And, ok, just one of my favourite cartoons, very tangentially related to today’s word prompt:

cartoon surpise dog in heaven


Joy, long life, and surprises…

~~FP

 

Dear Agony Ant: WTF

Prompt: Saturday Night (Repost with new image)

Tsunami


Dear Agony Ant,

What are the worst possible things that could happen on a Saturday night date? Because I think they just happened to me.

Sincerely,
WTF


Dear WTF,

Without question the two worst possible things are:

1. Going out on a double date with your boyfriend’s best friend.

So, you and the best friend don’t get along, mostly because he is everything your boyfriend is not: cocky, arrogant, self-absorbed, sexist, and is none too fond of you, either. You are an adult, right? You can handle this. What you can’t handle is your boyfriend, as the evening wears on, soaking up the friend’s assholery like a sponge, so that when you are alone in the car, driving home, he turns into his best friend. This leads to an argument.

2. Arguments in the car.

There is no escape when you and your fellow combatant are stuck in a moving car. Crawling into the back seat does not help. Shouting sounds twice as loud and three times more hostile. Silences are highly tense moments when you both think of something even worse to say.

And when the boyfriend stops the car, opens the passenger door, and in a grand gesture worthy of his best friend, snarls “Get out!” you have a decision to make.

Do you exit the car in the dark on a country road and hope you get assaulted so boyfriend will feel terrible? Or stay put and stew silently, planning a revenge which includes no sex, ever, for all eternity? Either way, catastrophic.

So avoid the above two situations.

By the way, WTF, what happened to you on your date?

Peace and love,
agony ant


Dear Agony Ant,

I met my new boyfriend at a hotel bar, and he just disappeared, leaving me alone on a bar stool. Second, I lost my purse, or it was stolen. So I had no money and no phone. Then the hotel called the police and I was arrested for prostitution because I asked the guy on the stool next to me for some money. What’s worse, I think the boyfriend stole my purse.

Sincerely,
WTF


Dear WTF,

WTF, indeed.

Love and peace,
agony ant


  • Originally published January 29, 2016.
  • Today’s prompt: Grit