Cherish is the Word

Prompt: Cherish

merry christmas rabbit

My Christmas presents this year:

  • “Happy” perfume
  • Terry’s Dark Chocolate Orange
  • Computer headset
  • Poncho
  • Red gloves
  • Tablet stylus
  • Beatles’ Eight Days a Week documentary DVD
  • Sketch-a-Day Journal
  • The Interpreter of Maladies (novel)

What I cherish:

  • My family, friends, and dog
  • Chocolate
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Shipwrecked

Prompt: Calling


Hello Wednesday,

My brother is in Amsterdam for three months and has been trying to call. For some reason I am not around when he phones, and he sent an email saying it was like trying to contact someone in North Korea. I wonder how he knows that? All this travel to visit his girlfriend– really? You think you would know someone you grew up with, but people who live in the shadows of politics, cartels, and/or dark webs must have their ways of deceiving even their families.

I can only hope he works for the good guys. There are no guarantees, however, even though our nana used to pinch his cheek and say, “Be a good boy!” It was more a command than a suggestion, and the pinch was a taste of the pain to come if he sinned.

Be a good boy, brother, or nana will pinch the bejeezus out of you when you join her in heaven.

In the spirit of today’s daily prompt, calling, may I present a few of my favourite cartoons, the first of which is tenuously connected to the theme?

cartoon call you back


cartoon shipwrecked


cartoon tax cuts


Have a great day, and good luck with the lottery.

fluffy pool pencil sketch

Blessing

Prompt: Compass

pecans

Isabel didn’t like lesbians, but that didn’t stop her allowing them to join the Union. In fact, she had developed a degree of sympathy with their rejection of men; she longed to marry and have more children, but if given a chance, would happily strangle her ex-husband to death.

In any case, the lesbians buttressed up the Union, which now stood at forty-plus girls and recruitment was still and always a priority. Before long, they might control over half the prison population.

It was necessary for Isabel to make her way through her daily routine with an entourage, not just for personal protection but because there were always errands, persistent supplicants, spontaneous ideas that needed recording; and, of course, to maintain the aura of authority among Union members and potential recruits. In this crumbling castle with plaster walls the colour of ice-crusted leaves, where the shrillness of voices was amplified by wide empty hallways and panic, and where dullness and soul-destroying monotony were dutifully embraced, the sight of Isabel with her brightly dyed red hair and completely illegal red fingernails, surrounded by hand-picked and deferential subjects, all looking well-fed and alert and alive, was memorable and aweful.

The guards tolerated her with good grace and by the convenience of bribes, usually drugs or favours, but sometimes too because they were no more immune to spectacle and the mysticism of hierarchy than the girls were.

Isabel’s first feat of magic was the curtains she negotiated/ battled for in the main toilets, a victory she insisted was successful because of the support of certain fellow inmates, the girls whom she dubbed the Union. And as she continued to serve her time, she struck a secret deal with Armando, a senior guard, for the safe and consistent import of various narcotics, the most popular of which was not cocaine or heroin but Xanax, and the siphoning of profits to an external account. She set up an inmate-controlled medical emergency system, so her girls would not die of the drugs she smuggled. She petitioned small, independent operations with the prison walls to amalgamate with her Union, less by threat than by luxurious coercion.

You would almost, Miss Fisher said of her one day to her friend Wendy, believe that Isabel had been a powerful businessperson and negotiator in the real world. Perhaps her crimes had been of the corporate variety?

Oh no, Wendy had told her. Wendy was intimate with Tricia, who was one of Isabel’s closest aides and confidantes.

Isabel was the daughter of illegal immigrants who were deported, though not before they abandoned and entrusted their child to the care of a friend, who turned out to be a notorious madame, Wendy told Miss Fisher, who raised Isabel to be a pampered and prized virgin ready for auction, until Isabel was raped by her English teacher and subsequently booted from the brothel.

Homeless for years, Isabel fell in with a pleasant and shy man who imported cocaine from Colombia. They married and had two children before he turned federal witness, at which time they were banished to a small town in Minnesota, where he continued to import cocaine with a new set of suppliers until he was arrested again. Isabel and the children moved to Miami but as homelessness loomed and she was unable to otherwise support the children, she began a short-lived career as a drug mule.

Her husband divorced her while she was in prison; and after being released again, he took custody of the children and moved them to the American Virgin Islands, where he continued to live as a roofing/ drug importer.

“Fascinating,” said Miss Fisher. “It would make quite the story, if true.”

“Even if it isn’t,” said Wendy. “Anyway she’s always had to scrabble and scrub for a living. She had nothing yet lost everything. Hardly a corporate or any kind of power.”

“She wants my blessing,” Miss Fisher said. Wendy wasn’t sure if Miss Fisher was still talking to her. Sometimes her aging mind wandered, these days.

“Your blessing?”

“Oh yes, for her Union. She imagines I have some kind of influence,” said Miss Fisher.

“She wants you to join?”

“She does, indeed. And you too. And all my little friends.”

It was a Sunday afternoon early in November, but so sun-lit and warm that they’d removed their old woolen coats and scarves and basked in the unexpected glow. Their bench backed against the stuccoed utility building and faced a tall chain-link fence, beyond which was a sparse forest of spruce and fir; the closest to a view location that was available anywhere on the grounds.

“She could probably source some pecans for you,” Wendy said. She leaned back and closed her eyes, pretending for a moment she was enjoying a supple, warm day anywhere else.

“Do you think so?” asked Miss Fisher.

Wendy nodded, hoping Miss Fisher was watching. She felt deliciously drowsy, and probably could have dozed off, if she hadn’t felt the pierce of a frozen droplet on her forehead.

She sat up. The sun still shone, but the air had turned bitterly cold. Miss Fisher was pulling on her jacket again. All around her the air was filled with ice rain— tiny sharp pellets of ice that sparkled in the sunlight like shards of tinsel.

“Amazing, isn’t it,” said Miss Fisher. “How things can change in an instant.”

Rolling in the Aisles

Prompt: Inheritance


Dear Wednesday,

Christmas is coming… and I need to send off packages and cards and finish the tree decorating, and plan our Christmas Eve, so instead of an essay on “inheritance” may I present a few of my favourite cartoons on the subject?

cartoon blessed are geeks


cartoon meek middle class


cartoon meek sermon


Have a wonderful week! Let’s do some writing even when we don’t have time…

~~FP

Literally

Prompt: Saintly


Hello Wednesday!

Doesn’t it sometimes feel like the really good people have gone underground, and so we have to put up with the terribles in the news all the time?

News fit for television and Internet tends to be sensational, allegedly sexy, and catering, so they say, to the lowest common denominator. Who sets that bar except the people feeding us the news?

The news media is currently under fire from the current American administration, which, if you adhere to to the belief that “the enemies of my enemies are my friends” means that the media are our great allies. And some of them are.

The media shapes our outlook and our attitudes in profound ways. We are under the impression that daily life is more perilous than ever, when the opposite is true. We are well informed on the lives of celebrities, but wallow in ignorance about relevant issues at home and abroad.

I don’t think the media reservoir that spews out trivia and hysteria and the pricks of life masquerading as trends, will change until we demand more and better. It’s hard to demand more and better when you don’t even know what the options are, however.

May I present a couple of my favourite cartoons, tenuously related to today’s prompt, saintly, and one that is completely unrelated, yet seasonal and delicious?

cartoon bibilcal writings


cartoon son cooperating


cartoon don't need a tree


Until we meet again…

~~FP

Running with Friends

Prompt: Age

leonardo_dicaprio-gt

 

Leep looked in the mirror. Now, he didn’t like looking in the mirror as a rule, except when he was shaving, and even then he merely concentrated on the contours of his cheek and the avoidance of a blood accident. But today was his birthday, a landmark birthday, and he needed to have the courage to look.

There were lines around his eyes. He could see them without even moving closer to the glass; and they couldn’t be laugh lines, since Leep didn’t laugh all that much. And there were deep lines around his mouth when he just relaxed the muscles in his face. Was his neck a bit saggy? Leep didn’t know. He was pretty sure, however, that Leonardo DiCaprio didn’t have a neck like his, bordering on saggy.

The problem was, Leep was no closer to marriage than he had been a year ago, or two years ago, or even three. He didn’t even have a girlfriend. He’d been pretending that those dinners and lunches with his publisher, Amanda, were dates. That’s what he told the guys at work, if they asked. But she wasn’t interested in Leep as a person, just as a potential children’s book author, which really, was fine with Leep.

As for Lizzie (known as Beth to everyone else), well, driving by her house once a week in a test driven automobile, or dropping off clippings about her murdered son-in-law as an excuse to see her, or hanging out with Franco the Butcher just because he happened to be at her house a lot, did not exactly constitute a romantic relationship.

He checked his Mark Nepo. “Stop recording the poetry of life,” he advised in his book, “and enter the poetry of life.”

That sounded like good advice.

But Leep didn’t know where the entrance was.

So he got out his notebook, and wrote:

Step 1: Date
Step 2: Girlfriend
Step 3: Wedding
Step 4: Children

It didn’t sound very poetic, but these were concrete steps towards entering life the way other people did.

This is why Leep found himself, on his landmark birthday, in front of his HP laptop at the dining room table, with a lukewarm bottle of Twin Sails Hefeweizen on a cardboard coaster beside the computer, trying to fill out the profile information on the website “Plenty of Fish in the Sea”.

He was a writer, this shouldn’t be so hard. Though he had to admit that composing a list of interests that would intrigue a young woman was far removed from recording the adventures of the Blue Rabbit. Or was it?

Favourite food: Carrots
Favourite leisure activitis: Running with friends; digging tunnels
Best feature: Ears

Yes, this could work! Leep smiled and rubbed his jaw, and suddenly realized he’d forgotten to shave that morning. He would go without this day. He’d had enough of the mirror.