Complement of Condiments

 

“It is not acceptable, you see, when they forget the main …”

“…complements.” Ingrid completed.

“Indeed.” Iris’s gray head bobbed emphatically, loose bun nodding and escapee wisps trailing.

Ingrid touched a hand to her own hair, confirming the tightness of her French braid. All was in order. Good. Iris has always been unbecomingly lax with locks’ management and Ingrid could never understand it. Especially not when Iris was so particular about her condiments’ orderly array.

“I’ll get the hot sauce, then.” Iris turned toward the diner’s kitchen. “And have them hand me some mustard and mayo, while they’re at it.”

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

Untenable

 

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(Photo: The NYPL on unsplash)

 

They didn’t plan to bring

With them

A legion of

Trouble.

They only wished

To find,

For their

Loved ones,

A measure of

Escape.

A new home where

They could

Be safe.

 

 

 

For Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt: Legion in 32 words

 

Time Lines

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The forest floor cushioned their steps. She inhaled the scent of tree and sap and hidden wet. She had forgotten the caresses of fallen leaves and ancient bark under her feet. A flash of sun painted a memory – a small girl running barefoot in the woods, knobby knees peeking under a faded calico dress. Oh, how she had loved that dress!

“Here.”

Albert’s voice called her back into the present. He’d grown old and grumpy. It made her wonder what others thought of her. Eccentric? Obstinate? Silly? Dumb?

She followed her brother’s pointed finger and her heart quickened. A dark line circled a tree.

“Here, too.”

She turned. A fainter line hugged another tree.

Albert faced the first trunk and lifted his arms. His fingertips grazed the line.

She did the same with the second tree. Perfect fit.

Their birth-marked trees had grown exactly as tall as they.

 

 

 

For Crispina‘s Crimson’s Creative Challenge

 

Forgotten Power

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She took another sip of coffee. A small one. To make it last.

A dreary morning meant the outdoor cafe wasn’t busy. Still, the waiter would surely clear her table as soon as her cup ran dry. He’d already deposited the check to flutter underneath the saucer. Hastening her to remove the eyesore of tattered bags and unkempt hair from the establishment.

Her chest tightened and her hand trembled. She forced in a deep breath.

She used to own the place. In better days.

She could still see it, riding through her mind’s eye. Her colorfully beloved Flower Power Cafe.

 

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

Photo prompt: © Brenda Cox

 

Little Brother

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(Photo: Jan Kopřiva on Unsplash)

 

When he grew up, he was going to be like his big brother.

Tall. Proud. Sturdy. Up to the task.

For now, he had to comfort himself with the benefits of smaller stature.

Getting into nooks and crannies, fitting where his brother could not bend or fold to reach.

When he grew up, he was going to be like his brother.

Heavily bristled. Proudly mustached.

Meanwhile, Brush put his still-short-bristles to good use through many chores.

This way, once grown, he could graduate to being a Broom.

 

 

For Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt: Brush in 87 words

 

A Heart of Stone

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“All you have is this little wheelbarrow?”

Marsha nodded.

Shelly shook his head.

“I don’t mind how long it takes,” the despair in Martha’s voice was overshadowed by determination. “And anyway, this won’t be too heavy.”

Shelly shrugged. “You’d change your mind after you make a few trips pushing this rusty thing uphill against the wind.”

In the weeks that followed Marsha wondered more than once if her brother had conjured the wind just to spite her. Dust and grit found purchase in her eyes and throat. Her palms grew red, then raw, then rough.

And still, she pushed the loaded wheelbarrow through gravel and scrub brush and small canyons of cracked earth that manifested overnight upon the path she forged across the steppe.

Slowly the grave-marker took shape.

“I’ve brought the stones from our creek, Mama,” she whispered as she placed each carefully. “Your heart will never again thirst.”

 

 

 

For Crispina‘s Crimson’s Creative Challenge

The Better To See You

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They were almost at their hotel when they decided to explore one more alley. The afternoon light painted shadows on cracked asphalt and colored the buildings sepia-toned.

How apt, Barbara thought, for an antique shop.

Phrenology skulls stared blankly through incongruous shades. Ancient radios stood amidst forgotten family photographs.

“Shall we check it out?”

Avigdor shuddered. “I feel watched.”

Barbara’s arm hairs raised at the thought. Or was it more? She giggled, a bit too loudly. They wouldn’t, would they? Not all the way here?

Avigdor turned to leave. The neon glasses blinked.

“Won’t you come in?” a skull voiced.

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

Photo prompt: © Roger Bultot

By The Books

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Photo: MoneyforCoffee on Pixabay

 

Now that it was all hers, she wanted none of it.

She didn’t give an iota for questions or neighbors’ looks.

Out went the furniture. The clothing. The towels.

The reminders of swindlers and rooks.

She got rid of the bedding, the shelving,

The whole kit and caboodle in numerous crannies and nooks.

There was naught in the house for her

But memories of pain and emotional hooks.

She cleaned out the lot

And left only the books.

 

 

 

For Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt: Caboodle in 78 words