The Ball And The Bread

Photo: Sue Vincent

 

“You’ll stand on one side of the bridge, and I’ll cross it to the other.”

Millie considered.

Sylvia could be tricky. Sometimes the spunky neighbor was a delightful friend. Other times … not so much. And that’s not counting mishaps. Millie lost tally of how many times her playmate had landed her in trouble.

Millie’s hand rose to absentmindedly rub her backside. It still sported a bruise from the last ‘adventure’ Sylvia took them on. That tree limb would never grow again, and Millie’s piggy bank was half-emptied from the fine her parents had levied.

She looked at the pond. The water lilies floated serenely on the surface. A dragonfly hovered before dipping elegantly to paint a ripple. A frog leaped and splashed and swam underneath a wide green leaf. A bird chirped nearby.

It was perfect.

“I’m fine just relaxing here on the bank,” Millie decided.

“We won’t disturb anything,” Sylvia countered, flinging a braid behind a shoulder.

Millie shuddered. It was one of the things that were uncanny about Sylvia. Millie was positive the girl could read minds.

“I brought a ball,” Sylvia enticed. “And bread.”

The ball must be Denny’s, Sylvia’s brother, and almost certainly swiped without permission. The bread? Well, that was probably not ill got.

“No ball,” Millie said, then sighed. Somehow she always gave in to what became a kind of bargaining, when she in fact wanted none of the options to begin with.

“Great!” Sylvia scampered across the narrow bridge. “I’ll toss bread crumbs in the water and make some waves. You corral. Let’s see how many frogs we can get!”

 

 

 

For Sue Vincent’s Write Photo

 

 

 

Rudy’s SOS

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Photo: Keith Channing

 

It was a quiet early hour at Headquarters.

Bernice was doing her nails. Bertrand had a foot perched on his desk and was clipping his toenails. Benny was (as always) squinting into one of his miniature rice grain paintings. Bella was snoring. Bonita was munching on crackers. Bruno was belittling Baron’s game-score. And Brittney, brittle as usual, was cradling the radio’s earphones even as she browsed the internet for interesting short film ideas.

Suddenly the switchboard sounded jingle bells and lit up in flashing green, red, and gold.

A Santa call!

In her fluttery rush to respond, Brittney almost dropped the microphone.

Bruno dove to save it. Those things were brilliant but brutally expensive. None of them wanted it docked from their pay for negligent breakage.

“North Pole,” he breathed into the mouthpiece.

“SOS! SOS!” The reedy voice could only be from one origin.

“Rudolph?!” Bruno rolled his eyes and hit the speaker button. The reindeer’s dramatic flair was brilliantly entertaining. “What are you doing on the radio? You know you’re not permitted.”

The radio screeched as Rudolph must have cranked the volume to its maximum.

“Shut up, shut up!! You moron! SOS! SOS!”

Bernice dropped her polish. Bertrand cursed. Benny’s rice grain rolled off the tray. Bella fell off her recliner. Bonita choked. Brittney fainted. Baron stared.

Rudolph was colorful but he was not prone to cursing.

Bruno’s cleared his throat.

“Sheesh, Rudy. Is it really an emergency?”

“Are you deaf? It’s an SOS!! Code Red. Code Red. Santa Off Sled. The darn temporary ladder that Brenda borrowed from Pottery Barn broke. Santa’s hanging by a thread! Send Feathered Fairy Fred!”

 

 

 

For Kreative Cue 240

 

 

All Caught Up

IMG_0192a

 

She leaned back, took a long look around, and sighed in satisfaction.

He’d love it. She was sure he would.

It took three full weeks and dozens of hours, but now every piece of paper he’d ever owned was alphabetized and catalogued. The photos organized by color, location, and main character. The receipts tagged and ranked by preference: favorite things first, the things he’d never order again, last.

He was due home by nightfall. She could only imagine his delight.

The office was transformed. So was the garage. She even organized the nets and oar for an artistic touch. Bronzed all his mementos so they matched.

No more desk and drawers. No more folders. No more boxes with a mishmash of photos and cards. Goodbye to letters stacked together by arbitrary designations of correspondence, when they could be more logically sorted by zip code (or when there was none noted, ordered alphabetically by addressee’s given name and divided by paper-type).

It had been a Herculean task, but she was undaunted. Who but her would take it on to help him out?

She couldn’t wait to show him how she’d got him all caught up.

 

 

For Keith’s Kreative Kue #236

 

 

Suspiciously Quiet

be like mommy

Photo: Pinterest

 

The quiet lingered enough to have the mother lift her head from the small screen of the phone.

“Emma?” She inquired.

A longer silence returned no response.

She rose and walked toward the child’s bedroom. The three-year-old was outgrowing afternoon naps but sometimes still could be found slumbering amidst her toys.

The door was open. The girl’s room was empty. She peeked into the bathroom. Empty, too.

“Emma!?” Her voice rose. This time in alarm.

A faint shuffle came from the direction of the master bedroom. Nothing more.

“Emma, where are you?” She demanded.

“Here …” The extra pause and small voice held suspicious hesitation.

Urgency made the few steps feel oddly prolonged. The woman felt heartbeat pulse in the space between her tongue and throat. She pushed open the door …

The child’s cheeks were mascara blotches, her mouth and chin bloomed various shades of lipstick. She had a second set of eyebrows. Her little feet sported rose hues that merged into the floor. The room reeked from a cacophony of perfumes, nail polish, and something that smelled suspiciously like aftershave.

“Hi,” the little girl managed, guilty as they come. “I … I was getting pretty so it be your party.”

 

 

For The Daily Post