Archive for Mostly fiction

Nov. 10, 2018:

carole singersYesterday, I went to the grocery store to pick up a few items–bread, milk, etc.–and when I walked in, I heard them, and then saw them. Three young women—one with a ukulele, singing Christmas songs. They weren’t bad, but not that good either. Someone had obviously told them they sounded “just like” Lady Antebellum. To say the least it was irritating, so I quickened my step and hurried toward the other side of the store. They followed me. No, really.

So! l ducked down the bread aisle, where things went from bad to worse. I tried to grab a loaf of bread as I went and, of course, wound up with a “loaf” of something one molecule above rice cakes. Didn’t care, and only discovered after I got home that it was some kind of 98 grain (none of which were flour), gluten free, no sugar, no salt, no ANYTHING, organic “loaf?” What? If it’s not bread, don’t put it in the bread aisle!

They found me. I looked back as they were turning down the aisle, singing, “All I Want For Christmas is YOU”. They seemed to be shouting now, and their eyes were glowing. Smoke was coming from the ukulele strings! When I turned to flee, the aisle was completely blocked by carts, each of which had a little old lady behind it. They were all glaring at me like I’d yelled BINGO and was only playing with one card! I was trapped!

I must have blacked out.

As I stood in my kitchen, reading the ingredients list on the crushed loaf of whatever it was, wondering where it had come from, the doorbell went, doo-oon-guuh. I really need to fix that.

One of the policemen—there were four of them, two waiting at the curb, probably in case I tried to make a run for it—was very understanding—he had a great smile—and said no charges would be filed by the store if I’d go back and pay for the loaf. His partner said it would also probably be a good idea if after that I stopped at the music store and picked up a ukulele. He said the owner of the one I’d run over with my pickup—several times—would probably be willing to drop the assault charges if it was a premium model. He said the Santa hat she’d been wearing had saved her from serious injury.

I’m not gonna shop at that store again until after New Years.

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Soup in My Fly

I thought y’all might could use a little Monday morning giggle!

A Fly In My Soup

 

There’s a fly in my soup, I shouted 

A hush fell over the room                       

The big cook with one lazy eye                  

Stared straight at me…. I assumed

 

Slowly, he walked to my table

A pin dropping could not have been heard

Said, say it again ‘bout the bug, my friend

And it may be your very last words

 

Well baloney, I thought and then I said, what

To me you’ll not speak to like that

He gave a big grin, looked right at me again (I think)

Then the soup hit my lap with a splat

fly in soup

Laughter uproarious filled the room

I blushed and then leapt from my seat

Looked up at my huge assailant

And then hastily beat my retreat

 

Arrived at the house much disheveled

The wife said, oh me and oh my

Dear I must ask you this question

Did you know you’ve got soup in your fly?

 

Copyright © 1998 C. Mashburn

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Speaking of Gary Williams

What? … Oh, I know we weren’t speaking of him, but I saw a post his sister, Karen, put on Facebook, and it made me want to share this with y’all again. He’s a fine fellow, and he just loves to poke fun at me about some of the adventures (incidents) I write about. I don’t mind; the old fart is getting along in years, and his memory isn’t that sharp anymore, so I let him prattle on. I know he doesn’t mean any harm, and when it comes to being quick witted, he’s pretty much a non-threat. But enough about that; let me tell you how me and ol’ Gare squared off for the tennis championship one fine spring day.

………………

minion tennis I was a junior, and Gary was a senior (again). He’d been on the tennis team all six years he was in high school, and because of the longevity of his career, he was the best player on the team. Of course, everything is relative, and you have to understand that nobody played tennis at our little high school in those days—except girls… and Gary. He was the only guy on our tennis team, and thus, as I said, the best we had.

We did, however, have to play tennis in PE class. It wasn’t something most of us enjoyed—except Gary—but it was only for a few weeks each year, and we tolerated it. Gary hated it, because most of us—even some of the freshmen—could beat him. He was, by the way, undefeated in conference play. The school refused to haul him to away games, and none of the other schools in our conference would bring one guy to our campus just to play Gary. But! He never lost!

It was pretty comical when tennis season would roll around in PE class. We all had to wear the basic PE uniform; blue shorts and a white T-shirt, but not Gary. No way! He showed up in his starched white shorts and dazzlingly bright white polo shirt, with this red scarf around his neck. He kind of reminded us of Snoopy when he does the Red Baron thing, except—thank goodness—Gary wore pants.

Gary somehow fell mysteriously ill during PE tennis season his senior year. Rumor was he had mono, but we all knew he couldn’t possibly have that. It was common knowledge you got it from kissing girls, and there was no way Gary could have gotten it. Just sayin.

Due to an unfortunate miscalculation on his part, Gary showed up for the last day of PE tennis. He tried to fake a fainting spell and get excused but Coach Ramsey just grinned and said he’d have to play. It was the last day, as I said—the day we had our tournament—and as you might guess, I wound up playing against Gary for the championship. It wasn’t like we had a big double elimination tournament or anything like that; we simply blasted the ball around the court until most everybody got tired and took a seat on the benches beside the court. Gary and I happened to be the last two on the court.

I walked up to the net—Gary stood back at the serving line, eyeing me warily as I approached—and when I arrived at the net, I said, “One game for the championship?”

Gary looked over at all the other guys and Coach; they were all grinning at him, and he turned red as a baboon’s butt in the summertime, then yelled at me in his high-pitched voice, “You’re on!” It was more of a whine than a yell, but I’m trying to give him some credit for at least accepting the challenge.

I won’t bore you with the details, but I beat him pretty soundly. Not that I was any good at the game—I wouldn’t admit it if I was, because it wasn’t cool to be good at tennis in those days—but, truth be known, Gary was simply too big and slow for the game. He likes to tease me about how slow I was back then, but I heard one of the baseball coaches laughing one time and saying how Gary was slower than a moose in a mud bog. It was sadly true.

So there you go; the story of how I beat the school tennis champ at his own game.

 

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A Soft Knocking

A Soft Knocking” was originally a rather long short story, which I whittled down to just under 500 words for a contest a few years back. Every time I come across it, I can’t resist toying with it, and on one of those occasions I re-wrote it in poem form. It’s rather long for a poem but give it a read if you’ve got the time. I think you will find it quite entertaining.

A Soft Knocking

In my very bones I could feel the morning dampness

   My dark and dreary world having steeped in slow rain

      Throughout the long and silent night

writer at desk 

The lamp flickering on my desk

   cast a warm glow upon my work

      But did nothing to ease the chill in the room

 

A faint ringing in the distance

   A carriage bell

      Not something I often heard

         Rushed a chill through my veins

 

Then a woman’s scream sliced the cold morning air

 

I moved quickly to my window

   And with trembling hand eased the curtain aside

 

A coffin-like visage approached

   The light snap of a whip sounded

        The steed… paying whip no mind

            Continued at a slow trot then fought the bit with turn of head

                 When the driver pulled back on rein and brake sliding the coach to a stop

 

I turned away

   Knowing with sick dread the carriage had come for me

      Then… wishing not to see, yet knowing I must

         I turned back to the window

 

The driver stared forward

   Face hidden by shadow of brim

      The stallion looked over its shoulder

         Eyes wild and gleaming

            Snorting steam from black nostrils

As…

 

The door swung slowly wide

   And a slender leg clad in white silk stocking

      Appeared at the coach door then fell to the muddy road   

         A river of blood flowed from the severed limb

 

Again, I turned away

   An angry fist squeezing my heart

      And I knew with instant dread

         Never more…

            Would my pen scratch the page

 

I heard the “Yaw” of the driver

   A crack of the knotted whip

      The scream of the beaten steed piercing the damp air

         Like an ice pick

            Through a warm beating heart

And then…

   There came at my door…

      A soft knocking

 

My aged eyes watered as one icy tear trickled

   Slowly… down my rugged cheek

Then…

   Not knowing how I’d arrived there

      I stood looking at the great door

         My mind fighting to stay my hands

             As they moved toward the bolt

 

And … once again… there came…

   A soft knocking

 

Of its own accord

   The door swung slowly open

      And from behind me

         A small hand gently pushed

 

I tumbled into the deep blackness outside my castle door

   Light had fled my world

      Tumbling… tumbling…

         I floated through the darkness

            Lungs burning as I breathed

               The vile substance in which I flew

 

Suddenly…

   I knew with solemn certainty

      It was the taste

         The smell

               The feel…

                  Of ink

 

I knew, too…

   Who it was had come to fetch me

      ‘Twas all those of whom I had written

            In my years at the desk

               Those whose lives I had created

                  Then… taken

                      Oft in brutal fashion

                          In the dark stories I’d told

 

But the cruelest of my acts

   Was the shunning of the one in white silk stockings

      Who wanted naught from the world but my ungiven love

 For this sin

   I will forever hear

      As I tumble through my madness

         … a soft knocking

 

Copyright © 2012 C. Mashburn

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The Rest of the Story

Okay, it was a beautiful day, and playing golf was almost a necessity. I love to take pictures while I golf and share them on Facebook with all my friends and family. Some of them—mostly those that work during the day—aren’t as appreciative of the beautiful pictures and funny quips attached to them as others but, hey, you can’t please everybody all the time.

orange ballSo yesterday, I posted this picture of the brightest orange golf ball I’ve ever seen (the picture doesn’t do it justice) and said some funny things about it. It’s a good thing I took the picture, because I put the ball in a water hazard a few holes later. (It would have stayed in the fairway if it hadn’t hit that tree.) Anyhow… here’s the rest of the story:

I found the orange ball behind the third tee box, which happens to have a major thoroughfare running behind it. The ball surprisingly was inside a bank bag. Yep. One of those big ones that looks like a canvas trash bag. I’m sure you’ve seen them in a movie—or cartoon—on TV. It had the name of a local bank on it, so after I finished my round (by the way, there wasn’t any money in it) I drove down the street behind said third tee box to see if there was a branch of the bank nearby. Sure enough, at the first big intersection, there it was.

So… being the upstanding citizen I am, I pulled in and walked into the bank with the bag. They must’ve all thought I was somebody important, because every teller and two guys sitting at desks immediately began to stare at me. A couple of the gals looked scared, which I could not make sense of. I’m not the handsomest fella you’ll run into but jeez, y’all.

I didn’t notice the security guard when I went in, but he was suddenly behind me, and had a gun in my back. “Don’t move,” he said. I moved.

Not only did I move, I yelled, “Bank robbery!” then turned and slapped the gun out of his hand. He lost all his nerve at that and ran out the front door waving his arms. My first thought was he wasn’t much of a bank robber, and then I grinned, thinking, what kind of idiot wears a rent-a-cop uniform to rob a bank. Amazingly—much to my delight—a police car slid to a stop in front of the bank, and two cops jumped out. Nice! I thought. They got him before he could get away. Imagine my confusion when the cops ran right past the robber and busted in the door pointing their guns at me. I thought maybe they’d seen another robber behind me, so I turned and looked toward the teller windows. Everybody was gone. I found out a few minutes later they were still there, but they’d ducked down behind the counter, and the two guys at their desks had crawled under them.

One of the cops yelled, “Freeze!” The other one shouted, “Don’t move!” Then the first one said, “Drop the bag!” And the second one said, “Put your hands in the air!” Seemed they might’ve done this before. They were very well rehearsed.

I turned around to face them and said, “You talkin ta me?” In what I thought was a good Italian accent. They were not amused.

It took some doing, but I finally convinced them I wasn’t a bank robber, and after a trip to the station where they fingerprinted me and told me not to leave town, they let me go. So… if you want some good advice; If you find a bank bag on the golf course—anywhere for that matter—leave it there.

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Just a Normal Guy

I play golf a lot, and many times I play alone. Back in the day, most courses didn’t allow players to play alone. I stumbled upon such a course yesterday, and they put me with another group of three. Two of them I’d never seen before, but the other one was quite recognizable.

 

Matt

He told me I could take pictures, but asked me not to put them on Facebook. But… hey, he’ll never see it, ’cause he doesn’t know who I am!

“Hey, Matt,” I said, shaking hands with him. “What’re you doing in this neck of the woods?”

 

He grinned, then turned to put his clubs on the cart. “Got a couple cousins over here,” he said, nodding at the two loading their clubs on another cart. “Hey, Josh and Dan! Come over here and meet…” he looked at me for a name. “Charlie,” I said. “Come over here and meet, Charlie.” They came over, we all shook hands, then they went back to the cart. “They’re not very sociable,” he said. He grinned then sauntered over to the driver’s side of the cart. As I slid into the other side, I grinned back at him and said, “That’s okay. I ain’t either.” He grinned again and said, “Right, right, right.”

At the first tee, Josh and Dan were not happy about their respective hook and slice. Looking to cheer them up, I said, “Okay boys, I only have one rule; get back to the house without hurting anyone.” Josh and Dan looked at me like they thought I wasn’t funny, but Matt laughed and punched my shoulder. “Gonna be a good day,” he said.

And it was. We had a good time all day, listening to Dan and Josh grumble and cuss as we tried to help them find their golf balls. The trees and brush lining the fairways were thick, and those boys seemed to like to play anywhere but the fairway.

As we were heading from number seventeen green over to the last tee, Matt looked over and said, “Pops (that’s what he’d decided to call me), I enjoyed the heck outta playing golf with you today.” I said, “Well, the feeling is mutual, son. You’re an okay fella.”

As we climbed out of the cart at the eighteenth tee, he met me around back of the cart and said, “You treat me like a normal guy. I like that.”

“Well… Matt…” I said. “You are fairly normal.” I was grinning, but before I continued, I put on a serious face. “And besides, you’re not the most famous actor I’ve ever met.”

He looked at me with a hurt expression and said, “Right, right, right. And who was this famous actor you met before me?”

I pulled my driver from my bag and said, “Jimmy Caan.”

“Who?” He said, with a confused look on his face.

We both got a laugh out of that and were still chuckling as we watched Josh hook his drive into the number ten fairway. He blamed us, saying we’d been messing up his game all day with our constant chatter and giggling. That got us to laughing out loud, which didn’t help Dan’s slice a bit.

The glare he gave us after his ball vanished into the pines led me to believe we might not make it back to the house without somebody getting hurt.

 

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Ain’t I a Hoot!

 

IMG_20171016_150100797_HDR

This is yours truly, demonstrating how to properly attire one’s beverage of choice while on the links. On this day I’d chosen the lime green Rimz One koozie to keep my Shiner Bock nice and cool.

I have been known to be a bit of a smart aleck now and then. No, no, I understand how most of you will find that hard to believe, but it’s true. Every once in a great while, I slip from my mild-mannered, courteous ways, and say something inappropriate.

 

My golfing buddy Jay Bird has often wandered into the path of one of my salvos, but being a bit of a wise-guy his own-self, he usually walks away none the worse for wear. I got him good one day though.

We were playing a nice course out Kingsland way called The Legends. It’s one of those rolling, wide-open golf courses, where guys like us can usually get back to the clubhouse without hurting anyone or breaking any windows. Jay Bird does not like to play on those courses that have houses lining the fairways; freaks him out worse than a water hazard full of alligators.

So, we were in the middle of one of those wide, rolling fairways, and Jay Bird’s ball had come to rest on a slope. The ball was below his feet, and he was trying to figure out how to set up to hit it properly. He discussed the situation with himself—at length—and when he finally reached the conclusion of the self-seminar, he took a mighty swing and hit the ball about ten feet directly to the right of where he was standing.

He turned, threw out his hands—he said he didn’t mean to throw the club, but I gave him a seven for distance and a eight for form—and commenced to complaining as to how he never could remember how to set up for a shot when the ball was below his feet. As we drove over to get his club, I shrugged and said, “You shoulda asked me.”

“Oh,” he said, as he hopped out of the cart, picked up his club, and started walking back to his ball. It was on level ground this time, and he hit a decent shot that landed just short of the green.

A few holes later, he found himself with another shot, almost identical to the one he’d muffed before. He chose a club, walked over and surveyed the situation, then turned to me and said, “Okay, Mr. Palmer, how am I supposed to set up to hit this shot?”

I shrugged my shoulders and said, “Beats me.”

One of his eyebrows shot up high on his forehead, and he said, “Well, you told me I should ask you!”

I smiled and said, “I didn’t say I would know.”

Ain’t I a hoot?

 

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