Tag Archives: Flash Fiction Friday

#FlashFictionFriday: Cats and the Laws of Physics

 

Today I am reprising a piece from May 2014, a  flash fiction containing a hairball of truth. Enjoy!


I realized the other day that I am a cat lady. Oh, I don’t own a cat or even a dog for that matter, but I am still a cat lady.  I love cats… ceramic cats. I have 3 of them.

They are the perfect companions. Their demeanor is a little aloof, but what do you expect from a cat?  They rarely meow, eat very little, require only an occasional dusting, and never try to hijack my laptop.

I’ve never yet had to clean up a hairball.

That said, there is something lacking in my relationship with these strangely well-behaved creatures.

Alas, I am a lazy woman. The amount of vacuuming a living cat introduces into my life breaks the laws of physics. Let’s do the math–I’m an author, so we’ll do it with a story-problem:

Mr. & Mrs. Catpeople are humans who currently have 0 cats. They are ordinary people, not too messy, and not too tidy. Normally, they only have to vacuum their bungalow once a week. One spring day Mrs. Catpeople loses her suburban mind and decides to bring home a cat. If she only had to vacuum the house 1 time a week when two humans resided in her home, how many times will she vacuum with the addition of a cat?

Okay… 2 people + 1 cat = 3 creatures.  So, if she cleans once a week when there are 2 creatures in the house, with the addition of a third creature, and assuming you can’t half-vacuum (although you can vacuum half-assed), it should mean she has to vacuum twice a week.

But the fur on the sofa appears every day as if by magic, increasing exponentially with the arrival of guests, which requires her to vacuum morning and evening… so that = 14 times a week that Mrs. Catpeople must haul out the Hoover.

See? I’ve done the math, and it doesn’t add up. Of course, I failed traditional math classes regularly, but according to my calculations,  Mrs. C will be up to her eyeballs in cat fluff inside of two weeks, because no normal human being can keep up with that amount of flying fur.

The only reasonable conclusion one can come to is that cats clearly do not obey the same rules of physics as humans do. After all, when it stands on your chest at 3:25 a.m., does your 7 lb cat not gain 25 lbs?

And when they see the invisible object of their desire at the top of the new drapes, are cats not able to travel faster than the speed of light?

Cats are like subatomic particles.  They are here and not here, both before and after, and only exist when you are looking at them.

But, while math, or indeed physics, was never my forte, extrapolating stories always was, so here is the true ending of our story-problem, the one math teachers never tell you:

One day while eating his organic Cheerios, Mr. Catpeople suddenly realizes the cat is speaking to him. At first, it seems fun, but gradually he realizes the evil creature is shooting feline thought-rays at him, trying to take control of his mind. Every where he turns, the cat is looking at him.   “Get an ax… Kill the dog….”

Mr. Catpeople sets his spoon down, and his remaining Cheerios go soggy while he wrestles with this directive. It seems reasonable, but… “Um, we don’t have a dog.”

“Did I say ‘dog?’ Sorry. I meant you should kill the annoying woman with the evil vacuum….”

So the true answer to the problem is Mrs. Catpeople will vacuum the house ‘0’ times a week because after the funeral Mr. Catpeople will be doing all the vacuuming.


Cats and the Laws of Physics was originally published as Cats and the Physical Laws of the Known Universe, © 2014-2017 by Connie J. Jasperson, published May 25, 2014 on Life in the Realm of Fantasy

Leave a comment

Filed under #FlashFictionFriday

#FlashFictionFriday: Talisman

Talisman

 

The evening sun lingers,

Red, golden,

Unwilling to set.

 

Time seems to stop.

This moment

Will be a talisman,

 

Hanging in my heart.

Warming me

When winter’s fist is closed.


Talisman, Copyright © 2017 Connie J Jasperson, All rights reserved

Puget Sound Sunset, By Vladimir Menkov (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or CC BY 2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

1 Comment

Filed under #FlashFictionFriday, Poetry

#FlashFictionFriday: Silence and Love

Silence and Love

There was a time when we talked,

A time when words connected us the way kisses join lovers.

You mind amazed me as much as your body did

And I knew them both better than I knew my own.

You still amaze me but years have wedged silence between us.

Not the stony silence of anger or hurt—thank god, not that.

 

It is the silence of comfortableness,

The soundless speech of two old people

who sometimes read each other’s minds.

The quiet sharing of a back porch in the summer.

Side-by-side on a second-hand settee with a blue cushion,

You reach for my hand, and I am swept away.

 

Now when we speak, it is a more cerebral sharing,

Mind to mind, heart to heart,

Two old people still in love, but with little to say.

Did we say it all in the young wild days?

Did we spend our words the way we spent our kisses?

If so, then many more remain, waiting to pass between us.

 

No. We were learning each other, discovering truths

and facing our self-deceptions.

Now it is a calm sharing.

I still know your mind and your body

and love them better than my own.

I still love it when you hold my hand.

 

And when we speak it means something.

And when we kiss it means something.

And when we hold hands in the silence

Of an evening on a back porch,

Side-by-side on a second-hand settee with a blue cushion,

It means everything.


Credits and Attributions:

Silence and Love © Connie J. Jasperson 2015–2017, All Rights Reserved (First Published Nov. 13, 2015 on Life in the Realm of Fantasy)

Sun in May, Józef Mehoffer 1911 [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

2 Comments

Filed under #FlashFictionFriday, Poetry, writing

#FlashFictionFriday: Dreams and Shadow Truths

Dreams and Shadow Truths

Tales, dreams,

Shadow-truths…

The fabric of the multiverse.

One universe touches upon another, and

The dreamer dreams.

The faerie queen leads her court though the forest and

One more mortal falls in love.

Books are evidence that once upon a time

A mortal slept, and dreamt.

Within the pages of dusty, leather-bound books

Lies proof the philosophers’ stone

Exists in the realm of imagination,

Spinning words of straw into gold,

Bequeathing immortality to those who possess it.

The multiverse is yours for the taking

If  you believe, and

Are unafraid to dream.

Open a book, and

Step into a realm

Unknown.


Credits and Attributions

Dreams and Shadow Truths, © Connie J. Jasperson 2015.

Fantasy Digital Painting, By Boxiness (Painting using tablet PC.) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

8 Comments

Filed under #FineArtFriday, #FlashFictionFriday, Poetry

#flashfiction friday: St. Patrick’s Day at the Drunken Sasquatch

There’s something about St. Patrick’s Day that brings out the crazies, even in Seattle. Or, should I say, especially in Seattle. If there is one night of the year when were-dragons should stay home and avoid the tavern, it’s March 17th.

Now in a place like Seattle, folks like me usually go unnoticed because the Emerald City is just that kind of town. The people are relaxed and accepting here. It’s like they don’t even see us.

Oh, sure, a few members of my community aren’t the kind of people most folks  want to know. Being a reporter, I tend to come across them in the course of my work, and let’s just say it’s not all rainbows and unicorn farts for  some of us anymore.

Modern society has ruined the weaker minded. You didn’t hear this from me, but some of the most unusual and largest thefts of metal can be laid at their door. Ever hear of the wholesale disappearance of live electric wires for the length of a city block? How about an entire condominium’s worth of  electric water heaters going missing?

In some cases, that stolen metal isn’t being sold for drug money, as the ordinary folk assume.

That would be normal, and being what we are, we don’t really do normal that well.

No, instead of financing drug habits, it’s worse.

This stolen metal shows up at Renaissance Fairs and Fantasy Cons all over the West Coast in the form of knock-off medieval armor, pseudo-medieval jewelry, and fake regalia, hawked by elves wearing obviously plastic Spock ears and cosplaying as Legolas.

But I digress—we were talking about St. Patrick’s Day and why a were-dragon like me avoids the Drunken Sasquatch on that day. I admit that bar is my second home under ordinary circumstances, but this is not a normal holiday. And while the Drunken Sasquatch is in what is known as the Scandinavian side of town, these normally sober, morally upstanding leprechauns of the Lutheran persuasion seem to come out of the woodwork.

These are people who have no knowledge of how things work in a neighborhood bar. Ignorant of the proper protocols, they will blithely sit on a regular’s favorite barstool with no remorse or fear of reprisal.

Don’t look at me like that. You’re thinking, “Dan Dragonsworthy, don’t be such a curmudgeon. They’re leprechauns–it’s their big holiday. Why shouldn’t they celebrate a little?”

Well, I’m not a curmudgeon. I’m smart.  First of all, these folks never set foot in Ireland. They’ve been here for three generations, like the rest of us.  And once they start pounding down the beers, these leprechauns do something no sane person would consider hanging around for.

Karaoke.

You know you’ve died and gone to Irish Hell when a marauding band of leprechauns, drunk on their entire year’s quota of green beer, takes over your favorite watering hole and turns it into a karaoke bar. There is no agony like that of ten drunken leprechauns, all insisting on singing the same three Sinead O’Connor covers over and over again, all night long.

Bloody Bill doesn’t even try to fight it anymore. He just lets them set up their machine and puts in his earplugs.

Me and all the rest of the regulars—we meet at Alfredo’s house for a little BYOB party, play a little cribbage, and listen to his collection of Pogues CDs all night long. For a vampire, he’s a pretty good host, and provides us with all the little Vienna-sausages and microwaved popcorn we can consume.

So, St. Patrick’s Day is the one night of the year when you will not find me in my usual chair at the Drunken Sasquatch. Instead, I’ll be drinking my orange juice at Alfredo’s and watching Harry Wolfe try to beat Grandma at cribbage.

He won’t of course. He never has and and he never will. No one can beat Grandma at her favorite game. Of all people, Harry should know that, seeing as how she wears his stepdaddy’s hide to church every Sunday.


St Patrick’s Day at the Drunken Sasquatch, © 2017 by Connie J. Jasperson, All Rights Reserved.

Green Beer, b y SpaceAgeSage from USA (Green Beer) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Skunk Fur Coat, By unknown / –Kürschner (talk) 19:02, 3 June 2009 (UTC) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

11 Comments

Filed under #FlashFictionFriday, Dragons, writing

#FlashFictionFriday: Winter in the Northern Garden

 

ice_crystal_on_barberry

In winter, my Northern garden

Languishes, ragged and shabby,

Unlovely, decaying, and

Uncomfortably aware she’s grown old.

 

The remains of Summer’s glory beckons,

Begging to be told she is still beautiful,

Still young and fascinating,

Still the object of desire.

 

Ever the gallant gentleman,

Winter obliges, and with a kiss

Ice crystals decorate each twig and branch

Gracing her with radiant beauty.

 

Ruby-red barberries set against crystalline diamonds,

Ice catching the light, scattering it.

Jewels decorating decrepit limbs,

Dazzled, we bow to her wondrous splendor.

 

Beneath the litter of leaves dead and brown,

A new Spring waits,

Lurking in the wings, biding her time,

Politely allowing the old dame one last encore.


Winter in the Northern Garden © Connie J. Jasperson 2017

Ice Crystal on Barberry, By Sahehco (Own work) [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

2 Comments

Filed under #FlashFictionFriday, Poetry, writing

#FlashFictionFriday: In February the House is Smaller

white-cat-470px-franz_marc_013

In February the house is smaller,

Shrinking to just my office, nearer the furnace.

The Room of Shame, decorated with

Files and dusty computers, books, and cat fur,

From Yum Yum the Cat, dead these seven years.

She was old, even in cat years, and

This was her domain.

 

Like Jacob Marley and Scrooge’s knocker,

Her ghost inhabits this room,

Lurking behind boxes filled with books

And lit by the glow of the computer’s screen.

Little tufts of white fur hiding in places

The vacuum can’t reach,

A dusty memory keeping me company as I

Write novels that may or may not be read.

 

Four inches of snow fell last night, wet and heavy with water

And then froze, solid.

An iceberg enshrouded my bungalow, overtook my mini-van,

And weighs heavily on the rosemary shrubs.

And I am safe and warm inside this much smaller house

With my books and my computer,

And the ghost of my feline, past.


Attributions:

In February the House is Smaller,  Copyright © 2017 Connie J Jasperson, All rights reserved

Cat on Yellow Pillow, Franz Marc 1912 [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

2 Comments

Filed under #FlashFictionFriday, Poetry, writing

#FlashFictionFriday: Bond and Free, Robert Frost

Admiring the Galaxy |CCA 4.0 ESO/A. FitzsimmonsBond and Free

Love has earth to which she clings
With hills and circling arms about-
Wall within wall to shut fear out.
But Thought has need of no such things,
For Thought has a pair of dauntless wings.

On snow and sand and turf, I see
Where Love has left a printed trace
With straining in the world’s embrace.
And such is Love and glad to be.
But Thought has shaken his ankles free.

Thought cleaves the interstellar gloom
And sits in Sirius’ disc all night,
Till day makes him retrace his flight,
With smell of burning on every plume,
Back past the sun to an earthly room.

His gains in heaven are what they are.
Yet some say Love by being thrall
And simply staying possesses all
In several beauty that Thought fares far
To find fused in another star.


I have always loved this poem for iLouis_Français-Crépusculets complex serenity–the narrator is at peace within himself and accepts his turbulent nature.

Frost’s poems were a large part of my early life. I grew up in a house in the woods at the edge of a lake. It was quite rural, and the 1/4-mile long driveway leading from our house up to the road was a pleasant place to walk at any time of the year. Winter was especially beautiful, as the woods seemed to be peaceful, resting. When a blanket of snow had covered them they had a magical quality, one Frost had felt and written of so eloquently.

While many of Robert Frost’s poems show the tranquility of being in a quiet place close to nature, this poem, Bond and Free, is an internal poem, examining the soul and heart of a person.

When I walk in the woods or along the beach my mind strays to many places, absorbing both the sights and sounds, but also touching on ideas not previously thought of, small discoveries of “me.” Robert Frost was able to write about this simple yet complicated process, and have it make sense.

Quote from GradeSaver: The narrator describes the difference between Love and Thought. Love clings to the earth in such a way that makes it a denial of freedom and imagination. Thought, on the other hand, has cast aside the shackles of the tangible world and travels throughout the universe with a pair of wings. Yet, for all the freedom that Thought seems to have, the safe environment of Love is far more liberating.


Credits:

Bond and Free by Robert Frost, PD|1916

Images:

Admiring the Galaxy |CCA 4.0 ESO/A. Fitzsimmons

Crépuscule (Dusk) Louis Français, PD|100, By Ji-Elle (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Vincent, Caitlin. Jordan Reid Berkow ed. “Robert Frost: Poems “Bond and Free” (1916) Summary and Analysis”. GradeSaver, 12 May 2009 Web. 6 January 2017.

Leave a comment

Filed under #FineArtFriday, #FlashFictionFriday, Poetry

#FlashFictionFriday: remembering Mama and the year of the tipsy reindeer #christmas

HolidayTree2012Web Olympia Downtown AssociationI live in a very small town. The residents here go all out decorating their houses and yards for the month of December. It makes for a wonderful drive after dark, just cruising the local neighborhoods admiring the inventive displays.

The city maintenance department decorates the main drag through town and it looks amazing. I wish we could have those awesome lights up all winter long. They make the long, dark nights feel so much kinder.

All up and down our street, homes are decorated for the season, but our home is always quite simple in its holiday decorating–a tree, candles, a cute centerpiece for the table. Outside, my hubby puts up small lighted displays,  but nothing too fancy.

We keep it simple because we have to tear it down and put it all away over New Year’s day, and that rapidly becomes a bore.  It’s work, and I don’t like anything that falls into the category of labor.

In 2008, my mother was terribly ill with lung cancer and was living with us in her final days. She was 82, and had always been an active, hardworking woman, managing a pizza parlor, and wrangling my eccentric, alcoholic father. She had kept an immaculate home with religious zeal, and maintained her garden just as neatly.

It was a sign of just how ill she was that she allowed me to move her into my home so I could care for her.

My hubby had set up the lighted reindeer  display: three sweet reindeer made of wire and white lights. However, the snow was quite deep, and around their little electric feet it would melt from the heat of the lights, but not evenly.

The little one kept falling over, which looked awful as compared to the neighbor’s fancy displays. Every day, Mama checked on that reindeer first thing in the morning, wanting to get out there and fix it herself, but she was too frail.

The disease had taken her health, but it hadn’t taken her sense of humor. The snow provided a form of entertainment for her, and she would laugh and make all sorts of ribald comments as she watched me or my hubby try to stand the rickety Rudolph back up and attempt to anchor it  more securely into the frozen turf.

No matter how we tried, our display that year was the lamest one on the street, with our neighbors pointing and laughing at the prone reindeer as they walked to the grocery store. We would check on it and make sure it was upright before we went to bed, but it never failed–sometime during the night, the wind would blow that one particular reindeer over.

lighted-reindeerOne morning, a few days before Christmas, I was in the kitchen, and Mama was looking out the front window, talking on the phone to my Aunt Lillian. “That littlest reindeer is a terrible influence. Usually he’s the only souse in the lot, but today we have a yard full of drunken reindeer.”

Aunt Lillian said something, and Mama replied, “I’m not joking. The whole herd is passed out in the snow. Either that, or we had a drive-by shooting and the reindeer were the casualties.”

Sure enough, when Greg went out to go to work, all three electric reindeer were laying on their sides.

That was Mama’s last Christmas.

I miss her when the neighborhood is decorated like wonderland and the yard is full of snow. She loved life so much and clung to it fiercely despite the chemo and the vile disease that was killing her.

This year, snow is falling again, and we will put up some sort of display, although the reindeer have long since gone to broken ornament heaven.

Somehow, decorating for Christmas isn’t the same without them.

4 Comments

Filed under #FlashFictionFriday

#flashfictionfriday: Christmas at the Drunken Sasquatch

Vampires have a sick sense of humor, especially Alfredo, although he pretends to be cultured. Just over a year ago he got me banned from here, by switching my orange juice for an orange soda… that dirty trick was more than embarrassing. Covering the cost of the damages to the scorched floor, replacing the furniture, and buying Sylvia Wannamaker a new coat ate into my hoard quite heavily.

Worst of all, I was banned from participating in November’s pool tournament.

However, I’m a dragon. We like our revenge served up cold and well calculated.

The anniversary of my disgrace has passed, which would have been the obvious day for me to seek retribution. Most people have forgotten the whole incident.

But not me.

I know I look like any other old has-been, going on and on about the glory days. While that observation isn’t real flattering, it’s true. I drink more orange juice than is good for either of my livers, and I hang out here at the Drunken Sasquatch because I have nowhere else to go.

I don’t discuss it for obvious reasons, but during my years in the Middle East, Dan Dragonsworthy was far more than just a flying battle wagon. I spent a lot of time on covert missions, and one thing I learned was how to be patient, and how to spot the chinks in your opponent’s armor.

I’ve been watching Alfredo since New Year’s Eve when Bloody Bill finally lifted my punishment. I don’t intend to harm the old blood-sucker, but I’m going to give him a taste of his own medicine. There are substances vampires shouldn’t ingest, and Alfredo may have forgotten that.

A vampire tripping on chocolate is bad for everyone. I’d never do that, even to Alfredo. Fortunately, they don’t like the flavor of it. However, they do have a passion for maraschino cherries, which can cause problems for the weaker willed vampire since those fruity morsels of goodness are frequently found wrapped in dark chocolate. With one exception, the smart ones don’t succumb to temptation inside the Drunken Sasquatch, because Bloody Bill won’t tolerate that sort of behavior.

Most importantly for my purposes, vampires can’t tolerate coffee. On tiny amounts, they tend to pee themselves copiously, which the rest of us find hilarious. Vampires get quite huffy when their vampiric dignity is besmirched.

As if MY dignity meant nothing to me.

When you want to impress Alfredo, you buy him a jar of the special maraschino cherries from Italy, made with the best cherry liqueur. He can smell maraschino liqueur from anywhere in the room and, being a vampire, he lacks a conscience.

No maraschino is safe from Alfredo.

http://cookdiary.net/chocolate-covered-cherries/

The annual Christmas party and the gift exchange drives him mad. Every witch, wizard, or elf has a recipe for that most wonderful of traditional holiday treats, maraschino chocolate cordials. These kind friends are always generous with their gifts to those of us who lack their magical culinary skills.

It’s more than his old vampire heart can stand, and despite having received his own jars of cherries sans-chocolate, he takes incredible risks.

I’ll give Alfredo credit—he’s good. I’ve watched him sneak up behind Grandma and suck the cherries out of a box of cordials without getting his fangs dirty. She suspected it was him, but could never prove it. Fangs do leave holes, but it could have been any vampire.

It takes a brave (or desperate) vampire to mess with Grandma. I’d tell you to ask the Big Bad Wolf, but you can’t.

She’s wearing him.

So, anyway, last week, Grandma and I had a chat. I got on the internet and ordered the finest ingredients. They were delivered the day before yesterday, and she immediately got busy in the kitchen.

This year, one unattended box of cordials under the tree at the Drunken Sasquatch will have cherries in liqueur with unique centers. This particular batch will be vampire safe—no chance of accidental hallucinations here. Grandma created white chocolate shells filled with Cherry brandy, with a maraschino cherry floating in the middle. Each cherry is filled with a special coffee liqueur center.

It will be a joy to watch Alfredo try to deny his culpability in this year’s draining of the maraschinos as the evidence spreads around his feet.

cherry-suisse-advert-1969I hope vampire pee isn’t too acidic, although I’ve heard the stench is an excellent Zombie repellent, and no matter how you scrub, it’s impossible to get rid of the odor. Sylvia Wannamaker swears by it in a diluted form as a slug repellent in the garden, as using it there will turn your hydrangeas the brightest blue. They don’t make good cut flowers though, as they smell too bad to keep in the house.

I’m sure a pool of vampire urine won’t be as dangerous for the innocent bystanders as when he caused me to inadvertently belch fire in close quarters.

Come the day after this year’s Christmas party at the Drunken Sasquatch (even though his cash outlay won’t come near matching the damages I had to pay when he slipped me the Mickey) at least Alfredo will be out the cost of a new pair of boots. And if he can’t find a good drycleaner, he’ll be out the cost of replacing that gaudy, lace-trimmed, purple velvet suit he thinks is so stylish.

Grandma and I are both looking forward to this year’s party. Christmas could just become my favorite holiday.


Christmas at the Drunken Sasquatch, © 2016 Connie J. Jasperson, All Rights Reserved

No vampires were harmed in the making of this tale.

1 Comment

Filed under #FlashFictionFriday, Dragons, Humor