My Inheritance

Another 100-word story from a prompt by https://rochellewisoff.com/

PHOTO PROMPT © J Hardy Carroll

I stared at the dank storage cage and demanded,  “Where’s my grandmother’s stuff?”

The building super chewed on a toothpick.  “This is it.”

“Two beat-up boxes and a piano?  Where’s the antiques she collected?”

He avoided my eyes.  “I don’t know from antiques.  Your brother took everything in the apartment right after she croaked.  Management says after six months, I gotta dump what ain’t claimed.”

“I was out of the country.”  I felt the grief again.  “I didn’t know.”

“You want this stuff or not?”

My brother hadn’t known about the storage unit.  My inheritance.  Gone.

“Keep it,”  I said.

If you want to join the fun, just follow the frog! Click and follow the directions, and don’t forget to read the efforts of others and comment.

Another poignant pic

Or is it just me? As usual, this 100-word story is from a prompt picture posted at https://rochellewisoff.com/, the blog that gets my juices flowing. Also as usual, it seems to come from somewhere in my past.

PHOTO PROMPT © Jean L. Hays

I REMEMBER, MAMA

I yank out drawers stuffed with outdated patterns, remnants from a prom dress, seed pearls from my wedding dress that Mama barely finished in time, because by then she’d already started weeping.  “I keep losing count!”

Unfinished scarves, half-done cross stitch kits, fabric paint with tee-shirts untouched.  Macramé cords.  Knitted caps missing their topknots.

“I’m making gifts for Christmas.”  Then she discarded each project and spent money on new ones, desperately hoping to find the one craft her diminishing mind could still handle.

I can finish them for her.  I’ve got all the supplies.

And maybe a bit more time.

It Rained Books!

Among other great benefits, the organization Sisters in Crime does a lot of things to help libraries. Here is one that I participated in, from the newsletter of Sisters in Crime National:

That’s my book in the stack in the upper left!

IT’S RAINING BOOKS!

“Here’s a photo from the folks at the Durham Library in New Hampshire of the books arriving after they won our It’s Raining Books giveaway at the American Library Association Conference. Thanks to all the members who participated!”

Why Did We Have To?

I spent most of September on a road trip to visit old friends in my home state and came home through a storm of golden light and falling leaves. A glorious melancholy end to a nostalgic trip. So when I saw this week’s photo prompt on Friday Fictioneers, this is the 100 word story I came up with: (interesting timing, no?)

The wind was cold at the top of the bleachers.  She sat hunched, staring down at the empty playing field.  The long-awaited twenty-year reunion game was over, everyone had said their goodbyes bravely and left, hiding relief.  Fieldlights came on, pushing back at the twilight in their dumb robotic way.

She felt the rumble of his climb through the metal bench.  He stopped in front of her, rubbing his artificial hip, breathing heavily.

“Time to go home?”  he murmured.

She looked up at him and then back at the empty field.  “Jimmy, when did we all get so damn old?”

If you’d like to join the fun, just click the Froggie! At the bottom of the page, add the URL to your own story and then be sure to visit and comment on others. The prompt is new every Friday.

Such a beautiful busy summer

Yes, I know this summer’s been far too hot everywhere. In fact, according to the Copernicus Climate Change Service, June was Earth’s hottest month ever recorded. But I’ve enjoyed this summer anyway. Funny how events just refuse to portion themselves out nice and even.  You get a long period when you think your life is stalled like an old tired car, and then suddenly you need to hit the ground running.  I think I spent today just catching my breath.

The last weekend in July was Bookstock, which is Woodstock VT’s “Festival of Words”.  Like last year, I signed up to help cover the Sisters in Crime table.  In between selling my own books and explaining the Sisters in Crime mission to curious patrons of the Festival, I spent a pleasurable morning talking books and the mysteries of publishing with Ursula Wong, author of gripping novels about a little known corner of World War II.  If you like stories about strong women dealing with brutal times, her “Amber Wolf” series is one you don’t want to pass up.

Ursula had to head back home around noon, so I spent the afternoon sharing the table with Lisa Lieberman, who enthralled me with her wealth of experience in writing and publishing.  Her series of historical mysteries is based on old movies and often feature blacklisted Hollywood people in dangerous places.

Both these writers leave me in awe. I had quite enough trouble researching Washington D.C. in the mid-1960s for “The Last Party in Eden”, and I was there at the time!

Here’s an interview of Lisa and fellow Sisters in Crime author Frances McNamara, by Kathryn Gandek-Tighe.

Cold beer and nachos!

It was definitely a Sisters in Crime week.  A month ago I invited Connie Hambley, the president of our New England chapter, to join me and several other writers and readers at the Harpoon Brewery for an old-fashioned palaver over a cold brew.  Never having done anything so brash before, I was very nervous.  But when Connie showed up yesterday with her handsome husband Scott, the whole group couldn’t have had more fun!  That’s my daughter-in-law Renee to my left, and Connie is sitting on my right (I’m holding my treasured stuffed lobster from last year’s Crimebake). Kudos to Scott for a great picture! Sometimes the best thing about meeting with old friends is being able to introduce them to new ones, and I think everyone was charmed and excited and inspired by the whole afternoon.  The weather couldn’t have been better, though the hot sun did cause us to move from one outdoor table to another, which probably nonplussed our poor servers, but they rallied magnificently.  Good food and brew and sometimes live music makes Harpoon one of the best places to stop in the area – don’t miss it the next time you’re in the Windsor-Hartland area.

To toot my own horn, also this week I was the subject of an interview by David Alan Binder.  When he asked if I preferred an email interview or to talk on the phone, I replied that there is a reason I’m a writer, not a speaker!  I had a very good time with his thought-provoking questions, and I hope you enjoy reading my answers. 

Now to do a little summer relaxing before a planned road trip in September.  More on that later.

It’s a Grand Hopeful Flag

Another “exactly one hundred words”! Thanks to Roschelle Wisoff-Fields for her “Friday Fictioneers” prompt and to PHOTO PROMPT © J Hardy Carroll for the picture:

It was a humid Fourth of July.  Brogash’s sweaty hand stuck to the useless employment application.  Land of the free, right.  They’ll take one look at my name and that’s it.  He scribbled a signature and took it to the counter.  At least it was cooler inside than out there under that hopeful flag.  He’d hang around a while, maybe buy something cold with his last buck.

The manager read Brogash’s application.

“You Bulgarian?”

“American,”  Brogash snapped.  Then, more politely,  “My grandfather was a Bulgar.”

“Mine, too.  This looks good.  Come back Monday morning at nine.  We’ll start your orientation.”

Cold City Streets

Okay, I’m having fun with another prompt from Friday Fictioneers. Thanks to Rochelle Wisoff https://rochellewisoff.com/, and to ©Ted Strutz for the photo. I’ve also uploaded the story to InLinks. If you want to give it a try, write your own 100-word story and click on the frog on Rochelle’s blog!

COLD CITY STREETS

The city streets were so cold.  She’d walked forever, dodging people with bitter eyes and hunched shoulders.  The fifteenth marquee didn’t even show the name of an upcoming play.  She opened the door anyway and crossed the thin scarlett carpeting to examine the outdated posters.  Faint music floated from somewhere.

“Lookin’ for somebody?”

She jumped.  “Oh!  No.  Not really.”

The woman looked at her muddy shoes and pinched cold face.  “You an actor?”

“Couple seasons.  Back home.”

“That’s more’n some of us.  C’mon, kid.  You can watch us rehearse.  We got coffee.”

Maybe the city wasn’t so cold after all.