Gone Fishin’ (Blogophilia 13.14)

“K-9, I honestly don’t know why we stopped here. There is no intelligent life to be found.”

The group has decided to take a break. Or as rock bands call it, a “hiatus”.

I can understand that. Fourteen years is a long time for a gig to run. I’ve been writing for thirteen of them. Week in and week out, I waited for the notification of the prompts. Some people like Crosswords. I like to build Flash Fiction (mostly).

Early on, I did a lot of parody and I often used cartoon characters as guides.

https://anothergovernmentemployee.blogspot.com/2015/08/rabbit-stew-blogophilia-278.html

But when I look back, I don’t believe I used Marvin or K-9 in a blog.

I’ve had long serial stories and built some cool characters. Whether it was Jeremy the Bomber, Kari the Death Angel, or Harry Handy, these things would live in my head waiting for their stories to be told. I’ve always gone for the ordinary and the broken people normally ignored in most fiction. We don’t need another fit, curvy blonde. I’d rather have an overweight redhead with a balding, paunchy husband who struggle together in love.

So what’s up for the summer? The garden in the new house is coming up.

There are a couple of construction projects that need to be done. No travel until the fall. Then I’m going to Florida for a week.

It should be fun.

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Pic guesses- Five tone theme, Close encounters, No intelligent life (in blog), alien abduction, space, after the gold rush, all in a dream

One thing: Who is your favorite character or series of mine? I’d like to know.

Amanda Jo (Blogophilia 11.14)

Hair
Carrot
Red with curl
I will always
Remember you as
I wandered past the horses
You were such a precocious
Child, vulnerable to the whims
Of mercurial parents. Why? I refuse
To answer that question on the grounds
That I don’t know the answer.
All I know is years have
Passed since you launched
Into the sea
That we call
Sort of
Life.

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Topic: Dave Coon

Pic: Heather Blomquist

PIc Guesses: Trail, Primrose path, favorite places, the woods, wide way, quietitude, greenery, hiking, on the way.

Another Day on the Darkside (Blogophilia 10.14)

Marty Mammon, Senior Demon Director of Compliance for Devil’s Quill, is in his office in a non-descript building outside Arlington, VA.


“Rrrngg.”


“It’s a great day in Hell. Marty Mammon, here. How may I inconvenience you?”


“Oh hey, Dick. How are things. Really? Maker is ramping up his orders? I can’t say I’m surprised. But, mark my words, He’ll change his mind once the Moaning Karens get loud enough. I’ve seen the cycle too many times.”


Yes, I did start the new Scarcity Script. Early indications are good. Gas tanks are going dry all up the East Coast. No. It isn’t related to Zuck’s Covid one from last year. We had a demon called Afreet write it. What’s an Afreet? You remember the Aladdin story, right? One of those. He owed us wishes. No, no threats. He was more than happy to run up some evil magic. I’ve never understood what Afreets had against mortals. That grudge is from before my time and never written down.


Oh, Yeah. Sandy Wrath borrowed Afreet for a Maker Industries project, but I have no idea what he had in mind. What’s that ? Ouch. I guess we should have seen that coming, with the damage those Center Space Mortals have done since the 3.16 project. Would the Scarcity Script work in conjunction with Wrath’s deal? I make no promises, but if Maker Industries wants to go there we certainly can. I mean, we’ve done effective take out projects in the area before and every failed experiment is one step closer to success.”


“Yeah, I’ll keep you posted on any new developments and see you Tuesday at the status meeting.”


“Bye.”

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Topic-Dahlia Ramone

Pic-Colleen Keller Breunig

Pic guesses: Serenade, comfort, buddies, captive audience, on the stoop, evening.

For those of you new to the blog, here is the full list of Devil’s Quill pieces for your enjoyment: https://anothergovernmentemployee.blogspot.com/p/devils-quill.html

Gold Branch (Blogophilia 9.14)

It’s funny, the notification for this week’s writing assignment came in while I was entering my favorite hiking spot.

150 acres of hardwood paradise two miles from the new house. I’ve been hiking this trail for years.

If you follow me on Facebook , Blogger and Instagram, you’ll recognize some of the places. Like The Point, which is about a mile down from the trail head.

You can come down to river to pray.

And ponder the meaning of life here by calm waters.

The name came from the discovery of gold north of here in 1828.

However, the glittery things by the water is Fool’s Gold.

Further down the trail, you round a point along the river bank where you can hear the sounds of the Rowing Club practicing there strokes.

An excellent place to leave the world behind.

I’ll be writing about more of the hikes around here as I go along.

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Topic (By the water)- Lissa Fallon

Pic-Dave Coon

Pic guesses: Calm (in blog), lone tree, skiff, fishing, flat boat, still water.

Podium (Blogophilia 8.14)

Oh, Darling

Please believe me

I saw you on the podium

In a proud moment of your life

Ready to take on the world

On your own terms

Only to find out

You can’t take it with you.

So, dance with me in the sun

And laugh.

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Topic-Craig Fallon

Pic Dahlia Ramone

Pic guesses: Dance, sunrise, native, joy, field, life

A Walk at the Farm (Blogophlia 7.14)

I recently moved to a new home adjacent to one of the units of the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area. With immediate access to almost 20 miles of trail, It is paradise to a day hiker like me.

But the coolest place to hike isn’t on Federal land. It is Hyde Farm , a Cobb County operated cultural site and park about a half mile walk from the house.

The old barn

Back when I was in high school, it was a working farm. In typical teenage fashion, we would skip school and go to the parking lot of Morgan Falls dam, which is at the bottom of the ravine below the farm and party. We would see old Mr. Hyde (he was pretty old back then) plowing the lower field with his mule, fussing about one thing or another. Sometimes, we’d get ambitious and swim across the river to the far bank, only to have him threaten to call the police on us.

Morgan Falls from the far shore

In the 1970s, in response to a large bridge project, the river park system was proposed as a way to protect the riverbank from erosion and development. Someone with clout managed to get President Carter’s ear, who shepherded the bill through Congress, saying since a lot of the low lying area was utility easements, it would a great idea to keep them from being developed. It was fairly successful.

When the government approached Mr. Hyde to see if he would be interested, the refused. And after he passed away, his family was even more adamant. They had heard the developer’s money call and had subdivided the property in several places, including the land my subdivision sits on.

Finally, after much thought, negotiation, and a delinquent property tax bill, the family did agree to deed over the central 40 acres with the original buildings to Cobb County with the understanding the farm would be preserved.

When you come down the main road, you feel like you have stepped back in time to the early part of the 20th century.

Well House

The County has chosen not to paint or whitewash anything but to leave the wood to age naturally, but do other repairs (like the roof) to maintain the integrity of the structures.

The main house

The farm consists of the main house, a seven stall horse barn, a couple of tool sheds, five chicken coups (one of which is still working with about a dozen hens),

a hay loft, a outhouse, and an old fashioned dog house. An arbor of Muscadine vines runs along a pasture fence.


A Caretaker lives on the property and makes sure nothing burns down or gets vandalized.

There are about a mile of paths around the property. It is so quiet, you don’t realize you are not in the middle of suburbia. Instead, you wish for a pony to ride and to forget about the world.

I might have found paradise. And I didn’t need the dashboard light.

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It’s a Writer Choice week.

I thought about making a Quaalude joke, but that would have gone better with last week’s post.

Topic-Step Back in time

Hard prompt-Use a Jim Steinman/Meatloaf lyric (Paradise by the Dashboard Light)

Easy Prompt-Chickens.

Pic-Collen Keller Bruenig

Pic guesses. Cherrytree Lane, Primrose Path, Avenue, spring, arbor, pink dream

688 (Blogophilia 6.14)

Streetlights in windows
Illuminating boxes
With a joint smoking mushrooms
They gather
Not a natural hair color in sight
Listening to a foghorn Oracle
Screech of doom
Perennially young
Perennially angry
They’ll dance in the dark
‘Till the world ends
And make love
In the aftermath.

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Topic-Dave Coon

Pic-Craig Fallon

Pic guesses: Aftermath (in blog), Mushroom (in blog), Kaboom, We are all bastards, The end, Doomsday, Wake up

New Place (Blogophilia 4.14)

New place shining

Paradise on a hill

Something told me

You have to keep on the move.

This is not sunshine and daisies

The big bad wolf lives next door.

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Topic-Colleen Bruenig Keller

Pic Christine Whicman

Pic Guesses: Daisy, Bee, Spring, Pollen, seed, Stamens, Pistil, green, life

Tom Rose (Blogophilia 3.14)

A quarter moon had begun to rise over the fallow fields. Four hours since his last stop according to his watch. His endurance was getting better. When he started, he couldn’t last two. Was this North Dakota or South? He didn’t care as long as it wasn’t Atlanta. The place had gotten to big, too fast. The only thing he missed was the green trees. Here it was blank land split up into wheat fields. Not even any people to speak of.


The building looked like a dugout, green moss growing on the faded clapboards. He pulled off and shut down the engine. The rusted sign out front said “Cattlemen’s Cove”. You’d think it would be next to a lake, but there was no water around for miles. No other buildings for that matter. Maybe it’s a harbor for ranch hands. Tom didn’t care He had to pee. If it was open, he’d go in. If not, the back looked hidden enough. Cold wind blew hard across the parking lot. It felt like sandpaper with as much dust as was being kicked up.


He was the only customer, which kind of puzzled him. The room was dark with dusty promotion signs lining the walls, a bullet hole in the window. There probably is a story about that, but he didn’t want to know. A propane heater clanking in the corner didn’t do much for the drafts. The floor was dusty and the bar scarred. A plump girl of indeterminate age spoke up from behind it.


“What’s your pleasure?”


“A restroom.” Tom replied. “And a beer.”


“Back to your right.” She pointed toward the sign and he went for it. He barely made it. When he was done, he found the cold glass waiting for him. He pulled up the stool.


“Kind of quiet.”


“Yeah.” The lady replied. “Most of the herd was driven south a few weeks ago. The boys will be back in May.”


“Why do you keep the place open?”


“It’s something for me to do.” She picked up a glass and polished it with her rag. “Where’yah from?”


“Back east.” Tom took a sip. “Wife died and there was nothing left for me.”


“One of those.” She smiled. “We get them from time to time. Where’yah headed?”


Tom looked up from his glass and into the the blue eyes. There was something familiar about her.


“Where ever the road takes me. I’m not picky.”


She tapped the edge of the bar with the glass. “Well, set a spell. It isn’t like there’s a hurry.”


Tom had to agree. There was no goal or finish line to worry about. The only competition was with himself. He spun slowly away from the bar to look out the window. A semi was trudging its way down the highway, trailer swaying in the cross wind. A whistle rose from the bullet hole.


“It sounds like the Big, Bad Wolf is mad at you.”


“I’ve never heard it described thataway. “The girl laughed. “Does that make us piggies?”


Tom looked at his empty glass. “Just my impression. What’s your name?”


The eyes crkinled and brightened. “Jane. My friends call me ‘Plain’.”


“Plain Jane?” He smiled. He liked her style.


“It became my nickname in high school before I grew up.” She kept polishing the glasses. “One of the Prom Queens coined it because my Momma always kept me covered up.”


Tom noticed a rose peeking out from the button side of her blouse.


“Funny, you don’t look plain anymore.”


“Oh, that.” Jane tugged her collar closed. It was like a switch had been flipped. “I had a boyfriend a while back and he liked ink.”

“I think it’s pretty.”


“Really?” The face was as pink as the sunset. “Momma threw me out of the house over it. Said it was Satan’s work.”

“Does it have his name on it?”


“Whose name?”


“The boy’s.”


“Lord, yes.” Jane snorted. “It reminds me of the bastard every time I get dressed.”


“Did he hit you?”


Jane put her hands on the bar and looked Tom in the eyes. “How did you know?”


“My Momma went through two like him. The second one killed her.”


Silence filled the room.


“Ooh, I’m sorry to hear that.” Jane pulled a fresh beer and changed the subject. “Want something to eat?”


It was the best thing Tom had heard in a couple of days. “What’s on the menu?”


“Got Bison Burger that was ground up yesterday with some hand cut fries.”


“Sounds great. Are you the cook, too?”


She slapped the bar in front of him. “You don’t see anyone else, do you?”


The grill on the back wall had two iron skillets on top. The next fifteen minutes was the ballet of an experienced farm girl. Oil ladled into the skillet on the right. Four slices turned a potato into twelve perfect fries. After they were going good, she reached into the cooler to her left and pulled out the patty. A couple of shakes of salt later, it happily joined the hot dance. All the while she kept up a banter about she got to this place in the middle of nowhere, how the world was evil, and that’s why she’d never left. All the people she knew were drug addicts, drunks, or worse and she would rather be alone than to be one of them.


It was better than any strip bar he’d ever been in. And when she was done, she laid the perfectly prepared meal in front of him. The smell of the meat was intoxicating. As he bit in, he noticed it was lean and coarse, but tasty. As simple as it was, it felt like home. Tom’s mind went back to Angela. She couldn’t boil water, but she filled in all the other holes in his life. Had it been a year since the wreck? I guess time does fly.


The sound of Jane’s voice shook him out of his thoughts.


“Every good thing that has happened to me, happened by accident.”


He put the sandwich down and looked up. The smile on her face was brighter than a full moon. With a brush of her hand, she opened her shirt to expose the tattoo. There were two blooms, one over each of her breasts, the green stems growing from the cups of her bra. Above each was a name above in a cursive script. The one on the left was Janie, the other, Tommy. It took him a full ten seconds to speak.


“How did you know it was me?”


She came around the bar and took him into her arms.


“I remember Momma-and you, little brother.”


They relaxed into each other.


“Welcome home, Tommy.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Topic-Dahlia Ramone

Pic-Craig Fallon

Pic guesses: Relax (in blog), Lake (in blog), serene, peaceful, deck, Shore, late winter

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