The Iron Writer Challenge #177, 2016 Autumn Equinox Challenge Championship Preliminary Round, Nancy Taylor Rosenberg Bracket

kid-bango-dog

The Iron Writer Challenge #177

2016 Autumn Equinox Challenge Championship

Preliminary Round

Nancy Taylor Rosenberg Bracket

500 Words, 5 Days, 4 Elements

 The Elements:

A kid playing a banjo to a dog
Bullying 
A limit
A life in danger

nantaylorsmall

Nancy Taylor Rosenberg Bracket

Maureen Larter, Michael Cottle, Bobby Salomons, Dani J. Caile

The Double ActDani-J-Caile

Dani J Caile

I’d never come out of that front door so fast in my life. I thought someone was dying with the amount of hollering I heard. But they weren’t. I looked around, and there he was, my little brother Johnny sitting on the porch, playing Grandpa’s old banjo badly and singing along to it – if that was singing, the only similarity being that it came from his mouth – while Timbo the dog tied up on his chain, normally a vicious little creature, barked and whined next to him.

“Johnny! What the hell are you doing?” I’d been left in charge for the afternoon but I must’ve dozed off in the heat.

“Playing to Timbo,” said Johnny, messing up notes and timing as he went along. His hands didn’t walk along the fingerboard, more like stumbled.

“That’s Grandpa’s banjo! You can’t play that!” I moved closer but the noise only got louder.

“That’s what you think. Timbo likes my playing.” Timbo barked and growled in agreement.

“No, you’re not allowed to play it, Johnny, it’s a family heirloom!” I went to reach for it but Timbo almost snapped my hand off. His saliva dripped from my sleeve.

“It’s not a hair loon, it’s a banjo! See!” He concentrated hard with his tongue hanging from his mouth, and he scratched at the instrument as best he could.

“Johnny! You’ll ruin it! What will Ma and Pa say when they get back?” There was no hiding place from the din.

“They will say what a great banjo player I am!” My little brother and the family’s guard dog. A great double act.

“Please, Johnny, stop!” I was sure my ears had started bleeding.

“I will never stop! I will play forever and ever! I will play this banjo everywhere!”

“Oh, come on! They…they won’t let you play it in school!”

“Oh yes, they will! They will call me ‘Johnny Banjo’!”

“It’s more likely that your life will be in danger, Johnny! You’re gonna suffer a lot of bullying when you get to school! Banjos aren’t cool, bro, trust me! It’ll make you look like some redneck, or even worse, like that mountain hillbilly kid in ‘Deliverance’,” I said, pressing my hands over my ears as he hit some bum notes in whatever song he thought he was singing.

“Who? Is that a place?” smiled Johnny. He continued to twang along as the dog accompanied him with moans and yelps.

“No, it’s a movie!”

“I don’t like movies. I like the banjo!” he replied, plucking away. The noise was excruciating!

“Oh man, there’s a limit to what I can take!” I screamed. With one quick thought, I took Timbo’s chain off. Realising he was free, he took one look at the banjo and ripped it from Johnny’s hands. The strings were the first to go, followed by the neck and finally the head. Good boy!

“You’re in for it now,” I said to Johnny. He ran into the house crying at full volume. Plus one.

Short and SweetMaureen Larter

Maureen Larter

“I’m ashamed of you, son.” his father said gruffly. “Standing out there in the street, jiggling about to the music.”

“But I love performing – it gives me a sense of belonging. I really enjoy the sound of the banjo – it makes me happy.”

“I don’t care,” his father growled. “There’s a limit to what we should do to please the crowd.”

“It’s only a front, you know,” Billy nodded to his Dad a wise knowing in his eyes. “I do it so I’m there when the bullying starts.”

His father frowned. “What bullying?”

Billy cleared his throat and stood tall. “The other kids treat my human as if he’s a freak, and it isn’t fair.”

“Stop whining,” His father shook his head. Spittle and hair scattered across Billy’s face.

“But Daaaad,” Billy rolled onto his back and pawed the air. “My human is a happy little chap, and if those bullies get to him his life might be in danger.”

“Oh for goodness sake, Billy,” his father howled. “You keep this ‘performing’ up and I’ll let the cat know – and then it will be YOUR life that’ll be in danger!”

A Glimmer of HopeBobby Salomons

Bobby Salomons

There was something soothing about the absurdity of a young boy playing banjo to a dog. To him a friend was a friend. There was no separation, no judgement, no prejudice to who and what he was – just the simple given of a friendship. Surely the dog knew not what was played to him but he listened intently, as to him the friendship was just as dear.

I reminisced on the meaning of friendship in a small town like this. Though I grew up here, friendship I never knew. There was a strange tradition of bullying, one founded on old principles and targets picked by careful choice. It mattered little what effort would be made, once you were picked on, you’d get picked on again. And word spread like wild fire, who was to be ignored, it knew not a limit to a school or a playground and it grew with you over time. Like a social cancer, without warning and without treatment.

The threshold of being picked on was set by simple principles. Wrong of color, wrong church, parents falling out of grace after a divorce or simple rumors of. Conditions easy to reach with no intent or control of your own. Still they were enough to haunt you.

The chords of the banjo returned me to the present as I had wallowed in self grief. The dog raised its head towards the sky and stretched its chest like a great tenor worthy. From its throat yodelled the ugliest of sounds that hurt the ears like needles. But the young boy smiled with intense delight. They were performing now, together. And that was all they needed.

I sat and watched the two till my ears could no longer give. I grabbed the lid from the hood of the vehicle and placed it onto the lukewarm Styrofoam cup. Before it closed well, I could see how my pigments matched the caffeinated innards of the cup. Bullied for that simple reason.
But as the dog wailed once more, I could not press back the smile that formed from ear to ear. Those days were behind me.

The muffled noise of radio chatter slipping through a window crack. A life in danger.

As I opened the door to step into my vehicle, the light struck my badge and a golden glimmer blinkered across the street. They met the eyes of the young boy – blinding momentarily. He looked at me and smiled. A small hand raised to greet me as I drove passed to answer my duty. To protect and serve – free of the limitations of separation, without judgement and prejudice.

Buster

Michael Cottle

Chip found a spot under a large pecan tree where he settled down upon the sidewalk. He traveled light with a peanut butter sandwich in a sack and a banjo strapped around his neck. Sure enough, Buster came up and sat right down beside him. He looked at Chip and turned his head sideways as he made a small whining sound.

“Buster, you already had your breakfast” Chip said. “This is mine boy.”

Buster whined again and turned his head to the other side.

“Alright boy” Chip said. “Here, take half of this. There’s only one sandwich though, so that half is for you and this half for me. That’s all I got. Ok?”

Buster grabbed his half, and chewed on it until the peanut butter coated his mouth. Buster was still working on the peanut butter when Chip finished his sandwich and washed it down with a thermos of milk.

 “It’s really sticky” Chip said. “Here you go.”

 Chip raised the last little bit of milk in his thermos and poured it into Buster’s mouth.

 “That’ll help a bit boy” Chip said.

Chip put away his lunchbox and turned to his banjo. He began to play a bit of “Turkey in the Straw” as Buster finally stopped licking. Buster rested his face on his paws, and there they sat awhile just like that. Chip played every song he knew a couple of times over.

There may have been many more afternoons to pass like this, except for a kid named Bobby. He rode up on his bicycle popping wheelies and generally showing out a bit. Chip stopped playing and looked away. He never cared much for Bobby. Bobby was never too nice towards Chip, or anyone else that Chip knew for that matter.

“Watcha doin’ there Chip?” Bobby asked as he stopped his bicycle. “Are you playing your geetar?”

“It’s a banjo” Chip said.

 “You wouldn’t know how to play a real geetar anyway. Would ya? I’ll bet your old man couldn’t ford a real geetar. And that’s why you play that stupid banjo. It sounds like a drunk chicken with its head cutoff. You hear me Chip?”

Chip wouldn’t look at Bobby. He wanted him to go away, but he wouldn’t. Bobby threw his bicycle on the ground, and grabbed Chip by his shirt collar.

“Look at me when I’m talkin’ to ya’ boy!”

Bobby shook Chip, and Chip swallowed hard. Chip could hardly speak when Buster let go a low growl. Bobby wadded up Chips’ shirt, and that was more than enough for Buster. Buster jumped up and clamped on Bobby’s wrist. Bobby fell backwards and begin to holler in a panic. Finally, Chip recovered just in time to pull Buster off of Bobby before he done much more damage.

Bobby took a few stitches in his left wrist, but he never messed with Chip again. Chip never really got over Buster being put to sleep. Chip lost his audience, and gave up the banjo. Most folks in town said that bulldogs are just like that. They said that you couldn’t really trust them anyway.

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The Iron Writer Challenge #175, 2016 Summer Open Challenge #12

clown

The Iron Writer Challenge #175

2016 Summer Open Challenge #12

500 Words, 5 Days, 4 Elements

  Authors:

Tina Biscuit, Maureen Larter, Steven L. Bergeron, Roger Campbell

The Elements:

A clown, numbers, A barn, Rabbit Stew

Fired

Tina Biscuit

‘I’m funny how? I mean funny, like I’m a clown? I amuse you?’

‘Well, yeah’, Connie agreed, ‘but right now, I need to use the bathroom, and don’t be using all my lipstick’, she continued, her head slumped against the other side of the door.

The door opened.

‘How do I look?’ Colin asked.

‘Funny.’

‘Funny how?’

‘Don’t start that again; we need to get going. I’ve arranged to meet with Marvin before the show.’

‘Alright, Connie, but why have we got to meet him?’

‘I’ll tell you on the way. I’ve got some news.’

‘Sounds ominous. I’ll get my shoes on.’

He was still lacing up his shoes when Connie came to the door of their trailer.

‘So, what’s the news, Connie?’ he said with a broad grin.

‘I’m going to need a bigger box, Colin.’

They walked over to Colin’s car; he stepped in, and opened the door for her.

‘I’m not going in your ridiculous car’, she turned, and started walking.

She walked in silence. Colin drove next to her for a minute, until they arrived at Marvin’s office.

‘Are you finding it harder to get into the box, Connie?’

‘Kind of, but I’m going to be getting a lot bigger’, she said with a whimper. ‘I want to ask Marvin for a rise, or see if we can get you a new job’.

‘What’s brought this on, Connie?’

‘I’m pregnant, Colin. We’re going to hear the patter of tiny feet.’

‘Big feet’, Colin corrected her.

‘Can’t you be serious for a minute?’

‘No.’

‘Unless our numbers come up on the lottery, we have to play this one sweetly’, she chided.

Marvin came out of his office, pulling a gold pocket-watch from his garish waistcoat.

‘Well, if it isn’t my favourite contortionist and clown; to what do I owe this pleasure?’ he said, ushering them inside.

‘It seems we’re asking for a raise’, Colin blurted out.

‘Or a new job’, Connie added.

‘How about a knife-thrower? That’s a fine act’, Marvin offered.

‘Yeah’, said Connie, ‘a clown that couldn’t hit a barn door, throwing sharp things at the pregnant lady – that’s going to pull in the crowds.’

‘How’s your balance, Colin?’

‘You’re not going to get me up on the high-wire again, Marvin, unless you fix those safety nets’, Colin replied.

‘I’ll have a word with Mephisto, maybe he can help’, said Marvin.

‘I can’t do magic’, said Colin.

‘No, but I was thinking he could keep you in rabbit-stew for a while’, he said, wryly.

‘You do know that he uses the same rabbits every night, Marvin? He doesn’t really magic them out of his hat’, said Connie.

Marvin stood up; the show was starting.

‘We’ll talk about this later, guys. I think Bobby’s about to do his big entrance.’

They startled as the explosion resonated through the canvas walls of the big top. The gasps of the astonished audience accompanied a three-second flight. The lightning-bolt atop Bobby the human cannonball’s helmet pierced, and ripped, into Marvin’s office. The spent shell of Bobby crumpled to the floor.

‘Looks like your career path has taken a new trajectory, Colin.’

What Am I Observing?

Roger Campbell

He stood motionless. His eyes opened to the point they hurt. His mouth opened to the point it hurt. What he was seeing was not possible.  Slowly Brian scanned the street in both directions. 

All the structures along the road were barns. While a rich assortment of styles and colors, they were barns.  Barns situated so tightly together as if to imitate row houses.  And it seemed as if each had a different hue.

“What the heck?” Brian slapped his face, opened and shut his eyes several time and pinched himself. “This ain’t possible.” The barns did not go away. 

“What the heck yourself. I’m late.” As the clown hurried past Brian, it tipped its very under size top hat and honked a crimson nose.

Before Brian could react another clown approached. After tipping his hat and honking his nose it asked a question. “Pardon me. Do you know where barn 21 is?”

After looking at several barns’ numbers, Brian replied. “Well, this one is number 19, so the next one should be number 21.”

“Huh?” The clown wiggled his mouth and eyes. “Ah no. The next one is 42.” 

“Than that’s 21.” Brian turned to the opposite direction and pointed. 

“No, no. That’s 13.” A doubting clown stared at Brian. “Are you sure you know your numbers?”

“Hey, why ya’ll standing there looking like a couple of statues?” A third clown asked as he walked past. “The rabbits just announced their stew’s ready. Come on.” He waved for the pair to join him. “Heard a rumor they actually put some real food in it this time. None of that green stuff they like.” With a tip of his hat and a spin of his tie the clown hurried off.

Brian took a deliberate look at the street in both directions, the barns and the clowns. As he did so all the barns slowly changed colors and numbers. It did not surprised Brian when he noticed a rabbit looking clown standing beside him.

“You’re the same clown I’ve been talking to, aren’t you?”

“Oh, I say. That is a most rude question. Of course I am the same one. Do you think I changed my looks?” It held up a finger. “ Do not answer that. A clown never changes their appearance.”

Brian took another look around. “This ain’t real. . . .  Where am I?”

“The question to be rendered is not, Where am I? That is very clear. You are there?” The clown pointed at Brian’s feet. “A question which would be more appropriate would be, What am I observing?”

“Okay, What am I observing?”

“You are not only observing, but are also participating in a dream. One which could be define as a very strange, perhaps even weird, dream.”

“How does this end?” Brian watched the barns change again.

“When you wake up.” The clown began moving his arm in a circular motion. “Which will not happen until you go back to sleep.”

WHAM! A fist slammed into Brian’s jaw. 

Harold the GreatSteven Bergeron

Steven L Bergeron 

“Ladies and Gentlemen for your viewing pleasure we have, what’s clearly our top ten entertainers this company has ever produced. We present to you Harold the Great.”

With that introduction, it will surely going to be my last. My little car barrelled it’s way out the pearly gates hitting every barrel insight. Harold the Great had become this companies bubbling fool. The entire crowd was roaring in there seat at my antics. Well almost everyone, this old man in the top row sat there motionless, his eyes fixed on all my moves.

I ‘m a Stewart and this was the end, I was all clowned out. I proceeded to my trailer to pack up my life. As I poured my last ounce of JD,a knock suddenly appeared my door . I ignored it thinking it was the ringmaster with my last pay check.

“Mr Great, I would like to have a word with you?” That voice so dead, it took me back to our last talk.

“What can I do for your old man?”

“I have a proposition for you.”

I opened the door looking him straight in the eye.

“After all of these years , why should I listen to you?”

“If not for me, do it for your mother. You know every Sunday she’s been cooking her “Country Corn bread with rabbit stew” with the barn windows wide open, hoping the aroma would call you back.”

“So you come crawling back, hoping that I forgive you.”

“Something like that, it was your mother’s idea that I come tonight. She threatened me to make amends tonight or she would be gone by the time I get back. Can I come in? We can talk better in private.”

He took the couch as I finished my last swig.

“I’d offer you some but this is all I got left. You know I saw you in the bleachers just staring.”

“Well I never been much for rodeos or clowns. But if it’s any consolations you were good.”

“Thanks too bad it’s going to be my last.”

“Oh”

“I make a fool of myself out there tonight. It’s the first time back here since I left. The crowd made me feel like a fool. I’m a Stewart and should be proud of it.”

“Yes you are a Stewart , and like all of us a strong head on your shoulders. What you are doing leaving all of this behind, takes guts. I was wrong all those years ago calling you a fool. I learnt something to tonight, it doesn’t feel all that bad to admit when you are wrong. Come on let me gives you a hand with all of this?”

For the first time in my life I understood where my father was coming from. And that folks was the last anyone ever heard of Harold the Great. The Stewarts were a family again, till our next big outburst.

HavenMaureen Larter

Maureen Larter

They sat, huddled together for warmth, in the barn. They hoped no-one had seen them sneak across the field at the back of the lonely farmhouse. Fortunately it had been cloudy and the moon had only shone filtered light to ease their escape from the soldiers.

Aaron spoke first. His voice was muted but sounded loud in the tense silence of the barn.

“We need food.”

Ester stood and looked outside, her eyes scanning the field for anything that moved.

“The soldiers might search here in the morning – we have to keep moving.” She looked at her husband, registering his tired eyes and hunched and troubled stance. “We have to get Abigail somewhere safe to have her baby.”

Joseph nodded.

“The rabbit stew we had two days ago,” he said, the sadness permeating each word, “won’t sustain us for much longer. We will have to ask the owners of this farm for some food.”

‘But what if they are Nazi sympathizers,” Lamar hissed. “They may turn us in. We will be shot!”

“I’ll go.” Abigail said quietly.

They all shook their heads.

“You can’t, my love.” Aaron clung to her, yet knowing the desperation would change their minds.

“I must,” she said. “Look at me – eight months pregnant. Surely they wouldn’t turn me away.”

She twisted away from Aaron and slipped outside just as the moon shone brightly through a break in the clouds.

The family shrank back into the shadows as Abigail made her way toward the farmhouse. The wave of fear followed her, but she moved purposefully on. The knock seemed to echo across the valley, and Aaron jerked forward, ready to run for his wife, but the door opened almost immediately and Abigail disappeared inside. The family, hidden still, and anxious, took a collective breath and waited.

Although it felt like hours, it was only some fifteen minutes later that Abigail re-appeared.

She beckoned.

“Do you think she’s being forced to get us?” Lamar whispered, dread breaking his voice into a whimper.

“Don’t be a clown, Lamar,” Aaron spoke harshly filled with the same fear. “Your sister wouldn’t put us in danger. She’d have thought of something to warn us.”

The family crept out of the barn and carefully moved to the shadows near Abigail.

“Is it okay?” Ester whispered.

“Yes – come!” Abigail grinned with relief. “I knew we were safe when I noticed the man of the house reading ‘Numbers’ in the bible.” She held out her hand as her family hesitantly stumbled towards her. “Come in, come in,” she repeated. ” Levi welcomes us.”

They had a safe haven … for now.

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The Iron Writer Challenge #163 – 2016 Summer Solstice Open Challenge #1

old phone booth winter

The Iron Writer Challenge #163

2016 Spring Solstice Open, Preliminary Round

500 Words, 5 Days, 4 Elements

The Authors: 

Malissa Greenwood, Vance Rowe, Maureen Larter, Megan Cypress, Steven L. Bergeron

The Elements:

An old phone booth

A golf club (must be specific regarding which club))

A photograph

Told from POV of someone who believes they do not belong in the family they were born in, due to an accident 25 years before they were born.

 

So Long AgoMaureen Larter

Maureen Larter

I pulled the car over to the side of the road and rested my head on my hands as they gripped the steering wheel. My heart thumped in my chest and my emotions were still raw. The argument had been brief, but violent. When James had begun to brandish the nine iron, I had turned and run.

I had never felt that I belonged to the family – they were all so clever, and I struggled with just the normal everyday tasks. Now Mum had passed away and my brother wanted her photo that was behind me on the bookcase. I had turned and grabbed it, clasping it to my chest, sobbing with suppressed grief.

“Anyway,” he had shouted, “she was my Mum, not yours! Give me the photo!” His voice had risen another decibel – “GIVE IT TO ME!” Then he had lunged towards me as tears ran down my cheeks.

When he turned and grabbed the golf club from the bag in the corner of the hall I knew I had to get out of there. How could this argument have escalated so quickly? We were adults after all.

After a few minutes, I calmed a little. James’s comment continued to wrench at my heart, but somehow I knew it struck at the truth. What had happened in the past that had led me to be part, yet not part of the family?

My mind was in a whirl of questions, and now that Mum was gone how could I find out the truth?

I wiped my eyes and looked around. Not twenty feet away, an old phone booth sat next to the road, like a message from the afterworld. What if I asked my father? Would he be able to answer me? Would he remember?

I opened the car door and stumbled over to the booth. It was out of order. Now there was no choice, I had to go and see my father.

It was an hour later that I sat opposite him in ‘Golden Grove Nursing Facility’, his eyes staring at me.

I smiled weakly.

“Do you remember me, Dad?”

He looked blankly at me.

“Can you help me?” I asked, frowning with worry. “Am I your daughter?”

It seemed silly to make small talk – I needed to find out – might as well hit him with the only question that was important to me.

He sighed.

“Hello, Helen.” he said.

I shook my head. I wasn’t Helen.

He continued.

“It was a long time ago. I thought you died in that accident.”

He began to weep. “But I found your grand-daughter – really I did. I raised her as my own daughter, even though she wasn’t. She is like you, you know – blonde, tall and – what a temper!” he stopped, bent his head, no longer coherent.

I watched the nurse take him back to his room. Stunned, I walked out to the car.

James had been right.

Out of This World

Malissa Greenwood

I don’t belong here. I’m a freak of nature, as the kids would say. Well that’s what they would say if they knew. But they don’t know; no one does, except for Uncle Jack and Auntie June. And my mother of course, before she died.  

It all started a long time ago, way before I was born. Dad was stranded here after a war. His ship was lost and eventually crashed into Earth’s atmosphere, destroying the ship and leaving him here in New York City, USA. Uncle Jack found him next to an old phone booth, the kind you see in old films. He gave him shelter and well, a new life and also managed to keep his secret all these years. He only eventually told Auntie June because he married her and felt finally, that he could trust someone. Besides, Dad didn’t age for, like, a really long time so… it would have been suspicious. Dad eventually met Mom and shortly after they married I was here and, well… she was gone. It would have been nice to know her. All I have of hers is some clothes my dad kept and a photo album. My favorite photograph is one where she was pregnant with me. She’s looking down at her round stomach like it was a gift.

But that was ages ago. I’m in school now and I’m very aware of how different I am. Not too much physically, with my dark skin and short athletic stature; only my facial features are a bit… off.

But I do have several ‘advanced skills’. I can hold my breath for a really long time, which is fun; makes for excellent times in swimming matches. I’m quite a bit stronger than everyone else my age. In my golf class I nearly bent a 5-iron in half when I was upset about landing a ball in the water. I’m also a quick healer and I will live to be significantly older than the average human being, with very slow signs of aging. I mean that’s what we’re expecting, but since my mother was a human that makes me a hybrid so I suppose it’s a crap-shoot, really.

I don’t know what it’s like to live anywhere other than Earth, of course, but I just have this feeling that there has got to be more for me out there. I look up at the stars and I can feel it. I can see more than what these humans see. I know there’s more out there, I know we’re not alone (even though Dad says he’s sure his home planet was destroyed). He says “I’ve made a happy life here Siena, so will you.” But surely there are other planets! There has to be. I mean, what are the odds of there only being two!? No… I know there’s more for me and I am going to do whatever I can to get out of here.

“Siena! Dinner’s ready!” Auntie Jackie calls from downstairs and I sigh.

Well. I will find a way. But I suppose I should eat dinner, and … maybe finish high school first.

My Mother

Vance Rowe

I was swinging a driver club from my golf bag in my parents’ bedroom when I accidentally hit their chest of drawers and a hidden compartment opened up. Inside of the compartment was an old newspaper clipping dated about twenty five years before I was born. The clipping was a story accompanied by a photograph of a car that had crashed into an old telephone booth. The clipping had stated that the adults in the car were killed but a five year old girl had survived.

The young girl who had survived was only five years old. I asked my father about it and he heaved a sigh and said, “I knew this day would come sometime.”

He explained that the photograph was of my grandparents. My real grandparents and my mother was the five year old girl. He also went on to explain that she had been raped when she was fifteen as she was bounced around from foster home to foster home, and I was the product of that rape. Since she was still a minor, I had to be given up for adoption and that is the reason I am here now.

“So, you and mom are not my real parents?”

“Well, we raised you and loved you as our own son. You were a blessing to us because your mom…my wife could not have children of her own.”

“So my real mom is still out there somewhere?”

“As far as we know she is, but we have no idea who or where she is. Or if she is still even alive.”

I didn’t know what to say. There are a million thoughts running through my head right now. I looked at the newspaper clipping again and noticed that the anniversary of the car crash is tomorrow. I demanded that my father take me to the scene tomorrow.

The next day we took a drive to the site where the accident happened. There was nothing there now but trees and bushes but I did notice a woman standing there. She looked to be in her sixties now. My father saw her too and looked like he had seen a ghost. He stopped the car and I stepped out. The elderly woman looked at me as I looked at her and then I muttered, “Mom?”

I took the newspaper clipping from my pocket and showed it to her. She wept and ran off crying into the bushes. I yelled for her but never heard anything nor did I find her. I will come back here next year though.

The Flight of the UrabansSteven Bergeron

Steven L. Bergeron

“Commander to Urabius, can anyone hear us? Miss Emily we are going down.”It was the constant dream that kept me up most nights.

Miles between mars and earth positioned our star, shaped like a putter’s wedge. As legends say it was habituated by our people the Urabans. We came from a placed called Urabus. In the cold years before world war one our planet was under attack . A young Scientist Cyrus O’Reagan tried to save our planet from destruction. It was in my before life my family history had.

Looking out the window of Nuts Acyllum were not a living soul would believe us. We remain imprisoned against our will. We are the people who’s family history seemed a little far fetched.

*****

We walked all in a row along the tar mat to our phone booth ship on our quest to save our planet.

“Well commander Emily how shall we do this.” Upon entering my ship I turned to my fellow pilots.

“My fellow Urbans our planet is under attack . As you all follow my lead we shall prevail.”

How was I to now that those final words were to be my final orders as we all gave our life to save what we all believed in.

The battlefield was tremendous bigger than anyone could have imagined. We had our ups and down the firepower illuminated the sky. Then it came to a one final confrontation myself against the ultimate pilot of our allies soon out of no were an unknown pilot made the difference . Our allies finally want their way but not before destroying our putters wedge star.  

The unknown pilot lead what remained of our species to a empty field in a planet known as earth. I myself never made it my ship was blown to smithereens. This was twenty-five years before my existence.

*****

I finally woke up from my deep sleep only to find my dear grandson Andrew sitting next to me. Of all the people in the world here was one person I would not lie to. So my family story was nothing but true to him.

“Grandma you are finally awake. Are you ready to get out of here?”

“What are you talking about?”

“I’m now in charge of your well being. You do not belong among these people. With my help if you will allow me we shall show everyone your story isn’t as far fetched as everyone thinks.”

With that we are out of here. Andrew was my saviour. All the years being locked up , the new world looks all new to me. In the end everyone knew my true identity.I was the last true Uraban. We now stand here were our ships had landed. In memory of all people from out of this world this land is dedicated to the first person who believed their existence. The O’Reagans research facility is now open . My dear uncle Cyrus would be proud.

LemonadeMegan Cypress

Megan Cypress

Bobby played video games in the living room, while his mother, Valerie, prepared fresh lemonade in the kitchen.

The telephone that hung on the wall in the kitchen rang. Valerie answered. “Hello?”

Bobby paused his game so he could listen. The man on the other line spoke loudly enough that Bobby could hear him. “Hey, Val. It’s Tony.”

“Tony? You coming into town for the reunion?”

“I’m in town. I’m calling from the old payphone on Route 9.”

“Well, get over here.” Valerie hung up.

Bobby asked, “Who’s Tony?”

“Just an old friend of mine and your father’s.”

“He’s not my father. He won’t play video games with me.”  

“Now what did I tell you about saying those awful things about your father?”

“Not to.”

“That’s right. Now shut off that game. Tony will be here soon.”

Bobby ignored her and kept playing anyway.

Someone knocked on the front door.

“Come in!” Valerie shouted.

Tony stepped inside. “Oh, hi. What’s your name?”

Bobby noticed that Tony had the same bushy brown hair as he. “Bobby.”

“You got the new Super Mario Brothers? Ahh, man! Let me play.”

“Bobby, I told you to turn off that game!” Valerie shouted. “Now come in here and get some lemonade.”

Bobby turned off the game and walked into the kitchen with Tony.

“So, Bobby, how old are you?” Tony asked.

“Ten.”

Tony counted on his fingers. “Ten? Why, Valerie, you must’ve had him shortly after the last time I visited.”

“Did I?” Valerie set the pitcher of lemonade and four empty glasses on the kitchen table and hollered up the stairs, “Robert, Tony’s here!”

“Tony?” Robert shouted back. “Be right down.”

Robert ran down the stairs, holding a photograph. “Guys, look what I found.”

Valerie snatched the photograph from Robert. “Is that the old Putt-Putt course on Route 9?”

“Uh-huh.”

“Oh, my gosh. How old is this photo?”

“35 years. Same year we graduated from high school. Thought it’d be nice to bring to the reunion.”

Tony scratched his head. “Has it been that long since they shut that place down?”

“Uh-huh,” Robert replied, “but I remember it like it was yesterday ’cause I always won.”

“Did you?”

“Yeah. Remember the windmill on that last hole? Your ball bounced off the wheel of it every time you putted. You never did have the right timing.”

“Oh, yeah. I remember now. Remember that time I accidentally hit you in the crotch with my putter? It was so funny. Your face turned bright red and you grabbed hold of your crotch and said, ‘thanks for taking away my ability to have kids.’”

Bobby, not detecting the sarcastic tone of Tony’s voice, shouted, “I knew it! You’re my father, aren’t you, Tony?”

Tony looked inquisitively at Bobby, while Robert’s jaw dropped to the floor.

Robert shook his head. “Tony, Valerie, how could you?”

Valerie started crying.

Bobby wished he could take back his words but knew it was too late. All he could do now was try to make the best out of a bad situation. “So, Mom, Dads, how about that lemonade?”

Valerie hugged Bobby. “Of course, Bobby. I love you.”

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