Friday Fictioneers – As Lights Fall

(Author’s note: Job is getting more hectic, more busy. Hoping to have more time now to do things. Didn’t get it last week. Here’s this week’s work:)

on-route-66-jean-l-hays

© Jean L. Hays

Reach

by Miles H. Rost

An investment of decades.

Bart slowly scanned the large stretch of land in Eastern Oregon that he called home. The sun was approaching the horizon, bathing him in an eerie orange.

He bought the land with a major investment he made just after World War II. He did well with the cattle, until he sold them a month before. The sale put into a safe trust for his grandchildren, provided they took up a marketable trade.

He put his back to the rock, and watched the sun go down.

As his final breath left him, it was his last call.

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Friday Fictioneers – The Icehouse

(Author’s note: Bronchitis, a cracked wrist that will soon be able to be out of splint permanently, and lots of work to do before winter camp next month. All of it is making me go crazy and want to get my vacation week that much sooner. Anyhow, here’s today’s fictioneers.)

 

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© Dale Rogerson

The Icehouse

by Miles H. Rost

“Winter is coming, Aunt Miranda.”

“I know.”

“You know that I have a place open for you in Coos Bay. It may not be warm, but it’ll be better than this place.”

Miranda brushed her slightly graying hair off her face.

“I know. But, I am going to stay. If my Keith comes back, where is he going to go?”

“But Uncle Keith is M.I.A. I don’t know if he will come back. At least if we get news, we can guide him to our home.”

“Thank you, child. But I’ll wait for him.”

Icicles started forming on the tree.

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Friday Fictioneers – I Just Died In Your Arms Tonight

(Author’s note: The song doesn’t match, but I couldn’t find one for “You died of dysentery”. Otherwise, Enjoy!)

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© Danny Bowman

I Just Died In Your Arms Tonight

by Miles H. Rost

“This is not fun.”

“Oh, come on, Dave. This is the adventure of a lifetime! To really live and breathe as your ancestors did all those years ago.”

“All my ancestors died of dysentery, Rachel. Only one line was able to make it.”

“But, your family did make it to Oregon didn’t it?”

“Yeah, but most of them died of dysentery!”

“I get that…I really do. But that doesn’t matter because you’re here now. And you’re living as they did.”

“When I said I wanted to play Oregon Trail, it was the computer game.”

“Oh…Uh… Check supplies again?”

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Friday Fictioneers – With Dad

(Author’s note: Things have been getting pretty hectic around here, and things have been off kilter. I will try to add new writing on the blog, outside of Friday Fictioneers, but it will take a bit of time to get things moving again. Your patients will be well rewarded. Today’s Friday Fictioneers is here, to whet your appetite.)

 

Photo Prompt © Jennifer Prendergast

With Dad

by Miles H. Rost

“Ready to go, son?”
“Is it going to be safe?”
“We put it together, it will be.”
They each grabbed a side of the canoe and pushed it out to the lake.
“Alright, son. The canoe is there. Are you ready to get in?”
“I would if I knew where it was.”
“What? It’s right in front–”
Dad turned around, and saw the canoe was no longer there.
“Where did it go?”
“It sank.”
“Now, do you know why it sank?”
“Because we didn’t use the right sealant.”
“That’s right. That’s what we will tell Mom. Now, let’s go back to the cabin and watch the Ducks.”

Friday Fictioneers – Homeward Bound

Apologies for no posts in the last two weeks. Vacation and depression do affect a person. Here’s the latest Fictioneers offering, albeit a couple days late due to birthday stuffs.

copyright Jean L. Hays

Homeward  Bound

by Miles H. Rost

“So this is where it all started?” Marina asked her grandpa.

“Yep. This is where the famous Route 66 got it’s start,” Grandpa responded, with pride.

“Not that, silly! This is where you started your journey, wasn’t it?” the child said, smiling like she was sharing a secret.

“Ah, child. This was the start of my journey. I lived in that brown building back there, and one day I decided to move west. I packed up a ’55 Bel-Air, picked up your grandma in Des Moines, and we made our way to Oregon.”

“Then I came along and brought you back here!”

“Actually, that was your mom…”

Hazy Shade of Winter

(Author’s Note: I’m BAAAAAAACK! I’ve been gone for the last month or so in the attempt to complete a TESOL Certification. Therefore, I had to drop the blog while I focused on getting all the tests out of the way. BUT, I am now back. And…here we go. ^_^)

Hazy Shade of Winter

by Miles Rost

On the campus of the University of Oregon, the air was becoming bitterly cold. December was not normally known for cold and snow, but for this year, it blitzed across the western United States with a fury rarely seen in any storm. While the city of Eugene was not known for being full of snow, the entire city was blanketed with nearly a foot and a half of snow.

Walking down one of the main streets of the campus, Mike Carlton was admiring the buildings with their roofs full of snow. It was unusual to see a thick coating on top of Willamette Hall’s strange shaped entrance, or a pile of snow that shut the front of the Volcanology building. Mike smiled as he watched a shovel crew scrape the snow and resulting ice-melt off the amphitheatre.

He crossed the heart of campus and angled to go across the plaza, the long strip of green park that stretched from just below the heart of campus across to the west side of campus. He stepped onto the path that cut across the plaza, looking to pass by the statue of the Pioneer Mother and head towards the library. As he took the first step, he heard the carillon bells from the student union behind him, and smiled.

1 o’clock on the nose, he thought, as he smiled at the quietness.

A quietness that was shattered with a loud *THWOCK* and the sting of cold and pain on the right side of his face.

“BOMBARDAMEN!” he heard from one side of the plaza, lined up with a slew of guys behind hastily erected snow-barriers.

Mike looked in horror at the guys, and looked the other way to see if there was the possibility of escape.

He was faced with 16 sorority girls with snowballs in their hands.

He started running from both sides, hurtling over one erected snow barrier and ran straight towards the Physical Education building. The girls and a few of the boys from the plaza started to chase after him, trying to pelt him with more snow than they could even imagine.

To Mike’s shock and surprise, he heard a loud series of *THWOCK*s from behind him. He took a glance behind him and saw that half of the girls and guys that were following him were felled by a series of pink snowballs, lobbed from the direction of the psychology building. For a second, he sighed in relief.

That is until a pink snowball splat in the road right next to him.

He looked up at Straub Hall, the psychology building, and saw a motley crew of girls and guys on the roof, lobbing at people that seemed relatively unscathed.

“Aw HELL naw!” he said, as he continued running past the Physical Education building. He knew where he needed to go, because there was no way that he’d survive if he kept being outside.

He ran past Hayward Field, the running track used for the Olympic Timetrials, now covered in what looked to be virgin snow. He payed no thought to it, as he ran across Agate Street. Like a comically tragic anime character, he ran up the stairs and smacked straight into the doors of the Knight Law library.

Surely, I can take refuge in here! Lawyers don’t have fun or a sense of humor.

Yet again, he was proven wrong as a series of dark blue snowballs rained down upon him. Deftly dodging them, he realized that there was no hope. He did not want to fight, but he was given no choice.

He ran back to the former football field and launched himself into the untouched snow. He looked around like a madman, looking for containers of any type. Within a few minutes of work, he created a sizeable number of snowballs. As he succumbed to his snowy bloodlust and launched the first of his snowballs at an unsuspecting faculty member, one thought entered his mind.

If you can’t beat ’em, beat up on ’em.

Long Tall Glasses (I Can Dance)

by Miles Rost

The day of reckoning had come.

In a gigantic building just off the main drag in downtown Portland, Oregon, nearly 700 people milled around the ground floor. On the 4th floor of the building, it was announced that there would be a major banquet occurring. The announcement of the 15 new dancers of the Portland Ballet would happen at the same time as the banquet.

For half of the dancers, this was a happy occasion for them. For the other half, it meant certain doom as they couldn’t even gain a pound. And for one man, it was an opportunity to not only get a chance at a possible paying gig, but a chance to eat. It would sure beat eating ramen and cream of mushroom soup every night.

Larry Burnell’s admission to the audition was a complete accident. A street person, he was not someone people would think as having any sort of talent. In fact, most people thought of him as a complete bum.

The day before the audition, he was walking from his claimed piece of a sidewalk down 1st Street close to the Morrison Bridge, walking towards the Union Gospel Mission to get a blanket. He saw a red envelope on the ground and looked at it carefully. The name on the envelope was close to his: Lawrence Burnett, and it was addressed to someone at Portland State University. He looked inside and saw his ticket.

He went back to his small camp and rummaged through his stuff, picking up a small harmonica case. He pulled the harmonica out and picked out two $100 bills. It was all he had left, and he was going to use it to try and take advantage of this situation. He went to the local YMCA and took a shower, cleaning himself really well. He even was able to use some floral shampoo that someone left in the showers. After changing into some semi-nice clothes that he used for interviews, he went to a barber to get a shave and a haircut.

He went into the shop looking like a bedraggled 45 year old, and came out looking like a university student. The most important part was complete. He took a dollar and made a call to his mother, who lived in North Portland. While they were estranged, he still  had some stuff there at her place. He asked her if he could come up and pick up a couple items from his boxes. She agreed, and that evening, he had his dancing clothes in his hands and ready to go. He went back down to his pad, and had one of his neighbors watch his stuff for the night. He would return the next night.

He slept at a cheap motel that night, so he could have a great night’s rest. He knew that would be important.

He went to the information desk at the gigantic building that day, refreshed and looking nothing like his bedraggled self the night before.

“Can I help you?” the lady at the counter asked.

“Yes, I am here for the audition.”

“Name?”

“The envelope says Lawrence Burnett. I’m afraid that they got my name wrong.”

“What’s your actual name?”

“Lawrence Burnell.”

After a little shifting, she gave him his numbers, and told him to go to the third floor to wait. He did as they said, and waited. He waited for nearly 3 hours, and his number was finally called.

“Number 699!”

“Right here!”

“Come with me, please.”

He was led to a large ballroom and a long set of tables with 7 judges behind it.

“You are,” the head judge started to say, flipping his chart up, “Lawrence Burnell?”

“That is my name, yes.”

“What do you do for a living.”

“I am a man of the road, most times. I’m a student at this time, though.”

A man of the road?”

A hobo, by name.”

“You….are a….hobo?”

“I hope that I don’t have to repeat myself…”

The head judge just sighed, and put on his best air.

“Are you here for the food, by perchance?”

“Actually, I have been trained in the arts in prior years and I believe that I can do a great job with the Portland Ballet.”

Well, before you can eat, you gotta dance like Fred Astaire.”

“Wouldn’t Mikhail Baryshnikov be more like what I’m going for?”

The other judges bust out laughing at the head judge for such a mixup.

“Can you dance?”

Of course I can dance. You bet I can dance.

The judges gave him the piece of music. It was one that Larry recognized very well, as he danced it in the 1980s with the Sydney Ballet in Australia. Dancing to the song “No Promises” by Icehouse, he did his moves. All of the members of the judging team were shocked that a man of the road would be so good at this.

He ended the performance, and the judges looked stunned. The head judge then cleared his throat.

“Alright, we’ll tally up the score and at the banquet, you’ll find out the results. Please go to the door on your left and proceed to the banquet hall.”

He did, and when he got to the banquet hall, he looked around at the food that was set up. Being one of the last dancers, he got there just as they opened things up. A young lady approached him and smiled.

“Admiring the food aren’t ya?”

Is there water coming from my eyes?”

She laughed, and put out her hand.

“Jenny Carazzo.”

“Larry Burnell.”

He was so astonished by what he saw in the food, he didn’t pay much attention to Jenny.

“Oh my, they got ham. They have turkey. And…is that caviar?!?!”

Jenny seemed to be willing to finish his sentence for him.

They also have long tall glasses of wine up to…YAR!”

She made a big motion with her hands.

He smiled, and asked her if he could join her for the evening’s proceedings. She agreed, and they both filled up on food and drink. They had a great time, while some others were worried about their figures. After a couple hours, the head judge from Larry’s tryout came up to the podium and cleared his throat again.

“We are going to announce the lucky people who will have a position with the Portland Ballet this year. When your name is called, please assemble in a line at the front of the podium.”

5 names were announced, and the winners went up to the front and waved.

“The 6th member of this year’s troupe is Jenny Carazzo.”

Jenny jumped up and gave a hoot. She gave Larry a hug and bolted up to the front. To say that she was happy would have been a great understatement.

8 more members were called, and Larry just kept eating and drinking.

‘The last name on our list is a surprise, as it was someone that we didn’t know had prior experience. We have a former member of the Sydney Ballet in our midst, and I’d like to welcome the last person who will dance for the Portland Ballet this year. Mr. Larry Burnell.”

Larry’s eyes popped out of his head at this, and after swallowing the food that he was eating, he wiped off his mouth and went to the front. He stood next to Jenny as he heard the applause.

Jenny looked at him in shock.

“You actually had to audition, when you were a member of a troupe before?”

“Jenny, that was almost 25 years ago. Another place, another time. I’ve been homeless since ’99. I’m just happy to be able to do this now, and rebuild my life.”

“Me too, Larry. Me too.”