It was Walpurgis Night. The Angelus bells at St. Gabriel’s tolled, reminding the villagers that the Moment of Truth had at last arrived.
“You understand the tradition, Braithwaite,” Lilith bluntly reminded her nephew. “The hundred years are up. Drink one.”
Each century, on this date, the oldest unmarried Earnshaw man is required to decide which, among these glasses, he will drink from.
“Remember, Old Boy,” she continued. “One will render you a madman. One will merely result in the death of someone you don’t know. The remaining glass is quite harmless and does nothing.”
Braithwaite had spent many long, sleepless nights pondering the consequences of his inevitable decision. There was one detail he simply couldn’t understand: Why was each liquid, in each glass, tilted at such an odd diagonal angle?
“It’s quite funny,” he thought, “How one minor detail~or was it minor?~can be so distracting.” All the while he sat motionless, quite mesmerized, wondering what Uncle Basil might have done when his turn arrived. He reached out , at the decisive instant, for a glass.
“All is lost no matter what,” he thought. “I shall see you soon, Uncle Basil,” as he took an inevitable sip.
Here’s me very first attempt at Sunday Photo Fiction . Each week we are to write a 200~word (or fewer) story based upon a photo prompt. Mine is 197~words. Thank Al Forbes for this week’s photograph.
Brother John and Brother Titus are in charge of organizing tourists’ visits to the Discalced Carmelites’ Church and Priory of the Annunciation.
People attend Mass and pray the Rosary and Liturgy of the Hours daily with the Friars. Tourists are inevitably smitten with the beautiful Baroque architecture. Visitors often participate in college level courses given by the Carmelite Institute.
“Well, John,” Brother Titus stated, “I especially enjoy the fact that people can’t seem to get enough out of our telling them about the abuse we took here during Robespierre’s Reign of Terror, and all our history, theology, and philosophy, in general.”
“Yes,” his friend agreed. “After his time here, each guest will go back to his daily life and vocation with a better insight into things. Our vocation’s not for just anyone but it’s really a fine way to live.”
The pair listened joyously to the car doors slamming outside.
This week’s What Pegman Saw takes us to Mdina in Malta. When I found out that they have a Carmelite church and priory there, I couldn’t help taking advantage of it.
I’ve always been quite a fool for a hot cup of coffee. Not counting Sanka and Starbuck’s, I’ll drink any other kind.
Most days since I’ve been in Long Beach, I can be counted on to go once a day to the Coffee Nut Cafe’ on Park Avenue, to get a cup of coffee. Occasionally I go to Gentle Brew, also on Park Avenue, but since the former is closer, I much more often go there.
Lately I restrict my purchases to the less expensive~it’s only two dollars a cup~plain flavored coffee. Whenever I go to Gentle Brew, though, I cheat and get a latte’ or something equivalently intense. I used, until recently, to get the fancy drinks on a regular basis at the Coffee Nut Cafe’ too.
For me a large part of the enjoyment of drinks like latte’ is the froth at the top. Maybe I’m a smidge or two on the eccentric side, but I’ve always quite enjoyed the foam at the top of soda, beer, coffee, and all sorts of other drinks. I’ve so often noticed that most people appear even to recoil in horror from even the risk of touching those bubbles at the top of a drink.
When I was in the Knights of Columbus’ Council 794, in Lindenhurst, I occasionally took a turn as a bartender, mostly on Friday nights. I used always to get into trouble for putting too much of a head on people’s beers. Alas, in my case, it was inevitably because of incompetence but I still can’t understand why that’s always struck people as such a very bad thing somehow. Am I the only one who gets a kick out of froth?
For today’s daily post the one~word prompt is Froth
“That’s funny,” Robert Frost told Emily Dickinson. “I was twelve years old when you died. How can we be together now?”
“That’s true,” she conceded, “but this happens every time our author hears Simon and Garfunkel’s ‘Dangling Conversation.’ “
“O now I remember,” the former conceded. “The line: ‘..and you read your Emily Dickinson/and I my Robert Frost’ always has freaked him out.
“Language, symbolism in general,” the Belle of Amherst proceeded to explain, “always inspire people. Anyway we only have a short time here. Chuck McCann has recently died so our author will be reminiscing constantly about his childhood.”
Welcome back yet again to Rochelle’s weekly Friday Fictioneers, a hundred~word story based upon a photo prompt. This week’s prompt has been supplied by Yardspinnerr
Harvey and George finally got a chance to spend a few minutes away from Muriel and Gloria while they were on vacation.
“Yeah, Bruh,” Harvey gushed to his oldest friend, “This is the life. If we could live close to a place like this, life would be an absolute feast. Don’t listen to those lunatic girls, with their fad diets.”
“Absolutely!” George admitted. “I’m so sick and tired of all their healthy fads, for fear of made up cooties like lactose, gluten, and crap like that. They’re just money~making scams anyway.”
Eventually, after having had too much of a feast, the boys started feeling wiped out. Exhausted, they asked for some Alka~Seltzer. George pointed out: “Just because their diet is a disease, doesn’t mean ours is necessarily a perfect cure. We pushed it too far and it became an equivalent disease.”
“You know those novels and short stories, like Oscar Wilde’s ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’, and Kafka’s ‘The Metamorphosis?’ Elzo asked his friend Ennio on the phone.
“Yeah?” the unsuspecting sidekick admitted.
“Well,” the former tried to explain, “I think we have to talk.”
“Hey,” Ennio stammered. “I’ve been trying to arrange this blind date for you and Sharon for the past six months! She’s such a sweet girl. I’m sure she’ll humor you.”
Reluctantly, Elzo agreed to meet her at a nearby restaurant for supper.
First there were the introductions.
“So,” she started. “Ennio says you’re a history teacher.”
“Yes,” he chimed in. “How do you like being a nurse?”
Amazingly the otherwise inevitable small talk went on quite well. The friends gawked back and forth at each other, wondering how she could possibly not have noticed anything’s being amiss.
Eventually Ennio and his girlfriend Mabel excused themselves and left early so the two could be alone.
Sensing that now was his perfect chance, Elzo asked Sharon for an explanation.
“Why haven’t you even so much as flinched?” he wondered.
“Friend,” she replied slowly, “I am a minion from a Satanic cult. I merely assumed you were one of us. Haven’t you ever heard that Vishnu was once incarnated as a boar?”
From there she proceeded to explain to him all about Manicheans, gnostics, gods ranging from Pan to Moloch.
The befuddled swain tried, as gallantly as he could, to humor her for as long as it was unavoidably necessary. At the end of the evening he politely said his good~byes and left.
The next day Ennio and Mabel couldn’t wait for a full account of all that transpired over the course of the fateful tryst.
“Well maybe I’m in no position to be picky these days, considering my circumstances,” he explained, “but have you ever gotten the impression that maybe someone’s just not quite all that nice of a catch?”
Welcome back to MindLoveMisery’s Menagerie , where we, weekly, write a story based upon a photo prompt. This week Nekneeraj, our host, gives us an image by Igor Morski.
“Ellen and Fred are apparently destined always to sit right in front of me,” Ralph thought.
“It all started in Southwick’s seventh grade history class. Now we’re in Hempton’s eleventh grade chemistry class, and I’m still forced to put up with my ideal woman’s constantly sitting with the likes of that clown.”
Mr. Hempton was pacing around the front of the classroom with his trademark shirt~inevitably either pink or white~and tie, trying to remain patient with his lovelorn pupil.
“Mr. Gerrity,” he tactfully asked, “What is a mole?”
“6.02 times ten to the twenty third, sir,” his young charged stated.
“Oh well,” the smitten boy thought, “That’s one break but it can’t last.”
Throughout the rest of the period he continued vacillating between daydreaming and trying to pay attention.
“I wonder if they have anything like Alka~Seltzer in the cafeteria vending machines,” he thought.
Time lingered. Ralph and Mr. Hempton continued their ritual. Amazingly neither Fred nor Ellen, for one second, came close to catching onto anything.
The bell finally rang. “Oh well,” the young swain thought, “At least I sort of get a break…only for a little while.”