Snow On The Screen @StoryADayMay 26

Snow On The Screen

by Marian Allen

Emerson draped a muffler over himself and tied it under his control panel.26

“Now, don’t overdo.” His wife, Sylvania, said the same thing every time he went out to shovel the walk. She added, as she had taken to doing the last few years, “Neither of us is getting any younger.”

He didn’t need her to tell him. The foil extensions on his rabbit-ear antennae ached whenever the weather changed. He was always losing his off-on knob and having to crawl all over the floor to find it, and his fine tuning knob had been gone for decades. Back when he was still in service, his boss had kept a pair of pliers up top, right behind the reproduction statue of End of the Trail.

That was before his blue/yellow color balance had blown.

Even then, the boss had moved him to the workshop and turned the saturation all the way down and watched the woodworking programs in black and white. Yeah, that was a boss! He had put up with the occasional snow on the screen, thumping Emerson on the head in a friendly sort of way to shake him back to full reception.

That was before this digital stuff. After that, there was no snow on the screen with faint sound and ghostly pictures that you could kind of follow until reception came back. With the digital, you either had reception or you didn’t. And even then, you needed some kind of gizmo to translate the signals from digital to analog or some damn thing or other.

Emerson sighed and shoveled.

And the Missus was in the same shape. Sylvania had been a fine figure of a television in her prime. But times had caught up with both of them. Plenty of good years in them yet, but here they were, in forced retirement.

He reached the end of the walk and went in for a warm-up.

“Why don’t you rest a bit before you do the drive?” Sylvania felt his back. “I think I can smell overheated circuits.”

“That’s your toast,” he said, patting her hand. “I’m fine.”

In the garage, he fitted the snowplow to his front and, conscious of the irony, clicked the remote to open the door.

The snowplow made short work of the driveway, and Sylvania’s strong coffee was still perking through his wires.

What good does it do sitting around feeling sorry for yourself? At least we can still manage. Not like poor old Mrs. Ironing-Board, or the Pogo Sticks on the corner, or the Sony brothers who could only sit around bragging about what state-of-the-art transistor radios they used to be.

Sylvania was watching him from the picture window. He gave her a wave and a thumbs up, hitched his snowplow firmly around his middle, and went to see how many driveways he could clear before he wore out.

~*~

I’m blogging today at Fatal Foodies about some mighty good leftover fiddlings.

A WRITING PROMPT FROM THE SPAM FILE: TV fitted with a snowplow decided to go up and down the road and clear everybody’s driveway

MA

Of Course @StoryADayMay 25

Of Course

by Marian Allen

25Douglas Castelan exchanged holding his throbbing head to pinching his pug nose. He tried not to focus on his glass, filled with a repellent mixture of raw egg and Worcestershire sauce, and tossed the disgusting elixir back without breaking the oysterish yolk.

Keeping it down was harder than drinking it, but, after a few minutes’ victory, he was rewarded with an easing of his symptoms.

There were only so many Mondays one could claim a migraine before college students understood one meant hangover.

Oh, students! The well that never runs dry! His secondary career as “First Impressions” columnist for Exploring The Classics would be so much more difficult without them!

He’d had that career for fifteen years, and he’d never actually written more than the first three columns. Once he’d realized he could assign his class the book he was supposed to review as if he were reading it for the first time, it had been free money. All he had to do was pick the most literate of the papers, clean it up a bit, and have another cocktail.

This year was even better: Young Brendan Montgomery consistently turned in good work. So good, Douglas hadn’t even read his last paper; he’d just deleted Brendan’s name, inserted his own, and emailed it to the magazine.

Life was good.

#

Brendan Montgomery lifted a mug of craft beer and clinked the mugs of all his friends.

“I might come back to college some day,” he said. “But I have to grab this chance, you know?”

He was good at everything he did, but computer programming was his first love. One of his programs had caught the eye of an up-and-coming company, and he was dropping out to ride the tail of that comet as far as it would take him.

“You know the best thing about it?”

His envious but genuinely delighted friends asked him to tell them.

They were even more delighted when he said, “Writing that last paper for Old Man Castelan. ‘I didn’t even read this stupid book. The first ten pages were so damn boring, I went to sleep. What kind of moron is this Thackery fool, anyway?’ And then I told him I was quitting and how I felt about school – I called it ‘the company’ – taking money from the ignorant and leaving them just as ignorant at the end as they were at the beginning. I hope he enjoyed it!”

~*~

A WRITING PROMPT FROM THE SPAM FILE: You’re going to review it. Of course you’re going to read it.

MA

Creatures of Habit @StoryADayMay 24

Creatures of Habit

by Marian Allen

24Young Holly Jahangiri jogged through the streets of Boonieburgh, waving at her friends, neighbors, and relatives as she ran. It was hard to believe she’d soon be going to Council City to begin her apprenticeship.

Apprentice Librarian Holly Jahangiri! The thrill of it made her shiver in spite of her exercise. She would have to get something to wear, she thought. Something lightweight to put around her neck to keep off the early morning chill. Maybe she’d pick up one of those feather boas so popular in the cities, according to the fashion sheets. What color? Orange, perhaps, so hovercar and pedicar drivers could see her. No, purple. Purple was her color.

She hoped she wouldn’t have to give up these early morning runs when she moved to the city. They’d become a habit she very much enjoyed.

She soon passed the town limits and jogged on along the road that, ultimately led to Council City. On either side of the road spread fenced pastures and the meadows of flowers that had originally given Meadow Of Flowers Province its name.

She turned right, onto Jahangiri Lane, the one-cart track that ended at her family compound.

Something was wrong. She couldn’t put her finger on it ….

Where are the pratties?

Farmer Anzac – whose elevated stud fees for his prize pratty earned him the nickname High-Ram – always turned his flock out of their barn at dawn, when the grass and flowers were dewiest. The curious beasts always trotted to the fence to watch her pass. They had been there on her way to Boonieburgh, but they were nowhere in sight now.

Uneasy, she vaulted the fence and crossed the star-flower meadow. As she neared the barn, she heard the baa-ing of the flock. And there they all were, milling about in the barnyard, all two dozen of them.

What handsome creatures they were! An Earthling tourist who had once passed through Boonieburgh because he had gotten lost had said, upon seeing one, “It’s a sheep the size of a llama!” Nobody knew what he was talking about, but they had thanked him and sent him on his way.

Holly passed among the flock, patting them and whispering calming words.

And there, on the ground in their midst, lay Farmer Anzac, unconscious!

Holly took his pulse. He was alive!

Quick as thought, she ordered one of the pratties – Hayzell, she thought – to kneel. She tugged Farmer Anzac onto the prattie’s back and mounted behind him.

“Hyah!” Holly pressed her heels into the prattie’s sides and it took off at a gallop. With a mighty bound, it cleared the fence.

In moments, Farmer Anzac lay in old Doc Martin’s office, weak but awake, and very grateful.

“From now on,” he said, “your ma can take stud off my rams any time she wants ta. It’s the least I can do. How’d you know I needed help, young lady?”

“Pratties are creatures of habit,” she said. “When they weren’t at the fence watching me pass, I knew something had broken their routine. I just thought I ought to see what it was.”

“Good thinking,” said High-Ram. “Maybe you missed your calling, being a Librarian. Maybe you oughta be a detective.”

Holly laughed. “I can’t imagine ever helping to solve a mystery. I’ll leave that sort of thing to books.”

~*~

A WRITING PROMPT FROM THE SPAM FILE: This is the place where I started out also it would have been a great start in your case as well. This is a good method of getting the slow loser of burning fat with a more effective rate throughout the day long. Make your morning or evening jog a are all creatures of habit.

MA

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