Miranda Kate’s Mid-Week Challenge : 2018/12/12

I have always wondered why humans name their pets with human names. Mine named the cat Gloria, the dog Doug, and me, the bird, Samson. Yeah. Pretty silly, I know. A tiny guy like me named Samson.

The cat and dog don’t mind their names at all. I have to stifle a laugh, and a sarcastic comeback every time that bean dip calls me. “How are you this morning, Samson?”

“For a spy, stuck in a cage made out of cheap aluminum wire that puts up with eating old seeds all day, I’m doing well.” That’s what I want to answer. But, the human would freak out. See. They think they’re the only highly intelligent life on the planet.

As a spy, my job was to observe the behavior of a human in its natural habitat. Which probably makes no sense, given the humans don’t live in natural habitats. No, they make their own habitats. More like super giant ant colonies than natural habitats. At least ants are small. Humans? They’re like the dinosaurs. Big, and clumsy, and they take tons of power to run themselves.

The only birds left on the planet were like me. Spies. We spent a lot of time learning to hide from the humans, so they wouldn’t know we were here. We spy on them, study their behavior, and try to partially limit the damage they do to the planet. We expect to fail, but we’ve collected tons of DNA, plant seeds, insect, animal, amphibian, reptile, and fish eggs. We’ve got an emergency cache ready, in case the humans kill off everything.

Of course, we won’t rescue the humans, any more than we did the dinosaurs, and dozens of others.

I reported to the mothership every month. A brief report made using a low power ultra wide band transmitter that’s implanted in my right wing. Flip a switch, and all the data for the month goes out in a couple of heartbeats, and the transmitter shuts down.

Of course, I do get bored. It’s tough being a spy, and pretending to be trapped in a cage, held at the mercy of a human. Think about that. Stuck standing there, holding onto a wooden dowel, pretending to sleep all day, and hopping about the cage, acting excited every time the human comes home.

I much prefer the times the human is at work, or out shopping, or running around. I open up this little cage it thinks I’m safe within, and I stretch my wings a bit, and visit with the cat, and the dog. The cat purrs a lot, and meows. She likes it when I hop on her back, and use my little talons to scratch her in all the itchy spots.

The dog runs to the human’s piano, and barks until I fly over, and play a tune of some kind. A simple tune the dog can wag his tail to. He wags, and wags, and then plunks down, and smiles, and for him, everything is OK with the world.

I check the internet on the humans computer. Like too many humans, they don’t password protect it, or secure it. “It’s in my home. No one uses it but me. I’m good.”

I always check the local news, to add that to my reports. I also erase all traces of what I used it for. The human doesn’t know. Of course, I never shit on the computer. That would leave evidence. I always pretend to shit wherever and whenever I want when I’m in the cage, or when the human has me out. But when I’m working, no. I wait until I get back to the cage.

The piano is a good instrument. We birds like it. We’ve stolen the human plans for making them, and have produced pianos of our own. There are several at the base inside the moon. Someday, when my time as a spy is done, I hope to be able to go home, after a debriefing on the base. But, realistically, I know I may not live long enough to go home.

Earth is a dangerous place, what with all the humans on it. A being a spy? That’s almost always a death sentence. But, hope always survives, so I kept hoping.

Well. I have to behave like a proper pet bird now. The human just parked its car in the driveway.

Stupid humans. You watch. They’ll kill everything. You just wait. They will. I guarantee it.

749 words

Saw the picture for week 85 of Miranda Kate‘s Mid-Week Challenge and an entire new universe opened up in my mind. This is the result. You can read about Miranda’s small fiction challenge here. Please, go read Miranda’s short tale this week, and any others that showed up. The tales are always little works of art, crafted with words, meant to be shared, and enjoyed. And many of them are amazing.



#FlashMobWrites 1×42 : Graceland (Second Try)

Clara’s tears blended with the steady rainfall as she used her shovel to pack down the dirt on the shallow grave for Eskimo. Eskimo’s grave was next to Tiger’s, Tiger’s next to Stripes’, and Stripes’ next to Hazel’s. Little homemade tombstones stuck out of the ground for the others. She hadn’t had time to make one for Eskimo yet.

“The trouble with living a long time,” she thought, “you get to see everyone that matters die.”

She stood and looked at the graves for her four cats, “Hazel, Stripes, Tiger? Take care of Eskimo.” Clara was soaked, water dripped from her chin, hair, fingertips, and ran down her pants legs to the ground. Her shoes were a total loss to the mud.

“Oh, Eskimo. You died so young.” Eskimo had lived for eight joyous years. “I loved the way you used to sleep on my pillow, propped against my head.” She cried at the memory, her tears washed away by the rain.

“You never did catch the red dot.” Eskimo always chased the red dot the pointer made on the carpet and the wall, as if trying to stop it from moving. Clara giggled, “Tiger will explain the red dot to you,” she looked at Tiger’s grave. Tiger had figured out the red dot, and stopped chasing it.

Clara remembered the times Eskimo climbed into her lap, with that look he got that said, “I know you’re lonely tonight, Mommy. It’s OK. I’ll take care of you.” And he had. He’d given her a family, a friend, a confidant. Eskimo was who she talked with. She told him everything about her life, how her day at work went, how stupid and frustrating men were. Eskimo always listened, and always rubbed his cheeks against hers. He made sure Clara knew how much he loved her.

Eventually, the rain wore her down, and Clara started toward the house. Halfway there, she turned to look at the graves again, “What’s that?” Her jaw dropped, and she took several steps toward the graves. All four of her cats were there, looking at her. Hazel, Stripes, Tiger, and Eskimo. Their purrs, and their voices all told her the same thing.

“We don’t want you to be lonely, Mommy. There’s always room for another family member. When you’re ready we want you to find a new kitty who will take care of you.”

Clara smiled, happy tears blended with the rain, “Thank you, my children. Thank you.”

After a shower, and some hot cocoa, Clara curled up under her blankets, and hugged her pillows. “I miss you already, Eskimo”. She cried herself to sleep because she realized her friend was never going to prop against her head again. “Good-bye, Eskimo.” She hugged her pillow. “Good-bye.”

459 Words

I wrote a second story for #FlashMobWrites 1×42, hosted by Ruth Long and Cara Michaels.  Please, go read all the stories for #FlashMobWrites 1×42. You might find something you like. But if you don’t read them, how will you ever know?

Alecia Nominated Me For The Versatile Blogger Award

Well. This is something different. Alecia has nominated me for the Versatile Blogger Award. Thank you, Alecia. Of course, I accept this. So, now it’s my turn to follow the rules of the award.

You can learn about Alecia here – http://aleciawrites.com/about/ And you can read her blog here – http://aleciawrites.com/

Now, here are seven little details about me.

1. I am, and have been, married for 28 years, and hope she and I figure out how to stay happily married for the rest of our time on this Earth.

2. Both our children have moved out of the house, leaving us with the three cats.

3. I don’t read a lot. It’s not that I don’t want to read, or that I can’t read. For me, reading takes a lot of time. And I never seem to have enough time to read very much.

4. Don’t ask me what  want to be when I grow up. I haven’t figured that out yet.

5. I refuse to own a smart phone. For lots of reasons. They break. Lots. Their charging ports wear out too often. You can’t get one without having to buy a monthly data plan. Do you know how much it costs to fix one if it breaks? Geeze.

6. Pizza! Wendy’s Large Vanilla Frosty! White Chocolate! Peanut Butter with Agave Honey stirred in.

7. Don’t be surprised if you ever meet me, if I don’t say much. I mean. I do live on the Autism Spectrum. And talking is rather stressful sometimes.

Lastly, I’m supposed to nominate fifteen (15) bloggers for the award. Here’s the list, in no particular order. Go read their blogs. They’re gifted people, in my view. I’m also certain some of them have already done this, so they won’t have to repeat it.

Sydney Aaliyah Michelle
Tales of a Writer’s Life
The Tsuruoka Files
Michela Walters
Joanne Wadsworth
A Scrapbook for Jenny
A Little Bird Tweets
Angela Goff
The Last Krystallos
Alex Brightsmith
Minstrels and Heroes
Ailsa Abraham
One Word At A Time


#RaceTheDate : Bengal Tiger

Sally was six when her father took her to the animal shelter to pick out her cat. She’d always wanted a cat, and had begged her parents for one for as long as she could remember. “They’re smaller than dogs. And they don’t bark.”

She’d tried everything she could think of. “Ruby’s cat’s named Caesar. He let’s me pet him. He has such soft fur. Mommy, he’s orange all over! He sits on Ruby’s lap, and purrs.” She’d tried to purr. “Purrrrrr. Purrrrrr.”

She’d told Santa at the mall what kind of cat she wanted. “I want a girl cat. She’ll be orange, with black and white stripes, and I’ll call her Shiva. And she’ll have a big, swishy tail. Can you find Shiva for me, for Christmas?”

The night her parents told her she could get a cat, she got so excited she couldn’t sleep. That morning, she’d brushed her hair, clipped in her favorite bow, put on her prettiest shoes, and her Sunday dress. “It’s a special day! I want to look special for the cats!”

At the shelter, they looked at all the cats. “There must be a thousand cats here, Daddy!” When they found one she liked, they’d get to sit in a little room, and visit the cat. Some cats were mean. They hissed at her. Some were sweet, and licked her fingers, and purred. None of them were just right. “Is there an orange one, with black and white stripes?”

A helper guided them to a cage. Inside was an orange cat, with black ears and paws, a white tummy, and white stripes, and it was a girl. “I LOVE her! She looks just like a Bengal Tiger!”

That was the day Sally brought Shiva home. And so the story began.

299 words.

A little story I couldn’t resist writing for Cara Michaels‘s Race The Date flash fiction challenge. Hope you enjoy it. Please, go read the other entries in the challenge this week. I find it amazing the stories people can create in 300 words or less.

#FTT 22 : There Was Only One Thing Left To Do

There was only one thing left to do. That was laugh. So laugh I did. I’m sure the neighbors thought I’d gone insane. And I probably had. At least for a little while.

It was frickin’ cold. Snowing, too. The day before Christmas. December 24th. And I was standing outside my house, in my pajamas, my fuzzy house shoes, and my bathrobe. Watching the house burn to the ground.

Stupid cats. It was all their fault. I’d been watching the NORAD Santa Claus report. You know. The radar tracking of Santa NORAD does every year. I know. I’m all grown up. I know there’s not really a Santa. But I started watching the NORAD feed on the ‘Net when I was a kid. Dad was so proud of it. “See, Son! We can track Santa! You can get an idea of when he’ll reach our neighborhood!” He patiently explained how Santa never came when children were awake, so we could use the NORAD radar tracking system to figure out when we all needed to go to bed, so Santa could visit us.

Yeah. I fell for it. Hell, I was only 5. Santa was God back then. “Dear Santa, I want a new table computer. And a smart phone. And a Playstation 4.” And it was like God heard, and granted wishes.

Took me several years to figure out it was Mom and Dad, and not Santa. But I still watched the NORAD feed every year. And I still felt that same tingle of excitement I felt when I was five.

Of course, the cats watched the lights on the tree. I don’t know which one of them found the cord and managed to short it out, causing the spark that set the tree on fire. I just heard a crashing noise, and smelled smoke. “Jesus, what have you idiots done now!” I got up to find out what they’d done, expecting to see the tree pulled over, and lots of the glass ornaments on it broken, booby trapping the carpet.

I sure didn’t expect to see the tree glowing orange, red, yellow. But it was. I remember my words when I saw it. “Holy shit!” Yeah. I know. Original.

I grabbed my phone, dialed 911, and screamed, “Fire! The damn tree’s on fire!”

Have you ever tried to speak rationally about where you are, and what’s going on, when you’re watching your Living Room go up in smoke? “Get everyone out of the house. The fire department is on its way.”

Everyone was me, and my three cats. They were waiting patiently by the front door. We all made it outside, and stood there, in the snow, waiting for the fire department.

Like I said. There was only one thing left to do. Decide if I wanted to laugh, or cry. So, I laughed. Like an insane maniac. As I watched my home go up in smoke.

Damn cats.

490 Words

I wrote this for Week 22 of Alissa Leonard‘s Finish That Thought. Please, go read all the creatively shared stories in this week’s challenge.

#VisDare 41 : Transfixed

We returned to Old Phoenix, as the sun was setting. “Follow us!” the cats mewed. They led us to an old warehouse someone had converted into a theater. There were several tables along the East wall. The cats led us to one. “Sit! Sit!”

Alice whispered, “This is Josie’s place.”

A man in a tuxedo, carrying a bottle of wine and two glasses approached the table. He poured a drink for each of us. A woman sat down at a piano in the north-west corner of the warehouse, and started to play.

“Josie!” Alice grabbed my hand, as a woman in a wedding dress, and ballerina shoes pirouetted across the floor. She stopped before us. Alice sat, transfixed, staring at the woman, unable to speak.

The woman took my hands, and placed them on Alice’s. “Help her.” As she danced, I wondered how I could help Alice.

150 Words

This is part 26 in the continuing story I’m working on for Angela Goff’s Visual Dare. Please read the other entries in this week’s Visual Dare challenge.

If you wish to read the entire tale, you can find it, starting with Part 26, running back to Part 1, here.

#VisDare 38 : Chase

I did not sleep that night. I watched over Alice. Something wouldn’t let me sleep. Something told me I had to protect her.

During the night I heard the cats of Old Phoenix, yowling. In my mind, they screamed. I reached for my knives, still in my boots. The door to the church opened, slowly, silently. Three men stood there.

The cats screamed, “The Horde!”

I didn’t wait. I threw my knives, and two of the three men died. The third turned, and ran. I chased him through the streets of Old Phoenix, to the lake. He didn’t take the boardwalk. He dove into the lake, going under the boardwalk. I followed as he race into the lake, where he reached a boat with more men. They pulled him aboard, and quickly left.

I returned to the church, where Alice waited for me.

143 Words

This is part 24 in the continuing story I’m working on for Angela Goff’s Visual Dare. Please read the other entries in this week’s Visual Dare challenge.

#VisDare 23 : Ornate

That afternoon I took Alice to old Phoenix, to a building I’d seen the day she’d shown me the cats. The cats gathered. “Why have you come?”

I thought of the building. The cats led us there. The building was an old church that someone had turned into a cafeteria style restaurant. The cats looked at me, “Take care of her,” I heard them say as they walked away.

I took Alice inside, and sat her at a table, close to the front, where the windows were. I sat down next to her, and held her hand. She whispered, “No one’s ever fought wraiths hand-to-hand.”

“I learned to survive in the caves.” I told her how I’d lived as a hunted outcast in the caves. She told me of her friends murdered by the wraiths and hordes. And I held her while she cried from the heartache of her memories.

150 Words

This is part 19 in the continuing story I’m working on for Angela Goff’s Visual Dare. Please read the other entries in this week’s Visual Dare challenge.

#55WordChallenge : The Fence, Part 10

The motion stopped. The sun temporarily blinded me as someone removed the black fabric and straps. The woman in lingerie smiled. “You’re safe here, Flint.”

I got to my feet. “Where is here?”

“Beyond the fence.” We were beside a wooden cabin. Two cats stood beside it. “Kaosu and Sangai,” she said. “They like you.”

55 words

This is the 10th part of the serial story I’m working on for Lisa McCourt Hollar‘s weekly #55WordChallenge flash fiction challenge. Please, go read all the other entries in the challenge this week. It’s flat amazing what gifted writers can say in just 55 words.

#VisDare 17 : A Cat’s World

The images on the wall came to an end. Alice smiled. “You really think I’m pretty?”

“Prettier than any woman I’ve ever seen.”

She hugged me. I didn’t mind at all. “Tomorrow, I’ll take you to Old Phoenix.”

I slept on the sofa in her home that night, and dreamed of her.

After breakfast, Alice and I walked over the hills behind her home, into the ruins of an ancient city. “This was Phoenix, Arizona.” We walked down streets lined with buildings. “This is where we met the animals.”

I noticed cats, dozens of them, along the streets as we walked. I heard dozens of different voices in my head, “Alice is visiting! Who’s that with her? Is he safe?”

Alice watched me looking at cats. “You can hear them, can’t you?”

I nodded yes.

“And yet, you came from one of the caves. That’s never happened before.”

148 Words

This is the 13th piece in a continuing story I’m working through for Angela Goff’s Visual Dare. Please read the other entries in this week’s Visual Dare challenge.