Tales on Tuesday ~ Speed Racer

Nessa of, The Chrysalis Stage, hosts a weekly writing theme called Tales on Tuesday.

The idea is to tell a short, short (500 words or less) story based on the week’s theme. To provide us inspiration, each theme will be the title of a TV show. This week’s theme is from “Speed Racer,” which ran as a television series in the United States from 1967-1968. Speed Race was originally a Japanese manga-anime production named Mach Go Go Go. If you wish to join Tales on Tuesday, please visit Nessa for the list of upcoming themes, and remember, your story does not have to relate to the series.

Speed Racer

A daring boy of sixteen years,
Still untouched by worldly fears
Went out to chase his cares away
In the early dawning day.

His car raced through the streets of town,
But the boy did not slow down.
One so young had not to fear
He would live through many a year.

Lady luck would be his guide
On his wild and daring ride.
But when the ride came to an end
This message I was told to send

This message without any joy
To the parents of the boy.
He didn’t see the light turn red.
I’m sorry, but your son is dead.

Charlene L. Amsden, 1975

______

I wrote this poem at 2 a.m. one morning when wakened from my sleep by a horrible crash. Not too far from our house the country road crossed the highway and somehow I knew the crash was fatal and that someone had died there. Despite the words of the poem, I did not know who.

The next morning in school, seconds after stepping off the school bus, I learned that one of the most popular boys in our class had taken his mother’s car joy riding and suffered a fatal accident. He died less than a mile from my home. Now, 35 years later, I remember only that his name was Jim, and the horrible crushing reality that death doesn’t care how promising your future looks.

Tales on Tuesday ~ All in the Family

Nessa of, The Chrysalis Stage, hosts a weekly writing theme called Tales on Tuesday.

The idea is to tell a short, short (500 words or less) story based on the week’s theme. To provide us inspiration, each theme will be the title of a TV show. This week’s theme is from “All in the Family,” an Emmy winning American sit-com which aired on ABC from January 12, 1971 to April 8, 1979. If you wish to join Tales on Tuesday, please visit Nessa for the list of upcoming themes, and remember, your story does not have to relate to the series.

The Last Date

Jerry reluctantly agreed to go to Fredia’s house for dinner.  He wasn’t really a ‘meet the parents’ kind of guy but for some reason Frieda had him doing a lot of things he wasn’t used to.  He couldn’t remember the last time he dated any one woman as long as he’d dated Fredia.  Usually after three or four dates he got what he wanted and moved on to the next conquest.

Jerry pulled into the parking lot of the Fremont Apartments and flipped his cell phone open.  He punched in Freida’s number and heard her sweet voice come on the line.  “Hey,” he said.  “I’m really looking forward to tonight.  I’m just going to catch a shower. I’ll be over in an hour or so.  I can’t wait to see you.”

After hanging up he got out of the car and took the stairs to apartment number three.  He rang the bell.  Joy answered almost immediately.  “You’re late!” she said.

“Yes, I know.  I have to cancel our date tonight.  The boss wants overtime. This is my dinner break. I had to see you.”  He backed Joy up against the wall and kissed her soundly, sliding his hands under her blouse.

Jerry left the apartment  an hour later, refreshed and showered. The lovely diversions provided by Joy are what kept Jerry so patient with Fredia, but Joy’s attractions were starting to pale and she was whining more and more about how little she saw of Jerry and how they never seemed to do anything any more but have sex.  Women were all the same.

Jerry parked in front of Fredia’s house and sat in the car.  He considered driving away.  She might never give in short of marriage and that was one price he wouldn’t pay for sex.  Still, she was lovely and virgins were worth the extra effort.  Joy had been — and that girl before her, what was her name?  Cara? Carla? Chloe?  Well, C something, anyway.

Jerry got out of the car and approached the house with a brand new determination.  Fredia wasn’t going to be the one who got away.

A gorgeous older woman opened the door.  Fredia’s mother?  Jerry eyed her.  She wasn’t virgin territory, but some older women really knew how to sizzle.  She might be worth a romp in the closest.  He flashed his sexiest smile as he stepped into the foyer.  The mama preened.

“Mom is that Jerry?”  He heard Fredia’s voice float down the stair case.  “I’ll be there in just a minute.”

“I’m Mona,” Fredia’s mom said.  “Why don’t you come into the living room and make yourself comfortable?”  She hooked her arm through Jerry’s and led him through the archway to the right.  Jerry was mentally testing his best lines, trying to decide which one to use on Mona, and was totally unprepared to find a man standing in the middle of the living room.

“Jerry,” the man said.  “I’ve heard so much about you, I feel we’ve already met.”  He grabbed Jerry’s hand and gripped it way too tight.  Something in the man’s eyes set off a warning bell in Jerry’s head.  He knew that this dinner was his last date with Freida.  This wasn’t a poppa to trifle with.  Unfortunately, that probably meant mama was off the menu, too.  Jerry put on what he hoped looked like a sincere smile.

Fredia stepped into the room and stopped just inside the door.  “The table is ready,” she said.  “Why don’t we all step into the dining room?”

Jerry was surprised she hadn’t greeted him and that there wasn’t to be any small talk first, but with mama holding his arm on one side and papa following at his back, he stepped into the dinning room.  The table wasn’t set, but it was already occupied.  Mama waved her left hand at the two girls seated on the far side.  “I believe you’ve met my other two daughters, Joy and Clarissa?”

“Ah–”  Jerry stared in shock.  Fredia walked over and stood behind her sisters.

Mama tightened her grip on Jerry’s arm and papa’s hand came down heavy on his shoulder.  “Where’s that carving knife?” he asked his daughters.

Tales on Tuesday ~ The Invisible Man

Nessa of, The Chrysalis Stage, hosts a weekly writing theme called Tales on Tuesday.

The idea is to tell a short, short (500 words or less) story based on the week’s theme. To provide us inspiration, each theme will be the title of a TV show. This week’s theme is from “The Invisible Man,” the 1897 novel by H. G. Wells that spawned several movies and a television series or three. If you wish to join Tuesday Tales, please visit Nessa for the list of upcoming themes, and remember, your story does not have to relate to the series.

Jasper shuffled forward leaning  heavily on his walker.   “Hurry up, old man!”  The weasel-faced man leveled his gun in Jasper’s face.  “I outta just blow you away.  You’re no good for nothing and your family would probably thank me.”

“Leave it!”  The big blond man running the heist yelled.  “Git over here and tie up this security guard.”

There were three robbers.  Weasel face, the Boss Man, and an even bigger guy that seemed to have more muscle than brains.  Muscles had the security guard pinned to the floor.  Boss Man had his gun trained on the small mob of customers and bank clerks he’d herded behind the counter and ordered to sit on the floor.  Weasel-face pressed the barrel of his pistol into Jasper’s forehead.

“Hurry up!”  Boss Man snarled. “Leave the crip alone!”

“Yeah, you ain’t worth wasting no bullet on no ways, gimp.”   Weasel-face sneered at Jasper.  He stepped back, tucked his gun into waste band of his jeans, then turned and bound the hands of both the security guard and the bank manager, Robert Carlington.

Muscles lifted Carlington to his feet and shoved him toward the vault door.  “The combination!” Boss Man snapped.

Rita Marlowe, one of the tellers, shifted away from the group.  Her eyes were on the red emergency button below the bank counter about five feet to her right. She rocked back and forth to cover her sideways movement, and tried to look terror stricken, which in truth she was.

Robert Carlington smirked and gave the Boss Man five numbers.  “But they won’t do you any good,” he added. “It takes two combinations to open the safe and I only have one.”

“Who has the other?”  Boss Man demanded.

“My assistant manager.  He’s out to lunch and won’t be back for an hour.”

“Arrrgh!”  Boss Man bellowed.  He swung.  His blow lifted Carlington from his feet and slammed him into Weasel-face.  They both hit the floor.  Rita lunged for the red button and slammed her hand against it.  Red lights flashed, a siren wailed, and the security doors slammed closed in front of the vault, trapping boss man behind them.

Muscles lifted his gun and spun toward Rita.  Jasper’s walker bounced off the back of his head.  The big man hit the floor.  Jasper picked up Muscles’ gun and trained it on Weasel-face.  “Give me a reason,” he said.  Weasel-face didn’t move.

The police arrived in short order and carted the would-be robbers off to jail.  Sheriff Malcom and his deputies questioned the witnesses.  “Jasper,” Sheriff Malcom said, “tell me again why you weren’t behind the counter with everyone else. ”

Jasper shrugged.  “I was moving so slow I just hadn’t gotten there yet, and those fellas thought I was harmless.”

Sheriff Malcolm laughed.

“He does look pretty harmless,” one of the deputies muttered.

The Sheriff corrected him. “Jasper Sullivan was a Special Ops commander in Viet Nam, boy.  He won’t be harmless until about 5 days after they throw the last shovel full of dirt on his grave.”

Jasper, seemingly unaware of the exchange, picked up the walker, folded it closed, then offered it to Rita.  “The misses told me your Mom was wanting one of these for your grandma.  Where Pa is now he won’t be needing it anymore.”  Then Jasper gave her a wink, tipped his hat at the deputy, and walked out of the bank with a bounce in his step.

Tales On Tuesday – Golden Girls

Nessa of, The Chrysalis Stage, hosts a weekly writing theme called Tales on Tuesday.

The idea is to tell a short, short (500 words or less) story based on the week’s theme. To provide us inspiration, each theme will be the title of a TV show. This week’s theme is from the, “Golden Girls” sitcom which was popular from 1985 to 1992. If you wish to play along, please visit Nessa for the list of upcoming themes, and remember, your story does not have to relate to the series.

Once upon a time there was a humble blacksmith named Bauble who had three gorgeous daughters. One was a blond, one was a brunette and one was a red-head, but all were lovely to behold. Unfortunately, they were also unbearably vain and squabbled among themselves over who was prettiest.

Their constant preening and bickering made them very unpopular with the villagers. A town meeting was called to deal with the problem. Someone suggested ordering Bauble and his daughters out of town, however Bauble was an excellent blacksmith and he himself was quite likeable. Finally the villagers decided to have a beauty pageant and invite the King as judge. Of course, as soon as the girls learned they would have an audience with the king, they became even more insufferable.

“By my name alone the King will declare me most beautiful,” claimed Laurel. “My name has long been associated with winners.”

“Ha!” Inga said. “You’re named after a smelly plant that was woven into a crown for sweaty athletes to cover their stench. I am named after precious metals.”

“Oh, pl-lease,” Treasure interrupted. “Precious metals, my eye, you’re named after the mold that molten metal is poured into. I, on the other hand, am indeed a rare and precious treasure.”

It was an oft-repeated argument that ended in shrieks and wails and crocodile tears. It also usually lead to the sisters haranguing whoever was near to choose which of them was prettiest. Of course, no one was foolish enough to actually do so.

Bauble himself steadfastly refused to name one of his daughters prettier than the others. “How can I choose,” he would say. “You each look so much like your beautiful mother whom I loved dearly, God rest her soul.” Bauble would bow his head and pretend to sob and the daughters would leave squabbling amongst themselves over which looked most like their mother.”

“I have the bluest eyes, so it must be me!” Treasure would say.

“No, no. I have the blond hair,” Inga would proclaim, “It has to be me!”

“I am the tallest and most graceful,” Laurel would say. “Obviously it is I.”

By the time the villagers decided to call in the king to end the squabbles, Bauble himself supported their plan. He’d long since realized he could never supply a dowry large enough to attract a mate for even one of the girls.

The week before the beauty pageant was almost peaceful. The sisters were so intent on sewing the finest dresses and perfecting their make up and hair, that they had little time to fight with one another or harangue anyone else. The sudden peace had the villagers congratulating themselves on their brilliant plan. Alas, the sister’s quiet was only the calm before the storm.

Since the pageant featured only the three girls, it was decided that the King would meet with them over tea. The girls would serve him, and then each one would sing and dance for his pleasure. Things probably would have gone quite differently had the girls been presented one by one, but they were not.

The girls arrived at the doors to the king’s council chambers dressed in their finest, each sister looking even more beautiful then ever before. The guards opened the doors to the King’s council chambers. The castellan announced them – and the girls rushed the throne.

“My eyes are bluest!”

“My hair is prettier!”

“My skin is fairest!”

“Halt!” The king yelled. The sisters ignored him. They charged up the stairs and onto the dais. The guards were unprepared for such behavior. In their experience, people feared the king and rarely sought his presence.

Laurel, Inga, and Treasure, each wanting the King’s attention for herself, reached out to take hold of him. King Midas leaped to his feet. “Stop!” he cried, but it was too late. Each of the sisters touched him and transformed instantly to solid gold. They stand in the castle still, and it is not unusual for visitors to have long debates over which statue is prettiest.

Tales on Tuesday — Dark Shadows

Nessa of, The Chrysalis Stage, hosts a weekly writing theme called Tales on Tuesday.

The idea is to tell a short, short (500 words or less) story based on the week’s theme. To provide us inspiration, each theme will be the title of a TV show. This week’s theme is from the Gothic soap opera, “Dark Shadows” which was popular from 1966 to 1971.  If you wish to play along, please visit Nessa for the list of upcoming themes, and remember, your story does not have to relate to the series.

Bobby stood at the back door with the garbage sack in his hands.  The porch light shone golden to the middle of the yard, then all was dark.  He didn’t want to take the garbage out.  There were too many shadows.  Anything could be hiding there.

“Hey, shut the door, Booby,” Eric, his older brother, called out.

Bobby simmered at the hated nickname but he knew better then to react.  The teasing would only get worse.

Eric barged into the kitchen.  “Is little baby Booby afraid of the dark?”  he sing-songed.  “Here, give me the garbage, coward.”

Eric grabbed the garbage sack, bounded through the door, off the porch, and into the darkness behind the garage.  Bobby waited tense and still.  He knew it was out there.  He wondered if it was afraid of Eric, too.

Bobby heard the garbage can lid rattle open and then rattle closed.  He saw movement in the darkness and Eric emerged from the gloom, but still the darkness swirled and roiled.  “Run!”  Bobby shouted.  Eric only laughed. Bobby held his breath. One more step and Eric would be safe. A dark, snake-like arm lashed out of the shadows and grasped Eric’s ankle.

Eric lurched to the ground clawing at the grass.  Bobby shot from the kitchen and grabbed his brother’s jacket as the dark arm contracted, pulling Eric toward the shadows.  “Hang on!”  Bobby yelled.  “It’s afraid of the light!”  Eric kicked his feet and clung to Bobby.  Both boys shrieked in fear and fury.

Light flared from the house next door and the shadows recoiled.  Old man Bannon stepped onto his back porch.  “You boys do enough caterwauling during the day.  Can’t you shut up at night and let an old man watch TV in peace?”

“Eric and Robert, get in here this minute!” Their mother called.  Both boys dove for the house.

Just before he shut the door Eric looked back and saw the garden hose tangled in the grass.  He reached out and smacked Bobby upside the head.  “Geeze, Booby, you scared me half to death and it was only the stupid hose.  I suppose I better pick it up before dad gets mad.”

Bobby grabbed his arm.  “You’re not going back out there?”

Eric snorted, brushed Bobby’s hand away, and jerked the back door open.  He looked into the yard and paused.  The darkness seethed just beyond the hose.

“You know,” Eric turned to Bobby, “I think I’ll leave the hose till morning.  What do you say we play a video game?”

“Together?”  Bobby asked in surprise.

Eric shrugged.  “Yeah, sure, Bobby.  Why not?”