From the mind of a mild mannered maniac

Archive for the ‘Fiction’ Category

Accomplished Cart

 I asked a frlend to give me a random adjective and a noun, from which I could, then, attempt to generate a blog entry. I have a, sneaking, suspicion she may have been updating her resume at the same time 😉

Btw, this could possibly be the weirdest, zaniest, most convuluted story I’ve ever concocted.

…well anyway, here goes nothing..

Accomplished Cart

The shopping cart was rickety, ramshackle and exceedingly rusty. It was, by all appearances a decidedly derelict device, indeed.

 It hadn’t always been thus. Not so many, years before, A richly chromed frame, and sturdy steel chasse, had gleemed and glistened like a prescious gem, in the summer sun, its pristine wheels, their lushly appointed treads gliding smoothly, effortlessly even, as it coasted up and down the aisles, in Thompson’s Dry Goods. Those had, truly, been halcian days. Thompsons carts, had always been very well cared for.   they were were housed, while not in use, in  deluxe enclosures, located at strategic points around the parking lot.Thorough maintenance, and expert repairs were the watchword of the day. Customers praised such stalward dependability and seemed to appreciate the impressive storage capacity and lavish amenities. The fold down infant’s compartment with built-in safety belt, the under carriage space for plus-Sized items, and the,oh so, convieniently situated cupholder.

 Then Thompson’s were taken over by Lo-Cost Foods. Things changed drastically and, certainly, not for the better. Gone were the buggy wranglers who had so dilligently, And lovingly coralled the carts. Gone too were the maintenance checks, and then, and perhaps worst of all, the deluxe enclosures were torn down to make room for extra parking!

 Customers voiced their abject displeasure, in not so subtle ways. The local paper even posted several scathing columns on the subject, but all to no avail. The store’s new assistant manager, who’s cost saving idea it had been, was hellbent on impressing his corporate masters. He failed to see, the flaw in his, seemingly, fool-proof ,solution. All complaints fell, firmly, on his stubborn, unrelentingly, deaf ears.

At first the, bold, little buggy, managed to retain it’s gleaming exterior, and cheery disposition. The rain could not penetrate his tough shell, and so, it slicked harmlessly off of his lustrous chrome.

 He was often abandoned, for days on end, confined to the harsh, unforgiving, back lot. He was rammed, knocked over, bludgeoned and pulverized by mindless, menacing motorists. Worst of all though, was the bullying and ruthless beatings, at the hands of, bored adolescents. They who punished him, with reckiess abandon, on cut-throat joyrides down, deadly, Dremel hill. 

Dents and scratches quickly made way for cancerous oxidation, and spidery cracks that fouled up, his wheel treads. Perhaps the worst, though, was an incessant, nauseating squeak that began its ceaseless eminations from, badly, corroded bearings. Then came the fatal day, when he could no longer serve a useful purpose. There he lay, by the side of the road, a pile of useless corroded junk,tossed away like yesterdays news.

some few months later, Old Jim happened along. He’d lived on the streets for as long as anyone could remember, a man of few words, but an inner calmness and a quiet wisdom, said it all. Jim’s existence, though meagre,  seemed to suit him. On the rare occasion that he actually chose to speak to people,  he referred to himself as an Urban Outdoorsman.  He might be of “No fixed address” but he was a permanent and accepted part of the neighbourhood or authorities, The most important thing to understand though, dear reader, is that, Old Jim  always had his ear to the ground.

Whilst out for his daily constitutional,  a perpetual quest for, discarded “treasure”,  He spied the cart, upturned in a road-side ditch. It looked sturdy and usable, but it had, clearly, seen better days. With a carefull glance to left and right,  seemingly not keen on alerting the powers that be, he sprang spryly into action.A cursory tug was ineffective. The cart was rooted to the spot by encompassing brambles and sundry other varieties of stubborn overgrowth that wouldn’t release their prize, without a Proper fight.

Jim grinned and shrugged, as if to say, “This was all part of the fun” and when he moved, then, it was with the vim and vigor of a man, at least, half his age. The fallen trolley was, soon, liberated from its fetted encampment.  He. dragged it out of the smelly trench, and turned it upright. 

Despite, repeated, attempts to free them, the gummed-up wheels, patently, refused to turn

He must have been sorely tempted to “throw in the towel” and move on. After all, it was only a cart. The trek home was of necessity, a slow and exceedingly laborous, one, but with much pushing, pulling, dragging coercing, he finally arrived at his tarpauline draped,  hideout,.beneath  The East King Street Bridge.

 Perhaps he’d been a craftman, long ago, or maybe he’d come by his abilities out or sheer necessity, but either way, he was great at fixing things, and got tremendous pleasure out of repurposing other people’s junk.

 Little more than a week, or so, after fishing it from the mud,  there emerged, from under the faded blue tarp, a, thoroughly, respectable looking shopping buggy. He’d, lovingly, cleaned it bit by, painstaking, bit, then he’d greased the squeaky wheels, banged out the biggest dents, and buffed up the metal to a fair sheen.

Now,  I don’t want to dupe you into believing.that the poor old cart was restored to, even a fraction of, its former glory, that is the stuff of fairy tales, but it looked much better than it had done, in a very long time.

For several weeks, thereafter, man and cart traveled together, happy companions on sojourns far and wide. They were running errands, and gathering, what to untrained eyes, would have looked, remarkably, like junk, but that would soon, by Jim’s gifted hands, become useful treasures.

 Jim,  debated whether to return the shopping cart to it’s owners at  Low-cost Foods. Was it really up to him to tell them how they should treat their own property? No, but…

Then he had an idea.

A few weeks later at, nearly, Six O’clock in the morning, Ted Willis,  Assistant manager of Low-Cost foods, stood in The parking lot scratching his head. Today marked the beginning of his biggest case lot sale of the year.  He scanned the horizon. No, his eyes weren’t decieving him. There wasn’t a single, solitary, shopping cart to be seen. How was that even possible?

He stared, for the umpteenth time, at the odd looking ransom note, then. Back at the, frighteningly, thick wad of petion sheets. The messenger, an elderly man, sporting hobo rags and outrageously untamed whiskers, had introduced himself only as “Jim. The guy had impressed upon him, vehemently, that  this petition and, an accompanying, boycott threat were, indeed,  very real. 

Despite his, very odd appearance, the old man had seemed, if not imposing, at the very least, strangely, authoritarian.Was this for real though? Should Ted be looking for hidden cameras?

Did anyone, really, care, this, much, about grocery carts? Seriously?

 That Jim guy, had threatened to go over his head if the demands weren’t met though. He seemed to have meant it, too. That was, decidedly,  not cool! 

Lot boys? Covered enclosures? Regular repair & maintenance for carts? What strange demands were these? Was this a prank? A competitor’s evil ploy?  Were the carts. Staging a revolt????

He knew only one thing, if head office caught wind of this, He could wave goodbye, to his job, his promotion, and any dreams of a company pension.

He’d had no choice but to comply, right???

Well, comply he had, he’d written a public notice stating that he was agreeing to every one of the cart-nappers demands. It was written in block letters and covered nearly two thirds of the stores available window space.

  Twenty minutes until opening time, yet still not a single, solitary, cart in sight! He could still report it to the police, but what chance, was there, that he’d, actually,  be taken seriously? Heck, he didn’t quite believe it himself! Worst still, if his customers boycotted, who was gonna buy all this merchandise?

He was planning in his head, what he would say to head office. How did you, explain something like that, without looking like an idiot? Then he started making mental revisions to the resume he would, assuredly, be needing, very, soon.

Could he shave his head, move to Tebet and become a monk?

Do they have Grocery Carts in Tebet, he wondered?

At that precise instant, his thoughts were interrupted by, what sounded like, a thousand, angry, troops advancing on Dremel Hill! 

 Willis Shivered as ripples  of ice cold sweat trickled down his spine.Was any job, truly, worth this kind of stress, he wondered?

Customer complaints he could ignore, but angry mobs? No way!

Yet here he was, and the greatest threat, of all time, was beating a frenzied path, up the hill, toward him.

Should he run?  Should he hide?  Hmmm… he looked, anxiously around. Where could he hide though?

The angry mob was closing in!

He sighed resignedly. Then a nervous giggle erupted from somewhere deep inside.The fear in his eyes was eclipsed by puzzlement, then bewiderment and then finally the dawning of vague comprehension.

With every heartbeat, the marchers drew nearer.

As they crested the hill, the first wave, had finally come clearly into view.

Angry mob? Not quite.

Suddenly, there he was, at the head of the pack. Strutting like a peacock and grinning from ear to ear,  behind that unkempt mass of silvery whiskers…

It was that, blasted,  Jim guy!

The Township.had won the day.

People were waving, cheering and celebrating, with gleeful abandon. Still, though, thoughout it all, that incessant rattle that omnipresent rumble droned on.

 Ted Willis gazed, again at the happy throng, and noticed something else,  something that brought a dazzling smile to his whole face.

. Each and every one of them, were, clinging to the handle of  a  Low-Cost Foods’ grocery cart, and the store was about to open for business.




The red seemed permanent, I rapped anxiously on my steering wheel, and glared at the traffic light  in as intimidating a manner as was humanly possible. Staring hadn’t worked either, I’d blinked over a dozen times and yet still the angry crimson orb peered, back at me, as constant as the throbbing in my brain.

Several car horns , repeatedly voiced their opinion of our current predicament, but mine did not join the chorus. It was with me at the front of the line,

I was so tempted to abandon my little Corolla, and walk home; I probably would have, too, if I hadn’t just made the final payment on her, two weeks earlier, and if home wasn’t, at least, twenty-three kilometers away, of course.

With so few vehicles approaching from any of the three, alternative directions the other temptation was to jump the light and get on with my day. Why didn’t I ? That is a great question, I am glad you asked it in so timely a fashion.

Not twenty feet from where I waited, with rapidly dwindling patience, sat a Vancouver City police car. It was unoccupied, but I somehow sensed that it’s driver was, even as we speak, scrutinizing this scene from his window seat in Madison’s Cafe.

I wondered how long he could possibly leave it before he intervened, and ushered us dutifully through the intersection. A new city ordinance against the use of a cell phone whilst behind the wheel of a running motor vehicle was, for the moment, preventing me from summoning  himself, or one of his colleagues.

A few cars were, now, performing illegal u-turns; Others were zipping past me, in the inside lane, and turning right. I counted to twenty a half a dozen times, but still I waited, and still I stared at that, confounded, red light! It would have been so simple to break that law, many others would have, of that I am sure. Curse my parents for raising a lily-livered, law-abiding citizen!

I turned on the radio, half expecting to be mentioned, on the traffic report.  Speaking of traffic, it was backed up, behind me, by now, for several city blocks at least. People were hollering, horns were blaring and my head was pounding like a thousand Ringo Starrs. I rested my right hand on the hand-brake lever, and sat poised with one foot hovering over the clutch, and the other by the throttle. My patience was at an end.  I was all set to break the law!

The guy behind me finally lost it, he yelled at my rear-view mirror while waving his up-raised fist in some sort of unfriendly salute. His big-block Chevy engine roared angrily, clearly in tune with its agitated owner, and his vehicle pulled out and around mine in an, impressively, aggressive leap.  As his head drew even with my passenger-side window, he glowered at me and I clearly remember the throbbing vein, dancing away on his glistening forehead; well that, and then as the Chevy accelerated into the intersection, the squeal of protesting tires and brakes, and the gut-wrenching  explosion as two perfectly good vehicles became one mass of smoking rubble.

copyrightCopyright 2014 – Clifton J. Lewis


Ted Gerome’s lanky, frame lay sprawled across a bed in his, dingy, basement bedroom.

Even as the early afternoon sun scorched the tarmack outside,this room was cooler and darker than night fall. A black-out curtain across its only window casing made sure of it.


Faint traffic and the perpetual road work noises filtered in from fifth avenue. More effective than the white noise machine he’d been gifted at Christmas, it’s comforting drone, and the accumulated night shifts, lulled him into a blissful sleep.


Traffic was slowing to a crawl as the afternoon rush hour approached.
Two shadowy figures slunk across the lawn and crept silently up the front porch stairs. The lock was not a difficult one to negotiate. The first man was a deft hand with a lock pick, and the two men were inside in under a minute.

Soundlessly they began rounding up their target items, their flashlight beams pausing only for an instant as they gauged each article’s relative value.

Jewelery from the master bedroom. Laptop, Ipad, and a valuable coin collection from the den.
Antique silverware and Paintings from the dining room, which looked like they could be authentic originals. Why this place wasn’t wired with state of the art alarms, was anyone’s guess.

Down below in the basement, Ted Gerome stirred. He lay in abject silence for a full minute before he heard the telltale signs of a creaky floorboard and subsequent footfalls in the hallway above. Someone was definitely creeping around up there.
He reached for his cell phone intending to call 911. When he heard  footsteps on the basement stairs getting closer and closer still.

His heart leapt into his throat and adrenaline coursed stiffly through his throbbing veins.

He rose from the bed stuck the phone in his pocket and crossed the room in two strides. His trusty Pete Rose Baseball bat felt cool and solid in his hand as he retrieved it from it’s brackets on the wall.

The footsteps were receding, as whoever was out there, was making their way towards the workshop at the back of the house.

Ted dialed 911 and gave his details to the operator in a hushed tone.

Then, as he stood with his ear pressed to the door. He could hear a second set of creaky footsteps moving around on the floor above, and knew. There were at least too intruders in the house.

He opened the bedroom door slowly and quietly, then made his way gingerly down the hallway past the stairwell and toward the workshop. In the darkness, he could see a flicker of light coming from under the big heavy double doors.

His knuckles tightened around the old wooden bat, as he waited in the shadows. His mind sped through a million and one possible scenarios. What could be taking so long in there? There’s nothing worth stealing in the shop, is there? What about dad’s old blue prints, was there value in those?
Nah, boring old buildings and none of them banks!

The other intruder was still moving around upstairs, but would he or she, soon be joining his cohort in the basement?

Just then the Work shop’s double, doors swung open, and a shadowy figure emerged.

Ted Gerome’s heavy bat crashed down on the stranger’s head. The flashlight slipped from his hand and clattered to the concrete floor. The man followed suit, but unlike his light which somehow remained aglow, he was out cold.

Gerome froze with terror, he could see well enough to know what the, dark, puddle spreading beneath the man’s head represented.

“Omigod, I’ve killed him!” These words reverberated through his mind as acid churned in his stomach and bile licked away at the back of his throat.

There was no time to be sick though, the upstairs man was on the move.
Ted grunted and wheezed as he dragged and prodded the limp body, an inch at a time back into the workshop.

Hinges squealed.
The door at the top of the stairs was opened and a beam of light danced, nimbly, down the railings, and came to a rest on the hallway floor.

“Quin,” hissed a voice, “what’s keeping you, Bro? You find a stash down there, or somethin?”
The voice was getting closer, as it’s owner carefully navigated the stairs.
“come on, we gotta get outta here!”

Gerome took one last glance at the corpse. No one could blame him for this, it was self defense, wasn’t it? He quietly closed the double doors, picked up the bat and turned off the flashlight.

Ted could hear his heavy breathing as the other man came towards him down the darkened corridor.

“Quin, where you at, bro? Unghh!”
The baseball bat found its mark, and the big man crumpled to the ground.

The tall, slender policeman, Officer, Joe Kennedy regarded Ted Gerome with a sweeping, sidelong glance as they stood at the front gate.

“Sir, I assure you, there is nothing down there!” His voice was even, but the undertone of impatience was evident from his anguished,  expression. “Officer Harris And I have been over this house with a fine toothed comb.” He studied his note pad for a moment, then continued, “There were no corpses, no traces of blood. The workshop floor is dusty and hasn’t been disturbed for some time. Your baseball bat has quite clearly, not been handled in months.” Kennedy enhaled deeply, in an effort to stay calm.

Judith Harris had been partnered with Joe, long enough to know his breaking point. They had been over this stuff a dozen times already. She calmly stepped in.

“Mr. Gerome, you stated that nothing of value has been removed from the premises, did you not?”

“Yes, but I know what I saw and did! I’m not an idiot!!”

Harris nodded calmly
“Look, no one’s saying that you are, Mr. Gerome. I’ve seen what too much consecutive night shift work can do to a person though. Get yourself a good day’s sleep and you’ll be right as rain.”


Ted watched the squad car as it  pulled into the downtown traffic.
They seemed to be in quite a hurry to get away.
“Useless public servants,” he muttered! “They couldn’t find a needle in a frickin’ pin cushion!”

Then he smiled to himself, If he hadn’t killed those guys, at least he’d given them one heck of a headache.



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Black smoke obscures the sun

Black smoke obscures the sun (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Last night I dreamed I was a graceful bird soaring high on a tropical breeze. As I
neared the coastline, I sensed rather than felt a sudden change in the
atmosphere. Just ahead I saw a tremendous cloud of thick black smoke that
before long had completely blocked out the sun. This had to be one humongous
forest fire, I surmised.

Blindly, for the smoke had effectively rendered me so, I swooped to avoid it, but
inadvertently swept directly into the acrid cloud. Tears cascaded from my swollen
eyes, like rapids over Niagara’s mighty falls. I lost my sense of direction, and
found myself spiralling downward, spinning rapidly out of control and plummeting
towards the earth, at an horrendous rate of speed!

I flapped them in vain, but somehow my once mighty wings had failed to provide
any useful function. Without them, I was hopelessly doomed, destined to perish
on the chalky cliffs directly below or in the flame engulfed forest further inland.

The smoke was getting thicker, yet all at once I was able to see clearly. The wind
wailed in my ears as the ground rushed up towards me. Despite my predicament,
the experience was strangely euphoric. This was it! Seconds from now I would
cease to exist, I was about to die in the smoldering flames. I wondered how it
would feel.

I felt chilled to the bone and yet perspiration sprung like rivulets from my
furrowed brow, the smoke was getting thicker still, with every passing moment.
My breath was laboured as I choked savagely on the deadly fumes.

I came to with a start. Oh lord, It hadn’t all been just some stupendous dream!
Something about it was very real. At first I couldn’t fathom out quite what. I had to
do something about this racking cough. I looked around me to get my bearings.

My Bedroom was enveloped in thick black clouds of noxious smoke. I rolled out
of bed and on to the floor, to  relative safety below the Smog.

I crawled quickly to the door, it was red hot. I grappled my way back to the bed,
grabbed my bathrobe, crawled back and stuffed it under the door. With a
handkerchief clamped over my mouth, and choking like a three pack-a-day
smoker, I waded across to the window.

I was near to collapse, my lungs were almost giving out on me. I desperately
wanted to lie down and let it be over with, but a little voice in my head wouldn’t
hear of it.  I grappled with the latch, It was stuck fast. Damn Landlord!

I pulled and tugged, tears were streaming down my cheeks. I must have looked
for the world, like some spoiled brat , one who couldn’t get his own way, in the
midst of an all out tantrum. It’s not fair, why me! I wanted to scream. I would get
my way though, I had to!

With one last adrenaline endused yank, I got the latch to yield. It had moved only
ever so slightly, but it buoyed me on to greater efforts. I was wracked with pain,
every muscle, every sinew in my body yelled out for respite.

Finally I wrenched it the rest of the way and flung open the sash. Choking
profusely, I crawled out to the ledge and sucked in the cool night air. I gasped
deeply, then expelled as much as I could. I listened, but there were no sirens to
be heard; I knew had to get to a phone, and fast! Peoples lives were at stake.

Revived slightly, I edged my way along the ledge, I had no access to the fire
escape from this window, the only way down was the three stories worth of
rickety old drainpipe. I almost didn’t mind the rusty shards that cut deep groves
into the palms of my hands, compared to almost  succumbing to smoke
inhalation, this was a welcome relief. I was halfway down, as the rusty old nails
that fastened the pipe straps, started to pull away from the wall.
I was hanging precariously, still a good twenty-five feet up, when the whole thing
gave way, with a resounding screech!  I plummeted like a lead weight to the
concrete below.

When I finally came to, I was laying on a stretcher, with an oxygen mask over my
face, and  a paramedic  kneeling over me, administering to my many injuries.
There were flashing lights, and people in uniform dashing about in a hive of
activity. For the life of me though, I couldn’t remember why.
“Lie still sir, you’ve hurt your back, and  sustained injuries to your neck, head
and left arm.”
I reached up and pulled the mask away from my face, and either said something,
or tried to; I’m not sure which, but there was a strange expression on the medic’s
I  lost consciousness again, and didn’t regain it  until I was being wheeled in to
the Er. The same paramedic stayed with me while I waited for the results of
various  scans and x-rays.

I’d gotten extremely lucky, as it turned out, the worst of my damage was a minor
concussion, a few bruises and a fractured arm. The fire department, I later
discovered, had not only saved my apartment building, but by some strange and
wonderful miracle, had  seen to it that all the occupants had escaped unharmed.
A concerned neighbour had witnessed my plight, and called 911 in the nick of

The kindly paramedic came to visit me in the recovery ward, later that same day.
He said he was quite frankly amazed at how few injuries I had sustained from
such a fall. I thanked him for his concern, but noticed  as he turned to leave, a
strange expression on his face.
“What is it?” I asked suspiciously. Was there something they weren’t telling me?
Was I about to die?
“It’s nothing really, sir.” he said hesitantly,  “It’s just that, well… When you first
regained consciousness, you kept asking about your wings.” He regarded my
bemusment, smiled sheepishly then shrugged . “Not to worry though, people can
say the strangest things when they’re in shock.”


Daily Prompt: Rolling Stones

Daily Prompt: Rolling Stone If you could live a nomadic life, would you? Where would you go? How would you decide? What would life be like without a “home base”?

While a nomadic life, suggests an almost romantic ideal of freedom and the tossing aside of convention and constraints, in exchange for the ability to roam free. It would require skills and inate abilities, that are far beyond my ken.

I enjoy a camping getaway as much as the next guy or gal, but I know it is a temporary arrangement, that I have with me an ample supply of food and basic necessities, including, fresh water and in many cases toilet facilities and elecricity. Added to all that, I most likely have the land owner’s permission to be there, and the knowledge that at trips end I will be returning to my safe little piece of civilization.

In keeping with this prompt though, I am trying hard to imagine a nomadic existence.
perhaps something like this …..

I awaken cold and hungry in the predawn light, having been chased away from several doorways, and park benches by the local constabulary.

This dumpster, I’m hiding in, reeks not just with refuse, but with sheer desparation, then again, so do I.

The rats and cockroaches are looking more and more appetizing by the minute.

I poke my head gingerly out of my hiding place, just barely far enough to see that I’m not alone. Several others are poking around for anything even remotely edible.
The tall one with the rusty shopping cart, I call him Stretch, spins around and eyes up my abode. He’s edgy and dangerous, not someone you’d want to meet in a dark alley, or a brightly illuminated one, for that matter.

I gently ease the lid back down and crawl back beneath the smelly detrious.  I lie there in stillness, praying that my hiding place will remain undiscovered.

Stretch or one of his goons is now directly above me in the bin, desparately tearing at the very bags that conceal my bedraggled form.

Just then, in the nick of time, comes a jubilent exclamation. Little Benny has found a stash of half-eaten sub sandwiches over in the deli’s dumpster. I drool enviously at the thought of such a treat but sigh more with relief than regret, as my lane mates, having lost interest in my bin, scurry eagerly away.

I disencumber myself of the garbage and detrius, climb out of my odious abode and sneak away.
My stomach will survive to grumble a while yet.

The world is my oyster! I am freed from the shackles that bind civilized man I can go wherever I want, unless the desired destination involves comfort, or safety, that is.

The decorative fountain near the City Center Park is deserted at this hour, and I wade in like a delirious child. I’m just wringing my socks out as a shiny new patrol car approaches the intersection.

I’m not a rude chap, as a rule, but I choose not to wait around and exchange niceties with the fellow.

I grab my worn-out, old shoes and make myself scarce.
He looks a little displeased, but reluctantly, decides not to pursue the issue. I’m fairly sure he’ll get over it, in time.

In the park, I pause long enough to put some fresh, discarded-newspaper insoles into my shoes. I place these on my stockingless feet and move on.

I daren’t linger here, the place will soon be crawling with groundsmen and mounted police, who don’t seem to take great pleasure in my company.
To each his own, I guess.

A squirrel scampers up a nearby maple and I’m sorely tempted to follow. I imagine him roasted on a skewer, as I absently dab at my drooling mouth with a damp sock.

I leave the walkway, and disappear into the woods. The bins on the south-side of the park tend to house a better class of garbage, but you have to get to them before the sanitation boys do.

The first three are a bust, but the fourth one houses a treasure beyond my wildest dreams. A deluxe, double, cheeseburger with only two bites out of it! Oh rapture!

As the first-rate nosh winds its way down my gleefull esophagus. I let out a contented sigh. The sun is shining, the birds are singing and……

Ahhhh this is the life!


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The Prizefight

This short story is based on an actual event. Names have been fictionalized to protect the innocent. 🙂

The Prizefight

By Clifton J. Lewis
The two men, glared at one and other across a
dilapidated wooden fence, the tension between
them palpable. Hatred fairly oozed like so much putrid
perspiration from every pore.
.Kyle Macgregor spoke first.”It belongs to me! I seen it first and I intend to stake
my claim!
“That may be so, but its my property! Owen Smiley practically spat out the words between sneering lips,
.“Possession is nine tenths of the law; that makes it mine now, don’t it?””You son of a …”Macgregor swung a meaty fist, but Smiley ducked smartly, and countered with deadly
aim. Kyle winced and fingered his tender jaw.”You’d be minced meat b’now!” He bellowed, “If I were ten years younger!””Oh yea, You and what army? Come on, fight like a man!”Macgregor lunged and missed again; he grunted  with the exertion and grabbed at the
fence to steady himself. The rail came away in his hand.Recovering quickly he hefted the wood and swung it like Babe Ruth’s favourite bat.

The makeshift club struck Smiley square on the shoulder, and sent him sprawling
across the lawn.

Macgregor laughed.

“Not smilin’ now are ya, ya smug buzzard?”

Smiley grimaced as he clenched his injured shoulder. Outrage blazed in his glowering
eyes and beat red complexion.

“You nose-picking coward,” he hollered, “can’t fight w’ya fists, so ya break up m’fence to
do it!”

Macgregor scowled.

“Your fence…..! I don’t need no feeble stick to kick your behind. Come over here ya mealy-
mouthed buzzard; I’ll thrash you old style!”

If he’d been in a comic strip, the steam would have been erupting from Owen Smiley’s
flared nostrils. He snorted and bellowed like a rampant bull as he charged.

The eight-foot section of weary fence was no match; it surrendered with a single blow,
and was quickly trampled under foot.

Macgregor growled and jumped on him, and the two brawlers tumbled to the ground.
The Canny Scot and the Wiry Welshman fought tooth and nail. They clutched, clawed,
and pummelled each other like savage beasts, neither man yielding an inch until finally
they both dropped from sheer and utter exhaustion.

Pam Macgregor was hanging sheets on the clothesline when her neighbour, Denise
Smiley, arrived on the scene. Neither seemed surprised at the sight of their bruised,
bloody and battered husbands.

“Oh lovely,” said Denise sarcastically, “I see the boys have been at it again.”

Peggy grinned.

Denise chuckled, looked over at the two weary combatants and slowly shook her head.

“Yep, they sure have. I swear that fence is down more often than a duck!”

“So, what earth-shattering event was it over this time?”

Pam was trying hard to keep a straight face.

“Well, it would seem that the first pear of the season fell from our tree on to your side of
the fence.”

“Oh yes!” Said Denise, “Here it is, and what a nice pear it is.”

It was big, plump and had a ripe rosy blush on its skin that foretold of the sweet
juiciness to come.

There was a mischievous grin on her face, as she dashed, pear in hand, into the house.

“Hey, she can’t do that, ” Yelped Kyle McGregor; “it’s my tree!”

Owen Smiley shrugged, the good humour returning to his elfin eyes.

“It looks like she already has, boyo”

Kyle’s complaints were quickly muted as his neighbor’s wife reappeared. She was
carrying the same pear, but now it was cut perfectly in two halves.

“Well I guess fair’s fair” Said MacGregor as he awaited his share of the fruit.

Denise handed one half of the pear to Pam, and the two fighters watched in
dumbstruck silence, as their wives, with looks of sheer ecstasy on their saintly faces,
happily devoured the prize.


Paper Towel

Reczniki papierowe

Reczniki papierowe (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


By Clifton J. Lewis

I smiled politely at all the faceless entities, but my heart just wasn’t
in it, and as I wove my way slowly through the crowded aisles, no
spontaneity remained. Every thing  was automatic. “ Frozen
Entres? Aisle two. Coffee? Aisle seven, next to the tea bags.” To
the regulars an automatic “How are you? Nice day isn’t it, how’s
the wife, kids, dog, cat, guppy etc etc.” I’ve been  working at the
Buy and Save too darned long, I needed a challenge, a little excitement.

I guess. What had begun as a summer job, four years ago, had
somehow, without provocation turned into a career.
I was living a joyless existence, with just a pale glimmer of hope,
when the weekend arrived, or when it was payday. I ran the gamut
from brief elation, to dumpsterville; in a downward spiral of gut
wrenching depression upon the realization that my paycheck would
scarcely cover half of my bills.

Not even weekends could cheer me up always, I’d make plans, only
to find a last minute Saturday, and or Sunday, shift added to my
schedule, yet again.
I was tired and restless. A volatile combination, even at the best
of times, and you can rest assured this wasn’t even close to being
the best of times.

I perused the first invoice on my clipboard, and then I looked at
the overloaded paper product shelves, and I sighed heavily. Where
could I possibly fit another full shipment of paper towel?

It’s a well-known fact, that the guys in shipping are first class
morons, but this was just ridiculous, even for them. The store was
not equipped with a large stockroom, everything they sent me, had
to go straight out on the shelves.

I looked around me for a little divine inspiration. It didn’t come. I
was heading up aisle thirteen, to broach this subject with Arnie,
the stock supervisor, when I heard the commotion. Two men were
talking very loudly. I couldn’t hear what was being said, but from
their tone, I could tell that things weren’t quite as they should be.
I made my way quickly to the end of the aisle.

I knew, from past experience, that I would have an unobstructed
view of all eight-checkout counters from there, while at the same
time remaining unseen. I’m not a pervert or anything, but some of
the cashiers especially on evening shift, are nice to look at.

At the far end of the candy aisle, I moved a box of chips to one
side and peered out. The late afternoon rush was over, and only two
girls, Shana and Becky, were on duty. Both were staring wide-eyed
at a tall man with a stocking over his head. As he yelled he waved
his arm menacingly at the frightened pair, and I saw the metallic
glint of his gun.

A second less statuesque man, also stocking-headed, was hovering
near the doorway, and suddenly, from where I stood, I could hear
every word he said. He was swearing at the cashiers his words an
unprintable stream of abuse.

I couldn’t care less about the money they were grabbing; they
could take that with my blessing, for all I cared, but their words
angered me, and spurred me into action. I inched my way back
along the aisle, to where my palette jack, piled high with paper
towel was parked.

My jacket was draped over the handle, where I always keep it. I
reached inside my jacket pocket, and pulled out my trusty cell
phone. I dialed 911. It took me several minutes to finally convince
the person on the other end that I wasn’t goofing around. I
realized that the crooks could be long gone before the police could
make an appearance, so, I decided, it was up to me to do something.

I ran to the back of the store, and out through the loading bay,
still not sure that what I was about to do, would actually work.
I made my way gingerly to the front lot, and by crouching low
behind a row of shopping carts, was just able to make them out,
through the store window by the checkouts.

The shorter robber, who had been hovering by the door earlier,
was busy now; he’d joined his partner, and It looked like they were
emptying the other cash draws, into their paper sacks.

There were only a few vehicles in the parking lot, one was mine, another one, was a Dodge Mini Van  with a ” baby-on-board” sticker in it’s back window I recognized my bosses blue skylark
, and then I spotted the beaten up old Trans Am,
with it’s engine still running, and no driver in sight. There was little
doubt, in my mind, that this was their get-away car.

Luckily, having spent a good many high school days goofing off in Shop class, I
knew what to do, to disable a car.

With one eye on the store
front, I set to work on my plan. One by one, I deflated the Trans
Am’s tires. I shut off the engine, and for good
measure, popped the hood, removed a handful of spark-plug leads,
the rotor and the distributor cap.

I waited in the shadows for the two hoodlums to put in an
appearance. I didn’t have to wait long. I I ducked down behind the van, and
just watched events unfold.

The short guy got in first and tried the ignition. He cranked the starter a dozen times then thumped the steering wheel with his fist, in frustration.

Big Guy popped the hood and stared in disbelief
at the condition of their vehicle. The two guys were
hopping mad. It was fun to watch it all unfurl.

 The big guy yelled something , the little guy yelled back,  then they started tussling, shoving and poking at each other.

 They froze in their tracks as they heard the approaching sirens. Then panicked and took off on foot.

I threw a diving tackle at the tall guy’s legs, he came down like a ton of bricks. The shorter dude was pretty fast and headed for the main road. He didn’t get far, because, just then, two police cruisers arrived.

The  thieves were cuffed and arrested in short order.

The cashiers were all standing there like groupies hanging on my every word, and I could tell Shana and Becky especially were totally into me.

The uniformed officer that took down my statement, nodded and
smiled in all the right places, and when I’d concluded my account of events, he said,

“You should be very proud of what you did tonight, son”

“Yeah, I guess so.” I said, I was grinning from ear to ear.

“Hey,” I said, “maybe I’ll even get a raise for this!”

I could hear someone calling my name, but in the suddenly soupy
haze I couldn’t quite make out whom.

“Simmons! Simmons! What do you think your doing?”

I woke up with a jolt my boss was standing over me, and there was
a murderous look in his beady eyes.

“Simmons!” he growled, “You’ve been sleeping on the job again! Get
your sorry butt out of here! You’re fired!”

In the background, I could hear Shana and Becky giggling
nervously. I yawned, picked up the roll of paper towel that had
been nestling under my head, and smiled sheepishly. It was always
that same dream, I mused.

Then it suddenly occurred to me,
I was free at last!!”






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