Monday, April 28, 2008

Friday, April 25, 2008

Fiction Friday -- TOO MANY CHOICES

[Fiction] Friday Challenge for April, 25 2008:
Someone buys a dresser at a yard sale. When they get home there is a roll of film taped to the underside of one of the drawers. What happens next?

Well, first, a roll of film would be too large to be taped to the underside of a drawer. It would catch as the drawer is drawn in and out. Of course, that could be part of the story, like "Why does this dang drawer catch like this?!??!"

Unless it is an old roll of Pony film which was a lot smaller. However, the developing recipe is now unavailable and the film would be almost impossible to get developed, even in a small privately owned lab by a photography historian.

But then again, if it was possible to get it developed but finding a person who has the necessary knowledge and chemicals and such ... what could it be and what would be the results and why oh why was it ever taped away there and forgotten?

If it was "dangerous" it should have been burned.

If it was "hidden" as a prank, why wasn't it ever returned by the prankster to the rightful owner?

Hmmm ...

This actually has the possibility of becoming oh so much more than a little five minute short flash fiction doo-hickey ... it could be much bigger, much more interesting than that.

Okay --
a) the dresser could be taken, along with a bunch of other furniture and "stuff" to a spot along the road for The Longest Yard Sale in August -- say, from Wisconsin or New Jersey to Tennessee.
b) then purchased and hauled to another state by an artist or interior designer who goes to the sale annually to find inexpensive pieces of furniture to mosaic or paint and resell
c) purchaser or an employee finds the film ...


d) purchased by an antiques dealer who hauls it off and resells it to a stranger who hauls it off somewhere else

e) setting off a "12 chairs" kind of search for the darn thing

f) or setting off a chain of events that ...


To come back to this idea ...

Some "facts" that I know about Pony film --
the roll was incredibly small by the standards of 35 mm or Advantix film canisters. I don't know when it was officially taken out of production, but I was able to purchase and have developed rolls that fit my grandfather's antique camera as late as 1985. I may have been able to have them developed beyond that, except that the gentleman who owned the photography shop was either in an accident or had an illness that was prolonged and lost him the use of his hands, so he closed up the shop.

I assume that Pony film was a 1950s and 1960s film, but I suppose a check of the Kodak website might give a history perhaps.

Another roll of film that is smaller in diameter (than modern film), but longer in length, is the 127 (I think) film for the old Brownie cameras. A 1940s - 1960s film.

To make the story of the "lost film" more comtemporary -- that is, what the film portrays -- you'd have to forgo the roll being taped to the bottom of the drawer and discover an evelope of developed negatives in either black and white or color ...

Eesh, the story of what happens next could be as simple as trying to figure out how to get the film developed and deciding it isn't worth it -- that's the ONLY scenario I can come up with that would fit a short flash fiction blurb for the Friction Friday prompt (OOPS!!! I wonder if that was a Freudian slip or an actual true "accident" of mistyping -- fRiction Friday instead of Fiction Friday ?????)
it becomes something much longer involving the imagery on the film ...
some kind of mystery
an event
an unidentified person
an unidentified location

or of perfectly ordinary photos and the mystery of why it was hidden away like that



or the story of the person who taped it there and finding out the bureau has been taken away by a stranger and the attempt to get it back and why it is important to hide it and now retrieve it




Friday, January 25, 2008

FICTION FRIDAY -- A First Brush With Danger

"Why do I insist on writing about the writing assignment before I actually tackle it?" The question was stated more like a demand than a question and Barb looked up, a bit startled by the ferocity in Herman's voice.

"Why do you?" Barb shot back, impatient to return to the sappy survey she was filling out in the fashion magazine. "Does your significant other make unreasonable demands?' the next question read. The choices were: yes, no, sometimes, I don't know. Barb circled none of the choices and scribbled, "none of your business" in the margin of the page instead.

Herman didn't answer her and returned to the laptop resting on the coffee table. Ew, this week's prompt is too damn hard! I like the ones that let me use irony or satire or outright humor. But this? It's horrible. Not up my alley at all.

He wiggled his fingers over the keyboard, almost a pantomime of typing. He thought about that action instead of trying to find an idea to propel him into the assignment.

A propeller. Does that have any potential? Why can't this be one I can play with? Why can't it be something like the quilt Barb showed me the other day that was featured in that magazine; the art quilt showing a robber stealing a mannequin from a lingerie store because the quilter had misread the name of the quilt contest name? The contest theme had been "Art Takes Shape" but the quilt artist had read it as "Art Takes Form" -- so she had Art be a robber stealing a "form" from the shop.*

SIGH! Why couldn't this be the story of the Fuller Brush Man making his first sale to a Mrs. Danger of Elm Avenue in some dusty, dinky little farm town somewhere far away and unknown? Yes! I can see it. "Farmers Gazette front page headline 'Fuller sells First Brush to Mrs. Danger'"... yes! That's it!

Herman attacked the keyboard now, so fiercely that Barb looked up from her magazine again. Seeing her movement out the corner of his eye, he glanced over at her and gave her a stupid grin. Barb turned back to the survey again.

"Does your significant other have irksome quirks?" Again, the survey offered the options of yes, no, sometimes, I don't know. This time, Barb scribbled "What's it to you?" in the margin.

This was the last question. The key then told her that a 'yes' answer counted as one point, 'sometimes' was two, 'no' was three, and 'I don't know' should score a zero. A score of 30 on the 10 question test was awesome, according to the author of the survey. A 20 was okay, but be careful. However, a score of 14 or lower was very bad. A score of 10 or lower was very, very bad; the author suggested getting out of the relationship as soon as possible. Barb calculated the score. ZERO! Oh no! She had to get out of here, now!

Barb dropped the magazine as nonchalantly as she could on to the loveseat as she uncurled her legs from under herself and got up. She left the room as quietly as she could. No sense in disturbing Herman now. Now that she was leaving him finally. The magazine told her she must leave -- it would be dangerous to stay. Her significant other was too unpredictable and unstable. It was true, it had to be. He had gotten a score of ZERO on the survey.

Oh course, he would get a zero. Barb hadn't circled any of the choices to any of the questions. She had scribbled insane comments to the survey author in the margins, though, by each question; things like the "it's none of your business," "I'm not telling you" and "how dare you ask that?".

Barb was in the kitchen now. She let out the breath she had been holding. So far, so good. Herman was so concentrating so intensely that he hadn't even noticed her absence. Good! Better not take any further chances though. Where are my car keys? There they are!

Barb picked them up and let herself out the back door. She didn't pull it tight behind her so that Herman wouldn't hear the click and be alerted to her departure.

Sometime later, Herman had finally posted the assignment and looked up to offer to get Barb a snack and he noticed she was not in the loveseat. He wandered over and idly picked up the magazine on his way to the kitchen to nuke a bag of popcorn.

While waiting for the last kernel to pop open he glanced through the magazine and found the survey. He stared at it for just a few minutes then glanced around. Yep, Barb's car keys were gone from the key hooks by the door. He began to laugh. It had worked after all!

He had written this survey. He had sent it to the magazine under a pseudonym knowing that if it was ever published, Barb would read it, take the survey and this would be the result.

Barb always worked through these things as if it was a legal obligation to read every word in the magazine and do everything it said to do. She was deviant just enough to answer the way she did, determining to not let "them" know anything. It was if she also believed the publishers of the magazine could see what she was writing and they would know whether she had even looked at the survey or not. They would be angry with her if she just skipped the survey.

He knew the score would be ZERO. He knew that she wouldn't understand that the zero score was because she had not answered any of the questions. Herman also knew she would then apply that zero to him and determine that the problem was him. And she would do whatever the survey told her to do. When he had questioned her about it a long time ago, she had said simply, "Survey says! Don't you know that surveys say things! You can't ignore things that say things and the things they say."

Herman kept laughing. Barb was gone! Finally gone! It had been easy. Far too easy, almost. Just had been a long wait. Now, he wondered how much more of a wait it would be to get the check for the survey article from the magazine publisher since they "pay on publication." Barb was gone and he would get paid for it too!
Herman went back to his laptop and logged on to see if anyone had commented yet on his entry for the blogging meme "Fiction Friday," all the while humming happily to himself.

(C)2008 Susan Berg All Rights Reserved
* Yep, a real quilt in the current issue of Quilting Arts Magazine.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Fiction Friday --

This Week’s Theme: Pick an unusual phobia and explain why a character has it.

Oh boy, this was fun.

First, I went to Wikipedia for a list of phobias. There are some good ones. The theme called for UNUSUAL phobias.

So, that ruled out characters like the school teacher who is afraid of the color red, an Erytophobe, who therefore can't ever fail a student because that means using a red pen.

Or the surgeon who is afraid of blood or of performing surgery; either Hemophobia, or Ergasiophobia or Tomophobia.

Or the chef who is afraid of food or heat: Cibophobia or Thermophobia.

The Blogger who is afraid of computers: Cyberphobia

Barber afraid of chins: Geniophobia

Barber afraid of bald people: Peladophobia

The cat afraid of mice: Murophobia

And the new bride who is afraid of her mother-in-law: Pentheraphobia

The comedian afraid of laughter: Geliophobia

These are all just ironic phobias. Not unusual ones. (Though I had not heard of being afraid of chins or bald people before.)

So, what qualifies as a truly unusual phobia??

FINALLY, here is one in the list that I consider quite unusual:

"Peanut butter sticking to the roof of the mouth- Arachibutyrophobia."
"Phobic prefering fearful situations- Counterphobia."
"Words, long- Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia or Sesquipedalophobia."

And then a couple really unusual phobias popped up:
Luposlipaphobia — the fear of being pursued by timber wolves around a kitchen table while wearing socks on a newly-waxed floor (fictional, also from Gary Larson in the cartoon series The Far Side).


Anatidaephobia — fear that somewhere, somehow, a duck is watching you (fictional, from a Gary Larson cartoon published in The Far Side Gallery, 4).


Anoraknophobia- fear of spiders wearing anoraks: it is a portmanteau of "anorak" and "arachnophobia. Used in the Wallace and Gromit comic book Anoraknophobia


Aibohphobia — a joke term for the fear of palindromes, which is a palindrome itself.

Okay, now for the character with the unusual phobia and the explanation of why this character has this phobia.

His name is Jonathan Livingston; he's a seagull. He lives along the coast of southern New Jersey and he has heard the stories over and over. For generations the story has been passed down about Uncle Poop-Plop and the Sticky Peanut Butter Stuck tot he Roof of His Mouth.

Uncle Poop-Plop was the best mussel hunter along the coast. One day he and a few of his cronies decided to check out the Gull Ladies on Gull Island. That meant leaving the ocean beach and flying north along the bay beach of the island. Usually it was a very uneventful flight. Boring even.

This day, however, was different. There were two young turks, thinking quite highly of themselves, in a small sailboat down below. Uncle Poop-Plop, never one to miss a chance to live up to his name, decided to fly in closer.

Eh, regular, run of the mill teenagers. Not even the type to try to draw attention to themselves to get the girls on shore to watch them. Geeks, for sure.

Just as he was about to take aim, Uncle Poop-Plop saw something flying through the air toward him. Other gulls were making mad dashes to try to catch it. One of the geeks had thrown it.

UPP caught it. A saltine cracker! People food was gross (hotdogs, for example), not so bad (UPP remembered stealing that cheeseburger off the picnic table at Mc'y D's -- getting that kid in trouble for its disappearance --a doubly good steal), and fair-to-middling . This cracker fit into that category. Human food was never as good as seafood, but often was much easier to get hold of.

More crackers came flying through the air. UPP and his cronies forgot about the gull ladies and joined in the fracas for the goodies being thrown away by such silly geeks. Who would believe him if he told them about FUNNY GEEKS? It was an oxymoron, for sure.

There was a short lull when no more crackers were thrown. UPP watched, waiting for a good opportunity to do "his thing" now. Most of the other gulls had gone off to do other things. Even his cronies had headed up to Gull Island. It was just him and old Sma' Beak left. Sma' Beak was sure the geeks were going to throw something else. UPP just wanted to make a plop and hit his mark: the geek with the glasses.

A large blob of something came his way. It was easy to outfly Sma' Beak because Sma' Beak was also a runt and scrawny, couldn't fly so fast. UPP caught the blob. Peanut butter! No cracker, just peanut butter.

The wad was too big for his mouth. He couldn't get his tongue to move, to try to dislodge the wad stuck to the roof of his mouth, stuck to his tongue, plastering his beak lips together. He tried to dive into the bay water in attempt to loosen the wad.

He was stung by three jellyfish. Ironic, peanut butter and jelly fish! Up out of the bay he flew, trying to open his mouth, trying to dislodge the wad. Trying to get his tongue to push it out of the way.

He crashed into the bay again, still hoping the impact would loosen the sticky wad. The impact pushed the wad further into his beak and almost clogged his esophagus.

One more crash into the bay below and four more jelly fish stung him. His head felt numb. He could barely breathe and was beginning to feel dizzy. He took to the air again, flapping toward Gull Island. Maybe one of the Gull Ladies there could help him.

Well, Jonathan Livingston was never ever going to have peanut butter stuck to the roof of his mouth! No way! Uncle Poop-Plop had found help and being as addle brained as he was form the lack of oxygen and the jelly fish stings, he asked the Gull Lady who rescued him to become his wife. There has never been such a hen-pecked gull in all of gull history and Jonathan was not going to let peanut butter do THAT to him!

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(c)2007 Susan D Berg ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Celebrate the release of SUSHI FOR ONE with Camy Tang's Contest -- you could win an iPod and a basket of books!

Camy Tang's first book, Sushi for One, just came out. To celebrate (and to generate interest in the book) she is hostessing an awesome contest. The grand prize, first place winner, will receive an 8 GB iPod! Plus a lot of books (I didn't count them all ...)

For more information, and to enter, go here:

You will need two things
- you'll need my email address to put in the contest entry form -- SuseADoodle at Please be sure to use that, okay?
- a Yahoo ID so you can join her Yahoo Group, Camy's Loft. And you will WANT to join her Yahoo group because every week she gives away books!

An author who whole-heartedly believes writers are readers too!

The contest runs till October 31, 2007.

The book sounds like a wonderful read. It is on my list of "GET THIS SOON!" Books and I've scheduled an afternoon to read it cover-to-cover. Want to know a little more about it? Check out:

Saturday, September 15, 2007


Who doesn't like chocolate? There are very few people who don't. (They were probably given chocolate as a kid but were told it was calves' liver or something like that.)

Did you know that about half of the world's chocolate is produced with slave labor? For more information, visit

If you like to cook and would like to win a goodie bag of Traffik-Free Chocolate, stop over here:

If you participate, stop back here.
In the comments section leave your name and the url to your blog post that you use to enter r k hooks' event, using Traffik-Free Chocolate.

I'll be posting this info about the event at each of my blogs. Feel free to leave your comment and link at each one. (One comment entry per blog please, though.) From all of the comments posted, there will be a random drawing and I'll send out a chocolate-related thank you to three winners.

Friday, September 14, 2007

The Refrigerator EXAGGERATES!

The tomatoes are only all over the counter, in boxes in front of the kitchen sink, and filling all the pots I can fit on the stove at one time. There are no tomatoes in the cupboards. None are in the bathtub or the dishwasher or the clothes washer. None are in the teacups or the saucers.


If the ones still in the garden survive the possible frost tonight, there will be about 38,917 "Sweet 100" Cherry Tomatoes invading my kitchen tomorrow ...


Fiction Friday - 09-14-07

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This Week’s Theme: Write from the Point of View of an Inanimate Object

Tomatoes! Tomatoes! Tomatoes!

Tomatoes are everywhere! All over the counters, the kitchen table, the colanders and strainers are full of them. The dishwasher is full of freezer containers with their lids and canning jars -- all for the tomatoes!

You'd think there was nothing else in the world right now, except T O M A T O E S ! Argh!

Tomatoes in the cupboards. Tomatoes in the saucers. Tomatoes in the dishwasher. Tomatoes in the bathtub.

Will it never end? Will they ever go away?

Will I ever see bread again? Ever since those horrid red (and some of them are yellow too) things started coming in here, I haven't seen a loaf of bread! Almost as soon as it comes through the door, the bread gets used for tomato sandwiches.

Oh, the Miracle Whip comes and goes; the salt, I see it being used and put back where it belongs. But the bread? It doesn't last long enough for me to see it -- well, I "see" it on the counter or on the cutting board or on a plate. But do I get any of it? NO!

Those horrid red tomatoes!

With glee, however, I anticipate the agony the freezer, in the garage, will experience once all those tomatoes end up in there. HA HA HA. Mua HA HA HA! If they try to make me hold any of those nasty things, I'll just shut right down and turn the ice cream to milk and the eggs to sulpher bombs. MUA HA HA HA.

I'll make a racket when my motor and compressor turn on, I'll shake so hard the magnets all fall off my door and the eggs scramble in their shells. I'll freeze the lettuce in the crisper and warm the milk on the door; I'll spit ice cubes all over the floor in the middle of the night out the ice dispenser, and piddle on the floor by making the water dispenser leak or the self-defrost line out could just happen to clog up ...

Oh, I am so wicked. But those horrid red things just bring out the beets -- oops, beast -- in me!

-- (c) 2007 The Fridge ALL RIGHTS RESERVED (including the right to make those horrid red things toxic if I can just figure out how to do it)

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