Popcorn is such a simple food, yet so telling of a person’s inner workings…or so some would like you to believe. Jackson never bought into that hullabaloo, but Linda did, and he was really into Linda.  So when she brought over the latest issue of Know Your Man magazine, he couldn’t say no to taking her little quiz.

Thirty five questions later, Linda sat on his couch in tears. According to her magazine a plain, unsalted popcorn and a ketchup and jalapeno pepper popcorn were incompatible.

The next day, Jackson posted a message on the campus bulletin board:

Looking for girlfriend who doesn’t read magazines



Mixed Signals

The crew of the Queen Anne’s Revenge sailed the solar winds. They join their ancestors who sailed the open waters of the Pacific Ocean back on Earth in the late 1800s. Captain Bloodbath ruled the ship with an iron fist, but the crew knew how to handle him. All the first mate needed to do to calm him down was climb into the crow’s nest and play Stairway to Heaven on his guitar and Captain Bloodbath melted like an iceberg in July.

“Where is that ship?” Captain Bloodbath bellowed, storming out of his cabin. “Three years and we haven’t found her yet!”

“Sir—” the first mate said.

“Don’t you sir me!” the Captain said as he grabbed the first mate by the throat. “Where is that ship!”

He let go of the first mate, went below deck, and began throwing things around the galley sending the cook scurrying up on deck to avoid his wrath. Captain Bloodbath had been like this ever since they had picked up an old signal emanating from Earth. They tried explaining things to the Captain, but he was hard-headed and not the brightest star in the galaxy. The crew did their best to placate him, but nothing was working.

Captain Bloodbath stormed back on deck screaming began hitting the crew with a soup ladle. When that had no effect, he snatched the guitar away from a crewman who was trying to sneak it into the crow’s nest and began hitting people with it until it broke. The first mate had a brilliant idea. He crawled past Captain Bloodbath who was trying to strangle the cabin boy with a guitar string and climbed into the crow’s nest.

“Captain!” he yelled, waving a spyglass. “U.S.S. Enterprise off the starboard bow.”

Captain Bloodbath ran to see the ship but there was nothing there. “Don’t you play games with me or I’ll make you walk the plank!”

“They must have entered warp, Sir!” he yelled down.

Captain Bloodbath clapped his hands and smiled. “Raise the Jolly Roger,” he ordered. “Captain Kirk can’t run forever!”

This was inspired by the 3TC prompt: Jolly Roger, guitar, iceberg

The Critic

It was open mic night at the local independent bookstore. Kendra had come to every event for over a year trying to build up enough confidence to get up there and read her poetry. Everyone seemed so much better, more artistic, more creative, more everything than her. Tonight, was going to be her night though. She bought a new outfit and even had her hair done by Jenny down at the salon just so people wouldn’t think she was just some homeless person who wandered in. She was homeless, but that didn’t really matter at open mic, did it? Her poems didn’t seem to mind being written at a table in the library or at the soup kitchen. They didn’t seem to mind when the words floated down from the sky while she was fixing her cardboard box house for the night in the alley behind the Chinese restaurant. No, tonight was going to be her night.

A man was at the mic when she walked into the bookstore. He spoke with such fervor that everyone was hanging on every syllable. His poem was amazing. He was amazing. She started to leave but then stopped, reminding herself that she deserved to be there as much as anyone else. She took a cup of water that the shop handed out free and sat on a bean bag chair near the horror section. The bookstore erupted into a roar of clapping when the man finished.

As a lady took the mic next and told a short story with such candor that Kendra began to cry. The crowd grew and as it did, so did the critics. As a young boy was trying his hand at limericks, a pugnacious spectator began heckling. His heckling grew louder the more nervous the person at the mic was. You know the kind. People who are mean just to be mean. She runs into people like this all the time while sitting at the shelter or waiting at job service. Kendra often wonders if people like this are just too scared to admit they are scared, so it comes out as rudeness and cruelty.

After a while no one wanted to walk up to the mic knowing the heckler was still in the house. Kendra took a deep breath and walked up to the mic. Everyone’s face lit up and they clapped as she introduced herself. As soon as she said the name of her poem, the heckler began booing. Kendra started to grin and chuckled. She began changing her poem to heckle the heckler. She had him. There wasn’t anything he could say that she didn’t have a come back for. Their banter went on for a few rounds, then the heckler got up and left. It was no longer fun.

“And that, lady’s and gentlemen, is how you handle pugnacious little critics,” she said. The crowed gave a standing ovation.

This was inspired by Fandango’s One Word Challenge prompt: candor, Word of the Day Challenge prompt: fervor, and Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day: pugnacious.