Twenty Questions Time

Let’s have a little fun, shall we…

Twenty Questions:

  1. What is the strangest/awkward name you have read in a book?
  2. What is the first thing that pops into your head when you read/hear “schweddy’s balls?”
  3. If you could shrink or enlarge any animal to dog size so you could have it as a pet, what animal would it be?
  4. What is the worst thing someone could do to you at your funeral?
  5. You’re walking in a graveyard checking out the names on the headstones, and come across your name…what’s going through your head?
  6. What is one book that makes you go fan girl/boy?
  7. What is the oddest name/nickname you’ve ever been called?
  8. Have you even been mistaken for being the opposite sex?
  9. How many chickens would it take to scare you?
  10. If they started making blankets with spider silk, would you buy one?
  11. If you could replace one body part with a younger version, what would you replace?
  12. You have the power to switch characters in a book…which two characters would you swap and why?
  13. Have you ever relieved yourself in public (not in the woods/camping/hiking)?
  14. If there were no ethics, what experiment would you like to conduct?
  15. Holiday books or holiday movies?
  16. What is the creepiest thing you have ever heard someone say?
  17. What holiday gift would you give the following characters: Hannibal Lecter, Jigsaw, Freddy, Jason, Michael Meyers, the Nun?
  18. What is the scariest thing that has happened to you in December?
  19. If your high school English teacher met you today, what would they say about your blogging?
  20. What blogger would you like to swap sites with for one day?

I will post my answers tomorrow.

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The Penny, FTS Nov. Special Edition

The Penny

Sounds of children’s laughter and joy floated down the stairs. Liam breathed deeply and smiled. Never more content in his life. All thanks to the penny in his hand.

“Don’t forget your change, sir,” she had said. Her smile ignited the flame he thought long dead. A brush of her hand against his, and he was hers.

The ladies in his life, in beautiful red holiday dresses, walked down the steps of the opera house still reveling in The Nutcracker.

“Did you like it, Daddy?” Alice grinned.

“Very much so.” He kissed Alice on the forehead, and held his wife’s hand.

The ringing of the Christmas bell called to the penny, and with a smile and tip of his hat, Liam dropped the penny into the kettle so that it may bring someone else as much love and joy as it had him.

“Thank you, sir and Merry Christmas.”

That evening as the Salvation Army Santa Claus emptied his kettle into the bank deposit box, he noticed one of the coins sparkled. He thought it was his tired eyes, playing a trick on him, but there it was, almost begging him to retrieve it. He hesitated only a second or two and then took the penny.

Retiring for the night where he now called home — a shelter for the homeless — he wearily sat down on the blanketed cot and eyed the coin once again. He hoped he wouldn’t be harshly judged by the Almighty for keeping this penny, for indeed it had called to him. Turning it over to read the mint mark and the year, he saw something scratched into the copper.

Edgar donned his reading glasses hoping to better see the unusual etchings on the penny. He looked carefully, seeing that the engravings of the words “In God We Trust,” “Liberty,” and the date, “1955,” on the Lincoln side of the copper coin appeared to be blurry. Edgar became very excited, thinking that this penny might be worth way more than one cent.

The next morning, Edgar went to a friend of his who was a coin collector. When the numismatist looked at the penny, he let out an audible gasp. “Oh my God, this is a 1955 doubled die obverse penny. Edgar, do you know what this means?”

Edgar was so excited. He couldn’t believe his good fortune. How much do you think this penny will be worth? He asked his friend. ” I can’t really be sure , but it is likely to be in the neighborhood of 25 thousand dollars” was his friend’s reply. Something inside Edgar’s heart seemed to shrivel and die. He would have loved to have such a huge sum of money that could be realized by the selling of this valuable penny! He was living in a homeless shelter, down on his luck and having his meals in the soup kitchens!But there was his conscience which wouldn’t let him keep that valuable penny which wasn’t his, which he had picked up just for luck from the Salvation Army donation kettle.

His mind was at war with his heart. His brain telling him to be sensible and sell the penny and use the money to live a respectable life again but his heart was telling him to give the penny to the people in the Salvation Army. It would make a difference to them too. Twenty five thousand was a lot of money.

Edgar turned the rare penny over and over in his hand with his thumb while sitting across from his friend Richard, the warmth of the cup of coffee he bought the homeless older man warming his insides as well as the cozy atmosphere of the coffee shop soothed the outer man.

“How do I sell it? I mean, will someone just hand me that much money?”

“I doubt you’d get full value if you go to a local dealer, and I’d have to look it up to see if it would really go for that high an amount.” Richard pushed his bifocals up with an index finger and then ran his right hand through his still thick though silvery hair. He’d offered his spare room to Edgar a dozen times or more, but his old high school companion, veteran of football games, homecoming dances, and lost loves, said he wouldn’t take charity.

“Wait a minute.” The retired Paramount studios research analyst took his smartphone out of the pocket of his woolen vest and began punching virtual numbers.

Edgar chuckled while holding the penny between finger and thumb. “I still can’t see how you get used to those darn things.”

Richard was concentrating on the screen as he muttered, “Says here that a penny like this in the same condition went for $1,800 in 2009.”

“That was almost ten years ago. Can you really get on the internet with that thing?”

“The Tonny Coin Company is selling one for $2,800, and WeRCoins has one going for $3,996. I guess I misspoke when I appraised it so high before.”

“It would still buy more than a few folks a Merry Christmas, Rich.”

Richard looked up from his phone and had to adjust his glasses again. “Including you.”

The balding, paunchy sixty-six year old held the purloined coin up to the light, sadness etching his face. “You know I stole it, took it out of what I’d collected for the Salvation Army.”

“Because you thought it might be a rare coin?”

“No. I thought it was just a penny. I just liked the way it shone, and something about it called to me.”

“They don’t have to know, Ed.”

“Yes they do. I’d be a poor man in the eyes of the Lord indeed if I profited by stealing.”

“Isn’t that how you ended up homeless in the first place, by being too honest?”

“I guess. The Company called me a whistleblower. Destroyed all the proof I had that they’d committed fraud.”

“And you lost everything, your wife, the kids. Now you live in a shelter.”

“Better is the poor that walketh in his uprightness, than he that is perverse in his ways, though he be rich.”

“Is that from the Bible or something?”

“Proverbs 28:6 to be exact.” Edgar held the coin for one last moment in the palm of his hand, and then laid it next to Richard’s half-empty latte. “You sell it. Give me whatever you get for it, then I’ll do what’s right.”

“If you were going to do what’s right, you’d call your kids. I know Bob and Cheryl would love to hear from you.”

“Yeah, I forgot how your kids and mine are friends.”

“Call Cheryl, you idiot. Your grandkids would love to see you.”

“I can’t. I…I’m too ashamed.”

“We’ll see about that, you stubborn old blockhead.” Richard picked up his phone and the penny and began musing.

Two days before Christmas, Edgar walked into the local admin office of the Salvation Army. He’d been one of their Santa’s consistently for ten Christmas seasons, so he got in to see Betty Crawford, the manager, without much fuss.

“Edgar, this is a lot of money.” She stood up from behind her desk holding the check for $2,200 and change, not as much as he’d hoped, but more than a penny’s worth. “Where did you get so much.”

Blushing, the old man looked down at his shoes for a moment, then back up at her kindly face now marked by surprise. “I took a penny from the collection a few weeks back. Turns out it was rare. I didn’t know. I feel ashamed that I even took one cent from those in need, but I suppose this makes up for it some.”

“Sit down, Edgar.” She resumed her chair as he took the one opposite her battered, metal desk. “You know, you’re one of those people in need.”

“The shelter is warm, food’s okay. I spend a lot of time at the library reading. Life’s not so bad for me.” He paused for a second and then chuckled. “Friend of mine sold the coin for me. Gave me the check yesterday along with his cell phone. My daughter was at the other end. She…” Edgar stifled his tears. “I’m going to spend Christmas with my family. I’ve got all I could ever need.”

She put the check on her desk and picked up a plain folder sitting in front of her. After shuffling through some of the papers inside, the middle-aged woman looked back into Edgar’s pale, blue eyes, still wet with joyful tears. “I know you don’t take charity, but would you accept a job offer? Our bookkeeper quit suddenly, and right now, we need one desperately. I know you’re more than qualified.”

He took a deep breath, his hands trembling in anticipation. “I’d be grateful to earn an honest day’s wage.”

“We can’t pay as much as a for-profit company.”

“Betty, say no more. Seeing my children and grandkids again already makes me the richest man in the world. When do I start?”

###

Karen Wallace felt like dancing on air as she placed the 1955 Doubled Die Lincoln Cent in the safe for the night. She’d put it on sale after her small coin exchange opened up again after the holidays, along with the others she’d purchased over the last few weeks.

“You about ready, sweetheart. It’s started snowing again.” Mike took her coat off the rack near the door and helped her put it on.

“Thanks.” She smiled up at him while buttoning the heavy down jacket. “Just coming.”

He watched her lock up the shop, and the newly engaged couple held hands as they walked across the parking lot. She was humming Christmas tunes and leaning her head against his shoulder, thinking she was the luckiest person in the world.

She’d had a messy divorce last year. Thank God she never had any children with that bum. The pretty brunette had resigned herself to living alone for the rest of her days. Whoever thought that her high school sweetheart would walk into her life after twenty years with an antique coin and ask her to marry him?


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What The Wind Blew In, FTS Nov #5

What The Wind Blew In

Gusty Gulch was named, well, because it was in a gulch and it was always windy. You can’t go up there and expect to have a good hair day – ever. Every day would start out the same, with a light southern breeze, then pick up by lunch, and by dinner the winds would howl through what few trees there were. Most of the town’s trees blew away during the storm of ’18.

Lizzy sat at the window and watched as the evening wind brought life into her quiet street. First there were a few birds that decided it would be best to cling to the ground rather than try to fly in that mess. Then came the tumbleweeds that blew in off the plateau. She chuckled remembering the time they decided to have a tumbleweed convention at her school – the school was closed for three days while the Gusty Gulch Fire Department cleaned it up.

Suddenly, she squinted her eyes and pressed her nose against the window. It can’t be, she thought. “Nah. Is it?”

“Is it what, dear?” her mother asked from the kitchen where she was busy drying the supper dishes.

Lizzy gasped and covered her mouth as another one appeared…then another. “Mom! Come look at this quick! You’ll never believe what just blew in!”

Her mother set the pot down and walked toward Lizzy wiping her hands with the drying towel. “What is it — OH GOOD LORD! Marv! MARV! Come look at this!”

Lizzy could hardly contain her excitement. Never had anyone survived the climb up and through the gulch. But coming along the street becoming larger and larger as he drew near, was a boy? But no boy could have survived the climb, the winds, the nothingness. Her eyes grew larger and suddenly unable to contain herself any longer, threw open the door and ran into the street.

Planting herself firmly in the middle of the stranger’s path, Lizzy set hands to hips and waited. As he sauntered along she took in his appearance. Tallish, slim build, brown hair that in places was a lighter shade. Closer he came, until he stood in front of her staring at her with luminescent green eyes. Her breath caught in her throat and Lizzy felt her face flush red.

“Hello,” she stammered. “I am Lizzy. How did you get here?”

“The ship dropped me at the precise location where the winds are a force lessened as it spreads itself out. How did you get here?”

Lizzy stared at him head cocked to the side as she contemplated the absurdity of his speech.

“I was born here. Where were you born?”

“You were born here? On this planet I mean?” incredulous the boy stared at her. “No one has ever been able to gain a foothold in the atmosphere but now that the sentient being is falling to sleep the winds have begun to lessen.”

Lizzy’s mouth dropped open. What was he talking about?

Lizzy was trying to fathom what this boy with those fantastically dazzling eyes, and handsomely good looks was … no stop that Lizbeth right this minute! More importantly who was he? “The sentient being is falling asleep?” Was all she found herself saying.

The boy looked at her and smiled, “Yes of course, who else? So going back to what you said, you are of this planet, as in really?”

“This planet, as in Gusty? Yes, l told you, l was born here, that’s my house back there behind me, where l live with my parents and my Brother.

“Parents … Brother … mmm, so you still use those terms then to describe your clans folk?”

“Clans folk? Look, seriously now – how did you get here, who is the sentient being, how do they lessen the wind and what do you mean ship?”

“So many questions,” the boy still looking at Lizzy said, shaking his head.”So your speech, the way you deliver your voice to me, is this the only way you can communicate?”

“The only way? Well we have phones you know, and people speak to each other, so yes?” Lizzy answered, now totally baffled.

“Right, that is interesting. When Kleidox 17^Urk asked me to visit here, I didn’t get the impression you couldn’t communicate properly. I was of the belief that you were more advanced. I don’t like communicating this way, and my Translilcator struggles with this, which is quite extraordinarick.”

“Extraordinarick? Don’t you mean extraordinary?” LIzzy asked, still none the wiser!

“I don’t know, but okay l will take your words for it.” Green eyes answered. “Is this it, all there is to your planet, l mean it’s all a bit well, ugly and isolated isn’t it?”

“What? Look l really have to insist, and find myself now speaking on behalf of Gutsy Gulch but who are YOU, and what do you want? Really?” Lizzy demanded now stretching up to her full height of five feet and seven inches, and in so doing noted that this newcomer, had to be close to six and half feet! Her neck was starting to feel the strain of looking up at him!

“Okay, my name is Klattunichiox 23^^ and my serial number is ^**G54^^t8, but as you are a bit less than l thought you can just call me Klatt! From my understanding of your primitive communication you are Lippy, or Likky or Lixxy or something. How l got here was simple, Ship Kjhg94 third Sector Transporter dropped me off on the 5th wind and l glided with the aid of my portal mirror down to this ugly place. I am here on a gathering mission for resources for my own Sphere Jugglodonix 657 of the Outer Saturnus Orbs. However, judging by your ever widening eyes, l am here on a visit to see if this planet has got anything valuable to take back home with me where upon l can approach Kleidox 17^Urk with a view to partial inhabitation for other Jugglods whilst taking a much needed break from their daily taskings. What species are you by the way?” Klatt asked.

OH no, Lizzy thought to herself, this Klatt fellow is another tourist! “I am a Zyphodian, and before you say anything more Klatt we were here first and we don’t need any Jugglods or whatever your species is coming in and moving on our turf for “holidays,” Lizzy shouted now feeling quite serious.

“I have got orders to terminate any resistence you know?” Klatt said with a smile on his face and his left hand slowly reaching for his…

Lizzy’s eyes suddenly turned red and before Klatt could remove his weapon from its holster, Lizzy shot a laser beam from her eyes that burned Klatt’s hand right off.

“What the fl^rk!” Klatt exclaimed.

“You think we Zyphodians are weak and helpless, don’t you, Klatt?” Lizzy said. “Well, we are not a species to be trifled with and I suggest that, if you know what’s good for, you best march right back to the gulch and transport yourself back to Jughead, or whatever stupid planet you came from.”

But before Lizzy could get out her next word, the sky turned pitch black.

Klatt smiled, clutching on to his sizzling arm.

“Well Zyphodian, I guess you are not species to be trifled with. I made the mistake of underestimating you. Won’t happen again.”

Lizzy backed up, staring at the landing crafts descending from the black sky.

Klatt laughed.

“My team’s here. Scared now, Zyphodian? Let me show you something else that will terrify you.”

Lizzy wanted to scream, raise an alarm. But, her vocal chords were not responding.

Klatt winced as his blasted arm began vibrating violently. Suddenly, the old arm burst with a splash of blood, and its place appeared a brand new arm.

“The Jugglods are eternal…”

The story died here


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The Secret Hymn, FTS Nov #4

The Secret Hymn

Pews were packed in the old church, just as they had been for the past six weeks. There was a new life breathed into the church when Father Gregory assumed his position. He was young, had longish blonde hair that brushed the bottom of his collar, and a way of speaking to a crowd that made everyone feel like he was talking just to them. He was the complete opposite of Father Baker.

No one knew Father Baker was leaving, or where he even went. Father Gregory just showed up that bright, Sunday morning and the town was memorized. Even the children behaved in church. Soon, everyone in town was clambering to come back to church.

Amie and Sarah sat with their parents in the back pew and listened as Father Gregory spoke of the Four Horsemen.

“At least that would give us something to do,” Sarah whispered.

Amie silently giggled. She was as bored as her sister was with New Hope and its old ways. A little excitement never hurt anyone.

Amie pulled out the hymnal and let it fall open to whatever page it wanted and gasped. “Sarah, look at this,” she whispered, pointing to :an old pressed flower hiding the words of ‘The Lord is My Shephard’. The flower had been laid out in a deliberate fashion and on closer inspection there appeared to be blood stains on the petals.

The drop of blood had separated the petals enough for the words: “He restoreth my soul” to be clearly visible.

Amie tried to lift the petals from the page, but they were old and so fell to pieces in her fingers. The two girls looked at each mystified by their discovery.

Father Gregory as if aware of the girl’s discovery stopped his homily and waited for the girls to return their attention to him.

“We are all sinners,” said the young priest, “some greater sinners than others but a sinner is a sinner in God’s eyes, and eternal damnation will reign down upon you if you refuse to repent and accept God’s love into your heart.”

The girls sat upright at this. They had heard Father Baker say the same things and in the same way and that sent a shiver down their spines.

Father Gregory raised his hands above his head and announced that those who recognised themselves as sinners should stand NOW! The entire congregation stood, and he applauded them all. As they collectively sat down the statue to his right turned on its axis and the young priest…..

The story died here


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