Unusual Delivery

PHOTO PROMPT © Dale Rogerson

This was always the most unusual delivery on Teddy’s route.

The outdoor firewood rack at the side of the house was a standard eight by six feet, yet an area had been cleared in the middle of the rack’s bottom for a double-paned basement window. In previous years, Teddy assumed this design was intended to allow light into a finished basement room. After this year’s delivery, he had to satisfy his curiosity.

After filling the rack, Teddy knelt down outside the window, covered on the inside by only a short valance along its upper third. He looked inside… and laughed.

Friday Fictioneers is a weekly flash fiction challenge.

Travelling Companion

PHOTO PROMPT © Ted Strutz

“Amazing, eh?”

Stan knew he needed to respond. He’d avoided attention the last 29 hours, and if he could maintain the deceit through the remaining ninety minutes on this ferry, he’d be free. “First time I’ve taken this tour,” he said. “Yeah, the view’s impressive.”

“Harold Misner.” Harold extended his hand, which Stan shook. “From Peoria, family holiday. What brings you here?”

Warrants in three countries. “Stan, from Albany.” He’d visited his brother there several times.

A woman called to Harold, who excused himself. Stan looked out over the waters, wondering how best to deal with this new travelling companion.

Friday Fictioneers is a weekly flash fiction challenge.

Day 603

It’s been two months since my last entry in this ongoing journal about life during the COVID-19 pandemic. There hasn’t been much new to write about, which is a good thing indeed. Yet even with vaccinations on the rise and the hazardous numbers going down after the Delta surge, this coronavirus remains our unwelcome visitor.

***

The sinus infection I contracted in early September lingered for nearly a month, long enough for me to take another COVID test, which again came back negative. Both tests were of the polymerase chain reaction (PRC) variety, which is more reliable than the rapid test.

My sore throat and sinus congestion started a day after a length visit to a wastewater treatment plant. I never had a fever or any of the telltale COVID-19 symptoms such as loss of appetite. I tested negative a few days after my sickness began, and several weeks later when I felt like I couldn’t shake this thing.

Could both test results been incorrect and I did have COVID all this time? Perhaps. But there’s far more evidence supporting the theory that I picked up some nasty bug while at the wastewater treatment plant and it just took a while to get over it.

And as my sinuses finally cleared, the congestion spread into my lungs, leading to a month of asthma. These things happen to me every few years so I’m not terribly concerned. But I’m even more determined now to avoid COVID as long as possible.

***

Last weekend my wife went to lunch with a half-dozen friends, one of whom tested positive for COVID the next day. As a precaution, she wore a mask at home when I or my son was around and slept in a separate bedroom than me. She took two rapid tests on the fourth and fifth day after her exposure and took a PCR test; all results were negative.

My wife and I should be eligible for booster vaccination shots in the coming month. Our flight to Maui for a month-long vacation will be in mid-December, so we’re hoping to get our boosters two weeks before departure.

COVID is still very much part of our lives, but living has become much more comfortable than it was a year ago.

Visual Aid

PHOTO PROMPT © Jennifer Pendergast

They don’t get it, Jenkins realized. The heist required precise and coordinated actions, but the guys he’d found clearly didn’t understand.

Jenkins needed a visual aid, and found inspiration on seeing the abandoned supplies next to a daycare center’s dumpster.

He drew three overlapping circles on construction paper representing the adjoining buildings. The number 4 signified the on-duty guards in the laboratory, with the yellow truck and Lego man at the center being the fake emergency crew creating the distraction. Surveillance cameras were located with small Lego pieces.

Using a Santa pencil as a pointer for emphasis seemed oddly appropriate.

Friday Fictioneers is a weekly flash fiction challenge.

The Georgia Review

The latest in my increasingly infrequent reviews of literary journals and genre magazines.

The Georgia Review is a literary journal published four times a year by the University of Georgia.

What They Say About Themselves:The Georgia Review is the literary-cultural journal published out of the University of Georgia since 1947. While it began with a regional commitment, its scope has grown to include readers and writers throughout the U.S. and the world, who are brought together through the print journal as well as live programming. Convinced that communities thrive when built on dialogue that honors the difference between any two interlocutors, we publish imaginative work that challenges us to reconsider any line, distinction, or thought in danger of becoming too rigid or neat, so that our readers can continue the conversations in their own lives.”

Issue Reviewed: Fall 2021

Genre: Literary realism

One Story I’ll Remember Not to Forget: “Copper Queen,” by Aryn Kyle (and if you guessed this was the only story from this issue available for free online, you just might be on to something). A 25-year-old aspiring fiction writer from Idaho wins a summer residency at a mountaintop mansion that was once owned by the wife of a copper magnate. Meeting with other artists that summer inspires and forces her to make decisions about her life and career.

Exploding Helicopters: One Explosion. I kept waiting for something to happen in the story, but that wait didn’t pay off.

Profanometer: Dammit. The NSFW language was contained to a few paragraphs.