Sunday, December 27, 2015

The Preacher's Message

Ed returned from the store with two bags full of stuff. Edna watched curiously as he emptied a dozen flashlights out of one bag and several boxes of batteries out of the other.

Ed loaded the batteries into the flashlights and tested each unit. He had a battery inserted backwards in one, and quickly fixed it. “I shall return,” he said as he placed the working flashlights back into the larger bag.

“What’s going on?”

“Just doin’ what the preacher said,” Ed replied.


“His message really struck a chord, Edna.”


“Tis the season to spread the light.”

This 99-word story is my contribution to the December 16 Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge to write a story about "spreading the light."

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Wrapping Paper

Edna searched the closets, knowing she stashed it somewhere. She always purchased beautiful Christmas wrapping paper on sale at the end of the season for the next year. Now it is next year. 

“No need,” Ed yelled from his study. “I’ve got my own.” He closed the door and laid out all the presents he bought for others. 

An hour later Ed emerged, feeling a sense of satisfaction as he placed his presents under the tree. Newsprint, paper towels, toilet tissue and cardboard— with lots of tape—did the trick for Ed.

“Found it!” Edna exclaimed from the back room.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The Debate

Edna turned on the TV, poured two glasses of wine, and summoned Ed. It was about to begin.

Ed grabbed his glass, took one look at the TV, and protested. “What’s this? The basketball game is about to start.”

Edna remained calm but assertive. “We need to watch the presidential debate. We have to stay informed.”

Ed grunted his displeasure but plopped in the chair.

The candidates came out firing. They took cheap shots at one another, bickered like spoiled children, avoided substantive questions, and criticized the panel.

After fifteen minutes, Edna had an idea.  “Ed, let’s watch some basketball!”

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Just Browsing

Ed took his usual seat on the rustic bench outside Yvette’s. The exclusive women’s dress shop was a regular destination for Edna’s browsing.

“Are you actually going to buy something this time?” Ed asked.

“You have no idea what’s in there,” Edna answered with a hearty laugh.

Can’t be that expensive, Ed thought.

After a few minutes Ed decided to check it out for himself. He slipped in quietly, approached a rack of attractive dresses, and casually peeked at the price tag on a simple Lanvin Jersey Dress.

Back on the bench, Ed prayed that Edna remained a looky-loo.


This 99-word story is my contribution to the December 9 Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge to "write about a looky-loo."

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Making Bread

“Homemade is my specialty,” Ed proclaimed as he reached for the automatic bread maker.

He asked Edna to excuse herself, and turned down the TV to minimize any distractions. Working like a mad scientist, Ed meticulously measured and poured each of the ingredients: flour, water, dry milk, sugar, salt. He then made and double checked some precise computations regarding the desired finish time, and turned the unit on.

“We had everything?” Edna asked with concern from the adjoining room.

“We’re good,” Ed said as he waived her off. “Everything but yeast.”

Edna grinned, then added bread to her grocery list.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Delivery Nightmare

The truck stopped suddenly, blocked by a scraggly figure. He made the driver open the back, then rummaged through the packages. “I’ll be relievin' ye of this one, mate,” he said with a haughty laugh. The driver, decked out in all brown, knew not to protest. The perpetrator tied up the shaken driver and limped away.

Ed suddenly sat up in bed, sweat pouring from his brow. He startled Edna as he shook himself awake from another nightmare.

“The new TV we ordered!” Ed yelled groggily.


“They got it.”

Edna looked at Ed. “Not the pirate dream again.”

This 99-word story is my contribution to the December 2 Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge to "write a pirate story."

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Cyber Monday

Ed was fired up for Cyber Monday as he repeatedly checked online sites for the 4K Smart TV he coveted. Prices were lower than normal but nowhere near his expectations. Frustrations grew as he realized it wasn’t going to happen.

Edna plopped in a chair nearby and opened the newspaper. “Some great deals on TVs today,” she said while flipping the pages.

“But they’re not 4K TVs,” Ed replied, shaking his head.

“Huh? What exactly is a 4K TV, Ed?”

Ed paused, realizing he didn’t have a clue. “Let’s don’t get technical,” he said. “I just know we need one.”

Wednesday, November 25, 2015


Ed watched every move carefully. Edna was aghast.

The athlete on TV politely handed the ball to the referee, but then suddenly burst into a series of extreme gyrations. He wobbled his legs as though he might collapse while simultaneously flagging his arms like he was trying to swim. His head moved up and down like a human bobblehead set in a perpetual YES motion. His hips twisted in full synchronization.

“He’s having a seizure!” Edna screamed. “Why don’t they do something?”

Ed shook his head in disappointment.  “As far as touchdown dances go, I’d give it a seven.”

This 99-word story is my contribution to the November 18 Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge to "write dance into your story."

Happy Thanksgiving to all from Ed and Edna!

Sunday, November 22, 2015


Ed approached the gate and grabbed Edna’s hand. They were swept in a sea of humanity toward the entrance, not conscious of moving their feet as they advanced.

Ed tried to navigate away from the gate where bags were being checked, but the mass of football fans gave him no leeway. He patted his side jacket pocket, hoping to flatten the bulge that would expose his stadium violation.

He held his two tickets up for scanning as he hurried Edna past the ticket taker and security personnel.

“Whew!” he sighed.

Ed got his pack of cheese crackers in without incident.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Leaves and Garbage

Ed finished the front yard and driveway, and put the power blower back into the garage. Edna watched from the bay window, shaking her head.

Two days later leaves were everywhere, and Ed was at it again.

“It’s a losing proposition,” Edna told him. “They’re just going to come back.”

“No, Edna. Those leaves are not coming back. These are new leaves.”

Edna laughed. “What difference does it make? You’ll have to do it all over again.”

The following Monday morning Edna reminded Ed to take out the garbage.

“Why bother?” Ed mocked. “There’ll just be more garbage next week.”

Sunday, November 15, 2015


“Your turn,” Edna said. “The game is about to start.”

Ed rubbed his hands together in anticipation. He plopped down, turning his body so that his head laid on one armrest and his legs draped comfortably over the other. The viewing angle was perfect for the TV and fireplace.

Edna smiled. She couldn’t remember a time when anyone sat on the popular loveseat in the conventional way. The faded brown leather sagged with spidery cracks not seen on the full sofa and chair that came with the group.

“Don’t get too comfy,” Edna warned. “It’s mine for movie night.”

This 99-word story is my contribution to the November 11 Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge to "write about a place of comfort that is a refuge."

Thursday, November 12, 2015


Ed set the DVR and spelled out the ground rules for Edna.

Please, please don’t say anything if you hear the score of the football game. I’m gonna watch the whole thing tonight.”

“Yes dear.”

As promised, Ed spent the day with Edna shopping for new patio furniture. He carefully avoided the TV section of the store.

Driving home they discussed possible routes to avoid heavy Saturday afternoon traffic near the shopping district.

Suddenly, without warning, Edna blurted out “26 to 14.”

Ed slammed on the brakes and blew his temper.

“Excuuuuuse me,” Edna replied. “Interstate 26 to Highway 14.”

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Caution Sign

Ed straightened his posture and tightly gripped the steering wheel with two sweaty hands. His heart rushed as he slowed the car and read the sign: Bridge Freezes Before Road.

Edna glanced at the traffic behind them from her seat on the passenger side. Cars slowed impatiently; several honking horns were heard. Ed plodded along.

Edna looked repeatedly from front to rear, alternately eyeing the bridge ahead and the growing number of cars behind. Ed focused squarely on the view in front of him.

Edna finally threw up her hands in frustration. “Ed” she pleaded. “It’s 81 degrees outside.”

This 99-word story is my contribution to the November 4 Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge to "write a frozen story."

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Time Change

“I’ll set my alarm for 1:45 AM,” Ed said.

“What on earth for?” Edna responded.

“That’ll give me time to gather my wits and change the clocks back one hour as they strike 2:00 AM.”

“I’m not following.”

“Daylight savings ends at 2:00 AM, Edna.” 

Edna chuckled until she realized her husband was serious. Then she decided to mess with him. “If you’re going to set the time back to 1:00 then you better get up at 12:45.”

“Good thinking, Edna.”

Ed rose at 12:45, shaking Edna from her sound sleep. “Are you sure?”

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Selfie Stick

“A what?” Edna looked incredulous.

“It’s a selfie stick,” Ed explained.

“A what?” Edna repeated.

“It’s just a tool to help us take pictures of ourselves.” Ed was ready to click Place Order on his laptop screen.

“Let me get this straight,” Edna continued. “You want to buy a long stick to carry around so we can take pictures of ourselves?”

“It folds up, Edna.”

“So, we unfold a large stick and take a picture of ourselves in front of everyone?”

“Everybody’s doing it, Edna.”

Edna paused. “Well, Ed, I think the world needs fewer selfie sticks, not more.”

This 99-word story is my contribution to the October 28 Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge to "include a tool in a story."

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The Cruise

Ed felt queasy as the discussion continued.

“It’ll be fun,” Edna said. “The trip of a lifetime. We deserve it.”

Edna continued to leaf through the fancy brochure for the Mediterranean cruise sponsored by their college. She was ready to sign up.

Ed’s mind drifted back nearly fifty years. Stormy seas. All hands on deck. Double shifts. Sea rations. Spot inspections. Navy regulations.

“Can we, Ed?”

“Huh?” Ed returned to the present and saw the anticipation on his wife’s face.

“What do you think, Ed?”

Ed’s eyes became large as his stomach rumbled. “I think I’m going to be sick.”

Saturday, October 24, 2015


“This is totally creeping me out,” Ed muttered.

“Just a quick look,” Edna replied. She loved looking for historical Charleston figures in the old church cemetery.

Ed flinched at a crack of lightning as he wandered about. Suddenly he froze, face turning white as snow, and sweat pouring from his brow. 

He stared at a simple headstone displaying only two large letters:  ED

With another crack of lightning, he bolted the scene.

Edna turned to see what spooked her husband. She chuckled as she read the small inscription at the very bottom of the stone:

Ervin Dowkins 1827 - 1883.

This 99-word story is my contribution to the October 21 Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge to "write a story about a final resting place."

Wednesday, October 21, 2015


“No, we don’t need to,” Ed claimed.

“Yes, we do,” Edna countered.

“Read the invitation,” argued Ed, ever the literalist. “It says Please RSVP by Nov 1 if you can attend. Since we’re not attending we don’t need to respond.”

“You’re wrong.” Edna held her ground.

They continued the silly debate throughout the evening and into breakfast the following morning. The issue took on a life of its own, threatening to ruin their entire day.

Finally, they agreed there was only one way to settle the dispute once and for all.

“Let’s just go to the darn party,” Ed said. 

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Cable Outage

Ed plopped in his favorite chair, beverage in hand, and turned on the TV for yet another football Saturday. After a few minutes, the screen suddenly went dark. Severe storms had taken out the cable. 

What now?

Without saying a word, Edna reached over and handed Ed a book. He looked at the cover, shrugged his shoulders, and started leafing through the pages. He then straightened his posture and turned up the lamp. Soon, he was totally engrossed. 

Hours later, Ed waived Edna off when she noted the cable was back.

Since that day Ed has rarely been bookless.

This 99-word story is my contribution to the October 14 Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge to "write a story that reveals or explores a moment of serendipity."

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Flu Shot

“Just sit and relax.” The nurse smiled and opened the immunization kit.

She can’t be over twelve years old, Ed thought as he nervously rolled up his sleeve.

“How long have you been doing this?” Ed asked. The nurse, who was actually in her early thirties, ignored him.

Sweat beads formed on Ed’s forehead when he saw the needle. He closed his eyes and tried to relax. The nurse patted his head, but that only made things worse.

“Do me a favor,” Ed pleaded, eyes still closed. “Tell me just before you stick me.”

The nurse laughed. “I already did.”

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Highway Robbery

Ed and Edna made their way into the cavernous stadium for the big game. As they passed a condiment stand near the hot dog concession window, Edna innocently reached over to the stack of napkins.

“Stop, thief!” the vendor screamed from behind the window. “Those napkins are for customers. That is stealing!”

Edna froze, not knowing what to say. 

Ed stepped in, looking at Edna holding two skimpy napkins. He turned to the irate vendor and then read the menu board updated in chalk: Regular Hot Dog $9.75.

Ed glared at the vendor. “The only thief here is YOU.

This 99-word story is my contribution to the October 7 Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge to "write a story about a thief or a theft."

Thursday, October 8, 2015


Ed walked out of the store proudly admiring his new smartphone. The young clerk had patiently set it up for him.

After a few steps down the sidewalk, Ed heard a ding.

Breaking news . . . .

He glanced at the phone, then continued walking until another ding rang.

Weather update . . . .

A few seconds later, a series of dings stopped him in his tracks.

Stock market opens . . . . 

No appointments today . . . .

Active calories burned . . . .

Reminder  . . . . 

Edna met her exasperated husband at the door and heard a ding.

Total steps taken . . . . 

Edna laughed, then calmly showed Ed how to turn off Notifications on his phone.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Home Again

“I think it’s this way,” Edna said, still unsure. After all, it had been over forty years.

“No. It’s that way.” Ed remembered the railroad tracks.

Ed and Edna were both wrong. Their first house was down a street they had just passed.

They finally doubled back and Edna spotted it. They stared at the tiny bungalow for several moments in total silence, looking past the chipped paint and damaged shingles. The little dogwood sapling they planted four decades ago loomed large.

Ed shook his head, reminiscing. “It seemed like a castle to me.”

Edna smiled.  “It still is.”

This 99-word story is my contribution to the September 30 Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge to "write a story about a return to home."

Wednesday, September 30, 2015


The clerk smiled. “Just sign here, here, here, and here.”

Ed looked at Edna. “Holy cow. We just want library cards.”

The library clerk remained pleasant. “Oh, I forgot this one. Please sign here too.”

Ed became even more frustrated as he glanced over the documents. Library Policies. Security Regulations. Checkout Procedures. Overdue Charges. Reference Guidelines. Computer Use.

Edna watched as Ed tried to remain calm. Suddenly he gathered up the documents and stepped away. 

The clerk looked puzzled. “Don’t you want your library cards?”

Ed held up the documents. “No need. We’ve got plenty of reading material right here.”

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Early Adopter

Ed eagerly clicked on the link. He salivated as the spinning wheel signaled download progress. The beta version of future smartphone operating system 892xx4L would separate him from pedestrian users in the general public, he thought.

Minutes later several error messages flashed on the screen. Suddenly, his phone went dead. 

Ed tried to reboot . . . . Nothing. He tried to revert to the previous operating system . . . . No luck. 

He sat, totally panicked.

Edna looked on but didn’t speak. She had warned him about being on the bleeding edge rather than the cutting edge of technology.

“Never, ever again,” Ed firmly declared.

This 99-word story is my contribution to the September 23 Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge to "declare an intention in a story."

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The Candidate

Ed and Edna walked to the rear of the hotel to avoid the boisterous crowd out front. They didn’t realize a famous political candidate would be in town when they made their dinner reservation.

Suddenly two men dressed in black accompanied the candidate out to a waiting car in the back. The candidate never looked up, slightly brushing Ed’s shoulder as he hurried past. Edna feared they were going to be trampled.

Back home after dinner they watched a TV news snippet of the candidate’s visit.

Man of the People for the People, read the gigantic sign behind the podium.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

The Game

Ed was in heaven. The game of the year blasted on the big screen, sound system blaring. The frenzy seemed to leap through the TV into Ed’s living room. It doesn’t get any better than this, he thought.

Above the TV noise, a familiar sound was heard. The garage door movement meant Edna was returning from the grocery store loaded with the week’s supplies.

“This is going to be real interesting,” the TV announcer said, as though aware of Ed’s potential predicament. 

Ed laughed, then immediately went out to unload the groceries for Edna — because that’s what you do.

This 99-word story is my contribution to the September 16 Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge to "write a love story."

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Hurricane Ed

“Hurricane Ed is forming in the Caribbean and looks to threaten the Southeast U.S.,” the weatherman reported.  “This could develop into a Category 4 storm.”

“Powerful storm,” Ed said, trying to balance concern for those affected with the intrigue of his name being associated with such a macho weather event.

Edna nodded, not knowing what to say.

Three days later the weatherman gave an unexpected update. “Hurricane Ed looked formidable initially but eventually wimped out, dissipating harmlessly over the Atlantic.” 

“Great news,” Ed said. “How do they choose those names, anyway?”

Edna smiled. They know what they’re doing, she thought.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Lost and Found

Ed rose at 6 AM and followed the coffee aroma into the kitchen. Edna had been up nearly an hour. They sat silently and sipped.

It was a Monday morning like no other. 

For the first time in 38 years, neither had to rush off to work. But, inexplicably, the anticipated joy of retirement was muffled by anxiety, uncertainty, and even fear.

They were lost.

But not for long.

Edna opened the newspaper, holding up an insert: Affordable Coastal Living. Ed’s eyes lit up as he envisioned a little hideaway near the sea.

The adventure was about to begin.

This 99-word story is my contribution to the September 9 Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge to "write a story about someone or something that's lost."

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Credit Card Chip

“That’ll be $27.44,” the cashier said.

Ed had his credit card ready and swiped it down the right side of the card reader. Nothing happened. 

“It’s got a chip,” the cashier told him.

Ed held up his credit card and examined it closely. “Looks fine to me,” he said.

The cashier frowned. “You can’t swipe it. It’s got a chip.”

Ed held his credit card out for the cashier to see it wasn’t damaged in any way.

“You gotta insert it into the chip reader.

“Why?” Ed replied. “It’s perfectly fine.”

Finally, Edna came to the rescue. “I’ve got this.”

Sunday, September 6, 2015

True Grits

Ed smiled as the hostess handed him the menu. Edna caught his eye and knew exactly what he was thinking.

They both remembered their first encounter with the strange concoction. 

Many years ago, after migrating to the Deep South, they stopped by the local breakfast spot. The server couldn’t hide her amusement at their unfamiliarity with the most popular menu item. “Huh? For breakfast?” Ed asked innocently.

On this day, Ed and Edna settled into their booth, not needing to consult the menu.

Edna ordered first. “Sunrise Special with a double serving of grits.”  

Ed nodded. “Same for me.”

This 99-word story is my contribution to the September 2 Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge about migrants and local customs.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Car Haggling

The salesman knew Edna loved the sporty red convertible. He haggled with Ed for several minutes before offering his final price. Ed remained noncommittal.

The salesman excused himself, pretending he needed the manager’s approval. Edna became upset when Ed told her to go along with his plan. “Ed, I really want that car.”

“Trust me.”

When the salesman returned, Ed insisted on exactly $87.32 off the latest “best” price. The flustered salesman eventually relented, not wanting to lose the sale.

“What was that?” Edna asked on the way home.

That, my dear, is our favorite dinner at Roxanne’s— on them!” 

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Mad Scientist

Ed rose at 4 AM again. Edna heard him scratching around in his cluttered study. What’s he up to this time?

Around 8 AM Ed plopped his laptop on the kitchen table and grabbed a cup of black coffee. 

“Big project?” Edna asked.

“Biggest one yet,” Ed answered solemnly. 

“’What about?”



“WERELO,” Ed repeated.


Ed motioned for Edna to lower her voice and move closer. “Weather Relocation,” he whispered. “Moving weather patterns. Getting rain to drought and fire areas.”

Edna knew her husband had absolutely no scientific training.  “But how?”

“That’s where I’m stuck,” Ed replied.

This 99-word story is my contribution to the August 26 Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge to "write a story about the need for help in an extreme weather event."

Thursday, August 27, 2015


Ed leaned the tall ladder against the house. “Just hold it here,” he told Edna. 

“Let’s just pay someone to clean the gutters,” Edna pleaded. 

“Don’t be silly,” Ed answered. “Just yell ‘whoa’ if the ladder looks shaky.”

Ed took his first step. “Whoa,” Edna screamed.

Ed stopped and frowned, then took another step. “Whoa.” 

He shook his head in frustration, but slowly continued. “Whoa.”

Ed finally reached the top despite Edna’s constant warnings. He tried to steady himself while scooping out gutter debris. 

Edna wanted to be encouraging. “Looking good.”

Whoa” Ed said nervously. “Maybe we should pay someone.”

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Tears of Joy

“I’ll take it from here.”

Ed had thoroughly researched how to slice onions without crying. Edna backed away.

Ed plopped a stick of gum in his mouth, softening it with a few chomps. He then curled his tongue while putting a slice of bread in his mouth, making sure it hung out at a 90 degree angle. Next he put on and adjusted his goggles while reaching for the sharpest knife in the drawer. Finally, he held the onion under the faucet and sliced it.

Ed remained tearless, but not Edna.

She stood across the room laughing like crazy.

This 99-word story is my contribution to the August 19 Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge to "write a story that includes onions."

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Luxury Box

Ed opened the glitzy package and rolled out the multicolored brochure. Luxury Box Seats Now Available said the headline from the local college athletic department.

Ed read on, learning that a $25,000 donation qualifies him to purchase two football seats in the luxury box for only $1,200 per seat for the six home games this season. That’s assuming, of course, that he becomes a premium member of the football booster club at the $2,000 annual giving level.

Ed stared at the materials, daydreaming about the VIP treatment he would receive.

“Hey Edna.”

Forget it,” she screamed from two rooms away.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Legal Maneuvering

Judge Stone called Ed to the podium and read the charge. “How do you plead?”

Ed stood nervously.

Not guilty,” someone proclaimed from behind. All eyes turned toward Edna, whose loud voice surprised even her.

The Judge was startled, then amused. “Does she always have your back?”

Ed answered immediately. “Guilty as charged, Your Honor.”

Judge Stone didn’t know if Ed was admitting he ran the stop sign or proudly affirming he has a supportive spouse. 

The Judge smiled, scratched his head and then announced “Charge dropped.”

Ed ignored Edna’s signal to remain silent. “The defense rests,” he said.

This 99-word story is my contribution to the August 12 Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge to "write a story about a character who is called to have the back of another."

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Sneeze Protocol

Ed took a seat in the crowded waiting room. He felt a tingle in his nose and quickly raised his upper arm to cover his mouth with his sleeve. ACHOO!

“Bless you!”



Ed nodded sheepishly to those acknowledging his sneeze. Edna patted his leg and handed him a tissue.

A new arrival entered the waiting room and plopped down in the chair next to Ed. The new guy sat fidgeting for a spell while coughing openly. Suddenly he faced Ed directly and let out a loud ACHOO.

“Bless you!”




The last one was Ed’s reply.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

The Birdie

Ed sized up the shot, grabbed his seven iron and struck the ball. Small branches shook as the errant golf ball grazed the tree line on the right side of the fairway.

A tiny robin fluttered to the ground.

Ed’s playing partners teased him about finally making a birdie. Not funny, he thought.

Arriving home, Ed unzipped the large compartment of his golf bag. Edna watched curiously as Ed gently used both hands to scoop out and cradle what appeared to be twigs and leaves.

“Bring the golf course home with you?” Edna kidded.

Ed smiled sheepishly. “Sort of.”

This 99-word story is my contribution to the August 5 Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge to "write the common premise: 'I ran over a deer (or other animal) and have decided to nurse it back to health.'"

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Creepy Toll Road

Ed drove up to the window. The young girl in the booth seemed annoyed as she took Ed’s two dollars.

The private toll road company was reportedly facing bankruptcy. She should be glad to see us, Edna thought.

Ed quickly reached the tollway speed limit of 65 MPH—there was no other traffic. Suddenly, a car whizzed past them going over 95. Edna frowned.

As Ed approached the exit toll booth—which cost another $2—his eyes widened with shock. Edna looked at the booth and turned pale.

The same girl stared at them—and she was even more annoyed.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

The Literalist

Ed rose early, turned on the coffee and grabbed his phone.

He opened his twitter feed and was alarmed by a tweet from City Hall. URGENT: RESIDENTS MUST BOIL DRINKING WATER UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE.

Ed quickly sprung into action. He retrieved the largest pot he could find, filled it with water, and placed it on the hot burner. Within minutes boiling water spewed as it flowed over the top.

Edna woke from the commotion and was horrified. “Whattha?”

Ed held up his hands. “Stand back, Edna!” he shouted. "We have to let it boil until they tweet us again.”

This 99-word story is my contribution to the July 29 Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge to "write a story that is ripped from the headlines." My story idea involving literal interpretation was "ripped" from a real news story in which being literal actually worked out a little better.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Garbage Day

They had it down to a science. 

Every Tuesday, the day preceding garbage pickup, Edna emptied the small trash cans while Ed gathered the big stuff and hauled the garbage cart out onto the street. 

One sunny Tuesday afternoon in June, Edna slipped quietly past Ed as he sat watching TV in his favorite chair. With their wedding anniversary coming up tomorrow, Edna needed to sneak his present inside. 

Proud of herself for slipping past undetected, Edna reentered the room and plopped down next to Ed. “Remember what day tomorrow is?” Edna asked.

“Of course,” Ed replied. “It’s garbage day.”

Sunday, July 26, 2015

The Gamblers

They arrived early for the show and wandered into the casino to kill time. Edna tried desperately to distract Ed.

“Let’s tour the gardens.” 

Ed ignored her as he stood before a vacant dollar slot machine that seemed to be calling his name.

“Let’s grab a quick bite.”

Ed opened his wallet, inserted a dollar and hit SPIN.

“Let’s visit the shops.”

The machine lit up, clanking away as it tallied a $1000 payout.

Ed remained surprisingly calm. “Now’s the time to go!” he said while cashing out.

Edna looked on with bug eyes. “Actually, dear, what’s the rush?”

This 99-word story is my contribution to the July 22 Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge to "write a story that has a shift in perspective."

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Fitness Tracker

“Seriously?” Ed said. “I have to wear this?”

“It’s the hottest thing in fitness,” Edna replied.

Ed opened the packages and held up his FitCardio strap for inspection. He attempted to lace the unit around his ankle when Edna’s laughter stopped him.

“They go on our wrists.”

For the next week Edna walked daily, challenging Ed to match her step count. While she was gone, Ed laid on the sofa watching TV and moving his left arm repeatedly.

At week’s end Edna checked the steps recorded on Ed’s unit.

“Excellent!” Edna exclaimed.

“You were right,” Ed answered. “I feel great.”

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Truly Breathless

After a brief lesson Ed and Edna put on fins and masks, adjusted their snorkels, and pushed off into the water.

Edna swam slowly and effortlessly, enjoying the aquatic plants, coral and brightly colored fish. Ed tried to keep up, but was more concerned about breathing than sightseeing.

Edna swung her arms excitedly under water as she pointed out each approaching fish. Her arm brushed Ed’s snorkel, knocking it loose and causing him to gasp.

Ed quickly stood in the shallow water, followed by Edna.

“How is it?” the instructor asked.

“I’m breathless!” Edna exclaimed.

“Me too,” Ed replied.

This 99-word story is my contribution to the July 15 Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge to "write a story about a breathless moment."

Thursday, July 16, 2015

The Phone Offender

That Marla’s something else . . . .

Ed looked at Edna.

And Raymond is no prize . . . .

Ed surveyed the room. He and Edna seemed to be the only ones put out by the woman’s loud cell phone conversation, which could be heard throughout the otherwise quiet waiting room.

Don’t know what he sees in her . . . .

Edna pinched Ed’s arm—a clear warning for him to behave. Ed remained silent but continued staring down the offender. 

Gotta go. They’re calling my name.

“Hallelujah!” Ed said a little too loudly as the woman left. 

All eyes turned toward Ed, with smiles and nods all around.