Birthday Wishes

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Fiction:

“Look, Lorie, it’s a comet!”, shouted her brother Pascal, nudging her slightly. They were sitting together on the roof of their house, just outside the open window of Lorie’s small room, listening to the crickets chirp and the wind blow calmly. Sure enough, when the teenage girl looked up, a brilliant trail of silvery dust could be seen speeding across the stellular sky. It quickly disappeared behind the horizon of trees in the distant countryside.

What a great thing to see on her birthday, Lorie thought. Nothing too exciting ever happened around the sleepy hillside just on the East side of the river that snaked though this part of Garris County. She sometimes wished she could get away and experience what was on the other side of the river, what mysteries she would uncover. Pascal and she would come up here often in the evenings just after supper had finished and mom and dad had settled into their favorite TV show together. It was a peaceful moment of bonding for them and they usually didn’t say much but let Mother Nature do the talking.

It had been a good day for the girl from a small town in the rural landscape. Her mother, a very fine chef, had meticulously baked her a cake, chocolate with strawberry frosting, and when she went to blow out the fifteen candles on top, she secretly wished for a number of things to happen to her in the future:

No.1 – She would marry a handsome prince who rode through the country on a white horse. No, that sounds so cliché and fairytale like. She did want to meet someone with a little ambition in life though, someone she could travel the world with, him having money being an obvious thing in this case, though she would definitely want to have her own source of wealth. This man would come from a rich family, of course, and would have attended the finest colleges, preferably one from the North.

No. 2 – Her eighteenth birthday would be even more extravagant than anything before. She imagined it being held in a large dance hall with chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. Everyone would be dressed up in their finest clothes, the men in tailored suits, the women in free-flowing dresses. She would be like the queen, everyone singing for her, all the eligible bachelors wanting a chance to dance with her on that smooth parquet floor.

And No. 3 – She would have had the greatest last year of high school during that eighteenth year. Many unimaginable things would happen to her. Lorie would be elected Homecoming Queen, walking along the good-looking King who happened to be the star quarterback of the football team. She would get to take the class trip to a faraway country, preferably Paris, since that is what she had heard was exclusive to the upperclassmen of her school. Again, it all sounds so cliché, but after living her life for so long in a low-key, unassuming way, being able to do something that not everyone gets so lucky to do and being celebrated for just once would elate Lorie.

She would love to have a day everyday that celebrated her, made her feel like the most important thing in the world. Like having a birthday everyday, as Katy Perry would say (yes, she knew about pop music even way back in this area where it all but seemed unlikely to exist, having listened to her friends music at school), getting the most wonderful gifts, being able to go anywhere she chooses. She would be floating on a weightless cloud, not a thing to harm her, always happy.

“Hey, Lorie, you okay?”

She hadn’t realized she was still sitting up there on the roof with Pascal, having drifted off into deep fantasizing thought. Pascal had made as if he was about to go inside again, silently gesturing for his sister to do the same.

“Yeah, I’m fine, was just thinking about something”, Lorie answered, still looking ahead towards the forest, the last bit of sunlight slowly sinking.

“What was that?,” Pascal asked curiously, choosing to sit back down again.

“Just something amazing. I can’t hardly put it into words but it is nice.”

Pascal didn’t answer this time but looked at Lorie as if he was intrigued by what she said. After she seemed to fall into deep thought again, he simply smiled and sat there quietly with her, just staring at the cosmic display of stars amid the half crescent moon.

After a few minutes, he finally broke the silence.

“It’s okay to dream sis, but don’t let it go to your head.”

Lorie finally looked at him after he had said this. He must had figured what she thinking then  With him being a few years older than she is, he was basically fit to tell her to not be so naive when it came to the world, that not everything is as good as it seems. Sure, she thinking she may get to be a famous moviestar someday might had seemed an impossible thing, but in her dreams it seemed closer than ever as if she were actually there on the red carpet…

With this final thought, she sighed deeply and went back inside, Pascal following close behind. She’ll get to show off someday, Lorie solemnly thought.


In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Festivus for the Rest of Us.”

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Planet Minecraft

There once was a little man named Steve who was dropped into an enormous block like world. The only things he had were the clothes on his back and “fists” of fury that could punch through wood and rocks like Superman on steroids.

His big mission: to craft the world before him and survive the elements – mainly those pesky and relentless monsters, AKA mobs – creepers, endermen, zombie, and the formidable Herobrine. The weather was either rain or shine and didn’t have much of an effect on the landscape or Steve, other than making the grass grow rapidly fast. This land seemed to have a plethora of livestock that could be harvested such as cows, chickens, sheep, pigs, and rabbits, but they didn’t go down without a pitiful fight.

Steve soon learned how to craft different tools, from stone pickaxes to mighty swords, and used these to defeat enemies as well as mine the land with more practicality and speed, until they broke of course. He gathered many materials such as wood, cobblestone, and even very rare diamond and soon had the necessary skills to build an entire new world. Dreams of building towering skyscrapers, legendary castles, beautiful arching bridges, and articulately designed underground mine shafts floated through this one guy’s virtual mind. The possibilities were endless.

But there was just one thing, or many things missing: a companion to share his experiences with and build the world together and have fun. Steve looked all around for other inhabitants of this sandbox world and saw not a soul around (except for the Creeper that exploded in his face) until one day he came across a sign asking for people to join a club of avid followers of a game called Minecraft, whatever that was. All he had to do was step on a circular pad of light underneath the sign and be whisked away to another world – one that was full of happy and eager crafters just like Steve, all getting to know one another and participating in some exciting games. But when they all saw Steve drop in on the world, they all laughed for he just had on the same, old boring clothes he started his adventures with while everyone else was in extravagant and rather exotic looking clothes that they may had bought or crafted their selves. All of a sudden, Steve felt like an outsider, like he didn’t belong here with people that all seemed to know each other. Couldn’t even join in any games no matter how hard he tried. Was shunned by many unforgiving eyes.

But then he met a friend, someone who took him as he was, accepted that he hadn’t quite figured out how to look cool. This great friend showed him all around this populated world full of interesting designs from replicas of famous buildings to giant flags made out of blocks. And everywhere he looked, everyone seemed to be happy or him now, all clapped and cheered, and said together in one loud chorus:

“Welcome to Planet Minecraft! Make yourself at home.”


In response to The Daily Post’s writing promptu: Interplanet Janet

You get to design your own planet: tell us all about your planet — the weather, the seasons, the inhabitants. Go.

Night of A Thousand Freaks

Stirring in my sleep. A chainsaw maniac chasing me through the woods, the cliché scene. I trip over a tree root – “CRUNCH!” – landing hard on my palms, tasting the soft earth. The sound of deadly weapon getting closer, lunatic footsteps crunching the twigs. Heart racing a mile a minute, struggling to free myself from the root, but shoestring seems to be snagged. The chainman is suddenly there, silhouetted against the faint light of the hazy moon. Frantically kicking at this reverse deus ex machina, tears rolling down my face. I look up; he has a mask on, like Jason, starts to lower the frightening buzzing weapon – “Please, NO!” My legs seem to give out. I stare at the madman and for just a second seem to see a glint in his eyes behind the mask, before it is extinguished like a smoldering fire. Everything in my head goes silent…and then…just then I’m on a makeshift raft with my dad in a dark swamp with trees on both sides. The sky above is starry, full of cosmic display. I stand up in this marsh and peer at the eerie forest before me and then look back at my dad. He seems to be sinking into the swamp, and what looks like rats are crawling over him, burying him alive, completely unaware, just sleeping away. My head pounds with anxiety. I stare at the horrific scene for a moment before the words that inadvertently come from my mouth are “He wasn’t worth it anyway,” and continue toward the forest, leaving my father to sink beneath the mucky depths of this mysterious wetland.

The nightmare shifts to me running through a labyrinth of houses, still at night, the sound of police sirens chasing after me, hunting me down. Heart pounding, I race through numerous alleyways and gated squares of closely packed homes, zigzagging this way and that. I keep running until the sound of the sirens are no more, not wanting to be found or face my downfall, and then the scene disappears and I am in a bright room lit by a hanging chandelier. The walls are wood paneled, the floor vanilla colored. There is nothing in this room except three wooden doors on the far wall facing me. And then a man at least 6″5 dressed in a casual dinner suit steps through the closed center door, steps straight through it like a ghost. He reminds me of someone I’ve seen before, but his face is blurry. This broad lad walks forward and stops just before me, seeming to grow a foot taller as I stare up at him.

“You know you have to pick a door,” he says in a loud booming voice filling the entire room. He stands to my right so I can see the three doors before me.

“Which one will it be, door 1, door 2, or door 3?”, the voice of Wayne Brady appears from somewhere.

The doors seem to rush towards me or I towards them and suddenly the room changes completely, gets smaller. I am now facing the three doors in what looks like a small prison cell. There is a large pool of blood in front of me and is seeping through the small floor crack of door 2. I definitely wouldn’t choose that door, would I? The other doors seem perfectly fine: one is a bolted metal variety, the kind seen in strong ship holds, and the other has wood of mahogany and cherry, expensive looking. But I am rooted on that center door, the blood reaching my bare feet, chilling my toes. I want to open that door, see what happened, the curiosity is tempting. Door 1 and Door 3 just don’t speak anything to me. But Door 3 says it all, even if there’s most likely not a good message on the other side. I touch the door and it simply swings inward, a flash of bright light and then…

I’m in a maze-like video game or movie, going through different rooms, and end up in a large bathroom/locker room of a gym perhaps. A little bit of creative thinking to solve the challenge, riddle here. Not so obvious. I start off entering the place through a door in a dark corner. Tiled floors. The sections of the locker room quiet and eerie. Up ahead is a lit area near a wall. I walk towards it and see a foggy mirror, cracked. Cobwebs hanging from the brick wall. Dust particles floating in the shining light. I turn to the left and see a lit passageway. Objects, such as a vanity set, are against both walls. In the distance is an opening to a dark chamber with the silhouette of a large menacing structure with curved sides and a sloping roof standing. Maybe there are steps on the sides. Probably enemies will be waiting for me there. They can likely sense my presence. I’d better stay away from that place. Going around the shadowy locker room looking for clues. Finally go into a section further away from the lit wall. Then a little girl appears, says “I just want to go home” in a creepy voice. She appears to be crawling on the ground and has an eerie horror look about her, one of those Gothic, depressed, lonely orphaned children. Blackest eyes of the night, pale face like pastry flour. The sequence ends and I go through a basement door, stepping into the darkness.

And just as I witness the chainsaw maniac again, his freakish figure appearing in a greenish fog, I suddenly wake up, sweat drops on my forehead, breathes coming in cold hard gasps. It’s 6:00 in the morning. I quickly grab a pen and paper and begin to recall what just happened in this nightmare.


In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: Just a Dream

Pull Up A Jastelo, Mate

So, out of the blue let’s say we don’t call a chair a chair anymore. Instead, it is called…a jastelo.  A random word from my mind that replaces the old aged one, something new and exciting. Google auto-correct suggests that it be changed to tasteless. Hmm…that’s interesting. Maybe I don’t have any taste in choosing this word. There’s really no meaning behind it. I just felt like pulling a Frindle on this one since I’ve lacking creativity to think of something sensible. By the way, that book is nearly 20 years old, and the last time I heard it read was back in third grade by a much younger Mr. Davidson.

Relax in a comfy Queen Anne jastelo today

Jastelo [jos – tell – oh] : a piece of furniture used for reclining or relaxation. Coined by a tasteless blogger sometime in 2015.

“Hey, thanks for joining us. Pull up a chair, mate.”

“A what?”

“A chair. Come join us. We’ve got cards and cold beer.”

“What’s a chair?”

“What do you mean? A chair is what you sit in, you silly bloke. Grab one from that table over there.”

“I think the word you’re looking for is jastelo.”

“Huh? Jastelo? Quit messing around, that’s not a word, least one I’ve heard of yet.”

“Sure it is. You’re all sitting in jastelos now. Kind of old and worn but they serve well.”

“So, you’re saying that you’ve decided to replace the ordinary word chair with this nonsense word you apparently made up?”

“Yup, and everyone is going to be using it in no time. From now on, no one will say chair again.”

“You sure about that? I can think of a two million people who would be happy with saying cha –

“No, say jastelo. This has to catch on. First this entire pub, then the entire city, then the state, then the country, then the world, and then aliens from other worlds will pick up on the word – just kidding about that.”

“You’re a crazy nutter, ya know that?”

“Say that again in about a year when this thing goes viral.”

“Okay then. Grab a jastelo and get ready to witness the greatest card player in the world take down these goons. Or should I call this game…folps?”

“Nah, won’t catch on.”

“Says you.”

One year later….

“Alright, kids. Who wants to play musical jastelos?”, asks a teacher to her group of kindergartners.

“Yeah!”, they all scream, piling around the carpet.

A video is shot of another instance of this game with a new name and seen on YouTube. I happen to watch it and smile, reclining and relaxing in my chair – I mean jastelo. At least two-thirds of the world now use the word jastelo everyday – and it’s universal in language as well, replacing that other word that was becoming dull and unimaginative.

Doing a random Google search for my new word, I find over two million hits for it, from mentions on blogs, news sites, videos, and in the title of trending songs as well, one by country superstar Brad Paisley – “As I Sit In My Jastelo (Waiting For You)”.

March 6, 2017

“Welcome to channel 7 news at six. This is Brian McGregor reporting.”

“Thank you. Our first topic of the evening has to do with the Washington school board voting down the 24/7 use of police officers around the school. The head jasteloman of the board – there’s that word again that has taken the world by storm – spoke with us today about the issue.”

“So, Mr. Chair – I mean Jasteloman, what made the board decide to vote this down?”

“Well, we figured having an all day surveillance around the building would cost more money and would not be very good for student and faculty moral as well. We want to create a safe environment but not one that has everyone in fear.”

Sometime in 2070

They all gathered around the gravestone in the evening tribute, over three thousand people ranging from famous celebrities, jubilant fans, important businessman and friends and family. There was a grand musical performance by a famous singer as well as a large banquet of delicious food.

On this person’s headstone said this:

Here lies the creator of the word jastelo. May we forever use it with pride and respect.


 In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: Play Lexicographer

Create a new word and explain its meaning and etymology.

Some other interesting takes on this:

dljordanwriting | weirdyshmeerdybeard

Passion Through Poetry | FOMOphobia

Seezooeyrun | Lexiography 

The Last Taken

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The frightened woman ran across the street, gasping for air, trying to elude the evil tyrant Ivanova. She came to the beginning of a sparse wood, not hesitating to stop and find a way through the trees. Mr. Ivanova was hot on her trail, Swiss and Wesson magnum trailing behind him, a trail of blood being left behind from the wound to his left abdomen. The women barreled through the woods, snagging her clothes on the low hanging branches, fighting her way to safety. Heart rate going through the roof and perspiration wetting her forehead, she kept on going, not noticing the fabric of her linens getting tears from the various thorns protruding from bushes. But just as she saw an opening, the bright light of the sky through some bare branches, she stumbled over an earth root, landing face first into the fresh bed of snow. Trying to get up, she felt a stabbing pain in her right leg; something had obviously bent unnaturally. She muffled her scream, clenching her teeth, trying to crawl forward, now leaving her own trail of blood on the white. She began to sob, lightly then uncontrollably, knowing that she was done for. Mr. Ivanova was very close – she could here his footsteps getting louder and louder. Frantically reaching around for her backpack, she pulled out a device, a camera, and swung it around to her side. Trying with one last effort to stand up, she managed to find support from a nearby tree, a terrible, burning pain in her leg.

Ivanova had entered the forest, stumbling through the trees, clutching his side, already having lost a lot of blood.

“Give up…”, he gasped, raising his magnum at a spot in the trees, shaking, barely able to stay upright.

The woman steadied her camera, getting the scene into focus, and, with one last look at Ivanova’s profile in the distance, snapped the picture. Everything seemed to stop for a few seconds, the little clearing in the wood becoming a blur in the woman’s eyes. A sharp, piercing sound reached her ears, but she barely heard it over the sound of her heart, pumping harder than ever to keep her alive, the blood from her wounded leg soaking the inside of her right pant.

A bullet came whizzing through the brush, and hit her straight in the back. She fell to the ground in with a soft thud, a red pool covering the ground in seconds. The camera tumbled from her hand and landed about a foot from her, the last picture she ever took contained within it.

Her assailant dropped to the ground as well, his gun tumbling out of his callused hand.


In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: A Moment in Time

What was the last picture you took? Write a post about it and what it means to you.

If Morgan Freeman Says So…

There comes a point in every person’s life where they wish they could do more. They wish they could take the world by storm and call it their own, could claim countries, buy entire islands, build skyscrapers named after them. Unfortunately, the average person does not have the money and power to do that but what if they did? By unlocking the full potential of your brain, the other 90%, wild and exciting things could be bound to happen.

If I could use all 100% of my brain, I would probably open up doors, real and figurative ones, that I thought would be locked forever. I could control my destiny in ways unimaginable to the mortal being. Imagine me being able to manipulate the skies to my desire, or get the job I want by using the power of persuasion and a little bit of mind control (it’s possible). I believe that hidden within the unused percent of our noggins is the ability to learn multiple languages, from Spanish to Russian to Swahili, in as little as an hour. I would become an instant genius, able to solve any problem with relative ease, able to play the stock market brilliantly and become a rich, rich man – a wolf of Wall Street.

“This just in – a group of tourists have been blocked inside a cave by a pile of massive boulders. Rescue workers are on the scene trying to free the captives. Everyone is calm as the situation is being approached, family members holding their breath and – wait…who is this? Oh my God, this is incredible. This man…is moving the boulders…with, do I dare say telekinesis?

“Amazing! The tourists are now crawling out through their entrance to safety. It is unbelievable what we have just witnessed. A miracle. This man’s a God send, this –

“Please. Save it for my book”, I say, walking away from the scene ever so nonchalantly as if this particular ability of mine was as normal as ketchup on hamburgers. The press flash their cameras at me as I pass, begging me for information about my super power.

The only thing I say?

“I’m using 100% of my brain, 70% of it to save the world, 20% to beat the odds, and the last 10% to finally remember where I parked my car.”

Now all of this sounds fine and dandy. But let’s get real here – I’m basing this post, and all of the wonderful gifts discussed, on some science fiction lore; movies such as “Lucy” and “Limitles that break all kinds of scientific laws, only make sense when not taken seriously, not nitpicked and compared to the real world.

The truth is, according to a PRI article from July 2014, that we are already using 100% of our brains – just not all the time though, that would cause a massive seizure. That 100% is used for processes such as “transcribing DNA, making proteins, and moving around ions.” Like any organ in the body, the brain, or more specifically the cells within, is working at full volume to keep us alive and well. If it did less, we wouldn’t function properly.

So while we might not have the ability to make the world bow before us or bend steel with our mind, we have potential to achieve great things if we try our hardest, use everything we have. That’s the only reason why most people are mediocre at best – they choose not to use their brains effectively, not to tap into its full potential because they are just plain lazy.

The 10% statement is a misquote that has found its way into the money hungry veins of Hollywood blockbusters – take it with a grain of salt the next time you listen to Morgan Freeman say it in his Godly voice.

“I have no idea.”


In response to The Daily Prompt: “Brain Power.”

Free As A Bird

Daily Prompt: New Skin


I soared high yonder over every creature, landmass, and water body on Earth. The air was incredible under my soft, bristle tipped wings. The humans and their mechanical boxes looked like ants as my sharp eyesight honed in on future prey, my keen sense of smell bringing in the scent of something scurrying to safety, its hopes for survival futile as my hunger for fresh meat became strong and irresistible.

Through the clouds, free as a bird, literally. It is the ultimate dream, to soar through the sky, to visit places far and wide. The spirit follows my every movement. Life is abundant, thriving everywhere I look. Aerodynamically sound is the state of my windswept body. I fly through the air with relative ease, the air a mixture of hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen making a nice whooshing sound, sifting through my finely tuned feathers.

A bird has free range, can fly limitless. Can see many things one could only hope to see in an entire lifetime: the seven wonders, exotic countries, the tops of high buildings, every major celebration happening in the world, mecha sporting event gatherings, extraordinary people being honored for their achievements, music from all walks of life, the cultural differences, language variations, interesting smells of native cuisine.

Suddenly, the cry of another winged warrior reached my tiny eardrums. It was a call of desperation. She was in danger, maybe being hunted down by a much larger predator. My curiosity looked around for her presence, flying faster to follow the sound of her cries for help. But then it was drowned out by a sudden rainstorm erupting from the clouds, dampening my beautiful feathers. Time to go in for an emergency landing.

Landing under a bench turned from its natural brown to a damp dark grey, I observed the modern homo sapiens hurrying around for shelter; some whipping out handy umbrellas, some covering their heads with the Daily News, some testing to see if their phones were truly waterproof, some just standing there taking it all in. Even though I’m a bird now, I can still think like a human, can still remember when I was a creature of habit, a creature of self-satisfaction, needs, and wants. I used to see the world through a narrow opening, only knowing what was in front of me, how I was used to living. But now that my form is that of the bright yellow American Goldfinch, so small and fragile but quick as lightning, I see that the human world is very trivial, so valued on the pursuit of greatness and destiny.

A few of my friends soar down from the sky, landing on the pavement, looking for shelter and food like me. I observe them, looking around curiously at the commotion racing back and forth through the now rainy park in New York City, the celebrations and energy from last night now the remains of confetti and discarded alcohol containers filling trash bags.

Just last night, I saw Times Square, the streets crowded with a sea of humanity, ushering in a brand new year, a new glimmer of hope. Perched on top of a flashing billboard, it was incredible to see my former species from a different perspective, unburdened by limited mobility, able to take in everything around me, not being a virtual sardine in the mass of people. The closing year extravaganza stretched all the way down the Manhattan borough through Broadway, the screen on the Times Square tower displaying the time until 2014 turned into 2015. Advertisements cycled through on curving LED boards, the electricity coupling with the combined power of the swarming crowds below.

As the musical performances picked up on center stage, my little body flew in for a closer look, taking in the intensity of the moment, the energy and excitement, the sound raising up the decibel scale, a comparison to a buzzing hive of worker bees.

As my former friends counted down from ten and shouted out the now overused, clichéd celebration chant heard year round, I was glad I didn’t have to worry about making any New Year’s resolutions or counting on incredible but unlikely goals happening. As a bird, I didn’t have to worry about traveling the world – I could do that for free, all I needed was my internal GPS guiding me, showing me the way. Most birds aren’t aware that they could have an excellent view of anything in the world, without having to get on a plane or pay to get through the door, but I have the human awareness to realize I have this ultimate freedom to explore the world like never before. I also didn’t have to worry about losing weight – I only munch on small leaves and berries and go after the meat of small rodents that I fancy. I don’t have to worry about finding a job – I believe my only job is to survive, being below a lot of others on the food chain, and to use my special observation skills to explore and roam freely in this world.

Spending the next year as the Goldfinch, with its beautiful yellow body and black and white wings, is an interesting endeavor. Actually, I could have chosen any bird, but searching through pictures of bird candidates, from the browns, blues, reds, and multicolored, I saw that this one had colors I was fond of. They are bright, elegant, and happy colors as well as the color of sunshine. I’m not a big bird expert and diving into the details of these winged species would be a boring task. The big picture is that choosing to be a bird for a year would strengthen my observation skills. I would get to see the world more, fly to interesting locales I am currently unable to see. I would get to learn about these spritely creatures from the mind and wings of one, would learn how they communicate, what their daily lives are like in their eyes. I guess you could say I would have a Birdseye view of life from another species.

If you could spend the next year as someone radically different from the current “you” — a member of a different species, someone from a different gender or generation, etc. — who would you choose to be?