The Second Hand Shop

Thanks Rochelle for hosting.  All links can be found here.

Copyright - John Nixon

Walt looked over everything in the shop.

Nothing but trash, he thought.  Who would pay for someone else’s junk?

All the whites were stained-over yellow, dust was several inches thick.

Place looked better from the street.

“Can I help you with something?” the owner asked.

“Help me?  ‘Cause I have a cane I need help?” Walt barked.

“No, sir. It’s just what I ask customers in my store.”

“Sonny, if I need help, I wouldn’t ask you.”

The owner lit up a cigarette.

“You can’t smoke in here!” Walt shouted.

“Read the sign, old man.  It says second hand.”

 

 

 

 

West Nile and The Western Sound

Thanks Rochelle for hosting.  All links can be fond here.  My story this week is 100 words and I will call it Historical Fiction.  I normally do not do this but I followed my story up with a little background and personal insight.

Copyright - Jan Wayne Fields

 100 words

Luciano’s fingers, thick as a man’s wrist, were permanently cracked and red.  In hypothermic waters he pulled traps as if he were dipping his hands in warm sink water.  Luciano and his mate were all that were left.  As they worked the lines, with no pilot at the wheel, the diesel powered lobster boat circled on the open water.  The sea-bottom, barren since the die off in 1999, robbed them of their life.  Luciano would sell the boat, house and move. He wept as trap after trap came up empty.

 

 ___________________

Washington Post article on the die off.

The Long Island Sound is a living breathing thing, it has a temper but it also can be as kind and giving as a grandmother. I worked as a mate on a lobster boat, it was the hardest, most dangerous jobs I ever did and I loved it.  In the middle of the winter we would chip ice off the boat with sledgehammers just so we could go out and set traps.  My captain was one of the toughest guys I ever met who would put his life on the line for you without even thinking about it.

The die off in 1999 destroyed the lobster industry here on Long Island.  70 to 90% of the lobsters have vanished from our waters since 1998 and there seems to be no recovery 15 years later.  After the die off in 1999 scientist found dead lobsters piled a foot high on the bottom of the Sound.  That year there was a major break out of the West Nile Virus which is carried by mosquitoes so they sprayed the coastline heavily with pesticides.  Lobsters are basically big under water bugs.

The waters were unusually warm in 99 and were churned up by major storms causing hypoxia.  Hypoxia is the lack of oxygen in water often caused by algae growth.  Algae grows on top, cuts the sunshine off from reaching the bottom and depletes the water of much needed oxygen.  Everything dies.

Some scientist believe the die off was caused by global warming.  Since Long Island lobsters are at the southern most extreme edge of their cold water range even a change in water temperature of a few degrees would dramatically decrease their ability to survive.  I would bet the die off resulted from a combination of all these factors.

The Captain I worked for blamed the die off on the moratorium that was put on striped bass back in the 70’s and the recovery in the 90′s of these greedy large predators.  Whatever it was my captain had to finally sell off his boat and he moved away to Florida.  After all those years on the hard sea he finally settled for a warm home far from Long Island.

When most people think of lobsters they think of Maine but the truth is Long Island Sound was basically a lobster ranch before 1999 with 12 lobsters per trap coming over the rail.  Typically 11 of those lobsters were shorts that were thrown back.  The shorts reentered and fed on the bait in the traps until they grew to full size.  Up until 1999 you could buy 5 (1.5 pound) lobsters for 20 dollars.  Today on Long Island for the same amount of lobsters you would pay about 90 to 100 dollars.

There are positive stories about the Long Island fisheries.  Summer flounder or fluke are making a major recovery.  Striped bass are no longer considered an endangered species and the moratorium has been lifted on them.  Clams are still here in great numbers, although not as plentiful as they were years ago.  So there is hope.  There is always hope.

*I added this video to go along with the post after several people had already commented.  It’s about the Baymen of Long Island.  Not the Lobster men but the idea is the same…it’s about people who make their living by the sea.  This is a live version of the song from Yankee stadium by Long Island’s very own Billy Joel.

 

Storage Wars

Thanks Rochelle for hosting.  All links can be found here.

 

 

 100 Words

________________

 

The theater Elizabeth had gone to, the beach home where she spent her summer vacations, all gone.

“Mom, you remember Bill. My husband?”

Arms crossed, leg bouncing up and down, Elizabeth turned, her glazed over eyes met Bill’s.  “You lost weight.”

Bill had barely gained or lost a pound in twenty years.

“Mom?”

Mom whispered into Bill’s ear.  “Someone keeps stealing my garbage cans.”

Bill looked up at his wife as his mother in-law Elizabeth suddenly squealed with childish delight at the kids playing in the pool.  Elizabeth’s keepsakes hung, out of reach, on the back wall of her thoughts.

______________________

Ohhh and HAPPY BIRTHDAY bus driver. 

Union Station and Kings

Welcome to Friday Fictioneers.  Thanks Rochelle for Hosting.  All links can be found here.

100 words.

 

Copyright - Dawn M. Miller

There were black crowds in Washington white.

Can we all get along?

In the red hills of Georgia

The dream,

Lost in a valley,

In the dark shadows of poverty.

 

The fear and name calling,

The race baiting and packaged beliefs,

Have divided us by party lines and railroad tracks.

The black reverend came a long way

To stand on the steps,

To face the potential violence.

 

Shoulder to shoulder,

Fifty years ago it was a sea of men, women and children.

A shot rang out in the Memphis sky

The man in black

Free,

Free

Free at last.

 

 

It’s Always Christmas At The Vineyards

 

Thanks Rochelle for hosting and Sandra for your picture.  All links can be found here.

Sandra Crook

 

Nestled up to the rusty ornate art work they sipped on Cabernet and Merlot.  They rustled with a sense of importance, the limo waiting.  Simple fine lines, pleasures they could not feel concealed behind the work escaped them.

“Spectacular” they said.

“That sounds Grand.”

“Brilliant!”

Arc-white eyeballs, cracked red finger tips they did not think about.

“That’s cool…”

They loved the work, the chains, the lockets, the devices, the propane, the trinket perched on the porch.  They poured more wine.

The breeze blew hot across the vineyards, the wind of conversation skimmed the surface.

“It’s called Marley’s Harley.”

“Bob?”

 

Jacob-Marley

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Tree

Thanks Rochelle for hosting and thank you Scott for the picture.  All links can be found here.

Every neighborhood has a spot to hang out.  A generic name for a specific spot, the tree, the pit, the dock….

From Scott Vanatter with permission-Copyrigh-  Indira

I see a Dodge Dart, teeth collapsing in

Girls dancing to Southern Rock, someone standing on the hood

Overalls and hand me downs, a fist full of loving

The kind of hands that would collapse a man

Make him weep and see god, apologize

And realize

That he stood

On the wrong rod.

I see me

All In The Family

And you

The Tart Cart

The Earth shoe

A strange LSD hue

The coming of greed

Better weed

I see the tree,

The pit, the dock

Thom Mcan

Playing kick the can

On the block

Country rocks

Japs and jocks

 

the tree“The Tree”

 

 

 

 

 

Ash Wednesday

Thank you Rochelle for hosting the weekly prompts and for the photo this week.  All stories can be found here.

My story is a about Hurricane Sandy and human mortality.  I found it a fitting topic to tackle during Lent although I am long gone from the practice of Catholic rituals.

Lamps

 

The howling winds, crack of transformers and the fear of normal routines gone, settled into silence.  It was the day after and people started to panic. Rushing out for gas, waiting hours for a few gallons to go nowhere, to feel gas tank full, they found themselves fidgeting for refrigerator items they could not keep.  I lit the hurricane lamps, thought of the day after nine eleven when the skies’ only movements were twinkling stars. Not an escape in sight.  The harsh burn of spirits and the frame by frame remembrance of the ease of lives turned into ghostly ash.

 

Hurricane Sandy

 

The Ash Lady

Apple Jack and God

Welcome to FF Motha f——!  No warning needed I didn’t curse.  All links can be found here and yes I included God this week.  No bible thumping!  Thanks Rochelle for hosting.

A little background before the story….

Long Island, New York geographically includes Brooklyn, Queens, Nassau and Suffolk Counties.  It has been farmed for over 350 years.  I live on Long Island.

Copyright -Douglas M. MacIlroyPhoto by Doug

I’d cross the street and walk for miles through the woods, I was 8.

The old man’s farm where we went to steal pumpkins and brave the salt gun, the horse ranch where we watched the rodeos and ate honey dew, all gone.

I was in 3rd grade when they filled in the sandpit.

The “High T’s” left a strip of land cutting across the Island.

Levittown left suburbia.

Christie and her  mighty horse Apple Jack galloping around the corral, all gone.

There’s a Born-Again Church where the ranch use to be.  Hard to find God when nature is gone.

 

The church that replaced the ranch.

upper room

The Real Apple Jack and Christie

apple Jack

Long Island Potato Farm

potato farms

 The High T’s..The Power Authorities Cross

high t's

 

Then and Now then and now

 

We Shall Overcome

 

This weeks prompt brought to you by the letter R..all other stories can found here.

copyright lora mitchell

 

“We can no longer go on like this.  The world has become too crowded.  Look at this image, the city weeps, the people cry out for action.  Today is the day my friends when we rise from our soil and grow like pines from the fires to banish those who have hurt us into the flaming walls of hell for eternity.  They have stolen our top soil, abused and ate our young sprouts alive.  They have chewed and spit us out by the millions.  This genocide will not continue.  We shall fight and destroy all those dirty granola crunching VEGANS!”

 

 

 

Sunday Stairs (Revisited)

Coming in at 342 words this week..Let’s see that is 100 words for last week, 100 for this week and……. 142 words for the hell of it.  I wrote this a while back when my wife left me but I felt it fit with the photo prompt.

 

Thanks to the lovely Rochelle for hosting.  All stories can be found here.

copyright - Jennifer Pendergast

The coffee brews as my smoke burns. The silence that fills the house broken by my music turned down low. The steady climb of sound on Sunday.

Turn on the Blues and light a Jay first thing. I wait for the noon before I crack a beet but a joint’s just fine as the grinds grip and swirl in their filter paper.

Searching for rolling paper and coffee filters I get lost. Lost in dreams, I sift through blogs and files of any kind.

Text book winter mind afraid to feel too much guides me under gray skies on autopilot to the seven eleven. Not enough french vanilla in the house and after one cup without it I decide its time to make the trip to seven eleven and the homeless guy by the trashcan.

Sunday mornings are cold on the side of Route 25

Sunday mornings are cold when your wife is gone and she has the kids too. I wait to call. The coffee waits to be consumed. It’s Sunday and everything is slower. It’s Sunday and church is open. God is watching. Football is on.

The smoke and the fog slowly roll, covers me and the music continues to play.  The sadness of Sunday drips down through coffee grinds.

I turn up the music realizing I am not waking anyone. The house is empty.

Next door they wake up whole when at once time they were fractured. Broken I walk by to leave the little bit of trash by the curb, in the can, in the bin, I built out of wood.

So much is broken and as hard as I try with monsters hands I crush what is fragile to me.

With a crack the tag connected to the tight plastic seal on the french vanilla snaps and the counter-top is sticky on Sunday

I wait to call, I wait on noon and that cold beer, I wait for my mind to set with the sun on Sundays.

The silence a steady hard climb