The Weekend, by Charles Boorman

In the photo, the girl in the red dress sits on a stone wall, hair falling in loose brown waves to her shoulders. Tanned legs bent at the knees, right slightly higher than left as if she is riding side-saddle, she smiles confidently into the camera. One foot brushes the grass, red toenails peeping out from the shoe.

Years later, long after the girl in the red dress had become his wife, the photographer remembered their weekend by the river that long hot summer – the castle, the trees and the sunshine; good food, fine wine and even better loving.

Silence Not an Option, by Sankar Chatterjee

All members of the current Committee on Arts and Humanities would resign simultaneously, submitting a sharply-worded joint letter. The members, selected to advise the strongman on cultural matters, had enough of his bigotry. He chose not to denounce unequivocally the hatred and racism displayed by neo-Nazis, while parading through a university town. The scholars remembered the history: Nazis burning banned books in a bonfire or shattering Jewish synagogues and business-stores on Kristallnacht.

But, why does the letter contain six sections? The sleuths solved the mystery: each section started with a word containing a specific letter for a final word: RESIST!

Stand And Stare, by Paritosh Chandra Dugar

It was an overcrowded public transport vehicle. The third stop. I see a lady holding an infant tight to her chest and struggling to balance herself amidst the crowd. I volunteer to vacate my seat for the desperate mother. In response, she immediately pulls her first son from behind his father and occupies the seat with him. The sixth stop. The seat next to mine (oh!, sorry, the lady’s) is vacated. I make a move. But smartly enough, she pulls her husband from behind me leaving me only to stand and stare.

The Hero, by Bobby Warner

Bastards penetrated our perimeter and killed five grunts. I got dysentery but not quite bad enough to send me home. The Commander called me a loser; but on our next recon mission I saved our squad from ambush and got a Purple Heart and a Silver Star, and then they sent me home, a Hero!

Not much call for Heroes, so I bought this nice cart with all the bells and whistles. Now I sell hot dogs all day long. Hey, stop by anytime and I’ll give you a foot-long Johnny’s Super Hero Hot Dog Special for only two bucks.

Never-Ending Blues (A Cautionary Tale), by Bobby Warner

Talbert awoke that morning with a splitting head and humongous hangover. He had lost his billfold with all the cash he had.

Note from his wife on the kitchen table: “I took the kids. Going to Mother’s and we won’t be back–ever!”

Dressed like a bum, Talbert got to work just in time to get fired on the spot.

He returned home and found the mailbox full of bills he couldn’t pay. Hopeless? Yeah–you bet.

Talbert locked himself in the bathroom and hung himself with his big brown belt–and ended once and for all his never-ending blues!

Organized Chaos, by Russell Conover

(Originally posted to LinkedIn.)

“Sheesh, Dan. How can you FIND anything in your office? It’s a total mess!”
“Marsha, I know where everything is! Things are just, kind of … in random places.”
“Everything, huh? Fine. Where are the files for our newest client?”
Dan lifted a stack of papers and produced the files.
“How about the latest computer software?”
He opened a drawer and removed the CD.
Marsha smiled. “Well, I give you credit. You certainly seem to know–”
Their eyes bugged as a cow walked out from under Dan’s desk, into the hall.
​Dan face-palmed. “All right, already! I’ll clean up.”

Brotherly Love, by Ann-Louise Truschel

“I really like your brother,” George’s wife said.

“Well, I guess even tough guys have something to recommend them,” said George.

“I think Uncle Harry’s kinda sweet, Dad,” said little Fay.

“I wouldn’t say ‘sweet’, exactly,” said her brother, “but he’s OK, I guess.”

“Well, in any case, dinner’s over,” said George’s wife. “Kids, clear the table, rinse the dishes, and put them into the dishwasher. George, help me get the rest of Harry back into the freezer.”

Infidelity, by Ann-Louise Truschel

“Wow! Another night; another female! Danny, you’re going to wear yourself out!”

“But what a way to go, huh?”

“Don’t you ever get tired, and don’t any of those babes ever get jealous of each other?”

“Hey, when I come around, I just give them a holler and out they come! They can’t get enough of me.”

“But every night? How long can you can keep this up?”

“I figure I might as well enjoy myself while I still have the chance.”

“Why the rush?”

“Tomorrow I get neutered,” he said as he licked his paw and wiped his whiskers.

An Explosion in Brussels Airport, by Sankar Chatterjee

Tom was checking the morning headline news online. The major one was about previous day’s terrorist attack inside Brussels airport. Underneath, a spot-photo of a female airline employee, sitting in daze in a waiting area in her blood-stained yellow uniform.

Haunted by the shot, he retrieved it during lunch. Then, he remembered. Past year, on a business trip, he flew in that same airline to Thailand, making a connection at Brussels, while waiting in that same area. Then he remembered some more: it was at the same time and the same day of the same month, only one year ago!

Believe It Or Not, by Gordon Lawrie

After the events in Barcelona yesterday, I decided that this was more appropriate than the original, which can wait a week.

(Published to the F.F.F. website on 8/18/17)

Believe It Or Not, by Gordon Lawrie

Let me tell you a story, the old woman said.

Once upon a time, the world’s rulers realised that they needed to work to avoid war at all costs. Once, rich people understood that it was good to help poor people everywhere. Once, there were drugs to fight almost every infectious disease. Once, there was ice at both the North and South Pole. Once, people from poor countries weren’t so desperate that they crossed dangerous seas to escape. Once, you could walk down busy city streets without fear of terrorist attack.

Don’t believe me? Well, it was only a story.