Story using “Gifts..”

GIFTS

"Didn’t I see those three farmers walk through the yard a few minutes ago. They were carrying something." I waited a few seconds for an answer. Ever since Joseph and Mary arrived, Jean was acting like she had fallen out of her tree. "Well, what did they bring for Mary and Joseph?" Her smile couldn’t get any bigger. "What in the hell was it?"

"A gift."

I waited for more but she just kept smiling. "Aren’t they doing things backwards? The Three Shepherds brought gifts after the baby was born, not before. Also, these guys are farmers from Bishopville." I reached over took her hand.

"Beautiful precious gifts. "

"Put your thinking hat on. That’s not Joe and Mary out in our barn. It’s Billy and Sue." She was still smiling. " Hell, for all you know, it could be Bonnie and Clyde. "

She kept on smiling and humming “Joy to the World.”

"Well, why don’t you go to the barn and check? I want to know what the three farmers brought."

I watched Jean walk quickly to the barn. Five minutes passed before she returned to our deck. Her smile was wider. I had to ask. "What gifts did the farmers bring? Gold? Silver?"

Jean was shaking her head. "Pizza."

It took a moment for her answer to sink in. "Pizza. What kind of a gift is pizza to Joseph and Mary? Pizza. I can’t believe it."

Jean held up three fingers. "It was three pizzas, extra large, nice and hot from Dominos."

" OK, I got it. But where are the precious gifts?”

I stopped. Three women were walking through our yard. Each one was carrying two heavy Wal-Mart shopping bags. They smiled at Jean but kept on walking.

Before I could say anything, a loud long squeal came from the nearby swamp. "What in the devil was that?"

"It sounded like the trumpeting of an elephant to me. I’ve heard them before on the Discovery Channel. "

I shook my head in disbelief. "No elephants

here. Not in Taylorville."

I watched the three women go into our barn. "They are the same three dumb women who tried to sell us time shares in nonexistent condominiums on uncharted Keys." I thought for a few seconds. "Don’t tell me. I bet they are bringing gifts to Mary and Joe. "

My wife smiled at me like I had failed the third grade for the second time. "They are the Three Wisewomen bearing precious gifts for Mary and Joseph. "

"Precious, what did they bring? Diamonds? Pearls? " I grinned at my wife. "Or did they bring hamburgers?"

Jean nodded. "The gifts are precious." She stared at the barn a few seconds. "I’ll go check the gifts. It feels just like Christmas."

" it’s June, you idiot. Mary and Joseph had their baby in December. We celebrate his birth at Christmas time. "

She smiled at me with a pitying look."I know that. I’ll be back in a few minutes. "

A coyote was howling east of the barn.

She started walking toward the barn. After a few steps, she broke into a trot. By the time she reached the barn, she was in a dead run. Two minutes later she danced back to the deck singing “Joy to the World.” What had the Wisewomen brought that turned her on? I didn’t have to ask. She started talking when she was still ten feet from the deck.

"You won’t believe what they brought."

Her smile was contagious. I started grinning. "What goodies did they bring?"

"Four six-packs of beer. All different brands. And two boxes of wine. One red and one white. They are the perfect gifts."

I had to agree with her. The two gifts complimented each other to a T. I rubbed my hands together. "Are we invited?"

Jean slowly nodded. "But we are missing some people. “

I wondered who and then I heard singing. I looked down lane. Four black guys dressed like Robert Preston in The Music Man were dancing up the lane. “Sweet Adeline” was drifting through the trees.

Jean clapped her hands. "It’s the Four Kings. They are a barber shop quartet from Ironshire. Now we are all here. Let’s go to the barn."

" Whoa. Just a minute. There are four of them. There is only supposed to be three kings. "

That fact didn’t faze her one bit. She started following the Four Kings. "What’s one king more or less."

I am dense at times. "What gift are they bringing?"

She didn’t break skipping and dancing after the Four Kings.

"Music, Music, Music."

The Four Kings switched to Teresa Brewer’s old song, "Put another Nickel in, in the Nickelodeon."

I stopped at the wide-open barn doors. Everyone was sitting quietly with a slice of pizza in one hand and a drink in the other. I looked again. Jean, the Three Wisewomen and Mary were missing.

Joseph handed me a cold beer and a slice of pizza. "It won’t be long." He spoke in a low voice.

A donkey brayed behind the barn. An owl hooted in broad daylight. A baby cried behind the pile of hay.

I drained half the beer in one gulp.

Jean came out from behind the pile of hay smiling from ear to ear. She was holding up both thumbs.

"The last gift has arrived. It’s a Precious Girl.”

Nelson Lynch 2020 900 wds.

Keep on trucking

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Second half

I don’t know why all of the story didn’t send. Here’s hoping you get the other half.

Merry Christmas.

Qaxt pushed back from the table. "I got to go. Whatever you do, please, please, do not mention my name."

"Sit back down. What is wrong with you? I need a gift now." He felt of his money belt. "Nothing cheap, but nothing too expensive."

Qaxt eased down but leaned away from Zargo. "Man, you should have hocked everything you own, then borrowed money and bought a gift."

Zargo shook his head. "You are exaggerating again. I’m sure a nice semi-expensive silver trinket will suffice. After all, it’s the thought that counts."

Qaxt eased closer to Zargo. He lowered his voice still lower. "You’re living in a dream world. Tell me, when she was talking with you about a gift, was her left eye blinking like crazy?"

Zargo nodded, barely moving his head.

"Was she rubbing her weapon like she wanted to snatch it out and blow someone to smithereens." He didn’t wait for Zargo’s nod. "Did she run her tongue over her lower lip as if she wanted to tear in to a nice juicy steak."

argo wiped his forehead. "What does that all mean? She’s just a nice young girl."

Q axt slowly looked around the room. "It means that you are in deep doo-doo right up to your neck. You are one gift away from being exiled to the outer hull gang. If she ever starts rubbing her nose, run like the devil for the nearest exit.If you are slow, you are dead meat. "

Zargo shuddered. "That doesn’t sound good. What do they do?"

Qaxt managed a weak grin. "They mostly rue the day they met the Captain’s Daughter. Then they rue the day they gave her a cheap gift."

" OK. OK. I got it. What does the hull gang really do? "

"They walk around the outside of the ship repairing small meteor impacts and sensors. You don’t want it."

A minute went by. Qaxt leaned closer. "I got it. A solution to all your romantic problems. We are approaching a planet with primitive life. Our planet visited here a hundred years ago. They are civilized somewhat, but haven’t invented firearms yet. They love gold. We’ll take a few nuggets and do a little horse-trading.

"What could be on a primitive planet that would interest the Captain’s Daughter? "

"I’ve heard that she collects horns. There should be hundreds that she hasn’t seen before. You’ll make out like a bandit." Qast leaned back smiling. "Meet me at the space dock tomorrow morning. We’ll do a bit of trading with the natives."

Zargo nudged Qaxt in his ribs. "What do they call this place? I’ve never seen a city so crowded."

" Rome. " Qaxt pulled Zargo past tables of trinkets and crafts. "Come on. The good stuff in this flea market is at the end." He finally stopped at a table loaded with pelts, antlers, horns, hooves and odds and ends from animals.

Zargo looked the table over and finally pointed at a single spiral horn about four foot long. The owner showed them a drawing of a horse head with single horn growing from the center of its forehead.

"Buy it. " Zargo grinned and nodded at the owner. " A unicorn horn. She’ll love it."

"You didn’t read anything about this planet, did you? That ‘s a whale tooth." He paused a few seconds. "But she may not know that." He gave the merchant a small pea sized nugget.

"I’ll buy something else just as a safety back-up gift" Zargo pointed further down the row of tables. "Let’s try jewelry. It’s always a guaranteed winner."

"This looks like good stuff. Buy a ring quickly. We got to get back to the ship.

Back on the ship, Qaxt pulled on Zargo’s sleeve. "Let’s see the ring. Does it have a diamond or ruby?" He glanced at the ring in Zargo’s palm. " Ugly as sin. It’s not even a precious stone. Don’t let the Captain’s Daughter see it. "

"Zargo." Her loud voice ricocheted around the crowded room. "Did you get me a gift from this world?" Her left eye was blinking crazily, her right hand was fingering her weapon, her tongue was licking her lower lip, her left hand was rubbing her nose.

The two men snapped to attention in the deadly quiet room. Zargo closed his fist around the ring. "Yes, Exulted One. I have for you the rarest of the rare. The horn of a unicorn."

The Captain’s Daughter’s left eye was a blur. She snatched the gift and threw it against the wall. "You lie. It’s a worthless whale tooth."

Qaxt saluted. "Wrong present. That is for my girlfriend. Zargo has a ring for you."

Her eye slowed as she extended her hand. She studied the ring from various angles. She tapped it lightly. The top flipped open revealing a rectangular compartment filled with a white substance. She was smiling. "I love it. I always wanted one of these."

Nelson Lynch. 11/28/20. 1215 words

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Zargo 2

She wants it

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Zargo

"Zargo." Her loud voice echoed down the long corridor of the Zomedian interstellar spaceship.

He froze. In that instant he realized he was in deep trouble with the Captain’s Daughter. Usually, she called him Zargie in a low sweet hiss. He ran a few reasons through his mind on why she would be mad while he slowly turned to face her.

He came to a rigid attention, his body ramrod straight. He saluted, careful to click his heels together twice. "Yes, illustratious Captain Daughter, keeper of the sacred key and slayer of the ogre. How may I assist my dearest love?"

"Don’t you dearest me. Where is my gift?" Her voice trailed off to deathly silence.

His mind was instantly overloaded with danger signals; her left eye was blinking rapidly, her right hand was caressing her weapon, her tongue was licking her upper lip. He willed his body to stay stiff and to not show the slightest tremble. In a split second he decided to not ask What gift, but to say, "My love, your gift in in transit."

The left eye stabilized, the hand flexed its fingers, the tongue disappeared and a smile appeared. "You shouldn’t have. I really don’t deserve anything." She walked towards Zargo, her smile thin and straight.

Fargo remained at attention. "It may take a while." He wanted to wipe his forehead

The Captain’s Daughter stopped. Her left eye blinking. "How long? " Her tongue licked her lower lip.

"Soon. Very soon." Zargo’s knee was twitching.

Her smile returned. She walked the short distance. "Give me a hug, lover boy." She pulled Zargo into a tight embrace. A fragmentary grenade hanging from her neck pressed hard against his heart. She pushed him away. "Keep me posted,"

Zargo was still at attention as she walked away. A few minutes later, he sat across from his close friend, Qaxt.

"I need a gift for my girlfriend. What can I get?" He waited a second. " Quickly. "

Qaxt nodded and smiled at Zargo. "Quickly. I see. You forgot her birthday, didn’t you? Let’s see. I have some colored stones from that last planet we raided. By the way, who is the lucky lady?"

Zargo looked around the semi-crowded room. He leaned closer to Qaxt and whispered. "It’s the Captain’s Daughter. She wants it

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Story for my writers group

Witch

The four witches danced around the boiling cauldron. Arazine reached deep into her gown pocket. She threw something into the cauldron.

"Ear of bat." She cackled loudly and spun around once.

"Eye of whale." Betzal spun twice. She stirred the green liquid with her broom.

"Nose of chimpanzee." Corabub whirled like a dervish three times.

"Tail of rabbit." Cindy Lou spun around four times, her pink gown floated up revealing legs encased in blue socks.

"No, no. You were supposed to have a dragon’s tooth, not a horrid tail of a rabbit." Arazine pointed her ragged broom at the Cindy Lou.

Betzal covered one eye. "Where did you get that horrible gown. It’s sickening."

Corabub pointed at the liquid frothing and slopping over the rim. Huge green bubbles formed, burst and released a vile stench. "You messed up our potion. You were supposed to throw in a dragon’s tooth. You young witches can’t do anything right. Did you even graduate from potion 101?"

The young witch backed away from the bursting bubbles. "Do you realize how difficult it is to get a real honest to goodness dragon tooth? I put over a hundred miles on my new broom."

Arazine raised her gown and blew her nose on the hem. "Go. Come back quickly with a dragon’s tooth. No fakes or counterfeits from the Troll’s Pawn Shoppe."

The young witch nodded. "That sure is one stinking pot."

" Pot! " all three witches screamed.

Arazine continued. "It’s a Witches Cauldron handed down to us from the builders of Stonehenge. Go now before we dip your new broom into our potion."

The witches watched the Cindy Lou straddle her late model broom. She circled the area twice before zooming off toward the south.

Corabub spit into the boiling concoction. A miniature mushroom cloud rose and slowly dissipated."What is wrong with the Coven’s High Council? They are sending us apprentice losers. It will take us five years to teach her enough to pass the witch third class exam. "

Two hours later Corabub pointed southward. "Here comes Cindy Lou."

Ten seconds later Arazine nodded. "It’s her," a second later "and she’s pulling something. What is wrong with her? She’s only supposed to bring us a dragon’s tooth."

Cindy Lou circled the area twice. Her pink gown ripped and torn, tatters streamed in the wind. She banked nicely and came in on a three-point landing. Smiling from ear to ear she jumped from her broom. Her cargo was thrashing about and swinging its tail madly.

"There’s your dragon. He’s a mean one. It was all I could do to capture him. I didn’t even try to pull a tooth." She lifted the hem of her muddy and torn gown. "Look what the ugly dragon did to me. My new gown is ruined."

The three witches were shaking their heads the whole time. Arazine finally pointed at the animal. "That is not a dragon, you foolish girl. It’s an alligator and a baby one at that. How can you be so dumb? Take this creature away and bring back a tooth from a fire breathing dragon."

Cindy Lou sped away to the east, her tattered gown fluttering in the wind.

"Where is she going?" Betzal scratched her nose. "There are no dragons in that direction."

The next morning Corabub scanned the eastern sky. "Where is that girl? She is very close to flunking potion 102."

Arazine used her broom to point. "There she is. I hope she has our tooth."

Cindy Lou landed without any flair. She held out an object to Arazine. "Here’s your dragon tooth."

Arazine examined the object briefly. She handed it to Corabub. "No, no, no. You are trying to fool us. That’s not a dragon’s tooth. It’s an old shark tooth fossil. The shark probably died ten million years ago."

Corobub tossed the tooth to the ground. "Get on that broom and don’t come back without a real dragon’s tooth."

Betzal nodded. "If you don’t, you may flunk out of the University."

Cindy Lou’s shoulders slumped. She flew slowly away toward the south.

"She’ll fail. We may never see her again."

That afternoon Betzal pointed southward. "What is that coming toward us? It’s a white cloud and moving erratically. It’s zig-zagging, wobbling and upside-down at times. What is it?"

The other witches slowly shook their heads.

The white cloud landed next to the three witches. The cloud was heaving, shifting and spinning slowly like a toy top. Arms appeared, waving the cloud away.

Cindy Lou stumbled, fell to one knee, rose and teetered slightly. She took one last drag from a short brown butt. Cindy Lou giggled and tossed the roach into the boiling cauldron.

A volcano formed, clouds circling its peak. It suddenly erupted, sending an obnoxious green fluid in all directions.

Arazine backed away. "What did you toss into the cauldron?"

Cindy Lou giggled again. "It was Puff, the Magic Dragon’s, tooth."

850. 10/18/20

Nelson

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A story about Wind for my group

Breezy Gale Mistral Nor’easter Tornado

I checked my watch. Where was she? She was late. She should be jogging along the

path toward me by now. I peered down the path trying to bend my vision around the bend.

She appeared.

Running like a Zephyr in the cool morning air.

What should I say? How should I introduce myself? Had She noticed me in our meteorology class? Doubtful, she always sat in the first row seemingly engrossed by the instructor ‘s words.

She was only thirty seconds away.

I could see her lips moving, singing softly to the music in her ears.

I stood.

I adjusted my cap and thought about joining her on her morning jog.

A dustdevil appeared

in the gentle Zephyr, throwing sand and small bits of debris against my bare legs.

Before I could move, a polar vortex slammed into my chest, turning droplets of sweat into icy beads.

I fell back on to the park bench. I heard her mutter over the howling Arctic wind. "Back off." She didn’t even remove her ear buds.

The next day,

I was better prepared. No sitting on the bench waiting for her to appear.

I would be standing and running in place. I would introduce myself before she had a chance

to talk.

She came around the bend. I jumped to my feet, adjusted my hat to the correct

angle and smiled.

Something was wrong. I felt the warm dry wind of the Chinook when

she was fifty yards away. I was wondering what an Alaskan wind was doing

in Ocean Pines when two dust devils appeared. They were swirling, twisting

and shopping back and forth along the path. I was thinking of the Tasmanian Devil, the whirling dervish, from the Bugs Bunny cartoons

when she passed by me.

"Get lost."

The dust devils pelted my legs with small pebbles from the knees

down. I glanced down the path. She was jogging along with an easy rhythm, her strides

eating up the distance.

The next day I was in the Doldrums.

I thought of Captain Ahab’s crew

in their longboat, rowing on the windless sea,

trying to tow the Pequod to the trade winds. I decided to abandon my quest for a day.

I needed to think and devise a new strategy for meeting her

Who was she? Did she have

anything to do with these sudden changes of the winds.

I rubbed my bare chin and glanced at my meteorology

textbook. Or was I simply imagining things the instructor had drummed into my mind. I shook my head and cleared my mind of idle thoughts. I had to prepare for tomorrow’s run.

My mind went through a dozen scenarios. I chose one. A sure winner. I would be at the bend in the path as it emerged from the forest. When she came running out, I would join her in her morning run.

I would give her no time for a rebuff.. I would introduce myself. I would congratulate her standing in the meteorology class. I grinned as I thought of her as a teacher’s pet and a know-it-all. I would brag on her running style. One more thing. I had to know her name.

The next morning I showered,

put on clean running shorts and my Nike running shoes. I was totally prepared. I would jog with her for at least a mile. I smiled.

I waited. I glanced at my fit-bit and nodded. She would be here soon.

I looked around.

Where had the birds gone?

The rabbit eating clover had disappeared.

I froze.

The air had changed. It was hot, Dusty with a faint odor of a desert. I jumped back as a dust cloud engulfed me.

It was the Sirocco from the Sahara, laden with memories of pyramids, the sphinx and the tomb of King Tut in the Valley of the Kings… Dust was everywhere. I heard her voice as she trotted by.

"Eat my dust."

I tried chasing after her voice but I missed the path and ran into a bush. I stood still and waited for the Siroccon sand storm to abate. I trudged home, my mind in turmoil like the Roaring Forties and the Polar Easterlies combined. My mind was busy conjuring a new plan. One that would be absolutely fool proof. One that guaranteed total success.

It was midnight when it hit me.

So elegant, so simple.

I would begin jogging a minute before her normal arrival. I would run slowly, at a snail’s pace. She would have to pass me. I smiled for the first time since the dust storm. I had her number. I slept the sleep of a contented man.

I danced along the path. Sometimes three steps forward, two steps back. Everything was going according to Hoyle. I waltzed down the path beside the pond, swinging my imaginary partner around and round. I swung her high, I swung her low. Something caught my eye.

Very strange.

The pond had white-caps.

I stopped, bewitched and befuddled.

I looked down. I was in the center of the path. I looked back at the pond. The white-caps had doubled in size.

I listened.

A murmur was coming from across the pond. A strong breeze slapped my face. I crouched, apprehension growing. The white-caps had become a giant wave.

The wind had become a strong gale. Realization dawned.

Typhoon and tsunami.

Something was moving on the path. She was quickly approaching with her effortless gait.

The wind and waves pushed me off the path. She passed without breaking stride.

I was knee-deep in water. I called after her.

"What’s your name?" She turned back for a brief instant.

"They call me MARIAH."

932. 8/8/20

Away out here they got a name

For wind and rain and fire

The rain is Tess, the fire’s Joe

And they call the wind Mariah

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Liz

Liz Paterra started our group in the late 1980’s or early 1990’s. A few members of the Eastern Shore Writers split and formed the Writer’s Bloc. Liz split again to form the First Saturday Writers. By then Jo Campbell had moved to Willet, California. We met mostly in her home, then the Globe Theater, then the Ocean Pines Library and finally to the Berlin Library.

Liz mainly wrote biographies geared for middle and high school students. Kweisi Mfume was her first. Mfume was a black member of the House of Representatives from Baltimore. Also, at one time was the president of the NAACP.

Gary Paulsen, her second novel, is about Gary Paulsen, a writer of juvenile adventure fiction for middle and high school students.

She also wrote Student handbook: Learning and study skills guidebook (The Cambridge-Stratford study skills course)

During her last years, she wrote about Kathleen Kennedy Townsend and Ada Lovelace. Townsend was Lieutenant Governor of Maryland with Governor Glendenning. Ada Lovelace was Lord Byron daughter and a math genius. She worked with Charles Babbage on the earliest computer. Ada is called the first computer programmer.

We enjoyed knowing all of them.

RIP

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Jean

From the blurb of Jean Fullerton’s book, "The Murder at Sea Haven Beach."

What is the real reason Dr. Thomas Erickson engages Leigh McCarthy to work undercover as a substitute teacher at Sea Haven High School? There are certainly problems at the school, discontent and discord among the faculty are some of them, but are they serious enough to warrant spying on the teachers, and why doesn’t Dr. Erickson trust the principal of Sea Haven High School to solve the problems in his own school?

Leigh cooperates with Dr. Erickson until one of the faculty, handsome, arrogant, and narcissistic Robert Gerding, is murdered. Leigh hadn’t counted on murder as being part of the agenda, and she wants out of her agreement with Dr. Erickson. He convinces her to stay on because he needs her to keep him abreast of the police investigation, and she agrees to do so.

She discovers that there are others besides a few teachers who had an interest in seeing Gerding dead, and although she is not a professional investigator, she sets about interviewing those other people who may have wished the worst for him. What she also discovers is that nothing is what it seems to be.

(obit) <Mrs. Fullerton had been a teacher with the Baltimore County Board of Education for many years. After retiring from teaching she worked for the Census Bureau. Mrs. Fullerton also received a Masters Degree in Child Psychology, was a historian for the Royal Hibernian Society, an amateur genealogist, and was a published poet and author.>

Jean would sometimes talk about her courtship with this boy who had a La Salle convertible. She loved that car. Later when they married, he had to sell the La Salle Convertible. So sad.

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Tom

Tom Range wrote "The History of New York City Subways." He traces the history of mass transportation in Manhattan and New York City’s outer boroughs with the use of old postcards. Public transportation has long been vital to the city, with horse-drawn surface lines established by 1831 and elevated railroad lines constructed during the 1870s and 1880s. The concept of subways, railroads operating underground, originated in London in 1863 and was applied to New York City by 1904. This collection of vintage postcards brings you through the tunnels of the subway, onto the platforms of the long-gone els, and examines New York’s renowned terminals, especially Grand Central and Penn Station. (blurb)

One article Tom wrote was about a man living in an apartment in the Bronx in 1917. This man was under constant surveillance by unknown people. He spoke to crowds of people, mostly ethnic Russians and East Europeans. Only in the last paragraph did we find out the man was Leon Trotsky.

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Olga

OCEAN PINES — Olga Audrey Rybak, 93, of Ocean Pines passed away Wednesday, June 29, 2011, at Atlantic General Hospital in Berlin from double pneumonia. She was born March 17, 1918, in New York City to Peter and Sophia Fenchynsky Zadoretzky, who had recently immigrated from the Ukraine. Olga enjoyed literary pursuits and cherished her membership in a local writers’ group, where she regularly enlivened discussions and charmed her colleagues with her memoirs and anecdotal narratives. She was known to friends and family for her graciousness, her kindness, her wit, her intellect and strength of will considerably disproportionate to her petite frame. (obit)

Olga was a joy. We loved her articles of growing up in a Ukrainian neighborhood and going to a strict Catholic school.

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