When Cash Meant Something In Life – Fiction

Time for another installment of   Friday Fictioneers  hosted by Rochelle.  100 words or so based on the image below. Click on the froggy link (after this piece) and come join us!

When Cash Meant Something In Life

One morning my sister,  Iris,  and I were walking to work at our family’s antique store.  It was early,  but the New Orleans French Quarter was already bustling with activity.

For several days, we’d been watching the progress of workers making some sort of hole in the wall at the old Hibernia Bank building.  We were quite amazed that this sort of hole in the wall could even be allowed in such an old Spanish era building.

On this particular morning, the work had been finished.  Atop some odd-looking post office box contraption read:

ATM Machine

“What do you think that means?” Iris asked me.


photo prompt – © Dee Lovering

One Day At The Millbrae Station – Fiction

Time for this week’s Flash Fiction For Aspiring Writers.   It begins anew each Wednesday.   100-150 words more or less to do with   the photo below  (photo changes each week).  I’ll put the link to this week’s stories at the end of this piece.  Blogs, like this, are such a great gift for writers – and I believe readers,  too.  Pass on by – click on the froggy at the end of this story.

PJ, as usual has given her time hosting this for us.  It’s so much appreciated.

I’m kind of excited because I see lots of ways to expand this piece

Oh!  I’ve done short continuation HERE – if you have time, give a peek 🙂

millbraeOne Day At The Millbrae Station

I’m not always so anxious and so unsure about life.  Sometimes, though, anxiety can’t be avoided.  It was all about to unfold at the Millbrae Station.

Millbrae is a skip and a less expensive suburb down from San Francisco;  near the tip of the Silicon Valley peninsula and at the leading edge of all things technological, environmental and millennial.

I had moved to Millbrae to care for my aging mother.  It wasn’t as though she needed care, but she claimed she did.  My transition, from the New Orleans French Quarter to Silicon Valley suburbia had been, to say the least,  bumpy.

I’d gone to an internet dating site to see if there were any poets, like  myself, in the area, and I responded to one invitation.  We were going to meet at the Millbrae Station.

When I arrived, there was a pigeon standing near the tracks.  It appeared to be, as I was, hopefully waiting for the next train.


photo prompt thanks to Vanessa Rodriguez

The Krewe of Boudicca – Fiction

I’m late with my entry for the last Sunday prompt.  Out of my control but….here is my story for Sunday Photo Fiction week of 2/8.

Since it’s Mardi Gras week-end, I dedicate this to my family and friends in New Orleans 🙂

Boudicca – Celtic warrior queen who led a revolt against Roman occupation

 The Krewe of Boudicca

Claire, Queen of the Krewe of Boudicca this Mardi Gras, untied the purple silk ribbon and unrolled the piece of parchment paper.

Your Highness, the Court acknowledges the petition, of Mr. Jones, asking to become a member of the Krewe of Boudicca.”

“Oh for God’s sake, Harold.”  Claire dropped the petition onto the floor beside her throne.   “Is this going to be an every year thing with you?  This is a private club for women.  Only.”

“Listen to me Claire -” Harold began in his own defense.

“Shhh!”  Claire waved her wand in the air.  “Please address me through the proper channels,  Mr. Jones.”   She motioned to one of her pages.

A few moments later, the page approached Claire and whispered to her.

“Yes, Harold.  I shall put your name on my dance card.  And you’re right,” she smiled in his direction, “that’s the least I can do.”

Later that evening, in bed, Harold whispered to Claire.  “I didn’t know, when I put in my petition this year, that you’d be Queen.”


photo prompt Statue of Boudicca (Boadicea) in London, UK © Al Forbes

When Mae Ella Died – A Story Poem

Another installment of   Friday Fictioneers  hosted by Rochelle.  100 words or so based on the image below. Click on the link (after this piece) and come join us!

Thank you for this photograph, Rochelle, and the chance to write these words.

***I’ve changed this (two words worth) a bit since it first went up.  This piece still doesn’t feel done to me…I’m going to keep it up, though. That’s just the way it goes sometimes…***


When Mae Ella Died

In the end, I couldn’t believe it.
The package arrived
the day after we lost father

the day before …
the day before…what mattered?
Then died my Mammy.  The only true mother
I’d ever known.

This evening
in the center of the enclave
we remembered her
my sisters and my brothers
my mother and I.

I brought forth the package
sent by my Mammy.
nestled in the softest strands of silk
laid our father’s baby locks.

Everybody smiled.
Everybody cried.
Everybody drank a little bit.


photo prompt ©Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Lunch At The Napoleon House – Fiction

Another installment of Friday Fictioneers  hosted by Rochelle.  100 words or so based on the image below.

So here’s some more of that Sissy and Buck thang 😉

bottles-marie-gail-stratfordLunch At The Napoleon House

Sissy and her Aunt Tina were lunching at the Napoleon House Bar.  The New Orleans humidity and heat were creating a steamy atmosphere,  and early  afternoon was dying  for a cooling rain.

“So I’m leaving tomorrow for the Norway farm.” Sissy took a sip of her Brandy Alexander. “These are just the best!”

“I suppose they would be at 1PM on a Tuesday.” Tina rolled her eyes.  “Isn’t Buck getting discharged next week from – you know…”

“The crazy house?  Yes. Next Wednesday.”

“Oh Sissy!” Tina did another eye thing. “I didn’t know Buck farmed.”

“He doesn’t.”


PHOTO PROMPT Copyright – Marie Gail Stratford

As Long As It Stays Respectable – Fiction

There is a challenge going on over at Community Storyboard to write no more than 1500 words about the picture below.    I”m on my way to post this now.  Please join us.

I thought I’d revive Sissy and Buck – for those of you following my work:

As Long As It Stays Respectable

I’d do just about anything for Buck. At least I ‘d try to. Now, I don’t want all those liberating women types flying their opinions in my face. As I have well proven, in the past, I absolutely can live my life my way.  When it comes to Buck and me though, I’m a bit slack in my expectations. That doesn’t mean I lessen my expectations.

“Sissy, are you saying you’d let us live here? 10 artists for 5K a month?” Lorraine looked me this way to Texas and back.

“As long as it stays respectable.” I tried to bring her focus back to St, Charles Avenue, New Orleans.

“That’s pretty vague.”

“Well, nothing on the outside could change. I wouldn’t want everyone to know what was going on.”

There it went again. That judge-in-the-family voice. Sissy’s married a crazy man.

And then I began to weep and Lorraine had her arms around me and I just, well you know, I just blathered away uncontrollably. “When Buck is discharged, I don’t want him coming back here, Lorraine.”

We sat together on the front stoop of that old and judgmental Victorian house my parents had given me. I held onto Lorraine and Lorraine held me.

“If I do this,” Lorraine put a slight distance between us, “where will you go?” Then she kissed my cheek.

“The Norway farm.”

“Buck farms?”

“Neither of us do.” I shrugged.

“You’re nuts.”

“Probably so.”


Whifts of Home – Prose and Poem to be Title

When I moved out here (13 years ago),  from New Orleans,  50 years and pieces of life and memories of places and events came along with me.  One of those memories is this one…it goes with this song:

It was Mardi Gras day.  Even though all of us kids were grown and moved away from home, we still all lived in or near the French Quarter.  The custom was to gather at my parents’ place each Mardi Gras.  That was great.  We were still of the age where that meant good company AND FREE FOOD WITH MAYBE LEFT OVERS!

My parents lived in a rented raised Creole cottage.  They lived in the larger back area.  The people renting the front area were from California.  The husband had been one of the writers of Close Encounters of the Third Kind.  He was taking a sabbatical from movie stuff.  (Poor guy.  He agreed to read one of my most morbid – at that time – short stories.  Hahaha!  He was sweet and encouraging…I was probably in my early 30’s.)

When I arrived, that Mardi Gras, this song, Cabaret, was blaring into the street from speakers set in the window of the front rental.  About 100 ft away, at a corner – near Cafe Lafitte in Exile (a bar) – gay men were beginning to gather for the annual ballroom gown contest.

The wife stuck her head out of one of the open front windows and laughed and asked: “Isn’t this a great soundtrack for today?”

I was sad when they moved back to California.  They ‘seemed’  so different and interesting.  Now that I live out here, in California, I play this soundtrack every Mardi Gras.  It’s a memory…something I can maybe write a poem about….I’d have to be able to name the emotion this memory brings.



The Colors We Choose – Prose To Be Poem Maybe

When I was younger, I had a huge “wordy poetic crush” on a Brazilian poet.  He spent about a week in New Orleans – between working on cruise ships to finance his many travel adventures.  He did some poetry readings at the French Quarter cafe I frequented.  First in English and then in Portuguese.  Oh my!  Talk about romantic sounding.  One evening we drank spiked coffee together…and a couple of Brandy Alexanders.

He told me there were tons of ways to say ‘I love you’ in Portuguese and just one way to say it in English.  For a moment, I felt the limits of the English language.  And then I thought:

That’s interesting but there are many more ways to write about love than there are ways to say ‘I love you’  in Portuguese.  There are many ways to write about many experiences and emotions.    Similar emotions and experiences.  After all, we’re not that different from each other.  It just depends on where we focus the lens and the colors we choose.


Oh My Gawd!

Now what am I supposed to do?  I’m probably still too New Orleans for Silicon Valley.  I don’t remember it being this difficult to sweep my New Orleans balcony.  This balcony is dirty and doesn’t drain right and you’ve gone hiking.  Hmmmm…It’s just water.  It’ll dry.  I’ll go spam my WordPress blog and hope the balcony dries by then.  After all, I’ve promised you some sort of special dinner.  Hahaha!  I plan to live up to that promise!

Some poem title:  all the stories in the world


The World at Our Feet ( A Poem for Mardi Gras)

I posted this poem – on another blog a while back.  It seems I’ve never posted it on my blog.  Since it’s Mardi Gras in my New Orleans, I’ll post it again here.  It’s odd, living now in Silicon Valley, that people actually WORK on Mardi Gras.  I hope you enjoy this poem…

The World At Our Feet

Let’s have a party on our balcony.
Let’s invite the world.
Let’s show people
how to make fun
of politics, politicians,
and all those things
mother told us not to ever do.
Let’s laugh again
when we thought
we’d never stop crying.
Let’s do it wearing a tutu
or less.