The voice in my head shrieks, “Do it!” but my body is petrified. I look back at the engulfed workshop as smoke encases me like a tomb. Scorching fingers of fire slither closer to my blistering skin. My body is broiling.
A distant voice yells, “Jump!” Continue reading
“I saw him again, Mom,” I said, breathless from my uphill dash. “I swear. Look! He gave …”
“Of course you did, Milton,” my mother interrupted, but her eye roll revealed her true feelings.
“You don’t believe me,” I whined. “You never do. Just forget it!”
Furious, I stomped outside to the rickety deck. Her resentment over Dad’s disappearance last year had found a fresh target, me. I unfolded the note and read it again.
“Tell your mother I’m sorry. I love you. – Dad.”
I released it into the wind and watched the truth float to the dense forest below.
“Mr. Rancher, you stand before me today for crimes against the society of Bovidae,” announced Judge Cowed. “You are charged with kidnapping, imprisoning, slaughtering and callously devouring the flesh of thousands of innocent citizens. How do you plead?”
With a mulish stance, Mr. Rancher replied, “Not guilty. I’ve committed no crime. I merely provided a service to my fellow humans. We must eat something, and you creatures are quite tasty.”
Grumbling undulated through the courtroom. Judge Cowed glowered at him and said, “After much scrutiny, the state denies your plea. The evidence is overwhelming. The jury has found you guilty of mass murder.”
The courtroom erupted in pandemonium. The judge smacked his gavel on the podium and called for order.
“Punishment is as follows: MacDonald Rancher, you are hereby sentenced to life in solitary confinement at the human felony farm. Now, Bailiff, put this coward out to pasture.”
This story of strangeness was written for VisDare photo prompt over at Angela Goff’s new WordPress blog: Anonymous Legacy. Yes that’s right, VisDare has moved! Check out the prompt (click on the VisualDare badge) for yourself and read the other entries or write your own. Just a reminder, the rules are to write a story/poem of 150 words or less based on the photo and the weekly word prompt. This week’s word was Scrutiny.
These pioneering women decided their “place” in the world was anywhere they wanted it to be. They were heroines who chose to change the status quo and make it more than just “a man’s world.” No offense, men, but it had to be done.
You’ve probably never heard of these women, but I hope you’ll remember them after reading this. There are countless women I wanted to include, but I’m starting with these seven. I’ll work through history slowly, beginning with those born in the 1800s, not necessarily in chronological order. More heroines to come with Part 2.
Abby Kelley Foster (1811-1887)
An anti-slavery, equal rights, and social justice crusader, Foster worked tirelessly in the fight to abolish slavery and gain equal rights for women and African-Americans. In an era when women were expected to be meek and submissive, she boldly and radically demand equality.
She lived by the motto, “Go where least wanted, for there you are most needed.” She had a gift for convincing non-believers that slavery was immoral and should be abolished. Her stance on slavery and equal rights was extremely controversial for the time. She spoke to “mixed” or “promiscuous” audiences, meaning both men and women, and suffered great ridicule and harassment for standing by her principles. She paved the way for future suffragists and civil rights activists.
Elizabeth Blackwell (1821-1910)
The first woman awarded a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) degree, Dr. Blackwell was a pioneer for women in the medical profession. She promoted women’s education and eventually opened her own medical college for women that offered an innovative and progressively forward-thinking curriculum, rivaling that of any men’s college in the country.
Dr. Blackwell’s applications to all major medical schools were rejected because she was a woman. Geneva Medical School in New York accepted her, apparently as a joke, believing she would never attend. But in 1849, she graduated first in her class even after enduring ridicule, hatred, and discrimination from classmates and professors.
Victoria Claflin Woodhull (1838-1927)
Considered a radical with provocative views and ideals for her time, Woodhull broke traditional boundaries of the Victorian era by being the first woman to run for President of the United States in 1872. An advocate for equal education for women, the right to vote, and the right to control her own health decisions, she was far ahead of her time by supporting eight-hour workdays, new divorce laws, welfare programs, and graduated income tax. She believed that women should be allowed to marry, divorce, and bear children without government interference.
Woodhull and her sister, Tennessee Clafin, have the honor of being the first female stockbrokers, opening their own brokerage firm on Wall Street in 1870. They made a fortune and used it to start their own paper where they promoted equal rights, suffrage and labor reforms.
Mary Eliza Mahoney (1845-1926)
A trailblazer in the nursing industry, Mahoney was the first African-American woman to work professionally as a trained nurse. She received her diploma in 1879 from the New England Hospital for Women and Children after completing a rigorous training course, the first professional nurses training course in America.
Mahoney became a successful private duty nurse and was praised for her professionalism and efficiency, raising the standards of private nursing. She was one of the first African-American members of what is now known as the American Nurses Association. As an advocate of equal rights for women, she was one of the first women in Boston to register to vote after the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment. She campaigned faithfully throughout her career for the equal rights of African-American women in nursing.
Mary Edwards Walker (1832-1919)
A doctor and Civil War field surgeon, Dr. Walker was the first woman awarded the Medal of Honor. One of the first women to earn a medical degree in the U.S., she volunteered to work on the battlefields during the Civil War, but was denied because she was a woman. She did it anyway, eventually becoming an assistant surgeon of the 52nd Ohio Infantry and was eventually captured as a POW by the Confederates.
She rejected the traditional role of a women and advocated women’s rights, dress reform, and sexual and political equality. She believed women should be allowed to retain their own surnames. She dressed in trousers, pantsuits, top hats and refused to wear dresses and corsets, quite radical for a woman at that time. She was arrested in New York City for impersonating a man, and her Medal of Honor was revoked. However, in 1977, the Army Board admitted she was a victim of sex discrimination and reinstated her Medal.
Blanche Stuart Scott (1889-1970)
Born to be an adventurer, Scott was the first woman to drive across the U.S. and has the distinction of being the first woman in America to fly. Her daring car trip came at a time when there were only about 218 miles of paved roads outside of major cities. It brought her so much publicity that she was offered a contract to learn to fly from Glenn Curtiss Exhibition Company. In 1910, she made her first public appearance as a woman aviator.
Scott set many firsts in her long career, like the lead role in the first movie about flying, The Aviator’s Bride, the first woman test pilot in America, and the nation’s first woman stunt pilot, “Tomboy of the Air.” In 1980, the U.S. Postal Service honored her with a commemorative stamp.
Martha Matilda Harper (1857-1950)
A former domestic servant from the age of seven, Harper was the inventor of the concept of retail franchising and the reclining shampoo chair used in modern salons to this day. In 1888, using her nearly floor-length hair as a marketing tool, she opened her first beauty salon in New York. At the time, hairdressers made house calls to clients, but Harper’s high quality, full-service salon paved the way for the modern day spa/salon concept. She is credited with introducing profit sharing, flextime, and paid personal time off for her employees.
She invented, manufactured, and trademarked her own line of all-natural hair and skin products and encouraged good hygiene, health and exercise. Her salons offered massages and other relaxation services, childcare, and evening appointments. She employed and taught women her customer-oriented business concept, and over the course of 30 years franchised her Harper network into 500 retail salons worldwide, all owned by women.
Sources of photos and research unless otherwise noted:
National Women’s Hall of Fame, http://www.greatwomen.org/
National Women’s History Museum, http://www.nwhm.org/
(I do not endorse any ads that appear below this posting.)
The gauzy air settles upon my skin like a refreshing gift. It shrouds the harsh sun for a brief, breathtaking moment, and I hungrily gulp it in. If only I could bottle this feeling of freedom, this peaceful respite, for the others.
A distant voice reaches my ears, and I cringe. I have lingered too long, adrift in reverie. They are too close. I turn from the polluted river and silently retreat into the dead forest. I watch them tromp by, ignorant and apathetic, and imagine the day when we reclaim our once flourishing planet from the greedy humans.
This story was written for Friday Fictioneers 100-word photo prompt hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. Click here to read the other stories.
“I like to do it my way. Use different colors. Change the shapes a little,” replied Opal as she chewed the inside of her cheek. Coloring took a lot of concentration.
Exasperated, I said, “Are you using orange for the eyes? And blue for the skin? Giant blue ears are scary. You made them almost as big as the head.” It was a horrifying representation of a young girl with her dog. Who ever heard of a girl with giant blue ears and orange eyes walking a green dog with yellow polka dots?
“Can you at least make the hair normal?” I asked.
“Whatever,” she said with a crooked smirk.
Opal frantically colored the girl’s hair, swirling and scratching with violet and indigo until she created what looked like a bruised and battered Medusa head. Satisfied with her work, she leaned back in her chair and flashed a dazzling smile at me. Her sizzling red, coiled tresses and protruding ears eerily resembled her drawing.
“I’m all done. What do you think?” Opal asked.
“I think I’m a little worried.”
“I’m gonna sign my name now. Ready?”
With hesitation, I said, “Ready.”
Using the black crayon, Opal scrawled her name in big, wobbly letters. As she trailed off at the end of the L, the room seemed to spin. I felt as if I were caught in a vacuum, the air sucked upward. Then, in the next instant, I became real, a real girl plucked from the pages of a child’s coloring book.
I stood in front of Opal with my Dumbo ears, feral hair and carroty eyes, and tried to look happy. She covered her mouth with her tiny hands as a giggle escaped. I looked down at my grassy green dog and cringed. I mumbled a wish to be normal, pretty.
Opal said proudly, “You are normal and pretty. I made you look just like me.”
This fantastical story was written for Trifecta. This week’s challenge was to write a story or poem between 33 and 333 words containing the third definition of the word: WHATEVER (adverb) Used to show that something is not important.
I also incorporated The Daily Post’s daily writing prompt to use Roy G. Big – that is, all seven colors of the rainbow — Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet — somewhere in the story.
And now for a little 80s nonsense to start out 2014. Admit it, the 80s rocked. It was the age of excess. We loved our flamboyant stuff and ourselves in the 80s. It was all about looking and feeling good. Well, at least we can laugh about it now. Enjoy these brilliant 80s ads.
Dickies for boys. “Because Dickies makes the work sets most working men wear.”
What is young Johnny Travolta, Jr. doing with that jackhammer? Is that appropriate jackhammering wear or would that be better suited for a night at the disco? Where did the “working man (boy)” wear an outfit like that?
Round the Clock Pantyhose.
When you want to create a distraction from your giant head and lack of torso, wear colorful pantyhose and lingerie. It almost worked. I hardly noticed, except for the totally awesome geometric earrings and brittle, frizzy, frosted hair. This ad would have worked well for selling toothpaste.
L.A. Gear Streetdancers for Men.
Is this guy tubular or grody to the max? I can’t decide. He looks like he might have gotten his ass kicked by the real street dancers if he wore that preppy, pretentious rich-guy-trying-to-be-street outfit. Those shoes doubled as orthopedic after he fractured his tailbone in a break dancing accident.
Awww…look how cute! Little Aspen and his girlfriends, Moon and Acid Rain have cooked Baby Kale in a giant soup cup. Moon is anxious to salt and serve him. Baby Kale seems oddly excited. Oh my gosh, OshKosh, you sure know how to cook up some disturbing advertising.
Members Only. “When you put it on…something happens to you.”
It sure does! You like become a member of like the world’s most rad, righteous 80s club, like for sure; that, or everyone laughs at you.
Improved Right Places.
What? Breast Enhancement? Why am I just hearing about this? You mean I could look like that bodacious babe? According to the ad, I, “really can’t afford not to try it.” I can’t wait to purchase a dirty brown disco halter dress with suspenders instead of cups. It will be quite exciting to the other nightclub goers when I break out my Solid Gold dance moves in that sexy number.
Because every woman wants the coveted baggy pajama look that says, “I’ve given up on looking good, and I’m happy about it.” The belts and perms really pull it all together. None of the women look like they have short, stubby legs. And, is that a man in the tan outfit? I think he’s a guitarist in a big hair band.
The name speaks for itself. It’s the epitome of the 80s. Fluorescent spandex leotards with matching tights for the ladies, and Richard Simmons inspired shorty-shorts and tank for the guys. Throw in some leg warmers and you’re ready to dance (insert jazz hands here.)
This is an ad for big hair and pink lipstick…no, wait, that’s the 80s me. I was a huge fan of Aqua Net hairspray, a hair pick, and the blow dryer, strategically used to create the piled frizzy look. I also once sported a tail and a modified mullet with four different colors in my hair, but my mullet was “classy” with a “k”.
The gnarly tree sprouted from the earth with a colossal crack and pop heard for miles. Windows shattered. Foundations trembled. Townspeople stumbled from their snug beds and gawked at it with wonderment.
Fantastical rumors and speculation flowed unbridled throughout the valley. How had the tree grown so vast, so quickly? It was a marvel, a miracle of nature.
As the people rambled about the newborn spectacle, a dainty dog moseyed up to the knobby trunk, sniffed, squatted, and deposited her organic fertilizer. Instantly, the tree grew several more inches, and a collective sigh of understanding undulated through the crowd.
This is my first story of 2014. I decided to start off the year with something lighthearted and humorous instead of my usual doom and gloom. I thought the cute photo prompt of Rochelle’s daughter-in-law’s tree-climbing dog deserved something fairy tale-ish. If you would like to read the other 100 word stories for Friday Fictioneers, click here.