Friday Fiction: Play Me That Tiger Rag

>> Friday, August 30


Fiction Friday is at home with sweet Sara today -
be sure to visit her awesome blog, Fiction Fusion,
to find the Linky tool and join the fiction fun!!


I am not a fan of football, but I tolerate it for those I love. I've even been known to have fun watching a game. And being there in person is always a good time. This little ditty is in celebration of college football opening weekend, and in honor of my husband's alma mater. The setting and characters are real, but the rest is all fiction. Have fun!

Play Me That Tiger Rag

"The game you're attending
Depends on one hue;
Wear it; proclaim it,
At all costs to you.

"Do not don a t-shirt
Of red or of black!
You must wear the Orange
Or risk an attack.

"The Tigers of Clemson
Are king of this day;
The orange and purple -
They WILL have their way!"

I scoured my closet;
A tiger I sought;
The closest to orange --
A pale apricot.

(I did this because it's
My husband's one passion.
I rarely buy orange, see
It's not quite my fashion.)

I put on the t-shirt
And strode to the kitchen;
Where hubby awaited
Just itchin' to pitch in.

Although I'd been told,
and my brain is not lame,
I listened with poise
As he told me again:

"The snacks and the drinks,
Hon, they cannot be scorned;
Be clever; inventive!
Pumpkin pie! Candy corn!

"Is it orange? Then yes,
It will be most accepted.
Bring Cheetoes, Doritos.
Faux pas? Soon detected."

Do I need reminding
Of consequence grim,
If I make a fool of
Big tiger fan him?

On this, my first trip
To his old college haunts,
He'll not be subjected
To his buddy's taunts.

We can't take my car,
See, it's bright cherry-red,
So we pack up his pick-up;
It's full steam ahead.

Stuck to his truck with
Mechanical claws
Are flags of bright orange
Decked out with white paws.

We pull in the lot
To a welcome of cheers;
His friends are all jumping
And waving their beers

Hubby hops out and
Heads straight for our ice chest
While I contemplate
If I failed my first test.

I open my door and
Step out on the dirt,
Straighten my shoulders
And smooth out my shirt.

One look at his face
When he pulls from the ice
A bright can of soda
Says this won't be nice.

"Um, honey, is this
What you brought us to drink?
What were you thinking?
Did you even think?

"This is football, a tailgate!
Have you lost your mind?
I knew that I should have
Just left you behind."

I take a deep breath
And I say, "But my dear,
You gave me instructions;
You made them quite clear.

"I see that you're mad,
But I know you're no lush.
You said just one hue
So I brought Orange Crush."

***



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Friday Fiction: Child-Sized Armor

>> Saturday, August 10

Welcome back to Friday Fiction!
Today's hostess is Yvonne (Vonnie) Blake. I love her blog, My Back Door, and I think you will too. Please pop by
, say hello
, and read some awesomely creative fiction! You can join the Friday Fiction Fun by posting a link to a piece you've written. Read, enjoy, and please leave some feedback for the writers! 

I got distracted by life again this week, and let Friday Fiction sneak up on me. I can't wait to get back into the routine!  Anyway, I unearthed another golden oldie (from 2009) to share with you today at the last minute. I hope you enjoy it 

Love you all!
God bless,
Cat

---

Child-Sized Armor

The new workers were as nervous as fresh-born foals: eyes wide and darting; steps timid and halting. The factory foreman chewed the cigar stub jutting from the corner of his mouth and estimated their worth as they filed in

Jonas didn't completely dislike hiring kiddies. If they could do the job, they could make him money. And if not, they went back home to Mama.

Most of the tykes could be trained to do the simple tasks required, and those who couldn't either weren't grown up enough for their age (Jonas picked off those weaklings easily); or their learning abilities fell below the standard required (their parents were encouraged to seek special education).


**


Sylvia bowed over the small sacks. Each one held an egg-salad sandwich, an apple from the orchard, and a fresh-baked oatmeal-raisin cookie, and was marked "LUNCH" in either pink or blue crayon.

Lord, I'm glad I can do this simple thing. Please bless each boy and girl with nourishment to their bodies and their spirits. Amen

Into each sack she slipped a scrap of paper. The sacks with pink crayon got the following words: "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works." The sacks marked with blue got: "And whatsoever ye do, do heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men."

Sylvia breathed one last prayer and rolled the tops down.


**


Jonas looked up from his paperwork to eye the huge round clock on the factory wall. Time to do a check. Gotta reinforce the rules while the brats are still green.

Especially those Nielson brats.


He couldn't decide if the girl would drag her brother down into her well of self pity, or if he would pull his sister up with his stubborn tenacity. The boy could be a good worker if he'd focus more on the line and less on the pathetic crybaby.


**


Sylvia settled each sack lunch into her shopping bag then toted her burden to the 13th Street trolley stop.


**

A scowl was Jonas' answer to Sylvia's timid knock on the frame of his open door.

Sylvia lifted the bag. "You know the new children might not have lunch."

"Bah. Spoiling the brats, you are."

"We can't fault them for not knowing on their first day, can we? It's just this once, Jonas. And they'll work better fed than hungry."

The noon whistle shrieked and the assembly line rumbled to a halt. Jonas lumbered to his office door and hollered out, "Lunch break. Twenty minutes."

The conglomeration of ragamuffins staggered to their feet and stretched their cramped muscles. The new ones looked to each other with fear and uncertainty. Only a few had brought a crust of bread and some cheese, or a scrap left over from last night's meager supper, wrapped up in a handkerchief.

Sylvia sought out the hungry and distributed her offering, along with a soft word and a stroke to matted hair or a gentle hug to a tiny unwashed body.

Jonas watched her until the last sack was handed out and she was on her way. He then retreated to his office to spy on the brats through the door and eat his roast beef and freshly baked bread.

He didn't exactly approve of his wife's charity, but he found malicious satisfaction watching the newbies open their gifts. Most tore into the food, leaving the silly scrap of paper with the rest of the rubbish. A few took their time, seemingly in wonderment of what they held.

The Nielson brats were different. First out of the sacks came the scraps of paper, and before they even looked at the sandwiches or sniffed the apples, they read the words Sylvia had printed, traded papers to read each other's, and then traded back read their own again.

"Bah. Blabber-jabber is all that is." Jonas redirected his attention to the food in front of him and his thoughts to putting his feet up tonight.

Out on the factory floor, the Nielson children joined hands in prayer.

Outside the factory door, Sylvia paused to pray.


**


Another shrill whistle signaled the end of the break, and Jonas scanned the floor to make sure the brats all hurried back to work.

Especially the Nielson brats.

His eyes widened, then narrowed as he watched the tiny girl square her shoulders and set to task with new determination and confidence, and the boy actually grin and work faster.

What in the world did that woman put in the egg salad today?


**


Scripture KJV
Eph 2:10
Col 3:23





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Friday Fiction: Choose Wisely

>> Friday, August 2


Sara is our host for Friday Fiction today - you'll find links to some awesome (quick) reading on her Fiction Fusion blog.




Friday Fiction is BACK! I'm so excited! I don't have anything new to share, but I wanted to take part. This is an old (2009!) FaithWriters challenge entry I brushed off for today. A allegory, I guess you would call it. Thanks for reading! Comments of critique (or praise :) ) are welcome.

Love
Cat


Chose Wisely


The dark squeezed Katie like a vice. Behind her, somewhere, an orchestra of wails and screeches created a symphony of terror that chased her onward. She didn’t know what horror was concealed in the inky murk, what could be making those sounds, but she knew she had to escape. Tethers of fear constricted her lungs, but her feet propelled her. Her arms scrabbled into the black air as she careened forward over the cobbled surface.

Her outstretched hands met a wall, and her frantic fingers traced the outline of a door.

The icy doorknob burned Katie’s clammy palm, but she gripped it like a life preserver nonetheless. Her sweaty hand slipped on the metal knob as twisted it, and she yanked the door open. Blinding light flooded the passageway, and she threw her forearm across her eyes before lurching through the doorway. Her lungs were freed from their tethers, and she sucked in sweet, fresh air, then released it with a groan and a whimper. In and out. Again and again she filled, and emptied, her aching lungs. Behind her was blessed silence, her unseen tormenters banished by the light.

The door swung closed behind her.

When her eyes grew accustomed to the light and she was able to take in her surroundings, she sank to her knees and wailed.

This was where her nightmare flight through the dark had begun. She was back where she had started.

The room was circular and empty, save for the gleaming, throne-like structure in the center, and its occupant. The light permeated every corner leaving nary a shadow. She could see no source for the brilliance illuminating the burnished floor and opalescent walls; instead, it seemed to be emanating from the one seated on the throne. The one who had sent her on her trek through that hellish tunnel.

No, I sent you not. You chose your own way.

Katie gasped at the intrusion into her thoughts. She sprang to her feet and thrust a finger toward him. “You tricked me!”

How so? I simply gave you a choice. His kind eyes were clouded with sorrow.

“Some choice. Who wouldn’t have picked Door Number One?” she said, turning and gestured toward the shimmering door she had just stumbled through. Light prismed off its bejeweled surface like a beacon, beguiling her, seducing her again to seek out what treasures it might conceal.

Before Katie could take a step in answer to its siren call, His hand embraced her arm, filling her body with warmth and her mind with sudden clarity.

Do you truly want to return there? I say to you again, choose wisely. Take heed: things are not always as they outwardly appear.

Her chin fell to her chest and her eyes squinched closed.

Look at me, Katie, and listen closely. How many times have you chosen that way?

She jerked her head up to look at Him, finally. “How many times? What’re you…?”

This is not your first test.

“I don’t…” Her indignance was choked off by a surge of visions. Visions that didn’t make sense, but evoked familiar emotions...familiar fears. Evil chasing her through sunny, wide-open gateways and into darkness beyond, talons clawing into her, infecting her, with guilt, despair, melancholy. Hideous laughter echoing in her ears and her heart. And of herself, never stopping, never giving in, never giving up. And always returning for more.

“I don’t remember…”

No, you remember those trials differently. You did not have my eyes, but now you see what I remember.

Katie pressed her palms to her eyes and fell to the floor. “Make it stop!”

I am able to stop your visions for you, but only you can stop me from seeing them. Only you can.

Katie’s mind was next flooded with minutiae of her past: shunning the stuttering new girl in 7th grade in order to be popular; not stopping her 12th grade boyfriend when he said, “If you love me you will;” accepting the corporate position with a fancy-schmancy hotel because it came with a tidy salary and her own office, instead of following her dream to open a homeless shelter and soup kitchen.

Deep in her consciousness, Katie heard His words echo, like an unremembered memory tickling her mind.

I offer you a choice. Two doors. Choose wisely.

She turned and cast a longing gaze at the bejeweled door, then circled around to view its counterpart on the opposite side of the circle. This door’s frame was narrow, and peeling paint adorned its weathered boards. Its doorknob and hinges were rusted from disuse. Katie was sure she saw light flickering through the keyhole.

She turned to look again at her new friend. “You said you’ll go with me?”

I’ll never leave you.

Katie took a faltering step toward the creaky old door…then another. When she looked back, for the first time, the Man was not seated on His throne. He was standing at her side, smiling.


(c) 2012

_______________


Catrina Bradley
"God rewrote the text of my life when I opened the book of my heart to his eyes." Psalm 18:24 (Msg)

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