Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Writing Challenge ~ Use The 1200 Most Common Words To Write A Story…

EDIT: [ This is the most-read post on this blog ]

“For Sale: Baby Shoes, Never Worn.”

It’s said Ernest Hemingway wrote that six word story. I checked my list of the 1200 most common English words and “sale” wasn’t there but “sell” was. “Worn” wasn’t there but “wear” was. All the other words were there except “shoes”. Not even “shoe” was there

Of course, that particular list may not be definitive but there is another list of 1000 most common words that has “shoes”.

Even though I’m not the kind of person who actually takes writing challenges, I’ve noticed that many of my blogging buddies do :-)

So, the challenge is on!

I got my first list of most common words quite awhile ago and saved it till I could figure out how to use it in a blog post.

This quote from Mark Twain gave me the idea for my challenge: “I notice that you use plain, simple language, short words and brief sentences. That is the way to write English—it is the modern way and the best way. Stick to it; don’t let fluff and flowers and verbosity creep in. When you catch an adjective, kill it. No, I don’t mean utterly, but kill most of them—then the rest will be valuable. They weaken when they are close together. They give strength when they are wide apart. An adjective habit, or a wordy, diffuse, flowery habit, once fastened upon a person, is as hard to get rid of as any other vice.”

And, even though the first list I’m going to give you may not be definitive, from the description given about its sources, it certainly sounds useful: “This list is from Rebecca Sitton’s “Spelling Sourcebook” {<— that link is a download…} It’s a ‘cross-referenced compilation’ of several massive word studies, including the American Heritage Word Frequency Study (Carroll, Davies, Richman), and several other studies, including the work of Gates, Horn, Rinsland, Greene and Loomer, Harris and Jacobsen.”

So, even though I doubt any of my readers will take the challenge, I’ll still spell it out:

You need to use the 1200 words in the list at that last link:

“The first 25 [words] make up about one-third of all printed material in English. The first 100 make up about one-half of all written material, and the first 300 make up about sixty-five percent of all written material in English.”

You can write a story of any length but I hope you’ll make it fit into the comments section of this post (or, send it to me at amzolt (at) gmail (dot) com and I’ll put it in a follow-up post). And, finally, if you don’t see the exact form of a word (like there’s no “worn” but “wear” is on the list), you can change tense or plurality

The Challenge Is Over :-(
Find out who the winner was and read her story :-)

Our Comment Link Is At The Top of The Post :-)
AND, Get A Free Copy of Our Book

65 responses to “Writing Challenge ~ Use The 1200 Most Common Words To Write A Story…

  1. Blossom Dreams June 10, 2011 at 8:54 am

    Here’s a question for you – do you know if Microsoft Word has the capacity to list the words you have used in your writing and how many times you have used each one? I would find that amazingly useful!

    Love the quote from Mark Twain – think I’ll be reading that one often!

    Chloe xx


  2. Simone Benedict June 10, 2011 at 1:27 pm

    It sounds fun, Alex. When I opened the word doc, my first thought was to attempt the cut up method used by the Dadaists. Would that be considered cheating?


    • Alexander M Zoltai June 10, 2011 at 3:23 pm

      Well, Simone, that’s not “in” the “rules” but it’s sure within the realm of a possible response :-)

      Ya know, I constantly give my book away free but this and any other challenges I post have no prize but the joy of accomplishment and possible praise from readers; so…

      Go For It !!!


  3. charlywalker June 11, 2011 at 1:39 pm

    I’m wordless….er, speechless,…er blog-less…… I’m sorry I just can’t find the right words…..

    I like your blog.


  4. Alexander M Zoltai June 11, 2011 at 2:55 pm

    Hey Folks !! Click on charlywalker’s name in that comment above this one–Cool Blog :-)


  5. tsonoda148 June 11, 2011 at 10:06 pm

    I would love to give this a try. When is the due date?


  6. murfomurf June 12, 2011 at 4:58 am

    Though I’m not a writer per se, I write one helluva lot and love playing with words! I’ll give the challenge a go.


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  10. Freedom, by the way August 9, 2011 at 11:58 am

    I am so late to this party but I wanted to tell you that I find the list of 1,000 words fascinating–and a bit puzzling. Why is the word “suffix” on the list? And even more curious, why is it before words such as “cotton” (which we know is printed on billions of clothing/linen labels) and “seat”? I will be pondering this all day!

    btw–Any idea where Simone is hiding? When a fav blogger just abruptly stops it causes concern. (The major drawback to anonymous blogging).


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  14. Barbara Blackcinder March 26, 2012 at 3:13 pm

    Here’s chapter two, just to give you something to do. ha ha.

    Barbara Blackcinder
    Ch. 2 – Words 1000-1099:

    I picked up a pencil and turned over on old stage program that happened to be located there. I began writing down how we had arrived about our present condition. Even though I hadn’t intended to, I had used a pamphlet out of our library for my rough copy. I was thankful that I had an extra copy since I had gone with my husband before he slipped out of the realm of ordinary. To classify him now would take a dictionary.
    I was determined to discover a way to clear our names. I blew a feather away with the back of my hand and looked for an angle that would get us out of this serious difficulty. Whenever I wrote seriously I needed a cup of coffee, and a turn of the thermostat to lower the climate in the den. I fiddled with the model of an athletic statue standing on the desk, noting its muscles and the details of its bronze casting.
    Nobody was allowed in the den when I wrote. I had used all the force I could to convince the family to stay out, and I hoped I wouldn’t have to review the rules like I would with a bad employee. Actually I had used the newspaper to find my latest part time job over on Pacific Avenue. It was one instance where I wanted to prepare to be just where I needed to be and didn’t need to repeat a multitude of telephone calls before the job was settled. The best part was that it was doing one of my favorite things and I immediately grabbed the opportunity. My mind was swimming with the anticipation of the job.
    But first I had to iron out this chapter in our past history, spelling out some form of prose to make peace with our numerous debtors, especially with the leader of the pack, the bankers holding our mortgage. In any event, if that wasn’t put off soon, I would not be able to take this job and our whole family would be put in a dangerous position. There would be no place on the planet to live together. I threw out my plan of action to escape our demise and made fifty copies of it. Surely I wouldn’t need that many, if the bakers would agree I wouldn’t need the rest of the magazine of ideas that I had entered on my pieces of paper. I suggested all kinds of calamities to them, including the dissolution of my married status, a knife that would cut off my family from each other, and even suggested that the bank might be trying to railroad me into this disaster (I did indicate that this was just something that they might observe during the height of my rant, not something I was accusing them of).
    I did stop to reflect on the sheer height of the bank’s building, a structure standing like a silent soldier, holding my secret and other innumerable secrets within its walls. I would be like a bicycle run over by a tank if they decided to come after me. I might as well forget about any flight and take to drinking and riding the bottle into an asylum rather than go into a jail somewhere for being destitute.
    I did belong to several social groups, some of which had connections to big dollars, but I sincerely doubted if they would address my problem. Instead they would run like insects at the sight of my falling out of their financial circles. They were not students of reality and their only concern was to increase their wealth. My chance of being in their service would remain in my ability to keep my appearances intact.
    Once I had been in the hospital when they had made a mistake in the charge, and nearly bankrupt me before the president of the hospital intervened and corrected the false charges. It turned out that a certain doctor a design on me and wasn’t shy about ruining my family so that he could take advantage of it for his own foul purposed. The next time I saw him he did receive a stiff knee in the groin. I think I mashed his potatoes pretty good and he didn’t continue his assault after that. He barely climbed into his leather chair as I left his office. I don’t even think he squeaked to his secretary soon afterwards.
    I hadn’t given him any quarter for what he had attempted, and I surely wasn’t going to thank him for it. I wasn’t popular with him after that, but every time I went to buy groceries I had to laugh about him holding ice to his genitals beneath his desk. I’m sure they’re still sore. His financial circles included bankers as well.
    So I knew the banking industry wasn’t exactly going to support us, any more than making some gross symbol or gesture to keep their own image clean. I expected that they would rather use a rubber baseball bat on us rather than sending us a dozen letters with threats for non-payments. At one time I had to consider going to the police when their agents wouldn’t accept our word and leave us alone on the street. Accosting my children wasn’t going to happen.

    Barbara Blackcinder

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Barbara Blackcinder March 26, 2012 at 3:19 pm

    Alex, let me know if you recieved Chapter Two, I had some difficulty with passwords, etc. As any good writer, I keep a copy. ha ha.


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  17. Barbara Blackcinder March 28, 2012 at 5:52 pm

    Barbara Blackcinder
    Ch. 3 – Words 900-1000:

    I plopped my butt on the seat of the car and put it into the usual position. Fortunately my husband had his own car and the adjustments were minimal. I straightened out my plain dress and set out to discover just where our finances were. I had a handful of papers to guide me in my quest to get the bank not to foreclose on us, and hoped that I wouldn’t have steam coming out of my ears by the time I was finished.
    I knew that I was going to get further this time if I would raise the issue of the other bank executive. It was obvious that I could cook them if I wanted to, but of course I had no intention to use that bit of pressure. All I really wanted to do was to protect my family. I shivered at the thought of having to take to bus to work every day instead of this old but reliable vehicle.
    Even though it had been a doctor who tried to manipulate us into bankruptcy, he was still a Captain of the Community, and this bank was part of that group, the doctor being the head of the group. While I had no intention to blackmail anyone, I wanted to find out what they thought it was worth to keep me from sending at least one of their bunch to jail. I imagined the scoundrel of a banker sitting in a cell full of dust, maybe a rat or two running between his legs. I knew that everybody would benefit if the pervert was put behind bars. The only problem was that to do it would require years of legal wrangling, even if I was right beyond a doubt.
    I could feel the electricity tingling my skin as I thought about snatching every red cent out of the doctor. My temper continued to burn every time I thought about what he attempted to do. Suing him was probably a solution to our financial problem, but I doubted that we could live for a year with no money coming in while we tried to get it out of him.
    I started a poem while in frustration a long time ago, but just thinking of him made my throat clench and threaten to cut off my oxygen. At this stage I shook off all thoughts of him for my own self-preservation.
    I had to stop at a gas station to put enough fuel into the car to get me to the bank. I could barely finish dribbling it into my tank when I remembered the population that had turned its back on us and nearly drove us out of town. This was before the doctor’s plan had been exposed. Tomorrow would be the first day of our future, and I wasn’t going to experience it from the poor house. To myself I wondered if they even had poor houses anymore.
    I decided to take a drink that the station would provide inside. My throat was already drying up from the thought of my plea with the bankers. The stream of water refreshed me greatly, keeping me alive with the liquid. I would die for a cup of coffee instead, but it was only average quality here anyway, and I couldn’t risk spilling it on my dress. The brown liquid would never match the bright yellow skirt that only reached down to my mid-thigh.
    I hadn’t worn anything suggestive when I had met the doctor in question, but today I was not pulling any stops until the money was in the till. I figured the double standard was worth the risk since I was not going to stop until I had some respect in the valley. I was going to pound every drum I could hit until my current status with this company was changed.
    The advantage was mine as I faced the twelve member board. Not being ignorant, I had hired an attorney to give my argument and intentions strength. Without her I would be wasting my breath, even with the noose around the doctor’s neck, due to the papers I had proving his liability. I was going to hold my head high and proud, as suggested by the attorney. It was all show when meeting a board like this she had told me.
    But I clutched my bag and smoothed my dress before entering the offices. I was heated by the sun hitting the southern side of the building as I pushed open the door. I could hear angry voices as I shot into the room through the huge door. My attorney was already inside and both sides were heatedly trying to express their opinions. I let the door push me out of the way as it swung closed. I had to straighten my short dress coat after the door knocked me off balance while trying to maintain the proper dignity.
    I wasn’t too impressed by a short, sloppy-looking man who wore a rumpled suit with a bit of breakfast on his shirt. I could see that the wide tie had a purpose of hiding the old stain, which was in danger of ruining his appearance of an executive. I could only imagine that most of his time was spent in some camp, sitting in a large bare-wood cabin. Being an executive was probably only practiced when it was necessary, judging by his almost laughable effort to be dignified. It would probably take an army of personal caretakers if he was going to expect some change in his real self.
    My attorney had a finger in the air as accusations flew around the room. “We’re not in the market…” one of the bankers declared, “We represent…” another attempted to state to my legal aide. It was a regular frenzy that I watched jump in the air as I made my sudden appearance. They all seemed to share an equal stare at me while I was pulling down my skirt. My attorney smiled wryly as she witnessed their group mistake. It was like the changing of a season while they began a variety of mumbling excuses and tried to continue their pleas.
    I was seated next to my attorney as suggested by a shrug of her shoulder. I could see she wanted to develop her argument without letting my appearance in the room distract her like it had the banker’s group.
    I could barely sort the arguments as they began speaking loudly towards my side of the table. One well-dressed man, whom I suspected was their legal representative, stared at me with a wooden face as the other’s would feed him bits of information and suggestions. He was the star that they hid slightly behind. His shirt had a very tiny flower pattern that seemed white from all but the closest view.
    He walked over to the northern end of the room where a solid oaken chair sat heavily. After sitting there he wet his mouth with a glass of water and played with the band around his finger. The other bankers group made a crowd around him like a bunch of fruit. The entire bunch made me sick. He pointed at the huge table with a finger pointed like a gun and made a surprise announcement to us. My attorney seemed to know what was coming and sat next to me in the padded chair.
    “My Dear,” he began, “these documents laid before me tell me that it would take a minimum of a year, possibly five, before we would supply a jury with enough arguments to defend our doctor’s actions. There is a large divide between the various schools of thought, with myself leaning towards taking that long route to the resolution of this issue. But according to the wishes of this committee..,” he hesitated like he was playing the part of Perry Mason on television. “We decided that it was in our best interest to alleviate the difficulty of going through this process, and we allow a settlement with you.”
    My attorney sat still, a small smile appeared. I nearly jumped in the air, even without knowing what the possible settlement would be. Perhaps that was why she only smiled.

    Barbara Blackcinder

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Barbara Blackcinder March 31, 2012 at 8:35 pm

    Barbara Blackcinder
    Ch. 4 – Words 800-900:

    Now that the lawyers were in motion, I wondered just how long they would come up with a signed agreement, and when they would be paid off. My lawyers knew of course that their pay wasn’t coming out of my wallet (being empty of course), so my finances had no effect on their payday.
    I headed back home, which would have been nice, had it not been for my uncooperative vehicle. I was nearly broke from having put gas into it for the trip downtown, but now I was without a car, and having only a twenty dollar bill in my purse to get me home.
    Without attempting to catch one, a bus stopped right in front of me as I pondered what to do next. I generally don’t like riding the public transportation, but this one was empty, so I jumped aboard and rode it several blocks before I realized that I hadn’t even figured out which way this one was headed.
    I watched the bus shoot through a tunnel shaped like a narrow, claustrophobic tube, then join heavier traffic, I realized that I was going even deeper into the middle of the city. While I hadn’t any plans, never knowing how long a legal meeting was going to take, I believed that I was going to be hungry sooner than later. My stomach made a statement with the noise it was creating.
    I stood in the doorway of the bus and waited for it to slow. The bus driver herself came to a stop, I jumped off in a fair hurry, and a couple of people began to load the bus at its front doors, making a loud noise. I watched the corner of the bus rise with its hydraulics, then a final burst of air as it began rolling down the street once again.
    I couldn’t lie about it, all this law stuff had worn me out. I practically dove into a restaurant for a quick bite of something to eat. It was a blow to me when I realized what time it was. I couldn’t imagine where the hours had gone.
    Stepping onto the short set of stairs that led into the restaurant itself, I saw a familiar face staring at me from across the dining room. I hadn’t a clue that my sister would be here, it wasn’t expensive enough for her taste. It was likely that it was a part of the string of businesses her husband owned. The only thing she would enjoy was someplace original for her to experience.
    The last I had seen of her was several months ago at a Church dance. It was indeed a strange place to find her, but perhaps she had gone there because of the doctor she was dating at the time.
    As she walked towards me I noticed her clothes immediately. They were in high style, and I was sure that I had seen them advertised in the biggest store in the state, only a month ago. I always believed that the chief reason she stayed with the ‘good’ doctor was because of the style of clothes she could afford while being with him. As it stood now, I wouldn’t trade her boyfriend for all the clothes in the world.
    I could count on her going for the riches, a farmer would never make a husband for her, at least not from any report I ever heard of about her. She even tried to pressure me once to date a friend of hers, another doctor of course. It wasn’t for my sake, she was just trying to solve a double date dilemma that I fit the bill for. She couldn’t make the date without having a date for his brother. To me, dating brothers was like something that you see on television, not something that I looked forward in real life.
    Anyway, it ended up that she now lived at the top of the hill overlooking the city, while I was buried within it. I would have none of my present problems had I gone with her plan, but I was never going to get behind the wheel of an expensive vehicle just for greed, unlike her set of values.
    Instead, I met my husband, a man of little substance financially, but with plans bigger than the pocketbook of my sister. Neither her nor her rich friends could believe that I would refuse a spot in their social circles.
    Unless I misjudged her, my sister was headed for someplace to shop, one with a particular cost of its merchandise, otherwise she wouldn’t think twice about stopping there.
    I stopped by a column that I supposed was holding up the ceiling, while a singer continued to sing over the noise of a truck while the door was opened behind me by someone coming or going.
    I couldn’t separate myself from her due to her insistence that we go shopping together after our little snack. She never ate, or had a meal, but had numerous little snacks during the day. It was something that she had picked up from the East during her travels with her rich husband.
    Sliding the chair out from under the table, I let myself drop into it and pulled myself closer to the table. I watched her touch the menu and experiment with methods to opening it without ruining a nail or something. I watched her spend a couple of minutes fiddling with it until my head began to hurt just from watching her efforts.
    We were looking at the dinner menu, indicating how late it had already become. Eventually we ate and waited for the waitress to appear. Her knowledge of food was amazing, but then, she had been all over the nation experiencing it.
    We set forth on our shopping excursion while she was giving me a speech on the pleasures of being wealthy. Of course she added a scant bit of praise, calling me the “salt of the earth” type, and saying how essential they were. It took real steel for me not to inform her of the world according to me. Perhaps had we not been in public I might have blown a gasket.
    It turns out that my meeting with her was useful, as she absolutely necessary to buy me nine separate outfits. Trying to figure out her mental status wasn’t ever hard for me to do, it always had been rather narrow. I still had to be careful not to criticize the path that she had chosen, our directions had gone apart a long time ago. Nature had taken its course and the process had led us far away from each other, financially as well as value-wise. She went for the bread, I went for the exercise. I wasn’t so sure at the moment which of us had gone in the right direction.
    I felt a movement as her car stopped in front of my house, it rocked as the chauffer stopped suddenly and leaped out to open the door for me. By the time we returned my car had been brought home somehow, and I let myself compare the lengths of the two vehicles as they sat in the driveway. I was fearful that he would run out of breath just running around the length of hers.
    Her car had the best interior possible throughout, and the best paint job I’d ever seen on anything so long. I could only imagine it pulling up the a yacht parked on the shore of the lake, probably painted the same color of blue. I had both a fear of water and rope, knowing that I would become tangled in one someday and being strangled. I shook off the whole dream when she spoke through the open window.
    Her voice was pure cotton as it rose to reach me as I led her driver into the house with my packages. I felt so guilty at having come home with such riches after our budget was down to the wire. I looked up at the house and realized that I would have to sell it and my car to reach the total cost of her vehicle. Then I doubted that I would have enough even then.

    Barbara Blackcinder

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Barbara Blackcinder April 2, 2012 at 7:23 pm

    Yup, ass-backwards of course. :-)


  20. Barbara Blackcinder April 2, 2012 at 7:25 pm

    Oh, sorry, I just re-read your question. I’ve started the story from the end of the list, but I’m not trying to write it towards the beginnning….. I’m not totally mad… yet!!!


  21. Barbara Blackcinder April 2, 2012 at 9:57 pm

    Damn, now you have me wondering……


  22. Barbara Blackcinder April 2, 2012 at 10:00 pm

    Not at all, I started another story from the other end of the list. I have to start reading your questions before I post.I didn’t see that you had asked another question already. I was still on the last one.


  23. Barbara Blackcinder April 13, 2012 at 8:41 pm

    Barbara Blackcinder
    Ch. 5 – Words 700-799:
    I almost felt like I won at the banker’s convention, but the farther from the meeting at the bank became, the less certain I became as well. Nothing had been sent to me for signing, or even nodding in agreement. I felt like I had been abandoned in the desert, the meeting itself a product of my imagination instead of reality.
    I set my key down with a clink next to the canister of sugar. Returning to the living room I noticed that the sofa was covered every inch by the packages bought with my sister. Looking out the window again, I noticed how beat the grass was in the yard I watched the huge car depart with my sister in it. I still couldn’t get over the fact that the value of her vehicle was equal or better than my house. Her stuff was increasing in value, while everything in my own life was falling apart and dilapidated.
    Snickering to myself at trying to fit my family into her car, with or without the chauffer. Of course it couldn’t contain the contents of my house, although the family would probably squeeze into a single row in the back seat of the car.
    I wondered about stuffing my packages into my office until I told my husband, but I’d have to keep the door closed. Out of the window I could see a couple of sheep decorations planted under a tree. Of course I decided right away that I wouldn’t have given any of it up for my sister’s wealth anyway. I did wonder what it would be like to visit her house though.
    We were sold on this house as soon as we had seen the interior, and not because of the electric appliances like my husband had insinuated. Although I liked them, I could easily describe the rest of the house to anyone without having to include the kitchen tools.
    Noticing the it seemed a little dark, I had to wonder what the weather was like. I looked out of the window and above me the clouds were gray and it looked like a major storm was about to descend on us. I had to believe that it was going to downpour any second.
    Fearing that it might be more than that, I went out onto the front porch and looked to the sky. It wasn’t a minute before the first drop landed on my arm. I backed onto the porch before it also drenched my hat. I wasn’t used to wearing a fancy hat and had to act fast. I didn’t want to wear it anyway, but of course my sister insisted on it. Like everything else we bought, cost was most important to her and it was rather elaborate and looked more like it had been grown on my head. I was caught up in feeling feminine after being a wife and mother for so long.
    I backed into the porch a safe difference from the edge where the rain was beginning to darken it with huge drops. Getting the hat wet didn’t happen due to my hasty retreat.
    I held it in my hand and realized that I was a basic type of person anyway, on the scale between fancy and plain. I certainly didn’t pick the hat, although it was overwhelming with its bright colors. I think it reminded me of my kitchen with its flowery wallpaper. Then I realized that it had been a long time since we had moved in here, even the appliances were being converted back to gas. I didn’t pay that much attention to what type of stove I had anyway. I couldn’t pass on the new one though, this one was old regardless of whether it was run by gas or electricity.
    I decided to take action right away and was glad about my decision. I couldn’t just change everything and move over to the west side of the city just because my sister thought it was a better side of town. It wasn’t that I ever had any intention to do it anyway, but I probably nodded while my sister was talking in the car.
    Before I knew it I had a lady stop me in front of the meat department at the grocery store a few days later. She wanted me to “Please, please consider my offer.” she pleaded while holding several pages of real estate offers. I would like to consider her cause, but I just wasn’t in the market.
    The house was getting cool as I left the windows open. I had to admit that I did love having a cool breeze blowing through the windows. It blew past a lilac tree that would send its fragrance well beyond its branches.
    Before long I was busy deciding where to put my new belongings. I just wasn’t sure how to deal with all of them. I couldn’t just fill the basement with them, I did like them after all. I shook my head at the amount of capital my sister spent. I had to fight her sharp comments at my life compared to hers. I was very cross, but she wouldn’t let a comment coast if she didn’t like it.
    I began arguing about something else I should buy, even if she was going to offer to buy it for me if I did, but bypassed the hole she was digging for me. I could argue to death and she would never relent.
    “You’ll never amount to anything if you don’t present yourself properly.” She repeated until I was beginning to recite it myself. On the level of sisters, she was a big pain in the butt most of the time, but she was never malicious either, therefore I could take her constant ribbing in her not-so-subtle way.
    I figured it would be a century and she would never stop sticking her nose in the air and pointing out that her silver was shinier than mine would ever be. Of course she had several servants to polish it all afternoon. I would have to stick to the ancient method of putting on gloves and rubbing it the old ancient way like most housewives would.
    Suddenly I realized how quiet it was in the house. I gritted my teeth and spun the wedding ring around my finger. I recalled how my husband had spent too much money on it, before he became Mr. Invention and money ran out of the windows. Right now I was more likely to declare him a section eight, ready for the booby hatch rather than the hall of fame.
    I had been living in the monetary shadow for close to twenty years, and I couldn’t help wondering if it wouldn’t be fair for me to clean the slate a little.
    After a shower I slipped into a brown evening dress and decided to spread myself across the city in a complete loss of control. I might even pass by my sister’s boat, climb on board, and listen to its powerful engine turn over a few thousand revolutions. I tried to back down several times while dressing, putting on makeup, and looking for ‘appropriate’ jewelry. When I was closest to yielding to this temptation, a song came over the radio about a woman who had also been holding onto hope for a long time and couldn’t bear to change the course of her future.
    After that I couldn’t help but change my position and decide to go another direction. I looked at my foot and hoped the corn on my toe wouldn’t push its way through my stocking until my return home. It was the same treatment that I had given a similar intruder on my other foot, with good results.
    After calling Trudy’s number, I stepped into her limousine once again like a queen headed for a rendezvous with her king. it was an odd method to be invigorated, but I promised to listen to the radio that was bought so many years so.
    In the meantime I decided to sit back and take a huge break, one that might last for several days, at least I hoped it would.
    Barbara Blackcinder

    Barbara Blackcinder


  24. Barbara Blackcinder April 13, 2012 at 8:48 pm

    There’s five Alex, Do I get my own blog yet? ha ha


    • Alexander M Zoltai April 13, 2012 at 9:01 pm

      On Monday I will make a special post to feature all five of your chapters :-)

      But I want to put them on a Word .doc file an let folks download it, ok?

      Also, can I put your email in the post in case folks want to talk to you?


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  26. Barbara Blackcinder April 18, 2012 at 12:48 pm

    Here you go Alex, more to fit into your blogspace.

    This is my Sixth Chapter
    Barbara Blackcinder
    Ch. – Words 600-700:

    I watched him throw the line off the end of the boat, watching the lead swing separately in an arc as it left the deck, it’s large chunk of lead threatening to become a deadly weapon as it swung through the air past our heads. But he was a professional, or at least he practiced enough to be a pro.
    The drive through town was anything but fresh in my mind, the incident with the train. My sister’s car nearly torn in half as it stopped just a little beyond the broken gate and the train struck it, pulling it apart just in front of the driver. He wasn’t a pretty sight as a flying piece of metal slashed across his face, leaving a streak of thick blood pooling on his cheek.
    He was taking a chance that he could make it across the tracks before the train, but I no longer had any interest in what he thought since he had risked our lives. We were sitting in the middle of a broken vehicle, scared to death as the train still whipped by us at about a hundred miles an hour. Although the tracks were meant of freight trains, occasionally a passenger train would fly across its rails as well. I think the driver was expecting the former and didn’t expect the gate to come down quite as quickly.
    “Son of a ……” the driver began, but stopped after realizing that every movement was going to pull at the jagged cut in his face and ended his tirade suddenly. It didn’t seem like such a small wound, although bloody, could produce such a sudden reaction. I glanced over at the busted window and saw a couple of women and a man standing at the front door, looking down at the damaged driver. I could see that they were afraid, but I didn’t expect them to turn away suddenly and begin retching in horror.
    As I got out of the back, the train still whistling by, I looked into the front seat as well. I could see that science could fix his face, but probably not the fact that the steering column was sticking into his stomach, just below the ribs. As a rule I would normally join the others at the disgust of the anyone showing his innards like that, but I guess was still shocked from my own brush with death.
    It seemed like a million people were shuffling around like cattle around the scene as soon as the train was gone. I only hoped they had enough sense to keep the tracks clear for the next train. As I was being helped onto a stretcher, for a wound I hadn’t realized I had yet, I noticed that all of them weren’t born with such common sense. They were piling across from the opposite side, not even looking down the tracks first.
    All I heard was, “We’ll be going to….” before I passed out or something. From there it was moments of going in and out of consciousness as I recovered. It wasn’t too long before the hospital ejected me and I found myself on an island with someone’s wife looking down at me. Apparently I had hit my head on something in the back of the Limousine and didn’t realize it.
    I looked out ahead of me, trying to focus on a huge stone near the dock. Looking up into the sky I noticed the thin clouds and then looked down at myself lying across a colorful beach lounge chair. I inhaled sharply as I looked at my body, clearly not anywhere near the weight I remembered before the accident.
    “Am I dead?” I asked aloud, thinking that I must be dreaming if not actually deceased. “This doesn’t make sense.” I added after hearing no answer to the first question. I tried to figure it out myself, but my addition wasn’t working like it should, too many parts of my memory were missing.
    I saw my brother standing over me next, and I figured that he was also a result of my head injury. He hadn’t been back to this state for many years. I bit my lip to try to regain some sense of consciousness, but all it did was make my mind race some more.
    Various things spun n my head, but nothing of note that helped me know where I was. I recalled being on my sister’s island, and being led from the boat and across the dock that I was just staring at. I recognized the flower garden that I had seen before, the smell of it both shocked me and pleased me with the amount of pollen floating into my nose from it.
    He began talking to me, bringing me back to the incident with the car, how I had banged my head on the corner of the bar in the back seat. It came back to me quickly as I remembered the team of paramedics lifting me into their vehicle and the rich, dark red clots of blood spattered in the front seat of the limousine.
    From that period until this moment, neither could I remember my own injury, nor what had happened since. My brother told me I had severely banged a region of my brain that dealt with memory. The ride from the accident and until now might always be a huge hole to me. I had to look forward to life from here on, it was anyone’s guess as to what would happen from here on it. His advice didn’t seem very important while I was still wondering if I even recognized him for sure.
    A paper was held before me to sign, and I recall that it had about a thousand zero’s behind a big number six. “Money isn’t going to be your problem any longer.” He was telling me. I hadn’t a clue what he meant, but I shivered suddenly.
    I felt a rough material cover me quickly after watching it float in my general direction. Reacting to it was difficult, my hand didn’t respond like I wanted it to and I had to wait while it settled over me. I wasn’t cold, but something in the mention of money had made me shiver. I didn’t even know why.
    Later I watched a dog wagging its tail while lying in the sand a few feet away from me. Even later than that I began throwing a toy for it to retrieve, part of the practice that I was supposed to do to correct the damage to my brain.
    I felt wrong lying here most days, but had to look ahead when my arms and hands worked together like a pair once again. Whatever month of the year it was, the temperature wasn’t bad and I got to test this every day with the dog. Being stubborn, I began to force myself to do this repetition every moment I was brought out to the beach chair.
    But time passed eventually, and soon I was at a party being hosted in my honor. I slipped into a yellow dress was hanging in the closet of the room I was staying it. “I’ve no recall of this.” I was telling my sister, who wasn’t paying attention as usual. She was only concerned with her own part of running this party for me.
    I turned to the mirror and was quite amazed at the color of my skin. It was a dark brown, subject to the sun while lying on the beach. It had a exposure from the south that baked me while I played with the dog.
    I looked out the window in the direction of the dock and watched the boat bobble in the waves, although the water itself was nearly flat. The engine compartment was open, and I could see one of its huge power unit exposed to the sun, but talk outside of my door soon distracted me from it.
    “He’s necessary, especially if we are to get through this forest of paper. There must be a copy of all of these for the permanent record. And we have to do it before we meet that committee or we’ll be running into a brick wall.” I sat down quickly in the chair in front of the mirror, many things returning to my mind.
    It took a minute before I realized that had brought me to this island, nearly an age ago, I was almost a year older I recalled being told just a few days ago. I realized that I was the object of the discussion, and it also had something to do with the village where I had lived.
    I fondled the soft edge of a cloth hanging over the dressing table that I was sitting in front of. I recalled that the figure on the paper I was shown was supposed to be an eight, not a six.
    I traced the shape of a figure eight on the cloth with my fingertip and tried to speak, but was breathless. The rest of those zero’s had amounted to millions between the comma’s and the dollars written after them. I was rich, and maybe even richer than my sister. My mind whirled as I began throwing everything around that was appearing back into my once nearly vacant memory. I had so much to remember, and they sort. Putting those numbers written on the paper, and the statements made outside my door was going to be harder. I had no idea what was going on out there, but everything else was coming back to me.


  27. Barbara Blackcinder April 18, 2012 at 12:52 pm

    Oh, by the way Alex, I keep forgetting to mention that I kept the 1200 words highlighted in red within the writing, and if the blog page doesn’t remove it, it is there for the checking. If not, I would gladly give you a copy of my saved pages, for whatever use you might for it. …. also by the way, or P.S.S. – I’m halfway done. :-)


    • Alexander M Zoltai April 18, 2012 at 3:43 pm

      Barb, I think the best thing, at this point, since you seem determined to finish your story, is to let you post chapters here and, when you’re done, I’ll do another post with the whole story :-)

      Not sure if readers need to “prove” you used the words from the list—I’ll ponder that one………….


      • Barbara Blackcinder May 21, 2012 at 12:16 pm

        Here’s number ten Alex,,, almost done. hee hee

        This is my Chapter Ten
        Barbara Blackcinder
        Ch. – Words 200-300:

        I was shocked to put it bluntly. In all the attempts he made to make money, I never expected his latest to be a book. While he had always continued to fish for new ideas, writing a book had never been even remotely a possibility that I would have expected. I looked at the cover again, looking at the red banner that ran across the upper half of it. It still proclaimed how many copies of it had already been sold.
        He was suddenly out of the picture as far as having a reason to want my money, and especially not to have me killed. While it was true that we would never have the same relationship we once had a long time ago, I couldn’t believe he hated me enough to cause me any harm, now that the financial aspect of it was removed. Among the group of reasons I believed he may have had reason was if he had endured himself with some shady financial dealings that he had to pay off or he’d be killed or injured himself. I had read too many novels while sitting in the sun on the island, and it was an easy conclusion to jump to.
        I decided to spend some money doing my own search for who my attacker was, along with finding out more about the good doctor who had tried to ruin me financially. I employed an agency nicknamed “The “Security Dome” from another city. I had no real good contacts within this town since mine had been cut with the killing of my financial friend. At this point I had no more than suspicion, but with all the other things happening around me, I wasn’t going to close the door on that possibility, just because the police wouldn’t face the possibility of it.
        I figured it was my move, and in turn I had hired the detective team. Anything I found out I could turn over to the police later, assuming that they had begun some kind of case. Of course, if they didn’t, they would probably begin one after I or someone else in my family had been killed or more obviously threatened again.
        Upon hiring the detective agency, I mentioned to them the person in the woods, the same man outside of where I was living, the blond at the car, and the killing of the friend. The investigator said he would go look at the body, although I couldn’t see much of a purpose considering that it had been burned up in the accident.
        “I’m certainly not going down there.” I stated firmly when he suggested that I go with him. I had no idea why he would even request it since the friend had been identified several different ways, including his vehicle, his identification, which hadn’t been burned up since it was in his wallet and he had been sitting on it that morning. The car was the most obvious since I told them I had watched him drive away in it, and even I didn’t have any difficulty recognizing the make and model of it.
        The investigator went down and seen it anyway, as soon as I paid his up-front money. He was still adamant about his course of action, even though I am usually pretty persuasive, and I couldn’t see any use in doing it myself. I guess he had to see for himself and that was all there was to it. I didn’t understand the detective work so I guess I had to allow him his five minutes of doing it his way, if it would go toward whatever purpose he saw fit. Now I would have to wait and see how his information would play out, and if it could be used if they ever found out who was harassing me.
        After putting my money towards his bills, he promptly left. He said he had to go across the city where the vehicle or the body was being kept, I was a little rattled by the whole discussion and missed the point of why he kept mentioning it to me. All I wanted was to learn who was behind my fears and put him in the hands of the police.
        I knew it was a risk, but I had to get out of the house for the afternoon. I felt a little bit of comfort knowing that someone was watching besides the man with the rifle. At one point I was sure that it had been the doctor in the woods with the rifle, but the misapprehensions of the police confused me, and I was no longer sure. But my own eyes couldn’t be turned away from the fact that the doctor had been in front of this house. My camera couldn’t lie about that.
        Suddenly I had a reason to leave the house, and it was one that came over me with fear that I might forget and never bring it up again. I reached into the top drawer of a desk and pulled out the camera. I had thrown it with such force after taking the pictures that it had slide all the way to the back of the drawer and rested against the back of it there.
        My thought about taking a ride along the sea had been lost as I ran out of the room. I had no idea where the detective was going first, and the phone number he had given me wouldn’t answer. I would have to stop at the morgue first, hoping he would be there. If I missed him by going to the police vehicle lockup sight first, I would probably never run into him, even if I did change my route.
        I had several misgivings rolling through my mind as I decided to leave. I had heard that it was a good investigative service, and listened to the example that I had been given on their television commercial. I don’t believe everything that I hear of course, but the whole commercial seemed to be the thing that I needed for my own satisfaction.
        I was caught by the sun through the window and briefly returned to when I was so young and waiting to get on with my life. I did what I was told whenever possible, but no matter how one would try, something always interferes. It’s a fact of life that I knew long ago, and I was sure that nothing had changed after the last few examples recently. However, today I was beginning to make my own decisions, and during the talk with the personal spy, I think I had gotten across to myself that serving myself and making things happen would be the best for me. It certainly had to be better than I had been doing so far.
        I felt like I was doing some kind of sentence rather than living a life. I had always held someone near as my support, and it was hard to let go, even now. The paper I had signed was as good a document as any that I was ever going to get to signify it. I put the white envelope into a drawer of the desk, which was becoming filled ever since I had placed my husband’s book into it.
        I had to end this story soon. All the investigations, fears, and even the hatred was beginning to give me second thoughts about whatever life remained ahead of me. I had to do a quick study of myself. I was tired of being a reactor to someone else’s life. I wanted to paint my own picture, even if it was a night scene. I had let my negative thoughts control me so long already. Always afraid to disappoint my father, even when we left his body in the country and moved to the city. I had to discover another light to follow from now on, my own.
        I had to change my clothes first, yielding to my mother. Her advice was to always dress up for going into any kind of office. “You never know who you might meet.” She would repeat whenever we attempted to leave while carelessly dressed. Of course the implication was that we might meet a boy (or a man), who worked in an office that would be suitable for a husband.
        I snickered while I dressed, remembering that the year I met my husband he was downtown trying to copyright something he had done. I walked around with my head high in the air for a year at the prospect of being married to such a creative person. When He asked for my hand in marriage I was far too much in love to think about the need for money or other living essentials. Even after that, and after some successes, I didn’t come down to earth for many years.
        I got to the morgue before I realized that I hadn’t even had a chance to page through his book. I was barely able to concentrate about it while I was determined to live. I also wasn’t sure if it might be one of those vanity presses that published strictly for the self-diluted, something that he could easily be according to his past behavior. I stuffed it into another drawer. I had almost retrieved it once, but began thinking about the financial hell he had caused and any kind thoughts about him disappeared. I tapped the desk above the drawer but never opened it.
        I scanned the parking for the car that I had watched leave my driveway, but I couldn’t find it. I was suddenly distracted by a single helicopter hanging over my head. For a long time I ignored it, allowing that it had something to do with the city, a police helicopter, a medical helicopter, or something of that nature. But traffic wasn’t that busy in the middle of the city where I was, and it didn’t seem to be moving anywhere.
        Eventually it took my attention from looking for the car. It was becoming annoying enough that I began fearing for my life once again. I hunkered down in the car like I was a chased animal. Once that feeling began I was soon in panic mode and almost hit a boy crossing the road in front of me. I hit the brakes hard, but not enough to catch his attention.
        Without so much as a glance to the side where I was threatening him, he made it to the grass on the other side of the street. He jumped on the grassy land with both feet as children often do while acting their age. He wandered off oblivious to the danger he had been in just seconds before.
        I took a deep breath and decided to return to my house. Then I changed my mind again and headed for the police department instead. I would make one more attempt to show them proof that the doctor had using some mysterious behavior around my house, something that warranted investigation. I also wanted to inform them that I had hired a private detective as well. I hated the thought of them arresting someone on my side by mistake.

        Barbara Blackcinder


        • Barbara Blackcinder May 28, 2012 at 8:31 pm

          Chapter Eleven
          Barbara Blackcinder
          Ch. – Words 100-200:

          “You can’t keep me here!” I shouted as I was roughly grabbed by the arms and lifted into the air. As I was carried up the stairs by the shoulders, I watched my bag of food split open as it hit the step. A bottle of milk smashed open, spreading out to form a fan shaped coating as it dripped down step after step, until it hit the sidewalk below and made a single line headed for the curb.
          It was obvious that it wasn’t important to the police that I had just paid good money for the groceries. I didn’t know where they went to school to learn such brutality, but it was certainly not any place I would want to go to. At the moment the only placed I was going was to jail. What in the world they had decided I certainly don’t know, but I was surprised that they hadn’t ripped me right out of my house after this display of suppressing my rights.
          I was asked my name and address together, like they were trying to trap me in a lie or something. I am often confused when faced with such aggression, and especially by the large men who now surrounded me. I couldn’t help but show that I was afraid of them, and they took advantage of it quickly. There were always those types around in any police force I guessed.
          They informed me of a few quick facts about why I was hauled in, and it was obvious that both of them thought they had caught me doing something. The first tidbit of information they faced me with was that they saw me run out of the house with a pistol and wave it at the two people around the red car below . They even claimed that I had fired a shot when it was in fact the sound of their car backfiring in their haste to leave.
          They next claimed that I had put some sort of explosive in the banker’s car. I might have been yelling while he was in the house about the stupid contract he had brought with him. While that may have been true, my temper had died down long before he left the house. Along with that, he also shook my hand at the top of the stairs.
          At the end of the accusations, the two enormous cops left me alone finally. I sat on the bench, thankful that I hadn’t been handcuffed to it. The three of us hadn’t fit very will on it, but I would never have pointed that out to those two if it was the last thing I would ever do. I read the sign behind the large wooden desk where the sergeant sat. “Did you read your prisoner his rights?” was the big question. The sergeant sat right under it so that you couldn’t help but see it right there in your face. I hadn’t been read any rights, so I assumed that I hadn’t really been arrested at all. I was just being bullied.
          I had a cup of coffee on the arm of the bench, graciously given to me by one of the female cops with her own police techniques. I set it there carefully since it was pretty narrow. A line formed in front of the sergeant and I was thankful that I wasn’t in it. I wasn’t sure if the air had turned blue from the vocabulary that was coming from the new prisoners and their cop escorts, or if it was due to the acute smells in the air that they also brought with them.
          As I sat alone and silent on my bench, I watched as a blond girl. She was thin enough that I suspected that she was a hooker, and she certainly acted like one. I watched her give her arresting officer a kick in the shin that was surely going to give him a big blue bruise on his way home tonight. She should have been gentler cause the burly cop shoved her so hard into the bench that I was sitting on that my coffee flew off the arm and splattered across the floor.
          “Karen!” I shouted as I recognized my own daughter sitting painfully next to me. The cop turned around quickly.
          “That isn’t the name that you gave me.” He said in a very hostile, threatening voice.
          “I said Carissa, you big lummox.” She answered as we stared over the short distance between us. “It’s the same thing.” She claimed rather calmly, trying to appease him. She shuffled around, trying to ease the pain in her butt I imagine, while I sat very still.
          I was very confused at her appearance. I found her less than attractive with the large blonde wig hiding her face, a face that I had given her. Every little thing I remembered about her was changed, even the small details that I barely recognized. It was the second time that I had seen her since the accident, but only the first time that I had recognized her.
          “You were in the red car!” I accused her wickedly. “What do you have to say for yourself?” I yelled right into her face now, remembering the harassment she was apparently helping with.
          Before long several men were hustling around us and began to tell us that we would be leaving with them. We were hustled into a room that could only be used for interrogation. It fit the Hollywood depiction of it perfectly.
          “Me and the men were only trying to persuade you to give up some of that money you won.” She told me as she began realizing that I was still her mother, the one who had given up so much for her and taught her much better ways than blackmail. Then she began to tell me and the officers a great number of things that I was shocked to hear. To the police it was old hat, something they had heard a hundred times before.
          Karen went on and on, while the cops went off and returned again. One would go away while keeping a couple different faces in our room as came and went out of the room. Karen was sobbing terribly and I put a hand on her arm to comfort her while she continued her stories. I couldn’t help but wonder why she had gotten so deeply into something that made me the sufferer.
          I listened about the doctor who wanted to ‘take her under his arm’ while her mother was likely to die from her wounds on the island. Here and there he eventually took her into his warped, twisted world where only revenge was acceptable. I was his target for having escaped his plan, and ruined his life as a doctor along with it. Karen was unable to take such emotional pressure and easily fell victim to his treachery.
          She was well into helping him to get money from me, having heard his morbid twisting of the facts. He had left her stay at his place, still letting her believe I was the evil one, and that he was only trying to even the score between us. He took her heart like a thief does, just because it served his purposes. Her turmoil must have been horrible through the three hours in that interrogation room.
          All the work that the criminal doctor had done was unraveling quickly. Soon the police would come to his apartment and then return to this building. I hoped he came in very tight handcuffs.
          Another round of questions came around when they began asking about the murder of the banker. By that time they also didn’t think that it was my doings at all. They were shuffling papers back and forth between them. They began to look at them and shuffle them as they passed them right and left, and restacked them several times.
          It was the same thing for another day. I had realized that my daughter was only aware of the attempts to blackmail or otherwise get money from me. Any attempts that were made on my life, or facts about the killing of the banker were kept from her. It was too bad for the doctor, because it pointed out to everyone that he was the man behind all of the efforts to get revenge on me. Oh, unless you count on ‘our’ secretary back at the offices where he had been thrown out. His real girlfriend, aside from his wife, did write the paperwork that kept things moving in the illegal department. Along with new information that my daughter was supplying about her dearest friend in the attorney’s office, the one who switched the will that I was supposed to have signed.
          It was good to hear all of these things that now cleared my daughter of most all of the charges. The police let her go without so much as a warning. It was clear that back when the doctor had grabbed her mercilessly and corrupted her, she was no match for his conniving. She was so broken by what had happened, and her own guilt, that I wondered if she could ever get through the horrible year into her past. I hoped that it was possible, but for the time being, I just wanted to get to know her again. It had been a very long time.

          Barbara Blackcinder
          (Yippee, only one to go!!)


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  29. Barbara Blackcinder June 2, 2012 at 11:59 pm

    Here you go Alex, the final installment. Whew!!!
    Thanks for the challenge. Barbara

    This is my Twelfth, and Final Chapter
    Barbara Blackcinder
    Chapter 12 – Words 000-100:

    The biggest lesson I had to learn was how integrated this town was. It seemed that most of the people in it were either related, or at least well known by each other. Where the division occurred was right between the richest of the rich, and everyone else. But since there were just so many people in the city, some crossing did occur.
    While we in the lower segment of the population were called all sorts of off-colored words, the realization occurred to them that the rich couldn’t live without people to serve them. After a while this led to a sort of contamination. Very few people ever actually crossed the dividing line, and if it were the will of the rich, very little ever would either. The plan had been in action long before I was born, and was the established pattern of life around here.
    I stopped the car near the bridge where my friend had died and looked into the water.
    “May I never become as crazy as those people, no matter how much money I eventually get from the hospital.” I told Karen. I will use the money for much better purposes than just to make more money. I will find some way of making our family better.” I told her, but I only wished that I had a better idea how to do that.
    As we sat on a picnic table she laid the book I had given to her down on its top. I wondered if she could understand her father, or me for that matter, after what I did to her opinion of him over the years. I made many statements that were out of anger at my worry over finances. It was my luck that this windfall came after all of the hardship. I supposed that most people suffered the same fate, and probably never got the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
    Now and then I wondered just who was responsible in the first place for the whole mess. I knew it’s easy to blame the rotten doctor, but I had been naïve when I first came to him and was more than a little intimidated by his advances. I watched him make some questionable moves, but he seemed to understand the word ‘no’, at least for the time.
    I could have been more careful about where I met him for reports, but I really had to go by his time, as we all do when we visit a doctor’s office. I couldn’t see that I was responsible though, he clearly had ideas that seemed to him as an easy plan that he was sure to like. He saw the two of us together, and afterward, using my daughter was just as moral and ethical and her own weaknesses due to my ‘accident’.
    With the investigation and interrogation of the ‘good’ doctor, more and more was found out to fill in the time between his first encounter with me, and when it all came apart. He has plenty of time to look into his own guilt while he spends it behind bars for one murder, and many other criminal complaints. This would have to include my injuries as Trudy (my sister) had her car tampered with by a mechanic of the doctor. These facts came out after the brakes were discovered to have been damaged.
    He had made this attempt so that I would be punished, but not necessary killed. He intended to revive his attempts on me after the island stay though, so that I couldn’t question anything about it after healing. He feared that some or many of my memories would come back about seeing his Mistress in the supermarket. She was helping him plan then, and continued to help him. She didn’t want me in the picture in the first place, but if I could be knocked off afterward, that would please them both, and her in particular since I would be out of the way.
    She was always up to trouble, but she seemed so sweet that I never knew she was following me. I didn’t find out exactly how involved she was, but I expected that it was about up to her neck. Each of them deserved a long time in jail. She was also the one that arranged for meetings between my daughter and the doctor while he worked on her will to assist in my blackmail.
    She wouldn’t do everything that they asked, especially if it involved hurting me, no matter what they said it was for. Their inevitable plan was to blame her for most of everything, which probably included my death, but she didn’t know since she rejected any kind of action like that, long before it came near to that.
    Suddenly I jumped back to my feet, having sat down on the picnic table with my daughter. “Do you still carry those binoculars in your car?” I was asked suddenly by Karen. She was standing up on one of the seats herself, with me standing on the grass, she was an inch or two taller than I was. She was looking down the river with a hand shielding her eyes.
    “What can you see?” I asked, not seeing anything but a couple of birds that were there for our enjoyment, paddling on the bank of the river. We first came here when they were further down the river and were all seeming to group together as them came nearer. What they were doing, only ducks knew. But I enjoyed them whether or not I knew their motivations.
    I had gone back to the car and set them on the table on one end by her feet. By now she had climbed onto the table or jumped up there, I wasn’t sure.
    “Have I got some bad news from the river.” She said as she focused the glasses way down the river. “I can’t see for sure from this angle…” she paused and turned the thumbscrew. “But that looks to be the good doctor and his wench at the helm of that huge boat.” I looked but nearly passed out with disbelief. I sat down on the table again. “They couldn’t have gotten out again?” I nearly cried.
    But apparently his wealth had gotten him out of jail once again, for how long I didn’t know.
    By now they had spotted Karen and I up on the small hill and the boat began swinging around and passing back and forth under the bridge. With a big smile on his face I watched in horror as he mocked us.
    “Are you kidding?” I said as I ran for the bridge. I felt completely insane as I stood on it as he was turning around for a tenth time, mocking us. I couldn’t believe that he had won once again. It blinded me as I leaned over the edge of the railing that went from one end of the other.
    “You Bastard!” I yelled as he passed under me. “Is this what you want?” I yelled as I tore at my blouse and threatened to tear it open.
    While he glanced towards me, and in the same instance that his girlfriend was jerking his arm to get his attention. I watched his hand slip on the wheel and come off. A second later the boat slide sideways and they both fell into the bottom of the boat.
    It continued sideways under the bridge and seemed to catch the water finally on the other side of it. It turned around without a driver and headed back under the bridge.
    The last I saw of it was when it hit a solid cement buttress and crumpled, then exploded into a fire ball that enveloped the bridge from below. Orange flames were everywhere and continued to burn for several minutes both under and above the bridge. I watched in horror, even though I hated them. They could not have survived the crash, much less the explosion and burning of the boat. I wondered if he had spent a lot of his money to fill the boat to capacity before heading down the river, thinking that it may have been money well spent, finally.
    “A big spender to the end.” I concluded and headed back towards Karen.

    The End.

    Barbara Blackcinder


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