Second day of Christmas

Second day of Christmas
The weather drizzled late in the afternoon and turned to rain in the night.  It was just light the next morning as Timmy looked through his bedroom window and saw the sheets of ice hanging down on the power lines and the trees looked like Sikorski crystal figurines.  They caught the early light and sparkled.  He pulled his phone out and took a picture.             Single-mindedly, Timmy was moving fast he traversed the kitchen.  Dad was sitting at the table sipping a hot chocolate not doing anything particular.  “Tim.”  That brought him up short.             “Dad? Morning.”             “It’s single digit out there.”  He smiled.  “You need some breakfast before you go out.”             “I’m not…,” Timmy started to protest.             “Don’t matter.  Most important meal of the day.  Have some cereal at least.”              “Okay.”  Opening the cupboard, Timmy pulled down a bowl and set it on the table.             “Take your gloves and coat off.  You can put them back…

First day of Christmas -

Timmy peered through the thick leaves of the branches of the Willow tree that’s branches hung to the ground.He and his sister, Sally, watched the hunched over Mrs. Davenport hobble down her broken-up walkway that had more clumps of dirt and uncut grass than cement.There were patches of snow scattered about the yard but the walkway was clear.
Mrs. Davenport didn’t have to open the gate to the picket fence since the bottom hinge stripped out from rust and laid a corner on the ground open to the world.She reached into the mailbox and came away with nothing.Below the empty mail box was an open-ended paper box harboring a local valuepac of coupons for the county.
Folding the papers in half, Davenport tucked them under her arm and with cane in the other took six shuffling steps in place to turn and face the house.After a brief pause, she undertook to regain the porch.It was slow going as she picked her way testing each step before put her weight on the step.Timothy just knew she was afraid of…

UNEXPECTED - Flash Fiction

     I admit it.  I love the lab library.  The library is a stark contrast to the antiseptic white scrubbed walls of the lab with its myriad of glass windows cordoning off one function of study from another.      The library is in the original building now nearly two hundred years old.  The University built the lab onto it before the county and city cared about historic preservation.  Once local government caught on to the idea no one could change a doorknob on the library without someone appointed to the historical society’s approval.       All that didn’t make any difference to me as I walk through the threshold to the library. The transition was like walking into the past.       Every day while my cultures were cooking in the lab, I would explore the library catching snippets from this old book and that.       Today, Eleanor, on the other side of a panel of glass looking to me like a mural depicting efficiency, set up a series of recombinant studies.  I …


Not so long ago - now By Emmett Hall The call came from Todd, Sarah’s brother-in-law.  We were sitting arm-in-arm on the couch watching an old rerun of Cheyenne with Clint Walker.  As is Sarah’s habit when she saw it was Todd on the caller ID, she answered by speakerphone.  “Hi, Todd.  How’s it going?” “Not too good,” was his response.  My interest was piqued.  I don’t generally contribute much to those calls being content to listen.  Todd sounded strained. 

“What’s the matter?” Sarah asked.
“It’s Penny.  You remember the infection she got a few months ago.”
“Yes.  I thought that was cleared up.”
“We did too.  Evidently, it morphed, or something and backed up into Penny’s kidneys.”  Todd sniffed in the phone.  A cold, I wondered?
“Her kidneys?  What does that mean?”
“She had to go into the emergency this afternoon, and they have her on dialysis.  They say she is stage four, end-stage – pretty much the same.  She needs a kidney, or she won’t make it.  She would be upset if she knew I…

Letter Home - Flash fiction

Coney Island Dreams by Subway Doodle Letter Home By Emmett Hall

Hi Mom and Dad,

This letter will take a while to transit to you once it’s been beamed.  I’ll get it off soonest.  I’ve had what started out as the most horrifying experience.  Remember, I’ve written before the gravity here is less than half of ours at home.
Consequently, I’ve gotten a bit sloppy with my being careful of heights.  I've fallen off my sled three times.  This is about the last time.
Let me give you a time-tick.  This is my fourth year studying the life on E2324.  E2324, the native life refers to as Earth. The most communicative species are the humans (I sent you some pics). Yet, not the most intelligent group, and somewhat dangerous at times.  The Dolphins are the smartest, even as fond of the humans as they are they won’t talk to the humans in any of their dozens of languages.  It also took me a couple years to get through to the Dolphins enough for them to trust me.  Oh, the Dolphins are a fish like an …

Ambiguity and Vagueness - Essay

A comment made by a reader of one of my short stories recently was that there was ambiguity in the ending.  In context with the rest of the comment, the person was either trying to be kind or truly meant it as a compliment. 
After cocking my head like a dog trying to fix on a high pitched sound, I decided I needed to consider the meaning of ambiguity.  Which led me to consider vagueness as it seems to be used interchangeably with being ambiguous.  The two words are far afield from one another.
At the end of this, I'll give the link to the story so that if you wish to read it you may.
Through our years of travel and interaction with others and particularly in writing we tend to understand the meaning of things without having to explain the meaning.  I immediately understood that the reader meant open-ended.  But, was that right?  I'm not so sure.  Initially, my operating notion of ambiguity placed the ending of my story at vague, not ambiguous.
I don't know what the commen…

TUKNUK - Short Story

Tuknuk hated having to come to the city.  All the clanging and hissing annoyed her.  It wasn’t a quiet place.  The humidity from all the steam was nearly unbearable.  Her jackal, she named Mange, seemed immune, turning her head this way and that, just taking in the sights.
A man doffed his hat to her as he seemed to head for the train.  Tuknuk barely noticed and gave him no recognition.   She had been cooped up in the freight car for eleven hours with Mange.  The two were dependent on each other, and despite the bed of straw and Mange for a pillow, it was far preferable to mixing with the passengers in coach.  Tuknuk knew she scared them and didn’t care.  
Living on the plain was grim with her tribe hunting constantly for sustenance.  A few of the elderly, children and pregnant women scratched the ground for corn, wheatgrass, and oats.  Irish missionaries brought potatoes.  Tuknuk laughed.  It hadn’t worked out so well for them all those centuries ago.  She had to admit the tu…