What makes you laugh?

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Laughter. The simple pleasure of a belly laugh! What a physical experience it can be.

What brings on that kind of laughter for you, dear reader? Does it happen often?

It takes a lot for me to laugh out loud. I’m more of a quiet smiler. Sometimes the smile is so quiet, you could think I was unaffected. I often ‘feel’ the smile in my head and know that it isn’t showing on the outside.

Watching movies often brings out a noisy laugh. Usually over slapstick comedy. I consider slapstick as physical comedy; somebody has fallen, for example. I laugh and laugh like a sicko! There is nothing very subtle about my sense of humour 😀 I’ll find myself laughing so hard that I can’t catch my breath. Sometimes, it is scary because it seems I’ll never get it back. I think this is because I struggle to let myself be loud and my natural inclination is to stuff it back in.

Graham Norton makes me laugh. I love his show. I chuckle my way through it, up to and including the red chair! Graham is very clever at bringing his guests right along, sharing with us their unusual stories and cracking us up.

I laugh with my husband, unexpectedly. Not because I don’t expect to laugh with him, but perhaps because a moment ago life was staid. Nothing particularly outstanding was happening. And then, something is said – we’re on the same wavelength and something clicks – then we’re both bent over in raptures of laughter. Take a peek at each other and again we’re falling around. If you’re lucky enough to have that kind of bond with somebody, then you’ll understand where I’m coming from.

Naturally, I’m a very serious person. I laugh with people I can relax with. That includes my children and my sisters. There are only a few friends that I’ll find myself laughing with.

I didn’t grow up with a wider network of family. It was always Mum and Dad and my siblings. All aunties and cousins lived in another country. And so, I didn’t develop strong bonds there.

My husband and I just spent a day with a cousin and his wife. We’ve been developing friendship over the last few years, mainly via Facebook; and we visited with them in 2013. But we laughed and laughed this weekend. It was very natural and friendly; non-judgmental laughing at each other and ourselves. A lightening of spirit experience.

The endorphins released from laughing are real. You can feel the release and relaxation after a good bout of laughter. It must be why there are laughter therapy classes, why comedians are so popular and why everyone loves the Simpsons! 😀

If you’ve read this, hopefully you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about and you enjoy loud and proud laughter regularly. If you don’t get enough laughs – search it out! What makes you laugh?

I’m including a link here to something that still makes me laugh. I hope you’ll get a good chuckle out of it too.

Friday Fictioneer – Shivers

A glass table, with underlighting. An empty wine glass and salt and pepper shakers sit atop the table, also a QR code for ordering. Give a tunnel like effect.

Photo prompt by Fleur Lind

‘Roaches.’

‘Where?’

‘I’m having flashbacks, what a crap installation.’

‘You see roaches?’ I ask.

‘In my imagination. Memory. Movie memory. Creeps me out.’

‘You’ve lost me.’

‘So has this place.’

A shiver tingles from my hairline, down my spine. I shake a shoe, fully expecting an explosion of brown ickiness to erupt.

‘Should I call the waiter?’

‘No, idiot. There aren’t any roaches.’

‘I don’t understand! You’ve lost me, sweetheart.’

‘A white tunnel, leading to depths. A clean, pristine environment? It’s begging for a roach infestation.’

I toss back the wine dregs. Feel something touch my tongue as I swallow.

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Thank you Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for continuing to set this 100 word or less challenge. It is certainly a commitment appreciated by many. Other 100 word stories can be read here.

Six Sentence Story – Lost

I thank GirlieOnTheEdge for this week’s Six Sentence Stories prompt — the word is LABYRINTH.

********************Six Sentence Story Logo

I lost myself in the complex labyrinth of life.

A journey from child all the way through to wife, mother, wife, mother.

The career dream lost along the way, day to day drudgery of peon administrator, soul destroying lowliness became the way.

Middle age is the veil of invisibility, where you are now lost not only to yourself but the uprising youth, who do not admire, respect, aspire to anything that you grew, shared, owned, developed or gave.

Why aspire to old age when I could give in now, let go of that dream of retirement, forever downtime, sofa comfort, cruising, reading of books, eating of fine cheeses, imbibing of finer wines.

I don’t look to a haunting purgatory, heavenly thereafter, glorious afterlife, and so should shoot straight for that hole in the ground, because I’d need to have faith in a higher power waiting to take my hand and help me grow and prepare for the next life for that to have any point.

Friday Fictioneers – witch work

A spinning wheel, standing on tiles, with a brick wall backdrop

PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

She played into nervous naivety, intriguing with nervy grit.

We were whitewashed, wounded, whipped

Held in her hands, hoodwinked, hijacked

Every word a lie.

Enchanted and ensorcelled.

Left bamboozled, blind, bemused.

 

Stolen purses

Identity nicked

Native, innocence, naively given

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Thank you Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for continuing to set this 100 word (or less) challenge. It is a commitment appreciated by many. Other 100 word stories can be read here

Simply 6 Minutes – Breathless

An old, disused, railway track, covered in moss leading upward into mist and trees

Wow! It took my breath away, and so I took a moment.

What usually takes my breath is a punch to the stomach, daredevil drops from height, too cold, too hungry, too scared.

I was in a hurry and under pressure, with no time to appreciate nature, but I stopped.

Not too many years ago, happy people on exciting holidays would have traversed this track. Gasped in awe at the drop away, delighted in the natural features all around. Pointed out deer, birds, bears – who knows.

I looked at the track veering away into the distance, into the mist and imagined different times.

I remembered a loving, carefree family. Kisses and playtime, cakes and lemonade. Living parents.

That was so long ago it was as if a dream. Or something read in a book.

Books. Dreams. Not all lost, because I always had a novel in my backpack. It took up precious space, but it made life bearable. And there were plenty of pristine libraries in my travels. Nobody looted libraries.

The moment stretched, and I breathed deep.

Then I tightened shoelaces, sipped some water, hitched the pack higher on my back and began to pick my away along these now dangerous tracks.

Into an uncertain, but almost definitely treacherous future. [6 minutes, 211 words]

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Thanks to Christine for running this challenge.

How it works:

https://christinebialczak.com/2020/07/14/simply-6-minutes-writing-challenge

  • Set up a timer or sit near a clock so you can keep track of the six minutes you will be writing.
  • You can either use one of the prompts (photo or written) or you can free-write.
  • Get ready and write for 6 minutes, that is it! Can you write a complete story? Can you think of a new Sonnet? Can you write 400 words? 400? 500? There are no restrictions on what kind of writing you do, but you should try to be actively writing for six minutes.
  • After you are done writing, include your word count and then post back to this page #Simply6Minutes or include your link in the comments section. Pingbacks are enabled.

Friday Fictioneers – heavenly connection

An old, canvas covered truck, one side open showing steel pots holding plants/flowers and signs advertising social media contact sites

PHOTO PROMPT © Jan Wayne Fields

For small business like me, social media was a God-send

So many years I hauled ass, and soil, plants, gravel and truck

From this Field Day to that Festival

Door to door, florists and gift emporiums, restaurants and offices

I’d get home more than weary, broken

Someone suggested a Facebook page, Instagram

Pictures sell!

Now, I’ve five trucks, 10 employees and give thanks and praise

For that God-sent connection and the pretty missus I found along the way

She hauls ass like you wouldn’t believe! [85 words]

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Not very imaginative this week – been away from creativity for a while 😍

Thank you Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for continuing to set this 100 word or less challenge. It is certainly a commitment appreciated by many. Other 100 word stories can be read here.

SHARE YOUR WORLD 6-27-2022 – with Melanie

QUESTIONS
What’s your favourite way to spend a day off? If you’re retired, what’s something you now include in your schedule that you dreamed about while employed?

Historically, any day off is a reading day. Except that streaming has forced its way into my life, which is both interesting and sad. Sad that I’m more of a couch potato than usual, and I’m pretty sure my brain cells are melting in protest. 

I’m on our work books as permanent-casual with an intense period between November and June, with lots of free time the rest of the year. I want to be a writer and I mean to write, but somehow the days go by without pen hitting paper.

Now that Covid isn’t so strictly monitored and folks can go out and about again, are you into after-work happy hours?

I’ve never been into attending work events or doing after work happy hours. I still actively avoid crowds. I continue to practise safe anti-Covid habits.

A good excuse to remain unsociable.

What physical traits do you share with your relatives? (Example:  I have my mother’s nose)

My sisters and I all sound the same on the phone. If our daughter calls, it can still trick my husband of 30 years.

As I’ve aged and grown heavier, I feel myself move around with sore joints and groaning and I can see my mum and sister in my mind’s eye.

When young, each of us had our right hand pinkie compared to dad, because he famously has a very turned-in finger.

I have my dad’s bushy eyebrows!

How long does it take you to decide if you like someone or not?

I am quick to decide.

If I get a bad feeling, I’m usually found correct even if it takes a long time for everyone else to figure it out.

 At the same time, I can make mistakes and so I don’t just cut them off. I hold to myself and wait, but don’t trust easily.

 While at the same time again, I can be quite naïve and gullible. I assume everyone means well, until they don’t, which includes still being caught out by my beautiful husband when he’s teasing me.

* * * * * * * 

GRATITUDE SECTION
Feel free to share some wisdom you live by.

I have been lucky in life. There have been downsides, but they’re quite far back in history now.

I live in good circumstances, have enough money, a loving and supportive husband, great kids. I’m citizen of a safe country, with great freedoms.

All around me I see people are hungry and homeless, one of the biggest catastrophes it seems. People are suffering and while I’m too introvert and self-conscious to be out physically helping them, I try and donate to causes and foodbanks whenever I can.

Thanks to Melanie for this prompt 

Honest Frank

Synopsis

Frank’s ambition dwarfs his integrity and everybody knows it, but him.


Frank waited to be introduced by Beatrice, the bookshop owner.

Everything about him screamed loud. Bouffant orange hair, piano key teeth, hairy hands and orangutan arms. His tie matched his hair, his shoes were dressed in crocodile. He was tall. He was wide. He was sweating.

That moisture surprised me. By all other measures, Frank was a powerful man, on a mission, full of confidence. His trailing minions appeared toy like. Crisp, clean and smartly dressed. Barely a smile among them.

Something was wrong with Frank. He was grinding his teeth, and regularly clutched his stomach and moaned. Not in good health but needing to perform and not about to back down.

Frank and I go way back. Same small town. This one. We went into the armed forces straight out of college. He was the geeky last-to-be-called man, while I was the full commando. He served his time in supply. I was on patrol, hunting subversives, surviving by the skin of my teeth.

Yet here he was pushing an autobiography of his time in the military. I’d read it and didn’t recognise that Frank. It was embellished beyond belief. I understood it to be the cornerstone of his push for local Member of Parliament in the upcoming election.

‘Good evening, everyone,’ said Beatrice. ‘I am delighted to introduce tonight, an admirable man. One of our own, but so much bigger than us all. Hope you have read this book, it is just remarkable,’ she gushed. ‘He’ll have my vote this November. Hands together please, and welcome Frank Fraker.”

As Frank strode to the microphone, I sensed a latecomer drop into the seat beside me. It was Joe Honest, a wet-behind-the ears newspaper cadet with the local paper. I was reporting for the Herald out of the city, hardened, cynical and prepared to take Frank down. I noticed Frank’s first assistant, Jane Icare in our row. Interesting. I’d pin her down for quotes later.

‘Hello, friends,’ said Frank in his loudest, bonhomie voice. Pompous, bombastic and beaming. ‘How kind of you all to come out on this wet, cold night. I am grateful for your support.’

‘Came in out of the rain, Frank,’ called someone.

‘Tell us about that near miss IED, Frank,’ taunted another.

This was not a subtle crowd. Most understood the real Frank Fraker. I saw confusion on the faces of the few who were there to celebrate the hero of the autobiography, proud to be in the midst of the great man. Frank had his work cut out for him. I settled in to watch the show.

‘Some of you know me. I’ve lived most of my life in the neighbourhood, except for college, then army service. I’ve returned home to serve in this community and hope for your vote, as Beatrice has kindly promised.’

He smiled down at us, like Jesus himself.

‘As with all of my success, this book has been a team effort. My old friend, Jonathan helped. That’s him over there, dressed in navy.’ He waved vaguely at one of the suit guys. ‘My campaign team is here tonight, and if I run out of time to talk to you individually, please approach one of them.

‘The book speaks for itself, you know. Beatrice asked if I could read a selection aloud, but I don’t read. That’s why you folks bought the book because you read. However, I am happy to sign a few copies, slap a few backs and pose for your socials. I, …’.

Here Frank paused and groaned, grabbing his small paunch. He closed his eyes for a second, and bit down hard on whatever was in his mouth.

‘He has kidney stones,’ whispered Jane. I turned to see her grinning face. ‘You know what he’s chewing on? A kidney stone, coated in thick sugar like a gobstopper. It gives him something to bear down on when in pain. It psychologically convinces him that he’s already passed the blasted thing. He also thinks it makes him sound posh. A plum in his mouth. Idiot.’

‘Where’d he get the stone?’ asked Joe.

‘One of his numbnuts,’ she said.

‘I am one of you, which is why I’m running on a platform of “of the people and for the people”, Frank said.

‘Tell em how you were never picked for teams, Frank,’ yelled someone.

‘And how you cheated off Valerie Spark during finals,’ said another.

‘How your hair is a wig, your teeth veneers, how the novel was ghost-written by a playwright, your socials are manned by your court jesters, full of emojis and little substance,’ I added.

‘My autobiography, Stephen. It is a book of facts, not fiction,’ said Frank. ‘Ignore him friends, a member of the freaking press, purveyor of half-truths and fake news.’

‘His groupies represent all that he lacks’, continued Jane. ‘Ivy league, athletes, authors, an ex-marine. Frank is an empty vessel, a vampire. He’ll drain them of their usefulness, then bring in fresh meat. Happened to me.’

‘I am the sun, the moon and the air that you breathe. I will promise everything, give nothing and take all that you have to give,’ said Frank.

Wow, that’s honest, I thought. No, that’s in my head. It’s hot in here.

Frank walked down the aisle toward the signing table, using a handkerchief to wipe his forehead. A sprightly man in his 80s jumped toward him, grabbed Frank’s hand and began to speak excitedly. Surprised, Frank pushed him and the old man fell backward, landing hard.

For a moment, the audience was stunned into silence. Frank rushed to help, concern writ across his face.

‘Call for an ambulance. This man has suffered an attack,’ he called.

‘Well played, Frank,’ whispered Jane.

‘There’s my headline’, said Joe. “Fraker Attack! Candidate assaults 80-year old man at book signing.”

‘You’re catching on, buddy,’ I said to Joe. “You’re a fast learner.’ [979 words]

Open Heart

20220503_123140You opened your heart

exposing vulnerability

laid bare hopes, dreams, fear.

You welcomed unreservedly

risked hurt

your light shone bright.

You stood tall, strong yet fragile

You sought communion, connection

You called to life

Your day in the sun is too short

Your view of the future curtailed

As the sun moves away

As light leaves the day

So too, you retreat

Slave to a seasonal beat.

Friday Fictioneers – The Cannibal

#rochellewisofffields #flashfiction #fridayfictioneers

Photo prompt by David Steward

Yahoo and Yum!

This cannibal exults

Omnivorous delight

Such complaisance.

For now the neighbourhood is safe

With feast proportioned on a plate

No need to hunt, the cook consumed

Topped off with gourmet victuals.

Rest easy world because too soon

This banquet but a memory

Hunger returned, hunting I’ll go

With gourmet expectations.

Standards set, I now must hunt

in eateries most domestic

And choose as prey, a chef gourmet

My tastes now more eclectic.

Five star ratings

High class baking

Human meat, now marinating.

Salivation, delectation

Gobble, guzzle, binge, devour.

Yahoo

Yum

Me. [94 words]

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Thank you Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for continuing to set this 100 word (or less) challenge. It is certainly a commitment appreciated by many. Other 100 word stories can be read here.

Simply 6 Minutes – Soft Skin

image-6

What can I say that hasn’t been said

Grow a thick skin, give up or play dead

Friends say they’ve the hide of a rhino

I’m the absorbent amphibian

I should have evolved with experience and age

But somehow my heart keeps on breaking

Like a child I stand there and quake

A weakness I wish I could shed

I need to develop thick skin as an armour

Against a hard world, to protect

Soft and porous not a warrior makes

So I struggle, absorbing sharp barbs

When I lay on death’s bed, finally armour-plated

Hardened, impervious, insensitive

By that time I’ll not care, pushed aside all despair

And laugh in the face of the haters

Until then, I will work on the callouses

A hard shell, tough hide, unfeeling

Until then, I don’t know how to live in this world

Without constantly shrivelling [6 minutes, 144 words]

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Thanks to Christine at Stine Writing for this weekly challenge. To write whatever you can in six minutes using the prompt provided.