Bastion’s Belch

old pharmacy 2 by Pedro Cardona Llambias

Little antique bottles some with gnarly hand written labels like ‘lightning’ and ‘toads wart’ sat on the shelf behind the counter at Mr. Mc Cready’s Amazing Pharmacy. Each waiting patiently to be called upon to cure an ill, induce a beguilement, or render a curse.

The most popular would be pulled down from the shelf daily. They would be polished to a shine on Mr. Mc Creadys soft white apron, and placed back in a position of prominence, as they were sure to be called upon again soon.

Such was not the good fortune of one small brown bottle that bore the handwritten label, Bastion’s Belch. It sat high on a shelf that could only be reached with a step stool, half hidden by a long abandoned spiders web.

Even Mr. Mc Cready had nearly forgotten about about that particular tiny tonic- until that is, Old Widow Nelson came in with a special request.

“It’s the Widow Henderson.” she snarled. “The old windbag never even stops talking long enough to take a breath. Mahjong has become intolerable, and don’t even get me started on the condition of the Wednesday Bridge Club since she joined in. Something must be done, Mr. Mc Cready! I tell you something must be done!”

“I have just the thing.” Mr. Mc Cready assured her without hesitation, as he drew the wooden step stool from under the counter and settled it into position just under the dusty bottle of Bastion’s Belch. “This old cure used to be one of the favorites, but in recent years, as folks gather less and indulge in technology more, it has fallen prey, shall I say, to progress?”

“I don’t care what its fallen prey to as long as it works. I am at my wits end! And I am not the only one. I’m just the only one who has the gumption to correct the matter.” Old Widow Nelson stated in a huff, punctuating the air between them with a proper ‘Humph’ to signify the extent of her displeasure.

Before Mr Mc Cready sent Old Widow Nelson on her way with a small vile of Bastion’s Belch, and explicit instructions as to how it should be used, the Widow Nelson could have sworn she saw, almost in passing, a youthful giddy-up in his step, a mischievous twinkle in his eye, and a sly crooked smile cross his lips- but this she would not even remember till much later on.

Wednesday could not come quickly enough. Old Widow Nelson was nearly beside herself with anticipation. Why surely if she could shut up that old windbag Henderson, she would be the toast of all the women’s clubs here in town.

“And wouldn’t that add the much needed nuance of notoriety to my eulogy!” She chuckled to herself as she wrapped the small vile of Bastion’s Belch in a violet scented handkerchief and tucked it in the inside pocket of the Sunday-go-meeting alligator bag she had been saving for just such an occasion.

Wednesday finally arrived, and when it came time to serve the tea and cookies, Old Widow Nelson, half pushed her hostess, Miss Irma Whitestaid, the only spinster in The Bridge Club, back onto her card table chair, and bustled past her to the kitchen.

“Now you just let me get that, for you Irma. I can tell by the way you hold your card arm against the edge of the table that your rheumatism is acting up, so you just sit right there and let me get the tea. It’ll be my pleasure.”

Once alone in the kitchen, Widow Nelson went over the instructions she had been given by Mr. Mc Cready. “Two drops,” Mr. Mc Cready had instructed her. “No more no less.”

Old Widow Nelson removed the dropper from the vile, and counted out the prerequisite two drops, and was just about to replace the stopper, when she thought it better to add just one more drop. For good measure you know, after all Mr. Mc Cready himself had said the potion hadn’t been used in a coon’s age. It could very well have lost some of it’s potency.

Armed with the sterling silver tea service that had no doubt once belonged to Miss Irma’s dear sainted mother, as never having been married, Miss Irma would have had no occasion to acquire one of her own, Old Widow Nelson nearly sashayed back into the parlor.

Had any of the ladies of the club been attentive enough to notice, they would have seen a mischievous twinkle in her eye and a sly crooked smile sprint across her lips as she poured tea and distributed the cups, but they were all too busy trying to avoid listening to that old windbag Henderson blather on about the trip she and her dear departed had taken into the wilds of Africa the year she sent her seven children to a very exclusive, and very expensive private summer camp in the Catskills.

“Drink up Ladies! There are cards to be played, and as always there will be no food or beverage allowed on the playing tables!” Old Widow Nelson nearly sang out, gathering every eye in the parlor, and cutting the Widow Henderson’s oration off at the Euphrates.

A tittering of polite conversation filled the air as the ladies sipped daintily at their tea, and nibbled on crisp buttery cookies. The Old Widow Nelson however, consumed at this point with an over-eager sense of anticipation, sat quietly behind the tea service, nonchalantly of course, watching for any tell tale sign that the potion was working on the Widow Henderson.

She didn’t have long to wait.

As the Widow Henderson bent to replace her cup on the sterling sliver tea service, a less than ladylike ‘puft’ of seemingly trapped air escaped her coral lips.

“Oh my!” The Widow Henderson exclaimed, visually embarrassed, as she quickly covered her mouth with a tatted handkerchief she had been gifted with only this past Christmas by Miss Irma herself, and made her way toward her seat at the fourth table hoping the other girls would follow suit and the games would resume in time to save what was left of her honor.

As she lowered herself gracefully into her assigned seat, a resounding, “bwafpht” exited her posterior unmentionables with such force her paisley printed skirt ruffled with the force. In a panic of sheerest horror, the Widow Henderson’s eyes darted about the room hoping to find a safe haven to rest on, even one in their number that had not heard, and was not staring at her in baited silence, awaiting some appropriately apologetic explanation.

When none was to be found, the Widow Henderson burst into tears and made a run for the door dropping her tatted hankie in her haste.

A rightful chorus of, “Well I never’s!” resounded around the room as everyone but Old Widow Nelson sat glued to their seat in utter disbelief.

“Wait! Your hankie!” a gleeful Old Widow Nelson sang out above the din as she bounded toward the door with the Widow Henderson’s handkerchief in hand, just in time to hear a raucous duet of trapped air and passing gases being played out in double time, as the Widow Henderson made her mad dash down the front walk, and over the curb, leaving in her wake, flowers wilting, and dogs panting in the shade…

This is the fermentation of two older prompts. Misky’s Twiglet #131 ‘lightning and toads’ and OLWG prompt #109 where the prompt phrases were:

  1. gnarly
  2. antique bottles
  3. flowers wilted and dogs panted in the shade
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Three Fates

The Moirae


three little daughters
locked in their room
mother’s mad at father
so she beats them with a broom
father comes home drunk again
smelling of perfume
mother screams till father snaps
now it’s quiet as a tomb.


Sirens wail in the night
and stop at their front door
police come in with guns drawn
father hits the floor
lady from the county says
‘you’ll live like this no more,
with a drunkard for a father
a mother, rotten to the core’


three little daughters
live like that no more
shuttled between foster homes
life becomes a revolving door
of lies and disappointments
by eighteen they’ve learned the score
ones a mother, ones a junkie
and the other ones a whore.

Smokin’


‘Farmer Vincent’s Smoked Meats’ the billboard did proclaim.
“Where our smoking process, is our claim to fame!”
Little Willie, ever curious, set off one day to see
exactly what’s so special about Farmer Vincent’s recipe.
Little Willie never did discover Farmer Vincent’s smoking secret.
Farmer Vincent smoked him out. Then ground him into a tasty tid-bit!

This is the first time I combined Terrible Poetry and Six Sentence Stories.. What can I say.. I’ll try anything once.. Special nod to the movie, Motel Hell as anyone can see it was my real inspiration…

The Terrible Poetry prompt was a Little Willie poem, see the link for details, and the word of the week on SSS was: Process….

I am posting this from my phone, so I’ll have to link to the inspiring posts next time I have connectivity.

Maggie takes a thwack

Photo courtesy of Temsco Helicopter Tours Juneau, AK

It didn’t take long for the calming presence of Detective Mathers to lull both Maggie and I into a ‘sit’.

As he dismissed the two uniformed officers, I followed his suggestion and took a seat on Mabel’s over stuffed floral print divan. Maggie waited patiently until the detective returned and seated himself in a pale pink armchair facing me before seating herself attentively at my side.

“I realize you two have had quite a night and I really wish I could just let you just go home, back to bed, and take over from here without you, but unfortunately it doesn’t work like that.” He said, his tone truly compassionate.

“Why don’t you just start at the beginning and tell me everything you know about what happened here tonight. I’ll make a few notes and then ask you any questions I might have when you’re finished. Okay?”

With that, the floodgates opened, and I told him- well almost everything. I began with Maggie and I coming up to investigate the water leaking through my bathroom ceiling, then explained how we had found the door slightly ajar and entered the apartment when Mabel didn’t respond to my calls for her. I ended with the rugged work boot like soles I had seen imprinted in Mabel’s wet hall carpet just after Maggie discovered Mabel’s naked body enthroned upon the commode.

Something inside stopped me from mentioning the fact that I had lifted Mabel’s lifeless head and seen what I was sure were thumbprints, bluing on the pale skin of her throat. I guess I just thought it better that he make that discovery for himself.

Or maybe I just didn’t want to admit I had touched the body.

He listened attentively, making notes here and there as I spoke, and sat silently reviewing them for a moment longer than was comfortable before he broke the silence between us.

“You didn’t mention how long you have known the deceased, Mrs. Ferrier, or Mabel as you call her. Or how well acquainted with her you were over the course of time you knew her.”

His query caused me to flash back somewhat uneasily on my first encounter with Mabel.

Maggie and I had taken the townhouse, here at Spruce Tip Trace, nearly four years ago, right after my soon to be ex husband had deserted our life together in favor of a red sports car and a twenty-something blonde named Iris.

The day we were set to move in, Maggie and I arrived some time before the movers. I was doing some last minute vacuuming in the back bedroom, when Maggie began barking furiously and took off like a shot toward the front door. As soon as I turned off the vacuum, I heard what I soon found out to be, an old woman’s cane cracking repeatedly against the door.

“What on earth?” I exclaimed as I swung the door open excitedly. As soon as I did that, the woman I would come to know as Mabel, swung her cane, coming within inches of my head. Maggie jumped, pushing me out of the way and took a firm thwack, that surely would have been mine had she not intervened.

“I knew it!” the old woman shouted her tone accusatory, a strangely satisfied look on her face.”I knew it the first time I laid eyes it! You’ll not be living here long! Not with that.. That.. That wolf!”

With each ‘that’ she punctuated the air between us with the tip of her cane. Then turned abruptly and began to walk away, visually dependent in every way on the cane she wielded so deftly as a weapon.

As Maggie and I silently watched her hasty retreat, the moving van pulled up to the curb.

This is an on going saga. It can be read in it’s entirety by following the Maggie’s Story category links.

Ravaged by Flood

Swollen River Holme Courtesy of the Examiner


The flood raged
over the entire village.
Humiliating the men.
Violating the women.
Killing small children,
swallowed deep inside
hungry feather beds,
dreaming of spry Easter Bunnies
hiding brightly colored eggs
amongst lush spring buds
grown thick and swollen
behind the hot tongue
of a wanton young sun
as it licked away
winters snowy lingerie
leaving the thirsty river’s edge
engorged with the
seminal seasons spent seed.

Written in response to MLMM’s Mad about Metaphors call for a piece beginning with the line ‘the flood raged over the entire city’ and creating a unique personality through use of metaphor. Not sure this fits the bill, but it is definitely what was spoken to me.