The Gibson Twins

Abby closed the shop early Friday. The ladies quilting auxiliary was just going to have to do without further sewing notions until after the weekend’s festivities. After all, the carnival only came into town once a year, and it was perhaps the only joyful thing she and her twin sister Gabby still shared.

In fact, it may have been the only joyful thing they had ever shared. Fraternal, as twins go, they had never even shared the same ova. As infants, Gabby took over the lion’s share of their harried mothers time as she developed the colic straight off, and as mother had enjoyed telling it, “After finding out how well it worked, stayed with it until she was nearly three.”

Leaving Abby, although physically much frailer than her ever wailing sister, to busy herself with curiosities. She could entertain herself for hours, her green eyes sparkling with mischief, as she orchestrated the dance of myriads of sugar ants with deftly placed drops of jelly which she squeezed from a slice of white bread.

When Abby had taken over the running of their now deceased fathers sewing shop in town after graduation, Gabby had gone off to Wellesley on a rowing scholarship. Her above average height and thick musculature making her a godsend for a team that had not placed well in three seasons running and was desperate to win a cup.

Gabby’s tenure at Wellesley had been tenuous at best, given her hot head and inability to back down once a fighting stance had been assumed. Although those were the very same qualities that made her an unstoppable force on a rowing crew, they had made her less than popular with the faculty, and quite the pariah amongst the all female student body. Which in turn, made making friends difficult, and finding ‘the girl of her dreams’ an impossibility.

So distressed is a lacking descriptor for the way Abby felt when she arrived home from work early that Friday afternoon to find Gabby already tucked away in the darkness of her childhood bedroom, silently bemoaning the fact she had graduated college as of yet untouched, while outwardly boisterous in her refusal to go to the carnival’s grand opening ceremonies. 

“But we’ve got to go!” Abby pleaded. “We’ve never missed a year! Pennywhistle bands, cotton candy on a cone, babies with two heads in jars of formaldehyde! Why I hear they have even added a strong woman this year! Gargantuan Glenda she calls herself. The paper says she can juggle three small men wearing cast iron boxers without so much as rattling a single hair out of place!”

That last bit spurred a smile so genuine, it all but distracted from the prominence of Gabby’s chipped left front tooth. Intrigued, she sat up and gathered her long chestnut locks into a knot at the back of her head. Although still distressed at never having known the pleasures of  a woman, the prospect of meeting one purported as at least equal in size – especially one so prolific in her accomplishments- was titillating indeed. 

The twins were seated center grandstand when the carnivals opening parade began, Gabby already devouring a hand dipped corn dog and a funnel of greasy home cut fries. Abby, betwixt delicate licks of a shiny red candied apple, was ‘ooing and ahing’ over each act as it paraded past- hardly noticing that Gabby was silently awaiting her first glance at Gargantuan Glenda.

Finally, there she was. In all her golden lamé splendor, pecs glistening in the late afternoon sun. Gabby quite forgetting her surroundings, let go with a resounding wolf whistle, that succeeded in doing more than just turning a few heads in the grandstands. It got Glenda’s attention and her yellow bouffanted head spun on its steely sinuous neck until the two of them locked eyes.

Gabby then let loose with what she knew to be her most attractive attribute, a cascade of glowing chestnut ringlets, which tumbled down well past her shoulders, and glimmered as she shook them with delight. Had she been a horse she would have whinnied, so great was her excitement.

Abby, too caught up in her own joy at her sisters new found enthusiasm to understand the significance of the mating dance being played out between her sister and this vision in gold lamé, was slightly befuddled when Gabby suggested she go on ahead to the Tent of Freaks, and she would catch up with her there later.

Having lost her taste for two headed snakes and midgets who smoked cigarettes with their toes after three go arounds, Abby stood quite dejectedly, outside the entrance of the Tent of Freaks waiting for Gabby until the crowd thinned and the carnies were showing signs of packing it in, before calling it a night. 

She awakened the following morning, ready to give Gabby a real piece of her mind, but was greeted instead by a note leaning against the sugar bowl in Gabby’s scrawling hand. In short, it advised her that Gabby had run off with Gargantuan Glenda, followed her to Selma, where she was set to headline her own act in the upcoming Dallas County Fair.

Abby’s temper flared. How dare she! Her own sister! Why there was a word for people like that! 

Ever the peacemaker, however, her angst burned away as quickly as it had flared. 

“Yes.” she said aloud, if only to herself. “There is a word for people like that. And the word is love.”

Abby skipped the remaining days at the carnival, opting instead to lay out squares for a very special quilt. She would have to work around the clock, maybe even keep the shop closed the whole of next week,  if she was going to finish it in time.

But she would do it and she would be there, on opening day of the Dallas County Fair, adding that day to the newly expanded list of joys she and her sister shared.

This week tnkerr wrote two character studies on the lead in post to the weeks OLWG#130 prompts. I took those characterizations and ran with them. Including the three phrasal prompts of course. The prompts were:

1. Pennywhistle Band
2. followed her to Selma
3. love’s the word

Old Master Phleobold

Old Master Phleobold’s ever watchful eye had been so judiciously busied- finding fault with those remanded to his charge- that he had allowed his own aging process, to go all but unnoticed. 

Oh, there had been the slight stiffness here, the creaky bend there, the quite natural thinning of hair. But it wasn’t until he caught sight of himself in a piece of a looking glass he seized from a groomsman he deemed unduly vain, that he came to wonder if the slanderous slurs of his underlings might actually have been rooted in truth.

This crease in the stiff collar of his self confidence could not have been inflicted upon him at a more inopportune time. 

You see, the rambling estate to which the Old Master had devoted the entirety of his humble life in service, was under siege. Simultaneously it seems, by both the threat of a fire breathing dragon loping towards them from the south, and a vicious crack that had formed in the dam that safeguarded it’s fertile landscape from flood to the north.

An ‘All Hands on Deck’ had been sounded, and every able bodied man had been summoned to the site of the crack in the dam, leaving only our Old Master and what women folk could be spared from the running of the house to stand vigil against the possible onslaught of the dragon.

Now Old Master Phleobold despite his age, was every bit a proud man. And in so being, was ill-disposed to the possibility of being outdone by a milkmaid, should the dragon actually make an appearance while the men folk were otherwise engaged. So he set off on foot in a southerly direction to- as it were,  head the dragon off at the pass.

The Old Master hunted dragons by night and slept in the dry washes left in the wake of the dam by day, completely unaware that anyone who knew anything about dragons- knew, that dragons hunt by day.

So I believe I’m safe in saying he was caught more off guard than most, when he was awakened of a dawn to the snort of a dragon, and the smell of his own, albeit sparse, singed hair.

Armed with only a dagger and a short length of rope, Old Master Phleobold found himself ill-suited to thwart the dragons advances, so he brandished the weapon he was most accustomed to welding, and belittled the dragon with a scourge of words that would have dropped a muscle bound farm hand to his knees. But sadly, they had no such effect on the dragon.

In defiance, the dragon chortled and hissed as he made good on his threat to advance.

It was then that the very earth bucked beneath them and a great roaring burst of water let loose from the dam. Our Old Master, now frozen with fear, let out a blood curdling scream followed by a damning list of vulgar epithets not fit for even unmixed company- which succeeded in dispatching the dragon just moments before the deluge swallowed up the once dry wash, and most unfortunately, our Old Master Phleobold with it.

Years passed during which the flood waters receded, and no further threat by the dragon was made. So when they finally found him, mouth agape, knee deep in muck, some say a legend was born.

Forever after, the once hated Old Master, was spoken about with reverence. Why even a pub song was penned in his honor, the refrain of which went something like this:

“T’was a sharp tongued Old Master,
who’s harsh words slewed the bastard.
While our men folk was up the dammed crick!”

(boing boing….)

This piece was inspired by the photo prompt supplied by Sadje’s What do you see? #4

La Sosia

Image by Vitabello from Pixabay

It could have been her up swept strawberry blonde hair, or the pale distance in her eyes. Alone, either could have served as a least common denominator in triggering painful remembrances of Evaleanna. The coupling of the two, however, was closer to the agony of being gut shot.

Wojo was in Arizona on a little matter of clean up. It seems the Witness Protection Program had come into possession of a worthless piece of trash which had once belonged to The Family, and when word was received they had deposited it in a rural Arizona, Wojo caught the next flight for Phoenix.

It was there, amidst the hustle and bustle of Phoenix’s Sky Harbor Airport, that his eyes first came to rest on la sosia Evaleanna.

“Thank you for choosing Hertz, Mr. Anderson.” La sosia greeted him with the same practiced joviality he had seen her greet everyone who preceded him in line. “What type of vehicle can I put you in today?”

“Something luxurious.” Wojo responded, stretching the word ‘luxurious’ to a nearly obscene length- and winking seductively when it became evident his elongation had not gone unnoticed.

“I do love a man who knows what he wants.” La sosia countered, the sing songy style with which she delivered her tired sales script having been instantly replaced with a soft, throaty coo. 

By the time her hand lingered just seconds too long in his outstretched palm whilst delivering the keys to a Jaguar XJ, Mr. Anderson had already scribbled his cell number on the back of one of his business cards, and tucked it delicately into a pocket just under Annika’s name plate, and over her- heart.


Any similarity Annika may have borne to Evaleanna in the airport earlier in the day evaporated quickly as he plunged himself into her, atop the fully reclined, cordovan leather passenger’s seat of the Jag. 

Until that moment, Wojo had been able to fool himself into thinking that he could allow the color of her hair, and the distance in her eyes to be enough. That somehow they alone could transport him back to the only time in his life when he knew what it felt like, to love.

But as Annika bucked and moaned beneath him, any yearning he may have had to recapture that bliss quickly ignited, fueling the only emotion he was still capable of feeling in the arms of a woman. Rage.

As he drove Annika back to her car afterward, his rage had turned inward. How could he have allowed himself to be blindsided by such emotional bullshit? He knew very moment he spent in Phoenix added to the danger of being seen in the area, the possibility of his being identified in connection with the job he had been sent here to do. What the fuck was wrong with him?

By the time he pulled up alongside her car, he had to fight off the desire to knock Annika out of the car and into the parking lot like so much unclaimed baggage.

Hanging on to one last thread of civility, he was allowing her to say her good-byes, when he was forced to notice the once pale distance he had seen in her eyes, had since been replaced by the same pleading hunger that over the years had only served to deepen his disgust..

In that moment however, something clicked. What was to become his life’s work rose from within him like the Phoenix out of the flames.

He came to understand the depths of what could be accomplished- were that hunger to be harnessed- and nurtured under a careful regiment of highly controlled feedings..

This is the fourth installment of the Las Donnas Fatales series which can be read in its entirety by following the Las Donnas Fatales category header located in the drop down menu on the blogs home page.

I included both Misky’s Twiglet #152 ‘pale distance’ and the OLWG #40 single prompt, least common denominator.

Lester Combs

Every bit the corn fed farm boy who preferred monosyllables to sentences, Lester Combs was generally accepted as simple. Those who knew his father, Gunther, during the years he struggled to raise the boy alone, kindly never mentioned Lester’s appearing none too bright, but rather focused on his merits. He was ‘strong as a bull’ and ‘loyal to a fault’, admirable qualities they never failed to point out when casting light on the boy. 

And because in a hungry farming community, not yet far away enough from being considered a part of the Dust Bowl, those qualities won out over a capacity for book learning, Gunther took great pride in knowing his son possessed them- in spades. However, even this did not prevent disquieting thoughts about Lester’s future when Gunther found himself alone with his thoughts.

Lester, not unintentionally, fed willingly into the communities consensus by keeping to himself and choosing to speak very little when he did find himself in the company of others.  At a young age he discovered “Huh?” to be a most useful tool in avoiding conversation, so he employed it often, never letting on he actually had a vast vocabulary at his disposal. 

With his mother having been gone for longer than he could remember, and his father being a man, who although often referred to as a ‘looker’ by the local lady folk, was better known for raising hairs with his outspokenness and often argumentative opinions,  his invocation of “Huh?” spared him more than his share of involvement in what he considered useless blather.

In the summer of ‘42 when the crop yield proved to be far greater than the monies Gunther had put back to hire in gleaners and harvesters, and the most likely remedy to the lack of strong backs was clearly to keep fourteen year old Lester out of school through the harvest, Gunther did so without hesitation.

That season, Lester did the work of five men. Undaunted by the long hours and back breaking work, he reveled in the accolades showered upon him by both his father and the hired hands. Having never experienced such a sense of pride and accomplishment, when winter set in and no talk of him being sent back to school was forthcoming, Lester accepted this as a sign that he was not alone in knowing, he had come into his manhood. 

Days, he tended the livestock, repaired machinery and mended fences. He even tried his hand at cooking that first winter, a task which had always fallen to his father in the past. 

Nights however, alone in his room, Lester explored the vast richness of fantasy, a door opened to him with the ripening of his man flesh. It was quite the uncharted territory, given his solitary life alone on the farm with his father. Although a necessary fact of life, sex was a subject never broached by Gunther Combs.

Lester came to imagine this new found secret part of himself made him quite like an adventurous boy from a far off country his mother had read to him about when he was small. A boy named Aladdin. 

This Aladdin had possessed a magic lamp, and when he rubbed it, a genie would appear, and carry him off to exotic, often unimaginable places. Places hard wrought with adversaries, which Aladdin must succeed in triumphing over in order to win the love of the beautiful princess.

So nightly, his own magic lamp clenched firmly in his calloused right hand, Lester would travel into the vastly unimaginable world of the exotic opposite sex- where he would slay such dragons as awkwardness, oafishness, shyness- and in so doing, be rewarded with the love of the one girl that had ever really been kind to him.

The one girl that had never made fun of him, never called him names, was even there for him the only time the hurtful words of the other children became too heavy, even for Lester to bare. 

The girl’s name, was Mabel Marie Givens. 

I wrote a story about a year ago I called Ginny Combs in response to a wonderful prompt provided by Sue Vincent on her Thursday #writephoto prompt. During the writing process I fell so in love with the characters I knew one day I would revisit them. I was wrong. One by one they are visiting me.

Last week we learned the back story of Ginny’s mother, Mabel Marie. And today, I share with you the story of her father, Lester Combs.

If you enjoyed this and would like to follow the story, and learn more about these characters, you may do so by following the Ginny Combs category header located in the drop down menu on the blogs home page.

Maggie misses the meeting

Photo courtesy of Temsco Helicopter Tours Juneau, AK

When we pulled up to the modest suburban home, I couldn’t help but wonder if Nick was stopping off to see some friend or family member on our way to the illustrious Miss Jenny’s. The house he parked in front of, looked nothing like I had ever dreamed a bordello might look.

No muscle-bound bouncer at the door. No red light on the porch. Just an ordinary family style home on an older, well kept street lined with tall birch and uneven cement sidewalks.

Nick drew the line at Maggie’s accompanying us to the door, which didn’t sit well with Maggie at all. She made a beeline into the front seat as soon as we exited, where she yelped dejectedly, pawing pitifully at the passenger’s side window while we made our way to the porch.

I did my best to ‘hush’ her with hand signals, as I thought yelling across the yard might draw a little too much unwanted attention- and to tell the truth- now that I was actually here, I wasn’t so sure I wanted to be seen entering a house of ill repute. Not even one that didn’t look like one.

Nick depressed the doorbell, and turned to me with a serious look on his face. “Please try to remember why we are here. We are not here to ask silly questions about the nature of her business and very frankly, I don’t get the impression you’d know enough about it to ask any intelligent ones. For the most part, try and let me do the talking, okay?”

I was just about to inform him that I knew plenty about the gritty world of prostitution- after all I hadn’t watched 20 seasons of Law and Order for nothing- when a slight redhead in a rose embroidered caftan opened the door.

“Nicky! Long time no see! Lemme guess.. What brings you here?” She bubbled excitedly, until she noticed me a half step behind him on the stoop. Her demeanor changed instantaneously. “So what? You bringin’ your own talent around these days? You know I got a corkin’ fee…”

“Naw, Jen, nothing like that. Believe it or not, I’m here on official police business. Homicide not Vice, mind you, so don’t get yer dander up.”

Nick nodded stiffly in my direction, carefully avoiding any eye contact that might have distracted from his little ruse. “This is, um, this is Garret. She’s my new partner. Temporarily that is.”

“Oh really?” Miss Jenny perked up. “I hope nothin’ bad happened to Sleezak.” She said as she ushered us both past her and into the foyer. “He was just here last week, and..” She gave me a quick sideways glance. “Maybe I’ve said too much already..”

As Miss Jenny led us through the length of the house toward what I was quick to find out was her boudoir, which also conveniently served as her personal office, I couldn’t help but notice, none of the accouterments one would naturally associate with whore house decor had been spared on the inside of the house. So, somewhat against my will, I drank it all in.

The gold flocked wallpaper, the burgundy velvet settees dotted with sweet painted ladies in various states of undress. Even one of those oil filled statue lamps, the ones where the beads of grease trickle down translucent threads surrounding a golden statuette of Venus, or some other naked from the waist up goddess. Yep, hanging directly to the right of the brass embellished leather and mahogany bar- the one with the smoked mirror tiles running the full length of the wall behind it. Needless to say, I was in gauche sensory overload by the time we reached our destination.

Once inside Miss Jenny’s little love nest, we were immediately greeted by a bed the size of Massachusetts making good on its threat to take over one whole side of the room. I, for one, was relieved when Miss Jenny motioned us toward a small sitting area where an overstuffed rose embroidered divan, and two matching organdy wing chairs quite frankly reminded me of Mabel’s living room, and helped bring my swirling senses back to rest on the reason we were here. 

“So Nicky..” Miss Jenny tittered, as she made herself to home in his lap, and ran her inch long magenta lacquered fingernails through the sides of his close cropped hair. “Tell me what you’re really doing here?”

‘Nicky’ wiggled a little uncomfortably at first, but then actually began to look like he was enjoying it. Which I will admit, kinda pissed me off.

“It’s like I told you Jen. I’m on a case and I need some info from you.” 

Miss Jenny leaned in and whispered something all breathy like into Nick’s ear. Whatever she said, had Nick wiggling uncomfortably all over again. I felt a little bit better.

“Jenny,” his tone reminiscent of a throaty moan, which only distracted further from the matter of official police business that was to have been the reason for our visit, “wadda ya say we save that kinda talk for another time.. What I need from you right now, is to know how long it’s been since you been in that old Lincoln you have parked out back?”

Miss Jenny leapt off his lap like it had burst into flames.

“Oh, I see. Uhuh. You cheap bastard! If a car date is all you wanted- you shoulda done your shoppin’ in the parlor!” she raged. “Nuhuh. No way. Not today, thank you!”

Although I expected to see a burst of something akin to panic overtake Nick’s usual state of composure, I was pleasantly surprised, in an almost back-handed sort of way, when Nick succeeded in diffusing the situation with just a few well placed words.

“You know I never settle for hamburger when there’s a perfectly good steak on the grill…”

This is yet another installment of Maggie’s Story. The previous installments can be found by following the Maggie’s Story category header located at the bottom of the blogs home page.

I was successful in working in all thee of the phrasal prompts offered by the OLWG #37. The phrases were:

  1. not today, thank you
  2. don’t know enough about it
  3. hush