Friday, March 30, 2012

Mystery At Random - Part 2

A lovely spring morning to my faithful FFFs,
The windows are open and the birds are singing. The crows have been laughing throughout the days for some time now and there is traffic on Broadway. I hear a dog barking. The sun is coming up. I think it will be another beautiful day if still rather warm for March. Our cherry tree is in full bloom right now which doesn't happen usually until near the end of April or May. And, our grass needs mowed. Okay, so it is really the weeds that need it, but they are over most of the yard, so I think I'll mow tomorrow morning before it gets too warm.

This week went by so quickly, that I think I must have skipped a few days somewhere. Monday I wrapped 31 books to mail for PaperBack Swap. That night we went roller skating with church families and some friends. It was fun. I used to love skating when I was younger and had skates. :)
Tuesday morning I spent over an hour printing labels and taping them on the books I had wrapped on Monday. Then in the evening my sister and I babysat for some friends. The kids enjoy having us over and after supper we played games until time to send them to bed.
Then Wednesday came up and it was a whirl. I got ready for writing classes, made the, hopefully last, corrections in Home Fires and uploaded a new version, then my sis-in-law dropped the three older kids off so she could do something. So, I ended up taking them outside to swing for a while and then we went "exploring!"
We ended up in Africa where Goof Ball with his stick gun and machete killed a pretend real lion and several sticks snakes. Pickle Puss was the journalist for the trip and kept notes on all that we saw. We even saw a sparrow rare bird hard to find in the jungles of Africa. Funny Boy was the botanist and collected specimens of yellow dandelions flowers. And I was the pathfinder, the guide and leader of the expedition. Don't you wish you had been with us?
Right after lunch Dad and I had Election training since we are both working as election judges next week. That was at 1:00 and I had writing class at 1:30. I knew I would be a little late, but didn't think it would be too long. Hah! the training started late, and then went on and on. Finally Dad and I just had to leave since it was nearly 2:00. So, one of my students only got 15 minutes of class. :P Well, he hadn't done all his assignment either. Then I had the girls class. These were the last classes this spring. :( I'm going to miss teaching. I did get to write Wednesday night.
And I wrote last night. I have to babysit tonight so no writing but maybe I can get more in Saturday night. We'll see.

I'm glad you enjoyed the first part of this story, Abigail and Grace. I hope you like this next part just as much.

Part 2

    “Shall I ask them tonight?”
    His father thought a moment. Then he gave assent. If anyone had done it, they might say so if Jeff asked them, but if he asked, well, it might not go so well.
    “Okay, I’ll ask. May I be excused now? We’re going to meet at our club house.”
    “Yes, you may. But be home before dark,” Mrs. Hansen called after him as he dashed out the back door.
    “I will!” came back a faint reply.
    Mrs. Hansen laughed, rose and and cleaned up baby Emily’s messy hands and face. “You’re awfully quiet, Dear,” she remarked to her husband.
    He told her about the missing flags.
    “Well I don’t think the Okeefenokees had anything to do with it,” she stated flatly when he had finished. “They just aren’t that type.”
    “I agree, but I can’t dispute that the flags are missing for the fourth time in as many days.”
    “But there isn’t any evidence that they were taken is there? Couldn’t the wind have blown them off?”
    Officer Hansen looked at his wife. “Maybe once, but not four times, and we really haven’t had any wind.” It was all perplexing.

    Down at the Okeefenokee’s club house, an old weathered shed of Mr. Dutton’s which had seen better days, Jeff discovered that most of the others had already arrived. After the club president, Dan Farragut, called everyone to order, Jeff asked for the floor.
    “Does anyone know if there were flags on the police memorial when we played ball this morning?” Jeff had jumped up and was looking around as he spoke.
    A silence pervaded the shed a moment and then someone called out, “I think there was.”
    But another voice argued, “Not this morning, I think it was yesterday.”
    “No, I don’t remember any then, but I think I saw some this morning.”
    “I didn’t.”
    “I don’t know.”
    “Why do you want to know?”
    “Is this a trick question?”
    The voices were coming thick and fast and Jeff was growing dizzy from turning his head so quickly to see who was talking. At last, when everyone, it seemed, was talking at once, Dan pounded on the floor with his stick for order.
    “Goodness,” he exclaimed, “one would think you all were a mob inciting a riot with all that noise. Now be quiet a minute.” Then he turned to Jeff who was still standing. “Why’d ya want to know if the flags were on the memorial this morning?”
    Jeff shrugged. “Dad asked me, and I didn’t know. Said I’d ask around to see if anyone knew. I guess we don’t.”
    “Why would your dad want to know?” Dan persisted.
    Again Jeff shrugged. “He didn’t say.”
    “Were they missing?”
    “I don’t know.”
    “Hey, Dan,” Levi hollered from the far back of the shed. “If we’re going to go weed Miss Hope’s garden, lets get on with it before we have to go home.”
    “Yeah,” Tammy called, “I’ve got to make sure Bobby gets home before dark, and he’s playing at the Rockford's.”
    Quickly seeing that any sort of meeting was out of the question, Dan gave the order to dismiss and immediately the entire troop of Okeefenokees tore out of their club house yelling and whooping like real Indians. It was their usual way of exiting the club house and Mr. Dutton was used to it.

    Before starting on his patrol the following morning, Officer Hansen stepped into the office of the police chief.
    “Good Morning, sir,” he greeted Chief Gallant. “I’ve come to make my report.”
    The chief leaned back in his chair. “I hope it is good new, Hansen.”
    “I asked my son about seeing the flags this morning when they were out playing ball, but he couldn’t remember. Therefore, he asked the rest of the Okeefenokees and none of them were certain about seeing or not seeing them. I don’t believe any of them even thought about it until Jeff asked, nor do I think,” he added, “that any of them had a thing to do with the disappearance of the flags, sir.”
    Fingering his pen in silence a moment, Chief Gallant looked thoughtful. At last he spoke. “Well, we seem to be nearly where we started. I put out two small flags this morning before I came in. Thompson is keeping an eye out as he goes by and Erikson will be doing the same later. Isn’t the Okeefenokee’s club house along your patrol?”
    “Yes, sir.”
    “Then see if you can’t sort of keep an eye on them today. Try to keep this thing under the lid, so to speak, at least for today. We’ll see if someone takes these flags.”
    Officer Hansen nodded. He was in complete agreement about keeping things quiet about this missing flag affair. He hoped the stealing would stop and that these last two flags would not disappear.
    Alas for his hopes and the hopes of each member of the Random Police Force. At one twenty-seven, word came over the patrol car radios that the flags were missing once again. This was getting out of hand. Every police officer was on the alert for any leads and officers Thompson, Erikson and Hansen were called in by Chief Gallant for a meeting.
    “Gentlemen,” Chief Gallant began gravely, “this affair has gone on too long. It must be brought to an end. Whoever is stealing the American flags must and will be brought to justice. I talked to Judge Azariah and he is in total agreement. Now, let’s get down to what we know and see if we can’t find a clue somewhere that might lead us in the right direction. Erikson, you noticed the flags were missing the last two days, correct?”
    Erikson nodded. “That’s correct, sir.”
    “Thompson, you called in the report today.”
    “Yes, sir. I did.”
    “Any clues around the site?”
    “Nothing definite.” Officer Thompson glanced at Hansen before adding, “I did notice what appeared to be a small heel mark near the back of the flower bed.”

Any questions or comments?

Friday, March 23, 2012

Mystery At Random - Part 1

Good Morning Faithful Friday Fiction Fans!
The sky this morning is overcast an there is a 60% chance of rain today. It has pretty much rained all week. I don't know how many inches of rain we've gotten, but it has to be quite a few. It is also cooler. It was in the lower 60s yesterday.

Wednesday was busy but lots of fun. We had Blanket Day here. We had half a dozen girls over to sew flannel rag quilts to give away to children in crises. Since the blankets could be small, we were able to get 10 done. The girls worked hard all day and loved laying out yet another quilt. I had boxes of flannel scraps from my grandma and there were so many cute fabrics to choose from. I still have the flannel out so I can hopefully work on a few more, but it was great to get so many done in one day.

As far as writing goes, I babysat on Saturday evening and then on Sunday I finished writing the last part of this story so I could post it today. I was busy Monday evening, on Tuesday night I worked on trying to get ideas for "Ria and the Gang," Wednesday I was really tired after a full day of company and only chatted to a few heart-sisters. Last night I probably should have written, but I was almost at the end of a good book, so I read instead. :P Tonight I'll be at Game Night at a friend's house, but maybe I can write Saturday night. I told you I was busy.

This story, "Mystery at Random" is based on a true story. I discovered the idea in a newspaper last summer and thought, "this would make a great story!" Quickly I jotted a few ideas down on an index file card and dropped it into my "story idea box." I had thought about it off an on, but never was in the mood to write it. Well, a few weeks ago, not feeling in the mood to write "Triple Creek Ranch," or "Ria and the Gang" or the other story I'm working on, and having looked at the instructions for the two short stories I had, I sighed. "I don't want to write any of those," I thought. Pulling out all my notebooks, and my "story idea" box, I flipped through some pictures without finding inspiration and then casually looked at my file cards. I didn't have many ideas that hadn't already been written but there was this one. "Hmm," I thought. "I guess I could give it a try." After trying to decide how long I should make this story, I finally decided to just write it and see how long it became. I kind of wanted to write a longer mystery; one that wouldn't be over in two weeks. Well, I did. This story is 8 Fridays long! I hope you will come back for each part. :)

Mystery at Random
Part 1
Rebekah M.

    Officer Ezra Erikson brought his patrol car to a sudden stop. Turning his head, he stared out the right window a minute before opening his door. His face was grim. This thievery had gone on long enough! It was time to put an end to it once and for all. Striding over to the police memorial, the corporal stood silently, his eyes searching, noticing every detail about the marble monument as though memorizing each bud and full blooming flower, each weed and each stone in the walk around it. “Huh,” he grunted at last, turning back to his car. Starting it, he drove at once to police headquarters.
    “Chief Gallant, Sir, they are missing again today.”
    The grey haired man looked up from the papers on his desk to the grim face of the officer. “All of them?”
    “Yes, sir.”
    “Who put the last ones out? And when?”
    “Officer Hollister. Last night twenty-hundred hours.”
    “Any sign?”
    “I noticed a small footprint in the flower bed, sir.”
    “Any ideas?”
    When Officer Erikson hesitated, his chief tapped the desk impatiently. “Come on, Erikson, out with it. Do you have any ideas or haven’t you?”
    “I do have one idea, sir, but--” Again he hesitated.
    “I gave you an order, Sir,” Chief Gallant reminded his subordinate curtly.
    “I think it might be that gang of kids who run about the town.”
    The chief’s eyebrows drew together, his grey eyes grew stern and his jaw firmed; all sure signs that something was going to happen. Officer Erikson waited in silence.
    At last his chief spoke. “You are referring of course to that gang who call themselves The Okeefenokees.”
    “Yes, sir.”
    Pressing a button on his desk, Police Chief Gallant spoke. “Lewiston, send Officer Hansen to me as soon as he gets in from patrol.”
    “Yes, sir,” a deep voice replied and the chief leaned back in his chair. “Hansen ought to be able to find out, isn’t his son a member of that gang? I thought so. You’re right. We’ve got to put a stop to this stealing here and now.” His fist thudded the desk. “If we don’t, those kids will start stealing from stores and who knows where it would end. Keep your eyes open, Erikson, and report anything else you discover.”
    “Yes, sir.” And Officer Erikson departed, puzzled and wrathful over the recurring thefts, but thankful the chief was going to do something besides fume over it.

    As for Chief Gallant, he scowled at the papers before him. Thieves in Random who stole not just once or even twice without being caught, but four times; who stole the emblem of the United States, Old Glory and from a memorial set up to honor the memory of gallant officers of the law! It was all shameful, positively shameful. But they would catch them. Of that, Chief Gallant was certain. Had there yet been a case of thievery in the small town of Random that had not been solved since he had become chief? They would hunt these thieves down, to their lair if necessary, no matter how long it took and--
    His thoughts were interrupted by a knock and a voice saying, “You wanted to see me, Chief?”
    Gallant looked up to see Hansen standing before him. “Yes. The flags are missing again.”
    “Again, Sir?”
    “Again. And Erikson reported a small footprint in the flower garden surrounding it.” The Chief paused and watched the officer’s face. “Erikson thinks it may be the Okeefenokees.”
    Opening his eyes wide with astonishment, Hansen was at a loss for words.
    “Your son is a member of that gang, isn’t he?”
    “Yes, sir. But I don’t think they would do such a thing,” Officer Hansen protested warmly.
    “I hope not,” was the chief’s brusque reply. “See if you can find out anything. Erikson is going to keep his eyes on the memorial as that’s in his beat. I’ll have Thompson do the same when he comes on. But you have a way to the inside of that gang. See if you can find out anything. It may or may not have been the whole gang.”
    Much as he doubted the Okeefenokees to have committed such a crime, he told his chief he would do his utmost to find out all the gang knew about the affair. With that he was dismissed and drove home just as puzzled as Officer Erikson.

    Sitting at the supper table that night, Officer Hansen ate in silence, listening to the chatter flowing around him. He wasn’t really listening, he was trying to figure out a way to ask about the missing flags that would seem natural, for if the Okeefenokees did have something to do with their disappearance, Hansen didn’t want to scare them out of telling the truth. Suddenly his thoughts were brought back to the conversation. His son was talking.
    “. . . and I probably would have hit a home run, except the ball hit the police memorial and Levi caught it. I did make it to third though.”
    “Jeff,” Officer Hansen had a questioning look in his eyes which his wife noticed. “When were you all playing ball?”
    “This morning,” Jeff promptly replied. “Since school is out we can play early now.”
    “Did you notice if there were any flags on the memorial?” was the next question.
    Jeff scrunched up his eyes in thought as he shoved his last bite of hamburger in his mouth. With his mouth still half full he mumbled, “Nope, . . . yes, . . . no that was yesterday . . . I think.” Reaching for his glass, he gulped down a large mouthful of water before answering. “I can’t remember, Dad. You want I should run down and take a look?”
    Officer Hansen shook his head. “No, it wouldn’t do any good now. I was wondering about this morning.”
    “Well, Levi might know. Or Tammy, she notices things. They didn’t have a lot to do in outfield. Or Pam and Red might remember.

So, what did you think of this first part?

Friday, March 16, 2012

Triple Creek Ranch - Part 17

Good Morning Faithful Friday Fiction Fans!
Spring is in the air, in the trees, the flowers, the breeze, the birds and the sunshine. Even if the sun is hiding behind some dark rain clouds. I know it is not officially "spring" but it sure feels like it. My sister and I have slept with the windows open for several nights now. It is so delightful to wake up to hear robins singing outside my window. One time this week it got up to 87 degrees! As much as I'm enjoying this lovely weather, I can't help but wonder what summer will be like. :} And it's election year. I'll probably be out campaigning; knocking on doors and waving signs whether it is hot or not.

Let me see, what have I done this week? Monday Mom, S and I went over to help my brother get things priced for Light of Faith's first homeschool conference. I spent most of my time outside cleaning off spinner racks and playing with the kids until lunch. After lunch I donned my paint clothes and set to work repainting the shelves. I tried to stay in the shade since it was very sunny with not a cloud to be seen, but I ended up with a sunburn anyway. :} Then I attended a senate debate on Monday night. Rather interesting listening to the three candidates for senate all try to tell you the same thing. :)
Tuesday I got things done around the house and prepared for my writing classes on Wednesday.
Today I'm going bowling with families from church. And tomorrow is our State's caucus. It should be interesting. I wonder how long it will last?

As far as writing goes, I've pretty much worked on "Mystery at Random" this week and nothing else. I know, I need to work on some of my other stories, but I'm trying to get this story done. So far it is 5 and 1/2 parts long. It wouldn't surprise me if it ended up at least 7 parts. I think you all will enjoy reading this story when I get it done and start posting it.
This the last Triple Creek Ranch that I have written, so if you have questions that you want answered, or comments or thoughts that you'd like to share, now would be a good time so that I can get back into the Triple Creek Ranch mood. :)
Enjoy it!

Part 17

    Norman wasn’t impressed. “Humph. The question is, does she have anything that will work on this ranch?”
    “No, not a thing.”
    Drumming his fingers on the arm of his chair, Norman fell silent. His eyes held a far away look in them and his wife waited. “Perhaps,” he at last began slowly, when Jenelle was about to suggest they retire for the night, “it will be cooler on Monday and we can go into town then. I suppose we can’t ask her to do much with the costumes she has now, can we?”
    Jenelle shook her head, feeling pity around her heart for her husband, for his shoulders drooped and he looked so bewildered about the whole situation. “Darling,” she leaned forward letting her hand rest lightly on his arm, “can we not spend some time right now praying for Orlena and asking our Heavenly Father for wisdom in dealing with her?”
     Kneeling side by side, Mr. and Mrs. Mavrich brought all their worries and cares for their sister to Him who cares for each one, asking for wisdom of whom it was said, “if any man lacks wisdom let him ask, of God who giveth to all,” and pleading for true love from the One who is love. When they at last rose, Norman held his wife close in his arms and murmured with his cheek pressed against her light hair, “I thank God for giving me the most wonderful wife in the world.”

    Saturday passed quietly enough. Jenelle, busy with her usual household duties, refrained from asking her young sister to assist her. Not that she wouldn’t have welcomed help, but she was too busy to deal with the storm which would have surely come had she asked. Besides, she didn’t feel as though the time of confrontation had arrived. “I’ll wait until we get new material.” She spoke softly as she moved about upstairs getting the rooms to right. “She can help sew her dresses.”
    Orlena, having no desire to venture forth in the great outdoors after her last experience, wandered about the house until, discovering a bookshelf, she established herself in a chair and began to read. True, none of the books were quite to her liking, but there were enough of them to keep her occupied most of the day.
    The evening meal passed by quietly enough. Norman told about moving the cattle and Jenelle refrained from mentioning anything too specific about her day with Orlena. Orlena got out of carrying any dishes to the kitchen on plea of a headache.

    The sun was barely up the next morning when Orlena was roused by someone shaking her shoulder gently and a voice calling her name.
    “What do you want?” she asked rather startled, for Jenelle was standing beside the bed.
    “This is Sunday morning, Orlena, and since we have to leave for church in a little over an hour, breakfast will be on the table in five minutes.”
    Yawning, Orlena sat up. It took her a few minutes to really wake up enough to let Jenelle’s words register in her brain. When they finally did, her sister-in-law had already slipped away. “Church?” Orlena muttered. “Out here in the middle of nowhere? Who will see us?” To her, church was the place you went to show off your finest clothes, newest hat or latest style of dress. It was also the place to discover the latest fashions and to see if Mrs. DeNae would wear a new hat again.
    Standing before her closet, Orlena remembered that her best black dress was ruined. How could she go to church in anything else? She remembered she hadn’t gone to church the Sunday after it had been finished. “Now I can’t show that horrid Clare Brighten that I loved my grandmother more than she ever loved hers.” Her lips pouted as she pulled another black dress and flung it on the bed. “I’ll have to wear black,” she thought. “I’m in mourning. But I should have my other one. If Norman hadn’t been so unkind about getting my real mourning dress remade, I would be wearing it.”
    After managing to array herself in the black dress with its many buttons, she brushed her hair, carefully arranging her ringlets in the latest style. This took her much longer with no one to help her and breakfast was half way over before she entered the dining room.
    She saw her brother look up at her entrance, exchange a glance with his wife and then return his eyes to his half empty plate as he remarked, “Good Morning, Orlena.”
    “Morning?” she sniffed, as she settled her flounces in her chair, “It is still practically night.”
    Norman refrained from answering her and Jenelle remarked about the clouds which had come up over night. The rest of the breakfast was eaten in silence and then Norman departed to hitch up the horses.
    The ride to church was an entirely new experience for Miss Orlena. The dust from the horses hooves and the carriage's wheels settled over the fine silk of her black dress turning it nearly grey. The sun was also quite warm for so early in the day though the clouds did lessen its heat. Long before they reached town Orlena wished she had worn anything but her long sleeve, rather heavy, black dress. Tiny trickles of perspiration trickled down her neck, under her collar and then down her back. Upon arriving at the little country church at last, Orlena gasped. This was nothing at all like she had expected. Where were the stained glass windows? Where was the soft carpet and the cushions in the pews? It was a disgrace. A perfect disgrace. Had Norman been paying the least bit of attention to her at the moment, she would have ordered him to take her to the train station and send her home right away. Fortunately, however, he was speaking with someone and his sister had no choice but to follow Jenelle down the aisle.

What do you think of this story?
Do you still like it?
Should I continue writing it?

Friday, March 9, 2012

Toothpaste Trouble

Good Morning Friday Fiction Fans!
It is still morning so I'm not too late. Especially since I don't usually get any comments until afternoon. ;)

S and I just got back from babysitting the kiddos. I whispered probably 4 stories to Pickle Puss and Goof Ball before Funny Boy woke up. Then after we got those three eating breakfast Doodle Bug woke up.

Last night I went to a concert with my grandpa. It was good, but not nearly as delightful as the last one we went to.
I can't figure out this weather. Is it winter or spring? The flowers are blooming, the trees budding and we've had beautiful weather, but yesterday it rained and sleeted and last night we had a frost and there was ice in the bird baths this morning. Crazy.

This week wasn't as busy as it was going to be. I was supposed to teach Geography Review on Wednesday, but two of the kids were sick. Then, a family from church was going to have everyone over for "game night" tonight, but they are sick, so that is off. I'll get more writing done.
I haven't worked on Triple Creek Ranch at all. Just haven't been in the mood I guess. I started another story that I think you all will enjoy. I have three parts done but I don't know how long it is going to be. I'll give you the title: Mystery at Random. Sound interesting? I tried something new one night. I've been wishing I could write two stories at the same time, but I only have one NEO. Well, I got a few Alpha Smarts (not as high quality NEOs) for some of my writing students. I kept one for myself just so I had a back up or so someone could borrow it if need be. So, I got the Alpha Smart and my NEO, turned them both on and tried typing right handed on one and left handed on the other with two different stories. :) Talk about splitting the brain!!! I couldn't type two different words at the same time, but I could go back and forth between the two. :) Haven't decided if I should keep practicing or not. What do you think?

This story's instructions were given to me by a friend and I must admit they made me smile. :) There is no picture to go with it but I think you will be able to picture it all yourself. There is one thing though, I need your help. I have not been able to come up with a good last line for the story, so I'm going to let all my readers try to help me. If you can come up with the perfect last line, I'll let you pick what story you want and what day you want me to post it! So, give me a little help if you please.

Warning: If you are someone who likes to try out others ideas to see if you get the same results, you might not want to read this story.

Toothpaste Trouble
Rebekah M.

    Nine-year-old Jamie and his twin brother Jerry, were busy in the living room constructing a masterpiece mountain resort complete with cabins, lodges and even a ski-lift all out of legos. They had been working on it for several days now and were eager to get it finished before their parents came home. Abby, who was six, was helping. It wasn’t often that Mr. and Mrs. Kauffman went out on a date, but Miss Rachel had volunteered to watch the children, so off they had gone.
    Everything had gone smoothly; the older ones had done their chores and now Miss Rachel had said she and the younger two would clean up the kitchen.
    “There,” Jamie sat back and looked at the legos before him. “I think it’s done.”
    “Yeah,” Jerry agreed, then added, “All we need now is snow.”
    Jamie laughed. “It sure makes skiing harder. Crash! ‘Hey mister, why won’t my skis work?’” He laughed and made his little lego man fall down.
    Jerry made another lego man say, “You can’t ski on grass, mister.”
    “You could put cotton stuffing for snow,” Abby suggested.
    “We tried that once and the men won’t stand up on it.”
    The three children sat and thought. “What we need,” Jerry began slowly, “is something that is kind of like snow. Like icing.”
    “That would be fun,” Jamie grinned. “But remember how hard it was to clean the iceing out of the lego pieces once it dried?” For the twins’ birthday cake their mother had decorated it with legos.
    “I know,” Jerry agreed. “I was just saying it should be kind of like icing. Surely there is something else that’s not food. I doubt Mom would let us use the food.”
    “Why not use toothpaste?” Abby suggested.
    “Toothpaste?” her brothers exclaimed, turning to look at her in astonishment.
    “Well, it’s not food and it goes away in water, doesn’t it?”
    “Uh huh,” Jerry nodded. “But we wouldn’t have enough.”
    “Oh, yes we would. Mom and I got a whole bunch when we went shopping. They were on sale and Mom had these coupons so we got them for almost nothing!” Abby was rather pleased with her mom’s ability to buy things with hardly any money.
    “Where are they?”
    Soon the three children were digging in the closet and discovered, to their great excitement, ten tubes of toothpaste!
    “Look!” Jerry held up one tube. “This one is blue!”
    “Mom didn’t really want that kind,” Abby volunteered, “but there weren’t any more of the white ones and she had to have ten. I don’t think she’d mind if we used it.”
    “What would we do with blue?” asked Jamie. He was all for using toothpaste, but blue didn’t seem to fit.
    “The lake. They could go ice fishing.”
    “Now that would be cool!” And Jamie grinned at his twin. “Come on. Let’s get started so we can be done before Mom and Dad come home!”

    “I don’t think we’ll use them all,” Jamie said, “but it’s a good thing we brought them all out here anyway.” He dumped his handful on the floor.
    “Here it goes,” Jerry grabbed a tube and squeezed the white stuff over the roof of one of the houses. Smearing it around with his finger, he grinned. “Hey, this is great! Come on help me, Jame.”
    “Can’t I help too?” Abby asked.
    “How ‘bout you open the tubes for us,” Jamie told her. “Then maybe you can help.”
    “Okay,” Abby was ready to do anything her brothers said in the hopes of getting to squeeze out and smear some of that goopy snow on the legos. Carefully she opened all the boxes and unscrewed all the lids.
    “I think we’re going to need a glass of water to rinse our fingers off. Oops, Jerr, you got it on the floor.”
    “I’ll go get a glass of water and a paper towel,” offered Abby.
    “And tell Miss Rachel not to come in until we’re done.” Jerry called after her. “We want it to be a surprise.” Little did he dream just how much of a surprise it was going to be.
    In a minute Abby was back with the requested items. “Miss Rachel said she wouldn’t come in and would keep the little ones with her so they didn’t mess things up.”
    “Good. Do you want to put the lake on?”
    “Can I really, Jerry?” Abby was thrilled. Carefully squeezing out a long line of blue toothpaste she swirled it in a circle. “I think there would be some white in here too,” she said. “That way it will look more like some of it is frozen.”
    “Yeah, good idea,” Jamie nodded looking up from covering the mountain with snow and setting the skiers up on it. “Hey, they stand up!” he cheered.
    Before too long the entire lego resort was decorated with toothpaste snow. The trio admired it and congratulated each other on the great idea. They hadn’t even used all the toothpaste.
    Then disaster struck.
    Abby sprang up to run and tell Miss Rachel they could come look now, but as she did she jumped on one of the open tubes of toothpaste. A long, white string of it shot across the hardwood floor.
    “Abby, look out!” Jerry exclaimed.   
    Quickly Abby stepped back, right into the paste, slipped and fell.
    As Jamie stood up to help his sister, he bumped the coffee table where the glass of water was sitting. With a crash the glass fell off right into the middle of the village! Toothpasty water poured out like a flash flood across the legos and spread around the shiny wood floor. Thankfully the glass didn’t break, but as Abby attempted to stand up and get out of the way of the on coming water, she slipped on the toothpaste and fell again.
    “Jerr, go get something to clean it up,” Jamie ordered before trying to step across the flooded lego resort. He ended up on the floor with his sister.
    Jerry managed to reach the kitchen safely and after telling Miss Rachel that something had spilled and not to come in yet, he raced back from the kitchen with a rag and a bucket partially full of water. Speed was not a good idea, for suddenly bucket, water, rag and Jerry all parted company as he slipped on the toothpaste.
    The crash and cry brought Miss Rachel, but alas, she didn’t know the danger and when the catastrophe was over, she was sitting on the floor in the middle of a lake of slimy, toothpaste water looking at the twins and Abby who were all on the floor with her, more or less covered with white smears and all smelling sickeningly of artificial mint.
    In the silence that reigned after the crash, the sound of a key turning in the lock was heard. The door opened.
    “What in the world happened?” Mrs. Kauffman gasped and hurriedly stepped back outside as the overwhelming smell of toothpaste turned her stomach.
    From the floor, Miss Rachel answered, “I’m not sure.” Bewildered, she looked from the three children up to Mr. Kauffman’s face.
    “Are you okay?” he asked, holding out his hand to help her up.
    Once on her feet, she replied, “Yes, but I think I should go. The little ones are in the kitchen and everything was great. Until now.” She stepped quickly out of the house and looked at Mrs. Kauffman. “You can tell me what happened later.”

    Not getting to play with legos for the rest of the month and having to buy more toothpaste with their own money made a big impression on the minds of Jamie, Jerry and Abby. They learned that creativity may carry a hidden price tag.

What did you think of this story?
What is your "last line"?

Friday, March 2, 2012

Triple Creek Ranch - Part 16

Good Morning FFFs,
Everything is wet this morning. Around 5:15 this morning I was awakened by heavy rain on the skylight above my sister's and my bed. I love the sound of rain on the roof! So, I turned over and went back to sleep. :) But, it looks like things are clearing up now.

Okay, so I got my first proof copy of Home Fires. They had somehow gotten the first few pages completely out of line! And mixed up my name and the title on the top of every page so most of the chapters started on the wrong side of the page. Not fun. So, I went back, corrected things (like chapters and then page numbers where they started) and uploaded a new version. My proof for that came yesterday. It looked great . . . except for . . . one chapter. :( Chapter Six started on the LEFT instead of the RIGHT!!!!!! Bother! Now I have to go fix that, and try to make sure all the rest of the chapters are still okay, then upload a new version . . . I certainly didn't have this much trouble with The Unexpected Request.

We celebrated Goof Ball's 4th birthday on Sunday. That was fun. It is hard to believe he can be four! I taught two writing classes on Wednesday and enjoyed it.
My writing is coming along slowly. For some strange reason I can't seem to get much written. Maybe it's this cold I have. I'll keep working though.

Here is part 16 of Triple Creek Ranch. I guess only Anna enjoyed Lost in the Dunes. :} Remember, I can't read your minds. Unless you TELL me, I won't know if you enjoyed my stories or not. And if you didn't, feel free to say so and give a reason for it.

Part 16

    Back in the dining room, Orlena still stood with an expression of mingled feelings; anger, pride, annoyance and surprise all mingled together.
    Jenelle too had remained in the room after Norman’s departure. Her voice was low but steady as she remarked, “No truly polite guest would refuse to assist her hostess in any small way possible.” She paused a moment wondering if her words had even reached the ears of the young, thoroughly spoiled girl before her. Seconds ticked by and then she spoke again, this time in her normal, pleasant voice. “Orlena, would you please carry those plates out to the kitchen for me?” And without waiting to hear or see what Orlena’s response would be, Jenelle, having gathered up the remaining dishes, turned and bore them to the kitchen.
    Much to her own astonishment, Orlena reached for the plates and followed her sister to the kitchen where she received a gracious thanks.
    At the sound of his wife’s voice, Norman turned in the doorway and could hardly contain his start of surprise at the sight of his sister holding three dirty dishes.
    Feeling that she had pushed things as far as she dared for one night, Jenelle didn’t offer an apron to Orlena after she had taken the plates from her.
    “Will you excuse me now?” Orlena asked in lofty tones, “I am feeling quite worn out with the exertions of the day and wish to retire.”
    “Of course,” Jenelle smiled. “Thank you, Dear, for your help; it saved me another trip out to the dining room. Good-night.”
    “Good-night,” came the stiff reply and the door to the dining room was shut behind the retreating child.
    “Well!” Norman exclaimed, “How did you ever--? But she should stay and help--”
    Here he was interrupted. “Don’t push things, Norman,” Jenelle advised. “It was a start. We can’t expect too much from her all at once.”
    Picking up a towel, Norman prepared to wipe the dishes as Jenelle washed and rinsed them. Neither one spoke again until the kitchen was clean. Then Norman, taking his wife’s arm, gently let her into the front room, which was much cooler than the hot kitchen, and placed her in a chair.
    Giving a weary sigh, Jenelle leaned her head back against the cushions. “I don’t think I’ll want to move again until morning,” she murmured.
    “Perhaps I should have taken you to bed then,” Norman smiled a bit anxiously as he pulled up a chair beside his wife once he had placed a foot stool for her feet.
    “I’ll be all right once I’ve rested a bit.”
    Norman shook his head. “What have you done today,” he questioned, “that has made you so tired? Was it my sister?”
    Quickly Jenelle shook her head. “She didn’t do anything but sit and talk. And, Darling, you were right.”
    “About what?”
    “Orlena talking. The entire time I was unpacking her trunk, she talked about the fabric, the lace, where she first wore the dress and who was at the party she wore the other dress to.”
    “You unpacked her trunk?” He knitted his eyebrows together and his face grew stern.
    Jenelle bit her lip. She hadn’t meant to mention that part. It was too late now. All she could do was to try to smooth things over. “It wasn’t strenuous, Norman, and I’m sure Orlena never unpacked a trunk before. Would you hand me my mending?” she asked, trying to change the subject.
    “No,” he shook his head. “You’re not mending tonight and you’re not knitting either,” he added as she glanced around and moved as though to rise. “You are going to sit in that chair and do nothing more wearing than talking.”
    Folding her hands, Jenelle addressed the light, “I suppose Mr. Mavrich doesn’t care if he has buttons on his shirts or not, and as for that new pair of socks I was knitting him, perhaps I should make them for one of the hands. Lloyd might like them.”
    A chuckle came from Norman. “That’s still not going to get you either basket,” he told her. “You’ve already worked too hard.” Then his voice changed. “Did Orlena do anything except talk of clothes while you were doing her work?”
    “She directed me about some things,” Jenelle replied quietly, wishing Orlena had done something, anything to help unpack that trunk.
    “What did you do after the trunk was unpacked?”
    “We looked at her black dress which I had rinsed out this morning.”
    “And?” Norman pressed, frowning at the thought that here was another thing Jenelle had done for Orlena.
    “It doesn’t look very well. The lace is in tatters most places and as for train, it might as well be used for a rag. I can take the dress apart and make another not so fancy, though it will still be out of place for this ranch.”
    “Did my sister have anything to say about the state her dress was in?”
    “Plenty,” was the somewhat reluctant reply. “But,” she added quickly as Norman was about to speak, “let’s not talk about that. The dress can’t be worn as it is and Orlena knows it.”
    “Then tell me what you did after the dress had been examined and its past glories made much of and its destruction blamed on those who had nothing to do with it.”
    A smile flickered across Jenelle’s face at Norman’s perception. How well her husband knew his sister even if he hadn’t seen much of her for the past eight years. “Then I went to begin supper and Orlena went her own way. But, Darling,” her voice sparkled as she looked across to her husband, “did you know that Mrs. Stolburg has a dress made out of the very same material as one which hangs this very minute in Orlena’s closet?”
    Norman’s face wore a blank expression. “Huh?”
    Bursting into rippling laughter, Jenelle didn’t reply right away. “It’s true, Dear,” she assured him at last, “Orlena informed me of that fact this morning.”

Any questions about this Part?