Friday, May 29, 2009

The Saturday Wordzzle Challenge: Week 65

This is week 65 of the Saturday Wordzzle challenge. Anyone new to the process can refer back here to find out how it works. I hope Mr. Linky has given up his wayward behavior and will cooperate this week. Thanks to all of you for your patience and resourcefulness dealing with that frustration last week.

The words for this week's ten word challenge were: parasite, meals on wheels, crows, it's my fault, everything but the kitchen sink, on sale, patriotism, the love of my life, library card, common sense And for the mini: blackmail, California, stethoscope, postage, crank

Here's my 10-word offering:

Martha's life was a constant battle between and her "common sense and her "it's my fault" syndrome. She felt guilty that she didn't use her library card but instead looked for books on sale. She was compulsive about books. She had to own them to read them. Her personal library was - to say the least - eclectic. She had everything from biographies, to novels, to nature books. Right now she was reading a wonderful book called Crows, Eagles, Turkeys, Parasites and Patriotism. Despite the odd title, it was a brilliantly written everything but the kitchen sink discussion of politics, cultural values (as expressed through things like meals on wheels and socialized medicine), and ethics. She was avidly passionate about politics. Everyone teased her about it and her husband never let her forget the time he had overheard her say, "Right after George and books, politics is the love of my life." "At least you put me first on the list," he would quip, "but I have an uneasy feeling it was a very close call." "Perhaps," she would whisper back, snuggling against him with a kiss on the cheek, "but you do come in first always."

My mini-challenge:

Dr. Jack Johnson fingered the stethoscope hanging around his neck and wished he knew who the crank was who was sending him blackmail threats in the mail. The the postage marks indicated a small town in California. None of it made any sense since he had never been to California or done what this nutcase was accusing him of. The police were on the trail. Across town at another hospital another Jack Johnson remained blissfully unaware that his life was about to take a turn for the worse. In an ironic twist of fate, he and his blackmailer would spend the next five years sharing a cell. How's that for irony?

The mega challenge:

"You are a parasite!" one man in the small gathering bellowed at the little old woman entering the Social Services office. He and his companions were waving Democrats are Socialists banners, along with one which read "Californians for American Morality," and another that said "I want to choose my own doctor" and one that said "Down with Food Stamps. I feed my own family." Several of them were wearing medical greens, but no stethoscopes so she could only pray that they weren't really doctors, just wearing the greens as a costume of sorts. Gloria Grassroots was puzzled as to why they were protesting outside of social services. Seemed an odd location, but they seemed like an odd group, so maybe it was a perfect match. She was tired, but she decided to confront the one who had yelled at her. "Maybe he doesn't have a brain the size of a postage stamp," she whispered to herself. "Maybe it's possible to have a dialogue." And gritting her teeth, she asked him quietly, "Why am I a parasite? Because someone need food stamps or wheels on meals in order to survive you would call them a parasite? I suppose you think it's my fault I'm old or may be sick and poor. Should I just go into the wilderness and die to save you a nickle? You certainly have no reason to yell at me. You know nothing about me. I will tell you that my politics are quite different than yours. The cranked up rhetoric of fear and divisiveness really puts me off. Where's your common sense? From what I can see the real parasites are bankers who destroy the economy and get millions for doing so, or insurance companies that charge mega bucks for coverage which they then deny to those who are sick. Or what about hospitals and doctors that do unnecessary treatments and charge patients $15 for a box of kleenex? Or drug companies that market high priced - I think of them as "everything but the kitchen sink" - drugs that people don't need? I lost the love of my life two years ago to an illness he didn't have to die from because politicians have put their ethics on sale and allow these powerful industries to blackmail them into maintaining the status quo. I don't see it as patriotism to get elected at any cost. I don't think it serves my country to watch my fellow citizens starve or die, while racist morons like Rush Limbaugh crow ugly hate-filled nonsense on serious topics. Have you thought about getting a library card and making sure that what your signs are saying is the truth? Do you even know what socialism is?" She paused here, a bit embarrassed at how carried away she had gotten. For their part, the Californians for American Morality stared at her slack-jawed for a minute or two before one of them took advantage of her silence to shout. "No new taxes." and another began yelling "parasite" once again. "Have a nice day," she smiled, shaking her head, and headed in to start her day's work as a community volunteer.


Next Week's Ten Word Challenge will be: swashbuckler, heads-up, dry martini, recovery, jungle gym, whiskers, bathing suit, spade, circular reasoning, abrasive

The Mini Challenge: butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth, stagnation, chart, star crossed lovers, apricot brandy

Thanks for playing. For those who are new, here are some guidelines to make the process more fun.

Enjoy! See you next week.



MommyWizdom said...

Wow, they were all very unique and interesting!

I always get giddy for your meme! Thanks for hosting without fail!

I liked the book title, "Crows, Eagles, Turkeys, Parasites and Patriotism" - nicely done. And I liked Gloria Grassroots.

You weave such great stories!

Have a great weekend!


Richard said...

I enjoyed your last story very much. Awesome!


ForestJane said...

Nice stories! I think I liked the first one the best.


quilly said...

I liked the plot of the mini challenge and wish it had been longer and more fleshed out.

Akelamalu said...

I like the book title in the first story and the fact that Martha put George first. :)

There could be a looooonger story in the mini- I'd like to know what happens next. :)

Dr.John said...

Glad that you were able to write three great stories despite your brothers death.
I loved the romance in the first.
The irony in the second.
The third does indeed show how difficult it is to dialogue with " true believers" who know they are right. I have seen those people on both sides. They speak " truth" but to the neutral person it comes out hate because of the words used. You captured it well.

Reston Friends! said...

Your third story really captures how once started, the venom just spews. I agree with Dr. John -- it's on both sides and it's offensive. It negates the listener's humanity. May we all be better listeners!

bettygram said...

I feel the little old lady was a very brave person, as well as kind.
It is very scary to confront protester who know they are right.

Dianne said...

and after all that she was a volunteer!!! brilliant!!
but then again, volunteers are evil - didn't they talk about that at the RNC

I love that the woman in the first story had to own the book to read it, I'm like that

Batteson.Ind said...

Dropped by earlier and tho9ught I had left a message... but I hadn't.. must have drifted Really enjoyed all three of your story's this week, as always! You have such an adept skill! cheers!

Stephen said...

I liked your stories. The book title in the first one was interesting. I've seen books that have similar title structures. The second story does seem to call out for a sequel. It has a bit of a mystery that leaves you wanting more. In the third story, the little old lady gave the protesters a good piece of her mind, but they were too close-minded and too lost in group-think to absorb it. Perhaps some of them will get it, eventually. At least she had the satisfaction of saying it.

I have my own stories up now.

Stephen from Scottsdale, Arizona, USA

San said...

I love the way your mini challenge opens up at the end--you need to write that story, Raven!

And such a way you have of incorporating "everything but the kitchen sink", literally and figuratively, in the 10-word challenge.

gabrielle said...

I can well relate to Martha’s love of books. As I pretty much have to take a running leap over the stacks to land in my bed.

Loved the character of Gloria Grassroots as everywoman. I fear we are so far tilted towards the rhetoric of individual responsibility that we are about to abandon the commons.

Nessa said...

The first one was very funny and sweet. You always have such interesting twists at the end. I'd like to know more about how the blackmailer and blackmailee get put in jail together.

RA said...

You have a gift with words, Raven. This is a very creative meme! I hope you'll have a wonderful week, despite the recent loss of your brother.