Random, Fun & Quirky

Eye Candy

Hi readers. I wanted to share some beautiful and unique photos I found. So enjoy your weekend and week with these fantastic images.

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PHOTOS: Pixabay

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Journaling

Journaling: List Making and Prompts

This post is a companion to the ‘Journaling Prompts’ post.

Journaling doesn’t have to be about writing beautiful, flowing, deep paragraphs. Journaling is about keeping a record of you, expressing yourself and doing whatever the heck you want to with it. Two fun ways of journaling are list making and doing journal prompts. They’re also great if you’re not in the mood to write out everything that happened in your day or record your thoughts on what’s been going on in your life lately. The list making is simple and quick and the prompts get you thinking.

I’ve tried list making journaling and it’s so good for times when I’m busy. I can just knock off a list of what happened to me last week or the goals I want to go for, etc. One new thing I’m trying is keeping lists of things that bring me joy and fun things I’ve done.

I’m doing my journal on my computer currently and  keep two running lists in mine: Good/Fun things that happen and things that make me happy. They’re both ongoing lists and I try to update them as things happen or as I find something I enjoy.

For me, the best thing about doing this is that it helps me keep track of what’s going on in my life, but it also helps me keep perspective, too. I love being reminded of the positive things in my life when I open up my document. It’s great because sometimes I get wrapped up in the busyness or stress of life and seeing the good things helps remind me feel better about life.

Another fun thing I like to do with journaling is using prompts. I don’t know about ya’ll, but it’s really easy for me to get in a journaling rut when it comes to what I write. I usually end up writing about my day, or what I’m thinking. That can get a little boring after awhile. That’s why I like using journaling prompts. There are so many types of prompts out there: fun, quirky, thought provoking, ones for self awareness, so there’s enough to keep me busy for awhile! And they’re great when you don’t know what the heck to write about.

Finding them isn’t too hard. There are plenty of resources out there for journaling prompts. Just use your internet search engine or find some great ones on Pinterest. There are also a few bloggers here on Word Press who publish journal prompts.

Try these sites for good prompts:

119 Journal Prompts for Your Journal Jar

Here Are The 50 Best Journaling Prompts You Will Ever Read Or Need

This is from Word Press blog ‘Wednesday Wonders’

https://wordpress.com/read/blogs/147671091/posts/387

This one is via the blog ‘When Life Awakens’

https://wordpress.com/read/blogs/113055932/posts/6613

I also made up a few of my own if you’d like some to get started.

*What are your top 10 favorite songs?

*How did you spend the most recent New Year’s Eve? How do you want to spend the next one?

*Describe something you want to write about on your blog but haven’t yet.

*What was your favorite part of your day? Why?

*What food/recipe would you like to try? 

*Name one positive thing that happened today or one thing you really enjoyed (no matter how big or small)

I’ve got a companion post with nothing but journaling prompts that I published alongside this one, so check it out. 

Share your ideas for journaling prompts in the comments!

Happy journaling everyone!

Journaling

Journaling Prompts!

Hi readers! Today’s posts are centered on the idea of journaling. This one is a companion to the ‘Journaling: List Making and Prompts’ post. These are just some ideas for prompts to get you going or to inspire you.

*What is the most interesting/funny thing a child has ever said to you?

*What are your thoughts on conversations with kids? Who do you prefer talking to, kids, or adults? 

*What’s the most interesting/funny/weird thing you’ve ever overheard? Did the people you were listening to discover you were listening in? How did they react?

*If you were a magician, what kind of trick would you like to perform? 

*Name the three countries/places you want to visit most; why did you choose those places?

*What do you want to accomplish this month? What actions can you take to do that?

*What was the best moment for you from the past day or week?

*What is your favorite word? Your favorite sound?

*Name one special person in your life (dead or living). Why are they special? What do you love most about them?

*What is your favorite song right now? Why?

* If you could have been in any band, which would it be? Why did you choose this band?

*If you had decided to pursue music, and had put together a band, what genre of music would it play and what would its name be? Would it have had groupies?

*Name a person you have loved or do currently love. What are some ways in which you have acted in love towards them? Reflect on those acts.

*If you could travel back in time, where would you go, what would you do and why did you choose this time period? 

*What historical events are most interesting to you? Why? What sort of impact do you think they had on the world or the society they occurred in? 

*If you had been an athlete and gone to the Olympics, what sport would you have played?

*If you climbed to to top of a mountain, would you yell anything out? And if so, what would it be?

 

So which prompt is your favorite?

 

Uncategorized

My Vegan-ish Adventure: Finding Vegetarian and Vegan Options on the Go

Consider this scenario: You’re getting out of work, hungry, and have only 30 minuets until you need to get to an event where food won’t be served. So you decide to stop and grab something quick. There aren’t many places around, so you pull into the drive through of a cheap fast food joint. As you look at the menu, you find yourself dissipointed – almost everything on it has meat. About the only thing that isn’t meat are the fries. Hmmm, you decide you don’t want five boxes of fries for dinner, though, so you’ve got to find another option.

Finding vegan or vegetarian food when you’re on the run is really challenging. It seems like most fast food places have meat and/or dairy in almost all of their products. This makes eating on the go very difficult for a vegetarian or vegan.

So, since most fast food joints don’t have any or many options for those of us who like to limit or abstain from animal products, we have to get creative until they do.

1.GROCERY STORES: Check your local super market or grocery store. Make sure you pick one with food/salad bars. Many store chains here in the States have salad bars with salad, fruit, grains and other meatless and dairy free options that allow you to ‘mix and match’ so to speak. One grocery chain store here in my area has an Asian food bar that I really love and offers vegetarian options. Good stores to try are Whole Foods, Earth Fare, and  other stores dedicated to healthy foods. Many of them have plenty of vegetarian and vegan options on their food bars. Numerous regional food stores also have salad and food bars where you can make your meal any way you like, so hopefully you can find one in your area.

2. Subway, Quizno’s, Jimmy John’s and other sub shops: These are a great way to get a decent, affordable meal while avoiding meat. Many of them offer meatless subs or will gladly omit or meat or replace it with something else for little or no cost.

3. Little Asian takeout places: These locations might be likely to offer vegetarian options. Asian is usually vegetarian and vegan friendly, so that makes it a great go-to.  I frequent a couple of little places near my home, both of which offer a couple of meatless options. One place has a veggies and tofu combo that comes with rice and the other offers a wonderful meatless chow mien. You can also request dishes that have meat as meatless.

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4. Burger King: The burger chain has recently begun to notice those of us who don’t want dead cow or chicken on our burger and has been carrying Morning Star vegetarian burgers. This is a freakin’ huge step for us veggies out there! A fast food chain known for beef burgers has finally made room for another option. However, the couple of times I’ve gotten their veggie burger, I found it over cooked and a little tough. Quite frankly, not worth the money.

5. Taco Bell: has some great vegan options. You can get any of their traditional meat items ‘Fresco Style’, which means they’ll replace cheese and sour cream with pico de gallo and guacamole. Some locations just add the pico and guac without removing the meat, so don’t forget to say no meat (or no cheese)! I’ve done this several times and it’s pretty good. I also really like the ‘Power Menu Bowl’; it’s got lettuce, tomatoes, guac, cheese and black beans. Normally it has chicken in it, but you can request it meatless. They also have a couple of meatless burritos that work well for a meal.

6)Moe’s & Salsarita’s: They both have vegetarian and vegan options. Burritos, bowls and tacos can all be made to order so opting out of meat and or cheese is easy. Moe’s also offers tofu if you want a meat substitute. I frequent both places and love them. It’s nice to have options easily available.

There are plenty of options for those living or traveling outside of the US as well.  Unfortunatly, I’ve never traveled outside the US, so I can only share information found on the internet, though it does look like there are several options.

Canada

Canada has several options for quick vegetarian and vegan meals. According to the internet (and website Narcity.com) Canada has numerous options as well. They say that A&W Canada offers two veggie burgers for vegetarians. Chipotle, Harvey’s and Five Guys also offer vegetarian options.

Europe

In Europe there are some options. Website The Nomadic Vegan notes that in Italy, O’Vito (Known as Universo Vegano) is a great option for vegans as it’s menu is 100% vegan. Elsewhere in Europe, McDonald’s offers a vegan burger in Sweden and Finland called the McVegan reports website Quartz.

Australia

In Australia, website Vomad recommends trying eateries like Zambreros, specializing in healthy, Mexican style food. It sounds like they have several options for those who like to eat vegetarian or vegan. Another option is Lord of the Fries (great name, too!), a fast food joint that promises completely vegetarian meals and heavily vegan, according to the website. They have vegetarian and vegan versions of burgers, fries and hot dogs.

South America

I didn’t have as much luck finding sources for fast food in South America, however, I did find an excellent general resource for finding vegetarian and vegan restaurants in South American countries called Happy Cow. The site has listings for just about all countries on the continent so that you can find something for wherever you are.

Africa

In Africa, Capetown has the best vegan eating reports The Nomadic Vegan. They also note that many African dishes are naturally vegan. These meals can be found in some food stalls. Chain restaurant Nando’s is also recommended as a good option for those who want to avoid animal products.

India

India has some meatless McDonald’s restaurants says Time magazine. Most of the Indian locations also offer a great deal of vegetarian meals as well, they say. Other options in India include Saravana Bhavan and Fasso’s.

If I’ve missed anything, please let me know in the comments section! And let readers know what places do you recommend, too!

SOURCES:

https://onegreenplanet.org/vegan-food/vegan-options-at-popular-fast-food-chains/

https://qz.com/1159661/mcdonalds-has-added-a-vegan-burger-to-its-menu-in-europe/

https://www.thenomadicvegan.com/fast-food-goes-vegan-in-italy/

https://vomadlife.com/blogs/news/top-5-aussie-vegan-friendly-fast-food-joints

https://www.happycow.net/south_america/argentina/

 

Flash in the Pan (Short Fiction)

“Dragon Rock” Part 1

“Dude, we are not asking the dragon for directions.” Said Zepher as he handed his flying partner Jiri a tool.

Zepher and Jiri, members of the Air Guard on their home planet Kirie had found themselves stranded on an island in one of the planet’s oceans when their patrol flight vehicle experienced a malfunction forcing them to land on Dragon Rock island.

“But we’re here and don’t know the island.” Jiri responded. He fiddled with the engine of their patrol craft for a moment, hoping to re-start it.

“Really?” Zepher responded sarcastically.

“And this thing is shot anyway….. And why not?”

This elicited a quizzical look from Zepher.

“Because it’s crazy. And it’s a dragon- it might eat us or something. And who knows what it’ll do to us!?”

Jiri closed the door to the engine compartment and began to secure the vehicle. He gestured to Zepher to get their things from inside. Despite the sunny, cloudless day, it was still chilly. Winter was only two weeks away and nightfall would bring a dangerous cold.

“Ok, first of all, I don’t think he eats Kirians. I heard he eats livestock and other animals. And secondly, the weird stories about him could just be rumors.”

“Ok, what if it isn’t the only dragon here!? You’ve heard the rumors!”

“Yes, but they’re just that- rumors. It’s probably fine.”

“I don’t want to find out.”

Zepher pulled their computer tablets, communicators and emergency survival packs from the flight  cockpit.

“Well, it doesn’t matter, anyway” Jiri finally said. “We just need directions.”

“We can figure our own way.”

“We don’t know this island!”

”Yeah, that’s because no Kirians come here cause there’s a crazy ass dragon living on it.” Zepher exclaimed.

“Hence, we need directions. Pull out the pad, we’ll try the map.” Jiri responded calmly.

Zepher sighed and pulled a small tablet from his backpack.  It annoyed Zepher that Jiri was so calm. He handed it to his partner.  Zepher proceeded to complain as Jiri poked the tablet, trying to bring up a map. The island had been a military post for nearly a hundred years before dragons forced the Kirians to abandon it forty years earlier. Now, there was one famous-or infamous if you believed the rumors- dragon occupying the island.

But traces of Kirian settlement were still left. Some of the original buildings remained standing and functional and could provide shelter for the night. Jiri was looking for the one that sat on far eastern coast of the island. Its electrical signal was still active, meaning the equipment inside might still be able to send a distress call or message.

“We’re risking our lives just being here.”

“You’re being such a child, you know that? It’s gonna be fine.” Jiri finally said.

“There is potential for my life to be threatened, so that means my fear- and the pansy ass behavior that comes with it is justified.”

Jiri chuckled and shook his head.

“I’m not getting a good connection to the internet system, it’s only loading the map for the southwest corner of the island. Look, we don’t have much left of our provisions. I really don’t want to be out here overnight, it’s gonna get really cold.”

Zepher sighed in defeat. He couldn’t argue with that.

“Can we at least be cautious?” Zepher requested.

“Of course. We’ll keep a safe distance.” Jiri yielded.

Zepher grudgingly agreed and the two began walking.

The island was dominated by large, dark rocks. Huge, beautiful trees and vegetation sprouted up in the small plots of soil nestled in between the rocks.  About an hour later, Jiri and Zepher were climbing a hill dotted with rocks when Jiri spotted the dragon about a hundred yards ahead perched on a large round rock looking out towards the ocean.

“ There he is.” Jiri whispered to Zepher.  “You ready?”.

Zepher wasn’t ready, and was hanging behind his partner. When he didn’t respond. Jiri turned back to him.

“It’ll be fine, man, don’t worry.”

Jiri began moving forward towards the creature, gesturing for Zepher to follow.

“I wish I could believe you, man.” Zepher said in a hushed whisper as the two men climbed the rocky hill. As they got closer the animal looked bigger and bigger. With only about thirty yards between them and the creature, he looked like a hulking mass of muscle.

“Shit! He’s massive!” Exclaimed Zepher.

“Shhh! Be nice!” Jiri whispered to Zepher before approaching the dragon.  “Hello!” He called out.

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THIS IS THE END OF PART 1 OF THE STORY. PLEASE CHECK BACK ON JANUARY 25TH WHEN I POST PART TWO!

 

PHOTO: Pixabay/elukac

Flash in the Pan (Short Fiction)

Micro Fiction Stories

“Fool Yourself”

*He couldn’t hide it from anyone- except himself. Person after person left his life, never to return. Friends, girlfriends, co-workers, a sibling. With each lost relationship, the confusion grew stronger and stronger. ‘Why were they leaving’, he thought? The only person who stuck around was his mother- but that relationship was strained. She tried telling him he was difficult, but he never listened. ‘Just haters’, he thought. But he couldn’t keep people in his life for long. He began to think maybe something was wrong. But would he ever see it? Would he ever change?

 

“Three-peat”

*She built a life with a husband in Charlotte. Then she fell in love with another man. So she married him and had two husbands. A few years later, in Greensboro, she had added a third man to the mix. Three cities, three lives, three husbands. The men didn’t know about each other- at least she didn’t think they did. She worked hard to keep each life a secret. She wove an ever growing web of lies to juggle it all. She constantly feared the reaction of her husbands; she knew that if her secret were exposed, she’d lose all three.  Then the day came when they told her they knew…….They’d known for awhile; but to her surprise, they weren’t mad.

 

 “Like Father Like Son”

*Long ago, when Ryan was young his father Caleb had suffered from a horrible disease. Caleb suffered for years, unable to care for himself, slowly disintegrating, and going towards death step by step. Ryan and his family rallied around his father to care for him. Ryan’s greatest fear had always been dying the same way. He couldn’t shake the fear; it was like a shadow. Then one day he was diagnosed with the same thing.  Only he had no family to take care of him.

 

Flash in the Pan (Short Fiction)

The Sock Dimension

Hi  readers! I hope the new year has been positive for all of you so far! Today I’m posting a short piece in response to a prompt from the blog ‘A Writing Prompt A Day’. The prompt was to write a piece about why socks go missing. So here it is.

https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/52085930/posts/1979787343

Monday morning came early for the Henderson’s. Marques wandered into the kitchen to start some breakfast. Out of the kitchen window the sun began to peek over the horizon of the Arizona desert. Bright orange and yellow rays of light burst through the scattering of clouds in the sky. He wished he had more time to enjoy it, but he had an early meeting that morning. He put a pan of oatmeal on the stove and walked across the room to the laundry nook. He had been drying some clothes over night. Marques began pulling out the clothes. His wife Kara stuck her head in the door to say good morning before wandering into the kitchen.

Marques peered into the dryer, pulling the clothing into a laundry basket, sifted through the items and sighed. Another pair gone again. He stood up and took his full basket into the kitchen.

“Lost some more.” He said to Kara.

Kara looked up from preparing her breakfast.

“Again!?”

“I don’t know where they go!” Marques exclaimed.

“So which ones are gone this time?”

“My blue and gold striped and your pink ones with the watermelons.”

Kara sighed. The couple had been losing socks at a steady rate for the last few weeks.

“Well, that’s how it is in the dryer: something goes missing and you end up with something you don’t even remember buying.”

Marques dropped the basket onto the kitchen table.

“I swear they’re getting sucked into some other dimension or something.” he said in sarcastic frustration.

Kara chuckled as she pulled the oatmeal from the pan and plopped it into two bowls.

“Well, that’s as good an explanation as there is.” Kara laughed as she handed a bowl to her husband. “That’s probably how we ended up with all those pairs of baby socks two weeks ago.” She pointed out.

“I guess so.” He sighed. “Just once I’d like to put our things in the dryer and not lose something or get something else that’s not ours.”

About an hour later in Massachusetts, Eleanor and Alessandro were playing with their baby daughter Kiyana before putting her to bed. The dryer timer dinged and Eleanor walked into the laundry room, pulled open the dryer door and reached in for her laundry. She pulled out a handful of socks. One pair was pink with little watermelons, the other blue and gold striped.

“What the crap!?”

“What?” Her husband called out from the other room.

“Another bunch of freaking socks!” She responded as she sifted through their laundry.

“Again!?” Alessandro called back. “This is the fifth time this month! Where the heck are those things coming from!?”

Eleanor walked out of the laundry closet with the socks in hand and promptly threw them  on the nearby couch. “I don’t know! I swear they come out of nowhere! Every time we do a load of laundry we get some random pair of socks we don’t own and end up losing socks we do own. I can’t keep Kiyana’s socks for anything. It’s like they get lost in some black hole or some weird other dimension.”

“Ok, maybe they’re ours, and we just forgot about buying them.” Alessandro suggested.

“Well, that still doesn’t explain how we lost Kiyana’s.”

“They’re tiny, maybe they got sucked into the dryer duct.”

Alessandro shook his head as he pushed Kiyana  in her rocker. She cooed and giggled.

Eleanor came to sit on the floor with her husband and daughter. “I’m getting tired of constantly buying socks- and baby socks are expensive. They’re so tiny- why do they cost so much!?”

“Maybe we should start putting our used, holey socks in instead.” Alessandro chuckled. That’ll be a great way to get rid of them.”

“I want to know what we can put in to get our stuff back!” Eleanor  retorted.

Kiyana tugged at her socks and giggled.

 

PHOTO: Pixabay/Tawnyowl

Stray Thoughts

Journal Your Way to Better Stories!

Do you dream of being a published writer? Do you want to improve the writing you do, or come up with better ideas for stories? Then journaling can help you get there! A lot of people keep journals during their life; recording their thoughts, feelings and the events of their lives in blank books or notebooks. Even famous authors have engaged in the practice and have gotten benefits from it.

I myself am very familiar with journaling, in the traditional method and creative styles. I’ve kept yearly journals since I was about eight or nine years old and now teach creative journaling classes to kids and adults. I love teaching it and helping people discover its benefits. It’s good for everyone, especially writers and aspiring writers! In the article “Celebrated Writers on the Benefits of keeping a Diary” by Maria Popova, famous author Virginia Woolfe felt strongly about it and “speaks to the value of journaling in granting us unfiltered access to the rough gems of our own minds, ordinarily dismissed by the self-censorship of “formal” writing.” She goes on to quote Woolf as saying, “The habit of writing thus for my own eye only is good practice. It loosens the ligaments. Never mind the misses and the stumbles.”

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Other authors who kept journals and recommended it for those also hoping to break into the field include  Anais Nin, W.H. Auden, David Sedaris, Henry David Thoreau, Madeline L’Engle and many others. The consensus among these writers is that they found journaling to be of huge benefit not only to themselves, but to their writing as well. They all agree that journaling was a key aspect of successful writing.

Richard  Nordquist quotes writer and writing instructor Pat Schneider on keeping a journal in his article “The Value of Keeping a Diary, Journal, or Writers Notebook.” on website Thought.Co:  “Your journal can be a diary of events, but it can also be your mulch, your seed bag, the womb of your art. It can be a safe place for writing first-draft material, for experimenting, for gathering and keeping impressions and information for future work.”

This is good advice. Your journal is a place for development, for you as an individual and for your work. For me, journaling helps me keep my powers of observation sharp and my creativity flowing, which is critical in any kind of writing. The writing helps me maintain my skills, and the creative techniques help me develop my imaginative thought process, improving the quality of writing I do and the ideas I use when doing it. It’s also great for working through writers block. When I struggle to find a good way to word my blog posts, articles or creative pieces, writing in my journal really helps get my mind working and helps me get out of the rut that is writers block. And then there are the words that Madeline L’Engle offered to aspirering writers: “If you want to write, you need to keep an honest, unpublishable journal that nobody reads, nobody but you.” (From website Bustle) So pull out your journal and get writing! You never know, it may help you become the world’s next famous author!

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CITATIONS:

“Celebrated Writers on the Creative Benefits of Keeping a Diary” By: Maria Popova

From Web site ‘Brain Pickings’

https://www.brainpickings.org/2014/09/04/famous-writers-on-keeping-a-diary/

“10 Famous Writers on Keeping a Journal” By: Jessica Ferri

From web site: ‘Early Bird Books’

https://earlybirdbooks.com/famous-writers-on-keeping-a-journal/

“The Value of Keeping a Diary, Journal, or Writers Notebook.” By: Richard Nordquist

From website ‘Thought.Co’

https://www.thoughtco.com/value-of-keeping-a-diary-or-journal-1689243

“14 Madeline L’Engle Quotes That Will Inspire You To Write Your Next Novel” By:Alex Weiss

From website ‘Bustle’

https://www.bustle.com/articles/176379-14-madeleine-lengle-quotes-that-will-inspire-you-to-write-your-next-novel

 

PHOTOS:

Main Photo: Pixabay/Darius Sankowski

Second Photo: Pixabay/Bru-nO

Last Photo: Pixabay/Free-Photos

Uncategorized

Re-Post: How to Cook Tofu Like Meat & Fish (Vegan Recipes Using Tofu) — Cheap Lazy Vegan

Hi readers! I wanted to share this post from ‘Cheap Lazy Vegan’. I LOVE tofu; there’s so much you can do it. It’s great for vegan and vegetarian meals as it’s versatile and can go take on the flavor of almost anything you cook it with. So here are some great ideas for using tofu from ‘Cheap Lazy Vegan’.    https://wordpress.com/read/blogs/116809354/posts/13571

Watch the video above to get the recipes! In this video, I’m using the help of Hutch Kitchen (use code “cheaplazyvegan” to get a 10% discount) to bring you guys these easy and delicious TOFU recipes. I was determined to make some meals that would help you realize how easy it is to replace […]

via How to Cook Tofu Like Meat & Fish (Vegan Recipes Using Tofu) — Cheap Lazy Vegan

Flash in the Pan (Short Fiction)

Flash in the Pan (Short Fiction) Vol. 2 Three Flash Fiction Stories

STORY 1:  “FOLLOWING AGAIN”

The morning was still dark, but she was awake and loading her bags into her car. She looked sadly on the home she would never see again. The porch lights illuminated the crisp lines of the big beautiful house she had called home for the last three years-the longest she’d lived anywhere. It broke her heart, but she had to get out of there before they came for her. They were following her again and would be along shortly.

STORY 2:  “13 MILES DOWN THE ROAD”

He was thirteen years younger, and thirteen long years behind her. She wished she had realized it before she married him. At least he was still happy.

STORY 3:  “ILLEGAL THINGS”

The worst place to go and mess up your teeth was when you were out of town.  Three teeth were loose in Tom’s gums, and pain was shooting through his mouth. Luckily he’d found a dentist in town willing to fix it for him. He sat in an exam chair, cotton shoved up his mouth to stop the bleeding and the dentists’ hand probing his teeth. The dentist called an assistant in from another room. A woman entered and handed the dentist some tools. She looked so familiar, thought Tom, but he just couldn’t place her. She looked uncomfortable as Tom stared at her. Finally it hit him: he’d seen her on America’s Most Wanted- she was a fugitive! His eyes widened in terror. The assistant and dentist exchanged concerned glances. Then the dentist said “Tom, I’m afraid I’m going to have to put you under to fix these teeth.” Tom squirmed and tried to yell for help, but the sedation gas mask was on his face before he could get a word out.

 

Hope you enjoyed the flash fiction! Which one is your favorite?

Photo: Pixabay/ LeoNeo Boy  305 Images