Near 500 words: Joshua in Charge

Recently I read the Book of Joshua in the The Old Testament. It inspired this story.

After Moses died, Joshua was put in charge of the Israelites. He’d been around since Egypt and he’d never given Moses any lip. It was always “Yes, Sir” and “No, Sir” and “How high, Sir?” He was a Libra and he could charm the pants off the most rebellious Israelite. On top of that, he put on the best shows. His “Forty Years in the Wilderness Without Any Pants (‘Cause Guys Wear Dresses)” was a real hoot of a musical.

So God knew He had His guy when Moses suggested Joshua would be perfect for the job. Joshua wasn’t so sure.

“Why don’t you go with Caleb?” Joshua suggested.

“You know how he is. He’ll go off and shoot himself in the foot. No, you’re My guy.”

“I’ll give it a try but–”

“I have just the thing. Roll up your sleeve, Josh.”

“What for, Sir?

“I’m going to give you a shot of self confidence.”

“You know I don’t like needles.”

“There. Did that hurt?”

“A little bit.”

“Let me kiss it and it’ll be all better.”

“Well, okay. Do I get a lollypop?”

God kissed the boo-boo, then handed Joshua two lollypops.

“My favorites,” Joshua said. “Root beer and Wild Strawberry. Yummy.”

After a late night with the Almighty, Joshua went back to camp. He gathered everybody and said, “I have some good news, and I have some bad news.”

“What’s the good news?” Levi called out.

“The good news is we’re going to kick some Canaanite butt.”

“Aw right,” the crowd cheered.

Never one to take good news well, Judah shouted, “So what’s the bad news?”

“It’s not really bad,” Joshua holding back.

“C’mon,” Levi said. “We can take it. After all, what can be worse than the manna we’ve been eating for forty years. We’re ready for some of that milk and honey.”

“Yeah,” Reuben yelled. “Especially that honey part.”

“Okay, guys,” Joshua said. “You asked for it. We have to let our pee pees go.”

Boos went through the crowds. If this had been a movie, the soundtrack would have been playing Bob Dylan and “Everybody must get stoned.” Them Israelites had rocks in their hands and they were ready to rock ‘n’ roll.

“C’mon, fellas,” Joshua pleaded. “It’s for a good cause. After all, there are no free rides.”

“I knew there had to be a catch,” Judah said. “After all, it’s Friday the 13th. On top of that, it’s a full moon.”

“Yeah,” Reuben grimaced, “But circumcision. That’s gonna hurt.”

“So who’s going to do the deed?” Levi wanted to know. Not happy but still he was a Levite. And Levites were God’s Guys.

Joshua hesitated, then said really slow-like, “Brad.”

“Brad!” Judah, Levi and Reuben let out. “Not Brad.”

A roar went out from the crowd like an echo, “Not Brad.”

“He’s the only one with a knife,” Joshua said. “The rest of you have swords. And I gotta tell you, ain’t nobody going to take a sword to my…well, you know.”

“But Brad is blind as a bat,” Reuben said.

“And cross-eyed to boot,” Judah added.

“The Almighty’s got you covered on those two things,” Joshua said. “Brad’s got glasses now.”

“But what if he misses?” Reuben asked. “Even with glasses?”

“Let’s just say you’ll be eunuch,” Joshua said, then, “I’m going to need some of you guys to volunteer for trumpet lessons. We’re going to have a big performance at Jericho.”

Living Room Story: What the camera didn’t see

This one came after I went through an book of old photographs.

That summer at the farm was a perfect summer for the Davises. The camera stood waiting for one last photograph before the family headed back to the city for their winter life.

The camera saw the mother. Hope stepped through the front screen door and onto the porch. She took her place in the large wicker chair. She smiled at the camera’s eye, radiating the look of someone who had found the secret of happiness.

The camera saw Marty step behind her, a tall, lanky kid soon to be in his senior year in high school. He placed his long, thin hands onto his mother’s shoulders. She reached up and squeezed one of them.

The camera saw Marty’ sister, Grace, slide up beside her brother, wearing her engagement ring, thinking of the wedding to come. Standing there in her soft summer dress, she gave the camera a wink.

The camera saw Richard, the oldest son, join the others behind their mother. In his lieutenant’s uniform, he had that all-American look of promise that said he could accomplish anything he set his mind to.

George, the father, walked out onto the porch and sat down on the porch steps beside his wife. He looked around at his family and the camera saw the pride on his face. He was on his way to becoming the Ted Turner of laundromats, having inherited one from his father and turning it into five.

But the camera didn’t see Hope’s breast cancer and her death two years later. The camera didn’t see the knife plunged into Marty’s gut as he tried to stop a convenience store robbery. The camera didn’t see Grace’s three divorces and then her suicide from an overdose of sleeping pills. The camera didn’t see the bullet chasing Richard in the jungles of Vietnam.

The camera didn’t see an older George in a run-down motel, sitting on the side of the bed. He was left with only with an empty wallet, a half bottle of scotch and a cough that won’t go away. His accountant had embezzled him into bankruptcy.

And the camera didn’t see that time in the future when the family gathers for another perfect summer.

Near 500 words: Just about perfect

Another lyric adventure.

Love is just about perfect,
This and so much more,
Love is just about perfect,
So open up that door.

It’s a lovely morning.
All the colors are out.
Showing off their stuff
As I get on and about.

The sun’s making me smile,
A breeze upon my skin.
Could there ever be
A better day to walk in?

Love is just about perfect,
This and so much more,
Love is just about perfect,
So open up that door.

Oh, what the street gives up
On this Sunday Sunday:
Neighbor washing his car,
The birds having their say.

Kids doing kids’ play
Water bombing a lawn,
Dog chasing his tail,
Street having its fun.

Love is just about perfect,
This and so much more,
Love is just about perfect,
So open up that door.

Soon the day quiets down
When the sun tips his hat
On his way out of town
Letting us know he’ll be back.

Moon slips across sky,
Crickets sing her praises,
Nightly kisses good night,
Love ever amazes.

Love is just about perfect,
This and so much more,
Love is just about perfect,
So open up that door.

Near 500 words: The Monsters Are Coming To Get You

The Boo Alarm went off twenty minutes before the midnight of October 31st, alerting the residents of Poeville. The monsters from Halloweeny Town were on their way. Dr. Van Helsing had warned this would happen. Fortunately, the mayor and the town council heeded his call for action. Thus, the Boo Alarm.

At nineteen minutes before midnight, the townsfolk ran to and fro to the soft thump of feet marching, marching, marching in the distance.

Fighting off the terror coursing through his body, Mayor Hershey ran through the streets, urging the citizens to prepare their defenses for the invasion.

Mrs. Joy gathered the women of Poeville at their designated meeting place in the Town Hall. The sound of hundreds of feet filled the air. Only fifteen minutes to go before the terror struck. And strike it would.

Mr. Joy led the men of the town to roll out the wagons. They pulled them across the center of Main Street.

At ten minutes before midnight, the women climbed the stairs with buckets of hot chocolate to throw onto the monsters when they arrived.

From behind the wagons, Mr. Joy directed the men to pull catapults to face the monsters, then loaded them with large bags of stuffing.

It was five minutes before midnight when J. B. rode into town, imitating Paul Revere with his “the monsters are coming, the monsters are coming.”

The sound of marching feet was deafening. As they marched, the monsters sang, “Trick or treat, smell our feet, give us something good to eat.”

Many of the townsfolk thought it might be time to vacate the premises, urged on by the Airhead twins.

Mayor Hershey exhorted them to stand their ground. “Remember the Alamo,” they yelled.

Unfortunately there were those who wanted to know, “What the heck is an alamo?” But the encouragement was enough to keep everybody in place and ready to put up a fight against the monsters like Jim Bowie, Davy Crockett and Col. Travis did in San Antonio.

One minute till midnight, and there the marchers were, coming down the middle of Main. They were ghosts and goblins, witches and warlocks, dragons and grim reapers, zombies and vampires, werewolves and mummies. They had looks of determination on their faces.

Mayor Hershey took one look at the horde and decided there was nothing that could stop them. Not catapults, not sling shots, not hot chocolate. Nothing. Nada.

Mrs. Joy and her husband, Almond, were the first to break for it. Right behind them was Jelly Bean on his horse, followed by Gummy Bear and Chocolate Drop.

The Marshmallow Treats were the first to be captured along with Peppermint Patty and her sidekick, the Gobstopper. Next were the M & Ms. Morton and Marsha had never been fast runners.

The children in the monster costumes were not to be denied this Halloween night. It was midnight and the Candied Citizens of Poeville had lost another battle with the Mad Trick-or-Treaters of Halloweeny Town.

After the siege had ended and everything quieted down, Mayor Hershey crawled out from under his hiding place, surveyed the damage, sat down in the Mounds Bar, and thought, “Perhaps next year will be different.”

One can always hope, can’t one?

Near 500 words: Love is swimming in deep waters

Love is swimming in deep waters

Far out at sea
Running with dolphins and whales
And the North Star
A light through night and the gales.

Waves rising
Out of the deep then they fall
Breaking down
An unbreakable wall.

Though there be storms
And broken ships in ruins
There’ll be day break
When the morning returns.