Category: Flashback Fridays

Dog Wishes

This story was originally posted on June 29, 2017. I love writing stories about wishes. There are just so many things that can go wrong. I think we often don’t really know what’s best for us. It’s also easy to overthink things.

Did you know that every dog gets a wish? One day the dog fairy comes and asks what they want most. Then, poof! They get their wish, just like that.

Mostly dogs are pretty happy as they are. So, they wish for extra dinner or a sunny day or that someone would scratch behind their ears. The wishes are so easy that they almost grant themselves.

But once there was a dog that probably spent too much time thinking. He would have been happier if he’d jumped into more muddy puddles or barked at a few more people passing by his yard. But instead, he was sitting and thinking, and that was the cause of his problems.

One day, when he was resting in a patch of sunlight, sitting and thinking and ignoring the squirrels dancing around his yard and making faces, the dog fairy appeared. “What is your wish?” she asked.

“Do you know what would be handy?” the dog asked. “Having hands like a human.”

“Is that really your wish?” the dog fairy asked. “You only get one you know.”

The dog sat and thought for a moment more. “Yes,” he said. “That’s my wish.”

“So be it,” the dog fairy said. And the dog had human hands. He held them up and turned them this way and that.

“Thank you,” he said. The dog fairy smiled and disappeared.

The dog stood up. It was uncomfortable walking on his new hands. He tried to stand on his back feet, like he’d seen humans do, but it wasn’t as easy as it looked.

In the end he carefully picked his way across the yard, avoiding the sharp rocks and prickly weeds. It took him an hour or more to figure out the doorknob. As soon as he was inside, he raced straight to the kitchen.

The dog pulled open the fridge. He knocked down containers and tried to open them. Some things tasted great. Others were terrible. Some containers he couldn’t figure out how to open at all.

He hadn’t even started on the drawers when he began to feel sick. He left everything as it was and hobbled down the hall to Jack’s room.

Jack was his special human, and the dog wanted to curl up on Jack’s bed until he felt better. The dog was grateful that the door was open. He wasn’t feeling up to trying another doorknob.

He jumped on the end of the bed and curled up in his favorite spot. When he looked up, he was facing the mirror on Jack’s closet door. He held up his new hands. They didn’t look right on the end of his front legs.

The dog turned his back on the mirror and hid his hands under his chin. He fell asleep, and while he slept he dreamed.

The dream started out quite nice. Dogs were lining up, asking him to open things for them. Even cats were in line, clutching tins of cat food to their chests and looking hopeful. He used his amazing hands and could open everything on the first try.

But then, they wanted to run a race, and he couldn’t keep up while running on his sensitive human hands. Would he never be able to run again? How would he play fetch with Jack? Did it mean no more walks?

And then he saw the dogs barking softly to each other. When he looked at them, they stopped barking and looked away. A little dog laughed and then pretended it was coughing. His new hands did look strange. Maybe this had been a bad idea.

He woke up when the front door banged closed. Had he left that open? He could hear Jack yelling something in the kitchen. Oops. He’d left a mess in there.

He looked down at his odd human hands. What if Jack didn’t recognize him anymore? What if he didn’t like them? Why did he wish for hands? They were going to get him into trouble.

“Dog fairy?” he barked softly. “If you’re there, please give me my paws back.” Nothing happened. He could hear Jack coming down the hall. “Please, dog fairy.”

His paws changed back to normal just as Jack opened the door. The dog was so grateful, that he told his story to every dog he met, and they told all the dogs they met. The dog spent less time sitting and thinking and more time playing with Jack. And he was happy.

Dogs still pass around the story today. As far as I know, no other dog has wished for human hands.

Flashback Friday: Monster Cooking

This story was originally posted on June 23, 2017. I like writing about monsters that are like us except for a few things that are very different. The fun is deciding what will be different and what will be the same.

It was monster Papa’s turn to make dinner. He loved to make dinner. It required thought and creativity, and it was very relaxing. If only all chores were this great.

“What’s for dinner, Dad?” little monster asked.

“Candle wax and string,” monster Papa said.

Little monster cheered. He sat down on the stool at the counter. “Can I watch?”

Monster Papa smiled. “Of course you can.” He pulled out a large tin can and started throwing in the ingredients. String, candle wax, toenails…”

“Why toenails?” little monster asked.

“So that you’re always on your toes. What’s that over there?” Monster Papa looked to the left. Little monster turned to look and monster Papa poured a bag of candy into the can.

Unfortunately, he wasn’t quick enough. Little monster leaned forward to look into the pan. “What was that?”

“What was what?” monster Papa asked.

“What did you add to dinner?”

Monster Papa started squeezing lemons into the mix.   “Lemons, so that you’re not afraid to move forward when things go sour.”

“No, before that,” little monster said. “What was it? What was in the bag?” Little monster kneeled up on his chair and tried to lean over the counter and look into the tin can.

“It’s a surprise,” monster Papa said.

“It’s not something gross is it?” little monster asked.

“Of course not,” monster Papa said. “Well maybe a little.”

“Tell me, tell me, tell me, please?” little monster clasped his paws together under his chin. “Please, please, please.”

“Stop using your best manners, or I’ll tell your mother,” monster Papa said.

Little monster made a scary face. “What did you put into dinner?”

“Fine,” monster Papa said. “I’ll tell you. It was hot peppers, so that you’ll have biting wit.”

“You just put that in,” little monster said.

“Okay, I’ll tell you. Listen closely, because I’ll only say this once. It was…” monster Papa mumbled the last word.

“It doesn’t count if I can’t hear it,” little monster said.

“Oh look, the peppers are working already, and you haven’t eaten them yet. That’s amazing.” Monster Papa covered the tin can with foil. “Time to put this in the oven.”

“If you tell me I’ll shred the newspapers into tiny pieces and scatter them all over the living room,” little monster said.

“That would be nice,” monster Papa said. “We could turn on the fan and pretend it’s a blizzard.”

“So will you tell me?”

Monster Papa sighed. “Fine. I added candy.”

Little monster scowled. “Ewwww. Why?”

“So that you grow up sweet,” monster Papa said.

“I don’t want to be sweet.” Little monster stomped his feet.   “Who wants to be sweet?”

“It will help you appreciate the scary moments,” monster Papa said. “It’s important to have balance. Besides, it’s sweet to say I love you, and I say that all the time. It’s okay to be sweet sometimes.”

“Fine,” little monster said. “But I’m not eating it. Not if there’s candy inside.”

“Tell you what. Eat three pieces of candy, and you can pick the rest out.” Monster Papa set time on the oven.

“You can have them, Papa,” little monster said.

Monster Papa made a face. “I guess it’s good for me, right? Well, go tell Mama that our casserole surprise will be ready soon.”

“Okay. I love you, Papa,” little monster said.

“I love you too, my little monster.”

Flashback Friday: Trolling Around

This story was originally posted on October 26, 2017. I like the idea of modern trolls. Now I wonder what trolls of the future would be like. Would they haunt the bridges of starships, adding malware to the ship’s computers and changing the navigational coordinates when no one’s looking? Hmmmmmm.

Grag was under the bridge typing away when Frod came to visit. “Hey Frod,” he said. “Where’ve you been? I haven’t seen you in years.”

“Yeah, well, you know how I never paid attention in class?” Frod said.

“Of course I do. You snored so loud that we could hardly hear what the teacher was saying.” Grag rolled his eyes..

Frod laughed. “I wasn’t that bad, was I?”

“Do you remember any of the lessons?” Grag asked.

“Good point.” Frod scratched his arm. “Anyway, when we were talking about life skills, I thought I needed to live under a fridge to gather my hoard. Wow, it was a tight fit. I only ever managed to grab a handful of dropped change, but the food was good.”

“You’re joking, right?” Grag asked.

“Not really,” Frod said. “But enough about me, tell me how you’re doing.”

Above their heads, they could hear the pounding sound of someone crossing the bridge. Frod looked over at Grag. “Aren’t you going to go get that?”

Grag typed something on his laptop. “Nope.”

“Don’t stop trolling just because I’m visiting. I may have slept through all our lessons, but I could help,” Frod said.

“No one trolls in person anymore.” Grag pointed at his laptop. “It’s all online now.”

Frod looked around. “On what?”

“Online. Look.” Grag turned his laptop screen around.

Frod squinted. “Your dog is ugly and has fleas,” he read. “Did you write that?”

“That’s modern trolling,” Grag said.

“But what good does saying weird things online do?” Frod asked.

“What do you mean?” Grag started typing again.

“Well, you can’t eat your words,” Frod said. “Or gather them up to keep you warm at night.”

“You really missed a lot sleeping through all those lessons.” Grag kept typing. “I don’t troll to make a living. I do it because I’m honoring my cultural heritage.”

Frod scratched his head. “But you still have to eat. And you still need to build a hoard so that you can find a nice cave to settle down in, right?”

“Of course I do.” Grag closed his laptop and turned to look at his friend. “I work as a customer service representative.”

Frod frowned. “Are those really words?”

“Of course they are. I work for a human company, answering questions about the stuff they sell and handling returns. Things like that.”

“That doesn’t sound like a good job for a troll,” Frod said.

Grag laughed. “You’d be surprised.”


“Listen,” Grag said, leaning forward. “Do you want to build a hoard and earn money you can exchange for food?”

Frod nodded.

“Good, good,” Grag said. “It’s the modern troll way. I know of a collections agency that’s hiring. I think it would be a great job for you. Do you know how to use a telephone?” Grag held up a cellphone.

“That’s a telephone?” Frod asked. “It’s so small.”

Grag sighed. “I think you were under that fridge too long. Don’t worry. You’ll pick it up really quick. Are you hungry? We can talk over lunch.”

“I found some bread in the park this morning, but I had to fight some ducks for it,” Frod said. “I’m starving.”

“Let’s get a pizza.” Grag stood up and put away his laptop.

“That sounds wonderful.” Frod smiled, showing his crooked teeth. “Thanks for being a good friend.”

“Don’t mention it,” Grag said. “Ever. I’ve got a reputation as a troll to keep up.”

Flashback Friday: Baking a Pie

I thought this would be a great story to share again just in time for Mother’s Day. It originally appeared on May 23, 2017.

Chad checked the phone and saw that it was his sister Sally calling. He pushed the button to take the call.   Sally’s voice came through the phone, sounding bright and cheerful. “Hi Chad, let’s get together for Mom’s birthday.”

“I’m fine. And how are you?” Chad asked.

Sally sighed. “Really Chad? Fine. Tell me how you’ve been.”

“I told you I’m fine,” Chad said.

“Chad.” Sally said. She sounded irritated. Even all grown up, Chad thought that was rather funny. So he laughed.

“I was going to go visit her anyway. What did you have in mind?” Chad asked.

“I was planning a nice dinner so that she doesn’t have to cook. Monica is going to help me make chicken pot pies.   Jared is bringing a salad. So, you get dessert,” Sally said. Her voice was back to bright and cheerful.   Chad scowled at the phone.

“Why do I get the last choice?” he asked.

“Because you’re the youngest. Just buy a bag of cookies or some ice cream or fruit snacks or something. It’s not a big deal,” Sally said.

“Fine,” Chad said. “But I’m going to bake something. It’s going to be the best thing anyone’s ever eaten. You’ll beg me for the recipe, and I won’t give it to you.   Then you’ll be sorry.”

“That sounds nice,” Sally said. “I’ll see you on Saturday at five. Don’t be late.”

She hung up. Chad frowned. He had three days to figure out how to bake something amazing. That shouldn’t be so bad.

After watching some videos about making sculptures out of sugar and cooking things with blowtorches, Chad decided to think a little less big. Who knew that creating desserts would require so many expensive tools?

Chad started going through his cupboards to see what tools he did have.   After a bit of searching, he found and old pie tin. Perfect.   He could bake a pie. His mother loved pumpkin pie.

He looked online for a recipe and printed it up. Then he accidentally left it home when he went to the store.   That shouldn’t be a problem. He knew what he needed. Let’s see. It was a pumpkin pie. He needed a pumpkin. He checked the produce section. There weren’t any pumpkins.

He found someone in an apron unpacking boxes of apples.   “Where are the pumpkins?” he asked.

“Sorry, it’s the wrong season for them. We’ll have them in the fall,” the man said.

Who knew that things could be seasonal?   Strange. Chad picked up some big purple vegetable. It looked big enough to fill a pie and his mom loved purple.   What else did he need? Eggs, butter. He still had sugar in the cupboard.

He went home to check his recipe. It said he needed pumpkin pie filling. He looked that up. It came in a can, but you could make it by cooking the pumpkin.   No problem. He’d use the directions and cook the purple thing.

He didn’t have flour, so he substituted cornmeal.   He didn’t have pumpkin pie spice, so he used hot sauce. That should be plenty spicy. He ran out of sugar and substituted salt.

Despite the minor setbacks, the pie came out of the oven looking beautiful. There was just enough time for it to cool. Chad felt a sense of accomplishment. Maybe he should have gone to school to be a chef. He obviously had a natural talent for cooking.   Maybe it wasn’t too late. Maybe he should buy himself a blowtorch.

He packed towels around the pie and drove slowly to his mom’s house. He drove carefully around every corner and ignored the line of cars behind him honking at him to go faster. They didn’t know that he had a beautiful pie to protect.

Chad proudly presented the pie to his mother and wished her a happy birthday. Everyone was impressed by Chad’s beautiful pie. Even Sally. Chad smiled and soaked in the praise. He ate quickly, looking forward to finally tasting his masterpiece.

He cut just the right number of wedges and carefully slid them onto the plates. He passed them around and everyone took their first bite. It tasted strange. Not at all like a pumpkin pie. Perhaps the flavor wasn’t so bad, but it was hard to tell because of how salty it was.

It was inedible. Chad tried to choke down another bite anyway. He looked around the table. Monica and Jared were making faces. Dad was gulping water from his glass. Sally looked like she was trying not to laugh.

But mom was smiling and eating her pie as though it was wonderful. “Maybe a little less salt next time dear, but I think that you had some great ideas here,” she said. “Well done.”

Chad took another bite. No, it really wasn’t good. His mother smiled. He smiled back. “Thanks, mom,” he said. “I was thinking of buying a blowtorch.   Maybe I can make you something else.”

“I’d like that,” she said.

Flashback Friday: Unlucky Thursdays

For my first Flashback Friday, I am reposting my favorite of the stories I’ve written. This story was originally posted December 8, 2016. I hope that you like it as much as I do!

Captain Kirpatrick was always unlucky on Thursdays. He insisted that it began when he was eight years old and was cursed by an evil fairy. No one else believed in evil fairies, but the fact remained that Kirpatrick really was unlucky on Thursdays.

He spent his school years being tripped over by bank robbers and accidentally targeted by assassins. He learned extensive first aid after being in a number of car, train, plane, bike, and starship crashes. He was an expert at all the different ways to call for help.

As he grew older, the danger only grew. In order to stay alive, he learned advanced strategy and fighting techniques. He uncovered smuggling plots and terrorist hideouts. He mediated hostage crises and alien invasions.

After he graduated space academy, he flew through the ranks. He was still young when the Space Coalition appointed him Captain of a large spaceship and sent him to patrol the edge of their territory.

Every Thursday they survived yet another crisis and were soon the most decorated ship in the fleet.   One Thursday, Captain Kirpatrick set a course for a nice, empty area of space, far from anything important. This was normal for Thursdays.

As usual, it didn’t work. A large horde of alien spaceships flew in, trying to instigate a stealthy attack.   They weren’t expecting Captain Kirpatrick’s ship. Captain Kirpatrick warned them off and then ordered his crew to fire on the lead ships.

His reputation preceded him. Faced with losing the advantage of surprise and the fearsome Captain Kirpatrick, the enemy retreated. However, this was not the only drama threatening the spaceship’s crew. After Kirpatrick had given the order to fire, his Chief Weapons Officer stood and attempted to shoot the Captain. The Weapons Officer was an enemy spy, of course.

Captain Kirpatrick always wore heavy personal shields on Thursdays.   So, the blast was ineffective.   Just after the enemy fleet retreated, the enemy spy was trussed up and tossed in the brig.

This last victory proved to be the tipping point. Captain Kirpatrick was called home. He began a new career as a high level diplomat. He began to suspect that the Space Coalition leaders were mainly using him as bait.

This suspicion was strengthened when he was given a new assignment one Thursday to meet with a hostile group of rebels in order to mediate a truce.   “Are you certain this is a good idea?” He asked. “It’s Thursday.”

“Precisely,” the Space Coalition President said. “Perfect timing. Do you think you’ll need back up?”

Grand Ambassador Kirpatrick sighed. “I’ll at least need witnesses.”

The Space Coalition President chuckled. “Good thinking.”

Kirpatrick managed to defuse the bomb and rescue the rebel leaders from their mutinous assistant. They were grateful, and the treaty negotiations went smoothly the following day.

“Someday this won’t work as well,” Kirpatrick warned the President. “I really am terribly unlucky on Thursdays.”

“Nonsense,” the President said. “Look how far it’s gotten you. There’s not really good luck or bad luck, you know. It all depends on how you look at things.”

“If you say so,” Grand Ambassador Kirpatrick said.