Flash Fiction

Almost Wordless Wednesday – #21

Hey, Folks.

It’s been a bit since I’ve done a Wordless (July 22nd, for those who have a fetish for numbers and record-keeping), so I thought it best to throw another one out there before I lose some type of street cred. (As if I don’t damage my reputation with every single post, but let’s not dwell.)

The writing prompt this week is stunningly simple:

Where does this rustic road run?

Naturally, because I have a questionable inability to get to the point and hit “submit”, I’m going to proffer up a few background details that may or may not interest / inspire / annoy you in some way.

This photo was taken during our recent romp in the Santa Fe / Pecos area of New Mexico. In fact, I am standing in the midst of the Sante Fe National Forest. For those of you who aren’t familiar with “national forests” in the USA, they are (at least traditionally) government-owned lands set aside for the citizenry to enjoy when they need a time-out from their mundane places of employment. If you’ve never been to one, you better hurry and plan a visit because the Trump Administration is destroying national forests and parklands faster than you can say “how the hell did that asshole get elected?”

We are in a campground, perched somewhere above 10,000 feet. (There was some bickering about the exact elevation, as several members of our party were receiving varying numbers on their smartphones. Yes, there’s an app for that, one that I don’t have, and my thoughts on the matter were ruled meaningless.) Ergo, we are breathing some very thin air, a far cry from the thickly racist air that I breathe in the relative flatlands of north Texas.

Despite the thinness, a considerable contingent of our party embarked on a miles-long nature hike.

I did not go with them. I don’t hike anywhere unless there’s a prize, and it better be a good one.

Instead, I chose to stay with the smaller contingent at our “camp”, which was really nothing more than a randomly-selected picnic table, around which we placed several ice chests filled with sandwiches and snacky things and adult beverages. We pretended that we were “protecting” the camp, though it was unclear what we might be protecting the camp from. (Savage beasts who don’t require a lot of oxygen before they attack? Not sure. I didn’t see anything threatening, although a squirrel did dash by at one point.) Basically, we just wanted to drink, and everything after that was mere spin control and evasiveness.

Please note this in your life journal: If one consumes adult beverages at a very high altitude wherein picnic tables must be protected from imaginary and violent incursions, the impact of the alcohol is a bit more than one expects. Before I had sucked down my first selection, one of those hard seltzers, lime in nature, if I recall, I was in love with everybody on the entire planet and I felt a growing need to express my affection in song. Sadly, before I could hop onto the picnic table and deliver an aria that would move you to tears, there was an intrusion.

A park ranger rolled up in one of those little carts you typically see motoring around a golf course where rich white people trade stock tips and racist jokes.

Emboldened by my one drink and the thin air, despite being the least social member of our tribe, I careened my way toward the cart to see what was what with Cart Man. Turns out that the initial raison d’etre for his arrival was to collect a fee for our usage of the beast-endangered picnic table. But it soon became clear, as I gently wobbled in the thinness, that he was mostly bored off his ass and wanted to talk to somebody, anybody, with a pulse.

I had a pulse, weak though it might be what with the elevation, so I met the minimum requirements. He launched and he talked and he shared, about this and that and the fact that he was originally from Coppell (just northwest of where I dwell in Dallas) and how things are different from his wee bairn days and… well, quite a bit of intel. And the more he talked the more I listened, happily so, because one of the fundamental things wrong with this country right now is that so many people feel like no one is listening to what they have to say, however right or wrong they might be with their words.

Closed doors lead nowhere.

Cart Man eventually ran dry on his words (thin air!), but he still had a few lingering syllables. “Do you know where this road goes?”

We both turned to study the possibilities of said road.

I didn’t know.

Do you?



36 replies »

  1. Road going in one easy step; You go down the road apiece, turn up around the bend, keep climbing up and you’re on the highway, walk downhill and you’re on the low road Lose your footing you’re hitting one hard road. Turn around and your’e back on the road home. Step out and vote Trump and you’re on a very dark path.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Though wise and thoughtful, that sounds like a hell of a lot of work. I think I’ll just keep guarding the camp and wait for Coppell Joe to come rolling back around. Can you pass me another hard seltzer before you go? Thanks.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hilarious! Honestly, I heart you so much. This whole thing… I was smiling from top to bottom (on the screen, not…head out of the gutter, young man)
    If start with this prompt of yours, so expansive and open ended like this…its like crack for my imagination (never tried crack, just seemed like a reference the kids would say. What kids? The cool ones, I dunno)
    This road goes…
    Straight to my heart
    Chuck a left at the end and you can’t miss it

    Liked by 2 people

  3. The loop of life has only one exit,
    As we infinitely go about
    And come back again to old Texas.
    Sometimes life bites us while we’re simply sight seeing.
    Just enjoying the journey
    And finding the answers to life’s meaning.
    That is til we realized
    That the our car had a cracked engine.
    And stuck on that loop we found no extension
    Instead of calling for help
    We decided to take lunch in
    I noted the man said there was some Italian
    Just a few blocks away
    So I ran like a stallion,
    I’ll be back in my best Arnold impression That day the campsite
    Cleared out as you see
    The bear had its luncheon
    On my friends minus me.
    I returned with a six pack
    And two large pizzas
    And the campsite was barren
    My friends were just gone then.
    I picked up my cell phone and called everyone
    But all I could hear was a burp and then some!
    I knew that day forward
    Life isn’t always fair
    And sometimes you won’t eaten by the bear.
    So next time you’re thinking of the infinite loop
    Just remember you could become bear poop.

    Liked by 1 person

    • This is terrific! Did you truly just whip this out in a comment? I’m in complete awe. Wait, let me rephrase that. I’ve always been in awe of you, but now there’s even more to admire.

      P.S. My favorite part was the burping over the cellphone. We are some twisted sisters… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • I write poetry on the fly – I find it keeps my logorrhea to a minimum to have a structure — a beginning and a natural end. It’s a hard month in cancer land. Awesome is how you can always make me laugh. And that road didn’t go anywhere but round a picnic table and back did it? My eyesight being what it is these days plays tricks on me!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Once again, you win another prize. You’re the only one to point out that the road circles back (and eventually meets up with where I’m standing). Granted, it’s a little hard to tell such, but it’s there if you look for it. But isn’t that almost always the way? We often don’t look hard enough to see what’s really happening or what’s really important and we spend our days in a loop…

          Sorry to hear about the hard month. I realize you aren’t all that comfortable with the mushy, but I’m thinking of you…


  4. Thank you for the picture, post and advocacy for the preservation of our national forests and parks. They are public treasures whether under the influence of adult beverages or thin air!
    I grew up 8 miles from the Sam Houston National Forest where it begins in Montgomery County so I have a special place in my soul for the woods and its mysteries.
    My father instilled in me a love for travel when he took my mother and me on endless drives around the country to visit the national parks. Our method of transportation was always suspect as was his allowance for motels, but I absorbed a passion for the beauty of the outdoors that has lasted my lifetime of almost 75 years.
    I don’t know where the road goes, but I do know anyone who follows it will be rewarded.

    Liked by 2 people

    • It just kills me, the damage that has been done to our national forests and parks just in the last three years, let alone under other Republican administrations. I don’t think many folks are aware of what’s happening, what with all the other mind-numbing distractions that Trump and his minions keep creating. It hurts my heart.

      We used to go camping quite often when I was little, and the annual Lageose/Rose family reunions were always at a lakeside camp, usually in lower Missouri or upper Arkansas. So many good times and stories. I could probably scribble out several books about that mess, if I would ever sit down and do so.

      And I completely agree: Just follow the road and appreciate whatever you find…

      Liked by 1 person

    • I left a more detailed comment on your own blog, but you done did good with your cipherin…

      I’m curious about the “ain’t Twain” guy, because it’s ringing a bell but I’m not quite getting there. This will keep me up tonight, but I’m usually up anyway….


  5. Where does this rustic road run?
    Stricty speaking a road does not run anywhere, it is an immoblie object, chained to its place of creation and never able to move anywhere else until the forces of time, and a million vehicles, degrade it back into particles of its once solid state.
    HOWEVER, in this case the road runs to it’s end – and then no more.
    Simple really, same as us all – we run, or amble, or crawl as far as we can, and then we end.
    What comes after the end is unknown, for human and road, but we can hope for good things.
    Much love Mr B.

    Liked by 1 person

    • This is actually a very deep and fantastic comment. (The words have already been placed in a little folder where I store all the best comments at Bonnywood.) I truly did miss you whilst you reassessed and pondered life directions, but I must say that the inspiration is finding you once again.

      Much love back at ya.

      Liked by 1 person

      • You really do know how to flatter a girl (or in my case – a middle-aged woman) 🙂 and i heartily accept said flattery.
        When i wrote it I thought it might be a little dark sounding to some folks, so glad that vibe didn’t come across to you, as that was not ho i meant it to be.

        Liked by 1 person

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