Monday, December 5, 2011

The Year Was 1978, A Saturday Centus


Jenny Matlock

Greetings fellow Centusians and those of you who are Centusiastically inclined!

This post brings you my contribution for the 83rd week of Saturday Centus, that groovy literary meme hosted by the amazing Jenny Matlock (aka "the Exalted One") at her blog off on my tangent

I missed out on posting a story last week (and broke my streak of SC's) but I'm back to start all over again with another of Jenny's masterful mental missions.

This week our Ms. Jenny has given us an interesting prompt from which to base our stories and poems. It is the number 16. 

Oh, but wait!  In true Jenny fashion we don't get off quite that easy. 

Our stories have to be written about ourselves when we were sixteen.

What's more, not only does it have to be autobiographical, but our word count is - yes, you guessed it - sixteen words total!

Wickedly clever, Jenny!

In writing this post memories of that era (which I had long since repressed) came flooding back.  Reluctantly, then, I am a bit ill-at-ease in recounting it now.   Nonetheless, here is my 16-word piece about my sixteenth year, embarrassing as it may be.  I have entitled it:

                      The Year Was 1978

Disco ruled

with bell-bottoms,

shiny shirts, 

platform heels,

gold chains,


for me,

delusions of adequacy.

Jenny Matlock

"I feel the same way about disco as I do about herpes."

—  Hunter S. Thompson


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Mom's Meatless Thanksgiving - A Saturday Centus

Jenny Matlock

Happy Thanksgiving!

Yes, it’s time to loosen those belts once again and bravely and unashamedly go for that second piece of pumpkin pie. For week 81 of Saturday Centus our gracious hostess, Ms. Jenny Matlock of her blog, off on my tangent, has given us a Thanksgiving-themed prompt from which to base our stories and poems.

This week’s prompt is “We gather together to ask the Lord’s blessing.” All you need to do is write these eight words plus another 100 of your own words and post your contribution to Jenny’s meme post so we can all share in your festive take on the prompt. 

Here is my story for this week. I have entitled it:

Mom’s Meatless Thanksgiving

“Mom, don’t embarrass me. Lissa worked really hard on Thanksgiving dinner. I don’t want you to spoil it for her.”

“But where is the turkey, sausage stuffing, and giblet gravy?”

“You know she’s a vegetarian, Mom.” 

“Yuck! Are we eating that brown goop and that green slime? “

"Behave yourself! There’s Tofurkey, creamed spinach, pesto with kelp noodles, baked celery, Brussels sprouts, organic hemp milk, and whole wheat dinner rolls.”

“Can we go? Suddenly I’m not hungry.”

“Shhh! David is saying grace.”

We gather together to ask the Lord’s blessing for these gifts we are about to receive.”

“Um..not me!”


"Thanksgiving is the day when you turn to another family member and say, 'How long has Mom been drinking like this?' My Mom, after six Bloody Marys looks at the turkey and goes, Here, kitty, kitty."

- David Letterman

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Agony Of A Soccer Mom, Part Two


Jenny Matlock

It’s week #80 of Saturday Centus, that fun short story writing meme hosted by Ms. Jenny Matlock over yonder at her blog, off on my tangent.  Each week our Ms. Jenny gives us a prompt and sets our imaginations loose to create stories and poems of 100-words or less.  Now and then she throws us a curve ball and gives us a photo prompt or a different word count or some such twist. 

Last week’s photo prompt was, well…twisted.  We were to write a 100-word story based upon the perspective of someone at the window of a home in the background of the photo showing a soccer team of red-haired children in the foreground.  What could be weird about that, right?  LOL!

Why do I mention this?  Well, because our beloved Jenny has decided to keep the twistiness going this week as well by keeping the same picture and having us write a continuation of last week’s story shifting the perspective from the person at the window to the perspective of one of the children (circled in pink) pictured in the photo. Click here to link to my story from last week. 

Here is my continuation story for this week’s Saturday Centus.  I have given it the clever and original moniker of:

Agony of a Soccer Mom, Part Two

“Look!  It’s Brittany’s crazy mom!”

“Ugh! “

(thinks to herself)

Yes, I see you mom.  Everyone does.

You are embarrassing me again!

Whenever I’m involved with something you ruin it for me - like attacking my ballet instructor for not casting me as lead in “Serenade.”

One year you made harassing phone calls to the director for casting someone else to play Princess Winnifred in “Once Upon A Mattress.”

I’m not the most talented, most beautiful, most athletic, most perfect person!

I’m just Brittany, and I’m fine with that.

If only you could be too.

Jenny Matlock

To an adolescent, there is nothing in the world
more embarrassing than a parent.

-  Dave Barry


Saturday, November 5, 2011

Agony Of A Soccer Mom - A Saturday Centus


Jenny Matlock

By now everyone is familiar with Saturday Centus, that 100-word story-writing meme that has everybody talking, right?  Well, we can thank Jenny Matlock, that idol of millions and principal inventor of the blogosphere, for creating this wonderful literary challenge for us each week at her blog off on my tangent.  It is week #79 of this fun meme and time for me to take another shot at micro-fiction writing!  

This week our "Divine Miss M" has given us a photo prompt from which to base our stories or poems.  In the photo are some kids playing soccer and off to the left is seen a house with a window.  Our assignment this week is to write from the perspective of someone at this window.  So my goal is to shoot for scoring a net 100 word story with no penalties by using foul language or going out of bounds with my word count.  You should try it too.  It will be a kick!

Here is the photo.  My 100-word contribution follows below.  I have entitled it:

Agony Of A Soccer Mom

“Wow, what an exciting game! 

Go Duncan, go!  Way to pass that ball! 

C’mon Kenna!  Don’t let them score again! 

Let’s go team!  Let’s show these guys what Matlock’s Hardware Hooligans are made of! 

Hey other team…you guys are losers!  Go cry to your mama, #4!  You stink!

Hey coach, how about giving my daughter Brittany a little more playing time?  Coach???

Hey coach!!!!

I forgot, he can’t hear me from my window.

Damn, I wish they’d let me back on the field again.  My team needs me. 

This restraining order blows.”

Jenny Matlock

"Hell hath no fury like a losing soccer mom." 
                                                                                                - Unknown

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Enter Darkness, A Saturday Centus

Jenny Matlock

It is Saturday Centus time again, the 78th week to be precise, and I am once again woefully behind in my blog posting duties. Fortunately I have time enough to squeeze in a tiny story or two before time runs out for this week’s dark-themed meme scheme. 


Yes, you heard correctly. Our wonderful hostess Jenny Matlock from her blog, off on my tangent, has given us a visual prompt from which to base our stories and poems. It’s a black rectangle. That’s it. Sort of Halloweeny-ish you might say. Oh, and we have 25 whole words to accomplish the task too. 

The usual rules apply, especially no splitting the prompt. Additionally, and I can’t stress this enough for some of you, that typing your post with your feet while playing the Ukulele wearing only a bowler hat is not permitted. That would just be too weird, even for a Centusian.

Insofar as we are dealing with only 25 word stories here, I have a couple of story ideas I wanted to drop on you this week. So if you will indulge me, here are my contributions for this week’s Saturday Centus:



Trapped in another stygian nightmare.

Gloomy realm of the terrifying shadow-people.

The floor creaks.

They come for me.

Where is my night light?


Despicable Me

The candidate’s day was done.

No more speeches, interviews or promises.

Lifting a glass of wine, he smiled

at the dark reflection of his soul.

Jenny Matlock

Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness. 
                                                                           - Martin Luther King, Jr.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Sowing Seeds of Unrest - A Saturday Centus


Jenny Matlock

Welcome Centusians, and all the rest of you unwashed heathen out there who have yet to discover the addictive properties inherent in writing micro-fiction each week!  Come on and give it a try if you haven't yet!  All the cool kids are doing it!

This little fictional foray of mine is for the 77th weekly installment of Jenny Matlock's Saturday Centus, a challenging and inspired writing meme hosted by Ms. Jenny at her blog off on my tangent.

Each Saturday our beloved teacher, Ms. Jenny, assigns us a prompt which we must lovingly incorporate into a story or poem using only 100 additional words. There are other rules too, like no vulgarity, no pictures, no splitting the prompt and &$%# like that, but you can basically do what you want.   

Jenny and the other Centusians are a very forgiving bunch and will likely allow you to live if, for example, your word count strays outside the accepted limit.

Just to be safe I wouldn't push her on it, though.

This prompt for this week's Saturday Centus is "I planted a little story seed."  This week I attempted to write my effort in rhyme format. I have entitled it:

Sowing Seeds Of Unrest

Weary of the day’s routine, 

A break from work I sought. 

With a mind for mischief, 

I hatched an impish plot. 

I saw Britney at her desk 

Waiting for calls to come. 

A perfect subject for my ruse 

Cute, but a little dumb. 

I planted a little story seed 

Of big changes headed her way. 

With our company in crisis 

And jobs outsourced to Bombay. 

“Oh, I know! It’s tragic! 

But I’m sorry to say it’s true. 

I saw the company’s layoff list. 

One of the names was you.” 

My shock and fear turned to relief 

When the pieces fell into place. 

I suddenly knew I’d been deceived 

As a wry smile crossed her face. 

Jenny Matlock

"When somebody tells you nothing is impossible,
ask him to dribble a football."

                                                          - Anonymous  

Sunday, October 16, 2011

A Little Piece of Heaven


Jenny Matlock

Centusians assemble!

It's time once again for that weekly creative writing exercise known as Saturday Centus.  This is the seventy-sixth week of this fun and challenging literary meme hosted by the incomparable Ms. Jenny Matlock of her blog, off on my tangent.

While we are normally given a text prompt from which to base our stories upon, this week Ms. Jenny has given us a photo instead.  In addition to the usual 100 word limit, we are also tasked with using a literary device, Sensory Details, in creating our stories.

This means that we are to incorporate the senses of touch, hearing, smell, taste and sight in relation to the image in concocting our stories and poems.  Sound easy?  Well let's see you try writing one then!  

After writing our stories we post them to Jenny's meme post so we can all share our takes on this week's assignment.  

This is my submission for this week's Saturday Centus challenge.  I have entitled it:

A Little Piece of Heaven

Klamath Falls was a far cry from the din of urban life Marv and Sharon had been used to, but living in harmony with nature in an old forest cabin had always been their dream. 

Marv loved the feeling of twigs and leaves crackling under his feet and the fresh scent of damp earth mingled with the wet bark of the pine forest. 


Much like the aroma of Sharon’s delicious homemade bread baking in the cabin’s hearth oven and served up warm with a bowl of her famous beef stew.   

“Now this is heaven” Marv grinned happily.  

Jenny Matlock

"Life's tough, it's even tougher if you're stupid."

                                                    -  John Wayne


Saturday, October 15, 2011

A Blurred Vision of the Future, A Saturday Centus


Jenny Matlock

Here I go again sneaking in my entry for week 75 of Saturday Centus at the last minute.  Academia has a nasty habit of stifling my creative juices, but I have to try for the sake of my reputation as a teeny-tiny story writer!  Jenny Matlock, from her blog off on my tangent, has challenged us with the prompt "Friday Night Football" this week.

My 100-word effort this week is entitled:

A Blurred Vision Of The Future

January 20, 2016

Dawn rose on the third year of the Rick Perry Presidency.  The “Texaficashun” of the country was going well.  

He replaced the Department of Education with the Department of Righteousness and declared Christianity the official religion of the U.S., referring to all others as “godless terrists.”

But by far his biggest contribution to society, besides introducing public executions as half-time shows at Friday night football games, was the Great Wall of America separating America and Mexico.

Few then could imagine it would be used to keep Americans from illegally crossing the border into Mexico to seek a better life.

Jenny Matlock

"One of the great things about books is sometimes there are some fantastic pictures."

- George W. Bush


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

When All Hope Is Lost, A Saturday Centus


Jenny Matlock

It's week 74 of Saturday Centus, that brilliantly devised literary meme forged from the fertile imagination of Jenny Matlock at her blog "off on my tangent."  

This week's exercise in micro-fiction has us once again concocting short 100-word stories in addition to a supplied prompt.  As usual I am a tardy participant, but I have an excuse - I had to save a house from a burning baby.  Yeah, that's the ticket!

This week's clever prompt is "The number you have reached is no longer in service."   I found this to be quite a challenging prompt, actually, but I managed to write something anyway.  So even if it's awful I only have to live with it until next week's SC post!  

The rules for this week are that we have to keep to the word count of 110 words total  including  the 10 prompt words and no more than 100 extra words.  As always, there is no vulgarity or splitting the prompt allowed, but we can use a photo if we want this week.

Here is my entry for this week's assignment.  I have entitled it:

When All Hope Is Lost


“I’m so depressed. 

I’ve been unemployed for 2 ½ years and now I’m completely broke. 

The Republicans refuse to pass the President’s jobs bill, but won’t extend unemployment benefits. 





They’ve slashed education and health services.  I can't get job training or medical assistance. 


Instead they’re giving billions to their filthy rich donors and corporate masters.

After tomorrow I will be homeless.   

I can’t live like that.


 ‘The number you have reached is no longer in service.  Please check your number and dial again.’

Perfect!  That’s the last time I try to call the Suicide hotline.”

Jenny Matlock

He was so depressed, he tried to commit suicide by inhaling next to an Armenian.

- Woody Allen

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Mad About Professionals

Jenny Matlock

Here is my week #73 entry for Saturday Centus, that crazy fun writing meme hosted by Jenny Matlock of her blog, off on my tangent.  Once again I am a little tardy.  I prefer to think of it as fashionably late.

 In Jenny's continuing efforts to sharpen our writing skills (like last week's masterful 32 word song lyric challenge to the tune of "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star") our visionary leader has once again reached into her inventive bag of tricks to pull out another creative exercise to challenge her many Centusian followers.

This week's assignment is all about dialogue and only dialogue.  Our stories can use up to 150 of our own words and this weeks supplied prompt words which are "Are you seriously ordering another martini?" for a total of 156 words.  The other rules are no pictures, vulgarity of splitting the prompt.

This week's chatty entry is entitled:

Mad About Professionals

“I hate these airport bars.  Bartender, another martini please!  Look at these professionals with their suits and briefcases scurrying around the country like rats chasing cheese.  They disgust me.”

“Now Ron, there’s no reason to condemn them.  They are just trying to earn a living."

“No, you're wrong.  They are lousy, money-grubbing, narcissistic, pretentious, paper shufflers!  They make me sick, Dave.”

 “Settle down, Ron.  That’s just the alcohol talking.  Not everyone is just focused on wealth and power.  There are some good people too."

“Save it, Dave.  You don’t know how much it pains me to have to smile and be cordial to these cretins.  Bartender, another martini here…and don’t skimp on the olives this time!"

"Are you seriously ordering another martini?"

“Why not?  Lots of people have a few drinks to relax before they take a flight.”

“That’s true.  But you’re not a passenger.  You’re the pilot.”

Jenny Matlock

On a Continental flight with a very "senior" flight attendant crew, the pilot said, "Ladies and gentlemen, we've reached cruising altitude and will be turning down the cabin lights. This is for your comfort and to enhance the appearance of your flight attendants."


Sunday, September 18, 2011

For My Wife, A Saturday Centus


Jenny Matlock

I'm back again to participate in Jenny Matlock's fun and challenging writing meme, Saturday Centus!  For week #72, our wonderful Miss Jenny has really raised the bar by assigning us a very challenging and unique task.  We are charged with creating a song lyric to the tune of "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" using the prompt "In the Autumn."  

Oh but wait, there's more!  We have to write this week's rhyming lyrical Centus using no more than 32 words total including the prompt!  Yes, not even the usual 100 words!  That Jenny is an evil genius!  How does she come up with these awesome challenges?   What fun!

Make sure and stop by Jenny's blog, "off on my tangent" to read all the other entries this week and share some bloggy love!   And speaking of love I have dedicated this week's post to my sweet wife, Teresa.  I have entitled this week's post:

For My Wife

In the Autumn of my life,

Glad you are my darling wife.

You indulge my silly ways

Like it was a childish phase.

Happy, laughing all the time

Loving you is so sublime.

*And don't think that I am fishing for some token of appreciation from my wife for writing this in her honor.  That would be just crass.  However if you would like to offer her any suggestions on how I should be rewarded, feel free to do so below.  -- TG

Jenny Matlock

"No man is truly married until he understands every word his wife is NOT saying."

-  Unknown


Monday, September 12, 2011

A Celestial Message, A Saturday Centus

Jenny Matlock

It’s time for another submission to Monday Saturday Centus!  This is week 71 of this delightfully challenging literary meme hosted by that tremendously talented and whimsical blogger extraordinaire, Jenny Matlock, of her blog off on my tangent.  I’m a little late, but I have an excuse from my mom, so it’s okay.  See….

”Please excuse Tom for being late with his Centus.  He’s a bit of a nincompoop. 


                                                       Tom’s Mom”

Actually, this week I churned out my usual flippant Centus piece but had second thoughts about posting it given the somber proceedings taking place across the country in recognition of the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.  So I went back to the drawing board (which looks surprisingly like a laptop) and wrote something a bit more serious to show respect for those lost and the loved ones they left behind.

Don’t worry though.  I’m sure next week I will be back to writing the dopey, silly, wacky ramblings of a depraved mind that is my typical fashion.

For those of you new to Saturday Centus, where the hell ya’ been?  The rules to this meme are simple and few.  Jenny gives us a short phrase or prompt which we have to incorporate just as it is written in a story or poem.  The challenge is that we only have (usually) 100 words plus the prompt with which to complete the assignment.   

One hundred words is not a lot of words to develop a story, which is why word choice becomes so important and why we have to tearfully edit our stories down like good little Centusians to hit the proper word count.  The other rules include no vulgarity and no pictures unless permission is granted by Jenny to include one.  Did I leave anything out, Centusians?

If you haven’t tried writing one of these yet you need to!  It will change your life forever and invariably lead to world peace and universal harmony.  If you don’t…well, we’ll just have to find you wherever you are hiding and beat you to a bloody pulp give you a very stern look of disappointment.  Be warned!

This week’s prompt is “Mother may I,” an interesting jumping off point for any writing project to be sure.  Please click on Jenny’s button and read all the other entries this week to see where this week’s crop of writers took the prompt!  We have a lot of really creative folks each and every week and you will undoubtedly enjoy the literary journeys they take you on!

Here is my submission for this week’s Saturday Centus.  Once again I’m having a go at writing in verse.  I have entitled it:

A Celestial Message

Mother may I chat with thee?

Through this dream I set you free.

It’s been ten years since that fateful day

when thousands of lives were snatched away.

Horror filled the airways then,

while our nation did cry and moan.

Such cowardly acts by evil men,

villains with hearts of stone.

From afar I’ve felt your fears.

Let this news now soothe your soul

The time has come to dry your tears.

Your appointed guardian is my role

Smile and know I’m with you now

until your days are done.

Peace and joy I bring to you

for I am your angel son.

Jenny Matlock

"Even the smallest act of service, the simplest act of kindness, is a way to honor those we lost, a way to reclaim that spirit of unity that followed 9/11.” 

- President Barack Obama


Saturday, September 3, 2011

The Right Kind of Pizza, A Saturday Centus


Jenny Matlock

It's Saturday which means it is Centus time!  This is that one time of the week when I stretch my writing muscles and attempt to write some micro-fiction based upon a supplied prompt from Jenny Matlock, our Centusian spiritual leader and the host of her blog, off on my tangent.

For week 70 Jenny has given us the prompt "what kind of pizza is this" and directed us to write a story or poem using 100 words or less plus the prompt words.  No vulgarity and no splitting the prompt is allowed, but pictures are okay this week.   I went a little over on the word count, but it's only because I love pizza and  my words fell like toppings from that great big Domino's Pizza in the sky and it seemed almost sacrilegious to slice them away.

Yeah, I didn't think you would buy that one either.

Speaking of cutting things, my story takes on a more political bent this week as I try to mentally grapple with the batcrap crazy Republican sideshow that is playing out in the media each day.  In a way, then, this story is a form of therapy for me as it allows me to vent my frustration with the right-wing wackos and what the media calls their "low information" base (code word for ignorant hicks).

The setup for this story is an interview with a pizza restaurant owner who delivers to Capitol Hill lawmakers during those important late-night sessions where the most critically important issues facing our country are discussed, debated and voted on such as naming post offices and courthouses, a resolution commending the University of Georgia gymnastics team for winning a championship, and most importantly, a resolution proclaiming a National Corvette Day.  Ah, it just makes you proud to be an American, doesn't it?

Here is my contribution for this week.  I have entitled it:

The Right Kind of Pizza

“Making pizzas for Washington D.C. lawmakers is hard.  Their tastes, like their politics, run to the extreme.  We've named a few pizzas after them to simplify their orders.

Our Michelle Bachmann pizza uses only all-white cheeses on a cracker-thin crust topped with olives (not black olives!) and pine nuts.

The Ron Paul pizza is just a crust.  You add your own toppings at home like our Founding Fathers would have done.

The Rick Perry pizza has one giant meatball on a thin crust with lots of fake cheese."

“So what kind of pizza is this?” 

“Oh, yeah that’s the GOP Pizza named for its green peppers, onions and pepperoni.  It’s only half-baked, heavy with oil, very cheesy, and smells like crap.”

Jenny Matlock

For the first time ever, overweight people outnumber average people in America. Doesn't that make overweight the average then? Last month you were fat, now you're average - hey, let's get a pizza! 
                                                                                                      --- Jay Leno


Monday, August 29, 2011

A Rude Awakening, A Saturday Centus


Jenny Matlock

I’m back again (albeit a bit late) for week 69 of Saturday Centus, a terrific writing meme hosted by Jenny Matlock at her blog, off on my tangent.  It’s my 68th attempt at this marvelous, madcap monument to micro-fiction and it is still as fun and challenging now as ever! 

This week Ms. Jenny has served up an interesting prompt to incorporate into our stories.  The prompt is “Surprise!  I’m pregnant!”  She is always keeping us on our toes with these prompts of hers.  I can hardly wait to see what she will come up with to confound and perplex us next week!

This week we have a total of 100 words plus the three prompt words to craft something fun or interesting to share with our fellow Centusians and bloggy buddies.   

In addition to keeping the word count at or below 103, the rules are that we can’t use vulgarity (not even Spanish vulgarity…I checked) and  we can’t split or alter the prompt in any way.  We can, however, use a picture this week, so I'm loving that!

Without further ado, here is my take on this week’s prompt.  I have entitled it: 

A Rude Awakening

The text from my girlfriend said “Come home soon…big surprise!” 

Unbeknownst to her I was already on the way…with a surprise of my own.

During a huge presentation I suddenly sneeze-farted…three times.  This unleashed laughter and pandemonium.  The Japanese executives were not amused and pulled their advertising account.

I was fired on the spot. 

Nadya smiled as I drove up.   Over the shrieks of several small children I heard her exclaim, “Surprise!  I’m pregnant!  It’s octuplets!”

That’s when I woke up screaming.  It had all been a nightmare.  The Octomom wasn’t really my girlfriend after all.

Jenny Matlock

Denny's is offering a breakfast special in honor of the "Octomom," Nadya Suleman.  It's eight eggs, no sausage, and the guy in the next booth has to pay for it.


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