Author Archives: Bruce Goodman

About Bruce Goodman

My day is astronomically fantabulous, inordinately splendid, incredibly superb! Hope your day's not its usual crap.

1545. Wheat allergy

Rosemary felt ill most of the time.

Eventually she got a doctor who knew what she was talking about. After tests, the doctor pronounced that Rosemary had a wheat allergy.

“Avoid bread and other food made from wheat,” said the doctor.

“But doctor,” said Rosemary, “my husband bakes bread every day. He always has. He’s so proud of his bread-making skills. And he does make lovely bread. That’s how we met.”

Rosemary went home. She never told her husband.

Rosemary felt ill most of the time.

1544. Keeping a diary

Since he was eight, David had kept a diary. Every day, throughout the school year, he would write “Fine day. Full day’s classes”. Unless, of course, it was raining. Then he would write, “Raining. Full day’s classes.”

Only occasionally, if something really exciting or different happened, would he deviate from the norm. “Fine day. Full day’s classes. My birthday. Got a Swiss army knife.”

Now that he was all grown up, the words had changed but the pattern stayed the same. “Fine day. Full day’s work.” He grew bored with it. He started adding fiction. “Fine day. Full day’s work. Murdered a prostitute on Crown Street.” “Fine day. Full day’s work. Murdered a woman waiting at the corner of Adelaide Street and Beaconsfield Road.”

It was silly, but no one read his diaries of course, so it didn’t matter. His entries become more creative: “Fine day. Full day’s work. Set fire to the shoe factory on Herbert Street. Four people dead.” “Raining. Full day’s work. Left a bomb under the seat of a bus. Eleven dead.”

When a homemade bomb exploded in the back shed and David was killed, his mother found the diaries in his bedroom. She threw them into the incinerator at her work. She never told a soul.

1543. Southern winter solstice

Jakob was cold. It had been a frigid winter. Jakob didn’t have much money and was out of firewood. The fireplace lay dead. The freezing outside wind seeped through the cracks in his window frames. He had covered the cracks with tape, but the wind still found a way. He was wrapped in clothes and blankets. He simply could not get warm.

Jakob had stayed up all night. Not even the bed had warmed. Jakob turned on his oven to high and opened the oven door. At least the oven heat should warm things a little. And it did. At least it did until the electric bill arrived and he couldn’t pay it. Then the electric company turned the power off.

It had been a freezing night. Utterly freezing. Jakob knew he would die. He sat in a chair and waited.

The new day dawned sunny and warm.

1542. Things are not what they seem

From the outside it looked just like an ordinary egg. It had been laid by an ordinary chicken in an ordinary farmyard. The mother hen (apparently) was an ordinary Rhode Island Red. The father (apparently) was a rather handsome silver-laced Wyandotte.

Twelve year old Gilbert knew his breeds of chickens. He’d looked after the chickens for his mother and father almost since he was a toddler. These days he kept just the right balance between it being a hobby and it supplying the house with not too many and not too few eggs. Gilbert liked to have different breeds of chickens, and he’d cross one breed with another to see what sort of combination emerged from the egg. But… such an interesting genetic mix-up was exactly what the aliens were looking for. They had been watching the farmhouse for a month or so. They knew the way young Gilbert managed his chickens.

One night, when the next day they knew Gilbert was going to put a clutch of eggs under a broody hen, the aliens injected one of the eggs with very specific genetic material. This would change the history of the world. In fact, this would end the history of the world.

Before school the next morning, Gilbert took the eggs he had been saving that were laid by the Rhode Island Red hen in liaison with the silver-laced Wyandotte rooster. He selected twelve eggs. Of the fourteen eggs that Gilbert had collected only two remained. Fourteen eggs were too many for the broody hen to keep warm. Twelve was just right. Of the two unchosen eggs, one contained the alien genetic material. The watching aliens were distraught.

Then Gilbert did something he always did: at the last minute he swapped the eggs. “This,” he thought, as he replaced one of the dozen eggs with the rejected alien egg, “will produce a different chicken from the one I first selected!”

Gilbert always did that. It was if he was playing God. Except, in this case he was.

1541. Things happen in threes

What an extraordinary day it had been! First, Nola’s husband had checked the lottery ticket numbers and Nola and her husband, Cresswell, had won thirty-three million three hundred and thirty-three thousand dollars. While they were dancing around the living room, whooping and hollering, Cresswell suffered a heart attack and died.

That took the edge off the excitement. Nola had to organize and go through the funeral. After twenty-two years of marriage, she was sad. Of course she was sad. But it was also a relief. Their relationship had been strained over the last few years, and Nola had frequently dreamed of freedom. Now with the sudden death of her husband and the winning of the lottery, that freedom could become a reality. Of course his death was a shock. It was devastating. It always is. But at least she had security for the future. She genuinely sobbed as the undertaker carted Cresswell’s body from the house to the funeral parlour.

At last the funeral was over. Things began to settle. Nola, who hadn’t wanted to appear too excited at winning thirty-three million, knew that the time had come to claim the money! But where was the ticket? Oh! It was in Cresswell’s back pocket when she had him cremated.

Another invitation

A big THANK YOU to all who were able to contribute over the last two weeks or so an opening sentence for a story.

Yvonne of Hello World suggested it could be challenging to ask for suggestions for a story’s final sentence.

Feel free to make suggestions for a final sentence. Then I would put a link back to your blog (if you have one) when the story is posted. So please, if you wish, leave a final sentence in the comments below and I’ll try to write the story leading up to your final sentence. Don’t suggest a plot; just a final sentence.

Examples might be: As far as Miriam was concerned Anselm could suck eggs.
The fall of night meant nothing to Anita.
There was no way that Bertie could hide the hole in his trousers.

These stories, as you know, are short – so nothing will be saga-length. For starters, please make only one suggestion each!

Thanks
Bruce

1540: Things go better with Coke

(Today’s opening sentence has been contributed by Maddie, for which I am grateful).

The problem was Gertrude didn’t know which glass contained the arsenic. She had filled each glass with Coca-Cola (because it contained less added sugar than most natural fruit drinks on sale) but had carelessly not noted which was the one with the poison. In fact, she had noted which glass contained the arsenic, but while pouring the Coca-Cola she had moved each glass to be closer and more convenient while pouring from the large plastic bottle.

To be honest, Gertrude was more than a little odd; some might describe her as a few nuts short of a fruit cake. She had thirteen cats, six foster children, no husband (not ever), and a goldfish. In fact, Gertrude used to have seven foster children, but one of them had died – of arsenic poisoning exactly twelve months ago.

And yes! Today was Gertrude’s birthday, and she liked to celebrate it in a specific way. She would fill glasses with Coca-Cola, one containing arsenic, and give one to each child. She would muddle up the glasses while pouring. That way, the child poisoned would come as a surprise. A birthday surprise! Last year it was Ferdinand. This year it could be… oh! How exciting!

“Children!” called Gertrude kindly, “come and get your refreshing drink of Coca-Cola!” The six children swarmed into the room. She had made little pastry nibbles filled with cream to go with the celebration drinks. Gertrude took one of the little pastries and nibbled on it. It was after all HER birthday.

Suddenly, a piece of pastry stuck in Gertrude’s throat. She had trouble breathing. “Water! Water!” she gasped. Bruno offered his glass for her to knock back.