Glad you could join us for the next kooky episode of Elliot’s Adventures. If you’re new here, you can catch up by returning to the beginning, and reading really fast…
Walter never stopped to question why he had opened his heart (and his mouth) to the little stranger lying so helplessly on the river bottom. It was his nature to care. Ask anyone.
Ask his wife, Darlene. She had seen his compassion and compulsion to nurture everyone he met when they were just small fry in school. But it had been during their senior year, when they had both worn Kissing Fish masks to the Enchantment Under the Sea Masquerade that she had known he was The One. He was the one she chose to bear the ultimate responsibility of carrying their adorable roe to term.
Every spawning season since, Walter had protected his soon-to-be progeny from marauding pike and sinister scuba divers. And he had never — even accidentally — swallowed a single one. Around the reef they called home, he had earned his reputation as the World’s Greatest Dad. Ask anyone.
Ask Darlene — if you can find her.
This season, something had gone terribly wrong. Walter had woken one morning in the kelp bed he shared with his sleek and shiny wife, his mouth full of kisses and eggs, only to find he had no one to share them with.
Darlene was gone. Walter went in search of her.
That’s how he found himself here now, in water definitely in need of a pinch or two of salt, swishing swiftly to the surface, hoping to find a safe place to deposit his unresponsive passenger where the poor little guy might have the chance to breathe again. He broke through the watery ceiling, the golden late afternoon sunshine causing his babies to wiggle energetically in its unaccustomed warmth. Urgently twisting and turning, Walter spied a log floating in their direction. It already had passengers of its own.
“Heh!” he called.
Lorenzo scanned the stream for the source of the unexpected call.
“Owah heah!” Walter hollered.
The gondolier steered his boat toward the sound, blinking at the stunning sparkle reflected from Walter’s mouth.
“Hey, man! Whatchoo got in there, dude?” he drawled, mesmerized by the twinkling lights. “Diamonds?”
Walter shook his head and lifted his jaw just far enough above the water to rub Elliot off his lip onto a crack in the smooth bark of the gondola.
“Whoa, dude! What’s that?”
But Walter had already disappeared.
And Elliot still wasn’t breathing.
To be continued…
#AtoZChallenge A-to-Z Fictioneers: Interested in original fiction? Here’s a list of writers who are writing stories for the 2017 A to Z Challenge. The author’s link will take you to their “A” post. If you know of any other story writers I can share, please drop the link in the comments!
- Aditi’s Indian myths from a female POV at Aditi’s Pen
- Arpan’s horror stories at Tales of Unusual Strangeness
- Atherton’s Victorian murder mystery, “Stranded!”, at Atherton’s Magic Vapour
- Debs’s song-inspired fiction at Bunny and the Bloke
- Diane’s 100-word tales at LadiesWhoLunchReviews,etc
- Dipanwita’s 100-word stories at Cocktails Mocktails and Life
- Iain’s alphabet puzzle-inspired murder mystery serial at Iain Kelly Writing
- Jo’s upbeat emotion stories at Jo Hawk the Writer
- Joe’s excerpts from his upcoming post-Civil War historical fiction, “Steel Horse Saviors”, at Fiction Playground
- John’s flash fiction crime stories with a twist at John Davis Frain
- Keith’s everyday life in fictional Amble Bay at Keith’s Ramblings
- Lenni’s speculative fiction, “What Are They” at J Lenni Dorner
- Marquessa’s short stories spun from her larger work, “Living to Die” at Simply Marquessa
- Natalie’s “Secret Diary of a Serial Killer” at Natalie Westgate
- Raven’s 100-word flash fiction at everywhere and nowhere
- Shailaja’s 100-word oxymoronic stories at The Moving Quill
- Shweta’s Tiny Tales at My Random Ramblings
- Sorchia’s Gothic fantasy, “A Cold Spring” at Sorchia’s Universe
- S.T. Ranscht’s fantasy/adventure serial, “Elliot’s Adventures”at Space, Time, and Raspberries
Vanessa’s build-a-30-word-story at Vanessence
Today’s twofer from April 15, 2016:
Kindly respond. Kindly.
There is a different attitude here. Commenters are kind. Not everybody comments; even I don’t comment on every post I read — there simply isn’t time. But apparently there’s time for a little magic. This is a story about being saved by that magic.
First, some background.
When I read, I read critically. That’s not to say I criticize, but I use critical thinking skills rather than just accept everything as Truth, Wisdom, or Excellent Writing. This is probably a direct result of Dad’s admonishment:
“Don’t believe everything you read. Don’t believe everything you see on TV.” Dad
When I do comment, I try to add something to the discussion, not just repeat what others have said. If I have questions, I’ll ask them. If a blog seems to be masquerading as Truth, Wisdom, or Excellent Writing, but I see Hypocrisy, Arrogance, or Delusion peeking through the eye holes, I make a choice.
- Stop reading and move on without leaving any mark except the automatically counted Hit.
- Leave a Like to acknowledge I read the entire piece. Or,
- Dig a little deeper.
Isn’t that how honest critics respond?
The key to providing an honest response is kind honesty. Hyperbole doesn’t help; it’s rarely honest. Gushing doesn’t help; it’s disingenuous. Sarcasm doesn’t help; it’s destructive and mean with no redeeming factors except to bring a cold giggle to people who enjoy those kinds of putdowns as long as they aren’t the target.
I have taken to saying:
“I don’t claim to be an Ursula K. Le Guin or even a J.K. Rowling, but I know good writing when I read it.” Me
(I like these little quotation blocks. Sometimes I use them to laugh at myself.)
I’ve promised you a story about being saved by magic. It begins here:
I found a blog I shall not name that presented itself as a mindful search for Self. Every entry I read was a glowing lesson in self-assurance and serenity. Contentment. But its name was at odds with the inner peace it purveyed. With guidance from its author, I dug to its deepest roots and found a tragedy so unfortunate, you would be excused for believing it was as unique as the poor sufferer held it to be.
Unless you knew how often this particular tragedy plays itself out across this country. Or you knew first hand the agony of dealing with a different tragedy of similar proportions.
That doesn’t make any of them less tragic, and each has personalized variations to be sure, but this one had some gaps in the telling. Those gaps left me believing the author accepted responsibility only for having had the best intentions, which other people then misinterpreted. And all the while, s/he knew s/he carried more blame for the tragedy than s/he was willing to own.
To some degree, a fraud, misleading many followers into believing s/he was a victim of other people’s irrationality and lies. Followers who were drinkin’ the Kool Aid.
I carefully crafted my comment to express my honest sympathy while still questioning several points that made no sense if the reader dared to examine the author’s version of the Truth. In the politest way possible, I called the author out.
Even as I wrote, I had an icky feeling in my gut. Was I stepping over a line? Was I hiding skepticism and disapproval behind sympathy? Was this response passive-aggressively cruel? Was it really necessary that I register my opinion? There was a real hurt here, after all.
Knocking my Doubt on its ass, my Willfulness took my Sense of Justice by the index finger and said:
“Do it. Post it.” Willfulness
My Sense of Justice is easily aroused to action.
Here’s the magic. The instant I clicked on “Reply”, my response vanished. Not into Your Comment is Being Moderated Land. Into the ether. Gone.
And I realized I’d just been saved.
Before I try anything like that again, I need to test these waters because there is a different attitude here than over on, say, Facebook. While I want to write fearlessly and honestly, I don’t want to be cruel. I believe that balance is possible, but I’m new to blogging and I need some guidance.
What do you think? Should I express my doubts when I have them? Should I keep them on my own space and not in the doubtee’s comments? Should I keep them to myself?
I’d really like to know what you think. Just be kind.