A PIECE OF THE PULL

THURSDAY 16th JULY 2020

This is a response to a Flash Fiction prompt from ‘Putting My Feet In the Dirt’, Writing Prompts hosted by ‘M’.
Which can be found by following the link below..

A PIECE OF THE PULL

by John Yeo

  The family were all seated around the dining table for the annual feast. Dad, Grandad, Peter, and David with Auntie Lil and Uncle George. The wine and the soft drinks were flowing freely and the table layout was a work of art. The atmosphere was happy, with some nice Christmassy conversation. The highlight appeared when Mum came into the room bearing a huge turkey on a trolley. There were gasps all around at the array of vegetables and the delicious looking roast potatoes. The wine glasses and the children’s glasses were all recharged and a pre-dinner toast was made,

 ‘To a Happy Christmas and many more of them.’ said Dad and everybody raised their glasses in a toast.

Peter, then piped up and said, ‘Can we pull the crackers now Dad and wear our funny paper hats?’

   ‘Of course!’ said Dad, ‘Go ahead.’

   Excitedly the two boys grabbed their crackers and made to pull them. ‘Hold on,’ said Grandad,  ‘We’re supposed to take a cracker in each hand around the table and pull them. Aren’t we Auntie Lil?’

 Soon there was agreement and with a series of bangs and pops, the crackers were pulled.

 Suddenly an argument broke out as Peter and David had unequal shares of the crackers they’d just pulled.

   ‘Hey Dad, Peter has my share of the pull as I’ve only got two empty ends.’ complained David.

   Mum played the Judge and swapped a couple of ends and donated her hat to David.

Peace then settled at the family dinner?

© Written by John Yeo

Bewilder-Wood

FLASH FICTION
Sunday Photo Prompt 18/02/2019

The challenge is to write a story using 200 words or less based, on the photo prompt.

A Santa Claus

Photo Credit: Susan Spaulding

Bewilder-Wood

by John Yeo

  The children were on holiday and their parents had decided to treat them to a visit to the magical Bewilder-Wood. These woods were on the edge of Fantasy Forest, it was rumoured there were imps and fairies hiding away here.
Pip, Paula, and little Chloe were playing, hide and seek among the trees. Chloe was hiding and the twins, Pip and Paula were hunting for her.
Soon, Paula became concerned.

   ‘Chloe! Where are you? We have to find Mummy and Daddy.’

Then they saw Chloe, chatting away to a stranger with long white hair and a long white beard

   ‘Hello! I’m Mr. Claus, most people call me Santa.’ exclaimed the man.

   ‘You’re not Santa Claus. You’re too scruffy.’ Pip said giggling. Paula then took up this infectious giggle and they were soon shaking with laughter.

  The stranger said, kindly, ‘I’m off duty. Ho! Ho! Ho!’

Just then a tiny green elf hopped on the man’s shoulders and whispered and they both disappeared instantly.
At that exact moment, the children’s parents arrived.

    ‘Daddy, Mummy, Santa Claus was here and he was speaking to us.’ Chloe said excitedly.
Both parents shook their heads and laughed loudly.

  The twins chorused. ‘He disappeared with an elf.’

 

© Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved.

GOODBYE CEMENT FACTORY

Welcome to What Pegman Saw, a 150-word weekly writing prompt inspired by the photos found on Google Maps. 

Cement factory Pujiang No. 2h

This was my original draft before I had to trim the whole deal to just 150 words.

 

Goodbye Cement Factory

 

by John Yeo

 

  Chan had a bicycle, a valuable possession in his village. This enabled him to travel the five mile trip to the Cement works, where he worked hard for ten hours every day, loading the heavy cement bags onto a conveyor belt. He kept himself going to work until the factory came to a standstill one terrible day. Just like that without warning the factory suddenly closed. Chan needed to work to feed his aged parents. At the end of the first month of idleness, Chan hadn’t any money or food to eat. Then his Father sickened and weakened following the sudden death of his Mother from pneumonia.

  Desperately Chan approached Hung Li, the storekeeper, who had offered to buy his bicycle and reluctantly parted with his only form of transport. Too late, he returned home to find his Father had died and he was alone in the world. Chan made his way to the river where he had a friend with a boat. A fisherman who lived an idyllic life on the river, close to Nature. Chan handed over the cash he’d received for the cycle to his friend and became a partner in the fishing business. Chan adopted a large black Cormorant, who would feed on fish from his hand. Chan revisited the family grave to pay homage. The Cement works reopened and the harsh industrial life continued for some.

  Chan lived well from his fishing and bought a boat of his own. Later he got married to his old school friend Mary Lee and little Ching was born. The Cormorant flew away for a while and returned with two baby chicks who followed Chan’s boat everywhere. Feeding from the hands of Chan and Ching and Mary Lee.

© Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved

(341 WORDS)

ENSLAVEMENT BY ADDICTION

I wrote this post for ‘The Quintet’ our church magazine in response to the theme of…SLAVERY.

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Image courtesy of pixabay.com

MODERN SLAVERY

by John Yeo

 The first thing that comes to mind when one thinks about slavery, is the horror of the period between 1600 when legal mass slavery was reputed to have begun in the UK and 1863 when slavery was officially abolished in the USA.

Although slavery in one form or another actually began much earlier, in the form of war captives, and the domination of one tribe by another.

 However, slavery comes in many forms; human slavery is just the tip of a hidden iceberg. Almost every one of us is a slave to addiction in one form or another. Whether it be one of the obvious big four, Alcohol, Drugs, Tobacco, or Gambling or another enslaving addiction such as the habitual rejection of food as in questionable diets and slimming fads that could lead to the horrors of Anorexia or Bulimia.

 A miser’s enslaving addiction is the storing up of wealth and hatred of expenditure.

Addiction can take many forms, in fact, people can become addicted slaves to almost anything, from eating too much ice cream to viewing obscenity.

By far the newest trap, with the potential to become the biggest modern path into enslavement comes in the form of Internet addiction. Particularly the new, so-called, Social Media, it starts as a wonderful way to keep in touch with friends but it can slowly and insidiously become a time-consuming, enslaving addiction. ‘Just one little look!’ becomes hours and hours of pointless time-wasting.

 The dangers of internet enslavement to the younger generation have been recognized and well-recorded. This has the potential of becoming the biggest threat to the unwary in recorded history. With the added side effects of leading the young astray along a maze of unforeseen addictive paths. Children, of all ages and many adults, are becoming bombarded with images and alluring, time-consuming pathways embedded in the World-Wide-Web.

This is not to downplay the obvious advantages of the web for education and instant communication.

One of the biggest challenges in the near future will certainly be a coming to terms with the effects of this widespread, self-inflicted, modern form of enslavement of the unwary; who become ensnared by this highly addictive web.

©️John Yeo ~ All rights reserved.

ELVIS ALMOST ELVIS

IMG_5712-1ELVIS ALMOST ELVIS

by John Yeo

  We enjoyed a wonderful show for our final night of this festive break at Gunton Hall in Suffolk. We soaked up the music and magic of Elvis Presley, performed by Mark Summers, backed by the Memphis Sons; an excellent tribute band,
Mark Summers, the Elvis Presley, lookalike and sound-alike was magnificent, full of the energy and sophistication required to pull off brilliant renditions of legendary song after legendary song; bringing many pleasant dormant memories to life. The audience were mainly from the age that experienced these massive hits when they were performed by the great man himself.
Mark Summers had his audience waving their arms in the air while singing along to the well-remembered words of these Elvis Presley classics. With the help of an attractive lady backing singer and the brilliant sounds of his backing group, the Memphis Sons. Margaret and I enjoyed this show enormously and we finished the evening dancing pleasurably to the music as this enigmatic singer performed the encores demanded by his smitten audience.

BURY THE SEEDS ~ SPRING

 I wrote the following piece of Flash Fiction for our Church magazine in response to this months theme of SPRING.

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SPRING

by John Yeo

To the gardener, Spring is an exciting season of birth-rebirth and renewal.

 Seeds are planted in the sure hope that new life will spring from the ground in the form of food and flowery sensations. Some plants in the borders appearing dead and past resuscitation suddenly spring back to life from their Winter dormancy. The cacophony of birdsong and calls that is known as the dawn chorus begins as wild birds build their nests laying numerous eggs, nurturing and helping them to develop into chicks.

Spring always a season of new life has been extra special for us this year as Margaret and I have been presented with a new Great Grandson, a Spring baby. I wrote this poem which I have dedicated to him and I am delighted to share here as a tribute to all concerned with our grateful thanks to God.

 

BURY THE SEEDS

by John Yeo

 

Bury the seeds in the minds of the young,

Nurture and take care of their fertile minds.

Allow them the freedom to think things through

Watch the growth of ideas spring forth.

Harvest the results of future growth

In technology, the arts, and science.

Enjoy the improvements in life.

~

Bury the seeds of peace and freedom,

Nurture a caring, sharing empathy for all.

Allow a mixture of cultures in life

Promote a feeling of self-worth with thought.

Harvest the feelings of peace and love.

No more war, free speech with equality.

Enjoy sharing the feeling of a natural life.

~

Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved

THE AFTERMATH

The Aftermath 

by John Yeo

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The four walls of a large empty house, can be dreadful to a lady of quality. Since the Admiral had passed on to the high seas of the unknown, his good lady was left high and dry, as it were. Elspeth was terribly upset and it was several months of wearing the required mourning black, and privately drowning her feelings in waves of tears, before she was able to begin to socialise again. Her two children and their families had been wonderful, rallying around and visiting her sporadically, but over the months the visits became more and more infrequent. Then the terrible, shockingly unbearable, loneliness, began to set in. Every knock at the door of the large four bedroomed, detached house, set well back from the road, sent a jolt of expectation resounding through her very being.

 Elspeth missed Admiral Theo, her dearly beloved husband, tremendously; she missed the sociable rounds of meetings with the officer’s wives and the pomp and ceremony of the Naval get-togethers.

  Elspeth wasn’t strictly a religious person. Devout in her own unique way, she would attend church when the need arose. This always seemed to coincide to the times when her feelings of abject loneliness began to take hold and she needed to reach out for human contact.
 The fact was, Elspeth was on the verge of an unmentionable solution to her myriad problems of lonely heart wrenching solitude. 

 One Sunday, a new face appeared in the pews of the fairly isolated village church and a lady dressed in dramatic black arrived alone. Elspeth immediately approached and introduced herself, sensing a kindred spirit.
  “Hi! I’m Elspeth: You’re new here. A warm welcome to you, come and join me on my pew. We must have a chat after the service. They serve a wonderful cup of tea here.” 
     “Oh! Of course. Thank you so much, I would like that it will be so nice to have someone to talk to. I’m Gill, I have downsized our house and I have moved into a cottage along Honeysuckle Lane.”
     “Welcome Gill.” whispered Elspeth, At that moment the Priest led the choir down the aisle to commence the service.
 Elspeth’s mind was racing during the service, she sensed a friendship forming that could blossom into something that could change her life, rescuing her from the intolerable loneliness she had endured recently.
  The two ladies met and conversed intimately after the service. Finding they had a great deal in common, Gill said.

       “Why don’t you come and have some lunch? You will be welcome to join me before I leave.”
 Elspeth instantly agreed, however her face fell when her new found friends words sank in and she realised the implications.
      “You are leaving!” She interjected quickly. “”Already, it seems you have just arrived. Where are you going?”
       “Oh! I’m going on a long sea cruise to the Caribbean, I don’t believe in letting my sorrows overwhelm me. I intend to take the bull by the horns and live life to the full! We only buried my poor darling, Henry a month ago and it has been such a rush moving house and now getting ready for this cruise. Henry and I talked about going on a cruise a year ago and I know he will be with me in spirit all the way.”
  This stunned Elspeth to the core. ’A cruise! I hadn’t thought of anything like that.’ she mused…. 

Then she thought, ‘Dare I? What would people think of me if I suddenly announced I was off on a cruise? What about the children and my adorable grandchildren? Rags, my faithful four-legged friend is bound to miss me.’ 
Then she was about to speak, when Gill suddenly said.

     “Why don’t you join me? I am sure the cruise line could find room for you. They have some spare cabins and we don’t leave for a couple of weeks. Plenty of time to make some fast arrangements.”
       “Wow! Let me think things through Gill, I’m tempted to say yes straight away. Anything to get away from this lonely life, however I must speak to the children, although I don’t see much of them these days.”
    “Sure thing.” replied Gill. “Look,” she continued. “I’ll phone the cruise line and see if they will fit you in, I’m sure they will. You speak to your family, and if you are ready. Let’s go and have some fun.”
   Finally these two new friends, who had hit it off so well from the start accompanied one another on that first sea cruise together. Thus began the many highs and lows and scrapes and narrow escapes of our two sailing friends who traversed the world on the high seas together. 

Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved.

 

MUSED MOURNING

A prompt response for Master Class ~ Assignment ~ Mused Mourning

http://ourwriteside.com/category/prompts/master-class/

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MUSED MOURNING

by John Yeo

The black-edged cards were delivered to many friends and family in distant parts, announcing the sad news, with the date and time of the funeral.
The deceased man’s wife had tears in her eyes, as she checked the wording.
The children of the couple, rallied round her, sympathetically consoling her, while holding back their personal tears.
There was no positive response over the next few days, just guarded replies expressing deepest sympathy.

The day of the funeral arrived and the dead man’s wishes were followed as the service in the little village church took place in his desired format.

We were gathered around the grave. Thirty people, composed of the close family and friends of the deceased, stood back as the priest mouthed the last rites. Some were openly crying as the poetic words were expressed over the remains of someone who was once a respected member this small community.

My mind drifted over the life of this unusual person.
His childhood spent in an unsettling wartime environment. Followed by a spell in a reasonably happy home, with brothers and then newly acquired stepsisters.
Then came Boarding school and the trials of learning in a regimented environment.

Youth, with the challenging teenage years, and the swinging sixties, with blue jeans and rock and roll. Girls and dances: Everlasting love, followed by several broken hearted partings.

Love and marriage, fulfilled with happy children and the many ups and downs of
a successful career, followed by a happy retirement.

My mind continued to rove over the peaks and troughs of this familiar man’s life.

How could he have found the dream, and lived with peace and contentment having experienced so many peaks and troughs?

My inner self, placed myself forward in time. Would my life’s end reflect the life I have led, or would my demise be just another death, mourned by the few, and forgotten by the many?

Perhaps if I follow my path through life and take life as it arrives?
My mind continued to drift, musing over the obvious realization that a life lived has already passed. The past is fixed and unchanging.

I will certainly live life while I have a life to live.

Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved.

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LIQUID LUCK

A prompt response for Master Class ~ Assignment  LIQUID LUCK 

http://ourwriteside.com/assignment-liquid-luck/

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Image courtesy of pixabay.com

Assignment: Liquid Luck

Liquid Luck

by John Yeo

   The economic news was gloomy and depressing. Oil prices were going through the roof, creating hardship and a loss of income to many. Food was becoming more expensive to produce and ship around the globe.

   Hank Gerome was a gambler, he gambled on the stock market, frequently losing, but sometimes, on a rare occasion Lady Luck smiled on him and he backed a winner. Such was the result and the outcome of his friendship with Marvin Price, the two friends were much the same age and both single financial adventurers.
They had invested in an oil well in Texas, and were partners in a gushing never ending source of liquid gold.

  In the time honoured way, of easy come, easy go, the two friends traversed the world, globetrotting together.
London, England; opened its doors to the wealthy carefree friends and they were staying in a famous five star hotel.

  Hank and Marvin were enjoying a pub crawl, when in the city centre they decided to cross the main city bridge over the busy waterway.
In days past this river was an important lifeline. The main artery for vessels carrying goods for trade both Worldwide and from the Northern and Southern cities and towns of the United Kingdom.

     “Do you see what I see Hank? There is a woman ahead who looks as if she is about to jump into the river!” Shouted Marvin.

  “Yes!….Hey wait up! We’re coming to help, what’s up?” asked Hank in a concerned voice.

  Startled the woman on the bridge shouted. “Stay away from me I’ve had enough; I can’t go home, I’ve lost everything!”

  Hank stood his ground and gently said: “It’s OK: Don’t worry l’ve been where you are now. Let us help you, I won’t come any closer if that’s what you really want. What happened? What are you doing here? What’s your name?”
Meanwhile Marvin had raced back across the bridge for help.

   The woman was openly crying like a baby, sobbing. “Stay back or I will jump. My name is Jenny, I have lost everything in a stupid investment. I was once a financial whizz kid, everything I touched turned to gold. Our family travelled the world in luxury nothing was too good for my children. They have been brought up to have anything they desired. Now Lady Luck has pulled the plug and my luck has gurgled away in the form of a liquid stream taking my will to live with it.”

  In the near distance a cacophony of sirens sounded as the emergency services arrived in force. The woman on the parapet wavered on the brink, looking down as if hypnotised by the inky black waters.

  “No! Stop! Please don’t jump!” shouted Hank. “What about your family? Your children will miss you if you go ahead.”

 The woman laughed wildly, loudly, madly, then with a single step into the wild windy night she was gone.

  Lady Luck had left a residue of this lady’s fortune behind however, the river police were waiting in a launch below and fished her out of the river.

  Hank and Marvin insisted on keeping in contact with Jenny, who made a complete recovery from her recent sad state of mind, and was soon happily reconciled with her family.
Jenny contributed much to the lives of the two friends, bringing a strange steadying influence.

  Thus, the infamous Three Financial Marketeers were born. They began to live the dream without relying on the unreliable influence of Lady Luck.
 Three prongs on an unbelievable financial tool that began to cultivate the opportunities that presented themselves.

  Three financial brains amalgamating in a series of adventures that would soon shake the world.

Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved

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ORPHAN

This article was written for “QUINTET,” our Parish magazine, requesting submissions on the theme of  ~ What’s in a Name?

 

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Image courtesy of Pixabay.com

 

WHAT’S IN A NAME

ORPHAN

by John Yeo

   Our name is the handle by which we are handled.
The childhood is a time of a happy innocent vulnerability. My early childhood was spent in idyllic peaceful happiness, I was an only child brought up by two wonderful parents. Tom, my father was a gentleman farmer. This self-styled title always amused him as he worked from dawn to dusk on the land.

    “I’m a farmer and a gentleman, ask my wife Molly, how gentle I am.”
My Mother, Molly would gently smile and nod in agreement.

  What’s in a name? Certainly a contradiction, as far as my Dad was concerned.

    “Aren’t gentlemen supposed to be rich and lead a luxurious, cushioned wealthy life?” I asked grinning. At eight years old I was as sharp as a razor and very cheeky.

    “Come on Tom-junior eat your tea. Mind you finish those greens they are the secret of good health.” said my Mum smiling broadly.
Mum was a hard worker helping Dad on the farm. She somehow found the time to support the local WI. Sometimes the farmhouse would resound with her ladies busy chatting together, earnestly discussing matters of great importance.

   Such was our family’s happy life until the day of that terrible road accident that changed my life forever. We were out for a Sunday drive to the next village to visit my Uncle Bob when a huge tractor pulling a trailer full of heavy logs crashed into our tiny family car. My Mum and Dad were killed instantly and I was trapped…. Upside down in the back seat; still alive.

    At that moment my life was to change forever, I instantly became an eight-year-old orphan and a problem for the Social services. Uncle Bob and Aunt Millie took care of me for a few weeks but they were unable to make this a permanent arrangement as they had four children and very little space.

    I had become an orphan, now this is a name that due to our vivid Victorian literature has become irrevocably linked to poverty and pity. A state of unwantedness that generated much hardship and sorrow.

     I was fostered by several kindly families at the start of my new station in life and finally, I was adopted by a nice family.

    Mr. and Mrs. Smithers and their four children, all boys older than me, lived in a huge sprawling house in an acre of beautiful gardens with woods and fields stretching towards the horizon.

     The next few months passed in a blur as I quickly became accustomed to my new station in life. It was a slow degenerative process as I became that orphan, who was not really one of us. Quite unworthy to be a real part of the family. I was bullied by the children and ignored by their parents except for when I was expected to wait on them.

     “That boy will do the work! The orphan will clear the table!” said Mrs. Smithers.

 Somehow I had become a person without a name, a legal slave, fed and watered and expected to wait on the family hand and foot.

      ‘The orphan will do the job!” Was the favourite saying of the oldest son, a cruel vindictive fellow.

  I became insecure and frightened to get up in the morning. I refused to go to school in case I said something that would get me in trouble at home later.

     Eventually, I ran away and made my way back to my childhood family home. I was shy and reluctant to knock on the front door and I made my way around the back. A dog started barking loudly and a lady who I vaguely recognised, exclaimed;

    “Hello young Tom junior; what are you doing here? Come inside and have some tea.”
  At that I burst into tears, this was the first time I had encountered such familiar kindness for ages.

     “You must recognise me I am Rose, we used to come here for our WI meetings to see your Mum. My hubby and I bought the farm. Don’t cry Tom, come inside you are welcome.”

    That was five years ago now. I shudder at the memories of that period I spent as just a nameless orphan.

    I now live here in my old/new home with kindly new parents who have made me welcome. I feel secure in the knowledge that there is always an essence of our departed loved ones around guiding us in spirit.

 Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved.

FICTION NOTICE
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.