Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Wedding

This week's Trifecta Writing Challenge is the word....

HOLLOW (adjective)

: having an indentation or inward curve : concave, sunken
: having a cavity within <a hollow tree>
: reverberating like a sound made in or by beating on a large empty enclosure : muffled

As always we are to use the third definition of the word.

The Wedding

An empty hollow feeling came over me as I stood on the altar with the rest of the wedding party and watched my sister, the bride, float down the aisle on the arm of my father. The day seemed like a fairy tale because every seemed perfect.

From where I stood I could see my mother in the front pew, head held high basking in the glorious day. An event that had reached A-list status as this was the most talked about affair of the summer.  Her eldest was about to give her hand in marriage to one of society’s finest. 

As my sister stepped onto the altar and the groom took her hand I could see it in her eyes. Confusion and bewilderment. Others would assume it was nerves or excitement however I knew the truth. The truth was that she didn’t love this man. A late night confession fueled by copious amounts of white zinfandel and chocolate revealed that she was in love with another man. An artist rather than an entrepreneurist. A man who is  covered in tattoos, wore shorts and flip flops rather than the man with the crewcut, brooks brothers shirts and docksiders. A lover who set her soul on fire and made her feel truly alive rather than a compulsory union of bank accounts and lineage. 

The organ music had come to a halt and the guests settled down on their pews. The pastor asked the couple to join their hands and face one another. My sister looked down at her own hands. Then she looked into the eyes of the man she was to marry and shook her head from side to side. I held my breath as she took a step backwards and I exhaled as she turned towards me. I held out my hand for her to take, and together we walked down the aisle, ignoring the confused mumbles and whispers and we headed out of the church. And headed towards real love.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The sounds of her homeland

It's been too long since I've participated in the Trifecta Writing Challenge! 
This week the challenge is the following....

1: a woman who engages in sexual acts for money: prostitute; also: a promiscuous or immoral woman
2: a male who engages in sexual acts for money
3: a venal or unscrupulous person
Please remember:
  • Your response must be between 33 and 333 words.
  • You must use the 3rd definition of the given word in your post.
  • The word itself needs to be included in your response.
  • You may not use a variation of the word; it needs to be exactly as stated above. 
  • Only one entry per writer.

Be sure to visit and join in the fun!

Maggie could hear the merriment a block away as she walked towards the Corner Tavern. It was getting darker sooner and already the gas lamplights were lit. This could only mean that the revelry will be starting earlier and earlier as the evening starts sooner. Maggie glanced inside the bar as she passed by. She saw young Irish girls, the same age as her, looking like strumpets and whores, their faces heavily powdered and their lips stained a tart red giggling like school children eating up the attention of the drunken lowlifes and card-sharks. Human wrecks make for good company. Everyone in their wanted something from each other and would lie and cheat to get what they wanted. Maggie knew this all too well from the old country. The country she sailed away from to start a new life in America. 

In the dark alley behind the bar is the entrance to the staircase leading up to her flat. She opens the door and runs up the wooden staircase, unlocking her one room apartment and quickly shuts the door behind her, hoping that no drunkard has followed her. As she undressed and laid down on her cot, the mattress so thin she could feel the wires underneath, she listens to the sounds of debauchery going on below her and into the street. This was the tradeoff she paid for having her own place rather than sharing a tenement with other women new to this country. She craved the solitude and the privacy and this was what she could afford for now on her meager pay.Truth be told, Maggie also craves the sounds of her homeland, a place she ran from yet the homesickness tugs at her heart. She drifts off to sleep and the squandering and boozing continues late into the night. 

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Someday never comes.

His dreams and ambitions taped to his soul start to curl and yellow as they hang forgotten. The fire once in his belly doused by liquid courage. Someday never comes inside these walls.

This post inspired by the weekend Trifextra at
Hop over there to read amazing stories! 

Friday, September 21, 2012

A baby's blanket

Weaved with love

Skeins of pastels weaved with love.

A blanket of quiet care and warmth.

Later to be packed away

in a blink of an eye

as an heirloom to be cherished

for future generations.

This post inspired by ! Today the challenge is to describe something that is three different things at the same time.  Oh, and do it in 33 words. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Walk of life

So many have walked before us.  Scattered lives of young, old, male and female. 

All walks of life. 

Those who have travel through life in heels, boots, flip flops and sneakers during dark gloomy cold days confident that days of warmth and sunshine will follow.

We must continue the journey to show those walking behind us the way. 

To keep life moving. 

This post inspired by Visual Dare at Anonymous Legacy

Monday, September 10, 2012

Grammy's Football Mania

It's #MenageMonday! A perfect way to start off the week! Thank you Cara Michaels for giving me some inspiration today....

 Grammy came out of the side door sporting her ancient NY Giants cap crushing her white newly permed hair as we pulled up into her driveway.

 “Randy! Charlie! Are you ready to get this football mania started?”

“Sure am Mrs C!”, Charlie exclaimed as he gave my grandmother a bear hug.”This is the only spot in town to watch the game!”

“ Hi Grammy, I leaned in to peck my grandmother a kiss on her soft, wrinkled cheek, her blue eyes twinkling with excitement. 

Charlie set up the soda’s  on the small dining room table leaving room for the hot wings and meatballs.  Bowls of chips and pretzels are already set up on the living room table. The flat screen tv, a Christmas gift from my parents, is already tuned in to the pre-game show. 

As I head back out to the car to grab the potatoes for potato skins I see Grammys  nosy neighbor sitting on her porch watching as her eyes glare at me. “Grammy why didn’t you invite your neighbor? She seems pretty angry out there.”

 “Oh her.  I tried to but she refuses to come. Apparently she’s a Dallas Cowboy fan.”

Friday, July 27, 2012

A handwritten note.

Chaos swirled about me as I woke up on the hospital gurney, my head fuzzy and my vision obscured by the noisy oxygen mask on my face.  Nurses in green floated around my body, poking and prodding, in a well practiced waltz all orchestrated by the doctor standing at the foot of the bed. The tempo changes and the energy in the small steel colored room drops to a less frantic pace. The doctor well satisfied with his performance rattles off a list of instructions to his dancing companions standing beside me and leaves to lead another performance behind another curtain. 
“What happened”, I asked as a friendly faced nurse as she pulled the mask from my face. “I don’t remember anything”.
My question was answered by my sergeant who walked in. A man who felt more like my dad than my supervisor. A pissed off look on his face didn’t give away the relief that I can see in his yes. 
“Amanda, you were shot in the arm”. 
“Doctor says you are one lucky gal and you are going to be okay. The bullet grazed your upper arm in such a way that it just caused a bloody mess but no permanent  damage done. Only harm done is that you will have a scar about the size of a quarter to brag about”.  
The happy juice dripping from the IV bag into my arm was starting to chase away logic as I fought to keep my eyes open. Using my good arm I pointed to the hook on the wall where my kevlar vest hung next to my bloody shirt gross in contrast to my gold badge shining bright. With slurred speech I asked him to give me the letter tucked in the inside pocket of the vest . All cops keep something there to protect them if the gun and bullet proof vest can’t. Some have pictures of their families or dog. Rosary beads and prayer cards are popular. I have my mama. 
“Get some rest, that is a direct order. I’ll be back and please don’t get into any trouble”, Sarge barked.  He squeezed my foot on the way out. “Good job kid” he mumbled in a controlled voice shaken with relief and pride. 
I opened the letter written to me a month before I graduated from Police Academy. My mother had written it the night before the cancer robbed her of seeing her only daughter graduate. 
As you go out to serve and protect your job is to treat everyone you meet with kindness and fairness. Do justice right. My job as your guardian angel is to protect you from harms way. I have your back so don’t ever be afraid. Now girl, go out there and be the best you can be. 
Love, Mom... your guardian angel. 
I clutched the letter as I drifted off in a vicoden induced slumber knowing that mama is watching out for her little girl. 

This post inspired by Write On Edge 
A stand-alone scene, fiction or memoir, in 500 words or less, involving a handwritten letter

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Taking a leap

Everyone expects me to play ball. Colleges begging me to play for them.

“Don’t disappoint the person that matters most” my mama says. “Do what’s right”.

Therefore I am going to art school.  

This post inspired by the great folks at

Monday, July 16, 2012

Sweet Chilling Thrill

Men were talking in voices lowered to a whisper as women with ashen faces silently started to break down camp and prepare the covered wagons for our westward journey to a new home land. Not quite a man but beyond being a boy I am tasked to tie down the tarps for the traveling party using the tying hook to secure down the flaps. Everyone felt the uneasiness in the air save the children and the pretty old daft lady who rambles to herself. 

A sweet chilling thrill went through me as I overheard two leaders talking. They had discovered the bones I left behind. They couldn’t keep the screams of pain and barking mad howls heard in the night a secret but they will the bones. The men spoke of how unusually clean the bones were on the newly killed game. What spooked them most were the footprints. Prints of a human barefoot that transformed into what looked like a large paws similar to a large dog. When the men walked away I hopped down from the wagon and washed the mud from my bare feet in the stream wondering if the moon was full again tonight.

Friday, July 6, 2012

My friend, Raggedy Ann

“Doodads” was labeled on the side of the brown box stored way in the back corner. I pulled the box out having no recollection of what was in it, or what possibly could doodads be. I tugged at the top flap and the box opened easily under the yellowed tape revealing my blue and gold high school yearbooks that were lying on top. My maiden name stamped on the cover seems so unfamiliar to me. I lift the books out and underneath were other mementos of long ago. Dance tickets, a couple of horse-show ribbons, and a small softball trophy. Underneath is an old ratty sweatshirt from middle school.  Junk really. I start to put it all back in the box when I see the orange yarn peeking out from underneath the sweatshirt. I pull the sweatshirt aside and there she is. My oldest friend that I had abandoned years ago. Raggedy Ann.
I throw everything back in the box and bring the old doll inside from the garage. We sit down on the couch as I struggle with waves of excitement of finding my childhood treasure of guilt for leaving such a memory forgotten in a box. 
I look at her as she stares back at me with black button eyes and that permanent smile stenciled on her face. The type of smile that you can’t help but smile back.  I start to examine her as one does with a newborn. Her orange moppy yarn hair is still in tact attached to her dusty face her pink cheeks mostly faded. Her flowered flannel dress is faded but still in good shape covered by her now gray apron. I look closer at the hem of the apron and find the chocolate milk stain from a long ago mishap. I pull her dress up and find what I am looking for. The words “I love you” stamped on her chest outlined with a heart. I trace my finger along the heart just like I did many times. A heart that soothed many fears and gave a little girl many nights of comfort. A heart that reminded me every day that I have a friend no matter what. 
Feeling a little foolish at the age of forty I start to hug my old friend. My face in her dusty hair, while holding onto her cotton filled hand. The years of comfort and friendship in such a well-loved doll came back to me instantly. “I love you too” I whispered to my dearest friend. 

Today's post is inspired by Sandra's Writing Workshop. Please visit her blog and read some wonderful writing! 

Saturday, June 30, 2012

This day in history - June 30, 1859

          Daredevil crosses Niagara Falls on tightrope

All day crowds had been lining up along the Suspension bridge that connects America to Canada over the Niagara River shutting down the passage way for carriages to pass. Families lined up along the top of the gorges held back by fences. Picnics were set in the grass as children ran around, getting impatient as the day wore on.  Today is the day the famous daredevil Charles Blondin is to cross over the Niagara River on a tightrope. 
I met Blondin earlier in the winter during my off season as the Ferry Master.  I spend the winters in the ferry house making repairs to the Maid of the Mist, the tourist steamer which carries vacationers across the river and close to the majestic waterfalls. She is my pride and joy and as head skipper I spend all my time making sure she is in top condition. Blondin was spending two weeks in the rooming house adjacent to the pub I frequented and it was there that I met his acquaintance. I thought him a fool at first, listening to his tall stories about how he was going to cross the Niagara on a tight-rope. Too much liquor I thought a first but the man was consistent in his story over his nightly lager.
 A rope-dancer is how he described himself as he talked about his family heritage of being acrobatics.  An odd fellow I thought to myself watching this short man, with bright blue eyes and tussled blonde hair talk about his vision with such confidence. This man actually thought he could do this. When he learned of my occupation he said to me, “Jack I will make you a wager. Tonight I will buy you a bottle of lager.  On the day I cross over the Niagara I will stop midway and drop a line down to your ferry with which you will attach a bottle of lager to it and I will drink it up on the high wire.” I chuckled to myself as I drank the ale he just bought for me. This man is clearly estranged from reality.
So here it is six months later and he obviously plans to go through with this stunt. I look up from the helm of my ferryboat and can see the cable strung across the gorge with guy ropes attached about every 20 feet and secured to the boulders  to prevent the main cable from sagging. It looks like a huge spider had been caught between the gorge of the Niagara. I can see people lined up all along the Suspension Bridge and crowds gathered along the edges of the cliffs. I overheard someone say that 10,000 people traveled here today by train and carriage to watch this spectacle. I pull a bottle of lager out of my coat pocket and place it down next to the steering wheel post. Just in case. 
Dignitaries from both Canada and America were starting to board the shiny clean Maid of the Mist. Men and women dressed in their finest being assisted by the ships crew as everyone made their way up the gangplank. The ladies carrying parasols to protect themselves from the waterfalls mist and the late afternoon sun. Musicians played in the inside cabin and a lavish spread was set out. Benches are set up on the front deck for perfect viewing of what is to become quite an acrobatic feat. 
On the half hour we set sail. I headed towards the magnificent falls first before circling around to the cable. I never get used the roar of the falls as sheets of water fall down over the gulf forcing clouds of mist into the air. Even in late June, the water feels cool as it touches my skin. The view all eclipsing of beauty and power. 
As I look up on the American side of the cable I could see a flutter of activity. Blondin was easy to spot as his shocking blonde hair and acrobatic pink tights gave him away. I turn the ferry around and head towards the center of the river not too far from the tight-wire. I idled the ferry a small distance from the wire to give my passengers the best view. “This is crazy”, I muttered under my breath as I steadied the engine. “All these people gathered around to watch an idiot plunge to his death”. The passengers  turned away from the view of the falls and began taking their seats on the benches. My crew tending to their every need as they refreshed drinks and poured fine wine. 
Shortly before 5 o'clock as the sun was starting to set,  Blondin with the help of his assistants started his walk across the cable from America to Canada,holding a balancing pole about 25 ft across. Even though it was impossible to hear anything above the roar of the falls, I felt a hush fall over the crowds as Blondin started his stroll on the wire. The passengers watched from the deck their eyes glued to the strange man as they crane their necks upward.  He walked with the same confidence he possessed back in the pub that night. Unstoppable. Fearless. 
It took him about ten minutes to make it to the Canadian side. When he leaped onto the land the party on the boat cheered. I clapped and shook my head in amazement. Facing the American side, Blondin waved from the cliff and then hopped back on the cable to stroll back . He looked so graceful under a sky streaked with pink and red made by the setting sun and the crushing sounds of the waterfalls behind him. 
At the midway point he shocked the crowd by lowering his body onto the rope, straddling his legs on both sides while keeping the balance pole steady across his knees. He seemed to have been pulling something out of a side pocket. I grabbed the looking glasses I kept hanging in the wheel-room and focused on Blondin and see that is is unraveling a cord and letting it dangle down towards the river. 
“Oh for heavens sake. I don’t actually believe what I’m seeing.” Boudin is pointing right at me and is motioning for me to bring the ferry right under him. He then lifts his hand up to his mouth motioning that he is ready for a drink. He remembered the wager! I steer the boat right under him and he is lowering the rope down. The spectators have no idea what he is doing but I know. I call  for the senior crew member to take over in the wheel-room, grab the bottle of ale and climb up to the roof of main cabin. From that point I   grab the dangling rope, and I secure  the bottle to it using a sailors knot. Blondin still sitting in his position pulls up the bottle, uncorks it and gulps it down! The crowd was stunned as I stood below and laughed. Boudin was a very odd daredevil all right and he sure did know how to put on a good show!
He stood back up and strutted his way back to where he started from. THe whole stunt took about 30 minutes. A stunt that many men, women and children witnessed that day and would talk about for years to come. For me, every time I sit in the pub and have a glass of lager, I just have to laugh and shake my head. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

This day in history - June 13, 1805

 June 13th, 1805 - Meriwether Lewis and other companions of the Lewis and Clark Expedition become the first white men to discover the Great Falls of the Missouri River

We heard it before we saw it. An unmistakable roar of water filling  our ears and getting louder as we are getting closer. We have finally found the great river falls the Indians had warned us about during our winter with them at Fort Mandan.  Many evenings the Mandan Indians had drawn on the dirt what we were up against. Those drawings did not in any way prepare us for the majestic wonder of the land we were about to see. 
Captain Lewis and his dog, Seaman are steps ahead of us while myself and Silas Goodrich follow along with York, Captain Clark's black slave. Our purpose was to find these great falls  as well as to determine if the Missouri River did indeed continue on towards the West. Captain Clark decides he will stay back on the river with the rest of the expedition and waits for word from us.

 Earlier this week we had come to a fork in the river and it was unclear which direction to take. Making the wrong decision would be fatal to the expedition and failure was not an option. President Thomas Jefferson had commissioned Captain Lewis and Captain Clark to explore and establish a river route to the Pacific Ocean. A journey to the unknown that no other white man had ever taken before. Jefferson took personal interest in the members of what he called the Corps of Discovery. He made it clear that the explorers are to be educated men who are proficient in botany, zoology and as well as astronomy. appointed by Jefferson because I am an accomplished cartographer. I compile and sketch maps. He insisted that all members journal their personal observations and describe in great detail their findings. 
We hike on and the sound of the thunderous water got louder and louder. So loud that the earth felt as it was vibrating. Plumes of what looked like smoke rising up into our view ahead dancing in the horizon. The sounds were unlike anything we had ever heard. Lewis stopped and waited for us to catch up. When the four of us caught up to the Captain and his dog, I look ahead and am enthralled by what I see. The noon day sun is shining down in such a way vibrant colors are weaving in and out of the rising sprays of water. We continue on towards the sound and mist and scramble down a hillside. We walk through a  short grove of trees and into a small clearing and stop short. 
The sight before us is of remarkable splendor and one that will always stay with me to the end of my days. Before us is a sheet of water the width of the mountain. Rolling cascades of water flowing over the cliff of the mountain beating the bottoms edge. The noise is so great we cannot hear each other shout and the spray of the water covering us in a drizzle like rain refreshingly cool on our hot sun baked skin. 
I am in awe of the natural wonder in front of me and pull out my sketch pad and colored pencils from my haversack. I sketch the waterfalls onto paper for Thomas Jefferson to see but I can do it no justice. The beauty is too great to transpose onto paper. 

It should be noted that York, Captain Lewis's slave, is the first black man to see the falls. As far as Seaman, the dog, he too might be the first dog to view the falls as well but tough to say since dogs weren't good about keeping observations at that time in history! 

Friday, June 8, 2012

To the moon

Confused I sit down at the desk and look down at my open notebook. I know it was empty when I went to sleep last night. I remember going to bed frustrated because I couldn’t find my writing muse. Maybe I’m just fooling myself was my last thought as I drifted off to sleep. Maybe I don’t have it in me.

"Go ahead and find your writing self"  my husband said as he handed me a gift certificate to this beautiful inn for my birthday after I shared with him my dream of becoming a writer. "Take a week and just do it. I want you to do this for yourself." 

Yet this is my handwriting as I turned the pages of notes. Confused I keep reading.
The change in night breeze disturbed my dreams waking me up. The light of the moon poured into my room illuminating my desk, as the breeze flutters my papers scattering the notes of my novel that I’m secretly writing.  The ocean waves pounding onto the surf as if trying to send a message. I push the covers off me and sit at the desk staring out onto the beach. 
As I go to set the papers back on the desk I see her on the beach, the full moon lighting her up. I saw her earlier today but from a distance. I remember her because she was dressed in a cape of sheer silvery material and the suns rays were bouncing off it. She stood out among the tourists camped out on the beach and the locals wandering up the the surf walking their dogs. When I look outside the window now I see she is wearing the same tunic but it is off her shoulders. The muscles of her shoulders and upper arms reminds me of the Olympian swimmers I watched on TV. She keeps dipping her toes in the water and then stepping back just as she was doing this afternoon. She is staring out over the ocean as if she is waiting for a signal.  What is she waiting for I wondered. I sit at the desk mesmerized watching. We both are staring out at the moon. 

Suddenly a large shadow appears in the horizon. It is moving fast and is getting larger. The shadow gets closer. The woman is continuing her dance of dipping her toes in and stepping back but at a faster tempo and is now staring at the shadow getting closer. All of a sudden the shadow is in front of her, and that’s when I see it. At first I thought it was dolphins but then I realize it’s a school of women, swimming as graceful as dolphins, their golden hair disappearing into the water as their rainbow luminescent fins come up and into the air. Suddenly as the moon was in direct line of the horizon the shadow turned, the woman on the beach threw off her cape and walked with confidence into the water, joining the others. She dives into the water with her golden hair fanning the water’s surface until it disappears and her rainbow fin appears. She joins the others as they swim to the moon. When the shadow disappears I lay back on the bed, the breeze has died down and the ocean is still. The silence almost deafening.
I look up from the notebook as I finish reading the words.  A warmth envelopes me as I realize maybe I have found my writing self. 

This prompt comes today from Write on Edge. We were to write a story using "to the moon". 

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Great Fire of Seattle - Revised

The Great Seattle Fire was a fire that destroyed the entire central business district of Seattle, Washington June 6, 1889
June 6, 1889
“Good Morning Jack. It is going to be another scorcher today.”
I looked over and see Hugh, the resident school custodian sweeping the front terrace taking refuge in the morning shade of the balcony above. 
“It sure is Hugh. I’m beginning not to believe you folks when you tell me that each day starts with fog here in Seattle”, I half-heartingly joke with him as we both looked towards town and Elliot Bay beyond. Wooden barges line up along the waterfront as they were being loaded up with lumber. Railroad cars being pulled by a team of oxen with fresh cut pines keep the supply to the sawmills coming. 
“It’ll be back. Don’t you worry.  I hope so anyway. I do miss the morning fog burning off like it does. It reminds me of the clarity each day brings. Never mind  the fact that my morning chores around here are much more comfortable in fog rather than heat”, Hugh replies. He is always looking on the bright side of things. 
“Well take it easy Hugh. I’m heading into town for a bit”
The heat wave has been the talk of the town for days. The wind blowing in from the north pushing the fog away leaves temperatures running hot all day.  I do confess though that I have been enjoying waking up to seeing Mt Rainer in the distance. I recently read an interview in the the Seattle Post-Intelligencere  that a fellow named John Muir, climbed the mighty mountain last year. In the interview he says the view from top is beautiful but that Mt Rainer is best appreciated from below looking up. I'll accept that fact being that I am not much of an adventurer myself. 
Heading towards town I am glad that I decided to do without my coat today. I thought about it this morning as I was buttoning up my black vest and rolling up the sleeves of my white strached shirt and decided to put it aside for today. I do need to replace the old threadbare jacket but I better  hold off on this expense for as long as I can. As an academician I don’t get much of a stipend but I feel rich being compensated in other ways. As a recent member of the teaching staff here at Territorial University I know that the school is struggling on funds. Past years have forced them to close the doors, turning away those who want  to further their education. I really do have all I need. A small dormitory is provided for men like me who teach here. Right now there is only three of us. Together we teach Latin, mathematics and philosophy. From time to time prominent scholars from San Francisco or Portland will come and provide a semester long course in orienteering, astronomy and other specialized subjects. 
As I head downtown I stroll along Spring Street from Fourth Avenue.  I enjoy looking at the magnificent wooden homes built along here with the local timber. The homes are built on a graded hill looking yonder to the harbor sitting in a row  like birds perched on a fence. The house on the corner  is my favorite,  Dr. Bagley’s  grand Queen Anne mansion.  The lawn and garden beds are well manicured and the fancy spindle work on the balconies always appears as if the paint is still wet it looks so clean. I continue  down the street making eye contact with the horses tethered to the wooden posts with carriages attached to them, patiently waiting for their day to start. I walk past the Allen residence. While Alexander Allen lives on Mansion Row, his home is the most modest of them all. One would think the  manager of Seattle Dry Dock & Shipbuilding  could have a house as grand as the Doctor’s but he does choose his priorities differently. He gives his money to the Arts as well as to the University. I know this because recently I was the recipient of theatre tickets donated by Mr Allen. My colleague and I enjoyed a fine show several weeks ago at the Frye Opera House. A treat indeed. On the porch sits his daughter on a stool in front of an easel. She is engrossed in her paint palette and furiously stroking the canvas with a brush. I do not call out to her as not to disturb her. 
I cut over to Second Avenue and dodge an electric streetcar. I am still not used to sharing the streets with them as they are new to Seattle. Newfangled streetcars, a brain child of Frank Osgood, that are hooked to the overhead electric cables and run by on board motormen. The cars are always occupied by women who do not want the bottom of their petticoats to be covered in mud. 
My first stop this morning is the Puget Sound National Bank located in the lobby of the Occidental Hotel to deposit my semester pay. The marble lobby is dark and pleasantly cool feels good. A brief respite from the heat. I then  move on to the cigar shop located down closer to the waterfront. I want to pick up two cigars. Hugh and I have gotten into the habit of sitting on the steps of the University at night, looking at Mt Rainer in the light of the moon, and smoke. I enjoy listening to the old mans tales and I believe he enjoys the company. 
With the two cigars safely stored in my shirt pocket snuggled underneath my vest I head over to the wharf. When I first explored the waterfront months ago I got easily lost. The piers, docks and berths are all connected by boardwalks creates a maze of it’s own. At first I used landmarks such as the Crystal Palace Saloon, Russell's Bakery and other businesses  built on the wider planks of  the boardwalk until I got my bearings and have it figured out now. Today I am going to treat myself to a lunch time meal of fish and chips and an ice cold lager at the barroom inside St. Elmo’s Hotel. St Elmo’s is a questionable establishment in my mind. I have heard of late evening brawls and other shenanigans but I never pay much attention to such talk. St Elmo’s fish and chips, wrapped in newspaper, delicately fried just right is all I’m interested in. 
  After my noonday meal I walk past the Lowman and & Handford Stationary and Printing Co. I should stop in here and check on the status of the textobbk I ordered but the heat of the day is starting to get to me. Looking up at the sun’s position in the sky I am going to guess that it is  about two o'clock in the afternoon. Perhaps a nap would be the best way to beat this heat and now is a good time to start heading up the hill back to the campus.
Something is wrong I ghought as soon as I hear the school belling ringing from it’s belfry. The sound of the ringing bell is  alarming. The bell is only rung when school is in session, or to alert ships in Elliot Bay that land is near in extremely thick fog and those two scenarios are impossible. I instinctively turn around and immediately see a bellow of smoke coming from where I had just come from. The downtown was on fire and I could see from my vantage point that it was spreading and growing into a huge inferno. The buildings downtown are completely made of wood feeding the fire into a frenzy. Fire Engine Company #1is on scene working fervidly. I start running down to the center of town, as well as other business men, clerks and everyone else who is aware of what is going on. As I get closer the thick smoke starts to burn my eyes and the intense heat feels like it is physically pushing me back, like a bully in a schoolyard fight. Wind whips the flames carelessly about causing wreckage in it’s path. Buildings are quickly destroying in front of my eyes. In the midst of such chaos however the pulling together of humanity is keeping a somewhat calm order. Bucket brigades are being set up as lines of men are passing buckets of water from the bay to each other to assist the efforts of the Fire Engine company. It is clear that their resources are failing quickly. Apparently it wasn’t thought out at the time of inception that wooden water pipes would probably burn in a fire. Water pressure is failing and the water hoses are useless. 
 I feel a huge crash behind me and watch the Frye Opera House come tumbling down.This is unbelievable and it feels so unreal.  I feel it though. I smell it. I hear it. It is real. I snap back into reality and help a young woman and her child with their  belongings. The barges have dumped their load of logs into the water and are taking on board passengers and whatever they can carry. Once on board the plan is to push out  and push out to the far side of the harbor. Once I get the young mother and her child on board I run back through the maze of wooden planks, sparks dancing about my feet and one actually landing on my shirt sleeve burning a small hole. 
I run back towards Third Avenue where I could see a flurry of activity even through the smoke. Men are shouting that every available bucket of water is to be poured onto the courthouse. An enormous effort ensues and the building was spared as the fire moves on towards skid row. Through the roaring din I can hear explosions. Barrels of booze being ignited someone explains to me. 
I continue on with the work efforts doing what I am told by those who seem to know what to do. What seems like only minutes has turn into hours. I do what I can to fight the blaze. It was impossible to see that the sun had actually gone down when the Sheriff and his deputies ride about on horses. They are making an announcement that a curfew is now set in place and all citizens are to return to their homes. If their homes are not intact they are mandated to seek shelter of some kind. All saloons and other establishments are to be closed until further notice. 
I head back up the hill for the second time todayThis time I feel defeated.  Somewhat frightened. I just watched my newly adopted city burn down. Right in front of my eyes. I can’t believe that the buildings I visted just this morning is now just a pile of rubble and ash. How did this happen?  
There is no sign of Hugh as I walk along the path to the back dormitory. Exhaustion takes over the minute I enter my room. I quickly peel off my smoke stenched vest and shirt and toss it to the chair. In doing so the forgotten cigars fall to the floor. I am sitting on the edge of the bed and bend down to pick them up. It seems so long ago when I bought these. Was it really just this morning?  Surprisingly they survived the day, unlike the shop they came from. I lie back and close my eyes. I fall asleep with the cigars in hand. 
This story inspired by Sandra's Writing Workshop! This is my first ever entry.  Thank you Sandra for your words of encouragement and giving me courage to jump into the writing world! Please everyone... go and check out her webpage and join her workshop! 

The next day

I'm participating in Week #30 of the Trifecta challenge using the following prompt.

NEW (adjective)

: having recently come into existence
2 a (1) : having been seen, used, or known for a short time (2) : unfamiliar 

     b : being other than the former or old
3: having been in a relationship or condition but a short time <new to the job> <a new wife>

I used the challenge to continue the story I had written yesterday regarding The Great Fire of Seattle 1889.

I head down towards the center square along with the restof the distraught citizens. The smell of smoke mixing with the burnt wood smell blows in the gentle breeze.  I notice that the leaves of the trees are dusted by the gray ashes of the remains of lost businesses. Horse and carriages are lined up along the grassy park. Men still wearing soot stained shirts and women holding their petticoats up to keep from getting muddy are milling about. Everyone sharing their own version of yesterday.  Many exhausted, including myself from actually fighting the fire as best we could. It was apparent from the destruction that the attempts were futile. The crowd is gathered sitting on makeshift benches made of wooden planks and a mock podium set up front with Mayor Moran, Acting Fire Chief James Murphy and the Sheriff
“Ladies and Gentleman “ the mayor shouted. “Let’s begin”
“We are here today to speak to you about how the great city of Seattle will rebuild following yesterdays epic fire as well as some details that have come to light. The fire was started at the cabinet making shop of Vincent Clarmont on Front Street. An apprentice by the name of John Back was heating a pot of glue over a gasoline fire. The glue spilt over and quickly ignited the wood shavings that were covering the floor.  I asked Mr Clarmont how could such a disaster happen he stated that Mr Back was new to woodworking. He had apparently just arrived by rail from Portland earlier this week and was penniless and in need of a job. This morning his whereabouts in unknown.” Murmurs vibrated through the crowd as some shook their heads in disbelief.
The Mayor continued. “Due to extraordinary efforts by you fine citizens, no life was spared. The tragedy lies only in the lost businesses and let me assure you we will rebuild immediately. Seattle will continue to be fine proud city she is."
I smiled as the crowd cheered.