On Footprints in the Sand

Welcome to the aFa Footprints Challenge. I issued the challenge in this past post, but in a nutshell, participants will develop a story of 150 words or less from the image below.

Not only is my story in this post, I’ve asked participants to link their story here – so I invite readers here to follow the Pingback links in the Comments to more stories. Other writers my provide a link within their comment. There is no question in my mind that readers will find a wide variety of styles and adventures. In a way, another challenge is to read as many of the other stories as possible.

As I stated in the challenge, fiction is outside of my comfort zone. Thanks to participating writers and to all the readers. Enjoy the offerings!

PS: No need to panic because Pingbacks will display upon approval at this end.

Footprints in the Sand

The air is brisk. Yesterday’s rain and wind wiped away footprints, chair marks, and tire tracks from the past. The beach’s sandy surface is smooth except for a fresh set of footprints.

Someone walking alone …

… barefoot …

… a female …

… with short steps …

… using a cane …

… moving toward the water.

Warmly dressed to combat the chilled winds, she reaches the water’s edge. She stood looking in different directions, thinking about her love for the water, the beach, and its sand.

She slowly walked a short distance along the water’s edge – close enough for the occasional lap across her feet. She turned and paused to think about memories. Times when she wasn’t alone – the family vacations – the hand-and-hand walks with the one she loves.

Hooded and alone, she retraces her steps off the beach toward her quarters – the place where someone watched her every step.

(148 words) – Comments about this story? Who was watching?

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On a Footprints Challenge

It’s challenge time!

Long-time visitors to my little corner of the world know that writing fiction isn’t my thing. With over 1,900 posts, I’ve written one fiction post. Actually two because the original post did turn into a short story challenge that involved me changing my original story.

Not that I’m changing my format in on these pages, but what the heck – let’s try it again!

1. Write a short story based on the image below in the genre of your choice.


2. The story must be 150 words or less.

3. Publish your story after I post mine (Monday, July 10th @ 12:15 am Eastern US) AND link back to the post with my story (not this post).

4. Display the image above your story

5. The story title must be Footprints in the Sand

6. Display the following image after the story.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 267

Donald Trump continues to do what he does best: Bring attention to himself and bloviate. Here’s The Onion’s candidate profile on The Bloviator, plus this related headline made me laugh: Trump tell Iowa farmers he has cattle 500 times bigger than theirs.

This headline captured my attention: Schools That Succeed Because of the System, Not Despite It … GAG … As one on the reform education side of the fence, I can justify the statement being true, but I ask a deeper question: But is this the system we want to master?

Discussions about flying the Confederate flag continue, while some seem to want to expand it to anything Confederate.

  • Should schools with Rebels as a nickname change? (No)
  • Should mascots of Confederate soldiers be replaced? (No)
  • Should schools reconsider using the Confederate flag as a school symbol? (Yep if the school receives any public aid)
  • Should the Confederate flag fly at public memorials on Confederate Memorial Day? (To me, this is a tough one as I can see both sides.)
  • Can a person fly the Confederate flag on a pole on their own property? (Absolutely, and this should remain)

The Daily Beast published this very-timely-now article (Jan 15, 2015) about Robert E. Lee’s view about reconciliation.

Cheers to the South Carolina legislature for voting to take down the Confederate flag from its capitol grounds.

Cincinnati is hosting this year’s mid-summer classic: Major League Baseball’s All-Star game. The city has done a great job getting ready for the week-long festivities. Meanwhile, the team’s owner and management continue to demonstrate they have lost their way.

The Coke machines with all the flavors … do you know the ones? Vanilla Ginger Ale is my favorite. Do you have a favorite?

Did you notice that the desserts theme of Meals: The Musical: Act 7 was calorie free? I anticipate only 2 more acts, and preliminary information about Act 8 is on the Hear Ye page.

My wife and I ballroom dance for fun – thus we don’t compete or perform solos in studio-related events – but we have participated in two formations (groups). It appears I’ll be performing with another dance partner (of course with my wife’s permission) at a future showcase. Here’s the song we are hoping to use for our dance. What’s the dance?

For those who will post the entire story on their blog (with their ending), the revised story (without an ending) is on the Challenge page to copy. The Dance Challenge date Sunday, July 12th, 9:30 pm (Eastern US). I’m looking forward to the different endings, so feel free to promote the challenge!

The Explore series continues on Saturday featuring a wonderful video about a person, place, or thing.

To lead you into The Onion, here’s their short video about what children need in a male role model.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Disney unveils first virgin princess
Report: Male hair-loss 7 times more painful than childbirth
S&M couple won’t stop droning on about their fetishes
Insurance only pays for generic heart transplant
Ghost of Julia Child sounds the same
Meteorologist slips family members few extra days of extended forecast

Interesting Reads
Washington Post’s editorial board about independence
An example of Congress avoiding solutions (from the BiPartisan Policy Center)
Same-sex marriage around the world
Brain’s internal compass
13 facts about Crayola Crayons

Here’s a 2-fer to send you into the weekend – a leftover dessert from the musical and a classic. Have a safe weekend and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

On a Challenge

Regulars recall my first venture into fiction (here). The comments provided many helpful suggestions (which I’m incorporating in the rewrite) and various concerns with the ending. From this, I’m issuing a challenge to any and all participants to develop a new ending. See the information below.

Challenge Overview

  • Rewrite the story’s ending
  • Start after “The music ends.”
  • Your ending must be 75 words or less
  • A dance video or song doesn’t have to be included

aFaShortStoryChallengeOption A (by commenting)

  • At the designated date and time, I will repost the story (actually the revised version)
  • Readers can enter their ending as a comment
  • Take the badge to the right for your collection

Option B (by posting)

  • Copy/Paste the story (thus my permission)
  • Wait until I post the revised version on Challenge Day
  • Post the entire story on your blog with your ending
  • Embed the badge at the beginning of the story
  • Link to my revised post
  • Encourage others to participate
  • Extra Information below important

Extra Information

  • Posting date is Sunday, July 12th, 9:30 pm (Eastern US)
  • These instructions are also posted on the Challenge page
  • For Option B challengers, I will include the revised version (for copy/paste) on the Challenge page around July 5th

A Surprise for My Effort
The image below shocked me in multiple ways. 1) A reader took the time to do this … (I’m graciously honored) and then 2) I realized he based it on my words. I wanted to share this with you while publicly thanking Calvin for his time, efforts, and generosity.

post cards from a reader_v2

On Satire Bits: Vol. 124

It’s been cold this week in Cincinnati – but at least I’m thankful that we haven’t received the snow continues to dump on the northeastern US. In the past 17 days, Boston has received 70+ inches (177+ cm)? That’s crazy! … and more is anticipated Friday and Sunday.

Life: The Musical official concludes on the next post. The epilogue focuses on life as whole, so submit songs that are about life, and hopefully special to you in some way … and I hope you will briefly share the why behind you choice. In other words, this is a chance to post a song about life that is important to you. Curtain time is Wednesday, 9:30 PM (Eastern US).

For your mid-week satire to propel you toward the weekend, I ventures into the depths of The Onion’s archival vault. Given yesterday’s post about education, I cleared the dust on many good ones. Any favorites? There’s also the Combo Challenge of making your own original headline from the words in the headlines below. For those wanting the extra challenge, try making a headline that’s not about education. My Combo is at the end.

Have a good rest of the week.

Teacher hopes students can tell that he was once popular

Substitute teacher totally freaks

Gym teacher secretly hates nerds

Frustrated inner-city students running out of ideas to motivate teachers

Male substitute teacher cloaked in mystery

Nation’s substitute teachers what to know who threw that

Inspirational teacher cancelled out by every other teacher at school

Teacher’s sense of humor comes through in multiple-choice test

Gym teacher ensures students that bouncing wiffle balls on a parachute is a sport

Risk champ flunks geography test

French teacher informs student to tell her about the bathroom fire in French

Creative writing teacher announces plan to sit on edge of desk

Teacher sees potential in student with glasses

My Combo: Nerds motivate creative freaks to throw at balls of frustrated male