Sleuth Mode

I don’t know if they’re year-round residents, or seasonal, but a clear view of the side of the neighboring house reveals magpies and a pileated woodpecker vying for the same construction space. Their tactical maneuvers are like watching a Blue Angels airshow.

Hint # 9—If I were a trout (rainbow, brown, or westslope cutthroat) I’d be tickled pink to swim in the river a stone’s throw from my sabbatical location.

My temporary home away from home is glorious. And even though there’s a solid, six-foot wooden fence around it, I had an unwitting guest—a doe—who cleared the fence to get in but was mystified on how to get back out.

If you’ve followed this blog for any length of time, you know I’ve always wanted to be a magician, international spy, and mad scientist. In the blink of an eye, I claimed elements from all three and transformed into sleuth mode.

Mist-like, I slipped out of the house sight unseen, unlatched the gate, and slipped back inside. When the doe took a double-take at the fence, she saw an opening and beat a hasty retreat.

What was your last sleuth-mode escapade?

Reminder, the caveat of the Looking for Laurie game stipulates: “The first person to type the accurate city and state of my sabbatical location into the comments section of the Mar 28 post will receive a personalized copy of Note to Self: A Seven-Step Path to Gratitude and Growth for themselves or as a gift to someone else.”


Short Story/Flash Fiction Challenge

I think I’ve lived up to the challenge Rachel at Writer’s Platform—Building Campaigners gave. The rules are:

Write a short story or flash fiction story in 200 words or less, excluding the title. It can be in any format, including a poem. Begin the story with the words, “Shadows crept across the wall.” These five words will be included in the word count. If you want to give yourself an added challenge (optional), do one or more of these:

  • End the story with the words: “everything faded.” (also included in the word count)
  • Include the word “orange” in the story
  • Write in the same genre you normally write
  • Make your story 200 words exactly!

And you all thought I was kidding when I told you I had aspirations of being a magician, an international spy, or a mad scientist. Here’s the story as told by my 10-year-old self:

Shadows crept across the wall of the garage, dance-like, as the orange flames licked up the curtained window. “Oh crap, I’m in so much trouble!” I shouted grabbing the fabric, to yank it from the rod and stomp the flames out on the cement floor.

“It would have been so much smarter to stick with a stink bomb,” I scolded myself. “There’s never been a hitch with a putrified egg stored in a Nestle Quick box; at least nothing more than an assaulted sense of smell when the hydrogen sulfide stink invades the air.”

Ignoring the “parental supervision” suggestion, I decided to make this year’s science fair volcano on my own. I’d worked with vinegar and baking soda in the past, but this year I wanted a ribbon—a blue ribbon.

Having made a test-run volcano from paper mache, I decided to use yeast combined with hydrogen peroxide for a larger explosion. Pleased, but not completely satisfied, I added the element of fire. “Yowza!” I thought as I smelled my past-tense eyebrows!

While stomping the flames in my new Keds, I heard the wail of sirens coming up the street, and then overcome with smoke, everything faded.


What was your favorite science fair project?