Undercover at Bingo

You’re on a top-secret spy mission—for your grandmother. She can’t make it to her Monday Night Bingo (you tell us why), but she’s certain that one of the regulars is cheating, and she sends you to check it out. Conduct a covert operation to catch this cheater in the act.

Post your response (500 words or fewer) in the comments below.

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328 thoughts on “Undercover at Bingo

  1. laurentravian

    “But Grannaaaaaaa!” I whined, sounding more like a three year old than a thirteen year old.
    She fixed me with an eagle glare. “I need to find out how she cheats at bingo! And I am busy playing bridge, so you have to go.” I bit my lip. “Why can’t one of my cousins go? Or my brother?” I was whining again. “Because you’re the only granddaughter, and its a women’s only bingo hall.” At last, I agreed. I was promised much chocolate, as I loooooooovvvvvveeeeee it. I ended up sitting right next to the crone in question. She eyed me suspiciously, realized I was no threat, and gambled. “So you’re Lynn’s granddaughter.” She said, not looking up. “Yes ma’am.” I answered quickly. She tutted. “Lynn doesn’t stay at the nursing home. In my opinion, she shouldn’t be allowed in.” I started to bridle at that. “At least my Granna has a family.” I said, loosing my temper, and cool. The crone smiled. “Good child. We’ll make a BINGO star out of you yet.” I raised my eyebrows, then shrugged it off. I watched her out of the corner of my eye. The card drawer was an old man, about the crone’s age. I saw her smile and bat her eyes at him. I was immediately scarred. But then I saw him draw the cards she had on her sheet. I leaned over. “That’s cheating.”I whispered. She stiffened, then relaxed. “No, that’s how I play the game. Nowhere in the rules does it say I can’t involve my social life. And in fact, who am I to blame if Gus draws the cards I have?” she snickered. “Like I said dearie. We’ll make a BINGO star out of you yet.”

  2. REMacGowan

    (Hello. This is my first post to the Weekly Prompt. I look forward to your feedback.)

    “Robin,” Grandma’s voice floated from my cell phone. “I need you to take my place at Bingo tonight.”

    “What? Grandma, it’s a 45-minute drive one way from my ranch to Cliff Rock Casino!”

    “I know. I’ll reimburse you for the gas. But, Chico has colic and the equine vet’s on her way now. I need you to spy on Old Man Cordiss. He’s been winning the top prize every week for months. I think he’s cheating.”

    “Not, Old Man Cordiss? He’s one of the wealthiest ranchers in the county, Grandma. Why’s he at Bingo anyway?”

    “I suspect he’s wrangling for spending money. His kids have him on a retirement budget. He complains he can barely buy a can of chewing tobacco.”

    I let out a hiss. Old Man Cordiss has never liked me because I’m the only woman in the county who does rodeos. My cousin Tom and I won the top prize last year in team roping. As Tom and I walked back to the stock pens, Old Man Cordiss spit a stream of his ugly, diarrhea-looking chewing tobacco right on top of my boots.

    That memory jolted me back to Grandma’s request.

    “Yea, sure, Grandma,” I said, bitterly. “I’ll go and spy on Old Man Cordiss.”

    I drove my pick up truck down the dark, two-lane highway until I reached the bright lights of the reservation’s casino. Inside the Bingo hall I swallowed hard and sat down next to Old Man Cordiss.

    “What are you doing here?” He snarled. “Where’s your grandmother?”

    “Chico’s sick. If you don’t like me sitting here, I’ll leave.”

    I watched him watch me leave. I stood in the lobby, counted to 50, peered back into the hall, and saw Old Man Cordiss hunched over his Bingo cards, his dauber held high. He listened to Ron Stargazer call out the numbers. As his voice faded, Stargazer slipped a quick look at Old Man Cordiss who nodded his head, and then mouthed something back to Stargazer.

    “Whoa! Those two are running a game!” I whispered.

    I called my grandmother and gave her my report.

    “Maybe it’s not my place to shake things up,” she quietly sighed. “Thanks for taking the time, sweetie. But, you know….”

    We ended the call. And, I did know. My grandmother trains quarter horses, competing against Old Man Cordiss’ ranch. He hated her.

    I moved my hand out of the front pocket of my blue jeans up to my mouth and walked back to my seat at the Bingo table. I watched Old Man Cordiss as he raised his dauber to land on his final Bingo card, destined to win the top prize yet again.

    “N-13”, yodeled Ron Stargazer as he snuck a peek at Old Man Cordiss.

    Faster than a hungry rattlesnake striking at a field mouse, I opened my lips and sent an ugly, diarrhea-looking stream of chewing tobacco spit onto the Bingo card, onto N-13.

    “Mr. Cordiss,“ I hissed quietly as I got up from my chair. “Bingo!”

  3. JWorthington

    Grandma has survived 3 marriages, 5 children, a dozen surgeries, and a World War. Yet on this particular Monday a botched omelet had wreaked havoc on her intestine. She couldn’t in good faith go to Bingo. Her flatulence had deemed her a weapon of mass destruction. “Johnny I don’t ask much of you but you must do this for me! “ “If I sold my soul I couldn’t BINGO as much as Doris the Florist does!” “You always figure out who the killer is in the murder mysteries we watch together, figure out this mystery and I’ll make that blueberry cheesecake you love so much.” She proclaimed. The very thought of me sitting in a smoke filled storage bin of elderly people made me age prematurely. The monotone cadence of the bingo announcer is torture. Loud enough to keep you awake, yet with all the emotion of Mr. Spock reading your obituary. “Grandma Can we just accept the fact Doris sold her soul to Lucifer in order to be the Bingo Hall’s Olympian?” I smugly interjected. “You’d be wise to just figure out what she’s doing Johnny if my cooking is something you fancy!” she replied. I then armed myself with a neon pink dabber from her arsenal of bingo paraphernalia and set my GPS for the bingo hall. When I arrived there and it wasn’t much of shock to find that everyone else was at least several decades older than me. The hall had its very own fragrance; it was a cross between Old Spice and Fig Newton. My punctuality was as absent as my enthusiasm to be here. I was being glared at as I entered in midgame. It must be some unsaid rule that being late for Bingo makes people in your vicinity scowl and purse their lip. That’s exactly what happened. You’d think that I told them Pat Sajack retired and they were outsourcing his position to India. In the cloud of disapproval I had almost forgot about the mission at hand. Unraveling the Doris conundrum! Thankfully she was in eyeshot of the table that I had cowered to while seeking refuge from the laser beams of disapproval. The co-ordinates to the bingo bombing were steady and monotone as I had predicted. “B46…….N74…….O18” Is this what my golden years will be like? I only had one card to follow so that I could gawk at Doris and hope to put Grandma’s conspiracy theories to rest. Some of these people I’m certain will detonate their pacemaker if they hit a BINGO. Doris was surprisingly fit though for a golden girl. I watched her. I watched her watch her card. I watched her watch the announcer. I watched her watch the announcer whom was watching the clock. It felt like watching paint dry. Not your paint either, your grandma’s paint. It didn’t take Sherlock Holmes to figure out Doris wasn’t cheating she’s just more alert and played more cards then all of the other relics in the room.

  4. MCKEVIN

    You, This, I…. This was good. I read it twice to make sure I was reading correctly. I…You…this was good… and I thank you for writing it. … You and holdonwinter have made my day. Damn! Good job!

      1. Wendy2020

        Thank you, McKevin… but I am Wendy2020. I love a good mystery, but you leave me hanging as to whether your really meant to write “You and Wendy2020″, or “????? and Wendy2020″. I doubt I made double-billing in your compliement. But I thank you for your feedback, very much.

  5. Wendy2020

    Okay… taking a gamble. We’ll see if this converter works.

    Grandma Gigi told me she was skipping Bingo night to nurse her Bursitis, and I let her get away with it.  But I knew the truth.  You can’t tell the preacher’s wife to shove her Bingo winnings up her sour pickle pussy and expect to be welcomed back the following week.

    “You gonna be all right, Gi?” I asked.

    She sunk further down into her multitude of pillows, like a war-weary soldier ducking into a foxhole.  

    “Don’t worry ‘bout me.  Just keep your eye on that bi–.” Gi cut herself off.  She craned her neck up off her overstuffed bulwark to look at my infant son, Toby, sleeping in the portable crib beside her bed. 

    “Big cheater?” I finished, in a rated-G paraphrase.

    “Yes. That Nan.  If anything happens, you call me. Don’t you let her cover her…” Gi switched to a whisper, “her lily-white ass.”

    “I’ll get to the bottom of it, Gi.  Just try to keep your profanity to a minimum around the little man.”

    Gi’s eyes glinted as she “shhhhhed” through a thick-knuckled index finger, then crossed her heart with it.

    Setting my diaper bag down on the nightstand, I groped around for my iPhone, finding it lodged between a bib and a leaky tube of diaper cream.

    Air kissing both Gi and Toby, I left.

    As I entered the church Nan’s husband, Reverend Owens, hurried past.

    “Good Evening, Reverend,” I said.

    He said nothing back, but shot me a flustered look that made me feel like the bad apple that had fallen from the tree of my Gi’s original sin.  Bite me.   

    My son would not grow up a bad seed.  As soon as I had enough money we’d forge our own Eden – some faraway town where the father of my child didn’t attend the same church with his “Oh, didn’t I mention I was married” family.

    Reverend Owens preached that faith, not good works, got one into Heaven.  Maybe so. But pilfering off my good deed of Bingo night volunteering was funding my Exodus out of hell.  Still, it would take a miracle for me to believe in God, again.

    With tonight’s “collection” fisted in one hand and my iphone in the other, I pushed the ladies room door open with my backside and smacked right into Nan, knocking her on her ass.  The crumpled bills slid through my fingers as I braced myself for my fall.   

    I was quicker on my feet than Nan.  While she struggled to recover her dignity and the spilled contents of her purse, I snapped her picture.

    “You Thieving whore!” Nan spat.  “And I’ll make sure everyone knows it.”

    “I wouldn’t do that.  Unless you want this photo to find its way into the church bulletin.”

     As I collected my spoils off the disinfected floor, I flashed the captured image in her holier than thou face:   She-devil Nan, a worn bible, a splattering of clearly labeled Depends undergarments and a tube of diaper rash cream.

    “You look really pissed,” I said, emphasizing the word ‘pissed’, then walked out.

    I didn’t call Gi.  Good news like this had to be delivered in person.

    When I got back, I found Toby’s crib wheeled out into common area, my little angel still asleep inside.

    Monosyllabic grunts spilled from Gi’s room.  One voice, Gi’s.  The other, Reverend Owens’.

    “Gi…”

    “Ohh…”

     “Gi…”

    “Ohhhhhhhhh!”

     Maybe there was a God.  And Bingo was his name-o. 

    1. Ishmael

      Wendy…I’ll try to be brief. When I commented on JR’s above, I didn’t know I’d written another story till I posted it. But this was just as good in a different vein. Your phrasing was excellent and the descriptions were spot-on and detailed. Funny. Entertaining exchange of dialogue. Hilariously sinful way for Gi to describe Nan’s vajayjay. So…she went, not to catch Nan cheating, but to steal the bingo collection to just get the heck out of Dodge? Good spin. Rev. Owens and Gi thumping Bibles at the end was unexpected!

      “…like the bad apple that had fallen from the tree of my Gi’s original sin. Bite me.” Loved that line. And I just glanced up and re-read this line, getting it for the first time: “You look really pissed,” I said, emphasizing the word ‘pissed,’ then walked out.” Wonderful stuff.

    2. JR MacBeth

      Great job Wendy! A righteous single mom, doing right by her little boy, and church hypocrites be damned! Employing the biblical theme as you did worked especially well I think, and ran consistent right to the end.

      On small technicals, a couple things. First, capitalizations. “B” in bingo probably gets a pass often enough (based on the many submissions here), but not “B” in bursitis, and not usually “H” in heaven (especially if the “H” in hell was left in sharp contrast). Use of commas, not always perfectly objective, but felt off in a couple of spots.

      Honestly, I’m not sure what this says about me, but you had me at “pussy” in your second paragraph. I’ll certainly look for more of yours in the future!

      1. JR MacBeth

        Oops. Just to clarify Wendy, I will look for more of your STORIES in the future. (I reread that, and did a big shame-on-me. Lesson to all, don’t hit POST too quick. Sometimes things just come out wrong!)

      2. Wendy2020

        Hmmm, what does it say about me that I feel strangely flattered?

        You do know that anatomically speaking they only come (ahem) in a limited quantity? However, I am happy to flash my fiction on a fairly regular basis, and I don’t mind at all if you look.

        1. JR MacBeth

          You are very gracious Wendy, so glad you have such a great sense of humor. As far as flashing your fiction, I’m guessing you’re going to have a line at your door before you know it.
          JR

  6. Wendy2020

    Before I post my story, I can’t find the link I usually use to convert my word document to html online for free. Can anyone please give me their cheat sheet on how they do it?

  7. letsmosey

    I stepped into the Bingo hall, warily. I had never before set foot in one of these places and I had no idea what to do. This was by far the most ridiculous request I’d ever entertained from Oma. Usually I paid no attention to her paranoid ramblings; the fanciful delusions of a bored old woman, I thought. Tonight actually wasn’t that different, except that I was certain that Oma would try something stupid if she came here tonight.

    Together with her therapist I conspired to keep her away from the Bingo hall until this matter could be settled. Dr Roberts spun some tale about controlling her gambling addiction, and Oma always listens to every word he says. Apparently, Dr Roberts and I are the only ones in this whole universe that Oma trusts. Still, only a fervent promise that I would get to the bottom of this for her convinced Oma to go see Dr Roberts tonight instead of coming here, to the Bingo hall.

    Oma was lucky to have such a faithful granddaughter.

    I spotted the ‘cheater’ almost immediately. She was hanging back while everyone else was pressing towards the front of the room. I stayed back as well, having no trouble looking unsure of myself and wandered around scanning the floor, as if looking for a seat. My suspected cheater found a seat near the back, and I found a seat behind her, as inconspicuously as I could manage.

    Despite that, she didn’t look like a cheater. She must have been at least eighty-five, with wispy white hair, huge, thick glasses and a floral print dress. She even had an enormous purse, just like my Oma. She looked like every other old Lady in that place. Not the kind of nefarious criminal Oma made her out to be. Still, I watched intently as the old lady spread her two cards in front of her and readied her dabber.

    The air inside the hall was tense and still as the players settled down into their seats and stared up at the stage in anticipation. The little bin at the front of the room started spinning, and there was almost an audible sound – or lack of sound, like everyone holding their breath at the same time. I was so busy staring out across the floor, wondering at this strange ‘bingo culture’, that I almost missed it when the cheater reached into her bag for something. Her hand came out with a stack of what was soon revealed to be a stack of more Bingo cards. The old woman really was cheating.

    I’ll be damned.

  8. holdonwinter

    “Oh Jeremy! I haven’t missed Bingo in years!”
    “You can’t Bingo with an upset stomach, Grandma.”
    “That Gretta Milstrom! Saturday’s big money night. She’s likely to cheat. Will you investigate?”
    “Are you serious?”
    “yes! Honey, will you please?”
    “I don’t know, Grandma.”
    She frowns. Jeremy feels conquered, “I guess so.”
    “Her name is Gretta. She wears the god-awful red beret. That hat is her luck charm. Sit next to her and pay attention to her actions”
    “Grandma, How does a person cheat at bingo?”
    “Slight of hand! I turn away momentarily and when I turn back, my winning card is replaced by a losing card! That old blowhard denies it every time!”
    “Grandma, why don’t you sit somewhere else?”
    “Honey, her beret is lucky!”
    “Grandma, that is silly.”
    “Don’t argue with me.You’ll do it or you won’t.”
    “Fine. I’ll be back later this evening.”
    At the bingo parlor, Jeremy spots Gretta Milstrom.
    “Hi, I’m Jeremy, Betty’s grandson.”
    “That ol’ biddy sick or sumthin’?”
    “Yes. I’m sitting in her place this evening.”
    With three numbers already called, Jeremy quickly lays down his cards. Round One progresses. As the minutes pass, Jeremy has two nearly-winning cards. He turns to check the clock and—by God!—Gretta Milstrom just swiped one!
    “Excuse me, but that was my card.”
    “You’re just like ‘ur Granny, aren’t ya?”
    “You thought I wasn’t watching, but I saw you.”
    “Saw me what?”
    “Maybe I was just seeing things.”
    “Maybe you were!” snaps Gretta.
    “Doesn’t look like I’ll be winning this round,” Jeremy says.
    Gretta shrugs.
    “I’m going to grab a drink. I’ll return for next round.”
    “Bingo!” Gretta announced.
    Jeremy watches from the snack bar as Gretta exchanges the stolen card for a cash voucher of $2,000.
    He returns as Round Two commences. His dobber dried up, and he dug through his coat for another.
    Jeremy suddenly exclaimed, “I saw that! What did you pour into my beer?!”
    “Well I never!” Gretta feigns offense.
    Management halts the game, “What’s going on?”
    “Gretta spiked my beer when she thought I wasn’t looking!”
    Management replies, “This is a serious accusation. Gretta, I’ll need you to empty your purse.”
    “I refuse! Jeremy is lying!”
    “I must prove that Jeremy is lying.”
    As Gretta hands over the purse, Jeremy cries out, “She just took something from it!”
    Gretta quickly raises her hands implying innocence. The parlor is silent. A hollow plastic container bounces and clatters on the hard floor. Everyone looks around at each other. Jeremy grabs the plastic bottle, holds it in the air and announces, “Ah-ha! reLAX: Heavy Strength Laxative! Gretta spiked Grandma Betty’s drink last night and overdosed her on laxatives!”
    “I can’t stand unlucky people sitting next to me!” screams Gretta, “Betty always insisted on sitting near me because of my lucky hat. I made sure to it that her luck dried up!”
    “So has yours, my dear,” Jeremy proudly proclaimed. “So has yours.”

  9. JR MacBeth

    (534 words, sorry folks, I tried!)

    Last wishes

    She was dying. She knew it, I knew it. And my Dad still wasn’t here. Shit. All his goddamn whoring around, his drinking. Always some bullshit.

    This was his mother!

    “Here Grammy, try a little sip.” Her eyes had been vacant now for the last ten minutes. At least they were still open. I looked down at the plastic bag. It should have been yellow, but was more a dark brown. The doctor said it was one of the signs. She had to be very dehydrated, not getting more than drop or two down at a time.

    “Mom? Momma?” He finally made it. No slut in tow? Small miracle. Ah, there, the booze smell. Shit, why not? It was five o’clock somewhere.

    “How’s she doing? Allison?”

    “Just fine Dad! She’s just fucking fine!” And I’d swore I wouldn’t swear.

    He knelt down next to her. It was probably the fumes from his breath, but she was stirring.

    “Davy…My Davy?”

    “Yes Momma, I’m here. It’s Davy.”

    “Tonight’s bingo…. I know how they’re doing it. I saw them. In my dream…”

    “Shh. Momma, no bingo. You’re sick, remember?”

    “Both Mrs. Johnson’s are related you know…”

    “Mom, uh…forget the old bags at bingo…”

    “Dad! Don’t talk to Gramm like that!”

    “Just relax kid. What I want to know is what happened to the goddamn doctor. When did he leave?”

    “Hours ago.” I looked over at Gramm. Her eyes were closed now.

    “Dad, she wanted to die here, at home, not in the hospital, and not with some doctor hanging over her like a vulture. She’s dying. You know that, right?”

    “Dying?” The expression on his face said it all. One more critical detail that failed to get through his alcoholic haze.

    “Yeah. Dying. Really.”

    “Shh. She’s awake. Mom?”

    “Listen. Both of you. They read the balls pretty close, but not exact, you see?”

    “Bingo,” Dad said, “She’s still muttering about friggin’ bingo.”

    “The Johnson girls, they got the edge,” she said. “They know what numbers are on their cards. If the ball is B25, but they need B26, guess what number is announced?”

    “She thinks they’ve been cheating her?”

    “Shh. Listen Dad!” I didn’t care if Gramma was delusional, this could be her last day alive.

    “Yes. Cheating. Most of us never look to see if the balls match. Too many trusting old folks who can hardly see past their noses.”

    “OK Mom. So what?”

    “Catch them. But be nice! I would, but…I guess I…I…”

    “Shh. No problem. We’ll take care of it.”

    Dad got bored and left about an hour before she passed. He was sure she would “pull through”…he was even late to the funeral.

    A week later, I sat down to play some bingo. Gramm’s last wishes, ya know?

    “B26”. The goosebumps hit me hard. I looked carefully, the ball placed at an angle. It was B25!

    I didn’t jump up, but afterwards, I let them know. Quietly, the way Gramm would have done it.

    The upshot? Well, I haven’t been able to think of myself as an atheist since. It made me think of what Gramm had told me the week before. Her last wish? Maybe it was never about bingo.

    1. Ishmael

      JR –

      I read your story this morning and was stunned. It captured me from the very first paragraph and didn’t let go. It was pure emotion, gritty and soft, like walking in wet sand. Real. Darkly humorous. I sat here, mouth agape. I’ve read through a lot of the stories on the board this week and this one moved me the most by far. Not that the others haven’t been fantastic, with many going in other directions, but this one…I was touched on many levels – many emotions.

      I was practically heading out the door when I read it this morning and didn’t have time to respond in the manner I wanted, so I waited until I had a free moment. I was blessed with “having” to read it again to refresh my memory of why I loved it so. It’s a pity that this came later in the week, since some probably aren’t returning anymore to read. I want to somehow post a note up top, saying, “Everybody’s GOT to go check out JRMacBeth’s story.” But the only way to do that is to put it under someone else’s story, and that just wouldn’t be right…would it?? Hmmm…

      These are things I’d like to point out…the dark pee. Real. Man, that was a good touch. Vacant eyes. The rhetoric of son, father, grandmother…perfect. The level of frustration, irritation, rhythm nation (oops…got off on a little Janet tangent…seeing if you were paying attention)…all of this was delivered with excellence.

      “And I’d swore I wouldn’t swear.” I cut and pasted that as I was reading to make sure I remembered to mention that line. That epitomized the entire tone of the story. Funny. Ironic. Conflicting. His disappointment in his father…the forehand knowledge that this was the way it would happen…the disappointment in himself that it still gets to him.

      And then there’s just the overall excellence of the story. The dream that became reality…the change in his spirituality. The prompt, the “covert operation,” played second fiddle, as well it should, letting the true story have the spotlight.

      Damn…I sound like Roger Ebert. Thanks.

    2. Wendy2020

      Wow, wow, wow, wow.

      After seeing a friend dying in hospice today, this story was just so from the grit and heart of death, and those who take life for granted.

      I think it was masterfully done! I didn’t feel like you were “writing a story”; I felt like you were telling a story, and it was excellent.

      1. Wendy2020

        A small technical edit (in case you want to try to get this published, or make it part of a larger story), I believe that the numbers in Bingo are divided in groups of 15, so B is 1-15, I is 16-30, etc…

        Your story rings so authentic, making an easy would keep that smooth throughout.

        I love smart writing that obviously comes from the gut, but has blood from your heart spilled on it, too. Again, well done.

        1. Ishmael

          You know, I saw that in John’s story (and another one on the board), but my eyes completely glossed over it in this one…it was so good otherwise, I didn’t catch it. Good point, Wendy, because I do believe JR should submit this somewhere. Too good for our eyes alone.

      2. JR MacBeth

        Thanks Wendy. Seeing anyone in their final days can be gut-wrenching. As you must know, it goes so much beyond mere sympathy, or fear of loss, or even fear of the unknown. Paradoxically, death seems to be at the heart of life, forcing us to see what we normally do not.

        In this case, there is an autobiographical reality I drew upon, my own grandmother’s passing, many years ago.

        I very much appreciate your feedback. Thanks again.

    3. zo-zo

      This is great. Strong characters and tight dialogue – you drew us in from the first line, and you leave us hanging about what exactly the gran said the week before. I read somewhere good writing’s not in what’s said as much as in the gaps. You did both well.

      Only thing I felt didn’t fit was the ‘Dad got bored’ paragraph – maybe to have shown it (I know I know, damn word count!!) would have been more effective, because something about this felt like it didn’t gel with the whole rest of the story.

      1. JR MacBeth

        Thanks zo-zo, I agree that “bored” paragraph was weak! Unfortunately, because this was a bit autobiographical, it is exactly the kind of thing that seems to cause a blind-spot. I actually dithered over it (proving there was a problem right there), but left it, because that’s sort of what happened in real life, so-to-speak.

        In my case, my grandmother’s choice to die at home, left most of the family in the strange land of No-Prior-Experience. How long does it take a person to die? If the doctor said it could be “today, or tomorrow, or longer…”, what do you do at Day 3? How do you feel when she stirs, and seems to be awake? Sadly, and it probably sounds horrible, but there is a whole lot of actual “boredom” in the many hours that pass, as the family keeps watch.

        And then, Gramma dies at around 2 am, when everyone is asleep, except my mother, who called me at that hour just to let me know. Sure, everyone was tired, not something to feel too guilty over, but it’s funny how you do anyway. Could I have held out a few more hours that night? Yes, but in my mind I was the one who thought that maybe she would “pull-through”!

        Good stuff to ponder. In this case, that “bored” paragraph either needed to be explained a bit more, or better yet, just needed to go.

        Thanks again for the great feedback!

        1. Wendy2020

          Just inspired this line in my head. Not editing you, but who else other than someone who has been there (and written about it) could I share this.

          “Watching someone dying not die got boring for dad, so he left, He missed the final hours of her life, and caught only the last five minutes of her funeral” Just going with something a little different from the phrase “late to her funeral” which is a little too close oft tossed about insult of “being late to one’s own funeral”.

          Btw, have any interest in stabbing at my submission with your own sharp pen and eyes? Would appreciate your feedback.

    4. Birdee0809

      So touching. I felt the MC’s emotions in wanting to take care of her Gramm, her anger at ther father for being such a putz (I felt the same way about my uncle). Then she follows through and busts the cheats and as a tribute to her Gramm does it just the way she would have done. Love doesn’t need to be loud. Loved it.

  10. mokingjay

    I’m new here, young (14) and still experimenting. Hope you enjoy

    “But Gran..” I whined, “I have a date with my girls tonight. We’re going to the mall, and David’s gonna be there. I can’t just dump them.” I was pouring a cup of tea for Gran who was sick in bed with the flue. It wasn’t the tea that bugged me though. I didn’t mind being a nurse occasionally, but going to play bingo with a bunch of…old people was crossing a line.
    “You will go do as you are told young lady.” was all I got back.

    An hour later I found myself in a room full of ladies in wheelchairs talking about the old days. I look around. Playing Bingo wasn’t the only thing my Gran had wanted me to do. That was only the tip of the iceberg. I was on a mission.

    “Mrs. Driden,” She had said, “get a seat next to Mrs. Driden, and keep an eye on her. She has one almost every game this month and I want to know how.”

    “Wonderful Gran,” I thought looking around. “So I am a young 13 year old, who has been sent my her grandmother to spy on an old lady, at a Bingo game. I feel so important.”

    Lucky for me, I already knew what Mrs. Driden looked like. I’d met her a number of times. As a matter of fact, I had thought that she and Gran were good friends.

    “Hello dear,” she said as I sat next to her, “Stepping in for old Granny? What a sweet thing you are. Haven’t been doing anything naughty I hope?”

    “Well, I have been hired by the Secret Service.” I said leaning in closer to her.

    “Oh?” she said looking excited, “is that so? I hope they aren’t too hard on you.”

    “Oh no,” I replied With a crafty smile, “Do you want to know a secret?”

    She nodded and gave a little squeal.

    I leaned forward and put my lips to her ear, “I’m working right now.”

    She gave another squeal, “How positively wonderful! Who are you spying on?”

    I smiled at her.

    “On you, of course!”

  11. Dud

    “Bloody Mary, here, please. What? Get up and go two doors down on the right? Are you kidding me? I’m here to focus on winning dough for my grandmother. Why do you treat loyal customers this way? I know she comes here every week. You really treat patrons, some with chronic knee pain, I assume, in this manner? Okay? Anyone at the table want to take a walk with me? Bloody Mary’s on me if you accompany me. Mrs. Granderson, this is your lucky day; free vodka and spicy tomato juice for you. Before we go, will the rest of you watch my kit, here? I’ll just place it here near Mrs. G’s game card. Nothing much in it. Just some lucky trinkets. So, Mrs. Granderson, Ethel’s been sandbagging the cards, eh? Well, she’ll definitely look through my kit. No question. When she does, I’ll compare the fingerprints on my trinkets to the cards she switches mid-game. Yes, I do know a fingerprint expert. Took her out to eat last night. She said, ‘Your loyalty and relationship with your grandmother makes you even more attractive to me.’ I don’t think it’s going to win me any favor with Ethel, however.”

  12. JohnBethlehem

    “B47.”

    Grandma can be pretty low.

    Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on who you are, it’s only when she’s mad at you. Sitting here at the Bingo table next to her target, it makes me understand a little more why mom forged thank you notes to her on our behalf at Christmas.

    Grandma is a resident at the slums of Spring Creek Nursing Home. Her and Mimi Hubbs have been roommates since she arrived and referring to Mimi as a sanctimonious old coot is about the nicest compliment grandma can elicit.

    Grandma is a bingo addict. My summers with her were generally spent at rec centers three times a week and luckily, for her, Spring Creek has a league. Today is the city wide annual tournament, which is why I’m here… to play in grandma’s spot.

    She was badly injured last week just after bedtime. It doesn’t help that she believes Mad Mimi was cheating to secure her spot in the tournament but the real dilemma is that she insists Mimi caused her injury. In her mind, Mimi wanted her out of the game so she’d have a better shot at the $25 Gift Card to Back Yard Burger. I’m not going to speculate; maybe Mimi did intentionally call for Grandma to help her in the middle of the night, maybe Mimi intentionally did pee on the floor next to her bed and maybe her hearing aid really had fallen out so she couldn’t hear the yelling… I don’t know. For $100 dollars, I don’t care to ask questions.

    “G23,” called the proctor.

    My instructions were simple. Replace Mimi’s apple juice bottle (apparently it’s all she drinks) for the one grandma gave me. I know what you’re thinking but like I said, $100. The hard part seems to be the timing; it has to be just before she’s about to win—

    “B13.”

    “BINGO!” Mimi’s called, smacking the table, “Bingo!”

    “Crap.” I whispered. Before I could act, she was up and on her way to accept. She stopped and turned around.

    “Ms. Hubbs, this way.” A nurse called, moving towards her.

    “I know where I’m goin you old fruit! I forgot my apple juice.” There was just enough time for me to replace her lukewarm bottle with grandmas warm bottle.

    “Oh, must have gotten warm in here.” She said, picking it up.

    Mission accomplished.

    “Congratulations Ms. Hubbs! Here is your gift card to Back Yard Burger.” The proctor smiled, handing her the envelope.

    “Thank you young man. But I’m only here so I could have a gift to give for my dear friend, Ethel Bunson, for Christmas.”

    “Oh, that’s not good,” I whispered.

    “She’s in our room restin’ up from a fall. I know how much she wanted to win and I thought if I played too, we’d have a better chance. I love her so much.”

    Mimi smiled and handed the envelope back to the announcer.

    Then she removed the cap from her apple juice bottle.

    “Oh Piss,” I sighed.

    1. MCKEVIN

      See this is the kind of sick humor I like. I actually thought she was going to drink the potion and wouldn’t be able to yell Bingo. I like your take better. Good job.

    2. Ishmael

      John –

      Entertaining romp! This would make a great episode on a sitcom. I enjoyed the premise and the overall story. There was one oversight that, although trivial, was instrumental to the story’s success:

      In Bingo, B is 1 – 15, I is 16 – 30, N is 31 – 45, G is 46 – 60, and O is 61 – 75.

      Since you started your story with “B47,” it was imperative to get that part more accurate. I had no idea I was at a Bingo game…and I knew the prompt. Then the other one, G23…I think B13 was a lucky happenstance.

      There was an article on WD not too long ago about the importance of names. I know these are bingo letters, but the point is about the little details and a little research. He chose Kwan as a name for a Japanese character. when it is a Chinese name. His was in a book with 1000’s being published, and while these may be short stories, how you do the little things is how you do the big things. A little research into seemingly meaningless things may find they’re not so meaningless. I won’t mention the grammatical error glaring out from the second line of the second full paragraph. It’s a doozy though.

      The story itself was funny as heck…I liked it a lot. Like I said, great idea for a sitcom. A little 2-D, but very funny. The last line made gave me a good chuckle! :)

      1. JohnBethlehem

        Ishmael,
        Thanks so much for the insight; you are absolutely right. The smallest details matter and that was a mistake on my part that I didn’t research a bingo card. I really thought they’d be just random and customized. I really do appreciate the remarks.
        Enjoy the holiday.

    3. Wendy2020

      I liked the twist that the roommate was actually “the good guy”.

      You do have me wondering what was in that drink, and why the specific timing is important.

      Come back… don’t leave me hanging?

  13. cathymcdowell

    “Grandma, your colitis shouldn’t keep you from your Bingo. Just wear a depends.” I told her.
    “I can’t go Missy. Please do as this old woman says and see who is cheating at Bingo.”
    “Yes Grandma, you always get your way.” I said.

    At the Bingo hall everyone was silver haired and walking with a walker or cane, except for one homely red headed lady I spotted sitting close to the ball sorter.

    The caller approached the balls and asked, “Can someone come up and verify that all the balls are here?”
    I couldn’t believe how quickly the redhead shot up to check them.
    She gave a nod as if to say all the balls were there.

    The games went on and eventually someone yelled, “BINGO.”
    This went on for the two hours and I left, heading back to Grandmas.

    I explained to her what I had seen and she told me, “That sounds like the same woman. See what she’s up to.”

    The following week I went back and this time instead of sitting to the back of the room, I sat closer to the ball sorter. As soon as the caller asked, “Can someone come up and verify that all the balls are here?”
    I was on my feet. I noticed, the redhead was also on hers.
    When the caller saw me, he stammered over his words and finally nodded that I could see that all the balls are there.
    Looking at the rack of balls, I saw there were several missing. Not saying anything, I nodded that they were all there.

    The redhead and the caller were both looking at me in shock. I’m sure they both wondered why I didn’t say anything.

    The caller called the first few balls. B-3 — N-33 — G-57 — O-61 and so on.
    When I heard him call I-21 the red head yelled, “BINGO.”

    I waited until her card was checked and when the caller said, “we have a winner.”
    I stood and said, “There is some monkey business going on here. There was no I-21 ball.”

    Gasps went out through the Bingo hall and eventually the police were called in.
    The ladies that came weekly were glad to find out the scam was over and the red head was in jail.

    The following morning newspaper read, Red Head Busted at Bingo hall was a swindler from Atlantic City who had been going from city to city robbing people at Bingo halls.
    The red head wasn’t a red head at all. She was a man wearing a wig. ‘I thought she looked odd.”

  14. aikawah

    It is a rare thing in my village, the sight of a naked old man covered only by a straw hat held tightly over his groin. So it caused quite a stir two weeks ago when the phenomenon presented itself. My grandfather looked dignified still, smiled even. He nodded at the women who turned to look away, their water pots still on their heads spilling water as they sniggered. Village champion, Jaduong Otieno Magollo, had lost a game of Bao; and it was not just his clothes. Chief Kasuku, riding on a three week winning streak, sent his sons later that afternoon to collect six goats; my grandfather had only five. So they grabbed eight laying hens and a gourd of sour milk instead. And they touched my cousin Awino, grandmother’s favourite. That was the mistake.

    ‘Owila’ called my grandmother the next day, ‘I don’t think it is normal that anyone would win for three straight weeks at bao. Do you?’

    ‘Not really’ I replied, ‘and he’s still winning. He took Ogallo’s ram yesterday. Why don’t they stop playing against him?’

    She smiled, looked at me and said, ‘Men are proud, competing for trifles. Betting things they do not have and lying to win what they don’t deserve. You must not be like that when you grow up.’

    I nodded. After a while she continued, ‘Owila, you will do something for me tonight.’
    ****
    The next day, word went round that my grandfather had challenged the chief to another game. The small clearing was full of men, standing around the bao board under the baobab tree. Many were admonishing my grandfather for his stupidity yet secretly cheering him on. He had bet his clothes again, as well as our milk cow; the last possesion we had left after his loss. Grandmother was the only woman in the clearing.

    ‘You’ll get your things back if you win’ promised the chief, ‘as well as your clothes Magollo. But if you lose, I will punish this disrespect by taking more than your cow. Know this before you raise the first marble.’ Grandfather just smiled.

    Ten minutes into the game, the chief reached casually under his stool, looking for the extra marble he had stuck there the night before. I had been up in the baobab all night. His face changed then. He glared at my grandfather, finally understanding his predicament.

    Bao is a game of mathematics; knowing how many marbles are left and in which hole on the board every handful will run out. An extra marble is a powerful weapon for an experienced player.

    The chief looked around the crowded clearing, suddenly the smaller man. He played on bravely, his loss now inevitable. And the village was treated to another strange sight. More hilarious because the chief was too fat to be properly covered by my father’s straw hat. Less dignified because the chief was hurrying away from the laughing children, and the angry men following to claim their ill-taken property.

    1. Jeanie Y

      Love it when the cheater gets…exposed – ha! Now I want to know what they do with him!

      Always fun to read your posts since they usually have an exotic setting. Although we all share common human conditions to relate with each other…

    2. Ishmael

      Aikawah –

      GREAT rendition on the prompt. This was exquisitely written from the very first sentence. I felt I was in a remote village and could hear the clucking of the hens as the men shuffled them off in lieu of the goat. I loved the substitution of Bao for Bingo. Wonderful.

    3. onaway

      Great job. This reminds me of a children’s fable… I imagined the illustrations: the goats, the old man with the hat, the grandma, the tree, the marbles. Good work.

    4. MCKEVIN

      aikawah, this was good on so many levels. The main being true art. Art is the ability to reveal detail and did it perfectly. Good job. I look forward to reading more from you in the future.

      1. Wendy2020

        This read to me like a tale that had been passed down for centuries, starting with oral tradition and moving to written form once paper was invented.

        Very good job. (And if this game is won by mathematical proweress, I think I would suck at it).

      1. zo-zo

        I just have to say I agree wholeheartedly with the other comments – and your last line is BRILLIANT!! :) Great writing, and as a fellow African, I love how you share the wisdom from your culture that shines in this piece. I’m always challenged to write more local when I read your stuff.

    5. radioPanic

      Very well done, Aikawah. This story is very evocative. Especially loved the last paragraph. I also really liked the way the line, “‘Owila, you will do something for me tonight.’” only suggested what what was coming instead of stating it outright.

  15. Morgan Le Fables

    That evening, when my Grandma warned me about the Bingo hall, I’d set fire to the curtains.

    This wasn’t the first time I’d unwittingly set something on fire, through my constant use of scented candles, but it was the first time I’d managed to set alight my Grandma’s home furnishings. And she was not best pleased.

    “Oh for pity’s sake, Lily,” she’d exasperated, as I rushed back from the kitchen with the only fire extinguisher in the small cottage we’d called home, “those drapes took me a full two months to stitch together.”

    Despite my promise to order her a brand new set of curtains, my grandmother thought it fit to punish me, though she likely felt she was doing me a favour pushing my unsocial self out of the house.

    “Now Lily,” she sighed as she fixed her hair, readying herself to leave, “it will do you some good to get away from that computer.”

    For my Grandma, Monday Night Bingo, was a long-standing weekly ritual she rarely missed. So even though this particular Monday my Grandma now found herself getting ready to go purchase the materials she’d need to make her own curtains because, ‘Lily you know I don’t like store bought drapes’, she thought nothing of making me go in her place to the bingo hall.

    “Sweetheart,” Grandma warmly spoke on her way to the door, “that Janice Wetherton has been eyeing my eighth Row seat for the past 3 months so you make sure you keep it safe from her… and oh!” Nana jolted to a stop just at the front entrance, “Just a thought, but I need you to check on that new bingo caller, the Stevenson’s boy? I think he’s rigging the bingo balls,” she nodded her head with confidence at her assertion.

    Before she made her way to leave I quickly called out, “Wait, what? Stevenson?” I raised single quizzical eyebrow as I tried to process the information, “You mean, Rick Stevenson, the guy from the garage workshop?”

    “Yep,” Grandma’s warm smile now took on an ominous edge, “I know he’s been setting it up so that Sonya wins more than her fair share of bingo games,” raising her hand she gestured a finger at me, “so I need you to keep an eye on him. I’m counting on you honey,” and at that Grandma disappeared into thin air as she walked directly through the unopened front door.

    Despite it having been over six months since her passing, my Grandma still hadn’t let go of the mortal plane. Nor, apparently, let go of her need to try to run my life.

    Though she’d left me the house in her will, a cosy home we’d both shared in the small countryside town my Grandma had lived in all her life, her disembodied spirit still hung around waiting to go to Monday Night Bingo. And to go buy house furnishings.

    Authors Note: This short story ended up being a little outside of the prompts spectrum. I felt there was a real story behind why the grandmother felt someone was cheating and ended up writing about that (and as my preferred writing background is Sci-Fi/Urban Fantasy, I veered off with a Paranormal twist).

  16. radioPanic

    Grandma reaches from her rocker to straighten Jimmy’s tie. “Now, what are you going to do?”

    “Watch Mrs. Hunter. Catch her cheating.”

    “That’s my boy,” Grandma says, pulling him down for a peck on the cheek. “Really, you’ll do fine. But for my trick knee, I would catch her myself.” She gives a peck on the other cheek. “I know you won’t let me down.”

    “I certainly won’t, Grams.”

    *****

    The hall bustles with elders in various stages of mobility. Jimmy sits in the balcony, raises his Captain Midnight Spyglass Pen to observe Ms. Hunter. A flash of brunette blots the image, and he follows it to a bench on the far wall. “Focus, Jimmy,” he mutters, returning to Ms. Hunter.

    Ms. Hunter peers at the screen up front with such deep focus that she misses three numbers in a row.

    Jimmy looks back to Brunette, and swallows. She’s squinting directly at him, smile slowly blooming. He smiles back, lifts a finger to his lips. Pink creeps onto her cheeks as she turns away.

    Distraction! Jimmy shakes his head, returning his eye to Ms. Hunter. Surely at this late stage, someone must be close to calling.

    Ms. Hunter, still focused on the projection, snakes a hand under the table. Jimmy follows it. He sees fingers flipping through folders in the handbag between her shins, poking into the fifth, counting from the back, flipping edges of newsprint. Seven, eight, nine. She slips a newsprint square out and slides the card under her sagging breasts to the tabletop.

    “Bingo!!” she croaks.

    Muted applause, and Jimmy slips the spyglass into his pocket and heads for the stairs. He weaves across to her row, pardons himself down it past grizzled glares over clapping hands.

    “Congratulations, Ms. Hunter. Fancy a fresh cuppa?”

    She whirls, and the wolf face blossoms with saccharine. “Why, thank you! What a nice young man.”

    Jimmy smiles, reaches for her cup, hooks a finger inside the rim and pulls.

    Ms. Hunter gasps, jumping up, mouth wide as tea flows over her card and into her bag.

    “How careless! Dreadfully sorry.” Jimmy pulls her handbag from under the table and slaps it on top. “Please allow me to sop that up for you.”

    Chairs creak all around as the cheated rise, watching.

    Jimmy withdraws folder after folder and presses the contents to the spill until the bag is empty. “Again, terribly sorry,” he says. “Right back with that tea.” He starts toward the opposite wall with Ms. Hunter’s cup and saucer in hand, past a dozen gaping grimaces curling into snarls.

    He comes to a stop, facing Brunette. “Hello,” he says.

    She smiles at him, eyes narrowed, head tipped. “I’d hoped to catch Ms. Hunter myself, for my Gramps, home with a trick hip.” She holds out a hand. “But it seems you’ve beat me to it, Mr.…”

    He takes her hand. “Bond,” he says. “Jimmy—” He clears his throat, swallows, lowers his voice. “Bond. James Bond.”
    _______________________________________

    I hope Ian Fleming will forgive me for this, but it was all in fun.

    1. Ishmael

      Brilliant take! Loved the inclusion of the world’s greatest spy (and the Capt. Midnight Spyglass Pen). Your story left me shaken and stirred! Good job.

      1. rob akers

        I like the take on the prompt. Everyone has a grandmother, even Bond.

        I got the tea reference afterwards but it didnt clue me in until the end. Would be helpful if you threw in another reference to the British dialec. “Brilliant, Buggar, Bloody” It would tie the end to the begining.

        1. radioPanic

          Thanks everyone for reading!

          rob, you’re probably right. Good idea. I could picture Grams saying “brilliant,” maybe… or “crikey,”…Grams might be too proper for the others, tho. It’s always a challenge for me to keep dialect from drifting toward stereotype.

        1. radioPanic

          Thank you everyone! Funny thing, when I first read the prompt, I thought there’s no way I can work with this. But that’s the main reason I started doing this: I thought that writing scenes I’d never write in the first place might help me push through scenes in my own stuff that tend to freeze up on me.

          I try to return replies to everyone who comments. But it’s late, and I may have had one too many vodka martinis, shaken, not stirred. (All right. I’m lazy. They’re stirred, but vigorously.) But I’ll catch you next week, zo-zo and jincomt. Promise. Thanks all!

  17. Taxi

    There she was, Mrs Critchley, or “Iron Irene” as the community of Garden Mews like to call her. She sat across from me stone faced like a poker champ. It was Monday Night Bingo at the assisted living centre and my Nan asked me to play for her in order to keep an eye on Mrs Critchley. She’s won every week since Christmas and my Nan’s convinced she’s cheating.

    “Look’s like Martha had decided to bring the young gun in for a whippin,” Mrs Critchley said to me with her arms crossed.

    “You should prepare yourself, I’m younger and faster.”

    “Pfff, stupider and sorrier more like.”

    “How many cards would you like?” asked the volunteer.

    “Five please” I said keeping my eyes on Irene. The cards were counted with shaking fingers and placed on the table in front of me.

    “I’ll take twenty.” Irene demanded and a stack was dropped before her.

    “I’ll take another twenty.” I said smiling at Irene.

    Irene had her cards spread out so there was no room for mine. She pulled out a squashed up knitted ball from her purse. It was some kind of cat toy with red lips and an afro wearing a gold disco jacket.

    “What the hell is that?”

    “That’s knitted Elvis,” She said proudly. “My good luck charm. Don’t you have one?”

    “This game is about skill, not luck.” I said and inched up my shirt sleeves.

    “Let’s begin everyone” a voice crackled from the front of the room. “G40”

    I scanned my 25 cards and dabbed on every G40 I found.

    “B3”

    Wait a minute. I haven’t even covered all my G40s yet.

    “N22”

    I haven’t even started with B3. I could feel my heart race as I scanned the cards as quick as I could. I looked over at Irene. She was in position waiting for the next number to be called. The numbers continued to be announced and I hurried to spot and dab them all. Sweat was dripping from my forehead, dampening the cards. I was daubing so fast that the ink hadn’t even had a chance to dry before I would run my arm across the cards, staining my shirt sleeve. I looked over at Iron Irene the demon dauber. She wasn’t even breaking a sweat.

    “G31”

    I stood up to get a better look at the cards and began pounding the numbers with the ink ruthlessly. I was finally getting into my groove. My cards were splattered in red. Just a couple more and I would have a bingo. I was moving so fast I didn’t notice Knitted Elvis flying across the room.

    “NO!” I heard Irene shout before rushing to his aid.

    “I29”

    I looked at Irene and then looked at my cards. Now is my chance. I rapidly scanned my cards for the magic I29. And there it was. “BINGO!” I screamed in victory.

    “Cheater!” yelled Irene pointing her crooked finger at me.

  18. slayerdan

    My head is throbbing like a drowning heart about to burst. Like a donkey kicked me for sport. It must still be the middle of the night, it’s still pitch black. “He’s awake”, I hear as a fuzzy echo. Someone is in my room! I try to roll to the floor, to gather my wits.

    A thud followed by the exhalation of all my breath follows. I am not in my bed. My hands are tied behind me and I am tied to a chair. I am blindfolded. “Pick him up Stella,” came a separate voice, this one clearly female.

    “Don’t use my name you fossil,” came the voice identified as Stella. With groans and grunts at least two pairs of hands managed to get my chair back up. A strong odor of stale cigarettes filled my nostrils. My chest hurts from the adrenaline rush, doubling the pain in my head. What was going on? Where exactly was I? I recalled the store and the bank. I stopped by to see Granny Erm when I ….

    BINGO!

    I had went to Bingo at the old church, off Fifth and Peterson. On the edge of crime central. A good but scary place for a church, . Bullet holes in the walls. Dealers, pimps, and working girls outside.

    And 150 cash wielding grannies inside. Granny Erm had told me that for the last few weeks, the same three women won most of the bigger pots. She was sure that somehow they were cheating. She couldn’t prove it, but said her eyes and hearing weren’t good enough to watch the others and her numbers too. I was to watch Edna Gravel, Helen Grubbers, and ….

    “Stella Clodderhoppen.” I mouthed it aloud, it just slipped out.

    “Well it appears Matlock here knows your whole name Stella,” came a gravelly, whiskey soaked sounding voice.

    The blindfold was ripped from my head and as my eyes cleared to a haze then definition, I saw the three women Granny Erm asked me to watch, along with two gaudily but expensively dressed men.

    Pimps from outside the church!

    We were still inside the church, but all others had left. “So whacha dooing up here tonight boy,” came the drawl of the pimp on the left, his thousand dollar suit shimmering in the overhead light. He leaned over into my face, his unblinking eyes begging for smartass answers. My throat was dry and I didn’t see myself coming up with a believable lie.

    The truth seemed like a bad idea too.

    “Just trying to make a little money. I need cash for school and my granny comes here, says there are big pots some nights,” I managed to scratch out my twist on the truth.

    “He’s lying,” Stella piped up. She was trying to scare me. It was working.

    “So whats on this? You watching my girls? Trying to out cheat us? ”came the pimp again. He had my camcorder in his hand. For the first time, true fear gripped me.

    Stella stared at me calmly, slow dragging a cigarette.

    “Turn it on Sal,” she said, an evil smile cracking her leathery face.

  19. DMelde

    Candles provided the only illumination around Grandma Mary’s bed. She looked weak in the soft, flickering light as she turned to her granddaughter and said, “You have to go to bingo tonight Rita. Dress up as me. There’s a cheater. You must stop…” She lay back, unable to continue. With her last breath she said, “…Bingo Bob.” Then, grandma was gone. Rita softy said, “I’ll do it for you, grandma. I’ll stop Bingo Bob.”
    She put on grandma’s dress and wig, and applied rouge to her cheeks. She looked in the mirror, mushed up her face into a semblance of grandma, and plotted grandma’s revenge.
    The church hall was full as bingo nation revved into high gear. Rita spotted Ann, her grandma’s bingo buddy, at one of the tables and walked over to sit with her. She hoped her disguise, and Ann’s poor eyesight, would keep her identity a secret.
    “Mary,” Ann said, “I was beginning to worry you wouldn’t make it.”
    Rita simply said, “Hmmm.”
    “Are you ready?” Ann asked.
    “Hmmm, hmmm?” she replied.
    “Oh Mary, don’t tell me you’ve forgotten the plan! Have you skipped your Meds again, dear?”
    With a flourish the church hall doors swung open and the crowd grew still. Bingo Bob made his grand entrance, breezing in through the doors and brazenly bellowing out “I’m here to win”. The bingo legend was a five-time Tri-state champion who routinely won more games, and more money, than anyone else. She was surprised to see how young he was. Bingo Bob sat at a reserved table, away from everyone else.
    “Mary,” Ann whispered, “when you give the signal, the rest of us will kill him.”
    Rita sat up straight. Did she hear that right? Were they planning to murder Bingo Bob? Maybe grandma wasn’t telling her to stop Bingo Bob. Maybe she was trying to tell her to stop all of them from killing Bingo Bob. She looked around at the bingo players with renewed interest. She noticed for the first time the looks of murderous intent on their determined faces. Bingo Bob started deriding the seniors, calling them names and imitating their infirmaries. Rita saw the seniors tense up. Many started pulling out knives and hiding them underneath their tables.
    “Do it now Mary!” Ann told Rita.
    Rita sat, frozen. She didn’t come here to murder anyone; she came here to expose a cheater. But the more Bingo Bob bullied, the more she came to understand the seniors’ rage and anger. Crooks were constantly scamming them. Their pensions were under attack and being raided. Bingo was their last fortress, and Bingo Bob was taking that away too.
    Rita made up her mind and slowly rose to her feet. She walked over to Bingo Bob and grabbed his head between both hands. “For grandma,” she said, kissing him squarely on the lips, and then leaning in closer, she whispered in his ear “Bingo”.
    Rita stepped aside as the seniors moved slowly in for the kill.

    1. MCKEVIN

      Very good Dmelde. I wonder how you would have change this if the grandmother meant to save Bingo Bob instead of assisting with the kill? You did good.

    2. Ishmael

      DMelde,

      I don’t know what to say (shocker!). You’ve written hilariously about clowns, clandestinely about Poe, and now flawlessly about bingo. You had me from the first sentence, which was simple, yet illuminating. It set the deathbed scene wonderfully. And throughout this treat, you managed to make a statement on the unfair battles of our elderly: small pensions, scams, the degeneration they face due to age.

      Loved “bingo nation.” And so much more. Thanks!

      1. DMelde

        Thank you all for reading and commenting. I apologize for not being more active in commenting on your stories. Life is making me work extra hard right now, but it’s all for the good. :) McKevin, if I had a larger word count Rita would have been a Laura Croft character, totally kicking ass and saving Bingo Bob. Jincomt, Bingo Anonymous would only help if they acknowledged they have a problem, which my grandma never would do. That’s why in this story she had to die, because that’s the only reason she would ever miss bingo. Thanks writers digest, for making me kill grandma. Jeanie Y, I played bingo with my grandma and I won one game, and if looks from the rest of bingo nation could kill, I’d be dead right now. I lost every game after that because for some bingo people, they’ll cut you if you beat them, and I agree, priorities are totally twisted. Ishmael, making you speechless fulfills the last of my lifelong goals, I can now die in peace. You really are too kind and I appreciate the pass you gave me this week, because I really am swamped at home right now. It’s all for the good. Thanks again everyone.

        1. Ishmael

          Understandable. Heck, there are weeks when I’m too swamped to make it by the board or write a story…you managed to grace us with one anyway. But even at a loss for words, I still managed out six lines of speechlessness. So you can’t die yet.

  20. Morgan Le Fables

    That evening, when my Grandma warned me about the Bingo hall, I’d set fire to the curtains.

    This wasn’t the first time I’d unwittingly set something on fire, through my constant use of scented candles, but it was the first time I’d managed to set alight my Grandma’s home furnishings. And she was not best pleased.

    “Oh for pity’s sake, Lily,” she’d exasperated, as I rushed back from the kitchen with the only fire extinguisher in the small cottage we’d called home, “those drapes took me a full two months to stitch together.”

    Despite my promise to order her a brand new set of curtains, my grandmother thought it fit to punish me, though she likely felt she was doing me a favour pushing my unsocial self out of the house.

    “Now Lily,” she sighed as she fixed her hair, readying herself to leave, “it will do you some good to get away from that computer.”

    For my Grandma, Monday Night Bingo, was a long-standing weekly ritual she rarely missed. So even though this particular Monday my Grandma now found herself getting ready to go purchase the materials she’d need to make her own curtains because, ‘Lily you know I don’t like store bought drapes’, she thought nothing of making me go in her place to the bingo hall.

    “Sweetheart,” Grandma warmly spoke on her way to the door, “that Janice Wetherton has been eyeing my eighth Row seat for the past 3 months so you make sure you keep it safe from her… and oh!” Nana jolted to a stop just at the front entrance, “Just a thought, but I need you to check on that new bingo caller, the Stevenson’s boy? I think he’s rigging the bingo balls,” she nodded her head with confidence at her assertion.

    Before she made her way to leave I quickly called out, “Wait, what? Stevenson?” I raised single quizzical eyebrow as I tried to process the information, “You mean, Rick Stevenson, the guy from the garage workshop?”

    “Yep,” Grandma’s warm smile now took on an ominous edge, “I know he’s been setting it up so that Sonya wins more than her fair share of bingo games,” raising her hand she gestured a finger at me, “so I need you to keep an eye on him. I’m counting on you honey,” and at that Grandma disappeared into thin air as she walked directly through the unopened front door.

    Despite it having been over six months since her passing, my Grandma still hadn’t let go of the mortal plane. Nor, apparently, let go of her need to try to run my life.

    Though she’d left me the house in her will, a cosy home we’d both shared in the small countryside town my Grandma had lived in all her life, her disembodied spirit still hung around waiting to go to Monday Night Bingo. And to go buy house furnishings.

    Authors Note: This short story ended up being a little outside of the prompts spectrum. I felt there was a real story behind why the grandmother felt someone was cheating and ended up writing about that (and as my preferred writing background is Sci-Fi/Urban Fantasy, I veered off with a Paranormal twist).

    1. JR MacBeth

      Some potential I think, and a nice twist at the end. Good for you pushing your boundaries, especially if sci-fi is your usual comfort zone. That’s something I enjoy about these prompts, they do tend to push us the way we need to be pushed.

    2. zo-zo

      I agree with JR – if sci-fi is your usual, then wow! I actually found the part without the Sci-fi (the beginning) the most intriguing – especially your first line, what a great hook. Some great writing in here, well done!!

    3. Ishmael

      I wish it wouldn’t have taken me so long to get to this! It was so well-written…and the spin with the g’ma was a pleasant surprise. I had to do a double take and re-read the last three paragraphs to make sure I understood…”Oh, she was dead the whole time.” I thought that to be a neat tricky pull on your part.

      You followed the gist of the prompt, maybe not caught the cheater but…I think the purpose of the prompts is to spin ideas. Sometimes these ideas take us to areas that aren’t defined by the prompt.

  21. MCKEVIN

    Normally, I’d do anything for my grandmother and her friends no questions asked, but spying on seniors suspected of cheating at Shady Les Nursing Home was a bit much. I agreed because she recently had painful dental surgery. I arrived at the gray colored all purpose room that smelled like floral disinfectant and found the bingo game had started. MaDear said to watch one eye Beth because she’s dipping in the till and would screw anyone for a bingo card and a joint. They were definitely a lively bunch.
    “Beth. Have you seen the new men’s bathroom?” Iris said.
    “No, but I’m sure you have. Slut!”
    Iris, according to MaDear, colors her hair daily. It was a disturbing blue that day.
    “I have and I did Mr. Nash for a quick twenty dollars. Tramp!”
    “You should’ve charged thirty. Quit being so cheap! Whore!”
    Nash was the military man that used a walker. MaDear said he has unmentionable bedroom skills and he counts the money at the end of the night.
    “Iris, was it; oral, hand or around the world?” Big Greta in the pink wheelchair called from another table.”
    “Hand, that’s all twenty got him. And mind your business! We weren’t talking to you Ho’ Dog!”
    The women laughed as they stamped their cards to the numbers being called. I saw Beth’s eye flirting with Nash as he whispered in her ear. She suspiciously looked around as he slipped her another card. Big Greta saw it too. She rolled up between Beth and Nash.
    “I saw that Beth!”
    “You saw what?”
    “I saw him slip you another card that you haven’t paid for!”
    “Are you accusing me of cheating Slut?”
    “I’m calling it like I see it whore!”
    “Odessa! Odessa!” Beth screamed.
    “I’m sorry Beth. Please don’t call Odessa. Please!” Greta Begged.

    It was too late. A woman, who looked like a member of the East German wrestling team, appeared dressed in all white. She stood 6’5, 330lbs, blonde spiked hair with too much mascara. Greta cried and rolled backwards.

    “Yeah?” Odessa said.
    “Show Greta what we do to people who accuse me of cheating”
    “Oh God, No!” Greta cried.

    The gigantic woman marched at Greta, raised her hand and…SLAP! SLAP! SLAP!
    She opened hand slapped her left, right and left again. Greta fainted as blood drooled from her mouth. Odessa rolled the wheelchair into a utility closet, slammed the door and vanished into the hallway. Beth motioned Nash to empty the bingo cashbox into her purse.

    “Anyone else want to accuse me of something?”

    I ran out the room, passed Odessa, got in my car and dialed 911. They said an Officer Tracy would come. Then I called MaDear…

    “MaDear, you are not going to believe what happened.”
    “What? Greta accused Beth of cheating?”
    “Well, yes…”
    “Odessa slapped her three times?”
    “Yes, but …”
    “Nash gave Beth the money?”
    ‘Sure did!”
    “911 sent Tracy?”
    “You knew?”
    “Who you think broke my jaw?”

    And B-I-N-G-O was their names.

      1. MCKEVIN

        Hi jincomt, Believe it or not, I have always found elderly people more interesting than people of my own age. They lived long enough to formulate opinions and can back it up based on experience. Lol. My Hell’s Angels are just common everyday folks with loose tongues. Thanks for stopping by and I’m glad I made you laugh.

        Psst… If you take the first letter of each character’s name with the exception of Tracy, what do you get?

        1. jincomt

          Ohhhhhhhhh I didn’t catch that but I do now! Clever. I’m not going to say what it spells just to make others work for the answer too! ;)

          I read a book once (Ella Minnow Pea) that was based on a town’s inability to use letters of the alphabet as they fell off a statue (why and how is part of the story). Anyway, as the town was unable to use the letters, the author deleted them from his writing, especially in their dialogue. Kind of reminded me of your letter play!

        1. MCKEVIN

          Rob, just so you know, the message below is for Jeanie Y.

          Thank you as always for reading and commenting. Ironically, the inspiration for this came from Betty White (Her new show about the elderly is hilarious) and a risque singer named Millie Jackson. Millie’s tag line is “People buy my stuff and hide it when company comes over.” “Grannies Gone Wild?” you never know…. Have a good one.

      1. MCKEVIN

        Thank you Jeanie Y. Welcome to the game. You have a little winner on your hands and you should look in the mirror and say “Well Done!” Don’t be surprised at who shows up where in my postings. Lol. Rhimes is only the beginning.

      2. MCKEVIN

        Thank you Jeanie Y. Welcome to the game. You have a little winner on your hands and you should look in the mirror and say “Well Done!” Don’t be surprised at who shows up where in my postings. Lol. Rhimes is only the beginning

    1. Ishmael

      I’m witnessing a McKevolution, and loving it!

      You’re beginning to pay more attention to details…painting a 3D image of the world you’re creating. The characters were outrageously funny! A hoot! One-eyed Beth…I loved it – LOVED IT – when you referred back to her in the sentence, “I saw Beth’s eye flirting with Nash…” I cracked up.

      This was Cocoon on ecstasy. Yeah…a few Ishmaelisms, but look it back over and I’m sure you’ll find them. I really enjoyed this, McKevin.

      1. MCKEVIN

        McKevolution, you are too much Ishmael. Lol. Thanks for reading and commenting. Yes this was a change and who knows what will happen next. I hope to stretch these prompts in more ways than one. I’m glad you liked it and got and extra smle today. “Ccocoon on ecstasy” ie. An alien old folks home who’s residents drug of choice, is ecstasy. There’s an idea waiting to happen. Lol. And yes, I caught all the Ishmaelisms. All of them… Take care.

      1. MCKEVIN

        Hi Icabu, Thanks for reading and commenting. This was fun to write simply because it was a different take on a familiar scene (seniors playing bingo). I couldn’t figure out another way to not make the name play so obvious. Lol. Thanks for stopping by and I’ll see you at the forum. McKevin

      1. MCKEVIN

        Hello aikawah, thank you for reading my story. No, our Bingo players here in the USA are not this hardcore and yes, Bingo is a harmless game. However, as writers we get to create worlds, situations and characters that we think may be informative, funny and sometimes, truthful. Remember as writers,we are Gods with a pen and Liars with pencils. I created my “oldies” hardcore because I thought it would make my readers laugh. It did, myself included. I try to take my readers out of their comfort zone by making them; mad, laugh, cry, uncomfortable and anything else that might evoke emotion. I think that’s what writers do. I hope you do too. Thanks for stopping by.

        PS. What is the word for “Liar” in your country? Just askin’.

        1. aikawah

          In Swahili (spoken in most of East Africa) that would be ‘mwongo’ but a lot of my posts are from the culture of the Luo of Western Kenya (same people as Obama) and we speak Dholuo in which a liar is known as ‘jamiriambo’…

          And I did suspect that Bingo ladies are a bit more mellow than this week’s prompt entries would have one believe. :-)

    2. zo-zo

      Shady home indeed!! Oh my, are there any words for these old hooligans?!! Don’t think so!! I think my favourite line is Iris’ disturbingly blue hair – a great character from those few lines… let alone one-eyed Beth…

    3. JR MacBeth

      Great story MCKEVIN! There is no doubt in my mind you had to have used real people you know to paint such vivid characters. Funny stuff, great dialogue, although “around the world” (at 80 years old or so?) gets the ick-factor going a little too much for my liking!

      Keep up the good work!

      1. MCKEVIN

        Hi JR MacBeth, Thanks for taking time out and reading my post. No, I don’t know anyone who resemble or act like those characters, but I believe they exist. Lol! Betty White has a show that centers around seniors and it’s really funny. She uses real senior actors and actresses to play out the characters. I was thinking of the show when I wrote my story. You, as well as the other writers here are a real inspiration for wanna be writers. Why some of the writers here are not published is beyond me. Again, thanks for reading and commenting. I hope to see more of your stuff in the future. McKevin

        PS. I hope at 80 I am still kicking it and doing “around the world.” Lol. Have a good day.

    4. Wendy2020

      Definitely caught the B-I-N-G-O monikers. Did not read yours before you mine, so didn’t want you to think I lifted a paraphrase of your last line.

      Not sure I followed the Officer Tracy part? Was he/she on the Bingo payroll? Is Officer Tracy or Odessa the one who hurt MaDear?

      I do like the concept that bawdy talk and behavior doesn’t just end once you reach a certain age.

      Good job!

      1. MCKEVIN

        Thank you for reading Wendy. I am a big fan of Rob Akers (One of the writers here ) and I wrote a letter to a character he created. I challenged the character to handle a certain situation.(too long here.) I think Rob’s introduction of Officer Tracy (he) in his post this week, is the beginning of how that character will handle that situation. No, he wasn’t on the Bingo payroll but I see why you thought that. (Rob writes really good stuff and continues his stories on his blog.) You should check his blog out. Odessa is the one who hurt MaDear because like Greta, she accused one eyed Beth of cheating previously. (The grandchild not knowing that information was the basis fo the story.) I hope I cleared that up and I promise to do better next time. Thanks again and promise you will keep posting. McKevin

        PS. No I didn’t think I owned the BINGO line. Lol. And you’re right, the antics and language of youth doesn’t end with age, especially among friends. Take care and see you at the forum.

    5. radioPanic

      MCKEVIN,
      Damn, this was a hoot! And the thought plickens. Loved Odessa’s description, and the name was absolutely perfect somehow.

      Only thing I’m still trying to figure out is the name of the nursing home. Seemed like it should have told me something, but… could just be a cultural reference my library lacks.

      1. MCKEVIN

        Hi radiopanic, would you believe I was going t use “Shady Rest” at first? I took it from the tc series “Petticoat Junction. After I thought about it, I wanted to come up with my own and the word “Les” came to mind. So, I used it. Several days later, I had a thought but it was too late to change it. Somet people didn’t like Odessa’s name. Again, it was the first female name to come to mind in order to complete the “moniker” BINGO. Thanks for reading my story and commenting. Your input is highly appreciated. McKevin

  22. jincomt

    Grandma’s shades are drawn and her house is dark. There’s an aroma in the air—like a hospital, a mixture of sickness and Lysol. I’m watching her as she sleeps her chest rising and falling in shallow breaths. After a few minutes her lids flutter open. “Hi Grandma,” I whisper.

    “Becky,” she attempts a small smile. “So good of you to be here.”

    “Of course,” I stroke her arm softly. After all, she was always there for me when I was growing up. Dad ran out when I was still little, and Mom could barely function most of the time trying to hold down a job, take care of me and entertain a string of bad-news men. Grandma was my foundation.

    Now, the light was fading from her eyes. I knew she was ready to stop fighting when she quit going to her weekly bingo games. Each Thursday the senior citizens van would pick her up at 6:00pm sharp and she joined her friends for a rousing game of bingo at the community center. After her incessant cajoling, I went with her once, mildly surprised by the keen sense of competition that existed. But I was also warmed by the affection they openly expressed. Like an elderly version of “Cheers”, they greeted each other: Velma! Harold! Ellen!

    Grandma let out a dry, raspy hack. I held up her head for a sip of water. “Becky,” she said as soon as she found her voice.

    I bent down. “Yes Grandma?” I craved to hear her words of wisdom, secrets to surviving wars and loss—all that life had taught her.

    “Please, do me a favor.”

    “Anything Grandma. I love you. You’ve been everything to me.” Damn tears. I swiped them away.

    “Please, please go to bingo this Thursday.”

    I didn’t understand. “Grandma, why?”

    “I’m pretty damn sure Merna is cheating. She wins….” She stopped and coughed. “Too often. Water, dear.”

    I stared at her. “Grandma? Why? Does it really matter?”

    “Damn straight…” her chest rattled, “Harold should have won twice last week. Fifty bucks in that coffer. Water, dear.”

    *****

    Grandma passed away on Wednesday. As my own memorial to her I went to one, last damn bingo game. I sat down next to the man I remembered as Harold. He nodded to me. “Ellen’s granddaughter, right?”

    “Yes.” I hesitated. “She passed away yesterday. I’m here…” I couldn’t finish.

    Harold smiled, nodded and then laughed out loud. “She tell you about Merna?”

    I looked at him, surprised. “Yes, yes she did. I…I’m not sure what to do.”

    “Don’t worry about it, hun.” Harold let out a big sigh. “Merna passed away last week. They say she had a stack of premarked cards in her purse.” He shook his head. Suddenly his face fell. “Feisty women. All of them.” Harold rubbed his face then looked at me with sad eyes. “The good ones fight hard, but cancer is a bitch. The one thing you can’t cheat.”

    I reached over and held his hand, bony and speckled with brown liver spots.

    “I-32!” the caller yelled out.

      1. Ishmael

        Yes, but it’s negligible – the story is so darling. I think when you went to the backstory and told it in past tense, you inadvertently stayed there. It still worked, though. This was very, very touching, jincomt. And wry, with Grandma’s desire to make sure Merna “got hers.” I guess she did.

        I understood Harold’s laughing to be about the situation with Merna, not about Grandma passing. Holding his brown liver-spotted hand at the end worked so well.

        “I-32!” the caller yelled out. Excellent ending. Life goes on. Thanks for taking the time to bless us this week…

    1. onaway

      Good work. I like the first sentences of the first and fourth paragraphs, how they tie together. I like the line “…went to one, last damn bingo game.” I think it reads better without the comma. Awkward that Harold’s reaction to Ellen’s death is a nod and laugh. I liked the story, good job.

      1. jincomt

        Thanks onaway– it was supposed to be an acknowledgement that Becky was there to check up on Merna– and the fact that Grandma had been concerned for Harold. A wry thing. Might have needed more explanation. Thanks for reading and commenting.

      1. jincomt

        Oh sorry.. I-32 was a bingo number. Nothing more. And S&W is Strunk and White– THE book on writing properly, which apparently I need to review. Thanks for reading McKev. I need to read stories and comment too. I see you’re below me. I’ll read more carefully and avoid any possible human/animal interaction inferences ;)

      2. Ishmael

        ‘”I 32!” the caller yelled out’ was jincomt’s last sentence in the story. I was just pointing it out as being an excellent way to end. The Elements of Style by Strunk and White is a must-have reference book for any writer. It’s thin (affectionately called “The Little Book”) and easy to find the answer to any question.

      1. rob akers

        I missed the tense shift as well but probably because of the tears in my eyes. Very touching and overall nicely done.

        I noticed on your blog that you are having a tough weekwith your mom in the hospital. But you managed to post on your blog, write a 500 word story and make several comments on other stories. Prety amazing if you ask me.

    2. Wendy2020

      I am a big fan of clever phrasing, and I enjoyed quite a few of yours.

      “The good ones fight hard, but cancer is a bitch. The one thing you can’t cheat.”

      But I was also warmed by the affection they openly expressed. Like an elderly version of “Cheers”, they greeted each other: Velma! Harold! Ellen!

      I understood the motives behind the characters, including the laugh by Harold. Great job!

      1. jincomt

        Thanks everyone. I have been on my mom’s computer this week and it’s crazy slow and doesn’t do the comments real well so I’m sorry of my neglect of other stories. I appreciate the encouragement. I struggled with the aftermath of this posting!

  23. Jeanie Y

    My darling daughter of fourteen years has been bitten by the writing bug and wanted to post her own story after seeing the prompt this week. Here is her submission. She says to not hold back with the critiques. She wants an honest opinion. :) Enjoy! I did.

    As I walk into the library community rec room in full disguise, I eye each of my suspects carefully. Ms. 50’s Glasses is too tall for Gramma’s description, Ms. Highwaisted Pleated Trousers too large. I survey the room once again and finally spot her. She’s a frail woman wearing a three piece lavender suit, probably nearing her 90’s, certainly not someone you’d suspect to commit a bingo fraud….but then again, what Gramma says…first impressions are sometimes deceiving.

    I take my seat, making sure to sit near enough to clearly see this Mabel. At least, that’s what I think Gramma had called her while giving me last minute details earlier before she left for her required jury duty. Ms. Mabel Lavender, I think. It has a ring to it.

    “Make sure everyone has their free spot marked!” the caller announced loudly. And the games have begun! Clicketyclackclicketyclackswish. “N39!” She yells.

    I glance over at Mabel. As discreet as she is, I still see her pull out a numbered sticker to place over a square of her card! So that’s how she does it! I think, my aha moment brightening up my face.

    Quite soon, though, that smile was replaced by consternation. Now that I had figured it out, how on earth was I going to reveal her scandal? Surely someone else has seen by now? Yet even Gramma didn’t know how she was cheating; she just knew that she had taken home the fifty dollar cash prize seven weeks in a row, and “even if you’re very good acquaintances with the people who run the luck factory, that just doesn’t happen.”

    The caller rattles off a few more numbers, and, sure enough, Mabel takes out sticker after sticker from under the table in her purse and proceeds to place them on her card. She is only one away from a bingo now. What am I to do? I try to think quickly, but nothing is coming to me.

    The caller reads out the last number and Mabel shouts excitedly, “Bingo! Why, that’s eight weeks in a row, lucky me!” as everyone else groans. I am now in a panic, knowing I have let Gramma down by failing to complete my mission…she did, after all, choose me out of all of the grandchildren to carry this out. However, just as Mabel gets up and starts to shuffle to the front to claim her prize, I notice one of her stickers stuck to her lavender derrière. The jig’s up, Mabel. Heh, heh. Got her, Gramma.

    1. onaway

      Jeanie, are you pretending to be a fourteen-year old? This is excellent. I don’t think anyone included the sound of the bingo drum spinning, I like that. The story was told well, quick and to the point. The ending was very clever. Good work.

    2. jincomt

      OK truly, as I’m reading I’m thinking, “Holy shmoly… this is written by someone 14 years old?”

      Dear Jeanie Y’s daughter,

      You have the gift. Keep writing. Come be my mentor while you’re at it. Not just saying this, you are an excellent writer. The story moved well, had great description, funny lines, and the ending was inspired. I hope you post again!

    3. Ishmael

      Jeanie’s Daughter –

      The apple does NOT fall far from the tree. This was excellent – EXCELLENT, I tell you (it bears repeating). This is your calling. How passionate do you feel about it? At fourteen, the world is your oyster and this gift is your pearl. I cannot express genuinely enough how much you should pursue this. And I’m not just being nice. One of the better stories on the board this week. Thought out…I like the concept of the sticky squares of numbers (hmmm…hast thou cheated at Bingo before, little ingenue?). The reveal of her deception was PERFECT. A number “stuck to her lavender derriére.” I loved the line, “…even if you’re very good acquaintances with the people who run the luck factory, that just doesn’t happen.”

      First class job! A1! :)

      1. Jeanie Y

        How am I going to live with the little ghostwriter now that her head has swollen to twice it’s original size? HA!!

        Seriously, thank you for your praise. I told her how good you guys are so she knows that it is coming from top notch, quality writers!

        You know, I think you might be on to something….she does always win at Bingo….hmmm…

    4. MCKEVIN

      When I was 14 I was… never mind! This was good and I hope you keep your writing pen handy. You are truly a force to be reckoned with. Good luck in your future endeavors. McKevin

      1. rob akers

        Very nice. I like the last line, the jig is up. But shouldn’t it be gig? I dont know but maybe Ishamel will get us straight.

        I tell my kids this so I will pass it on to you. Rob’s rules for a happy life.
        1. Take care of your family.
        2. Pay your taxes.
        3. Don’t be afraid to live your dreams.

        If writing is your dream, please take the bull by the horns and cultivate your tallent. You have a natural ability and seem to want to explore this. If it is your calling, approach it in a professional manner, carry yourself as a professional. Respect the profession and the world will respect you in return.

        Thank you for being another example of how our youth are not slackers like the media make them out to be.

        1. Jeanie Y

          Thanks Mr. Rob! I like and agree with your rules for a happy life. I think they lack a number 4 though…laugh long and hard at every available opportunity. It releases those happy endorphins!

          She got that jig line from a play she was in last year (Annie). Pretty sure it is jig….

          Thank you for inspiring her. :)

        2. Ishmael

          Pay your taxes? No wonder I’m getting audited…I missed that rule in life! :)

          Listen to Rob, JD…he’s a fine example of a good man and a good writer. (Except for the gig part – it is jig)

          Believe me, I scrutinized this per your mother’s direction and couldn’t find anything…ANYTHING…except for that extra dot in the first ellipsis.

          1. rob akers

            Another example of you guys teaching me! I love it.

            My major malfunction started in High School. I skipped English class most of the week and when I did bother to show up, I put my head on the desk and slept. Youth wasted.

            I have a friend/mentor who decided that paying taxes was unconstitutional. After 5 years of non-payment, the Feds showed up and arrested him in front of his wife and kids. Three years in prision, his kids wont talk to him, his wife died from cancer (not saying this is related to the taxes, just a fact), lost his job, cant find another job and still owes over a million dollars to the Govt. He is the poster child of why that made my list.

            I agree with the laughing and live life although I find that if you do all three of the things, the laughter will happen naturally.

        1. Wendy2020

          I loved the ending. I am a sucker for a great twist, and this one really sucked me in.

          First of all, no way this story revealed her age. I guess good writing doesn’t have an age limit.

          This first applause goes to her bravery for just sharing her work with a group of other writers. For too many years, I didn’t do that, and I am glad that she does not have to live with that same regret.

          If I was to offer any critique, it would be that she could probably tighten her writing. Something I am still striving to do myself. I think it might heighten the tension if it was built on fewer phrases of self-talk, leaving off phrases like I see or I glance, and just describing it? I am certainly not an expert at it, but again, is something I am working on.

          Thank your daughter for sharing.

          1. Jeanie Y

            She said that is what they were taught last year in her English class and she sees your point.

            Thank you for your kind words!

    5. aikawah

      When I was 14… I wasn’t writing this well, but my most vivid memory of that year is writing my last primary school examination. Then heading to the headmaster’s office to claim a giant green polythene bag of assorted novels, storybooks and magazines that had been confiscated by various teachers who caught me reading them under my desk during their lessons (especially mathematics teachers). And the interesting thing is, I was rarely caught. It would have been a suitcase.

      Dear Jeanie-Y: Ensure to feed your daughter a balanced diet of classic, contemporary, big and small books of all genres. Talk to her about history, philosophy, religion, sexuality, feminism and race. Travel with her and don’t keep her from meeting strange people in strange places (nothing dangerous though) and last but not least: let her play. If she loves to write, these things will enrich her greatly.

      PS: It’s not too late for everyone else either. I’m waaaaay behind on the travel part of that list myself.

      1. Jeanie Y

        Hi aikawah! Neat to hear about a little sliver of your life! I am glad that they gave the books back to you instead of punishing you more by keeping them, as some might do.

        She is a really neat kid and we would love to travel…someday. :)

        Thanks for commenting!

    6. radioPanic

      Very nice! Wish I wrote this well when I was 14. Wish I wrote this well 8 years ago, for that matter!

      Especially thought the “Ms. 50’s Glasses” and “Ms. Highwaisted Pleated Trousers” part was well done, the narrator giving her own names to characters whose names she doesn’t know. Still a trick I’m learning to use well.

  24. zo-zo

    Granny’s dying a slow death because she’s surrounded by fools who don’t get her jokes and thieves who help themselves not only to her Avon lipstick but her title as Bingo queen. That’s what she yells at me after I collect her from her psych appointment.

    Granny railed in generalities, but I knew Gertrude Meintjies was the her specific concern. The least I could do was see if a) Gertrude Meintjies’ hair was as yellow as Granny professed and b) if she had developed a collection of cheap wine and spam through fraudulent Bingo. Granny’s psychiatrist pushed their noon meeting to 5, so I stood alone against the grey fleet.

    Bingo-Mania, like every upstanding church, had a greeter. A man in a tanned suit propped open the door, his elbows leaning out into the cold night air. I expected him to take out a smoke at any moment. Grudgingly, a huddle of grandmothers shuffled inside. He ignored them as he smiled at me, his little finger beckoning me to kiss his cheek.

    ‘Welcome to Bingo!’ he said, his eyes aflame with me.

    The lines on his face were tight with charm, and I grinned but carried on walking, aware of the withering stares a lady behind the lily display shot at me. Yellow hair, tight yellow dress and fruit salad on her hat: I’d found Gertrude.

    Within seconds I was the outcast. Matriarchs usually decked with smiles and candy turned their canes away from me and loud whispers erupted from every group.

    ‘Dirty flirt,’ a woman said, cutting her eyes at me.

    The room bulged with only women, and women who preferred to leave one seat open between them. We need to get Granny out of this cattery, I thought, standing against the wall. And we’d simply increased her dosage.

    When the greeters Bvlgari scent entered, the room erupted into a flurry as every grandmother patted her hair or scrambled for lipstick.

    They sat in tight lines, faces fixed as the game began. Instead of joining, the man sauntered between tables, gazing at the cards. Gertrudes hat bobbed up and down,as the numbers were called, and side to side, as she exchanged glances with Casanova. Ten minutes in I stumbled upon the mystery of the empty chairs. He nodded aggressively, and sat in the chair beside a woman taut with excitement. After a minute of his whispering, she tottered, red-faced, to the bathroom.

    This happened twice more before Gertrudes fruit bowl started to shake as her hands darted to her card. It was nearly full. Those antiquated delinquents were seconds away from winning! Casanova watched a lady in the last row shaking like she was in a revival, and just as he turned to woo her, I winked at him. He gaped as I minced towards the door and beckoned to him. Then he flew towards me.

    As his hand grasped for my shoulder, a shrill voice shouted ‘Bingo’. His terror confirmed our victory.

    ‘No more cheap wine, gramps,’ I said, patting his collar.

    1. Ishmael

      Hey zo²,

      I really enjoy the detail you include in your stories: Bvlgari scent, yellow hair, fruit bowl hat. It’s those things that sate my appetite and make a good story delicious.

      I’ll have to admit, I had to read this over a few times. I take it every woman desired the greeter, leaving the seat open beside her (for his company?), and that when close to winning, he whispered sweet nothings and sent them to the bathroom? He didn’t get to the last woman in time, instead pursuing the narrator, so Gertrude didn’t win. That was the gist I got. But I never understood why the women (close to winning) went to the bathroom, other than for the story’s purpose to get them out of the room.

      Poor Granny…everyone thought she was paranoid, so they just upped her meds. Looks like she was right all along. The only fruity thing around was Gertrude’s hat. Of course, as always, wonderful choice of words with flavor!

      1. zo-zo

        Hey, thanks Ishmael – you always give such thorough reviews, really appreciated! Hmmm… I seem to be having editing problems – last week edited too little, now too much! You were completely right – that’s what that old Casanova did – he whispered his undying love, distracted them so they had to go and splash water on their faces so that they wouldn’t hear the game anymore so Gertrude would win!!

        PS. With a name like ‘Ishmael’ I’d assume you’re not Jewish, maybe wrong though?!, although the way you wrote your story with all the slang and details was really convincing – great job!!!

        1. Ishmael

          Oh…it was to splash water (take a mini-cold shower). I was thinking he told them he’d meet them there for sex or something and never showed. It was only a little fuzzy.

          Not Jewish…Ishmael is just a screen name taken from the first line of Moby Dick, “Call me Ishmael.” I’m a sucker for good first lines. Simple, yet says it all. Thanks for reading my story. Glad it came across well.

    2. Wendy2020

      zo-zo… again, I love some of your clever phrases:

      “the grey fleet”, “the lines on his face with tight with charm”, the way you describe Gertrude’s hat bobbing.

      I hope you come back and tell us “the back story”. Was Ishmael’s surmizing correct?

  25. Icabu

    Checking his watch, Jared scanned the parking lot for his partner. He sighed heavily, not seeing any sign of him. Jared couldn’t blame him for not showing. Squaring his shoulders, Jared prepared himself to face the room full of grannies in the old warehouse where they held weekly BINGO games. By himself, it appeared. In all fairness, he’d called his detective partner in a huff after listening to yet another round of his lonely old grandma’s complaining about Miriam Winthrop’s cheating. He’d hoped to have a sympathetic male, under sixty, ear to bend while trying to catch the cheating Miriam. But, he’d been stood up.

    Holding his grandma’s ‘lucky’ dauber, Jared reached for the front door.

    “Psssst.”

    Jared froze, then slowly stepped to his right. “Devlin?”

    “Over here.”

    Following the whispering voice, Jared cautiously stepped in front of a thick hedge row.

    His partner’s arm snaked out between the bushes and pulled him in.

    “What the hell, Devlin?” Jared’s shoulder jarred against the cinderblock wall.

    “Shhh!” Devlin warned. “When you called about the fraudulent craps game, I informed the lieutenant. Apparently the FBI has been watching this place closely. The mob’s been running all kinds of scamming games out of here.”

    Jared’s mouth gaped open. “The FBI?” he croaked.

    “Yeah,” Devlin whispered. “With your tip, they’ve decided tonight was the perfect timing for a raid.”

    Jared was glad he’d told his grandma to stay home from BINGO until he’d caught the cheater. Then he realized what must have happened.

    “Devlin,” Jared explained, “I didn’t call you about a craps game. I said I was taking care of Granny’s cheating crap once and for all.”

    It was quiet for so long the crickets started up again.

    “You mean there isn’t a bunch of mobsters in there floating a fixed craps game?” Devlin’s voice squeaked.

    “No, there isn’t. It’s a bunch of old ladies. One of which probably brings her own cards.”

    “Oh, crap …” Devlin began. Loud noises from the back of the building startled them.

    “What’s that?” Jared asked.

    “The FBI.”

    1. Ishmael

      Icabu,

      I liked the line, “His partner’s arm snaked out between the bushes and pulled him in.” Snaked out was a perfect way to describe his arm coming from the bushes. You’re good that way, paying attention to the little things like that. The crickets line was a funny observation. Thanks for the read.

      1. Icabu

        Thanks, Ishmael. From you, it means a lot.
        I tend to run the scenes ‘visually’ in my head, then try to find the words that best describes the show.
        The crickets got a cameo – they were keeping me company on the screened-in porch as I typed this out … quiet as I typed, blasting as I paused to think.

    2. Jeanie Y

      This was funny…I can just picture the two of them staring at each other, with fish out of water expressions, having absolutely no idea what to do. Good writing gets pictures into my head, and you did that! :)

  26. rob akers

    A Captain Bill Rimes Story

    28 August 2012

    “Bill!” The only time Anna ever yelled was when her mom was causing turmoil.

    “Yes.”

    “Mom is at Church. Go help her, Now!”

    Bill headed to his Jetta with the half eaten sandwich and water. Ten minutes later he pulled up to the church where he was met by Police Chief Boyles and five other Huntington police officers.

    “What are you doing here?” The Chief asked Bill.

    “Anna’s mom is inside.”

    “Not anymore.” The Chief pointed to the back of a patrol car and Bill massaged his temples.

    “What did she do?”

    “Inciting a riot.”

    “What would it take…?”

    “I love you brother, but not a chance. She is going to jail, but I will make sure she stays away from the general population. I don’t need another riot tonight.” The friends exchanged a smile and a handshake. The Chief was busy while Bill wondered into the church.

    Inside was a disaster scene. All of the bingo players were lined up against the far wall, guarded by another seven officers. Officer Tracy walked over to Bill.

    “You can’t be here, boss.”

    “What happened?”

    Bill’s face flushed as his friend whispered into his ear.

    “Are you serious?” Bill pushed Officer Tracy away and stood directly in front of the assembled throng. “All of this because my mother in law believes in gay marriage? Why do you care about who is intimate with who? I don’t care how offended you think you should be; you don’t have a right to know what happens behind your neighbor’s bedroom door.”

    Bill continued. “I have real problems in my life and for me to worry about if the bride and groom have the traditional biological plumbing is a waste of my time. If they are happy, who am I to tell them they can’t live their dream. We are all Americans, and that citizenship is a blessing to us all. This country is based on religious freedom so that a married atheist gets the same tax benefit as married Christian? I believe that religious freedom applies to all citizens, including those who are in love with someone who is the same gender.”

    “It is only right and it is fair, I fought overseas for the idea of religious freedom. The constitution guaranties the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We all share in that promise and there are no qualifying remarks about this phrase applying to only those who marry a different gender. If two men want to get married and live life with their chosen spouse, who am I to deny them that right? I don’t care what any of you do in your bedroom, but you better keep your prying eyes out of mine. You have chosen to live your life judging others. I choose to live my life trying to love others. One day we will all know which approach God approves of.” Bill spun on his heels thinking about bailing out his mother in law.

    1. Ishmael

      Hear, hear! Nice nod to the things that are really important, Rob. Love, not judgement. Capt. Bill the Protector!

      A couple of SNAFU’s, but nothing major (mother-in-law gets hyphens, which would’ve even reduced your word count by two). This was quite an enjoyable outing with Capt. Bill, and a nice glimpse into his family life. Loved the name of Chief Boyles. For some reason, it was fitting.

    2. MCKEVIN

      Dear Captain Rhimes:

      Let me say you are both scholar and a treasure. If there were more men like you, the world would be a better place. Addititionally, have set the tone for fathers, sons and uncles etc. to become better men. I hope your family are aware of the gem they have in their household. It is because of men like you, I am proud to call myself an American. Good luck in your future endeavors and I genuinely hope your mother finds her way.

      Sincerely,
      Tracy E. Warren

      PS. MCKEVIN says “Good Job!”

    3. radioPanic

      Prompt be damned, Rob, this is great! I mean that seriously. Sure, the prompt gives a jumping off point, but if you can drop a couple elements and still create engaging fiction, more power to you. And more power to Captain Rimes.

      Especially liked the line, “The Chief pointed to the back of a patrol car and Bill massaged his temples.” I’m kind of a maniac for ‘show, don’t tell,” and this line pleased the hell out of me.

      Great dialogue, too. Very natural.

      1. jincomt

        Agreed– and stealing Radio’s phrase: Prompt be damned. There was some great writing in this, descriptive so that in a few words I was carried into the scene. I love when our writing can also teach and lead.

    4. Icabu

      Good job, Rob. I like the inferences to Bill’s relationship with his m-i-l, then the slight change of heart.
      Land of the free – free to agree or disagree, but not to judge in either direction.

    5. Birdee0809

      Harrumph, harrumph, harrumph!! (Channelling Blazing Saddles today!) I love the line: ‘One day we will all know which approach God approves of.” Profound.

      1. rob akers

        McKevin, thanks for asking. I only have one blog going because life is just too busy and my brain has limited tracks. ha ha

        http://robakers@wordpress.com

        I do have a website about my book. I have not updated it in a while but it is still alive and kicking. http://www.sogbook.webs.com

        This week’s post is a story that I wrote in the early summer and is no way related to the Captain or my book. It is my attempt at writing an inspriational story. As always I love all feedback, both good and bad because in the end it is all good.

        take care
        rob

  27. ggbrown

    “NO ! I will not do it Momo, I will not….” and with a huge swing I punch my grandmother in the mouth.

    “Sorry Momo, I did it again.” “Thats ok hun, we all understand about your condition.”

    The whole town understands that since I was a child I can’t for some strange reason keep from punching old people and babies in the face when mad. It’s gotten me in a-lot of trouble, but people have for the last few years come to expect a punch from me. Thats why I was surprised when my Momo asked me to spy on her bingo club for some kind of cheater. I eventually agreed, and off to bingo i go.

    As soon as I walk in people begin to chatter about me. Everyone keeps there distance. I’m horribly frightened that I’ll burst into a fury of punches among this sea of old folk’s. I keep telling myself that I have a focus, “find the cheater, find the cheater, SMACK !”

    I hit the nearest old person I could find. “Damnit, I’m sorry Bob !” Thats ok Chris, just hurry up and find your seat for all of our sake.”

    Back hand to the nose, whap! “I’m so sorry Lilith, you know me.” “Thats ok hun, maybe you’ll calm down when the game starts.”

    B-22 and my fist flies at the number caller standing about twenty feet away. “Whew, at least I couldn’t reach her. She’s so sweet.” I say to myself as everyone around me leans away.

    “Remember to focus on the cheater.” I begin to look around to see if I can spot anything going on. It all looks legit to me as far as I can see. “Wait, whats this!” I see old Jimmy Crawford, literaly with cards up his sleeve.

    I have no idea how to proceed from here. Should I just walk up and say, hey stop cheating? I have no idea. “Oh God Lilith, I’m sorry, geez I’m so sorry.” I just punched Lilith in the ear right out of the blue, how in the world do these people stand me.

    I get up and tell the moderator about Jimmy cheating and hurry to het the hell out of there before I kill someone. After arriving home, my Momo asks, “Well, did you find the cheater?” I told her how I saw Jimmy with those cards up his sleeve, and she cocked her head in surprise and said ,”What ! Someone was actually cheating?” she followed with ” Did you hit, I mean sit next to that tramp Lilith like I asked you?”

    I can’t believe my grandmother sent me in there to be a hitman.

    1. Ishmael

      gg,

      Aside from some grammatical and paragraphing issues, this was downright funny. Smack, smack, SMACK! A guy with Tourettes of the arm! LOL! And the hitman line. Loved it.

      There are many areas where a few commas would help…’a lot’ is two words, not hyphenated…and some others, but I suggest that, when reading the talents on this board, you see how other writers are managing these issues. A great deal of experience is yours for the taking…just be a sponge.

      Thanks for the laugh this morning. Your story was really entertaining! :)

  28. Just B

    “Mamoo! Mamoo! You were right!” I barged into the door of her bedroom without knocking and, in turn, was almost knocked out by the opaque smell of the warm raw onion and horseradish poultice she swears by when her rheumatism is acting up.

    She blinked in surprise. How could she nap in this stench? My eyes began to water involuntarily.

    “Yeah, I got there early for the potluck like you said, and…”

    “What did you take?” she interrupted.

    Really? I just uncovered what could be the biggest thing to hit our town since Hurricane Nellie in ’64 and she wants to know what I took to a pre-Bingo potluck? “I just picked up some grapes on the way there.”

    “Oh, grapes. They really like fruit. That was a good choice.”

    “Mamoo, focus, I’m telling a story here.”

    “Oh, right. So what did Esther bring?”

    “Please, Mamoo, let me finish telling you what I found. You’ll never believe it!” This seemed to bring her back to the mission. “I was loading my plate up, and got to the end of the line where the punch is. But as I was trying to balance my paper plate and pour a cup at the same time, the stupid plate started leaking all over the place.”

    “Did it ruin any of the desserts? They’re always by the punch.”

    “Mamoo, that’s not the point. The thing is that as I was moving the punch bowl to clean up the mess, I found a note!”

    She finally seemed to forget about the buffet. “What did it say?”

    “It was a Bingo series: B-4 I-8 G-0 N-2 O-40.”

    “G-zero? N-two? What does it mean?”

    “I figured it out, Mamoo! You know O’s Tea House and Deli right next door to the Bingo hall?”

    “Yeah, you really have to watch that guy. He actually serves moldy bread! Why, one time, I lifted the top part of my Spam sandwich to put some mustard on and there it was, grey fuzz hidden underneath. I bet he knew it was there too. And I told him…”

    “Mamoo! Please! Can I finish my story?” She sighed and sank back into her pillows. “The Bingo series says, ‘Before I ate go into O for tea.’ So, I went into O’s and showed him the slip of paper. What do you know, but he pulled a Bingo card out from under the counter, handed it to me, and said ‘That will be $20.’”

    “No!”

    “Yes! So I gave him the $20, slipped it into my pocket, then went over to that magazine rack he has in the corner so I could see who else came in for a card without them seeing me. And wouldn’t you know it, but in comes Esther!”

    “No!”

    “Yes! And she went marching right up to the counter and demanded a card, but he wouldn’t give her one because she didn’t have the code. And, boy, did she ever fall into a fierce ruckus!”

    “No!”

    “Yes! She smacked her wooden cane down on his metal counter top so hard the glass front rattled. So I hightailed it out of there while she was caught up and wouldn’t see me slip out.”

    “Then what happened?”

    “I played the card and won the big jackpot of $25!”

    1. Jeanie Y

      This was very entertaining…I know someone who you just can’t tell a story to because you keep getting interrupted, and this was perfect! Good job Just B!

    2. Ishmael

      Delightfully funny. I laughed til I cried. And all the other cliché reviews one sees when reading about a great story.

      Great interaction between the two and wonderful characterization of the Grandmother. I thought the importance she put on the buffet was priceless. What did you take? What did she bring? Did you spill on the desserts? They’re always by the punch bowl. It was those things that painted a vivid picture of her for me. The jackpot…$5 more than what she paid for the card – loved it. It’s all about the winning.

      Very nice.

  29. Miksoko

    Mom handed me the phone.
    “Joey?”
    I winced. Grandma had never really accepted the fact that she was going deaf and tended to shout.
    “Yes, Grandma?”
    “Oh, Josephina, I spoke to Carol earlier this week, did she tell you?” Carol is my mom, and Grandma called her at least twice a day.
    “Yes, Grandma. She told me that you’d fallen and broken your hip,” I answered, not quite sure where this was going. I really hoped I wouldn’t have to go stay with her. That would be a waste of my summer.
    “Well, it’s true, and that’s put a damper on my plans for this weekend,” she shouted in my ear. “How about you come over and I’ll talk to you more about it?”
    And so I did, much to my chagrin. When I arrived, however, things were not as I suspected. Grandma’s hip wasn’t the only injured thing: her face was bruised and there was a bandaged wrapped along the length of her forearm.
    “Grandma!” I gasped, “What happened?”
    “Bethel,” she growled. “That damned woman. Somehow, she knew. She tripped me so I couldn’t find out more.” She glowered at the flowered wallpaper.
    “More what?” I asked, thoroughly confused now.
    “About her and that damned preacher! They’re in cahoots, I just know it! Whenever it’s his turn to draw, she wins without fail.” Grandma explained what she knew so far, along with pictures she’d snapped when they weren’t looking. I have to admit, they looked pretty close.
    Intrigued, I agreed to accompany Grandma’s friend, Anne, to the game Monday night. We arrived at the church early, where she introduced me as her niece. While she went to set up, I decided to do some snooping. The first thing I noticed was that the preacher set up in a back room. He left to go to the rest room and I dashed in. there was large black suit case and inside… a bingo set! So the preacher has his own bingo set, that’s probably how he does it. I took a few pictures when I heard voices outside the door. I hid behind the piano in the corner of the room.
    What happened next almost made me lose my cookies. It was that snake, Bethel. She backed into the room, pushed by the preacher. They were thoroughly entwined, and- ugh! I’m pretty sure they swapped dentures at least twice. I raised the camera to gather the… evidence, but in my disgust, I’d forgotten to turn the flash off! They turned suddenly, and Bethel screamed bloody murder. I bolted for the door, but the preacher reached out to push it closed. I managed to squeeze through milliseconds before it snapped shut and flew down the hallway. I heard shouts and screams and “Stop her! Stop her!” but I kept running. I ran all the way to Grandma’s house, where I showed her what I’d got.
    “Good work, Joey. We’ll get these blackguards now!” she crowed. “With that preacher out of the way, Stan can draw, and I’ll be Queen of Bingo!”

    1. Ishmael

      Miksoko –

      Welcome to the board! I take it you’re new…your story (and a few other people’s) suddenly popped up out of nowhere, as did your comment to my story. Thanks, btw. It must have been “awaiting moderation,” as does everyone’s first post. It should immediately post from now on.

      This was a pleasant blessing for me today. You have a wonderful handle on the craft…quite deft. I loved how the line, “She glowered at the flowered wallpaper” rolled off my tongue. Actually, rolled off my brain cells…I don’t read out loud – but I probably move my lips!

      There was only one instance that seemed ill-fitting: “And so I did, much to my chagrin.” I didn’t see how humiliation or embarrassment played into the scene. Other than that…quite nice! Yeah, I had my cheater sleeping with the rabbi, too…didn’t know how to cheat at Bingo, but I see by other stories that a secret stash of cards is the way to do it. I guess that shows I don’t cheat…I just sleep around!

      Again, nice story. And welcome.

        1. Miksoko

          Thank you both. You’re right, Ishmael, it was ‘awaiting moderation’ for quite some time. You may be right about ‘chagrin’ as well. I used it in terms of ‘annoyance caused by disappointment,’ but it may not have been quite the word I wanted to use. I wrote it before reading any comments because I didn’t want to be influenced by other stories, but when I read yours, I laughed at the similarities. And the Yiddish; I’m not Jewish, but am proud. I understood a good but of it.
          I did write a couple others, one for the ‘There’s a problem with this wedding,’ or however the prompt went, and ‘Career day.’ Both are a little weak, but they’re Ok.
          Thank you!

    2. MCKEVIN

      Hello Miksoko, welcome to the forum. I love me some horny preachers, sexually active grandmothers and people who do what they do in order to survive. Some people call it life. Loved your story. Don’t be shy about coming back.

      PS..How do you pronounced your name?

  30. Ishmael

    A couple of lines had me rolling…the hunchback’s face dragging the ground. Then Grandma saying “no” about dating him one minute, calling him an old geezer (not geyser), then giving it a second thought, “Why? Did he ask about me?” Then when she’s ‘getting her cougar on’…liked that.

    Just a thought…early in the story, when making a comment about Oldhag (loved the nickname), you said, “Man, old people are catty.” In the last sentence you state, “Man, old people are conniving.” Maybe using the same description (I liked conniving) would give it a more connected observation.

  31. BriWeezy

    “Hey Grandma, don’t you think you are a little overdressed for Bingo?”

    “Oh I’m not going to Bingo tonight honey?”

    “WHAT! You’re missing Bingo! Are you sick? Oh my gosh, are you dying? Oh no, I can’t afford to bury you Grandma—and my wife just had twins—

    “Boy would you calm down! I’m not dying. I have a date!”

    “A DATE! WITH WHO? Is it with the old guy down the street with the hunchback? Because I heard it’s gotten way worse…his face is practically dragging the ground.”

    “No boy I am not going out with that old geyser…why did he ask about me?” She asked as she fluffed her obnoxiously teased hair.

    “Eww—no Grandma, look you have a good time, and I will see you when you get back.”

    “About that Todd, can I ask a favor of you?’

    “I guess.” I said hesitantly.

    “Nina Olag. She is up to something at that bingo hall, and since you were an investigator, I thought you could get to bottom of it.”

    “Mrs. Olag? She is like a thousand years old, what could she possibly be doing?”

    “I’m telling you Todd, she is a cheater. She wins every game every week and nobody says anything! Don’t let the walker and the dentures sitting next to her bingo card fool you. She is a snake in the grass.”

    “Man old people are catty.”

    “Yes they are.” My grandma replied.

    “Listen Grandma, I can not getting involved in your old people drama again.”

    “Oh come-on Todd, bingo is the only thing I have since your grandfather died, and if Oldhag—I mean Olag keeps winning—I will have nothing.” She said as she poked out her lip, and hung her head.

    My grandma was the best at giving a guilt trip. You know the ones when your insides feel like they are twisting up and you heart feels like it is going to fall to your feet. Yea she is great at that.

    “Fine Grandma! But I’m not staying long.”

    “Thank you, thank you, thank you Todd!” My grandma gushed as she handed me my jacket and forcefully pushed me out the door.

    Before I knew it, I was at the bingo hall and I had Mrs. Olag in my sights. She was a fragile and peaceful looking old woman. I just couldn’t see her being the conniving character my Grandma made her out to be.

    “Will you be buying any cards sir?” The snobby bingo proctor asked me.

    “No, no, I am just watching that old lady right there.”

    “Oh okay, you like the old wrinkly type I see.”

    “No no, it’s not like that, I—”

    “Don’t be shy, so do I, and Mrs. Olag is aging nicely.” He said as we watched Mrs. Olag rip her dentures out of her mouth. “Good luck with her.” He smiled, then he finally walked away. I hate bingo.

    What happened next made me hate it even more. The bingo proctor walked over to Mrs. Olag and began talking to her and pointing at me. Whatever he said to her made her wave and smile at me with her disgusting toothless grin. Unfortunately, as she waved at me, her purse fell off her lap, and about a hundred smuggled bingo cards fell out onto the floor.

    All she could do was look around with that damn I’m caught look. I can’t believe my Grandma was right. After that, cheating old Mrs. Olag was banned from the bingo hall. You know you are bad when you get banned from the bingo hall.

    When I arrived back home after the intense bingo crackdown, there was a car in the driveway. I walked up to the house and I peered through the living room window only to see my Grandma making out with my best friend Andrew. She sent me to Bingo so that she could get her cougar on.

    Man old people are conniving.

  32. penney

    The woman wore a red cloak whenever she went on missions for Gee and this was no different.

    “I need you to take my place tonight for a very important assignment.” Gee had met Red secretly at the lumberjack’s clearing in the dark woods.

    “It must be important if you pulled me away from my existing post. What can I do Gee?” Birds took flight in the distance and Red neck snapped around to check their surroundings.

    “I know but this is a matter of Grimm security. There is some scheme of deception at the Bingo hall. We’ve been keeping an eye on a few suspects and narrowed it down to Old Mother Hubbard.” Gee continued, “I’ll take your post watching that scrawny wolf, we think Hubbard is getting jumpy so its time to change things up.”

    Later that night Red entered the smoke filled casino Bingo hall. She scanned the haze for Hubbard. The announcer belched out a letter and number. Hundreds of dauber’s could be heard pounding tables across the hall. Hubbard and with her unmistakable bun styled hairdo sat smack dab center room.

    Cloaked, Red seemed to float along the walls and perched right behind Hubbard undetected. She watched for hours for the moment of truth. Half way through the evening Red finally figured it out. Whenever the waiter came to refill Hubbard’s drink a note was passed. Before he would return to the bar, he’d segway to the announcer and make the switch.

    Later as Red cuffed Hubbard she asked, “Why did you do it?”

    Mother Hubbard replied, “That damned dog is going to be the death of me. Do you know how much it cost to keep a pooch in all his finery? He reads, writes, dances, and sings; let’s not talk about his wardrobe. If you hadn’t caught me, I’m sure I’d kill the son of a bitch.”

    Red turned to the constable and rolled her eyes. “Take her away.”

    1. Ishmael

      Likable! Mother Hubbard and her priorities…just buy the damn bone, it’s all the dog wanted in the first place!

      This was delightful. I take it Gee was Little Red Riding Hood’s Grandmother? Cute and dryly funny. Nice imagery.

  33. Ishmael

    She Put The Sin in Synagogue

    The top step of the weathered grey stairs creaked loudly as I shlepped up to the bell, its brassy newness a stark contrast to the ailing porch. Pressing the button, “Hava Nagila” resonated through the house. Oy vey. Visiting my grandmother was always a Hebrew lesson. I slowly pushed the door, “Bubbeh?”

    “Is that my boychik? We’re cooking latkes…oh, dreck!” Metal clanged against linoleum amid Yiddish swearwords.

    No matter what she had on the stove, Bubbeh’s kitchen always smelled like gefilte fish and Aquanet. A platter of babkas staled on the red formica dinette, circled by half-cups of old Sanka from this morning’s coffee klatch.

    “Bubbeh,” I sighed, surveying the mess. “You’re stuffing cabbage and cooking latkes? Bingo’s in ten minutes.” She looked at me through Pyrex-thick glasses.

    “What? You can’t give your svitzing old bobeshi a peck on the cheek first?” Rounding the kitchen island, she squeezed my chin and pulled me down to her five-foot frame. “Look at this face, Golda,” jiggling my cheek until my teeth rattled, “From bad matches come good children.” Bubbeh hated my mom.

    “He’s got a cute tokhis,” Golda gruffed between hefty draws of her cigarette, the odor of yenta lust replacing the gefilte fish. Ashes flittered in the latke batter; she shrugged and stirred them in. It wasn’t pepper flakes in Golda’s famous potato pancakes.

    “Come rest your tush, bubeleh.” My grandmother patted the cracked vinyl chair.

    I sat, asking, “What about bingo? You never miss.”

    “Bingo…feh!” She spit three times in the air, and looked at Golda. “May Esther lose all her teeth except one, and that one should ache!”

    “God should visit upon her Pharoah’s plagues and Job’s scabies,” Golda grunted back.

    Bubbeh continued, “Never again until first you find out something, my little investigative reporter, about that yentzer, Esther.” I thought she was going to plotz.

    “Yentzer…you mean a cheater? Widow Lieberman?”

    “A Shmendrick!”

    “A Shmegegi!” Golda piped from the stove, ciggy butt still clamped between her teeth.

    “Go and find out how she’s doing it.” This was driving Bubbeh meshuggina – she needed her bingo. Taking a deep breath, I left the two in a game of dueling curses.

    “…as many years as she’s walked on her feet, let her walk on her hands, and for the rest of the time she should crawl along on her ass…”

    Temple was packed, and mid-game. I ducked at the sight of Mr. Goldstein.

    “Snip, snip,” he said, chopping his two fingers together. He was Moyl at my circumcision.

    “Heh, heh…funny, Mr. Goldstein.” He’s pulled that joke out of his ass for the last thirty years.

    Grabbing a seat, I heard a shrill, “BINGO!” in the back. Sure enough, it was Mrs. Lieberman, trotting her silver-sequined self to the front and passing her card to the rabbi. Their hands touched and lingered, a sly wink passed from her false eyelashes.

    “That’s it! Mrs. Lieberman is shtupping the rabbi!”

    A thousand blue-hairs turned and stared.

    “Did I say that out loud?”

    Oy vey.

    1. penney

      I liked where you were headed with this and laughed at a few places but you slowly lost me as I couldnt understand the yiddish speak. I sounds good but I struggled reading it.

      1. Ishmael

        Oh, I’m sorry about that. I defined each use through context, other than the obvious ones commonly used in English language. Sorry it presented a less than enjoyable read.

        1. penney

          It was good,please don’t get me wrong. you did fill in the gap but i’m just think i missed something. You are usually one of the first i look for to read. what i think shouldn’t matter in comparison to the more educated critiques.

          1. Ishmael

            Oh no…I thoroughly appreciate your feedback! As far as ‘educated’ critiques, you’re a reader (and a wonderful writer, to boot), which qualifies you in every way. All thoughts matter. I always worry a little when writing in slang or dialect (or Yiddish), and try to make sure any unusual words are explained. Thanks for even taking the time to read and comment! :)

          2. ggbrown

            that was freakin amazing dude, i keep lookking for a punctuation expert to follow and your it. i hope she looses all her teeth but one and that one should ache……awesome.

            im personaly having trouble with this prompt but your writing seems excelent to me

    2. BriWeezy

      i loved that!! great job!! the detail in your writing is AMAZING! I really admire your writing style.

      I thought that the Yiddish was a fine touch to the story. It made it a little challenging to read, but I got it.

      Great job!

      1. Ishmael

        Thanks, BriWeezy and GGBrown! I enjoyed both your stories immensely, too! It’s always a risk going with unfamiliar words, so I’m thrilled that it still worked. And GG, there are some fantastic talents on the board who, if you take heed, will mentor through example. Your story was actually hilarious…just a few little snags here and there.

    3. Jeanie Y

      Shalom Ishmael! No shmoozing or being shmaltzy here, but this piece was just mishegas! Mazel Tov on this piece and thanks for being the mentsh to us goyish klutzes week after week!

      Seriously, this was fun! :) (Also, it is the Yiddish dictionary’s fault if I said anything obscene! ha!)

      1. Ishmael

        As long as you’re not digesting Golda’s latkes, Onaway – that smoky flavor isn’t from mesquite! Yes…I understand completely about sifting through dialects, but I needed to include those Yiddish parts to set the scene the way I wanted. I’m glad you still found it a little entertaining. :)

        Jeanie…I’m verclemp…shpilkes in my genechtagazoink! Thanks, my bubeleh. :)

        1. Ishmael

          Thanks Icabu and Aikawah! The family interaction is precisely what I was concentrating on…I thought that was the more interesting aspect of the prompt and wanted to show the loving absurdity and humor that comes with family and friends. I appreciate your taking the time to read and comment!

    4. jincomt

      Excellent research on thus. Impressive. Great story too. The dialogue and character interaction was wonderful. And I liked the “oy vey ” ending. The “snip snip” was a riot. Excellent writing as always.

      1. Ishmael

        I appreciate that, Jincomt. I know that spare minutes are few right now, so it means a great deal that you made it by to read and comment. Take care…rest.

    5. JR MacBeth

      Ishmael, you’ve got a talent with the dialect! Of course, the prompt was perfect to get your alter kocker on, you’d be meshugana not to try, especially with your apparent command of Yiddish. Hmmm. I’d bet you could pull off making an Indian Chief sound completely posher for kassover! (PS: The Golden Girls popped up as my visual…Was that intended by using the name Golda? Worked on me!)

      1. Ishmael

        I love dialects. I love seeing through the eyes of others…living for a moment in life’s scattered vignettes, moving from one to another. Golda started as Gilda (as in Radner), but after writing, I kept picturing the real Gilda, which I didn’t want. I then thought of Golda (Meir)…much better – and I only had to change one letter. Lieberman is “lover of man,” perfect for the jezebel. I actually patterned this story after my own Bubbeh and her sister (although in this, Golda was a friend)…I’m not Jewish, but of Russian descent…one generation away from the Old Country. Raised on borscht, kidney stew, golabki (stuffed cabbage), latkes and the works. It’s a shared culture. But I don’t speak Yiddish…just plenty of exposure. Thanks for stopping!

        1. JR MacBeth

          Hmmm. Interesting the thought process, concerning character creation. That whole “what’s in a name” thing has always been one to focus more attention on, I often skip over the significance of names, intending to go back and think of something good, and then find I end up not caring. Of course, when we get to the characters in our novels, that’s a different story!

          1. Ishmael

            You know…I’m sort of a stickler with names. There’s nothing worse than a character with an ill-fitting name that doesn’t suit him/her. I try out various names…went and checked out an 1850 census to find out popular names of the time on one of my stories…I didn’t want a Zoey or Latifah thrown in there. Lieberman was one I liked that worked on that subconscious level, too, and although I planned it that way, I didn’t care if anyone understood. I did picture Sophia’s height when describing Bubbeh (she was probably shorter than 5′, but I liked the sound of five-foot frame). I love the GG’s!

            I’m still thinking of the awesomeness of your story. Really very good, JR. I’d peddle it out there…and thanks for your comments. I listen to everything, so never hesitate…every bit helps!

      1. Ishmael

        Hey that’s totally cool, McKevin. I appreciate your honesty and that you perused through it! :)

        I know including words from other cultures may make a reader uncomfortable and cause a bump in the reading…how do I pronounce that? What does that mean? When I read a sentence that includes foreign words in a grouping with English, such as some of Aikawah’s stuff, I don’t even try to pronounce. I think, “adjective” describing “noun,” and continue…I get the gist. I always hope to use a little “culture” to put the feel in, but surround it with enough English to get the gist across.

        In the sentence, “You can’t give your svitzing old bobeshi a peck on the cheek first?” It doesn’t matter if you know the words. Bubbeh (grandma’s name; not too unusual…look at Mooma, Nana, Mimi and the other names we use) is speaking to Grandson. She’s referring to herself, so you know bobeshi is probably a nickname for her (it’s a more intimate term of endearment for Grandma). Svitzing is a verb showing what she’s doing. Could be cooking…in this case it’s sweating.

        That’s what I do when handling a different kind of read like this one. Even with English words that are unfamiliar…and that helps me figure it out. I really appreciate you even “wanting to like it” for me! That means a lot. I’ll do better next time…promise!

    6. radioPanic

      Damn. The kitchen scene is pretty close to perfect, with Golda and the narrator’s Bubbeh written fully in few words. I’m there. And I thought you used the dialect perfectly, as in, I knew what every word meant from its context. Great ending, too. Is there a Yiddish word that could replace ‘ass’ in the line responding to Mr. Goldstein? ‘Tuchus’ comes to mind.

      Keep it up!

      1. Ishmael

        Thanks, Radio. You know…tuchus presented me a problem. I love that word. It (and many of the other words) had several various spellings. “Toches, tuches, tuchus, tokhis.” I needed to make sure the hard “k” sound was apparent, so I chose “tokhis” and used it in Golda’s dialogue (“nice tokhis”). I almost just misspelled it as tookus, so that people would know for sure, but it wasn’t even one of the variations. Then I used “tush,” so I had to use something different later. I figured “ass” would show how tired of the joke he was…but had I not used “tookus” earlier, I would’ve used it then.

  34. melat

    MISSION: CODE NAME G HAS SUSPICION OF DOUBLE CROSS FROM HER FELLOW GEYSERS. AGENT M IS SENT IN AS THE MOLE TO CAPTURE AND TAKE OUT THE DOUBLE DEALER.

    LOG

    DAY 1: GRAND MA HAS NOT BEEN ACTIVE ALL DAY SINCE OUR LAST MEETING. I WAS NEEDED. OUT OF TWO GRAND KIDS I..I WAS CHOSEN. WHY, BECAUSE I AM THE BEST and also the only one free on a Monday night, BUT MOSTLY THE BEST.

    TIME: It is 1600 hours and operation B.I.N.G.O is a go. I have infiltrated their security system disguised as a 70 year old woman with a walker. The disguise was needed because of an incident a few months back with a boy named Billy Swavooski who had cheated by always finding the list of numbers that were going to be called out. Since then the only people allowed to enter were seniors. It has already been 15 minutes and the subject sitting next to me seems to be asleep, or dead; and the subject sitting across from me is a male who appears to be in his late 80s giving me the eye and attempting to wink. But that is not why i am here. I scope out the room for any unusual movement, when i hear “BINGO!!” Left of the room 8th table straight at 12:00 subject wearing high blue plaid pants up to his stomach; tucked in white shirt with brown suspenders and brown loafers. The subject also has round glasses on. I believe this is the man Agent G has described, i must interrogate the subject in privet. I walk across his table in a Tyra Banks fashion, I even attempt to perk up the bags of wheat i had stuffed in an over sized bra. The subject does not seem to response or even make eye contact. This kind of focus is unusual for a senior but like all males there is still one thing that can get his attention. I wait as he is walking for his routine 10 minute bathroom brake and lay on the ground two coupons for an early bird special at the goose loge attached to a string which i was going to pull. The subject looks at them and keeps on walking. Very unusual again. That is when it hit me. The third and final clue did not need to reveal itself because i had solved the case.I walk up to the subject and yell “Billy!”. The subject jumps in the air and lands without breaking a hip. “Billy Swavooski I knew it was you” All the room falls quite and the caller walks up to the 8th table. “Take off that silly disguise Billy” i say.
    “Billy Swavooski i remember you were banned form this BINGO, in fact you were the reason we banned all players that weren’t seniors. how dare you show your face again after scamming us out of 260 dollars and 53 cents.” For a man in his ear;y 90s the caller had a exact memory, i was impressed. Billy stood up and took off the wig and glasses and peeled off some plastic wrinkles. “How did you know it was me Mame” he asked looking at me. As i took off my disguise i explained how he had responded to all attempts of drawing him out led me to the conclusion that if he does dresses like a senior but doesn’t act like one then he is just some one who is dressed like one. He was seemed very impressed. Billy apologized to the caller and they worked out the deal on how he was going to take on the role of caller to every night until he paid off the money. All i needed to do know to complete the mission was to take him out.

    Time: its 9 30 as i return from my date with billy on a Monday night. I look on my front steps and find a batch of fresh backed cookies and a note that read: AGENT M I AM VERY PROUD OF YOU I HAD BEEN MONITORING YOU IN ACTION AND I BELIEVE YOU HAVE THE TALENT FOR A MORE DANGEROUS MISSION. MEET ME AT THE GOOSE LOGE TOMORROW MORNING AT 20 00 HOURS, A BASKET OF SUGAR PACKS HAVE GONE MISSING.

  35. Birdee0809

    BINGO, OH NO

    “She’s cheating, I just don’t know how. You have to call the numbers tonight, the coven is honoring your Grandpa and my attendance is required. You’re my grandson; you’re supposed to help me.” Grammy tried to force a sad pout but the hard, thin line of her lips clearly said or else.

    “So what if she wins? Some people are lucky. Besides, don’t you all have a thing similar to honor among thieves, only for witches?” I countered.

    Ignoring me, she continued, “she’s very clever and casts a spell to ward off anybody seeing her cheat; all the witches in the room know it.”

    “Can’t you just whip a spell at her to reverse it?” I said, wiggling my fingers in the air.

    “The witch that casts the spell is the only one who can remove it. Plus, you don’t have any…um…,” I flinched; the unsaid word was “talent”. I was the only family member in generations without even a touch of the craft, “and with most of the witches at the dinner, she wouldn’t have to use a spell at all with you around, then you can watch her,” she finished.

    “I’m a teenager Grammy, I’ve never called bingo and I’m anything but subtle, they’re going to know something is not right,” I said, trying to mimic her bad excuse for a pout.

    “But you won’t be going as a teenager,” she said. Her eyes flashed and she raised her hands in the universally recognized witch gesture that signaled, ‘I’m now going to wave my arms around and something is gonna happen’.

    “No,” I said, raising my arm in front of me and holding up my index finger in the universally recognized Sesame Street gesture that signaled, ‘look, I can count to this many’.

    “Don’t you dare,” I warned, my voice sounded too high pitched.

    “Grammy, no!” I shouted but it was too late, her hands were weaving a pattern in the air and she repeated several words in rapid succession in a language I didn’t recognize.

    The spell hit me and I shrunk from my normal six foot down to five foot one. Breasts blossomed from my chest, reached critical mass then dropped to my waist, my belly and ass pooched out and my balls sucked themselves up into my body. My hair began to recede and was replaced with short blue-colored old lady hair. My skin loosened all over my body and wrinkled into something resembling tissue paper. Oddly enough, I still retained all the body hair I had before the transformation.

    “Grammy! Take it back!” I looked up in time to see her grab her chest and collapse to the floor.

    Several weeks later…

    “Look on the bright side,” Grandpa said as he loaded the bingo balls into their little round cage, “you still feel like a teenager but now you can order a drink without being carded.”

    “I miss my balls Grandpa; is there a bright side to that?” I glowered.

    He looked down at the balls in his hand then at me and raised his eyebrows.

    “Don’t talk to me for a while okay Grandpa?”

    1. Ishmael

      Funny! Good twist…she casts a spell and drops dead. Poor guy’s gonna die a virgin…probably hadn’t done the deed when the spell took place…nobody in his right mind’s gonna want to do “granny.” When good hexes go bad. Hmmm…possible reality show?

      Love the line, “Oddly enough, I still retained all the body hair I had before the transformation.” Yeah…some granny’s are hairy women!

      Very FUN read! Nice spin on the prompt.

  36. jenjane

    “Oh Gran, you poor love”
    It’s Bingo night, My grandmother has been struck down with a mysterious bug, and has asked me to step in for her. Losing her  place on a Monday would be a disaster for any 78year old’s social life, so in comes me, the diligent and devoted grandson.
    ” No worries Gran, I will show up for you, but I can’t say I will be able keep your ranking on ladder” I explain with a stifled chuckle. 
    Bingo is a huge event in our small town, Ognib.  It’s competitive and the prize winnings are a relative fortune for a cash starved pensioner.

    Preparing myself for my evening out to a hall of walking frames and medicated senior citizens, Gran informs me she has figured one Bingo Bitch is cheating, and it’s my role in her place to catch them out.

    Cheat at Bingo!! Is that even possible? Quizzing Gran only supplied me with enough information that this BB seems to win, regularly, too regularly for this little Bingo bash at the Ognib Hall, where usually the punters all share in the wealth of the takings.

    As I suspected the hall was brimming with grey haired eager elders all vying for their usual seats, purchasing Bingo Cards  and filling cups of tea. Gran had given me a brief description of BB, a quick scan of the crowd, I spy the huge floral cloth bag, laden with the gotten material for a pending crime.  After buying  my cards and weaving my way through the maze of metal frames I grab the seat Gran usually graces and keep my eyes on BB as she sits carefully next to me.

    Not long after “Eyes Down” I hear rustling coming from my left, a spying look reveals BB fishing through her over large bag, noticing me looking, her hand emerges with a lacy  monogrammed   handkerchief, wiping her nose she muffled ” Must be getting the same bug as your Gran”  before steering her glance back to the large number of cards before her.

    Grans suspicions seem to be right, BB has something hidden in that bag. How was I to expose  this Bingo Cheat,  who is robbing the elderly the chance to have an extra treat for the week with the winnings?

    “BINGO”  the sniffles seem to have gone rather dramatically, when BB flashes her card high, smiling with glee as she gathers in yet another bounty.  

    “Stop the game” a small but determine voice calls from another table behind me. The halls’ eyes all turn to witness Gran walking with her stick to BB and snatching the floral bag spilling the contents onto the table.  Bingo Cards, many of them plus a good supply of lacy hankies.
    Counterfeit Bingo Cards, who would have thought. BB shamed by her piers, was led from the hall to await her fate, no socializing for BB at her nursing home for a while.

    “Gran, you’re mysterious bug?”  I manage to blurt out as Gran gently wiped her nose with a lacy monogramed  handkerchief.

    1. Ishmael

      There is some fine phrasing in here! I liked “cash-starved pensioner,” which is such an appropriate description. I would describe the walkers as walkers, not walking frames – walking frames made me think “bag of bones,” or thin, elderly people with barely any skin to cover their frames, especially when combined with “and medicated senior citizens.”

      I still wasn’t able to figure out how any additional cards would allow her to win, not without her sifting through and looking at each one for the right combo of called letters. That may be something to finesse.

      Enjoyable. :)

      1. jenjane

        Thanks Ishmael, I appreciciate your feedback. I didnt think cheating in bingo was possible so i googled it. Australians have a weird way with words. Im glad you enjoyed it.

  37. carolemt87

    Last Saturday, Grandma fractured her hip. Propped in her hospital bed, surrounded by pillows and bright orange flowers, she explained why I needed to take her place at bingo.
    “Lester Carmichael is cheating. Every week he wins at least twice, and nobody is that lucky,” she scowled.
    “Maybe one of the gals you play bridge with can go. Or what about Irving from next door? I know he can’t hardly hear, but his vision is still pretty sharp.”
    “No, dear. It has to be you. I cannot trust anyone else.”
    Finally, I agreed to go. The bright bingo room smelled of urine and Ben Gay. I squeezed into a chair next to Carmichael, who eyed me suspiciously. Though I was old enough for AARP, I couldn’t quite yet qualify for Medicare. Still, I was the youngest person in the Legion hall.
    Five bingo cards spread in front of Carmichael, his spotted hands grasping the marker tightly, his back hunching forward, white spittle gathering at the corners of his mouth.
    The pink-haired bingo caller told everyone to get ready and turned on the machine. Balls blew around in the wire cage until one dropped into the slot.
    “I 25, that’s I 25.”
    I watched Carmichael mark three of his cards, his eyes shining. I noticed that his left hand shook and he tucked it under his leg. Stabbing the cards with the marker, the game went on for several minutes. Fascinated by his precision, I forgot to mark any of my three cards.
    “Sweetheart, unless you’re just hear for the show, you might want to mark your cards,” Carmichael said.
    “Actually, I hear they make a killer Bundt cake and the coffee’s not too bad either.”
    Blushing a little, I marked my cards as best I could, trying to follow the caller and the numbers on the board.
    “Well, nobody ever makes a better cake than my Geraldine. Except she don’t can’t make them anymore. She can’t even get outta bed anymore.”
    I began to feel sorry for Carmichael, his wife sick and him alone, fending for himself.
    “I lost my husband last year. Brain cancer. I’m sorry about your wife.”
    Carmichael snuffled into a red bandana, “Thank you. You’re very kind.”
    When we finished the night, Carmichael had won three times and I couldn’t tell if he was cheating. I also didn’t care.
    “That son-of-a-bitch. You’ve been hoodwinked, my dear,” Grandma said, wringing her hands, her nostrils flaring.
    “What are you talking about, Gram. Lester told me how his wife was really sick. He even cried a little.”
    “Listen, that man is the biggest cheat in Cutler County. And now he’s got you feeling sorry for him. If that don’t just beat it all to hell.”
    “Look, maybe you just don’t see him like I do. He’s a nice guy and obviously has a very sick wife. Why are you so upset about this?”
    “I’ll tell you why. That son-of-a-bitch has never been married.”

  38. The Wired Journal

    Undercover At Bingo
    I meticulously checked and rechecked every detail of my plan. I felt confident I did not over look anything and was ready to implement my plan and embark on my mission.
    Infiltrating and spying on the wrinkle brigade was the last thing I wanted to do on a Monday night but I had made a promise to my nana. It would be no easy task but it was the only way to get the proof my nana needed. My age alone, I think would make me a suspect and arouse suspicion amongst the senile old battalacks.
    I arrived early to be certain I could strategically place myself seated next to my suspect. I parked in the front row to be certain I had an unobstructed view of the entrance and watch the people entering the hall. I studied the face of the women in the photo that my nana had given my earlier in the day. I had insisted she be present during the mission and act as an extra set of eye but she adamantly refused claiming her hemorrhoids were acting up.
    The ole biddy was easy to Identify when she stepped out of her light blue Lincoln town car. Nana had informed me of the make and model she drove when she gave me the photo. I stepped out of my car and followed close behind into the building adjacent to the rear of the church which sat at the far end of the church parking lot.
    “Why good evening there Lillian, And how are you on this fine Monday evening?” she said to the women sitting at the long banquet table collecting money and giving out the bingo cards.
    “O I’m just dandy Ethel and You?”
    “O I’m just wonderful. Always a pleasure to see you dear”
    “The usual fifteen cards tonight my dear?” the women behind the table asked.
    “No I’m feeling lucky again this evening I think I’ll play twenty cards tonight.”
    The purchase is made and my suspect continued on to one of the long tables set up in the rear of the hall. I purchased ten and took a seat down back alongside her. I neatly lay out my cards and place my box of chips, and magnetic wand on the table. I then place my two Furby’s to my left to be sure every move she makes is captured by the hidden cameras and microphone I had installed in them. Which in turn would then be sent via a wireless network my laptop in the car; where I could review it later.
    “My my, those are awfully cute little buggers,” My suspect said. “But why in heavens do you have them here with you at bingo?” she asked.
    “There my good luck charms.” I responded.
    “Well I think they are just absolutely adorable.” She responded back smiling.
    “Thank you” I replied.
    Throughout the evening she continually talked to herself in a very low voice, This women is a complete wacko, I thought to myself. It was not until I returned home and watched my home movie that I realized that yes; indeed this woman was cheating. My wireless network had also captured and intercepted a private conversation of the old bag and the person calling the numbers. The games had been rigged and this old bitty was telling the person up front what number she needed.

    1. penney

      An inside job, that’s good. I liked the conversation among old ladies, gave it a nice feel. As a side note from my own curiosity, the idiom “battalacks” is actually “battle-axe” which I dont see too often. good job.

    2. Ishmael

      I loved the hidden cameras in the Furbies…nice touch. On that Furby line, I’d place a comma between ‘them’ and ‘Which’ (“…installed in them, which in turn…”) and end the sentence with “…in the car.” Begin the next sentence with “I could review it later.”

      The wrinkle brigade was a cute phrase…got a chuckle from that. There was an inconsistency in the spelling of ‘biddy,’ which was correct the first time, but not the second (bitty). Penney was also correct with ‘battle axe,’ instead of battalacks.

      I liked the stealthy feel of this.

  39. Vendetta

    “She cheats at the Bingo Colin Spenca! Hand to God!” My gramma shouted with her Boston accent and her right hand in the air like she was approaching the stand. If she wasn’t the sweetest person I’ve ever met in my life, she would probably be annoying.
    “I’ve heard Gramma, you’ve told me, but I still dont know how you would expect me to prove it to the group. Even if I did, what would it matter? She would have to give back the 72 cents she’s won over the past 14 years?” I said laughing with a hint of frustration.
    “Now dont you be giving me the business, dahlin! Or I’ll give ya such a….”
    “Beating, I know Gramma. I fear for the day you cash in on all those beatings you owe me.” We both laughed. “I’ll see what I can do Gramma, I’ll head over and see what I can find out, but you need to rest.”
    I grabbed my keys and walked out the door checking on her once more before the door closes behind me. I hope she feels better. You don’t always notice how old someone is getting when you spend so much time with someone, but when you do, its scary. This morning made it perfectly clear, my gramma is getting old.
    I walked through rows of Buicks and Town Cars into the Function Hall behind Sacred Heart. I walk through the slow moving mass of bodies and luckily find a seat behind her as the host steps up to the stage and pulls the first ball from the rotating cage… I adjust in my seat and lean over her shoulder. Let the games begin.

    1. BriWeezy

      This was great! I loved the character and her sarcasm, and I loved Gramma and her Boston accent. Your characters were awesome and the dialogue was on point! Good Job! :)

        1. Jeanie Y

          You have a great start…only 282 words used though. You have plenty of room to keep going and tell us a little more. This was like getting a really super appetizer, and now I am anticipating the meal…know what I mean? Wonderful writing though.

    2. Ishmael

      Vendetta,

      I thought your story to be wonderfully written. The dialogue felt real, and I liked the pace of it. You have a wonderful command with structure, grammar, spelling. You took us to where the action begins and stopped. And wonderful, with 282 words. You could fulfill the prompt of catching him in the act, and if you use those 218 “extra” words as well and wisely as you did the 282, it would be WOW.

    3. jincomt

      I liked this story. I agree with the comments– it was very touching and gave us a taste. Using the full word count could have given us the satisfying conclusion to “then what happened…”? You write well and gave the story some thought.

    4. JR MacBeth

      Loved it. I agree with the others posting, I’d like to see you go for that other 220 words. Nothing wrong with short, and sweet, but the prompt wasn’t fully addressed.

      By the way, the Bostonian accent was an awesome launch into this piece (Hand to God!). It would feel natural to me to see it end as strongly as it started, throwing in some choice Boston-to-Go.

  40. onaway

    “B-24!”

    Ol’ Selma heard the voice call out “B-24!” and it was the last thing she heard before the catastrophic collapse of the ceiling as the bomb tonnage ripped through the roof and into the church. The white ceiling lights swung wildly at first, like searchlights illuminating the tables of old bags in the bingo hall. All the heads craned up to watch, some lit cigarettes, Mildred Hayes continued stamping her Bingo card. Selma quickly looked around at the long tables and the ashtrays and the flowered dresses and watched as the ceiling cracked open with a big puff of dust and the first 700 pound bomb smashed its grinning head into the room. She sipped her tea then pounded her fist onto the table as the bomb made its way down, past the flag that hung patriotically from the rafters. The bomb turned over at that point, and spinning slowly, continued through the floor taking Mildred Hayes and several other girls with it. The bomb continued through the levels of the church basement until it struck the dank dirt floor with a thud. Selma looked through the hole in the ceiling at the night sky and the stars and the flak and the tracer rounds. She could see large black planes and the small shadowy soldiers parachuting onto the church. It was official: Canada was invading the Dakotas. “They’ll never take me alive!” one of the old bags shouted defiantly and promptly dropped dead from heart failure. Selma was fascinated by sight of the night sky; the twinkling stars would occasionally be blacked out by all the violent covert action occurring. When the dark shadows grew larger she realized that more falling bombs were approaching. Selma decided to escape. Using all her strength, she managed to stand up. She looked up again- the bombs were getting closer. The old woman placed her glasses and cards into her purse and snapped it closed. She gently slid her chair underneath the table, and fixed her hair. Selma grabbed hold of her walker and eyed the “EXIT” sign flickering over the doorway across the room. Streams of octogenarians were shuffling out to fight the Canucks.

      1. penney

        “some lit cigarettes,” what, seniors have been there, done that, that an invasion doesnt even faze them? interesting take but I got lost on the prompt criteria, who was cheating etc.?

    1. Ishmael

      With the continued lighting of cigarettes and stamping their bingo cards, they must have been deaf, blind, or just plain ready for death. They seemed so calm, like old people have been there, done that. Nice imagery and two sentences struck me as funny:

      “’They’ll never take me alive!’ one of the old bags shouted defiantly and promptly dropped dead from heart failure,” and “She gently slid her chair underneath the table, and fixed her hair.” She must be on some good meds.

      Where’s the haste concerning the situation? With octogenarians, shuffling IS haste!

      Enjoyably odd take on this prompt. :)

    2. Birdee0809

      Awesome! Not exactly true to the prompt but who among us hasn’t strayed from time to time? So no biggie. The portrayal of the slowness and preciseness of the grannies was so true to life. Also, if Canada did ever attack, we all know for sure those grannies will be on the front lines at least 45 minutes before the battle begins!

  41. Imaginalchemy

    Warning: What follows is possibly the dumbest thing to ever happen to classic literature…

    “Why Grendels Shouldn’t Play Bingo”

    It was embarrassing enough for someone like me to sit in for my Granny Grendel at her dumb Bingo nights at the Monster Mountain Hall, but it was even worse when you are considered the most inept monster in all of Scandinavia and you’re forced to go out in public.
    Not that I had much choice. Granny Grendel was laid up with a bad head cold (as in some human warrior lopped her head off with an axe, and while we waited for it to reattach, it was growing cold) so she couldn’t attend. But she was certain that pompous old dragon was cheating at the game, as anyone who won each week would always receive a prize of gold or jewels. With how much that dragon was winning lately, no wonder his treasure horde had grown so big, it filled his whole cave.
    So I made my way to the Monster Mountain Hall, and oh lucky me, if the only spot left to sit wasn’t right next to that grouchy old dragon.
    But before the game could start, the great doors to the Hall burst open, and in strode the most intoxicated human I’d ever seen. He was clearly a warrior, from his build and his crude armor, and he glanced around with red-soaked eyes.
    “I’m her’ to slaaaaaaaay a beas’, I don’ care which onna you it is,” he drawled. “Fer I ‘m Beowulf, the greatessss warrior in all the—“
    “Pipe down, Bingo’s about to start,” snapped a harpy.
    Beowulf blinked, hesitating. “Oh, didn’ realize. I’ll sit a spell ‘til you monsters are done with yer li’l game. Then I’ll slay onna you.”
    So between the ill-tempered dragon on my left, and the drunken human who wedged in rudely on my right, I really wished I had just stayed home.
    As the orge at the front of the hall called out numbers, Beowulf put an arm around me. “Did you know I once swam the entire ocean full of sea serpents, and I gouged out their eyes?”
    “Would you shut that meat-sack up?” the dragon growled at me. “I can’t hear the numbers.”
    While I deliberated whether or not to bite off the human’s head (he smelled so bad, I figured he’d taste just as putrid), I noticed something odd about the dragon’s Bingo slate. Where everyone else’s numbers were carved into their stone tablets, the numbers on the dragon’s slate were shifting, into whatever numbers were being called. I realized that the numbers were not carved; they were thin black worms rearranging themselves.
    “You’re cheating!” I shouted, and my abrupt roar shook Beowulf from his stupor. He shot up onto his feet, drawing his sword and swinging it around like a lunatic.
    “Come at me, you filthy animals!” he shouted…and then he tumbled backwards out the hall doors and went rolling head over heels down the staircase, all the way down the mountain.
    I figured between his drinking and the many bumps on the head, he wouldn’t remember any of this the next day. As for me, I never went back to the Monster Hall (as it was pretty much destroyed when all the monsters broke out into a brawl over the dragon’s cheating).
    Of course, Granny Grendel placed the burden on me to find another hall so they can all play Bingo again. Hmm, maybe that mead-hall over by the old king’s castle will do, if I can just clear all those humans out of it…

      1. rob akers

        I wondered how you would approach the prompt this week. You are always original. I never read Beowulf, cliff notes in school dosent count but I love your rendition.

        Love how everyone tells him to shut-up, no respect.

        When the fight broke out, I envisioned him as Francis from Stripes. Backed into a corner, afraid but ready to protect himself.

        Very funny.

  42. slayerdan

    “ Damnit. Goddamnit,” came the raspy, cigarette enhanced voice of Madge Crinkle. It was at least the fifth time in the last four hours she had apparently been close to winning a game. A game of skill and chance. Of perseverance. Of strategy. Aside from staying alive, the preferred game played by the old ladies over 60. “New game everyone. B 2,” the loudspeaker boomed.

    And a new cutthroat game of Bingo was on.

    Some 200 or so women filled the room. Some 200 mothers. Grandmothers. Great grandmothers. All looking to be the next to yell that fateful word of power. In any sense of reality, I would never be here. Yet here I am.

    The turd in the punchbowl.

    Not exactly a warm reception since I arrived. Begrudgingly allowed to purchase five cards to play, I took my grandmothers normal spot, allowing a good vantage of the player my meema had asked me to watch. Some here play as many as 40 cards at once. Their arthritic bodies amazingly nimble when reaching to see the numbers or fire the tip of another cigarette.

    I think as long as I don’t yell BINGO, I should be okay.

    My meema was sick. She hadn’t been well at all lately. Yet keeping her place at the parlor here was paramount. Fill ins were allowed for up to two weeks in a row, after that your spot would be forfeit and if you returned, to the back of the parlor you go.

    Not the place you wanna be if you have trouble hearing.

    “O 66.”

    As the surreal aspect of this Sopranos meets the nursing home scenario begins to wear off, I focus on my real reason for being here, Myrtle Hagbottom. Seated to the right of me, she would be easy to watch.

    Meema said she cheats and wins a couple of games a week at least. Always the big games. She said she had been watching her but was unable to find out what she was doing to win.

    A cold, bony hand clasped my left forearm, jarring from my Myrtle vigil,” you’re not playing your numbers dear,” came a petite voice. It was my meemas friend, Gertie Stone. I smiled back and gave her an overwhelmed look.” It’s ok dear, you will get the hang of it eventually,” she shared, her laugh a mixture of condescension and phlegm.

    “I 22.”

    I looked at my cards and caught up with the numbers I had missed. I was one number away on one card. One number! Maybe I could solve the case and win a few dollars too! I felt my heart beat a bit faster and I waited for the next number, anticipating my win.

    “N 40.”

    Bam. That was it. I had a winner.

    “ Don’t yell that BINGO boy,” came the manlike voice of Myrtle Hagbottom. Turning to her, I noted the small caliber pistol in her hand. With the dexterity of a world class thief, she traded my card for one of hers. The pistol disappeared as deftly.

    “BINGO.”

    1. Imaginalchemy

      Man, there are some real hard-core grannies that folks are writing about this week…I love it! Love the names (which might explain why Myrtle is such a cut-throat; you would be too growing up with a name like Hagbottom…)

    2. aikawah

      Damn… wouldn’t some of the other grannies go “Myrtle, I don’t mind being a month early, but giving you 500 bucks… you better shoot that thing or put it away already. BINGO!!”

  43. JWLaviguer

    “But Grams,” I pleaded. “I’d rather have a hot poker shoved up my ass than go to that bingo hall. It smells of Ben Gay and imminent death in there.”

    “Listen, sonny boy,” she chided. “I never ask you for anything. I’d go myself, but I already have tickets to go see Anthrax.”

    “How about I go see Anthrax, and you go play bingo?” I suggested.

    “Not a chance. I already have the perfect pair of panties to toss up on the stage.”

    “Fine,” I said. “Tell me what to do.”

    “I know that bitch is cheating, I just can’t figure out how,” she explained. “Nobody is that lucky.” Grams proceeded to lay out the plan. She said Stella Garcia had a thing for younger men, so I was to “make nice” and watch her and the bingo caller.

    I sat in the parking lot and twisted open the Peppermint Schnapps. If I was going to humiliate myself, I’d have to be halfway schnockered. I also made sure to pack my heavy duty, double layered condoms. If anything happened, I didn’t want to catch any 19th century black death version of herpes from that old hag.

    Feeling no pain, I put on my dark sunglasses and staggered through the front doors. I stood there and scanned the room. Stella was by the stage “whoring it up” with the bingo caller. I waited until she sat down, then brought over a couple of drinks. Double Jack for me and Sex on the Beach for her.

    “Hi Stella,” I flirted. “Is this seat taken?”

    She giggled, which came out sounding like a zombie with lung cancer. “Please,” she replied. “Thanks for the drink. But I have to warn you, when I get tipsy, my hands tend to roam.” She winked at me and my stomach lurched.

    I downed my Jack and said, “Bring it on, baby.”

    “Oh my,” she said. “We may have to skip bingo tonight.” She winked again and put her hand on my thigh. I don’t remember anything else after going back out to the car, finishing the Schnapps and smoking a joint, but when I woke up, I was in Stella’s bed.

    “What the fuck did I do?” I said, my head pounding and a painful heat already burning in my groin.

    Stella turned over and said, “Oh baby, what DIDN’T you do?”

    She reached over to stroke my package, which immediately retreated out of terror. I got up, grabbed my clothes and ran. When I stumbled in the front door, Grams was making breakfast. “You must have had some night,” she said. “How did it go?”

    “Well,” I hesitated. “Stella didn’t win any money last night, but I didn’t catch her in the act, either.”

    “Well damn,” Grams replied. “You’re just going to have to do it all over again next Monday.”

    I turned down breakfast in favor of a shower, where I spent the next hour scrubbing and crying.

    1. slayerdan

      1. No one throws panties on stage at Anthrax shows—Ive seen 10+, trust me.
      2.ZOmbie w lung cancer is damn near epic.
      3. Strayed from the prompt, but I often do too. Def not believable, but funny w good descriptions.
      4. Gross. lol.

    2. Ishmael

      Scrubbing and crying…great way to end. I guess he remembers the toothless hummer. A LOT of choice phrases and descriptions, many of which have been noted. I liked, “…which immediately retreated out of terror.” Grams is pimping out G-Son…bad granny! LOL! Thanks for a good read.

    3. Birdee0809

      A randy granny, I love it. Very nice imagery and I especially like the line: If anything happened, I didn’t want to catch any 19th century black death version of herpes from that old hag.

      Good job!

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