While looking for tissues at an online supermarket, I come across my favourite red napkins. Two packs into the basket, I continue my virtual shopping. Going over the list, adding, deleting stuff, I complete the task and pay by card. My provisions for the lockdown replenished, the delivery due the following day, I resume my daily chores. Red napkins on my mind.
Why did I buy them? It’s not likely I’ll be inviting people to dinner in the near future. I like the colour, haven’t seen them on the shelves in the days I could visit the supermarket, and I can use them myself. Good excuses, but the cupboard is full of paper napkins in all the colours of the rainbow. Why not use them instead? Red napkins are prettier.
I’m not a panic shopper. I don’t stock things and have little room to store them. Yet, the question of what if lingers at the back of my mind. Instead of buying one packet of hair dye, I buy two, an extra pack of cheese or two more cans of tuna fish. What if they run out of stock? It’s helping the economy, but depleting my budget.
Behind this hoarding tendency, lingers the anxiety of holding onto a lifestyle which may no longer exist. A variety of choices, favourites, brands that dominate our daily lives. Despite knowing this is not a matter of life and death, that the groceries or dry goods at home might last me at least three months, I worry about running out of stuff I’m accustomed to buying. I won’t die of starvation, but my choices in the future might be limited.
The supermarket delivery arrives. I look at the red napkins and laugh at myself. I make a pledge not to buy any more until I use the ones at home. It dawns on me Mother Earth is suffering due to the mass manufacturing of this diverse merchandise and choices in the market, whether it’s food, household items and chemicals, not forgetting clothes and accessories. Buy less, waste less, be inventive and creative. The lack of choices is not a death threat, but the virus is. I’m learning …
Sandy had a fetish about men’s shirts, especially white ones. French cuffs and cufflinks as additional attractions, she hunted males wearing elegant bespoke suits, lately hard to find. Not fond of the current fashion trends, she loathed modern jackets which looked as though their owners had outgrown them. Why did men want tight outfits? Didn’t they understand generously cut pieces made them look more masculine? Body clinging clothes were for women to accentuate their figures. Men needed to look like men.
Her secret fetish was the period shirts musketeers wore, the ones without buttons, loosely styled to tuck inside their breeches. Having discovered an Italian company that manufactured them, she’d ordered half a dozen to try them on her lovers. If the relationship lasted more than a night, she asked them to wear one and watched them parade before her as the pirates and highlanders of the…
I have always been inspired by Gabriele Munter’s paintings, especially this particular one, Jawlensky and Werefkin, 1908, which tells me a story.
Gabriele Munter , one of the few women artists in early 20th century, who were recognised by the male-dominated art world. I have great respect for her.
I thought I’d written a flash fiction story inspired by this painting, a while ago. It turns out to be a poem. I’m no poet, this probably needs editing, but perhaps that was the only way I could express my feelings.
We sit at the top of the hill,
under the cosy spring sun,
and watch the world below
The bouquet of flowers you pick on the way up,
I fix to the ribbon around my plain straw hat,
and feel like a member of the nobility.
My eyes shifting to the puffy, white clouds,
I dream a bright future for us
You observe the movements of the ants,
and say, we must be so well-organized
I still remember that day, my love,
though I lost you to the insidious war.
Left with two young children,
in the shambles of our dream house,
I had to work to support them.
It’s been forty years since that day,
with another war claiming lives.
Grateful that our children have survived it,
I’m now a retired grandmother looking after theirs
The world has changed so much,
you wouldn’t believe it
We don’t have to wear fancy hats and long dresses,
even gloves have gone out of style.
Women can vote, go to universities,
and become professionals.
Life is easy with telephones, radio,
automobiles, electric trains, and airplanes,
so thoroughly organized.
I still live in our restored dream house,
and go up the hill to celebrate our anniversary each year.
Sharma’s passion was writing, but she had to toil at a boring job. She devoted any free time to her work in progress, trying to adhere to her daily word count target of 1000. Always scribbling in her notebook, at lunch break and after dinner at home, she immersed herself in stories instead of going out with friends or watching TV. At weekends, she transcribed her work onto the computer and spent her time editing.
On a sunny weekday, she could be found on a bench in a remote area of the park, next to the woods. It was a niche, a pocket, surrounded by trees, with a small opening in the front. Sharma considered this to be her private patch, since visitors preferred to mingle on the wide lawns with the lunchtime crowds. Sharma felt comfortable, undisturbed by the commotion beyond. Sometimes she would close her eyes and listen…
Sorry I have been away for a while. It wasn’t intentional. I meant to post a story before I left on holiday, but failed to do so while trying to get organized for the trip. So, here’s a true story about our adventures, meeting with fellow writers at various locations, and how this journey evolved.
David J. Meyers, from Melbourne, Australia, and I, first met at the now defunct Harper Collins writer’s website, Authonomy, in 2013. I had joined Authonomy back in 2012 and posted my manuscript The Child of Heaven which David read and edited while I read many of his books, including The Maia Calendar, Lost in Authonomy, The Gargoyle Chronicles, and To See the Sun. This was before David established himself as an historical fiction writer and his genre was more fantasy orientated. Meanwhile, that year I also met the American author, Joanne J. Kendrick who wrote paranormal fantasy and romance. I read her books, Music of Souls and Chance Inheritance, and her sequel to Music, Eternity’s Opus.
The beginning of David’s Maia Calendar takes place at the Sultanahmet Square, the Hippodrome, in the old town of Istanbul. In the summer of 2013, David and Michelle decided to visit Istanbul. At that time, I was no longer living in Istanbul, my hometown, but in Marmaris, on the Southern Aegean coast. So, I made sure I was in Istanbul during their short stay and the virtual friendship became real when I met David and his lovely wife, Michelle, in person, at their hotel in the Sultanahmet area and we had lunch at the historical Sultanahmet Köftecisi.
Joanne had a life change a couple of years ago, and was working and living on her own. She wanted to travel to places she had never been, and had never flown across the Atlantic. I invited her to stay with me in Marmaris, and said we can also go to the Greek islands from here. Last year it didn’t happen, for one reason or another. This year in early January, Joanne asked if we could plan a trip together from Turkey to Greece. This coincided with the time I was diagnosed with hernia in my lower back and was having treatments. I thought, why not, life is too short, and perhaps, I might not be able to do this in the future. Who knows? Not that I can afford to pay anything in Euros with the state of the Turkish economy these days, but what’s money for if you can’t enjoy it in good health. I said, “Let’s do it,” and we began to plan our journey.
Meanwhile, David and Michelle were celebrating their 25th year together and he wanted to do something special for her. Once David heard our plans, he discussed it with Michelle and they decided to fly to Santorini for a romantic break before meeting us in Athens on the 21st of May. For four nights and three days we stayed in a flat with 3 bedrooms and bathrooms, in the Plaka district, which Joanne found from Airbnb.
It was the first time David, Michelle and I met Joanne in person. She turned out to be exactly as I imagined her. Then, thinking perhaps my Facebook friend, the lovely American painter and writer, Pamela Jane Rogers, who has lived in Poros for the last 30 years, could join us for lunch during our stay, I messaged her, and she kindly agreed. So we all met for lunch in Athens, 4 writers, two from the US, one from Oz, and one from Turkey, together with Michelle Meyers and Francis Broun, a professor of History of Art from Princeton, and Pamela’s husband.
David was the tour leader in Athens as we covered all the historical sites, from Hadrians’s Library, The Athenian Agora, Roman Agora, The Temple of The Winds, The Acropolis, The Temple of the Olympian Zeus, to the Acropolis Museum. Although it was a challenging task for my back, I did manage to climb to the Acropolis, with help from my friends, while trying to cope with the treacherous spiral Greek steps and stairs, and hills that were an inescapable feature of our daily excursions.
Joanne and I parted with David and Michelle on the 25th of May. They left for Australia as we boarded a propeller plane to Kefalonia from Athens. We took a ferry to Ithaca, Penelope’s Island, where we stayed with a very good friend of mine. Our week in Ithaca was pure serenity as we marvelled at the unspoiled nature and exquisite beauty of Ulysses’ Kingdom. A population of 2000 and full of Greeks born is Oz with Aussie accents, who have returned home to claim their heritage from their ancestors. It seems back in the early 50’s there was a devastating earthquake in the Peloponnese Islands and most of the inhabitants of Kefalonia, Ithaca and other islands immigrated to Australia, South Africa, the UK, and the US to begin new lives.
After our magical stay in Ithaca, we flew to Rhodes via Kefalonia and Athens on the 2nd of June. Another 4 days of explorations on the lovely island and a ferry ride to Marmaris on the 6th of June brought me back home with Joanne. Jo stayed with me for 5 nights and 4 days and had a brief tour of Marmaris and the surrounding villages. When she left Marmaris and flew back to the US via Dalaman and Istanbul, on the 11th of June, we had been together for 21 days.
It was definitely a trip to remember, with great company and wonderful memories. I hope we’ll have the chance get together again, in the near future.
And there’s a story brewing, in my head. It starts with, “Penelope sat on the pebble beach in Ithaca and combed her hair …” and I don’t know where she’ll take me …
This happened so fast, I didn’t have the chance to write an introduction. Many thanks to author Paul D. Brazill and Punk Noir Magazine for accepting my story, which ıs both “Punk” and “Noir” but I did not know how to submit it. So, I asked my friend, author Mick Rose, and he lead me. Thank you Mick Rose .
Desirée is a fragment of my imagination. I never know where these characters come from. I guess their stories need to be told.
I met my old friend Tom at an all-night bar I’d never been to before. He’d said, “Come before midnight on Friday, and we’ll drink and talk till we drop dead.” I found him sitting at a table for two, opposite the mahogany long-bar. Relishing an expensive malt, we chatted about work, women, and adventures since we last saw each other a year ago. The place was packed with trendy women and men, all eyeing each other and looking for a good catch.
Shortly after midnight, a rare beauty walked in and the spotlight of every eye lit her like an actress on stage. The other women disappeared into the void, as her stilettos clacked against the wooden floor in tune with the beat of the soft music. Dressed in black, fishnet tights, a leather mini-skirt, and a shawl wrapped around her, she strolled towards the only empty seat at…