Tag: Prickly

PRICKLY: Prickly By Nan Ressue


Word Count 565


By Nan Ressue

It was a Thanksgiving dinner like all others until we answered a knock on the door. There on the porch was a well-dressed gentleman, holding his hat nervously but smiling in a friendly way.

“Good afternoon,” said our visitor.  I’m new in town and alone for the holiday.  I wonder if I might join your family for dinner.”

“Well, why not?” Dad  finally replied.  “Our forefathers invited guests to their feast so we will do the same.”

I had plenty of time to give him the once over while we ate.  The most fascinating part was a prickly wart sticking out of his beard just to the left side of his mouth,

I was polite for as long as I could stand it, finally blurting out, “How come you don’t get rid of that wart?”

“Son, he started to explain, “This wart has a secret.  When I press it, I am able to attain any skill I need. It has given me answers to problems, strength when I need it, speed to escape danger, and wisdom to make the best decisions.  Is there anything you need help with?” he inquired with concern on his face.

“I don’t really need anything you mentioned but I do have one request,” I asked with my fingers crossed behind my back…   I want a wart just like yours,” I exploded, jumping up and down with excitement.

“It’s a deal”, he replied with a smile. When you wake up tomorrow morning, you will have your wart

The next morning I was up with the birds and gingerly felt my chin with my fingertips.  When I got to the kitchen, my mother could tell by the smile on my face that my wart had arrived. High school and college were snaps and I soon was president of my own company. “Thank you Wart.  I owe it all to you,” I admitted, stroking it in appreciation.

And THEN, one day during the office coffee break, there she was…my dream girl.

“Do your thing, Wart,” I murmured, giving it two pinches just in case. She smiled beguilingly and I was hooked.  It was a short courtship, a beautiful wedding and a perfect honeymoon.  Lying in bed with my arms around my darling wife I asked, “What makes you so happy this morning?”

“Well, my dear, I have always thought that you were a perfect man who only had one small flaw. I took care of it last night while you were sleeping with one coat of Wart-Away from the drug store.”

In a rage, I leaped from the bed and sprinted into the bathroom to face myself in the mirror.  She was right…It was gone.  She doesn’t have any idea that I’m a fraud without it… No…wait….there’s something happening to the end of my nose….There’s another bump coming right on the tip.  Oh no! It’s turning bright red….and it has prickly hairs growing out of the sides. Well, what do you know! Welcome back Wart!  I wonder what she’ll say about this one,” I said, grinning to myself wickedly.  

“Honey, could I talk to you for a minute?”


PRICKLY: I’m Not Wearing This! By Sally Madison


Words: 442

I’m Not Wearing This!

By Sally Madison

“I’m not wearing this!  It stinks!” yelled Della, as she slammed the door on her way out of the costume room.  Lindsey, a student, and Marsha, the senior volunteer-in-charge, just stared at the door.  What were they going to do now?  The community theater play of “King Arthur” will start in two days, and Guinevere has just had a temper tantrum. There is no time to return this dress to the costume house in Chicago and get a different one. Over 300 tickets were already sold, they couldn’t cancel the show.

“Lindsey, go to the florist shop and get two large flower boxes one slightly larger than the other.  Then, get one bag of kitty litter and two boxes of baking soda,” instructed Marsha.  

Lindsey, eager to be of any help, began reading the instructions that Marsha had written out.  “Cut many small vent holes in the smaller box and put the dress in it, then put the opened boxes of baking soda with the dress, and close the lid. Spread the kitty litter in the larger box.  Lay the box containing the dress on the kitty litter and close the lid, nestling the two boxes together. Then, pray.”   

Two days later, Della stormed into the costume area to looking for the new dress.  “Where is it?” She yelled.  She saw the dress, as they retrieved the vented box on the kitty litter and screamed, “You had my dress in kitty litter! I’m not wearing it!” Again, she stormed out the door.

Lindsey and Marsha were devastated. Della was always such a diva, but she has been especially prickly with this play.  What to do? Lindsey remembered her grandmother telling her about how, years ago, they would pin a dress.  She had grown up watching her grandmother sew clothes, and she had a little skill herself.  All she needed was several yards of brocade.  “Marsha, I’ll make a dress.”  

“There is no time to make a dress”, Marsha said in disbelief.  

Lindsey explained the plan: “Years ago, ladies would take expensive material and pin it together, rather than cutting and sewing it.”

Grateful for the donation to the community play, Lindsey picked out several yards of brocade.  Lindsey thought of ways she would do this.  ‘Let’s see, if I drape it this way… ’  

Marsha modeled while Lindsey worked her magic. Round she went, tuck here, pin there.

By the time Lindsey was done, a few hours later, the dress looked like it was straight off Broadway.  “Lindsey, you have real talent. You should look into going to school for dress design,” complimented Marsha.  

Lindsey thought, “Oh, yeah! I could do this!”

PRICKLY: Acceptance By Sharon Collins

Word: Dancing/Prickly

Word Count 500


By Sharon Collins


Sister sniffs the scent of dried-fish and keeps licking my fingers, her pale eyes unblinking.  Not wanting to threaten, I lower my eyes and offer another piece of fish. Hunger makes her brave, and she inches closer, slipping from beneath her mother’s fur. Like her eyes, her coat is colorless except for a spot of brownish red on her forehead.  Sensing she will allow, I reach to rub the spot.  It is prickly.  Horrified, I realize the red is dried blood as bits crumble between my fingers.  After the Watchers captured the other pups and we left the clearing dragging her dead mother, Sister must have come out of hiding and rolled in the She-Wolf’s blood.  Like me she has been marked.  Unlike me, she has not been able to remove it.  I raise my green eyes to her pale ones and offer the silent apology of hunter to victim.  I owe her much.  


With two hungry mouths, my store will not last long, so instead of heading upriver toward the Summer-Gathering as suggested by Second-Wife, I will go back to the sea where I know there is food.  The Clans of the Great-Water and those of the Endless-Ice will gather at the end of this moon.   I was to travel this year on the journey to trade salt, as I am old enough to find a mate.  Mother wanted a mate for me from among the Men of the Ice.  Whispered stories of fierce, white bears and giant fish wearing spears on their heads, of tall men with red hair, and warrior women, delighted me as a child.  Whenever I cried for more, she would hush me, saying that her stories were our secret  and not for the Clans’ ears.  I asked once where she learned them.  She never answered, only smiled and sighed.  For whatever the reason, she wanted me to find one of the tall men with red hair like my own from the edge of the Ice.   The other women scoffed at her grand plans for me.  A mate from any clan would be good enough for a tall, skinny, ugly girl like me they sneered. Suddenly I was glad the Clan released me.  I did not want to be just any man’s mate, and I certainly did not want to be any man’s second or third wife.        


While Sister busily gnaws a third piece of fish, I untie the lacing from around my waist and slip a loop over her head.  Instantly rigid, she growls her best puppy growl.  She shakes furiously hopping and dancing away from me.  But the sinew holds fast.  I remain still, holding the piece of fish and humming softly.  Realizing she is not hurt, Sister edges back to me and the fish.  I gather my pouch and water-skin in what is now OUR brindled fur cape, wrap the lacing around my wrist, and pick up my fire-bowl.  Sisters, linked by loss and need, we head back to the sea.  

PRICKLY: Garden of Eden? By Peg Scarano

Word:  Prickly

Word Count: 469


Garden of Eden?

By Peg Scarano


Who wouldn’t want a flourishing vegetable garden in their backyard?  Let’s see…probably me.

Let me try to explain.  Thirty-six years ago we bought a home with a back yard large enough to accommodate a huge vegetable garden.  I thought it was a great idea – it gave my husband a great hobby and would provide us with fresh vegetables over the summer and fall seasons.


However, over the years, this is what really happened.  First of all, my husband worked 12 hour days.  If I wanted fresh vegetables for dinner, I had to walk back to the bug-infested plot, search on bended knees for the hidden gems and watch enough sweat drip off of my damp, itching body to water the garden until the next rainfall.  This was definitely not fun for me.  


As the girls got older, he decided they should love his garden as well.  So he began training his troops as to how to choose the ripest and perfect-sized cherry, grape or regular tomatoes, zucchini, lettuce, asparagus, carrots, green, red and hot peppers, garlic, cucumbers, basil, pole beans and bush beans, broccoli and beets.  Does this sound like a lot of food to you?  Let me tell you something – we had enough vegetables in our garden to not only feed our entire street, but probably all of the people within a ten mile radius of our house as well.  There was no way we could pick, wash, prepare, eat, can or give away half of our crops.  Therefore, it became overwhelming for all of us, except for farmer Scarano.


After about 15 years, I got smart and informed the boss that the garden was after all, HIS hobby, and not mine.  I therefore resigned my position as first shift picker and second shift vegetable cleaner.  I was so tired of feeling prickly for hours after being in that miserable jungle.  I thought it was just me who experienced this particular agony, but after the troops took over, all I heard after a round of picking were three whiny voices in unison, “I can’t stand these pricklies!  Make them stop!”  I never did figure out which plants caused the terrible itches or how to stop these inevitable prickles that followed even a short stint in the garden.   Before long, everyone else turned in their resignations to farmer Scarano as well.  


We are now back to only two people again and he is in charge of not only planting and picking, but also the cleaning and finding a place to put all of his bounty until we can get around to eating it or finding enough people who would like to share.  I do still enjoy preparing and eating the harvests, but I have left all of planting, picking and prickles in farmer Scarano’s productive hands and prolific green thumbs!  


PRICKLY: Sabra By Mike Cecconi

Word: Prickly

Word Count 500


By Mike Cecconi


The prickly pear is not a pear and while it’s also sometimes known as a Barbary fig, it isn’t most closely associated with the Barbary Coast of northern Africa, either. Another name for it is the “cactus pear” which is significantly closer to the truth as the plant is actually a cactus of a kind. While it grows almost anywhere in the world with a semi-arid climate and even though it most likely first appeared in Mexico, the prickly pear is most known as a symbol of the land that some will call Palestine and others will call Israel, depending who you ask.   


The prickly pear received its name because its fruit, while thorny on the outside, contains a soft sweet fruit once you get beneath its well-protected skin. The people there who identify as Israeli call the prickly pear a “sabra” and use it as a term of endearment for any Israeli who was not an immigrant, was born on that land from the start. They consider these naturally born Israelis to be similarly tough and hearty on the outside but marvelous and wondrous once you get under the surface, though many of those who would call that land Palestine and similarly call themselves Palestinians might well beg to differ.   


The prickly pear grows there, whatever name you would call the land or any of its peoples, in a land claimed holy by three major world religions and a whole host of minor faiths as well. The Israelis being largely Jewish, though sometimes only culturally so, the Palestinians being largely some form of Muslim or another, though not always. Christianity calls it a holy land too, though it its case exerts its force on the land more indirectly, from American and European capitals.    


The Israelis and Palestinians both hold varying claims to the land, in religious myth and more concretely, Israel having been the Jewish homeland in antiquity, the Palestinians having been driven out of other Islamic lands to live there for the last few hundred years. Both groups point to promises from their shared God that they gave slightly different names, Allah or Yahweh, as an ultimate title to that desert, for whatever that counts to you.   


The Israelis moved to that land after being driven into ghettos and murdered by the millions in the early to middle 1940s. The Palestinians have been driven into ghettos and killed off on a massive scale in the decades since. Possibly no two peoples in human history have suffered more than the Israelis and the Palestinians but there they sit in the land of prickly pears, killing each other for the right to that land and will until all on both sides are dead and only the prickly pears are left to bear their witness.


I myself cannot imagine a fruit so soft or sweet to be worth sacrificing generations for, fighting through those thorns. But then again, I myself have never been stranded in the desert to know true hunger.


PRICKLY: A Prickly Lesson by G. Ackman

Word: Prickly

Word Count 494


A Prickly Lesson

by G. Ackman


I have had lots of adventures in my life, and although it didn’t start out so great, after I went to live with mom-mom and dad, things were mostly awesome.  If I were to be honest, and what else should I be at this time, the times that weren’t so awesome were mostly my fault.  I say mostly because while it’s true I went pretty much ballistic a few times, it was only because they left me.  I would tell myself it’s okay, they’ll be back, just take a nap.  Then the click of the door shutting opened a corresponding door in my head and allowed Panic, that imp that drove me to open the steel door like it was a tuna can and to rip and tear until the room resembled a particularly gruesome crime scene, to run amok.  Nothing could keep me secured.  I was the Houdini of the canine world.  I use the past tense because I don’t do that anymore.  I barely notice when they’ve left and the warmth that envelopes me when they return is worth the pain I feel in my hips and back legs when I get up to greet them.   


So we’ll skip over my eccentricities and the outlay of funds to repair, replace and secure my surroundings and go right to my more memorable adventures.  The two that stand out both involve a contest between me and prickly things, and both times I lost.  The first was right after mom-mom and dad adopted me from the pound.  In my defense, I didn’t know the house and yard very well yet.  It was January, monsoon season, and the afternoon storm was rolling in.  I feared storms up until I lost my hearing but that afternoon I could hear every rumble, including the one in my belly that said I must go out.  Neither ignoring it nor pacing helped, so finally I decided to go despite the impending thunder.  I figured I would just run out, do my business quickly and be safely back inside.  Lesson learned:  never poop on a prickly pear cactus.  The indignity of having mom-mom pull needles out of my butt was traumatic, and my hind end hurt for days.  


Fast forward a few years and we were all on a camping trip across the northern tier to escape the 120º summer heat.  A night at a state park in Michigan with intriguing smells turned unpleasant because no one warned me that eating pine needles was not a good idea.  They tasted great, but the prickly things did a number on me as they came out the other end.  Oooh, the memory of the pain still lingers.  That next morning we took a ferry ride to Mackinac Island and the motion of the waves coupled with my very upset belly and hind end did me in.  I vowed to learn my lesson.


Apparently, the hiney and prickly things do not go well together.