Friday Fictioneers: Mary

 

PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

 

 

Mary

 

Mary looked out the window of the nursing home. She thought,

The staff and other inmates are alright. But I was young once.

Mary remembered the hot labourer Frank.

Now he was a hot potato. Pulling me behind the old Church for what the young people today call nookie. 

Frank had run off when he realised she was pregnant. She was put in a Mother and Baby Home and never saw her birth daughter again once the baby was put up for adoption. She had extensively searched with no luck.

She looked out the window again.

She’s out there somewhere.

 

 

My book Black Coat based on a previous Friday Fictioneers prompt is available at:

 

 

For Friday Fictioneers Writing Prompt. Check out the website at:

https://rochellewisoff.com/

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Friday Fictioneers: Small Shell

 

 

 

 

Small Shell

 

He stood by his shell collection. Watched as his daughter finished packing to go out into the big world. He beckoned gently for her to come over.

“You see this small shell, it reminds me of you.”

“A small shell in a big pond.”

“It has so much to offer. It will be put down many times. I want it to, well I want you to know Cassie that the smallest voices can have the biggest messages and the biggest voices try to put those people down. Pick your moments but never let your beautiful sentiments drown in the sea.”

 

 

(While this story is fictional, the picture made me think instantly of my late father Brian who loved the beach, he was originally from Dun Laoghaire. In 100 words, I couldn’t possibly fit all the wonderful life lessons he taught me to be a strong, yet sensitive youngish woman but he was a major part of ensuring I had that balance. He was a truly wonderful, kind-hearted man who always said you are no better but no worse than anybody else and never felt anybody should be made to feel less than anybody else. He was also very encouraging of me and my sister and encouraged us to go after what we wanted in work and find our place in the world and to have our voice heard. Later this month he will be gone from us 10 years and I felt this photo prompt came at a poignant time to pay tribute to a true gentleman in every sense of the word. Rest in peace Dad, love you. xxx)

 

My book Black Coat based on a previous Friday Fictioneers prompt is available at:

For Friday Fictioneers Writing Prompt. Check out the website at:

https://rochellewisoff.com/

Friday Fictioneers: Promoting

 

 

 

 

Promoting

 

“Tea or coffee?”, Greg asked the publisher who he was trying to network with.

“Coffee please.”, the publisher replied.

Greg makes coffee.

“I’ve got this book about this bloke, a writer. He falls in love on a writer’s retreat … there’s a subplot about his friend who is a doctor …”

“What is the woman he falls for like? The doctor, what’s he like?”

Greg smiled, said he’d talk about it sometime, went to find a publisher who might be right for the project. His main character fell for a bloke. His doctor friend was a woman. This wasn’t a good fit.

 

My book Black Coat based on a previous Friday Fictioneers prompt is available at:

 

For Friday Fictioneers Writing Prompt. Check out the website at:

https://rochellewisoff.com/

Short Story: Office Love

Image result for love quotes drawing

 

 

Office Love

 

 

Milk Magazine was my baby.

Which was a good thing because I wasn’t good at much less outside of writing and publishing. I was proud of it. I was also power-crazed about it.

It was the most popular LGBTQ+ magazine in Nottingham. Or in my head it was anyways. From 9am to 5pm, myself and my dedicated team came together Monday to Saturday to come up with a monthly issue detailing the latest LGBTQ+ issues in Nottingham and well, the world. The latest Monday had just got underway and I was wiping sleep from my eyes as I sat at my desk trying to come up with an article about a homophobic Priest’s comments on same-sex marriages. Mike, my fashion editor and best friend bounced into the office (I say office, it’s really like a warehouse where we are all in one room. #Working-class problems). He is as per usual full of energy and I as ever am at a loss as to how he can be like this at this stage in the day.

“Alexander Wang’s menswear is just perfect!”, he exclaims.

“I’m really feeling it.”

“What? The actual fabric? Now that would be big for Milk!”, I laughed.

“Ah haha, most funny Mr. Intellectual! So do you actually know what you’re wearing today?”

“Clothes I hope … probably Adidas or something.”

He rolls his eyes.

“You could put a bit of effort in, you know honey. You ain’t half bad looking, bar the dark circles under the eyes, the terrible sense of fashion and the know-it-all attitude …”

“Jeez, you make me sound like a real catch.”, I smiled.

“But seriously honey, a bit of effort and you would have the men running after you.”

I don’t bother at this stage informing him (Once again!) that I’m pansexual. Because he’s gay he seems to believe everyone else is, like my mother who only says the girls because she’s straight and thinks everyone is straight. Lost? Yeah, so am I.

“What about him for example? Shy new lad in the blue polo neck? He looks like an intellectual sort. He wears polo necks after all.”

I looked over to see Max.

“He’s not a lad. He’s agender.”

“Then why are you saying he Stephen?”, Mike asks, like he’s finally caught me out and that I really secretly thought like him.

“Because he uses he pronouns.”

“How do you know all this?”

“Because I take an interest in the people that work for me.”

“I’m so confused by all this stuff to be honest honey. What’s wrong with good old-fashioned man and woman and gay and straight?”

“Mike, we are an LGBTQ+ magazine, not just a gay, lesbian and trans in a binary sense magazine. Just a gentle reminder mate … but you have one thing right, I do find him hot.”

“But how can you if you’re into guys and you’re claiming he ain’t a guy?”

“I’m pansexual. You know that.”

“Now I’m really confused honey! So what you working on anyways?”

“Father Brennan’s homophobic comments …”

“Oh, that arsehole.”

“I know, tell me about it. I can’t even say he’s homophobic in the article. Can be sued for having an opinion you know and I ain’t got that kind of money. Am reduced to he made homophobic comments.”

Mike rolls his eyes in unison with my own eye-rolling.

 

**********

 

 

It was late in the day on Wednesday. The issue for this month was starting to take shape. I was over with Max who was currently interning on the magazine and therefore was left with the stories no one else was bothered to do.

“What do you have for me Max?”, I ask, staring over his shoulder as he typed.

“Two male dogs got married. They had a ceremony and all …”

“The features will get more interesting as you go along.”, I assured him.

“Oh no, I don’t mind. I like dogs. They looked adorable in their tuxes. They actually had Best Men and all because the two of them live in the same houses as many other dogs.”

His enthusiasm reminds me of my own when I started the magazine just over eight years ago. With the workload, I’ve lost that a bit. But I miss it sometimes.

The second current intern comes in. Her name’s Tanya and I gave her a shot at the magazine because her girlfriend’s mother is a friend of my Mum’s. But she’s been doing a great job all the same.

“I think the magazine’s name is quite cool. Speaks a lot to Queer history.”, she says, swigging at her coffee.

“I’m glad you noticed that …”, I began.

“Yeah, to name the mag after a Rupaul queen was a genius idea.”

Well as often happens in Drag Race, the face crack of the century, that’s what I almost have.

“I’m glad you think so.”, I reply, not having the heart to tell her that the magazine was actually named in tribute to Harvey Milk.

I spot Max hold in a giggle out of the corner of my eye. As she goes over to check in with social media for the magazine at a computer, I grin to Max.

“You didn’t have the heart to tell her either?”

“It gave me a good laugh when she first told me I must admit.”, he smiled.

 

 

**********

 

 

By Friday afternoon, I am going over the recipes by our food editors and married couple Tina and Jenna who are doing a piece on exciting dishes with pancakes. Jenna, office mother one, changes the topic.

“You like Max, don’t you?”

For many months since my latest break-up, she has been encouraging me to put myself out there in the dating world again.

“And he likes you too.”, Tina, office mother two, adds.

Tina doesn’t quite push the whole ‘get back in the game’ line that Jenna does but she seems quite excited about me getting back in the game with Max nonetheless. Her comment makes my heart race a few beats faster.

“He said that?”

“Well not in so many words … but like it’s obvious! Haven’t you seen the way he looks at you?”

“Ah no, I think he looks at me like he does at everyone else …”

“Oh no baby, no.”, Jenna said.

“His eyes look at you like they want you.”

“How exactly?”

“Oh you know dreamlike. Long gazes.”

I wasn’t completely sold on the whole long gazes thing but before work ended, I though sure what the heck? I mean what was the worse that could happen, eh? Apart from awkward long days at work …

So I went over to him as he was clearing away his stuff into his rainbow bag.

“Say, um, you doing anything, well tonight?”

He looks up at me.

“Why? Is there something that needs finishing?”

“Um no … I was just wondering, well if you’d be free to go for maybe, a drink with me?”

There is a flicker of something in his eye. What it is, I’m not sure. Joy? Confusion? Horror?

“Like as in a date?”

“I guess so.”

“Well I’m free and I guess I’d be down for that.”

 

 

**********

 

 

“I didn’t ever think you’d ask me out.”, Max said as we sat by the window of a quiet bar.

“Why? Because I’m your boss?”

“Well there is that but like, I always thought you were gay.”

“Mike?”, I laughed.

“Well yeah …”

“Mike thinks I’m gay. Though I have told him many times I’m pan.”

“I’m glad you’re not … gay, I mean … not that there’s anything wrong with being gay …”

“I know what you mean. What’s your sexuality if you don’t mind me asking …”

“Of course not, we are on a date after all.”, he smiles.

“I don’t really have one. I mean I suppose I say pan if anyone really pushes me to say something because if you go by the idea that sexuality is an actual thing I suppose I would be but I don’t really think sexuality, gender, race, nationality or anything like that is real. But when you get into that with people they start guilt tripping you with ‘you are trying to take away my labels from me’ bullshit so I try to stay out of that lately. You can say I’m pan if it makes things easier …”

“I think it’s better to just say you’re you if that’s what you prefer.”

He seems to melt a bit before taking my hand in his and changing the subject.

“Do you know there used to be a theatre near here? It was burned down by some yobs coming on a few years back now …”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friday Fictioneers: Double Delusions

 

 

 

Double Delusions

 

Arriving at the restaurant Susie looked at the umbrellas. She climbed up on the fencing and tried to figure out the code. The code which would save her life. She sat for hours in thought until she heard the familiar voice of her wife Emily.

“Come down darling. It’ll be ok.”

She’s with them. They have got to her too.

“Don’t come any closer.”

Emily held back tears. It had been like this for as long as she knew Susie. But she still hoped against hope that she could help Susie in the way everyone else failed to do before.

 

My book Black Coat based on a previous Friday Fictioneers prompt is available at:

 

For Friday Fictioneers Writing Prompt. Check out the website at:

https://rochellewisoff.com/

Ayodele – the secret keeper Writing Prompts

                                             Ayodele

 

 

Image result for hut drawing

 

                                                                  Young Ayodele

 

                        (5) Words: | AGE | SURVIVE | HUT | ARRIVE | DANGER |

 

Ayodele was age eight,

living in a hut

trying to survive

the poverty of Nigeria

with his Mum

a single mother

keeping him out of danger

and hoping for a miracle to arrive.

 

For the following prompt:

https://secretkeeper.net/2018/09/10/weekly-writing-prompt-158/

 

 

Image result for pencil case drawing

 

 

                                                                       Opportunities

 

                                   (5) Words: | HACK| TEAR | TRUTH | HEART | TIME |

 

Some income had come through

given with heart

by those lucky enough

to come from richer countries

trying to hack away at poverty

so now Ayodele has time to go to school

and tear a little at the injustice

and search through the meanings

to find his own truth.

 

For the following prompt:

https://secretkeeper.net/2018/09/03/weekly-writing-prompt-157/

 

 

 

Image result for airport drawing

 

 

 

                                                                London Bound

                              (5) Words: | PURSUE | PASS | DRIFT | ENDING | WANE |

 

Ayodele now age twenty

began to pursue his passion

and went to London to train

to pass his exams to become a lawyer,

the ending was far off

but he refused to drift into insecurity

and wane away from making an impact.

 

 

For the following prompt:

https://secretkeeper.net/2018/08/27/weekly-writing-prompt-156/

 

 

 

Image result for rights drawing

 

 

                                                                          Facing Tests            

                                      (5) Words: | TRICK | HEED | GOAL | FACE | STAFF |

 

The staff was a mixture of good and bad

but Ayodele was only concerned with his goal,

there was a trick to getting by in a new country

where some didn’t like black people,

heed the good,

ignore the shit

and when the right moment came

face them head on and

beat them hands down

with intelligence.

 

For the following prompt:

https://secretkeeper.net/2018/08/20/weekly-writing-prompt-155/

 

 

 

Image result for partying drawing

 

                                                               Enjoying The Life

                                   (5) Words: | NIGHT | LINE | HEAL | THRILL | TIME |

 

Saturday was when the usual night out came,

a time when Ayodele and his mate Joe

began to heal the stress of weekly law duties

in the thrill of the night club

batting off

or not batting off

the line of people of all genders

vying for these college boys’ attention.

 

For the following prompt:

https://secretkeeper.net/2018/08/13/weekly-writing-prompt-154/

 

 

 

Image result for black lawyer drawing

 

                                                                              First Case

                                  (5) Words: | VERSE | ROUND | TEST | FORCE | STAGE |

 

The stage was set for battle,

Ayodele’s first test,

first court case,

verse after verse learned,

round one begins,

Don’t force it,

just be natural,

remember all you’ve learned.

 

 

For the following prompt:

https://secretkeeper.net/2018/08/06/weekly-writing-prompt-153/

 

 

 

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                                                                     Raven

                    (5) Words: | STREAK | CLASH | PERFORM | BROWSE | RAVEN |

 

She called herself Raven,

whether that was her name or not

was open for dispute,

Ayodele and Raven

were known as a couple who would clash

before going on a streak of happy making up

and onto a browse through the wedding mags

and Joe getting ready to perform

Best Man duties.

 

For the following prompt:

https://secretkeeper.net/2018/07/30/weekly-writing-challenge-152/

 

 

 

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                                                     The Patter of Tiny Feet

                               (5) Words: | TAME | PEAK | TALE | TOT | REST |

 

 

Life began to tame

when baby number one arrived,

the little tot arrived at just

past six in the morning

and Raven needed much rest

after giving birth

but Ayodele was telling the tale

of the little boy’s birth for years after

and his pride at fatherhood

never hit a peak.

 

 

For the following prompt:

https://secretkeeper.net/2018/07/23/weekly-writing-challenge-151/

 

 

 

Image result for sandwiches drawing

 

                                                             Family Picnic 

                      (5) Words: | GHOST | MARK | WOODS | SOAR | MEADOW |

 

A picnic in the woods

with the family of

Dad, Mum, son and daughter,

Ayodele telling ghost stories

beyond the meadow

which began the mark

of ‘Daddy’s bedtime stories’.

 

For the following prompt:

https://secretkeeper.net/2018/07/16/weekly-writing-challenge-150/

 

 

Image result for 35

 

                                                                  Turning 35

 (5) Words: | DOWNPOUR | GENTLE | SHOOT | PEAK | YIELD |

 

Ayodele was taking it

in a gentle stride,

he was quite vain about his age

and 35 felt like a downpour,

every five years felt like

the peak of sadness,

a shoot to the gut

and a yield to accepting

his ‘old age status’.

 

For the following prompt:

https://secretkeeper.net/2018/07/09/weekly-writing-challenge-149/

 

 

 

Image result for tree drawing

 

 

                                                                     Back Home

                                  (5) Words: | PART | LEFT | TREE | WET | NOTE |

 

The first trip home with the family,

his mother’s eyes wet with tears of happiness

upon meeting her grandchildren and daughter-in-law

and seeing her son for the first time since he left,

before they went their separate ways Ayodele promised

that they wouldn’t part for as long as before,

they took a photo by the tree by the hut

and Ayodele left his mother a thank you note

with the childrens’ hand prints in paint.

 

For the following prompt:

https://secretkeeper.net/2018/07/02/weekly-writing-challenge-148/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What Pegman Saw: See The World

 

See The World

 

 

 

Related image

 

 

Good Evening Baltimore

 

It was all a new world to me. A poor receptionist from Dublin seeing the bleedin’ world. Instead of looking at the globe on me bleedin’ desk all the time hoping and wishing to be transported into adventure. The reason I was here in Baltimore tonight was to see my partner’s drag queen show. He was this mainstream sensation known in interviews for speaking about being agender one moment and the next about contouring. And I didn’t even love him but there was perks to being his trophy boyfriend. Like standing here at Baltimore Harbor with a tin of Carling in hand taken a selfie that would surely make my mates back in Dublin cry with jealousy and hoping the cops wouldn’t arrest me for drinking in the street.
Before the show ends, I make my way back into the gay bar where it’s taking place. Like I’d never left.

For the prompt:

https://whatpegmansaw.com/2018/07/14/baltimore-maryland/

 

 

Image result for melbourne

 

 

Meet The Munchkins

 

Me and me partner Blake were out walking in Melbourne. Jesus Christ, Melbourne y’all, I know right? He was waffling on about gigs or other while I pretended to listen with nods and smiles. I was becoming a perfectionist at that. Suddenly this group of teenagers rush over.

“Are you Audrey de Havilland?”, one excited munchkin asks.

Once Blake smiles and says he is, I’m ready to step to the side of stage like an understudy in Hamlet or some shit when another excited munchkin asks,

“Are you her boyfriend? I think I seen you online together. So cute.”

Now, I really think the kid needs to get out more. But I’m a secretary, who am I to judge? Half my day at work is spent on the net wondering which celebrity is with who. So instead I smile and say I am. What ensues is a round of selfies and short video clips being recorded of one of drag’s sensations and well, her bloke.

 

When the excited horde have left, Blake kisses me.

“That was nice.”, he says.

 

For the prompt:

https://whatpegmansaw.com/2018/07/21/melbourne-australia/

 

 

Image result for kinshasa democratic republic of congo

 

Sea of Blue

 

Kinshasa has a massive river the Congo River. Easy enough to remember with it being in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. I love the whole sea of blue. Very picturesque. Blake is currently rehearsing for a show here later tonight and I’m sightseeing baby on the presence I’m here supporting my partner.

 

I take in the sights and then some late breakfast down by a big fountain where there’s comfy seating area. I don’t know much about the country except that there is a huge problem with Ebola and someone was banned from running for president recently. Blake could tell you more. Excuse the pun but he’s a fountain of knowledge on well, almost everything and while my mates back in Dublin rag me that I’m dating an intellectual, it’s secretly one of the things I like the most about him. In truth I’m getting quite fond of him.

 

For the prompt:

https://whatpegmansaw.com/2018/07/28/kinshasa-democratic-republic-of-the-congo/

 

Image result for rawson lake alberta canada

 

 

Resting at Rawson

 

So as I said, I’m getting fond of Blake. Which is worrying. Not because there’s anything wrong with him but because that wasn’t the plan. The plan was to enjoy meself then move on. We’re currently in Canada having a bit to eat by Rawson Lake. It’s beautiful and um, romantic. Technically we’re here for a Pride event that Blake is taking part in at the weekend but today’s Thursday and I have all his attention. Lately I’m not minding that so much.

“So how did you get into drag? Halloween?”, I ask, munching a sandwich.

“It’s quite a common way to, ain’t it? But for me, it was theatre. I started dressing as the female characters for YouTube sketches and then I realised, well you know I’m quite good at this. Yourself with the secretary stuff?”

“Did a scheme first. Was unemployed. Got stuck in it for eight years.”

 

For the prompt:

https://whatpegmansaw.com/2018/08/04/rawson-lake-canada/

 

 

Image result for montevideo uruguay

 

Blogging

 

“For eight years now? So you wanted to do something else?”, Blake asked as we got fixed up in our hotel in Motevida, Uruguay.
“Babe, I was unemployed for four years. There was no options.”

“That’s not what I asked.”, he smiled.

“Well I know it isn’t but …”

“So what did you want to be?”

“Well um, I wanted to be a writer but I was, well, too thick.”

“Who the fuck told you that?”

“Well no one but … I suppose I told me that. I blog and stuff but …”

“What’s your blog?”

Oh god.

I give him the address with trepidation.

“Well let’s go out and make a post Fionn.”

Babe, you want to put your name to this? Ok.

We arrived down at Ciudad Vieja. Gathered a few snaps and some videos on Blake’s phone. I really should have fixed my hair. I uploaded the post wondering why.

 

For the prompt:

https://whatpegmansaw.com/2018/08/11/montevideo-uruguay/

 

 

Image result for pripyat ukraine

 

 

Ghost Town

 

Pripyat, Ukraine was eerie. Blake and I headed around the town, or what we could of it with the radiation. I had me phone out for the blog feeling very surreal about what I was witnessing. There was something kind of sacred about it. I wasn’t sure if I should be filming it, you know.

 

I was imagining Dublin deserted like this or jeez even all of Ireland. Whoa. Imagine the Spire all deserted. I put a snap up on my Twitter teasing my upcoming blog post and within a few minutes I seen one of my mates Cian tweet,

Any ghosts around man?

I tweeted back,

Still looking mate!

Blake was on the phone to his mate and fellow queen Jake who lived in Resolute in Canada. They were arranging to meet soon so at least my next holiday wasn’t to a ghost town. Jake’s make-up though, same difference.

 

For the prompt:

https://whatpegmansaw.com/2018/08/18/832/

 

Image result for resolute canada

 

 

Coffee With Jake

 

“You doing the Michigan gig?”, Jake, a.ka. Katie Mossy, asked Blake as we sat in his flat having coffee.

“Of course. Bit of coin, yeah.”

“So am I. The promoter’s not a douchebag like some.”

I was put a bit at unease when he looked at me when he said that.

I got my answer to the questions swirling in my head when Blake popped out for extra coffee.

“You still fucking with his heart I see?”, Jake said.

I feigned innocence.

“You deliberately got in with him in Dublin. I’ve seen your sort before. Always after the golden ticket.”

“I love him.”

He rolled his eyes.

“He’s a good person. Worked for everything he has. Don’t play on his feelings of loneliness.”

“I’m not.”, I replied.

Inside I was feeling like shit. It was true. That’s how I had seen Blake. Did the fact I no longer did matter?

 

For the prompt:

https://whatpegmansaw.com/2018/08/25/resolute/

 

 

Image result for grand hotel mackinac island

 

 

Michigan Realisation

 

Me and Blake were getting ready at the Grand Hotel, Mackinac Island, Michigan. I always found he did a remarkable job transforming into Audrey. Seeing as I was more interested in what he had to say lately I knew his alter ego’s name came from his love of classic Hollywood actresses especially Audrey Hepburn and Olivia de Havilland.

 

We headed down to a nearby gay bar for the gig. Very fun but lately I was feeling more and more guilty. Jake’s words had hit deep at my conscience which I was trying to ignore. I loved Blake but I had lied and used him for my own gain and it was eating away at me inside.

 

I left the gig early, arrived back at the hotel, reluctantly picked up a pen and some hotel paper. I came clean about everything, packed, made sure I was gone before he got back.

 

For the prompt:

https://whatpegmansaw.com/2018/09/01/grand-hotel-mackinac-island-michigan/

 

 

Image result for hanoi vietnam

 

 

Text Message

 

I was in work in Dublin. My mobile beeped. I picked it up, read the text from Blake,

In Hanoi, Vietnam. Pissed with u u bastard. All the same, seeing people in twos going by on bikes and missing u. Shouldn’t b saying this but if u still want 2 make this work, when can u get here? X

It had been three weeks since I had seen Blake. I missed him like crazy but I assumed I’d never see him again.

 

Work couldn’t end quick enough. That night I was there.

“I’m sorry.”, I said.

“You should be.”, he simply replied, shrugged and gave me a kiss.

 

The next day we were riding around on a bike through the city. I met Blake through a need for a better life. I hadn’t realised that better life wasn’t the travel or the finer things, it was simply being with him.

 

For the prompt:

https://whatpegmansaw.com/2018/09/08/hanoi-vietnam/