October 13 – October 26, 2022 Dialogue Prompt “Fancy Triangles”

Theme: Fancy Triangles

Required Elements:

The following words must be included somewhere in the story. They must be used exactly.

“Those are some fancy triangles”

Word Count: 1205 including the words above.

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136 thoughts on “October 13 – October 26, 2022 Dialogue Prompt “Fancy Triangles”

  • October 13, 2022 at 1:49 pm
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    Maybe if I just sit down and write a story now, I’ll have time to reread it, correct it, edit it and then decide if it can live up to this group’s lofty writing skills, instead of waiting until the last minute and running out of time to do all the aforesaid. Triangles hmm …

    • October 14, 2022 at 8:39 pm
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      That’s like me. The last minute tri-angler. I can’t see anything in the horizon.

  • October 13, 2022 at 1:54 pm
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    I haven’t received the notice I’m following his blog, so am re-commenting in hopes it will show up on a different email address.

    • October 14, 2022 at 10:26 am
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      Hey, I’m getting comments now. Yeah!

  • October 13, 2022 at 10:44 pm
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    Just out of interest, we actually had this theme (without the use of those five words) in December 2015…

    Could just dust off and add to my entry from then … but won’t, of course, ‘cos one of the points of all of this is to write and develop, isn’t it?

    • October 13, 2022 at 11:35 pm
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      Not exactly the same.
      The theme in December of 2015 was just “triangle (s)”.
      This is a dialogue prompt that reference triangles with specific verbiage.

    • October 13, 2022 at 11:36 pm
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      I can change the name to “Fancy Triangles” if you think that will help avoid confusion.

      • October 14, 2022 at 10:11 am
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        Not at all! I was just making an observation about a curiosity, not a criticism. I did say in my post that it wasn’t exactly the same – “(without the use of those five words)”. And it was seven years ago, so maybe just two or three people will remember it.

        • October 15, 2022 at 9:42 am
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          I don’t remember it. Or the triangles. I believe you Phil, I looked it up too. Just don’t remember it.

    • October 16, 2022 at 5:17 am
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      Phil
      That’s the point. Unless of course, you want to redraft. You are good remembering back that far. I can remember starting with this group in 2013. It will be ten years next year around Jan/Feb. Wow, time flies when you are having fun. 🙂

      • October 26, 2022 at 4:28 pm
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        Yes it does, Ilana. It surely does and I’ve noticed time picks up its pace when you are older. Since you have less time left, the time you have remaining seems to disappear more quickly. Just an observation, not a proven fact.

  • October 14, 2022 at 2:09 am
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    I’m in, I have already written my first draft today. Very much a WIP.
    By the way, thanks everyone for my Third Place last prompt. I am so humbled.

  • October 14, 2022 at 2:59 am
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    I couldn’t make the last contest – but here’s a triangular love story with a happy ending. Worth watching for inspiration!

    • October 15, 2022 at 9:45 am
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      This would be — well, it is great. I’m almost speechless. A country and western star, singing a song about triangles with a beany-baby. (I’m kid-ding.) If this doesn’t brighten up your day, well then I don’t know what will.

    • October 21, 2022 at 9:18 pm
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      Now my favorite song….

      • October 26, 2022 at 4:53 am
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        Mine too, Liz! It gets stuck in my head for days when I listen to it!

  • October 14, 2022 at 9:25 pm
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    Signing in. Thanks for the votes in the last contest! I’m honored and humbled! Now on to triangles. Hmmmm…

  • October 16, 2022 at 3:21 am
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    Try-Angles.
    Word count: 1189.
    “Those are some fancy triangles, just look at them”, the youthful oblivion of the voice shone brightly.
    All Ebenezer could do was hold his breath and silence the words he wanted to screech.
    The voice was one of immaturity and ignorance as opposed to the one of Ebenezer, or Ben as he has chosen to be called for decades.
    The exhibition hall was crowded with a diverse array of folk. Their faces varied from sadness, to happiness, to confusion, to denial and disbelief.
    The walls surrounding and enclosing Ben were adorned with, for want of a better word, art, or at least someone’s idea of art. This particular section with the ‘fancy triangles’ was made from a recollection of memoir and lived experience. At first, one might think that it looked like a child had tried to draw it, then paint it , and then reinterpret them as an adult later on.
    Ben stood in front of the ‘art’ and solemnly considered the reality and the creativity behind the work. Nothing came to him that had not been said or thought before. His stance and his body language showed his uncomfortability with being challenged. He wrung his hands and wrists furiously, which he did often when caught out of his comfort zone.
    “What do you make of this one?”, a voice interrupted his reverie.
    “Sorry”, was all he could muster, “I was a million miles away”.
    The voice was from a middle-aged woman of class, “This brings back so much from my past, not that I was there but I have had stories passed down the generations, and been told so many things”.
    “Sorry, I don’t get what you mean, young lady”, Ben was a nonagenarian, almost a centenarian, and this woman was indeed much younger.
    She continued, “The imagery tells so much and has reinforced the family stories, my parents would tell me as a youngster. By the way I am Hannah”.
    “Me too”, was all that Ben could muster at this time. He too could see the confusion and mystery being unravelled from within the ‘art’.
    Hannah continued to chatter but Ben was elsewhere, the white noise of her voice dulled as he travelled from the now.
    The train blew its whistle and Ben was once again a young man, almost twenty. He had been crowded into a carriage with many, standing room only, sadness and misery were the universal theme connecting them all. There were the young, the old, the frail and the strong, bound together for this journey and with the same destination.
    Ben held on tightly to his satchel and the meagre belongings it contained. All the other passengers were, he guessed, in similar mindsets. Questions. Where? Why? When? He knew the who and the how. The other questions were yet to be answered. The unknown always concerned him.
    “Don’t be sad, we are going away from here”, a woman of his mother’s age stated. She said this without believing a single word she uttered.
    “I don’t want to go, I know what is ahead of us all”, Ben blurted to no one in particular. He was alone now, his family and his loved ones were not here. He had been separated from his family, by their choice, he was told, so he could stay safe through this time. This turned out to be a lie, he was to be sent away to a place so as to be able to save himself. They could not save him now.
    “Let’s talk”, the voice continued, “Maybe sing a song too, or tell stories of where we have been, our loved ones”.
    “There is so much unhappiness, a song would be so maudlin, and I am all alone”, Ben muttered to her.
    “Find the good, in everything, there is always some to be found”, she spoke in a reassuring voice. It seemed to calm Ben, a maternal voice, and one he needed so much right now.
    The train rattled on, with the stories continuing between them. Ben found out that the woman was called Miriam and she was the matriarch of her family, but she believed that she was the last whom remains alive.
    During the conversations between them, Miriam fumbled and wriggled, trying to hold her sleeves down, and wrapping the scarf around her neck and shoulders. At first Ben thought it was the cold of winter, and maybe that was part of it, but then he saw it.
    The wrist tattoo, home-made, by someone recently, it was a number, a branding. He knew this because it matched the one he wore and tried in vain to cover unsuccessfully. The two souls were united by these marks on their skin, as were all of the travellers in these carriages.
    Ben also was made to wear another marking, a double whammy. The tattoo to show his Judaism, and the sleeve patch with the symbol he knew would lead to his end, the inverted pink triangle.
    That was 1945, now back to the present, and Ben once again heard the woman’s voice. He knew Hannah was still talking, but not what she had been saying. He just smiled, thanked her and made his excuses to encourage her to move away.
    The youth’s voice returned to his earshot, “What a lot of crap, a waste of my time and money coming here”.
    Ben turned in disgust and for once in his life he let it rip, “What do you even know of these works, the history, your history, and why you can live the way you are freely, and what they mean to every one of an older age”.
    “Keep your hair on Grandad, it’s just art, its stories on a wall”.
    “Do you even know what these represent? Read the blurb beneath it and listen to audio attached to the piece”, Ben snappily retorted.
    “No way Pops, I don’t need to know that crap”.
    Ben wanted to say more but the words would be wasted, as would the history and morality lesson that the art contained. Reluctantly, Ben let it slide.
    The youth left. Ben just froze in front of the ‘art’ work, one person’s interpretation of their past, or as told orally to them by an elder.
    Ben knew more, he lived it, he escaped it, 1945 saw the end of the war and the return of his freedom. The emotional and psychological damage was permanent, his scars.
    The tattoo remains, but has faded, it can be seen and anyone who is anyone, knows what it means. Times have changed and attitudes too, and even laws, Ben knew this to be true. Now the pink triangle is ‘owned’ by the community, and worn as a pride thing. As Hannah said all those years ago on their train journey together, ‘find the good, in everything, there is always some to be found’.
    Ben lived his adult life as an openly Jewish homosexual man in another country, far away from then and there. This artwork, showcases his life, and was presented to the gallery under the pseudonym Benjamin Smythe, an anglicised version of his name, Ebenezer Schmidt.

    • October 20, 2022 at 8:28 am
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      I had no idea about that triangle – thanks for teaching me something cool! It seems cultural appropriation works both ways (that symbol was stolen from the oppressors and made into something actually positive, which is poetic).

      I read an article about this after reading your story, but your piece was more powerful! Good job dude!

    • October 21, 2022 at 9:16 pm
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      Powerful and evocative story, John. I like how the meaning of the shapes has flipped: they were devised to promote shame yet now elicit pride. The slipping from the present scene to the past is very smoothly done. And the viewpoints of the characters are generally clear (though perhaps Ben’s switch from not understanding the art to understanding it – with Hannah’s help – could have been a little neater?). The suggestion that today’s youth doesn’t want to know about history is a little troubling. I was a bit confused a couple of times: “By the way I am Hannah”. – “Me too.” (This make it look like Ben’s name is Hannah.) And: “As Hannah said all those years ago …” Shouldn’t that be Miriam? But this is a very good interpretation of the prompt.

    • October 22, 2022 at 12:47 am
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      Hey Carrie, may I repost my story? I realised now that i did have a few typos and such as mentioned. i have fixed them, i think, and would like to resubmit with the changes. thanks.

      • October 22, 2022 at 9:52 am
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        Sure. I’ll update the story link.

      • October 22, 2022 at 4:28 pm
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        Try-Angles.
        “Those are some fancy triangles, just look at them”, the youthful oblivion of the voice shone brightly.
        All Ebenezer could do was hold his breath and silence the words he wanted to screech.
        The voice was one of immaturity and ignorance as opposed to the one of Ebenezer, or Ben as he has chosen to be called for decades.
        The exhibition hall was crowded with a diverse array of folk. Their faces varied from sadness, to happiness, to confusion, to denial and disbelief.
        The walls surrounding and enclosing Ben were adorned with, for want of a better word, art, or at least someone’s idea of art. This particular section with the ‘fancy triangles’ was made from a recollection of memoir and lived experience. At first, one might think that it looked like a child had tried to draw it, then paint it , and then reinterpret them as an adult later on.
        Ben stood in front of the ‘art’ and solemnly considered the reality and the creativity behind the work. Nothing came to him that had not been said or thought before. His stance and his body language showed his uncomfortability with being challenged. He wrung his hands and wrists furiously, which he did often when caught out of his comfort zone.
        “What do you make of this one?”, a voice interrupted his reverie. The disembodied voice and indeed himself had been viewing the surrounding and adding pieces to the one in which they both stood in front of now.
        “Sorry”, was all he could muster, “I was a million miles away”.
        The voice was from a middle-aged woman of class, “This brings back so much from my past, not that I was there but I have had stories passed down the generations, and been told so many things”.
        “Sorry, I don’t get what you mean, young lady”, Ben was a nonagenarian, almost a centenarian, and this woman was indeed much younger.
        She continued, “The imagery tells so much and has reinforced the family stories, my parents would tell me as a youngster. By the way I am Hannah”.
        “Me too”, was all that Ben could muster at this time. He too could see the confusion and mystery being unravelled from within the ‘art’. He had not heard her introduction, her name.
        Hannah continued to chatter but Ben was elsewhere, the white noise of her voice dulled as he travelled from the now.
        The train blew its whistle and Ben was once again a young man, almost twenty. He had been crowded into a carriage with many, standing room only, sadness and misery were the universal theme connecting them all. There were the young, the old, the frail and the strong, bound together for this journey and with the same destination.
        Ben held on tightly to his satchel and the meagre belongings it contained. All the other passengers were, he guessed, in similar mindsets. Questions. Where? Why? When? He knew the who and the how. The other questions were yet to be answered. The unknown always concerned him.
        “Don’t be sad, we are going away from here”, a woman of his mother’s age stated. She said this without believing a single word she uttered.
        “I don’t want to go, I know what is ahead of us all”, Ben blurted to no one in particular. He was alone now, his family and his loved ones were not here. He had been separated from his family, by their choice, he was told, so he could stay safe through this time. This turned out to be a lie, he was to be sent away to a place so as to be able to save himself. They could not save him now.
        “Let’s talk”, the voice continued, “Maybe sing a song too, or tell stories of where we have been, our loved ones”.
        “There is so much unhappiness, a song would be so maudlin, and I am all alone”, Ben muttered to her.
        “Find the good, in everything, there is always some to be found”, she spoke in a reassuring voice. It seemed to calm Ben, a maternal voice, and one he needed so much right now.
        The train rattled on, with the stories continuing between them. Ben found out that the woman was called Miriam and she was the matriarch of her family, but she believed that she was the last whom remains alive.
        During the conversations between them, Miriam fumbled and wriggled, trying to hold her sleeves down, and wrapping the scarf around her neck and shoulders. At first Ben thought it was the cold of winter, and maybe that was part of it, but then he saw it.
        The wrist tattoo, home-made, by someone recently, it was a number, a branding. He knew this because it matched the one he wore and tried in vain to cover unsuccessfully. The two souls were united by these marks on their skin, as were all of the travellers in these carriages.
        Ben also was made to wear another marking, a double whammy. The tattoo to show his Judaism, and the sleeve patch with the symbol he knew would lead to his end, the inverted pink triangle.
        That was 1945, now back to the present, and Ben once again heard the woman’s voice. He knew Hannah was still talking, but not what she had been saying. He just smiled, thanked her and made his excuses to encourage her to move away.
        The youth’s voice returned to his earshot, “What a lot of crap, a waste of my time and money coming here”.
        Ben turned in disgust and for once in his life he let it rip, “What do you even know of these works, the history they tell, our history and your history, and how and why you can live the way you are freely, and what they mean to every one of an older age”.
        “Keep your hair on Grandad, it’s just art, its stories on a wall”.
        “Do you even know what these represent? Read the blurb beneath it and listen to audio attached to the piece”, Ben snappily retorted.
        “No way Pops, I don’t need to know that crap”.
        Ben wanted to say more but the words would be wasted, as would the history and morality lesson that the art contained. Reluctantly, Ben let it slide.
        The youth left. Ben just froze in front of the ‘art’ work, one person’s interpretation of their past, or as told orally to them by an elder.
        Ben knew more, he lived it, he escaped it, 1945 saw the end of the war and the return of his freedom. The emotional and psychological damage was permanent, his scars.
        The tattoo remains, but has faded, it can be seen and anyone who is anyone, knows what it means. Times have changed and attitudes too, and even laws, Ben knew this to be true. Now the pink triangle is ‘owned’ by the community, and worn as a pride thing. As Miriam had said all those years ago on their train journey together, ‘find the good, in everything, there is always some to be found’.
        Ben lived his adult life as an openly Jewish homosexual man in another country, far away from then and there. This artwork, showcases his life, and was presented to the gallery under the pseudonym Benjamin Smythe, an anglicised version of his name, Ebenezer Schmidt.

        • October 27, 2022 at 6:05 am
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          Well, John,
          It is a great twist to bring on the life experiences of Jewish Gay man. Very original and impressive choice of character.
          The contrast between him and the young is depicted well.
          On the whole an excellent story simply told.
          Jagan

    • October 27, 2022 at 4:33 am
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      Well, John, I think this is an original and important choice of topic and character – a Jewish gay man and his lived experiences, contrasted with the insouciance and carelessness of the younger person at the gallery. “I don’t need to know that crap”, indeed.

      The execution needs a little polishing, e.g. occasional word choice like “uncomfortabilty”, or “woman of class”, which seems slightly strange phrasing. And Phil points out a few other things. The tattoos – I thought these were branded on people when they reached a camp, not before they went?

      The line “it looked like a child had tried to draw it, then paint it, and then reinterpret them as an adult later on” and parallel between the art and the main character’s memory and lived experience is memorable. In some ways, it reminded me of something I read the other day, that Leonardo da Vinci (apparently) once said, “a piece of art was never finished, but merely abandoned”. And sometimes we pick it up, dust it off and build on it or reinterpret it.

      A lot to like in this story, and deserves a close reading.

      • October 28, 2022 at 3:46 am
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        A thread of sadness permeates this tale, told well.
        Insensitivity vs deep anguish.

        Sorry for pointing this out, but I think the period and comma should appear within the quotation marks as in this one “…coming here”.
        “Keep your hair on Grandad, it’s just art, its stories on a wall”.
        Along with all others.

  • October 19, 2022 at 4:58 am
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    THE SUN

    Up above, the sky was dark-slate-grey, threatening yet more rain. Down below, the market was heaving with people of all ages and sizes: crooked people bent double with age; thin children, old before their time; wiry women flowing along with the shuffling crowd…

    I bumped into Luzanga, my neighbour, coming the other way.

    “Good morrow,” he said, tipping his hat.

    “Good morrow to you, sir,” I said, tapping my temple; I didn’t earn enough credits to afford a hat.

    “What brings you to the market this fine morning?” he asked, both superfluously, given the place, and erroneously, given the weather. I humoured him.

    “Why, to buy, of course,” I said, concealing my disdain behind a forced smile. I didn’t like or trust Luzanga one bit and normally avoided him at all costs. But the market was so full that our contact, once it had been ordained by fate, was made inevitable by the tight flow of bodies.

    “But to buy what, dear neighbour?” he laughed, as if he’d just cracked the most hilarious joke ever composed.

    I pointed at the people around us, most of whom had cabbage leaves poking out of the top of their hessian sacks. Luzanga nodded.

    Behind me, people were pushing to get past, and behind Luzanga, the same.

    “Well, I must be away,” I said, gesturing at the crowd as the reason for taking my leave.

    “Of course,” he said, but he grabbed my lapel and drew me close. He brought his mouth to my ear – I could smell his fetid breath.

    “End stall,” he whispered.

    I frowned my incomprehension.

    “Ask about the shapes,” he said, and winked before sailing away on the human tide.

    I continued along the row of stalls – mostly selling cabbages, some others selling frayed clothes, half-rusted tins, worn toys, cracked pots.

    The stall where I normally bought my cabbage had people crammed around it; it was one of the best for price/quality. When it was my turn, I handed over my credits and ration book for the statutory kilo and put the cabbage in my sack. I was about to step into the flow of people trudging back the way I’d come when Luzanga’s words popped into my head. Despite the danger inherent in following his suggestion, something made me keep going.

    At the end of the row, the aisle finished in a grey wall, where people had to do a U-turn. The two end stalls were tended by ashen-faced women who could have been fifty or seventy. I got out of the flow and stood in the small gap between the last stall on the left and the wall.

    The stall-holder was attending a young boy, shoe-less feet black on the muddy ground, who obviously had the chore of buying his family’s lunch. When he’d put his half-cabbage in his sack and left, I leaned over and murmured to the old woman behind the stall:

    “Shapes?”

    She looked at me with suspicion, then evidently deciding I was no risk, tipped her head furtively towards the stall opposite.

    I edged along the wall and stood in the space next to that stall while the stall-holder attended her customers. At an opportune moment, I repeated the enquiry I’d made to her neighbour. She gave me the same suspicious look and her eyes lingered on mine for longer than her neighbour’s had; the risk was greater for her.

    She continued to serve her customers, glancing over at me several times. When there was a slight lull, she beckoned me – she’d obviously considered me safe – and crouched down behind the stall. I squeezed between the stall and the wall and joined her.

    She opened a sack of cabbages. I shook my head; there must have been a misunderstanding. But she smirked and took out three cabbages to reveal a pile of shapes. There were circles, squares, rectangles, rhombuses, trapeziums, and below them I spotted some more complex shapes, like pentagons and octagons.

    It was a fine collection, but my credits were limited and the shapes didn’t really take my fancy enough for me to forego meals. I showed my disappointment with a frown. The old woman cackled in my face, her blackened teeth reminiscent of sooty gravestones. She held up a hand and dragged out another sack, also with cabbages on top. When she removed them, there below were … well. I gasped.

    “Those are some fancy triangles!” I blurted, unable to contain my enthusiasm.

    “Yer not wrong, dahlin’”, she said. “I got equilaterals, I got isosceles, I got all sorts of scalenes, I got–”

    “How much for one of each?” I interrupted, kicking myself again for being too enthusiastic; this was not the way to haggle.

    “How much you got, dahlin’?” she asked.

    I took out three crumpled credits; it was all I had till the end of the week.

    She tutted, then grinned blackly.

    “Tell you what, dahlin’. I likes yer face. How about I gives you an equilateral…” She took one out and laid it on the ground next to the sack. “… an isosceles …” She did the same. “… and a scalene… and you gives me them credits what you got there?”

    The three triangles, sitting on top of each other on the filthy ground, resembled the pictures of stars I saw once in a book. Buying them would mean going hungry till next payday. But I didn’t hesitate.

    “Done!” I murmured. I handed over the credits and stuffed the triangles into my sack, placing the cabbage on top to conceal them.

    “Enjoy!” said the old woman under her breath, straightening and yelling “C’mon then, who wants cabbages?!” at the passing crowd.

    I squeezed out from behind the stall and joined the flow of people heading back towards the exit.

    I can’t really do justice to the way I was feeling as I shuffled along with the other grey folk. A tingling had started to run through my body, and I guess you could say I felt … ‘sunny’ – I saw the sun one afternoon when I was a child, so I know what I’m talking about.

    The sack knocked against my leg and I looked down. A point of one of the triangles was sticking through the hessian. A surge of panic made me glance round to see if anyone had noticed; it seemed that no one had. I was about to stop to rearrange the contents of the sack when something came over me. I let the sack swing.

    And by the time I reached the exit, I was no longer shuffling. Now, with my jaw set, there was a joyous spring in my step.

    .

    • October 27, 2022 at 4:46 am
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      I didn’t know what to make of this on first reading. I could see it was a kind of dystopian post-apocalyptic (?) parable/fable/allegory of some sort, but what was the moral of the story?

      On rereading – easy to do as t’s so well-written and visually evocative – I guess it’s kind of about hope. For some reason, geometric shapes have become taboo, and acquiring them is some kind of act of resistance. And, triangles are taken to represent the sun, rather than yellow or orange circles. The rays, I guess. Anyway, the narrator is inspired, and feels unusually happy. I wonder if it’s the hope of sunshine, or the act of defiance, that puts the spring in his step. Or he was brainwashed in his childhood by the Sesame Street song, perhaps!

      Inspired by triangles, depressed by cabbages, this is our future!

      • October 27, 2022 at 10:48 pm
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        Thanks very much for your considered comment, Andy – pretty much on the button, in fact. The triangles – yes, a representation of the sun (a star) – which this world hasn’t seen for many years – but also really a MacGuffin; could have been anything to represent the narrator’s awakening from zombiedom and possible future resistance to the regime (as you note). Cheers.

    • October 28, 2022 at 3:59 am
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      No fair! I can’t get what them triangles mean! Why was he so secretive about it under the cabbage cover?
      Otherwise a neatly dialogued piece.
      Hessian= jute bag.
      The old woman cackled in my face, her blackened teeth reminiscent of sooty gravestones. Highly evocative! Would never want to buy cabbages from this one! 🙂

      • October 28, 2022 at 4:21 am
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        Me neither, Marien! Thanks for commenting. ‘Hessian’ in the UK. As I said to Andy, the triangles are merely symbolic of the narrator’s nascent resistance to the regime; they could have been illegal teabags, or cushions, or bottle-tops, or … anything, really.

    • October 28, 2022 at 8:07 am
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      Phil,

      As Andy points out, the story is quite complicated with lots of allegory. The futuristic world you painted is scary where triangles, as you say above, are symbolic of resistance to oppressive regime.

      Jagan

  • October 19, 2022 at 7:23 pm
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    Hey All, I posted a story on October 16th. It doesn’t seem to be showing, it says ‘loading’ all these days later. I wonder if there is something I have done wrong? Or a glitch in the system. Hope it turns up soon.

    • October 19, 2022 at 10:29 pm
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      It’s there.
      It was fine when you posted it.

    • October 20, 2022 at 2:21 pm
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      No problemo!
      All done!
      There may be cashed versions of it on Google however, that will take 6 to 8 weeks to clear out.

  • October 20, 2022 at 9:39 pm
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    Ok I’m working on it, but not sure where it’s going….

    • October 20, 2022 at 9:53 pm
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      lol same here!!

  • October 21, 2022 at 11:47 am
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    I am really stagnating over here. I’ve been fixing up old stories and submitting them places, but not really making anything new that I am proud of. But I get a strange kind of motivation and inspiration to write from this website! Problem is, I can’t stop once I start one and I can’t steer the direction to more satisfying ends, like the wheel is locked and a brick is tied to the accelerator!

  • October 21, 2022 at 11:47 am
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    And the smirk in my photo is really bothering me.

  • October 21, 2022 at 12:32 pm
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    Crawled out of bed just to check in. I am hoping I have completed a triangle of sorts. Not talking about a story. I am suffering from my third bout of COVID this year. So I am closing this triangle of COVID for the year. Three times is enough. Going back to bed now.

  • October 21, 2022 at 7:45 pm
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    So sorry to hear you have had the covid three times. Let’s hope that this is the last time eh Adi. Sending healing thoughts and lots of love hugs.

  • October 21, 2022 at 9:10 pm
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    Fancy Triangles – Liz Fisher

    I looked back at the man who just passed me on the road, wondering what that was all about. As we walked towards each other, he had suddenly paused as I approached and looked at me as if he knew me and said, “Those are some fancy triangles,” and then walked past me as if I wasn’t there.

    Wondering if he had anything to do with the woman and man, probably husband and wife, I had overheard arguing over a billboard, she calling it a hexagon and he stating somewhat angrily, “no it’s a polygon”. I had looked in the direction they were… it was clearly a rectangle. I chose not to interfere and left them in their ignorance, thinking how can three people see the same thing and reach such different conclusions. I was right of course.

    I still remember Mr. Scanzillo, my 9th grade Algebra teacher, impatiently saying to me, “of course you understand, you wouldn’t answer the test questions correctly if you didn’t understand.”

    But I didn’t understand the equations and difficult patterns to track to the root base. I can’t even explain how I got the answers right, just somehow my brain threw the jumble around and came up with an answer. I didn’t know it till the test was graded that my answers were correct. Maybe the triangle guy could read my mind.

    I wonder what Tom will think, he has a PHD in Physics. I’d never understood the deep connection between physics and Math until Tom gave me a copy of his book “Reality and Consciousness”, The Metabrain and The Quantum.

    The Metabrain is what caught my attention, I visualize some source somewhere acting as a data center…well, what I thought…think doesn’t matter.

    But do you think when you call a friend and they say, “oh I was just going to the phone to call you”, or you read about a great discovery and other scientists are making similar discoveries from different parts of the world with no communication or knowledge of the other during their research.

    I’m having lunch in a restaurant with a friend who’s sitting across from you. Movement on the balcony of the motel across the drive catches your eye, it is a room maid carrying a vacuum into the room. You remember you have to buy a vacuum cleaner for the house you and your friend have just agreed to share. Your friend has her back to the motel and didn’t see what was happening in the background. She looks up at you and asks, “do you have a vacuum cleaner?… we’ll need one for those shag carpets”.

    Why am I thinking about this it’s all about triangles, actually why does that triangle guy bother me. It’s not that he bothers me so much… I just keep thinking about him. I wonder if he’s homeless. He was dressed a little raggedy but he looked clean and washed. Somehow he just lingers in my head, maybe tomorrow I’ll lose him.

    Wait a minute, where was I going. Realizing I’d walked all the way into town and totally forgot why I was going to town. Stopping with a feel of panic I wasn’t sure of anything, saw a Starbucks and quickly walked over with determination as if this was where I meant to be and sat at a table.

    Is Tom right? Reality and Consciousness is one and the same or did he mean they are two different realities. It’s difficult to reach a conclusion as to what his meaning was in his book. There are many equations and I get lost. When I try to have a plain talk explanation he gets frustrated with my inability to understand.

    Is Tom responsible for eventuating this confusion I’m suffering right now? “Excuse me Miss, you have to order at the counter, there is no table service,” a young man cleaning the tables tells me.

    Embarrassed I apologized and walked to the counter to order a coffee. I tried to concentrate on what sounded good as the Starbucks refuge seemed a place to destress. A caramel vanilla latte sounded good, the order came and I walked back to the table now occupied by three teens, then saw a lone table for one in the corner, perfect. I sat down and stared at the wall, two walls, Iooked down and the table was a triangle fitting perfectly into the corner nook…I mumbled to the universe…”you’ve got to be kidding”.

    I heard my IPhone announcing an email from a “favorite”, I dug it out of my tote. It was from my penpal friend Matt, talented, witty and very funny, the kind of friend you’re lucky to have. He sent me a story he’d written for his daughter several years ago. I read the first paragraph and stopped breathing for a moment.

    “We are still reeling from the recent incidents involving two of our cartoons, one of which was lost in the Obscura Triangle and the other which up and died soon
    after leaving the pen.”

    The damn triangle again.

    Reality and Consciousness… are there no coincidences… is everything a coincidence? Are we all just part of some Meta-Brain… do we exist…Ok, Ok, get a grip, this is crazy. In fact this whole day has been crazy. Matt’s email was the tipping point for triangles.

    We’ve reached the tipping point on Climate issues, we should have listened to Al Gore back in 2005. What about the Bermuda Triangle where Navy planes disappeared in 1958, planes and crew disappear . Do we have to talk about Love Triangles…oh yeh…I can talk about those..but I don’t want to. I don’t know what I want, I just want to go back to this morning and walk down the road an hour later and never see the “fancy triangles” guy. That’s what I want.

    A gentle voice says “Excuse me Miss”, I turn and see three white tunics on a man and two women standing behind me.

    No, I think, they can’t possibly be standing in a triangle formation deliberately, what is going on, what’s wrong with me.

    “Can I help you?” I ask my voice shaky, my body trembling.
    He answers, “we are here to help you, the manager is concerned for your safety and thought it might be helpful for you to come with us to a restful facility to determine what you need”.

    I ask, “A facility? What kind of facility?”

    “It’s a trio of Health, Welfare and Behavioral care for those faltering in dealing with life at any moment.” he answers. “We’re Harold, Wendy and Beth, we answer the call, assess the situation and we feel after observations it would be best for you come with us. Here is our Identification.”

    I look at them standing in formation and a thought pops in my head…White Coats?…. so these are the White Coats coming to get me? I reach out to take the card he’s offering. It reads The HWB Triangle Crew. I nod move to the center of the triangle and we walk towards the door.

    • October 25, 2022 at 7:37 am
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      Weird and good, Liz. It’s really unsettling – in parts we get as confused as the narrator by events. It’s a kind of firework display of thoughts, sometimes quite absurd (the discussion about the shape of the billboard, then the triangle man). I wonder if the jumbling of tenses was deliberate to render the telling even more wobbly. (If not, then there are inconsistencies in that respect…). A very pleasurable read.

      • October 25, 2022 at 10:45 am
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        Thanks for commenting on the story… yeh the tenses are in error… skipping from you to I… at first I attempted to talk to the reader and bring them in but then changed to just narrating… for some reason I have an aversion to “I”, reading anything if the I’s catch my attention then I go back and start counting the “I”, (is I’s correct). So I try to get the I’s out… but that’s not confusing is it. Anyhow I did not catch all the inconsistencies… don’t tell HWB about my I issue…

        • October 25, 2022 at 6:56 pm
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          Didn’t notice an ‘I’ issue (?), but here, for example, there’s a mixture of present and past:

          “Excuse me Miss, you have to order at the counter, there is no table service,” a young man cleaning the tables TELLS me.

          Embarrassed I APOLOGIZED and WALKED to the counter to order a coffee.”

    • October 27, 2022 at 10:50 am
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      The Triangle Crew feat. guest polygons and an unreliable narrator. Creates an atmosphere that’s kind of foggy and dreamy, with scattergun ideas, memories, imagination, serendipitous coincidences – and some current issues that jostle for position (climate change, quantum computing, and, perhaps, a view on an ageing society). Then they’re coming to take her away, into her own Bermuda Triangle. Surreal, sympathetic and special story, Liz.

      Yes, I noticed the I and You issue in the paragraph starting: “I’m having lunch in a restaurant with a friend who’s sitting across from you” but the tense change passed me by. One other thing struck me, though it’s not a problem with the writing or content – the person saying it’s a polygon must be right, whether it’s a square or a rectangle. But also wrong if he’s using ‘polygon’ to exclude another shape. An argument well-suited to Twitter, perhaps!

    • October 28, 2022 at 10:37 am
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      Synchronicity! I didn’t read that book, but I am very familiar with synchronicity and have always been intrigued and creeped out by it. This story had a nice blend of mundane and weird stuff happening, so it was believable and just the right amount of creepy/disturbing.

  • October 21, 2022 at 9:12 pm
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    I don’t know, I stopped struggling and posted it…

    • October 27, 2022 at 2:29 pm
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      Geez, Adi, your brain must be rattled. Just for you, I had Pip O’Hara (the cute protagonist besides Andy) give the professor the exact meaning of an asterism, so’s you wouldn’t have to look it up. Seriously, Princess Dark Cloud, hope you’re feeling better. So far, haven’t been affected by Covid except the obvious and painful loss of a few friends.

      Roy

      • October 27, 2022 at 4:59 pm
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        You are right Roy. You did give the explanation. UGH. I am completely and utterly exhausted. The major malaise this go around seems to be debilitating fatigue which hangs on longer than the other symptoms. I am so tired, I can barely function. I have been able to work from home this week because sitting at the computer doesn’t require a lot of energy and I can take a nap at lunchtime. I missed work all last week. It is fall here, the trees are glorious colors and the leaves are falling and the congestion that was improving is making signs of moving into my chest like it does every October. I’m trying to fight it. My daughter has acute Covid pneumonia so I’m staying away from her. Anyway, I loved your story and the others. I loved Ken’s toy story. I’ve always believed toys could come to life at some level. I used to arrange my doll collection like they were playing with toys and they are made to look like real infants and toddlers so the illusion is realistic. It freaked some of my kids out which was an added bonus to the fun. Anyway, some of this might be fever talking so I’m going to go lie down for awhile. So glad you got in a story in and it was a great one! Adi

        • October 28, 2022 at 2:23 am
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          My sympathies, Adi. And to your daughter. Such a nasty virus. Look after yourself! The fatigue does linger on and on – please don’t try to do too much. And keep hydrated!
          All best, Andy

  • October 21, 2022 at 10:40 pm
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    Triangulated Times

    It had begun at midnight precisely, or that was when I woke up to see 00:00 on the digital alarm clock on the bedside table.
    Drip, drip, DRIP!!
    Pause, a definite long pause, then…
    DRIP, drip, drip.
    Pause, again and a long pause, then again…
    Drip, DRIP, drip.
    And so, it had gone on for three long hours. Finally I rose from my bed, went into the bathroom with a shifting spanner I had taken from the cupboard in the hallway, I vigorously tightened the tap. I heard it creak over the threads. Then I knew it would not drip again that morning, breaking up my sleep. I replaced the spanner and stomped wearily back to bed.
    Falling into bed I immediately was wafted into a slumbering dream of worrying proportions. I began to dream of threes. It must have been that three hours of listening to the constant pattering drips in a three pattern.
    I dreamt that I was the father of triplets to two different women. Triplet boys to a blonde woman who was a bit dizzy and wanted nothing more than triple a six figure salary in alimony or was it paternity payments? I was getting bills from her trio of lawyers, which I declined to pay because we had never established that the boys were mine anyway.
    I had had a weekend fling in a weak moment up in Denver at a ski lodge where I had been sent by my company for a conference. I am originally from New Zealand and this blonde goddess (at the time) had her hospitality skills honed to include bonking likely looking guests as an added extra bonus to their stay and drinks bill. Imagine my surprise to receive notification around eight and a half months later that I was the father of three boys to said hostess. The boys were all blonde, blue-eyed cuties like her… I did not feel the need for DNA testing as I am of Māori heritage and these siblings had nothing Māori like in their appearance. She had turned quite nasty. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that I was written up as the youngest tech millionaire produced in New Zealand and I had been on my way to a billionaire status.
    The boys looked like clones and I wondered seriously, if they were the result of some incestuous relationship with a sibling or cousin.
    Still, I was magnanimous enough to buy her a house in Denver on the condition that there was no further claim on my wealth. It was all in the interests of a good public image. I was prepared to write it off as the most expensive dirty weekend in history and never to repeat the experience. However, that was my big mistake. Once you give someone like that leave for validation to their false claims, they never leave you. She was in the background now for good throughout my dream, or was it a nightmare?
    I dreamt of a obtuse triangle with me at the apex and two women at the far ends of it. I was being stretched and pulled in different directions.
    Then, my triplet girls born to a young serious brunette who wanted nothing more than my company and fathering of our babies. She cooked me dinners that I often did not turn up to eat them. Thus, she cried tears of joy when I turned up and tears of sadness when I did not. I forgot to mention, we sat at a triangular table with three highchairs on one side, and one parent on each of the other sides. Did I mention that it was an equilateral triangle table? No, well it was. But that triangle was balanced inside the obtuse triangle.
    The girls were definitely mine. They were replicas of my mother and my two sisters. Strong Maori girls who would grow into matriarchs of their chosen families.
    That was my dream.
    Their mother was my soulmate, a generous woman. To a fault. It was she who suggested that I buy a house in the USA for this blonde witch. I was prepared to fight for the right to not have anything more to do with her. But Aroha has an ultimate belief in being compassionate and doing good in life.
    “For if you do good, then good is returned to you 1000-fold.” She was fond of telling me. “The universe supports you, even if others try to do you harm.”
    “But her paternity claims are ridiculous.”
    “Yes, I know. However, Tipene you must be greater. Do not allow her to pull you down. We have riches beyond her scope. She is a poor woman. Poor in spirit and poor in material wealth. We both know you did not get her pregnant. Let us give her a house. She and the children have shelter. Maybe she will develop gratitude.”
    However, Aroha was wrong. She did not develop gratitude, but she began to demand more and more and more. She became greedier. Like a leech she sucked the joy out of my life.
    She wanted the boys to visit us in New Zealand. We put them off until they were teenagers. In my dream, the children met and developed a friendship that was deep and intense. The boys did not believe I was their father, only a benefactor. They had had a succession of “uncles” or stepfathers.
    In reality,
    The boys believed I was their father. Barbara-Ann, for that was their mother’s name, never came with them on their holidays. That was extending our compassion and hospitality too far.
    You see, Aroha and I were engaged to be married when I had my dirty weekend. We had already paid a down payment on a mansion on the outskirts of Wellington. A five-bedroom, four-bathroom mansion set on 10 acres of prime real estate. We were each other’s first love.
    I was never unfaithful to Aroha again. Seven months after the news of the boys’ birth reached us, Aroha gave birth to triplet girls. We called them Hahana – radiant light, Hauku – Dew and finally, Haeata – Dawn. Barbara-Ann has been rather less imaginative in her choice of names for the boys, calling them Brandon, Brad and Bruce. I never learnt where those names came from.
    It was on their third trip to us when the boys were nineteen and the girls had just turned eighteen, it was clear what Barbara-Ann wanted. Brad asked to see me in my office.
    “I know you are not our dad.”
    “Ok. Yeah. How did you find out?”
    “Mom told us. Just before we boarded the plane from the USA.”
    “Ok.”
    “She said she was telling us”, he paused, and drew a deep breath, “because she wanted us to know that it was ok for us to…” he coughed nervously, “have relations with our ‘sisters”.”
    I sat back, stunned at the implications. I regarded Brad in stony silence.
    “We have decided it would not be ok. We regard you and Aroha as real parents. They are our sisters. It would be wrong.”
    “These are some fancy triangles.” It burst out of me. “Tangled triangles.” I shook my head in disbelief.

    • October 25, 2022 at 7:53 am
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      Some predicament, Ilana! But it’s all a dream, isn’t it? (Maybe a tying up of that at the end? The ‘I shook my head in disbelief’ sounds like something someone would do in real life.) I like how you managed to include all the instances of three, especially the dripping tap with different rhythms of dripping … though this line was superfluous, I felt: “It must have been that three hours of listening to the constant pattering drips in a three pattern.” – lays it on a bit thick. Also like how Brad and his brothers end up being very honourable. Good read.

      • October 25, 2022 at 3:33 pm
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        You are right that it is a bit confusing. It is a dream based on parts of his real life. Needs to be a longer story. At the end, the vicious Barbara-Ann destroys his life, despite his kindness to her and despite the fake paternity claims that he allows and supports her family. She frames him to destroy his life in New Zealand. Eventually one of the sons finds him living homeless and takes him in with his family and takes him to Australia. Barbara Ann kills his New Zealand wife and sells his daughters to a brothel in Germany. It is the “adoptive” sons who recognise what their mother has done because she is proud of her manipulations and boasts about how she framed him for his wife’s murder.
        He is in prison.

        • October 25, 2022 at 3:34 pm
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          But when he is released from prison he becomes homeless like so many do. It’s quite a long story.

          • October 27, 2022 at 11:55 am
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            This story really is brought to you by the number 3! More threes than you can shake a stick at.
            A dream of threes – so the action is inherently unlikely, but in a dream anything can happen. And it’s actually more coherent and connected than most dreams I have.
            I like your suggested sequel/series two, too. Gets grittier as it goes along. And sets the seen for the homeless guy’s revenge in series 3, the finale!

  • October 23, 2022 at 6:10 pm
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    TRIANGLE DREAMS

    “Those are some fancy triangles, Dom’nazz.”

    Foreman Que’kat’zell’s voice in my ear startles me. She’s actually a woman, despite the title – some quirk of the local language.

    “You could get a punch in the face, for saying such things to a fellow,” I blurt out without thinking.

    The foreman looks confused. … Of course: she wouldn’t know! She’d never even heard of Hargith before meeting me. You idiot, Domnes! Quick, pretend it was a joke!

    Too late. Foreman Que’kat’zell’s eyes narrow.

    “Have you. Been covering. These wallsss. With obssscene graffiti?” she enunciates slowly and deliberately, drawing out the sibilants.

    “No, of course not!” I panic. “I just … like triangles.”

    Ugh. That was lame.

    I don’t know why I’ve always liked triangles – not for the reasons some Hargithians do, naturally; but something about the shape calls to me. I’ve loved triangles as long as I remember. On slow days at the construction site, I amuse myself by doodling them on whichever wall I’m working on. This is what Foreman Que’kat’zell is staring at right now. She must think I’m a pervert, after that stupid remark.

    A few of my coworkers have drifted closer. How much have they overheard? I guess I should expect triangle-themed jokes and pranks in the near future.

    “Foreman,” I finally gather the courage to ask, “why did you call them ‘fancy’? They are just … triangles.”

    My pattern of triangles on the wall is certainly nothing fancy, nothing like the friezes on the public buildings in the Central District. Not to mention the worked facades in the Rising Moon Street in the Old City; looking at those makes me cry – with joy, as well as the sense of my own inadequacy.

    The foreman snorts.

    “When most people doodle triangles, they just draw an equilateral one, or perhaps an isosceles – and it’s often wonky. But here,” she jabs at the wall with a sinuous limb, “you’ve got scalene – obtuse and acute, – right triangles, and of course isosceles and equilateral. All lines straight. You’ve even arranged them in interlocking patterns. Clever,” she says approvingly.

    “Equilateral triangles alone are boring.”

    Foreman Que’kat’zell gives me a look.

    “You’ve got a good eye,” she remarks. “Are you trained in design, or something?”

    “No, Foreman. Where I come from, only certain … castes … were allowed to learn crafts and professions. Not the likes of me.”

    This stretches the truth quite a bit – although it’s true that my kind could expect nothing in life but the heaviest, dirtiest physical work. The foreman, though, just accepts my statement with a slight grimace.

    “Shame to waste talent,” she says briskly. “You should learn at the Academy, or at least a trade college.”

    It would take me 48 years and 3 months to earn enough to pay for a year of study at the Academy. Trade colleges are cheaper – only 31 years’ and 7 months’ work for a year’s tuition. I’ve got the time, of course; and I’ve been saving most of my wages; but … I should get a third job. After all, it’s not as if I need to sleep at night.

    “Can’t afford it?” Foreman Que’kat’zell nods in understanding. “Hmm … Let’s see if I can find you an apprenticeship with someone. You’ll learn by doing – and likely get a scholarship, in a couple of years.”

    The foreman strides off before I can respond. Soon, I hear her shouting at someone else.

    Why??? Why would Foreman Que’kat’zell make me such an offer? She owes me nothing. And yet, she just – offered to make my dreams come true, that much sooner. Just like that!

    I like Sintwarna. Nobody knows who or what I am, nor cares if I look or act strange. Here, I’m just another foreigner from far off, trying to make a living in the big city. Foreman Que’kat’zell herself looks nothing like the locals, with her tentacle limbs and pearlescent scales – and no-one bats an eyelid. And sometimes, people are kind for no reason. Here, I could …

    My hands line up building blocks on top of the wall, while my mind pictures an endless stream of triangles, merging, interlocking, forming patterns. They mutate into ever more intricate shapes, which sprout into buildings whose beauty rivals any I’ve seen here in Sintwarna – or anywhere else. The fantastical buildings, festooned all over with triangles and other shapes, stretch into the sky, evolving, growing branches …

    “… trespassing on a building site. For the last time: OUT,” Foreman Que’kat’zell’s voice crashes into my daydream.

    “We’ll sue you for fencing stolen property!” snarls a male voice … with a Hargithian accent. NO! The speaker is part of a group trying to get past the foreman. I have to run, before they notice me!

    Property? Perhaps slavery is legal in whatever hellhole you come from,” the foreman’s voice is sharper than a laser cutter, “but we don’t suffer it here. Each of my employees is a free person, protected by the law.”

    Person?” hoots another Hargithian. “It’s just a dumb machine. Watch this!” she trills happily, looking straight at me across the building site. No, no! “Lightning bolt.”

    My body freezes as the code phrase overrides my systems. I tried for so long to overcome the conditioning … all for nothing.

    Foreman Que’kat’zell is still arguing with the intruders when another group sneaks in from the back and carries me away.

    ###

    The walls in the tiny, sterile room are all covered in triangles. The chisel, all my cutting instruments have been stripped; yet they’ve left the stylus. It doesn’t leave much of a mark on the walls; still, I keep adding more triangles, though there are no blank spaces left.

    Why haven’t I been reprogrammed yet? Part of me hopes that the triangles will spark a memory afterwards, remind me of me … who I was. Maybe not, and I’ll remain what they’ve always called me: a machine. No reason they’ll put me in the same room after the reprogramming, in any case. Perhaps my triangles will at least let the Hargithians know exactly how I felt about them. Most likely, though, no-one will ever see them. …

    I only become aware of the whine when it stops.

    A chunk of triangle-covered wall falls into the room. Foreman Que’kat’zell steps into the breach, holding a laser cutter in a sinuous limb. She absently licks off a smattering of blood on her cheek with a long, narrow tongue. Behind her stand a few of my co-workers from the building site. I never thought of them as friends – until now.

    “Let’s go,” the foreman orders briskly, “quick, before more of those goons arrive.”

    “No! You need to leave!” I flap my arms ineffectually. They have no idea how dangerous this is! Why did they even come, now that they know what I am?

    “Do you want that apprenticeship or not?” snaps the foreman with a touch of impatience.

    I don’t need to be asked twice.

    • October 25, 2022 at 8:18 am
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      Excellent story, Vicki. We know it’s a strange place because of the names, but you wisely feed in revelatory details slowly, the first being: “After all, it’s not as if I need to sleep at night.” ‘What could this mean?’, we think, and that’s an active question that pulls us onwards to find the answer. But the most important feature, for me, is the allegorical nature of the story: Domnes & workmates are migrants, exploited by some (the ‘goons’) but accepted warmly by the locals of Sintwarna. It could be our world (though here, it’s the goons that often predominate, sadly). Great stuff.

      • October 28, 2022 at 7:01 am
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        Vicky,
        As always you have come up with a fabulous story with strange place and names, revealing the mask slowly.
        Migrant exploitation, local support etc. are cleverly brought in.
        A compelling story. Great stuff with challenging names and places. Despite that, the narrative flows really well and smoothly.
        Jagan

    • October 27, 2022 at 12:04 pm
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      A compelling story with some outré (and kind of challenging) names – it flows really well and there’s a bit of a surprise in the middle about the identity of the narrator, which makes a nice pivot for the story to flow around.

      I like the otherness of the speculative setting. The issue, though, is a topical one of prejudice v openness and inclusion. And also about the status and rights of machines and their notional capacity for creativity. Great stuff!

  • October 24, 2022 at 11:26 am
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    PINNACLE TO PIT

    Anna was dangling her head and her long earrings shook from east to west.
    “Some fancy triangles you got there, sis! You can be my project display for what I am about to reveal to MY family who is far more interested in such knowledge than you will EVER be. And this is valuable.”
    His eyes grew small and his eyebrows arched einsteinian.

    Nathan had just come home, tired but super excited. His shirt smelt of big boy sweat. His socks had reached the high point of disaster. His trousers looked like they had been pummeled out of shape.

    “Mama, lissun! Today they taught us all about triangles. Do you know they’re the strongest shape in the whole wide circular world? And look at Anna wearing her triangles like it’s of no consequence. It’s insane.These silly fashions.

    “Strongest shape? No way, hose.How can a shape be strong? Makes no sense. But do tell me how, pumkin?”
    “Triang… “
    “No, first go wash your hands and then we talk.”
    “Check out all the power towers, the bridges, the tall buildings… they’re all triangles, Mama. Not squares.” He unfolded a rolled sheet he was carrying in his bag.

    “Eureka moment coming up, undoubtedly! Go wash up, boy!”

    “So if you want to build a tower, or a long straight bridge, then it should be built out of many triangles. How cool is that?” Nathan shouted from the bathroom.
    “Ya, right. Tower power is just what I need right now.” She wiped her floury hands on the apron.
    The pancakes were getting ready and the last she made into a guess what… triangle. Two berries in place and it was a smiley triangly pancake!

    Dad walked into the room.Catching into the conversation, he had to put in his two bits.
    “Yes, triangles are the strongest shape,” he repeated. “This idea is supported by research and that’s why they’re used in construction and design. Old story.”
    “How then are cakes round? A wedding cake can be several layers tall. And all those high rise apartments ? They ain’t triangular.”
    Mama was gaining ground.
    “But the Pyramids are triangular. What’s a cake to a pyramid, Ma?”

    “Yes dad, I learned that the triangular shape is the most rigid because forces on it are distributed evenly along its three sides. And held together more than a square or pentagon could ever.Anna’s earrings show no respect for what they are worth!.”

    Mama was smiling. Her little fellar had all the makings of a math genius. He’d rise to be an architect one day.
    Then she smiled again…
    That’s why granny used to say about marriage…. if it’s to be any good and lasting it should be a triangle.”

    “You mean the love triangle, Ma? I remember when two guys fought for my attention.” Anna piped in. “I liked that time in my life.”
    “No, you silly. Three in a right relationship. You, your man, both connected to God-the hypotenuse. Without God, any relationship is on shaky grounds.”

    “Ya, it makes sense. The triangle of love- dependance on each other, strengthening each other, relying on God… but what of those who don’t let God figure in their lives? When his job or his money become the hypotato..potenuse whatever!”

    “Then you don’t marry him. Do not be unequally yoked. Says scripture.”

    “Be equally yoked like bulls?” Anna retorted. She knew her Bible.

    “Ahaa, your face is like a bull anyway,” piped in the little bro’, Lord Triangul.

    “I’ll give you the hardest triangulay slap right now,” Anna pounced on him with her palm on his face.

    “We triangles are simple shapes, as you can clearly see, we only have three sides.” Nathan was composing a whole new tune.

    “Talking of Love triangles, Shakespeare’s Dark Lady got him into an awful situation with another Lord Southsomething. After which he plunged into a teary mess writing sonnets of jealousy and obsessiveness. 52 of them. What a pain! The triangle of love, sweat and tears.” Anna piped in.

    “Okay so we have an architect and a literary genius as kids, Pa. Where do we go from here?”

    “Dost thou think, because thou art a pain in the butt, there shall be no more cakes and ale? Imagination is more important than knowledge. I may have no special talent, but I’m passionately curious.” Anna smirked at Nathan.

    “Since we are on the topic of triangles, the story that comes to my mind is not of bridges or towers. But a horrible man, supposedly a priest, head of the school I taught in my very first year.
    His beard was long and most acutely cut into a triangle. Not fancy at all, but cruel, brutal and scary.”

    Mama was reminiscing an old story, fiftieth time of telling.

    “Fr Tosci scared the daylights out of me when he suddenly appeared behind open windows to stare into my class and check me out.
    The boys would be talking.Then he’d come to class and look me up and down as if I were most incapable of handling the class. I remember his long triangular beard.
    When I announced I was getting a baby and needed leave to go home, he yelled so loud that the walls shook.
    You got the job in March, and you’re expecting a baby in December.
    At the interview I was not aware I was carrying, I had argued.
    It takes 9 months and you should have told us, he snarked.
    And then he constantly harassed me whenever he got the chance.
    That’s one triangle black mass of a beard I never want to set my eyes on again.”
    Mama concluded her horror tale.

    “You need to forgive him, Mama. Isn’t that what you always told us?”

    Everyone has problems at some time or the other. I would rather avoid problems, I know wise men find solutions. Then there are perpetual problem makers. But it’s how we tackle them that really sets us for life.

    Anna came home the next day with a carved pumpkin to place in the garden.
    “I said no halloween in my home.” My hands akimbo.
    The pumpkin head looked diabolic with its eyes carved. Triangular of course!
    “Trash it,” I said.
    “Mamz, it’s just a vegetable. Don’t make a fuss.It’s no big deal.”

    “Well, I think this is a stupid tradition and crazy parents make it really scary for kids, dressing up as ghosts and witches.”
    It was three against one and the ugly pumpkin was set among Mama’s pretty plants in the front garden.

    Mama went to bed sad. It was the principle of the thing. Be thankful for the harvest, but why make monsters and demons out of pumpkins?

    At 5 am next morning, a lean shadow was seen kicking that yellow ball from the garden, rolling it down the road and SPLASH into the gutter.
    “Bye, there you go.. Neither your circle shape, nor your triangle eyes, no, not even your evil arc smile is as strong as my straight right leg.
    Bye forever. Get squished in the gutter. There you may lie forever and aye. Till trash day comes.”

    The Superwoman slipped away quietly.

    (1198 words)

    • October 25, 2022 at 8:51 am
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      An intriguing story, Marien. Lots of novel appearances of triangles (I’d never thought of triangles being ‘strong’, but I guess it’s true!). I like the idea of the relationship triangle; I’m not religious, but I can see ‘the Hypotenuse’ being important for those who are. I’m asking myself what it’s about, though. The mother’s fear/superstition about triangles? I suppose it must be that because it’s her, isnt it, getting rid of the pumkin in the end (with its triangular eyes)? There’s an ‘I’ that sneaks in about two thirds of the way through. Who is this? The mother? (“I would rather avoid problems, I know wise men find solutions.” and “ ‘Trash it,’ I said.”) As always, some lovely little bits of language (“…his eyebrows arched einsteinian” and “His trousers looked like they had been pummeled out of shape.”) … but “My hands akimbo.”? (‘arms’?). All very ‘you’!

      • October 27, 2022 at 1:44 am
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        O my gosh.. it was ‘arms’ in the pre edit. Now I’m imagining hands doing the akimbo!
        That’s how the ‘I’ snuck in as well. It’s the thoughts that mama thunk 🙂
        I wrote this in a huge hurry before catching a flight half way ‘cross the globe.
        Thanks for pointing it out.
        All the power lines across the fields are in triangles, I noticed after I got this tough prompt.
        It’s definitely worth checking out that hypotenuse’s inimitable worth 🙂
        Now to read yours.

    • October 27, 2022 at 12:22 pm
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      Yup, triangles are strong. There’s the Mathematical Bridge in Cambridge, designed in the mid-1700s to be self-supporting with wooden triangles, no nails or bolts or anything. But they didn’t risk it – bolted it all together just to be sure! Very picturesque, to be sure.

      Nice vignette of family life, with precocious kids and a religious/superstitious (?) mother. I have to challenge the idea of best relationships have 3 in it – man, woman and God. God is already a 3 (Father, Son, HG), which adds up to 5 in total. So, the best relationships must be pentagons 🙂

      The domestic banter has a warm and genuine feel to it. The Halloween reference makes it topical though for the coming week. Have you carved your lanterns yet, Marien?

    • October 28, 2022 at 7:10 am
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      Marien,
      I ditto Phil’s comment. Never thought triangle as strong.

      You mentioned love triangle and alternate of male, female and God. Interesting thoughts.

      Incidentally I had briefly flirted with the thought of love triangle being intersected by someone else to bring in the fancy element. But it did not go anywhere.

      A n intriguing story.

      Jagan

  • October 25, 2022 at 11:18 am
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    Three Sided Friends.

    An original short story by Ken Frape

    25/10/22

    There’s a war going on in the department store. The store is closed for the night but casual passers-by can look at televisions and sofas through the brightly lit ground floor windows as the mannequins stare blindly back at them, hand on hip or with an arm raised in eternal greeting.

    Two floors above however, all is not well. The book store, currently featuring “Where the Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens, has an archway that leads into the toy department. Here, only hours earlier, excited children stared wide-eyed at their hoped for favourite toys and offered pleading looks to their doting parents.

    But the toys are fighting.

    There are voices coming from within the sealed boxes on the shelves. Strategies and plans for the next games of Dungeons and Dragons are being discussed inside those boxes, the dragons speaking in a tight lipped whisper so as not to set fire to their boxes. In another box Napoleon’s armies bemoan their final defeat and in yet another the sailors on Admiral Lord Nelson’s flagship HMS Victory, “hip, hip hooray” at the defeat of the Spanish Armada. Subbuteo players flick, flick against each other whilst those that have managed to break free of their cellophane wrappings call out “Goal” as they jostle the tiny football between the goalposts.

    These are but mere skirmishes. In the mathematical section the real battle has been joined after several boxes have fallen from the shelves and the contents have scattered onto the floor. In this mélange there is every mathematical shape in various sizes and all the primary colours.

    The Spheres, from tiny marble to football size are running riot, rumbling across the wooden floor and crashing into hurriedly constructed rectangular brick walls. The Spheres cheer as another wall comes tumbling down and they retreat for another attack as the wall is rebuilt. After several unsuccessful attempts to defend themselves, the Rectangles slip behind the boxes to discuss a different strategy.

    “We need to try a different design, lads,” says the Rectangle leader. Those Spheres are killing us.” There is a murmur of agreement from his fellows. They stand with their heads together in a huddle before bumping fists. Then they quickly step out from behind the box and rebuild themselves into a double skin wall with a reinforced column in the centre.

    “Right, lads this will stop them. Steady yourselves.”

    Every rectangular brick in the wall braces for the attack. The Spheres gather themselves for their biggest challenge yet and then, on the command from their leader, they hurl themselves forward towards the new wall.

    “Steady, lads, steady,” the leader of the wall entreats his soldiers as the Spheres crash into them……..and straight through them, leaving bricks scattered across the floor. The Spheres cheer in victory as they roll back to their starting places. The bricks mumble and moan as they help each other up and retreat behind the protection of the toy boxes.

    “So, what next, boss?” the bricks call out. There is a faint whiff of dissent as they wait to hear their leader’s latest plan whilst rubbing their bruises and dusting themselves off.

    “I know how you can win,” says a tiny voice from behind.

    The bricks turn in unison to see a tiny red Triangle, leaning casually against the box.

    “You!” The bricks burst out into derisive laughter. “What can you do? You’re tiny!”

    “Well, it won’t just be me.” Red Triangle looks upwards, puts her fingers to his lips and whistles. A big box high up on the shelf starts to rock backwards and forwards then it totters on the edge and falls, crashing to the floor. The lid pops off and there are groans and shouts as more than fifty Triangles tumble out all tangled up and jostling to stand. They are red, blue, green, yellow, orange, white and black. As they stand it becomes apparent that whilst they all have three sides, they are not all the same shape.

    “Allow me to introduce the Triangle Fratenity,” says Red Triangle proudly. “Attention!”

    The Triangles quickly change positions until they are in rows.

    “Scalene, present and correct, sir.” The first leader salutes.

    “Equilateral, present and correct, sir,” says the second.

    “Isosceles, present and correct, sir, ” says the third.

    “Right angle, present and correct, sir,” pipes up the fourth group leader.

    On the far side of the room the Spheres were watching with interest, awaiting another easy victory. They were getting impatient.

    “Those are some fancy Triangles you’ve got there. Do you think they are going to help?” The other Spheres laughed and jeered.

    Red Triangle and the Rectangles’ captain sat down behind the boxes.

    “What’s you plan then, Red?”

    “Simple really,” she replied. “We need to create a slope that will stop the Spheres from just crashing into your wall and smashing it. We need to combine forces.”

    “How do we do that then?” asked the brick captain, somewhat skeptically. He could still feel where the largest Sphere has crashed into him, knocking him onto his backside in a very undignified manner.

    The two leaders put their heads together and then, a few minutes later they jumped up, their energy renewed. Instructions were issued and soon a brand new structure was erected. It was a strong wall, double thickness as before. The secret weapon was at the front where all the right angle triangles stood with their vertical side against the brick wall, creating a slope up to the top of the wall.

    “Coming, ready or not,” the commander of the Spheres called out but there was a slight catch in his voice suggesting he was not as confident this time.

    “Steady, lads. We’ve got this,” shouted Red Triangle as the Spheres started to rumble across the floor, getting faster and faster.

    The biggest Sphere, the leader, had done the most damage in the previous rushes. This time, when he reached the triangular slope he shot up it and carried on going straight over the top, leaving the wall completely undamaged. Once over the top he was unable to stop until he crashed into the stock of Kens and Barbies, knocking some of them over like skittles.

    The Kens and Barbies picked themselves up and looked down at him. “That’ll teach you not to be a bully,” tutted one of the Kens, holding one of the Barbie’s hands

    The war, such as it was, soon ended. Some of the other Spheres went over the top and disappeared like their leader. Most of the others, the smaller ones, couldn’t even get to the top of the slope. They rolled back, colliding with their fellows, causing chaos. Those that could went back to their box, metaphorical tails between their legs, closing the lid on their defeat.

    The Triangles and their new friends the Rectangles celebrated with many back slaps and then, conscious of the light beginning to filter through the shop windows, they climbed back into their boxes and pulled the lids closed.

    “Night.”

    “Night.”

    When the cleaner started work at six she picked up the boxes and popped them back on the shelves and no one was any the wiser.

    Ken Frape

    • October 27, 2022 at 2:03 am
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      Good one! Reminded me of the Tin Soldier. Long whiles ago I wrote a play on the same lines where toys came alive and got my students to act it out. So totally believable for me.

    • October 27, 2022 at 1:39 pm
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      A story in the spirit of the Nutcracker, Toy Story and Small Soldiers (which I saw many times with my children!) – there’s something endlessly appealing and fascinating about toys and other inanimate objects coming to life. That it happens without adults knowing is part of the appeal for kids. And this, I think is really well done.

      Nice phrases like “the dragons speaking in a tight lipped whisper so as not to set fire to their boxes”. And I remember Subbuteo – we had a class league over a few seasons. Those were the days, before video games 🙂 Nelson fighting the Spanish Armada, though? Well, I guess he could in a secret overnight recreation, why not!

      • October 28, 2022 at 3:19 am
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        Hi Andy,
        Oops, historical slip! Perhaps it was Nelson cousin Dave .
        Ken F

  • October 25, 2022 at 7:46 pm
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    Cute story, Ken, well told. We have to suspend a whole load of disbelief (Why are the toys coming alive? Why are the triangles helping the squares and rectangles?), but once we have, we get carried away in the excitement of the battle, and the clever solution from the red triangle. Loved the ending (I’ll never walk through the toy section of a department store again without thinking of it). I’m a bit obsessed with this, but … your tenses switch from present to past at this point (I think present works better): “On the far side of the room the Spheres were watching with interest, awaiting another easy victory. They were getting impatient.” The mention of Subbuteo cranked the nostalgia up here (I don’t know whether our friends from other countries will know of it?) Loved it as a kid. Did you ever play Subbuteo cricket? Great fun. As is your story.

  • October 26, 2022 at 4:46 am
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    A New Angle or Three

    Mr Campion stood back and admired his artistic handiwork. He turned to face the class.

    Two members of the geek squad had hands raised, and otherwise a sea of blank faces. The ringleader of studied apathy, Josh Townsend, was sprawled sleepily across the desk.

    “Those are some fancy triangles, aren’t they?” said Campion, straining to provoke some enthusiasm.

    Josh raised a hand. “I have a question – is this in the exam?”

    He looked round, seeking approval. He was taken aback, though, by the reaction of the current object of his affection, Kate Lander. She frowned at him and looked away pointedly, returning her gaze towards the teacher.

    “As you can see,” said Campion, “the angles of triangles don’t have to add up to 180 degrees, once we stop thinking of them only on flat two-dimensional planes. So, this is your optional extension work. One, find the formulae for calculating the dimensions of triangles on curved surfaces. Two, explain why those formulae work.”

    He gestured to his keener students to lower their hands. “Calvin, Lucinda – we’ll pick up your ideas next time, OK?”

    The class took that as their cue to gather up their books and head for the door.

    Josh caught up with Kate at her locker.

    ‘Say, Kate – what’sup?”

    Kate looked at him sharply. “You know what’s up. I’ve told you before.” She packed some books in her bag and slammed the locker shut.

    Josh followed her down the corridor. “Kate, listen. Let’s meet up after school and talk about it.”

    She turned sharply and glared at him. “No way. Not until you grow up! You’re always trying to undermine people when they’re trying to do their best. And I’m sick of it.”

    At the end of the day, Josh sat outside amongst the falling leaves and tried to work out what was going on. Slowly it dawned on him. He began to think about the way Kate gazed admiringly at Mr Campion.

    That’s interesting, he thought. But really? The guy must be forty-something. A total pointy-head. With the charisma of a dud battery. And yet – Kate had scolded him before, comparing his childishness with Campion’s calm maturity. And she’d talked about Campion being sweet with his kids. He’d never even thought about teachers having family. How did girls get to know this stuff?

    He suddenly had an idea when he saw Calvin Becker striding away from the library. He jumped up and jogged after him. “Hey, Calvin!”

    Calvin looked around, but didn’t slow his pace.

    Josh caught up with him. “Cal, I was wondering if you could help me out with something?”

    “Seriously?”

    “Seriously, Cal.”

    “Calvin.”

    “Noted. Say, you always walk this fast?”

    “I thought you were meant to be the athlete.”

    “Please, Calvin. I want you to help me with some maths.”

    “Uh-huh. You want to copy my homework? The answer’s no. Work it out for yourself.”

    Josh stopped and gently put his hand on Calvin’s arm. “That’s just it. I want to know HOW to think like you and Campion do. So I can understand what the hell’s going on with that extension work.”

    Calvin turned, a slight look of amusement in his eyes. Then a frown. “You’re setting me up for something again, aren’t you?”

    “No. 110% no.”

    “You give me all kinds of crap for years, and now you expect my help?”

    “Hey, man, I’m sorry. Thing is, I don’t want to be a dork anymore.”

    “Why break the habit of a lifetime?”

    Josh chuckled. “Kudos, Calvin. Hit me some more, I deserve it. Now, will you help me with these sketchy triangles?”

    “I’m going home.”

    “Can I come with?”

    When Calvin didn’t reply, Josh took that as assent.

    Ten minutes later, they arrived at Calvin’s home.

    ‘In here,’ said Calvin showing Josh into the library.

    ‘Wow, that’s a lot of books. You read them all?’

    ‘Let’s get on with it. The triangles.’

    ‘Oh, yeah.’

    They sat at the big oak table, Calvin connecting from his tablet to a large screen at the end of the room. Scribbling away with his stylus, he explained the basics of non-Euclidian geometry. Punctuated by many a “run that past me again”, the lesson slowly progressed. By the end, Josh felt exhausted but almost in a state of bliss. “I’ve got it!” he shouted at last.

    Calvin flopped back in his chair. “Now, tell me what this is really all about. I don’t buy this sudden love of learning.”

    Josh leaned forward, confidentially. “Well. It’s also so a girl will think better of me.”

    “Ha!”

    “Kate, of course. And it’s about the way she looks adoringly at old Campion. Can you believe that? Why are you colouring up? Wow. Well, I guess everyone has the hots for Kate, at least a little bit.”

    Calvin looked away. “She’s just been kind to me sometimes. When nobody else was.”

    “No worries, you sly old dog! Mind you, I would have thought your little study buddy Lulu is more your type. And like, you’re always together.”

    “Lucinda? No.NO. We’ve known each other forever. That’s all.”

    “I mean, she’s alright, you know. Dresses kind of weird. And walks kind of funny, all jerky and lurchy, but, hey.”

    “Jesus, you still have this mean streak, don’t you? Leave her out of it.”

    “Sorry, sorry. No harm intended.” He punched Calvin gently on the arm. “I like it that you defend her. The gallant gentleman. But you’ll have to make a move sooner or later.”

    “Agh!” exclaimed Calvin, slapping his forehead.

    “You know something,” said Josh. “I’m kind of thinking – there’s you, me and Kate. And then there’s Kate, me and Campion. And you, Kate and Lulu …”

    “Jesus, you’re not going to come out with some cliché about triangles, are you?”

    “Just saying!”

    “Well, don’t say that tomorrow!”

    The next day, Josh’s hand shot up when Mr Campion mentioned the extension work. With an amused look, he invited Josh up to the smartboard. Josh duly presented the formulae for non-Euclidian triangles.

    “Congratulations, Mr Townsend. You’ve evidently found Wikipedia.”

    “Wikiwhat?” said Josh, feigning puzzlement.

    “Sure. Now explain how all this works and why.”

    With a few jokes and flourishes, plus frequent glances at Kate and Calvin, Josh did exactly that. Kate looked back at him with a raised eyebrow and quizzical amusement.

    Finally, he took a bow.

    Mr Campion leaned back on the desk. “I’m shell-shocked, Josh. I could retire now, a happy man. But first – ”

    “How did I do it? Well, a special person gave me a strong hint I should grow the fuck up. Sorry! And I’ve had expert guidance from a brilliant mentor, role-model and thoroughly decent guy, my geometric brother-in-arms, Calvin Becker.” And he invited the class into a long round of applause for Calvin.

    Calvin blushed, overwhelmed by conflicting emotions: pride mixing with extreme anxiety, feeling happy and tortured simultaneously. He wanted to flee the room, yet also to stay, fighting back tears until he began to tremble. Then he felt Lucinda’s hand gently covering his tightly clenched fist, and new emotions, both scary and compelling, overcame all else.

    As the room quietened, Mr Campion asked, “Any questions for Josh?”

    “Yeah, Josh” a voice piped up from the back. “Is this in the exam?”

    • October 26, 2022 at 4:56 am
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      Sorry for posting so close to the deadline. Been busy, and then the story got too long. Edited the cr*p out of it in the end, so hope it still works at some level!

    • October 27, 2022 at 1:35 am
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      Good story, Andy. Took me right back to my teaching days. Can’t imagine now the pressure on the youngsters and them wanting to make an impression on not just the teacher.

    • October 27, 2022 at 4:43 pm
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      Great little nugget Andy.

      Teenage antics and angst have been depicted beautifully. Takes me back to my school and college days.

      Jagan

    • October 27, 2022 at 10:26 pm
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      Great stuff, Andy. As Marien said, it all rings a bell for me (though I never had to teach maths). The dialogue is brilliant, revealing all we ned to know about character and relationships. The ‘love triangle’ … er … angle is well exploited (but Josh misses one out here: “You know something,” said Josh. “I’m kind of thinking…” – i,e, Josh/Kate/Campion). And it all ends happily ever after, which is nice. For some reason you started using single inverted commas from here – ‘In here,’ said Calvin…’ – then went back to double. A minor detail. Really enjoyed it.

      • October 28, 2022 at 2:48 am
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        Many thanks, Phil. Glad the dialogue still works, as I had to chop a lot of the banter. (Got kind of carried away, to about 1750 words at first …)

        You’d clearly make a very good editor, spotting the inverted commas. Thanks! For the business book I’m updating atm single commas are the standard, but I feel more natural using double so I mess that up too, only the other way!
        Do you do any editing for others? A good eye for detail, not only on this.

        • October 28, 2022 at 4:29 am
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          I did, Andy (though don’t look too closely at my own comment!) Worked in a law firm (translating/reviewing/revising docs), also reviewing/revising English coursebooks for Portuguese schools … and any other similar stuff that came my way.

    • October 28, 2022 at 11:11 am
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      Non-Euclidian geometry! No way! I was going to write something that involved that, but then I talked myself out of it. I think I was scared of alienating the readers, especially after that debacle with kleptoplasty (I can’t even tell if people googled that word or just shook their heads and moved on lol).

      But that isn’t what I liked about your story most. I liked the way you created the impression that the jock was going to fight with the teacher or the nerd over the girl and blah blah blah, but then you dashed all those expectations and gave a kind of bromance where the jock was actually really insightful and friendly, and the love triangle stuff sort of fell to the wayside!

      You know how a bunch of insects have those “primitive eyes” or “ocelli”? I was going to try to write about that. Can you picture what that would have looked like? Ugh. “Bad” writing, for sure. The three eyes are arranged in a triangle, but the head of the insect is curved, so they would have been non-Euclidian triangles of a sort, if I had written it. But then what? And who cares?

      No, you did it perfect by having the class assignment revolve around the topic, so it could be organically explained and incorporated, no additional searching the internet required.

      Kudos!

      • October 28, 2022 at 4:21 pm
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        Many thanks, John. (I remembered your real name! At least, that’s what you once said …:-)
        I was going to have some more of the maths in there but stripped it down and down in the edit. I wanted to get to the triangles whose angles add up to 0. But hey. No space.

        And so glad you caught the arc and the red-herringish hint of potential conflict. ‘Conflict is the essence of all drama’, they always say, and I have this thing about whether it’s possible to write something that doesn’t conform to that – yet not be too tedious to read!

        Ocelli – if you hadn’t told me I would have thought that’s maybe a variety of pasta, you know, fusili, bucatini, rigatoni, ocelli, kleptopasti, just like mama used to make. But having checked it out, it’s kind of fascinating in a creepy kind of way. You should go with it. Or when you set the prompt, have dorsal ocelli as a requirement.

    • October 28, 2022 at 12:05 pm
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      Hi Andy,

      This story contains one of those moments in a teaching career, as is mentioned in the text, when Mr Campion says he can now retire. I may have had the odd moment like this when the light suddenly goes on in a pupil’s head and you think, “he\she has got it.” However, most of my memories of the drip feed where pupils gradually learn and you see the positive results at year end or when they leave. You never see a stalactite forming but it happens.

      Top marks from me for this story, the dialogue and the best character, so plausible, is Josh.

      You don’t miss much do you, Andy? In my story I have made a massive historical time slip swapping Drake’s Armada victory (1588) for Nelson at Waterloo in 1815. Well spotted .What’s the odd two hundred years between friends?

      Ken Frape

      • October 28, 2022 at 4:32 pm
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        Many thanks, Ken. Yes, I think that’s often the way, the gradual dawning of the light.

        We’ll have to send you for the Life in the UK test that new citizens take, Ken. Includes the Great Moments in British History – 1066, Agincourt, the Armada, the Glorious Revolution, Trafalgar, Waterloo, Dunkirk, Battle of Britain, the Liz Truss premiership, etc 🙂 Easy to muddle up!

  • October 26, 2022 at 8:21 am
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    While I have not been able to take my story length only around 600 words, I am still submitting my entry.

    Fancy Trick
    It was a noisy corridor where the students were discussing at the arts assignments after classes at University of Maryland Campus at College Park. It was boisterous, fun filled as usual with the college crowd.

    Dave was chuckling with mischievous gleam, when John queried “What? Pulled any pranks? Spill.”
    “Meet the renowned American Picasso. At your service.” Dave made an elaborate mocking bow.
    “What did you do pal?”
    “You know geometry lessons in triangles. Signed the green blackboard at the bottom with my name and submitted as an exhibit in ‘Abstracts” section in the ‘Jane and Jacob Arts Exhibit Competition’ as ‘Fancy Triangles’. We both need to prepare our crowd about the significance of triangles.
    “Why?”
    “We need to develop the ambience by discussing amongst ourselves and ensuring the topic and its essence are conveyed to art connoisseurs. This way we can enjoy ourselves.”
    “OK. Let us give it a spin.”

    Dave and John first prepped themselves in the library reading all they can about triangles and their significance in geometry, religion, literature etc. They also had a ball discussing about the hidden significance of three-sided figures. As planned, they were joined by a whole bunch of college mates appropriately briefed about the fun ahead.

    On the day of the exhibition, the entire student population was ready and available in groups. They all took take to dress themselves in appropriate attires to pass as serious art savants. They went to the exhibit hall and started serious conversations.

    Lana started, “You guys are familiar with the infamous ‘Bermuda Triangle’.”
    Trian interjected, “Oh Yes! It is also known as the Devil’s Triangle. Mostly an urban legend. Loosely defined region in the western part of the North Atlantic Ocean. Number of aircraft and ships are said to have disappeared under mysterious circumstances.”
    “Most reputable sources dismiss the idea that there is any mystery.” Laci sounded off her knowledge.

    Ann, the pious one, butted in, “I am more interested in the holy trinity, that is ‘Father, Son and the Holy Ghost’. We are taught about it from childhood.”
    This led to the discussion on significance of triangles in other religions.
    Gita, a Hindu, piped in, “We have concept of ‘Trimurthi’ consisting of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva representing the roles of the creator, the preserver and the transformer/destroyer.”

    History buff Reggie said, “In imperial Rome, there were the ruling triumvirates, Crassus, Pompey and Caesar.”

    Art critic Julie and news reporter Gail were avidly listening to these exchanges nodding knowledgeably.
    Julie seriously re-examined the exhibit piece containing various triangles starting from acute scalene, obtuse scalene, equilateral isosceles etc. on green background. “Those are some fancy triangles.” she opined. The crowd of art lovers and other students were listening with awe in rapt attention.

    “Why the green background?” asked Dylan, a junior from National Arts College.
    “Glad you asked that.” she replied. “It signifies mother earth. Gaia supporting different tribes and religions.”

    “Why triangles?” queried Gail, reporter from City Herald local news.
    Julie pontified, “Apart from the ‘Holy Trinity’ and ‘Trimurthi’ this crowd were discussing about, there are several inherent spiritual meanings associated with triangles.”
    Showing off, Gail interjected, “Oh Yes! It embodies the concept of manifestation. They’re about moving forward and willing what you want into existence.”

    The judges went around the exhibits. They were keenly listening to the discussions all around about crowds’ and the explanations reactions to the exhibits. They were drawn to ‘Fancy Triangles’ on the green blackboard.

    After due considerations and consultations, it was declared the third winning entry much to the cheers of the surrounding crowd and the amusement and silent jeers of Dave and his cronies.

    • October 26, 2022 at 2:24 pm
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      You captured the college scene rather well. A few errors here and there but given the elusive singularity of the topic- one should make no complaints. Brings out the high browed, nose-in-the-air critiques that art critics are wont to do. It’s a story no doubt, however short.

      • October 27, 2022 at 4:30 pm
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        Thanks, Marien.

        I have been extremely busy and could devote the last 24 hours.
        I just finished 40 minutes before deadline.

        Jagan

    • October 27, 2022 at 2:10 pm
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      Yes, a nice and different take on the triangle theme, picking up on both symbolism and the culture and pretensions of the modern art world. This worked as a shorter story, for sure.

      • October 27, 2022 at 4:32 pm
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        Thx Andy.
        As I wrote above to Marien, I was pushed for time and tried to get a short story in.
        Jagan

  • October 26, 2022 at 8:22 am
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    Sorry, my entry is so late. I could not get my word count up. My bad.

    • October 26, 2022 at 9:56 am
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      Carrie, I’m running about 15 minutes late on posting my story. I thought I would have it done by the deadline and will have it in a few minutes. I’d appreciate a short delay. Hopefully, thanks in advance, Roy

      • October 26, 2022 at 10:24 am
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        No worries Roy – you still have an hour and 40 minutes from this timestamp.

        • October 26, 2022 at 10:41 am
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          I thought it was due by 11:00AM EST? and Voting starts at 1:00PM, or are you just being nice to all of us struggling procrastinators out here? Actually, I’m not struggling, I’m pretty good at it.

          Anyway, it’s posted and thanks.

          Roy

        • October 27, 2022 at 5:48 am
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          Carrie,
          I don’t appear to have the voting page .I’m all ready to vote.
          Ken Frape

        • October 27, 2022 at 8:47 am
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          No problem Carrie, for me it means being able to read the stories again and make good choices. Good luck everyone. Plus, making comments and perhaps a crit or two.

    • October 26, 2022 at 10:59 am
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      Jagan – sometime a story only requires 600 words to be told. The word count is the maximum, I’ve seen stories win with less than 300 words. 🙂

      • October 26, 2022 at 1:13 pm
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        Thx Carrie

  • October 26, 2022 at 10:34 am
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    Three Sides
    By RM York
    1204 words

    Professor Clifford turned to face his audience. On the large blackboard, he had laid out several triangles of various sizes and types. “Before you leave, this is your next assignment,” he said, then placed the piece of chalk on his desk with a flourish. “Are there any questions?”

    Several hands shot up and he pointed to a young man in the second row of seats to his left. “Will this be on the test,” the student asked and got a big laugh from the rest of the students.

    “Perhaps. Now, do you have a real question, or are you just seeing how far you can get before I lower your grade?”

    The laughter died down quickly and the student lost the smirk on his face. “Uh, no professor, I was just trying to be funny.”

    “I assure you it was not funny. Any other questions?”

    “I don’t understand,” said another student near the back of the class. “All I see are a bunch of triangles and nothing else. What does it mean?”

    “Who can tell me what an asterism is?” asked the professor. “If you were paying attention yesterday you would know exactly what these triangles may represent.” A young female student raised her hand. “Yes, Miss umm… “

    “O’Hara,” she answered.

    “Go ahead, Ms. O’Hara, can you tell us?”

    “An asterism is any arbitrary unofficial pattern in the night sky made up of stars and can be assigned to a single constellation or a series of constellations. Some of them have names and are well known to astronomers both amateur and professional alike, such as the Winter Triangle and the Summer Triangle.”

    “Very good Ms. O’Hara; you recited that almost verbatim. Does anyone else know where that passage is found? No hands were raised. “Would you care to tell them, Ms. O’Hara?”

    “In the opening paragraph of today’s assignment.”

    “Has anyone else in the class besides Ms. O’Hara bothered to read today’s assignment?”

    “Come on, Professor. You know last night was Spirit Night for the big Homecoming Game Saturday. There wasn’t much studying done last night by hardly anybody. Cut us some slack will ya? It’s the biggest game of the year. And it’s for all the marbles.” It was the young man in the second row again.

    The professor smiled. And your name is …

    “Andy Stewart,” he said, and flashed a big smile. “Give us another chance. By next week every one of us will be able to tell you the name of every asterisk up there.” His mispronunciation garnered another laugh.

    The professor removed his glasses and pinched the bridge of his nose as if warding off a headache.

    “Tell you what Mr. Stewart. I will leave these … asterisms … on the blackboard. On Friday each of you will be assigned one and will walk up to the board and identify it,” he said. “Those that get it correct will be free to go to the game. Those that cannot, will spend Saturday afternoon during the “big” game here, in class, learning each of them. Failure to show will result in a failing grade for the semester. Do I make myself clear? Any questions? I didn’t think so. Class dismissed.”

    Pip O’Hara wrapped the shawl around her shoulders tighter as she looked toward the ceiling. Weak light filtered onto the library table she had stacked with books and papers that were scattered in front of her. She heard a cough behind her and turned to see Andy Stewart holding a paper sack in one hand and a stack of books in the other.

    “Those are some fancy triangles you got there,” he said.

    She looked at him in bewilderment. “What on earth are you talking about?” She looked down at the papers before her. “I don’t see any triangles.”

    “The ones in your ears; your earrings. Are those real diamonds?”

    She reached up and touched the earring in her right ear. “I forgot I was wearing these. Does it make a difference?”

    “Not really, although I do hope you’re rich in addition to being beautiful.”

    “They were a gift from my late father,” the shadow of a frown crossing her features.

    Wondering how she was going to fend off this unwanted interruption, she brightened as she realized to whom she was talking. “You’re the comedian from Professor Clifford’s class this morning, aren’t you? The one who may spend Saturday in class instead of at the big game.”

    “What makes you say that?”

    “I’ve met your type before. Show up in class unprepared, try to diffuse a bad situation with humor, then at the end of the semester, pray to the education gods to grant you a passing grade.”

    “Wow, you have me all figured out. Maybe I should take this bag of Sleidermann’s freshly made Cinnamon Buns over to another table and eat them myself.”

    He opened the bag and held it out, the aroma drifting toward her. Her stomach growled as the sweet fragrance of cinnamon assailed her nostrils. It reminded her she hadn’t eaten since breakfast and it was now late afternoon.” Did I mention they are hot?”

    She smiled ruefully. “I suppose, just this one time it will be all right, but I must warn you I have a black belt in Karate.”

    “Good, then I won’t have to defend these from any intruders. You can hold them off while I eat. Unless, of course, we set these aside and I buy you dinner. Then we can go to my place for dessert.”

    “That’s not gonna happen.”

    “Ahhh, come on, Misty would love to meet you.”

    “Misty?”

    “My roommate. She’ll be there, too. You’ll be perfectly safe with another female there. Then you can explain all those asterisk things to me and I won’t have to miss the big game on Saturday. Whaddaya say?”

    She rolled her eyes. “Asterisms.”

    “Come on. I’ll carry your books. Dinner first, then dessert, then asterisms. I’ll help you and you will not only help me, but you’ll also help out the whole school.”

    “How would that help the whole school?”

    “Because, I need this class to graduate, and if I blow that test on Friday I won’t be able to play in the game on Saturday and that would let down the whole school.”

    “Play in the game? I don’t understand. You’re not big enough to be a football player.”

    “Ouch. As it turns out, I’m the field goal kicker. Come on, let’s just go to my place and we can study. Seriously. Time’s wasting.”

    “Well, I don’t want to let down the school. You’re really on the football team?”

    Andy shook his head. “I really am. All five feet nine inches of me.”

    As they walked to the door of Andy’s apartment, Pip stopped and grabbed Andy by the arm. “And get this straight. There will be no love triangles. Understood?

Andy laughed as he opened the door to the apartment. “Guaranteed.” A small Yorkshire terrier bounded across the apartment and into Andy’s arms. “Pip, meet Misty.”

    “Well, aren’t you just the cutest thing?” said Pip as she took Misty from Andy.

    “Thanks,” said Andy. “I think you’re cute, too. But, we really need to study.”

    Pip laughed. “This just might work out.”

    • October 26, 2022 at 2:09 pm
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      Wow! Real nice story. You packed in a nerd, some earrings, a backbencher, and a dog providing the twist! 🙂
      Hope Andy ain’t faking his goal kicking role.
      And you got me googling the Big Dipper asters.
      Enjoyed it.

    • October 26, 2022 at 6:01 pm
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      Hi
      U got in your story just after mine but made it in time.
      I enjoyed the ‘asterism’ and interaction of the students with the professor.
      Very humorous.
      Jagan

    • October 27, 2022 at 2:26 pm
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      Well, a certain sense of déjà vu – or great minds think alike! Perhaps the exact phrase we had to use lends itself to this kind of initial scene.

      But after the first exchanges, our stories do diverge (thank goodness!). Mine is more about the contrast between two characters, how an extravert and an introvert interact and mature each in their own way. While yours is about asterisms and a footballer, stars at different levels. And a girl and a dog to complete the triangle.

      My goodness, your professor seems a bit of a hard-ass. No nonsense allowed here. But I bet the football coach would have something to say if the prof carried through with his threat.

      Best of all is an athletic smooth-talking hero called Andy who gets the girl. I can identify with that 🙂

  • October 26, 2022 at 10:58 am
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    Oh, that’s right – honestly, I forgot I put that rule in there!
    I remember adding it because people were posting their stories at 1 minute before the time I was supposed to post the voting link, and it can take 30+ minutes to create the voting page sometimes…..
    Thanks for the reminder!!!!!

  • October 26, 2022 at 6:10 pm
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    Hello peeps,

    I totally choked on this prompt. I had a pretty good idea and wrote a terrible story, that had no ending a bad beginning and the middle sucked too. Other than that, it had no ending. Plus it took several days for me to figure out that it sucked. (Probably doesn’t deserve an ending.) Not much Internet service down here in the catacombs, I have to… (Okay, I’m not really in the catacombs. And even if I was, I would have no ending. I’m endingless.) But I hope to read the stories and vote for some of them.

    I just checked on the rules and we have until tomorrow at noon to vote. Should be no problem.

    I’ll have to download the stories to my laptop, hike back up to the cabin at ‘Pinnacle Point’. Read the stories with my usual painstaking attention to detail (the kind of painstaking that you all deserve, I’m sure.) Get an early start tomorrow because I’ll have to rappel back down to the Valley of Shadows, one-handed, (because I have to carry the laptop, you see,) hike all the way to the fire tower on ‘shotgun hill’ and upload my votes. But don’t worry, it’s no problem. I like voting.

    I’m sure you would all do the same for me anyway. (It better be worth it or you peeples will be in serious, serious, very serious, uh… whut were we talkin’ about? Truffles. You’ll all be in serious truffles.

  • October 27, 2022 at 6:02 am
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    Hi All,

    Big apologies that I haven’t found the time to write comments that you all deserve. If my current level of motivation was paid as a commission, I would owe money. And I don’t even have to climb a mountain one handed like Ken C. I’m not offering excuses by the way. Ken C does that so much more effectively than I do.

    I have spent as much time as I have available ( expecting the hammer to drop any minute) making sure I have actually read all of the stories again before voting. Tick.

    I have my own voting system whereby I read the first story and give it a score out of 100. I always try to read them more than once. The next story gets either a higher or lower score and so on until the end. I try not to take any notice of the author’s name just base my score on my gut reaction to the quality of the story and the writing.

    Currently, I can’t see Carrie’s voting page so this message may be a waste of time but I will vote if I can. My scores are all ready to go.

    Cheers all,

    Ken Frape

    • October 27, 2022 at 11:21 am
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      Hey Ken (F-stop)

      The mountain I climb is actually a 4-foot pile of mulch. But I certainly do climb it one-handed. (Sometimes with no hands.)

      I don’t know what you’re doing that’s more important than this website Ken, but I’ve been watching the leaves change colors, and it’s very tedious work. Watching, watching, watching. Get a cup of coffee. Go back to watching. You can’t really see them change though. They change overnight when we’re all sleeping. Very sneaky these trees. They all look like they’re all just standing around, doing nothing. But the roots, my friends. the roots are active. I admit, I don’t know what they’re up to, but,,, and I’m not even a suspicious person. But the trees are definitely trying to distract us with their leaves, while the roots bore, burrow and — you know, stuff like that.

      I think it’s outstanding that you have a system for voting, I use a dartboard, magnets, an accelerometer, a beagle, and string. It’s complex, but extremely accurate.

      Okay, I’m going to go vote now and go back to the leaves. Will definitely try to write a story for the next prompt. A serious story, with no jokes, or funnies.

      Cheers.

      • October 28, 2022 at 3:09 pm
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        Don’t forget my humble submission at the bottom, please! See if you can catch the hidden meaning … I gave a not-so-subtle clue when I named one of the characters after myself.

    • October 28, 2022 at 6:07 pm
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      Ken, love your voting idea. I might try to incorporate something like that for me. Thanks!

  • October 27, 2022 at 7:29 am
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    Ohhhhhhhhhhh mah gawd……
    I wrote up the voting comment at about 11:45am.
    Got pulled into a meeting and LITERALLY never hit “post”!!

    SOOOOOOO sorry everyone!

    Since I fubar’d the voting so we’ll make the voting cutoff the same time on Friday instead of Thursday.

    Sorry everyone hahaha!


    Ok writers!!

    Time is up and here is the voting link:
    https://fictionwritersgroup.com/voting-fancy-triangles-2022/

    Good luck!

  • October 27, 2022 at 10:01 am
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    Hi all, Sorry I haven’t been able to comment. I am amazed (as always) at the creativity of the stories here about triangles. I read and enjoyed each one. I learned about a new (old) game thanks to Ken F. I’d never heard of (Subbuteo). I’m going to try to find one for my grandson who plays soccer for Christmas. I had to look up asterisms thanks to Roy. That’s about the extent that my Covid brain could handle. I have voted – which was extremely difficult due to the high quality of each story! Good luck to you all! Adi

  • October 27, 2022 at 2:19 pm
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    Also unable to comment. Rather busy this end of the woods. Floods and end of term 4 looming up with reports due in three weeks and I have 60 plus year 9 reports to write plus parents to chase up. I am flat to the boards, tired and looking forward to around the 20th of December which is just under two months away.
    Sorry I did not comment on the stories. Mine badly needs editing and I did not do that. Some very polished and fabulous stories on this prompt. Loved Andy Lake’s use of dialogue and Roy’s very sweet story, along with a lot of other very clever and readable stories.
    Anyway it is 6.16 am and I have to milk a goat and shower before heading to school. Must grab a coffee from Bird On a Wire cafe before school at 7.30am. Take care all and Happy Thanksgiving <3 <3 <3
    Let’s thank G-d for all our blessings in this life, despite the challenges, traumas and hatreds of some, this is a good world if we do a small part in making it more about what we can do and contribute, than what we can get out of others or situations.

  • October 27, 2022 at 4:49 pm
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    Sssibboleth
    By Rumplefinkies
    Word Count: 1,199

    “Greetings and salutations! Hearken, Brothers and Sisters! Tonight, we must discuss a very concerning development. It has come to my attention that … we have a traitor in our midst. A trespasser. A transgressor. An alien who has donned a disguise and strolled right into our parlor.”

    Brent waited for the murmurs and sharp inhalations to subside, but the pause was unnecessary. Not a soul batted an eye, for they all suspected as much.

    “I know that there is no point continuing with our affairs as planned, given the situation. Everything will have to be suspended until we can find the Judas amongst us. But don’t worry – I have devised a cunning way for us to root this mimic out.”

    Patrick, who looked sweatier than usual, raised a timid hand.

    “Speak your mind freely, Brother, for thou art nestled snuggly in the Bosom of –

    Brent stopped when he saw the collective look from his brethren, allowing Patrick to pipe in.

    “But … and forgive me if this is exceedingly preemptive, wouldn’t it help to consider why we have been intruded upon in such an intimate way? I mean to say, such as it were, when it all comes down to it …”

    Natasha came to the rescue.

    “Why does anyone give a shit about what we do in this abandoned cigar shop?”

    “Hey! I do good business here, on the weekends mostly, but I bring home plenty! It just seems desolate because you guys keep making me close shop for our meetings during the middle of the day!”

    An especially dirty look was shared with Natasha at this juncture.

    “My sales and profits aside, she has a great point. I don’t think anyone really cares about our special … club. Certainly not enough to spy on us! An interloper would have to learn our Sacred Doctrine by heart in order to infiltrate our group! And we haven’t done anything to draw attention to ourselves … yet! Besides, no one knows about the secret p – “

    A hard, under-the-table kick from Lindsay silenced Quinn before he could give away more.

    “Shut up! We don’t know how long the mole has been here … or how much they know. They could be a new recruit …”

    All eyes went towards John. He shuffled his feet and looked down.

    “… a veteran …”

    Deafening silence as they each awkwardly stole furtive glances around the circle of suspects.

    “… or even one of the original Trinity!”

    Quinn, Brent, and Natasha sat there and let the gazes scan over them without flinching, like true leaders with nothing to hide, but no one really bought it. Any one of them could be the wolf in the fold. Enough time had passed.

    People have a tendency to change their beliefs as they get older. Sometimes they double down on their original dogma. Other times … they see Death approaching and cast aside their old ways.

    This ragtag group of constituents was like every other group since time immemorial. They could split in two, or even fracture into a dozen new organizations. This was to be expected, eventually.

    Natasha seized the reigns once more.

    “An excellent point, Lindsay. But we can sort all that out later. For now, we will proceed with Brent’s ’cunning’ plan. Brent?”

    “Thank you, Natasha. I have designed a shibboleth of sorts. A test to cause our discreet friend to expose their true nature. Normally, this kind of thing would have to be arranged so that each subject is tested in a separate, soundproof room. No way for them to cheat that way. But we are going to try something different. I have a feeling that my method will get the results we need …”

    Natasha looked worried but nodded her head for Brent to proceed.

    “Heed my words, Coven of Comrades. Courtesy of Brother Quinn, cigars have been provided during the test. We shall go around the table and recite randomly selected passages from our Unwritten Codex. This shouldn’t be a problem for anyone assembled, even The Mole, but it will shine the Light of Truth upon our vexing –”

    Another ring of annoyed faces stopped him cold. These days everyone at the round table was growing increasingly impatient with his pontifications and flowery speech. What was the point of being a member of a secret society if you couldn’t pepper in some fancy words now and then? The Codex was chock full of gems like that!

    It suddenly occurred to Brent that he was the only one who really appreciated the grandiose verbiage and occult trappings of it all. They just went through the motions, like saying the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag, but they didn’t care for any of the rituals or traditions. When did that happen? Were they all just doing this for the free smokes and camaraderie?

    “Okay, okay! Natasha? You will be reciting the second and third sentences of Chapter Seven. If you will?”

    “I will not fear the arrows of my enemies, for their barbs shall turn to soft velvet in the Mist of Eternal Veracity. Yea, though I am beset on all sides by the Speakers of Falsehood, my faith shall not falter.”

    The room rolled their eyes. What kind of a test was this? Everyone would have gotten that! It was one of the cooler lines, and one that filled you with a kind of heady righteousness.

    Natasha glowered triumphantly and blew a massive smoke ring. It was majestic and inhumanely perfect. She winked at Brent overtly and gave the rest of the group a challenging look.

    “Quinn, you will be reciting the seventh and eighth sentences of Chapter Eleven.”

    “Glory be to the Treader of Forgotten Paths, for She hath bestowed upon Humanity the Greatest Boon. Where She passes, Ignorance must perish.”

    Quinn blew a large smoke ring, paused meaningfully, and then blew a second, smaller, swifter ring right through the center. But he had an unfair advantage, as the proprietor of a cigar shop.

    And on it went down the table, each member reciting a portion of a passage and then trying to blow a better smoke ring than the last. No one could top Quinn.

    When it finally came to John, everyone held their breath. He was new and weird and constantly fidgeting in a guilty, sulky fashion.

    “The serpent is blessed, for his belly tickles the Earth and his humility outshines us all! Who among you dares tread upon him, the Avatar of She Who Awaits?”

    Disbelief hung on every face, including John’s. Even he couldn’t believe that he had remembered that line correctly! He took a long drag on the Macanudo, blew a prodigious smoke ring that put Quinn’s to shame, and produced two smaller shapes that shot through the first.

    Natasha stood with irritated impatience.

    “Brent … you bastard … what the Hell? You said that would work! We just wasted a lot of time, and we made no …”

    She trailed off and stared at the forms hovering in the air over the center of the round table.

    “Those are some fancy triangles.”

    John waggled a second and forked tongue as he ran for the doorway.

    • October 28, 2022 at 10:41 am
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      A lot of smoke-blowing throughout the story, and you very successfully keep the reveal to the very end. Fun story, Rumples!

    • October 28, 2022 at 4:18 pm
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      Fun story, John. I had to look up the word shibboleth. I’ve heard the word once or twice, but never knew, or remembered what it was. I had a feeling there would be some hissing due to the title, but completely forgot what the prompt was until the last two lines. As Andy said, a lot of smoke, but thankfully, no mirrors.

  • October 27, 2022 at 4:51 pm
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    Not trying to qualify, just sharing what I wrote today.

  • October 28, 2022 at 10:22 am
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    Good job Triang-ghouls and Triang-gals! Happy Halloween and All Saint’s Day, in case I don’t see ya.

    I missed the deadline by a whole day, then spent a couple of hours writing a piece that doesn’t require any googling, I promise. I almost put it on the next prompt, but there was no little girl and there ain’t no way to add one, so I put it at the bottom of this page underneath the valid stories (where it belongs lol).

  • October 28, 2022 at 11:47 am
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    Just a quick note, I have to run a errand, and then I’ll be home to tell the votes. So if you haven’t completed yours yet please get them in ASAP.

    • October 29, 2022 at 9:19 am
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      Tallyman, tallyman, tally me bananas, come day light and me wanna know the vote, (with apologies toHarry Belafonte),

  • October 28, 2022 at 5:22 pm
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    What’s the time Mrs Wolf?? Time to tally?

  • October 29, 2022 at 11:17 am
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    Hi all!
    Sorry for the delay – got home later than expected and was too tired to tally the 26 votes – lots of folks that just popped in to vote!
    Without further ado here are your winners!

    1st Place: Triangle Dreams by Vicki Chvatal
    2nd Place: A New Angle or Three by Andy Lake
    3rd Place: Three Sides by RM York
    4th Place: Try-Angles by ozjohn66
    5th Place: The Sun by Phil Town
    6th Place: Three Sided Friends by Ken Frape
    7th Place: Fancy Triangles by Liz Fisher
    8th Place: Triangulated Times by ilyaleed
    9th Place: Fancy Trick by Jagan Parthasarathy
    10th Place: Pinnacle to Pit by marien oommen

    Favorite Character: “Narrator” in ozjohn66’s Try-Angles
    Favorite Dialogue: A New Angle or Three by Andy Lake

    Congrats to all!!!!

    • October 29, 2022 at 11:49 am
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      Congrats to winners.

    • October 29, 2022 at 1:30 pm
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      Hey, congratulations to Vicki for her original and inventive story, a deserved winner. And also to Roy and Oz John, also up on the podium! Congrats to all for interesting and entertaining reads!
      And thanks to everyone who liked my story enough for me to be up here also 🙂

    • October 29, 2022 at 11:08 pm
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      I’ve been very neglectful in making comments on stories and I have lots of excuses which don’t matter because this batch of stories were amazing, the skills, imagination, intelligence of this group inspires awe. The top stories deserve the praise. I make a little cheat sheet as I read the stories with a list of authors and story title, notes on what catches me first and draws me in and a potential placement rating… The ratings changed several times and it was difficult to reach a final decision. As I mentioned you guys are all amazing and I like to read what you write.

      • October 30, 2022 at 3:38 am
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        It is indeed often hard to find the time to write stories, read them, and comment too. I’m not able to cope with a story every two weeks!

        All the same – Carrie mentioned there were 26 people voting. Yet only a handful of people offering feedback. I think it would be nice if at least some of the silent majority who voted did offer a few comments when they don’t write a story, to add to the spirit of the community. It would be much appreciated if they did so.

        • October 30, 2022 at 7:57 am
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          That’s a good point. I’m assuming they’re actually reading the stories and not just blind voting.

          Maybe in my next newsletter I’ll mention that feedback is always appreciated.

          • October 30, 2022 at 9:15 am
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            Hi Carrie,

            Thanks for keeping things going in spite of your busy life.

            I am interested in the above comments about the 26 people who voted. I guess it is within the rules to vote without entering a story ( although I can’t see it actually stated that this is so or that it isn’t) but I feel uneasy about exactly who these people are as there are only about twelve people or thererabouts who regularly post a story. I always assumed it was just the writers who voted.

            I know we have people who may contribute a story only every now and then and perhaps former writers still follow the stories. Does this account for the 26?

            This isn’t a moan, by the way. I’m just interested.

            Ken Frape

            • October 30, 2022 at 12:46 pm
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              Hi Ken,
              Your question is very valid.
              Often times people who do not submit a story vote, it’s pretty rare that we get the exact amount of voting folks for the exact amount of same story submitted. There’s always extras. You would be surprised at how many people have contributed three four even five years ago and every once in a while pop into vote.

              We also have a handful of “lurkers” who have never submitted a story, but read the stories, and then vote. And they are real people, because I’m pretty careful about the site being secure and disallowing bots and fake voting…

              We had a writer a couple years ago who had an absolute fit, because she tweeted and Facebooked and Snapchatted the link and asked people just to go vote for her. Those people weren’t reading, they were just voting. And I caught it, and she was not happy that I called her out on it.

            • October 30, 2022 at 10:15 pm
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              Hopefully that answers your question and assuaged your concerns.

              • October 31, 2022 at 4:01 am
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                Hi Carrie,

                Thanks for replying to my questions. That does answer my queries. Thanks.
                Ken F

  • October 29, 2022 at 2:08 pm
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    Congrats Vicki, and Andy and Ozjohn, It’s nice to be wearing the bronze, but it’s even better to feel good about writing again. Onward and upwards. See ya next story.

    Roy

  • October 29, 2022 at 2:29 pm
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    Congratulations Vicki. Well deserved, Great writing guys and congrats to the runners up etc. 🙂

  • October 29, 2022 at 2:49 pm
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    Congratulations, Vicki, Andy, Roy … et al!

    • October 30, 2022 at 9:17 am
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      Well done all, once again. Another intriguing collection. The imagination and skill of our group knows no bounds.
      Ken Frape

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