“Wash Me!”

PHOTO PROMPT © Russell Gayer

The hurricane wreaked havoc for miles and miles. Flooding affected millions of people, destroying homes and vehicles.

Jim’s big van survived, just barely. Once the floods receded, the van was left with filthy residue, covered with debris. The motor was fatally wounded. Insurance claims were taking months, even years, because of the numbers applying.

But that wasn’t enough. Soon, words were written in the muck: “Wash me, lazy pig!” and worse.

Jim set out buckets of soapy water and rags. He wrote “Help Me!” under the original message.

The vandalism stopped. The van got washed.

Rejection Slips


Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt.


Brandon sighed as he pulled the familiar long white envelope out of his mail box.  “Every publisher must use the same envelope, the same form, the same biting words of rejection,” he thought as he slit the top of the envelope with his pocket knife. “You’d think they could come up with something better than they do. ‘We aren’t in the market for this genre. . . . . . this doesn’t fit our needs at this time. . . . .’ ”  Sometimes he wished someone would at least tell him it was good writing, but not what they were looking for.

Just one little crumb of encouragement would help.

He was tempted to just toss the envelope in the trash. He was so sure it was another rejection slip, and he just didn’t think he could  deal with another one. There had been three so far this week.  It was Tuesday.

But he had to look, so he pulled the single sheet of paper out of the envelope and unfolded it.  Good quality paper, he realized, and not just another form letter.  Huh.

His pulse picked up a little.  Maybe?  Maybe this time?

“Dear Mr. Paynter,

We were pleased to receive your manuscript.  We would like to meet with you to discuss the possibility of publishing your story.  We haven’t made a decision at this time, but we like your style and we like the fresh approach.  Of course, ————-“

“Oh boy, here it comes,” sighed Brandon to himself. “The inevitable turndown. Can’t get away from it.”  But he continued reading.

“Of course, our short story editor will have some suggestions.  We’re hoping we can work together toward getting your story in print.”

There were details, a number to call, an editor’s name.

Suddenly, the reality hit and Brandon’s knees gave out.  He slumped into his desk chair, hands shaking, as he realized someone was actually thinking of publishing his work!

Rejection is not always inevitable.


Rich, Poor, and In-Between

West End Girls

Every city and town contains people of different classes: rich, poor, and somewhere in between. What’s it like where you live? If it’s difficult for you to discern and describe the different types of classes in your locale, describe what it was like where you grew up — was it swimming pools and movie stars, industrial and working class, somewhere in between or something completely different?


Okay, I know this scenario exists.  Wrong side of the tracks, Skid Row, uptown, downtown, the Projects, Millionaire Mile, and all the other names we give to places to make it clear what’s what on the dollar scale.

It just doesn’t matter to me.

I grew up for the first ten years of my life in North Minneapolis.  Some people wouldn’t want to admit that.  It’s not exactly a posh neighborhood these days.

Then we lived in a suburb of Portland, Oregon for a year; moved into the city itself and rented three places that I loved, all for different reasons. When I was 14, we moved to St. James, Minnesota.  Little farm town. The wealthy and the poor were there, too.  I had friends all across the spectrum.

Sure, I knew there were divisions. I knew there were places I’d never go, clothes I would never wear, possessions I’d never have. I became more aware of such things in high school, as most of us do, but still it didn’t matter much.  I did well in school, did lots of extra-curricular things and had a very diverse group of friends.

College?  Things became a bit more pronounced there.  I had to work.  Many other students didn’t.  They got to be involved in things I could only dream about.  Still, I had a great time.

Marriage, kids.  A big church where financial standing didn’t matter a whole lot.There was one family, very well-to-do, who opened their home and yard  often to a wide range of people from poor to not-poor, and we all had a great time together.

I’ve really never suffered or worried over not being  from the right side of the tracks.  Maybe I lived a protected life.  I know terrible poverty exists, and I know not everyone has a story like mine.

Just to clarify, we were very poor when I was a kid. There was nothing extra.  Hand-me-downs were the standard, with no attention paid to labels. We’ve worked hard, studied hard, and done pretty well, as you can in America.  At least, you could. I don’t know if you still can.

Still, I’ve pretty much lived happily ever after.

Red Hot!

If “failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor” (Truman Capote), how spicy do you like your success stories?


Most of us, unless we are unusually gifted or brainy or just plain lucky, work very hard and fail many times before we hit our stride and become successful. The lessons we learn when we fail are what contribute to our successes, if we’re paying attention at all.

Even if we do succeed without multiple failures, sweat and dedication are a part of the formula for that success.  I believe it was the inventor Thomas Edison who said that success is 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration.  Smart man.

So, yeah, I’d like my success story to be hot like the hottest curry from India, or the hottest Mexican dish out there.  Spicy, bursting with flavor and heat, eye-watering, gasping spicy. 

After all, don’t YOU want everyone around you to know when you’ve finally “made it”?  Success is measured in different ways by different people, and I don’t care if I’m ever famous.  I would just like to know, at the end of my life, that I lived it well and wisely.  I want to be able to meet my Savior and hear, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”

That would give a whole lot of sweetness to the spice.