WEP: The End is the Beginning

This is my first time to participate in the Write…Edit…Publish Challenge. I want to thank Denise Covey, Yolanda Renee, Nilanjana Bose, and Olga Godin for this blogging event. I decided to use a fictional Holiday/End of the year family newsletter. It takes a look back at the events of the year as it draws to a close and looks forward to what the new year might bring. I hope you find it amusing.


Dear Friends,

I hope this Christmas letter finds your family in good health and good cheer. The Calamity family has had a very exciting and eventful year so I wanted to share the highlights with our dearest friends.

Granny Calamity celebrated her ninety-ninth birthday back in March. We’re all so happy to have had her with us all these years. She insisted on making her own cake. You know how she can be. When Cousin Carol tried to move the cake to the table, it was so heavy that she dropped it on Grandpa’s foot. He screamed so loud that everyone came running. The cake was still in one piece but Grandpa was still screaming in pain. He picked up the cake, threw it out the back door, and accidentally hit their dog Lucky. It knocked Lucky out cold. We had to take Grandpa to the hospital and Lucky to the veterinarian. Grandpa got a cast and a walker which made him none too happy. Lucky got brain damage. He sounds like a bullfrog now when he barks and he occasionally just passes out and falls over. We think poor dear old granny might have mistaken a bag of cement for a bag of flour when she was making the cake.

Grandpa was miserable with his cast and his walker until he had an unexpected visit from old friends. Three World War II army vets showed up at the door looking for a Chester they had served with during the war. They talked about the “good old days” and about the war for hours before one of them finally decided that Grandpa was not the right Chester. They invited Grandpa to their reunion anyway before they left. As they left, I heard them arguing over the name of the man they were looking for. I think they decided his name was Charlie instead of Chester but Grandpa was happy for the day. He may have made new friends or met with old ones. We’re not sure.

After only twelve years, Cousin Stu graduated from college with an associate’s degree. He must have been well known on campus because there was quite a reaction from the audience when the Dean called his name, Clo Stu Calamity, during the ceremony. We had a family celebration afterward and Uncle Andy brought some of the wonderful apple cider that he makes himself and sells at The Kountry Store. He didn’t stay for the party because he had to work. It was the best batch of apple cider he had ever made and we all drank a lot of it. I think the party got pretty wild but none of us remembers very much about it. We all woke up on the floor the next morning with really bad headaches.

Uncle Andy came by that morning to pick up his bottles for recycling and saw everyone’s condition. He smelled one of the bottles and said the apple cider went bad. What he really meant was that somehow it had fermented and we all had gotten very drunk. The only thing wrong with us was that we all had hangovers. There is never a dull moment when the Calamity family gets together.

Uncle Andy felt so bad about messing up his apple cider that he finally retired. We later learned that there were a number of graduation celebrations that night that ended just like ours because of Uncle Andy’s apple cider. He didn’t understand why orders for his apple cider went up tenfold after that weekend. He had to keep telling people he had retired.

After retirement, he decided he wanted a pet. I went with him to the animal shelter thinking he could find a nice dog. Instead, he saw a kitten with an extra toe and chose to adopt him. He said cats with an extra toe were good luck and were smarter than most pets. He must have been right because he taught that kitten to sit, roll over, and play dead. He takes that kitten with him almost everywhere he goes. He even puts him on a leash and walks him like a dog. It is a little confusing when he takes him to Granny and Grandpa’s because he named the kitten Lucky just like Grandpa’s dog.

I saved the most exciting event of the year for last. Granny received an award from the Mayor. A couple of months ago Granny insisted on going to the bank to get some money so she could do some early Christmas shopping. She refused to go through the drive-through so we went inside. Just as we reached the front of the line, three men wearing ski masks and carrying guns ran through the door and yelled that they were robbing the bank. The teller got the money together and handed the full bag to the robbers. Right then Granny keeled over flat on the floor.

The robbers started arguing about not going down for murder. They dropped the money and ran out the door. They ran right into a group of police officers walking over to the café next to the bank. The robbers were arrested and are now in prison. An ambulance was sent for Granny but she regained consciousness just as they were about to put her on a gurney. She stood up, brushed herself off, and threatened to punch the paramedics if they touched her. The Mayor decided to give her an award for her role in stopping the robbery. I’ve enclosed a photo of the award ceremony but it’s a little blurry because my hands were shaking from the cold. Granny is the tiny red spot on the right.

All in all, it was a very good year for the Calamity family. I wonder what exciting things the new year will bring.

Happy Holidays and best wishes for the coming New Year from the entire Calamity family.

With Love,

Ima Calamity


copyright ©2017 L.J. Leighton All Rights Reserved

Word Count: 990 FCA






The Bear Attack

Christie, Doug, and Tammy sat in Tammy’s living room reminiscing about old times. These were Christie’s best friends. It started in High School and had lasted for almost fifteen years. Their careers had separated them by miles but Christie thought it was great when they got together. The conversation turned to their current lives.
“How’s your anxiety disorder? Has it been rough since you were attacked?” Tammy asked Christie.
Christie was shocked by Tammy abruptness in changing the topic to something so sensitive.
“It’s tough but I’ll be fine. How about your promotion?” She quickly changed the topic.
Tammy prattled on about her promotion and the interior designer she had hired.
“Look’s nice.” Christie wasn’t listening. She wondered if Tammy was different or had she always been this self-absorbed. Maybe I’m the one that changed, Christie thought. She interrupted Tammy when she finally paused long enough to take a breath between sentences and asked Doug a question.
“My job’s great but Dennis and I are starting our own business.” He went on telling them about his business plan and potential investors. When Doug started going into the esoteric details of business financing and the tax differences of different types of business models, she couldn’t listen to another word.
Christie lifted her glass. “Here’s to good friends and bright futures.”
Christie heard a loud bump coming from a back room. She jumped.

“Did you hear that?” Doug asked.

“Oh, did that scare you?” Tammy looked at Christie. “It’s probably nothing.”

There was a louder bump. Then another. They all stared at each other wide-eyed.

Christie’s mind whirled. She lowered her voice to a whisper. “Is anyone else or a pet in here?”


The bumping continued.

Christie turned to Doug. “Do you have a pocket knife?”

He fished one out of his pocket. Instead of heading down the hall he handed it to Christie. She glared at him then flicked it open and headed down the hall herself.

“You’re going back there? What if it’s an intruder?” Tammy asked.
Doug also muttered some half-hearted protest.

“If there is an ax murderer back there, I’m not going to just sit here and wait for him to come kill us.” She turned and continued toward the back room.

Christie noticed neither of them followed her down the hall in case she needed help.
When she entered the room, she saw something move in the dark. She held the knife tightly as she flipped on the light. What she discovered was a large, slightly deflated Winnie-the-Pooh balloon floating in the air. It was tied to a chair but it had deflated just enough to put it in the path of the fan. The fan was pushing it against some books and knocking them to the floor one by one. She cut the balloon ribbon. Maybe all three of them had changed, Christie thought, or maybe they had just grown in different directions. It didn’t really matter because she just knew it was time for new friends.

She dragged the balloon to the living room and presented the culprit to Tammy and Doug.

“I just saved your pansy asses from a horrible bear attack.”

Bad Breaks

Daphne downed her third single malt then walked out the door before realizing she had forgotten her hat. She reached into her pocket for her key. It wasn’t there. She had also forgotten her key and her phone. Sara, her sister, had an extra key but with no phone, she couldn’t call her.

“Maybe those three drinks weren’t such a good idea,” she muttered. She checked the windows and doors. They were all locked. She picked up a landscaping rock and broke the back door window. The alarm blared as she reached in to open the door. Great, she thought, the one thing I remembered was to set the stupid alarm. Before she could even open the door, two policemen arrived.

“Evening officers.” she slurred. “Sorry to bother you. I just locked myself out of my house.”

“You have some Identification to prove this is your house?”

“It’s inside with my key and my phone which is why I broke the window, duh.”

“Sure it is,” one officer said. “Is there a neighbor who can vouch for you?”

“I just moved here and they don’t know me.”

Daphne turned to the other and placed her hand on his face. “You believe me don’t you cutie pie?”

Before she realized what was happening, they were handcuffing her.

“We’re going to have to take you downtown,” the older officer said as he clicked the last cuff.

“Great! I love shopping downtown. There are some great stores there. These silver bracelets are nice but I prefer gold.”

“You sure are cocky for someone in your position,” the older cop said.

“What? What? A girl doesn’t have the right to break her own damn window?”

“Let’s see here. What charges do we have?” the older cop asked his partner.

“I’d start with breaking and entering.”

“That’s a good place to start and public intoxication. Don’t you think?”

“Yeah, nice one partner.”

“I was in my own yard! That’s not public,” said Daphne a little louder than she realized.

“Didn’t she touch your face?” the older one asked.

“Oh yeah, yeah she did. Does that qualify for assaulting an officer?”

“I think it might.”

“I barely touched you dammit.”

“Lewd language. Does that qualify?” the younger cop asked.

“I’ll have to check into that but we’ll count it for now.”

“I can’t believe this shit,” Daphne mumbled.

“What was that?” the older cop asked.

“Nothing.” Daphne fell silent after that.

“I like that sound,” the older cop said.

“Silence is nice.”


After the mug shots and the fingerprints, Daphne sobered up.

“Anyone you want to call?” they asked.

“My sister’s number is on my phone in my house!” She was so shaken up that she couldn’t remember it.

They passed the men’s cell as they led her toward the women’s cell.  It was full and there was vomit on the floor. She started to panic.

“I remember Sara’s number.”


“You owe me. What happened?” Sara asked as they left the station.

“It’s a long story. Please just take me home.”

Sara walked Daphne into her home. As Daphne looked around, she realized someone had used the broken window to get in and steal all of her valuables.

“I think you need to get your window fixed and call the cops,” Sara said.

Daphne just stared at her.

The Painting

Sara and Calvin sat at opposite ends of the couch staring blindly at the painting hanging on the wall. The room was illuminated only by the flickering light of the candles spread around the room.

“That painting’s crooked,” mumbled Calvin.

“No, it’s not,” responded Sara flatly.

“Yeah, it is.” Calvin’s voice rose a notch.

“As if you really care.”

“Well, it’s irritating me.”

“It’s been hanging there for a week. Now you care?”

“Never paid much mind to it before, but it’s definitely crooked.”

Calvin sat stoically on the couch as if willing the painting to straighten itself.

They were stuck in a room they had barricaded to protect themselves from the blood-sucking night stalkers. Some people called them zombies for lack of a better term.

The invasion of their town by the murderous monsters started about a week ago. The windows were covered with thick sheets of plywood reinforced by 2×6 pieces of lumber. The door was blocked with several 2x6s that they could slide out if they needed.

“Apparently you think that I can’t hang a picture right.” Sara’s volume now matching his. “It looks fine to me.”

“Did you use a level?”

“Of course I did! If it’s bothering you so badly, why don’t you go get a level and check it?”

“I will,” Calvin spat, but he continued to sit on the couch just staring at the painting,

After a few minutes, Sara jumped up from the couch. “Oh, for crying out loud. I’ll go get the level.” She gasped as she doubled over in pain clutching her abdomen.

“Your incision from the surgery?” There was no concern in his voice.

“The one for the teratoma that almost killed me you mean?” Her sarcasm was biting. She popped open a few of the snaps on her nightgown and stared down at the still healing incision running from her sternum down to her pubic bone. Calvin looked away and didn’t answer.

“Is the level in the closet?” He looked puzzled by the possibility.

She turned and gave him a chilling look. He looked away again. The sound of the glass windows shattering went unnoticed by the arguing couple.

“Of all the things you thought we might need in this room, you thought a level would be one of them?” Calvin asked sarcastically.

“It was already in here and, because you’re so obsessed with this painting, apparently it was necessary.” Sara pulled the level out of the closet and walked toward the painting.

“What’s a tera… whatever?”

“It’s a freaking tumor. Weren’t you listening when the surgeon spoke to us?”

“Oh yeah,” he mumbled. “It had hair and teeth and fingernails and stuff.”

“Of course you heard that part.” Sara rolled her eyes and shook her head.

“What causes that?”

“One of my eggs decided to try to become a baby without the help of your stupid sperm.”

Sara placed the level on top of the painting. “See, it’s perfectly level.”

“Well, it is now! You moved it when you put the level on it.”

“No, I didn’t”

There was a scraping sound on the wood covering the windows.  The couple didn’t seem to hear it.

“Yeah, you did. I saw it move.”

Calvin was still sitting on the couch. He hadn’t moved an inch. Sara threw the level at him as hard as she could, hitting him just above his left eye. He stared at the floor, still not moving as blood trickled down the side of his face.

The splintering of the plywood could be heard throughout the room.

“What was that for?” he asked.

“For being such an ass. That painting was straight and you know it.”

“No, it wasn’t, but it is now.”

“Yes, it was. I just proved it.”

“No, you straightened it.” Blood continued to trickle down his face but he still didn’t move.

“No, I didn’t,” Sara screamed.

The first night stalker burst through the splintered Plywood.  Sara and Calvin stared at the monster in shock, then they turned towards each other. They knew it was the end.

Minutes later their lifeless, blood drained bodies lay on the floor with their dead eyes fixed on the painting about which they had been arguing.


copyright ©2017 Liz Leighton All Rights Reserved

All in a Day’s Work

Billy had just arrived at the work sight in the dump truck. There was a rumble overhead and suddenly fish began to fall from the sky. The workers ran for cover while Billy sat safely in the cab of the truck. His jaw dropped and his eyes widened as he watched with astonishment.

There weren’t just a few fish. There was a ton of fish. The fish continued to fall for a full ten minutes or maybe more. Just as suddenly as it started, it stopped.

The crew peered out from the places they had sought shelter. Finally, they began to emerge one by one.  They carefully stepped over and around the fish which were strewn across the work sight while staring up at the sky warily.

Billy got out of his cab and then noticed the back of the dump truck was full of fish. They were still alive and flopping around. He turned to the foreman and said “I’m not picking up any gravel today. I’ve got fish to sell. Where’s the closest place to buy ice?”


copyright ©2017 Liz Leighton All Rights Reserved