Friday, November 13, 2015

Friday the 13th writing contest**PARIS UPDATE

**our three regular blog commenters who live in France are safe and sound as are their families and loved ones.**

Did you know that Sunday November 15th is "Clean Out Your Refrigerator" Day? Yea, me either. But there it is, right there next to "Have a Party With Your Bear" Day and "World Kindness" Day.

Since all the bears I know aren't the partying type, and the idea of being kind to anyone, let alone the entire world is almost as bad as the idea of eating kale, today's writing contest is in honor of your fridge!

(I thought about doing it for Friday the 13th, but honestly, I was TERRIFIED of what y'all would come up with!)

The usual rules, plus the new one #11, apply:

1. Write a story using 100 words or fewer.

2. Use these words in the story:


3. You must use the whole word, but that whole word can be part of a larger word. The letters for the
prompt must appear in consecutive order. They cannot be backwards.
Thus: ice/lice is ok, but ice/spicier is not.

4. Post the entry in the comment column of THIS blog post.

5. One entry per person. If you need a mulligan (a do-over) erase your entry and post again. It helps to work out your entry first, then post.

6. International entries are allowed, but prizes may vary for international addresses.

7. Titles count as part of the word count (you don't need a title)

8. Under no circumstances should you tweet anything about your particular entry to me. Example: "Hope you like my entry about Felix Buttonweezer!" This is grounds for disqualification.

9. It's ok to tweet about the contest generally.
Example: "I just entered the flash fiction contest on Janet's blog and I didn't even get a lousy t-shirt"

10. Please do not post anything but contest entries. (Not for example "I love Felix Buttonweezer's entry!") This rule is suspended for this contest ONLY, and any posts that are not entries should be ONLY if you're offering a comment for our French readers or about the Paris situation, ok?

11. You agree that your contest entry can remain posted on the blog for the life of the blog. In other words, you can't ask to delete the entry and any comments about the entry at a later date.

Contest opens: 9:29am  10/14/15 11/14/15 (no time machine required!)

Contest closes: 10am 10/15/15 11/15/15 (argh!)

Questions? Tweet to me @Janet_Reid
Ready? SET?

Not yet!

oops, too late, contest now closed.


Em-Musing said...


I am a beetgan, meaning I only eat beets. I eat them to be immortal. I became a beetgan after a grocery bag’s worth of veggies was rotting in the crisper bin of my refrigerator for over a month growing gray fuzz while simultaneously turning to mush; all except the beets. Amazing! They defied the law of decomposition.
I admired their ingenuity and knew that they figured out how to cheat death by thinking outside the icebox. So I figured—if I ate only beets I could cheat death too. Cool, eh?

Kregger said...

I discarded my Mary Janes before playing and put on my Keds.

They’re quieter for sneaking around.

I wiped dirt from my dungarees and tucked in my gingham blouse.

I peered around the unpainted siding at my little brother.

Fruit season was over, so the white-porcelain box sat empty in the barn.

I relished the crisp smell of peaches and their warm fuzz.

Crates of beets stood in the corner, but too exposed.

Icy fingers pointed down and the interior was cold, hours after unplugging.

I gently latched the door shut.

They’ll never find me in here.

I love hide-and-seek.

Writer of Wrongs said...

The streets pulse with life. Vibrant revelry. Invincible laughter.
Just like that.
Punch drunk. I reel. Vision fuzzy with city lights.
In the distance, muffled sirens sing Beethoven—no Mozart. I listen. Prostrate. Stunned.
But there is no rest. No peace. No pine box for me.
Only chaos.
Splashes of red and blue warm the cool night and fall like tears against the wet pavement.
I am no warrior. Fear ices my throat. I want to go home.
Safe in disbelief.
I struggle to my feet.
Step beyond the #PorteOuverte.
I am frightened.
Not broken.
C’est la guerre.

Timothy Lowe said...

How do you divide eternity?

How do you splice endless days into hours, hours into minutes?

How do you look into his eyes, feel the far-off thudding in his sunken chest, ruffle the fuzz that was once a fine shock of eleven year old hair?

How do you parse heartbeats in a cool waiting room, listen to the dry tick of the clock rattling on like bones in a dead box?


Wipe a tear. Raise your chin. Eyes forward, my dear.


A second split while the world revolves.

“The operation -”

How do you describe eternity?

“It’s time.”

Steve Forti said...

Crevice: A small crack, like the beet red slice along my bicep. No sluice gate to stem its flow.

Choice: A bad one, listening to her advice. “A nice getaway, short notice.” Details were fuzzy.

Cowardice: My true accomplice. I hate the cold, but voiced no protest.

Rejoice: Her laughter like the cackle of Maleficent. Not a good auspice. Then she pushed me. Really not cool.

Crevasse: A gaping orifice in a hell of ice that swallows novice climbers without prejudice. This glacial tomb for future archaeologists to unbox me.

Blood sacrifice: Slice deeper. Mutter dark service. “Devil avenge me.”

CynthiaMc said...

Glad y'all are okay. You've been in my prayers.

BJ Muntain said...

Jenny put ice in the shoebox. The geezer in that old shop said the fuzzy little guy had to be kept cool and fed. The ice steamed.

Pinching the small tube etched with the words, "Imp. Food.", she deposited pink goop into the box, then pushed it deep into the fridge, hoping Mom wouldn't find it.

She forgot it for two days.

The refrigerator smoked. Jenny opened the charred door, then slammed it. Imps weren't supposed to be three feet tall, munching on a lady's finger.

She never saw her mother again – or that old shop.

Colin Smith said...

Donna stood at the threshold, taking in the smell of fresh paint.

"Ice blue," I said. "Goes with the carpet."

She slipped off a shoe to feel the fuzzy fibers on her bare foot. She squeezed my hand and smiled.

Then I led her to the middle of the room, and, on one knee, placed the box in her right hand, guiding the fingers of her left to the cool metal inside. Her face turned beet red and her milky eyes pooled tears.

"Donna, my love, will you--?" But she was already grinning and nodding her fist.

jmaggard said...

Don’t worry Ray says he won’t talk

What is he an idiot the man in the white t-shirt says

I look down and a beetle crawls on my shoe

The man checked Ray but Ray said I was harmless and the man snorted and said I sure was

Naw Ralph’s cool let’s do this before the fuzz come Ray says where’s that ice

The man brings out the box and Ray checks it

And nods at me and I lunge forward and stab and stab

Don’t worry Ray says to the man in the red t-shirt he won’t talk

Colin Smith said...

Glad to hear our friends in France are okay. We're praying for you, and the many friends and families suffering today.

BJ Muntain said...

My thoughts and prayers with all those in Paris. So scary.

Amanda Capper said...

I keep trying to find the words, the right words, to convey the shock, the fear, the helplessness. As I writer they should come easily. They don't. They just won't come at all.

Alice wasn’t cool. Wasn’t pretty and certainly wasn’t popular. But she lived close so we played together when I was bored. Skated the pond when it iced over. Caught fuzzy caterpillars. Whispered names to be etched into hearts.

Then we’d go to school and, with unspoken understanding, never go near each other. Because I was cool. As ice.

But what I never knew I’d never forget was Alice’s acceptance. She recognized her box and she kept to it.

Twenty years later, when I heard of her suicide, I was sad. More for me than her.

Selfish then, selfish still.

Megan V said...

My thoughts and well wishes go out to those in Paris, and with loved ones in Paris. I'm so glad to hear that both Parisian Reiders and their loved ones are safe and sound. I really hope that everyone stays that way.

Megan V said...

Cindy wasn’t frightened when the fuzz blew through the door.
The bullets struck her quicker than her nerves.
Her brother said it went real fast, and that she didn’t suffer.
Those who killed her claimed that she was armed.
Now I stand in the kitchen with a Daisy Airsoft Gun,
one present that our son will never touch.
And I watch her father proffer his fake olive branch to beetles,
while her brother cools the heat with an icebox.

CynthiaMc said...

"What's in the ice box, Baby?"

"One fuzzy beet."

"Not fit for our twentieth anniversary dinner. Let's go out."

"On Friday the thirteenth? Are you insane?"

"Live dangerously. Dinner and a concert."

She grabbed her wrap and her husband's arm against the cool.

Dinner in Paris - a dream from their wedding day. Then Bataclan.

"Eagles of Death Metal? Seriously?"

"A person can die from too much Beethoven," he said.

"Who's the guy with the gun?"

He turned to look, then threw her down.

The bullet meant for her hit him instead.

It was their last anniversary.

Jennifer R. Donohue said...

“This was a mistake,” she said cooly as she entered the kitchen.
“You say that every time. Look, I made breakfast.” He scritched his dark overnight fuzz and gave her a sleepy smile.
“I wondered about the smell.”
“Be nice. When did you start eating beets?”
“Never.” She stared at the steaming bowls on the table. “You opened the box in the freezer.”
He laughed. “Yeah. It was iced in there good.”
“You need to leave.” She backed out of the kitchen. The steam billowed higher. Red.
“Hey, let's talk about--”

cassandra newbould said...

Ignored and pushed to the back, beets grow fuzzy, abandoned to the draw of of cooler temptations.

Steak and eggs triumph and leave the shelf with a flourish.
Weeks pass.
Now ice-cold, the box borders on toxic.

Salmonella is calling.

A slip of twitchy fingers and contact is made.

Fresh air forgotten in the pull of a plastic bag, but revenge is sweet.

“Should always eat your vegetables.” Mom’s voice echoes through his mind as he weeps on the cold tile, arms embrace his porcelain God, and a vow to clean the fridge at the tip of his pale lips.

Mae said...

He screamed in anger, eyes wide with fear as the beneficent nurse put the needle in his arm. She wept with him.

He’d been a chatterbox since they first locked eyes, now he just whimpered in frustration. She cooed and held his hand.

Fuzz replaced his glossy curls; he grew gaunt and listless. She cried silent tears as she read his favorite book aloud.

He fidgeted, finding no comfort in the scratchy sheets. She played Beethoven, trying to sooth him.

His tiny hand grew cool in hers. He was free of pain and sorrow. She knew hers had just begun.

Christina Seine said...

Bill had wrote on the calendar: “Natl. Clean Fridge Day.”

So I did.

Bout time anyway. Got so full, couldn’t see what was in there, past all them moldy cheeses and tubs of cool whip turned green with fuzz.

Smell wasn’t so nice, either.

The kids left for school and I put on my gloves, lined a big box with trash bags. Took me all morning, kneeling right over those stains from when Bill’d smacked me and I dropped them pickled beets. Some stains awful hard to scrub out.

Accidents happen, though.

Bill used to say that all the time.

Christina Seine said...

Just saw that we are allowed an additional comment, and I just wanted to say to Hank and our other friends in France, my thoughts and prayers are with you.

Dee Blacks said...

The mice scurried through the lunch box after the fuzzy, green cheese.

Come a little closer, my friends.

Simon sat perfectly still. It had been a long day of hunting. The weather turned cool, and not many had surfaced. A beetle crossed in front of him, but he ignored it. He wanted the large gray mouse.

A sudden itch on his neck broke his concentration, but he fought the sensation.

The mouse let out a squeal of fear, but the boy was fast. The rodent wiggled as he ate it.

And they said no one would survive the apocalypse.

Irene Olson said...

The prison inmate was one of very few who was particular about the food he ate.

Meal time was one of the few social opportunities within the concrete box of Monroe Correctional Center. Whether you liked the food or not, you left your cell and partook, whether the jello was warm or the meatloaf was cool as ice.

But Sherman drew the line at fuzzy gravy thickened with beetle flour. He knew about the flour because he worked in the kitchen and saw the label on the sack.

He’d take his lumps, but he didn't hafta eat ‘em too.

Bree Rossi said...

Two headlights illuminate an empty bridge.

Two degrees placed proudly in a shadow box.

The sound of Beethoven’s second symphony ringing out in the sterile theater.

Two practiced hands.

A second house. A second marriage.

Twins. Two hours of sleep.

Double bypass. A father and a grandfather.

A twitch of the hand, a flick of the wrist—


A conversation turned cool dismissal.

Two in the morning.

Two hands that wipe at the fuzz and filth on a white coat.

Two degrees still hanging in their shadow box.

And he’s hanging, too. Out on that bridge.

LynnRodz said...

*****I remember the bomb that went off at the Drugstore Saint-Germain in 1974, I remember the bomb on the rue des Rosiers in 1982, I remember walking up the rue de Rennes in 1986 and seeing a helicopter land in front of the Tour Montparnasse after a bombing, I remember the bombs down in the Métro in 1995... Yes, we were frightened afterwards. I stopped going to the Marais for awhile, I stopped taking the Métro and took buses instead, I stopped walking near trash bins in the streets until the city ordered plastic see through bags, but we survived and the Parisian lifestyle survived. Parisians are a strong people with a long history of survival. We will continue to live as we've done before, like before. But once again, it will take time. (Thank you for your prayers.)*****

Niki said...

“…In service to his country.” As if it made a difference now. In the end, he was just a boy in a box.

Who was speaking? She should pay attention. She’d seen other women, keeping cool under the weight of the flag, the protocol.

She tipped the drink back, welcoming the fuzziness that poured over her. Whiskey always smoothed out her rough edges. All her jagged lines fit better into tight corners, tight conversations.

Another drink. She could just be. Etiquette be damned.

Were you still an officer’s wife when the officer was gone?

It didn’t matter now. Another drink.

Lisa Bodenheim said...

Continuing to keep the people of Paris, of France in my thoughts and prayers. Courage.

Lisa Bodenheim said...

Winter comes. Soft flakes drift. A tugboat churns downriver.

I lean against the old cottonwood at the beach, cradling the box.

On the sunlit dock, she stands. Spare, tan. Faded bikini. A lonely 13-year-old—-awkward, unaware of her beauty. Feeling unwanted by the cool crowd, she jumps into the water. One boy follows. And reaches her.

“G’amma,” her fuzzy winter cap framing beet-red cheeks, Gracie runs, arms reaching for me. My son follows.

“Mom. You alright?” Ethan’s voice is deep, like that boy who reached me.

My arms tremble. Ethan catches the urn.

The days become so short so fast.

Julie F. said...

She took the cake from the icebox, roses the color of beets hard from the cool. Her hair was mussed again, fuzzy white curls in the spill of sunlight from the window over the sink.
"What's the occasion, Mawmaw?" I asked. My voice was still strained from crying, the TV filling the background with French words.
She sniffed, eyes red. Her accent was thicker than I'd ever heard it when she spoke, the roll of a Parisian tongue not tamed by sixty-eight years in the States. "Joie de vivre. It can never be taken."

Rich said...

Mother said it is taboo for anyone but the priests to watch the undertaker perform his magic. Ice forms on my pants while I wait in a cool, dark place. A beetle flies toward the buzzards circling above. The priests sing their prayers. The undertaker prepares the body for burial. He breaths heavily. I can smell the whiskey even from here. He pulls out a small box from his sack, and from that a hatchet. He swings. The birds dive. The sky burial begins. My vision becomes fuzzy. My face is against the ground to stifle the sound of vomiting.

Peggy Rothschild said...

The girl had gotten fall-down drunk swilling $50-a-bottle ProsecCO. OLiver dropped her on the sofa in the study. Pouring himself a scotch, he perused the senator’s CD collection, selecting one from a BOX set. He popped it in the player.

Stu rubbed the peachFUZZ on his jaw. “You got ICEwater in your veins. Hiding the dude’s daughter in his own home. How much you think he’ll give us for her?”

BEEThoven’s ninth swelled around them. Oliver gripped the Beretta inside his pocket, waiting for the crescendo. “It’s not about what he’ll give, it’s about what he’ll have left.”

Ravina Patt said...

I slip off the fuzzy wool gloves, grip my Winchester with both hands, and step outside. The warm sun and cool breeze betray the fidget winter around me. Ice and gravel crunch under my boots. The box sits thirty steps away at the end of the driveway. Dark brown cardboard with no markings I can spot from the distance. I inch closer, fully aware that this could be a trap. Just as I make out the beet red blood strains on the wet cardboard, a shot shatters the silence. I duck but it’s too late.

Susan said...

***Not an entry***

I was three when we moved to PA from New York, so my memories are shadows at best and made up, if you believe my brothers, at worst. But we still have family scattered across the boroughs, my parents speak fondly of their childhoods there, and I've visited hundreds of times. That connection is still there, still strong.

When I was sixteen, I visited France for the first time on a class trip. It felt like I was coming home in a way I've never known before and haven't known since. When I went back a few years ago for a month-long writer's retreat, my heart finally felt like it was at peace. My love of France goes beyond the food and art and culture; there's a spirit there that's ingrained inside of them, inside of me, making it the place I long for more than any other. Now, it's the place I hurt for.

I felt the same yesterday as I did on 9/11, as I watched the details unfold across my Twitter feed. Shocked. Gutted. Horrified at the innocence that has been destroyed. Saddened by a country so irrevocably changed. Proud of the spirit and unity that prevails.

Distance doesn't matter. Connections don't even matter--not in times like these. Empathy is what remains, what crosses oceans, what connects us all.

I wrote more about my thoughts as everything was happening here on my blog . Hank, Angie, Lynn--I'm so glad you're safe and sound. My thoughts are with Paris--but not just Paris, with the world and everyone who is reeling from this violence.

Dave Rudden said...

The damn bear I was going to give Kristy is staring at me with its fuzzy annoying face, as I bleed to death on the floor. At least the broken window is letting in a comfortable cool breeze. The gunshots alerted the police and I hear the sirens coming, but I fear they will be too late. I close my eyes knowing that soon I will be in a wooden box six feet under the ground. From the bedroom, I hear Beethoven’s fifth symphony playing. What was I thinking when I picked that song as my ring tone?

Ashley Turcotte said...

There were over 200 of them.

But I wanted one last challenge. So I climbed above 26,000 feet anyway.

I only hope they’ll find me. Put me in a box in the ground where I belong.

But spring won’t bring beetles and birds to enjoy my remains. And if some other daredevil discovers me preserved on ice, he’ll leave me with all the others.

I’ll be one more name on a chilling list.

The snow used to feel unbearably cool. But as it covers my body, it feels warm. Like a fuzzy blanket.

Make that over 200 of us.

Mallory Love said...

Fuzzy. That’s how the scene looks the morning after. Probably not the best description, but it will have to suffice.
Racing. My heartbeat’s current speed as the numbness starts to fade.
Beet red. The color of the stain on the carpet as the blurry lines become clearer.
Twenty years. The amount of time I’ll spend locked away in a cold concrete box once they find me with the gun.
Nada. What I remember from last night’s drug fueled bender.
Cool. How my brother’s skin feels to the touch, now that it’s devoid of life.
Haunted. My soul’s new permanent state.

Mark Ellis said...

Brigitte’s forehead felt cool, thank God. Her eyes opened when Isabelle’s hand pushed back her wilted bangs.
Philippe had gone for Doctor Bertrand, taking the beetle with him in an envelope.
The fuzzy-legged creature was hiding in the Syrian music box, sent from its country of origin by Aunt Gabrielle, vagabond sister, who gifted them from every port of call.
Brigitte held the cube of Turkish pine in her lap, was listening to a discordant wind-chime symphony when she was bitten.
Isabelle checked the fridge for more ice cubes.
Gabby came, nonstop from Mumbai. They never wound that box again.

Kate Higgins said...

Finally. The hunt is over.
There. A sacred beetle-encrusted box, a sarcophagus guarded by an ancient pool of hot rancid water.
A blurry hieroglyph floats.

Hurry. Incantation needed.
Eagerly I search my backpack
Sweat fuzzes my vision.
The sacred book Rw!

The crumbling words translates, "Power"!
"Seckem!" I mumble.

Cool breezes blow from nowhere. Clear ice now magnifies the word, "Heka".
Translation: "I am magic"

I choke out the ancient incantation, "Heka!"

Hissing, shifting, breathing from beyond.
A desiccated finger shifts.

My hand lifts slowly – now wrapped in the rags of ages.
It is done.

Lucie Witt said...

He was born on the winter solstice, when everything is darkness and ice.

As she cradled his cool brown body to her pale chest she wished the skin that warmed him now could shield him always.

She laughed when his homework described his heart beet. She cried when they went to the barbershop to shave his afro down to prickly fuzz.

“Now they’ll leave my hair alone.”

He grew up. His hair grew back. There were boxes to squeeze himself inside but he stretched his lanky limbs and refused to fit.

She still worried, until her last heart beet.

Sherry Howard said...

Mack the Knife

Ice gods are such temperamental deities; they make Zeus look like Apollo Ono. Mack the Knife iced his way to lead this cool box ages ago. With his shark teeth, those pearly whites, he keeps that heat out of sight. Now when Fuzziwinkle visits his mom (under the veggie bin) Mack kicks up his dial and freezes Fuzz's balls off. The hint of that cement bag, old Arm & Hammer, makes everyone fear the scarlet billows. But, soon now, Old Lucy Brown’s beetle’s gonna run that bum outa town. Tick, tock.

Jennifer Delozier said...

She reached into the pine box and coolly stroked his fuzzy chin. She’d waited three months for this. Three months of forensic reports and red tape had turned her soul to ice.
She’d fussed when he’d declared, face beet red with excitement, he was backpacking across Europe.
He’d laughed. “What’s the worst that can happen?”
She’d fussed when he’d called to say he was seeing an American band play in a theater older than the U.S. “You go all the way to France to see an American band?”
He’d laughed again.
Three months after the worst happened, he came home.

Robert Ceres said...

Ah, that time of year. Warm days. Nights cold as ice. She’d boxed me in, trying to get warm, fuzzy hair escaping that French braid, ticking my cheek. All things between us cozy and warm.

At sixteen, what will be, will be. What happens, happens. A natural reaction. Did she know? Her back, her body, her warm glow. A hand snakes between us, jerks back.

Then she inches away, neck beet red. Dear God. She knows. How cool is that? Crap.

Then she leans back. All things between us cozy and warm. Dear God. She knows. How cool is that?

Robert Ceres said...

From France my cousin says "Tous unis derrière Paris!" Amen.

Kimberly VanderHorst said...

Mortimer approached the silver box of the fridge, his thoughts a fuzzed-over blur of anticipation. The cool air slicked across his flushed skin as he pushed aside a purple-dark jar of canned beets and a gloomy green canister of pickles, finally catching sight of the ice cold glimmer he’d captured the day before.

With a throaty gurgle of joy he seized hold of the spark and let the cold pinch of it bite into his meaty palm. Frosty whorls coated his bared forearm—transforming him cell by cell.

The magic had finally defrosted enough. Soon, he would fly.

Jane Kirley said...

The beet rolled into the alcove between the refrigerator and the cabinet. That boxy area formed by the “hipster cool” refrigerator too big for the space. It’s the place where escaping ice attracts bits of floating fuzz, settles and dries into gum. I picked up the beet and decided that the filmy projections belonged to it. No matter, in seconds it would whip together with the kale and chard into a bloody juice concoction perfect for the person who’s over their depth when it comes to width.

Mackenzie Bates said...

“Cleaning out the fridge isn’t part of moving out,” they had said to her. “Not when your husband is a cheater.”

But there she was, sitting on the kitchen floor, the cool refrigerator air on her face.

Beets. From dinner a week ago, before everything went wrong.

Carrots. When she started to notice the signs.

Box of mushrooms. An impulsive plan to poison him. They were unopened, covered in a layer of fuzz from their hiding place in the freezer drawer.

Bag of ice. Supplies for the party he still thought was happening tonight.

Donnaeve said...

First, so relieved to see the updates and to know all our friends are safe and their families too.

Dear France, part of you is in my blood. My mother's maiden name was Fournier. My grandfather, John Henry Fournier had ancestors who at some point long ago, came from your country to Quebec, and from Quebec to Maine. I am proud to know this, and to know some part of my DNA belongs to you.

S.D.King said...

The retro class reunion was Betsie’s idea, or “Beetsie” as they called the redhead then. Bell bottoms, afros, boxes of candy cigarettes. Cool. Groovy.

It’s been years, but he’ll come. Arrogant and probably still handsome.

She, so sheltered. He, so grown-up. When it finally happened, he was rough and she was bleeding. Then she was alone. And just thirteen.

Then last year, Chrissy confided. Her, too. And an abortion. And there were more.

Now eight in all. All here. Watching. Ready.

No statute of limitations in this state.

"Mr. Gilbert. Let’s talk about Middle School History."

Here come da fuzz.

Donnaeve said...

Dooley, he got to looking at me peculiar on occasion.

Then, he wouldn’t quit.

Okay, fine. You want reasons. It was them hot flashes.

I mean, from warm fuzzy to surging heat. I’d always had a temper, but, with them, I plumb felt like I’d gone haywire.

One day I’d had one, so’s I stuck my head in that newfangled icebox to cool off.

Dooley come up behind me – so quiet.

I sure could read Dooley.

His face colored up like a beet.

That were his guilt.

So. What’s the State want?

The chair?

Kind a fitting, I suppose.

Amy Schaefer said...

Hot anger rules you-
Cool reason long abandoned.
Only hate in your world.

Food, music and sport-
Crush the places full of life
Brimming with delight.

Carnage, cruelty.
Blood-soaked banshee wails tear
The long, frenzied night

When the sirens fade,
As the wreaths pile up in drifts-
What remains for us?

Fuzz in the ice box.
A beetle crawls up the wall.
Empty rooms echo.

And the chains you’ll wear
Won’t lessen our grief or rage
You tore gaping holes.

We’ll patch them somehow
But we deserve love, not tears.
Every soul on Earth.

Beth said...

I am so glad to hear that our regular commenters in France are safe. I am keeping you all in my thoughts and prayers.

french sojourn said...

It was so nice to hear that Lynn and Angie were o.k. I was out of sorts yesterday worrying about them. Great news, thank you for posting the update. I'm down by Bordeaux, so no worries here. Thanks for the kind thoughts all.

Cheers Henri'
I know Paris will be O.K. as New York City has proven all can be risen above with unity. Bless you Paris.

Marie McKay said...

She opens the toy box. She places Daddy Doll in the tiny, ice pink kitchen. He has an apron over his fuzzy, felt clothes.
She places Mummy Doll in the miniature study with the miniature desk and chair. Mummy Doll gets down to work straight away.
Daddy Doll slice, slice, slices cool beetroots, staining the counter the colour of ruby slippers.
Mummy Doll tap, tap, taps on the keyboard, leaving a trail of lettercrumbs on the screen.
'Can we go home, now?' she asks the nurse.
'We've called your aunt, Sweetheart. She'll take you home tonight.'

Craig said...

It was just an econobox of a house but we didn’t want it to turn zombie. It was a good starter house, even with that beet red front door. So I was the cool neighbor and maintained it. I hooked a cord from my own electricity so the fridge wouldn’t grow too fuzzy.

The house finally sold and I rolled up the extension cord. The closing took forever. As the ice receded the smell grew. As the cops removed the freezer it was remembered that the girl had said he had moved home. None remembered her wink except for me.

My sympathies go out to the victim’s families and all those impacted by this. My sincere hope is that the why is found and something can be repaired so the deaths aren’t in vain.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Yesterday my first thoughts were of you Hank.
So glad for Janet' s update and for your comment. My heart breaks for France and it weeps for the rest of us. How precious freedom is. Stay safe my friend and know we stand with you.

Melissa Guernsey said...

The ice box fuzz drink was not as cool as Samantha hoped. Why did the Sarge have to send her to this classy bar half naked, anyway? You needed a PhD to order a drink.

Informant tips were sketchy and rookie Samantha was ordered to check it out. She groaned as another lawyer offered to buy her a drink. Men with manicured nails were not her type.

The Sarge was off his rocker, she thought, this place was no den of crime.

“Refill?” the bartender asked.

“No, it’s awful. What did you put in it?”

“Rohypnol and beets.”

Lance said...

“When Daddy saw we was twins, it was Walter and Wilbur. Later, he just yelled, 'WW!'”

“So you were always close?” she asked across the table.

“Like two rabbits in a cat food box.”

“Can I cool off my drink?”

“Ice trays, there in the freezer.”

A fuzz of white frost covered the hockey mask. Clouds of water vapor and boxes of beets obscured what was behind it.

“Why do you keep your Halloween mask in the freezer?”

“I told you we was close. That's Wilbur. He gets mighty lonesome.”

Michael Seese said...

A beetle scurries beneath the icebox, ignoring the amorphous fuzzy gray blob lying there.

I work frantically to clean. They'll be here soon, and I want everything to be spotless. Though I do love having guests, they leave such a mess. Bit by bit, I get everything tidied up, stowing the mop scant seconds before the knock on the door. Answering, I am cool as a cucumber.

“No, officer. I don't recognize her. Mutilated, you say? That's horrible. Yes, I'll lock my doors, and report any suspicious people. Thank you.”

In time, I will find the finger under the fridge.

Almitra Clay said...

Planting my feet again on the ice-rimmed edge of the cave, I tilt the box. Bones spill out. Deer? Bear? . . .Human? The leftovers dance and clatter downhill to their resting place on the fuzz of new Spring grass. The sprawling mess has attracted crows, and my hands now reek of jerky.

“You need to clean more often,” I scold. The words echo back from the earth.

Beet’s head snakes out of the darkness. He licks one long tooth, regarding me with the same cool stare that has sent so many grown men running. “I was saving those,” he whines.

Angie Gregory said...

I used to think I looked like a warrior in kickboxing class. But that was before they installed wall mirrors. It turns out that I’m a frumpy misfit in fuzzy yellow socks. More like Kung Fu Panda than Bruce Lee.

Yesterday, I joined the gym rats at the juicery. I felt like one of the cool kids, ordering a red smoothie. I anticipated something tropical, exotic. But it’s just beet juice on ice.


I tell myself it’ll get better once I adapt to sore legs and garden-flavored burps. Yes, I’m hopeful.

Anonymous said...

The first time it happened, she woke to discover a fuzzy dark mustache sketched above her lip and her golden plaits tied to the bedpost.

The second time, she woke to find her face stained with beetroot and all her petticoats stuffed in boxes at the back of the mice-crowded, topmost turret.

The third time, in mixed fury and despair, she went to sleep with a sword in her hands. On waking, she found the Prince standing over her, dangling a diamond ring.

“You could’ve just asked,” she said coolly.

“I could’ve,” he agreed, laughter spindling his voice.


Prayers for Paris, for Beirut, for Baghdad.

Claire said...

Tuesday. Dorothy woke early, got up with a spring in her step. She set her hair, waxed the peach fuzz from her lip, painted a beet-red Cupid’s bow. He would be here at noon.

The oven timer buzzed. She drew out the fragrant cookies and set them to cool. From the icebox, a pitcher of tea.

The doorbell rang.

“Afternoon, Miss Halliday. Got your laundry ready?”

“Yes, thank you, Donny. Won’t you come in for some iced tea?”

“Afraid not, ma’am, but thanks. Gotta keep going.”

And he was gone.

Maybe next week. Just seven days away.

Seven lonely days.

MC said...

“Listen. Here’s the plan. I go upstairs for jewelry. You stay down here. Take anything small: Calculators, Xbox… Keep quiet. No prints. We’re out of here faster than I can peel a beet. Okay, Kid?”

“Okay, Boss.”

Once Boss disappears upstairs, Kid scans the kitchen. Passing over an iPad, his eyes fix on the stainless steel fridge door. He approaches.

“Cool! Magnetic Poetry! Animals version. Let’s see...”

“Kid, did you find any–? What the–?”

“Look what I made! A sentence – ‘FUZZY WUZZY WAS A BEAR…’”

“Nice, but totally incriminating. Now grab that iPad and let’s go.”

E.M. Goldsmith said...

Sean raced a convertible past sunflower fields, rode roller coasters in Hershey PA, and devoured beignets in New Orleans to steal cancer’s victory.

On a cool, autumn morning, Sean’s last words.

“Mom, you can let go. I can fly.”

Fuzzy images dance in wells of joy and pain. Jane’s son buried at fifteen. She hums away her sorrow.

Her daughter slices bananas into the batter. Her husband fries bacon.

Jane catches Sean’s smile on her husband’s face as she flips a pancake onto the floor. No more beet juice. No more boxes of syringes. Grief subsides in whispers. Jane laughs.

LynnRodz said...

When they were together, people noticed.

What does he see in her?

I don't get it.

He was perfume-ad-runway-beautiful, she was mean-girl-bait-boxy. As they sat together in restaurants or walked along the beach, everyone did a double take. His love came through when he smiled at her. Her admiration for him evident in her eyes.

He walked her home.

"You'll be-et..." Her mind started to get fuzzy. "...b-back next week, won't you?"

"You know I will." He kissed her forehead.

He waved before the rococo old doors of the institution closed behind his sister.

Janice L. Grinyer said...

My Heart goes out to France and to our Reiders there; so glad that you are okay. Hopefully we will hear in a few days how we as individuals and as countries can help stop this madness and help those who are recovering. Vive la France!

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...


"Eat the damn beets." Stella glowers across the kitchen table. "Or you'll slide them, cold and slimy, down your throat for breakfast. Just like when I was a kid." She grits her teeth, bone on bone. The ice in her drink slams and skitters against the glass. "Fine. Sit there all night. I'm done." She stalks into the living room.

Her father slumps, dinner cooling before him, gaze fuzzy with cataracts, memories boxed up and stored in a place he can no longer access.

Stella turns up the TV as if his silence is too loud.

Her Grace, the Duchess of Kneale said...

Amanda froze leftovers, stuffed in unmarked ziplocked bags; refrigerated leftovers grew fuzz. Thus, during the short end of pay week, one could be guaranteed something from the freezer.

Effie looked in the ice box. The only edible non-condiment was a half-empty can of beetroot. "How about we Freezer Roulette for dinner tonight?"

She sorted through bags. Strange, these looked like--

Amanda burst in and slammed the freezer door. "No," she murmured, low and cool. "Nothing from the freezer."

"But what about dinner?"

Amanda handed her ten bucks. “Pizza.”

The next morning, half the contents of the freezer were gone.

Nikola Vukoja said...

The fuzz on my arms tingled.
Susanna’s face went pale.
Susanna kept writing, until her face went from pale to green.
The room cooled.
Sweat dribbled down the inside of my bodice.
“We’re leaving now.”
The planchette moved again. “I AM NOT”
Susanna dropped her wine glass.
A Cleopatra beetle scurried across the board.
Grannie winked at me from her painting.
Susanna dropped… lifeless.
Susanna thought it’d be a laugh. Get drunk, eat junk and pull out Grannies boxwood Ouija.
Sheathed in Susanna’s skin Grannie whispered, “Well done.”

Just Jan said...

"Beet juice," I claim with a wink, when the freckled cub scout asks about the stains on my box.

Truth is, mice are adequate for the smaller snakes, but Precious needs something more substantial to keep her satisfied. A chicken here, a rabbit there--the neighbors don't notice my thievery, but the local pound has banned me from adopting any more fuzzy critters.

The den mother sighs and tousles the boy's hair. "He's a handful. A frequent runaway. His parents can't do anything with him."

I give the kid a cool smile. One day soon, I'll introduce him to Precious.

Anonymous said...

Ice. The snick and shush of skates across the rink in winter.
Box. The one my great-grandpa made, where Mom stored loose buttons.
Fuzz. The blanket we spread on the grass to watch fireworks on the Fourth.
Beet. My uncle the farmer, still hauling sugar beets every fall at age 88.
Cool. The light breeze drying my tears as I stand on the deck, watching the sunset, telling myself there is more good than bad in the world, more love than hate. More hope than fear.

I can't write about crime. Not today.
Today I need stories of happier times.

Anonymous said...

Hank, Lynn, Angie, and anyone else reading along from France, I'm so relieved you're safe. I have too many emotions and am simply at a loss for words.

Kimber said...

She is a gardener of sorts, busiest when the seasons change and night comes too early. Reaping time.

With a little hum she prunes away tangled, fuzzy weeds, clearing the way for her furrow, knife-straight and deep.

Loam filters through gloved fingers grasping at the dancing fruit. She snips roots with steel shears, and a reluctant earth gives up its harvest: a soft, fleshy beet of loud red, just silenced.

A box of ice waits to cool the sanguine produce; customers have exacting freshness standards. This is a farm-to-table operation.

She stitches up the body, now forever fallow.

JAZ said...

Once seated, and our meals decided, Daniele continues.
“Non. The toad-like one? I will not eat such a thing.”
“But the Rouge Crapaudine is exquisite.” I reach for her hand.
“It is a savage vegetable.” She smiles, revealing her dimple. “With ugly root fuzz.”
I slide the tin box from my breast pocket and put it on the table. “It is the most ancient beet. Once cooked in a diable or sliced cool into salad…it is to die for.”
She opens the tin. “Seeds? We should grow these?”
A man in black appears.
He opens fire.

JAZ said...

My heart expands to embrace those in France whose souls are so terribly wounded.

Diane Holcomb said...

My mother stashed the rice in the mailbox again. Her mind was fuzzy, but had moments of clarity. The flag on the box was up. This time was deliberate. When I found a large beet in the dishwasher, she frowned. Then stuffed it in her bra. She kept it there all through dinner, chatting with my wife as if nothing was amiss, smiling when I caught her eye. When I told Brenda I should move back home, she said cooly: “She’s doing this on purpose, you know.” I hadn’t mentioned the sleeping pills in the butter dish.

Michael Rigg said...

Eduardo thought of cool mornings picking beets and other vegetables for pennies a box. Each container represented capitalism’s avarice and greed. Now, only warm memories of life with Josephina, and their journey toward citizenship, remained.

The door to the judge’s chambers opened. The bailiff commanded, “All Rise.”

Silent expectation pulsed through the courtroom. Suddenly, past recollections became fuzzy, replaced by images of Josephina locked in an intimate embrace with their employer. Eduardo remembered how well the pistol fit his hand. Numb, he could only listen.

“Your Honor, my client pleads Not Guilty by reason of temporary insanity.”

ocoffey said...

He didn’t want to see that fridge in the basement again. He didn’t like fridges. They almost always held dead flesh or stale wine in their ice cool souls.
But he had to go down to check the fuse box, because his bedroom lights were out.
House sitters get no consideration.
And now he was going to have nightmares about the fridge if he didn’t check it out again.
But he didn’t want to see her fuzzy face in the plastic bag
Not now! Not beside the beetroot salad!
Tomorrow would do. After the fire everything would be o.k.

Michael Rigg said...

Cowardice comes in many forms. We’ve seen a prime example in the senseless attacks Friday night in Paris. As the citizens and government of France respond, we should remember the bravery with which France responded to our young republic in 1778. And we should resolve to stand, shoulder to shoulder, forming an indefatigable battalion against terrorism and ignorance.

Karen McCoy said...

He kissed me for the first time on Valentine’s Day and

I nearly forgot how to breathe.

He called me Peach Fuzz enough that

I covered my hair with hats.

He justified, “Pretty with no personality,” and

I clung to him like a bark beetle.

His string never got shorter; even

I grew tired.

When he spat fire about his cheating girlfriend

I locked him in the ice box

Until he cooled.

Calorie Bombshell said...

Prospective clients are the hardest to impress, he warned.

So I got rid of the peach fuzz above my upper lip and traded in the rusty Beetle for a Cadillac.

Still, it’s always the same smirk, roll of the eyes, and irritating question.

“What’s in the cooler, Mike?”

More like a lunchbox. Vintage hand-me-down from Dad when I took over his business last month.

Always be nice and smile, he’d say. Sometimes actions speak louder than words.

So I open it a crack and watch them scramble for their checkbooks.

Dying for my services. Just like he said they’d be.

SiSi said...

“That ice ain’t thick enough.” I run off the boys, faces beet-red from the cold and carrying skates still new in the box. Last thing I need is people out here looking for bodies.

Fifty years ago my husband proposed to me by this pond. Promised me everything.

I cried when I told friends he left. They said he’d come back when he cooled down, but I knew better.

My fuzzy slippers are wet and my joints are hurting something fierce. I head for the house, slip and almost fall. These old bones will be the death of me yet.

Kathy Ellen Davis said...

L.T. Was trying to play it cool.
good thing he was a beet.
His face could turn red all it wanted;
no one would notice.
Peach Fuzz was just finishing up;
his one beet band,
Lettuce Turnip, the Beet,
was next.
The whole vegetable kingdom loved
his voice,
his dance moves,
and his upbeat songs.
But this was something new.
This was something he had always wanted to do;
maybe that’s why he was so nervous.
He hit the stage, took a breath, and started.
The papers the next day said
it was the best beat-boxing they’d ever heard.

SiSi said...

So glad to hear the French commenters are all well, and praying the City of Light gets through this dark time.

Kara Ringenbach said...

School rules. I’m the smart kid, quiet and ‘nice.’ The slightest provocation turns my face beet red, my hands to ice.
Cool Girl sits nearby, sniffling, girls hanging around. I study alone, feet crossed, head down.
Cool Girl calls my name. I look up, feeling the flutter. “Get me a tissue.” The box is beyond her. Pride sputters.
“Are your feet the problem?” Sweetly. Back to studying. My toes curl at the silence, shoe fuzz burning.
Still the smart kid, and quiet. But my face stays cool. No longer ‘nice.’ But now, I rule the school.

I also wanted to offer thoughts and prayers for France. We are all thinking of you on the other side of the world.

Jo-Anne Teal said...

Eddie sold his gloves yesterday for three cigarettes. Rubs his red as beets hands together, can’t feel his frozen fingers, worries his sense of touch is lost forever.

Rough night in the alley. Rain, ice, sleet, only a cardboard box to act as shelter. Three months ago, rode a Greyhound here, downtown. Forgot winter would arrive. It did. Dark November nights give way to sunny, bitter cool, cold days.

Eddie gasps, tries to catch his chilled breath, thinks back, fuzzy family pictures, reasons for being here not there. Remembers. Tucks his legs closer to his body,seeks non-existence warmth.

Pam Schuneman said...

It was one breath of air. I remember darkness and silence and trying to breathe.

My mother had laid out items from the refrigerator - old beets, cucumbers with gray-green fuzz, cool ice trays full of water, and an old box of baking soda. My brother James and I were playing nearby and the open, empty refrigerator stood before us. Too inviting to pass. I stood inside and giggled, doing something naughty, a forbidden act. And my brother closed the door.

He ran.

My mother opened the door and grabbed me, hugging me and not letting go for a long time.

The Notebook Blogairy said...

Chartreuse fuzz obscured the diced beet. Forgetting, she wrinkled her nose and dumped it all in the trash.

The white-clad woman whisking by brought it back.

Sticking her tongue at the woman’s back felt good! Yet froze when she saw the paddle handles. Her own heart raced as she watched the woman’s white shoes ascend.

Sighing, she returned to Grandma’s colorfully cool organization system. The freezer held a small box of bodega-sized pistachio ice cream, green peas and two green ice trays.

She feared the funeral would be the same; a large chilly cathedral with only them four in attendance.

AnnieColleen said...

Finally the machine creaks open.

The young fellow - long recruited, not yet signed - stoops clear of its confining box. Then hesitates, like he's wondering what world he's stepped into.

That's been explained. The manager advances, grinning welcome. Now ice the deal.

Usher him through the right-hand door: here's glory in a hall of murals. The Shot, The Steal - the trophy, repeated, coolly gleaming. A picked-out motto: Let Fame Be Eternal.

In the machine's room, the left-hand door opens. Too soon.

He turns.

The door slams. Too late. He's seen the other's face: his own, but haggard, pain-lined, fuzzed with gray.

JD Paradise said...

In the Viper Pit, the pounding drums your heartbeat pushing sludgy fuzz guitar through your veins. Her beside you. Watching the earthbound god dance amid the crowd.

While you watch her pink tongue slick her lips.

You, never cool. You, blushing beet red to stammer her name, but standing silent together like accomplices, She the flame and you the moth, tonight at last the night and the world are yours and hers and yours forever.

But she is watching him, and not looking at you.

Or the velvet box in your sweaty left hand.

Or the blade in your right.

Matthew Wuertz said...

The radio only picks up the fuzz of background radiation. I don’t know where I am, trapped in this metal box that may become my tomb. I should be nearing Earth, but my instruments disagree with each another, and I’m not sure I can trust my own thoughts.

Beyond the cool glass windows lies naked space. Long ago, we thought it was maybe ether. But it’s a vacuum; it’s nothing. Thinking too long about the deadly emptiness outside my bubble of protection ices my heart.

I sweep the channels again, hoping for a voice.

Instead, silence.

Steve Wilkins said...

"Do me a favor and step out of the vehicle and keep your hands where I can see them."

"Sure. Cool, officer. Right away." A devilish grin reveals itself when the Desert Eagle is brandished. The gleam shines into the terrified eyes of the Beetle's passenger's eyes. The sweat is making the masking tape shrivel up.
"Not a word about the icebox." The barrel is pointed at her temple.

Feet to the pavement, and he laughs. "You ever get that warm fuzzy feeling?" This was not a slow descent into madness.

Angie Brooksby-Arcangioli said...

His moush watered. A beer. Hard day, late again. Gonna be et-shpeshaly angry. Shoulda shkipped the pub.
Beer gone. Everyshing’s gone.
Exshept a box with note: DON’T OPEN IT
Wheresh the dog?
“Mara!” he shlammed the door to the fridge.
“Mara!” Silshence.
He shtomped up the shtairs.
No Mara. No tooshbrush. No moushwash.
Anosher note: 3C-11A-49Y-18M-14E-33N-Jolly
Think. Fuzz. Dog! Iced spine.
Run. Fridge. Cool air. Open.
Ticket— 2 adults and dog, 1st class

John Frain said...

I was six when he ordered my “racially undesirable” family killed. Mother. Father. Emil. Sonia.

He put me to work. Said I was quick. The gall to compliment.

Seven decades I’ve hunted. Vowed justice as he beetled around the globe. Tonight, we share the same hotel in Bucharest. It’s difficult remembering his face. He carries a new name. But that voice.

Herr Kaiser.

My plan is fuzzy. I shadowbox with the details. Add coolant to his drink? Inject him with ricin? My time on Earth is short.

Acquiring the gun was easy. I’d imagined pulling the trigger would be harder.

John Frain said...

So good to see comments from Angie, Hank and Lynn.

The power of the Internet hit home. I have ... friends ... in France. Friends I've never touched, never even seen, but whose words have painted me a picture of each of them.

I have no idea how you actually look, of course. Your features, your hair, the clothes you wear. But like an image of a late-night radio deejay, I've got a picture of you in my mind. Each one of you. And you're all strong.

french sojourn said...

Le lys de Paris;

A cool breeze hangs on a rope,
when that thing called hope, departs its mortal coil.

Like a phoenix from the ashes,
it rises then crashes, now a seed alone in wet soil.

In a damp darkness it gathers,
then blossoms or rather, like Beethoven’s notes morphs into hues.

Fuzzy, spiky and velvety,
the lily is quite solitary, and never travels in twos.

It’s just a delicate flower,
with no justice or power, and it fades in the light of love.

It grows behind shady headstones,
guarding boxes of innocent ones, waiting to take flight above.

Janice L. Grinyer said...

No warm fuzzy memories for us... we never did play nice. Pointing to a red light on mom's oven, you told me the devil's eye was watching.
I was seven. I had nightmares for months.

Growing older... let's be ethical. Pointing to the empty liquor bottles you hid, I coolly told you the devil fucked you up.
You lied. You said there was no devil.

Now a reunion... I'm not ready. The devil's eye watches me bake your favorite cookies; your guests will eat them after we scatter your box of ashes.
Damn you.
I didn't get to say goodbye.

Em-Musing said...

Love, healing, and blessings I send to Paris.

Just Jan said...

Words cannot express the horror of the attacks in Paris. I am thankful our bloggers from France (and their loved ones) are safe. My thoughts are with you and your countrymen.

E.M. Goldsmith said...

My thoughts and prayers go out to those in the wake of this unfathomable, horrific, and cowardly attack on Paris. I am so grateful our Reiders living there are safe. I can't find the words. Vive La France. Que la lumiere brille sur Paris.

Gabby Gilliam said...

The Beetles crackled through radio fuzz.
No one you can save that can’t be saved.
The box of wine sweat on the counter. Mary nursed a plastic cup of chardonnay, poured over ice to keep it cool.
Nothing you can do but you can learn to be you in time.
The front door creaked open, two hours too late, and Felix tip-toed down the hallway, creeping to bed for the third time this week. Mary waited until he was asleep to turn the gas on, sealed the door tightly as she left, took the wine with her.
It’s easy.

Gabby Gilliam said...

I'm relieved to see the bloggers from France, as well as their families, are safe. Our hearts are with you #Parisisaboutlife

Anonymous said...

In the twilight, I watch him through my scope and shafts of tall grass. He lifts a giant paw and slowly turns from the stream. Drops of water fall from the fuzz of his mane. Sweat slides down my cheek as twice my finger tenses, beet red at the tip, around the cool metal trigger. Twice it releases. To put this majestic beast in a box…

A crack cuts through the stillness, startling me. One limb at a time, the animal slumps to the ground.

“I’ve got him,” says the man next to me. “Let’s get the truck.”

Steve Cassidy said...

“Really hot beet soup” she snickered.

“You’re screwing with me, right? Beet soup?”

“It’ll make you feel better, an old homeopathic remedy, my grandmothers.”

“No, a nice cool drink , a Bloody Mary will make me feel better.”

“Head a little fuzzy?”


“You tied one on last night”

“There’s a boxing match going on in my head”

“Loud pounding”

“Crazy loud”

“You started at hello”


“You didn’t stop, I can’t do this with you anymore.”


“Watch you kill yourself.”

“What’re you talking about?”

“Your drinking.”

“What about it.”

“You're an alcoholic”


“If you don’t get help….”