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On the Move

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Shortly after our visit to the Imperial Palace the winds shifted and we were able to fly from Java to Bali. What a world of difference! Here are some photos I took on the way to our hotel that night. Of course, that was quite the ride as we went from the airport in Denpasar to Ubud, which is in the center of town.

The airport gave us a good preview of what to expect – lots of grand statuary. There was an enormous statue in the middle of the swooping roads in and out of the airport. From the outside, the airport looks like a rolling, modernnesque wave of a building.

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Suzie’s House 455 : Toast and Shoes

Suzie's House

It wasn’t that Sophie considered Ethan selfish. She’d seen him do unselfish things many times in the course of a fairly long marriage. He simply didn’t think very far beyond himself. His acts of selflessness were always spur of the moment, brought on by a kind of surprised compassion.

So she shouldn’t have been surprised by the brand new pair of sturdy white nursing shoes in exactly her size that magically appeared on her seat at the kitchen table. She lifted them up, checked the size printed into the thick rubber soles, then set them down again.

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When it Rains

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“See? I told you everything would be great.” Mark said to Debbie as they set up their tent.

“I would still rather be in Murphy’s or maybe Napa going from wine tasting to wine tasting.” She flicked off a speck of dust. “I am not a fan of the great out doors.”

“Why? What’s wrong with it?”

“Too much dirt! I mean, imagine if the weather reporter was right and it rained?”

A clap of thunder rolled through the wood.

The Challenge: Write a story in 100 words or less
The Hub: Rochelle Wisoff-Fields
The Photo Credit: Mary Shipman

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Suzie’s House 454 : Still Too Many Characters

Suzie's House

While I critiqued Lisa’s work, Ben got antsy. He pulled at his lower lip, glanced between us, and shifted weight in his seat. I thought he wanted to say something, but when I looked at him, he looked away. At last, he picked up his manuscript and banged the bottom of the stack of paper on the table to line up the pages, then stuffed it into his backpack. A field of cookie crumbs appeared where the paper had been. I got up to get a washcloth.

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Truckers

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The other day I was trying to drive from a gas station to the left lane of a four lane on a right turn. A very long line of cars had me sitting idle for a loooong time. When the light turned red for them, a dump truck pulled forward enough to totally block my way.

Although regretable, I didn’t worry about it. I assumed I would catch a break eventually. The truck driver, was another matter.

He waved for me to go ahead of him, but I couldn’t because he was too far forward already. I just shrugged and waved him on. To my shock, he flipped me off!

Seriously, what gives? I guess I’ll never know.

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Fence

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Fred walked out to the back forty to find Barb standing by the fence. Some of her long, beautiful hair had gotten caught in the barbwire. She picked and tugged at it.

“Morning Barb! Got yourself caught again? You know, neither one of us has run cattle on our property in a long time. I’m not planning on changing that. Are you?”

“Nope.” She ripped the hair loose.

“Why don’t we just take this fence down?”

“It’s the way I was raised. ‘Good fences make good neighbors’ as they say. I’d hate to lose you as a neighbor.”

The Challenge: Write a story in 100 words or less
The Hub: Rochelle Wisoff-Fields
The Photo Credit: Madison Woods

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The Imperial Palace

The buildings that had been used by the emperor for many generations have mostly been converted to a museum housing the various items that were used by royalty over the years. They range from portraits to oven mitts.

1. Guardian statue at the entry way.
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Suzie’s House 453 : Entirely Too Many Characters

Suzie's House

I tried to resist, but the rice crackers weren’t cutting it. I filched a cookie off the plate in the middle of the table.

“Lisa, before I say anything more about your writing, help me eat these cookies. I really shouldn’t be eating them, but they are too tempting.”

“You don’t have to make them for us,” Lisa said, but she dutifully crunched into one. She may have done it to pacify me, but seemed to enjoy it once she started.

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Sunless Worshipers

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At one point a tourist asked our guide why so many of the people in Java wear masks when on motorcycle. We thought it was a reaction to pollution. Not so. They are trying to avoid getting tans. Dark skin is a sign of low income and education. Those who ride motorcycles are particularly likely to get “too much” sun. If their helmets don’t have dark face plates, then they will often add a mask of some sort. In a similar way, our guides will occasionally wear “sleeves” on their arms. These are removable elastic tubes that fill in from hand to where short sleeves leave off. They are often skin colored. You can see them here if you look closely.

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I’m seriously thinking about making myself some not to protect my status, but to ward off sunburn.

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Hieroglyphics

“But what does it mean?” Akron3a traced the lines in the book. There was something familiar about the shapes, but he couldn’t quite place why or how.

“It doesn’t mean anything,” Beta425 said with a condescending smirk. “It’s art. That’s what art is all about – stuff that makes no sense. That’s why we don’t have any of our own in the colony. Put that book back in the foreigner’s bag before he notices.”

“I guess it doesn’t matter.” Akron3a put the book away.

The next day the foreigner caught an interstellar ship, taking the schematics that could have repaired their crippled colony jump ship with him.

The Challenge: Write a story in 100 words or less
The Hub: Rochelle Wisoff-Fields
The Photo Credit: Kent Bonham

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On the Way to the Airport

The next morning we were supposed to leave Java and fly off to Bali. Like most best-laid-plans this one went awry. The airport in Bali suffered from drifting volcanic ash off and on the whole trip. It happened to be closed when we were supposed to take off, so the travel company arranged a later flight for us. That left all morning with nothing to do. Our guide quickly made alternative arrangements to keep us entertained. She lined up bikchas for everyone and had us all peddled to the Imperial Palace for an impromptu visit of the museum. These are all shots I took on the ride along the way.

1. In front of our hotel
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Suzie’s House 452 : Too Many Characters

Suzie's House

I handed the marked up copies of their manuscripts back to Lisa and Ben. Ironically, they had both suffered from the same writing issue this time. Too many characters caused confusion.

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Rice Cracker Factory

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Horse drawn carriages took us to a rice cracker factory where we participated in rice cracker production.

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Suzie’s House 451 : Goofy Boys

Suzie's House

“It’s not impolite when you’re livid,” Gene said. He thought it was obvious.

“Get out!” Ben leaned away so far he nearly fell off Gene’s bed. One hand crunched on the stack of scrap paper full of attempted lyrics. His goofy grin made Gene feel like laughing.

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Elated

Anywhere is fine
Among the skyscrapers around the Capital Square
Or the tall grasses by Lake Monona
I will search for you everywhere
As long as your heart continues to turn toward mine

When your camera takes you away
I will wait
When your sails can’t hold wind
I’ll call them for you

Anytime is fine
I’ll rush to your side through snow drifts or rain
I’ll hold your books or your hand
As long as you are still mine

The Challenge: Write a story in 100 words or less
The Hub: Rochelle Wisoff-Fields
The Photo Credit: Marie Gail Stratford

This poem is an outtake from the Suzie’s House series. It was written by the character named Ben.

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