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Picture Writing Prompts: FLAMINGOS DON’T FLY NORTH

Posted by on June 24, 2017

If you had told Tad and Dee they’d retire in Billings, they’d have informed you that your insulation was cracked and your wiring had shorted out.

Both Thaddeus Farlow and Edwina Cashton had traveled when young and single.  They were both military veterans, Tad an Air Force transport loadmaster and Dee a Navy RN.  As such, they’d both had opportunity to be and see a lot of different places.  Though they enjoyed those experiences, they were both from the Pacific Northwest and always had a fondness for their childhood haunts.

Some of them.  Strangely enough, both had graduated from the same high school in a windswept, dust-laden little town neither wished to revisit.  Despite all the senior yearbook affirmations of “Stay in touch, ‘kay?” and “I’ll never forget you!”, the entire class of 103 souls scattered to pursue Life.

Later in life, Tad and Dee had retired from military service and became reacquainted at a 40th-year high school class reunion.  Though enjoying reconnecting with a few old friends, neither were impressed with the social setting.  They found themselves sitting together, observing the event.

“Do you enjoy coffee?”

“You’re asking a swabbie if she likes coffee?”

That was their first coffee date.  The rest, as they say, is his – and her – story.  Wanting somewhere accessible to any of their remaining families, yet wanting no part of the strange political winds blowing in their respective areas, the Farlows began looking for a less expensive place to retire.

Their community in Billings was one of which they’d only dreamed.  Not only did they find the single-story ranch home with outdoor sheltered decks they both preferred; it was a gated community in which personalized golf carts were the norm.  Cars stayed in garages unless needed to travel.

Like to Riverfront Park.  Or Bair Theater of The Performing Arts.  Or a mouth-watering meal at the Staggering Ox.

Or something they both heartily enjoyed:  a trip to Costco.

Both Tad and Dee had rollicking, belly-laughing senses of humor, as evidenced by their emerging love of flyfishing–something neither of them had ever done or even considered before settling in Billings.  Hiring Josh from Big Sky Fly Fishers, they’d flooded their waders in both the Bighorn and Yellowstone Rivers.  The last time, Dee was laughing so hard at the extra weight and butt-low aspect of their shadows she couldn’t walk.  She just laid there on the shore, helplessly laughing, while the icy river water ran out on its own.  Seeing Tad standing there with water pouring out of a hole near his lower thigh sent her into fresh snorting paroxysms.

After they’d garaged the car, cleaned up a little and had jumped in their cart to run over to Stella’s Kitchen for dinner, Dee kept spitting on the windshield, erupting again at the hilarious sight.  “You s-s-sure—-”  She had to stop because you can’t talk and laugh that hard at the same time.

Exasperated, Tad said, “WHAT?!?”  In a supreme effort to straighten up, Dee managed to gasp, “You sure must’ve had to pee a lot!”  At that, they both were laughing so hard that Tad had to pull the cart over to one side of the cart trail.  Motorists passing by were likely curious at the gray-haired couple with the custom golf cart, just sitting there laughing so hard they were wiping tears.

Later, as they pulled into the cart parking area at Stella’s, another silver-haired man was just locking his.  “Hey, Tad–what’s with the extra horn?”

“Oh, hi, Al.  Aw, you know how anemic the horns on these carts are.  I simply upgraded ours.  It’s programmable so we can play music or sound effects.  Right now it’s set on Play That Funky Music.”  Mashing the button on cue, Dee grinned as the funk of Wild Cherry blasted the cooling evening air.  Al just shook his head.  “You two are the most kid-like couple I’ve ever known.”

“Aw, that’s the nicest thing anyone’s said to us today.”

“And Tad?”


“I ain’t even askin’ about the flamingos.”

© D. Dean Boone, June 2017

One discipline of becoming a better writer is to find writing prompts that work for you, and keep writing.  I found some time ago that my creative side responded well to running across, or being sent, a single picture.  The challenge:  create a story from that picture.  I apologize for the pic being sideways.  I tried several times to correct it and it kept hanging up my computer.  Perhaps you can still make out enough for this story to make sense. ~~~ Dan


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