Silver Lining #StoryADayMay 01

,It’s the first of the month, so there’s a new Hot Flash (micro-mini story) on my Hot Flashes page.

Here is the first story for Story A Day May. I planned to take as my prompts photos of cleaning and bathroom products, but I’m also indebted to the irrepressible Pete Laberge, who has left me a handful of inspiration.

So now, I give you:


by Marian Allen

Randal started dreaming of the possibility when he discovered his great-aunt’s diary.

Great-Aunt Elspeth’s son and heir, living happily in Florida, had honored his mother’s passing by hiring an online auction firm to dispose of her house and goods. Randal, along with a few other lateral descendants who had liked her peculiar sense of humor and her flair for soups and stews, had bid on a few keepsakes. His own particular win had been a steamer trunk he had never seen, but which would make an interesting toe-stubber – er, linen storage unit – at the end of his bed.

The trunk had contained every birthday and Christmas tea towel, knick-knack, and apron he remembered anyone having ever given her (including his own), and the diary.

Recipe book, really. Sort of.

Aunt Elspeth had been a witch. A real one. Not a nasty woman, not a Wiccan, but a genuine, magical witch.

May 1, 1950. To Fly. The best so far. Slit a zucchini of any size, but smaller is better. Into the slit, sprinkle powdered human bone. Eat the entire zucchini raw. The older the bone, the higher and longer and faster you fly. Broom, schmoom.

He began by training himself to eat raw zucchini – not his favorite vegetable. With every bite, though, he chewed and swallowed the dream of flying.

Meanwhile, he volunteered at a cemetery. He bought a lock-picking tool kit through an ad in the back of a comic book, let himself into the oldest mausoleum on the grounds, one nobody ever visited. He pried open the oldest tomb. AGATHA COLLINWOOD, BELOVED WIFE AND MOTHER. Spoiled for choice, he bagged as many of the vertebrae as he could sift out of the general debris.

“This is for science,” he told what was left of the departed. “It isn’t body snatching, because there’s no body, right? And it isn’t grave robbing, because I’m leaving your jewelry, right? Okay, Mrs. Collinwood? Okay.”

On the way home, he stopped by a 24-7 WalMart and picked up a fresh zucchini and a “manual herb processor”, a.k.a. a mortar and pestle.

His hands shook as he pounded one of the extremely late Agatha Collinwood’s vertebrae into powder. He was afraid he’d cut himself as he slit the zucchini, but he didn’t. Whew! In went Agatha.

It wasn’t the best thing he’d ever eaten, but it was only marginally worse than plain zucchini.

How long before it works? I don’t feel any different.

He went to the foot of the stairs, spread his arms, and raised himself onto his toes. Nothing. He hopped as high as he could on muscles unused to doing more than holding his saggy muscles upright. Nothing.

Maybe I need more height. Like, bats need height to fly. Can’t fly from the ground.

He went upstairs onto his postage-stamp-sized balcony. The night breeze across his skin made him feel buoyant.

Yeah, this is the ticket!

He held out his arms and hopped. The stars felt closer.

This is it!

He climbed onto the sturdy plastic stool he used as a side table when he sat out in his plastic Adirondack chair. He gave a tentative hop from that higher elevation.


He tried a stronger hop. He lost his balance stepped into space, tipped over the railing – and he was flying!

No, he was falling.

When the blackness passed, he opened his eyes. Two women looked down at him sympathetically. One of them was Great-Aunt Elspeth. The other, he somehow knew, was Agatha Collinwood.

Great-Aunt Elspeth shook her head. “Found my diary, did you?”

He tried to draw a breath, but discovered he no longer needed to breathe. “It didn’t work.”

“It did and it didn’t,” said Great-Aunt Elspeth.

“Did it work for you?”

“No, you ninny. It wasn’t supposed to. It was just for fun.”

“You weren’t a witch?”

“Oh. My. God. You are so gullible.” She turned to Mrs. Collinwood. “He always was.”

“But cheer up,” Mrs. Collinwood told him. “You can fly, now.”

They joined hands with him and the three of them soared away. He regretted being dead but he could fly, and he really didn’t want to stay in what looked like very painfully broken flesh.

Silver lining.


MY PROMPTS: Body powder, zucchini, diary, WalMart


I was born in Louisville, Kentucky, but now live in the woods in southern Indiana. Though I only write fiction, I love to read non-fiction. The more I learn about this world, the more fantastic I see it is.

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One thought on “Silver Lining #StoryADayMay 01

  1. Dan Antion

    May 1, 2017 at 8:03am

    “It wasn’t the best thing he’d ever eaten, but it was only marginally worse than plain zucchini.” I understand that.

    Great story, Marian.

    Permalink  ⋅ Reply
    • Author

      Marian Allen

      May 1, 2017 at 11:05am

      Yep. Still, it’s better than falling off the roof and NOT getting your wish. I guess. Mebbe.

      Permalink  ⋅ Reply
  2. Pete Laberge

    May 1, 2017 at 2:07pm

    Having eaten zucchini, I agree with the guy. And now they can auction off Randal’s stuff….

    When my mum died in 1984, I was pretty poor. I had a big piece of cheese, a huge hunk of baloney, mustard, mayo, relish, and a huge tub of grated zucchini from my late aunt Yvonne. I was no fan of zucchini on its own. So I mixed. first a small batch, then a big one. I used it as filling in sandwiches for lunch. I cooked it between de-crusted bread as patties, with an egg to hold it together… The crusts I put in soup, so as not to waste them. It took months, but I finally ate that huge container of frozen zucchini.

    Being terrified of heights, I never did think of jumping off a roof! Probably just as well.

    Permalink  ⋅ Reply
    • Author

      Marian Allen

      May 1, 2017 at 4:25pm

      My husband is not a fan of zucchini, although he loves #1 Daughter’s zucchini bread. I like it just fine. I would consider that tub of grated zucchini a treasure trove! 😀

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  3. Pete Laberge

    May 1, 2017 at 6:19pm

    @Marian Allen – Well, you’d be 35 years too late. I came, I saw, I ate. It was tolerable with all the other stuff mixed in. Grated Zucchini is a great add on to soups and stews. A Thickener.

    Permalink  ⋅ Reply
  4. Joey

    May 1, 2017 at 9:32pm

    Excellent story! Oh yeah, they’re all flyin together now 😉

    Permalink  ⋅ Reply
  5. Shan Jeniah Burton

    May 2, 2017 at 3:12am

    I could feel the end coming – but you caught me by having the ladies there to greet him!

    I have no beefs against zucchini, but the idea of flying and eating powdered vertebrae…umm, no thank you!

    Stopping by from the Victory Dance page!

    Permalink  ⋅ Reply
    • Author

      Marian Allen

      May 2, 2017 at 8:22am

      Hi! Good to see you again! I dream of flying and it’s always wonderful. I wouldn’t eat bits of people to do it, though. Ick!

      Permalink  ⋅ Reply

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