Prompt: NOISE


The neighbor’s barking dog is beyond annoying.

Is it my imagination, or are there more sirens screaming day and night and day?

The woman downstairs bumps and bangs around throughout the wee hours until my nerves are frayed and I’m tempted to do violence—but don’t want to end up on 11 pm news…and in a noisy jail cell.

I’m convinced that one day a plane will land, loud and low (crash) on my roof.

The 24/7 pandemic news competes with political palaver…a constant buzz saw.

All of this incites voices in my head to harangue…and I’ve yet to locate Mute button.

©Rhen Laird/Cobbled Contemplations, 2020 ~ All rights reserved.

Delusions of Safety

Prompt:  SAFETY

Other than loss, disappointment, trying times, heartache…there are no guarantees in life, surely none of “safety”.

Her ex-husband often laughed when, arriving home from anywhere, she’d utter a relieved sigh, and say, “good, we’re back at our safe apartment”.

He didn’t understand her, didn’t care to; had no least interest in asking questions to learn anything about his wife.

She’d always found the world a threatening, scary, quite unsafe place; had thought marrying him would be her refuge.

But as months passed, her romantic delusion was revealed—genuine love might be analogous to a “haven”, but he’d never loved her; and each white-hot rage added another panel in the mural of domestic danger.

One day she donned courage and left him…certain that being alone would insure safety, she locked herself inside secluded, cushioned interior world (if windows rattle it’s merely benign blithe spirits, no vengeful undead).

©Rhen Laird/Cobbled Contemplations, 2020 ~ All rights reserved.

The 50-Year Question


“I have a question…”


“You haven’t even heard my question.”

“It’s always the same one, you know the answer.”

“I shouldn’t have to ask…and wouldn’t, if you were more expressive.”

At the stoplight, his rheumy eyes spoke impatience, frustration, yet his voice was gentle:  “Fifty years ago I asked you to marry me…I’m sure I said ‘I love you’, and I haven’t changed my mind—you fell in love with a quiet guy…now, do you want to eat at the Chinese place, or Pancake House?”

©Rhen Laird/Cobbled Contemplations, 2020 ~ All rights reserved.


Routine Was Everything

Prompt:  ROUTINE

Routine meant everything to her; dependable, reliable, its structure afforded her a modicum of stability.

Routine provided the illusion of control—which she clearly understood was mere illusion; nonetheless, comforting.

She vigorously denied even a minor degree of OCD; it was simply more sensible to live an orderly life—rather than a haphazard, reckless, adventuresome existence which risked certain calamity.

Pared down smaller than most people’s, perhaps cloistered, her life was manageable (and for the most part, richer than anyone knew) behind the tall invisible walls of privacy and routine.

She shopped for groceries and paid bills at first of month, did her laundry near the end; garbage and recycling were put out on designated days; her quiet activities maintained a satisfying rhythm.

On the final day, her clothes and dishes were all washed and tidied, her few rooms neat; no food was left to rot, the houseplants were watered…and when eventually discovered, her corpse in the closet was described as a “routine” suicide.

©Rhen Laird/Cobbled Contemplations,  2020 ~ All rights reserved.

The Polar Bear Coat (6 Sentence Story)

Prompt:  COAT

It was a new school…again.

New state, new climate, new house, new rules, new faces (and still no place for her).

New clothes from Penney’s, where evidently other girls’ mothers’ shopped…she resembled one of triplet sisters.

The new coat, white, looked like a polar bear had left it behind; and was identical to that worn by a girl who offered friendship.

This coat was big and thick…white fake-fur-armor she never took off throughout the schoolday.

It, and her unyielding mute gaze into the distance, protected her from all things fearsome…like scary adolescent boys.

©Rhen Laird/Cobbled Contemplations,  2020 ~ All rights reserved.

How You Slice It

Prompt: SLICE

No matter how you slice it, someone’s going to disagree.

Well, most people think they’re right…it’s par for the human ego, I suppose.

Are you going to slice that delicious cake, or just admire your work?

I was waiting for you to stop pontificating.

Um, you’re not slicing it right…it should be in even squares.

I’ve just remembered, you’re dieting—how ’bout a slice of apple, instead?

©Rhen Laird/Cobbled Contemplations,  2020 ~ All rights reserved.