Halloween Pranks (flash fiction)


The following story is a mixture of truth and fiction. It was accepted to be in the upcoming Old Mountain Press anthology, Happy Holidays. This is a collection of poetry and prose from many significant contributors. Col (Ret.) Tom Davis is the publisher. He has written several books, and puts out poetry and prose anthologies three times a year. I have my works in several of them. Information about the website is at the end of this post. You can check out all of his E-books on Amazon Kindle.

Halloween Pranks
Dwight L. Roth
When I was in the fourth grade, the school I attended did not have indoor toilets! Behind our classroom building were three outhouses: a small one with a green door for the three lady teachers, a little larger two-hole one for the girls, and a similar one for the boys. The boys’ toilet had an L-shaped fence wall around it with a trough in the back where we could stand up and pee! We enjoyed seeing who could get their stream the highest on the wall!
You might wonder how Halloween and outhouses go together. Well, I heard tales of what teenagers do on Halloween; things like scaring little kids, stealing their candy, or throwing rotten eggs at people’s houses or cars! Those tales kept us only going to our neighbors and to people we knew! Unfortunately, that isn’t all teenagers do.
In the Fall of 1957, my friends I were excited to go trick-or-treating with our older siblings. A full moon shone down on us as we walked down our country road knocking on our neighbors’ doors. But, at the edge of town, where we went to school, more sinister actions were going on in the moon light!
The next morning, I arrived at school to a flurry of excitement. Children on the playground talked excitedly to one another, pointing to the back of the school. I soon found out what the excitement was all about. On Halloween night, some of the teenage boys pushed over the teacher’s toilet! As we, took our breaks during the day I looked in amazement at the little toilet with the green door lying there on its back.
In a day or two, the school maintenance men came and got it set back upright. I wondered how the teachers felt, having to use the girls’ toilet. They never did find out who tipped it over.

Check out Old Mountain Press here:   http://www.oldmp.com/e-book/#author

Out House Clip Art: https://i.pinimg.com

Robert’s Books

IMG_0400 (3)The Eagles’ Hotel California played on WKDX radio
As I drove up to Robert’s Book Shop
It was a place I always planned to visit
Today was the day to check it out
A bell rang as I gave the stuck door a kick

Rows and rows of books, stacked to the ceiling, greeted me
A little barking pooch brought the clerk to attention

“Make yourself at home,” she said. “You’ll be here awhile!”
The lyrics to the song ran through my head
Sending a chill slowly up his spine.
Stepping back in time I wandered down row after row.

Fluorescent lighting glared harshly from overhead;
Old books from school days, novels, favorite stories
Kept appearing down every row

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One of my favorite childhood books, Little Black Sambo,
(Now banned by politically correct and polite society
for having racial overtones)
Is no longer shared with children of great imagination.
Memorabilia, posters of vintage actresses, toys, and animal heads
Hung in odd places above the rows

Even an old payphone, that no longer rang hung on the wall


The smell of old books permeated the store down each row
Favorite radio shows such as Dragnet, The Lone Ranger,
and The Shadow Knows were there in book form.

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Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys, and Uncle Wiggley
Took me down memory lane to my childhood
Every time I thought I saw everything, another row appeared
Once again the words to the song played in my head;
… “you can never leave!”

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Photos: Dwight L. Roth

Today, Sarah asked us to write a poem that describes someone or ourselves using the senses. I hope this is what she meant.  We visited this quaint bookstore on the Oregon coast last week. It was a trip back in time and a visual feast.

Come join us at: https://dversepoets.com

Dust Bowl Moon

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The full moon crept over the treeless plain. John Clark sat on his broken porch step and watched it rise. Clouds left eerie shadows across the yard. It was All Hallow’s Eve. There was no thought of candy or spooks and goblins.

The dry Oklahoma winds had blown away much of the topsoil. The wheat, this year, dried up in the fields. Last year, it was the swarm of grasshoppers that ate every green thing in sight.These fields were once covered with tall grasses and ranging bison. Now they were lifeless and dusty as a desert. “This is the barrenness of harvest or pestilence.”

John had no choice, but to load his wife and four children in his old Model T Ford, and travel West. They took what they could, hoping to make it to California before the Snow arrived in the mountains.

Dust Bowl Photo: Saturday Evening Post

Bjorn at d’Verse asked us to write a prose piece of not more than 144 words. He took a line from a  Louise Gluck poem, which we had to include in our writing. It was also to include the holiday theme of All Hallow’s Eve and Halloween. It was, “This is the barrenness of harvest or pestilence.” I attempted to apply this line to the sad times of the Dust Bowl.

Join us at: https://dversepoets.com

Twisted Earth

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People seem to like living on the edge. As the ocean continues to uncover the twisted Earth within, many still build as close to the edge as possible. Houses and Motels perch on the tops of cliffs, knowing full well, that it is only a matter of time until storm, earthquake, or upheaval will cast them into the sea! The Twisted Earth clearly tells its story. We seem to think it won’t happen to us!

In the cauldron of creation earth bubbled and groaned
Ocean floors found new plains above water
Magma and lava mixed with centuries of sediments
Creating geological hard-shell pigs in a blanket
Continents played musical chairs as the fiery magma spewed forth
Furious upheavals folded rock layers into broken saw-tooth ranges
Volcanic dust settled over the plains mixing with sediments
Forming rich black soil that still feeds us to this day
In the cauldron of creation, Earth still bubbles and groans
It is only a matter of time…. The cycle continues…

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Rock formations on the Oregon Coast – Photos: Dwight L. Roth



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On the road to the Black Forest in Germany people seem to be celebrating Halloween all year round. They had their hedges and bushes trimmed with fun faces of ghosts and goblins.  It could be very scary for little kids trick or treating on Halloween night!

Black Forest Faces

Halloween spooks all year round

Strange spectors say, “Boo!”


Photo: Dwight L. Roth

Frank Tassone asked us to write our Haikai poem today based on the tradition of Halloween. Last summer we saw these odd faces as we traveled through the Black Forest of Germany. I decided to write my poem about them.

Join us at: https://frankjtassone.com/2019/10/26/haikai-challenge-110-10-26-19-halloween-samhain-haiku-senryu-haibun-tanka-haiga-renga/

How Many Bites?

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As we were leaving the ocean, returning to our car, I noticed this huge log lying next to the pathway. It appeared to be two feet in diameter. What caught my eye were the marks on the end of the log. It was not cut down by a chain saw, but rather one bite at a time  with an ax! That would take a real man (a Paul Bunyan type)  to chip away enough to take the tree down. It must have been a rewarding thing for him to see the top of that tree sway, and then come crashing to the ground. Thankfully, trees are one of our renewable resources.

Strong and muscular

The lumber jack swings his ax

Wood chips flying fast


How many bites will it take

Till the tree sways // and “Timber!!”


Photo: Dwight L. Roth


Who Sings?

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“Who sings in the deepest water in the abandoned lagoon?”
When the cool morning mist rises over warm Autumn waters;
Is there really a song, if no one is there to hear the singing?
“Who sings in the deepest water in the abandon lagoon?”
Where humpback whales hide and play, hidden from people;
Calling with sonic voices in the depths of deep water.
“Who sings in the deepest waters of the abandon lagoon?”
Is it not a mother calling to her calf, to swim close alongside;
As she dips and dives, singing whale lullabies in morning sunshine?
“Who sings in the deepest waters of the abandon lagoon?”
Perhaps it’s the bones of whales whose songs from long ago;
Echo from the darkest depths, up into the dark waters
of the abandon lagoon!

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Photos: Dwight L. Roth

We just returned from spending a part of this past week on the Oregon Coast. It was cool but beautiful. We looked for whales and enjoyed the fragmented coastline, as the waves came rolling in crashing against the rocks. While I was gone, I did not get to participate in the d’Verse poets prompts.
On Tuesday, Laura asked for a poem written with rhetorical questions. She asked us to pick a line from one of six different Pablo Neruda poetic questions and write our poem based on that line.
Today, Frank Hubney continues the challenge, introducing us to the term  Polyptoton, a rhetorical device which uses words with a common base, but in different ways. I attempted to combine the two prompts in my poem. I have also repeated the quoted line at the beginning of each stanza!

Join us at: https://dversepoets.com

Painting Greece

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I thought I would try painting four paintings at once, all on a given theme. I chose the Greek Isles. I have not visited there, but found the colorful images of this theme to be very beautiful. I finally finished them this week.  You may recognize some of the locations such as Santorini or Chios.


Greek Isles attract visitors

and brides in spring

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Paintings: Dwight L. Roth

Laid to Rest

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Leaves are laid to rest;
Blanketing the ground around the stones
of those already laid to rest.
Golden brown they fall
scattering in the wind // drifting gently;
A covering for those who have already
passed the winter of their life…
and those who left much too soon.
Soon the oak will be bare of leaves
its branches reaching up toward the blue sky.
Standing tall and stately over the cemetery
it knows when Spring comes
new life
will be drawn from its roots.
And, when this winter is past
it will put out new leaves
that will, once again, shade those
 who have already been laid to rest.

Photo: Dwight L. Roth

I am also posting this for d’Verse Poets Pub open link night.

Join us at: https://dversepoets.com