Storm Chaser
Photo credit: Thomas Zimmerman

The two girls sit on the porch and watch the storm clouds roll in.

“Hey Jess,” says Annie. “What do you think ever happened to Dorothy?”

“Who?” asks Jess.

“Dorothy, from the Wizard of Oz. What did she grow up to be?”

“Oh, I don’t know, maybe she became a storm chaser, seeing as she experienced one first hand and all.”

Annie laughs. “I’d like to be a storm chaser when I grow up too.”

“No time like the present.” Jess points toward the developing funnel.

Mom runs out of the house. “Girls! Into the storm cellar, now!”

© 2015 – All rights reserved Loretta Notto @ Mermaid Fingers


Prompt: …as time passes…

“How was your day?” she asks her 8-year-old son as he climbs into the car.


“I have a surprise waiting at home.”


“A Venus Flytrap.”

“Sick!” He giggles nervously.

They pull into the driveway. “Is it dangerous?” he asks.

“Only to flies.”

She opens the door. He refuses to go in. “I’m afraid.”

“Hang on.” She goes into the house and comes back out holding a two-inch plant. “Here it is.”

He stares at it. “That’s it?”

“You’ve been watching too many movies. Don’t worry, as time passes it will grow this big.” She holds her finger an inch above the plant.


© 2015 – All rights reserved Loretta Notto @ Mermaid Fingers

Liebster Award – Breaking the Rules


A few weeks ago I was nominated for the Liebster Award by Silverstein Potter. Thank you, Silverstein, I’m honoured! I’m sorry I took so long to respond with my own nominations.

Unfortunately, I was unable to nominate anybody. There are just too many great writers out there. Add the fact that I’m fairly new at blogging and haven’t really had the chance to get to know a lot of other bloggers yet. I’m getting there, though.

So I’ll be breaking a few Liebster rules for now. I took the liberty of answering the questions presented to me by my nominator, but that’s as far as I’ve been able to go. I apologize for this, but half a Liebster is better than no Liebster at all, I always say.


Why did you start a blog?

I found over the last few years that I’ve lost my inspiration to write. I need prompts and challenges and a whole lot of encouragement from other writers. My friend Teresa (aka Tess at Let’s Cut the Crap) suggested starting a blog. So I did and here I am.

What is your favourite book?

I can’t say that I have a favourite book. If I get caught up in a good book, then it becomes my favourite book of the moment. But then the next good book becomes my favourite book. Naming a favourite wouldn’t be fair to all the great authors that I’ve had the pleasure of reading.

Where is your favourite place to read?

I really enjoy sitting under my maple tree in the back yard during our preciously short Canadian summers. During our colder seasons, I curl up with my Chihuahua on the couch near my big living room window. I like reading in natural light the best.

Who do you admire the most and why?

There are many admirable people who have done wonderful things for the world, but the people who I admire the most have done wonderful things for me. They are my parents. Like many Europeans who immigrated to Canada in the 50s, they came here with very little money, very little knowledge of the English language, and a whole lot of courage. They worked hard to build a successful business while raising me and my two brothers. I could never do what they did, although if I ever have to, I can only hope I inherited some of that courage.

What is one thing that is unique about you?

My wacky sense of humour.


Thanks again Silverstein for the nomination. I look forward to getting to know as many writers as I can.


Only the Best

Photo credit: Sonya O

He turned the key and let himself into the spacious condo. He walked around the living room and ran a hand across the ceramic-topped bar. “Only the best for you, isn’t it? I guess I just wasn’t the best.”

He opened a bottle of Grey Goose and took a deep drink. The vodka burned his stomach and rekindled the anger he felt when she told him it was over.

He crossed the room and sat next to the 200 gallon aquarium. Flashes of silver, pink and blue darted about the salt water. “Beautiful. Only the best.”

He took another drink from the bottle and laughed madly. “How about some pickled herring? Only the best, of course.” He held up the bottle. “Wanna go for a swim, Mr Grey Goose?”

She came home at the end of the day to find all her beloved fish floating at the top of the aquarium. An empty bottle of vodka sat on the table next to her spare key.

© 2015 – All rights reserved Loretta Notto @ Mermaid Fingers

Flexing Biceps

Photo credit: Ellespeth’s Friend

They slowly glide along the coast on the boat, watching the tourists soak in the warmth of the sun.

“Oh, look over there,” she says. “Those young teenage boys posing for a photo; aren’t they cute?”

He laughs when they all flex their scrawny biceps. “Check out those muscles! I had muscles like that at their age too!”

He stands up and waves. The boys see him and wave back. He flexes both his biceps at them. They boo him.

“Well, that didn’t go over well,” he says as he sits back down.

She laughs. “Let me try.”

She stands up and flexes her biceps. The boys hoot and whistle. She sits back down. “That’s how you do it!”

“I’ll remember that, but I don’t think I’d look that good in a bikini.”

She smiles. “Boys will be men.”

© 2015 – All rights reserved Loretta Notto @ Mermaid Fingers


Prompt: …please let me sleep…


“Good morning Sis! I thought you worked late last night. Why aren’t you sleeping?”

“Um… because you woke me up with this phone call?”

“Yeah but you just sent me a text asking me to call you right away.”

“You just got that text now?”

“Well yeah, you texted me as soon as I turned on my phone.”

“No, I sent that text last night. I was hoping to catch you before you went to bed.”

“So why didn’t I get it last night then?”

“Um… because you went to bed?”

“Oh… now I’m confused.”

“Please let me sleep.”

© 2015 – All rights reserved Loretta Notto @ Mermaid Fingers

BART 101

(Note to reader: Pardon the comical f-bombs)

I recently came back from a trip to San Francisco. I did the usual touristy stuff; I visited old historical buildings, I strolled along the Fisherman’s Wharf, and I waved at the Golden Gate Bridge. I didn’t go on it. I just waved at it. It was lucky I gave it that much attention.

You see, I’m a nervous traveller. Travelling introduces me to things I’m not fond of. I’m not fond of bridges; there’s nothing underneath them, ergo there’s nothing underneath me when I’m standing on them. I’m not fond of flying either, probably for the same reason. But at least bridges have big, well-engineered frames holding them up. I don’t recall seeing anything holding my airplane up, except maybe a wing and a prayer. Well, in my case, a lot of prayers.

Fortunately, I was travelling with my brother, my niece and my great-nephew. So of course, I kept a brave front. After all, big brothers tend to never let you forget embarrassing things. This never changes, even as we enter our 60s and 70s. So I wasn’t about to whimper or cry or pee my pants or do anything that he would tease me about well into our 80s and 90s.

My saviour, however, turned out to be my great-nephew. He was barely a year old and required constant entertainment throughout the flight. I found myself singing many lullabies. His favourite turned out to be Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody. Okay, so it’s not an official lullaby, but someday he’ll “scaramoosh” his way through nursery school and make it official. He also found the rough landing funny. It wasn’t funny to me; in fact it was quite terrifying, but he seemed to really enjoy it. I think the wrong person was wearing the diaper.

We flew into Oakland and went to stay with my other niece in Pleasanton, a quaint town named after a person and not after a happy feeling. Although I experienced a happy feeling just being on terra firma, and we didn’t even have to cross any Bay bridges to get there!

But alas, the inevitable was to happen. My brother and I would be crossing the Bay to tour San Francisco. Our three-way conversation went like this:

I say: Will we be driving across the bridge?

I think: Please let’s not go across the bridge.

Brother says: No, it’s a pain in the butt to drive into the city.

I think: Thank God, no bridges.

I say: So we’ll be going by ferry?

Brother says: No, that would take forever. We’ll be taking the BART.

I say: The BART?

I think: The BART?

Brother says: Yeah, it’s the subway system that goes under the Bay.

I say: Under the Bay?

I think: What the fuck?

Brother says: I heard that think. You’re welcome to swim across the Bay, but just remember there’s a reason Alcatraz was built in the middle of it.

I say: Oh, so going under the Bay makes way more sense.

I think: What the fuck?

Brother says: Stop swearing.

And so began my BART 101 lesson about this big, well-engineered subway system that would test my claustrophobia. Oh, I’m not terribly claustrophobic; I mean, small rooms and elevators aren’t an issue, but come on… a subway under the San Francisco Bay? On the San Andreas Fault?

The BART is not affectionately named after that loveable Simpson brat, but rather is the acronym for Bay Area Rapid Transit. It was built in the late 60s and early 70s. It links several counties to Oakland and through to San Francisco. It runs along the bottom of the Bay and claims to withstand earthquakes. Right… All of San Francisco is built to withstand earthquakes. But things still shake and crack and fall, don’t they? And what about “the big one”? What if “the big one” hits while I’m there? In a subway, under the Bay, in an area famous for its shake-rattle-and-roll? I decided that if we did indeed encounter “the big one” while underwater, I would just swim my way to the surface. My brother wondered if I would be doing that before or after several tons of concrete fell on me.

And so we boarded the BART, which fortunately ran above ground for the majority of the 40-minute ride. The subway car looked like any big-city subway car. The people looked like any big-city people. They even smelled like big-city people. Cologne, stale food, cigarette-smoke clothing, bad body odour. I gave kudos to the people with the bad body odour. After all, California is suffering a drought, and these folks were merely trying to conserve water. And deodorant too, apparently.

After about 30 minutes of stop and go through all the stations, we entered the underground, or rather the underwater, tunnel. The train picked up speed, as did my blood pressure. But I was proud of myself; I didn’t whimper or cry or pee my pants or do anything that my brother could tease me about well into our 80s and 90s.

It didn’t take much more than 5 minutes to cross the Bay. Once we exited the tunnel, I released my breath. I think I was holding it for the whole time we were underwater. Sheesh, if I knew I could do that, I would’ve swum across after all!

We enjoyed the day in San Francisco, with the thought of the return trip tucked away in the back of my mind. I experienced the same nervousness on the trip back, but once the 5 minutes were behind me I was able to enjoy the ride back to Pleasanton. BART was now behind me. No more underwater subways for me. I was done.

A couple of days later, my niece approached me with a great idea. Our three-way conversation went like this:

Niece says: Why don’t the two of us go into the city for some aunt-niece bonding time.

I say: Awesome idea!

I think: How are we getting there?

I say: How are we getting there?

Niece says: The BART.

I think: What the fuck!

Niece says: I heard that think.

© 2015 – All rights reserved Loretta Notto @ Mermaid Fingers