Trifecta 109: Not Worth It

“Hey, geek.” A beefy hand reached out and slapped the books out of Randy’s hands. “You should be more careful!”‘

“Asshole,” Randy muttered.

Rough hands grabbed his shirt and slammed him against a locker. The chaotic murmur of the hallway stopped as eyes turned to the spectacle. “What’d you say, you little prick?”

“Nothing! Leave me alone!” Randy searched for salvation. Stares averted or filled with contempt no matter where he looked.

Except for one. Elizabeth, a cheerleader, put her hand on Brad’s arm. “Come on, Brad. You don’t want to be suspended, do you?”

Brad’s face filled with disgust. “Whatever. You’re not worth it, nerd.”

Randy’s eyes watered as he bent down to pick up his books. He never saw Elizabeth looking back at him.


“Do you think Elizabeth Rogers would say yes if I asked her out?” The sounds of silverware against plates and mouths masticating stopped in unison. Randy squirmed at his parents’ incredulous looks.

Randy’s older sister, Lisa, cackled, sending food flying in his face. “Go out with you? Elizabeth Rogers? She would never go out with you.”

“Lisa, that’s enough,” Mom muttered, not looking at Randy. Dad studied his mashed potatoes.

“I’m not hungry.” Randy left the table and stormed upstairs. He flopped on his bed, muttering, “Whatever. I don’t care what they think. I don’t care! I don’t…”


Randy waited until the hallways filled. He glanced around, feeling phantom eyes watching. Everyone ignored him.

Except one.

Brad stood at his locker nearby. Randy breathed deep, the bulge under his jacket colder and heavier than it was in the morning. He stalked close, hand inching in his coat, when Elizabeth intercepted him. “Yes,” she said.


“I heard your sister talking about how you wanted to ask me out. The answer is yes, but,” she glanced at his left side, “only if you don’t do this.”

Randy sighed, hand falling to his side. “He’s not worth it.”

Lips brushed cheek. “You’re right. He’s not. You are.”

Word Count: 333

Trifecta time again! This week’s word prompt and third definition to be used:



WHATEVER: (adverb) Used to show that something is not important

The challenge: Use 33-333 words to tell your story using the word.

Normally, I’m not one to shy away from the dark stuff, and I almost went there with this one. As I wrote, I found I really didn’t want to go that route. I went with what I wished would happen instead. Why? Because I wanted a happy ending for this situation where too often there is only horror. I didn’t think anyone would object.

Head over to Trifecta and read some great writers and their takes on the prompt.

Happy Reading and Writing!

J. Milburn


Trifecta 108: King’s Knights of Pangaea

“Old Father, what’s wrong?”

Tammy knelt before the village elder, hand grasping his knee. The wizened centenarian sighed and placed his hand over hers. His eyes lost focus as he watched the past. “I worry about the direction the kingdom is going, little daughter. The Aviar are massing, and our young flock to the King’s call.”

Her face reddened as she contemplated the wrinkled plas-sheet in her pocket, acknowledging her acceptance into the King’s Knights’ training program. She struggled to grasp the sense of pride that swelled her chest when she received it. “What would you have us do, Father? We must protect ourselves and our way of li-”

“To arms! To arms!” A small boy ran through the border village, bellowing out the hue and cry. “The Aviar are here! To arms!”

“Go, child!” The wise man stood and shuffled into his domicile, muttering, “Our peoples used to be friends. Why can’t we be that again?”

Tammy’s long legs carried her to her dwelling on the opposite side of the village. The sounds of plasma-fire, screams, and bird-screeches began behind her as she burst through the door. “Dad! I need the rifle!”

Her true father, already clad in thin armor and carrying the weapon she looked for, shook his head. “You are not a Knight yet, Tammy.” He pointed to the family blade, hanging in its place of honor on the wall. “Take that and protect your little brother.”

Tammy cried as her father strode with terrible purpose toward the sounds of chaos. She dried her eyes and gathered Paul with her into the shelter.

The sounds of battle seemed to last for eternity, in reality only an hour. Tammy peeked her head out at the shroud of silence. She held Paul’s hand and walked through the village.

The raid devastated the small town. Bodies lay everywhere, burned and broken. Old Father stared at her father with sightless eyes.

She squeezed Paul’s hand and started the long journey to the castle.


For Trifecta Week 108. This story plays off the world, Pangaea, I built for the Daily Post Prompt: Interplanet Janet. Hope you enjoy.

Happy Holidays and Happy Reading and Writing!

J. Milburn

Trifecta 106: Awkward

“Everybody on your tush in the reading circle!” Mrs. Johansen flipped the lights off and on a couple of times to catch the attention of the score of five-year-old kids hyper from lunch and recess. Tiny bodies, many with faces smeared with the remnants of spaghetti, dropped, rolled and, in the case of  her daughter, Kristen, somersaulted to their assigned spots.

She navigated her way through the still squirming minefield of children and sat in her chair. She reached into a milk crate serving double duty as a book-holder. “Today we’re reading Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss,” she said in her gentle voice, holding the book up and swinging it back and forth so every pair of eyes could drink it in. “Before we start, are there any questions?”

Randy’s hand shot up, the confusion in his eyes plain. She pointed to the dark-haired boy. “Yes, Randy?”

“What’s a ‘tush’?”

“Oh.” Mrs. Johansen bit her bottom lip as she thought of what to say. “Well, a ‘tush’ is another name for your bottom.”

“Oh. Like ass?”

Her eyes widened and her mouth opened to scold him, but the complete lack of guile in his expression told her he wasn’t trying to be funny. “Well, yes. But we don’t say that word because it is inappropriate.”

“Okay.” Randy sat back, his face thoughtful.

“Any other questions?”

Kristen, her little gymnast, raised her hand. “Yes, Kristen?”

“So when you and Daddy are in the bedroom, you should say, ‘Spank my tush, ba-‘”

Mrs. Johansen threw out her hand, palm out. Her words came out a bit sharper than she planned. “That’s enough! Let’s just read the book now.”

Randy’s hand shot back up. “Why is your face red like that?”

Mrs. Johansen buried her forehead into her palm and shook her head. “I do believe I’m coming down with a headache. It’ll probably last the next thirteen years, if you must know.”

Word Count: 321


Trifecta time again! Poor Mrs. Johansen, she tempted fate one too many times 🙂

This week in Trifecta: On now to our one-word weekly prompt.  This week we wanted to do something to mark the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah, and we foolishly thought that would be easy.  There are so many amazing Yiddish words that found their way into the English language, and we thought it would be great to highlight one.  To find one with a third definition, however, was not so easy.  We thought all was lost until we stumbled upon this gem.


1. a long pointed tooth; especially : a horse’s canine

2. an interjection used to express disdain or reproach

3. buttocks (slang)

Happy Hanukkah to our Jewish friends.  Now let’s all write our tushes off.
The challenge is open to everyone, so head on over and join in the fun!
Happy Reading and Writing!
J. Milburn



Trifecta Week 104: Bad Help is Hard to Find

The Crimson Doctor sighed as he dropped another application on the rejected pile. His wife, Silver Slayer, stalked up behind him and dug her fingers deep into his shoulders. The Doctor moaned in relief. “Thank you, dear. Who knew finding a nanny would be so damnably difficult?”

Slayer chuckled, a rich, throaty rumble. “Well, Jenny does have special needs.” She leaned down and brushed her lips across his cheek. “Our little hellion needs guidance. Our battles with The Legendary take up so much time.”

“What’s wrong with robotic servitors? My father built me a mechanical nanny, and turned out fine.”

A knock on the door killed the quip on Slayer’s lips. “That must be your 2:00.”

The door opened before The Doctor could muster his usual, curt, “Enter!” A young woman, wearing a sundress and bright yellow heels, sauntered into his office and sat down without invitation. “I’m Panacea. When do I start?”

Slayer’s skin tinted into her namesake, while The Doctor arched an eyebrow. “Presumptuous. Tell me, why shouldn’t I just vaporize you now and use your ashes for my coffee?”

She flashed perfect teeth. “Because you need a companion for the household, a confidante that knows how to keep a secret…” She reached forward, her hand glowing a sickly black, grabbed a folder and it disintegrated.

Panacea smirked and the glow changed to white. The paper molecules swirled and reconstituted back into form. “…and you need someone not afraid to get their hands dirty.”

The Doctor leaned back in his chair and glanced at his wife. She nodded, her face a metal mask. “Very well,” he said. “Carrot and stick all in one, I like it. I assume you have references?”

“I worked as an au pair for the SteelJaws during college. Feel free to call them.”

The Doctor’s lips tugged upward. “A good , solid villain family. Very well, provided Jenny accepts you, we’ll give you a try.”

“If she doesn’t accept me?”

“You won’t live long enough to realize it.”

Word Count: 333

Trifecta Time again! This week’s offering is another snippet in the life of everyone’s favorite villain family they’ve never heard of: The Hershels! If you’d like to see the first installment, please click here.

To make it fun, leave a name for a villain group in the comments. I’ll use the one I like the best in their continuing saga. Hope you enjoy!

Trifecta is open to everyone, so follow the link and join in the fun!

This week’s word (3rd definition):

:  one that accompanies another :  comrade, associate; also:  one that keeps company with another
obsolete :  rascal

Happy Reading and Writing!

J. Milburn









Trifecta Week 103: Warrior’s Home

The door beckoned me. It looked like the door to Mom’s house, white wood decorated with a “Family Welcome” sign and a mat bearing the same message at its foot. I grasped the handle and my body started to tremble from its warmth. I took a deep breath to steel myself and twisted, pushing and rushing inside.

The glare blinded me for a moment and I raised my hand to shield my eyes. A myriad of voices assailed my ears, while the smells of turkey and mashed potatoes wormed their way into my nose. I swear I tasted Mom’s pecan pie on my lips.

My vision adjusted and my jaw dropped as I stared at the scene in front of me. A large wooden table, stretching out toward infinity, seated thousands…no, millions, of men and women. A knight bearing the cross dueled with a Saracen wielding a scimitar, both men laughing and joking as they attacked with vicious fury. A North Vietnamese soldier clinked tankards with an American Green Beret, while a Japanese Zero pilot spouted haiku behind them.

I walked toward the head of the table, drinking in the cacophony. A Revolutionary War soldier paused in his debate on philosophy with a British Redcoat to lift a tankard in greeting. A Roman centurion walked up to them, pulling him back to his conversation.

Others, many clad in uniforms I couldn’t recognize, pointed me forward. A voice boomed out, “Welcome, warrior, to Valhalla!” A giant man with wild red hair and beard, wielding a massive hammer, extended his hand. Reflex raised my own to clasp it.

He grinned, lightning flashing in his eyes. He called out in a voice that stopped millions in their tracks. “My friends, we have new addition brought to us by the Valkyrie. A toast!” Countless tankards raised in unison. “Remember the living, for they are the ones for who we fought and died!”

My mind flashes to my wife and daughter. I grab a tankard a drink deep.

Word Count: 333


Trifecta time again! This weeks word is Remember, using the third definition: 3 a :  to keep in mind for attention or consideration    b :  REWARD – <was remembered in the will>

This piece is for all of those, regardless of race, religion, gender, or any other divider we use to classify humans, that answered the call of their home or conscience. Moriemur ut vivatis and In morte sumus, omnes aequales.

Follow the link to read some great writers. The challenge is open to everyone, so feel free to join in the fun.

picture found at The Valhalla Project