Friday, September 27, 2013


Friday Fiction with Sara is hosted by 
Karlene @ Karlene A Jacobsen    
Links for more inspirational fiction await you there.  

This following fictional story, 
based on the Biblical story The Tower of Babel,
 was written for a FaithWriters challenge
 with the topic "Measure."  


I hear their hushed babbles; they watch me. They recognize the clothing I wear; clothing that proclaims my royal position. I am the one honored by Nimrod himself, selected from the workers for this task. I am Akkade of Shinar.

An acrid odor clings to the plain; my eyes burn. Bricks outnumbering the stars in the sky are baked in the fires that continually flame. Workers form the bricks in order to build our city and the great tower that will reach to the heavens, up to God himself. Nimrod proclaims that no power on earth can stop us. The task assigned to me, Akkade of Shinar, is to measure the tower progress. I will give a report each araḫ1 to Nimrod.

Araḫ Samna2
The work begins. The tower foundation has been laid. I have measured and certified the perimeter at 73 nindanu3 square. Bricks are continuously being produced.
--Akkade of Shinar

Most workers now ignore me, but not he. I see him; he still stares. Jealousy and hatred flare from his eyes, eyes that mirror the fires he continually feeds. I should forget him; he is just a worker, a common fire-stoker.

Araḫ Kislimu2
Rain has slowed the progress. The tower height is two nindanu3.
--Akkade of Shinar

Bricks rained down, and one struck my shoulder as I prepared to measure the tower today. I hurriedly climbed the steps and saw him scurry away. It was the common fire-stoker, as I’ve come to think of him. He is becoming a threat. I must speak to Nimrod concerning him.

Araḫ Ṭebētum2
The rains have ceased and progress has resumed. The tower height has reached two aslu4. Brick production is not keeping up. We must find a way to turn out bricks faster.
--Akkade of Shinar

The tower is reaching to heaven, up to God. Nothing can stop us. We will soon walk into the presence of the Most High. Generations from now, when people see the tower, they will remember what we accomplished.

Araḫ Šabaṭu2
The tower is approaching four aslu4. Good communication among the workers is aiding the progress. I propose we inscribe your worthy name, Nimrod, on the capstone of this great tower.
--Akkade of Shinar

Nothing further hinders our progress. We have birthed this tower and nourished it. Some mornings as I see clouds surround the top, I almost believe it is the breath exhaled from the tower. I must ask permission of Nimrod to inscribe my name on a stone at the top. I, too, will be praised by generations who see this great marvel. They will see the tower and remember Akkade of Shinar.

Nimrod has given permission to do whatever pleases me concerning the common fire-stoker. Today, I will confront him. He will bow to me or he will be reassigned. The air holds an excitement; all my dreams are coming to pass. I’m pleased with the great height reached by our torre5. ¿Qué pasó? ¡No entiendo! El trabajo se ha parado. ¡Contésteme ahora! ¡Soy Akkade de Shinar!6
~~ Fictional story based on The Tower of Babel from
Genesis 11:1-9 ~~


1 Araḫ - month
2 Samna, Kislimu, Ṭebētum, and Šabaṭu – Babylonian month names
3 one nindanu, an ancient Mesopotamian unit of measure = 6 meters
4 one aslu, an ancient Mesopotamian unit of measure = 60 meters
5 tower
6 What happened? I don't understand! Work has stopped. Answer me, now! I am Akkade of Shinar!

written by Beth LaBuff - (c) January 2013

Friday, November 2, 2012

Junk Food National Historic Memorial

Friday Fiction

The beefy hand of the park ranger slid the pass to me and droned, “Please don’t remove or consume any historical items from the memorial.”  My eyebrows puckered; silently I queried the dusting of powdered sugar near his lower lip.

It had been ten bland years since the prohibition against all forms of junk food.  The military was pressed into service, called upon to round up junk food from manufacturing plants, warehouses, store shelves, and even from the private sector.  It was transported to a rural area, where confections and snacks were bulldozed into a misshapen obese mountain.  Within months of the junk food ban, the Bible was also banned.  Of these two dangers to society, only junk food was memorialized with a National Historic Memorial.

In the penumbra of the gastro-monstrous mountain, the concrete Visitor Center and Museum beckoned.   After the greeting by the sticky museum door handle, I felt the need to slide my hand down the spinach-green slacks I’d chosen to wear.    Inside, a standard gray movable sign on the left announced, “Junk Food National Historic Memorial -- mountain tours begin on the hour.”   I checked my watch; I had thirty minutes to explore the museum before the next tour began.

The adjoining room to my left was labeled “Snacks.”   I entered its dimness, allowing my eyes to focus on the bright displays.  The first told the history of the potato chip, its origin and packaging through the years.  Memories of fun-filled days spent with Jimmy at the county fair flooded as scents of popcorn and chips were vented into the room.  The adjacent display used glaring geometric shapes and blaring neon colors with a chilling reminder of the calorie content and emphasized bodily damage from potato chip consumption.

Next, my buff non-junk-food-contaminated body hurriedly perused the snack cake display with its similar history followed by a consumer warning.  Nostalgia smacked my lean six-pack with longing for those crème-filled delights of bygone days.   Other rooms off the main hall were labeled, “Soda Pop,” and “Pastries.”   I had my choice of which junk food rooms to sample next.

The last room I visited was labeled “Experience the sluggish life of a junk-food junkie.”    This room was set up to be an experiential warning, where the participant could suffer through two minutes in the life of a junk food addict.   This was the room I secretly and eagerly anticipated.  This National Historic Memorial was the only place in the country where junk food was legally sold—in limited quantities.  Just before entering, I purchased my artery-clogging, blood-pressure-raising junk food of choice.  There was an overstuffed couch along the back wall of the lamp-lit room.   I plopped onto the overstuffing and set my feet atop the coffee table that fronted the couch.   The opposite wall sported a mounted television with a football game already in progress.    I kicked-off my two minutes when I popped the soda can top and ripped open the single-serving bag of chips.    The salty crisps and the fizzy liquid were an explosion of enjoyment, reawakening smothered and forbidden sensations.   The two-minute experiential warning was pure ambrosia.

As I awaited the mountain tour, suddenly warning whistles blared.  Uniformed personnel swarmed from every direction like ants looking for the last picnic crumb.   The loud speaker announced that a praline had been stolen from the historic mountain memorial and recent mountain tourists would have to undergo a search.   Then came a saccharin apology, “We regret that due to the theft, there will be no more Junk Food Mountain tours today.” 

I gave a quick wave to the park ranger as I left the National Historic Memorial.  His double chin pumped his head in my direction as his mouth remained fixed and his hands seemed preoccupied with something beyond my vision.    The sign at the park exit warned, “We remember; lest we go back.”  

I plan to return next year, just to be warned again.

  © Beth LaBuff -- September 2012

Friday, June 8, 2012

Friday Fiction

Plain Crash
by Beth LaBuff -- October 2011

A zephyr swept savanna's plain.
The African sun blazed.
A crash* of rhino's searched for food,
Their grassland overgrazed.

A league of scholars heard their plight
And since it's common knowledge
That "Information holds the key,"
They rallied at their college.

They formed, to raise awareness,
The Rhino-Smarts Foundation.
They gathered funds for laptops--
Tax deductible donations.

The rhino boasts keen hearing,
Though poor eyesight overall.
It's also common knowledge that
His brain is somewhat small.

An herbivore with thick gray skin,
Each foot displays three toes.
He's none too bright, quite comical
With horn atop his nose.

The Rhino-Smarts Foundation
Presented to the crash,
A laptop for their personal use,
With giga-memory cache.

The rhinos, grateful for the gift,
Began appropriation.
They plotted ways to ascertain
Some prudent information.

With keywords, "vitamins" and "grass,"
Each word spelled with precision.
They searched which grass variety
Would boost their feeble vision.

They googled which would strengthen
The horn atop their nose
And which would banish athlete's foot
Between their triple toes.

They also searched for recipes
To turn the grass to mash
That promised thick-skin softening—
Grass lotion for the crash.

Just as they sought to google
Specific grass locations –
Their laptop flashed a message,
Caused arrhythmic palpitations.

"Warning! Virus Warning!"
Spread confusion like a flash.
Poor vision, plus their pint-sized brains—
A virus struck their crash ? ! ?

They googled, "virus symptoms."
They yahooed, "rhino pain."
Confused their rhino brains.

It started with a sniffle, then
Progressed to horn congestion
"The virus" rampaged through the crash—
The powers of suggestion.

While virus through the laptop spread
To giga-memory cache,
The monitor went haywire then
Their laptop system crashed.

Sometimes a little knowledge
Can misdirect the brain.
The ailing, fevered rhinos crashed
And burned upon the plain.
*crash—a herd of rhinoceroses


Friday Fiction is hosted by
Rick @ Pod Tales and Ponderings
Head on over for links 
to more inspirational Fiction.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Stellar Appellations

Friday Fiction is hosted this week by
Karls (Karlene Jacobson) at Voices...
Head over for links to inspirational fiction.

Stellar Appellations
by Beth LaBuff

An aging brick façade, sat decomposing on the lane,
Held a rusty pock-marked door that was weather-beaten, stained.
Inside, a single dangling bulb launched shadows in a hall
That pointed to a doorway, set mid-center on the wall.

Inside the room, Sir Abram toiled while fifty years accrued,
His livelihood for fifty more if wishing stars held true.
Sparse furnishings—a single desk presided o’er the space.
“Twas daily here, Sir Abram’s methodology took place.

The walls and ceiling of this room were painted midnight blue
With tiny starlight pinpoints plotted—prompting easy view.
Beside each tiny stellar point, in pristine script of white,
The name he’d chosen to bestow upon that distant light.

A list each morn, with newest stars was tacked up in the hall,
And by day’s end, each star was named and charted on his wall.
He’d satisfaction in the fact that each star known to man
Had carefully received a name by his own thoughtful plan.

Each working day Sir Abram rambled down that shambled lane,
Regenerated once again inside his starred domain.
As father with his children, he recited starry names,
Then when at rest, sat at his desk, a job well-done—acclaimed.

At mid-point of the fifty-second year of his employment,
A shadow loomed that dimmed his light and halted his enjoyment.
It seemed a ruthless act, to slide a pink slip ‘neath his door,
But there it lay, a bearer of bad tidings on the floor.

“The Appellator, Bureau Office, Stellar Appellations,
We hereby give you notice of our budget lacerations.
For due to lack of funding, we inform you to our sorrow,
We’re shutting down this office; it’s effective on the morrow.”

So voila! Unemployment, his reward for fifty years!
This pink slip proclamation predicated life to veer,
At workday’s end, he offed the lights— symbolic— darkened-day.
But satisfied each star was named, he sadly trod away.

Despite his melancholiness— new stars that offer light,
Though still unnamed, regardless, go on shining just as bright.
And if uncharted nor assessed—the distance from our sun,
These unnamed stars, unfathomed lights—still have been named by One.

He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name.
Psalm 147:4

Look up at the heavens and count the stars...So shall your offspring be.
Genesis 15:5

© Beth LaBuff -- January 2012

Friday, December 9, 2011

The Nightmare Before Thanksgiving on Cranberry Street

The Nightmare Before Thanksgiving on Cranberry Street
by Beth LaBuff

'Twas the eve 'fore Thanksgiving on Cranberry Street,
Our cottage was brimming with victuals and sweets.
The pumpkin pies cooled, as had marshmallowed yams,
And raisin bread slices awaited plum jam.

The turkey was nestled all snug in its pan,
A five a.m. stuffing— accorded the plan.
The lists on the counter would free-up my head.
With tasks for each hour, I climbed into bed.

When out on the porch I heard clunkings and bams.
I ran out the doorway, then tripped on canned Spam!
Now what kind of prank had entangled my feet?
What lunacy lurked here on Cranberry Street?

For hundreds of cans lay in haphazard heaps,
Who sent this fool Spam? Am I still fast asleep?
Did Cranberry Street have a luncheon meat war?
I entered my cottage, securing the door.

Befuddled, I sat in my swivel desk chair,
I pondered the front porch; I whispered a prayer.
I switched on my laptop, my brain in a stew;
I thought to read emails for something to do.

Then what to my listening ears was THAT sound?
My inbox was flooding with emails— inbound.
More rapid than vultures, from whom and from where,
Converged on my inbox, left messages there.

Prolific as rabbits, more forthcoming mail
Assaulted my thinking—I feared to exhale.
These emails could cause such outlandish fixations—
Proposing that Spam be the pride of our nation!

Suggestions: That canned Spam would pair well with tea break,
At Christmas time— canned Spam in lieu of a fruitcake.
Have roasted stuffed Spam served on Thanksgiving Day,
Tie ribbons on Spam and attach to bouquets.

Then flanking my email were ads from cafés.
Each advertised dishes like Spam Fudge Parfaits,
And touted the flavor of Simmered Spam Stew,
Or boasted the glories of Cubed Spam Fondue.

While haunted by roasts of our Thanksgivings past,
Now, luncheon meat cans on my porch had amassed.
I feared for tomorrow, for our turkey meat.
Such strange things had happened on Cranberry Street.

I may eat Spam pudding and suffer this scheme,
I may add some Spam to my coffee with cream.
I may grill Spam steaks on the Fourth of July,
But don't dump your Spam in my sweet pumpkin pie.

I swiveled my swivel chair, lost deep in thought.
This whole Spam fiasco had left me distraught.
It rested on me, so I must find a way—
I couldn't let Spam be the rule of the day.

And there, a solution for streets out-of-kilter,
Alleging a swift comprehensive spam filter.
I added my addresses—email and house,
Then dispatched it posthaste with a click of my mouse.

I'll never know how that this task was completed—
But all the Spam cans on my porch were deleted.
The filter-fix helped purge our porch of Spam meat—
Put life back to normal on Cranberry Street.


—with apologies to Clement C. Moore, Dr. Seuss, and Hormel—

Spam © Hormel Foods LLC
© Beth LaBuff -- 2011
If you enjoyed reading this
you will find more great reading
by clicking the following link.
Friday Fiction is hosted this week
by Vonnie at My Back Door

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

eBook review of "Light Farm Works"


Shelley Ledfors has so graciously reviewed my eBook, Light Farm Works on her blog "Indi-eQuality."
She has just launced her blog to "be a helpful site for those who read, write, edit, design, format and enjoy top quality, clean fiction e-books!"

Please visit Shelley's site [click the button above] and let her know what you think.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Voice of the Maker

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Fiction Friday is hosted by Vonnie @ Polliwog Pages
Stroll on over for more inspirational fiction.

Voice of the Maker
by Beth LaBuff

A car door slammed, then with a lope
Scampered a carefree lad,
The little guy with skinned-up knees
Was visiting Granddad.
The days ahead held promise with
Adventures to unfold,
You can’t just sit and wait on life
When you’re six years old.

The farmhouse sprang to action,
‘Twas fair-weather for the day,
They packed a lunch, then out the door
And they were on their way.
The little legs took twice the steps
To match the Granddad’s stride,
And Granddad’s heart, though weakened some,
Beat with a family pride.

Adventures started with a trek
Upon an earthen road,
Across the bridge then up a hill,
At length their pace had slowed.
‘Twas there upon a milkweed,
A caterpillar crawled,
He paused a bit and raised his head,
The two looked on— enthralled.

“What is he doing, Granddad?”
Inquired the little guy.
“He’s listening for the Maker’s voice,”
Was Granddad’s wise reply.
“And what’s the Maker telling him?”
“The Maker says that soon
He’ll need to find a steady branch
Then make his silk cocoon.”

Quite typical of six-year-olds
The next word posed was, “Why?”
Granddad, with his knowledge,
“He’ll become a butterfly.”
The boy thought on the process
Then breathed a whispered sigh.
He stared down at the dirt beside
Then something caught his eye.

The six-year old bent skinned-up knees
And stooped down to the ground,
He grasped a dark red pebble,
One quite smooth and round.
His childish fingers picked it up
And rolled it in his hand,
He stuffed it in his pocket,
Then rose again, to stand.

A chicken hen scratched near the two,
The boy studied the bird.
He wondered as the chicken paused
What had the old hen heard?
And as she fluttered to the coop
On feathered-chicken leg,
He knew that God was telling her
‘Twas time to lay her egg.

They journeyed on, more slowly now,
Then finally had to rest
For Granddad was all out of breath,
His palm pressed to his chest.
They settled ‘neath an apple tree
Upon the meadow grass,
They ate their lunch and waited for
His episode to pass.

When Granddad’s breath came easier,
Once more upon their way,
They saw a cow off by herself
Nearby the fresh mown hay.
“Now what would God say to a cow?”
The boy muffled a laugh.
Then Granddad said, “He’d tell the cow,
‘It’s time to drop your calf’.”

As they walked they came upon
An odd array of rocks,
Somewhat stacked atop each like
Haphazard building blocks.
Granddad told the little guy
About the Bible story,
The donkey and the palm leaves and
The people’s praise and glory.

He told about the Pharisees,
(Words penned by Dr. Luke)
To silence the disciples
They requested a rebuke.
How Jesus told the Pharisees
Amid hosanna-shouts,
That if the people quieted
The rocks would then cry out.

The wheels inside the young child’s head
Spun ‘round in concentration,
Then in his pocket deep he reached
And pulled forth his donation.
He put his pebble on the pile
And then he thought about
Just how amazing it would sound
To hear the rocks cry out.


Just days after their journey
Found Granddad sick abed,
Reposed upon a patchwork quilt,
The boy perched near his head.
The open window near the bed
Enabled evening breeze
To cool the ashen weathered brow
And boy with skinned-up knees.

“What are you doing Granddad?”
He eyed the pallid face.
“I’m listening.” The Granddad said,
Cheered by the child’s embrace.
“And do you hear the Maker’s voice?”
Words whispered with a quaver,
“The voice that I am listening to—
That of my loving Savior.”

“And what’s the Savior telling you?”
He shifted on the bed
Then leaned to hear the Granddad’s voice,
“’Come home,’ my Savior said.”
Then youthful hands clasped work-worn ones
Until the final sigh,
And through the window, on the breeze,
Entered a butterfly.

Inspiration from:
Job 39
Does the eagle soar at your command…? Verse 27
Do you know when the mountain goats give birth…? Verse 1

©Beth LaBuff -- July 2010
written for a writing challenge