Relationship advice from a friend and a racing camel

Photo by Nina Luong on Unsplash

**audio available on Kris Keppeler’s podcast, click here!**

“Tom Marley is a racing camel,” Ahmed said. “The fastest in all of the Sinai.”

Tom Marley?” I asked. “Not Bob?”

Ahmed appeared somewhat surprised by my ignorance, but the stupidity of tourists is known the world over.

Ahmed patiently explained that Tom Marley, the racing camel, was named after Tom Marley, the world-famous country and western singer from America.

America, Ahmed pointed out, was my country.

He stopped short of accusing me of ignorance, but the implication hovered between us in the desert air.

I looked at my girlfriend, Bev. …


A woman lifting weights looks to her left with a skeptical expression on her face. She’s wondering what ‘balls to the wall’ means. Read on and find out. The phrase is not anatomical, but mechanical in origin.
A woman lifting weights looks to her left with a skeptical expression on her face. She’s wondering what ‘balls to the wall’ means. Read on and find out. The phrase is not anatomical, but mechanical in origin.
Photo by ŞULE MAKAROĞLU on Unsplash

It all started with windmills

Balls to the wall has nothing to do with testicles. Neither does balls out.

Both expressions mean working at maximum effort or speed, and the balls in question are part of a device invented in the 17th century — the centrifugal governor.

Please, allow me to explain.

Centrifugal governors had some balls

James Watt designed the most widely known centrifugal governor in 1788 to prevent his steam engines from running out of control.

On the diagram below, the balls (labeled #3) are attached to lever arms linked to a vertical shaft. The horizontal shaft is the engine’s drive shaft.


Thanks to the reviewers for their kind words

Courtesy of the author. Click here to check out Noon in Florida on Amazon.

I published a digital chapbook containing 12 pieces of my best flash fiction. It’s a one-hour short-read available as an e-book and part of Kindle Unlimited.

Stephen Dalton posted a review here on Medium. Here are some other reviews taken from the book’s Amazon page:

A great read you can squeeze in between longer novels.

Although short, Jim Latham’s Noon in Florida packs a punch. Each of these short stories illuminates an aspect of what it means to be human. From a son connected to the nuances of his relationship with his dying father via the beeping of a heart monitor in “Keeping Time,” to an “old guy” doing what…


Ferment them

A table in a taqueria in Manzanillo, Mexico, with tacos, tepache, and condiments.
A table in a taqueria in Manzanillo, Mexico, with tacos, tepache, and condiments.
Tepache and tacos in Manzanillo, Mexico. Photo by the author.

If you’re like me, even a little bit, you’ve never finished the pain-in-the-ass that is peeling a pineapple and thought, Hey, I want another food-prep project.

Even if it was a pink pineapple sent directly from heaven.

What you’ve probably done instead is sucked the blood from a knife-jabbed finger, listened to your back pop as you leaned over to pick up a sliver or four of pineapple rind from the floor, wondered how the hell you got pineapple juice all the way across the kitchen, and swore to never again eat pineapple unless someone else cuts it up for…


Tides and sea-level rise to tag-team coastlines by mid-2030s

Cows stand on the front porch of a house surrounded by flood water.
Cows stand on the front porch of a house surrounded by flood water.
Jo-Anne McArthur/Unsplash

As if coronavirus, heat domes, inflation, and murder hornets weren’t enough, now we have a new worry: moon wobble.

By the mid-2030s, every coast in the USA will be subjected to higher high-tide floods due to a wobble in the moon’s orbit interacting with rising sea levels, according to a new study from NASA and the University of Hawaii published in Nature Climate Change

Record flooding severe enough to damage coastal infrastructure and displace residents is expected. Over 100 million people could be displaced globally.

Low-lying areas near sea level are most at risk. According to NASA Administrator Bill Nelson…


Inspired by the lyrics of David Berman’s ‘The Natural Bridge’

A man on a ladder poses so it appears he is holding the moon in his arms.
A man on a ladder poses so it appears he is holding the moon in his arms.
Photo by Valery Sysoev on Unsplash

1. A tower without the wedding bells


Natural Bridge Prompt 9/10

100-word story

A tan greyhound wearing a green knitted coat by a fire.
A tan greyhound wearing a green knitted coat by a fire.
Photo by Brian Taylor on Unsplash

“Gotta say, Ev, you look good, but you look like shit at the same time.” Phillip fiddled with a toothpick.

Evan swallowed a mouthful of peanuts. “Been dreaming all day and writing all night for a couple weeks now.”

Phillip kept fiddling.

“You got something to tell me?”

“Guard My Bed.”

“The dog?”

“Yeah. She won. I was gonna tell ya, but with everything — ”

Evan ate a peanut.

“Did you look at the odds or just like her name?”

“Liked her name.”

Phillip shook his head.“You know the payout on thirty-to-one?”

“You’re not serious.”

“Evan.”

“Yeah?”

“It’s fifteen…


Natural Bridge Prompt 10/10

100-word story

A jet engine and clouds photographed from inside and airplane.
A jet engine and clouds photographed from inside and airplane.
Photo by Raimond Klavins on Unsplash

Evan shouldered his backpack and grinned.

“I can’t believe it,” Phillip said.

“Me either. I’ve dreamed this so hard.”

“What’s your plan?”

“Start in southeastern Bolivia, where peanuts were domesticated. Travel through Peru and Ecuador and keep working my way north, tracing the spread of the plant and learning local recipes. Blog about travel and food.”

“That’s it. That’s your plan?”

“In a nutshell.”

Phillip groaned and pulled Evan into a hug. “Take care of yourself, little brother.”

“I will.” Evan walked into the airport.

Phillip turned to Guard My Bed. She wagged her tail.

“Ready to go home, girl?”

Jim Latham

| Micro, Flash, & Short Fiction | He/His | Lots of flash fiction at https://jimlatham.com/

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