Relationship advice from a friend and a racing camel

Photo by Nina Luong on Unsplash

“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. She shrugged.

I sipped my tea and pondered the…


What I didn’t tell my mom about the ferry ride.

The Nile in Uganda.
The Nile in Uganda.

In traveling, as in life, there are some things you simply don’t tell your parents. Going beyond what happens at the hostel stays at the hostel, some things you just keep to yourself.

Including things that would keep your mom up at night and lead to a blizzard of reminders about safety and links to every scary news story that originates from whatever continent you happen to be on at the time.

On the other hand, some things can be discussed if spun correctly.

For instance, when I nearly walked straight into a massive hippo while drunk, I casually mentioned…

A woman lifting weights looks to her left with a skeptical expression on her face.
A woman lifting weights looks to her left with a skeptical expression on her face.
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…

Fiction Friday

A man walking on the beach in Kodiak, Alaska.
A man walking on the beach in Kodiak, Alaska.
Photo courtesy of the authors.

Ellie pulled her hip waders up over her jeans and ran the straps through her belt. “There you go, Baby,” she said to Nathan, “You wanted to see me in thigh highs.”

She mock-posed and laughed, the sun reflecting off her aviator sunglasses and her thick, black braids lying on her shoulder. Behind her the volcanic mountains of the Aleutian chain soared upward out of the sea, the dark green of their spruce-forested slopes contrasting with the dark blue waters of the Gulf of Alaska.

Nathan put his arms around her and kissed her. “We could go behind those rocks…

The US government is up to its old tricks

Source: Statista

The nurse waited until she had the needle in my arm before she asked, “Don’t they hate us there?”

By there she meant Guatemala.

By us she meant white Americans.

I was getting a Hepatitis B shot before traveling to Guatemala. It was 2003.

“No,” I said, “but they should.”

She yanked the syringe out of my arm. I didn’t complain or care.

The vaccine was in.

“What do you mean by that?” the nurse asked, looking at me like I was about to fly a 737 into a building.

I started to tell her. …

Swapping physical copies for digital

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

A few years ago, flush with parental inspiration, I decided to teach my daughter, Raven, how to find a word in a real dictionary.

Yes, an honest-to-God dictionary — a big heavy book full of definitions. About as up-to-date as telephones that plug into the wall, sit on a shelf and stay inside when you leave the house.

I’m such a dinosaur that I own two of them.

Raven, bless her heart, went along with it.

Sure, she gave me the sort of indulgent look that kids give tech-idiot adults like me when we don’t understand something about Bluetooth or…

On the logistics of transporting candy during covid

A green iguana by a swimming pool.
A green iguana by a swimming pool.
Photo by Cindy Williams Moore on Unsplash

The Dream

Rae and I pedaled as quickly as we could. Above us, the evening sky purpled toward evening. Beneath us, majestic, neon-bright iguanas serpentined through the clear water, their sinuous glowing tails trailing behind them like iridescent streamers chasing a comet.

We pedaled with everything we had, fighting to maintain headway in the wide, algae-choked canal. The turbulence from the iguanas’ passing jostled our sun-faded paddle boat.

Small arms fire crackled a few blocks away, contrasting with the Christmas lights strung from the palm trees lining the banks of the canal. …

Jim Latham

| Micro, Flash, & Short Fiction | He/His | Lots of flash fiction at

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