A to Z Challenge: O

OMBUDSMAN

Dwight had never heard of Larry Sullivan until their first meeting. The ombudsman hadO gotten a call from a reader and wanted to know about Dwight’s sources for a few stories, including the series that earned Dwight the Pulitzer nomination.

You didn’t have to be a good investigative reporter – and Dwight was a great one, he’d tell you so – to understand the ramifications of the second meeting.

If everything you’ve lived for is about to be taken away, someone has to die – either you or the other guy.

As a good investigative reporter, Dwight learned the time and place to visit a vulnerable Larry Sullivan. Moreover, he never worried the cops might ask about the missing newspaper ombudsman, because Dwight had lots of experience making up facts. ###

 

I couldn’t wrangle in Octopus Wrangler, but I bet if one exists he’s had a cameo on that World’s Toughest Jobs show. And I thought Lion Tamer was insane. Shout out to my wife, Janet, who threw Ombudsman my way. The word, alas, not the story.

Thanks for stopping in. Today’s six-sentence stories were brought to you by Ernest Hemingway who paved the way with his six-word story. And by Ore-Ida, it’s al-righta. And by Oreo, milk’s favorite cookie. And by Octopus Wranglers everywhere who would be a redundant circle in a Venn diagram with ambidextrous people.

 

 

 

 

 

 

22 thoughts on “A to Z Challenge: O

    1. They have been fun to write for the most part, a few more challenging than others. This one spilled out quite nicely for me, until I had to whittle it down to six sentences. Octopus Wrangler – where would you being? Well, in the ocean of course, but it’s scary out there.

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    1. Wasn’t for lack of trying! An octopus wrangler has such a crazy insane job to begin with, I’m not sure it’s worth fictionalizing it to make it crazier. You’d only lose plausibility. Truth is stranger than fiction surely applies to all things octopus wrangling.

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  1. I agree with Dena. I’ve always thought ombudsman is one of the weirdest words ever. It doesn’t even remotely hint at what it’s supposed to mean. Then again, neither does journeyman. Or, Shriner. I mean, not like octopus wrangler.

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    1. Such a weird word. Even the pronunciation is odd. Ohm – BUDS – man. The stress on the second syllable makes it sound like a mispronunciation, like a person who’s just learned English. But yeah, not many occupation titles are as descriptive as Octopus Wrangler!

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    1. Haha, those opera singers scare me. I wouldn’t want to mess with any of them in the middle of an aria. I’m afraid they puncture like a giant balloon and spew all over me. I will never kill an opera singer.*

      *Yeah, right.

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  2. This time the title character was the victim, not the killer. Way to mix it up! I agree that ombudsman was an inspired choice, and that the word doesn’t hint at what it means. Journeyman, though – that’s someone who has completed an apprenticeship and is qualified to go out on his own to ply a trade, but who has not yet submitted a masterwork to be accepted by the guild as a master in the profession. So that word actually makes sense, or did at the time it was created. Ombudsman may have a similar story, but if so I don’t know it.

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    1. Well, of course you have to research a story you’re gonna write even if it’s for the Letter O on your A to Z Challenge blog entry. Ombudsman, it turns out, is Swedish because they had the first one. It’s Swedish for “legal representative,” which makes sense based on what an ombudsman does. Keep in mind, I learned all this at about 1 a.m. so do your own research if you’re interested.

      I wonder if IKEA has an ombudsman? They have Swedish meatballs, so there’s that.

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  3. Love how you write: “If everything you’ve lived for is about to be taken away, someone has to die – either you or the other guy.” It’s so drastic; so black-and-white.You get to know the character in just that one line.

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    1. Thank you so much for that observation.

      Sometimes the perfect small detail can be so rich that it tells you everything you need to know about a person. And almost always, that’s better than overdoing detail. Let your reader fill in the parts you don’t need to provide. I wish I could follow the rule as easily as I can type it!

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    1. I gotta believe that’s the second question in every interview for an Octopus Wrangler position, which likely come open relatively often because … well, because both octopus and wrangler are in the job title.

      HR: Good to meet you, Kae, did you have any problem finding us?
      KR: No, your directions were perfect.
      HR: Great. So, are you ambidextrous?
      KR: What? I’m, well, I write left-handed, but –
      HR: Next!

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  4. If you heard about that runaway aquarium octopus who fled his tank under the cover of night, crawled across the floor, opened a drainage hole, squeezed through and rode the pipe all the way to ocean freedom, then you’d know that octopus wrangler is an occupation with a demand on the rise!

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    1. Omigosh! Is that where this all started? I did hear a reference to that, but like so many pop culture things these days and me not watching TV, I never heard the whole story. Now I gotta look it up. Thanks! Maybe I’ll make my own version first, then look it up to see what really happened. Perfect point of view for the night security guy on the first — and LAST — day of his job. Daytime guy shows up and two things are missing: One security dude and one octopus. Oh, what fun dialog comes outta that next phone call!

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      1. Yes, the story was everywhere a few days ago online…apparently the aquarium kept it under wraps for a week or so while they tried to figure out what happened!

        I’m done eating octopus, I’ll tell ya 😉

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  5. Well, this was awesome as usual. I read a story years ago with ombudsman and can’t remember what it was. I can’t remember what it was. Octopus wrangler would have been fun. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9yHIsQhVxGM You should do this. It could be W. I don’t know how you keep doing these great stories in six sentences, but I’m enjoying them so much and I’ll be first in line for the novel when it comes out.

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    1. That video was un-freaking-believable! I would’ve bet the farm there was no way that octopus was going to make it into the water. I just stood here staring, shaking my head in wonder.

      Kinda like I’m doing now, shaking my head and wondering why I took up this crazy A to Z Challenge, and more specifically, what the heck I’m gonna do about the letter R. Somebody suggested Roller Derby Queen, which I like, but so far I’ve been able to keep every occupation to one word so I think I’m gonna have to go with Referee. We’ll see. First I have to move my mind off that Octopus Houdini! Crazy.

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