Friday, May 30, 2014

2 minutes. Go!

Hey, writer-type folks. Every Friday we do a fun free-write. 

You can write whatever you want in the comments section on this blog post. You have two minutes (give or take a few seconds ... no pressure!). Have fun. The more people who play, the more fun it is. 
So, tell a friend. Then send 'em here to read your 'two' and encourage them to play. 

All these electrons are getting under my skin. E-scabies. I can't hardly breathe because I'm afraid that the internet might disappear or, even worse, grow in stature and stupidity. Things weren't always like this. I miss the old days. Yeah, I'm that guy. I want to sit outside on a cool summer evening and not see one goddamn smart phone. I want to lay in bed and relax without wondering what's going on on Facebook or who's catching fish where. Hell, I want to go fishing with no preconcieved notions of whether or not I'll catch fish. It's like I'm covered in this itchy blanket all the time. It lets a little light in, but not enough - I'm smothered, my pulse rate is frighteningly high. Time for one of those little blue pills I got from the doctor. 

I'm really starting to hate it, the internet. 

Until it doesn't work right.

Have a good weekend! Thanks for stopping by. I am having internet issues so I will not be able to respond to everyone's pieces promptly like I usually do. I will though. Scout's honor. It might just take a few days. Write forth!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

I'd so love to see it.

It's the kind of hot where you think, Jesus Christ this laptop is like an oven - then you see the landscaping guys with the leaf blowers. Then you feel bad. Then you realize they probably make more money than you do. You still feel bad, though. For everyone involved.

It's the kind of hot where even I'll wear a wife-beater and shorts, and I hate dressing like that. I feel like I should be playing hide and go seek. Sneaking cookies. You can't hide from the heat, though. That shit will seek you out like a missile. 

It's the kind of hot where you don't even want to breathe the fucking air. It smells like hot plant rot and cigarettes. If I was still smoking would I smoke today? Probably. That's stupid as shit. There are a lot of things I want right now, but a smoke-scraped throat ain't on the list.

It's the kind of hot where dudes get all swaggery on the sidewalk. Like they can't fight the hot, so they'll take a poke at you. Shoulder bump, ignorant, TV-slapped, baby-faced, 'tough' motherfuckers. Usually, they make me smile. Today, well - it's fucking hot. If you want to be tough, I'd love to see it. I won't even try to talk my way out of it. It's dog fight hot. You might be surprised what lies behind this pacifist disguise. It's too hot though. Come on guys ...

It's the kind of hot where it looks like everyone has some horrible fucking disease. Malaria, Typhoid, Apathy - whatever turns your cheeks red and makes every part of your body that touches another part of your body hate you.

It's the kind of hot where Of course I want a hug - a short goddamned hug!

It's the kind of hot where you gotta work on your novel, but your brain ain't pinging on all the right synapses. So, you think you'll just write a little story. But the story's got not plot, it's just got hot. 

Friday, May 23, 2014

2 Minutes. Go!

Hey, writer-type folks. Every Friday we do a fun free-write. 

You can write whatever you want in the comments section on this blog post. You have two minutes (give or take a few seconds ... no pressure!). Have fun. The more people who play, the more fun it is. 
So, tell a friend. Then send 'em here to read your 'two' and encourage them to play. 

Have a good weekend!

She was not made of electricity, but it sure seemed that way - she almost glowed, sparked your knee when it touched accidentally. These were magnolia days. Days of 'kick the can' and closeted cigarettes. These were BB gun, late night, sleepover days.

You didn't know what to do about the electricity. The charge. You had some vague forewarning that shit was about to really change. And you were right. Your basketball game stopped improving at that same moment. You stopped playing kick the can with the same intensity. Your thoughts were now tied to that electric kite string, apocryphal or not, and how it would drag you forward.

You had a healthy fear of electricity.

Thanks for stopping by. Hope you dropped a ... your two minutes. Write forth!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

You won't like it.

I'm wrapped up in this kind of gut-clench anger and I can't shake it off - shit's like glue. It's killing me (and killing you) - I can feel it inside, twisting. I close my eyes and I take deep breaths and I end up staring, blinky-star-blind, wondering why the hell that happens to me. Must have stood up too fast. Not that I care to find out. There are many things that terrify me which I do not want to know about. I'll get up slower. Or stay on the mat.

I want to run outside and scream as loud as I can. I want the heavens to shudder and people all over town to look skyward, eyes open wide for the first time in a long time. What the fuck was that? Don't get me wrong. There are enough twists coming, don't get yourself wrapped up in this one. The scream won't be angry. It will be the scream of an eight year old boy chasing fireflies, tired, sun-baked and ready to sleep, unaware that the world harbors secrets he will someday have to acknowledge. I got me a time machine.

You want to know what it's like, cuz? You'll have to ask someone else. The good things I see when I close my mind block out the darkness. Briefly. I know enough about this shit - I've written enough about pain. They said if I didn't there'd be no gain. They lied. I can't afford Rogaine. Not that I want it. I'd rather buy ice cream for my kids. It just rhymed nice. Sometimes it's like that. Sometimes it's all a sham and sometimes it's balls out down the flat track, wind screaming, mind afire - God, I hope it lasts.

My cat sits beside me and I try not to look when he walks to his food bowl, his litter box, a patch of sunlight that, daily, blossoms from the dirty carpet my children play on. He's got this hitch now, see - in his hip. He walks like a cat that spent his kitten years with the kind of psychopaths who feel big when they hurt something small. He's always been with me, though. And I've always loved him, never hurt him - he's getting old and I can't think about it or my chest gets tight.

There are birds singing outside my window. There are half-assed-style-chase fuckers coming out of the woodwork. You think I'm not gonna recognize something I've spent twenty years carving? You gotta be some kind of stupid. You're lucky, though. I don't like the anger and I refuse to let it live in my house. I'm exorcising the demons. Have at it.

Sadness smells like dry wood rot and horehound candy.

Happiness doesn't have a smell. Not one smell. It smells like a thousand things. Spring flowers. My wife. The cookies my girls share without being asked. It smells like a two-stroke motor. It smells like freshly-baked bread and sunshine. I smell the love. Feel it? Sometimes. When I'm not picking on myself to make myself feel bigger.

I'm done with this Lancelot shit. I've read the legend - I know how it turns out. Martyrdom has lost it's appeal - it disgusts me. I want no part in it. I just want wildflowers, birdsong, and quiet moments with my family and friends. What else is there to want that's really worth wanting? No fear and feelings of inadequacy? Yeah, maybe someday.

So, I take it back. You take what you want. Fuck it. Bob Dylan could buy everyone I know. Woody Guthrie died at fifty-five, dust in his lungs and booze in his belly. Poor. Sad. Poor, sad Woody. Not that I hate Bob Dylan. Not a bit. That's the point. The anger is unfounded, still ...

I once met a girl who said she was going to own the world. She was full of fight and passion. She directed it in the wrong direction - now, I think back to those green-apple days and smile. We were both so fucking stupid. It's almost funny.

I want everyone on deck, it's time for a gut check. There are so many feelings I want to resurrect.

You don't like it, I know. I don't quite know what to do about that. I don't have what you need, it's inside you - I can't even bring myself to deride you and lord knows you deserve it. You know you do. It comes on you in the quiet, dark hours. You find yourself getting cold, paranoid. What if they find out? Don't worry, they probably won't - you give good snowjobs.

You may be reading this and thinking it don't make a lick of sense. That's what I'm thinking, but things haven't made sense to me for a long, long time. I've stopped trying to force it. It never works, it's like that long cast that you could have pulled back, but didn't, hoping it was a magic cast - now, your favorite spinnerbait lives in a tree. This ain't about you. This ain't about me.

So, why the fuck did I read all this? Hell if I know. Why do you watch American Idol? Why is your TV bigger than my couch? Why does IKEA make couches that are so damn small?

We need to wrap this up and feel good about it. Here goes - a stretch even for a fiction writer, but stretching is good for you. Ready? Everything is going to be fine. The lovers will end up happy, scampering through fields of marigolds. The old woman survives her brush with death. The underdog ends up hitting it big and he gives back bigger. People care for each other - they even make eye contact and say 'hi' - downright neighborly.

Everything is going to be alright, champ. Those big mean countries will leave our big mean country alone. The homeless will lose their powers of invisibility. There will be enough food for everyone - loaves and fishes. Jesus will come back and pass that shit out door to door. There will be no more "poor" - everything is going to be happy, slap-jack side-grins. You'll find a time machine and never take mini-thins.

Indeed - the world is a wondrous place when you just close your eyes and pretend that the lies you swallow won't come back some day, coated in bile, burning your throat. Go get 'em, Ace. The world is yours.

You can fucking have it.

Friday, May 16, 2014

2 Minutes. Go!

Hey, writer-type folks. Every Friday we do a fun free-write. 

You can write whatever you want in the comments section on this blog post. You have two minutes (give or take a few seconds ... no pressure!). Have fun. The more people who play, the more fun it is. 
So, tell a friend. Then send 'em here to read your 'two' and encourage them to play. 

Have a good weekend!

The sunlight burst through her hair, triumphant, and you were glad. You were relieved. Years, it seemed like. Maybe it had been years. You tried not to think about it. You tried to feel the sun on your skin like warm honey. You tried not to smell the sage and you tried not to taste that kiss. Some kind of lip gloss and the faint taste of hay.

You’ll spend your lifetime chasing that sunbeam and that kiss, and it will all fade, refracted into the sunset of sanguine memory. Of love that wasn’t love but damn sure felt like it. It felt fancy. Like a bit of lace where you don’t expect it. Like a ray of sunshine that makes you see everything differently.

But that had been that. The summer rolled on and time took on that amorphous quality. It dripped through the dusty days, and you felt a keening sense of loss that you didn’t understand then.

You understand it now.

FYI - My internet situation is dodgy right now. I will respond to everyone's contributions as usual - might take me a few days though. Cheers!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

What now?

“I fucking told you already.”

“What? You told me what? You’re a fucking liar? You tell me you’re a liar, but I’m supposed to believe it?


“I’m not trying to be funny. What I’m saying is … like, how you gonna tell someone you’ve been lying to them about all this shit, but this shit is the truth. You tell me I can believe it. ‘Cept you just told me you’re a liar. That’s a little funny don’t you think. Not funny like you were saying. That’s laughing funny. This kind of funny’s gonna get you put in the dirt.”

“And you’re … what? St. fucking Perfect? You don’t got nothing to say. Nothing to answer for …”

“One, change your fucking tone! That’s the last time I say that. Two, I never said I was perfect. I never even said I wasn’t a liar. ‘Cause I ain’t no fucking liar. I’m a lot of things, but I’m not about deny any of ‘em. What’s the point?”


“You know what I think when someone tells me they’re not something?”


I think they fucking are whatever they say they’re not!

He looked at his sneakers.

“So, what now?”

“What now? You fucking kidding? Did you go brain dead over night? We’re in the middle of the fucking woods. I just realized you’re so full of shit it’s coming out your goddamn ears. What the fuck you think is gonna happen?

“No …”

“The fuck you mean ‘no’? ‘No’ ain’t one of your options, kid. We’d be done talking, but I keep hoping you’re going to say ‘thanks’ or something. Dumb, right?”

“You want me to thank you before you kill me?”

“Damn straight I do.”

“Um … that don’t make sense, brother.”

“Sure it makes sense. I brought you up. I thought I saw something in you. Thought I’d bring you in because Moms would have wanted it. I thought you’d do real good, bro. I was wrong. But I gave you every chance you ever had. YOU fucked those chances up. YOU got the game twisted. YOU tried to play cute and you got your feet all jacked up in the laces. You’re falling, homie. You just haven’t hit the ground yet.”

He looked at the barrel of the gun. Sweat ran in his eyes, a salty burn. It looked like he was crying, probably. Fuck!

“That’s it? Nothing I can say?”

“I just told you, motherfucker. You can say thanks. You can thank me for giving you a chance and apologize for making me look like some limp dick asshole.”

He ran the options in his mind. He stared into the hole the bullet would come out of. He thought about the times he’d been on the other side of these conversations. Worst of all, he knew Tony was right. He’d been invited to play, and he’d broken the rules.

He knew what happened to people who break the rules. The barrel was rock-steady solid. Not a tremor to be found. He looked past it to the eyes he knew so well. There was nothing in them anymore. Nothing for him.

“OK, OK. You’re right. I fucked up. I didn’t do right by you.”

“No, you didn’t. Now, thank me.”

“Alright. Fuck it. Thanks. I wish I’d done things different.”

The gun stilled every noise in the forest. Not even a bird moved. Hell, the wind fucking stopped. For a few minutes, there was just calm. The animals knew. Loud, man noise – it meant death. They could smell the blood, some of them. He looked at the body and shook his head slowly. Damn it.

No use thinking about it, though. It was done, and it needed to be done. He looked at his kid brother, already pale and leaking. His heart felt heavy … actually felt that way.

“You’re welcome. You’re welcome, you stupid fuck."

Friday, May 9, 2014

2 Minutes. Go!

Hey, writer-type folks. Every Friday we do a fun free-write. 

You can write whatever you want in the comments section on this blog post. You have two minutes (give or take a few seconds ... no pressure!). Have fun. The more people who play, the more fun it is. 
So, tell a friend. Then send 'em here to read your 'two' and encourage them to play. 

Have a good weekend!

I got a chrome plated safari hat. I know they’re coming, and there ain’t no way I’m trusting tin foil. That shit was invented by the Russians. You don’t think so? You’re swallowing their lies. Just like a good little cog. Good cog, have some oil. It comes in a can, and the can holds bad decisions, arguments, and sadness.

I can fly higher than the swiftest koala. I can swim deeper than the mighty peregrine. I am made of all natural materials. This is my ace in the hole. And my natural camouflage. Not that I’m saying I’m averse to aliens or their probes. But it needs to be done right. I’m not no cheap date. I want dinner, and a movie. I want some brass shoes to go with my bling, blang hat.

Hold up … did you hear that?

FYI - My internet situation is dodgy right now. I will respond to everyone's contributions - might take me a few days though. Cheers!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

It's Never Going To Work

The fucking thing won’t work. Can’t you see that, you pansy? Spraying Rustoleum on something don’t make it metal, understand? You can ignore me all you want, I’m just telling you you’re wasting your time. I’m telling you like it is.

Go ahead, keep working. I’ll just watch, how about that? I don’t even mind if you use the good tools, you know where they are. Duct tape ain’t a bolt though, son. There are some things you can’t replace – like steel. Good old steel. You take your strings and your gloop and Jesus Christ, son! Put on a goddamn mask – smells like a fucking McDonald’s burned down!

You be careful with that soldering iron, son! Jesus Calamity, boy, you’re gonna blow the whole fucking house to hell. I never should have given you the green light on this. It’s made you crazy. You do know that right? This is fucking bonkers. I know, I know … she said you could. Your mother doesn’t seem to notice that someone replaced your brain with a rutabaga.

You wouldn’t think a bunch of cardboard and scrap could smell so bad. Smells like a hobo’s asshole, son. It really does. I’m not just saying that to build up your self-confidence, either. That is one godawful, shit-sniffing smell right there. God in heaven.

You know … you’re a weird kid. Just plain fucking weird. You didn’t take after me, that’s for damn sure. When I was your age, I was chasing girls and setting records on the field, the court, and the goddamn diamond. All you do is make your stupid shit that never works and jerk off. Hell, I’m beginning to think you’re a queer. Not that I mind. Lord knows, I tell your Mama all the time – that boy is a fag or my name’s not Roy Pearson. She tells me we gotta love you no matter what … and I do.

I do, son. I do feel that way about you, y’know? That’s what makes all this so hard for me. I love you, boy. Don’t you hear me? I worry about you. Chemistry sets and textbooks ain’t no way for a boy to have fun. You’ll be fifteen next year. I bet you don’t even know what pussy looks like. It ain’t right, son. Get it now. Hell, your Mama and I been together longer than Methusala’s beard … I’m lucky if she brushes up against me by accident. If I were you, I’d get that Johnson girl from down the street and peg her ass against the garage. She’s too young, so I’m not saying anything – just, if I was you – you seen the tits that little bitch grew over the summer? Jesus, son. You could have your dick inside that little bitch right now.

Oh, the look. Fine. I know what you think, but it’s not like I’m the only one who thinks it’s weird. What am I supposed to tell Frank Butcher? His boy is the captain of the football team. What about Uncle Earl? Johnny’s broke every damn track record in the state. So, what am I supposed to say? My boy built some weird shit out of garbage again. Shit, boy, you’re making a laughing stock of the whole goddamn family.

Save it. I know, I know. You’ve almost got it right. I get it. You think I don’t support you. If you’ll recall, I was the one that bought you a chemistry set in the first place. I didn’t know it would turn you into a faggot, though. Do you know what a faggot is, son? Or has your brain melted from all them plastic fumes?

You won’t tell me what this thing is, huh? Some kind of big state secret or something. Are you in cahoots with the CIA, boy? Hell, I let you take over the garage and this is how you repay me? You just ignore me and keep covering everything in airplane glue and foil? Tell me, goddamnit. What is it?

You really want to know?

I asked, didn’t I?

The boy looked up with a strange smile on his face. His bangs were damp, hanging into his eyes. There was fever in his eyes. Something that didn’t belong, but somehow looked the part regardless.

It’s a machine.

What’s it do?

It shuts your mouth, Dad. It shuts it right the fuck up.

Roy froze. A crazy disbelieving smile bloomed on his face. He licked his lips wet and there were embers in his eyes.

Say that again, boy.

But he didn’t say it again. Instead, he raised two wires in front of his face.

Bye, Dad.

And then the wires touched. There was a moment when they both saw a spark leap between the exposed copper tendrils.

The explosion took out every building on the property. She found it when she came home. A big black circle that had flattened everything. She called his name, but she knew, deep down, that no one would answer.

They found debris as far as the edge of town. The smoke drifted all the way to Garberville. They looked at the textbooks more carefully, read his notebooks. They finally began to understand. Roy.

The boy hadn’t any choice, really.

Friday, May 2, 2014

2 minutes. GO!

Hey, writer-type folks. Every Friday we do a fun free-write. No reason. Just ending the week in style.

You can write whatever you want in the comments section on this blog post. You have two minutes (give or take a few seconds ... no pressure!). Have fun. The more people who play, the more fun it is. 
So, tell a friend. Then send 'em here to read your 'two' and encourage them to play. 

Have a good weekend!

It starts with a vague thumping sound. You slash your head back and forth – where the hell is it coming from? Shit, it’s your heart. Is it beating too loudly? Too fast? You feel a clammy sweat crawl over your skin like a million spider legs. Your vision is weird, darting, blurring in and out.

You’re afraid, but you don’t know what you’re afraid of. All you know is that, whatever it is, it is fucking terrifying. You try to close your eyes and blot it out, but the horrowshow behind your lids snaps them back open. You sit heavily on the rock beside the stream. This will pass and you’ll go home – something fucking weird happened while I was at the lake. Or you won’t go home, and there will be a phone call.

It’s out of your hands for now.

FYI - My internet situation is dodgy right now. I will respond to everyone's contributions - might take me a few days though. Cheers!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

This Ain't No Slumber Party

No, I don’t want any honey in my tea, honey – my shit’s sweet enough, I trail glitter rainbows behind me. Sure and it’s nice to see you, but I’d rather see you with your eyes blank, slow trail of blood from the corner of your mouth. We sit in this haze and watch the starbust explosion of lighters in the night.

No, I don’t need no sugar. I was born with all I need. I am the invisible, dancing clown. I am the shy narcissicist of your nightmares, glaring, demanding recognition and shrinking in it’s glare. I’d know that smell anywhere.

Yeah, pass it this way. I’ll be a stop on the journey. Round the bend, Hep C in hand – sure it’s a shitty deal, but I don’t give a damn. Nothing matters when the curtain falls except that after-image. Like staring at a lightbulb. As long as you don’t look away, the image gets burned there. My salvation lives because I don’t look away.

I can’t stop scratching my arms and they’re bleeding. That don’t matter either. We live with that. We are used to being covered in blood, vomit, shit, and false optimism that fades like a prom corsage. Hell, at this point being clean would make me feel dirty.

I don’t appreciate the subtext. Like I  brought us here. You were some innocent that got corrupted. That may play fine in your parents living room where I’m the devil, but it don’t cut mustard here. Take it on down the line, but don’t wonder why everyone is goofing on ya.

I never made you do nothing you didn’t want to do. If anything, it was the other way around. I loved you, so I followed you, pathetic, lost puppy shit. I think about it now and my face turns red and I can’t hardly breathe.

No, I don’t like your friends. Fine. Your friends are rich, priveleged fucking idiots. Sure, they get good shit, but they’re like kids – this ain’t no fucking slumber party. I don’t want to play cards, I don’t want nothing but to sit here and scratch this itch.

Yeah, we’re dying. You know it and I know it. Fucking dying on the vine. I can’t remember the last time I ate, and your ribs are third world ribs. That’s a shitty thing to say, but we’re living shitty, baby. Sitting pretty. Sometimes we need to be macabre. It is all we have left, this shoulder-chip con. Turn the fucking TV off, it’s time to turn on.