Friday, June 20, 2014

4 minutes. Go!

Hey, writer-type folks. Every Friday we do a fun free-write. (Usually two minutes, but we're going all out today.) :)

You can write whatever you want in the comments section on this blog post. You have FOUR 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 'four' and encourage them to play. 

Swimming laps in the gene pool; I got my nose twisted up from the chorine stink of it. Partitions make me nervous, it's always been this way. I'm a little scared of raccoons, too. I feel like I can say that here. Raccoons can be some bad motherfuckers. Never want to mess with a raccoon.

Trolls and troglodytes traipse through the labyrinth of cyber space. I wonder if any of us know who we are anymore?

I once was a younger man, before that a boy. Life was simple, yet somehow so complex that it felt like gravity applied to me more than anyone else. I guess we all feel like that.

I tried to explain, once, to a angry young man that life would be OK. It's hard to he heard in the wake of a death. Especially when the kid going into the ground is like a brother. And you've got to explain it somehow to the kid who is still there. And you can't say, 'life fucking sucks.' You gotta say something big and important. Shiny with the extra rust protection.

I don't remember exactly what I said, but it involved a lot of hemming and hawing and platitudes. Not too many. My mouth can only hold so much bullshit. But the words weren't important. They darted around us like swallows at dusk. The cold leached our resolve, but we stood, shivering with cold and fear, because it was the least we could do. The absolute least. But at least we did something. I'd like to say that helps me sleep at night, but it would be a lie.

76 comments:

  1. The books. They are the last things people leave behind. She gets the key from the realtor and lets herself into the house at the top of the hill. Dust motes dance in the sunlight streaming through the dirty back sliders; clouds of dust puff as she pads across the oriental rugs. Well, maybe the books aren’t the last things these people are leaving behind. She runs her finger along the edges of the cherry stained bookshelves. Writing her name in the dust. Knowing what dust is made from: the remains of humans, the shedding of skin, the remnants of lint from their clothing. History. It gets infused with the books, embeds itself into the spines, the paper, the interstices between the binding and eats into the glue. Dust kills. She learned that long ago. Kills furniture, chokes pets, wheezing against their collars, kills books. Yet that’s the very thing she saves them from. Dust. And time. And moisture. At least it’s been a dry autumn, so most of the collection is safe. She trolls along the spines, quickly noting the collections: Vonnegut, European history, philosophers long dead. Yes, she can save them. She must. It’s what they depend on her to do. Save the things they don’t want to cart around. Then she touches the spine of a thick tome about Winston Churchill. A small voice whispers in her head: get out. Then louder as she reaches Mein Kampf: Get out! When her index finger lands on a thick, mottled spine, she doesn’t even get to read it before it screams: GET OUT!

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    1. Just wait till you get to the thinly bound 'leather' one with tattoos on the cover...

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    2. Wow, this is an awesome piece, Laurie. I love the way it builds. Taut.

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    3. Somehow you manage to enter the readers personal history, carry them with you, and together relive powerful memories. Its like therapy for the literate, or something. Get out of our collective heads oh sorceress of zeitgeist!

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  2. Jackson prodded at the debris, the sheet of siding sliding away to reveal part of what used to be his home. Or at least one of the few pieces that remained in place. Looking up, he knuckled the moisture from his eye and walked on. Looking for what used to be.

    The whole township had been levelled and eveyone who'd lived in it was similarly bereaved of their homes and their lives. Everything gone, even the insurance papers. Everyone on a par with those homeless dogs roaming around looking for dead critters and edible garbage spills.

    Wherever you looked you saw stuff. Folks' stuff. In the trees - what few there were left - in the creeks, even in the armpits between the fields and their hedges. A cross-section of a thousand plus lives; scrambled up, tossed in the air and then left out as easy pickings for vultures of all types.

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    1. I really love this. The first paragraph is so well done. The rest is good, too, but that's a killer grabber.

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  3. The soup just reached a slow boil when she got the call. A neighbor hadn’t seen Aunt Sylvie in days. Nodding tersely as if the woman could see her expression, Nancy said she’d be right over. She turned down the heat and scrubbed her hands against the dishtowel she always wore over her shoulder. When her husband wandered in, she said, “Aunt Sylvie. Watch the soup,” and he wandered out again, a deep exhale escaping his lungs.

    Nancy found her aunt ensconced in her favorite chair. One of her dozen-some cats, a giant, war-torn tom, perched on her right armrest, flanked by a big black female with a white triangle on her cheek. Both seemed girded for the duration, for battle if need be. No telling how long Aunt Sylvie had been frozen into this current, catatonic state. Her pulse was still present, if a bit weak, and she didn’t respond, no matter how many times Nancy said her aunt’s name or patted her paper-dry cheek. At the intrusion, the tom growled low in his throat and the black cat’s ears went flat. Nancy backed off. “I’m just trying to help, you guys.” But they didn’t seem to like her brand of comfort. She gazed into her aunt’s watery blue eyes, searching for…what? A way in? A way out? The doctor wouldn’t take a call this late, and how could she tell the stranger on his answering service about her condition? Might as well see if there’s food in the house, she thought, letting out a breath she didn’t realize she’d been holding. Maybe clean up a little. Looks like it’s going to be a long night.

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    1. Another great one. So sad and real. I love your pieces here because they go so deep. Tough to do in four.

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  4. Kenny awoke with a start. His hair and body were drenched in sweat even though his darkened bedroom was freezing. A glance at his alarm clock told him it was 6.30 am. He lay for a moment trying to recall the details of the dream he’d had but only the vaguest images floated on the tip of his memory. He remembered someone had screamed and there had been blood, lots of blood.
    Shivering, he crawled out of bed and pulled the curtain to peer outside. The bleak moors surrounding his secluded farmhouse were blanketed in a thick fog and only a few feet of the yard were visible. Millie his cat rubbed against his leg and purred for her breakfast but Kenny didn’t notice so distracted was he about his elusive dream.
    A shower and two cups of strong coffee revived him somewhat and he felt in much better spirits as he hummed along to the radio and poured Millie a saucer of milk.
    The headlights of a car washed across the kitchen window as the hourly news bulletin issued from the radio. The news reporter was issuing a description of a young woman who had gone missing and appealing for witnesses who may have seen her when he heard footsteps crunching on the gravel path followed by loud rap on the door.
    Expecting it to be the postman with a delivery he was surprised to find two serious looking men standing on the step. The taller, older of the two addressed him,
    “Good morning Mr…er, Mason? You are Mr Kenneth Mason I presume?”
    “Um yes, yes I’m Kenny Mason. What can I do for you?”
    “I’m DCI Bentley and my colleague here is Sergeant Smith, we’d like to ask you a few questions may we come in?”
    “Yes of course, please,” Kenny stepped aside and gestured for them to enter.


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  5. “What’s this about Inspector? Your’re not bringing bad news are you? Oh God, nothing’s happened to Carrie has it, please don’t tell me she’s been in an accident!”
    Kenny’s mind was racing as he tried to make sense of the policemen’s visit.
    “We are investigating the disappearance of a woman named Gretchen Lamb sir.” Said sergeant Smith.
    Kenny stared at them stupidly, where had he heard that name before?
    “Ah yes, I heard about it on the news as you arrived, a terrible business. Why are you here though? I certainly don’t know the girl nor do I have any information about what has happened to her.”
    The officers regarded Kenny with clear penetrating eyes as he ran his fingers through his hair and an irrational sense of dread settled over him.
    “Miss Lamb was last seen getting into a green Volvo around 9.30 last night Mr Mason. We are checking out all vehicles which fit that description.”
    Sargeant Smith flicked through his note book, “We see there is a green Volvo registered in your name sir.”
    Kenny blew air through his cheeks in relief, “Ah yes that is correct. I do own a green Volvo; it’s parked at the side of the house. I haven’t been out in it since the day before yesterday because I haven’t felt very well. I work from home and I went to bed early last night. Out like a light and only came round this morning.” Kenny smiled at the police men feeling more confident now he knew the visit was obviously a routine one.
    “Do you mind if we take a look at your vehicle sir? Just a formality of course and then I’m sure we can be on our way.”
    Kenny grabbed his keys off the counter and shrugged into his leather jacket saying, “Sure, no probs it’s this way,” and he led them through the back door.
    Kenny pressed the fob which opened the car and gestured for the police men to take a look. DI Benson slowly circle the vehicle before joining sergeant Smith at the rear of the car. Smith tried the boot but it was still locked and he asked Kenny to open it.
    “Oh yeah, I have to use the key for that,” said Kenny and he fumbled with the lock with frozen fingers. The boot sprang open and Kenny grinned at Benson saying, “There you go pal there’s only a bit of fishing tackle in…..”
    He stopped mid-sentence when he turned his eyes to look inside and his hand flew to his mouth as he recoiled in horror at the sight before him.
    A buzzing sound deafened him and his vision blurred “oh dear God no. “
    Wrapped in a soiled blanket, only feet and head showing was the body of a young woman. Her eyes in death, staring at him accusingly from the grave.

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    1. This is an awesome piece, Audrey! I love it. :)

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    2. Thanks JD.. Do you think the idea is worth working on? I know it needs work. :)

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    3. Definitely. Work it, lady! :)

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  6. She walked the street, her heels tip-tapping across the paving stones as she approached her place. The sodium light poured down over her, making her look sick and jaundiced but her usuals weren't that particular. More often than not she found herself inbetween two buildings, leaning open-legged up against a dumpster, so neither she or they could afford to be too picky.

    The night was warm and her skirt swirled around her thighs whenever a car drove past, the night too still for any other type of breeze. Candace closed her eyes and tried to distance herself. Wishing she'd got a legal class to pay to go to rather than the squalling child she'd find when she got home again tomorrow. The price of love and a few moments of pleasure. The price she was paying twenty-four-seven, three-six-five until one or the other of them died.

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    1. This is such a vivid, shadowy piece. Just excellent. I know what I said sounds like a contradiction, but it's not. Vivid, but veiled.

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  7. In the fractured slice of time during which you won’t answer my question, I work my kneaded eraser, pull until the long, soft thread snaps, and then it breaks, the two severed halves cringing back upon themselves. Funny, they can be molded back together but in essence will never really as good, as whole, as that clean square wrapped in cellophane. I think about broken bones, how they can knit together and become stronger, yet the two cut halves of a muscle during surgery will never be the same again. The body is a magical thing, with a brain of its own in every one of its cells, playing like music, each an instrument in an orchestra. Separately, the squeak of a violin’s bow on its strings and the bleat of a trombone, but together— music. Together, grace and beauty and melodies floating over our heads like bubbles, light and frothy. I don’t know how it happens, only that it does, and the less I try to examine the rods and cones and bits and bobs the happier I am, for the choreographed whole is imminently greater than the sum of its parts, the 88 keys were slabs of wood or ivory, depending upon who made them, but together, it’s a sleek, powerful animal that can growl and pounce and kill or sit in stillness, nursing its cubs. And still you do not answer my question, and I try to knead the eraser back together again.

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    1. (Ack, snapped and then broke. Jeez.)

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    2. I love this piece. That is all. It doesn't need feedback from me, that's for sure. :)

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  8. He stood up close to her, enjoying her proximity. The sense of her being there and ready for him. Her animal nature shouting out loud.

    Barker placed his face along side hers, looking goofy-eyed into her eyes as he rubbed up against her. Initiating the contact. Prolonging it. So, when she sighed, he knew he was gonna get lucky.

    The two of them moved off together, away from the light. Looking for somewhere quiet where they'd not be interrupted. Somewhere where they'd not get a bucket of water thrown over them. And somewhere they might find a dead rat or two to gnaw on later.

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    1. I just read this twice. You're quite good at this, brother. :)

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  9. The sky is thin here, but the trees are thick. So much greenery it hurts the eyes, streaming anyway from the pollen. On the banks it seems everything's in flower, campions, cow parsley, elderflower, dog roses, honeysuckle, even the grass. Plodding on, tired but determined, as the path goes steeply downhill and gradually out of light. Maybe I shouldn't have left the house so late, the trees are starting to close in on me now, black silhouettes against an angry sky. A different smell too, as the light disappears, less blossom, more earth. I ache all over from trying to quicken my pace. I can hear my own footsteps, they're echoing down this steep path, uneven as I avoid the tree roots. STOP! Stand still - deep breaths - observe. I have nothing to fear, I'm not in the city now, the trees' arms are all around me, and it's fine. It's all fine.

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    1. You're not a city lover, are you?

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    2. No. :) Enjoyed this, thanks Mark!

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    3. It's a weekly throw-down. It's good to see you here. A well written piece too, Deb.

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    4. This is beautiful, and I relate to it completely. Please do come back next Friday!

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    5. Aww thank you, love the writing here! A time limit makes you focus huh? Great idea :)

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    6. You're in the club now, Deb. Glad to have ya. :)

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    7. Way to get esoteric with botany! Felt so there I took an antihistamine. Actually its the city that sets off my allergies, just reading this scene made me relax, which I totally need to do more. Thanks!

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  10. Most kids his age made him sick to be around. Sam had been very popular all through elementary school, but mid way through his freshman year at high school he changed. Unlike Sam, these kids he grew up with had no ambition beyond using drugs and getting laid. They swore like sailors, thinking that made them men. But Sam knew they weren't growing up. Only getting older. He remembered his father telling him about such people, “Son, you can't fix stupid.” Most of these kids were broken and couldn't be fixed. Sam longed to make an example of them to the world. There was only one destination for sinners and Sam meant to speed them on their way. That's why he packed his guitar case with his dads AR15, his backpack with a Glock 42, and headed to school.

    He had carefully planned his route. First to the gymnasium to load and prepare his gun. From there he could systematically make his way through the classrooms after first bell. That's when Jason surprised him coming out of the boys locker room. Sam fired a round striking the 14 year old in the forehead. Jason was not like most of the kids in his class. He was a good kid, not a stupid one. Like Sam, he thought about his future, got good grades, didn't smoke, and he didn't swear. Sam was devastated that his plan to rid the world of a few dozen sinners and hopefully make an example of them had been ruined when he was discovered by this poor innocent boy. Tears burned his face as he placed the muzzle of his hand gun into his mouth. “Let he who is without sin, “ Sam thought and then he squeezed the trigger.

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    1. Inside the head of an adolescent - great stuff :)

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    2. First, FBI, CIA, NSA, etc. - it's been a while since y'all have visited. Nice to see ya here.

      Ed, this is a heartbreaking piece, brother. A great piece, but utterly heartbreaking.

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  11. I was awoken in the wee hours of the morning to a phone ringing on the bedside table. I answered half asleep to hear a faint but familiar voice. “Joe, how long has it been?” I said excitedly.
    “Oh you recognize my voice! That's wonderful. I was just calling to say I was looking forward to seeing you again soon.”
    I was definitely confused by this. I hadn't seen Joe in at least 20 years and had completely lost track of him. “What are you up to? Where are you living now?” But Joe was unusually succinct in his reply, “We'll have time to catch up again soon buddy.” Then only a dial tone reached me. I put the phone back in its cradle on the nightstand and went back to sleep.
    When I woke in the morning I stumbled out to my computer in the living room, opened a search engine, and typed in "Joe Jackson, Portland Oregon." I pressed return knowing there would be a ton of hits on the common first and last names but maybe I would get lucky. I was half way down the second page of hits when I found a link to his obituary.

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    1. This is a strong, eerie piece begging to become a longer piece if you ask me. But you didn't, so I'll just say well in as always. This piece has a weird familiarity - not like it's plagiarized or anything, but it gave me a weird deja vu feeling. So, success! :)

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    2. man we're like all just plagiarized copies of our parents man...crazy, Daddio... I'm working on a cross genre story about paranormal androids. I call the genre paranoidal.

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    3. gene krupa, brother. boom bi dap dap.

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  12. I had designed the time machine for a high school science project in the late 80s but I had to wait for the right car. Deloreans are awesome looking but in reality I needed a really hot electric car in order to create a completely linear acceleration curve. The model X was just the deal and even had the very cool falcon doors. Back to the future, here I come. After decades of designing, testing, and fitting components I was sure that I hadn't over looked even the slightest detail. As I adjusted the outside rear view mirror I read the custom sticker I had placed on it: “Warning: Events may be more recent that they appear.”

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    1. Love it. Now I want to watch BTTF. And get a Delorean. ;)

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  13. The sunset lingered just a little too long. It's not normal to get so wrapped up in something, it's not normal to think a sunset is too long. Too gaudy. But it was. It was too damn much, like an old woman wearing too much make-up.

    You've done this before. You don't remember, but you've made these rounds, you've done these things - you're on repeat. It's a loop, but the fuck of it is that the blackouts make everything fresh. But just for you.

    The red and blue lights are pleasant to look at. The man talking is familiar in some way. His uniform is crisp. You feel like complimenting him on his grooming. You laugh. His radio blasts static into the dusk that the sunset has finally released.

    "Again?"

    "What's that?"

    "Right, you don't remember."

    "I'm sorry ... have we met?"

    You stare into the man's eyes and try to figure out what's going on. You read so much in the eyes. There is a kind of dark humor, tinged with sadness, resignation. His eyes are dark with light flecks and you want to tell him how beautiful his eyes are. Purple lidded, not enough sleep.

    "What's your name, son?"

    "Johnson."

    For a second a whole lifetime unfolds, revealing secret things and lost places, but it folds back just as quickly, this accordion of existence, this origami nightmare.

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    1. Deja voodoo - love this

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    2. Nice work, Dan. You're on song tonight, pal.

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    3. That is fantastic. Love the subtlety of the red and blue lights, the crisp uniform. The in and out of - not memory... awareness. Very cool.

      and on your first piece I adore the line "My mouth can only hold so much bullshit."

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    4. Thanks y'all. :) I'm so glad everyone is enjoying this. I love Fridays!

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    5. Origami nightmare is from now until forever my code phrase for memory. If only I can somehow remember that phrase. As always, your writing keeps redefining reality, making it no better or worse, yet somehow much more real.

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    6. Holy shit awesome. Origami nightmare. You feel like complimenting him on his grooming. Love it.

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    7. Thanks, kids. Y'all are killing it. Gotta bring the Shazizzle. ;)

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  14. The night called to him, urging him outside. Star light, cool air and a silence broken only by the occasional night-bird or a brief-lived critter breathing its last.

    Duncan eased the lower half of the sash window open, propping it up with the rod he kept by it, easing himself through and then down onto the tiles below with a practiced ease. Sliding down the pitch of the roof, he bumped his way down to the gutter and then stopped. All quiet still. Not even one light in the house to show that anyone else was awake.

    Sliding forward again, he dropped his feet and then his calves over the edge, flowing down after them to land on all-fours beside the house. In full darkness and seen by no-one.

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    1. Alright. This piece is too fucking good. ;) Seriously, this is a wonderful flash piece.

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    2. That's how its done. Brilliant man, just brilliant.

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  16. He called her name out into the night. Just to listen to how it sounded; how it echoed and how the breeze carried it away. A single name: three syllables and a lot of history.

    Waiting in the yard, he listened, fancying he could still hear it. Caught and then repeated by the walls, the doors, the windows and the panelling. Given a new life by the night. Changed but still the same.

    As though she were still alive and listening to him.

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    1. Another great piece. I love this: "A single name: three syllables and a lot of history."

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  17. Time doesn't heal. It's just an aneasthetist, is all. Numbing everything; joy, pain, enthusiasm, anger, all numbed down, dumbed down. Forget how much your friends meant to you, build a family, make a nest. The middle-aged thickening - of joints and muscles, thighs and emotions - meaningful relationships thinned down, replaced by 'stuff'. Apparently there won't be a middle class two generations from now...probably just as well...what a dull existence...stagnating in a mountain of trinkets....time takes a cigarette...time isn't on my side..

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    1. This is beautiful and sad. Just the way I like it. Lovely use of language.

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    2. ...time takes a cigarette... Great images and metaphors around time which while may not be on your side, has a wonderful spokesperson in you.

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  18. My mind wanders. She prattles on, the third repeating of the same story in less than five minutes. Or maybe it’s the fourth. No matter, it’s not real anyway. It didn’t happen like that. But in her mind, it is truth. Until the next time she tells it when it will change. New truth. Revisionist history. My mind wanders.

    “Do you remember that?”

    “What?”

    “You weren’t listening.”

    “No, Mom. I wasn’t. Sorry about that.”

    She dives back in. I stare at her watery eyes, the green now faded to a yellowish-gray mass of ooze, her lids red and swollen from her constant wiping, wiping, wiping with the ever-present Kleenex clutched in her fist.

    How did she get here? Where did my mother go?

    I listen to the crazy shit that comes from her mouth, watch her agonize over the slow ebb of her mind, the memories that fall into Alzheimer’s holes never to be found again.

    It is slow drowning, like worms on the sidewalk during a rainstorm. So close to home, and yet so far gone.

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    1. Slow drowning yes...brilliant x

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    2. This is brilliant. The tone and pace and mystery - this is why I love flash so much. So many lovely phrasings I can't even list them.

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    3. It does read like poetry in the way it breaths the meaning into you. I watched this in real life, you totally nail it here. The heart breaking is a long slow painful experience marked by brief periods of total hysteria further and further apart. Courageous writing.

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    4. Thanks everyone. I'll take brilliant any day. :). Ed, I am going through it now with my mom. sometimes I feel like a bad daughter, because my mind does wander, and I often want to run screaming from the room. But I don't. It's very hard to witness.

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  19. So there I was, just over twenty years ago in sunny Las Vegas, living the good life, when all of the sudden I got the urge to take my girl out dancing for the night. It was a ten mile drive straight down Lake Mead Boulevard to my favorite hangout-Tiger's Pub, so we jumped in my convertible Vette and hit the road with the top down. We got just past halfway there when she decided to get frisky. After about two blocks, I couldn't take it anymore and had to pull over. The closest spot was a driveway that dead ended into a chain-link fence just past Martin Luther King Boulevard. About two minutes later, a cop pulled in behind me and hit the cherries. Stacey sat up in a panic while the cop shined his flashlight in my face and yelled. "What the hell are you doing here?" "Um, er...duh..." was all I could muster. "Don't you know what's going on?!" He hollered, almost skeered. "I've got no idea, sir. All I do is work. I never have time to watch the news. What's up?" "There are riots going on over that Rodney King bullshit, and you're smack in the middle of the projects...parked!! Get your dumb-ass out of here!" I hauled ass as quick as I could without getting pulled over for speeding, and made it to the pub. That was some scary shit when I saw the aftermath the next day. There were cars turned over and burnt, and just chaos everywhere. I had escaped another death sentence that night. I'm funny like that.

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    1. Ah, brother. Cops seem to feature prominently in a lot of our pieces. This is a great snapshot, and I have a eerily similar true story. I'll tell you it sometime over a beer.

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    2. For the rest of the world, there is such a thing as the wrong place at the wrong time. And then there's you ;)

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    3. hahaha Eyes wide shut, Ed. That's me. I get so wrapped into whatever I'm, er...into, that I'm oblivious to my surroundings. Dan, this was one of those rare times that the cops saved my life. I was not in a savory part of town, to say the least, and the scene on that particular night was even less so.

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    4. a cop saved my life, too. in las vegas. it's a good story. you'll like it. ;)

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    5. A cop gave me life. Does that count? :) JT, no wonder you don't write fiction. Your life reads like it, and you just can't make some of that shit up.

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  20. Johnny didn't know shit and that's what everybody always told him: "Johnny, you don't know shit." Johnny had always been told to listen to his elders, so he smiled it off, what the hell, he didn't know shit. It was worse for his sister. She was fat. Lazy. Hearing her sobs after a verbal thrashing made not knowing shit seem like a downright blessing.

    The walls in the house were crumbling in spots and he wondered sometimes when the whole thing would implode. That meant to explode but backwards. Or something. He'd heard it in school. It had stuck in his mind for some reason.

    The sound of the front door closing stopped everything. He was home. Which 'he' it was going to be - that was the question.

    "Johnny!"

    He loped slowly into the dining room where his father stood.

    "Johnny, your teacher called and said you're failing."

    "I know, Dad. I don't know shit. I know it. None of that stuff makes sense to me."

    Johnny smiled and waited for the chuckle. Then he saw the belt and heard the buckle.

    "Wait. Stop."

    "Stop nothing you dumb piece of shit."

    Each lash made a terrible sound, but Johnny could barely feel it. He didn't understand. He wasn't supposed to know shit. If he was, he would have studied. But that would have made the old man mad, too. Too smart for his own stupid as shit good. Something.

    He closed his eyes tightly and hoped his dad got it all out before his sister came home. The welts would heal. The hate would erase the sadness. But he couldn't hear her cry again. Not tonight. And the library closed at eight.

    So, he took his beating. And then some.

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  21. going through motions
    as if somnambulistic
    wide eyed not seeing

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    1. I'm glad to see you here again. I really dig the syllabic regulation ... if you read it out loud it's almost like chewing the words. I like haiku for several reasons. This is a good example of the most important reason. Not very many people do it well. I quite like this one.

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  22. WILD BILL

    The closest Bill Cody ever got to his famous Wild-West namesake were the buffalo wings he ingested two at a clip until nearly three dozen flew the confines of the full bowl.
    Bill loved to eat, That was his defense when folks in the Black Hills wordlessly questioned his grotesque obesity. “I love to eat,” he’d say and that, while not satisfying them, stopped any further pursuit.

    Guys like me and I guess most guys in Iowa and North Dakota and the rest of creation, we fall head over heels for sweet smelling pretty gals. Bill found his beauty and joy in the luring aroma of fried chicken, thick smoking burgers, a side of beef. If marriage between a man and his meal was legal, Bill Cody, mouth full, would be sure to I-do that in a big hurry.

    Jeff the carpenter whose sideline was coffin making said Bill Cody was gonna be needing double- or triple-wide accomodations, especially if his maw followed his last will about being buried with a roasted pig.

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    1. Ah, I wish I'd made it six minutes. Sal, good to see you, my friend. This is an absolutely lovely piece. Like always. I especially like the 'are you paying attention' transitions here. Especially the first sentence of the second P. You do flash so well. Please come back next week. :)

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    2. Thanks, JD. I find writing flashes refreshing. It also helps relieve the pain in my knee.

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  23. It takes all my strength to close the window with a small, deliberate movement. I want to make noise. I want to slam the window shut, shatter the glass, scream through the fractured pane, shove my arm into the opening and watch as jagged edges slice into my skin and draw bright red blood.

    I’m obsessed and she knows it.

    “I’ve got to go now, babe. He’s expecting me to be home at five thirty so we can take the kids to the movies.”

    “Call me on Friday, Susan? I miss you when we go too long without …” I can’t finish my sentence. She knows. She knows her presence in my life has replaced snorting coke.

    She leaves, as she always does, and I’m left to wonder why I wait for her return. What part of me cannot exist without wanting someone so much? I light a cigarette and cough on the smoke but continue to puff until my throat is scratched and raw and feels exactly like I feel in my head.

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    1. This is so good, Jo. I love it. Perfect example of why I love flash fiction. :)

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  24. Sitting on the patio, I could feel the stare. It's just past twilight. Calm. Hot. He's perched on a branch just out of reach. I rise and slowly walk to the fountain. His eyes and head track my movement.

    Owls are like cats that can fly. Unblinking winged creatures with feathers instead of fur. The same accusatory demeanor, though.

    They judge you silently, but they're willing to keep your secrets. Thank God.

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    1. Ha! This is great. And I totally agree about owls and cats. :)

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