Friday, July 11, 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. 

The amp is cutting out. You adjust the tape that holds the kink in just the right position, wipe sweat on your forearm. Something hits you from behind, but it's not heavy and it doesn't hurt. 

The sweat is a problem because it makes playing the guitar like trying to wrestle a rake covered in oil. And the smell. At least it's your smell. Which sort of covers up the couches, salvaged from alleys, soaked in bum piss and worse. 

There is a group of dudes who just keep staring at you, but fuck 'em, you'll deal with that later, they can't get close to the stage. The stage is where the drunk folk dance, laughter and anger rolling off them, waves of pleasure and fear and cheap perfume. 

The guys from the back come up and you stop playing. Let the fucking kids dance. Just let 'em dance.

Thanks for stopping by! See you next Friday. 

56 comments:

  1. The canopy shades his delicate eyes from the most perfect sunshine of a beautiful summer’s day. I lean in, make a goofy face, get a goofy laugh in response. I ask for a kiss and am met with his own lean. He leaves a trail of pure spit on my lips and chin, his aim always a little off-kilter. A quick wave and he is off, excited by the prospect of riding a real train. Content to be in his parents’ company.

    I am too old for another. Too tired perhaps. And too far down the menopause path. But I am okay with that. Grandchildren will come one day. No rush. Until then I have these sweet and wonderful moments with him. Baby nephew. Pure love.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love this. Seems like romance at first and morphs so well into innocence and love. Bravo!

      Delete
    2. Thanks. I had no plans to write today, but my brother and his wife brought little Evan to the park for a train ride and I had this moment with him. Good inspiration :)

      Delete
  2. JD, awesome piece up there. I can smell it, feel the thump of the vibrations. Curious about what hit him from behind though...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Julie. In my mind, a water bottle. It's always a water bottle (if you're lucky). ;)

      Delete
  3. Hwang Gonzalez won the gold in the dumpster-diving competition back in 2154. Four years before that, his brother Ichimi took the silver.

    “I read somewhere poor people played the sport long before it reached the Olympics,” said Tomald Quint, child prodigy who read voraciously and considered himself a sports-spectator aficionado.

    His father nodded.

    Tomald returned to his Wreader, then raised his head and asked, “You think murder will ever become an official sport, Father? Some do it so well, without leaving forensic clues. Not even fivensic or sixensic ones that could trip them up.”

    A staunch Conservative who abhorred the taking of life, no matter how many politicians of all twelve parties claimed its constitutionality, Hilander Quint said, “Isn’t murder already an official sport, Tomald?”

    Being a prodigy, the young boy recognized sarcasm when he heard it. “I mean, an Olympic sport.”

    Hilander shrugged. “Who can say. Dumpster-diving grew out of a need for leftover food. Then it seemed so jovial an exercise even the rich gave it a dive, retrieving browned lettuce leaves, hard doughnuts, fish that stank, and meats reeking with salmonella.”

    Tomald crinkled his nose. “At least Hwang didn’t have to eat what he found in the dumpster.”

    His father nodded again.


    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is an awesome dystopia. Well in, Sal. Love it.

      Delete
  4. She asked how she could help. When I suggested the chairs all needed to be covered she nodded and went to work. When she was half-way through the third chair she looked at me, up on a ladder trying to create a curtained backdrop for the head table and said, "I'm not having any fun" and gave me and expectant look.

    I normally don't use sarcasm but my tongue got the best of me. "we're not here to have fun." I said it calmly and went back to my task.

    She stood looking lost for a moment and then quietly left.

    Good riddance. The hall looked great buy the time she got back. Even the bows had been tied around the chairs.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is an excellent piece. Ideally, I think flash fiction necessitates a few reads to get the nuance. This is a perfect example of why.

      Delete
  5. He opened his eyes slowly, heard the creak or at least imagined it. His mouth was dry, the surface of his tongue a topographical map of regret. He could smell the bourbon on his clothes and climbing out of pores, small and barely visible.

    Again. Fuck. The blackness. That was the scary part. What the fuck had happened? And why did this keep happening? Might as well die. What kind of life ... what kind of life is it when half the time you're sleeping and the other half you're blacked out? With an hour of misery in between.

    He sat up and opened the curtains and the light was a direct physical assault. He swatted at the sun with his hands, mumbling. He rose and the smell of sweat and decay wafted from grey sheets. He touched his face, rough, and stumbled toward the kitchen. One more day ... just to kill the hangover. Just one more.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Desperate. Love "the surface of his tongue a topographical map of regret."

      Delete
    2. Yeah, that one might show up in a novel... ;)

      Delete
    3. Not just nice, *really* nice.

      Delete
  6. He raised his arm, milking the crowd's adulation, making them beg for one more song.

    It'd been a great gig. One of his best. He'd run through the whole of his last best-selling album and they'd all sung every word back at him, as though they were one with him. Five hundred people sharing his every moment. And hundreds of thousands more listening to him live on radio.

    Of course they'd wanted the hits too. Mark had laid down a selection of his favourites, the band driving him like a juggernaut through song after song after song. He'd played the covers too; the songs he'd opened with all those years ago when he'd entertained the barman and the janitor with his mop and bucket. The ones he'd used to fill out his set when he'd just the three lyrics and a ragged band jam to play.

    So many years ago. And now he had it all!

    Mark brushed the sweat from his eyes and stepped back...

    And then fell over his bed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've had that dream! Great piece, brother. :)

      Delete
    2. Ha ha, yes. Great last line, without overselling the twist.

      Delete
  7. Blinkin' timer broke. Okay, that's my excuse and I'm sticking with it.


    The afternoon shimmered with heat and the thrum of cicadas and her tongue stuck to the roof of her mouth. Boredom spread like the hot oozing black stuff the paving people had painted across their driveway. She wanted a soda, but her mother refused to buy them, and the water from the garden hose was too hot and tasted like plastic. But Mom didn’t mind if she walked into town to the grocery to get soda with her own money. So she shook a few quarters from her Barbie bank, tucked them into her pocket and went off along the creek toward the road. It was the frog that caught her attention. She loved the galumphing sound he made when he hopped from one rock to another, the burble of his voice when he called to his friends. None of them were moving much because of the heat, but the place where the creek widened and crossed under the bridge across the road was nicer for watching frogs. She leaned over the hot railing, the paint flaking off with rust, to catch the feel of the cooler air drifting up from underneath. The frogs were happier here, slithering from the rocks into the water, and she could even see a trout or two kiss the surface. That’s when she heard the sound of the car. Hardly any cars went down their road, so she didn’t really notice at first. What she heard the loudest was the man’s voice.

    “Hey. Hey, are you all right?”

    Her hands gripped tight around the railing, a flake of rusted paint pressing painfully into one pinky. She didn’t even look at him when he called again. She just turned around and ran home. Warm plastic water from the hose didn’t sound so bad after all.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Unsettling. Love the detail of the rusted flake of paint. Almost like it warned her.

      Delete
  8. Another great piece. I love the way the backstory unfolds from the end. It can go so many directions.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Dog scratched the back of his shoulder, his all-black glasses jammed tight to his face. Bug-like. Giving away nothing. His stump-toothed yawn the only hint to what was going on inside.

    We’d known each other about three years, Dog and I. He’d been there when I woke up in the street one day. Offering me a smoke and a piece of gum he’d liberated from a table somewhere. Saying he’d not seen who’d stolen my roll from under me, only that he’d give me the use of his while he was up and foraging for something edible. We’d hung about a while then: me showing him my places; the best place to sit when it rained, the rest-rooms that stayed unlocked longest, the diner with the sympathetic manager who gave us the cleanings off’n the plates that would otherwise have been tossed in the dumpster each night after closing.

    And then one day he’d gone.

    I just came round one day, cursing my luck like I always do, spending the first three hours of the day trying to warm myself. Stomping about and looking out for cops. Needing to move but not wanting to be seen. Scrounging about for food or whatever I could guilt out of the folks coming out of the coffee house. Sometimes I got lucky. Sometimes the police came first. Either way I got warmer - either from whatever drink I could get someone to buy for me or from the exercise I got running away.

    And then I saw Dog again. Same bug-eyed glasses. Same overcoat with a sleeve missing. Same attitude as he always had. Only this time he’d got a dog with him. A scrawny bugger with mange. And the dog was just as bad.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is a sad, but very real piece, brother. Very well written. This is amazing: "stump-toothed yawn". So good.

      Delete
    2. Sometimes the image just blooms in your head and then the words fall into place. This almost wrote itself, I was just there to give birth to it.

      Delete
  10. Carter flipped the coin from finger to finger. Left to right. Right to left. Left to right again. Back and forth without stopping. Never looking down: just a nervous tic he had.

    “You gonna drink that coffee or just play with yourself all day? Cause if you’re not drinking it, I will.”

    The coin vanished.

    “Sorry, mate. I’m just distracted. You know how it is; you lose your job and the world changes overnight. People change. Friends fade away and everyone looks at you differently.”

    “But still, it’s all the more reason to drink it up while it’s still hot.”

    Carter raised his cup and nodded his thanks. “You’d think that, wouldn’t you. But you’d be wrong.” He took a slurp from the coffee and put the cup back in its saucer, glancing back at the counter to check out if he was being watched.

    “The truth in the matter is,” he continued, “is that if you’re hard up, everything comes down to money. You can’t afford to pay your bills, so you wear more clothes and leave your heating turned off. Or you spend more time in the coffee shop, using their heat and reading their papers. At least until they throw you out. Course, if you’re a paying customer, they’ll let you stay. Least until your cup’s empty.”

    ReplyDelete
  11. I was sitting at the kitchen table when the phone beckoned.
    "Hello," I said.
    The voice on the receiver said, "Are you JT?"
    "You betcha. What can I do for you?"
    "Well, we just bought this lake house, and your number was on the wall. Would you be interested in coming back down here and doing some finish work for us?"
    "I'll be right down."

    When I got there, the couple was reclining in lawn chairs while their grand kids were playing on the beach. We had a nice conversation about the work I did on the place last summer, and the stuff they wanted done. Two days later, I was tongue and grooving a doorway, moved some outlets and built a trap door for the attic. I'll be back this weekend to tidy up a few more odds and ends, and we'll see what else they have in store for me. As I left, I couldn't help but smile as I wondered if Gerry was watching me finish the cabin. I hope he likes the way it's turning out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. JT, I sense you moving closer and closer to fiction, to using your real life experience to tell a made-up story. And I like it. :)

      Delete
    2. Thanks, David. Believe it or not, this actually happened this week, just as I described it. My life is a crazy, never ending story, with more plots than a cemetery. Well, I hope it doesn't end anytime soon...one of these days I want to dabble in fiction, though.

      Delete
    3. I can't explain this very well, but it seems to me your pieces, though clearly taken from real life, are beginning to *feel* more like fiction, which is a good thing. Using more and more techniques of fiction, maybe. Means you're honing that storyteller vibe.

      Delete
    4. Agreed. If you talked more about drinking and masturbation, I'd get a Bukowski vibe. Alter ego. Fante style. It's starting.

      Delete
    5. Ha ha, Mader nails what I was trying to say. You can never have too much drinking and masturbation.

      Delete
    6. "You can never have too much drinking and masturbation." - But not at the same time. That's how you hurt yourself...

      Delete
    7. hahahahaha!!! I have no idea who Bukowski is, but I'll take it as a complement!! One of these days I might actually read something. As it is, the only things I've written this summer are on here. I'm just taking a smoke break right now. Today is the day I started setting up the mill. Three concrete slabs are down and leveled off. Now comes the assembly. I'll post some pics tonight on the progress. I can't wait to fire this baby up!

      Delete
  12. A pale sun slides into a sky vacated by a cataract moon. Two tarnished pennies. An exchange.

    The surf sounds so close it might be undermining the very supports of this beach house. But I'm not fretting; this is the tailend of the storm. Whatever wild, dire omens rode its turbulent breakers have already come and long gone.

    Now, the susurrant rush and hiss-drag of the waves over sand and pebbles sounds more like the fading coda of some vast, tenebrous requiem shimmering into morning.

    Tentative, like lonely people closing their front doors. One more glance. The hope that won't die.

    A sudden swell, like the late, bright moments of a life, suddenly poignant against the grey of everything that came before. If not to innocence, at least a return to childhood.

    No storm will ever frighten me again. There's a dark, turgid river now, running beneath everything.

    Nona lies broken amid more broken things. Liquor bottles, betrayal, glasses, knickknacks. A laptop, its screen spiderwebbed. Our last ever fight. A doozy, as they say. A blood reckoning, I think. I pick my way through the shattered glass, through our shattered, annihilated lives, and find my phone, tacky with jellied (and gelid) blood.

    Hit 911.

    Time to pay the ferryman.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The language is so lush and beautiful as always. Great piece. Stunning, actually. In the midst of the vines of prose this: Tentative, like lonely people closing their front doors. - so sweet

      Delete
    2. surfer dude sweet, not sappy ;)

      Delete
    3. Thanks, bro. Although I can be a sap in real life. :)

      Delete
    4. Like the kind that crushes people's skulls?

      Delete
    5. Skülkrüsher is my black metal alter ego.

      Delete
  13. Joey carefully folds the paper to frame the morning crossword, a well practiced ritual even if our Oregonian had a somewhat different layout from his hometown Arizona Star. Jim has already claimed the sports section for careful study of his baseball fantasy league player statistics.
    The morning is still cool and even though it will be triple digits later in the afternoon, my guest from the Southwest called the summer climate here outdoor air conditioning.
    Joey and Jim could be brothers. Many people have wrongly assumed that they were. In a perfect world they would be lovers. Perhaps they are soul mates. The only flaw in that idealistic version of reality was that they were heterosexual. At least Jim was even though it hadn't exactly been working well for him.
    At this stage of their lives, entering their last chapters, they basically had each other. As I watched them go through their respective morning routines of coffee, cigarettes, and assigned sections of the newspaper I felt I was observing a highly functional couple. It was a reassuring feeling and for a moment it was almost like I lived in a perfect world.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Man, there's this rolling rhythm to your stuff lately. I'm loving it. And this is a pretty piece.

      Delete
    2. Last lines are so essential in short fiction, and you nailed it again.

      Delete
  14. So many of these deserve to be fleshed out into novels. It's amazing what you folks can dash off in a few minutes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree. There are always gems hidden in this Friday madness.

      Delete

Please leave comments. Good, bad or ugly. Especially ugly.