Friday, July 18, 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. 

There's a sublime redundancy to it. You smile, grit teeth, think about the things you did back when you were whole, before your brain decided enough was enough. Over and over, day after day. You smell vanilla and you feel hot, sweaty rivulets run down your back. You are suddenly cold, but you don't know why.

She's standing right in front of you, and she's yelling like a drunk hooligan. You laugh, and that is absolutely the wrong thing to do. That's why you do it. She stops and stares at you, great fire-lights of hate and fear radiate from her eyes. You don't know how she does this, but it scares the everloving shit out of you.

You shrug, shoulder your bag, and leave, knowing you'll spend the rest of your life wondering what the fuck happened and not getting any answers. No rest. Probably for the best. Keep telling yourself. Maybe someday you'll believe it.

Thanks for stopping by! See you next Friday. HEADS UP - my folks are visiting, so I won't be commenting as promptly as normal. But I'll be back. :)

62 comments:

  1. Tracy sat up at the side of her hospital bed, bare feet dangling over the edge, the bedside table the only thing keeping her from pitching forward. I was the only thing keeping the bedside table from rolling away under the tiny amount of weight that was Tracy's small body. We'd done this dance so many times over the past few years. The only difference this time was the certainty with which we both knew this was our last dance. Fitting that I should be on duty. Poetic that I was assigned third floor east. For those and so many other reasons I hated being here. We were both angry that last time. Tracy refusing to let me draw arterial blood, nothing new there. Its where we always started. Her refusing me, me convincing her. I had talked her into more things than any of her boy friends over the years. I had given everything to keep her lungs working just a bit longer, selfish bastard that I was. Selfish because I loved her and was stupid enough to believe she cared that I did.
    But I could never tell her, never really be honest about so many things. How would that conversation go?

    Me : Tracy I love you.
    Her : I know.
    Me: You're going to die a slow suffocating death before my eyes in spite of anything I can do for you.
    Her : Yeah, I know.

    So we did this dance around it. We acted more like brother and sister than two young people in love. In a way we were both.

    In frustration I leaned my head to rest against her forehead. We cried together, her salty tears mixing with mine. The only mixture of bodily fluids we had ever consummated. It was out last dance. Bitter, salty, sweet, and final.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow, this is beautiful, brother. Epically sad and pretty. Love it.

      Delete
    2. Wow, Ed. Had a few salty tears myself. This is so lovely.

      Delete
    3. Heartbreaking and beautiful.

      Delete
  2. The timer broke. I swear. Damn thing.


    Bobby came around the corner into the kitchen, wearing one of Aunt Sylvie’s black cats like a scarf. Rudolph, that was his name. The cat didn’t seem to mind. Still, it seemed disrespectful. The black cat was one of Sylvie’s usual protectors. He took her right flank when she had one of her “spells.” The big tom stood watch on the left. This time, Aunt Sylvie lay unresponsive safely in her own bed, the tom’s big body stretched over her as if claiming a fresh kill.

    “Bobby, honey, put the cat down.”

    He sniffed and deposited the feline on the small, padded chair near the telephone. Rudolph shook himself, sat on the cushion and began grooming his front paws, oblivious to the intruders into his home and his role as his mistress’s guardian.

    “Mom?” he asked, casting a glance toward the back bedroom. “Where does Aunt Sylvie go? I mean…when she disappears?”

    She shrugged and gave the soup another stir. Good thing Sylvie had a well-stocked pantry. And that she was the type to make anything decent out of, say, some celery, an onion, and a bit of bouillon. “I wish I knew. She doesn’t even know.”

    Bobby’s eyes widened. “Serious? Or does she just not want to tell?”

    She’d asked her aunt that once. The first time. At the doctor’s office. Waiting for the test results, which showed nothing abnormal, but what’s normal about suddenly losing all of one’s senses? “All I remember is sitting down,” Aunt Sylvie had said. “I wake up with cats in my lap and a doctor shining a light in my eyes. I wish I did remember.” She sighed. “I promise to tell you if I ever do. At least I hope it’s somewhere nice.”

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I read that twice trying to figure out what the timer had to do with it. Then, doh! Had nothing to do with it :). Way to raise the curiosity. At first I thought Sylvie was dying. No, it's much more interesting than that.

      Delete
    2. Fantastic take on anything from near death experience to absent seizures and any ground left uncovered. It like stepping outside of yourself and outside of time itself reading this!

      Delete
    3. Sequel to another piece I wrote here once.

      Delete
    4. This is an awesome piece, Laurie. Just lovely.

      Delete
    5. I love it. Now I've got hunt around for Part 1. :)

      Delete
  3. I shift my feet and scuttle back until my butt hits the handrail. I guess it was inevitable, meeting again. But why today? And why in the smallest elevator ever made by Otis and mankind?

    He glances at me, his cheeks pink. He nods once, turns to face the door. I let my breath out. He wants to talk to me as much as I to him. The static between us tingles up my arm, like lightening about to strike. The stench of his cologne, same crap he always sprayed on himself – all over himself – singes my nostrils.

    “How have you been?”

    Damn. He just had to open his mouth. Couldn’t just pretend we didn’t recognize each other.

    “Fine. You?”

    He glanced over his shoulder, caught my eye, his emerald orbs framed by those long, luscious lashes. Damn him.

    “Never better.”

    The door opened and he stepped out. He didn’t turn back.

    I think he won.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I guess he won. I'm not sure. Obviously in the great cologne race he is somewhat handicapped. It appears the eyes win by a lash. Nice encounter and inner dialog.

      Delete
    2. Man, this is so real it's painful. Excellent piece.

      Delete
    3. I've definitely been there. Nice piece.

      Delete
  4. Okay, three and a half minutes.

    -----------

    She wasn’t expected to live. The first one didn’t. Something wrong with her heart, some deformity, and after blaming each other, God, fate, crazy doctor’s diets, her girlfriend’s wacky ideas about pregnancy, they uneasily wrote it off to bad luck and had another child. Each night she stood in the doorway, watching the tiny chest rise and fall, each night he took her by the shoulders and made her come to bed. But the baby made it through each milestone. First week. First month. First three months. And that all-important, held-breath, anxiety-caged first year. Her hands shook as she walked the chocolate cake to the table, the cartoon wax giant “One” candle, adorned with Disney heroines, to the table. The rest of the family, the friends, didn’t realize, or weren’t showing, how crazy this was, how crazy she was, what a year it had been. Perhaps for fear of upsetting her, of driving her back to the afternoons when she couldn’t get off the sofa. Her hands shook as she lit the match and kissed it to the fuse. It felt like a fuse. Every day felt like a fuse, like if she bent the wrong way or held her too tightly to her breast or did not let her sleep in the right position, the bomb would blow up all over again. The little flame caught and flickered, and seventeen voices rose to sing “Happy Birthday.”

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Beautifully written piece about maternal angst and PTSD in a perfect storm. I'm all to grateful for those happy anniversaries and terrified of the bad ones. Nice work.

      Delete
    2. Damn you and your broken timer! :) So good, Laurie.

      Delete
    3. Stop socking me in the guts, will ya. Another great piece, Laurie.

      Delete
  5. The sun darted and dipped, playing hide and go seek with an overcast grey that made no sense at all. You stepped into it. It felt like a dive. Reckless abandon, go for it, get the fuck out, even if you're not ready.

    You got your clothes back, and they fit better now. At least the food was good. It doesn't matter. The sun is all that matters. It is warm and then too hot and it's all too fucking much and the cab driver picks you up with a smirk.

    "Where to?"
    "Downtown. Fast."
    "Junkie corner, huh? I run the rehab to relapse route pretty often."

    The man is laughing and you stare at the back of his head and you want to tell him about the fucking blood and the way they used to hit you and the old man who tricked you into giving a piece of yourself away. You clench your jaw instead. In an hour it won't matter.

    "Drive the fucking cab, asshole. They don't pay you to talk."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I just shuttered a little.

      Delete
    2. So real I can smell the taxi, feel the anticipation of the hit. Nice.

      Delete
  6. The road still humped in the center like she remembered from a thousand trips up and back, for school buses, for dentist appointments, for walks to the fallen log over the stream. Instead of mailbox numbers, she counted houses in her head by former occupants. Page…Miller…Albertson…Wilcox…her family. No longer the sky blue of her childhood, getting smaller as they left it behind one humid August day, too close to her birthday to feel like anything but a trick, it was now an ugly shade of brown like thousand-year-old chocolate. But the crabapple was in bloom and somehow that made it okay, like the continuity had been kept, like the memories had been real. She pulled into the driveway, walked the familiar path banked with rose bushes. Tentatively she raised a soft fist to the door and tapped.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is said that you can't go home. Sometimes I think what is meant is that you shouldn't. Nice piece, strong and profound. Leaves the heavy lifting to the reader who is the one who should do the lifting should there be lifting to be done.

      Delete
    2. Wow. This is another stellar piece. I've walked this one.

      Delete
    3. Damn. You got me again. Nice.

      Delete
  7. Too many people. People everywhere. People filled with their own self-importance and swarming like a flight of harpies with their improbably white smiles and ill-advised fashion choices. And their parents were even worse. Middle-classed middle-English BMW-drivers smugly driving hands-free and giving no quarter to no-one not driving a German car. Movers and shakers all of them and every one of them part of the question needing to be answered here and now.

    And there am I, standing alone like a stone in a stream, making them part about me. Making them recognise someone outside their clique: a wild-haired ginger who sees them all for what they are. Frauds. Every one of them!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sometimes a ranting monologue says it all and says it better than anything else!

      Delete
    2. Agreed. And one of the things I like most about pieces like this is the power and the way it rolls, gaining momentum. Awesome.

      Delete
    3. I do love a wild-haired ginger who runs contrary to the crowd. Nice piece.

      Delete
  8. A monster cannot love poetry? Who told you that? Apparently you have never met a man of high esteem, someone whose soft heart beats with the rhythm of compassion and at the same time despises the bogus lives of fiction, the gossamer-winged heroes of literary greatness.

    Yes, you and I agree: a monster can voraciously kill, delight in draining the blood of his victim till flesh and bones take on the gray of death, but he can also hunger to read the written word, collect masterpiece literature, find comfort in the company of Sawyer on a raft, walk with Fortunato on a quest for a sip of Amontillado.

    Now you are blinded by the gleam of my blade. The cold reality of your soon-to-be brutal passing. May I recite a poem to you? Perhaps a Shakespearean love sonnet that can carry you iambically along into that final heroic couplet?

    When you are gone, I shall write your last moments in the fictive fabric of my pen. You will live forever in these bloody pages.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "You will live forever in these bloody pages." I should be so lucky.

      Delete
    2. Holy shit, Sal. This is so good. Outstanding.

      Delete
    3. Seriously, this is how I want to go out. But not yet. Great piece.

      Delete
    4. Thanks! A serial killer who loves poetry can't be all bad.

      Delete
  9. A meteor scored the heavens, splitting the night into two as I sat there, transfixed by it. The night was a chill one and the skies were all bejewelled by stars; each one of then burning against the black of the firmament. Of course, I had to stay and the rest of the night I lay there beside you, chaste but transfixed by the beauties above. Just you and I and an old threadbare rug. Sharing our first memories and laying the foundations for many more.

    Of course, the next night was overcast, grey and even more chill. But, somehow, neither of us seemed to mind.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, safe to say the women will love this one. I did too. Romantic, poetic, and metaphysical all wrapped up in two neat paragraphs.

      Delete
    2. What can I say? I can be sweet too. And thank you, Ed!

      Delete
    3. Yep, that was lovely. By Ed's reckoning, I have a vagina. Love it. ;)

      Delete
    4. I've always thought it your best feature, Dan.

      Delete
  10. It’s been a week of ratchets and rat shit, and by the end of it I could no longer tell one from the other. Moody decided to go on a bender and crown me Chief Car Tech and Resident Critter Ridder, two things I know the least about. Anyways, so here I am – the shortest moron in this jizzhole we call The Office, which is nothing more than a dank, dark warehouse full of all the junky crap from everyone’s basement who ever lived (Moody’s eBay “business”) – and naturally, the alternator goes on our one shared vehicle and the place is suddenly infested with rats – my only damn phobia, too. And where’s Moody? Away on “business” in Vegas. Pfft. Assholes always know just when to skip.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Woot! :D And love the last line.

      Delete
    2. I love the way you write. Fucking two fisted swagger. This is an awesome piece. I expect more next Friday. :)

      Delete
    3. I'm with Laurie, but you had me with the first line. Those lines in between were pretty fuckin' good too.

      Delete
    4. Well, holy shit. Thanks, guys. The funny thing is, this is mostly a true depiction of my week, minus a few details.

      Delete
    5. Yeah, this rocks. Literally. It has swing and, yeah, swagger. Character revealed through the rhythm and music of language itself. You gots voice, girlfriend. :)

      Delete
  11. Death. Cruelty. And halitosis.

    Cooper couldn't be sure which was the worst of the afflictions troubling him. All he knew was that if the stubble-headed loon didn't off him soon, he'd die of toxic shock syndrome. Man but that guy had it bad!

    His rubber-masked assailant had tackled him in the dark of a side-street. That much he could remember. That and the efficient way he'd had his legs scythed from under him before everything went dark. After that, he couldn't recall anything until coming round again; muzzy headed, with a bad taste in his mouth and a new piece of stainless steel jewellery attaching him to a radiator pipe.

    Of course, when the fake mask came off, he realised that the guy was playing for keeps and he'd probably never be seeing his family again.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is a great piece. Death. Cruelty. And halitosis. Dope open.

      Delete
    2. The seven deadly sins have nothing on the oral trilogy. Totally dope the entire way through.

      Delete
  12. JT's army had suffered catastrophic blows in the last few years. The loss of his minions was but a precursor to the horrific events that followed. After nearly losing his own life in the skirmishes that shadowed, he retreated to the northwoods to recuperate. It was a long and arduous recovery, but he emerged from the forest with more passion and resolve that ever before. A plan was forming...evolving...growing. After months of working out the details, it was time to start recruiting. The first enlistee hit the tarmac two days ago. Together, they would prove to the world that JT is not one to lie down quietly. His new army had begun to form, and this time, he'll either rule the world, or go down swinging. No surrender, no retreat.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So, CIA, he's talking about wood chippers, I think. Wait, that doesn't sound good. ;) Loving these snapshots of JT, brother.

      Delete
  13. Nobody hate on me. This turned into a poem, and I am absolutely, completely aware of my middle-aged whiteness. Fuck, I don't know, I simply channeled this.
    ______________________________________

    I went 'n got my hair did, single braids. He gave it the once over,

    sucked his gold-nasty teeth and ignored me rest of the evenin'.

    He do that whatever, all the time, don't matter even

    if I be Queen B and he be motherfuckin' Hova.

    Representin', but ain't none o' this matter.

    We in a world where rich white southern folks tryna im-peach O-bam-a.

    (Oh, and them po' white folks, too,

    only they comin' from a point of view

    where they dreamin' of bein' rich white folks,

    which I call plain giddy ofay bologna.)

    But the world, right? A world where someone with a beef in you-kraine

    can take out a whole motherfuckin' air-plane

    —women, kids—with a shoulder-launch,

    and a longass break fo' yo lunch,

    know what I mean, know what I sayin'?

    Truth, I aks ya, I torn between running

    like Marion motherfucking Jones

    far away's I can git, and hunkerin'

    down to wait out the storm, so help me.

    Yeah, I can code-switch, Mama done raised no dumb bitch.

    Seems like we only days away from zombie time, a hail mary.

    "Baby, you know I'm crazy 'bout you?" he say, when it be too late.

    Sumbitch. Ain't nobody know he finna work this shit out, he say.

    We see. We see. We better see.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Yeah, I can code-switch, Mama done raised no dumb bitch." Doing dialect is hard. Especially for a Brit Canuck. You did this REMARKABLY well, brother. I really, really love this piece.

      You need to channel this voice again. I want to know more.

      Delete
    2. Agree, this could be a series as well its own channel pun intended.

      Delete
    3. Thanks, y'all. And I mean that. I hesitated long and hard putting this out there. I heard all the angry voices in my creative writing group accusing me of cultural colonialism and appropriating others' voices I have no right to. And I even sort of get those arguments. But I also think we, as writers, strive to get inside an infinite number of heads, take on perspectives we never could otherwise, and it can only increase empathy in the end. So I don't know. Ha, sorry for philosophizing bullshit, lol.

      Delete
    4. No apologies, Antrobus! You do characters so goddamn well that the author (no matter who or what you are) completely disappears - as it should be.

      Delete
  14. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  15. It's only time that's preventing me from commenting on every single piece here. Each week, people be outdoing theirselves, yo.

    ReplyDelete

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