Friday, August 22, 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. Play as many times as you like. BREAK THE BLOG! 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. 

Silent underneath the wooden slats, he sits. He has been sitting. Not resting. Sitting. It is an activity that requires thought, contemplation, introspection - the man does not sit carelessly. 

He is listening. Not for any one thing, but for all things. For the smudge-wing gulls and the terns to cry out. He is listening for the sound of chatter, laughter. He does not think of himself as a guardian, but he should. He cannot guard the terns. The sand. The sun. This freedom. This chatter static. He guards the notion of simplicity. He runs his hands through sand-chunked hair. He closes his eyes and watches panoramas pass before the gentle lids.

Thanks for stopping by! See you next Friday. 

154 comments:

  1. There was something familiar about the man. He just appeared out of thin air, the sudden presence making me jump slightly. I gathered myself enough to get out the words, “Who are you?” My voice sounded shaky, though not as much so as I felt.

    “You know who I am, you arrogant prick!”

    Once more my eyes swept over the old man in front of me. He was dressed like a much younger man, but he was probably in his late sixties if not older. His mostly gray air looked to have once been light brown or “dirty blonde” like mine. His eyes were a pale shade of green, about the color of a dying lawn in late early summer, before you just give up watering and let it go completely brown. He was average height and build, perhaps ten pounds over his best weight. While I doubt he was ever called hansom, he wasn’t hideous to look at. Quite average, just long in the tooth. I decided to wait and hear him out.

    “I’m you, moron. Future you? You know like ghost of Christmas-fucking not-now-time-traveling-asshole you?”

    Okay, this was a lot to swallow, even for me. Perhaps we were distantly related. Physically, it was possible. But future me? I think not. I hope to Christ not! Finally I found my favorite cynical voice with which to state the obvious. “I suppose you are here to warn me about something? Give me some advice? Change the time line?”

    “The last one, chief.” The old man smiled as he pulled a hand gun, apparently out of thin air as I hadn’t noticed a holster or any other evidence he was armed. “I’m here to do us both, not to mention several people I love, a huge favor.” In a flash he disappeared as the sound of a gunshot woke me from my sleep.

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    1. This is an awesome piece as usual, Ed. Gave me chills. I LOVE the description of the eyes. So good. I never thought about being visited by the future me. I may have to start carrying a gun. Something tells me he's a DICK. ;)

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    2. Good shit! Now that's a dream that will change your behaviour.

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    3. Wowza, you blew me away, Ed! Take whatever pun you want from that. ;)

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    4. Nice job, Ed. I wondered whether it was a future-me story from the start, but I didn't expect the gun.

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  2. His blue-jeaned legs swung from the crook of the tree branch, beating a tattoo against the trunk, and she could almost hear him calling her a pussy in his head as he smiled half-assed at her, gesturing with his nibbled apple how easy the climb had been. She didn’t care about girly things like manicures, piano lessons forever had cured that, so she dug in her stubby fingers and began the ascent. The sickly-sweet aroma swirled around her, of the apples that hadn’t made it to picking, the whir and whine of the bees in their confusion of something to pollinate, and straining her muscles, she pulled herself up, leaves catching in her hair, the scruff of the bark scraping her skin even through her denim shirt and pants. His grin widened as she joined him. The sun, dappled through the leaves, glinted off his aviator lenses. Sanctuary. At last.

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    1. This is beautiful, and I can relate totally. I have asked many trees for sanctuary and only been turned away once.

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    2. Love this. Love the apples and the enticement. Biblical in a happily non-biblical way :)

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    3. The overripe apples are a great detail. :)

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  3. Grandpa coughed into his red handkerchief. Half a lung, it sounded like. He'd been up all night. I sat with him on the couch my late grandmother kept safe in a plastic protector. We sat because the coughing was even worse if he tried to lie down.
    My arm was around his shoulders, keeping him close, keeping him warm.
    His head came closer to my face. At first, I thought it was to kiss me, but it was to whisper in my ear.
    "A secret."
    He coughed again, blood mixed with phlegm, for another minute.
    "I never told you, but I loved you best."
    His head fell on my shoulder, and his wheezing ceased.
    "Ah, Grandpa. You never told me with words, but you told me every day."
    I held him and cried until dawn.

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    1. This is lovely and sad. Again, I can relate. Right down to the red handkerchief. I think everyone can relate to these situations in some way, and that makes them powerful. Birth and Death often seem so monumental compared to the stuff in between. Which doesn't necessarily make sense...

      Weird thing, living. Thanks for sharing this piece. Well in.

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    2. oh my. That made me cry. And think of my Dad. Thus, you know, the crying...

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    3. What a touching vignette. Thanks for sharing.

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    4. Cut it out, Leland. You're making me puddle up. ;)

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  4. The lights were on in the house as she rolled up quietly down the block. She could tell that someone was in her house when there shouldn't be anyone home. Her husband was out on a business trip to Tokyo and her kids were visiting there grandparents for the summer in Idaho.

    Michelle was suspicious. Why would anyone be in her house at this time of the night. She was coming home from a night out with her girlfriends and wasn't expecting anyone to be home yet.

    She slowly pulled into her driveway as quietly as she could and acted as if nothing was wrong.

    As she got out of her car, she reached over into her glove compartment to grab her Smith & Wesson 9mm handgun she kept hidden in the car. She checked it to see that it was loaded and took of the safety before exiting her car.

    She slowly approached the side door in which she always enters the house when she gets home this late. She noticed the window in the door was broken and the door left slightly cracked.

    Michelle lifted her gun up as she slowly pushes the door open to step inside her house. She peers around the kitchen and notices nothing out of the ordinary except that there was noise coming from the hallway near the stairs. As she quietly approaches the hallway she hears a voice coming from behind her.

    "You're home early Ms Carpenter. How nice of you to join us. How about we take a seat in the living room and have a nice long talk before I kill you."

    Michelle was stunned. She couldn't move. The voice she heard was something from a nightmare she was still trying to forget. How did he know where she lived? What was he doing here? She had thought him dead. The FBI told her that he had been killed in a riot that had broke out inside the prison he was held in. What did he want?

    Michelle turned around to find a gun pointed in her face and the look of a madman staring at her through deep blue eyes.

    "What do you want Alexander? I have nothing for you. The money is gone. The Feds have it all. They took it when they raided the mansion. I thought you were dead in prison.

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    1. So, thanks to you and Ed, the moral of today's two minutes is that I need to start packing heat. ;) Palpable tension in this piece. And mystery. This happens to me a lot, but I usually just forget to turn the light off when I leave. ;) Great piece, Gary.

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    2. Thank you JD. It was something I have been waiting to put out somewhere. I like mystery's and fantasy but also military fiction. And one of my favorite television shows is Criminal Minds. So maybe I might just start writing a mystery thriller out of this. What do you think?

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    3. I think you should go for it. And you should come back next Friday with the next installment. ;)

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    4. I will definitely be here next Friday with another installment and possibly some more stories that I have been building up inside my big head I have sitting on my shoulders right now.

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    5. Freaking out just a little bit here...

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  5. Such great stories! I especially liked the first one from JD, as I spent yesterday at the National Seashore. His story evoked for me one of my favorite books, The Outermost House. My first effort at a 2 minute story is pasted below:

    Talking to her while she drove was like talking to a hummingbird, as she darted into and out of different unrelated topics and interrupted herself with observations, “Oh, look, do you see THAT?” and then continued onto a different subject altogether. It was calmer when they got to the huge blueberry patch and put their buckets down on opposite sides of the bushes, enormous berries falling in with a satisfying plunk. She took a small handful and poured them into her mouth instead, tasting the sunshine and delicious squirt of sweet/tart on her tongue and smiled.

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    1. Sooz, that's beautiful! completely evoked summer. Also LOVE the comparison of the woman's conversation to a hummingbird. I know someone just like that, and I suspect just about every reader does, too!

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    2. Thanks for the kind words! And I agree, this is beautiful slice of collective memory. I love the description of the speech, hummingbird tinged. I have a fondness for pastoral pieces like this. Awesome job.

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    3. Thanks Leland! And thanks for yet another excuse to get me writing more often:)) Two minutes is hard--clearly I need to learn to type faster!

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    4. "Tasting the sunshine..." LOVE that!

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    5. Lovely piece. I concur about the hummingbird comparison. Two minutes IS hard :)

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    6. Yes to the hummingbird conversation! It's true, I think, that everyone knows someone who came to mind with your description. Well done.

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  7. From nowhere, it seemed, the neighborhood stray tortie joined me on my walk. Dusk. Playing with me or trying to herd me or whatever feline trick she employed to bond me to her, she slipped serpentine in front of my legs, her mottled fur blending in with the asphalt, with the darkening night. Now just her too-big collar was visible, keeping me from tripping over her. She lifted her head up to mine, gave me a slow blink and bonked her forehead against my knee before letting me continue placing one foot in front of the other. Take me home, she seemed to be saying. We both knew that couldn’t happen. So we walked, her twining her long, skinny body around my calves, twitching tail, for the length of one property, two, before she slipped back into the woods.

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    1. This is Laurie Boris writing. Nuff said. I especially LOVE the winding metaphoric resonance. So much movement in this piece. Brilliant.

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    2. Such a moving piece – it actually made me more emotional than I care to admit. I'm a sucker for cats.

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  8. The future waits but he does not know that yet. Life has been a series of steps he’s told to take, places he’s told to wait, tasks he’s commanded to complete. Choices? That’s not been part of the plan. Choices have been about small things: ketchup or mayonnaise on the French fries; go swimming or ride bikes. These new choices feel too large and terrifying, like he’ll pick the wrong one and be stuck on a bad path forever. End up like his mother. Worse, like his father. Drifting around, busking for change and smiles. Not knowing when he’ll come home. As the bus bound for the unknown pulls into the bay and opens its doors, his mother licks a finger and pushes a cowlick down and he cringes backward. “Mom.” His mouth forms a sneer. “Stop it.” And to his surprise, she does.

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    1. Bam! This is flash, baby. I absolutely love it.

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    2. Fantastic! Love the rhythm of it, almost poetic.

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    3. You hooked me. I want to know more about this kid.

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  9. I don't want to talk about it. You stare at the wall, and I don't know whether you're putting on a show or getting ready to put a gun in your mouth. Too many times. It's tough to call bullshit on madness. But it gets easier after a dozen dark screams into the night. You can't DO it with Klonopin. I know that. You know that. They don't know that, so that puts me in a weird position, brother.

    I don't want to seem inhuman, but I don't want you rooting for beer in my ice chest. My heart is cold. And word play is stupid, but so is the whole fucking show. Curtain's up, hitch yourself to the cross, most of them will buy it and I don't know what that buys YOU. But I never did understand.

    I think about it sometimes, but it turns my stomach. It makes me hate myself. You once told me that there was nothing worse than a nine dollar hooker. We laughed. Ain't been much laughing going on lately. Guess you're filling the cracks with guilt. Or maybe you found a seven dollar hooker.

    Something tells me your "hooker" costs a lot, though.

    Me, I'd try to find that laughter. Or buy some spackle.

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    1. Whoa. This is brilliant. Spackle. Love it.

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    2. Ditto. Like Laurie's, it's poetic.

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    3. Boy, you packed a lot into a short space there! This has some truly memorable lines.

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  10. Would they understand what he has seen? They see with their eyes, he sees with his heart.
    They don't want him here. He has no address to call home. Society long ago assigned him the problem of his existence. But, he exists. Feels. Knows.
    "The beach is not for bums."
    A philosopher does not worry about how he looks.

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    1. This is an exquisite short piece. I mention the short because it is amazing how much is packed into this. Ten sentences. Lifetimes. A hundred stories branch out.

      It is very brave to recognize the brilliance of such a short piece and to share it. Bravo, Lois.

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    2. Power. Love it, Lois. That last line...

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    3. It's all a matter of perspective, isn't it? A bum to many, the philosopher has no need of labels. Wonderful piece.

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    1. This is a beautiful piece of writing. The flow is incredibly tight. Very impressive. Excellent phrasings, too. I especially like this one: "Needing to be needed had been her flaw."

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    2. Beautiful, touching and resonates with truth.

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  12. Man, I'm not stupid. They don't MAKE pupils that small. But you want to shuck and grin and you just keep talking so I can't say anything. I don't even know what I'd say. I know what I'd say to the old you. The you with tiny pupils sweats a lot. I can see how badly you want to scratch. It radiates from you.

    Things sure change. I remember so much, considering. Sometimes, I think it's my fault, and most of the time I think it was both of our faults, but you kept going. And I can't take that on. I tried. I failed.

    But I will always remember. And I'll be there at your funeral, collecting dagger stares, but what do I care? They judged us half a lifetime ago. So, fuck em. I just wish they'd all stopped trying to place blame and done something useful. Because you needed more than two people begging, but that's all you got.

    And yeah, I gave up. And I'll live with that forever.

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    1. Yeah, this is chilling. You paint characters whom I can only imagine, and you do it so well that I CAN imagine them. That takes skill.

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  13. Generally she didn’t have an idea in her head that hadn’t been given to her. The largesse of it was beyond her ability to comprehend. She only knew that she tortured her own thoughts so much there wasn’t even an ounce of patience or temerity left in her for anything she singlehandedly produced. It was all immediately dismissed with prejudice. The important thing, the only thing that made any sense was that her people, the people in her personal bubble, were her touchstone. Friends, family, co-workers, -- anyone who’d pay her the slightest bit of attention was more important than she was in her own mind.

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    1. This is a dope piece of flash. An intimate examination of the human condition. And strong writing of course. Thanks for sharing this.

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    2. Thanks for the kind words but this was HARD JD. Somehow 2 minutes seemed like it would be a lot longer before I tried this. Really love your writing by the way.

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    3. Thanks much. :) Honestly, the more you do the two minutes thing, the easier it is. It's hard for everyone at first. (Or at least it was for me).

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    4. The notion that she didn't have any ideas she could call her own was, in fact, her original thought. I love the irony implicit in that circle, though it may well have been her first original thought in some time. Great job.

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  14. Howard's face was covered in sweat from his jog around the neighborhood. It was surprisingly quiet out despite his music he had playing softly in his ears. He looked around as he kept jogging back to his house a few blocks down the road when he heard gun fire ring out from the house across the street. His first instinct was to find cover. He was an ex-Marine who had just moved into the neighborhood about two weeks ago with his wife and 7 year old son. Before he had taken a look at the house with the agent, he had asked about how safe it would be for his son to grow up in. The Realtor told him that he had nothing to worry about, It was a quiet and safe area to raise kids, But that gun shot he just heard was making him think otherwise. As he peered out over the vehicle he had ducked behind for cover, he saw a young woman in her mid-30's come running out of the house crying and screaming for help.

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    1. Yeah, you gotta keep this going. I'm digging it. I love the storytelling, good voice. It contrasts well with the stark circumstances.

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    2. Thanks. I may just make it into a short story that I can publish on Kindle, Nook and Smashwords for eBook. And maybe later on after I have quite a few published, I can collect them together and publish a paperback version of the collective short stories. How does that sound JD?

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    3. I've been thinking about that. Compiling all the two minutes into one collection. Gotta get everyone's permission. And finish the novel I'm writing. But yeah, I think a collection is a good idea. Either all of us, or hell, we should DEFINITELY be putting our OWN on Kindle.

      Must find more time.... :)

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    4. I know right! Time is valuable and short. Must find time to write. We if you ever decide to put them all into one collective book or eBook, you have my permission to do so, kind sir.

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    5. Yep, you gotta let us know what happens next.

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  15. Two minutes. I could be dead by then. This goodbye letter unfinished. The afternoon sun slatting through the blinds, burning out to darkness. Two minutes in long hand to confess my sins, to say why time ran out for atonement and new beginnings. Two minutes to squeeze a heart that for years would never give. To squeeze a heart that in two minutes will open like a weary fist. Read between the lines. I have no time. A count to two. One, two. XXXX

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    1. Assuming this isn't a cry for help ... Sal, I don't know how you do it, man. It's like words sound different when you write them. It's like looking at a painting and thinking, 'How can he hide ALL the brushstrokes?" Wonderful.

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    2. My God, this is...well, wow. It's just so finely nuanced and expertly crafted that nothing I can think to say would do it justice.

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    3. Certainly not a cry for help, JD! What I love about writing? Playing roles of all kinds: the murderer, the victim, the suicide (bomber and otherwise), the German Shepherd (canine and human) -- characters of all types, getting into their skin, their heads, their motives, hearts, souls. I love shoveling up the dead and tossing their grave dirt aside and giving them the chance to say post-last words in their own defense. Those are characters meant to be squeezed or crammed into two minutes of delectable fun, but I am a happy-though-not-so-lucky guy who admits he'd die if someone suddenly threatened me with death if I wrote another word. Give me death already. Kill me. There's a Heaven I hope to enter where I'll go on writing, but I'm not in a big hurry to get there. Meanwhile, I thank you guys for liking my work.

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    4. I figured, Sal. As you know, I write a lot of dark stuff. I totally agree, I like to dig deep, too. :) See you next week!

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  16. My hands shake. I rub them up and down my arms, bring my knees to my chest and rock on my cot, the mattress so insufficient it’s like sleeping on an anorexic’s back – lumpy, scrawny, dying for someone to stuff it.

    I run one finger along the red bumps that line the crook of my left elbow. I used to be able to count them, but now, they’ve all run together, just one big ugly scar. One big ugly reminder of who I am. Who I am not. Who I will never be.

    Rehab. What a joke. Rehab for addicts is like chemo for cancer patients. It’ll stave off the disease. You’ll be sick the whole way through it. But it’s for the better, right? In the long run?

    Wrong… The cravings come back, they eat at you like cancer tumours spread and grow and metastasize. Addiction is cancer.

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    1. This is an absolutely true piece of writing. And that is what I think everyone should strive for. Open, real, painful. And there is beauty in the way it's presented. And by true, I don't mean nonfiction of course. Everything is fiction, written, but when you can get that close to real life, you've accomplished something great.

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    2. Wow. Thanks for that, JD. You just made my whole, shitty week fade to good. :)

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    3. What I love about your two minutes is that this started with just a comparison in my head between rehab and cancer therapy. The rest became real in two minutes (and I actually finished in two minutes!). No plan, it just flowed. I hope not to offend with the anorexic simile, but hey, I was one for 2 years. That's my back I'm writing about. :)

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    4. You're welcome. And the anorexic metaphor is perfect. :)

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    5. You made me feel the pangs, Julie – pangs I've never actually felt, btw. Excellent work.

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    6. Holy crap, this is good...my heart is still racing.

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    7. Woot! I made Laurie's heart race!

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  17. An engine roars and tires squeal. I glance in the rearview mirror in time to witness a black Mustang weaving between cars, changing lanes and racing his engine. He looms behind me, no apparent plan to brake or swerve. I grip the wheel and curse under my breath. At the last second he swerves around me, narrowly misses the woman in the next lane, her face contorted in fear for herself and the baby in the car seat beside her. The Mustang races on, using other drivers as human pylons, coming inches from turning them into bumpers in his life-sized pinball machine on the road. Ahead a red light looms and the ass hat comes to a screeching stop. I pull up beside him and turn to stare at him. He glances my way. I give him the one finger salute.

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    1. I see that guy all the time. Someday, I will have a serious talk with him. And by talk, I mean I will handcuff him to a chair and make him listen to the loved ones of people who have been killed by idiot freeway racers.

      Excellent piece.

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    2. That happened yesterday. Except the one finger salute. He'd have probably shot me...

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    3. It's really infuriating when you're on a motorcycle.

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    4. No way! I encountered the same guy yesterday too, Mustang and all.

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    5. I don't doubt it one bit. ;)

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    6. It's not the Mustang that causes it. I used to have one. It's the guy behind the wheel... :D

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  18. You can keep asking, but I don't have any answers. None you want to hear. I'd rather stare at this patch of carpet. The stain. I wonder what it is. Could be anything. You can keep yelling, 'look me in the eye,' but it won't work. I can't stand that look on your face. It makes me want to run and run and run and never stop because then I'll have to make eye contact with something other than the passing air, which is quite forgiving.

    I'm sorry I broke the lamp.

    I'm sorry I got drunk and embarrassed you.

    Mom, I'm sorry I mixed all your perfume into one bottle and added some rose leaves for Mother's day. I was six. I was trying to make you happy.

    I'm sorry I was a dick when I was in High School. I was just sad.

    I'm sorry I can't buy a vacation house, I can't even buy a normal house. I'm trying.

    I'm sorry I let you down. I know you wanted me to be something specific, even if you never said what it was. I tried. You probably don't believe that.

    I'm sorry I hate rules. They are like hair shirts.

    I'm sorry that I made you cry, I was trying to make you smile and the wires got crossed.

    I'm sorry I wrote over the two minute time limit. Guilt works wonders. And I hate rules.

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    1. Most of my favorite people are rule breakers... this is confession, and confession is good for the soul.

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    2. "I'm sorry that I made you cry, I was trying to make you smile and the wires got crossed."

      Wait, you're not my husband writing under a different persona, are you? This has happened to the poor guy more than once.

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    3. Naw, I think guys are just dumb. ;)

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  19. :D That is amazing. Hair shirts? ew...

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  20. There's a place in my mind that is filled with soft light and gentle birdsong. The sky is impossibly blue, and the clouds move so slowly that I question whether they are moving at all. The grass is green, soft, I lay on it and it doesn't even tickle the back of my knees.

    I try to be still, and the stiller I am, the louder the quiet world becomes. I hear branches caressing. I hear water trickling somewhere. I hear laughter and carnival shrieks.

    There is a place in my mind where it is always beautiful. A place that often gets overshadowed by the darker parts.

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  21. The phone rings and the call display says it's from her. We haven't seen her for over two months. She's at the airport, on standby and the flight is fully booked. Can we pick her up at any of the other airports if she can't get a seat on this flight? It's difficult. One would be too much so. The other, well, only if it isn't too late. Damn the airline anyway. It used to be so easy. Then they cut out a number of flights. I want to see her. She lives so far away. We agree to keep our fingers crossed, hope she gets a seat, doesn't have to go home after working extra hours all week to get tday off. She works so hard. I told her I was making her favourite dinner. We both don't know what else to say. "Leave a message, Sweetie. I have a meeting to go to. I hope you get on". Thee is nothing else.
    "I will." Wistful silence from both of us, halting goodbyes and love you's.
    I get home from my meeting. Yes! She got a seat. Yay! My baby will be here for the weekend.

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    1. Love it! :) You have such a delicate touch, Yvonne. Makes me feel like I write with a sledgehammer.

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    2. I know *exactly* how this feels. Nicely done.

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  22. As inevitable as winter but twice as cold, the pale rider closed in. Seen at a distance, he looked angular and black like a jagged rock, but as he grew nearer, details became more apparent. Riding a sallow mare, both horse and rider looked sickly, neither of them looking as though they could put up much of a fight. But their threat was real enough nonetheless.

    The rider was tall and gaunt and Callum wished that he'd been wearing a cowl like he always did in folk tales. Bent over the neck of his horse, he was naked from the waist up, his ribs painfully sharp against the parchment wrapped tightly around his chest. His hair whipped languidly about his scalp, disturbing the thumb-sized lice creeping through it, Callum's stomach already beginning to heave and roil.

    His name was Pestilence and his touch was such that most who met him wished for Death.

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    1. The one horseman. This is a fucking rad piece of flash. It's like Cormac McCarthy made love to Louis L'Amour. Not that that's a recurring fantasy of mine or anything... ;)

      Seriously, love this.

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    2. I've a mood for this kind of writing today. Time to lighten up, I think!

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    3. I don't know, but then I like it DARK. ;)

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    4. Both timeless and timely, this is an extraordinary piece.

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    5. Thank you, both. You're both good people.

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  23. The simple white A-frame sign with red lettering announced much more than the availability of $3 well drinks. No, this "recession special" signaled that the former titans of finance now commiserated at a commonplace sports bar because they could no longer afford either the expensive drinks or equally pricey companionship at the upscale gentlemen’s clubs they had frequented until the economic downturn. It also meant they were neither desperate nor destitute enough to be seen at the corner tavern that hawked $1.25 beer on tap, or at the sleazy strip joints near the airport. A few months post-crash, they still exuded pride and competitiveness, whether jockeying to land an increasingly rare business deal or vying for the fleeting affections of an attractive female.

    What most of these men had failed to realize, however, was that in the eyes of a woman on the prowl, they were no longer the predators — they were the prey. And this was a prime hunting grounds.

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    1. THREE DOLLAR WELL DRINKS?!?!? ;)

      This is an awesome piece. A very accurate reflection of reality told with poetry and empathy. And a bit of judgment. Just like I like it.

      PS - Please email me the location of the 1.25 on tap bar.

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    2. LOL – It's the past, JD. I don't know anywhere else $3 well drinks and buck and a quarter beer on tap are available, sorry. ;)

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    3. Yeah you do, send me the time machine already. ;)

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    4. Dating myself, but I remember $1.25 draft... And $3.25 cases of stubbies. Ah, the good old days. Thanks for the reminiscence...

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  24. He smiled at me. I felt it on my skin from the inside out. He had kind eyes, but they were young. Maybe that’s why they’re still kind. I imagined what it would be like to feel his hand slip into mine and squeeze, as if I were the only anchor left. That moment, when you join hands with someone and you’re connected, the warmth doubled.
    Then he gave me my change and I left.

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    1. Amy, this is a great short piece. I love the end twist. I double extra love this: "I felt it on my skin from the inside out." Bravo!

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    2. Ah, what if... Love the possibilities here.

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    3. Wow! good stuff! and I, too, love the twist, and I swear I could feel my hand sweating....

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  25. Started the music. Lets see where it goes. I've got two minutes. Nothing better than sitting and messing with soundtracks. Told me that ten years ago and I woulda laughed my ass off. Reverb, change pitch, change tempo (without changing pitch); kinda like a woman, right?
    Go slow, baby, I like being romanced.
    Fuck that. Faster honey, the faster we get this done, the faster I can go do the things I like to do. I like you, baby, but I don't like you more than I like the voices in my head. They talk to me, they get me.
    I wonder what the AU things are. Suppose I can play with them. Better than playing with you. They change, you don't.
    Such is life, right?
    Messing with the music is like messing with someone's soul, neither of them change, they just go different for a little while.
    But always the music is better, no matter how many times you listen to it. Listening to you is like pulling teeth.
    I'd rather have the root canal.
    Sorry, is that mean?
    I love you baby, I do. But not really. You bore me. Get the hell out.
    Art is more fun, anyway.

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    1. "Messing with the music is like messing with someone's soul, neither of them change, they just go different for a little while." - ACE! I love this whole piece. The swagger, the language, the sentiment. You killed it. :)

      My four track never gives me any shit.

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    2. And yes, I am old and poor and still have a Tascam 4 track. Not even digital. Thank God for garageband. ;)

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    3. Hey man, I still have eight tracks lying around. The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, baby. I don't judge, I just love the nostalgia.

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  26. I was sitting at the bar when I saw Danny walk in. He'd been out of town for a couple of months. I introduced him to Tom, and we sat and had a few belts when Danny asked me, "Hey bro, do you know anyone that plays? I've got a hankering for a jam session tonight." "Well, it just so happens that Tom here can strum a chord or five." Turns out that Danny's a fiddle player. We grabbed a twelver and headed over to his place where the screened gazebo next to the creek was all set up. When we got inside, Tom grabbed a six string while Danny rosined up his bow, and the boys started to play. The music was out of this world. Tom played a Pink Floyd tune, and Danny played the lead guitar parts on his fiddle. I never heard anything like it before. Two days later I got my pal Deke to join in. Tom brought his acoustic bass, and Deke played the six string and sang. He's got a blues voice that can make Marry Poppins sad. And just like that, the Duck Creek Gang was born.

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    1. "He's got a blues voice that can make Marry Poppins sad." - Epic.

      I love your pieces here, brother. I wish I'd been in that bar. I can strum a chord or two myself. I was afraid you weren't going to make it. I should have known better. Well in, amigo.

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    2. I'll have to send some of that jam. Great stuf, brother I recorded it!

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  27. Just black.

    Hughie turned his head to the left and then to the right, scanning the cellar. There was nothing to be seen. Nothing visible anyway.

    But he knew he wasn't alone.

    At first it was intuition. Or something unknown to him. All he knew was that he knew.

    It took a few minutes for his vision to return, his eyes seeing despite the lack of light, his brain needing to see and finding things, even though they weren't there. Putting his hands out in front of him, the red and grey blotches lacked substance; hallucinations brought forth to fill the nothingness presented to him. His feet still moved though, his shuffling feet searching as he inched forward toward...

    Toward what?

    Something. Definitely something. Something sharing the space with him. He knew it was there even though he knew his eyes were tricking him. His ears too. He'd thought he could hear it, but when it turned when he did and stopped when he did, he realised it was only himself he could hear. His breath or the blood rushing through his veins. Or something else.

    And then it fell on his head.

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    1. lol. I did. And I do. Man, you can write, brother.

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    2. Thank you. Another satisfied customer... : )

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  28. Ticking down the minutes...the seconds...almost quitting time. On a Friday in August, no less.

    He kicks back in his chair and glances around the empty office. Last man standing. Well, sitting. Everybody else is on vacation or gone for the day.

    The phone rings. He ignores it. Who's going to know? Nobody's here.

    He lives for the tail-ends of days like this, when the work is done and there's nothing left but to watch the clock run out. He could leave now -- who would know? -- but he lingers a moment longer, closing his eyes and savoring the stillness. Appreciating the calm. Readying himself mentally for what he faces when he gets home.

    The clock ticks past quitting time. Still he sits. Another minute. Two.

    Home can wait. He's on his own time now.

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    1. Oh, blog isn't broken, my response is below. :)

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  29. And there they hung, two crosses and a triangle, like celestial Zener cards.

    His breath lodged in his throat, a golf-ball-sized block of nothing, telling him this was a moment. Something he'd remember.

    The three shapes grew larger, accompanied by a dual roar. A low tuned hum and a splash of white noise. Getting louder. The man beside him grinned, the boy within him peering out. “Vera and Thumper will be doing about 300 miles per hour now. Almost top speed. And the Vulcan; it'll be close to it's horizontal stall speed. And for them to be flying in formation together...”

    “Quite a feat of piloting.”

    The three goliaths of the air flew directly overhead, the building vibrating as they passed.

    And that was that. A once in the lifetime time. A few seconds in a day, seen by thousands. And a memory shared.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-28890025

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    1. That's so cool. My Dad and both grandfathers were pilots. I've seen a lot of cool arial stuff...

      Great piece, too. I like the real world fictionalized.

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  30. Lynne! I think you broke the blog! It won't let me reply directly. ;)

    This is a great piece of peace. I know that feeling well. I used to love sitting in my office on a quiet Friday. For like two seconds before sprinting towards the lake. You captured the adult slacker goodness perfectly. Lovely.

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  31. "Stick your finger in it. Go ahead."

    "Why?"

    "Just do it, that's what your supposed to do."

    "But I don't want to stick my finger ... in THERE ..."

    "God, you're such a pussy."

    "Then you fucking do it!"

    "No way."

    "Poseur. I'll use a stick. That work for ya?"

    "Yup."

    The boys returned home, swollen and unsteady on their feet. The call to poison control seemed to take hours. Same with the ambulance.

    Same with the lecture once the swelling went down.

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  32. He closed his eyes and saw the flashes, green and bright. The bed slid out from under him and he found himself statued, unable to move, fighting the light and the feeling in his stomach, a thousand hornets.

    What the fuck? What the fuck? Shit! Rooted in place. Shadows pulled at his eyes, but he stared straight ahead, legs locked. Don't puke. Lay down. Slowly.

    She came home hours later and he was laying on his back, drenched in sweat. He tried to smile and quickly snipped the smile away, afraid of where it might take him.

    She tried to smile, but it was getting harder.

    "Again?"

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  33. She couldn’t explain why walking in circles helped. The rhythm of it, maybe, one after the other around the top of the driveway, the streams of rain trickling under the hood of her slicker and down her neck. It was something she could feel, unlike the stale air inside, unlike the same tired looks he gave her. Feeling that wet and cold sliding along the nape of her neck was like a jolt to her body that woke up the rest of her nerves; the smell of the ozone calmed her and made it easier to face what lay inside. Made it easier to lift her feet up the crumbling concrete stairs and face his puzzlement, his derision, the shattered drinking glass he refused to throw away. He wouldn’t throw anything away. It all had memories, it all meant the person who’d owned it stayed alive, somehow. But she also preferred to walk the circles outside because if she did them inside, she could see the glass, the shards stacked inside the jagged base. Throw them out, she said. Get rid of them. She didn’t want to explain why it was bad to have them around, why she couldn’t stop watching the glint of the fluorescent lights against the fragments. The words were too hard, too fractured, too broken.

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  34. Arg, not letting me comment, Laurie. This is beautiful. I love the rain, and it's been so long since we've had any. It was nice to smell the ozone.

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  35. You don't remember it, which is odd since you remembered something you didn't remember and then forgot about it. But, somehow, the alcohol catalyst unlocked some delicate twist of grey matter and all fucking hell broke loose. Clammy fingers and smacky lips reached out from someplace that you had always expected and never explored. But then it was all out there. Spewed into the air and you gotta hear it second hand and you think ... fuck, now a lot of things make sense. Now, I get it. But you can't access the memory. It's like a corrupted computer file. Or a broken nail file. Or a torn manilla file folder or something. It's there, but your brain knows enough to keep it there, where is it known but not realized.

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