Friday, September 12, 2014

2 Minutes. Go!

Hey, writer-type folks. AND PEOPLE WHO JUST WANT TO PLAY BUT DON'T IDENTIFY AS 'WRITERS' - all are welcome here. Every Friday we do a fun free-write. For fun. And Freedom.

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. 

If you have a blog and you want to post your pieces and link back here, that would be lovely. 

It looks so high when you're at the bottom, gathering courage and staring into the sun-soaked boughs. You smell pine sap, feel it sticky on your fingers. The fear is part of the charge. Adrenaline. You deserve to be afraid, don't you?

And when you get up there? Man. Like the whole world is tiny now, and you're big as all creation - tall as a Florida pine. So, you climb. The climbing is methodical - you test the strength of branches, move slowly. It's a long, long fall. You remember.

At the top you just hug that thing because there's a good breeze and you're swaying. But you're up with the birds now, and that's the important thing. High enough that all you can hear is wind. All you can smell is the smell of hot pine. If you close your eyes tight enough, the tears can't come out. And if you let the sway take you, you can almost believe you don't exist at all.

Thanks for stopping by! I will be in and out all day but, rest assured, I'll be reading everything and commenting as I have time. I love Friday.

It's fun to look back at past Fridays (FYI) SEE YOU NEXT FRIDAY! :)

113 comments:

  1. That's beautiful... I could almost feel the pine sap on my hands!

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    1. "Squeeze your eyes tight enough the tears don't come out" and "let the sway take you, you can almost believe you don't exist at all" was ... wow. Raw.

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    2. Echo the above. I can feel the sway, smell the hot pine. Beautiful, man. It's like an excellent meditation session, you "disappear," or so I'm told. Absolute bliss. If we keep climbing, maybe we'll find it, yeah?

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  2. "It's time."
    I didn't need to ask her what she meant. Her hand, covered in parchment thin skin, pointed to the closet door. I retrieved the intricately carved box from the top shelf. The box I'd tried to open when I was ten and Grandmother flew into a rage, telling me it wasn't yet time.
    And now it was. Time, I mean. It felt odd holding this forbidden object, being commanded t hold it. I gently placed it in her hands. She kissed it first, and then slid the cover back.
    "Ah, still here." Her fingers, arthritically bent, touched something small, then brought it out of the enclosure.
    A ring. Like a wedding band. Plain. Shiny. Gold. She held it close to her rheumy eyes, as if to make sure someone hadn't switched it out.
    "Listen well to this story, child. Remember it, so you can tell it when your time comes. Do you believe in magic?"

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    1. Oh, man. This is awesome. That last line gave me goosebumps. Keep it going. Please!

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    2. Nice. I don't believe in magic, but this makes me want to.

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  5. He thought she would go away by now and yet she continues to lurk in the corner, always ready to spread her venom like a poisonous snake who is hungering for it’s next meal.

    It’s been years since they parted but she is still clinging on by a thread that is barely visible to the human eye. He hasn’t loved her for ages though she thinks of him as one of her possessions He is more or less an object to her like the eight carat diamond ring she still so proudly wears on her left hand. She is seduced by what she once had. Holding on for dear life, hoping to get a second chance.Watching close enough just in case he forgets the nightmare she put him through.

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    1. Damn. I love this. I've seen this scenario play out in so many ways. Real. Tight. Lovely character insights in such a short piece. Excellent!

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    2. Wow, how'd you do that in so few words?

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    3. Uh huh, what da boyz said. "Seduced by what she once had" - great line.

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    4. Haha!!!! DId I write that???? ;-) Thanks Julie.

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  6. Nice JD and Leland. :-) Really good writing.

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  7. JD, that is so beautiful. Let the sway take you. Yes....

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  8. I push four inches of wet snow from the hood of my car and swear under my breath. No ladylike ‘darn’ or ‘fudge’ or ‘bother.’ Nope. A full-on fuck this shit I am done with winter already and guess what? It’s the eighth of September for Christ’s sake! I was bathed in SPF forty yesterday. What fresh hell is this bullshit?

    Yeah, I don’t do ladylike.

    I glance at my neighbour standing on his tiptoes to reach the top of his truck with the stupid over-sized tires. He is grinning and glancing my way. Maybe that wasn’t as under my breath as it should have been.

    The drive is bizarre, still-green leaves laden with heavy with globs, dragging the branches toward the ground. Like the saddest droopy eyes on the happiest of basset hounds. Limbs litter the sidewalks and roads. My little city is a broken, frozen Seussian landscape. Damn bi-polar weather. But it is beautiful.

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    1. Wow. This is dope. I fucking love the whole thing. I especially love: "My little city is a broken, frozen Seussian landscape. Damn bi-polar weather. But it is beautiful." Ace!

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    2. I was grinning along with the neighbor. "What fresh hell is this bullshit?" Love it!

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    3. Thanks folks! It's a (mostly) true story. I have the broken trees to prove it... :D

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    4. Brilliant.
      "My little city is a broken, frozen Seussian landscape."
      Wow

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    5. Oh so much fun!!! Miss Ladylike ;-)

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    6. A "fresh hell" I'd like to read more about, no question. Nice work.

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    7. Seussian is my new favorite word. Thank you!

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  9. Must have been about three in the morning. Almost an hour since last bed check. Every drip of water into the rusty sink and creak of cot in another cell made her eyes snap open. If she were home, she’d reach into the top drawer of her nightstand and snatch her vibrator from it. Crank it up until she writhed and called out and her hips bucked in perfect orgasm. She’d fall asleep with it still in her hand, resting on her thigh, thrumming against her skin. Sated. Spent.

    That vibrator calmed her. Eased her worries. Kept her sane. Better than any flesh-and-blood man ever did. Ever could. Ever wanted to.

    Vibrators don’t call you stupid whore. They don’t come home drunk, fuck your friends, or beat on your face until it’s a bloody pulp. And when they die, you just pop in new batteries. Can’t poison them. But if you tried, they wouldn’t puke all over your carpet and shit their pants as they took their last pitiful breath.

    The clacking of footsteps on concrete neared. The flashlight beam cut the darkness and blinded her.

    “Bed check.”

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    1. Yeah, I love this one, too. Such a strong piece. Full on, no pulled punches. Just the way it should be. And now I also wish I had a vagina and a vibrator.

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    2. I can't equivocate. I loved it.

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    3. And hahahahahahaha JD. Silly man, Trix are for kids and vaginas well you know who they're for.

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    4. Holy shit, this is awesome. Power!

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  10. Someone should fix this, she thought, deliberately trying not to look toward the boat launch where a woman had once driven herself and her three kids into the river. It would be too easy, too much a temptation when the children are screaming and it all weighs too heavily and even worse waits for you at home. Someone should put a chain up, at least. Something to stop the flash-second indecision of decision, the what-the-hell-who-would-care thought of a station wagon sliding under the surface, disappearing with a closing ripple and stream of air bubbles. How did it feel, she wondered. Was the water cold? Did the kids cry? Beg Momma to let them out? Or did she wall herself over while the murk rose up to the windows, while the sunlight danced on the particles of floating debris? Did she sing lullabies, old songs from her own childhood, talking to them in soft voices, telling them that daddy would be fine and Grandma would meet them in heaven?

    A chain, at least.

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    1. oh, shivers. Susan Smith. That's all I can think of...

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    2. Wow, this is so good, Laurie. Heartbreaking. Beautiful.

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    3. A chain, at least. It might have helped. Excellent, as always.

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    4. Yes, that is very good. "while the sunlight danced on the particles of floating debris?" You found some pretty in the darkness. Nice.

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  11. In the bright, warm days of compromise and movie nights, you were a team with a capital T and prided yourselves on sharing those decisions, each one proof that you had what it took, that you could do it better than your parents, you could be the ones to finally survive. Now each decision felt like a battle, a war of wills, a contest. Being the first one to break lost. The “us” in the union felt like a “you” and “me.” Losing meant you were weak, could not hold your own, could not craft a solution tilted to give you the advantage. It felt hollow and wrong and not the example you wanted to set for the world. You wanted to shine and be larger than life, like those characters in Ayn Rand, you wanted to beat the world and stand atop skyscrapers and announce that yes, you had it figured out, this marriage thing, this forming a perfect union thing, but no, in the end you became what your parents did anyway, and it felt like defeat, a bitter taste like spoiled, year-old-wedding-cake in the back of your throat.

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    1. Awesome. Though my parents (had my dad not died so young) would still be married some 50 yars later... Does anyone in the modern day have that marriage thing figured out? I mean, besides JD... :)

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    2. I'm figuring it out as I go along. Marriage pantser. ;)

      Laurie, this is outstanding. I'd say more, but there's nothing else to say.

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    3. "In the bright, warm days of compromise and movie nights..." may be one of my favorite lines ever... well done.

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  13. Lewis nudged his cousin, pointing out the town's chief character. 'And he thinks he's a mystic. But he's just a fraud. He's nothing but odd.'

    Odd Bob grinned at them, his ruddy face plump and coloured like a beetroot. Odd he might be but he certainly wasn't deaf. Though you'd have to be deaf not to hear them, the noise they were making. “Odd I am but I'm not simple. I know you, January 3rd and October 19th. I know you well. And I know more than you.,” he said. “Though I might know less too.”

    “You see what I mean,” Lewis mumbled, slightly disturbed but determined not to lose face. “Nowhere near my birthday. Or yours.”

    The town's enigma continued on, making his way home to his parents' house, where he he lived. He'd dropped out of school while in his teens, making friends with no-one. Not that he'd ever wanted to. Because Bob had a talent and a curse, being able to intuit the date and the month of anyones' death within minutes of meeting them. It made life tense, to say the least and he stayed away from people as much as he could, knowing them all by their once in a year date and never by their name.

    Stepping past the Jack O' Lantern on the porch, he shuddered, looking up at the lighted window above. Mom and Dad must still be up, he figured, turning their dates around in his head. Both of them the same. And both of them October 31st.

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    1. Wow, I like this one. And interestingly enough, I lived in a town where there was a guy who knew every kid's birthday. Nice guy. But this ... this is chilling. Well in, brother.

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    2. I'll admit, the ending sneaked up on me and made me gasp. Nicely done!

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    3. Just imagine it. Knowing that this year might be the year that someone dies. Not knowing until the 'day' passes if it's this year or not. It might be enough to make anyone turn a little 'odd'.

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    4. Odd? Yes. Creepy? Even more so. I wondered what would happen if he felt compelled to try and save people on their death days. Following them around morosely looking for the end in every nook and cranny. Interesting piece.

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  14. Brown eyes looked out from under raised golden eye browns to meet mine. “Its okay,” the eyes seemed to whisper. Like a flood through a dry wash, a dam burst somewhere inside me. Was it my heart?

    “Its something worth crying over.” Words softly spoken by the female vet.

    Was I crying tears? I didn’t think so, but she would know better than I. This chapter is over and in some ways part of me is drifting up toward the heavens as the drug swiftly closes the curtains on Samantha.

    “Take as much time as you need.”

    That voice again. Almost angelic, but not comforting as it meant to be. Just before the door to the tiny room closed I heard the voice again. “You did the right thing.”

    Did I? I did the only thing. There is a difference. Placing my hand on her head one last time I say the only thing I know is true at this point. “Good dog.” Time to pay the lady up front and leave. I know a big chunk of me will never move beyond this moment.

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    1. Wow. My cat is 17 and this about made me cry. So touching. Sentiment and sentimentality are very different and a dangerous place for a writer - you got it perfect. Beautiful, Ed.

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    2. Ah shit, Ed. I'm crying. Lost too many dogs and can never get the 'did the right thing' right. Maybe that's why we let the 23 year old beagle pee on the floor every day....

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    3. No "just about" about it for me — this made me cry. One of my greatest regrets is not saying that final goodbye.

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    4. I'm sitting here with weepy eyes... well done, sir. Well done.

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    5. Breaking my heart. Brought me right back to Feb. 21st 2007. Felt it Ed. xx

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  15. The huntress sat at the bar for a time, listening to the conversations around her and glancing via the wall-sized mirror behind the bar at those that caught her interest.

    "No, this is not the time at which I told you to telephone. My instructions were for you to ring me precisely at seven o’clock. It is now four minutes past the hour. At seven, I was in a place that would have accorded a private conversation. By 7:04, I am not. Even someone as simple as you should be able to recognize the issue I have with that."

    The woman’s eyes shot to the mirror to locate the source of the petulant male voice. Just then the Patriots fans let out a loud whoop as their team scored a touchdown, and she had to strain to hear the next part over the cheers.

    "My whereabouts are none of your concern, my dear, and the impudence of that inquiry has been duly noted. Don’t bother waiting up, as I have other plans this evening." With that, he snapped his cell phone shut and plastered on a fake smile.

    She watched him draw closer in the mirror and realized, a millisecond too late, that the "other plans" he expected to have involved her.

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    1. Wow, this is good and creepy and I want to punch that guy in the face. I like that the huntress and the hunter are not spared their game. No heroes. Real and SHARP. Love it.

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    2. Ah, and the huntress becomes the hunted. Nicely done!

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    3. Glad to read she's a huntress. Maybe she'll use him for target practice. One can hope. Good work.

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  16. The weight just fell off. More and more every day. It was literally like watching sand fall through an hourglass. There seemed little purpose to it. This eradication of his life. This obsession for demise. I had no patience for it. I enjoy life despite its meanness and contrary nature. I refuse to allow it to obliterate me because I don't agree with its prospects. I have no patience for or understanding of what my love is doing to himself and I know that's wrong. How do I expect the outcome to be different if I can't flip the switch on my own behavior? How do I make him see reason when I can offer no more reasons than that I'm here . . . still? It's all a little too woebegone for me. If this keeps up I'll lose all hope of staying the woman I once was. Instead I'll happily light the match for his Viking death ship.

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    1. Holy shit! This is good. Very, very good. I have a friend this reminds me of ... this is so close to the bone. Awesome. Sad and bleak and oh so real.

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    2. Thank you kind sir. When you swear I know you're not just being nice. ;-) Been practicing first person all day today. It does not come to me naturally.

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    3. Thanks Isola. A short story I think . . . maybe.

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    4. Holy crow. Very powerful stuff.

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  17. You got your vindication, but you still feel sad. What did you expect? They say it's all his fault and you'd think that would make you feel good, but it just hurts. It's like this naked fear, dull and deep and open. You gotta open it up, but fuck...

    You're supposed to forgive yourself now. That's what everyone says. And they're right, but right don't mean shit when it's been wrong for so long.

    So long. That's all you wanted. One slow goodbye to memory. But the memories are there, shoving their way into your brain. Just like the bully that created them. And you'll shrink from them, just like you shrunk from him. Or maybe this time you won't be such a coward. Time will tell.

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    1. Whoa. Hm. Is he the bully or the bullied? Or did the bullied turn bully for revenge and then regret it? Awesome.

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    2. hmmm . . . yes, exactly right.

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    3. "One slow goodbye to memory." Oooh.

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  18. It's 4:55.
    And I don't want to know about your day. And please, don't ask me about mine. Ask me what I felt, what I feel, what I know, now, that I never realized, before.

    Each day, I awake hopeful. Wanting to see, and feel, and learn, and digest, even if nothing new, in new ways, I hope to be found - found in new ways.

    And before you ask me about my day, I wonder -- just as they ask each birthday, "Do I look a year older, now?" -- can you see it in my eyes? Written all over my face? That I soaked it all up? Took it all in? Even when it caused me to lose my way, I absorbed it, and I allowed it to change me. I crumbled, but I came together, again, and you, I wanted to grow in this way with you.

    But you ..
    Instead, you ask me about my day.

    RH Ramble :-)

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    1. That was a damn fine ramble. I can totally relate to this. I'm a 'get below the surface' guy. I lived with my best friend for a while and he HATED it when people asked about his day. Nicest guy I know. ;)

      This is a great piece. I love the flow. Please come back next Friday. :)

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    2. RH is here! Woot! :). I agree, great ramble. "how was your day" is the equivalent of "i'm fine" - rote, boredom, lack of any real giving a shit to dig deeper. Nice.

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    3. I liked it RH, although it does make me want to inquire about how your evening is going. ;-)

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  19. She was a kaleidoscope to him; every way he examined her he saw a different facet, a different sum of her parts, a different colored crystal tumbling into place. Until he wasn’t sure which was real and which was the illusion. He knew some facts to be undisputable: long blonde hair with a little flip on the end, blue eyes with flecks of brown, a pointed chin, an endless inventory of elephant jokes. But some things he’d taken for granted kept changing. The way she’d cry at certain television commercials that she used to think were stupid. The way she’d meet him at the door with haunted eyes, and through a two-inch space tell him she couldn’t come out. He was afraid to ask what might be wrong, afraid to find out it might be something horrible. So he decided to be patient, and wait her out, and bring her favorite movie the next time she allowed him over, just wanting everything to be normal again.

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    1. Man, I don't know how you get such fine detail into something so small. This is dope.

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    2. It makes me want to know more. And of course it's evocative and wonderfully descriptive and all that jazz. <3

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  20. Every night for the last week, as he knelt by his bed in prayer, he heard a noise in the closet. Quite distracting. He'd put the traps along the closet wall, baited with peanut butter, and waited with anticipation for a victorious snap that never came. Maybe tonight.

    With a rote "amen" he climbed into bed and closed his eyes. Rattle. Squeak. Nibble. The noises were maddening. He tossed and turned, trying to find exactly the right mix of cool pillow and warm quilt. Still the noises continued from the closet.

    Visualize a walk along the beach, he told himself. Hear the ocean. The ocean is too loud for you to hear a rat. Sleep. Sleep.

    The trap snapped, and he would have sworn he heard a little scream. VICTORY. He got up to check the closet, to see the evil creature that had deprived him of so much sleep, of so much serenity in prayer. Warily, he opened the closet door and turned the light on. One of the traps, only one, had been triggered. It held not a rat, but a tail, a very large tail.

    Much as he hated the rat, he had no desire for it to suffer. He sighed and turned the closet light off. As he crawled into bed, he wondered what to do next, how to end the rat's misery, how to end his own. It wasn't until he began to drift off to sleep that he felt the teeth on his big toe.

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    1. Wow, this is good. It just rolls along so well. And it's tense and taught. And if I wrote this, I'd be damn proud of it: "Visualize a walk along the beach, he told himself. Hear the ocean. The ocean is too loud for you to hear a rat. Sleep. Sleep." Awesome.

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  21. You're escalating with the askilation. Keep em coming, I'll duck or dodge as appropriate, these pointed rubber ball shots. I'm quick, yo. Quick like a mother fucker. Seriously, you fuck someone's mother and you better be quick. Or something.

    Does it sparkle, does it hum, does it make a rainbow palladium for me to cast my mind against. Shall I disregard it. Much like I disregard a former resolution to not use the word shall. Pretentious shit, that. Fucking Leland got me with the rat. And fuck question marks, there's no going back now.

    I'll spin off because I'm tired and the day was long and the night won't be long enough to stave off the abject nothingness that nips at the heals of evening - taunting, like a dive bar seductress, sipping a drink that no one will ever pay for.

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  22. She told me to meet her under the broccoli tree in front of the clinic at three sharp, fifteen minutes before we'd start our two-hour wait. I didn’t want to know, only that the baby was healthy. She needed to decide names and color schemes. There was only one bench outside. It was under the storm-shorn tree she said looked like a stalk of broccoli. She brought a book because she was always early and I was always late. I got there just in time to see a gust of wind shear off another limb. We can totally sue the city. I’ll tell her when she wakes up. We’ll have the biggest, gaudiest wedding ever. People will talk about it for years. I can’t wait to tell her. What’s that? The beeping is getting faster. Maybe she’s waking up now. I watch her eyes for the sweet lash flutter I know so well. There’s an alarm now, like some bizarre jackpot. People coming in from all over the place. I get pushed out into the hallway. The alarm stops. The beeping slows down. Slower. Slower still. Now one sustained note. I’m holding her book. I hold on tight.

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    1. The way this unfolds is dope. It's like a supernova of despair. That's a compliment, it sounds weird. ;)

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    2. Sad and sharp and brilliant.

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  23. Becca is talking on her cell phone. It's Blake. I can tell. Her voice gets all sing-songy. She promises to meet him tonight, even thought she is grounded. I call her to come in, but my voice just says, "Aaaaah."
    I raise my one good hand and ring the bell by the table. Nobody comes. I ring again.
    Steven says, "Becca, go see what Ma wants."
    Becca says, "Go yourself."
    Steven says, "It's your turn."
    I feel the rage building up inside. I ring the bell again. Becca comes in. Her sweater is too tight, and I think she's padded her bra with tissues. She can barely look at my limp face and worthless body.
    "Hey, Ma," she says. "Can I get you something?"
    I will my words to say something. To tell her that she is worth more than this Blake boy. That she will regret this boy who is keeping her from her schoolwork, who is limiting her future.
    I open my mouth. "One. Two." The only words my mouth will make. I try again. "One, two, one, two."
    Becca picks up the glass of water, and tips some water into my mouth. I swallow the water and my rage.

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    1. This is obviously a sad story, but the way it's told is so real, you can feel the frustration and the rage. The dialogue works really well, too. This is a great piece. Please come back next Friday.

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  24. Behind his back she referred to him as “The Entomologist,” this man who claimed he loved her though he treated her like a worthless insect. He kept her under surveillance 24/7 while accusing her of crawling into the crevices of his personal life. It didn’t make sense. Who’s on the glass plate? Who’s being studied?

    Why do I stay? she wondered. Why keep myself bottled like a lightning bug caught by the swift hand of a hollow man –– hunter? mad scientist? collector? If only I could find the courage to disappear, go someplace far away.

    The phone rang. She let it continue until she heard her voice succinctly announce, “Leave your name and message.” Then the bug watcher spoke. “Where are you, Tammy? You said you’d be home. Don’t make me crazy. Call me back.”

    All his messages ended the same way: without his name, without an “I love you.”

    She lifted the phone, punched in the number of her sister in Buffalo. She told her how L.A. was dragging her down, stifling the life out of her. “Could I come and stay for awhile?” And when Joetta agreed it was a good idea, she made a quick call and reserved a seat for the evening’s flight.

    Again the phone rang. Again she let it buzz away. “Tammy, let’s not play games.” He hung up.

    She called for a taxi to LAX Airport.

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    1. I was hoping you'd make it, Sal. This is a fantastic bit of flash. I love the questioning. Helps the reader feel as if they're part of the resolution. This phrase: "caught by the swift hand of a hollow man" is beautiful. Well in, brother.

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    2. This is a great piece. The first paragraph gave me the creepy-crawlies, because I've been in as similar a situation as I ever hope to. Horrible experience; relatable writing. Nicely done.

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