Friday, October 24, 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. #breaktheblog! 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 there too (and link back here), that would be lovely. 

They looked toward the sky with wide, white eyes. There was a nervous chattering. The danger call sounded from every direction, and the jungle seemed to breathe - awareness and tension growing. Beneath the leaves that littered the ground, insects carried on untroubled. This would not involve them. They would benefit nicely, in fact. There would be meat for days - they would feast. 

High above the canopy an eagle soared. He watched the forest down below - heard the cries. This was not his fight either. He would catch updrafts and observe the chaos from above, wings slicing the rich air while the ground animals scrambled for hiding places and avoided clearings ripe for ambush.

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, so check back. Happy Friday!

242 comments:

  1. Scary but I think that's what you were going for JD. Lucky insects . . . ewww.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Beautiful Natural violence. Adrenalin.

      Delete
    2. A nice piece of scene-setting, Bro.

      Delete
    3. Nancy DeCilio GauthierOctober 25, 2014 at 4:40 AM

      Very visceral - can imagine the slaughter.

      Delete
  2. It was a warehouse, or something like it. Dirty gray walls and dingy windows as far as the eye could see. Odors of chemicals. Maybe benzene? High school chemistry was too far in the past to be sure. Echoes. Foot steps, coming his direction. Or were they?

    They were, and they belonged to the man in the white lab coat. White, except for the red smears. Surely that wasn't blood?

    I tried to rise from my chair, to shake hands, and discovered that I was shackled. He adjusted the light over my head, and then tilted the chair back.

    "Haven't been flossing, have we? Well, no matter."

    From somewhere, he found a tool that made high pitched whining sounds. A drill.

    I screamed. I awoke. And the dentist was putting the six-inch long hypodermic in my mouth.

    "This might hurt just a little."

    A dream. A nightmare?

    And then I realized my hands were shackled.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aaaaaannnnnnnd, that might be my biggest fear. Seriously. ;) Well written - keeps the reader off balance. And I'm going to have nightmares. I WILL FIND YOUR DEEPEST FEAR YET!!! :)

      Delete
    2. Yeah, one of my biggest fears, too. It took me three attempts to watch Marathon Man. Evil dentist movies are scary stuff.

      Delete
    3. I was cool until a few years ago when I got a root canal. They did it on the wrong tooth. Now, I cringe when I hear the word dentist. And my tooth is still jacked. FML

      Delete
    4. Ack! Creepy in triplicate. Shackles...

      Delete
    5. I was just trying to think of movies that scared the shiggidy out of me and you've reminded me with full blown imagery and suspense. Thanks?

      Delete
    6. Dentists are most peoples' boogie man. *shudders*

      Delete
    7. (My father's a dentist. Guess I'm just weird... LOL.)

      Delete
    8. Ohhhhh.... you'd have GOOD scary stories

      Delete
    9. Nancy DeCilio GauthierOctober 25, 2014 at 4:42 AM

      That touched the fear in all of us - dentist - and being restrained.

      Delete
  3. His daughter was brilliant. IQ off the charts. It wasn't just him that thought so. The kindergarten teacher said she'd never seen such a smart kid. He wanted to do everything to help his daughter fulfill her capabilities, her destiny.

    He was a writer. The last two books had sold pretty well, but the one he was working on, the one he was almost finished with, was genius. He'd shared excerpts with his editor and a few friends. He'd watched their faces as they read, and enjoyed the surprise, horror, and eventually joy. If this one sold big, he could finally buy the house and maybe a new car.

    His daughter was fascinated by all things digital. His iPad, his phone, his laptop. He was showing her how to type on the laptop now. She'd just written a short story that even he was impressed by, and cute kittens didn't usually impress this dad.

    Holding her on his lap while she typed, he felt nothing but awe. Five years old and this child was writing. He didn't start until he was in his twenties. How far would she go? Nobel prize for literature? He could dream.

    Her fingers flew across the keyboard. He barely noticed the error message on the screen. "Startup disk full." The blur of her fingers prevented him from seeing what she was deleting, and then she hit "empty trash."

    Suddenly, he awoke from his child-admiration fantasy, and put his own fingers on the keyboard and mousepad. He checked. He checked again. His work was gone.

    "Don't cry, Daddy. I'll write you another story."

    He knew he should have done daily, not monthly, backups.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Man, first you scare the shit out of me. Now, I'm all anxious. :) I back my shit up pretty obsessively, though.

      I like the switches and slight of hand. Very nice.

      Delete
    2. "Don't cry, Daddy. I'll write you another story." Love it.

      Delete
    3. This story was going along all beautiful and sweet...and then you made my anxiety flare up. :P I back my stuff up obsessively, too. And yes, that one line of dialogue is brilliant.

      Delete
    4. Yikes! That little girl a.k.a phenom better also have an eidectic or photographic memory. I'm just saying . . .

      Delete
    5. LOL, yeah.... or maybe the next year she really DOES win the Nobel prize for literature, and dad drinks himself into oblivion....

      Delete
    6. Leland, that's a horror story!

      Delete
    7. Ha, horror-comedy. You could never get mad with her, either.

      Delete
  4. It was never about you, anyway, but you saw your reflection in every lift of his brow, every inflected word, every time he shut the door a little harder than you would have liked. You saw your shadow in the lean of his backpack against the hall, you saw the flutter of your memory fading each time he stayed away and each time he took a little longer to return. It was never about you. Although he thought it weak to say if it were. He thought he was weak to stoop to the pop culture Disneyfication of your princess fantasy, that it’s all about you and that eventually he was supposed to be some sparkly armored knight on a tall horse, swooping in to save you from your own bad decisions.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. SECOND PERSON IN THE HOUSE! Digging it, lady. Muted hostility - very real and powerful. And you rocked the 2nd.

      Delete
    2. oh yeah.... and favorite word: Disneyfication. Well done!

      Delete
    3. Very nice. Loved the poetic refrain: "never about you"

      Delete
    4. Nancy DeCilio GauthierOctober 25, 2014 at 4:44 AM

      Very real - there are men just like that and women too.

      Delete
  5. I don’t know what happened to the story he never got to finish. The computer was humming, a dictionary splayed open on the desk next to it, a cup of coffee with small islands of green mold floating on top. She’d left it untouched, a kind of monument to the man she never really knew, the man she scoffed at for not being the next Philip Roth, for putting aside his practical practice and pursuing his dreams. The computer is still on, as far as I know, or perhaps she gave it away to the community center or maybe trashed the damned thing, maybe with his unfinished manuscript still pounding its fists from the inside, trying to escape.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This line: "maybe with his unfinished manuscript still pounding its fists from the inside, trying to escape." - so good

      I like the whole piece. For some reason the mold resonates with me really strongly. Specifically in coffee. Maybe it's an extra special kind of mold? Good stuff, G.

      Delete
    2. Unfinished novels... moldy coffee... this is how they will find me...

      Delete
    3. Love that line about the unfinished manuscript.

      I really have to learn to describe like you do. That's my goal for first-round edits on my novel. Just FYI. :)

      Delete
    4. Lovely, particularly last line. I could see that story trying to get out.

      Delete
    5. I've stories I'm keeping like a can full of bees. Chilling to think of a world that might never come to be realised!

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

    ReplyDelete
  7. You should have known when she developed that twitch - a small glance away, seemingly meaningless, just long enough to break eye contact. It was not like her, and you should have known. Everyone else knew, but you didn't know that at the time.

    There were lots of things you should have noticed, but you were pulled in so many directions. And you took so many rides. It was a lot to keep track of and much of it drifted away like dandelion fluff - you couldn't contain it.

    Your chest felt heavy when you finally realized. A mix of shame and anger and an acrid feeling of stupidity. In hindsight, it couldn't have been more obvious if she'd hired a plane to paint it across the sky.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well played, well written, and sad. Second person is growing on me, and it's all your fault.

      Delete
    2. Yes, it's all Dan's fault. Love it. Love the twitch, the dandelion fluff, the acrid feeling of stupidity.

      Delete
    3. Thanks, y'all. I used to hate 2nd, Leland. As you may have noticed, it grew on me like fucking mildew. ;)

      Delete
    4. Like green mold on coffee. Probably has penicillin in it.

      Delete
    5. Sold on second. Really liked everything already mentioned as well as the ambiguity of all those rides taken.

      Delete
    6. Thanks, Lily. I was unsure about that line. Glad it worked.

      Delete
    7. Yeah. And second really works in flash.

      Delete
  8. I put my face next to the glass and looked around. He wasn't there. That wasn't right. He was always there. Always. I turned around, broke the news ot the others.

    "I don't know where he is. He's just... gone."

    The murmurs grew louder. We'd never faced anything like this before. If he was... gone... who would coordinate things? Who would tell us what to do, where to stand? Who would tell us the color of our hair, the way our hearts pounded, the way we talked?

    Electrified, the tension built. If something didn't happen and soon, there would be carnage.

    I looked through the glass again. Relief. He held a mug of coffee. He sat down. The author put his fingers on the keyboard. We lived again.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is a cool piece. I've read (and written) similar things, but you fucking killed it. So well done. I used to have the students in my workshop write from the perspective of their pencil. I love this kind of shenanigans.

      Delete
    2. It's an exercise I give myself, too, when I feel like my writing is going stale... an inanimate object's point of view is always fun...

      Delete
    3. "Who would tell us the color of our hair, the way our hearts pounded. . ." just magical and compelling.

      Delete
    4. Nancy DeCilio GauthierOctober 25, 2014 at 4:46 AM

      Now that made me laugh actually.

      Delete
    5. I'm glad, Nancy! laughter is a precious gift, yes?

      Delete
  9. I don't hear voices in my head. Well, my own voice sometimes, when I'm rehearsing what I should say or rehashing what I should have said. But not the kinds of voices that mean you're crazy. Still, my head is filled with noise--the sound of a million doubts, fears, recriminations, and put-downs that originate from inside of me as well as the memory of every hurtful thing said to me, all mixed up with an over-analyzation of every act, every written or spoken word, every look directed my way.

    And then I put on my headphones, turn on my iPod, find the right song...and the music fills my mind and heart and soul, shutting out the cacophony of wrongness and making everything right again, if only for a little while.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, those things in our head... nice one, and thank God for music. "Cacophony of wrongness" is my favorite phrase.

      Delete
    2. This is beautiful and sad. I can totally relate. And yes, thank god for music. And for people who appreciate it and weave it into their writing so deftly.

      Delete
    3. I like the potential: a sociophobe, for instance, finding his/her "cure" in music - the things that allows for functionality.

      Delete
    4. This left me with such a sense of longing. That noise is so prevalent, sometimes even music can't shut it up. I know it well.

      Delete
    5. Just watched a movie, 20,000 Days on Earth, that would agree with and complement this.

      Delete
  10. The newspapers would call it a “cry for help” if you swan-dived off the fancy bridge downtown, not high enough to do much but put you in lockdown and on crutches when they fished you out of the water. But the tall one, the one a few miles up the road, that was for the serious, and the stealthy. It was smooth, silent, all the way down to the hard surface of the river. There were no broken ankles there, not on a cold October morning just past rush hour, the rain pelting down. Quiet. Nobody would know if you slipped over the side. Nobody would stop. Nobody would even know your name.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great contrast in a short paragraph... The pretenders vs. the serious. Well done.

      Delete
    2. Word. It's kind of astounding how much is done in such a short space here. Very well written. I'd say more, but it's a little close to home - old friend of mine took that dive. The legit one. Excellent piece.

      Delete
    3. Brilliant economy here. I liked it a lot.

      Delete
  11. The words from his childhood came easily to his mind...

    There was a crooked man, and he walked a crooked mile.

    Damned politicians. You want to talk crooked, politicians were the ones to talk about.

    He found a crooked sixpence upon a crooked stile.

    He laughed. When he was a kid, he thought it was "style," not "stile." Now they didn't even have sixpence coins. And they sure as hell didn't have style.

    He bought a crooked cat, which caught a crooked mouse,

    Never understood that line. Cats and dogs were the only honest creatures he knew on this planet. Mice, maybe not so much. He never really talked to one.

    And they all lived together in a little crooked house.

    He looked through the bars of his prison cell. Yeah, this house was crooked. Crooked and full of crooks. But dammit, he was innocent.

    He began the rhyme again, always hoping the last line would change.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow, I like this one a lot. Deceptively cute and clever until the very end where it morphs into a kind of powerful sorrow and frustration. I like the call and response aspect, too. Nice work!

      Delete
    2. Thank you kindly... there's some spooky stuff in kids' nursery rhymes...

      Delete
    3. I don't really know what to say about this one except that I really dig it. :D

      Delete
    4. I think nursery rhyme, fable, and fairy tale are where some of the darkest stories get told, so well played to draw this out of familiar words.

      Delete
  12. In LoDo Denver, there is a sushi bar. Small place. Four tables, the legal minimum. Unusual for a sushi bar, you couldn't watch the chef. Too small a place I guess. But lord, the incredible tidbits that came out of the back kitchen. So fresh, so creative. The mixtures of sweet and salty and ugabe and sometimes sour; the warmth vs. the cold.

    Max the sushi chef would never let you order. He'd ask how hungry you were, so he'd know how much to prepare, but he said no ordering because only he knew what was fresh, what was good. And I trusted him.

    Until that night, that Halloween night, when I bit down on something hard in what I thought was a California roll. I removed it from my mouth and looked at it. It was a finger tip, and the nail was the same color as the waitress's.

    I hoped the nail color was gluten-free.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwww. This is a great piece. I'm going to vomit now. And never eat sushi again.

      Delete
    2. LOL, I'm struggling to come up with seasonally appropriate stories here...

      Delete
  13. You led the perfect life.

    In school, you did your homework when other kids were drinking and getting high.

    You found the right one to marry. Beautiful, intelligent, patient.

    You had the requisite two perfect children, a boy and a girl.

    You worked hard in business, and you climbed the ladder slowly but intentionally, until you found what passed for success.

    After the wedding of your youngest, you knew your work was done. There was no more need for pretending, for plodding, for pain.

    You found the perfect knife. You found the perfect vein.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is simple and beautiful. Again, I wish I could comment more effectively. Excellent work.

      Delete
    2. Okay I'm sensing a theme here people. It's Friday. Friday is generally a good day. ;-)

      Delete
  14. The neon signs flashed, unreadable, through the hard, cold rain. Fucking Portland. He pulled to the side of the road and squinted. None were readable. None looked like they displayed a martini glass. They looked like pawnshops and tattoo parlors. He cracked the seal on his pint and drank half in one go.

    She was standing next to the bus sign. Like she was fucking glued to it. Like if she could get close enough, it would stop the rain. She was soaked to the bone. He reached behind him, wrapped his fingers around the cold metal in the back seat.

    He eased out of the sedan slowly. He could see her more clearly now. She was young, her body slick and tight. Her hair was blond and curled against her cheek. He thought of mermaids and sirens. He tightened his grip. He was almost upon her when she turned.

    He was struck by her beauty. High cheekbones and eyes that twinkled like they were in on some joke. He braced himself and steeled his will. If only she looked angry. If only she didn't look so much like ...

    "Yes?"

    He realized he'd been staring and held his hands forward in supplication.

    "Miss, it's awful ugly tonight. Can I give you a ride?"

    She looked him up and down, measuring, then smiled. She hooked her arm through his, the one without the cane. She smelled his aftershave. They walked slowly to the car. She supported him most of the way, but neither spoke of it.

    She kissed him on the cheek when he stopped in front of her apartment. He smiled, shocked.

    "What was that for?"

    "Nothing. You're handsome. Thanks for the ride."

    He went home and poured a drink. He set it on the table and wrapped himself in blankets, let the fire warm him. He did not touch the drink. He was afraid it might erase the memory.

    He fell asleep with a warm spot on his cheek, warmer still in his heart.

    Handsome. She'd really said it. He could still hear it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow. Twists and turns. The promise of violence, redeemed by grace. This is friggin' awesome. "Mermaids and sirens"... three words, so many meanings! I really, really like this.

      Delete
    2. Second read, like it even more.

      Delete
    3. Seriously... I'm still reading and rethinking this... that's the mark of good writing, when a story won't leave your head... I don't know if he was a serial killer, a good samaritan, a mourning grandfather, or what... because he could be all of those things...

      Delete
    4. Indeed. :)

      And thanks, Leland. I appreciate it.

      Delete
    5. Really loved this JD. I'm with Leland, I liked what I didn't know as much as what I did know. By the way I've never been there but I want a tee-shirt that says "fucking Portland."

      Delete
    6. Yeah, said it on Facebook, but gonna say it even louder here: exemplary.

      Delete
  15. Three years, three roses, that's what you gave her.

    Yellow, with an engraved invitation to dinner at the Plaza. She accepted. You explained yellow roses are the sign of friendship. She kissed you on the cheek.

    Red, with blue ink spelling out "I love you" on a cream-colored note card. You both knew what a red rose meant.

    White, clasped in your sweaty hand, with "ashes to ashes" echoing through your head, tossing the rose on the coffin. White, for purity in death.

    You'll send no more roses.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is outstanding. I love all your stuff, but this spare style you bust out sometimes is powerful shit. And this story, concept, execution, everything is just perfect.

      Delete
    2. Thank you. It means a lot to me that you like it.

      Delete
    3. I love it. I wish I'd written it.

      Delete
    4. What they said. When you can say that much with so few words...that's just amazing.

      Delete
    5. Sometimes stories come when you least expect it.... Thankfully, this one came on Friday. Thanks for the kind words!

      Delete
  16. Francine Cook could not sing. The notes she scaled like some operatic prima donna would make a Sherpa lose his grip and plummet from the heights. She sang like Bob Hope’s brother No Hope and the shrieks she emitted mimicked the final sounds of a condemned chicken having its neck wrung by Old McDonald.

    “When you gonna tell her?” asked one of the choir ladies.

    “Reverend Luke, before long we’ll be losing what little congregation we got left,” added Mrs. Ralston whose son once dated Francine but wisely walked away. He still had aria-twisted nightmares of her butchering Verdi’s la forza del destino.

    What could the reverend do. Francine’s father was a generous donor who helped finance the building drive. Her mother organized bake sales, church bazaars, and marvelously played the organ. “It’s not as easy as you think,” he explained to the choir ladies. “Should we cut off our noses to spite our faces?”

    “I’d cut off mine just to see Francine go,” said Mrs. Ralston to which Mrs. Dunne pantomimed yanking off hers.

    Weeks later, a prayer answered, Francine met a man nearly stone-deaf in both ears with whom she ran off for parts unknown. The Wharton Church of God celebrated under the guise of reaching the top of their huge thermometer that signaled the end of their building fundraising. Actually it meant the fever had broken because, Praise God, Francine was gone.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Love it, Sal. High small town drama, amplified. I often wonder about these hidden dramas. This is a tight piece, though I expect nothing less from you. Interesting voice, here. Really makes it authentic. Ace.

      Delete
    2. OMD... I love this! "Bob Hope's brother No Hope" set the tone perfectly and you ratcheted it up from there... brilliantly played, and I'm still laughing.

      Delete
    3. Fantastic timing in that last paragraph. Rhythmically perfect.

      Delete
  17. Three brothers. Couldn't be more different, folks said. If they only knew.

    One loved children. Maybe not loved, but used. He liked the way they didn't protest when he showed his affections. Or needs.

    One found the Lord, and helped everyone know why they were going to hell. Because repentance and grace were not enough.

    The last found magic in stories. He'd ridden off into the sunset with a cowboy and come back again, He laughed and believed in love and tears and hope and despair.

    Three brothers. One was going to hell. Gotta keep sufferin' the children, gotta keep preachin' the Word.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow, there is some seriously scary subtext in this piece. It's strong and terrifying and ... almost a *challenge* to the reader - confrontational - well done.

      Delete
    2. Yeah, you want to see this expanded upon. Defiant and even angry in a slow burn kinda way.

      Delete
    3. It's an idea for a book that has been percolating in the back of my mind for a while... thanks for the encouragement.

      Delete
  18. I was jealous. Well, maybe not jealous exactly, but envious. Her new clothes , from her recent trip to Europe were so different - and so smart. You can't find anything like that here. And she's had the tummy tuck to make them all look great in, too.

    Usually I am not crazy about her choices but this time she definitely got it right. Wouldn't I love to go there and shop to my heart's content, never worrying about the cost. The trip cost them $16,000.00 for the two of them. Yeah, right, like I'll ever be able to afford that. I can't even afford a day in Toronto, no, not even a spree right here in my small town. So colour me green. Sigh.

    But wait. What do I have that she doesn't? Great kids, great son and daughter-in-law, wonderful grandson, good husband. She'll say she has all those things, but I can't see it. Would I trade? I did have think about it - for about two seconds - but no. I'll stick with what I have. There are things money just can't buy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. But its truth rings solid! Two whole seconds, eh?

      Delete
    2. Edit? Never! ;)

      I like this piece a lot, Yvonne. We all need to remember from time to time that material things aren't all they're made out to be.

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

    ReplyDelete
  20. David watched Tempest carefully as she glided towards him parallel to the bar. Though a tiny thing, her swagger was always aggressively sexual even from a distance. Not quite an exhibitionist, she managed to cover everything important with clothing. Yet somehow she still seemed to exude an exiguous quality in the way she dressed that caused even men with strong wills to suck in their breath at the sight of her. David continued wiping down glasses; glad he was on the other side of the bar and therefore marginally safe if Tempest tried to howl at the moon.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What a great name for her! and lucky David!

      Delete
    2. So evocative. With such a light touch, too. A storm's a brewin'...

      Delete
    3. Tempest rolled her fury across the wise and the lonely, treating them all the same.

      Great writing and inspiring as hell. Maybe we could have a tag a paragraph on the end day one day?

      Delete
    4. I have no idea what that means... Hmmm....

      Delete
    5. Like one person writes a para or two and then another writes another two. And so on. Like writers' tag.

      Delete
    6. Thanks all. There are just some girls that even other girls recognize as trouble.

      Delete
    7. I like them troubled girls too much for my own good, so I can relate to this. But why is every bartender called Dave/David? lol

      Delete
  21. “You were always the quiet one.” Annabelle swiped at her wet cheeks. “You know, sometimes you’ve just got to learn to speak up. You’ve got to say something, anything. You have to tell, tattle, blow the whistle.” She shook her head. “Just one word, that’s all I needed. Just one inkling that he was doing that to you.” She wiped her nose on her sleeve and looked to the sky. “I would have stopped him. Somehow.” She huffed. “No, I don’t know how. But I know I would have.”

    Annabelle tugged a long blade of grass that had missed its execution and tossed it aside. She scrabbled to her feet, straightened the vase, kissed her fingers and touched the kiss to the gravestone. “I would have stopped him,” she whispered.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ahhhh.... sweet agony, and a great turn at the end. "long blade of grass that had missed its execution" will be with me for a long while today... a beautiful line in a beautiful story.

      Delete
    2. Agreed. This is a heartbreaking piece. Very well written. I agree about the grass, too. Well done, G.

      Delete
    3. Beautifully written. This is going to sound queer but I liked the use of the word "huffed" you don't hear it often but people do it a lot.

      Delete
  22. Speedy and Dead Eye were in the back of the Greyhound, trying to pretend they weren't fucked up. Me and Reb sat a few seats forward and I could barely breathe for the heat of his thigh. Ricky Malinski was a Jew from Georgia who'd come up North to Study Philosophy and hooked up with the Yippies a week into the semester. He had curly black hair and brigft blue eyes with breathtaking lashes and those full Jewish lips. The kind of face you didn't know what to look at first for fear of staring. He considered himself an anarchist of the first degree, quoting Mao and writing violent poetry about the Cong. He'd bought my ticket down to Chicago and promised me it was going down. It was the summer of '68 and we rolled toward our fate like warriors, he said. He could have said anything. I had just turned 14 and was desperately in love.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Man, this is awesome. I love the bounce of the tone/pace. More needs to be written on this. MORE! :)

      Delete
    2. I agree... I'm digging through my records for my Mamas and Papas right now... you've got some powerful language here!

      Delete
    3. More is one th the way y'all. More is on the way :)

      Delete
  23. And we're in the bay, strolling on the boardwalk that juts into the bay, the haphazard jumble of townhouses and shabby greenspace and rusted wharf buildings that overhang the bay barely giving us a glance. A disinterested late summer afternoon.

    The water below us is clear, hubcap-sized starfish the colour of aubergines and mandarins splayed on dark rocks.

    "There was never a moment when I believed it," you say. "But never mind, tell me something kind."

    I've forgotten what we were talking about, although I love the rhythmic husk of your voice and its easy rhymes. To our left a statue of a dancer, or perhaps a yogi in one of the warrior asanas, seems to move. From the corner of my eye I see you blink, distracted. A herring gull literally screams. Loneliness steals in like a silent comet through Neptune's frigid orbit. The quiet of the air is like the sudden removal of the air and we stare at each other, contemplating panic.

    Did you know elephants cry salt tears? That life is so tenacious that there are electric bacteria that eat electrons? That tigers cannot purr? That sleeping on your stomach is more likely to make you dream of sex? That there are more stars in the known universe than all the grains of sand on every beach on earth? That there is a town named Okay, OK?

    "I can't breathe," I say.

    You eyes are huge. Galactic centres. Amoebas. Your terror of tsunamis, I think, randomly, is almost phobic. Suddenly, more than anything else, I want to love you.

    Then there's the roar. Local airport, I think. It's a plane taking off; sometimes they catch the air currents in such a way that it sounds like the coming apocalypse, and with this head-on angle appear like rockets seeking to escape the grip of this teeming globe.

    But all the other baywalkers and tourists, weedlovers and West Coast saunterers, they've all stopped in their tracks while the roar only increases, filling up the whole dome of the world that used to have air, and we follow everyone's gaze northward. No airplane with rocket dreams. No, we see the roiling infected stems and boiled brain heads of three mushroom clouds where presumably Vancouver once stood, that new-ruined jewel, that universe of memories, that charnel city calling me blindly home while moaning its futile requiem.

    Still not able to speak—for what is left to speak about?—we embrace, look out at the water, read each other's thoughts, and together climb the railing. O starfish. I hope you're okay with unexpected company and more salt tears.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow. This is epic, brother. I console myself by convincing my brain that you start like a week ahead of everyone else. ;) Great, great piece.

      Delete
    2. I'll say what I said on facebook... Dangerously beautiful.

      Delete
    3. Weird mix of nightmares and genuine recall.

      Delete
  24. The storm rasped across the face of the lake, dragging its teeth as it passed, raising its surface into a watery meringue. Tide or not, it resolved to itself, the ducks were not going to have a calm day today.

    Beneath the white peaks, the tench and bream were largely undisturbed. The thrashing of the eiders' busy feet was the least of it and the most of what they saw, the deeper waters as calm as they always were. These days of November were often the best for them, the tourist boats now pulled ashore and the fishermen warm at home, dreaming of old fish, new rods and the promise that both could come together.

    Bob wasn't either an angler or a boater. He was more interested in the currents that passed through this place. Tides that moved the residents living both above and below the waterline. Himself, he was always there. Enough of a regular to be seen but not seen, as much a part of the scene as the larches growing up to the shore on the northern side, but more mobile, even on days like these.

    Today was a special day though. Almost a day to celebrate, if he'd a mind to do such a thing.

    Muffled up in his coat, hat and scarf, Bob was busy studying the white-caps and watching the spume that whirled in the winds above them. The trees were bending toward the lake too, as though they'd been briefed on what was going to happen today and were keen not miss a moment of it. Watcher Bob hadn't been told a thing though, his knowledges were based more on progressive perceptions of the unseen than on any earthly almanac. But today was the day. He was sure of that.

    It began small as all things do. At first, the winds began to slew about a point on the lake, as though it was a knot hole in the grain of the storm, laying itself heavily like a thick veneer on its waters. And then it grew, the air currents piling on top of one another, scouring away the upper molecules of the lake; both mist and leaf and even a fish or two plucked up and out from the deeps, each of these being whirled around the focus of the disturbance, giving definition to the unseen dome rising up from beneath.
    Bob rose up from his crouch, the winds buffeting him as he stood, his hand pressing firmly down on his head, as though afraid they'd whisk it off and away from him like a plaything. His other hand was pressed to his brow, edgewise on, shielding his eyes from the weather's attention, his eyes straining to see into that quiet place beyond the mist and the rain. The place of the other.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know... it's more than two minutes worth. I was in a waiting room with nothing better to do! : )

      Delete
    2. "dreaming of old fish, new rods and the promise that both could come together." - LOVE this. The whole piece is awesome with a magical air to it. Well done, brother. And an awesome way to kill time in a waiting room. Now, I must go listen to Fugazi. :)

      Delete
    3. You should spend more time in waiting rooms! this is great!

      Delete
    4. Thanks guys! And I specifically thought of you when I wrote that line, Dan!

      Delete
    5. You had me at "dragging it's teeth as it passed, raising its surface into a watery merengue."

      Delete
    6. Thanks Lily. A killer first line drags an editor in, I've been told. I do practice these, I'll admit!

      Delete
    7. This: "Bob wasn't either an angler or a boater." If this is vernacular, no problem whatsoever, but if not it should read: "Bob was neither an angler nor a boater."

      And yeah, agree with Lily—the "watery meringue" line is visceral and on the money.

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

    ReplyDelete
  26. She had looked at me with blue eyes like the petals of pansy's. They were layered in colors and the iris seemed to have no definition. Her face was white, with an odd little merle cap across one ear like a hat. The chain link between us seemed an insurmountable barrier, like something that would never give way. I became suddenly determined that her life would not be cut short, that she would not die in a cage.

    We took her home, made her one of us. I kept that vow made in a dirty cement room so many years ago.

    There was grass beneath her body and sun on her fur, warming her, loving her just as I loved her as the last breath left her body, setting her spirit free.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is a lovely and moving piece. Those vows are important...

      Delete
    2. You made me cry.... those vows ARE important... and so is making her one of us... thanks for sharing.

      Delete
  27. The rock felt cool and smooth in his hand and he savored the heft of it, but not more than he longed for the sound of the shattered glass that he’d learned would follow.

    “That’s not the answer, son.”

    The voice sounded old, tired out. The boy turned, saw white hair and wrinkles, a face that froze him cold on the sidewalk. For a second.

    “You don’t know shit, old man.”

    “Hell I don’t. You know who lived in that house?”

    “Like I care, some old abandoned rathole?”

    He raised a gnarled finger and pointed toward the intersection where the light flashed red red red. “You get over to the library and find out.”

    The boy’s lip curled. “Yeah. That’ll happen.”

    The man continued as if he hadn’t heard. “You ask Miss Carlson about the lady used to live here. You tell her to give you the book.” He smirked. “Then I doubt you’ll be wanting to throw any more rocks through any more of these windows.”

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Goosebumps... I feel a kid meeting an untimely demise...

      Delete
    2. This one needs to keep going, too. Awesome.

      Delete
    3. Right. What they said. More. Not sure why but I got a vibe of King's "The Library Policeman" from this. Darkness lurking in ostensibly sleepy and bright small towns.

      Delete
    4. Even a little of the Boo Radleys!

      Delete
  28. Of course, she was sorry now. It was after the fact though, long after. There was nowhere to go but up if you were an optimist. Of course she wasn’t. Her negativity had always protected her from disappointment. Now it was just muddy slush in her head, useless and ugly. She wished she had some fight left. She wished it wasn’t so easy to let go of the past instead of fight for it. She wishes every day to be brave enough to tell him what she wants. But, what she feels for him is like a hollow echo reverberating in her chest. No one can hear it but her insides where it does no good at all. Sadly, she mopes through the days and soon everyone remembers her as the unhappy person she is. That, at least, is true.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bleak but real. And all too common.

      Delete
    2. Yup, agreed. "Her negativity had always protected her from disappointment." - perfectly put.

      Delete
    3. Thanks fellas. The main rival of Tempest is an interesting and very different head space.

      Delete
  29. You put it right there. RIGHT there. Now, don't fucking touch it. Don't even LOOK at it. In fact, turn around. Look out the window. See if you can find your answers there.

    Look, you come in here and you just look. And I don't even mean you look but don't buy or whatever. I mean you LOOK. At everyone. You stare. It creeps everybody the fuck out.

    Yeah, I'll check it out. We'll all check it out. First thing. That's gonna be the priority now. Checking out your bullshit. I'll tell you one thing for sure, though. I'll look at it any goddamn way I want. Now take your looks, your books, and get the fuck out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well fuck Dan, that was not only fun it was awesome.

      Delete
    2. Sigh. Nobody likes us writers who stare, who try to absorb the world so we can describe it better later on.

      Delete
    3. We're pariahs. I just went fishing and saw a guy. Chatted. He asked what I did. I said writer. He said, "That sucks!" True story. (I agreed)

      Fun, indeed, though. :)

      Delete
    4. LOL, there are many ways to look.

      Delete
  30. The dog won't let me not pet him. He gets bored, the poor guy and we have to go outside to play. I've gotten to the point now where I time manage. It takes so long to walk dog, about two hours. Thirty minutes both ways and an hour to walk him. Stupid Oklahoma wants to be at the end of August instead of the end of October. When the hell am I gonna get to have my cocoa? Seriously.
    I'm tired of waiting.
    School is going well, I finally figured out this 3D thing, so that's a plus. Not as much fun as regular animation, but it's getting there.
    Still working on finding my own painting style. You know how hard that is? I'm not even kidding. It's like pulling teeth. Maybe I should just stick with a comic style? Do you think?
    Sorry dad, dinner's ready. Gotta go. I'll email you again soon!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. lol. This is awesome. I'm going to start posting all the emails I write to my Mom. :)

      Delete
  31. You take her in your arms and the fragile, birdy-boneness of her shocks you, makes you feel like you all could have done a better job paying attention, taking care. Who is feeding her, you wonder. Anyone? You scan over her shoulder for a nurse, an attendant, someone who is supposedly in charge of this place. Nothing but beeps and blips and hushed voices with the occasional spark of inappropriate laughter. She pats your back and whispers in your ear, “It’s okay, sweetie. It’s okay. You can let go now.” You wonder who is the one letting go, and still you cling, but not too tightly, because you’re afraid something might break, maybe your own heart.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ahhhh... this, too, breaks my heart, but in an entirely different way. For a moment, I felt my mom in my arms, and for that, I thank you. I miss her.

      Delete
    2. Oh man. This one is killing me. Yeah, you got it.

      Delete
    3. Love it, but I might be tempted to leave out the last four words. Then again, I know I love the understatement and the unspoken. Beautiful all the same.

      Delete
  32. Quiet night alone. Watching movies with the cat. Halfway through Psycho, the cat started hissing at me. Staring at me, too.

    And then, I realized that the cat wasn't staring at me. It was staring over my shoulder.

    I did not scream as the knife slit my throat. The cat's tongue tickles on my trachea.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha! This is why I don't watch scary movies. Alone or otherwise. ;)

      Delete
    2. Psycho still holds up. Pure genius film.

      Delete
  33. I just got back from fishing. Cold chop on the water. Should have bailed. Caught a nice little bass as soon as I got there. He fought, jumped once, jumped twice and threw the lure. I started reeling in, as that was the prudent course of action. Lure felt weird. Off kilter. I pull it out and there's an old rusted Kastmaster - the hook from my spinnerbait is through the ring on the Kastmaster. And it's a goddamn bronze Kastmaster. Could be ten years old or two months. Looks like it's been in the water a while.

    Now, it's CONCEIVABLE that the bass threw the lure and I somehow picked up an old lure with an inch of line. That's possible. The other option? I caught a fish who'd been carrying a Kastmaster around a while. And removed it for him.

    I'm gonna catch a fish on that old thing, too. Hooks are still nice. Like they've been embedded in tough old bass lips.

    I'm a fiction writer, so you know that's bullshit. Maybe. I know a guy named Charlie who'd argue with you, though.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Fishing tales are a whole 'nother level of fiction... well played.

      Delete
    2. I don't grok fishing at all, but this is way cool. "Tough old bass lips"....I love it.

      Delete
    3. You never know. I've watched you fish, brother, and yeah, this. Them bass seem to fuck with you.

      Delete
    4. Bass and I have a relationship going back many moons. ;)

      Delete
  34. Another day, another dollar in debt. I drag myself out of bed, force myself into a semi-upright position, and make a bee-line to the coffee pot. OK, it would take a badly disoriented bee would make that kind of line, but it does the trick for me. Coffee. I don't need food. I don't need a cigarette (not 'til later, anyway...) but damn, I needs me some java. About a half cup in, the funky blue fog is lifting in my brain-pan. One full cup down, and I can actually form partial sentences that are fairly intelligible. A couple of cups in me, the rest of the pot in my beat-to-hell steel Thermos, and I'm ready to go to work.
    Hey, that was fun. I think I'll do it again tomorrow. And the next day. And the day after that. For years. And years. I keep getting these wonderful notices from Social Insecurity that if I work until I'm 86 years old, they'll send me $37.89 a month. If there's anything left.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Brilliant voice in this. Can hear it almost in my own brainpan!

      Delete
    2. Totally agree. The voice is strong, but funny and irreverent. This piece really rides on the voice and it's spot on. Just excellent, Chris.

      Delete
  35. Nancy DeCilio GauthierOctober 25, 2014 at 4:36 AM

    What's a vampire to do. It used to be one struck fear into the hearts of men and women. Now with the likes of Lestat and Edward and Bill - we are a figure of fun. Only the women still hanker after us - thanks to Ann Rice, Stephanie Meyer, and Charlaine Harris. The women now come after us like groupies - no rest for the weary bloodsucker these days - er - nights. Why wasn't I bit by a werewolf instead - they still have some street cred. I am seriously thinking of embracing the true death and walking into the light. Yeah, that's the ticket - thinking about it.

    ReplyDelete

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