Friday, October 31, 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. 

PLEASE NOTE: IT IS HALLOWEEN. I WILL BE BACK TO COMMENT, BUT TODAY WILL BE CHAOS. I WON'T BE AS PROMPT. HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Thin droplets fall from the sky, devoured by the parched earth. All around, people smile or look up confused - this must be that wet drought they promised. And then there is the "hallelujah chorus". Rain! We have been saved. The lord must be good, and he must be up there. Just LOOK!

If he's up there, he's laughing or crying, because half an inch of rain ain't gonna do shit except make my motorcycle shinier. We need buckets of rain. We need crazy people making arks in their back yards. We need to be lighting candles and sacrificing chickens. The central valley is one thirsty place. They'll never get enough.

Don't even get me started on the cotton mouth epidemic in Mendocino County. 

Point being. This was a nice drizzle. Let's call it an appetizer. Bring on the drops that land like tiny explosions. I want to see actual puddles. I know, call me crazy. You won't be the first. I happen to like eating, though, and I'm cool with shiny motorcycles.

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. IT MIGHT BE TOMORROW, THOUGH...

216 comments:

  1. The wind has picked up, and the rain is coming down in sheets. Waves crash against the shore, the jetties, the pier. The out-of-towners are spooked. They've heard reports of a storm in the Gulf, and they remember the stories about Ike. But this isn't a hurricane. It's barely even a storm.

    The churning inside of him, though, that's a storm. More than a hurricane. More destructive than storm swells and waterspouts. Deadlier than a tornado.

    The tourists are worried about the weather. They should be worried about him.

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    1. Oooh. I like this one. Nice comparison of outer and innner turmoil. This is an intriguing piece, I hope you keep it going. I like the inner/outer, local/tourist mirror a lot.

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    2. Nancy DeCilio GauthierOctober 31, 2014 at 11:45 AM

      You made me worry - LOL.

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    3. I like the parallelism of inner and outer turmoil, too... well done!

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    4. Good stuff! I love how his internal storm is worse than the external one.

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    5. Oooh. I like the parallel. I want to know more...

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    6. Ooh I'm a-scared of the bad man! Love it.

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    7. That ain't a storm. This is a storm.

      Well played, Laura.

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  2. When I landed, I was a bit disoriented. I had been here before, but the scenery was different. It was only a few hundred years, but the change was drastic. My pod landed in the same place as before, but the landscape was anything but familiar. Just as I exited the ship, some type of transport vehicle approached, and came to an abrupt stop in front of me. The Earthling that was piloting it stepped out and just stood there, staring at me with it's mouth gaping. I locked eyes with it, and slowly moved closer, until I was within range. A dense mist began to flow freely from my head, and the previous host crumbled into a heap. A couple of feet more, and I entered this new body. A few moments of the standard housecleaning, and I had rid this new body of it's previous occupant. It was becoming routine now. I gained function of the limbs and primitive digits in short fashion--as usual--lumbered into the Earthlings vehicle, and noticed that the lights were lit. He had forgotten to extinguish them. I didn't know how to switch them off, and I needed to understand how this thing operated. Rather than get carried away with my frustration, I decided to let this body do everything automatically...got the key in, turned it, and fired the engine. The left hand went straight to the correct place and turned off the lights, and then I turned them back on. It seems that if my own knowledge of my new body's transportation is insufficient, it's better to let the host enter automatic mode...lesson learned. I put it in gear and sped towards the city. Let's see how much fun I can have this go around.

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    1. This is a cool piece, brother! Much different than your usual two. I like em all, but this is an intriguing world you've created. Again, I want more. More, more, more. That's how I like it. ;)

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    2. Very cool, JT. Anything could happen from here. :)

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    3. Thanks! It's "Invasion of the Body-snatchers" from the body snatcher pov. I'm gonna work on this one over the winter. I've still got a ton of firewood to cut. I better get to it, it snowed today!

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    4. Intrigued...great to read your work again, Jt! :D

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    5. Good to see you writing fiction, Jt.

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  3. Sarah was a silly girl who never did her chores. Her folks were always mad at her and the crazy clothes she wore. "What are you trying to prove?" they asked. "Where did we go wrong?" Sarah just turned up the music, cued her favorite song.

    Jimmy was a boy too tall, always looking down. And everyone that smiled at him was greeted with a frown. "The world's not fair," he told them all. We're headed toward an awful fall." No one listened to a word, just shook their heads, slightly disturbed.

    Sarah and Jimmy shared a smoke outside a dingy bar. The kind of place that's dark enough they never check your card. They had some drinks and had some yuks, then they slashed the tires on all the trucks. See, Sarah and Jimmy didn't give a fuck.

    The truckers did, and they weren't pleased. They said, "boy get down on your knees." So, Jimmy did, and Sarah shook. Then Jimmy gave her one last look...

    Sarah never told a soul, but she became a different girl. She spent her time in libraries, just hiding from the world. She wrote small poems, tore them up, and sometimes she just stared. 'Cause Jimmy died in a parking lot, but there's no marker there.

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    1. Love how some of the ends of the sentences actually rhyme. Found myself reciting it in my head in a sing-song voice. Intentional or not - it was cool. I could also totally see how that changed the girl.

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    2. Nancy DeCilio GauthierOctober 31, 2014 at 11:40 AM

      Hmm, it cut off my name.

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    3. Intentional, it was. Thanks Nancy. ;)

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    4. Yikes. Scary.

      Also, nice job at the top, Dan. I always feel like I give your kickoff piece short shrift. :( Hope you guys get some real rain soon.

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    5. Thanks, Lynne. And it is raining as I type. :)

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    6. OH my god. The rhyming makes this extra creepy.

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    7. Ooh, I LOVE this! And the one up there, too.

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    8. How could anyone think it wasn't intentional, lol?

      Got an Ed Gorey vibe, bro. Love it. Like creepy contemporary nursery rhyme shit, which I love.

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  5. Nancy DeCilio GauthierOctober 31, 2014 at 10:51 AM

    Louisiana and the rain is coming down in buckets; actually if you've ever been there during a 'rain' storm, it's more like coming down in barrels. Mid afternoon, but the head lights are on and you keep slowing down so you don't outrun their reach. Old two lane road on the way to Tigerland - which is the back end of Ft. Polk; and you never know when that farm wagon is just going to pull out in front of you onto the road. These old farmers think the world stopped fifty years ago and there is no traffic and certainly not a '67 Chevy Impala Supersport cruising along. You're supposed to be looking for a turnoff to pick up your husband who is on duty there today; you don't see it and just keep driving until you realize you are halfway to Alexandria and that's way too far to have come. So you turn around and now being impatient you speed up anxious to get back to where you were supposed to turn off. Then, just as you were afraid of it happening - the farm wagon entering the road - your heart stops for a second; thank goodness your 22 year old brain and reflexes are working and the Impala responds like a champ - you stomp on the accelerator and swerve around the farm wagon - praying no one is coming in the other direction. Well, this time you are lucky - the rain gods have smiled on you and the farmer. Then you see it, the sign on the road, Tigerland and you turn off onto the Post and go find your husband. Do you tell him what happened -no. Some things are better left unsaid.

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    1. Dope. :) This is a cool, intimate piece. Definitely feel like you're in the car. And taking the ride, lucky this time. Well in, Nancy.

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    2. Nancy DeCilio GauthierOctober 31, 2014 at 11:04 AM

      Thanks, kind sir !!

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    3. Yes, definitely puts you right in the middle of things. I know that part of the world, and you made me see if very clearly in my head. Almost enough to miss it, but not quite. ;)

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    4. I was reaching for an umbrella... well done!

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    5. OMG, swerving around that farm wagon in the rain... Nicely done. :)

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    6. Well done. I was right there...

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  6. You sigh, staring at your half-assed costume in the mirror. Not horrible. You didn’t expect to need one, but the invitation came as you got off the bus, from one of the cheerleaders, her strawberry shortcake smile beaming over her shoulder as she bounced off toward her house. Maybe they needed filler. Someone to make the other girls look prettier. You’d swiped a pair of your mother’s old fishnet tights and a dress she wore in some community theater play set in the 60s. You could say you were dressed as anything, something from an Austin Powers movie. With a last tug on the unfamiliar garters, you start to slink out without your father’s notice, easy enough since he was busy hiding from the doorbell and the false smiles he’d toss out to the kids with the Halloween candy. But then you catch him aiming that blank stare out the window, the glass gripped too firmly in his hand. And you kick off your translucent stilettos and stay.

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    1. Bam! This is a dope one, lady. You fit so much in, such slight of hand. An experience we have all had, turned and molded into Boris-flow. Awesome.

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    2. Nancy DeCilio GauthierOctober 31, 2014 at 11:47 AM

      And by staying you might have avoided a disaster - not to the dad, but to yourself. That's where it led me.

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    3. Ahhh.... beautiful. As if the rest of the piece weren't beautiful, you went and totally nailed it with translucent stilettos...

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    4. "Strawberry shortcake smile" and the translucent stilettos -- wow. Just awesome. Nice job with 2nd person PoV, too. :)

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    5. I got that too...an invite from a cheerleader...don't do it, it's a trap!!

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    6. Nah, man, was so not expecting that ending. Loved it.

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  7. You stand in the water, river pebbles massaging your bare feet. The water is so cold - the agony now replaced with a numbness that makes you wonder. Not about your feet. Not about frostbite. You wonder how your feet will work because you gotta get three feet closer to that limb, the one hanging out, kissing the ripples.

    Underneath that limb, there's a fish. By God, a giant. The biggest fish you can possibly imagine. And maybe it's there and maybe it's not, but there's only one way to find out. And if you catch it, brilliant. If you don't, that doesn't mean he wasn't in there. Not one bit.

    You'll be back.

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    1. I love this. It makes me want to go fishing, and THAT, my friend, is not a yen I get. Love how I can almost feel the water and the pebbles.

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    2. "Kissing the ripples" -- that's gold. And another one in 2nd person. You guys might be inspiring me....

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    3. Thanks. :) 2nd person rules. Join the revolution.

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    4. Felt the cold around my ankles and the pebbles under my feet. Yes! "Kissing the ripples." Love it!

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    5. Can't help sensing some bigger metaphor behind this, about some yearning thing.

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    6. There's always yearning... ;)

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  8. He’s skinnier than she’d thought he’d be. Taller, too. But it’s him. It’s really him. She’d know those tattoos anywhere. And that smile. God, that smile. That smile that’s doing things to her it shouldn’t be, that’s making her stammer and stare and forget how to speak.

    It wasn’t supposed to be like this. It was supposed to be like coming home, like reconnecting with her old friends had always been. It wasn’t supposed to make her mouth dry and send her pulse racing. It wasn’t supposed to make her want things she shouldn’t want.

    It wasn’t supposed to be like this, but it was, and she had no idea how she was supposed to square with that, only that, somehow, she must.

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    1. This is dope. Expectations are tricky bastards. This plays out really nicely.

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    2. Wonderful... you brought us right into the moment....

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    3. This is great. Attraction can sneak up on you, even when it's someone you've known for a long time.

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    4. I have been ensnared by a great smile a few times. Never ends well.

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    5. Really like the repetition, the emotions...nice.

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    6. Sometimes wrong is so damn right. Good piece.

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    7. This seems so real. Terrific writing, LB.

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    8. Pulling out all the stops tonight, Ms. Clark. :)

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  9. As I stand there, my heart racing a mile a minute, I know what words I want to say. I know what I NEED to say. The problem is, that isn't what comes out. So I try again. And again. Now I have a whole room full of people looking at me like I'm a freak. If only I could get my heart to quit pounding. Why, oh why, can't I get my mouth and my mind to cooperate with one another at times like these?

    Please let the floor open up underneath me I think as I look around at these people who will all be here tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow after that. Staring at me. Judging me. Ah, well, fuck 'em.

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    1. Fuck em, indeed. You conveyed this feeling very well. Not that I know anything about it, but... ;)

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    2. That last line is what makes this. <3

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    3. Ah yes, we've all been the freak at some point. You describe that feeling well. Nice job.

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    4. At some point, Jen? I feel like this all the damn time. And yeah, she does. Describe it well.

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  10. She left, again. They're mad and scared and disappointed, again. I sit here, staring out the window, wondering if she's safe, again. How many times can we do this? How long does it take before this becomes routine?

    Why does she have to be so damn impossible? How hard can it be, to live, to be, to stay out of trouble? How do you even live like that? Bouncing off of every wall, just to see if you can. Just to see what happens. What's the point?

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    1. I really dig this one. It's got a confrontational flow that really works. Well in, G.

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    2. "How many times can we do this?" Love it.

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    3. This sounds familiar. You did a damn good job of putting into words.

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  11. The jack-in-the -box sits on the front porch, mocking me. I don't know who left it, but I don't like these things, I never have. Innocent looking toys with creepy music that plays faster and faster the more you crank it. "I will not crank it." I tell myself, even as I open the door to retrieve the hateful gift from the porch. I turn the crank, ever so slowly, I can't help myself. The tortured music makes me sweat and my heart beat fast, but still I keep cranking. "Stop...just stop." My inner-self screams, but still I keep turning the crank I squeeze my eyes shut against the pop I know is coming, and when it comes I jumped, startled. "I'm not going to look." But, against my will my eyes open just a sliver... to peek...just a peek...and...OH DEAR GOD!!!

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    1. The suspense here is awesome. Nicely done. :)

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    2. Yep. Agreed. Waiting for the pop, just like it do. Well done, Donna.

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    3. Gahhhh.... I envision all sorts of horrible things popping out... thanks for good suspense building!

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    4. You ended it *there*?!? :D Great job, Donna.

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    5. I think we love scaring ourselves silly, and you really nail that here.

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    6. Sometimes, the best horror is often suggested and not spelled out (hello, Hitchcock). Excellent job, Donna!

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    7. Nancy DeCilio GauthierNovember 1, 2014 at 3:39 AM

      I was not overly fond of Jack in the Boxes either. You awoke so many feelings - LOL.

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  12. Garish orange light blinds me. I gasp and raise my head from the grass; then, with an effort, I rise to my hands and knees. My head spins; I drop it toward the earth, which only makes my vertigo worse.

    Groaning, I glance to one side. That's when I notice the smell -- sickly sweet and acidic, all at once. The aroma makes my stomach churn.

    I have to get up! If only to get away from the stench of my own puke. Nearly biting through my lower lip, I haul myself to my feet.

    Someone chortles -- a madman's laugh. I squint, looking for the source. And there it is: an animatronic Headless Horseman. In one hand, he holds the jack o' lantern emitting that unholy light; in the other, he clutches an enormous bowl, only partly filled with candy. Empty candy wrappers litter the grass.

    I groan and retch again. Why, oh why, did we buy the enormous bags of treats from Costco?

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    1. Costco will get you every time. And vertigo. Great piece, Lynne. I haven't gotten bad vertigo in a while. Or giant bags of candy. But I remember. ;)

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    2. oh so been-there-done that!!!
      Awesome.

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    3. LOL. This is just awesome. :)

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    4. Nancy DeCilio GauthierNovember 1, 2014 at 3:42 AM

      Waiting to see where it was going and did not expect THAT - well done.

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  13. So you gotta get the snare sharp, but fucking half-wit Steve is still trying to mop the bongwater off the bathroom floor and you're talking fast so no one will notice the smell. So, get the damn snare right, right? The snare is everything.

    He can't play drums worth a shit, so it's like fifteen drum tracks mixed together like some unholy fruit salad. One track for the kick. One for the ride. The fucking snare's not right though.

    Everyone smells it now and the dude who owns the studio is not pleased. He's not happy with the smell or the shitty drumming or the way you try to divert everyone's attention, but you'll add a little more bourbon to his cup ever time he takes a sip of Irish Coffee. Soon that shit won't even be coffee.

    This plays out again and again. The details change, but the facts remain the same. Steve is one dumb piece of shit. But he owns a van.

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    1. Ah, so *that's* why he's still in the band! :D

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    2. Some unholy fruit salad..you are so good JD!!

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    3. Unholy fruit salad. That's just awesome.

      I love this piece.

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    4. Vans can change your life. and yeah, unholy fruit salad is some kind of awesome.

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    5. You nailed something here, not even sure what. But I do know I love it.

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  14. Halloween. Costumes. Candy. Maybe a little bit of hocus pocus.
    He looks at himself in the mirror. Carefully tying his tie. A windsor knot. The tie itself is old school. Literally. Harvard.
    Double check the cufflinks. Simple. Elegant.
    Jacket, perfectly tailored. Button? No, not on casual Fridays.
    Check the shoes for scuffs. Nope, perfect.
    Belt matches shoes. Underwear matches socks. He was perfect.
    Grabbing his briefcase, he checked his image out in the full length mirror by the door.
    "Damn, I look good," said the man in his businessman's costume. The same costume he wore every day.

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    1. Nice. We all don a uniform to get through our days...well, a lot of us do. ;)

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    2. Yup - what Lynne said. Nicely done.

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    3. Oh, that's dope. I love it. That last sentence is an uppercut.

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    4. Nancy DeCilio GauthierNovember 1, 2014 at 3:45 AM

      I think women do this more than men. I know I dress according to where I will be going or who I am going to see.

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  15. His foot touched her leg and she pulled away, taking most of the blanket with her. She stared at the alarm clock. Five-forty. It would ring in five minutes. Another day with him. Nice guy. Plain guy. Boring guy.

    He stirred and a snort of sleep blew from his nose.

    She grinned and eased her body to the other side. He lay on his back, his profile backlit by the rising sun. Not ugly. Not gorgeous. Just a guy. A decent, kind, gentle guy.

    She ran a finger across the scruff of his morning beard. A tingle ran up her arm and her legs got hot. She didn’t love him. Not in that passionate way she yearned for. Yet she wanted him. He was a nice guy. A good guy.

    Why wasn’t that good enough?

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    1. You've got the yearning for something more down cold. Nicely done.

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    2. Yeah, this is deadly. Excellent piece, Julie.

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    3. Echo the above. Why is it that just good is never quite enough? I love how you address that here.

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    4. Really good. Right, that inner yearning for better. It's always there and sometimes drives us all wrong. Yet we should never ignore it. Captures it.

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    5. Nancy DeCilio GauthierNovember 1, 2014 at 3:48 AM

      Settling for 'just a nice guy' just doesn't cut it - LOL.

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  16. Why does it always rain on Halloween? Except when he lived in Denver. Then it snowed.
    He opened the door to his apartment, put his bag inside, shook the umbrella dry in the hallway.
    "Is that you, Ted?" came a voice from the kitchen.
    "Yes, honey, it's me. Let me get a little dry and I'll be right in."
    He took off his coat, put it on the coatrack. Put the bag into the closet. Listened to its satisfying clunk as it settled into its home until the next weekend.
    Quick check in the mirror. Besides looking wet, he looked fine.
    He preferred the rain over snow. The rain washed all the blood off before he got home.

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    1. Oh, nice one. There I was, just going along, thinking about the rain and the snow, and BAM! :D

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    2. Holy hell Leland!! I did not expect that last line but I love it!!

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    3. King of the killer last line! I like this one even more. Rock forth.

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    4. LOL, I actually laughed. In a good way.

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    5. I THOUGHT I heard your evil guffaw....

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  17. You stand in the parking lot -- the first time all day you've been outside, just about, and here the day is nearly done. It's your little daily ritual, one you began without a conscious thought. Just standing between the parked cars, but outside, under the dome of the sky, noting the scudding clouds in the fading light of this late October day.

    A crow calls from the top of your apartment building; another, farther away, responds. Two crows mean...? You can't remember. And it doesn't matter anyway. Not at the end of this day, standing in the fading light, near the end of a fading year.

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    1. ah, poignant and melancholy. I can almost hear the crows calling.

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    2. Yup, this is awesome. Lonesome. Beautiful. And I like crows. :)

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    3. I guess I'm weird, but this doesn't speak melancholy or lonesome to me. It just sounds peaceful. I think it's something about that moment of solitude at the end of the work day. It's a moment I look forward to every day. :)

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    4. A perfectly captured moment in time. Nice!

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    5. True, I feel calm in this. Crows are always the awesome, and it's about the new year, which this night actually represents if you're pagan, or don't buy into the Abrahamic religions.

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    6. Crow is one of my totem animals. :) And two crows mean mirth - I looked it up tonight, lol.

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    7. I guess I should have said ... There's a good kind of lonesome in my mind.

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  18. Her dad was ridiculous. Why did he always have to tell the same long, drawn-out story to her friends? It was Halloween, and they wanted to get out before all the candy was gone. But no...
    "So there they were, in Lover's Lane, listening to the radio give warning about the escaped asylum inmate with the hook for a hand. The boy kept trying to make out with the girl, but the girl insisted on going home. In a huff, the boy started the engine and burned rubber out of the parking lot. When they got to her house, he went around to open her door and screamed. There, embedded in the side of his car, was a hook, with part of an arm bleeding on the side of his car."
    After her friends made the obligatory "gross" and "ooooh" sounds, she finally got them all out the door.
    Meanwhile, in the house, her dad adjusted the straps that held his new bionic hand in place. He loved that story. Almost as much as he loved hearing that scream so many years ago.
    Oh, look at the time. He should be on his way, to Lover's Lane. It was, after all, Halloween.

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    1. You're killing it, brother. Awesome piece.

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  19. It happened again.

    I should have been expecting it. I mean, she was old; old for a dog anyway. But a little cough here. A little nearsightedness when looking for a treat I tossed. A little deafness. Some wheezing. Hell, I have all that shit happening to me and I'm fine. Well, sort of, anyway.

    It was quick. It seems I had barely leaned back the recliner before my wife woke me by nudging my leg. "Emmy died."

    Disbelief. As always. I struggle to get my fat carcass out of the depths of my chair and shamble to the living room. I'm blinded as I peer at the furry form in the middle of the carpet. She's in black-and-white. The color's gone. For her. For me. I pet her. She's cold.

    We wrap her in colorful layers of tissue paper. She seems much bigger than before. Emiko always seemed to be a puppy all her life, but today she's an old dog. The puppy is somewhere else today.

    I can barely speak as I move the last shovel of dirt. But it has to be said: "Emiko Marie was the best little dog ever."

    There's something wrong with my eyes.

    We head back inside and I try to lose myself. Some music...a book...sleep...anything. I know it will be a long time before I stop checking the small foam bed next to my recliner for that little ball of fur.

    It's going to happen again. I know that. It never gets any easier.

    It should never get any easier.

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    1. Ah, Rich.... I'm sobbing my eyes out.... what a wonderful, beautiful piece filled with the agony of loss. Many hugs to you my friend... Emiko runs free with the best of them.... with the best of us.

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    2. No it shouldn't. Something wrong with my eyes, too. This is beautiful, Rich.

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    3. Something wrong with my eyes, too. Beautiful and heartbreaking.

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    4. oh..my heart...sniff... this was beautiful and yes..heartbreaking.

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    5. An absolutely beautiful tribute to your best little friend. I think that Emiko and Cat have already met and are cavorting carefree. Hugs!!!

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    6. Without love, there can be no grief. Thank you for sharing both in this poignant piece.

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    7. No words. Other than "no words." :'(

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    8. Sigh...poor fur babies. Definitely something wrong with my eyes.

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    9. *blinking* Something's wrong with mine, too. It's so hard to lose them.

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  20. Jim sat on the edge of the bed and stared into the open drawer of the night stand. The drawer that Alice had kept her things so many years ago now only contained one reminder of her. He remembered her joy the day he gave it to her. For a time it seemed like her prize possession but then for a time he thought that she loved him. What she loved was the big middle finger to her parents he represented. The things she didn’t love and could no longer live with were him, his salary, or the part of town that made this gift so very useful. It was a sweet thought at the time. After all, his new job took him out of town for days at a time.

    Jim hung on to that job too. Long after she left him for a younger, richer, more socially presentable husband. Then he grew old and was forced to retire. For nearly a year he sat in this house that was bought for two, but really barely adequate for one. He drank too often and always alone. All that was left of Alice in his life lived in this drawer and in his brain. He lifted the Smith and Wesson 38 double action revolver with the pearl handle out of the drawer, placed the short barrel into his mouth, aimed the business end toward the place Alice occupied in his aging brain, and squeezed the last trace of her from his life.

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    1. Wow. And you don't want to know what I guessed was in that drawer. Yours is way better.

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    2. The business end of this are the final three sentences: two short and sharp and to the point, that last one stretching it out until everything snaps. Good stuff, Ed.

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    3. Agreed. This is tight and tense. Well in brother.

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  21. It'd been an uneventful Halloween. Old Man Harley had doled out all his 'onion' toffee apples and he'd grinned for at least half an hour, thinking of all those kids getting a big surprise when they bit in to their treasures. Trick or treat, huh? He'd given them both!

    Looking out through his window onto his stoop, he noticed the Jack O' Lantern he'd put outside had gone out and, cursing the wind, he ignored it, leaving it to cool in the darkness. The spirits could take care of themselves tonight, he figured, switching off the lights.

    Four or five hours later, he awoke, feeling that something was off. Stepping out of his room, he paused on the landing at the top of the stairs. Listening for movement.

    Nothing. It was all quiet.

    He took one step more and then his foot skidded out from under him as the sock laying in wait rolled from under him. His head knocked first against the bannister rail and then the wall and then half as dozen more steps.

    And when he reached the floor below he was dead. His neck twisted and broken.

    And every sock he'd ever lost bore witness to his passing.

    On the night the lost soles returned.

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  22. So they finally caught me. Lay in wait up on the escarpment, in the howling dark of a wretched night, and now here I am in this vast dim room lit by glowing things, some kind of floating green worms whose existence I must doubt. Because that's the only plan I have left: doubt all of it, and maybe none of it is happening.

    I love you, Marita Rose. You were always my cliché dream girl, my über shining one, my mamacita.

    But did you tell them where I was hiding? Did you? If not, where were you when I kept my side of the rendezvous that night?

    "You always did have an imagination to die for," you once told me.

    "Try living in my nightmares if you think that."

    "I never said it was a good thing. Besides, how do you know I'm not?"

    Feels like the room itself is breathing, its breath sultry, fetid. The glowing worms pulsate in time to a low wavering hum. What manner of thing has snared me in its web?

    It's impossible to ignore the doors: tall mahogany dreamlike portals that disappear into the ceiling haze like redwoods. But it isn't how they look that's chilling me to the bone marrow. No, it's the sounds and the smells that seep from beyond their dark cracks: shrieks, whimpers, sobs; wet sounds, like a spinal column being sucked and torn from its torso, like a peeled face and scalp flapping loose over a moaning skull, like a brainpan crunched between immense tusks; awful smells of spilled guts, the gamey copper of blood, the sour reek of rent viscera.

    Girl, where are you? Will you come?

    But they are about to open the doors. I don't want them to. I am six years old and the closet doors are rattling. Fuck. Fuck! Please, please… okay, I'm begging now… don't open those doors. Okay? Just don't—

    I step up to the escarpment on a hellish night, relieved I had been dreaming. But something's wrong. My girl isn't here. Was she captured? Marita Rose, I need you to be here. What are those strange lights…?

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    Replies
    1. Wow. This is creepier than I can say. I think I've been in that nightmare.... the doors are a brilliant touch, as are the doors, but the line that will keep me awake tonight is this: the sour reek of rent viscera.

      Well done.

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    2. Creepy is too mild a word for this one. *shudders* Brilliant, but disturbing.

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    3. Holy crap, Antrobus! Effing brilliant.

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    4. I don't normally like sharing my dreams, in case they're contagious, but it's that kind of night, lol.

      Thanks for taking pity and commenting, peoples. Love you all. :)

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    5. What they said. God, the language. It rolls and flows so musically until the comprehension of the words is like a hand tightening around your throat. Beautifully disturbing.

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    6. Yup. Beautifully disturbing. Ditto.

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    7. Beautifully disturbing seems to be our thing, lately. Canada, I mean. :)

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  23. Detective Rich Meyer sat at his cluttered and dirty desk, surrounded by a dozen case files. How do you find a crazy killer in a city filled with crazy? He took a sip of coffee from a paper cup. He hoped those were coffee grounds and not cigarette ashes.
    Each of the murders was grisly, and each was unique, but they all shared one thing: Either before or after death, a pen was driven through the heart of the victim.
    One had been bludgeoned by a blunt object, likely the bloody book by the body. Another had been electrocuted, still another choked with a USB cord. Beyond the pens through the hearts, there had to be SOMETHING he was missing that tied them all together.
    He sat. He cogitated. He ruminated. None of the vics were writers.
    All read three or four books a week, some on paper, some on ebook readers. Huh. readers. Maybe he could get inside their heads a little more if he read any reviews they left.
    He signed onto his Amazon account. He checked the reviews of the elderly woman who had been killed first... mysteries, mostly solved by cats or dogs. The reviews of the second victim had only one novel in common: How to Kill A Bad Review. The third, the fourth, the fifth, ALL of them reviewed the same book and gave it one star! He was elated! He'd nearly solved the mystery of the Pen Murders.
    He went to the novel's page on Amazon, to try to get some details about the author.
    His blood ran cold when he saw the writer's name: Detective Rich Meyer.
    Dammit. Now everybody was going to be asking him about those damned diabetic blackouts.

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    Replies
    1. lol. Well played, sir. Well played. And this: "How do you find a crazy killer in a city filled with crazy?" is pure gold.

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    2. Rich has been deputized. To mt pilot!

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  24. Are you challenging me, is what I wanted to say but instead I just nodded. After she left I looked for the tire marks on my shirt where she’d run me over. How the heck was I supposed to do my job under these conditions? Were the only solutions giving in or leaving? The fly that landed on the rim of my coffee cup at that moment had few intelligible answers. Or maybe that fly landing anywhere in our office, which had few windows and seemed hermetically sealed, WAS an editorial comment.

    Go, go, gooooo, went the drumbeat in my head. Turning my chair I reactivated my desktop which had gone to sleep. Searching through my personal folder on the network I found what I was looking for faster than expected. The file was titled simply with my first name. I clicked it and the document opened with a request for a password.

    Damn, what was the password? I hadn’t looked at my resume in three years since that last opportunity to fly away came and went with only a whimper from me. Was it my name? My birthday? Another number? Then something loosened in my head, no doubt my brain cells. The filename may have been unceremonious but maybe the password not so much. I typed, F-R-E-E-D-O-M. Gaining entry, I smiled for the first time today.

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    Replies
    1. Been there, and done that. AND I, too, couldn't remember the password at first. I'm glad the character had a freedom fly to remind her. Good descriptions throughout!

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    2. We have ALL been there. Great piece. :)

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    3. Yup. I get to be the ditto head this week.

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  25. “Shut up.” The guys from the neighborhood just laughed louder. “I said, shut up.” Harry refused to listen to their lies about the new girl, Sheila, who’d moved into the Millers’ house. They said she was weird, and not really a girl, since she didn’t have a mother. They said she was a dyke, which made him want to punch a wall. He couldn’t tell them, because they’d never stop harassing him about it, but he thought she was kind of cute. The way she sat at her desk and chewed on her pen. The way her socks kept sliding below her knees and, with a cute little frown, she’d hitch them back up.

    “You ring the bell, since you love her so much,” one of the guys said, pushing him forward once they’d reached the house.

    “Quit it, asshole.” He almost beat him with his pillowcase full of candy. Which was getting pretty heavy, since they were almost done with the neighborhood. But he sucked in a deep breath, because there was no backing down now, and strode to the doorbell.

    A man answered, the father, Harry surmised, and he reached for a plastic bowl full of candy. Harry peered inside the house, curious to know what it looked like. What Sheila’s life looked like. He thought he saw two green legs scurrying in a room in the back, and realized she was there, dressed up as Robin Hood. He grinned. That was kind of cute. But he didn’t see her trick-or-treating before.

    The man looked over his shoulder, as if he wanted to know what Harry was staring at. He grinned. “Shellybean, you want to help with the candy?”

    She looked suddenly like she wanted to drop through a hole in the floor. He might be a little freaked about that, too, if his dad called him to the door to hand out candy bars to a group of girls. But she merely nodded and said, “Sure, give me a sec.”

    Harry thought he saw her grab a red flash of something from the counter and hide it in her palm. Then she came to the door, and looking very serious and a tiny bit scared, perhaps, from the tightening of her mouth and the faint blush creeping out from behind her mask, dropped a few candy bars in each of our bags. Before I knew it, the door closed and the guys were tugging on my elbow, off to the next house, calling me names for not reacting fast enough, talking about how weird that new girl seemed, talking smack that her legs looked fat and she made a stupid Robin Hood and should have been Friar Tuck instead. I punched the first arm I could reach.

    Finally, back home, I spilled my bounty onto my bed, intent on sorting out the good from the meh so I could hide the best stuff from my older sisters. Then, underneath a pile of M&M bags and Mars bars, a little red bag winked at me. My heart thudded faster and I felt a flush run up my cheeks. I opened it. Inside was a note: “Look out the window.”

    Quickly I shoved all the candy back into the bag and stowed the sack beneath my bed. I pulled back the curtain. Robin Hood smiled.

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    Replies
    1. omgosh.... sweetest Halloween story I've ever read! I like!

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    2. Thanks, Leland! Augh, I switched to first person there. Oh, well. Freewriting.

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    3. Despite the POV switch, I really loved this story. Sweet and hopeful. <3

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    4. I know this great editor who would have caught that on the first read... oh wait, she did! But we're doing 2 minutes here... we're not editing!

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    5. Very sweet piece. And yeah, we're definitely not editing up in this crib.

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    6. Edit tihs, motherfecker.

      But yeah, this is a great story. Not even a great flash piece. A great story, period.

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    7. Agreed. Typing on phone suck. Story. Dope.

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  26. (Okay, obviously longer than two minutes, but I didn't want to stop. Begging your indulgence.)

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  27. The satiny panties and pretty push-up bra go on first. Then fishnet thigh-highs are unrolled up long, shapely legs that have been freshly shaven and rubbed down with creamy lotion that smells, lightly, of verbena. Next comes the skirt, short, tight, black leather. Then the halter top that barely hides the bra. Lush, dark curls are fluffed and sprayed and insisted into place. Cake foundation hides myriad flaws, and then dark eyes are lined with dark kohl and full lips are tinted red. The shoes come last, towering stilettos that add a good four inches of completely unnecessary height. A quick glance in the mirror to ensure everything is as it should be, and then it's off to paint the town.

    He smiles as he locks the door behind him. Tonight, at least, he can be himself without fear of reprisal. Tomorrow...well, tomorrow is another day.

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    Replies
    1. You've hacked into my web-cam, haven't you?

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    2. Simply love! You totally reeled me in and caught me!

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    3. This is great! excellent switch at the end!

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    4. Oh, took me two readings because I'm dumb, but yes!

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    5. Love it. Don't know what this says about me but I knew from word one. ???

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  28. A gentle brush against his palm and his senses overloaded. The proximity. The heat. And the knowledge that she was there. Asleep or awake: it meant little to him.

    Laying back in the hollow they'd created, he rested his hand on his chin, not wanting to disturb her. She was perfect as she was; with no artifice or intent. Just being herself.

    He must have laid like that for almost an hour. Watching the quickening of her breath as she stirred in her sleep. She was so beautiful when she was relaxed, when she'd shed the taint of the world. When she was free.

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  29. She checked her watch in the fading daylight and shook her head, a silent self-admonishment for the mother who’d apparently chosen her job over her kids for the third Halloween in a row. A bright bolt of lightning offered a sudden glimmer of hope, thunder backed it up. Almost immediately, guilt snuck back in, seeking home base. Was it so wrong to hope for a rip-roaring storm to let her off the hook just this once?

    In spite of the active skies, the air was still dry by the time she creaked open the rusty iron gate at the last stop on her route. As much as she loved feeding the elderly, their hunger for company could never be satiated on her schedule. It was the other yawning chasm of guilt her lamentations echoed in. Maybe this one wouldn’t want to talk. Just leave it in the doorway, dear. I can manage the rest. Some were like that. Others believed she was a visiting daughter and wouldn’t let her leave until she played the role.

    Hope always seemed to lead to guilt one way or the other – sometimes it was their hope and her guilt, and sometimes both were hers to shoulder alone. Too often, it was the latter. A single plump raindrop landed on the bridge of her nose just as she pressed the lighted doorbell, and all she felt was relief.

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    Replies
    1. Feelings I understand far better than I'd like to.

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    2. Absolutely nailed it with that last line. Brava!

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  30. An iconoclast at birth, a sentence of twenty years for twerking was not about to pull in the reins of her unbridled independence. She was a free woman no matter what the courts insisted. She’d do as she pleased. Anyway, the law was lopsided, a travesty of what real justice meant. Didn’t they close their eyes to rapists who tilted the scales in their own nefarious favor? Weren’t pedophiles pitied but rarely accountable for their crimes and all because some Freudian freak head labeled the crime a psychological aberration without claim to punishment. Yeah, tell that to the mothers and fathers of those bruised and scarred innocents who would grow up morality-blind, confused, and too often sexually doomed.

    When Georgina was finally released and they shut the prison gate behind her, she performed an old dance number popular in pre-reformation days. And, get this, she twerked the guard! Again and again. Her statement rang blatantly clear: she was not about to hop the bandwagon and sing bland songs, or worse, ditties so sickly sweet life would become for her darker, lonelier, drearier than her prison cell. No, she’d go down punching and scratching eyes out. Woman at twerk. Go fly a dirigible. Go pummel some old lady scavenging for lunch in a garbage hopper. I’ll twerk till the freaking cows come home.

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    Replies
    1. Okay, why no comments? This is profound.

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    2. TrIck or treating. Well played sal. Sorry i was late but about to sleep. And wonder...

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  31. I heave my dinner onto the pristine floor, uncontrollable spasms wrack my body as the magnitude of the situation sinks in.
    The room is lined on three sides with waist high, gilt edged counter tops.
    Each one holds an array of glass cylinders of various sizes. Each cylinder contains within it a body part, floating in a clear liquid.
    A pair of bronzed, perfectly toned legs bob up and down in one of them as if performing a macabre pas de deux.
    Over there in a small jar a cute turned up nose endlessly sniffing. Here, a pair of manicured hands appear to be waving lazily. Each display more hideous than the next. Only two containers stand empty, like a patient lover awaiting his beloved.
    How could I have been so stupid and naïve?
    I can still hear his voice declaring his undying love for me. Holding my face in his hands while he crooned about how beautiful my eyes are. I can see him in my minds eye telling me my mouth tasted like the sweetest wine as his tongue explored mine. I shudder, yeah right.
    He had asked me if he could keep me, a enigmatic smile playing on his lips and I had laughed and said yes, yes yes!
    He appears in the door way and panic grips me. It feels as though a million bees are trapped inside my breast I am so afraid.
    He’s looking at me with cold, angry eyes as if I have betrayed him and that is making me angry now. Anger is good, yes better than fear. His face has turned crimson which means he is also angry and that’s not so good.
    I watch him for a moment and size up my options which are pretty thin on the ground to be honest.
    I glance about quickly then dart to the left and grab one of the smaller jars and hurl it on the floor.
    It smashes with a load crash and two ears wearing sparking shards of glass as earrings, slither in the viscous liquid and stop near his feet.
    He lets out a scream of rage and I slam another jar to the ground. A mouth with a set of perfect white teeth skitters and lands near to the ears. Mr Potato Head on steroids springs to mind.
    Alex drops to his knees and scrabbles about with shaking hands to retrieve his precious, wailing and cursing all the while.
    I bolt past him and I run and run, out into the night and it’s raining or maybe I’m leaking and I struggle for oxygen. Everything is cryatallizing, those empty jars were meant for my eyes, for my tongue.
    Everything is spinning and I run faster and faster and the sky is below me and the ground is above and I’m running and running. I bug out my eyes and I stick out my tongue and I’m laughing, I’m crying. My world is whirling and I’m not me, I am me and I’m running and I’m hurting and it feels good.

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    Replies
    1. Ooh damn, that was close! Great piece.

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    2. Audrey, I love this. It has this surreal, psychotic thing going, and it's wonderful.

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    3. Yup. Love it. This is a vivid fright with a twist. Deadly.

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