Friday, October 17, 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. 

Lou stood in the darkness, listening for any sound that might change his plans. There was nothing. Distant snoring that was like a blackened afternoon, low summer rumbling. He hoped he would not cross paths with them, he had no distinct plan and it frightened him. He had plans, but they swept in and out of his brain appearing brilliant, then naive, before cycling back out. He walked slowly in clean white socks. He could see the outline of things, but it was the small mistakes that would cost him. A toy kicked across the room, a box of legos knocked off a table; the small obstacles were his enemy. 

With an agonizing patience, he stood in front of the shiny silver, which gleamed in the small slice of moonlight that suddenly filled the room. The clouds had passed, and the light was loud. Lou froze and waited for a sound. Hearing nothing, he slowly opened the door, bathing the kitchen in light. There it was, at the top. The remnants of his brother's birthday cake. He would wake up to crying and time outs, but, first, he would eat as much cake as he could stuff in his mouth.

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!

200 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. That's stellar, and great bait and switch :)

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    2. Gracias. I figured we'd start with something light. ;)

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    3. I love how expectations play a part. Given this is a Mader story, my initial thoughts (as you no doubt intended) were some mob guy on a hit.

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    4. Hey, a trick and a treat. Seasonal, yo.

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  2. He knew he shouldn't get on the bike. He's had a few too many, a combination of trying to chase away the blues and needing an excuse to stay in the bar a little longer, talking to the cute bartender and the nice drag queen who'd helped him hold up the bar most of the night. He'd had a hard time getting off the barstool without breaking his neck. It'd taken him longer than it should have to calculate the tip. Stumbling out of the bar and across the street had been a Herculean task. He shouldn't get on the bike.

    But he had to go home. He couldn't sleep on the street, and he couldn't leave his bike to be stolen or vandalized. So he'd ride the bike home.

    One, two, three attempts before he got a leg over and slid onto the seat. Two kicks before he got the stand up, but he was able to keep the bike upright. He flicked on the lights and took a deep breath, hoping for the best.

    With a disjointed prayer for safety, he adjusted his grip on the handlebars, picked up his feet...and peddled right into a lamppost.

    Yeah, riding the bike was not a good plan.

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    1. Nice! I like the ol' bait and switch. Unfortunately a lot of motorcyclists are this dumb. The rationalizations in the beginning work well and the language is really solid. Loving this piece. Bicycle was a complete surprise. :)

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    2. I agree... bait and switch was very well done. I've always been fascinated that "bike" can be used to describe two such very different means of conveyance!

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    3. Nicely done. I want to know more about this guy.

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    4. I liked this. It made me cackle. Would have loved to have heard the conversation between him and the drag queen.

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    5. another bait & switch! You guys are hot today. I cackled too, Lily, that's the only word for the sound that came from my mouth :)

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    6. Nancy DeCilio GauthierOctober 17, 2014 at 12:50 PM

      Oops, now his bike can surely be stolen since he's probably knocked himself out cold. He needs to invest in a good bike chain - lol. I thought - understandably, it was a motorcycle at first and he was going to crash - nice switch.

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    7. Perfectly executed. Unlike the character, lol.

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    8. Yeah, what they all said. Well done!

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    9. Was cringing all the way; bait and switch made me smile. Been a "biker" all my life and an EMT and I hated going on MC crashes

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    10. Great story! Like pretty much everyone else, I was thinking motorcycle! The twist at the end gave me a GOOD laugh!

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  3. A small creek, lined with autumn's gold aspen leaves. Blue sky with two or three white clouds. The sound of boots through fallen leaves and an occasional sucking sound of mud. The smell of almost-winter.

    He walked alone, but with his memories. He could almost see yesterday from the corners of his eyes.

    It's been a year. The bed is empty. The pillow has almost lost her scent.

    He walks, because he can. He walks, because she can't.

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    1. This is beautiful. Simple, poetic. I like this style. The imagery is painted softly, this whole piece has a whisper to it that I really like.

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    2. Yes! It whispers. And I love the last line.

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    3. Heartrendingly beautiful. You have a real gift for imagery and emotion.

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    4. Very poignant and equally beautiful imagery.

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    5. I love that after a year the pillow still holds her scent. Lovely and touching.

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    6. I love this understated minimalist thing. Gorgeous.

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    7. I was right there with all the senses and feelings. Beautiful.

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    8. Thank you! it means a lot to hear what you all think.

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    9. Like the minimalism very much!

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  4. (Okay, I went a little over two...)

    I’ll admit that the first time my head met a solid surface, it was a miscalculation; perhaps I’d been suffering from a sinus infection that had thrown my navigational abilities. But then I saw the lady in the cage. She was sitting straight as an arrow in front of a little box, her wingtips fluttering furiously against a device that sent squiggles up on the object in front of her. Fascinating. I perched outside her cage for a while, trying to get a better look. Then she began her song, in that funny, up-and-down way humans sing, and I guessed she was singing what was up on the object, because she appeared to scan it while she sang. I’d heard the humans sing before, some of their voices were quite nice and some dull and not worth a pause to listen. But this song from the lady in the cage was really lovely and soothed the ache in my head. It was telling me a story about a magician and his assistant, and it reminded me of my friend the dove, who was kept by a magician in a cage—a lot smaller than the one the lady was sitting in—and not treated very nicely at all. I wanted to tell the lady about my friend. Maybe she would sing to the other humans about my story. But mostly I wanted her free from the cage. That’s why I kept trying to get her attention. I wanted her to know that she didn’t have to be stuck inside there. That she could come outside and sing her story while we flew circles around the trees. I’ve never seen humans fly, but maybe they could. Maybe they just weren’t trying hard enough. This lady human, though, I’d bet all the grubs in my nest that she could have done it if she tried.

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    1. :) I love it. Interesting perspective switch and playful without being frivolous. Well played, lady.

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    2. Napoleon, I think you are an amazing author, and a kind and generous bird. ::thump::

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    3. What they said. Also, I have no idea why, but this made my eyes leak (right around the part where he wants to free her from her cage). Love it. :)

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    4. Nancy DeCilio GauthierOctober 17, 2014 at 11:06 AM

      Napoleon !! = Love it.

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    5. So many intriguing things here. Brilliant twist.

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    6. I love Napoleon's voice. Now that you know what's in his head, will you answer the thump?

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    7. Yeah, this has some curiously emotional moments that tripped me up.

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    8. Brilliant and sweet. Love it.

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    9. What they all said. Wish I could be that smart!

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  5. I've tried everything to get her attention. I've danced on air. I've pirouetted in the wind. I've knocked at her windows. Still, she ignores me most of the time, though occasionally she'll turn and smile.

    Her song is not a happy one. I wonder what the notes mean? Dedlynes. Tak sus. Surely these are directions to her food stash, or where she will rendezvous with her mate. Perhaps they are memories of her ancestors. Human song is so fascinating to me.

    I wish I might see her fly. They seem to be quick learners, at least in some situations. It's a sad thing that the Maker has given them such plain coloring. She'd look lovely in red or blue. Still, the Maker has given the females plain coverings. Perhaps the male of her species is more colorful. Perhaps he sings. Perhaps he flies.

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  6. She arises at dawn, bastes the turkey, and puts it in the oven. Every half hour, the oven is opened and the skin is brushed with her secret basting sauce. Orange juice and Grand Marnier. The same way she'd done it for forty years, since the first year they were married.

    She'd made the pumpkin pie from scratch yesterday. Just barely had enough spices. She'd updated her shopping list for her next run into town. What on earth would she have done if there hadn't been enough? She was getting forgetful in her old age.

    The last hour was always trickiest. Making sure the bird had time to rest on the counter, that the dinner rolls were just brown enough, that the marshmallows melted exactly the right amount on the sweet potatoes. Wine! Thank goodness the white didn't need to breathe so long.

    Water, wine, last check of silver and china, napkins perfectly starched and folded. Finally she sat down, at a table with a single place setting. Tradition must be maintained at all costs.

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    1. Okay LD you are just not allowed to make me sad and hungry . . . at the SAME time.

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    2. What Lily said. Though we had turkey last weekend so.... not ready. But I am going to steal the whole OJ/GM basting thing. Num!

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    3. Add a little melted butter to the OJ/GM mix near the end... it helps brown the skin....

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    4. Thanks for the tip! I can smell Christmas now...

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    5. Oooh, this one is dope. Such a sad reveal at the end. Very real, though. Very sad. And I want a turkey sandwich.

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    6. There'll be a ton of leftovers, I promise.

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  7. She was, she realized, that "woman of a certain age" that she had feared becoming. The awareness came somewhere between her fussing with the fringe on the pillow and picking up her tattered copy of "A Room of One's Own." The silly book had been with her since high school some forty years ago.

    She was so au courant then. Among the first of her peers to refuse to wear pantyhose to school, claiming it was an unnecessary form of male domination.

    She'd carried her protest signs through the years, volunteered at the clinics, saved kittens from impending deaths, even had a child she'd raised until...

    The windows really do need cleaning. I am going to have to remind the maid. So hard to get good help these days.

    She rang for a taxi. She still had an hour to ready herself for lunch with the girls. With the girls who were also of a certain age.

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    1. How things change. From protests to pedicures... Nicely done.

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    2. Julie, that line... from protests to pedicures... is PERFECT. Thank you!

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    3. Yeah, this is a cool twist on bildungsroman flash. I like the projection and the sly observatory tone. Very nice.

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    4. One of my favorite writing words, "bildungsroman." Thanks for liking the story!

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  8. She couldn’t be sure what triggered the pain in her head. She was experiencing some kind of gilded harmony most of the morning and then, WHAM the pain leveled her. It attacked behind the eyes initially leaving her semi-sightless with her teeth tightly clenched, as if glued together.

    She ate something less than an hour ago so that was an unlikely source for the sudden and extreme discomfort. She took two Alleve, instead of the suggested one. One was for neophytes who thought a hangnail symbolized acute pain. She even had an obligatory caffeine jolt at her favorite café, which could usually put her in a misery free zone in record time.

    Yet another hour later the headache remained and that’s when she started to suspect this was a big picture ache – perhaps something that touched on a lot more than the typical stressors in her life. The idea that this might be in direct correlation to her houseguest’s impending arrival occurred to her and with it a fervent prayer for some form of deep brain reflexology to handle what was likely to be a very long weekend.

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    1. I'm now reaching for my own aspirin and caffeine. This was wonderfully (painfully) descriptive. I've had headaches and houseguests like that. I try to never invite them back.

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    2. "One was for neophytes who thought a hangnail symbolized acute pain." - love that.

      We've all "been there," and this piece describes it well.

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    3. Well described indeed. Love the neophyte line - and totally agree with it.

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    4. That is a great line. I like this whole piece. I often wonder how many physical problems result from stress. Very well portrayed.

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    5. I hate to be a ditto-head, but yeah - ditto all of the above.

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  9. Autumn skies are the most confusing and therefore the most interesting, he thought to himself. One can never be certain whether they hold the threat (or the promise?) of rain or snow.

    The trees in their gold and scarlet and orange splendor are restless in their rustling. Whispers amongst themselves, guessing at the weather too.

    From somewhere, the smell of burning leaves. Pungent, carrying the memories of summers past and the promises of winters to come. Illegal, now, but who could not be transported by the smoke?

    Perhaps he should get a dog. Someone to keep him company, to walk with him, to share his table and his bed. A puppy? An adult? A rescue? The effort for deciding is too much right now, for the clouds have made up their minds.

    Rain. Gentle, not-cold, not-warm rain. He turns his face to the sky and smiles. He removes his hat. He dances through the leaves. For a moment, he is Gene Kelly, singing in the rain and leaves. He laughs.

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    Replies
    1. The simple joy of reveling in the moment, and in nature, beautifully portrayed.

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    2. Agreed. Autumn is a lonely, joyful, strange time. And that is reflected in the tone and wonder. Excellent piece, Leland.

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    3. Wow, even the comments are hitting me in the emotional solar plexus!

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  10. “I winned that one when we was playin’ Woodrow Wilson,” Paulie said, pointing to the football trophy on the dusty mantle.

    “You went to high school?”

    Paulie looked at neighbor Montrose as if the old man had two heads. “Sure did. I done five years at Sandstone High.” Paulie’s scraggly face flashed a rosy neon of country pride. “They called me ‘Touchdown King.’ I was a hero.”

    Montrose, infamous for his sarcastic barbs, asked Paulie, “You absent when they taught grammar?” But Paulie missed the old man’s intent, despite his toothless cackle and playful punch to Paulie’s massive forearm.

    His hand patting the trophy, Paulie explained. “Had me some flu first year. Second, kissin’ disease. You know, mono-nook somethin’. Junior year Paw Paw swallered a catfish bone and done choked to death. I missed some a spring practice.”

    He wasn’t a bad fellow, thought Montrose. A bit dented in the head. About as swift as water sitting on the stove waiting to boil. But he liked Paulie. Big as he was he wouldn’t badmouth a soul or raise his voice or spout filthy language like the doctor’s son or pick fights just to see a man go down like a sack of stones. Montrose knew concussions will do that. Too many touchdowns, pile-ups, love of the game after the games are long over.

    “Stop by again, Mr. Montrose,” Paulie said.

    The old man took that as his cue and left.

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    Replies
    1. I really like that last full paragraph, comparing Paulie to the doctor's son. That makes the piece.

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    2. Yes, it turned it from slightly comical to dramatic and sad. Nice range of emotions in such a short piece

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    3. Agree with you guys. Done right, like here, funny and sad are true siblings.

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    4. Yep, DA said it well. Siblings. This is an interesting piece in comparison to your other pieces, too. You are a very talented chameleon, Sal.

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    5. That's supposed to be a compliment. Sounds weird in my head now.

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    6. I take all these comments as compliments and thank you all for them. I like writing about protagonists who are heroes and those who stand on the jamb of being heroes though never quite make it. In one way or another I suppose we are all almost-heroes but we battle anyway.

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  11. Nancy DeCilio GauthierOctober 17, 2014 at 11:16 AM

    He liked being a nurse. No one usually wants to work the night shift; but he relished it. The hospital he worked in wasn't in the best neighborhood. That just suited him fine. Several young women had gone missing lately - last seen near the far parking lot of the west wing of the hospital. Police were looking in the area for possible suspects. He often saw them on patrol, always greeting him since he wore his white scrubs and had hospital ID. Just like the purloined letter - hiding in plain sight, he chuckled to himself. Ah, there is always another victim and there she was. Young and vibrant, she probably just got off the local bus route. At first she was nervous seeing a man walking towards her; then he could feel her palpable relief seeing his whites and that same good old ID. He approached her thinking this one would be easy. He got closer, smiled at her and put up his hand as if to greet. Next think he knew, he was pulled in by some inhuman force and at the last moment - he saw the fangs descending onto his neck. She took revenge for all the poor innocent women who had suffered at his hand.

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    1. Ohhhh! JUSTICE! You completely caught me by surprise! Beautifully done!

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    2. Was not expecting the twist at the end. Well done. :D

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    3. It's bait and switch day! Love justice swiftly delivered.

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    4. Oh man...if only it was nonfiction. Great piece.

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    5. VERY nicely done! I love a good revenge story.

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  12. He went to the tree twice a year, the tree that remembered the only rule he'd ever broken. In January, 1941, he'd asked Eleanor to marry him under this tree, after he'd spent half the night carving a perfect heart and their initials, joined by a plus sign, in this tree. Birch or aspen, he didn't know much about trees.

    How he remembered her laughter when he asked, and how she said it was too soon, but she'd think about it. So every January 14, he came to this tree and touched the scar of that haart, of those initials.

    The magic of that early spring, those many years ago... the violets he'd brought her, and roses when they came to bloom. Every Saturday night he courted her. He could still smell her perfume.

    Every July 21, he came to visit the tree, too, the tree that marked his only transgression, remembering when he asked her if she'd made up her mind about marrying him. He still carried the knife he'd used to carve their initials in the tree, and the word YES into her flesh when she said no to his proposal.

    The only rule he'd ever broken.

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    1. oh, crap. That was a shock. At first I thought the transgression would be him cheating on her under that tree.. Yikes...

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    2. The evil that lurks in the hearts of men scorned under trees....

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    3. Didn't see that one coming. Surprise ending day! :D

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    4. Nancy DeCilio GauthierOctober 17, 2014 at 12:46 PM

      Great, and I have to admit with my age - I could see it coming; or maybe it's all the horror books I read through the years. LOL. Well done, Leland !

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    5. My favorite. I love surprise endings.

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    6. Wow. Yeah, mad power. Didn't see that coming at all.

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    7. Love this: Birch or aspen, he didn't know much about trees.

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    8. Yowie; didn't see that one coming.

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  13. The bus belched and groaned up the long hill toward home. Two lefts and a right and he’d be there. He’d be back. But to what?

    He held his breath and knotted his hands together, letting his heart keep time to the melody in his head.

    The bus ached around the corner. He craned his neck. All he’d asked for was one ribbon. One fucking yellow ribbon to give him hope, give him something to come home for. No ribbon. Hell, the whole damn tree had been hacked down, nothing but a foot of stump and a mess of slivers and sawdust.

    “Oak Street.” The bus ground to a stop and the door wheezed open.

    He stayed put, his forehead against the grimy window, staring at the place his heart used to live. The door closed and the bus lurched forward.

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    1. Ouch, ouch, ouch! Take that cliche and twist it till it hurts... well done! I'm especially fond of "bus ached around the corner"....

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    2. :). I've had Tony Orlando in my head all morning. I had to exorcise him...

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    3. Damn, now you've passed the ear worm on!

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    4. You nailed that forlorn sense of 'can't go home again'. Nice job.

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    5. Yup. Nailed it. And I agree about the aching bus. :)

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    6. Flippant comments aside, I also agree with the other hooligans here.

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    7. I love the dittoheads! :D And David, Dittohead - total punk band name.

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  14. The sea boiled pale blue against the white October sky. She ripped open the plastic bag of candy corn and ate one after the other, losing herself in the place where water and horizon met. The sand wasn’t as soft as she’d thought, nor as warm, and the chill seeped through the seat of her jeans. Home wasn’t an option, however. And she’d already spent two hours riding the subway, changing from one line to the next, without thought, and eventually ended up here. She didn’t see the man until he was next to her. His hair was long and he wore one of those Guatemalan sweatshirts that she’d always hated. But his eyes were kind, the same color as the ocean. Without words they worked out an agreement that he would sit with her, and share her candy corn. She remembered all the warnings from her parents about strangers with candy, but to him she was the stranger, and she had the candy. She shrugged to herself and continued their silent conversation. Eventually, though, he cleared his throat and said, “So, uh, what are you doing out here?”
    In response, she rose and, leaving him the bag, began walking toward the roiling waves.

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    1. wow.... I just tried to wipe sand off the seat of my pants... how do you DO that? you always take me right to the place you're describing...

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    2. Ditto (I am channeling David. And leaving him nothing to say...)

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    3. No, I'm the ditto-head this week! Great piece.

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    4. Yup love it. Eating candy corn one by one? Communism.

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  15. She wasn't his type. He was rock n roll to his core, leather jackets and motorcycle boots. She was Ropers and Wranglers...or maybe bullets and bling, like her tight, low-cut t-shirt proclaimed. But something about her made something in him sit up and pay attention. Something he'd thought he'd lost a long, long time ago.

    She flashed him a smile and held something out to him. Glancing down, he sighed. He shook the royal blue hair out of his eyes, and took the scrap of paper she's offered him. Scrawled his name on it with a Sharpie and handed it back. She smiled again and walked away with her gaggle of girlfriends, and he turned to the next fan, forcing a smile to his lips. Forcing himself to forget her would be whole lot harder.

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    1. Interesting perspective. I like it and want to read more.

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    2. I'm thinking this might be another stand-alone short story for me. The character's come out to play quite a lot at this point, and he's had a short story of his own, but I like him a lot, and I want to see how this plays out!

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    3. Bullets and Bling. Hells yeah. I love this piece. Make more please.

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    4. Can't take credit for "bullets and bling. " that's an actual Red Chapter t-shirt. :)

      And thanks, folks. <3

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  16. Take me as you find me. That's the best I can offer you. That's all that anyone can do, if they're honest. You may get some folk that say different. But they're lying.

    If you're lucky, they're lying to themselves. That's bad enough. But at least they only changing their own universe. Turning themselves inside out, brewing up their own resentments and building them their own miniature black hole of guilt and spite that'll feed on itself and just grow larger and larger until BANG!
    Game over. Insert fifty cents now to continue.

    Now me? I'm different. I'll always tell you the truth. Yeah, I'm BRUTALLY honest. ALWAYS! Maybe you'll disagree with me when I spit it back in your face, but at least you'll know where you stand with me.

    And I'll not be buying an Armalite rifle and spraying rounds through your kids.

    Everybody's happy!

    Right?

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    1. I like how it becomes something very different depending on whether we believe the narrator to be reliable or not.

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    2. Yeah, Antrobus nailed it. Neat trick. I like this piece a lot. The narrator makes a seemingly simple story uber complex. You're gonna hurt my brains. ;)

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  17. *WARNING: This is pretty gross.

    His fly wasn’t open every time he answered the door – only when she’d have to run out for more supplies and he knew she’d be back in a jiff. It wasn’t just that the barn door was open; it was how the zipper was spread apart, like a hand interrupted by a doorbell. How best to process the vision of him sitting there yanking it for the five or ten minutes he waited for her? Simple. She didn’t.

    She assumed that most bachelors who lived alone developed a healthy intolerance to filth, a form of blindness that extends to smell. But once she stepped into the bathroom she’d been hired to clean, her brain automatically psychoanalyzed him. Pop-psychology diagnosis: chronic masturbator with a possible filth fetish. If she were any other person she knew, she’d have run, screaming, all the way back across the street to the relative wholesomeness of her own messy home. But she didn’t. And not solely because he paid well. Okay, mostly because he paid well.

    Another instinct kicked in: the urge to make clean what was dirty, to set right what was wrong, or at least make it appear alright for the real estate appraiser he was expecting the next day. There was something else, too. She couldn’t stop wondering how the multicolored splatters managed to traverse the bathroom threshold and land all over the hall closet door. So many questions that no one would ever ask and yet, like armchair accident investigators, we sort of want to know how these things occur. Don’t we?

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    1. Ha ha, you are the forensic investigator of gross. Seriously, you do it so well. I've probably asked you this, but have you read Wetlands yet?

      Like that book, this short piece has way more than repulsion going on.

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    2. Another instinct kicked in: the urge to make clean what was dirty, to set right what was wrong - nice!. This piece didn't gross me out that much. I'm not sure what that means. I love the story though.

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    3. My turn for a ditto... Not nearly as grossed out as curious, both about him and her...

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  18. Benjamin Brown lived in the apartment directly above mine.
    Except for a curt hello in passing, we hadn’t had a conversation. There was something about him I didn’t like. He was a good twenty years older than me but that wasn’t the reason I avoided him.
    When he looked at me I felt as if he could see inside my mind, it really creeped me out. He would blatantly sweep his shifty eyes over me from head to foot, pause on my breasts before staring directly at me with a lascivious smirk on his face. He made my flesh crawl and I avoided him like the plague.
    Which is why I could not for the life of me, understand why I had dreamt about him every night for the past three weeks.
    At first he had appeared randomly, just an image along with several other people in some crazy, meaningless scenario, quite harmless in the way dreams usually are.
    By the second week his presence had begun to dominate my dreams to the point I would wake up panting and scared lying in a pool of sweat.
    This week he had leered and pawed me and attempted to restrain me (in my dream) and it had been so realistic I felt like it wasn’t a dream at all but reality. I had woken with bruises on my wrists where he had grabbed me and could hear the sound of his sadistic laughter even after I had jumped awake from the nightmare.
    I was petrified and afraid to go to sleep, sitting for hours in the early hours drinking coffee, reading, pacing my bedroom floor. Anything to stop myself from drifting, no, falling into the hell I went to if I closed my eyes.
    The last time I had woken after the most vicious dream yet, I was horrified to see his liver-spotted hand reaching through thin air trying to snatch me back into the dream before jerking back through a crack in the ether and disappearing.
    My first thought when I finally stopped screaming was I must be hallucinating from lack of sleep and stress from continuous bad dreams but somehow I knew it was real. It had happened and I was terrified.
    Today I had crept into his apartment when I was sure he was out. I copied his computer files onto a micro chip and watched with disbelief the horrors unfolding before me on my screen.
    I spent the rest of the day entering numbers and codes into my pc and linking it up to Mr Browns hard drive after I’d hacked it and buying it so deep in he would never find it. A said a silent prayer to the computer Gods and to my dad for inheriting his computer whizz genes then prepared myself for bed.
    Benjamin Brown was lying on a bed covered with black satin sheets, naked except for a cowboy hat cocked at a jaunty angle on his head, He was surrounded by a bevvy of beautiful big breasted woman and was literally salivating as they gyrated around him.
    “Thankyou ladies, I’ll take it from here,” I said and they dispersed in a puff of golden mist.
    I swayed up to him dressed in the outfit he liked best in my dreams. 6 inch spiked stilettos and a a black shiny bikini.
    His eyes burned with lust and he licked his disgusting thick lips saying “I knew you’d come round to my way of thinking, bitches like you love it really. You have come to me in MY dream slut!”
    I placed a finger to his lips to silence him as I hand cuffed him spread eagled on the bed.
    “Yes, this is your dream Benny boy, and I’m your worst fucking nightmare!” I said as I sliced the knife over his belly and down, down…..

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    1. Wow, Inception, Freddie Krueger, and now this? That's it, I'm not sleeping any more. ;)

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    2. It seemed like a good idea in my head but came out all wrong. Worth working on the concept maybe....

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    3. I don't think it came out wrong. It came out. That's the great part of this kind of exercise. There may be minor things that don't sync, but there is SO much gold in here.

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    4. Well said. "It came out." Exactly.

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    5. Never ever ever use the word "wrong" about something you've gotten out on virtual paper... maybe you want it to be different, in a different voice, or whatever, but the very hardest part of writing is the birthing process... you've done that now... decide how you want to mold it.

      I'm not sleeping any more either.

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  19. Gonna post the rest of this on my blog as it wants to be longer. I'll post a link here when I do, in case anyone's mad enough to want to see how it ends. It's called Storage.
    __________________________

    We walked here.

    It was one of those late summer, early fall evenings characterized by a lack of anything at all: flat light, birdless, airless; what scant and spindly greenery could be seen was buried in the dust of a long dry season. Dimensionless.

    She fumbled with her keys, looking for the one that fit the padlock on the storage locker. She had a compulsion to juggle her things in the endless shell game of her life back then, a thwarted nesting drive. Milk crates that doubled as shelves. Recipes. A plastic hamster cage. Tarot decks. Hardcover sex manuals. Faded things.

    The parking lot was mostly deserted, its corners crumbling where smug, ungainly weeds pushed through asphalt with little apparent effort. A line of ants, not quite uniform, made its staccato way amid these uneven thickets, and my mind soared in a dizzying crane shot to I-5 and its lonely north-south freight bounded here so close by these tired stripmalls and young conifered hills.

    She was a short woman with a woman's figure; lovely in her way. That night she wore faded blue jeans and a tight electric-blue T-shirt that paid homage to her ample breasts. I looked at her ass from behind, semi-lecherously, but my soft jazz heart was syncopated, distracted. My accolades were more cerebral than visceral.

    She found her key, gave me the arched-eyebrow you stay there look, entered the ranks of storage units, with their sharp reek of neglect and even loss, and said something in passing to Carla, the alarmingly stooped attendant who sat reading piss-yellow paperbacks in the side office, an ancient catatonic dog draped across her hot slippered feet.

    Outside, the muted rush of the cars on Samish Way, heading for town or the nearby interstate.

    I knew she would take a while, armed as she was with the knowledge of my impatience at having to wait in any place this fucking sad. Such details stored as arrows in a quiver, for small wounds only. I stood and paced in many places of sorrow waiting for this woman. In some ways I still do.

    No real surprise there: wounded was the name of the place we met.

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    1. Definitely want to read more.

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    2. This is a longer story I want to read while curled up on the couch with "an ancient catatonic dog draped across (my) hot slippered feet." Beautiful writing, as usual.

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    3. Yup. Well in, brother. I look forward to reading the rest. Ace.

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    4. Here's the rest, as promised. Or threatened. Take your pick. ;)

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    5. Sheer poetry... you have an ear for language that I admire greatly... I don't know another writer who could come up with "...details stored as arrows in a quiver..." It's writing such as this that makes me hate microfiction, as I'd like to draw a bath, pour a glass of champagne, and luxuriate in your words... Thank you.

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    6. The admiration goes both ways, Leland. As it does with so many of these pieces. Some serious talent around these parts.

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  20. She sits alone at a table in the large dining room of the Winter Lakes Hotel.
    All the tables are full. Occupied by smart couples, trendy ladies lunching out laden with purchases from expensive boutiquesbought with limitless credit cards.
    All are chattering, smiling, gossiping. The need to impress thier peers evident by the sidelong glances at who has the biggest Harrods bag or Tiffany gift boxes here and ther placed prominently beside a wine glass.
    She observes all this as her eyes sweep the room.
    She is invisible to them. Why would they notice an elderly lady with blue rinsed hair however immaculate styled. Her navy blue tweed suit though beautifully cut and a perfect fit on her ample frame is of no interest to these rich young things.
    She holds her back errect, both hands resting atop her gold capped walking cane.. Scarlet lipstick bleeds into ravine like wrinkles around her once full lips. Bright blue liner emphasises the folds around her eyes.
    She has been trying to attract a waiter to bring her afternoon tea but they pretend not to notice. They go where the tips are, flock to the the beck and call of the golf set.
    She used to come here with Gerald over 50 years ago. A string quartet used to play here then, not this tuneless racket that passes for music these days.
    They would dance the waltz or maybe a tango. They had REAL class in those days.
    She picks up her empty glass beside the caraffe of water and impulsively throws it onto the marble tiles. It shatters with a loud smash. The room becomes silent, all eyes turn to look towards the sound.
    She rises elegantly, grips her cane and returns thier stares with a haughty glance.
    The chatter starts up again, someone sickers and whisper behind thier hand. A couple of anorexic looking women with impossibly large breasts giggle and roll thier eyes.

    For a brief moment she wasn't invisible. Head held high she makes her way to the entrance humming memories of another era.

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    1. Aw. Sad. I like the touch of defiance but it's a tiny victory. :(

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    2. Bad spelling and missing letters and words.....rushing to stick to the time limit! I don't read it through till I've posted. Oh well. :)

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    3. Spelling and missing letter is the name of the 2 minutes. I love this piece and the defiance. And this line: Scarlet lipstick bleeds into ravine like wrinkles around her once full lips. - such brilliant imagery, I could see her in a flash, just from that.

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  21. I've always liked the way a Zippo feels. Smooth, cold, and you can feel the quality. This one is special. My gal gave it to me right before I shipped out.
    I can't feel my leg. It got trapped between two pieces of steel when the German shell exploded under our tank. All I can feel and smell is the diesel fuel that covers me and everything around me. I can hear the Krauts talking as they poke around in the wreckage. They're getting closer - climbing on my tank now.
    There's that familiar "chik" sound as the Zippo flips open, the "skritch" of the steel on flint and then

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    1. Oh, I like this one, brother. The zippo, the gentle defiance. Very, very nice. I like stories built around a central image/object that span out. Well in. :)

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    2. Weird, I was just watching that Hitchcock Presents story, "The Man From The South," that heavily features a Zippo lighter. Nicely done.

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    3. I, too, love the Zippo... I think when I quit smoking I missed the Zippo more than the cigarettes... believable descriptions throughout... well done!

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    4. Gentlemen, thanks so much for the kind comments, and for making me feel welcome in this wonderful asylum!

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    5. lol. Truth. I still have my Zippo, but I just do tricks with it now.

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  22. The gentle wind, like a bow over catgut, shimmers the leaves. The forest is an orchestra tuning itself.

    You step into the clearing and I take aim.

    The wind dies, of a sudden. First there is no sound. Then there is terrible sound.

    It's not a clean shot. On your knees, eyes dismal with pain, you beg me. "Please. Please." I should finish you off. But I am weak, and I run. Keep on running.

    The wind picks up and has yet to abate. It's become a howl, and there is no peace or respite, even here in this inebriated bordertown where so many gather to forget pasts that outright refuse to be cut adrift and only blow harder, gust louder.

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    1. Oh, I LIKE this one. I like them all, but this one is spare and cold and tight. Vicious. Nice work, brother.

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    2. It's funny. Inspired by Leland's minimalist piece up there and, perhaps less consciously, by your own style, at least up until that last sentence.

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    3. My grandmother taught me that silver that was perfect had no etched designs on it... that such designs were invented to cover up flaws in the crafting of the silver... I think the same is true of writing... writing this spare has room for no flaws, and your craftsmanship ensures that there are none. Beautifully done.

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    4. Then this has come full circle (like a silver ring, lol), since it was your equally spare and lovely piece above—the one with the man who walks, because he can—that inspired this. It's almost like every piece is a flint, sparking off others, as if we're all in a giant Zippo lighter here. :D

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    5. LOL... But seriously, these sorts of group-writes are an absolute inspiration. We learn from each other, we reflect off each other, we polish one another's chrome... (I threw that chrome thing in for the biker guy)... It's a joy to be around you all...

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    6. What Leland said. And what Leland said later, too. I love how the inspiration and such flows here.

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  23. The morning crept up like a drunkard in a crystal shop. Another night of sleepless fits, half-remembered dreams with a face he couldn't quite remember and a place he wished he could forget. He vacantly tossed the sweatsoaked nightshirt in the bin as he sluggishly made his way toward the bathroom. Another night of open-mouthed breathing had made his toothbrush a moral imperative. God, that smell... His mind began the normal inventory which stretched first to recall the day as the fog of the night began to fade... Yes, it was Friday! This was the day it all would change...

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    1. I love the ominous feeling this one gives me. (Oops, posted this in the wrong place initially.)

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    2. Sweet! You got it. I like this piece a lot. Relatable for sure and honest. I dig the flow and the tumble, too. Nicely done, Brent.

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    3. Good stuff... dark, painful, and easily identified with... thank you.

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    4. The first line nailed me to the wall..
      "The morning crept up like a drunkard in a crystal shop"...that's a great phrase. My mind doesn't work like that. Well played.

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  25. You gotta give it up. They gave it to you, wrapped in fake smiles and cheap perfume. They told you all that mattered was what it looked like from the outside - be the polite boy they want you to be, it will make things easier. Give up? Not a concept you can jive with. Or jitterbug. Is the jive a dance? Pretty sure.

    So, surrender and let's the chips fall so you can set them upright. Up RIGHT. Fucking fix all the wrongs by letting go, but the shame and pain make the engine run and you don't want it to stop even though it has to.

    You're never going to be that polite boy. That polite man. Not the way they mean it. And that's the saddest part - they use words to hurt, and you just try to make them into a flashlight. And you do try to be polite, but to them, polite and dishonesty are synonyms.

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    1. Trapped. "Flashlight" leaps off the page. Brilliant.

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    2. Yep, "flashlight" is brilliant, and "shame and pain make the engine run" is, too.

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  27. After a couple of days in the wilderness, you grow comfortable with the quiet, but it's the silence that is terrifying.

    He listened to the evening birdsong as the sun set red on the horizon. Rinsing his metal pan and plate in the water that ran cold over his hands. Two days left on his trip. Two days before he returned to his desk in the smoggy city.

    He heard it immediately. He heard the nothingness. The birds went silent. He paused his washing, afraid the metal would somehow spark an explosion. Somehow, he knew to move slowly, to be invisible through slowness. He listened to make sure his eyes did not make a sound.

    And there. Across the creek. Ten points of antlers. Half a ton of grace. An elk bugled at him. And it was good.

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    1. This was the guy who inspired me with a visit this week: https://www.facebook.com/SLVHermit/media_set?set=a.10204909093907959.1073742462.1258602948&type=1&notif_t=like

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    2. That is beautiful. And I don't think I breathed either. I love the play of quiet and silence in the beginning. Very nice. Confident. Beautiful peace. I misspelled that, but maybe I didn't.

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    3. Thank you! and Dan, you have the best "misspellings"

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  29. A doctor barely old enough to shave told him they could do no more for his bum hip, so the punk had the nerve to look him in the eye and tell him that he had to just “find a new normal.” He still didn’t know what the hell that meant. But he did learn how to make an uneasy friendship with the fast-slow hitch-step of dragging his bad leg behind him, and he took up walking. Not to the mailbox and back, but two, three miles every day, wet, dry, cold, hot, he took to the road, pulling his windbreaker tight against the weather. His wife said it would keep him alive. Mainly he thought his wife wanted to keep him out of the house, so she could do her chores and such without him underfoot. So he walked, until his good leg tired, sometimes needing to hitchhike back home, smiling and waving at a neighbor kind enough to give him a lift, kind enough to allow him as much old normal as he needed.

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    1. Ohhh... I like this... and I'm glad he found his own normal, old or new or whatever. And bless his wife. You know, you made me like a whole lot of characters in a very short piece. Well done!

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    2. Hybrid normal! But yes, this is touching.

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    3. Agreed. And it is an astoundingly compact universe in there. Humanity.

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  30. You could tell the biker had played poker more than a few times before in his life. His face had only two modes: off and anger. The anger had nothing to do with the cards and everything to do with the other people at the table.

    "I'll see your adverb and raise you one ellipsis," the man from Colorado said, with enough optimism in his voice to make the other players look at him twice.

    The cool as a cucumber guy from Canada looked 'em both over, his face coloring--no, colouring--with worry. White was a colour, right?

    Then the dame from New York busted through the doors, spilling a whole trayful of whiskey glasses on the table. As the guys got up, she retrieved her derringer from her garter holster.

    Poker faces don't count for much when you've got a gun waving in your face.

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    1. He shoots, he scores! Well played. (Puns definitely intended.)

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    2. Ha! This is awesome. Man, we could throw one hell of a disastrous, mayhem filled party. ;)

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  31. I just want to say I honestly love them all. Every single 2 minutes written on here tonight by everyone.
    I haven't commented on them all simply because it's so flippin late here in the UK by the time I get to posting anything.
    Each lego, chrome, silver, windy, sea boiled, bus belching one of them. It's a privilage to add my tiny voice and to read such imaginative, delicious 2 minute slivers of your collective minds.
    I just woke up from a super weird dream, it's 4.30 am.....I'm diving back into my dream now, catch you all on the other side.
    Carry on. :)

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    1. It's a joy to have you here, too! Thank you!

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    2. Thanks Audrey. You know how much it means to me when you join us. oxox

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    3. I so agree with you, Audrey, In Dallas and no time to comment, cut I read everything and it has become my Friday (and now Sunday) high. Better than decaf coffee!

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  32. I got one more in me, sure, I do. You say the 'sure' like 'shore' - makes you sound like some kind of half-wit otherwise. Say the damn word right. You don't get to tell me when's when, either, so get that self-righteous look off your face. Laugh at the futility - you gotta laugh like you mean it. Like you got a pair. I mean, fucking laugh! Laughing with restraint is like dry humping.

    I said I ain't going anywhere. You can ugly eye all you want, it don't mean a damn thing. I know you got a million made up aunts and grannies and they're all wise as Solomon and sweet like cobbler. Please.

    At least just look. Just really look. Eye to eye. No sly changes of angle to hide neck flesh. Nothing studied, no posing. Just you and the mirror. You can do it one more time. Hell, one more time ain't shit. I got this knocked and I'm half asleep.

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  33. He held the sleeping child in his arms for the first time. A child he had never seen before that day. One that he should have been, by rights, present for it's birth. His child. And yet he had missed that important day in the child's life.

    I also posted it to my blog: http://tainiwrites.wordpress.com/2014/10/17/writingchallenge-2-minutes-go-his-child/

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