Friday, April 17, 2015

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. 

There is a smell to them. They look with secret eyes, yellowed and dripping - there is the rush of wind in your brain and you wonder where it comes from. They aren't big. Short and sturdy like country kids, they'd look almost wholesome if it wasn't for their faces. 

The eyes are part of it; they are a sick malignancy. The smell doesn't help, it's pungency creeps onto your tongue and you can taste the blood. Still, it would be alright if it was just the faces, just the smell. You watch them writhe in the morning air and your whole body revolts - a thousand 'what if' explosions in your brain. 

Even as they begin to feed, you can do nothing but wonder. But the fear is gone somehow, replaced by resignation.

Thanks for stopping by! I'll be out MOST of today (working, no computer) but, rest assured, I'll be reading everything and commenting as I have time, so check back. Post your pieces on your blogs, telephone poles, passing pedestrians, etc. if you like...it's a fun web o' writing.

#2minutesgo

129 comments:

  1. Mr. Mader.... that's creepy and wonderful... "Even as they begin to feed..." is goosebump material. Well done!

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    1. Yes! What Leland said..."They look with secret eyes..." Love it.

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    2. ..it's pungency creeps onto your tongue
      I love that you mix smell and taste. It works so well.

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    3. There were some explosions in my brain reading this. Nice work.

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  2. Another night of nightmares and not much sleep. He really doesn’t know how much longer he can go on this way. People at the office are starting to comment on the bags under his eyes. He hears the whispers. He hears everything.
    Last night’s dream is still crystal clear. He can feel the knife in his hand, smell the blood, hear her screams. He shakes his head. Coffee. Coffee is what he needs to clear his head. He scratches the hair on his chest, yawns, and makes his way to the kitchen.
    The sink is full of dishes. Gonna have to wash them today. He grabs a cup, inspects it to make sure there’s not a bug or something else in it. He places his feet carefully on the floor as he pours the coffee.
    He is gonna have to get rid of the body. The smell is getting to be too much for him to enjoy his morning coffee. He almost tripped over it as he ponders what color tie will go with the pinstripe suit. Red, he thinks. Blood red.

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    1. Ooooh, love the duality of normalcy with the nightmare of the other reality.

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    2. Oooh. What Yvonne said. Love the counterpoint.

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    3. Yep nice juxtaposition of creepy and everyday. And btw is this the Halloween 2minutesGo and nobody told me?

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    4. I like how the dream is almost real-er than the reality...Well done!

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    5. Agreed. Really cool piece. Teresa's right. Makes the ending super strong. Well played.

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    6. Thanks! I appreciate the kind words!

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  3. Sean deeply inhaled the cool, salty sea air and relished the moment. Such bits of tranquility were few and precious in the life of a pop star whose career was exploding like a kilo of gelignite. To most, he was McLovin, the Irish pop / R&B / neo-soul sensation who charmed the world with his rugged yet soulfully sensitive crooning, and how fit he looked in snug jeans and a leather vest with no shirt. But here in County Wicklow, he was just Sean Murphy. The younger son of a shop lady and the captain of a small fishing boat, from a quaint coastal suburb of Dublin. He had two weeks off before beginning his first world tour, and there were people who wanted him to spend them in London, New York, Tokyo, Los Angeles, or any number of other exciting international cities.

    But Sean reckoned there’d be plenty of time for that later. He wanted to savor his old life, before embarking on what he hoped would be a new one. “I’m only twenty-two, like. There’ll be plenty of time for that after me tour,” he mused, admittedly looking forward to the bright lights and thumping bass notes of his first big gigs, the flashing paparazzi cameras, and Christ almighty, all those girls. But that was then, and this was now: a pleasantly cool autumn afternoon, walking Mickey on the grey sandy shore of the Irish Sea. Mickey was a big, shaggy, stupid dog, but sweet, harmless, endearingly stupid. The sort who got his snout stuck in big plastic cups, and was startled by his own farts.

    This was exactly the sort of thing Sean did for fun, as a younger lad. He did fairly well in sixth form, but held off on going to university, opting to stay in his hometown, working on his father’s fishing boat, and singing karaoke in local pubs. That was where he was first discovered by Simon Wilson, an A&R man for Virgin Records. Simon first approached him after a particularly passionate rendition of an Otis Redding classic, and Sean thought he was taking the piss. He’d sat back down with his mates, Jimmy, Ryan, Maggie, and Frances, tossed back a double Jameson and chased it with a slug of Guinness, when Simon approached with his spiel: “That was brilliant, mate! Look, my name is Simon Wilson, I work for Virgin Records in London, and I think we might be very interested in making you a star.”

    Sean guffawed incredulously. “Pull the other one!”

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    1. Richly descriptive.... and I hope he didn't leave Mickey behind when he rocketed to fame!

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    2. Naw, that's part of his enduring appeal: not becoming a complete wanker. Still living in Dublin, with his non-celebrity girlfriend and his big dumb dog, despite being a huge pop star, who's under pressure from industry people to move to London or LA and date vacuous actresses.

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    3. The tug of two lives. So well portrayed.

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    4. I almost didn't get past "McLovin" for laughing so hard. And that was before I knew he was a Murphy. I was married to a Murphy so I have a special place for them and yours sounds like a good guy.

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    5. It's funny how we refuse to believe our own good luck, isn't it?

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    6. Interesting character and a nice snapshot/portrait.

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  4. The walls are insubstantial, gray, shape-changing. His feet are lost in mist that floats above the floor. He’s not really sure where the light is coming from, but it’s uniformly dim. He knows he has to keep walking, knows he’s not supposed to touch the walls. And so he does.
    “Follow me, closely now,” the gravelly voice instructs him.
    Who the voice belongs to is a mystery to him. How can he follow closely when he sees nothing to follow? He hurries up, fear pushing him forward.
    “Almost there.”
    He doesn’t ask the obvious “Almost where?”
    There is a door, suddenly, in front of him. In front of the door, just showing above the mist, he sees two golden eyes; eyes that belong to a dog of some sort, a black dog. Its lips move and it says, “They’re expecting you.” It opens the door for him, and he sees a sky full of stars.

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    1. Have no idea where this is or where it's going but it's a cool place.

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    2. Yeah, this is dope. Hard to get a handle on, and I like it. I love when you veer magical realism way.

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    3. Thank you! sometimes I veer, and sometimes I swerve...

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  5. He maneuvered his hand through the tangle of wires and tubes to clasp her fingers. Twined together, they looked like the gnarled branches of one of those bonsai trees. She turned her head and met his gaze, her eyes thin and lost, the whites dulled. The flash in them was what he missed, the recognition that they were an extension of each other, like their joined fingers—one mind in two bodies. It all worked. He’d wake up; she’d make the coffee; she’d pour in just the right amount of milk; she’d set the newspaper at his place. Like a Swiss watch, it worked. His chest ached, thinking about the watch not working.
    “Do you need anything?” he asked, because that had been his job since the day they met. The fixer of things. The provider of solutions. He couldn’t repair the broken tooth in their grinding, rusted gears, but he was accustomed to asking.
    Her mouth pursed. “Yes,” she said. Turned back to stare at the mottled ceiling tiles, the sprinkler system, the devices designed to support the other devices. “I’d like a compliment.”
    “Sarah.”
    “What? It’s so hard?”
    “No. It’s that…”
    Her voice fell so weak it shattered his heart. “It reminds you I’m not that girl anymore. The girl you married.”
    One of the connections, the bonds, the cogs jumped the tracks at that moment. It wasn’t what she said. Not at all. When he saw her, he could not help but remember the slender, beautiful girl who met him under the chuppah. But to say those words out loud only reminded him that he’d be losing her. His throat tightened, and he squeezed his eyes shut. Her hand grew colder. Then she was gone. “You’re beautiful,” he said. “Your smile made my whole day better. And your cooking…”

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    1. Oh, I love this... I love that she asked... I love that he answered... and I want to hug them both.

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    2. What Leland said - but also so sad that it came too late.

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    3. This is beautiful. THIS: "He couldn’t repair the broken tooth in their grinding, rusted gears..." - wow.

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  6. Whenever Tim found himself out of his element, in the suburbs or small towns, it made him deeply uncomfortable. He grew up in that kind of environment, a trailer park in small town Nevada; maybe that was why. He couldn’t help sneering contemptuously at the squares, the church-going proletariat white people, who couldn’t stop crowing about the sanctity of life, the threat of terrorism, and all that. He wasn’t much different from them, demographically, but he knew what they were really on about. It was almost comical, to him. The life he’d led taught him that life was cheap, and brown-skinned turban-clad terrorists were far less of a threat to him than white men in business suits and police uniforms.

    He wanted to grab these people, these nice mild-mannered folks, by the shoulders and shake them, and shout, “WAKE THE FUCK UP! MOST OF WHAT YOU BELIEVE IS A LIE!” Tim often felt like Sarah Connor in The Terminator: like he knew something they didn’t, but they wouldn’t listen when he told the truth. Not wanting to end up institutionalized, he bitterly kept it to himself. “You stupid assholes wouldn’t know the truth if it punched you in the face. So you fucking deserve what you’re gonna get for not listening to me.”

    It went a long way, in rationalizing his criminal behavior. In Tim’s mind, civilized society was already a relic. He respected individuals who had shown him respect, and had some semblance of a moral compass, but to him, police officers were just armed thugs with an inflated sense of entitlement. He preferred not to tangle with them, but when he did, he gunned them down just as quickly as he would anyone else. Because fuck ‘em, who do they think they are?

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    1. I have that feeling so often - but not the direction he takes it in. So real. Well done.

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    2. Nice and bitter rationalizations. Well done.

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    3. Agreed. I'm a pacifist, but the blindness of apathy enrages me. Good piece.

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  7. "But that's great. It looks super."
    "Yeah."
    "Leather seats .. and is that Bluetooth on the steering wheel?"
    "Umhm."
    "And a back-up camera. Wow, this has it all."
    "I guess."
    "I'd be so stoked. I mean it's a new car, and it's loaded."
    "You don't get it."
    "What do you mean? You should be jumpin'."
    "I suppose."
    "So what's wrong?"
    "It's black. I wanted plasma green"
    "What's the big deal?"
    "I knew you wouldn't get it."
    "What do you mean? Who cares about colour when you all this other stuff?"
    "Why did I even try."


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    1. lol... we're never quite satisfied, are we? Nicely done, and you did it all with dialogue...

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    2. I loved that you used just dialogue too to share what was clearly an old pattern between them.

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  8. Terry the waitress had been giving Cybil the side-eye since the bitch had slid into the booth with Pete. Of all the greasy spoons in all the world, why had he brought her here? And why her station? But she tossed on a smile like an extra coat of paint and sashayed over with two menus. “Know what you’d like, or do y’all need a minute?

    The bitch remembered Terry; it was hard not to pick up on the upward flight of those overplucked brows and the dull slack in her dull face. Then Cybil’s mouth tightened like a senator’s sphincter as she studied the daily specials. “Just coffee,” she muttered. Pete, the clueless sap, merely held up two fingers.

    She filled two mugs and as she turned, caught Pete going off to the restroom. Depositing the coffee she ached to accidentally-on-purpose spill into the bitch’s lap, Terry slipped into Pete’s place and flashed a savage grin at the now-shrinking bitch who was in the process of breaking Pete’s heart.

    “Look, Cybil,” Terry hissed, leaning on the sibilance of her name. “You hurt my brother, I hurt back. Got it?”

    The dull face paled. Terry cranked up her smile. “Now. What else can I get you?”

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    1. Ooooh, not what I expected. Sweet revenge. Love it.

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    2. Not what I expected either. Really tight piece.

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  9. Officers Johnson and Wollarski pulled up cautiously, per procedure, but this was a bit out of the ordinary. They were vaguely aware of the construction on this block, but not the full extent of it: a recent transplant apparently bought up several blocks just below 7 Mile Road, and built himself a medieval-style castle. And it was no joke: the whole thing was surrounded by a murky green moat, and tall reinforced-concrete walls, topped by crenelated parapets. There was a drawbridge, though, forming a driveway connecting the castle to Mound Road, with a small, conspicuous intercom box.

    Cautiously, Johnson approached, pushed the button, and loudly spoke, “Hello, this is Officer Johnson, from the Detroit Police.”

    A high-pitched, French-accented man’s voice crackled back through the intercom, “What do you want?”

    “Just checking up on a couple of disturbance calls we’ve gotten lately. Folks saying it sounds like animals dying, and you’re not zoned for an abattoir.”

    “We’re not exactly contracting out to McDonald’s to make Chicken McNuggets, in here! We are a self-sufficient micro-nation! If you wish to trade with the Great Republic of Kreplachistan, please contact our foreign minister!”

    “Now, look, if you’re operating a meat processing facility without a license, I’m gonna have to cite you…”

    “You don’t scare me, American swine! Write all the citations you want, Kreplachistan will pay none of them! Your microaggressions will not go unpunished, you greasy-eared arseholes of syphilitic donkeys!”

    That barrage of invective was followed by a barrage of rifle fire from the battlements. Judging by the placement and sound of it, warning shots from aging AK-47s, but still enough to make the officers on the scene think twice.

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    1. I want to know more about this place. This is a really intriguing piece.

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    2. Heh, it is my fantasy of living someplace well-fortified enough that I can talk to cops and the BATFE like the taunting French guard from Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

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  10. April is the cruelest month on Colorado’s calendar. She promises flowers and new-birthed blades of grass and lambs. She promises, and then she delivers another day, another foot, another drift of snow.
    It was April when he met Ophelia, and April again when he proposed. Still another April brought his son.
    Today, eleven Aprils since he’d buried his sweet Ophelia, the sun rose red and orange. The forecast was for snow, and he knew he needed to split more wood. The winter had been cold and the woodpile was growing small.
    His arthritic hands struggled with the zipper on the coat, eventually succeeding. He grabbed the axe from by the door.
    He sang to himself as he split the wood, songs from his past, songs from the present, too, though each year brought fewer he could sing along with, fewer whose words he understood.
    John Henry, the steel-driving man, now there was a song to split wood to.
    On the tenth log, the axe flew from his hands as an icy cold grabbed his heart.
    An April snow covered his body by nightfall. April, she is the kindest month on Colorado’s calendar.

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  11. Make it STOP!
    The emotions ran raw through his nerves and his heart. So much noise, so many smells, so much light and darkness. He could feel every pain, every ache, every hurt of the people around him, around him for a hundred miles.
    I didn’t MEAN it, at least not literally!
    The memory of his prayer on Sunday echoed: Let me feel their pain. The blue fire came down from heaven and lit his body from within, and just like that, he knew them all. He knew the priest’s fears, the anguish of the parishoners, even the hunger pangs of the rat in the garden. As the week went on, his empathy grew ever stronger. He went nearly mad when his consciousness extended to the state mental institution.
    God, PLEASE make it stop!
    And there was silence, at last, in his brain, in his heart, in his soul.
    It was difficult, being blind and deaf, but he was grateful now, for the darkness and the silence. And for the padded walls.

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    1. Harsh and heartrending twist.

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    2. I agree with Lily. Also, really neat concept and super well executed.

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  12. First the yellow things sprout. It was something you could count on when the snow melted, when the green shoots started asserting themselves through the warming earth. But each year, the yellow things came up one Pantone shade lighter. Yellow faded from canary to buttercream to eggshell to a hue so close to white the entire league of decorators would have a hard time naming it. Later would come the colors, the shoutier blooms, but even they had started to look tired of the routine. You wonder if there’s something wrong with your soil and you do the suburban thing of frowning at the failure of your lawn and garden to thrive, then filling your trunk with foul-smelling substances designed to make you proud of your little half acre of paradise. Still, nothing. The ailing blossoms are not even heavy enough to droop in shame. You look over at Mr. Albert’s lawn. Gloved and shaded from the sun, he waves, his dog sitting uneasily beside him. The roses. They’re magnificent. They are red as candy apples, pink as a young girl’s kiss, yellow as sunshine, as yellow as your first-blush sprouts used to be. As you’re about to ask how he achieves such splendor, he turns away. So does the dog. Then you realize you haven’t seen Mrs. Albert for a while.

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    1. oh YOW.... I like the creepiness of this! so much beauty, and then POW, right in the kisser.

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    2. Yup. Damn Boris. I love the playful color descriptions in the beginning, too.

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  13. “Slice, slice, slice. Slice, slice, slice.” Hubert pushed his most recent victim's leg against the rotating blade, nodding with pleasure at the way the tissue parted against it. “And how you squealed too! Anyone would have thought you understood what was happening. Maybe I should have used more anaesthesia...”

    The Butcher of Medway Street pulled another slice away from his contraption, the meat neatly stacked within it. He turned to his wife, the lines of his usually solemn mouth pulled into a curve few people would call a smile. “Delores,” he said. “Would you do the honours? Bacon and eggs for two, if you please?”

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    1. Definitely put me off breakfast tomorrow Mark. Something so creepy and mundane about this. Yep it's Halloween at 2minutesGo today.

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    2. Yeah, this is creepy as all hell. I guess I started the creep. ;) Great piece, Mark. The casual tone works so well.

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  14. Brian was not in the best mood, to begin with. He was trying to sell some ecstasy, earlier, but ended up stuck with maybe twenty hits of mediocre X and two hundred dollars, when he was hoping to have no hits left, and more like eight hundred dollars. Some goo-goo-eyed wingnut was eyeballing him on the train into the city, when he was trying to chill out. He was already wound pretty tight, spun up on vodka, cocaine, and a couple of those mediocre speedy hits of X. So he was not in the most peaceable state of mind, when he first entered the club.

    He came through with his homeboys Tim and Jacob, and Jacob’s sister Luanne. So when he overheard some scummy bro talking shit about Luanne’s body and buzz-cut hair, that was all the provocation he needed.

    “Ay! The fuck did you just say about my homegirl!?”

    “Er, nothin dude…”

    “Bullshit! You were poppin’ off, say that shit to my face, bitch!”

    The dude backed away, deeper into the bowels of the skeevy SoMa nightclub. A smart move on his part, because Brian was about to whip out a blade and stick him. Tim and Jacob just sneered and watched him flee; Tim added, “Yeah, beat it, fuckin’ faggot”, and gave him the finger, before elbowing his way to the bar and ordering a round of drinks for his friends.

    Luanne, meanwhile, hoped that a round of drinks would have a calming effect. “It’s like all y’all got your periods at the same time,” she wanted to say. Her male companions all seemed hot under the collar that night, and she really wasn’t feeling it. She hoped to get through the night without them getting in a fight, or at least if they did, it would be rolling some yuppies for their loot rather than just beating the shit out of someone for laughs.

    Really, she didn’t particularly want to be there. She was preoccupied with greater things, wondering what the hell she was going to do with her life, and that seemed more suited to spending the night alone in her room, again, smoking spliffs and talking about it with friends on the Internet. That Eric dude from Minneapolis was super sweet to her; she suspected he wanted to fuck her, but didn’t necessarily consider that a bad thing. It wasn’t like she had tons of awesome dudes hollering at her; she would barely even admit it to herself, but partly why she resented Allison, one of her only female friends, was because Allison was tall and pretty and pale even as white girls go, and she seemed to get laid ALL THE GODDAMNED TIME. She reckoned Allison must be incredible at it, too, for Tim to put up with her.

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    1. This is a great piece, D. The juxtaposition works so well. Really did this one.

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  15. “There are some wrongs that are more wrong. What I did . . . or what I didn’t do . . . I didn’t expect it to turn out this way.”

    He used to have a dream about quicksand. A nightmare, really. It was his biggest fear – being swallow up like that in a dry billowy coffin, and he’d never told anyone. He felt like he’d just step into it now. The moment he came into the room.

    “Were you ever planning to tell me?”

    “Honestly, I don’t really know. I don’t think I ever thought that far ahead.”

    "But why not? We were building a life together. We are . . . we were a couple."

    "Don’t say that. Please don't do that Nae. Don’t act like we aren’t still what we are."

    “I don’t know what we are David. You’ve lied so much about who you are. I’m not sure I even know the real you.”

    “It wasn’t a lie.”

    Naera finally turned away from the window to face him. He suspected she wanted to see firsthand if he believed the line of crap he was saying to her.

    “Some of it was. Some of it wouldn’t stand up in the light of day would it?”

    He knew what would happen now. He’d hoped if he came all this way he could stop it. But he had already lost the thread between them. He didn’t even feel it slip away and worse, he didn’t know what to do to get it back.

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    1. Ahhh... the truth that lies tell us when they are revealed...

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    2. What they said. And really good control of tension. Well in.

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  16. “Tell me something.”

    Drowsy from the sun and the soft lap of the water against the shore, he opened his eyes. She was a backlit dream juggling oversized squares of primary-colored silk that floated and swirled around her. “Thank you for inviting me here?”
    “No. Tell me…something about you.”
    He pulled himself up against the tree trunk, crenellated rivers of bark pressing through his thin T-shirt. “I don’t know. What would you like to know?”

    She gave him a sly smile. “Oh, no. That’s not how the game goes. It’s about what you choose to offer.”

    There were many things he could reveal. He riffled through the rolodex cards in his mind, curating which ones would keep her dancing with her scarves and looking at him like that. But he wasn’t fast enough.

    “Okay, I’ll start.” She nodded toward his arm. “How’d you get that tattoo?”

    No. He couldn’t tell her that.

    “Aw, come on.” The music in her voice threatened to charm his secrets free; even though he knew she was mocking him, he didn’t care. “Such a nice, serious young man. Ink like that doesn’t add up.”

    “Teach me how to do that?”

    “What, scarves? It’s easy.” She draped one across her face like a harem dancer. “Come over here and I’ll show you.”\

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    1. Sweetly erotic, and all you showed us was a tattoo and scarves, leaving the rest to our imaginations... well done!

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    2. Yes what Leland said. Also love the use of one of my fave words crenellated.

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    3. This is such a well constructed piece. And yeah, what Leland said. :)

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    4. This pulled me in from the start. You paint such a great picture.

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  17. She laid on the hospital bed and watched as people came and went. Sometimes she knew them, sometimes she didn't. The worst was when she got it wrong, or when someone she knew she'd loved once upon a time was crying because she couldn't remember who they were. She tried. She tried so hard. But the names and details that had made up her lifer were just getting harder to hold onto.

    In the quiet moments she was so scared. She was scared of going through that door. She was terrified of going there alone. Maybe there was someone or something on the other side. But what if there wasn't? She wanted someone to walk through it with her, but she knew no one could go on this journey with her. It was just her.

    But she'd done that before. She'd been the only one. When she pushed her children out of her body, when she'd pushed another human being who was dependent upon her out into the world, she'd been alone then, too. There were other people in the room, sure. And her husband and after that her older children had walked down that road with her, but they had never been in the driver's seat. At the end of the day it had been just her in that bed.

    She had been alone in every decision she'd made. Her husband may have backed her up, or not, but the initial decision had been hers. When she'd lost him it had been her's to deal with alone. When she had walked down that isle she had been on her own.

    She lay there, watching the people she loved and the people she didn't know flitting in and out, trying so hard to give her what she needed, and wondered if she'd lived her whole life alone, like she felt right then. Maybe she'd felt like a part of something because she knew there would be people there to listen, to commiserate, to comfort, and to fight with. Maybe whether we were or were not alone was up to us. Maybe she felt more alone at the end of her life because she couldn't put forth the energy to make those connections anymore.

    She smiled at the woman who may or may not be one of her daughters or nieces, and stroked the girl's hair while she cried.

    "Granny, what are we gonna do without you to keep this family together?" the woman sobbed out.

    Granny? That's right. This was Cecelia's little girl, Danny. She'd grown up fast.

    "Baby, if you can't keep yourselves together, well, you were never really together to begin with," she said with a little smile. "I've lived my life. I'm old and tired and so many people I love are on the other side of that door. I want to go be with them. But if you need me all you have to do is look up and talk to me. I'll be listening."

    She didn't know if it was true, but she knew they needed to believe it. It was the only thing she could give them, hope. With that she closed her eyes and let go. She was truly free.

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    1. Ahhhh... a loving Granny to the end. This is beautiful.

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    2. Really very nice. You walked that line between caring and realizing that while it may be about being alone, In the end, it's it's all about what what we do for others...Kudos!

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    3. Agreed. You walked a fine line here and nailed it. I love this: "Baby, if you can't keep yourselves together, well, you were never really together to begin with,"

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  18. “I heard you didn’t recognize your daughter the other day and I was wondering if you could tell me what that feels like, the actual not remembering, not any of that remorse or being pissed off stuff,” Ashley Goetz asked Ken Parkworth. The old man grunted and continued to busy himself with a pencil and a marble notebook in his room at the Bitterroot Village Home.

    Old Ken closed his notebook with a thump, glanced menacingly at the earnest psychology grad student and said, “Okay, but when I’m done you gotta answer a question for me, too.

    “It’s kinda like your mind’s this huge history book, no cover, no illustrations, teeny, tiny print, with most of the pages from the index in the back ripped out that could help you find what you're looking for. But sometimes those pages are ripped out, too,” the old high school art teacher said.

    Ashley blinked twice, clicked the STOP button on her phone’s recorder and said in a hush, “Thanks, Ken, now what can I do for you?”

    The old man opened his notebook, flipped its blue-lined pages around toward Ashley, revealing a stunningly accurate pencil portrait of the daughter he'd sent away Saturday in tears.

    “Could you please tell me her name?” he whispered.

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  19. FORGET JOHNNY

    It didn’t take a high IQ to predict trouble once Johnny and the Sparkplugs lost its lead singer to a crack bust. Unlike that other Johnny at Folsom Prison, this Johnny sat in his cell without a song to wile away the lonely hours or his Fenton guitar the cops confiscated instead of his loaded handgun hidden under Johnny’s mattress.

    An exasperated drummer said, “We got us gigs past April. How we gonna fix this?”

    “Get another lead.”

    Purvis laughed. “Okay, Charlie Boy, from where?”

    Charlie shrugged.

    Then Callahan the piano guy ran his magic fingers over the keyboard. The Sparkplugs turned their heads almost in one concurrent sweep. “Forget Johnny,” he said. “We can do it all. We’re the Sparkplugs, ain’t we? Out there on the stage we fire up the engines, then race old rock ‘n’ roll up and down the aisles. Johnny? Forget Johnny.”

    “Yeah,” agreed Purvis. “The Sparkplugs…”

    Callahan, Purvis, Charlie Boyd, and Flynn –– all smiling again.

    Meanwhile, Johnny sat on the edge of his jailhouse cot humming “Take a Little Piece of My Heart.”

    “Knock it off,” ordered his cellmate, a scarred-face walking tattoo parlor wall who was serving time for pushing on the Detroit streets. “You pansies make me sick. One peep, you’re off to sleep.”

    Johnny bunched his white lips.

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    1. Yeah. Nobody REALLY forgets anybody, do they?

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    2. I really like the pace of this piece. I mean, I like the whole thing, but it's so even. Well played.

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    3. I love the dual perspectives on this. The dialogue is great, too.

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  20. DEATH BY CARAMEL

    Noise and tension. Bustle and animosity. Sugar and butter. Yup, it was yet another day in the prison kitchen with the cooks’ whites all looking distinctly… orange.

    So, anyway. I’d got my sugar, syrup, water and butter all in my pan, stirring it like a demon and keeping a keen eye on my thermometer. I was watching the colour and waiting for it to turn golden brown. And keeping my head up and watching everyone else.

    Now, Turner, the guard, he was behind me all the time. Like I wasn’t a trustee at all. It was a prison, Goddamn it. How was I ever gonna sneak a weapon out? After all, didn’t they count every knife, fork, spoon and spatula before and after every shift; searching every hand, pocket – and all the other ‘pockets’ you might hide a piece of flatware in?

    But I persevered. Poured all my mixture out and left it all to cool, adding a few chopped nuts for taste. Gloria’s Fabulous, they called it, one of the best recipes ever. Guaranteed to satisfy. And when I finished, I rapped the tray, putting most of the shards into a bowl.

    But saving a few for myself. Or rather my cellmate, Sturgess. And after I’d stabbed him with my toffee knife – well, I’d eat the evidence.

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    Replies
    1. Oh... this one is clever indeed! Death by caramel indeed!

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    2. Super clever. I like this piece short, but it's such a neat idea I want more.

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  21. “Magic cannot be forced,” he said. “The heart must be clear as glass, the mind pure, the emotions unattached to any outcome, secure in the knowledge that every outcome will be right.”
    “Wait a sec,” cried a workshop student. “I paid fifteen hundred bucks for this?”
    The magician smiled. “Yes, you did. Because you have chosen the way of magic.”
    The student’s eyes burned; there was a flush of rage along his collar.” I just want to learn how to get what I want! You promised! The brochure says….”
    “The brochure,” the facilitator answered calmly. “Says anyone can learn the art of magic. Whether you choose to do so, is up to you alone.”
    “ But I want, “ the student paused. “Y’know, spells and shit. Incantations.”
    “You mean recipes?”
    “Exactly!” yelled a woman in the third row. “ How do I make that creep of an ex-husband PAY for what he did to me?”
    The instructor obligingly thumbed through his notes. “Ahh, yes. Here it is! Tell me, have you paid him yet?”
    “For what?”
    “According to my references, I see there was the little matter of calling him a spineless bastard when he lost his job. Which in turn caused him to seek, shall we say, affection elsewhere?””
    “Fuck you! He threw me over for a woman half my age.”
    “And twice your kindness.”
    “How do I get rich?”
    “When do think you have enough?”
    “You gotta recipe for revenge?” asked another. “ I need to fix an asshole’s wagon real bad.”
    “What about the 1 percent?” The voices bubbled up from every quarter of the room. “What about the fucking INJUSTICE?”
    The magician leaned back in his chair and shoved his glasses back on his head, studying them with an amused, yet critical eye. “What about it?”
    “ We’ve been robbed!”
    The Master rose to his feet. “ You have been educated. Every thought that is not pure creates. Every heart that is not glass is shattered. Every emotion that is attached to an outcome will manifest as something undesired. Magic is everywhere, always. What you see is what you have created. And, as the brochure says, results may vary. ”
    The class fell suddenly silent.
    The magician smiled. “ And, before we take our break? One more thing. When magic is made, it can be difficult to stop.”

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    Replies
    1. This is fun... now, where's the recipe for a best selling book? I DESERVE IT. Kidding. Mostly.

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    2. Cool piece! Really cool character. I want more magic! ;)

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  22. Will come back and comment , people. Busy, busy...

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  23. Unusually warm spring this year, he thought to himself. But it’s lovely to see all the flowers early. He wished his late wife Clara were there to see. Even the early-blooming cherry tree looked like it wasn’t going to lose its blossoms to frost.
    He spent the week puttering around in the garden, adding mulch here and there, trimming an errant branch or two, removing the last leaves of autumn. When it was all tidy enough that even Clara would have approved, he took a walk through the garden again.
    The first cherry blossom! And the rest of the tree was filled with buds, promising a gorgeous display. For a moment, he was transported back in time to the weekend honeymoon he and Clara had taken in Washington, DC, when all the glorious blossoms coated the city in pink. Clara insisted on planting the same cultivar in their garden, though even she knew they were too far north.
    Every spring, he watched her survey the tree, stopping, maybe praying at its base. And every year, the blossoms froze, but not this year. Not this, the first year after her death. He wept at the injustice.
    “Lookin’ good there, Bob,” came the voice of his overly friendly neighbor. Yard looks real nice. Shame about the blizzard warning for tonight, ain’t it?”
    He thought for a moment to cut the branch, to bring it in, where it would be safe from the falling snow.
    Instead, he let the cold take the blossom, as the cold had taken Clara. Maybe next year, the perpetual lament of the gardener. Maybe next year.

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    1. Oh, this is nice. That ending is so perfect it floats. I don't know what that means, but it's what my fingers said, so I'm going with it.

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    2. Floating is always good... much better than sinking. thanks for the kind words!

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  24. Why won't they shut the fuck up? The voices, shrill and chirpy like old gears, turning minds to old fears. Where did they go? The years. And why don't the voices change, rearrange, aim toward something less deranged...

    Why can't they be soft whispers of gentle tidings? Not disappearing, always hiding. Elusive and bereft, the sharp-edged howling a dagger in my chest.

    I know the voices, and I wonder if they know me ... am I some grand epiphany? Are they just the periphery? Or is it as I suspect, too real, too deep, too lost in mind-snap confusion.

    Pure delusion.

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    1. "Mind-snap confusion" is delectable... and yeah, you ARE some kind of grand epiphany.

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  25. He turned the key in the clock, as he had done every Saturday since the clock came into his possession. His great-grandfather bought it as a wedding present for his great-grandmother, in Philadelphia, more than a century ago. So far as he knew, the only time its great pendulum had stopped was when it moved to his grandfather’s house, then to his father’s, then to his own. Otherwise, its crisp declaration of time’s passage repeated every second or so, and its celebrations of the hour and half-hour were uninterrupted. Perhaps uninterruptible.
    He wondered what would happen to the clock, eventually, when his own time came? He left no children behind to appreciate its dark wood, the musty odor of years past that snuck out into the present day every time he opened the glass to wind it.
    Perhaps, the Saturday after he died, not only the clock would stop, but time itself would cease. He wondered.
    He finished winding the clock, shut the glass door, and put the key in its safe place.
    The clock kept him in this moment, in this time. To-day, to-day, its clicks seemed to whisper.
    He wondered if the radiation therapy tomorrow would hurt.

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    Replies
    1. Oh, you're killing the endings today! This is a great piece. It also reminds me of a clock I was fascinated by as a child. I had forgotten. Thank you for reminding me.

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    2. You've got a way with clocks :) No, really, You made me catch my breath there at the end. Great work.

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  26. Janet stood up and smoothed the front of her floral dress. She cleared her throat and everyone looked her way - she was, after all, the hostess. These weekly dinners were important for the whole congregation. Being hostess was a big responsibility.

    Janet looked at the wide eyes around her. She could smell the pot roast and knew that it would be delicious. There was a murmuring silence, louder than true silence. Janet cleared her throat again. Then she felt a gentle hand on her elbow. Gladys.

    "Go ahead, honey. You just say what you need to say."

    Janet cleared her throat one more time, it was rough from the cocktail ghosts that no one knew about. She smiled.

    "Well ... you can all go fuck yourselves. And then get out of my house, you sanctimonious bitches. See you Sunday."

    But they never saw her again.

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    Replies
    1. Ah, the demons of honesty.... this went an entirely different direction than I had guessed...

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    2. Ha! Love this, love it so much!

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  27. I knew before he even got close enough for me to smell him that he was an accomplished boozer. The shuffling gate that was on the brink of off-balance was the first indicator. Then he stepped into the shaft of light from the naked bulb swinging on a cord above and I saw the milky, rheumy eyes. That was the real tell - those eyes. I suppose most people look into those eyes and just see the gallons of cheap hooch that it takes to make a pair of eyes look like that. Most of the time, that's what I see, too. This time I saw something different. Something bone-jarring. Something frightening.
    I saw years of broken promises. Years of disappointment. Years of excuses. Years of apologies. Years and years of being beaten down by life and not knowing how - or caring enough - to fight back. Years of wasted potential - potential that has withered away until it's barely discernible, if it's even there at all any more.
    I take a clumsy swing with my right fist, and the mirror shatters...

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    Replies
    1. Oh, man. That ending grabs you by the throat. Awesome piece, Chris. Glad I came back. :)

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    2. wow... killer ending... this is amazing.

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    3. Thanks, Leland.

      Quite frankly, I didn't even know where I was going with this until I typed the last sentence...just kinda popped out!

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  28. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    1. There's an urgency to the writing which is really compelling here. Confident. I like it.

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  29. I heard screaming. I tried to open my eyes but they were blindfolded. I heard the screams of my fellow warriors, screams of my family. My mother, my brothers. I cried out, hoping that they would hear that I was nearby. There's nothing I can do. Where was I? I had no clue.

    "Poldis?!" I heard my mother say "Poldis! Is that you?!" I was so relieved that she heard my voice.

    "Mother! Its me!" I yelled with despair.

    I felt her unravel the ropes the restrained my hands and feet. As she untied the blindfold that covered my eyes, I realized that I am in a place unfamiliar.

    "Poldis, are you alright?" my mother said to me as she checks me for any injuries.

    "I'm fine. Where am I?" I needed to know. So much happening at once. It was overwhelming. I tried to get up but I couldn’t. Something happened and I couldn’t figure out what.

    "We are in one of the taverns, " she said in her usual endearing manner. I could tell she was trying to hold in her tears. "you shouldn't get up to fast."

    The pain I was experiencing at that moment was unbearable.

    "They tried to take you, Poldis, like they did your father." My mother informed me, "Gagrin and Folis found you and brought you here."

    I knew why. The townsfolk of Lorcastle were in an uproar because my father is to abdicate in favor of me, his first son, the new prince of Lorcastle.

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    Replies
    1. You pulled me in. Welcome to #2minutesgo!

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    2. Yes, welcome! Pulled in and I want to know more.

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    3. Comment above and welcome!

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    4. You captured the urgency really well. I like these characters already.

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    5. Interesting piece. Definitely puts you right into the scene and leaves you wanting know more.

      And welcome to 2minutes. :)

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  30. How many times you gonna look at me with that cock-eyed amusement, so precious, cloying like a first-time pecan pie? And what am I supposed to do with it? Exactly. I'd like to know. Because I feel like laughing and then I feel like that's inappropriate, but, Jesus, if you don't look like last night's corn bread. Look at me. Don't fucking look away again.

    You're just gonna sit there, ball of sweat and grime and wood smoke - hell, I bet the whole county can smell you, but they won't hear a thing. Sing, who knows what tomorrow brings.

    I'll leave now, slow and easy - the way I came, you just stay ugly, splash in the shallows of your presumption. I like paisley, but it looks stupid on you. It all looks stupid on you, but I'll wash it clean. The dirt underneath.

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    Replies
    1. pecan pie, cornbread, and paisley... and you made it all make a beautiful sense.

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    2. Wow. You make me feel an ugly breakup that's trying not to be. I love your writing because it always pulls me in, usually into the middle of something.

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  31. Again, you all have captured my attention, but good. Thanks.

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    ReplyDelete

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