Friday, May 1, 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. 

It'll be fun. Hell, son, it'll be a hoot! You never liked that sumbitch, and I never gave two rat shits. So, we plug him. Plant him. Ain't no one going to know and ain't no one going to miss him - the cops ain't gonna be that concerned, you understand?

And we know what he's got and where it is. Nobody else knows - less you told 'em. You fucking tell anybody, boy? Good. You better not be lying. I'll plant two bodies in that corn field. I don't give a fuck.

What are you gonna do with your share, boy? I'm gonna get me a brand new suit, new shoes, haircut. Then I'm gonna get some respectable whiskey. Then, I'll find me a whore, boy. A decent whore who looks nice and talks like a goddamn lady. So, what you gonna do? Spend that man's money in your head. Think what you can do with $500...


Thanks for stopping by! I'll be out some 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

198 comments:

  1. Yup. $500 will buy a good share of respectable whiskey... this is a good and realistic buncha dialogue. Don't ask me how I know.

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    1. love it, especially the rat shits! Made me giggle.

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    2. Great piece. The bit at the end...the idea that some guy's life is only worth a grand...that hits just the right nerve.

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    3. Better late then never. Love this character piece. Authentic and funny as hell.

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    4. So Good! This guy is yelling at me in my head!

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    5. So Good! This guy is yelling at me in my head!

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  2. Hadn’t seen the guy for a couple a days. Never bothered to introduce myself, but I always admired how he got up every morning to walk with his dog through our neighborhood, come rain or sleet or hail. Like the post office, only more reliable. Could almost set your clock by when he walked by. Always the same path, always the whispered talk to the dog, just loud enough to hear, too quiet to understand.
    Two days without seeing him, I kinda worried. After I poured myself a cup of coffee, I worked up the nerve to ring his doorbell, to check on him. I pushed the button a couple of times. Heard the old chimes ring inside his door. I was about to turn around and head home, when something possessed me to try the doorknob.
    Unlocked. The old knob turned easy, and I ever so slowly pushed the door open. Like a lot of 1950s bungalows, the front door opened directly into the living room. With the door half open, I saw the fake fireplace, the paint by number paintings on the wall, and the avocado green plaid couch.
    And on the couch lay the source of the terrible smell. My neighbor, obviously dead, lay there with his mouth open in a silent snore. At his side, a very worried dog, looking at me, looking at the body, not sure whether to bark in joy or to protect his master. He decided on silence instead.
    I watched from my own window the flashing red and blue lights illuminated the police cars, an ambulance, and a fire truck. Even in the full light of day, the lights caused my heart to race faster. I saw the police, the paramedics, all of them leave. They took the body with them, but I didn’t see anyone bring the dog out.
    A half hour later, I heard a scratching at my door. I opened it. The dog came in like he owned the place and jumped up on the couch.
    “He killed himself, you know,” the dog said in a whisper. Then he turned around three times and went to sleep.

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    1. I love the ending. I was hoping that was where we were headed. This is a great piece, Leland. This: "Always the same path, always the whispered talk to the dog, just loud enough to hear, too quiet to understand." is beautiful!

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    2. Thank you! Your kind words of encouragement mean the world to me.

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    3. Oh, my heart. Poor dog. I love the ending. And that line JD pulled out.

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    4. I'd have picked out that line too. Like the post office but more reliable jumped out to, as if it did and didn't belong at the same time - it's a comid line drifting on top of the drama. I love the way the dog chooses his new master at the end. Made me wonder if he chose the one before. And if the dog does something evil to drive them to suicide? My imagination is wondering!

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    5. I'm glad! If I can kickstart the reader's imagination with the end of a story, then my job is done!

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    6. Kathleen SullivanMay 1, 2015 at 5:45 PM

      Excellent ending; but I was stuck on the 2 days thing.... Regular as clockwork and he waited 2 days.... Glad the dog took away some of the guild he should have been feeling....

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    7. Thanks Yeah, I toyed with one day, but I figured most people would think, hmm... maybe he has a doctor's appointment or something, and wouldn't feel guilty enough to knock on a stranger's door until the second day...

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    8. I think you're spot on with the timing, Leland. And I have to "ditto" what everyone else said. The last bit was an interesting surprise, but the build-up - the descriptions - really made the piece. :)

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    9. I love that moment of magic realism. Awesome piece.

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    10. Leland, I agree heartily with all the comments above. I particularly admire the structure of the piece, the 'saunter' reflects the environment and the character. And yes, as David notes, the dog talking at the end is a beautiful moment. Extremely well done, sir!

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  3. Storm clouds were building on the horizon. The air was thicker than Jonny Watts, man he would not remember his name if weren't written down. It was so hot even the flies were too lazy to buzz around. Whilst I was looking forward to the break in this weather I really don't like storms. The electricity makes my hair stand on end. Let's not even get started on the affect the big bangs have! Weeing yourself because of a big is noise is so not cool. Hiding terrified behind the sofa ain't going to impress Sophie May, I really think I am getting somewhere. It is such a hard life being a dog.

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    1. Angelo concurs! this is fun...

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    2. It's a hard life, indeed. Unless, I'd imagine, your name is Angelo. ;)

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    3. What they said. I feel for dogs in thunderstorms.

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    4. What they said. Love this. :)

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    5. Ha ha! Nicely done. I like that it was too hot even for flies.

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  4. She held the petal gently in the palm of her hand, pink satin magic. And, sure, Billy Thompson had said it was just like all the other petals, but he was a turd, and she didn't care - she knew. She rubbed her finger gently on the velvet pink.

    She'd found the petal because she was hiding. She liked to hide in the cemetery - she wasn't scared of it. She was scared of what lived with her family - ever since Grandmomma died - it was a black shadow, a ghost - not the graveyard kind - a made up kind that lived in their hearts.

    She stopped when she got to the edge of the yard. There was a mason jar buried in the corner. She pulled it out and scrunched her face, unscrewed the rusted lid. Inside, there was a brown mush of decomposing petals. Her petals. She dropped the new one and watched it settle. She screwed the lid on.

    She went inside and smiled at her Mom, wondered if she had a jar buried somewhere. But Mom had already visited her secret - a bottle in the basement.

    Liquid darkness.

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    1. Wow! Taking the beauty, watching it die, and then making it into a parallel story. This is craftsmanship and a damned good story!

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    2. Ohh...damn. Love the decomposing petals, the two stories: "pink satin magic."

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    3. Thanks guys. This one is gonna stick around I think.

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    4. Liquid darkness! That's some evocative writing, brother.

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    5. Secrets, secret pain, secret places. There you go again, Dan: shining light on the dark corners. Loved it.

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  5. I’m might be disappearing for a while. Don’t know when I’ll return.

    I’ve held this message behind my back for a long time, like I’m some facile, dawdling, magician, and it’s that Nine of Hearts we wrote your initials on. I am in fact that prestidigitator, though
    much taller, younger, better looking, with a soothing baritone and a shock of windblown black hair here in this deck of illusions.

    Unfortunately, even a conjurer like me can’t hide these muddy brown eyes that occasionally, and only for a second, ever looked into yours.

    I hope you’re buying this patter, letting it carry you deeper into the finale, because I’ve been an honest man, always pulling these words out of my hat and leaving them like suicide notes for you later to parse what’s bothering/haunting/inspiring me when I draw away the velvet curtain and you find I’m not there anymore.

    Actually, I never really was.

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    1. This is good stuff... the extended metaphor of magic is well-done, and you managed to use one of my favorite words. "Prestidigitation."

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    2. Absolutely love this piece. Such magnificent phrasing. This is a hell of a piece of writing, Joe.

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    3. What they said. "...pulling these words out of my hat and leaving them like suicide notes..."

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    4. I've actually known (and Loved) guys like this. You drew their side of it extremely well. :)

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    5. And we're pulled right along with those words. Brilliant.

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  6. Licking her lips with anticipation, she held her breath and waited. She could almost feel it, the throbbing, the pulsating, the pleasure. Letting her breath out again, she was getting wet thinking about this. The yearning was getting almost too strong...

    Then the long awaited car turned up and she could get out of this rain!

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  7. The third day of spring and already some of the flowers in the field of dandelions were transforming from buttercup yellow to the secretive puffs of dreams. A light gust of wind and the countryside would be full of tiny umbrellas looking for tiny Mary Poppinses to carry to their appointed rounds.
    He’d had a little to drink, not so much that he was staggering, just enough that his mind was open to the realm of possibilities, just enough to shut out the pain of failure, just enough for some of the voices in his head to go silent.
    “If you hold a dandelion under her chin and it makes her chin go yellow, she loves you,” his mama, dead for 20 years, called out to him.
    “If you blow on the dandelion puffs and they come back to you, your wishes will come true,” the ancient memory of his grandma echoed in his mind.
    He held a dandelion to his own chin, wondering if it were yellow… wondering if he loved himself. The gunshot reminded him for a split second that he held a pistol, not a dandelion.
    Red blood, flowing on yellow flowers, that’s the color of dreams dying.
    Little umbrellas. Mary Poppinses. Not one of them brought a spoonful of sugar.

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    1. Wow. I am without words. Love this piece, Leland. Every word.

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    2. Leland...this is amazing. Sad and lovely and dandelion puffs and blood. Wow.

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    3. Yeah dude, those dandelion puffs set me thinkin'...:)

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    4. Kathleen SullivanMay 1, 2015 at 5:48 PM

      Ah, but the wrong expression - it was buttercups one held under one's chin... But it brought back memories of Ray Bradbury. He would have approved!

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    5. Teresa, loved your dandelion piece! Kathleen, I wonder if it's a regional thing... my mom actually DID use dandelions that way...and I LOVED Bradbury's Dandelion Wine... thanks for bringing back that memory!

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    6. Oh, yeah, Bradbury. Good call. And we used buttercups in England. I think it might well be regional.

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  8. Something was wrong with her toes, well not all of them, just the huge one. Yeah, I said huge because it was the "big toe" yesterday until she fell out of the glass door to the patio, while chasing her kid who had the last of the mornings sausages held high above his five year old head. Successful in his attempt to keep it out of reach of the yipping, bouncing Terrier, but failing to protect it from his always ravenous teen brother.
    She watched the barking, laughing, screaming ruckus from her winded position on the concrete surface of the patio. She couldn't join in the laughter, the burning pain from her scrapped lips and elbows, nothing compared to the breath stopping horror from the relentless fire from the obvious break in the toe, stuck in the groove of the donor's tracking.

    Which brought her to the morning's pain, the mental tornado of profanity, and the anger at not following her first mind and hopping her butt to the ER for a cast. Now, after throwing the covers back in order to see her appendage, was stuck in bed, husband at work, kids at school, and her damned huge toe stuck in the ornate frame work of the bed. To make bad to worse, she had to fucking pee.(I added that part for Julie Frayn)

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    1. Nothing bugs me more than errors and a cell refusing to let me edit. Next time I'll use laptop. Donor, instead of door-ridiculous.

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    2. Super strong piece. The frustration and resignation come through so well. Really well constructed story. (Now, my toe hurts, though) :)

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    3. The errors don't matter. This was so descriptive I could see and feel it all.

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    4. Ouch, ouch, ouch... Well done and nice details. Took me right there.

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    5. Love the shout-out to Julie! :)

      Yeah, good details.

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  9. There are, on average, 687 pieces of macaroni in a generic instant macaroni and cheese box. He knew, because he’d counted each one in the 31 boxes he’d consumed in the previous month. Milk is not necessary to make the yellow powder coat the pasta but butter is. He knew that because he’d run out of milk two days into the month.
    The bald man in the red sportscar parks in exactly the same spot at exactly 8:17 pm every weekday but never weekends across the street. The Watcher knows because he has seen it happen 37 weekdays in a row. The bald man wears red neckties on Mondays.
    There are 100 sheets or 200 pages in the composition notebook with fake marbleized covers. 186 pages are filled. There are 14 pages left to complete his novel. He is certain it will be a best seller. He is equally certain he will not live to see it published.
    His marketing campaign consists of one and only one act.
    Death by starvation in an apartment in the midst of affluent neighbors.
    He is sad there will be no sequel.
    He picks up his pen and writes.

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    1. sorry for the changes in tense... if I were proofing, I would have said "He knows, because he's counted...." dammit.

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    2. I didn't even notice. Got confused by all them numbers. ;) Seriously though, the effect works really well. A writer's brain, surely. Write yourself to death. This is a dope flash.

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    3. Holy cats. Brilliant details and love the numbers and the rhythm and the man in the red tie on Mondays.

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    4. Kathleen SullivanMay 1, 2015 at 5:53 PM

      I sense a theme here, regular as clockwork, dandelions and end of life and now the necessity of finishing those 14 pages... Are you working to a deadline, or is your writing wanting to force you into creating something timely??? Great images, though....

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    5. What Laurie and JD said. Good stuff. :)

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    6. Thank you kindly! Kathleen, I'm pushing myself, pushing myself... gotta get the next book(s) out so we can continue the luxury of eating!

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  10. I'm not going to be your sad redemption. Your come back. Your 'one last shot at it' - I know that's the game you're playing, and I don't even want to be in the stadium. I may not be much to look at, but I'm not your consolation prize.

    I'm not mad. Hell, there's nothing to be mad about. I understand - you think I don't understand? I'm ugly not stupid. And you think you're doing me a favor, I can see it in your eyes. I don't need your favors.

    I think I'll go talk to that waitress down at the diner. God, she's got a nice smile. It's not right that she thinks we don't see it. She's always dragging that foot, and it drags her whole self down - her smile.

    I'm gonna turn it back up. And pity's got nothing to do with it.

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    1. I like the way you turn the narrator inside out... refusing to be consoled, yet desperate to be the consoler and removing pity from the equation.

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    2. I hope he succeeds in turning it back up. He's my kinda guy.

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    3. I honestly didn't know where you'd go after that stong a start. I found out. Very Strong!

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  11. You didn't go to the wedding because you were embarrassed. You didn't want to face them - let them know they were right all along. Your bold claims and sanguine predictions are a hair shirt you can never take off. You should have kept your mouth shut.

    Now, everybody's talking, wondering about it - it doesn't bother you. Right? But it does bother you. You can lie to yourself, but you know. We all know. You aren't made of the kind of stuff you'd need to hide the hurt.

    You didn't fuck him because you were drunk. But the drunk part didn't help.

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    1. Ah... How you find the situations that reveal the human soul. I like this premise and its execution.

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  12. “Do all grandmothers smell of lilacs?” he wondered as his rental car turned into the dusty driveway. It was left to him to clean out his late grandmother’s house. Two years on the market and it finally sold.
    The slam of his car door as he got out startled him. Already he smelled the lilacs, but they were the actual lilacs, not his grandmother. She’d planted them in the Depression, when they’d lost everything else, she planted lilacs.
    Once again he was a little boy, amazed that his grandmother could take a lilac leaf and make it into a kazoo, making music with nothing more than a leaf. She’d given him a penny that day, as she did on every visit.
    That day was different, though, somehow. He wanted to do something special with that penny, something more than to hear it clink in the piggy bank she’d also given him.
    So he borrowed one of the spoons from her kitchen and he’d dug in the gritty sand that she somehow made fertile enough to grow most of what she ate. He dug underneath the pathway, and buried the penny. He was satisfied.
    Now, some forty years later, he found himself wondering if the penny was still there. He unlocked the door to the house, found a spoon, and returned to that path, that sandy path in the garden.
    He was surprised that he remembered where to dig, more surprised when the spoon hit something metal, still more surprised when it wasn’t a penny it hit, but a jar lid. One of the lids she used when she canned her vegetables. Digging further, he realized it was attached to a jar.
    He pulled it up from the earth, and shook it… there must have been twenty pennies in there. As he wiped the glass clean, he saw there was a note, too.
    He opened the lid, unfurled the paper, and read:
    “Your pennies have multiplied. Remember the lilacs. Grandma loves you.”
    When tears fall on sand, they make no sound.

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    1. Oh man. Crushing. Yep, totally agree with Yvonne. My heart hurts in a good way.

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    2. Really lovely! All those little details, the lilacs the sand, those buried pennies. Very straight up Depression era, too. I remember getting dollars from my grandad in Texas, and they always smelled like earth.

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    3. Ah, what a great memory to have, Teresa! and thanks to all for the encouraging words!

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  13. This is a rant. I'm a pretty nice person, the kind that likes to help out when someone is up against it. What I am not, is a patsy or a chump. And it burns my ass when someone tries to use me for one. So I'm hopping mad. I was asked if i could help out. He had a deadline, a nasty one. I wasn't sure I'd be able to do what he needed so I said I'd take a look and let him know. I looked at the stuff - sent in the wrong format. I asked for the correct one. That took a full day. I got a friend to show me how to find the right parts and manipulate them. I let them know what i was doing, promising to send a test piece. I sent the test piece 24 hours later. No reply for more than a day - then - wait for it -they loved it and could I work 12 hours a day? They were on a tight time-line. Still no mention of payment, even though I had asked. Whaaat? They had already wasted two days in delays getting back to me. Now they wanted ME to put in 12 hour days, drop my entire life and be their virtual slave? In spite of being ticked i still sent back that i could offer 4 hours as day - that I have other commitments and again asked what they would pay. That was over two days ago. No response. Now they can kiss my patootie. Bye bye.

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    1. A good rant it is. Made me think of the old phrase: "your mistake does not mean an emergency for me ..."

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    2. I missed a few capitals on the "I". Meh. I like your take, Dan.

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  14. Sparkle bright headache inducing light blasted over a sea of shiny disposable things, acres of uselessness making her feel disembodied from the pulse of what the world had become. All she wanted was a toothbrush. Simple, small thing. But when did it become part of a cult of dental hygiene, when did it take a back seat to seventeen kinds of flosses and rinses and implements of gum care? And where did all these younger people come from, phones plastered to their ears, pushing carts in robotic lockstep, hair the same style, teeth all the same shade of white? Maybe there was something to be said for stepping off the planet, making room for the new generations to take over and multiply and strip every last bit of bacteria from their teeth. What would he make of this? He hadn’t been out for years, and who knows what sifted through from the drone of the television, all day long? And where were the toothbrushes? The soft kind, the ones Dr. Feldstein had been giving her for years? Her shoulders sank. Where, at least, were the people who helped her find things in stores? No longer a requirement of modern life, she decided. But worried about her closing window of freedom, she grabbed an approximation and returned to the quiet, not-bright house filled things she understood, some too well. “Honey, I’m home” stopped being amusing years ago, so she closed the door quietly behind her. For a long while she watched him, the machines pushing his chest out and in, and went off to brush her teeth.

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    1. Ahhhh... the juxtaposition of the ordinary and the pain, of the past and the present... this is beautifully done. You are a master of taking the simplest thing and making it beautiful.

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    2. Agreed. And I like the stream of consciousness vibe in the beginning. And I LOVE this phrase: "strip every last bit of bacteria from their teeth"

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    3. Great job! Who hasn't felt it? That sense you gotta be a rocket scientist just to buy shampoo?

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    4. I went to Target today, can you tell? ;) Thank you.

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    5. Agreed re: juxtaposition of the mundane and the deep human things that matter. Love this!

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  15. Toss a dollar in the cup at my feet and watch me dance, lose your heart in the swirl of my skirt and the sway in my hips, bear your yellowed fangs as you dare to dream, but in my mind I plot your death. While I clap my hands and spin and flutter my lashes, while I lean close and heat your blood, while I reel you inch by inch into my sticky web, don’t worry. Don’t be alarmed. You won’t feel a thing.

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  16. It looked so easy in the movies. Climb the drainpipe, the ivy, the fire escape, a handy tree. Rapunzel, let down your hair. But Brian was no prince and this certainly wasn’t a fairy tale. He wasn’t even sure why he was standing on the front lawn, staring up at the light in the second-floor window. Just that three beers of courage propelled him across town to make some sort of gesture. And the doorbell was not an option. Sucking in a breath, he roamed the façade, looking for handy toe-holds, and between crumbly brick mortar, branches, and a low-hanging gable, he was able to dig his Cons in and shimmy himself up. He almost slipped twice and anyone watching would have laughed his ass off, but he’d made it. At the window. There was a bedroom, nothing special, but then a shadow broke the light. The object of his daydreams and his nightmares stood half-dressed, separated from him by a thin pane of glass and a smile. He gripped into the asphalt shingles harder and held his breath, willing himself not to throw up. Or fall into the rose bushes. The smile broadened. And when the hand went to the sash, Brian started, his shaky fingers giving way to fear. Gravity. And a bed of thorns.

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    1. Taut. Amazing how fast you can turn the tables. Thorny justice. Really great piece - the innocent beginning makes the peeper so repugnant.

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    2. Awesome throughout... and how you make words serve dual purposes is awesome... "Gravity. And a bed of thorns." Both figurative and literal. Well done.

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    3. I dunno. I felt sorry for this peeper! Am I a bad person?

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  17. Give me a dollar and I'll turn it into five. Give me affection, and I'll be yours forever. Lend me your ears, I swear I'll return 'em. Maybe a little worse for wear.

    Stand in the sun, smiling - that's where the magic is. That blink. That searing tear down the cheek. You listen. I'll speak. Don't worry, you don't need ears to hear what I have to say.

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    1. Ah, the prestidigitation of love? Or a card shark. Love's promises....

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  18. That morning he saw elk tracks in the snow. If it wasn't for his bones grinding like old bridge girders he'd consider strapping on the cross-country skis and following their trail. Must be around ten or twelve of them.

    But he wasn't up to it. Plus his head was stiff with last night's Crown Royal, a habit that had crept up on him like a silent mugger. Especially since Ginny had passed. His beloved, her pretty eyes shining to the end.

    "Not passed. Died," he said aloud, annoyed. "Always called a spade a shovel, so why not now, 'specially when there ain't no one to hear it?"

    On the porch, Wolf cocked an ear in protest.

    "Ha, begging your pardon, you old mutt."

    He went back inside, poured a coffee, and limped toward the picture window. He liked his big old house and the farm itself—the legacy of a decent pension and a distant yet generous family who wanted to give something back—but it was too big now. He watched the highway down below the curving dirt driveway, quiet at this hour: a mercy.

    He figured he'd go out to the barn. After he retired, the place had been a working farm for a good two decades, a dream of his since childhood. He still kept a few sheep around, a handful of chickens, and Engine, the old chestnut mare he could never ride again. He'd take Wolf with him, but even Wolf was showing his age, around the muzzle and in the stiffening gait of his hindquarters.

    He felt alone, but he wasn't alone: the things he'd seen in thirty years as a firefighter never really left him. Probably never would. Sleep was some fabled oasis amid the dunes of trauma.

    It was no one's fault, truly. The farm sat on the south side of the one straight stretch of highway for miles, and frustrated vacationers took risks; the province had been meaning to fix it, make it two lanes, but everything got tangled in red tape, while for him the irony was complete. Half a lifetime of seeing things replay on the screen inside his head and now, most every summer and winter, he'd hear that sound, the plosive, shattering shriek that was always followed by the worst silence imaginable, and as a human being he'd have to go see if he could help. No two ways about it. Only a coward would phone it in and go cringe someplace away from the window. Oh, he'd been tempted, but he was compelled by habit and by nature, and this last one, only a few days ago, was one of the worst: three young girls shivering quietly beside a ticking minivan, mesmerized by their father's ruined head, the broken body itself in a ditch. Mom inside, not moving, a wound in her own head that precluded the likelihood of her ever doing so again. He'd done what he could, checked the folk in the other vehicle (an elderly couple in a pickup, miraculously unhurt, but wide-eyed and refusing to leave their truck), called 911, given the girls blankets, led them to the warmth of his house, away from the nightmare they'd relive for however many cruel decades remained for them, but it was awful. Appalling.

    One thing firemen and farmers know is knots. Over a beam in the barn dangled the rope he'd tied yesterday, before he'd gotten cold feet. The Ketch knot, although most folks knew it by another name. Thirteen coils. He'd meant to take the rifle to Wolf, but he simply couldn't do it. He hated himself for that. He knew the animals would be taken care of: his family were arriving tomorrow for the holidays. He hated himself for that too.

    But he'd lived a good life overall and it was time. He didn't cotton to all that afterlife horseshit, but as he climbed onto the stool and reached for the rope, he'd be lying if he didn't admit his thoughts turned to Ginny, and remained there, the gleaming vision of her dancing eyes his very last.

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    1. Oh. How you twist my heart inside out and squish it to pieces. This is haunting and it pulled me along, even though I sensed it would go dark, I couldn't stop following.

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    2. Man, this is so good. I think this may be my favorite piece you've written. Or maybe there just all fucking good. Ya dick! ;)

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    3. You don't need me to tell you what you already know. But you did it right. A writer who does the character justice is all a reader wants to read..

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    4. You are a writer's writer. It is an honor and a pleasure to read everything you write, but I'm with Dan. This may be my favorite of yours.

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  19. Gently the tears tumbled out grey almond shaped eyes, over the ridges of well formed cheek bones, towards the rosy red lips the quivered. She tried to hold back the sobs that fought to burst out from her throat. But she had to be brave, the hurt was not something she could show. People would think her weak.



    After all she was now six years old, six year old girls did not cry over scraped knees.

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    1. I like this piece a lot, lady. The switch works so well. Really well played.

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    2. Beautiful little moment of self-awareness. I like it a LOT!

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  20. The girls, 11-year old Cara and her 8-year old sister Maria, had learned what to do and they quickly, quietly ran toward the front door and closed it carefully and even more quietly behind them.

    Their mother, Sandra, got back to her feet and said, “Josh, that’s the last time you will knock me down, and I’m not going to watch you sit in the dark and scream at the slightest giggle from the girls anymore.”

    She kept out of her husband's reach as he struggled to raise himself from his chair in the darkened den, just as she had hidden herself and the girls from him those other times.

    “I’m not going to tell you again, Sandy,” said Josh, a former NFL defensive tackle, “there’s no way to make it better, to make the headaches or tinnitus even marginally passable, other than that damn medication or I drop dead.”

    Turning to the door, Sandra said over her aching shoulder, “You’re right, you won’t have to tell me again that you don’t like taking your medicine--which was the reason you gave the last time you hit me and pushed Cara. So I left that gift you gave me for protection those times you might be on the road in the nightstand drawer. Protect us.”

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    Replies
    1. Oh shit! Wow, I love this whole piece, but those last two words. Wow, Joe. Epic power.

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    2. Oh Man--yeah. Amazing strength in this one.

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    3. Whoa... you took me down a path I wouldn't have guessed... and the last two lines ARE perfect.

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  21. He watched from his back porch, thinking of nothing, feeling less. A feathery breeze touched his cheek; the sun poured down over the dome of his head, warm as syrup. Whirlygigs parachuted from the silver maples, and a million puffs of dandelion wishes floated in the air. For a time that held no time, that was all there was. The strategy of angels to give him this moment, alone in the beautiful world, alive and precious and whole.
    “Mr. Baxter?” The young officer’s voice interrupted him. He turned, she looked about 20 with great sad, serious eyes that assessed him with more emotion than she knew how to hide.
    “We’ll need a statement, sir.”
    He nodded without speaking. There was nothing left to say. His Janie was gone. Dead at his own, merciful hand. They’d known God was coming for her, but he hadn’t been quick enough. Her suffering had to end.

    His hand on the screen door, he turned and paused, watching the whirlygigs tumble like souls back down to the earth to seed life again and tried to hold the moment to him before the terrible pain.
    But he wasn’t quick enough either.

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    1. Arg, feel the pain in this one. Really well played as always. The whirligigs work really well as an anchor image. Super strong.

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    2. Whirligigs and dandelion wishes... I think you've found a title for a collection of short stories. This is painful and beautiful. Thank you.

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  22. Savouring his gum until the flavour was a distant memory, he pondered his life. True, he'd had some good times—the Porsche was proof of that—but not everything worthwhile was bought as easily as that. The house on the hill, that'd took more to buy, but he'd slowly come to realise that these were all just tokens. Symbols. Wooden nickels that never bore close inspection.

    Rising to his feet, he dusted his lap, brushing away the crumbs that weren't there. Another habit. Another remnant of times gone past. Simone had always been one to try to feed him up. Especially when they'd first been an item. He'd spent almost a decade with a lunch box, then another three years with a foil-wrapped sandwich in his briefcase and then, when things really began to work out, another eighteen months of eating at the sophisticated restaurants that everyone who was anyone needed to be seen visiting. Not that many of their clientele ever felt full after they walked out through their doors.

    Larry stepped up to the railing, reached into his mouth and pulled out the gum. “Damn thing lost it's taste long ago,” he rasped, wadding it into a cube and then pushing it into the corner between one of the uprights and a cross-piece. “Time for another piece to replace it. Time for something new. Something fresh.”

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    1. Man, this is a really finely nuanced piece. Really dig it. "Wooden nickels that never bore close inspection." Such a good line. I'm coming back later to read this one again for sure.

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    2. Thanks Dan! I'm trying to develop my writing a bit. I'm starting to work seriously on a novel and thought I needed to switch up a gear...

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    3. If up a gear was your goal, you surpassed it. This is good.

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    4. I was so afraid that this was going to build up to an awful resolution...and then you brought the hope. <3 Love the description and symbolism, and the emotion, of course. Great piece.

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  23. Reckon I loved her. And I knowed what lit up her purty face. Me! Doggone it. Me without this badge what Sadie called “tin heart.”

    We sat at her pappy’s table, sippin’ Arbuckle’s Ariosa, best joe on this ball of mud.

    “Give it up, Will,” she said, a soft hand on mine. “We can buy us some cattle, settle down, quit bein’ afraid.”

    A deadeye what can shoot dang desperadoes five thousand paces, no way I could pork-and- bean it now.

    Come morning’ me and Palamino gee-up for another wild town.

    A Midas sun turned my silver star to gold.

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    1. That last line is KILLER. And good vernacular. I really like your western pieces, Sal.

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    2. And I love them, too... you give us authenticity without cliche... and Dan is stealing all my comments, but he's right... the last line is AMAZING.

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    3. Aww the cowboy life. I hate you, I love you, you seductive myth, you!

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  24. Christopher Green knew the job would be difficult and stressful when he took it. The police academy tried to prepare him for the worst, and he took it seriously. While technically he was a patrol officer of the Oakland Police Department, he saw himself as more of a community outreach officer. A bright-eyed, clean-cut, idealistic young white man, who genuinely wanted to help make the most dangerous parts of the city safer, he readily volunteered for one of the most dangerous beats in the city; a desolate chunk of West Oakland, where certain blocks were open-air drug markets, snipers sometimes picked off police officers just because, and the populace were generally wary if not hostile. While he did wear his standard-issue Kevlar vest, and kept a shotgun in the trunk of his cruiser, he generally didn’t carry a sidearm, despite his lieutenant urging him, “You really should be packing, Green. You don’t even know how those savages are, they’ll kill you dead if they catch you slippin’.”

    But he didn’t, because he knew that he was working within a deeply racist, classist institution, and even having a gun on his belt made him far more threatening. Instead, he only carried a taser, and small stashes of candy in his standard-issue magazine pouches, for the younger kids: mint and butterscotch candies during the warm sticky summer months, chocolates during the cool wet season.

    As such, he still wasn’t surprised, when he first started working his beat, when the locals were less than welcoming. Even the more passive ones glared and looked away, while many others pushed up the tips of their noses and made oinking noises, and some were even outright confrontational: just passing on the street, he’d get mean-looking youths looking him up and down and talking trash. “The fuck is up with you, five-oh? Don’t think you can just roll up on my block and tell me what’s up, punk.” “Suck my fuckin’ dick, Serpico. You ain’t shit. Step to me and I’ll smoke your ass, fool.” As Chris’ girlfriend Stephanie would report, “He hasn’t been attacked, yet, but it’s dangerous. He gets mean mugged a lot, cursed at a lot… high school, if not middle school age, kids flashing guns and mouthing off. It’s not even a racial thing, necessarily. I mean, it’s a mostly black neighborhood, but there are a few mean-ass white boys around.”

    The one time Stephanie met Chris for lunch at a soul food restaurant in the neighborhood, two raggedy-looking youths peered in the window at them, and shouted, “Yo! Christabitch! That your girl? She hella fine, dogg, get up in them guts! YOW!” The momentary glance of embarrassment he yielded was enough: they howled with laughter, “Baaahahah, that’s puttin’ salt in the game, bruh!” “Fuck it, dude, let’s go git some 40s. I’m finna holler at that li’l redbone.” “Ferreal nigga? I don’t think she tryina hear you, but that’s none of my business…”

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    1. Interesting team switch. ;) I like this piece a lot, D. Authentic as always - not what I expected, and I like it.

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  25. Mommy's gonna come back home and everything will be fine. Mommy always comes home. Look, you're four. I've known her two years longer than you have. She's going to come home. Wipe your eyes, sis. She's probably working longer hours. Something. She's always working since Dad left.

    The little girl sniffed back her tears and tried not to think about the last time they had eaten. She tried not to see the trash on the tabletops, smell the funk in the sink. She ground her fists into her eyes.

    The knock surprised them both. They weren't allowed to open the door when she wasn't there. He tried to explain, but the man with the loud voice said if he didn't open it, they'd knock the whole door down.

    So, he opened it.

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    1. I can only imagine how many kids this actually happens to... you made this real. And scary.

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  26. Davidson Maury was fond of his work. Or had been until the day they’d hired the new girl. He’d sit in his office with its single high window, reveling in his quiet calculations, secure in his equations. Content in his position. But then she had come and ruined it all, with those footsteps up and down the hall. Heavy on the heels, assertive, purposeful, always enthusiastic, she pounded through his days like some punishment. To the coffee machine, the desk pool, the lavatory up and down the long linoleum hall. He though she must be fat from the sound of her. Human Resources couldn’t discriminate over a thing like that, even if they wanted to.
    If it were up to him, he would take charge. “Look Miss, whoever you are. We do not wear high heels in accounting!”
    But he was not in charge, and never would be. They wanted the new blood now, the smart MBA’s and savvy young turks. New blood with new ideas and sleek Italian loafers. It was downright disrespectful to those who had served.
    And still that heel heavy echo taunted his peace.
    He’d never met her, never seen her. She’d taken over Johnson’s office, four doors down the hall. He missed Johnson. Johnson had the stride of drunken sailor, but he never made a racket. Or Jamieson who moved as light as Fred Astaire. This was a woman’s walk for sure. Men took longer strides, not this annoying pattering of a shorter pair of legs, dressed in a too tight skirt. Mr Achison would think him petty if he so much as mentioned it. Mrs. Wilson, who wore loafers would almost certainly fail to understand.

    CLOP, Clop, CLOP, Clop. Here she came again. That was no lady’s walk, he was sure of it. The stride of a harlot who showed cleavage from her sweaters maybe. Or swayed her hips as she went like some great cow.
    The steps paused at the break room. Maybe he should see. Catch just a glimpse of his new enemy.
    “Davidson Maury, “ he’d say and not offer a hand. “Senior Accountant.”
    He’d glance down then and find a pair of cowboy boots, assassin heels. Hideous stilettos, wooden geisha clogs. He would know then, her contempt for her job. For all of them. It would be better to know than not, wouldn’t it?
    For a moment he pulled away from his desk, reaching by reflex for his steel-handed canes. Then he heard in his mind his long slow progress. The squeaky whisper of rubber tips along the corridor, feet dragging behind him, swishing like a serpent’s tail along some jungle’s floor.

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    1. What an incredible description, of the unseen walker, and of Mr. Maury. And you managed to nail it with a twist at the end... this is really good!

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    2. That was amazing. I love the rhythm of your writing, and that ending is deadly.

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  27. The End

    It’s the beginning in the end
    Not the coming or the going
    Or revolving into past
    Patterns falling into present,
    Else the leaving, foreboding
    Endless search to match,
    Dispel, repel, attract, engage,
    To lose in endless circles turning
    The day hot breathed inside
    The cold night pushed away;
    Embracing the end in the flight
    To find, rediscover, rewind
    The past into the future,
    Future present perfect lies,
    Where none can hide in knowing
    The peace existing within here,
    This place, this one true place,
    Where the ending found a rebegin.

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    1. Man, I love getting twisted up in your words. So fluid and evocative.

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  28. Following him on the path gave me another opportunity to check out his odd gait unobserved. He reminded me of marionettes the way he lifted his feet from the knee to walk. And then, there was the jumpy way his arms dangled – helping to adjust his balance as he shifted his considerable girth from one foot to the other. That alone would have been slightly unusual but then we turned a corner in the path and I saw the house and garden.

    The house had a gorgeous brick façade and could it be? Well I’ll be damned it was. Corinthian columns . . . in Connecticut. Yes indeedy.

    But honestly, I can’t really say that was what made my knees wobble and my breath catch in my throat. That honor went to the Stephen King playground in front of the house with the horses that weren’t really horses at all. I could call them life size ornaments. An equestrian garden, maybe. 1...2… 3… 4… four plant animals, weirdly wide eyed, and in various stages of unrest. Four perfectly coiffed living sculptures. The hair in their manes and tails seemed to be made of raffia but that was the most unnatural part of any of them.

    My shock must have been evident but as is typical with eccentric artists he took it for admiration.

    “Yeah, they’re beauties ain’t they? My Tessa, she looooooved horses. I could never have one here though.” He stopped walking suddenly. “No way. Nobody to take care of it. So I made her these.”

    Turning, the mad topiarist grinned at me. I managed to stay still as he walked back toward me like Mr. Bojangles amped up on amphetamines and whispered, “Wait until you see the back yard. She loved the circus too.”

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    Replies
    1. ohhhh.... I SO want to see the back yard! This is really superb description, and really good tension-building, too. Thanks for sharing!

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    2. Oh, me too. That teasing, ominous ending cinches it so well. Great piece.

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  29. Lily

    It was only one night in a summer. Her night.

    A time to seep out of the shadow, taking hold of the form she wore during the dark hours when no one could hear, no one could see and no one would know. The pitch enveloped her and she wore it as a shield. She carried it whenever she could, her protector, while she paced these ways. These idle lanes she’d known since she only so high; too small to climb the fence by the stile – the stile with the rusted padlock.

    It never opened. Not when she needed it to, not when she was so high. When she was running. Racing the wind for a chance to meet the sky. And she did. In the glorious heat of a summer day she welcomed the clouds, enwrapping her in their perfect, perpetual slumber when she fell, struggling to climb that wooden fence, fighting to free the stile. Struggling. Never did she struggle now.

    Walking free, she clutched the lily petals lifted fresh upon her grave, upon her anniversary. The one her mother never should have known; never should have been fated to witness this and every year. She tilted her head to gaze up at the star-freckled sky, wandering where the night would take her while the guilty slept silent in their beds.

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    1. Oh. honey, this is not about ONE night for sure. I sense a bigger story, here....

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    2. Beautiful enough to make me weep. Thank you...

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    3. Agreed. God, that last phrase is so pretty.

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  30. This man decided to make a sandwich, but you WON'T BELIEVE what happened next. My jaw dropped! How is this even possible? An AMAZING life hack you NEED to see! You've been doing it wrong your whole life. This. Changes. EVERYTHING.
    -
    -
    -
    Uh, yeah, I put the jam on first when I'm making a PB and J. That's it.

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    1. Heresy! and this would make a great lead in to some of those facebook ads . You made me smile.

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    2. So hilarious! Thank you! Hubs, who never cooked a day in his life, has been on the internet suddenly instructing me on the directions to the PERFECT grilled cheese...

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    3. That's fucked up, tho... ;)

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  31. He believes in God, country, and motherhood; baseball, applie pie, and Chevrolet; faith, hope and charity. He believes in the value of hard work and getting rewarded for long hours and imagination. He believes, but none of these help put food into his sweet daughter’s mouth, nor the medicine she needs to breathe.
    He did what a father would do to keep his daughter alive. He stole.
    And he was caught. He believes in justice, paying the price, and hope. He believes that if he goes to prison, maybe someone will step up and do what he couldn’t to keep his daughter from being hungry and sick.
    Even as the prison gate slams behind him, he believes that once he’s paid his debt, his life will go back to normal, maybe even better than normal.
    He believes in writing to his little girl. He writes every day, believing in the power of communication. He hopes that his love can somehow be contained within the fragile white envelopes he addresses carefully and seals. Even when weeks go by, and sometimes months, without a response from her, he believes in her, in her future.
    He believes in education. He believes in the magic of books, and so he spends his free time in the prison library. He believes in being productive. He believes in being patient.
    The day before his release, he receives a letter. Official. Esq. shows after the sender’s name in the corner. It is a restraining order. No contact with and no getting any closer than 100 feet from her, his daughter, the one for whom he has given years of his life.
    He believes in endings. This is one. He rents a hotel room after he tastes the sweet air of freedom. He draws a bath. He believes water has the power to calm, to purify, to redeem weary and sin-filled humans. He runs an extension cord from the hotel outlet. He climbs in the bathtub and ponders where it all went wrong.
    He picks up the end of the extension cord and examines it, as if it were the serpent from the Garden of Eden. An unasked why forms on his lips, soon replaced with “I believe in life everlasting,” and he pulls the cord into the water.
    "I believe."

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    1. Oh...like a punch in the heart.

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    2. Agreed. And yeah, think right. It's a well thrown punch.

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  32. Breezing in

    Eyes grazed her as she breezed in,
    Tottering in spiky, blood-red heels,
    Gasping in a too-tight black number,
    Her cleavage seeming to levitate.

    They all saw, watched, leered, envied,
    Creating a personality for her to wear,
    Currying words she might say to them -
    Substance from an imaginary thought.

    The curls of her hair waved at them
    From her turned, perfect arched back,
    Her lithe legs, never-ending curves,
    She seemed to walk on the very air.

    All of them melted in her wake
    Yet never uttered to her a word,
    Nervous to disturb the idea of her;
    They saw what they wanted to see.

    Her fathomless eyes always met their own,
    Framed by long, spidery black lashes;
    Winking without actually winking -
    For that was their wish more than hers.

    She always smiled, lips like a bow,
    Curving, glittering, sensual, inviting,
    As she bent over, her curls falling,
    Framing her soft face, turned-up nose.

    Almost as swift as her arrival, she faded
    Out into the buzzing world beyond,
    Leaving them silent to mourn her passing,
    Clutching to their chest her gift to them.

    Thus she drifted in and drifted out,
    Visiting their lives but once every year,
    Only when the fiction fair came to call -
    The hot book signer, finished for the day.

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  33. As for the $500, I will spend it with a broke bitch! Thanks Mader. That, too, exists only in my skull. Nice piece.

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  34. You gotta think like a Mexican, Baby. Play the guitar and pimp your ride. You don’t need no stinking badges, you runnin’ toward hope and you will abide.
    Make you a saint who don’t think you’re a sinner.
    Pray for some new life you need to come true.
    Pray for that shit you ain’t supposed to ask for
    That the deal goes down and nobody dies.
    We all saints and we’re sinners and in the end, there ain’t no sides.

    Get a tattoo of that saint on your arm
    Know you’re forgiven for all that you have been.
    Take you a job that no one else wanted
    Let it buy you some freedom, as long as it lasts.
    Run through that desert like some kind of river
    Know in your soul that the water is free.
    Make you some music, laugh at the danger
    Sing in the darkness and know you can dream.

    You gotta think like a Mexican, baby
    God don’t belong to a few chosen ones
    Keep you a faith that don’t have no reason
    Build you a life just because you’re alive.
    Pray to those gods who ain’t got religion
    Cause sometimes it’s just enough to survive.

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    Replies
    1. "Sing in the darkness and know you can dream." Yep.

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  35. Inside

    It was the stillness
    This quiet
    This arch in the noise
    Where it lived
    Breathed
    Bowed to the living

    Crawling in its space
    Within the cracks
    In the walls
    Creeping in between

    Here it smelled
    The people inside
    Living outside the walls
    Knowing them
    Listening to their tales
    The secrets
    The things never told

    It soaked it all up
    Like a sponge
    An indifferent thing
    Yet it was anything but

    It kept these things
    Hidden inside
    Memorised
    Treasured
    Hugged to the breast
    Inhaled into the chest
    “My family”
    It called them

    Where it waited
    Patient and undeserving
    Breathing inside
    The walls
    In the home
    Of the innocent –
    The ones it bewitched
    When the time came
    In the end.

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    1. I'm about to go to bed and now I'm scared shitless! ;)

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  36. It's midnight here, I landed late, my eyes are closing & I'm off to bed. Will have a read of everyone's stories tomorrow :) Nite and thanks for inspiration, JD.

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  37. Agents Blazckowicz and Waters were less than thrilled with their assignment. It was a grim one. They had a fourteen year old boy tied up in the trunk of their black towncar, the son of a stubborn Republican Senator who refused to play ball with the newly-elected, aggressively progressive president. He was kind of a lippy little bastard, but he personally did nothing to deserve the fate they had in store for him.

    They drove the kid way out to an isolated warehouse by the docks in Baltimore, and fitted him for a pair of concrete shoes. He was babbling and pleading the whole time, trying to talk them out of it: “Oh shit, ohh shit, no, you guys, you must have the wrong kid. My dad is a Senator, if you want money, he can pay you, just please, let me go.”
    As the cement dribbled down over the kid’s clean new sneakers, Blazckowicz took him by the jaw and replied, “That’s the whole point. Sorry kid, but you’re collateral damage.”

    They made the kid wait around a while, let the cement set, but before long, the President of the United States of America sauntered in and squared up to him. He smiled and said rhetorically, “How’s it going kid?”

    The boy said nothing, so the President continued, “Yeah, I’m sorry about all this. It’s a shitty thing to do to a kid. You’re a victim of politics. Your old man, the Congressman, is a fucking stubborn piece of shit, and I gotta hit him where it hurts. I gotta take you out, to show him what happens if he doesn’t toe the line.

    “So, at least I’ll give you a choice: I can shoot you now, or we can dump you in the Potomac and let you drown.”

    This was a new low of brutality: a few weeks before, they had visited the tony suburban home of a different Congressman, for the specific purpose of administering a gangland-style beating. That doughy old fuck tried to pull a gun, but didn’t have the stones to pull the trigger. Waters yanked the piece out of his hand, removed the magazine and the round in the chamber, then beat him senseless with it. Meanwhile, Blazckowicz was slapping the Congressman’s wife, forehand and backhand, until she cowered in the corner of the room, terrified, only daring to catch glimpses of the two men in suits beating her husband to a pulp.

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  38. This was a new kind of super hero. His selfless deeds were admired far and wide. He went by the name Gentle Man. It didn't take long for folks to discover his secret: he didn't have any "super" powers. Turns out he was just a nice, average guy. The best part was, now anyone could don the cape.

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    1. <3 That's beautiful! and the cape is One-size-fits-all!

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    2. Thanks, y'all! I'm just an average dude aspiring to Gentle Man status. :) Our magnanimous benefactor and spark plug, JD, used to play offensive line with yours truly. We bonded and whatnot. I counted myself among the #1 fans of the legendary Patsies. Many a 40 oz. of Crazy Horse malt liquor fueled my woozy fanhood. (I'm pretty sure I still have a cassette of Dorf on Punk with hand-drawn liner notes somewhere.) Hugs for all, and thanks for having me! :)

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    3. Hey ho, brother! (Many a forty fueled the creation of Dorf on Punk, too) ;)

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  39. She sits in a cubicle and types the enticements to other people’s futures. Paid by the word to make them look taller, more beautiful. Employable, take-home-to-mother-able. From their scrawls on un-auto-corrected emails full of emojis and lower-case words she makes them into smooth-talking Ivy League graduates, the winners of tomorrow’s jackpots. Three of the overhead lights have burned out and the fourth is lined with dead bugs and grime and there she sits in her ill-fitting polyester slacks and cats-eye glasses that keep slipping down her nose, photoshopping the shines off foreheads and the pimples off chins. And when she’s done for the day, she clicks off the lights and goes home and drinks cheap wine and tells their real stories, changing the names to protect the guilty.

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    1. My heart is with her... I always wondered why there were so many good looking, literate types out there on facebook... now I know.

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    2. How many people live inside your head?!?! "take-home-to-mother-able" love it

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  40. “Did I know her? Well as anyone, I guess. She was just another one of them braless, beer-drinkin’ girls hung out down by the river. Don’t even remember her name. Naw. I wasn’t there that night. My where-a-what? You mean where I was? Hell. Gotta take the fifth there, chief. Not that I was doing anything against the law, just kinda…well, it wouldn’t look too good to say. But the girl? Nah. That wasn’t me. Hey, nice mug shot. Yeah. I know him. Wouldn’t be at all surprised…treats the girls like shit. Hell, you gotta drive ‘em home after. Least you can do, right? He said what? Aw, no, man. Like I said. I was somewhere, but not…say what again? You found what in my truck? Little frilly things ain’t my style, man. No, I don’t know whose. I don’t do girls in my truck, man. That’s just wrong. Someone planted that there, make me look bad, you know. Her sister, maybe. She always had it in for me, ever since…well, never mind about that. The blood…what blood? Blood on… Hey. What the hell? Get those friggin’ cuffs out of my face, chief. Least let me call a lawyer.”

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    1. Interesting piece. I like the fact that it's just one hunk of dialogue...er monologue! :)

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    2. How you do character's voices is always a learning opportunity for me... you do them so well. I think I know this guy.

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  41. The apartment grew too small. Or maybe it was the space in her lungs. Maybe her cells had crowded too closely together, and her veins needed some time out. Perhaps the lights were too bright and the dust settling too thick and the moon pulled too hard on her blood. So she grabbed the keys and left, slipped into the dark, starless night without a word over her shoulder to tell him where she was going because even she didn’t know that yet. Point the car in a direction and see where I end up, she thought. Two states later she was still driving, her eyes sticking together and singing Captain and Tennille songs to keep herself awake. When she saw the name of the town, she smiled. She liked the way the syllables rolled off her tongue, this combination of something that was probably half Iroquois and half Dutch. It felt like home.

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    1. <3 No words, really, except I've felt the first half and done something rather like the last half. I know this story well.

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    2. This could set the stage for so many wonderful directions... I really like this... and I want to know what the name of the town is!

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  42. She wishes her heart had an "off" switch. Not her literal heart; she has no desire to stop living. But her figurative heart--that she'd love to be able to turn off.

    In the movies and books, girl meets boy, boy falls in love with girl, and girl and boy live happily ever after together. Her real-life experiences are different, though. For her it's always been girl meets boy, girl falls hopelessly in love with boy, boy finds someone cuter or thinner or younger or funnier to fall in love with and says "let's just be friends."

    So she'd like to turn off her figurative heart because she's not ready for her literal heart to stop, but she doesn't want to live the rest of the days with it aching and empty, either.

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    1. Ah, there have been times I have looked for that switch, too... thanks for sharing a wonderful description of it.

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    2. Yeah, really well conveyed. I feel it.

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  45. I don't know much about a lot of things - there's not much I can tell you. It's not fair, lord, I know it's not fair. I'm not going to try and make it fair, if that helps. I will at least own this cowardice - I might as well, considering the weight it pulls.

    God, but I'm tired. That's the thing. I''m so tired and sleeping doesn't do shit anymore - I think I feel worse when I do sleep. Sleep is broken now. I don't know if I could explain it even if I tried. But sleep is no respite.

    None of this can make it right, but you can know that I only held on this long because I wanted to be right. For you. Because you deserve better than you got. And there's nothing I can do about that except say goodbye. And tell you that I tried.

    Really. I swear I did.

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  46. The blade is whetstone sharp and gently arced - it is a beautiful thing, and you turn it in your hands, slowly, staring. You smell the tang of memory, it chafes like feed store denim and you smile - feel dry corn, feed-rough and hard in your hand.

    The blade magnifies everything. The way skin pares, tension pulling the sides apart - rivers of blood. There is no escape and your mouth is dry as a corn husk.

    You can't let them know. That you know. The only chance you have - to get out - the only chance hinges on surprise. You have the jump on them. You have set like a dark grey wolf hour. You will persevere, cut through the curtains which brought you here.

    The blade is the key. Find the lock.

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