Friday, June 19, 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. 

Yo, talk louder, the whole neighborhood can't hear you. The way you slur your speech, girl, I can't wait to be near you. That mouth, those ruby red lips, hell the way you talk, it could sink a sailor's ship. And that tube top, shit, I didn't know they could be that tight. It's like the one tit's going left and the other can't get it right. Tell me another anecdote second-hand from Jimmy Fallon. You got those nails done up real nice, they make me think of talons. 

See, I don't understand, that's the thing, if everything's so low low. Why you standing on the corner shouting into a speaker phone, yo? Talking about how you're broke and won't get to party tonight, it sounds an awful lot like you're angling for a fight. But I don't fight sad washed up wrecks, and I've never seen one worse. It's like someone took the sow's ear purse, but did it in reverse.

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

104 comments:

  1. Jimmy sat as still as his imagination let him. The sounds of city traffic painted his senses and he laughed - it was a child's laugh, fluttery and wild. His skin felt cool and he could sense impending gooseflesh. It made him smile. He had not smiled in a long time. Laughed? Yes. Smiled? No. Jimmy wasn't sure why.

    Jimmy's brain goes off the rails sometimes. The doctors have long words for it. Jimmy doesn't like the long words or his brain or broccoli, but he can't do anything about his loathing. He tastes chalk and spits on the sidewalk. Soon, the crowd will come. He knows it. They'll come to see the show.

    Jimmy just needs to figure out what the show is going to be.

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    1. I like Jimmy... I think i was Jimmy. Hell, maybe still am Jimmy.

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  2. Oh yeah... the trademark MaderRap is back! Love the first piece!

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  3. #2minutesgo crew! I will be out until later this afternoon. #Breaktheblog!!! :)

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  4. The first rose of spring. Yellow. Fragrant. Ancient. More ancient even than she, who had transplanted it from her grandmother's gardens when she bought this house.
    So long ago.
    The winter had been impossibly long. The blizzard that took Mr. Santos' life when he went to retrieve his mail. The Christmas dinner to which there was no one to invite. The death of her daughter.
    The rose was a Harison's Yellow. A pioneer rose. When the families left the last outpost of civilization in their covered wagons, the women of St. Joseph, Missouri, would take a cutting of roses well established in their gardens, place it between two halves of a potato, and tie a ribbon to hold the potato together.
    When--if--the families made it to the land they were to homestead, they would dig a hole, put the potato and rose into it, and perhaps have sustenance for both belly and soul in a few months.
    More often, though, the rose was planted over a makeshift grave, a final resting place for one who overestimated the power of hope and dreams. This rose, this yellow beacon was such a rose, from the grave of her great-grandmother.
    And now, she took a cutting from this rose, pricking her finger on the abundant thorns. This rose should be in her daughter's eternal garden, the ground above her resting place.
    Yellow might be the color of cowardice to some. To her, it was a mark of courage and hopes and dreams, and a testament to the pioneer women who carried it across the great American desert, a desert with far too many graves.
    The winter had been long. A single rose had ended it.

    [I'm cheating... I woke up yesterday and thought it was Friday, so I composed this one ready for #2minutesgo... I posted it on my timeline since it was really only Thursday]

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    1. I agree, and I like following the threads through this piece. You are forgiven for cheating. ;)

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  5. NOTHING THERE WORTH DYING FOR

    It seemed so simple. For all her talk, Cora Dewbury was saying the same thing over and over, "Find the one you love and hold her tight." All her poems and stories boiled down so simply. I had only to find my one and only, then hold her forever.

    But take a second look at the source. What Dewbury’s lips spoke was insincere. She had had her chance at love. She could have embraced it, as she preached. She could have held it tight. But instead she trembled as though love were a monster from which to slink away or die.

    I tossed her poems and stories into the wastebasket. This woman who had pulled apart the wings of new love and forced it limping in the downward slide of her own lack of faith. Through the microscope’s glassy eye, she analyzed love and deduced she’d found nothing there worth dying for.

    Oh, yes, Cora Dewbury said all the right words, but she never dove into the fiery depths of love for fear of being consumed in a blaze of unhappy endings. In her own defense she would tell you love for her was elusive –– a mockingbird concealing itself in the shade of a green mirage where it caws cruelly, then vanishes at the sound of her beating heart.

    There were no lessons she could teach me about the majesty of love, how it was impervious to the brunt of time, how it thumped the heart to fits of joy. I stopped reading her love poems. Her fairy-tale stories lacked the authenticity I had foolishly believed Dewbury imbued in those happily-ever-after plots. Whatever confidence I had in her and her writing was gone. The woman had proven herself artificial as the plastic red roses she kept in an opaque vase on her desk.

    The last time I saw her she said, “I wrote this love sonnet this morning,” and without waiting for my usually enthusiastic nod, she began reading the rhymes and iambic-pentameter rhythms fraught with hypocrisy. One more mask, I told myself.

    Last I heard of Cora Dewbury was a scathing review I read of her love poems, a book she called Last Train to Nowhere. An apt title, I thought, but the critic called it cliché and the contents “spectacularly bad.”

    #

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    1. The whole piece is poetry in its own right, but I love this phrase: "a mockingbird concealing itself in the shade of a green mirage"

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    2. I LOVE this piece, I started, but did not finish, one myself today on a similar concept. "Nobody loved like we did, Peeling away the layers of magic, as if we could discover the Cause."

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    3. "pulled apart the wings of new love" - amazing phrasing. Great piece.

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  6. “Thank you for calling DSI. All of our consultants are with other customers. The estimated wait time is three minutes—and five-- seconds.”
    Music from devilish violin filled the phone receiver. Paganini? Maybe.
    “Thank you for waiting.” The well-paid consultant saw the name on the screen. “Mr. Limbaugh. What an honor. I trust the weekend Gluttony trip was a pleasant experience?”
    “Yes, yes, it was fine. But I need something more. Something more adventurous…”
    “Let’s see… you’ve done the Lost in Lust package, the Drunken Day…”
    “I think the only one I haven’t done is…”
    “Murder. Yes, that would complete the entire cycle.”
    “Are there any openings?”
    “Each is specially arranged. I’ll have to see how soon we can…”
    “The sooner the better. Money is no object.”
    Those magic words open so many doors, especially when backed up by fact.
    “I’ll call you back this afternoon with details. Should I speak directly with you or with your personal assistant?”
    “Speak only to me of this. I don’t want any leaks.”
    “Of course, sir. We, too, place a high value on discretion. Thank you so much for choosing Deadly Sins, Incorporated. Have a nice day.”

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    1. Nancy DeCilio GauthierJune 19, 2015 at 10:51 AM

      Nicely done - reminds me of some kind of Sci-Fi story I may have read umpteen yasrs ago in one of those Anthology magazines - LOL.

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    2. Yeah, expand on this, for sure.

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    3. Agreed. Really cool concept. I love it.

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  7. They call the innermost and most holy part of a church the “sanctuary.” In the middle ages, if someone sought refuge at a church, he was immune to prosecution by non-ecclesiastical authorities for as long as he stayed there.
    The madman knew this as surely as he knew that it was 1492 and that infidels were everywhere. He stopped at the glowing sign of the cross and wondered if he needed sanctuary now. “JESUS SAVES,” flashed on and off.
    “Mary spends,” he thought to himself. No, no sanctuary yet. Just one more.
    He’d been on the streets long enough now to look the part, as long as he didn’t speak. Street talk was something he had not yet mastered in his studies. He was good at parroting, but the nuances of the language eluded him. So he played mute. “Dumb,” in the language of his youth.
    The young Adonis he encountered smiled at him. The eyes weren’t quite right, though. Adonis’s thumb was tucked in a pant pocket, with his fingers lewdly emphasizing a bulge.
    “You like what you see old man? Wanna see more?”
    Infidels. They were everywhere. He assumed a mask and nodded.
    “Show me some cash.”
    He pulled out a roll of the green and black money that seemed so important to everyone in this time. The blond boy whistled and led him down an alleyway.
    “A hundred bucks. Anything you wanna do. But cash up front.”
    He handed the roll of paper money to the boy. He watched the boy’s eyes. Would he try to run?
    The boy peeled two crisp bills from the roll, tucked them in his pocket, handed the rest of the cash back, and began undoing his pants. The boy never saw the knife until the knife itself looked inside him. The eyes asked why, why, why, but the lips were still except from the scream.
    “You said anything.” He carried the warm boy to the church.
    But the JESUS SAVES sign was dark. The door was locked.
    He sat on the concrete, with the boy in his arms, until the flashing blue and red lights filled the air.
    Sanctuary. Too late. These infidels did not understand the holy duty of sanctuary. But soon. The Inquisition. They would pay.

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    1. "the knife looked inside him" - Wow. This is a haunting and surreal piece of writing. Really, really dig this one. The religious themes are well done.

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    2. Thanks for the encouraging words!

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  8. “Please remain still. The scale you’re standing on is quite sensitive and movement interferes with its readings. I don’t want to have to repeat the experiment you’re your—” he nodded toward the gagged woman in the corner, “—wife.”
    The man ceased struggling and his eyes grew wide.
    Dr. Jebediah was glad he had gagged both the man and the woman. The pleas for mercy would be too distracting.
    “The experiment you’re playing a part in. It’s so crucial. Important to the future of humanity. So many will be grateful to you for your part in it, and of course to me. Your data will make the sample size large enough that no one can doubt the results.”
    Dr. Jebediah calibrated the scale.
    “You see, we’re proving the existence of the human soul.”
    The man’s eyes grew wider still.
    “We’re taking your weight now, and then we will take your weight after you—expire. If previous measurements hold here, you will be approximately five grams lighter. And that five grams—” he paused to look at the subject. “Those five grams are the weight of your soul.”
    The subject’s eyes were closing.
    “Ah, yes, the sedative is finally taking effect. You’ve held out longer than most of the previous subjects. You understand, I had to weigh you first, and couldn’t add anything more to your blood, or it would throw the measurements off. So the poison is quite slow acting.”
    Dr. Jebediah sang quietly to himself as he watched the subject drift first into a sleep, then into a coma. “Let it go…” Lovely little musical number. His eyes remained on the scale readout.
    +6 grams, it read. Impossible. The subject couldn’t gain weight at death!
    Dr. Jebediah looked at the man.
    A dragonfly rested on the subject’s forehead and flew just out of Dr. Jebediah’s reach.
    The doctor sighed. Thank goodness he had one more test subject. He smiled at the woman to put her at ease.
    Years ago, when he studied at Stanford, he’d gotten an A in bedside manner. A good education is so important.

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    1. For reals! You turn on the dark and twisted tap? ;) This is awesome. I feel like something is going to come out of these pieces. In a weird way. Probably in a very strange dream which you better write down!

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    2. It's a stretch for me... but I figure I better flex those muscles, too... so I try! thanks!

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    3. WHOA! Two weeks late; vacay in Alaska to blame. Savoring catching up!

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  9. However good a day it is to be alive right now, just know there will come another day when it's equally good to die. You don't need a Crazy Horse to tell you that.

    There will come a storm. A war. And in war all our darknesses will converge, will meet. Too late, we might want to quarantine ourselves, remove our lusts and terrors from all equations, but that moment will have passed, and into the noxious bloodtide we must wade as ravenous, reluctant warriors, taking a reckoning of our friends and our enemies both, and giving deference equally, however much one is conveyed by the sacrament and the other by the sacrifice. For they are one and the same.

    And this is what the crow saw.

    Abandoned islands in a smokestack sky. Industrial archipelagoes. The molten reek of the world's innards. What gave us pause. What made us flinch. How many of us were built for this remorse?

    Who, who will comfort you now?

    Hidden from most, a blister erupted in the forest, while men drew crude vaginas in the dirt and women built phalluses from mud. The crow flew closer, alighting on a cedar bough. Only the crow loved both venerated and venereal, gleaning correctly their kinship. Which is love, really. The crow has solved a great perplexity.

    And now the coyote speaks.

    But its language seems like gibberish, and its strange music makes men want to kill, so no one hears the coyote song. It goes:

    "Cry now, but laugh hence,
    Dream of yesterday while
    Gutting the hart of the wood.
    Kill your austere prey, but
    Return its offal to the thirsty earth,
    And sing its worth to the skies."

    If men heard the song, they might put down their dull blades for a while and make more and better vaginas in the dirt, or sharper blades. If women heard the song, they would perhaps add more verses and take solace in their propensity for avoiding foolishness in the unforgiving glare of the eternal public square. If children heard the song, the stitching of the world might even meet.

    But instead, the crow mocks the coyote, and the coyote bows his defeated head while hot visceral gouts are splashed across the chalk downs of England, wakening the fox and the badger, only to begin the whole hemoclysm anew.

    The fox barks till he's hoarse, then returns to the vixen in the den. Wash cycle becomes spin cycle, ad infinitum. They stand stock still and search each other's liquid eyes for some truth or even a hint of their next move. She tells him he should have been gone a long time ago, and he follows the arc of a comet in the black dome of the night, then stifles his abject caterwauling.

    The crow laughs, although it feels more like whimpering. For a moment, it doubts even the sunrise, but at last spies a pale shimmer on the eastern rim of a sorrowing earth. Its cry is coarse in the quiet dawn, rough as the beard of a rapist on soft skin, and like a coward, stupidly, the crow looks only inward.

    Ashamed, gauzy, reprehensible, engulfed, abhorrent, pensive, impure, tarnished, rapt, dishonorable.

    Nothing but words. Words. Sounds as created by lips, throat, and tongue. Then scratched onto parchment with an ink-black quill. Repeated as tales or incantations. For what? Turns out the best we can say is this:

    Today is a good day to go fuck yourself.

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    1. Astonishing. The dismalness... the hopelessness... the beauty of a black and white photograph, broken by the color of the animals... this is truly awesome. The animal imagery is especially powerful to me.

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    2. I Love your mastery. I hate what what you do with it. I have grown careful about spewing my despair as art.And not to be a bitch, feel maybe an artist, such as yourself, bears a greater responsibility.

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    3. Ouch. Really? You hate it, Teresa? You've always been kind to my writing.

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    4. I think this is the point where I exit. I understand my content is dark and not easy to process, but my intent is always to discover the beauty and the love within those grim moments. Clearly I've failed if I've somehow attracted hatred. Fuck. I'm sorry. I'll write no more words on here. It's been a slice, people.

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    5. David, no... I love your writing. The words are astonishing and powerful.

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    6. But also, thank you, Leland. :/

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    7. Laurie, I appreciate your kindness, I really do, but I've always made it a point to move on if someone reacts with hatred. I love this Friday thing, and have always appreciated the kindness everyone extends to each other, so perhaps I was blindsided by this (I mean, isn't it an unspoken thing not to be negative here?). But words like hatred and irresponsibility? I feel like my writing failed, especially as my goal and focus was always love and beauty, always. :(

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    8. I just wanted to clarify my earlier comment and have put as much on my FB wall. I am So sorry. I meant no disrespect at all.And I do NOT hate your writing, far from it! I very much admire your gifts. What I take issue with and have learned from my own experience: writing is about readers as much as it is about expressing one's self. And despite a highly respected literary tradition of celebrating tortured souls,people read literature to learn, to discover, and to be uplifted or feel themselves part of a larger experience. That is not to say there is not darkness, only that there must also be light.

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    9. Writing is only for your readers if you want it to be. To be the devil's advocate. David IS a masterful writer. Part of that, I think, is that he writes for himself - true to the voice, character, intent - he doesn't pull punches. Especially here. This piece? This is wonderful. Maybe even a notch above the usual. Dark? Yeah. But I don't know if I agree that there must be light.

      I've never read a lighthearted story by Jack Ketchum, but I've read everything he's written. Cormac McCarthy? Blood Meridian is a hard read, but it's genius.

      Don't let this push you away, DA. It's hard to communicate in this kind of forum. Your pieces here are always stellar. I'd hate to be denied the glimpse inside your writing brain. I don't care if it's silly, scary, or about sparkly vampires.

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    10. Thanks, bro. And I've addressed this on Facebook rather than on here (that seems to be the place for drama, lol).

      I also have to point out that, as dark as this piece is, and it is, it's not *only* about the dark (the coyote's song here is key), and the ending made me laugh!

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    11. Don't you dare leave. As a reader, YOU make me think. It WAS dark but I saw the light in the coyotes call. They are eternal optimists!

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  10. The color of despair, Sadie decided, was not blue or black,but invisibility. Even as she watched her reflected hands apply powder and lipstick, she could barely see herself in the mirror.
    Despair, she thought, was the inevitable curse of old age, and old she was. If blue were a color of despair, it was not navy blue but the blue of old ladies' hair.
    She had only just clasped the single strand of pearls around her neck when the phone rang.
    "Yes, Clara?" She needed no newfangled device to tell her it was her sister on the line. No one but she called during the week, and, on weekends only her nephew Herman called.
    "Yes, I'm nearly ready. Yes, I know. Though you would be late to your own funeral, I would not be late to anyone's. I'll meet you out front."
    She hung up and glanced at herself in the mirror one more time. She could almost see the ghost of her younger self, if she squinted just right.
    Her walking stick--never cane--was already by the door. She dropped a small moleskin book into her sturdy black purse, struggled with the door, and with as much decorum as she could muster, walked down the nursing home hall.

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    1. Beautiful, only just give her a little boost at the end. Funny, how it felt good, outliving them all...

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    2. Those little details. Walking stick. Never a cane. Such a gift the ways those fall.

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  11. I’m not superstitious, but I’d never invite 12 people to dinner so there were 13 at the table. That’s Last Supper material, and you know what happened to the host of that party. But there are times you find yourself in a group and the 13th person walks in and what are you going to do, leave?
    We had the chairs in a circle, in the church basement, just getting ready for Bible study, when the door opens and this guy walks in, sits down in one of the chairs, and smiles at all of us. White guy. In our church. I got another chair. We sat down and Pastor led us in an opening prayer.
    I’ll remember the text for the rest of my life. Hebrews 13:2. “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.”
    We talked some about what that meant, about opening our hearts to folks we didn’t know, maybe even people we didn’t like. That showing hospitality to even the most hardened criminals was our duty. Pastor reminded us of Matthew 25:35, when Christ said, “For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in…”
    We closed with a prayer, and I was glad to stand up from the metal folding chair. There were hugs, even for the white stranger, who didn’t introduce himself. He smiled at Pastor and hugged him… Pastor crumbled when the thunder happened, and so did nine others. I counted the chairs.
    Thirteen.
    Sometimes you entertain angels unawares. Sometimes it’s the devils.
    But we invite them in, even if Judas Iscariot himself knocks at the door.

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    1. Wow, this is a strong, heartbreaking and amazing piece, Leland. Holy Crap.

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    2. Thanks! it's been a dark week.

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  12. “For God's sake, Robert, it’s been ten days since the raid and the men been without any provisions since two days a’fore that. Just the bit of dried corn they carried off from St. Francis before we set it to the torch,” George Campbell said while he chewed a piece of fringe from his deerskin leggings.

    “Aye, I’m hungry too, Lieutenant, but game is beyond scarce in these parts, we’re carrying prisoners and, with the Frenchies on our trail, I trust our scattered men are maintaining the pace however they can. They’ve still got to meet us and the Regulars down at Fort Number 4,” said the rangers’ commander, Major Robert Rogers.

    In his mind’s eye, Campbell could still see the smoke and blood of St. Francis. In the pre-dawn hours ten days before, Rogers and his men, like wolves, had set upon the Abenaki mission village near the south shore of the St. Lawrence River, killing more than thirty of its residents. Now native and French provincial and military forces were hunting the White Mountains for the British colonials.

    “Bring me that fat old woman that’s been nattering and wailing for the past five days,” Rogers called across the fire to the men guarding Abenaki prisoners. He stood and placed his hands on his hips, just above the beaded Mohawk belt in which he kept his tomahawk and fine knife that came all the way from Sheffield in England.

    Campbell looked into the eyes of the man the Abenaki called Wabo Madahondo — White Devil — saw that cold glint again, like a spark from a piece of flint, and spit out the gelatinous bit of hide he chewed. Then he shrugged and motioned to the scarecrow ranger guarding the prisoners, as desperation and disgust overwhelmed what back in Albany had once been his conscience.

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    1. This is good... and of course I want to read more. Is this going to be a longer piece?

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    2. I don't know, Leland. I'm not sure if I have the will or impetus these days to do more than this. I'm feeling pretty disillusioned. Thank you for the affirmation, though. It means a lot.

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    3. Bah. Disillusionment is only interesting if you're writing about it. Get that pen/keyboard moving and get it out on the paper.... your stories need to see the light of day.

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    4. I feel disillusioned every day. I keep writing. You NEED to keep the faith. You're too good. This is a perfect example. Super strong. I would be proud as hell of this piece had I written it.

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    5. Frankly, I'm honored to have it on my blog.

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  13. “You think you’re inviolable because you’re already so hurt you can’t breathe and so angry you can’t think straight? Well there’s more coming brother. This is just the beginning. Alright maybe we’re closer to the middle of this thing than I’m willing to acknowledge. Maybe there is an end in sight and that’s why it’s all so damn dire all the time right now. See I would rather think that we still have some hope but I’m too much of a cynic for that. I used to have hope once when I was . . .”

    “When you were playing house and had the girls with you?”

    “When I was a child. And yeah, when my . . . when they were with me I felt hope and a lot of other things that don’t mean shit now that they’re gone. I see it all, everything just like some IMAX Technicolor kiddy flick on a fifty foot screen and it’s giving me a damn headache. This is a blood feud train and it’s moving fast. We’re barely able to see the blur. But we can feel it Gage, we can feel it everywhere. Can’t we?”

    “So you’re saying there’s nothing we can do?”

    “Naw. I’m saying we’re screwed and if your plan is to sit around in some haze of what used to be waiting for the next round then going in like usual -- violent, suicidal, or half assed -- you’ll be doing it on your own.”

    Abruptly Gage pushed himself up from the chair and lunged into a smoldering walk straight towards his brother who didn’t waver.

    “You’d dump us? Again?”

    “I’ve never been a martyr man.”

    “No, that was me wasn’t it?”

    “You’re a leader Gage. I’m not, but I’m not a coward either. I’m just too smart to play at being stupid. Are you?”

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    1. Oh.... good story, told almost entirely in dialogue. I'd read more!

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    2. Wait, were we separated at Birth? I gotta brother, SO Like this!

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    3. This is awesome! I want to read more, too. Really, really good.

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  14. When you pull into the driveway, your wife is standing outside, arms crossed over her chest, trouble etched into her face. The terse phone call gave enough of a hint into the problem, and all through the ride home, you ran through what you intended to do. When you brought him into your life, you knew this could happen. But it was easy to let the warnings slip into the background as those big eyes stared up at you. And you could barely blame the neighbors. Although they had to know the temptation might be too much to resist. You park the car and attempt to reach for her but she backs away, hands in the air as if absenting herself from the entire debacle. You huff out a breath, following her up the stairs. Discipline was never your thing; you’d been the good cop to her bad one. But this was an opportunity, you tell yourself. One of those teachable moments all the magazines and websites talked about.

    He waits in the corner, head bowed in shame. You sigh. “Okay, boy. Time for a chat.”

    He whimpers and looks up at you. One white chicken feather still quivering from his lip.

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    1. Awwww... Angelo begs you to be merciful! I really like the hidden ending in this... very nice!

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    2. Very deftly played, as always. Awesome stuff, lady.

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  15. “You know I’ve never been good with conflict.”
    He blinks. “But you’re a writer. Isn’t that, like, all you do?”
    “It’s easier on the page. Fictional people can’t hurt me.” You turn away. “Not really.”
    “You need a vacation.”
    “Or to kill off a bunch of characters.”
    This gives him pause. “That last guy. Was that me?”
    You lift an eyebrow. “You’ll never know, will you?”
    “I need to start sleeping with one eye open.”
    “Probably a good idea.”

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  16. Maisie settled back in her seat, the arc of the rails throwing her up against the door of the carriage. The enormous dog and the bear weren't so lucky though. They both fell into the well between the seats, vibrating tinnily against the floor as the train clattered over the joins between each section of track.

    The guardsman waved, a mute observer to the commotion, his gaze fixed firmly ahead.

    The tiny train hit the straight again, picking up speed as the carriages left the bend. Maisie shifted once more, feeling sick as the centrifugal forces eased. Then another long curve, a straight and yet another bend followed, the dog and the bear rolling over and under one another as the engine whirred on.

    The guardsman waved, a mute observer to the commotion, his gaze fixed firmly ahead.

    Waiting for the next straight, Maisie timed her leap perfectly, her feet breaking free of the metal rail they'd been wedged beneath. Cartwheeling through the air, everything became a blur; the engine and its three carriages somersaulting above and beneath her until she hit the ground, rolling and tumbling until she slammed into the fortuitously placed stand of trees preventing her from falling over the cliffs again.

    The toy engine carried on.

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    1. This makes me smile greatly... well played.

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    2. Ditto. You got me. Well played, brother.

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  17. You know, Dan is going to be very, very disappointed in us if we don't get some stories posted....

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  18. Apologize if this is repost. Aparrently after all these storms, I'm still on the net, but not in Real time. Welcome to the collective ID version of Unemployed Imagination...
    .
    “Crazy, fucking ass-son-of- a- bitch, what-the—crazy-fuck?” Duncan Hickock the third, of the Austin Hickocks, repeated this mantra as he tore across what seemed like miles of scrub, watching for rocks and meandering snakes, trying to keep his captors in sight.
    He paused, gasping, hands on his knees. The moon rose over the desert and he thought he could make them out in the distance, coming up on some kind of improbable structure. A trailer maybe, some sort of a bathtub. The shape of it, backlit by moonlight, was hard to discern.
    They’d parked the Pinto behind some Ocotillo off a road and headed west. “There is another path” Jose told him, “where the deal goes down.”
    Jose and his daughter Carlotta, had scraped him off an alley two weeks earlier, drunk on Mezcal and god knows what. His friends were gone, and so was his money, his cell, and everything else he knew. The memories of those dim 3 days swam up in his mind like spirits as he came out of it, always wondering why nobody cared enough not to leave him behind.
    “College, “ came Carlotta’s clear soprano. She might have been 40 or maybe 14. It was the only word he’d ever heard her speak in all the weeks they’d kept him. She mutely served him rice and beans or the flat corn tortillas she made in the yard, calling him College when it was time to eat. She had eyes like a rattlesnake and smelled like an angel. She gave him the creeps when she met his eyes with a mixture of compassion and contempt that made her true motives impossible to know.
    Jose was different, someone he could trust. When it had been decided between them that Duncan wasn’t good for ransom, he’d been the first to come up with a plan.
    “We hijack,” he explained. “We find you a miracle, and maybe with that, you back home.”

    He followed the sound until he found them, crouching in back of some sort of shrine.
    Jose gave him a nod. There was a Glock extended from the end of his arm. “ The dealer will come. Santa Muerte is with us. Bow your head and offer your prayer.”
    Duncan stared around him at a miracle of light. Candles and fruit and flowers and offerings gathered round the feet of a skeleton in a veil.
    Jose knelt at the foot of the altar.
    Carlotta bowed her head in prayer.
    “What the fuck?” Duncan’s voice rose higher than he wanted. “This is the place where the deal goes down?”
    “Pray Pobrecito” Jose murmured. “She will make your miracle.”
    Duncan paced around the flowers and the candles. “What the fucking FUCK?”
    Jose rose from his knees, clapped a hand on his shoulder. “There are some things we do not ask of the ordinary gods.”
    Carlotta slid her snake eyes in Duncan’s direction, speaking like an oracle into the night. “It is time” she whispered.
    Almost in unison they dove behind the makeshift shrine as an army of engines roared into the night. Pausing once, twice, three times. A slam of doors, a soft thump of matter on earth, then going away again.

    His mouth full of dust, Duncan rose and circled the shrine. Three new offerings lay at her feet, kilos of sacrifice in the light of the moon.

    Carlotta and Jose rose also, circling the statue with unreadable expressions, smiling, as if reassured.
    “She has saved us from the Holy Death” murmured Jose.
    ”Miraculo” whispered Carlotta, making the sign of the cross with the Glock in her hand.
    “What the FUCK?” cried Duncan. “You promised me a deal! You promised me a miracle! Three fucking kilos? You promised me you’d set me UP, man! What the Fuck?”
    In unison, he heard their guns click toward him. In unison, they smiled, and he fell to his knees.
    “Kiss the feet of Santa Muerte, College.” Carlotta instructed. Duncan bent and shivered nearer the ground.
    Jose smiled , moonlight glinting off his teeth, and wished his hostage understanding, aiming his pistol nearer his heart.
    “Give your thanks to she has who has saved you, “ he said.
    “Three kilos is all the miracle you need.”


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    1. Wow! this just screams authenticism... is there something you want to tell us? Seriously, good dialogue and scary.

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    2. Yep, this is fucking awesome

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  19. "Life is a tightrope," she murmured, stopping her thought to coo to the infant in her arms. "My darling, baby girl. Yes, life is a tightrope. We walk it as we try to balance too many things. We try to take care of others and ourselves, and work and play, and have fun and survive. Life is a tightrope we were all destined to fall off of. Hush, little one. There is no need to cry."

    Chelsea shook her head as she watched her sister talk to no one and coo at a doll.

    "Does she even know where she is?" Chelsea asked the psychiatrist standing next to her. They watched Linda as she started screaming for the doll to shut up. Linda threw the thing against the window, then grabbed it and banged it against the wall. She had no idea they were watching her. She had no clue that anyone existed besides her and the doll that she thought was a child.

    "Your sister is in her own world," the psychiatrist assured her. "She has no idea where she is, or that you visit. She believes that poor, abused toy is a baby. Her baby."

    "I guess it's a good thing she never had kids," Chelsea said. "So, do I stop coming? How do we help her?"

    "Help her do what? Come back to herself?" the doctor asked. "She's past her prime. She has one relative who will even try to speak to her. She has no home, no job, no support system, and she has completely broken from reality. Frankly, it might be kinder to leave her be."

    "What, just let her live in a world of make-believe?" Chelsea asked, stunned. "With no hope?"

    "In her world she has more than hope," the doctor said. "She has everything she's ever wanted. In the real world she has nothing. I would be kinder to leave her be."

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    1. Yep... keep going! Interesting premise... are we being arrogant when we think our reality is better than those invented by people like her?

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    2. Ditto. Write like the wind.

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    3. It's amazing where this stuff comes from. My aunt and my good friend's mom are both having serious mental issues that affect the whole family. I think this is wishful thinking on my part. The truth of the matter is, no matter how angry or frustrated you get with them, they are family and someone has to help them when they can't take care of themselves. It's a hard place for them and us to be.

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  20. cuse me," Brenda muttered as she ducked around the brawny firefighter standing in front of her leaving him staring after her in amused confusion. He had never had a girl run from him like that.

    Brenda slowed up after she had put a bit of distance between them. Her heart pounded. Dammit!!, Why did he have to be so darn good looking. She wouldn't let herself get attracted to him, she just wouldn't

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    1. ooops -- "Excuse me," Brenda mutterred (copy & paste didn't work right)

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    2. Nice quick scene setting, and the start of some great character development!

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    3. Agree with Leland. I often do. :)

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  21. Ode to My Zippo

    You are my treasured companion, and light the flame that affords me joy. Oh, sure, I've flirted with a Bic, Cricket, or even a match to achieve the climax, but those trollops lack class. and finesse. The faint taste of lighter fluid that you leave on my lips curls them into a devious smile while I hum under my breath---Mmmmmmmmm. The soft "Click" when I expose your secret, and the powerful "SNAP" when I flip my wrist to quell the moment gives me a sense of satisfaction like no other. You understand the passion of my touch, and obey my desire. I understand that you require constant attention, and I'm alright with that. I usually don't go for the high maintenance type, but you're worth it. If I neglect to fill you, or forget to put an extra flint under your pillow, it's MY fault, and I deserve the cold shoulder that you offer as a result. As long as I tend to you as I should, I know that you'll never let me down. I love you, Zippo.

    Fin

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    1. Ha! Damn near makes me want to go back to smoking.

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    2. I still have mine, but I don't carry it any more... It's an ingenious device... and a talisman for many.... well-written!

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    3. I still have mine, too. Don't carry it. Maybe I should start again. Great piece.

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    4. Ha, thanks guys. Smoker or not, a Zippo can save your ass in a time a crisis, or even endure your chivalry. It is a magical talisman, indeed.

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    5. Same experience but you put it in words I couldn't think of.

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