Friday, November 13, 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. 

The cold slips in through the cracks in the window; it drips from the ceiling and the drops send shivers through your body. This is not natural, you think, looking at thin skin on old hands - feeling bad for yourself. Were you always this thin-skinned? No, there was a time when the cold was a friend. The cold brought clouds of morning breath and ... what's the word Mother always used ... vitality. 

You are not vital. It's a cruel thing to think about yourself, but it slips in like the wind and you can't stop it. Might as well try and stop gravity. Might as well try and stop people from living in little bubbles, clutching small devices that transport them somewhere, but do not keep their hands warm.

You have no use for the mirror now. There is no one you know who lives in there - the mirror shows you a halloween prank, and it is past Halloween. You know it. Just like you know why it's hard to stay warm lately. Every dog has his day. Mother always said that, too.

And your dog died about a week later.




  1. ahhh... I'm putting on a sweater now, but that won't fix the inner chill this story gave me... well done!

    1. This made my heart hurt. Well told, as usual.

      (blogger needs a thumbs up icon so I can be lazy here like I am on the FB)

  2. Twisted hands pulled the scrapbook from its shelf. The covers were worn from the daily ritual. “Coffee with Robert,” he called it. He sat on the leather sofa, and placed the book next to a mug filled with coffee, a mug Robert gave him some twenty-five years ago, a mug Robert stole from the cheap motel where they’d spent their first night.

    He sat down and opened the book. Page by page, he walked through their years together. First apartment together. First dog. First anniversary. He didn’t really need the scrapbook any more. He knew the photos by heart. His eyes glazed over and his fingers grazed the pages, as if the photos might hold a remnant of Robert’s warmth, of Robert’s touch.

    The pages went from “firsts” to “lasts.” Last dinner party together, last vacation together, last kiss. His heart drained as the pages grew fewer and fewer, and the last photo, of Robert’s gravestone, released the tears he’d held back.

    “Come back to me, Robert.”

    “I’ve never left.”

    Startled, he looked up into twenty-nine-year-old Robert’s eyes.

    “Come with me, love.”

    When two days later the neighbors complained of the smell from his apartment, the Medical Examiner closed the scrapbook, and the deceased’s eyes, but the smile remained.

    1. Wow. This got me around the heart.

    2. What Laurie said. Made my eye prickly, too.

    3. For reals. And I love the shock of the final image, the smell - after the build up. So good.

  3. In the alley where ecstasy met despair, behind the dance club, where men went to smoke and to lie, an angel walked among them. Hair bleached white, leather trousers, and no shirt. If there’d been light, they would have seen his sky blue eyes. Instead they felt his kisses like butterflies in the dark.

    A devil, too, wandered through the drunkenness. Swarthy and black-haired, in jeans with more rips than denim, he touched the men on their shoulders and lower.

    They were indiscriminate, the angel and the devil, as if trying each man on for size, to see if the fit was right, at least for a night. The kisses and gropes, though, met with only chaos and emptiness, until angel met devil, and light met dark.

    When dawn lit the skies, the other dancers walked out, alone or with compromise. The angel and the devil, they left with stars in their eyes, from the alley where ecstasy met despair.

    1. I love this. Light meets dark. Perfect brushstrokes: "...alone or with compromise."

    2. Oooh. Shiny. I love this so much. The poetry, the balance, and the way you pull us right into the story. So very good!

    3. Wow, this may be one of my favorite of your pieces. Fucking haunting. Beautiful writing.

  4. What had possessed her to do this she couldn't have said. Alone. Out of shape. And in wintertime. By the time she'd made it up to the cabin—quads, calves, and lower back muscles trembling with fury at her impromptu masochism, heels sanded raw by her ancient hiking shoes, her every breath a vast torment—much of the light had gone from the sky and the cedars were ink-black against a layered grey backdrop of mountain ranges and thick cloud.

    There'd been snow at the trailhead, so no surprise to see it here, two hours' near-vertical hike later, burdening the branches and drifted like cold-bleached dunes against the walls of the cabin. She shivered and dug in her pack for a spare fleece. At least she would likely be alone, no partying hikers to interrupt her monastic night.

    No sooner had she formed that thought than a sound reached her, startling in the silence: something was moving in the trees.

    Bear. It was a hot and a cold thought, both, and she backed toward the cabin.

    [This wanted to turn into something longer, so if I get time I'll try to finish it and maybe put it on my blog later.]

    1. *I* want it to turn into something longer, too... wonderful opening!

    2. More would definitely be good. Nice suspense there at the end.

    3. More. Digging it, brother. And I love this phrase: impromptu masochism.

  5. There was only one spot on the Rhinecliff Bridge where you could easily pull a car to the side, and Myron had not been the type to make trouble for anyone else, so that’s where Rachel stopped, too. She gripped the railing, the sharp edges of the chipped enamel biting into her palms. The stiffness of the breeze surprised her, as did the gentle sway of the span this high up. This high up.

    Jumping off the Mid-Hudson Bridge, about a half-hour south, was a cry for help—you were allowed to walk across it, and dotted here and there were signs with an 800-number and a bright red “LIFE IS WORTH LIVING.” For those whose minds could be swayed by a deep breath and a momentary pause, if only to read those words. If not, it was shorter trip into the water, and you could survive. That’s what the counselor had told her, anyway. “Here’s what you do if they don’t take you seriously,” she’d said. “Go stand on the edge of the Mid-Hudson and take off your shoes.”

    The Rhinecliff, though. If you jumped off the Rhinecliff, you meant business. Rachel didn’t know about painless—although she hoped that Myron had not suffered for long—but it was quick. At least that’s what the coroner said. Spine broken in three places; the shock had stopped his heart before the water could take him. But he still had his shoes on when his body washed up on the shore.

    The paper didn’t mention him by name; because of the bridge he had chosen, it was deemed a suicide and nobody liked to talk about those. To protect the family’s privacy, to prevent copycats…but come on. It was a small town. A lot of people had seen that car. A lot of people knew him. Rachel had talked to him a few times, out on her walks, when he was mowing his lawn or playing with his children. He always had a joke for her, a smile.

    If she had known, she would have stayed longer. Maybe told him about the counselor. Kicked the soccer ball around with the kids.

    She tightened her fingers around the railing. A light rain had begun to fall. Drops of it beaded up on what remained of the enamel paint, soaked dark splotches into her gray sweatshirt. She dared a look below. Her stomach pitched at the distance, the fury of the whitecaps. Had he been afraid? Or was whatever he’d been carrying stronger than the fear?

    She’d barely heard the gentle “whoop-whoop” of the police siren, but when it registered, she backed away from the edge, hands raised.

    “You all right, ma’am?” the young officer asked.

    Rachel imagined Myron in that moment. He’d arrived at the bridge too early in the morning to be stopped; his abandoned car had been discovered and there hers sat, misting over with the rain. “No,” Rachel said, sliding off her shoes. “No. I’m not.”

    1. ahhhhh.... this hits close to home... and it's beautiful... how easily we forget the Myrons of the world... I'm glad you help us remember...

    2. What Leland said.

      "If she had known, she would have stayed longer." --says it all, doesn't it?

    3. Yup. What Leland said. You know what amazes me? I don't know how you get the perfect balance of detail every time. It's astounding. This one hurt.

  6. They do not, thus far, know the extent of my powers. They do not know I can hear their whispers, nor see through their eyes. I tried to shut it out at first. Really, I have enough thoughts of my own without subletting my subconscious and conscious mind. But I couldn’t. They were always there, the whispers and the glimpses.

    My daughter is coming to visit today. She seems to suspect. I will try to fasten the mask of madness a little more securely, let her see what she wants to see, an old man, broken-hearted, trying to hurt himself.

    Sometimes I think I could control them. With just a little concentration, I could cause them to move the way I want them to… mental marionettes. But that would be wrong.

    There’s Nurse Whitling. “Stupid old man. Faking mental illness. He should be in prison, not a facility as fine as this.” My blood pressure spikes. She thinks I chose these padded walls? Her vapid thoughts?

    I see through her eyes, later, when she is helping apply bandages to the latest suicide attempt. I look at the scalpel in the surgical kit. Through her eyes. I imagine taking the scalpel and plunging it into the cornea, the lens behind the iris, the retina.

    Then thrugh my daughter’s eyes, I see the sign as she musters courage in the parking lot. “Columbus State Mental Institution and Asylum.” Asylum used to mean safety. This is not a safe place. When she walks in the lobby, she sees people running. I hear whispers.

    Nurse Whitling has blinded herself. No idea why. Ambulance on its way.

    I smile and wait for my daughter to walk through the door. They have no idea of the extent of my powers. I spit a little drool so that it runs down my chin. Soon.

    1. Holy Christ, man! What did you eat for breakfast. This is so fucking good. "Asylum used to mean safety." That is a sentence for the ages.


    Maybe it was the straw-colored hair or a fixation on the scarecrow of Oz. He neither knew nor cared. Night music: torching blondes head to toe. The leaping flames reflecting in the fiery dazzle of his bright-blue eyes. What joy can one feel transforming what moments before breathed vibrantly alive to all at once now lie silent, unmoving, dead to the world in a dark alley? Kyle Morrison did not know what made himself tick. The torn wings of orange-black Monarchs somehow propelled the boy he was to the man now prowling the night streets.

    When the others in his precinct asked, “Captain, what drives a man to kill?” Kyle would shrug. Sneer. It wasn’t easy getting inside and exploring the head of the hunter. This much the police knew about the relentless Captain Kyle Morrison: he would not stop until he found and destroyed the beast. What they could not know was that hunter Morrison and hunted Morrison walked in the same stalking footsteps in an almost instinctual pursuit of prey.

    He was their captain. He carried a gun. When that last unbearable night fell, he would let the blond hooker go free. In a blast of gunfire he would take her place on the bloody cobblestones.

    1. Wow. There must be a million stories and voices in your head, Sal. And I mean that as a gigantic compliment. This is brilliant.

  8. (I'll be back to comment later!)

    I want you to picture this: an old woman. She is small and wrapped in a black, woolen shawl, she looks like a picture from a history textbook - or a picture of one of your relatives who suffered so you can have time to write things on blogs. She might have died of black lung. This woman? You can't see much of her. She is a graphite smudge.

    I want you to know that this woman is happy. Appearances can be deceiving. She does not want a new iPhone. She does not want to be blessed with a new meaningless job title. She wants only the peace she finds sitting. She wants the sound of pigeons scrabbling, and she wants the sun, if it chooses to appear.

    I want you to step back and think about why you posit your feelings on someone you don't know. Someone who doesn't even exist (she just came out of my brain). Now, I want you to imagine that the whole of humanity is hidden inside that black shawl. And I want you to smash your phone and pick up a book. Damn it.

    She may not be crotchety, but I am.

    1. This is awesome. I'd say it's thought-provoking, but I think these sorts of things often. ;) Always love your writing.

  9. In the small hours, wrapped in blankets that buffer the cold, my brain is electric. It is a buzzsaw. It is painful. I don't want your pity, I just want to understand. Who's the conductor and who's in the band?

    I try to blank my mind, but it doesn't work. I think about a pickup truck that I encountered on the way home the other day. That pickup truck - swerve at a biker, lots of chuckles. But I don't forget a face and I got Kevlar knuckles.

    And that's just talk because I'm a pacifist. But push me too far and I'll get past it.

  10. You look so sweet with that 'aw shucks' grin, really ropes the dopers in - they don't feel the blade that follows the needle. They don't have time to hear the record scratch, catch, scritch, hop...wheedle.

    You look like like an advertisement for antiperspirant - one of those natural kinds the hippies wear - made out of tallow and smelling of hair. You've got assets, gussets - they never know when you're fixing to snuff it. Candle wax dripping, bodice ripping - promise of redemption, veneer - over that cold, hard heroin sneer.

    You take money and lives and no one cares. No one looks under the stairs. They avoid the noise, the silly boys. And if they wonder, for a second, well, those fuckers had it coming, right?

    They should have stayed home, it's a cold brown night.

  11. Jarvis pulled at the neck of his jumper, the increased tension of the material across his shoulders accentuating the boniness of the collarbones beneath. “You see, Amelie, it's the only thing that makes any sense. You say goodbye to your husband and leave with me tonight. Of course,” he released the collar, allowing it to snap back into place. “Alex would inevitably make a fuss. He's the type that would. Possessive. And selfish too. You're literally a prisoner here.”

    “It's true. I've never been outside.” Blinking long, I studied the inside of my eyelids, imagining what it must be like for others. It seemed unusual that they spent so much of their lives like this; isolated but aware. Like sleeping but totally different. Admittedly, they never kept their eyes closed for long while they were awake but many of them did it deliberately, calling it meditation. They said it helped them consider their lives more mindfully, many of them travelling to Europe and the Eastern Countries to learn how to do it.

    It did nothing for me. I was still unsure what the best option would be.

    “Come on, we're wasting time. He'll be back in a couple of hours.” Jarvis had already collected my most important possessions together; my clothes, few as they were, barely filled a sports bag, but my chargers and my most important accessories took up the whole of the rear of his car. I could never travel light. My life was much different to that of the others.

    “He's not usually home until 21:32 hours. That's the median point of the times he arrives. Although...” I rose to my full height and took a last look about my 'stand-by' room, reconsidering the enormity of what I was doing, “He's sometimes home early. It's 20:33 hours now. His earliest arrival was 20:45 – on July 11th, last year.”

    “So we should go. Now.” Jarvis took both my hands, tugging me toward the doorway. “Amelie: I order you. Leave with me, now.”

    And so I left, still wondering what Alex would do when he found me missing. And if my chargers would still work in Europe.

  12. So sorry I didn't make it this week, people. I was here until Paris, I have many long stories and deep ties to that city. None of which can be told in in two minutes.

  13. There are days when my head won't slow down long enough for me to catch a thought Those are some of the days that I think about reaching for the Jack. I want to be normal, too. Normal here is heading to the bar or drinking on the beach. It's not staying single and indoors. But normal is boring, right? Maybe I'll never be like everyone else. Maybe the voices in my head will never stop. The thing is, they're interesting and have stories that are begging to be told.

    Part of me wants to be out there with the rest of you, trying to find a mate, getting rejected, being accepted, and spending way too much money. The rest of me knows how that rat race ends. I've been there. I've done that. I got tired of chasing my tail in a hurry. She cheated on me. He broke my heart. Let's go out. I'm so bored. Let's go get trashed. Why am I so odd for wanting to have a conversation with the people I went out with, or wanting to listen to the band I paid to see? Maybe, but I like it.


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