Friday, January 15, 2016

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. 

Sometimes you hide behind hairline stitches, gaudy flaunting, haunting radius. Sometimes bitches act like bitches. Nothing tripping, life is viscious. The teeth of the wolf are as sharp as the dark, or the long curving blade that will carve you apart. You are fuel for the nightmare, fire for the fury, you are wan and pallid, always so worried…

Sometimes you pretend to lend part-time credence – you smile, all the while, knowing wiling’s a pretense. You glide and you glimmer, glow bright and shimmer – and for one shining moment, the whole world grows dimmer.

You, repentance, repugnance, rejoinder, reluctance. You bastard of evil and macabre suffering. You beautiful heathen, so deft, so divine. You drink blood from the chalice, while sly nighmares whine.

You will suffer and dwindle, you’ll run out your spindle. But not me. I’m too quick.

I’m too fucking nimble.




  1. A purple blashphemy fills the room. It is as if there has been an act of God. No one moves. Everyone, frozen, some dancing, some with forks mid-way to mouth. Some who quiver just the slightest bit. And the smell is oil. And the people don’t move.

    In this amber instant, trapped, the whole world tells its stories. In slight turns of the mouth - small, seemingly innocent gestures. People die in this world. People fuck people over and the ball rolls.

    You are the sentient one. You stare into a mirror, eye blue eyes – red-rimmed, God, the fucking glory of this misery, this depravity. These people, trapped in pine sap, struggling not to move.

    They do not budge until the train comes. Pack up the viola. Time to go home.

    1. Haunting. I love the poetry and the symmetry. Viola, like an echo of violet, which harks back to the purple blasphemy. The glory of the misery, indeed. :)

      (I'll be back to read more later.)

    2. Love this. Purple blasphemy. And that first piece. Pulses with the beat and the words and the love of the words. Tasty.

    3. Ah, I can almost hear the music.... this is beautiful and purple... your words are magic...

  2. Shanti’s bent and she won’t stop talking and it’s driving everyone fucking crazy. Everybody’s handing her a blunt hoping it will take the edge off, but goddamn. Like a six year old at Christmas. The story of Shanti’s life. Anectdotal sledges. Someone’s gonna fucking lose it. Have to. Someone has to tell her.

    She’s got that valley girl thing that sounds like raccoons fucking. It’s absurd. Like performance art – she went to Catholic school and she’s gonna tell you every goddamn bit about what it was like.

    Hint: it was off the hook.

    She shoves any more coke up her nose and it’s gonna be 911 time. So Steve does his thing and leads her away and she sways on the way to the place where she gets the bills paid, and her whole soul replaced.

  3. Jimmy never puts the fucking dough in the fucking refrigerator, Ma. How hard is it? You tell me. You open the goddamn door, you stick the shit in the fridge. Otherwise, we got a problem – we get complaints. Jimmy don’t give two shits about none of this, I get it.

    I get it.

    But, Ma … I love you. You know I love you. It ain’t right – the things you been through. Hell and back. I understand that, Ma … I know you had it rough and maybe sometimes I had something to do with that.

    Jimmy’s a fucking loser, Ma. He always was a fucking loser and he never changed. You should hear the shit he says – I’d tell ya, but it would kill ya.

    Ma, I gotta tell you something about Jimmy, though … something I did.


  4. Johnny went into the army because he got drunk and army recruiters got scruples like a cheap whore. So Johnny fought his war.

    Johnny beat his wife because she didn’t listen, and he hated people who didn’t listen. Don’t listen.

    Johnny was kind to children because he knew the other side. Johnny never told a lie, but he’d take you for a ride.

    Johnny found Jesus, they say, in the gutter down by Main. I saw Johnny walking nigh, to me, he looked insane.

    Johnny died in a ditch by the side of the road. I’d tell you all about it, but that story’s already been told.

    1. Ah, how we treat the Johnnys who come marching home... poignant piece, my friend.

  5. The bird on the wire bristles, twitches wings to brace the wind. The wind is throttled by anger, clouds build, collide, the wind is furious. The bird is ambivalent and shakes his blue/black wings. The bird has seen worse.

    There is an electric hum in the air and the ground squirrels scatter. Rain falls and, inside, the humans huddle near heat, watching the wind and rain - they sip from cups and smile, but they are not blue/black, fearless, settling with talons on wire.

    The sky is churning, cloud froth bubbles over the edge of the horizon. The wind will never stop. The bird will stop someday. The humans will fight the cessation, but they will lose their battle.

    The wind never loses.

    1. ahhh... inevitability... and living in the middle of a valley that often gets winds of up to 80mph, I can promise you the last line is true... this is beautifully written... filled with metaphors and realities...

  6. Shaky after two days' release from the psych ward, she wants to "put it all behind her," as the genial yet guarded advice had gone, so she takes the Skytrain to go ask about rental costs at a nearby Enterprise office whose bleak geometry squats in a grim patch of stilted highways, loose rubble, and territorial chain link somewhere near where Vancouver borders Burnaby, but she gets cold feet at Renfrew Station, turns around and scurries back to the library near her home on East Pender, where she searches Google Maps and decides Swift Current is the loveliest place name she's ever heard, especially in contrast to that of its province, which is all brittle stalks and wheat sheaf angles (Sask-atch-ew-an), and wants to visit for that reason alone—Swift Current, that is; a name that evokes homecoming sockeye vigorous and sleek as distance runners' quadriceps—although the furthest she's ever driven was Vancouver to Hope, ironically when she'd been at her least hopeful, and even then she'd had a tire blow somewhere near Yarrow, nearly killing her, and the towtruck and repair costs had been so high she'd had to turn back, out by many dollars and by even more self-worth, given all her struggles with what some might call mental health issues yet she chooses to term emotional difficulties, since the former still contains a tiny jab of stigma, and dammit, it's hardly her fault, given her early life with Uncle Giorgio and then those grey-stuccoed group homes and weary, spiteful foster parents, let alone the haunted jaundiced nightscape of the Downtown Eastside and her disaster-recipe life with Gunther, he of the one-part lavish confectionary largesse and two-parts savage fists, but she is free now, aside from the medication she needs to remember, while something about Swift Current calls and calls like babbling headwaters to a downstream eddy, urging her to spawn, to take this step that might mark a new chapter in a thus-far chiefly sorrowful tale, one charged with the possibility of something other than grim nights shivering with cold or dread and warmer nights sleepless with mosquitoes or regret, so she finds somewhere online that calculates the cost of gasoline, which comes to a little over a couple hundred bucks for the three thousand kilometre round trip, and she feels a heartsurge of joy until she sees the carbon footprint she'll be leaving—one thousand three hundred and fifty pounds, to be exact—which sounds so appalling she immediately scratches out this new life at its source—indeed, guilt and eroded morale have long perfected her inner Scratch 'n Lose—erasing the evocative names of Shuswap and Salmon Arm, Golden and Banff, Dead Man's Flats and Medicine Hat from a future that might have held something other than the pitiless tidal ebb of try then turn back, try then turn back, the balance of which has always seemed impossibly, monstrously weighted.

    1. Damn. Weighted. Yep. This whole piece has a gravitas and weight to it. Density. In a good way, I really like the way the phrases roll out.

    2. You got it, brother! The weight of that whole sentence, a wall of text, is crushing that last word and the character. Exactly that.

    3. wow... exactly... crushing and effective... and the words roll, as Dan said... thank you

  7. Evelyn shivered and opened her eyes.

    “What the hell?”

    Writhing within the bath, she struggled, the taxi-cab yellow slab surrounding her resisting her every move.

    “Okay, I know I got hammered last night but this is ridiculous!” She sneezed, unable to to raise her hands to her face, her arms, along with almost everything else, encased in the block of custard filling the bath. She looked about, seeing nothing she could use to break free. “Oh, for fuck's sake!”

    Raising her shoulders, she managed to make the surface bulge close to her ears, the rubber-like material absorbing her energies. She twisted her arms and tried again, bouncing against the gel beneath her and driving herself upward with all four limbs at once.

    The custard cracked.

    She sneezed again.

    Sighing, she began to writhe, the clammy cold solid surrounding her beginning to rupture with loud slurping noises that made her stomach roll in accompaniment. Her exertions began to warm the gel and more cracks appeared, her arms sliding free with a squelch and a shower of irregular yellow cubes that fell back with a sound like wet applause.

    Her stomach roiled, with only its emptiness preventing her from adding to the contents of the bath.

    Bringing her slime-covered hands up to her face, she retched, pushing back against the custard and then reaching for the side of the bath. She pulled herself out weakly, her torso greased and spattered with yellow.

    And then she saw the message from her ex on the mirror, daubed there in the crimson of her favourite lipstick…

    “I hope you enjoyed your just desserts – signed, the cuckold.”

    1. Oh, snap. I like this one a lot. Just desserts indeed. Skillfully played, dollops in just the right places. :)

    2. oh oh oh... I was going all metaphysical, and then you made it real... well done!

  8. I’m not one to stare into the mirror like some teenage girl, searching for imperfections
    where there are none. I don’t need that face in the glass to count mine. My fingers can find them in the dark.

    But there’ve been times I awakened, gazed dreamily, half-asleep, at myself in the reflective glare, and thought I saw you moving in the background, like you’re there, too.

    I’ll admit to once or twice turning around to see if you’re really there, but of course you’re not.It’s only when I lie down again and look back that your ghost appears.

    1. There is a gentle urgency to this piece which works really well, Joe. And I can totally relate to that feeling. Personally, I think the mirror is a liar, but... ;) Great piece.

    2. Ahhh... mirrors are such fickle things... this has a gentle emptiness and wistful hope that I didn't expect... thanks for sharing it!

  9. Sugar and rosemary and old baking soda. She pulls them all from the cupboard, throws them at the sink and curses. FUCK. It has to be here. He wouldn't do her like that. He might leave, but he wouldn't take the jar. But the jar's not fucking there and no one else could have taken it.

    Her heart bounces around inside her. It hits the inside of her sternum - shit. That bastard. Their money? Her fucking money. The part he didn't drink. How many short tips were in that fucking jar. She starts to do the math and begins to cry. She doesn't have time. She needs to serve her coffee, get her tips.

    She wraps a scarf around her neck and puts on a brave face - measures it in the mirror - then marches to where her car used to be.

    Now, there is an oil stain. His legacy.

    1. This rings of truth and pain... and is beautifully painted... "measures it in the mirror" says so very very much... the whole thing is wonderful

    2. How you go so quickly from sugar and rosemary to this pain of betrayal is amazing.

  10. I got a hole in my side and my insides leak out. The doctors say there's nothing wrong, but they wink when they say it. They think I'll forget about it. Not worry about it. Move on with my life. Forget about what they did to me.

    I won't forget.

    I am leaving myself in puddles wherever I step, splashing through the world, blood spewing - everyone pretends they don't see. I suppose they are trying to be kind.

    I see everything in the blood. The platelets, the virus, the oil and grease and some kind of thick serum that clogs my veins. God, I'm bleeding and they say I'm insane. I say there's no stigma in stigmata - whether from hands or a hole in the side.

    The doctors write prescriptions. They hide behind white coats and their tongues are coated with syrup - blasted with deception.

    They are white-washed, and, still, I bleed.

    1. fascinating... I'm always curious about the stigmata cases, and this piece plays it from the inside out very well... "they hide behind white coats" is all too often true...

  11. In better days, she’d walked the twisting roads of the monastery campus, up and down the rolling hills between the highway and the river, and she’d never really noticed the small chapel before. Of course it was there, all this time, standing sentry over the water and the federalist mansions lining the opposite bank, but maybe it was like cars or babies—suddenly, when you’re in the market, they’re everywhere. Lately she’d seen crosses in the rock cliffs, haloes around streetlamps, beatific smiles on the people she passed in the supermarket. The secrets pulsed behind her eyes, in her chest, stomping their way up her throat and whining for release, and each kindly vision or reminder of potential forgiveness that magicked itself before her threatened to yank the words from her body. I shouldn’t be here, she thought, even as she was pulling the door open. She’d never been inside a church before, didn’t feel herself worthy, didn’t feel she belonged. She almost expected alarms to go off. Intruder alert, intruder alert, unbeliever, unbeliever…

    Nothing. The door echoed as it seated itself back into the frame. Her footsteps made no noise as she padded up the aisle, row upon row of wooden benches, avoiding eye contact with the series of carvings on the walls, an increasingly tortured Jesus Christ, culminating in a full-on crucifixion scene over the plain, square pulpit. Making herself as small as possible as if still anticipating a scolding nun swooping down to put her in her place, she scuttled into the third pew from the front, right side, and buried her face in her hands.

    And then it occurred to her that something bigger than her own squirrel-like thoughts had driven her here, something that wanted her to speak with the man of the house, although she didn’t know what to say. How to start. Prayer was something she read about in books, saw on television—to her, in the past, they were empty words people threw to each other when awful things happened. Sending prayers. Praying for you. But she didn’t know how to pray for herself.

    It could have been minutes. It could have been hours. But there she sat, curved in on herself, testing the words in her mind, but they only crackled like so much static. Then she heard a click, the groan of the door swinging open, felt the shaft of light through her eyelids.

    “Oh, excuse me,” an old man’s voice said. “I didn’t realize…”

    She blinked, and blinked again. He was bent, and worn, and held a cap clutched in his oak-tree hands. But his smile was kind, and matched his eyes. Her lower lip quivered and fingers shook as she reached into her pocket and held out the syringe she’d filled and loaded into a plastic baggie, held it out to him. “Get this away from me,” she said. “Please.”

    1. Holy christ. I love the static and oak tree hands. Did not see the ending coming. So strong. I love this one, Laurie.

    2. ohmigod... the power of this piece is awesome... and the ending magnificently unexpected... thank you for sharing this... and hope...

    3. Wow. The scene setting is amazing. I tried for a while to articulate what exactly I love about this and the best I could come up with was its gentle (and perfect) pacing, but that still doesn't do it justice.

  12. The first time he’d nearly killed his sister, it had begun, like most pursuits in their downstairs playroom, on a dare. He could never resist her challenges, any attempt to best her. Because she’d been born first, because she knew things about the world that he didn’t, because he felt like his short little legs would never catch up. As he watched her breathing through a tube from the other side of a glass wall, machinery click-click, click-clicking, a thought buzzed through his head that maybe now he finally had. And he didn’t like it. He hated his errant brain for sparking up those childhood rivalries, those king-of-the-mountain contests. He hated it so much that he squeezed his eyes shut and nearly crushed the Styrofoam cup of coffee he’d ventured so far to fetch. A hand curled around his shoulder, a soft voice drifted into his ear. “It’s not your fault.” He opened his eyes. Nothing. Nobody. Click-click. Silence.

    1. Damn, lady. This one is like a perfectly placed punch to the solar plexus.

    2. yep, I'm looking at my chest and expecting a bruise right above the solar plexus... amazing.

  13. And this is how he died. His death began when he was born, the third child of respectable parents. One expectation, layered on top of another, on top of still another, until they crushed him, slowly, painfully, inevitably, inexorably.

    He carried the dreams and hopes and promises of everyone in his every fiber, everyone except himself.

    “You’re even smarter than your brother,” said the teacher on his first day of school.

    “You’ll make a fine lawyer,” his godfather said.

    “I knew I’d have one son to follow in my footsteps as a farmer,” his father spoke to the future man.

    “I can’t wait to spoil my grandchildren,” his mother said.

    He watched the black and white television. Batman and Robin. Tonto and the Lone Ranger. The June Taylor Dancers. The Odd Couple. The Glenn Campbell Goodtime Hour.

    When the television was turned off, he read. In truth, he read everything. Cereal boxes at the breakfast table. Comic books in the hayloft. Under the covers of his bed with a flashlight he read forbidden books. In Cold Blood, by Capote. Kerouac’s On the Road. Call of the Wild. Valley of the Dolls. Everything You Wanted to Know about Sex.

    The dogs were the only ones who understood. Whose only expectations were for him to be a kid. To play. To walk. To run. To be.

    “Your grades aren’t what they could be,” said the teacher.

    “You’re going to have to study harder if you are going to be a lawyer,” said his godfather.

    “You’re clumsy and fat. Shouldn’t spend so much time reading,” said his father.
    “I can’t wait to hold your first child.,” said his mother.

    When he was 17, he turned off the television. Looked out the living room window and saw the open road. Thought of the bike that sat rusting In the garage. Left the house for a ride, and kept on going. West. Toward California. San Francisco. The Pacific ocean.

    He’d dreamed of riding into the sunset with a handsome cowboy. On a horse. With oranges and reds and purples in the sky.

    “He would have made a helluva lawyer.”

    “I knew that boy would never amount to anything.”

    “Who’s going to run this farm when I die?”

    “I’ll never have grandchildren.”

    When his bicycle broke down, he walked. Then he hitchhiked.

    He changed his name. He fell in love with life. Dogs followed him wherever he went.
    And that is how he died, and how he came to be reborn. From the ashes of other people’s dreams.

    1. Wow. OK, I forgive you for being late. :) JK, I absolutely love this piece. The expectations... And I think I actually read all those books under the covers, too.

    2. Thank you kindly.... and no wonder I like you and your writing so much...

    3. This is so beautiful, Leland. I also read the cereal boxes, the forbidden books...

    4. ...and it all leads to that perfect last line. Bravo, Leland.

  14. Replies
    1. :) This is an awesome tribute to the spirit of this endeavor. And this is perfect:
      "We are gifted
      and golden
      and fucked"

  15. I'm going to re-post a flash I posted yesterday... forgive me if it's a rerun for any of you!

    He didn’t mind waiting in line at the little store. He knew they’d be busy when he came. Big lottery jackpots always meant there would be a line. He looked at the people ahead of him.

    A woman of a certain age, dressed as if she had just come from church. Her hat slightly askew, but pearls in place, and she clutched at her purse as if it held her life savings.

    A teenaged boy, with pants bagging down far enough that he could see the boy was a fan of Batman, at least that’s what his underwear had on them. The boy was hyper, bouncing on his feet.

    A homeless man whose eyes kept locked on a supermarket cart outside. Likely all his possessions were in that cart. All the possessions except the two dollar bills he’d use to buy a ticket.

    What would they do if they won? He liked playing this what-if game. Churchlady would probably give it to her grandchildren, or maybe set up a homeless cat shelter. Thugboy would probably buy a car and deck it out in ridiculous colors. Vagabondman might rent a hotel room and take a shower.

    And what we he do if he won? He hadn’t even intended to buy a ticket, but now he wondered. Had his luck changed? The last time he prayed for luck… well, that was a long time ago.

    His turn finally came. He stepped to the counter, bought his cigarettes, and asked for a quick pick. He didn’t trust his own choice of numbers.

    If he won, if he won, he’d buy a proper headstone for his beloved Margaret. Loving her and marrying her had been the only lottery he’d ever won.

    He shuffled out of the store, toward his one-room apartment, and looked at the numbers.

    1 – The month she was born.
    5 – The date of her birth
    6 – The number of times he’d asked her to marry him.
    19 – The day they were married.
    33 – How old she was when she gave him a son.
    42 – The answer to Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, The Universe, and Everything.

    He smiled. She loved that book.

    He never saw the taxi speeding down the street. No one did. His was the winning ticket, and the wind blew the tiny piece of paper into an alley, where Churchlady’s unacknowledged vagrant son was beat up by a boy wearing Batman underwear.

    Arthur Dent knew he should never have bought a lottery ticket.

    1. Ha! Love this SO MUCH. Synchronicity and a Douglas Adams joke. :D

    2. Whoever said reruns were bad?
      If it weren't for reruns, I would never have never have seen anything good on TV! Love this!

    3. you're wonderfully kind! thank you!

  16. Mader, who put the nickel in you today? What got you thinkin' tell my tale,what got you movin and groovin'? Beyond what you got for sale?
    Could I have some please? Whatever you're drinking? Or taking or meditating ? Or thinking?
    My work makes laugh when I read the sentence: "i was surprised by my complicated and shallow thoughts as I buttered my toast."
    Yet, at the end of a Friday, I am not better.I can't even tell the profundities from that which matters most.
    Is is it our finely wrought phrases
    Our deepest fears?
    The stories we tell that touch a heart?
    Is it the niche market
    our amazon sales or
    Or are we better?
    Are we art?
    We are made of rant and prophecy
    We are gifted
    and golden
    and fucked
    But if we can say one thing about writers
    We never stop sharing the story of stories
    As told by US
    we never stop talking and sharing our world
    and so we don't ever give up.
    Okay people that's 3 things. I know.
    Just value your voices
    Speak your truth
    and never stop searching for the power of YOU.

  17. "Face paint and corsets? Why should I lie like that?" She broke off a bit of the pastry in her hand, lifting it to her lips to nibble. "I will look the same in the morning," she murmured. "Most of these women will look totally different." She laughed as she insinuated that they might be monsters.

    "Is the visual so important to the pleasure?" she asked.

    "For some men, yes. We're visually oriented creatures. And we know it 's a lie, even if we won't admit it. That's why most men don't stay the night."

    "Do you? Stay the night, I mean?"

    "Sometimes." He looked at her sidelong, wondering what was going through her mind.

    1. And I'm wondering, too. Good balance - keeps the tension just right. Well played.

  18. "Why on earth didn't you just tell me!? Why all this cloak and dagger crap?"

    "Would you have believed me if I had given you mere words? I rather thought that seeing the truth would be much more convincing."


    "Some days, yes."

    1. The dialogue snaps. And there is a playful wariness.

  19. [I'm catching up from previous missed weeks!]

    "I cannot die of grief. Don't be silly."

    "Ah, but it still causes you pain, beloved, his leaving"

    "Pain I can endure. I will endure. I promised you I would be there for you, and I will. Always."

    "I love you."

    "I love you, Kylus. I will never stop. This pain will pass. He will always be in my heart, but you will always come first. That's who we are. That's..." Her voice traile doff as tears spilled afresh from her eyes.

    He reached out to touch her cheek, to capture the drop of wetness and bring it to his lips. he taste it, surprised to find it not bitter.

    "It's sweet," he said, his eyebrows raised in surprise.

    "I do not shed bitter tears for love."

    "Apparently. Most women would, you know."

    "Most women do not love. They possess. It's how they've been trained. Women don't like to lose."

    "You included."

    "Me included."

    1. Another great snatch of dialogue. Reads super natural. :)

  20. Link to my "2 Minute" story:


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