Friday, May 6, 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.

The lights spin the night, bright white. There's red and blue streaked through the fright, but all you see is that white so trite ...  it pins you down. Grounded. You don't understand the voices, and you don't care, but you know what handcuffs feel like and, suddenly, shit gets real important and you wish you'd studied more Spanish. 

You didn't.

And your mind mind falters, altered. Virgin Mother. Father of the Christ. Whatever the fuck. Satan, I don't care. I'll kneel at your altar.

The car is too fast and you feel the vomit coming, but you can't do nothing. Then there's screaming and someone hitting you and you think, kill me, just fucking kill me. Cotton mouth and speed panic. You beg yourself to stay calm. But you don't. 


You stay frantic. 

Until everything goes black. And the last thing you think? Silly really...

I should have bought the goddamn Chicle.

ATTENTION, I WILL IN AND OUT MOST OF THE DAY. BREAK THE BLOG FOR ME! AND GIVE ME SOME STUFF TO READ! Get 'em! :)

#2minutesgo Tweet it! Share it! Shout it from the top of the shack you live in!

156 comments:

  1. Oh the truths we find in the microseconds of panic... this is good, and I love all the visuals. Well done!

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    1. Bright white lights, blue and then black. Wonderful I can picture it and will send a care package. LOL

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  2. Awesome, brother.

    Posting and running here, but in the words of your former governor: "I shall return."

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  3. “Do you want me to get a doctor? A nurse?” He had no idea how to deal with the look of pain on her face.

    “No,” she answered through gritted teeth. “Enough of doctors and nurses already.”

    “Maybe they can give you a pain pill?”

    “Maybe I’ve had ten already today.”

    “What can I do to help?” He promised himself he would not cry. A promise he was sure he would break.

    “Just sit with me. Just hold my hand. Maybe whisper in my ear.”

    “The kids are on their way. Bob had trouble getting a flight from Denver. Snow, they said. Carol is driving from Boston.”

    “I’m sorry they’ll see me like this.”

    “You know you’re still beautiful?”

    What started as a laugh turned into a cough, and he realized the only thing he’d ever had to give her, laughter, was now something that might kill her.

    “Ted. I need to tell you something.”

    “That sounds serious.”

    “It’s truth, if truth is serious.”

    He moved the disinfected chair and then sat down, close to her.

    “I’ve had dreams, Ted. Wonderful, glorious dreams.”

    “I think that’s normal when you’re on so much pain medicine.”

    “No. These are dreams that feel so very real. Dreams about you, Ted.”

    “What sort of dreams?”

    “Dreams of you traveling, smiling, making people laugh.”

    “I wish we’d been able to travel together.”

    “It doesn’t matter, Ted. You will. And you will not be alone.”

    “Of course not, you’ll get better and we’ll…”

    She laughed, and then coughed again. “No. I will not. You will travel with another. A beautiful, kind, funny woman.”

    “Let’s not talk about this…”

    “And what I want to say to you is… it’s all right. It’s more than all right. It’s glorious, and it’s right, and you must.”

    “You’re the only one for me, sweetie. I’m not sure I’ll be able to breathe, much less travel, without you.”

    Her only reply was a smile, and then he heard the electronic screams from the monitors, and a nurse rushed in. He only had time to whisper five words in her ear before they pushed him aside. “I love you. Good-bye.”

    His hand went to his pocket in the waiting room. A pocket with two tickets to Ireland.

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    1. Oh, that ending kills. And this: What started as a laugh turned into a cough, and he realized the only thing he’d ever had to give her, laughter, was now something that might kill her.

      You're the only writer I know who can write stuff like this and pull it off. So much heart.

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    2. You really know how to capture the reader. I love the story. Just who is he taking to Ireland?

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    3. Leland, can I hire you to ghost-write my next book? Oh, never mind. You're so distinctive, everyone would know it was you, anyway. You really know how to grab me by the heart....

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    4. Aw, thanks... but I like YOUR voice! How is Sage doing, by the way?

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    5. And I leave it to the reader to answer the "who is he taking to Ireland"... is it someone else? or did he believe that she would get better? Stay tuned to this channel for more fiction, but not necessarily the answers to these or other questions....

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    6. I Love it! Either way, he knew things were moving!

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    7. Oh wow. He wants her to be happy without him, right?

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    8. Lovely controlled piece. Almost entirely dialogue yet we're never confused.

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  4. A road is an inevitability.

    We traveled through the night and came back to the coast and a morning sky like God's mint breath. It was always going to be the ocean, that leviathan swell, gusted whitecaps, brightness glancing off the sound so dazzling you fear for your retinas.

    This is the world now.

    The cabins are still here. They were already being reclaimed by the insatiable life of the world even before all the bad stuff happened; rough cedar stairways and tortuous narrow boardwalks in creeper chokeholds, drifted corners of sand and lozenges of coloured glass, dry grey siding more bone than wood. Wood's spirit shadow.. And inside, the permeating musk of old furniture, a leaky kitchen tap, ocean scene paintings as sun- and salt-bleached as the driftwood they depict.

    We find one empty. You kick off your shoes, step to the small balcony, watch a resolute phalanx of ants on the railing. You turn and gift me a half-smile and I return its other half.

    "Let's open that wine," I say.

    "First, a shower, even if the water's cold."

    "It will be. But we got plenty of time now, to fix things. There are others here. People like us."

    I'm thinking generators. Solar power. Friendships. Things we almost gave up on as we trekked west and saw what we saw.

    I listen to the water cascade and imagine you naked, the water skeining over your skin, your head back. Always your head back. Your solemn eyes half-closed. My love for you is a lighthouse to keep you safe, cooling rain on a sultry August night, the high blip of a beacon in the silent roar of space.

    I open the wine and get a start on you. I know you'll be mad when you see that, but I don't care—there'll be more wine. You'll wrinkle your nose, make a dismissive gesture with one hand, then find your way back to happy in the blink of a lamb's tail.

    Roads are righteous things. Even cracked and overgrown. Without them, we might never have found our way back here. We are the hot red cells in the arteries of the world. We were once the virus, or at least its carrier, but no more. We will atone.

    Suddenly you are here in the room with me and you scowl. I try not to smile and I pass you the bottle, which you take and upend. Still naked and dripping, you look delicate as a suckling fawn.

    "Did I tell you about my last dream?" you ask, after slaking your thirst.

    "No."

    "It was bad. Worst one yet. Even been dreaming awake."

    I know better than to dismiss these dreams. Throughout, I've believed in you and we're still here. That's enough for me.

    "They'll get better from here on in," I say. No more plague doctors. No more patient vultures. No more carnage. No more children coughing out their viscera in a mass grave. No. Welcome to the debridement. The healing surf will thread tendrils of hope through those dark landscapes, my divine Cassandra.

    Things might have faded, but we'll bring colour back, just watch us.

    This is the world now. But it doesn't have to be.

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    1. Rich language, gorgeous sentences... "I'm thinking generators. Solar power. Friendships. Things we almost gave up on as we trekked west and saw what we saw," and "Roads are righteous things. Even cracked and overgrown," are absolutely my favorite bits in this... but it all pulls together so well.

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    2. Got Damn! "No more patient vultures" "You turn and gift me a half-smile and I return its other half." Such deft shadings. I love reading your pieces, brother. Makes me want to write.

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    3. "already being reclaimed by the insatiable life of the world...." It's always fascinated me, just how quickly Nature takes back what we build...

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    4. Everything they said. Even though this is complete as it is, it would be awesome as a piece of a longer work, too.

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    5. Hope after the apocalypse and so much imagery--the suckling fawn and him returning the other half of a smile. Love it.

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    6. Oh, I love this. I kept highlighting passages to copy and then finding others. One of my favorites: "I listen to the water cascade and imagine you naked, the water skeining over your skin, your head back. Always your head back. Your solemn eyes half-closed. My love for you is a lighthouse to keep you safe, cooling rain on a sultry August night, the high blip of a beacon in the silent roar of space. "

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    7. Nice. I like this place. :)

      And thank you, all. Oh, and Dan: "Makes me want to write" might be the greatest compliment you can give to another writer.

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  5. I will never forget that morning. He opened his eyes, and I saw the sparkle that was there when we met in the dog pound was gone. His hair, once dark, now white as snow. And I knew then there would be no more runs in the park, no more endless games of fetch, no more cuddling in front of the TV.

    The years had gone by fast. After training, there was nowhere we couldn’t go together. We played at the beaches, climbed through mountains, went camping together. Together. It was only the two of us. The few parties I went to, the invitations had both our names on them. Neither of us much cared for parties, but it was cool they invited a dog by name.

    His breathing was irregular that morning. He didn’t want to get up, but I knew he had to. Knew if he didn’t, he would lie in that bed forever.

    He tried, Lord he tried. But he collapsed before we reached the door. And then he was gone. I licked his face, one last time.

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    1. The POC trickery works so well. Actually gut wrenching. You just broke my heart.

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    2. dammit... I hope it heals fast!

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    3. It was a good, clean break.

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    4. Awe. I'm sad but love it as here at my feet is my brother's dog. :( I'd rather have my brother at my feet. LOL

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    5. Aw, man. Broke my heart, too.

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  6. “Will this rain ever stop, Grandpa?”

    “Always has before, child. I imagine it will again someday soon.

    “Why won’t it stop today?”

    “Because it’s not in God’s plan, I guess. We have to have faith that He’ll take care of us in our time of need.”

    “Then why would He want to flood our fields and drown Mr. Bennett’s cows? That doesn’t seem like taking care of us.”

    “We don’t always understand the ways of the Lord, Lizzie. Like I said, we’ve got to have faith.”

    “You said that last year, you know.”

    “Said what?”

    “About having faith, about God taking care of us.”

    “Yes, and I believed it then as I do today. You should, too.”

    “You said we had to have faith that God would make Mama and Grandma well again. But he didn’t. He let them die. Like he let that tree fall on my Papa. I hate God now.”

    “Don’t you say such a thing, Lizzie. The Lord has blessed us beyond reason and your mama and grandmother were just called to His side in His own time.”

    “I think God needs a new clock, calendar and almanac then, Grandpa, ‘cause his timekeeping is bad. And I still hate him.”

    “Don’t blaspheme, child. Our faith in Him will pull us through. Just you wait and see. Now, come over here while I read you some scripture to help you understand and believe.”

    “Will reading the Bible again help keep us from drowning, Grandpa? Will it keep us warm again until the rain stops?”

    “Not exactly, Lizzie, but come sit on my lap beneath the blanket and I’ll read to yo something St. Peter said that might help you understand why we need to keep our faith that the Lord will provide.”

    “Awright, but I believe in a warm fire and a boat more than some God who’d kill off people I loved and trapped us in our own house like we missed Noah’s Ark.”

    “All right, Lizzie. You bundled up? Here’s what St. Peter says in his first letter to the Romans:
    …who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”

    “See, Lizzie? Our salvation’s coming if we have faith. Aw, the poor little tyke’s gone to sleep. Probably for the best in this God damn cold and this God damn rain, in this godforsaken piece of Hell. And now the God damn fire’s gone out and what little kindling we have’s still soaking wet.”

    With that, Hank Beene laid his granddaughter on the little bed he prepared for her near the fireplace. He walked to the window and saw nothing but gray and black in all directions though the wind-driven torrent. In the distance, a black line dropped from the clouds to the ground.

    He turned and took his wife’s old rocking chair in hand. He pulled it’s rockers and legs off, separated the slats from its maple seat and placed them all in the cold fireplace. Hank looked about the room for some tinder to touch off what little wood they had left. He went back to his Bible and ripped out the page he’d just read. Lighting a match to First Peter 1:5-9 he tossed it beneath the last physical memory he had of his Elizabeth, whose faith had sustained her to her grave. Who believed so hard that even a tornado's funnel cloud was God writing his plan on the land. Ben crawled next to his little Lizzie and gave her a kiss and hugged her close as a sound like a locomotive came closer.

    “God’s plan, my ass.”

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    1. What twists (literally) and turns in this... the juxtaposition of platitude and truth is very well done...

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    2. Oh, I love this piece, Joe. So much. I wish I could say more, but it would turn into a very sad essay. you nailed this.

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    3. Hope he meets his Elizabeth again.

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    4. Oh. This just blows me away. So well done.

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    5. Wow, yes. It's generous and understated in a way that has far more kick than any rant could.

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  7. "We were younger then..."

    "Brilliant insight. Time moves forward, not backwards. Brilliant."

    "Fuck you, Tom. Alright? Fuck you. I'm trying to make this easier. Make it hurt less. I don't want to hurt you, even though..."

    "What, I deserve it? Sure, I deserve it. You think I don't know how bad I fucked up this time. I know. And I'm telling you, this time -"

    "Don't you dare. Don't even think it. Last time was the last time. And the time before that. Every moment I've spent with you has been a ball of last time's - you fucking asshole. Just leave. Go."

    "But, I'm serious. I get it. It's not fair to you."

    "I'm telling you one more time to get out of the apartment."

    "Ha! Or what. What?"

    Her mouth was sweating, but she suddenly felt very calm. The nights spent planning. The fear. The fear was exhilarating. She actually smiled.

    "Drink your coffee."

    "Huh?"

    "It'll help with the hangover."

    "You giving me another chance?"

    "I'm giving you a cup of coffee. Then, we'll see."

    He raised the mug to his lips. Drank deep. There was a maniac laughing inside her.

    She wondered how long it would take. She started planning the 911 call.

    She thanked God for food allergies.

    And finally wising up.

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    1. Vengeance is sweet... good on her, and I'm sure God was pleased to answer the call of faith!

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    2. Yeah, I've had one or two of them Martha Stewart type moments myself...

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    3. LOL, food allergies can kill!

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    4. Ooooh. Shiny, in a morbid sort of way.

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    5. You could expand this. I like. :)

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  8. [I truthfully have no idea where this one came from... probably from reading one too many pages of alleged news]

    It was an age of toupees and Benghazis, a time of ogres and orgies, and no one had time to waste. There were screens to watch, calls to ignore, texts in which hearts were poured out only to be met by emojis.

    It was a time of peace for some, a time of war for others, but they lived in the same time.

    And the only thing that brought them all together was a book, one book. No one knew the title, but that didn’t matter, because there was only one book published any more, and the author was someone named Kardashian.

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    1. I dig this. A lot. "texts in which hearts were poured out only to be met by emojis." Bam.

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    2. At first I found this an interesting skin for lifestyles in the 70's, and 80's, and 90's. Then I read the last line and found myself truly frightened. The possibility is all too real.

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    3. Ever read Canticle for Lebowitz? You could take this and spin for Kardashian. I LOVE it!

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    4. That's one of my favorite stories! I hadn't thought about it for years... thanks for the comparison... a compliment indeed!

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    5. Your sense of humor gets a hold of your writing bone! LOL

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    6. Love it! Scary, but funny. :D

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    7. :D A Canticle for Leibowitz is a good comparison.

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  9. Dearly Beloved. We are gathered here to celebrate the proud men and women who believed in our cause. Who unselfishly gave their all to the survival of our way of life. To the ones who strapped up and stepped forward. The ones who put their own souls on the line to make us successful. We are the few, the proud, the chosen, the self-righteous, the ones who made us listen to their news stations and talking points, the ones who defaced the bumper stickers on our cars and called us names, the ones who will live on ever after as the ones we don’t want our children to become, the soft paws of democracy sheathed in case of emergency. Shut the lights on your way out and tell us we were wonderful. Tell your children about the shining city on the hill and the thousand points of light and the frustrated novelists who subsumed their desires to flak for a living. They were the ones who made the ultimate sacrifice, the ones who drank off the odor of sellout; the ones who couldn’t look at themselves in the mirror, the ones who opened the bottom drawer in the still of the night, the ice cracking in their glasses, their eyes sticky and blurred from staring at press releases all day, and thought, “Maybe. Maybe someday. Maybe this sentence doesn’t suck so badly, and maybe I can still string a few sentences together and make something that will make somebody weep for all the right reasons. Someday.”

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    1. powerful... very, very powerful... and with just the right taste of bitterness...

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    2. Whoosh! Laurie! Starts slow then gains momentum then is like a freight train!

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    3. Damn straight! Whoosh indeed.

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    4. Starts off and I'm thinking Trump supporters (scary) then it gets sad when it takes a detour into writers not being compensated. Unless I'm reading it wrong. Good stuff, Laurie.

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  10. I was quite aware when he came into the room, so when he laid a hand on the back of my chair, his fingers brushing against my back, I didn't jump. He leaned in close, his face bare inches form my cheek to speak into my ear.

    What he said means nothing, now. He was close enough that I could have turned and kissed him. I could have. I restrained myself by the barest threads of my will.

    What was he that he could make me even think of such things? He wasn't my mate, or my lover. He was bound to another. I respected that, just as I respected her. Even so, something deep inside of me wished it were otherwise.

    His breath was warm on my ear, my cheek. What exquisite torture, what a gift and what a slice.

    His message delivered, we exchanged smiles. He never saw what was in my eyes.

    It was just as well. He turned and left as the hot tear slowly traced it's way down my cheek.

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    1. Ahhhh... sometimes the moment is the message, not the words... and you leave us wondering what he might have said... and what might have been. Delicious suspense.

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    2. Such a delicate dynamic. I love that line "he never saw what was in my eyes..."

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    3. Agreed. The moment is everything.

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    4. Heartrending, but beautifully painted.

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    5. I love how everything leads to that last line and then feels sadly inevitable.

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  11. I didn't know how long I'd been out. It didn't matter. It could have been the country and it could have been a concussion - could have been both - but goddamn, the stars. I sat up slowly, letting the red heat seep through me. This wasn't pain. This was something else.

    I stopped moving when I saw him. He was small. Hard to tell in a place where people don't get to eat right, but I pegged him at around twelve. An old twelve; the years ran the river tracks in his face. Tears blasting through the grime. He cried, but he did not waver.

    He raised his arms, and I was looking down the barrel of my gun. My brain scrambled, and I tried to summon up my memories of basic training. They hadn't mentioned pre-pubescent boys crying, holding a weapon on you. Guess they were short-sighted. Didn't seem all that odd to me, really.

    "Son, please. I don't want to be here. I haven't killed anyone. I've just been trying to stay alive. I got a boy back home. Baby. I want to see him grow. Please."

    "No."

    The stars were brighter, warping my thoughts, my brain. Plaster-cast disaster.

    "Son, I think I understand how you feel. I'm trespassing. I know that."

    The boy did not move, did not smile, did not change his expression. And then I heard the sound. We both looked up at the same time.

    And we both realized it didn't matter anymore. He let the gun fall. I pulled him close to me. Held him. And I cried, too. Because there was nothing to do.

    So, we waited.

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    1. How do you do that? take something so innocent, add just the right amount of evil, and make your characters all so human? This is really, really good... and that hug is exactly what needed to happen.

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    2. Intense with both suspense and emotion. I can imagine how this played out. Brilliant, really.

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    3. Got this incredibly ominous hit from that ending. Freaked me the fuck out, it did. Which is good (more than good). :)

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  12. Barnes ratcheted the top slide back, feeding a fresh shot into the chamber. He settled his weight evenly onto the soles of his feet. He was ready but still at ease.

    “So you're telling me you're an innocent bystander in all this? That you've nothing to do with this dead body?” He kicked the corpse with his left heel, returning quickly to his 'at ease' position.

    “It's difficult,” I said. “I'm not sure how I'm going to convince you. It's kind of a long story.”

    My former friend shook his head, disbelief blooming across his face. “Try me,” he said. “Maybe it'll not take me as long as you think to make up my mind. Five minutes… or the whole of the rest of your life; there may not be much difference between the two...”

    I swallowed with difficulty, my throat feeling tight and dry. I was so sorry that it had come to this. I'd already lost my husband, and now it looked like my friend was going to be the next to die.

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    1. I like! the suspense! and then that last line!

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    2. What Leland said. I so wasn't expecting that right hook at the end!

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    3. Ha, what Laura said. All those jabs then that unexpected hook.

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  13. The burrowing sensation continued.

    It had been three days since he'd woken with the chrome skull-cap, finding it fused to his head. At first he'd tried to slide it off, hoping it was something superficial. No chance. In fact it felt as though it were fixed directly to his skull, his fingers unable to find an underneath to it when he probed around its edges. It'd resisted his investigations too; the plate becoming charged so his hands flinched away, spasming uncontrollably. Even the wooden spoons he'd tried to use on it had no effect, the heat it began to produce in reaction to his efforts forcing him to give up.

    That'd been the first day.

    Today, the plate had grown, somehow feeding off him to create new metallic offshoots and peripheral pieces. His cheeks now looked as though they were deeply veined, with wires or cables flexing beneath the surface, emerging in places to reveal their truths.

    He'd become infected by it. There was going to be no simple recovery from this.

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    1. This is the stuff of nightmares for me... finding unexplained appendages (usually in my dreams) (okay, always in my dreams) (so far)... especially of shiny metal... you made me shiver....

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    2. Yeah, this is scary and cool. You do this dystopian sci-fi stuff so well.

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    3. Made me shiver, too. I can see this guy, like he's in front of me. Amazing.

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  14. I tried to refuse her, insisting that we weren't compatible. "Please," I said, pushing her away. "I'm socketed with RS-232 and you're USB. It'll never work!

    Of course, she'd thought of that, unclipping a patch cable from the wallet-like kit she carried. She reached back to the nape of her neck, plugging it in unerringly, and then reached forward to me, brushing my hands away when I tried to slow her advances. She pushed it in.

    The cable pulsed between us, its insulation swelling snake-like as it joined us like an umbilicus. She closed her eyes, her thoughts ripping through my protocol set like a cybernetic knife through a desk-top calculator.

    I was doomed.

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    1. This is great stuff! All three! The art of getting assimilated...

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    2. Oh.... "...her thoughts ripping through my protocol set like a cybernetic knife..." I like!

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    3. I'm hard-wired to respond ;)

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  15. Kait's traveling skirts swished across the parquetry floor as she finally entered the suite that had been assigned to them. She was tired from the long voyage and in need of some rest. She imagined her husband was in a similar condition.

    She looked around the airy sitting room with surprise. The place was not at all what she had expected. For some strange reason she had thought to find neglect, some scent of mold or dust on the furniture. The suite was instead spotless. All of the wood gleamed with a deeply rubbed glow. The jewel-tone colors on the couch she ran her fingers along as she moved about were strong and bold.

    The thought occurred to her to check the bedrooms, of which there were four. All of the beds smelled of lavender and rosemary. The bathing rooms were immaculate. Even the servants' quarters were tidy and fresh smelling.

    While she was exploring, someone had come in to lay refreshments along the sideboard. Here, too, all was fresh and pleasingly arranged. She chose a morsel of cheese to nibble at as she surveyed this new domain.

    Quite a surprise, and a welcome one for weary travelers.

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    1. Now I'm hungry, and I want my bed to smell of lavender and rosemary... thanks for inviting me along for the journey!

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    2. I'd love to see this as part of something longer. Lovely descriptions.

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    3. I feel like you were kind enough to bring us along with your character. Thank you for the hospitality.

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  16. The birch trees his grandfather had planted in the front yard the day Alex was born had just been turning green, unfurling leaves as small and delicate as a squirrel’s ears, the day Alex died.

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    1. Poignant, even more so with the brevity.

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    2. Ann picked exactly the right word... poignant... and I love that the tree tells the story.

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    3. I agree. And I love SUPER short flash.

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    4. Tugs at my heart-strings.

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  17. I never meant to fall in love with you. But that Halloween evening, when I saw you dressed up as Ginger Rogers, you took my breath away. Your perfectly manicured nails, as they touched my hand, and you told me that Ginger Rogers did everything that Fred Astaire did, but backwards, and in high heels, and you laughed.

    You were out of my league, out of my universe, really. I’d never known anyone like you. Outrageous, Honest. With a twist of irony, always.

    And when I got to know you, and found out you knew every word to every Barbra Streisand song, and all the actors and actresses who played every role in every Sondheim musical ever, I couldn’t help but laugh. Your eyes said laughter, but your face said hurt, and I didn’t know which I was bringing to you, which I was taking away.

    When I came home that day, that horrible day, Judy Garland was singing “Over the Rainbow”over and over, and I asked if I could come into the bathroom and you didn’t answer, and I heard water running… and when I broke the door I saw the water was pink, and your nails were just a shade darker than the water… and when I carried you out of the tub and no blood flowed from the gashes on your wrist, I knew you were right.

    The mortician said he’d never buried anyone in drag before. And you were a more beautiful corpse than Marilyn Monroe ever was.

    And your words echo through my memories, when I cry, and when I laugh. You were more of a man than I’ll ever be, and more of a woman than any I’ll ever have.

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    Replies
    1. Beautifully done and just so--perfect!Snow must be good for you, Leland!

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    2. lol... snow is all gone now... sixty-eight degrees today!
      and thank you both.

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    3. Love the hat-tips to Larson. This is so very beautiful.

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    4. I'm seeing it. The nails, the pink water and the beauty. So intense, visual and mysterious.

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    5. This is gorgeous. All of it. I love it. And this: "Your eyes said laughter, but your face said hurt, and I didn’t know which I was bringing to you, which I was taking away." Bravo, Leland.

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    6. Oh. So beautiful and sad and heartbreaking.

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  18. The falling stars of Armageddon were descending. Bits of sun, not sunshine, that glimmered in the sky. The satellites winked out, one by one, GPS, communications, weather. Electricity failed, then water, then gas pumps.

    It was the eve of the beginning of the end. A remarkable run it had been, these thousands of years of human history. They feared and braved so much. Imaginings of enemies and friends outside themselves, denial of the monsters within the walls they built.

    As the dust settled from the mushroom clouds, there were gunshots. First one, then five, then a thousand. The survivors aimed their weapons at the monsters inside their heads..

    And in a year, a decade, a century, radioactive dandelions fed glowing bees. Nuclear rainbows glinted on carpet-bombed sand. And cockroaches held elections in the land of traitors.

    And it was good.

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    Replies
    1. thank you so much! I appreciate the encouragement!

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    2. Agreed. Damn, man. This is epic.

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    3. Amazing, and so anusing. You're on fir.

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  19. I'd love to, you know, I really would. Just sit down and let it roll and pull something wonderful out of my head.But spring is springing and things are changing and real life is unfolding at such a furious, frustrating pace, I got nothing to say.I have no story to tell about it; I have no fiction to predict how it all turns out. How do you make God laugh? they said."Tell him your plans."
    Never mind, those stories will come. But sometimes? You have to live through it first. :)

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    Replies
    1. a good story from one who claims to have no stories

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    2. I like your synopsis of spring. Creating something to write about is golden.

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    3. This is ace, lady. Love it. And I relate.

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    4. What they said. Love this. :)

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    5. Love your humor and insights.

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  20. I have to admit this took more than two minutes but I'm very, very upset about this and can't write about anything else right now. A poem:

    Insomnia in California about Alberta

    The heat rose--started in my toes--
    wrapped around my collar--suffocating my nose.
    And distant tears
    can’t appreciate real fears
    but my coughing wouldn’t stop.
    I grabbed a bucket and mop
    my personal menace
    an emotional apprentice.
    I had to work it out.
    and now I’m writing about...
    flames that look like Hell.
    Cinders that smell,
    ash from fifty feet
    landing on dry peat,
    homes and cars
    churches and bars.
    People—masses of them-- drive somewhere--
    anywhere but there.
    Away from home--
    a melancholy poem.
    Shelter they seek--
    the young and the weak.
    Their agony and loss
    in my head while I floss.
    We crawl under cover.
    Two guilty lovers
    safe behind the news
    till our coffee brews....
    And my mind stirs
    as the smoke swirls--
    destruction spraying--
    while I’m praying.

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    Replies
    1. You can feel the resignation and desperation. Really well played.

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    2. This thing is breaking my heart too. I even posted about it on my FB profile, and I don't generally post appeals for donations and online petitions as a rule.

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    3. Thank you! I put it on my blog with a link to The Red Cross. The government is matching donations.

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  21. "The rebellion has been put down," Faolen said, twisting his helmet in nervous hands. "And the Queen has fallen."

    The words bypassed her brain and went directly to her heart, piercing it, rending it. They were words she never thought to hear. They made her want to wail and scream and strike at Faolan with her fists. She was of Winter, though, in control of her emotions, not controlled by them. Inside she raged, but outwardly, she remained impassive as she rose from her seat near the edge of the room, one that looked out across the empty moors and the forest beyond.

    "This is both a dark day and a bright one," she said, "as most are when we must take up arms against our wayward brothers and sisters. Send for Taeryn, if you will, on your way out. She has experience with planning state events. She can handle the funeral. And the coronation."

    With that she dismissed Faolan and turned to survey the room. Then with heavy, tired steps, she crossed to the dais. She stared at the throne for an eternity before she could bring herself to climb onto the dais and settle into what had been, until now, her mother's seat. She allowed herself one single, icy tear. She hadn't time for any more sorrow than that. The Unseelie realm wouldn't run itself, and there was much to do.

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    1. I love how you write like this. Formal. Solid. I don't know how to describe it. I just know I can't do it, and it's dope.

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    2. Beautifully heartbreaking.

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    3. Part of something far bigger?

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    4. Sort of. :) A bit of backstory on a character in the 'verse Erin and I are building.

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    5. What Dan said... and it feels like a beautiful chronicle.

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  22. We have toiled, soiled our beliefs, looking for escape and quick relief. Tonight, I'm gonna get so high, and not from pills or drinks. I'll mix a batch of rosemary thatch and everything under the kitchen sink. The neighbors will bitch for days about the hallucinations and the stink.

    I want to touch the outer realm of colors you can't see. I want to fuck my spine to bits, small price - epiphany. And shit and piss rain down around the spires and the sires all over town. But you know me, keen as can be - shit, I'm world renowned.

    For not giving a flying fuck.

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  23. Her eyes were the kind that made you question things. Big, dark windows into the blackness of a soul even peroxide couldn't bleach. She was round in the right places. Pouty lips. She was practiced. It didn't fly. It didn't get even a foot off the ground. It couldn't get my foot off the rail. More whiskey mixed with ginger ale. One for me, and one for her - but I'll drink em both.

    See, I know the track, I've run with the dogs - chased the electric bunny like a good little cog. And it didn't get me nowhere. Another drunk bum mixing metaphors like cheap well-drinks, avoiding house-slut winks.

    There are times to fight and times to fade. Fighting is for rubes. There's no angle. Busted noses, busted knuckles. I'd rather be at the bar, trading chuckles. Watching some hussy adjust the garters her husband bought. It's not the gift see, but the thought.

    And I ain't aiming to run some dame that's dancing another's thoughts around. That's a quick way to end up running.

    And wake up in the ground.

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    Replies
    1. Again with the rhythm. Love the noir thing this is rocking, too.

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    2. Yeah, I keep saying it: write more noir, brother. I always love it like the drifting smoke from a last cigarette under a dripping mattress sky.

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    3. Dark and beautiful and rhythmic... I like it a lot...

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  24. My pants don't fit right. My teeth ain't that white. I'm useless in a street fight. Want to give up? I think I might.

    My car's a piece of aging shit. Barely running. Shine? Not a bit.

    Moonshine, that's a different story. Used to make it so strong it would melt the plastic tubing and we'd end up standing around screaming at Cletus. DON'T LIGHT THAT FUCKING CIGARETTE. Then we'd mop up, go home. Fill the jelly jar and put the lights out. Wake up drunk and then go fishing.

    The fish give two shits about white teeth and simonizing.

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    Replies
    1. Love, love, love the rhythm. Wish my brain worked that way!

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    2. The fish may not care but I'm smiling and showing my teeth. LOL

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    3. I love how you tied everything in.

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    4. White teeth and simonizing... brilliant

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  25. A snatch of blue kingfisher cuts the fading day - you smile, look at the ripples on the water, wonder at the madness of the enterprise. Realize it doesn't matter. You like it because there is no prize.

    Life is too short to worry. I worry about that a lot. But I live in a country made of guns, so maybe I'll just get shot. Could be by trouble. Or maybe not. Maybe just a traffic cop. Maybe I'm wearing the wrong shirt, wrong skin, wrong something that pisses someone off. I don't know. It could happen. Don't scoff.

    Hell, I'm pretty sure that's the real American Dream. A ponzi scheme.

    PS - Fuck Fitzgerald. (Just giving you the green light.)

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  26. I have no idea where I'm going with this. And today I can't write short to save my life. So...

    As Jude and Art sipped overpriced coffee at one of the café’s outdoor tables, conversation bumped along from his compliments about how well the years had been treating her, to stories of children and grandchildren, and now they’d reached the kind of lull Jude had dreaded since she’d agreed to meet him. They had not parted on good terms, and she thought the little bohemian neighborhood would give her some comfort for their reunion. All those years ago, this had been one of her favorite places in the city, and she had fond memories of joining up with friends after work for cheap sangria and poetry readings. Now the neighborhood had the irritating preciousness of a movie set with its home furnishings boutiques and gastropubs bearing arcane, lowercase names. She clutched her glass mug—no handles; part of the charm and ironically, the way her great-grandfather took his tea—and watched the hipster millennials stroll by, staring at their phones. Inwardly she shook her head, feeling old and ridiculous and irrelevant. And certain now that this meeting had been sealed in a moment of weakness on her part. A mistake of nostalgia brought on by empty nest syndrome. A hopeless exercise in reclaiming what she’d remembered—before it all blew up—as one of the better chapters of her life; maybe one she’d failed to appreciate at the time, because she was so young and naïve and probably high. Well, fuck it all, she thought. Life had become shorter lately, so what was the point of all this dithering around?

    “Why are we here, Art?”

    He cleared his throat. “I, uh… Well, I’d just been thinking about you lately, that’s all.”

    “Really. After almost thirty years of silence you suddenly decide you have to see me.”

    “Okay.” He spread his hands out in front of him. “I’ve started a new venture. In sales.”

    She could not resist a chuckle. Art—the Art she’d known when she’d worn bell bottoms and wove flowers in her hair—did not believe in capitalism. He’d believed in using his good looks and the three chords he knew how to play on the guitar to score drugs and seduce women like Jude out of their white cotton underpants. But maybe she was selling him short. He had children now, grandchildren. If social media profiles were to be believed, he was living a respectable life in suburbia. She’d grown up, made compromises, so why would she not expect he had, too? “What kind of sales?”

    He eased into a charming grin, a shadow of the one that had gotten her, at seventeen, into the back of his VW van. “Actually, it’s something your magazine might be interested in.”

    Jude stiffened. “This is a pitch. You invited me down here for a pitch. You plied me with pictures of your grandchildren for a pitch.”

    “Aw, Jude. I knew you when. Can’t you do me a solid, for old time’s sake?”

    She stood, dropped her napkin on the table. “I’ve already done that. I did that by forgiving you for running out on me.”
    “You…you were the one who told me to leave!”

    “Because if you didn’t, I was going to kill you.”

    And the air hung around them, and the kids with their falling-down pants and flat bellies and perfect skin sauntered by. Art shook his head at her and smiled. “You haven’t changed a bit, Jude. You’re still the hottest firecracker I ever knew.”

    “Damn fucking straight, I am.”

    He put out his hand, inviting her to sit, and she did, and he ordered more coffee.

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    Replies
    1. I'm good with you not writing short. Just write. <3 This is, like everything you do, so very evocative. Put me right there, not watching them but in Jude's skin.

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    2. That has to be long and longer. Part of a novel? Thank you for sharing this story about Art and Jude and I hope she caves in--again! LOL

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    3. I love the line this walks. The tension is delicious.

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    4. Whatever it is, keep going! Another generous piece. I love the way the lens keeps widening and narrowing throughout, if that makes sense. And I gotta admit I was sidetracked for a while (in a good way) by "arcane lowercase names."

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    5. Never apologize for not being able to "write short"... every word is a gift, and these are beautiful.

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  27. Jacob found himself seething a lot more than usual. He wasn’t proud of how much work he’d been putting in on the corner. Mr. Gibson swore up and down that it was only temporary, but Jacob had been out there almost every day for about three weeks, peddling crack. He still wasn’t gonna tell his sister or brother; Luanne because he knew she’d judge, Raymond because he didn’t want Ray-Ray to think the dope game was cool.

    But he wouldn’t have been surprised if they knew what he was up to, all that time. Admittedly it was nice, how much money he was making: hundreds of dollars on a slow day, on a good one, a thousand or two. Brian tried to get in on his hustle. He used to deal back in Vancouver, the only reason he wasn’t already dealing in Oakland was because, being white and not from around the way, he knew he would probably get killed pretty quickly for dealing on someone else’s turf. Jacob told him ‘fuck no’, though, partly because he didn’t trust that psycho to not fuck it up for him, partly just because he didn’t really like him that much. Brian was like Jacob’s homeboy Timmy, without the warmth and loyalty.

    So it was generally Tim watching Jacob’s back while he was working the corner, because he wasn’t one to judge, and generally was the downest white boy Jacob had ever met. Hence Tim only got annoyed looks, when he talked about how the only reason he wasn’t trying to smoke the crack they were selling was because Luanne’s pussy was even sweeter. Tim did love him some drugs, but Jacob could tell, despite the playful jibes and taunts, he loved Luanne even more.

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  28. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  29. "Why do you spend all of your time in this barren desert?" Troy asked his best friend, sipping his beer while he drank in the large expanse of nothing that surrounded him. "Your closest neighbor is two miles away and there isn't a single hot girl in that po-dunk that passes for a town. What do you see in this wasteland?"

    "Why do you visit if you can't stand the place?" John asked, shooting a grin at his bro. "You complain every time you're here, but two months later, like clockwork, you come back. I love this place. It's home. I've told you that, so we both know why I'm here. Why are you?"

    "Because you're here, idiot,' Troy replied, rolling his eyes. "I live in the best place on Earth; different chick in my bed every night, doughnuts or bagels on every corner, twenty pubs within spitting distance, and every night there is something awesome to do. I wouldn't ever leave, but you're here. Damn, asshole, we've had each other's backs for forever. I wouldn't be me if I could hang out with you. You won't leave, so Mohamed must come to the mountain."

    John chuckled and clapped his friend on the back. "Dinner's in five. Wash up," he said, getting to his feet and heading inside.

    Troy shook his head and followed John in, turning to hit the head before dinner. Troy had always been the talker, the charmer, the trouble-maker. John was quiet, thoughtful, steady. That was their thing. Troy got them into trouble. John got them out of it, or at least made it less chaotic. He wasn't one to discuss his feelings, but he'd buried a body for Troy not so long ago. That showed his devotion more than anything ever would.

    Troy heard John turn some music on and sang along as he dried his hands. He could smell the barbecue and licked his lips in anticipation. John made the best barbecue.

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    1. Wow. Sometimes you scare me (in the best way possible.)

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    2. Okay. Do you know these people, Erin? It's like they're actually real and you somehow tune in and eavesdrop for a little while. Amazing. o.O

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    3. BBQ. That's why Troy keeps coming back to visit.

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