Friday, May 13, 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.

Oh, goddamn, my teeth hurt - don't you know my teeth hurt, baby? It's like they're moving, grinding against each other, glacier slow. I can feel the heat. Don't look at me; I can't stand looking at the disgust in your eyes. You ride that disgust right on down the road, baby. My back aches. My knees are old church doors. You don't need it, baby. 

But shit if my mind ain't stale like bad deli bread. The 'too old, but this guy's an asshole so I'll cut off the mold and fuck him' bread. I can't get a spark, let alone combustion. And my eyes are weak, pupils tired of changing sizes, face tired of trite disguises. 

Let me glue my ears back on. Let me pick my ass up. Let me get my head straight. Let me shake the cold from my old broken limbs. Let me get a minutes peace so I can figure this out. I got leprosy of the mind, baby. You pass that over here, but we gotta be careful. Wipe it when we pass. I don't want you getting what I have.

I'm falling apart.

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!

128 comments:

  1. "...old church doors"! I love that.

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    1. That is an awesome description.

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    2. 'I can't get a spark, let alone combustion' stood out for me. Excellent as always, Dan!

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    3. Oh, I love it. The line that David posted.

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    4. old church doors? LOL I agree with David!

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    5. "I can't get a spark, let alone combustion." I can dig it. Damn fine piece of writing, brother.

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    6. The whole thing rocks, but yeah, my knees will remember that phrase...

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    7. The 'too old, but this guy's an asshole so I'll cut off the mold and fuck him' bread. Are you kidding me? That's so gritty-beautiful.

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  2. Part 1
    ______

    No matter the setting, this is a world in which people cry all the time. You can walk along a fifties street, between barber poles and angle-parked lime-green Buicks, and everyone you meet is bawling. A man passes you and you notice an eye inside his eye, a full blinking eye nestled in his iris, and it too is crying.

    You pass a clothing store and watch as women brush each others' hair, unmindful of the handfuls that come unmoored. A hotbed of scalpings. The idea it might be a front for a murder room occurs to you late on. Someone screams in back, a torn sheet of bright, eventful metal.

    You keep on walking, as if the bomb had never dropped. Like Hiroshima in its shadow realm still emits light.

    The street reflects shards of partial smiles.

    Interlude: there was a Daft Punk instrumental early in the gray-dawn millennium playing somewhere, from the album Discovery, I think—I didn't see a jukebox, but maybe I was missing something, as I often lose track the later the day gets, and this was early evening and a sun was setting, not a sun but the sun, which only meant that our planet was positioning itself so that the horizon, from this perspective, was painstakingly rolling upward relative to the massive gas giant over ninety million miles away that we could nonetheless see and feel warmth from, which always amazes me when I remember to dwell on it, which isn't that often given the distractions of life down here, all around us, all the drugs and fucking and melody and screens and words and fights and sadness and rage and oddness. Wait. Where was I at? Oh, the Daft Punk music. It was great, it worked so well with the streaky sky and the sudden onslaught of birds, the tiny iron flocks, the gunning of gleeful engines, the lovely open conduit above the mundane, the relentless chatter and the awful quiet. Beauty doesn't always steal in on especially acceptable feet.

    Also, remember this: take the weapons of your enemy and make them your tools.

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    1. wow... and this line: "a torn sheet of bright, eventful metal" is pure poetry

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    2. "Beauty doesn't always steal in on especially acceptable feet."

      So many great turns of phrase here, but I like this one a lot.

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  3. Part 2
    ______

    We're going to walk along the pier, and as we go we'll feel the splinters beneath the soles of our feet while herring gulls cull sounds from the air, sucking in the caws and squeals as the fishermen move slowly alongside the shore, all the while backgrounding the sheer insanity of a body transfixed and transformed and dangling like the ripest of fruits above the great headland over a happy valley, in turn above the massive swoosh of the Victorian bay.

    O Snowdonia. My cherished Cascadia.

    The great tragedy of life is that by the time you've lived long enough to figure something pertinent, nobody's interested because you're suddenly irrelevant.

    The sun is edging toward down, but still a ways from doing so, and the dogs in the 'hood are surly and loud for minutes on end, and a neighbor fires up his Harley for a second or two, seeming to enjoy the clamor for clamor's sake, and then is gone down the exurban trail, coughing and roaring, while the dogs complain. Soon, one of the gods approaches and asks if we are okay with sundry horrors and scares and we say, "Sure, fine, let's do it"; and the very ends of the trees are swole-green, just the ends, like candlefire lime dripped in gold, and we lie back thinking of low gravity viables, dreaming of something rare; a warm squiggle within a lost icicle.

    And I crawl home, gang-raped by grief.

    It's the time of the women, the rise of the kohl eyes, the whole ascendancy of the sweet holes, the swing and arrest of the breast, the estrofest of the crest of a third or even a fourth wave, a celebration of something "knock-kneed and all-bright," of desire, bridal murmurs in a secular church, of something inside and shifting, the uterine lurch and lifting of our hopes...

    It's now quite possible I don't know what I am.

    I begin to run through the alley, or is this a canyon, or maybe a bayou, and at first it hurts, with my lame thighs dragging so slowly behind where my mind has aimed, but as the muscles twitch in their slow taffy environs, nevertheless, I roll into the Iowa detour, beam at the measureless fields of nodding yellow heads, read dubious quotes by Crazy Horse, bow to the buffalo, buy-in to America's dreamlife, gyrate to Kind of Blue, plot intricate vengeance for the Clutters in Kansas, stop off for a gas station hoagie, blurt my own god's honest truth, meet and half-love the devil at the wharf, burn all my Santeria-meets-zydeco Bourbon Street trinkets. The Big Easy. You fuckers are lazy. You did a heck of a job, Brownie. Mission fucking accomplished. Memories of east Texas. Truck stop waitress. Fuck right off, all a y'all. And truly goodnight, alligators.

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    1. 'Someone screams in back, a torn sheet of bright, eventful metal' is terrific but I could have selected over half of the lines in this. You're a writer I need to read and then re-read and then re-read at least a couple more times. Superlative.

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    2. dang, 'gang-raped by grief," is my favorite but it's a very visual 'lay' of the land.

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    3. I'm with Mark. I can't pick out any lines because each one is better than the last. This is an epic piece. A new favorite, brother. You better be collecting these into something. More people need to read your stuff.

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    4. Dang. What Dan said. And then some.

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    5. I know I should collect my stuff. I wish I had two parallel lives. Oh, hey, and at the risk of being gauche by quoting my own stuff, the line "by the time you've lived long enough to figure something pertinent, nobody's interested because you're suddenly irrelevant" is sounding in my head like Kanye. I should probably go see someone about that, lol.

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    6. Dude, you really do not write nearly enough for my liking. I need more Antrobus.

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    7. Really, I don't know how to be more persuasive in telling you to get these awesome pieces into a collection and published... this one breaks my heart for all it mourns... and that's a good thing.

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    8. David Antrobus I didn't want it to end, I was crossing my fingers that a miracle would happen and I would find myself only a few pages in to a thick novel. "The street reflects shards of partial smiles."
      That line.

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    9. Even allowing for that inner compulsion to put words on paper, you all make me want to keep going forever. :)

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  4. The public pool was the worst place of all. And also the best. On the one hand you could indulge yourself almost as much as you wanted. But on the other hand… there was always someone watching. Games masters, other boys, even some of the girls would sometimes call you out.

    It was horrific.

    I was always slow to change into my Speedos, dragging it out. I was always one of the first into the changing room and one of the last out. I'd be there, sitting in a corner, making myself small, trying not to be seen, just keeping my eye out for the other boys. Some of the boys were brash; self-confident, always pushing themselves forward, trying to be the first to strip down and put their swimming trunks on so they could act the fool and pick on the quiet boys. The shy ones, like me.

    Rupert Holmes was the 'one' in our year. He was a head taller than most of us, naturally blond and broad and tanned from the holidays his folks were always taking him on. Caramel skin and abs and shoulders I could only dream about. He was on the swim team, of course. I wasn't. I could swim… I had to know how to swim; being the quiet, shy runty kid in the class. Jacob Walker was the one who initiated me into the pool, must have been two three years ago, pushing me in when I was waiting to climb the steps down with my float under my arm. One moment I was queuing and the next I was in at the deep part, my float the last thing I saw still spinning through the air. And then I was under; the blurred legs and the rounded-off noises you never got used to filling your head and your vision.

    And then the water rolled in as you tried to catch your breath. Not thinking. Just panicking.

    But that was then. Now there were other dangers.

    Rupert was a natural. His legs long and well-muscled. Taut waist and the way his buttocks bunched as he prowled the changing room. Supreme confidence and self assurance. He didn't cower behind his towel like I did. He was as comfortable naked as he was dressed – his cock always heavy and his balls hanging loose like they were potatoes.

    I couldn't help but watch him.

    “Look at Frazer! Look at how he's looking at Holmes. Look at him… look, he's touching himself!” I turned about to see who it was shouting and managed to catch the trainer-shoe straight on the side of my face; tears already rising despite my being determined not to cry, my cheek simultaneously blushing and beginning to bruise.

    Like I said, the pool was the worst place ever.

    But there were lots of boys like Rupert and a guy couldn't help himself sometimes. No wonder I spent most of the time facing the wall when I wasn't in the water.

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    1. That's good Mark. Drowning among potatoes. LOL

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    2. My favourite line is the one about rounded-off noises. Great description.

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    3. Balls like potatoes. :) I feel like I've read part of this before. Am I tripping? Excellent piece.

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    4. So good. I loved the rounded-off noises, too.

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    5. Lovely expression of the emotions of a teen in a locker-room type setting. "Children" are mean little shits.

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    6. I've been that boy, and you've nailed this... well played.

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    7. Ohhh those locker room days...Mark you brought that uncomfortable-ness back so well, my eyes are stinging from the cloud of chlorine and I feel like there's not enough oxygen in here. Wow.

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  5. He went down on her in the back of his '89 Dodge. Her vagina was like pulling apart a grilled cheese sandwich. But he didn't know any better. Fuck it. He jammed his tongue in. Tasted like some rotten roast beef he'd fucked up and eaten when he was a little guy. He'd never get the memory of that taste (or smell) out of his head.

    He'd heard that pussy was supposed to taste like tuna. So what was this shit?

    She was moaning, so he must be doing something right. He continued lapping. Trying not to think about the smell. Trying not to taste. Trying his fucking best not to swallow.

    She came like a busted fire hydrant. What came out of her was thick and sticky and reminded him of spoiled honey.

    He laid back, unzipped his pants, and met her eyes in the diffused glow coming from the dome lights.

    He waggled his penis at her.

    She grimaced and said, "Ew. No way."

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    1. Spoiled honey and cheese with roast beef. You could write a cookbook! LOL

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    2. Damn girl. Monistat! (Lorn, you made me laugh, although the grilled cheese image is gonna haunt me for weeks.)

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    3. This is so good. And so gross. And I'm about to eat lunch. You fucker. ;) Seriously, though, really like this piece. Funny and well written.

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    4. Thanks. :)

      I'll get to reading everyone else's here in a minute. I had to make some pintos because tonight is enchiladas. ;)

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    5. *applauds* You captured the moment so nicely! And so grossly.

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    6. Funny, and uh, gross... which is to say humorous.

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    7. I...vaginas and grilled cheese...I'm think I'm scarred for life. Lol.

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    8. Then again, I love vaginas and I love grilled cheese sandwiches, so if we can find a way to keep them separate, we should still be good.

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  6. Looking down at the two remaining pills in the bottle, she wondered what it would be like to not take them any more. Would she see any differently? Would she hear things differently? Would the wind feel any different on her skin?

    They were so tiny, these pills. Little round, green tinted tablets that were the only thing that stood between her and a certain visit from Death.

    Only 2 left. Why bother taking them at all? Just stop now, today, and let nature take it's course. The kids wouldn't like it too much, but why prolong the suspense? It wasn't as if she could get any more of them.

    She set the bottle down on the bed beside her, made sure it could easily be seen. She neatened up the room, made sure her clothing and hair were in order. She slipped on her sandals and silently left the room.

    Left the house.

    She walked out into the bright sunlight and just kept on walking. They would know soon enough that she had taken in her fill of the stress, the worry, the pain. It was time to get out fo their hair.

    Behind her on the bed, the label on the bottle bore mute testimony to her personal pain, to her decision.

    "Zombexitrim 1500mg. Generic substitute for Zombie-Lax. Take one pill four times daily to prevent manifestation of symptoms."

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    1. Wasn't expecting that ending. Nice. :D

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    2. Zombie-lax!! I need some too. LOL

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    3. Yes, excellent unexpected ending. :)

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    4. Agreed. :) The twist kills.

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    5. 2 pills or 200, it matters not. We're all infected. ;)

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  7. The pile of diamonds looked like a rattlesnake. No one wanted to touch it, let alone get near it. It wasn't squared off right - the whole deal. It was sour and it gave them all heartburn. The dream become burden.

    Mug was the only one who wanted to follow through with it. Why let it hang? You pluck that fucking apple. That's what they'd always told him. Now, they were smoking too many cigarettes and thinking about bars - not the kind with stools and pool tables.

    Mug thought about it. Sure, it was questionable. The whole thing was questionable. But he could already feel the diamonds inside his sport coat. Wrapped up tight. Ready to turn into money and flight.

    When the smoke cleared, he was the last man standing. He smiled and filled his pockets. Wondered what rum would taste like from a coconut.

    Probably like victory.

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    1. I like your character and his name Mug. Cool dude who finishes the job and will enjoy his Pina Colada.

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    2. "Ready to turn into money and flight." So apt!

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    3. "Charlie don't surf!" Ha ha, sorry, your riff there at the end made me want to go watch seventies war movies. ;)

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    4. Oh, I like it... and I like the last line... Victory is sweet... so are pina coladas!

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    5. Mug :) "It's just tequila and the beach, that's why it's salty when we kiss." I wanna rob a bank with Mug and go on the run! Love this. I want more.

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    6. I call that renegade love, and it's always a good thing.

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  8. He didn’t recognize the purple-inked handwriting on the note he’d plucked from beneath his windshield wiper. Maybe his eyes were whacked from staring at computer code all day. So he blinked again, and again, and saw only the same few words in the tiny and most likely female script: “I heart your car.” A black cloud descended over his thoughts as he shook his head and crushed the slip of paper in one fist. More jokes. He drove a beat-to-crap Honda Civic that wasn’t even born in this century, hardly the stuff that inspires women to verb a perfectly good noun like “heart.” And if this writer of purple prose knew who owned the car? Yeah. Game over. He saw how they reacted to him. Women whispered when he walked past, gave him a wide berth in the hallways, as if afraid they’d catch something. A computer virus. Nobody wanted to talk to the dorky code guy. He wasn’t all smooth and sexy like the dudes in advertising or sales. No. He sat in the basement under the fluorescent lights and drank cold coffee and wore Spiderman socks.

    Maybe he should rethink the socks.

    He tossed the crumpled note on the back seat of his car.

    When he turned, a girl was standing there. He jumped, and pressed a hand to his heart, which from her sudden materialization, had started to verb.

    “Sorry,” she said, the left side of her mouth lifting for a second. “I didn’t mean to scare you.”

    She was pretty. Her hair was long and dark and neatly parted on the side. Her glasses sat crookedly on the bridge of her nose and he couldn’t explain to himself the desire he had to reach out and straighten them. He opened his mouth to say something hopefully clever, maybe to ask her name or if she was new because he’d never seen her before, but his mind felt like a giant intersection, all the strings of words confused as to which had the right of way.

    She gestured to his car. “I have the same one,” she said.

    That explained the note. He looked up across the neat rows of parked vehicles and as if to assist him, she pointed, and said, “I keep thinking I should get something newer. But then I’d have to find new bumper stickers, and I don’t know that they make any like that anymore.”

    She kept talking, something more about her car, but he had followed the line of her finger. One of the stickers read, “I’d rather be watching Firefly.”

    And then he smiled, and his heart really started to verb.

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    1. This is wonderful. Love this --"his mind felt like a giant intersection, all the strings of words confused as to which had the right of way." Love the bumper sticker. Love the whole nerdy thing. It makes my heart verb, too. :D

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    2. How cool. A love sticker with meaning. Excellent! I am verbing this. LOL

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    3. I heart this ... from a Firefly fan who drives a Honda Civic only just born this century (2002). :)

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    4. I love this piece. "verb a perfectly good noun" - dope

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    5. Wow, Laurie. I love everything about this - the basement, the Spiderman socks, the vibration between heart being a verb and a noun.

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    6. ::waving hand in air:: I'm a Firefly fan, too! This is awesome! and I heart your use of verb!

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    7. Verb *is* awesome! I also know the pain of "the bumper stickers" It's hard to replace that "Evening Echo. Read all over Cork!" sticker that you got in Ireland back in '93!

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    8. Thank you! I'm just hoping that one day I'll be able to get another "What Would Scooby Doo" sticker.

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  9. There’s the beat-poet who sings for his supper.
    The one who laughs at the media
    forging his way with a matted ponytail.
    He lives off the grid
    or prefers homelessness to
    Making a large human imprint.
    Do I know my carbon footprint?
    Do I eat innocent chickens?
    High and mighty is his horse
    Thinking we’re inhumane,
    and soulless creatures who don’t care.
    He’d rather philosophize
    than sodomize the planet.
    He’s not a savior of anyone,
    moaning about politicians
    and living conditions
    amidst the land of opportunity.
    cynical and jeering,
    spend it on a piercing.
    Jobs are for fools
    They don’t like tattoos,
    pants pulled higher.
    Finally, hauled into the ER
    they operate.
    on major organs.
    What heart?
    His bills run into the millions.
    They transfer him to hospice
    he’d rather slit his wrist
    than wait it out.
    It’s time to go, go, go.
    a-go-go. Fund me.
    he needs a drink
    like he needs another enema.
    the walking dead
    are those who don’t
    want to participate.
    They can’t share or partake
    they can’t get along with anyone.
    Filled with bitterness and hate,
    They bleed at the mention of peace.
    Gunshots are so much easier
    Death is a cakewalk.
    Let them go. –Go.

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    1. Damn. There is such power in this. Well played.

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    2. Holy cats, the power in this. Magnifique.

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    3. "...the walking dead
      are those who don’t
      want to participate.
      They can’t share or partake
      they can’t get along with anyone.
      Filled with bitterness and hate,
      They bleed at the mention of peace.
      Gunshots are so much easier
      Death is a cakewalk.
      Let them go. –Go." You just sliced right into my being and made me a fan for life. Wow.

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  10. "NOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Fuckinoooooooo! NO! NO! NOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Get the fuck away from me you goddamn monsters! I'll KILL YOU!"
    Words and venom sprayed out with the spit that flew from the girl's mouth as I watched her fight like a wild animal to escape them. They all fought at first.
    She fought tooth and nail against their straps and belts, their pinning-down arms, their needles filled with restraints even the strongest bodies couldn't resist for long.
    And this girl was young and strong and stubborn.

    Most of them fought like rabid wolves the first one or two times our "hosts" tried to drag them off to "treatment." They came back shaken, but undeterred in their belief that they could outlast the torture and somehow come out victorious. They'd drag them off and they'd come back a little weaker each time. And with the loss of their will to fight, they lost their sense of humor too. What eventually came back...you couldn't even replace that at a Farmer's Market. They don't bother to bring those fruits and vegetables to town, for fear that they'll spoil the whole week's haul.
    Sometimes...they just didn't come back.

    "NO! Fuckkkk! You can't MAKE me do it! Not again! Nooooo! Grrrrraaaaagh! Fuuuuuuuuuuuaaaarrrrgh! No!"
    She kicked and screamed and bit at them.
    Her body bucked against the sea of arms and bodies that fought to hold her down.
    "Stop fighting Sam! We're trying to help you. You're just confused. No one is going to hurt you..."
    The doctor's words were drowned out by the agonized screams of one of the orderlies.
    "Goddamn little Bitch! She BIT me! Little whore!"
    We all braced for the slap and winced when Lenny's meaty hand struck the side of the girl's face so hard, I swear I could hear the little bones in her cheek snap.
    But then my eyes were drawn to the garden of roses starting to bloom through the sleeve of Lenny's white coat.
    The kid had gotten a good bite in. Good for her.

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    1. Sigh...it cut off the end? :/

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    2. Here's the actual ending...

      "LENNY! That is enough!"
      "Get me Thorazine. Have the chair ready, the jacket, the spit-net..."
      I stopped listening.
      I didn't need to hear the rest.
      I knew Rat-shit's list well enough.
      I knew it like a bargin-bin autobiography.

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    3. Was gonna say it cut off in a good place, but then we wouldn't have the phrase "bargain-bin autobiography." :)

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    4. Oh, this is scary and frantic - strong writing. I don't know if I like it more with the cut off ending or the real ending...

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    5. Ha, we had the same thoughts, bro.

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    6. Scary and frantic indeed... my heart is beating about twice as fast as when I started it! Well done!

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    7. Thank you. I really appreciate your input. This is weird, this isn't even the "final" version.
      I'm really bad this new fandangled technology stuff. Somehow I copied one version and pasted a different one. After I saw where it cut off the first time, I'm torn about where it should end too. Mysterious ways.

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    8. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    9. Yikes.I liked the twist at the end. The good for her--makes you take sides. :)

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    10. Thanks Intangible Hearts. :)
      I'm hoping to add to this.
      This is just the opening scene.
      Hopefully...

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  11. You don't want to touch it. You have to, but every part of you is rebelling. Your stomach's on the spin cycle, and you want nothing but to run. Bail. Escape.

    There is no escape.

    It's fucking disgusting and sad and, even though you know it's stupid, you don't want the misery to rub off on you. You don't want to feel it slither up your arm, into the base of your brain. You don't want to feel it's offspring worm their way through your soft parts.

    You don't want to touch it, but someone has to. Someone has to honor this - dishonorable though it may be. It's real - realer than anything you've ever seen. So, you reach your hand out. One finger. Like E.T. But you're not phoning home.

    Home is gone.

    This is what's left.

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    1. I know I'm always saying: write more noir, Mader. But I also think you should write more horror. This has a perfect rhythm, and nothing extraneous.

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    2. What he said ^^^ more MORE should be in all-caps! I really liked this Mister Dan.

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    3. Don't allow the misery! After reading this I want to escape too. Awesome.

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    4. Oh, creepy. Want more. MORE.

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  12. The new gown was atrocious. She stood tall and tried not to feel ridiculous as she passed down the arched hallway, layers of skirts in eye-bleeding colors rustling about her ankles.

    She had agreed to wear the awful thing, layers upon layer like some gypsy dancer, flounced out beneath a tight bodice and poufy little sleeves, for the reception of the Spanish ambassador.

    She swore to burn the bloody thing as soon as the man was gone!

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    1. It will burn soon in colorful flames!

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    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  13. Fat people think they’ve got the market cornered when it comes to being bullied. As if they’re the only ones who catch shit for the size of their bodies. I’m here to tell you that being skinny isn’t much better. But who am I kidding? No one cares.

    I have a father, and not much else. I’m one of those rare kids whose Mom left instead of Dad. We don’t talk about her. Whenever someone does bring her up, my father disappears inside himself for a few days. Calls off work and doesn’t come out for dinner. When he does finally return to life, he’s a totally annoying Bubbly McBubblestein. With him, it’s one extreme or another. Fucking hate people like that.

    Dad tries, but he’s no woman. And the information he does pass on is either gleaned from internet searches that I, myself, could do (NetPhD, for the win). Or he’s warning me that boys my age are only after one thing. Like, I know, Dad. Every dude this side of dead wants to stick his hot dog in between my buns or shuck my oyster, or… Sorry, I can’t think of a good metaphor for my birth canal. My bad.

    There is this one guy I like. I’m omitting his name here because, oh my God, if he found out, I’d come back from the dead to haunt whoever let my secret slip. Like, if I wasn’t already dead to the world, I’d die. This dude is cute as balls, though. He invited me to this party and we made out and everything I just said is a lie. But sometimes I turn on the wash machine and sit on the corner and think about me and him making out at a party. And, fuck it, I'm outta time.

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    1. Drop the mic, times up. ;) Way to nail to voice in this one, G. And this: "Sorry, I can’t think of a good metaphor for my birth canal. My bad." Super funny. I like.

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    2. Aw, this is sweet... and this will stay with me: "Bubbly McBubblestein." I want a TV show named after that!

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    3. So happy to see Ed Lorn here. And yes, that just got all kinda sweet at the end and choked me up a little. Ahem. Ignore me.

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    4. Capturing a young female voice is hard for most guys, but you nailed it.

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  14. Darkness had fallen while they had been plotting. Liam only now noticed the pallid moonlight lending an eerie cast to the sand.

    The moment of silence as each man ordered his own thoughts stretched out, the cheerful voices of the crew rose in a gale of laughter to fill it. Those who were not still on board the ship were passing jugs of sour wine as they amused themselves about a cook fire. The pig roasting there was part of the provisions they had stopped to take on.

    The Captain and his gentlemen watched the smiling firelit faces for a moment more, before getting back to the business at hand. It was a monstrous thing to listen to those under them laugh while they decided on a course that would end the lives of many.

    "Let them laugh and drink and eat their fill," Bully said out loud what the others wee thinking. "The sea and sky only knows when they will have such a chance again, eh?"

    The other men of the little conclave nodded at the boatswain's wisdom, their thoughts and words returning to the matter at hand.

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    1. This is really strong writing. Authentic, but accessible even to landlubbers. Really impressive.

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    2. Agreed.... and the tension you created here is good... will this piece grow?

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    3. Leland, yes. It's part of a project that is building slowly.

      Thank ye, gentlemen fer yer comments.

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    4. What they said. Nicely done. Looking forward to this being a full-blown novel. :)

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    5. I imagined this as being pirate fiction and you gave us a sneak preview.

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  15. Folks like to say that prostitution is the world’s oldest profession, but it isn’t. Storytelling is. It started when the serpent spun a tale that took Eve in, and it hasn’t stopped since.

    The biggest stories, the best stories, are the ones we tell ourselves. I can quit any time I want. Just one more. He’ll never miss it. I deserve it. It’s just a phase he’s going through.

    Or “He’ll come back safely.”

    That was the story I told myself when he left on his third deployment. He’d made it through two, he’d make it through the third one, too. I never said the words out loud. Warriors deny it, but they’re superstitious. They fear offending the gods, maybe Mars, the god of war most of all.

    And so the story stayed inside my head, under my breath.

    The night before he left, after he’d packed all of his things, I poured the wine, for him, for both of us. We talked about the kids, about how we’d be able to Skype this time, and when to pay which bills, and then he put his arm around me, and then he kissed me, and then we made sure the kids were asleep, and we fell into bed, like the warriors and lovers of warriors had fallen for some millennia before.

    We explored the geography of each other’s bodies, silently I mapped every hair, every inch of flesh, afraid that if I didn’t commit it to memory, I wouldn’t know if that piece of him didn’t come home when the time came. Hours later, we fell asleep in each other’s arms.

    The next morning, long before dawn, I kissed him as he walked out the door in the uniform he wore like a second skin.

    “I’ll see you when you get back!” I told him.

    “I’ll be home soon. This one won’t be long.”

    We were careful not to say “goodbye,” goodbyes are never good.

    My brave face held until he was out of sight. And then I cried, and then I told myself stories that kept me from dying.

    Today, I have no stories. He’s coming home. I’m going to meet him. In just about an hour. But the one story, the story that I’d see him when he got back, that story was a lie. They say they can’t open the coffin.

    Not all stories have happy endings.

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    1. Jesus Christ, Leland. Your novella just about broke me. This might have finished me off. Great piece, stuck the landing.

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    2. ::mailing duct tape to you:: and thank you kindly... your kind words make my heart sing. And make my pen want to keep writing.

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    3. Oh, that ending. You manage to convey so much emotion in so few words...it's just amazing.

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    4. You grabbed my attention in the beginning and buried my heart in the end. I'd say that's masterful storytelling.

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    5. Well shit...my sinus's just cleared up from the last Dirks piece too.
      That just ripped out my heart...damn. Well done, but you owe me a truckload of Klennex.

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  16. “Never trust the son of a preacher man,” that’s what my mama told me. “They know how to lie and stretch the rules better than common folk, and they’ll smile like an angel when they’re done with you.”

    So of course I went and fell in love with the son of the Reverend Jimmy Martin. Blond and blue-eyed, Bobby should have been painted on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. So sweet and innocent that the first time I saw him shirtless, I wondered where he hid his wings. Surely only God could create the heat that being with him generated in my body, surely only an angel could kiss as light as butterflies on my pale skin.

    Bless her heart, Mama never said “I told you so.” When the time came that the baby was showing, she just sent me off in the bus to see Grandma, for the summer, she said. I was sure that Bobby would come to see me off, but he called and said he was busy that day and couldn’t.

    I wrote him and wrote him, and finally he sent a letter back. “I don’t know how you could think the baby is mine,” he wrote.

    “Well, it sure as hell wasn’t an immaculate conception,” I whispered to myself as I burned the letter in Grandma’s fireplace.

    Now, some years later, baby Sammy and I sit on Grandma’s sofa, a Sunday morning, and as I flip through the channels, I see him. The Reverend Bobby Martin, working the studio audience of believers with his father. Still saintly, still summer blond, still hypnotic blue eyes.

    And then it hits me. I’ll never have to have the “Don’t trust the son of a preacher man” talk with Sammy, because that’s what he is, too. And I pity the mothers who try to warn their daughters and sons about him. But I laugh.

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    1. Oh! This one wants to be more. Or I want it to be more. Maybe I've known too many preacher's sons myself. Well done, L.

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    2. Thanks... I think they can be a lot of fun... and that's all I'm sayin'.

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    3. I really love this piece. Brain is too mushy to put together the right words to say why and how, but I think it's awesome.

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    4. Glad she can laugh and I agree with Lbclark75--it's awesome.

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  17. I was lucky enough to be slim, almost boyish, and with breasts that seemed almost like an afterthought. Of course, men hardly noticed me, whatever I did. I could be wearing nothing and not one would speak to me, other than to ask me if I had a bigger sister or to ask me the way to the nearest shop. Today I was taking advantage of this, enjoying the weather and wearing my indecently decent dress; the one an older or a more pneumatic woman could never wear without getting arrested. Or getting propositioned.

    The dress was like a searchlight; a dayglo orange sheath dress in a velvet finish that hugged me as close as though I'd grown it myself. Like a Tennessee Department of Corrections jumpsuit but infinitely more flattering. At least it would have been if I'd been more buxom. And maybe another ten or twelve inches taller. As it was, I could wear as much or as little as I wanted beneath it and nobody would ever be any the wiser.

    It was a hot day in July. The humidity was almost a hundred percent. I was in the sheath. And that was it. I was feeling a bit of a breeze – I always tried to find the right place to stand – and the girls were at attention. I was half-heartedly covering myself with my arms crossed across my chest but to be honest I was enjoying just cupping myself. My nipples pulled tight against my palms and my legs crossed at the knee. Just enough to stir myself if I paid enough attention.

    So, there I was when Kelly came. Kelly and Craig and the current wrinkled ball of flesh. The poor child. It couldn't help but be the way it was with the parents it had. She was dripping with sweat and the child was bawling to raise the dead and Craig was feeling agitated. It was inevitable, wasn't it. Even when you're only five foot three and the size of an A cup when you're wearing something.

    I do enjoy an appreciative audience.

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    1. Funny because I can imagine the day-glo orange dress and you're right only a petite woman can pull it off.

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    2. Dang you can't paint a picture Mister Mark. :) Nice one.

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  18. "Sublingual. It means you put it under your fucking tongue."

    "Oh."

    "Or don't. I don't care. It doesn't really matter. Just make up your mind. You want a sprint or a marathon?"

    "You put yours in a needle..."

    "Yeah, I'm more experienced than you. You can boot it. Got a turkey baster?"

    "You mean?"

    "Yup. Hella effective. Membranes in there. You know how frat boys funnel beer into their assholes? Yeah. It works."

    "No. I can't..."

    "Then swallow it. Put it under your tongue and let it dissolve. Press it into your temple. I don't care. I'm not waiting."

    "Is it going to burn?"

    "The fuck do you care?"

    "I don't want it to burn."

    "I'm starting to think you're not cut out for this shit. Go smoke some weed with the hippie kids."

    "No. No, I want to do it."

    "Then do it. Don't worry. It gets easier when the want turns to need."

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    1. Ouch... and this is so succinct... the last line is killer, both metaphorically and literally.

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    2. There's that gritty-beautiful again. Too, too real man.

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  19. I remember the first time he hit her. There was a weird, thick silence where it seemed like the world stopped spinning. I don't know who was more shocked, but we all stood there looking at him, looking at his red hand. Mom didn't say a word. Walked out of the house. We didn't see her again for three days.

    Things were OK. We had a big talk, whole family. He didn't know how it had happened. Why it had happened. He was sorry. Mom was willing to forgive.

    The second time he hit her, she hit him back. No one breathed. I ran that time. I don't know what happened afterward.

    The third time? That's the one I can never wrap my mind around. The one the police are still trying to figure out. It doesn't make any sense. All the doctors say heart attack, but Mom says she killed him. She sits in that white room, hugging scuffed knees, laughing. Sometimes it's poison. Sometimes it's a spell.

    Heart attack. Must have been. The doctors say it. The cops want to believe it. Most of them. The doctors are probably right.

    But I'll never believe it.

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    1. Your characters... and the scenes you set... amazing... and then you make us write our own damned ending... this is exactly what flash fiction should be. Thank you.

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    2. What Leland said. This is sheer brilliance.

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    3. Ooh yeah he deserved it. Love both sides. Well played.

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

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

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

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

    Moving toward the door, Sandra said over her aching shoulder, “You’re right, you won’t have to tell me again that you don’t like taking your medicine, And that was the reason you gave the last time you hit me and pushed Cara. So, in my nightstand drawer I left that shiny little gift you gave me for protection whenever you were on the road. You know what it is, know what you need to do with it. Now protect us.”

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