Friday, July 15, 2016

2 Minutes. Go!

Hey, writer-type folks. AND PEOPLE WHO JUST WANT TO PLAY BUT DON'T IDENTIFY AS 'WRITERS' - all are welcome here! Every Friday, we do a fun free-write. For fun. And Freedom!

Write whatever you want in the 'comments' section on this blog post. Play as many times as you like. #breaktheblog! You have two minutes (give or take a few seconds ... no pressure!). Have fun. The more people who play, the more fun it is. So, tell a friend. Then send 'em here to read your 'two' and encourage them to play.

He looked at the old man's face and saw a twinkle in his green eye. The one that wasn't an opal  - the one that wasn't framed by thick, red scars. It'll grow son, trust me. But the boy didn't trust him. Didn't know him. He had been shuttled between houses and families and some were good and some were bad - this old man? He just seemed sad. Sad in a friendly way, but sad. And he was playing a joke on the boy. The dry ground wanted nothing to do with them until they were dead. The boy knew that. But the old man had fed him well and told him stories, so he figured he'd humor the one-eyed man. Respect his elders.

The boy dug with the small shovel until the man grunted. The grunt was clearly a signal. The sun overhead was hot and the boy thought, again, how stupid ... whatever, he'd been the target of worse jokes. Bigger bullies. He dropped the seed in the hole he'd dug. Poured the jug of water. A wide circle around the mound of dirt like the man told him. Then, they went back inside. The man had said something about fishing. It all sounded corny as hell.

Foster homes foster poor short term memory. When the boy woke up the next day, he was not thinking about the seed, and the man did not mention it. It rained heavy that week and they stayed inside for the most part, enjoying the sound of the drops on the roof, speaking rarely.

On a Friday morning, the boy awoke before the man. He went out back to start his chores, but his eyes were snatched by green. Clear as day, rising from the dirt, a sprout of new, fresh green. The boy turned with wide eyes, planning to get the man, but somehow he was already behind him. The boy wondered how long he'd been staring. Must have been longer than he thought. He hadn't realized his eyes were wet. 

The man laughed: See, son? I told you. I won't ever tell you nothing that's not true. You can count on that.

The boy repeated the words in his head; they were warm and soft. 


You can count on that.

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! I will be out most of the day, but I'll be back...

124 comments:

  1. I love your stories, Dan. You always manage to hit the 'feels' and always get the tone perfect!

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  2. Dan, I love the hope and trust in that one... more than I can say.

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    1. Thanks, brother. I figure starting today out with love and trust was probably a wise idea.

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    2. Not a bad choice for any day

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    3. That was magic. Pure and simple magic. I needed to read that. Thank you JD. :)

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    4. Oh, I loved that one. Thank you.

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    5. So sweet. And yeah, better to start with love and trust. Personally? I needed that!

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  3. The blades spun, the light shimmering, the red of the LED creeping along them. A single skylight hung beside them, the grey of its square split by a phone line.

    Dammit. Why the hell couldn’t he sleep?

    An unfamiliar bed. The whomp of the fan-blades. The grey of the shadows folding across the wall. A lone voice shouted out in the darkness; unanswered and unintelligible, its words meaning lost.

    The ceiling fan spun, its whirring ever present.

    He was tired. And alone. The room was awkward. The bosses of fire alarms pierced by small lights. Flashing first red and then briefly green, they blazed in the night. Dark circles on grey, surrounding the shimmer. The blades like a threat, shimmering above.

    He turned on the bed, his partner immobile. A log with sawing sounds; present but not there. Eyes closed, he still heard it. Polished to a shine and waiting for blood. Blades, like a knife, in motion but unthinking, rotating at speed and ready to fall. Both of them victims but one of them unknowing.

    What would be best? If he slept would he wake?

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    1. Dark and eerie... good scene-setting, and now I've got the sound of that ceiling fan in my head!

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    2. Thank you, Leland. And that's why I could hardly sleep last night. At least I'm in my own bed tonight!

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    3. Nancy De Cilio GauthierJuly 15, 2016 at 11:40 AM

      To Mark: Ceiling fans - have their own rhythm. Ever wonder if something mechanical can go wrong and the blade comes at you.

      Also - to Dan - I love that story. The boy fell into good hands.

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    4. To Nancy... I was thinking that all night last night... :P

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    5. Thanks, Nancy! Mark, I totally agree with Leland. Awesome scene setting. And you captured that nighttime frustration/pondering perfectly.

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    6. Beautifully done. Ceiling fans, it's SO hard not to hate them, and yet? So necessary....Perfect tales for us insomniacs.

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    7. "The room was awkward." And "whomp" Man I know that feeling. You captured that 3:30am foggy hyper-vigilance really well.

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  4. And this is how I will remember you for always. Your Wranglers tight across your back, and lower. A crisp denim shirt with ivory snaps, smelling of starch and horses, covering the scars you got in honest if not smart ways, covering the muscles of your chest, a chest I've laid my head on under Wyoming skies filled with stars. Your boots of snakeskin, bare of spurs because you never wanted a horse to feel pain, only trust. And that damned belt buckle from the first rodeo you won, scratched and dented, but still a winner.

    I won't look in your eyes, because I don't want to see what is written there, knowing yet fearing the word goodbye. I'll hold you close, inhale that mix of old fashioned after shave and honest sweat, but I'll keep my eyes closed. I'll remember the first time we kissed, both of us surprised, our bodies like the north and south poles of magnets, without fear or intent. I'll remember your smile, tilted up on one side, and I'll hear the way you snort when you laugh, long after we take our leave.

    And when I get out, and when you're done with rodeos, we'll settle down on a small spread, with a few cows, and I'll iron your shirts and jeans if you want me to. And I don't think they'll get too wrinkled, because I don't think you'll be wearing them all that much. And we'll watch as our skin turns bronze from the Wyoming sun, and we'll grow old together, and tell each other lies so big we'll know they're lies, but not so big that they're truths.

    And now the siren comes echoing up the valley, and I know it's time for me to leave.
    You kiss me one more time, and whisper to me not to look back when I leave. It's bad luck you say. You put your hat on and a horse named named Jazz carries you away with syncopated hoof beats, and I cheat and look back to see you riding into the sunset, and you cheat too, and we share one more smile.

    This is how I will remember you, with every heartbeat and every breath and dream and hope and regret, with everything I am, with everything we are.

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    1. Fabulous and exactly on target, Leland. I love this!

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    2. I love it too. Beautiful language. "Your boots of snakeskin, bare of spurs because you never wanted a horse to feel pain, only trust." And the lies and truths. So good.

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    3. You make me smile *and* you make my heart ache, for things I miss but have never even felt Mister Dirks.

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    4. Suddenly I've got Marty Robbins playing in my head...Well done!

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    5. thanks, Kamy, and Teresa, the world would be a better place with more Marty Robbins music!

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  5. What they don’t tell you in stories is that Snow White and Prince Charming didn’t always live happily, but they did live ever after. They don’t mention that Snow White had a thing for dwarfs, or that Prince Charming often gets gas from a few too many beans, or that they couldn’t have children, though Lord they tried.

    They don’t tell you that the secret to “happily” is being friends, of loving the smelly man next to you, of listening to her talk about little people when you can’t stand the thought of another Dopey story.

    They don’t tell you how important it is to hold hands. To say I love you. To sit quietly as one or both of you cry. To cherish each new wrinkle as another chapter written in the storybook of your faces.

    You might have the perfect glass slipper, or eat a poison apple, or get locked in a tower, but what makes you love, what makes you beautiful, is something you can only see in eyes, and in a heart.

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    1. The entrance price for humanity is love. And you expressed that perfectly here. Wonderful as always. <3

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    2. Man, this is lovely. And complex, yet seemingly simple and straightforward. Really dig this piece, Leland.

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    3. thanks... I think your shorter pieces are inspiring me for the simple but bury it deep approach...I mean, if you can pack a whole story into 140 characters, maybe I can do it in less than 500 words...

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    4. Damn. You're on a roll today Leland.

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    5. Practice may not make perfect, but it makes better!

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  6. Nancy De Cilio GauthierJuly 15, 2016 at 11:44 AM

    That first hot passion of new love, gradually turns to respect and trust and quiet times and above all, LOYALTY. Yeah, you might know where the bodies are buried; but you'll never tell and nor will he. LOL.

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    1. and that's a VERY good thing

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    2. Ohhh Nancy that was short but oh so very sweet! Nice work!

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  7. (deleted and reposted... somehow I changed from second person to first in the last line... all better now!)

    It takes a minute for your eyes to adjust when you walk in to the Linger Longer. The bright sunlight is replaced by neon signs with logos you’ve never seen before. There’s something different about this place. You double check the patrons as soon as you can see them. Some couples of different genders, not a gay bar, then. You sigh your relief. You close your eyes one more time, hoping that will help them adjust faster to the darker light. And you smell something familiar, familiar like old jeans or your college sweatshirt, but cleaner. Paper. And ink. You open your eyes again and look around. Not one person has their phone out. Not a laptop or a tablet in sight.

    You walk up to the bar, and the bartender looks at you, trying to decide if he knows you, if he’s seen you before, if he should remember what your usual is.

    “What can I get you, then?”

    You look down the bar and see not a single glass or bottle. Behind the bar, no top shelf alcohol, no bottom shelf alcohol. You’re not sure what you want or what’s going on.

    “I’m not sure. What would you recommend?”

    “Well, do you at least know if you want fiction or non-fiction?”

    “What?”

    “To read, man. Do you like to read fiction or non-fiction?”

    “What does that have to do with…”

    “We’re a reading bar, buddy. We’ve got all the best stuff right here. Maybe a few pages of Hemingway? Some E. B. White? Those are classically aged, and cost a little more. If you’d rather have something a little more affordable, we’ve got some of the newer vintages, too. Some JD Mader, perhaps? Or Laurie Boris? We’ve got a very few pages of Antrobus, those’ll set you back a penny because they’re rare.”

    “Get me a JD, I guess.”

    “Excellent choice.” He reached behind the bar, put a napkin down and then, with a flourish, placed a well-worn copy of The Biker on the bar. “That’ll be five bucks. You want me to start a tab?”

    You nod. You’re already inhaling the bouquet of Matt Stark.

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    1. Nancy De Cilio GauthierJuly 15, 2016 at 12:01 PM

      OOhh Love the concept of a Reader Bar.

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    2. And imagine the delightful hangovers the next morning! And the great pickup lines! "I'd like to buy the blonde at the end of the bar a first edition Nabakov."

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    3. I am honored. And I totally want someone to start a reading bar. Not a library. A reading bar. Just like you made. :)

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    4. The cool kids always order JD! Just a question of whether ya have it straight or with Coke! :)
      This was a really cool piece Leland!

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  8. Nancy De Cilio GauthierJuly 15, 2016 at 11:59 AM

    She picked her way through the forest floor - a footpath worn by others. Everyone who went before and would come after, always made sure they were alone. As though no one should know where they were headed. The small, but well kept cottage in a clearing beyond. Everyone's visit was urgent and above all secret. Every visit was different. Different reasons. Some urgent, some selfish. It was the selfish ones that usually backfired. If you were looking for a love potion, that was usually harmless; but if you were bent on harming another for a reason like jealousy - then watch out. Karma had a way of retaliating. The old woman who lived there always clearly spelled out the consequences; but most never paid heed to her. They learned their lessons the hard way. But, she was different, she was aware and she was special - she went her way, not to beg for a change of fate or circumstances; not for love or jealousy; but because she admired the old woman and wanted to help her for a change. She wanted to give, not take. So every day she brought food and other supplies and happily spent an hour or so being regaled with wondrous tales of a life long and well lived. As her reward (though she didn't call it that) - the old woman schooled her in the way of herbs and oils. She would one day be the next Witch in the Woods.

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    1. I love the way this piece builds. So tight.

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    2. What a glorious fairy-tale setting... and it's good for us all to remember about karma's backspin, and that those witches in the woods have stories to tell for those who'll listen. Thanks for sharing!

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  9. I shouldn't have to say it. Isn't that one of the perks? You know, to make up for the times when I have to talk you down. No, that doesn't feel like a lump. Your neck hurts because you were gardening all day. You can't sleep because you don't try to sleep, you turn the room to flicker-doom.

    Your skin is old now, folding in upon itself, hanging in great droops and sags. I'm not complaining. I'm just saying. You cross enough rivers with someone, then you shouldn't have to explain. You should know.

    But it doesn't matter. Friendly patter. Let's all be so understanding. Let's be gracious; no grandstanding. Let's be friends. The superficial kind. Fuck empathy, I'll settle for a friendly greeting in the morning and some silent time to read. Put the kettle on, huh?

    I'd sure appreciate it.

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    1. Ahhhh... a nice capture of the coldness in the so-called "friendly distance" in relationships... This is my favorite: "You cross enough rivers with someone, then you shouldn't have to explain. You should know."

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  10. I'm not a fag. I mean, I'm not gay or bi or whatever. Johnny says fag is a hateful word. Anyway, I like chicks. A lot. I could give you names of the women I've left exhausted and smiling and wanting more. Johnny says I'm just oversexed.

    Johnny. That's where it all started. He's not like any woman or man I've ever met. And no one is like Jimmy.

    I met him at the gym. After I worked out like I do three times a week. It was chest day, and I was sweating like a horse. I get under the showerhead and turn the water to almost scalding. When I wash the soap out of my eyes, there he is, grinning at me. I guess I smiled back. His eyes moved down, only for a second, and so did mine. Nothing queer about that. Every guy wants to know where he stacks up against every other guy. Then he turned around and I saw his tattoo. A star on his left ass cheek. Just the outline of a five-point star. I got out of the shower, before I embarrassed myself, and toweled off. By the time I got my jeans out of the locker and pulled them up, he got to the lockers, too, still smiling.

    "Any place good to eat around here? I'm only here for a week."

    "Chet's bar and grill, down the street. Only place to go after a good workout," I answered.

    "Thanks. I'm Johnny." And he stuck out his hand while he stood there, buck-naked.

    "Mike." And I shook his hand.

    "Pleasure to meet you. In town for the rodeo."

    I grunted and turned to my locker to grab my shirt. When I turned around again, I saw his eyes had wandered down to my butt. Busted.

    His cheeks got red, and he finished dressing, big ol’ rodeo belt buckle and all.

    I finished tying my shoes, got up, and hesitated. I don't know why I said it, but I did. "Hey, I'm headed to Chet's, too, if you'd like some company."

    And his goofy grin grew wider. "That'd be great!”

    We walked the two blocks, and found a booth near the back.

    “So what’s good here?”

    “Any of the burgers are great.”

    “Wonder if any of them are made with Angus beef.”

    “You a rancher? Or just rodeo?”

    “I take jobs as they come.”

    We ordered a couple of beers while we waited for the burgers.

    “So where you from? Texas?”

    He looked puzzled. “Montana. Why’d you think Texas?”

    “I saw the star…”

    And his smile went all neon. Now I was busted. “Nah, the star just says I’m gay.”

    I was silent.

    “Is that a problem?”

    “Not a problem for me, is it a problem for you?” Hell, I sounded defensive.

    “Nope. I’ve been out most of my life. I took some shit, but most folks understand it’s not something I chose.”

    He crossed his long legs under the table and bumped mine. I jumped.

    “Easy. I won’t try anything in public.” He laughed softly.

    And I couldn’t help it. I laughed, too. “Sorry. I just haven’t been around very many gay people.”

    “Gay men. Women who like women are lesbians.”

    “Whatever.”

    “Don’t be uncomfortable. It’s not like I’m gonna throw you across the table and style your hair.”

    “Very funny.” I reached under the table to adjust myself. Dammit. What was wrong with me? Why was I responding to his flirting? I finished my beer, and looked at his empty bottle. “You want another one?”

    He winked at me. He fucking winked at me. “Oh, you mean a beer. Nah, I gotta watch my cash. Until I get my prize money.”

    “You sound pretty sure you’re gonna win.”

    “I know what I know.”

    The burgers came, and we ate without more talk. I ate, trying not to think.

    “That was good,” he said. “Thank you for the recommendation.”

    “Sure you don’t want another beer?”

    He paused, then took a deep breath, then the words came pouring out fast, like piss out of a race horse. “No, but I gotta bottle of Jack back in my hotel room if you want a nightcap.”

    I froze. The moment stretched out for hours. And then I nodded. “Sure.” Scratchy voice.

    I’m not queer, but I never turned down a good piece of ass. And after that night? I’m still not queer, but I’m man enough to own up to being just a little queer for Johnny.

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    1. This is an awesome piece. I love the resistance and assurance. And this line: “Don’t be uncomfortable. It’s not like I’m gonna throw you across the table and style your hair.” Perfect. :)

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    2. That line made me laugh, too... and thanks!

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    3. Hahahahahahaha! That was awesome!!! I'm doing it, I'm dropping a big ol' here! You win, I'm grinning from ear to ear.

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  11. The water was an unsettling shade of green, but it was water. It could have been brown and it wouldn't have mattered. Hell, anything wet. Anything. The tired man fell beside the pond bank, dropped his whole head in the water. He drank until he threw up and then drank some more. He stood up. Fell back. Water flying from his hair, sketching rainbows in the sun.

    He laughed. Fuck you, death. He actually said it out loud. Not that death wasn't coming, but he'd bought himself a little time. Or the water would kill him. It didn't matter. He just hoped it didn't make him sick. He'd had enough of sick.

    He looked at the bruise on the inside of his elbow. Dark purple and sickly yellow. The IV had been in so long. He wondered what the nurses were saying. He wondered if they were worried.

    Probably not.

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    1. I like this a lot... water is always a healing thing to me... I think it's why I get so angry when people put trash into it, or worse, sewage... and getting out of the hospital to find that water, to find a kind of spiritual healing, well that's what I'd do, too. I like the story you built.

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  12. Phillips, or #2730098-RP in New Mexico’s Corrections System, offered up his hands for the shackles attached to the chains already confining his ankles and waist.

    “Must feel pretty good about today, eh, greener? Cop killer getting off The Row,” CO Baez said. He guided Phillips by the shoulder as he shuffled along the portico to Admin wing.

    “Ain’t seen the sun and those shadows since first day I got here,” Phillips said. “Now I’ll see ‘em every day working Provisions Program, instead of getting the needle over there.” He pointed with his chin.

    At the end of the portico, a buzzer sounded and Baez nudged Phillips through the door. A female CO whose tag read Silvana met them at a desk.

    “Afternoon, Jaime. This the new one?” she said.

    “Yep, all yours now. Says he can’t wait to get started.”

    “We’ll process him right away then,” she said.

    Silvana guided Phillips down another hall, where COs removed his shackles and told him to strip for a shower. Six jets in the tiled wall doused Phillips with soapy water and rinsed him clean.

    “Okay, lifer, the State of New Mexico thanks you for your service to its Inmate Provision Program,” a CO said. “Processing’s through those doors.”

    Phillips walked through and dropped without feeling a thing, the captive bolt pistol popping his skull and entering his brain. His final thought was of walking through a tunnel of light and shadow, as his life sentence ended Day One in The Program.

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    1. Nancy DeCilio GauthierJuly 15, 2016 at 12:58 PM

      I had a feeling that was coming

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  13. I remember a February evening sitting on your dorm room's twin bed in the dim nightlight glow, watching you across the way on the other, a bottle of strawberry wine on the floor between us.

    You held your Martin like a mom holding her youngest, softly moving up and down its fretboard like you were smoothing powder on its E-minor bottom.

    Your long hair fell across its body and you closed your eyes as if waiting for kisses in 3/4 time. I was like a poor father, bouncing my Sears Roebuck Silvertone upon my knee, a fractious child throttled to dissonant submission by my left hand.

    When you offered me your Martin, I cautiously strummed a G-chord and felt its gut-punch tone straight to my Svadhishthana chakra, another lesson about strumming you taught me that night.

    I experienced that same response from your goodbye kiss in May, when you said you’d never forget me, like I never forgot that F-chord you showed me where I wrapped my thumb around the low E string and left the high E open. Sad that I can’t remember its name. And oh so much sadder still, I can’t remember yours.

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    1. beautifully poignant nostalgia... and sadness in the end... so many names we forget... thanks for this.

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    2. This is beautiful. I love it. And the comparison of the guitars/people is so good. I don't know the name of that chord either. ;)

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  14. He fiddled with the controls for a minute or two and was rewarded with a black screen, but with working audio.

    “Testing, testing…” the hollow distant voice said.

    “I can hear you, but I’m not getting a video feed.”

    “By design, Dr. DeWitt. By design. All that’s important is that I can see you and your test subjects.”

    He felt his heart speeding up. A lot depended on the success of this video call. He’d been working on the drug for a couple of years now, and was about at the end of his funding as well as his sanity. He took a deep breath. “Very well, then. Let’s begin.”

    He signaled his assistant to bring in the test subject, a fine specimen of a man on all accounts, and stark naked as the faceless voice had instructed the night before.

    “This is test subject No. 45. Turn around slowly, please, 45.”

    He heard a gasp, and then a chuckle at the other end of the connection. “It fucking works. I can’t believe it. You did it. Are there any side effects?”

    “We’ve noticed a decrease in tension and a lessening of anger in the subjects. But that’s exactly what we hoped for, right?”

    “Exactly.”

    “The DNA is unchanged, except for the KITLG and MC1R genes, which are the two areas of the genome that most influence skin color.”

    “And the means of administering?”

    “Orally. Through food or water, either will work.”

    “An adverse impacts on the environment?”

    “None that we’ve seen. A few species will be impacted in the same way that humans are, but otherwise…”

    “Then you are approved for full scale production and administration. The funds will be transferred to your account this afternoon. ”

    He breathed a sigh of relief. He turned to the test subject. “You may go now.” And then he turned back to the black screen on his computer. “Thank you, sir.”

    “Keep me informed of your progress. As long as all the doses are administered in six months, you will have done a huge service for mankind.”

    As the connection closed, he wondered. Would turning the skin color of all humans to green really prevent the hatred that was allegedly based on racial differences? He didn’t know, but he knew he would be a lot happier with his bank account n the black and out of the red.

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    1. Cool concept, cool piece. Well played, brother.

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  15. Places

    It’s the place I go when I feel lost
    Walking back inside myself
    Into the patterns recreating light
    Shimmering in the crushed heat
    Where leaves twist into fragile dust
    Of yesterday’s crazed happenings
    Myriad faces echo in shadows
    While I cup this water falling slight
    These things revolving into fate
    Unravelling in circles never ending
    Within the pathways etched in stone
    A lively robin hops in between
    And I wonder upon the why
    These things endlessly unsurpassed
    Today is but an image of a reflection
    Of an idea wandered into blind
    In finding myself I walk back inside
    Out of the place I go when I feel lost.

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    1. ahhh... it's so good to read--and feel--your words. Thank you.

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    2. Thanks, Leland. I'm chatting to people but will try to write something else in a bit

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    3. Feel. Yep. That's it. So good.

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  16. Dear Humans,

    Don’t make me come down there.

    Love,
    God

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  17. Sometimes she felt so sad she thought she would physically choke on lump in her throat.
    Surely she would her body would shrivel and dry up from the constant flow of her tears.
    The heaving uneven throb of her heart against her ribs and the rushing tornado racing through her ears, filling her head with a cacophony of wailing, thump thumping against her temples.
    Everywhere she turned more horror swamped her vision, the screaming of the bombs, indistinguishable from the cries of mothers and children.
    Digital images flooded her brain. Neurons firing in in retaliation and causing her eyes to twitch and lips to tremble.
    Thoughts of her beloved interweaved with the chaos. His pain became hers. Slowly it encompassed everything, blanketed the world beyond and her thoughts turned to only him.
    His smile and his laughter which replayed like a symphony through her brain, filled her soul with a force stronger than hatred. Pure and unending love coursed through her veins and flushed her cheeks and body. She radiated a current out into a broken world on it’s journey to her twin flame,
    But the sadness stayed and the tears flowed and her breast rose and fell with rapid breaths whilst he fought his battle without her, unaware of how much she loved him.

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    1. A sad tale of post-apocalyptic unrequited love... it hurts.

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    2. I agree, but the writing. Damn, the writing bleeds. Awesome.

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    3. So real. So fleshed-out. I love this!

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  18. Dear Humans,

    So there I was, this giant rock minding my own business hurtling through space, cooling off from whatever it was I escaped, when I felt something crawling over my skin. As if I didn’t have enough problems, now I had some kind of parasite? But after a while, I came to accept, and sometimes even enjoy my guests. I felt much less lonely, so I was grateful to provide food, and water, and the means to further your survival. You repaid me with your cleverness, and you squirmy small things learned to crawl, and stand, and walk, and run. It was astounding to bear witness to your development. Not only were you smart enough to mentally adapt to survival in whatever climates I could throw at you, but physically, you were brilliant. You grew in all shapes and sizes to suit your surroundings; your skin became darker or lighter in response to the sunlight or the lack of it; you learned to communicate and make art and record your own histories and amuse yourselves and comfort your fears with mythology about how you came to be. Yes, I know the system wasn’t completely perfect; nothing is. Maybe it was mistaken hubris on my part, but I basked in the overall intelligence of it, like a clock-maker giving the dials a spin and sitting back to watch the results. I don’t know where it started going wonky, though, where the gears slipped a cog, where the balance began to tilt. Your differences, I imagined, were designed to make you stronger, not tear you apart. Apparently I was wrong. My fault, I think, for even thinking. After all, what do I know? I’m just a rock orbiting a star. I have no power here. You don’t believe me? Ask the dinosaurs.

    Love,
    Earth

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    1. Oh, I like this a lot....epistolary passive aggressive truth!

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    2. Dear Earth, I believe you. Why the hell else would we have things like--uhh oppossums?

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    3. I plucked a writing prompt out of my Box of Desperation today. It was "A letter to humans from the planet Earth." The universe speaks in mysterious ways.

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    4. I'm shaking my own Box of Desperation... it remains... desperately empty...

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    5. Really cool piece. Love that last line, too.

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  19. You can there with a face like a slapped arse all day but it won’t wash with me.
    I can see the truth in your eyes, gawping like open puss- filled wounds.
    There’s a name for people like you. Fucking shit house. Think you’re the big man but you are small, tiny like your pea- sized brain.
    You can back hand a woman and box the kids ears but can you take on me?
    She will lie for you again and again, she’s scared shitless see. Not even for herself but for her child.
    Me and you we’re going for a little walk down yonder in the woods, you first fella and mind where you tread now because the grounds a bit slippery after the downpour earlier.
    There’s a lot of pesky rocks scattered about and a man can have a nasty accident if he lands with his head on one in the dark. Don’t turn around, eyes front all the way, whoops!
    Damn, ain’t that the way with bad luck? One of those rocks plain jumped off the ground and smacked you in your numb fucking skull. Shame there was no one else to witness it, guess they wouldn’t believe it anyhow so just as well. It sure is easy to slip out here, yep we’ll all agree on that.

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    1. Oh man. I like this one so much. Super strong, lady. And rich prose to boot.

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  20. Finesse

    There was day and there was night, and he preferred the in between, wandering unseen beneath the stars of his own making. These dreams we take as days to leave behind in suitcases stacked against the wall, treasured lest we forget the hours, the minutes, the seconds; the wealth of ages collapsing like dominoes at our backs, while the future beckons us forward with delightful whisperings. Among the leaves of time he finds himself laughing at life shimmering beneath the waves.

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    1. Ah, I love this... and I love the in-betweens of life... beautiful language.

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    2. This is gorgeous. Amazing economy of words to create something so vivid.

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  21. And this is how it starts...
    You'll find the one button, that one button that'll send me spiraling and you will push on it with all your might. You'll say that one word that'll send me over the edge and believe me, you're not gonna like the fall.
    I take it and I take it and I swallow it down.
    I'll chew it up, choke it down, heave it back up and swallow it again like a "Good Boy" always does.
    Until you go too far. Until you cross that line that I've drawn in my soul-sand that reads "Don't cross me. You don't wanna go there pal."
    That's where we're at.
    Don't call it a Mexican Stand-off.
    We're Irish. We don't fight like that.
    We don't have time for no stinkin' siestas!
    We don't *always* fight dirty but we always fight to win. And nobody's got time for a nap anymore anyways.
    You'll hit me and I'll cut you and we'll kick and scream and curse. A *real* rebel yell, not the one you probably know. Nobody can curse like the Irish. The Gift of Eloquence is in our hearts and soles.
    Yeah. Our feet. They're hard and cracked like the Buren in County Clare and dirty as potatoes.
    It runs through our veins and spits out our mouths like a House Of Pain.
    Wanna get kicked again?
    "Challenge us in football, yeah we might lose.
    But don't put us next to a barstool."
    Our true colors don't run, don't bleed or fade.
    But our blood will some day.
    But we'll rise again, to fight again.
    And here's a final thought: Don't mess with my kin.
    That, right there, was your warning shot.

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    1. I hope to be back to play more! Have fun guys!

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    2. The flashes of anger and the stacatto rhythm really get the adrenalin pumping!

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    3. Thank you. I think? Lol. Not very zen is it?

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    4. Not Zen, but I love it. This: "Challenge us in football, yeah we might lose.
      But don't put us next to a barstool."

      Dope!

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    5. I stole that from Macklemore! That's why it's in quotes. ;)

      Thanks JD. Writing it was better than the alternative.

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  22. I'll be back to comment on everyone's stuff, but I'm beat from fishing and just want to bust one. Maybe a couple. I look forward to reading everything tomm. :)

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  23. Me and Julio

    Want to talk about some fucking cool memories? Check this out!
    When I was like 3-4...it's hard for me to remember. Time is real elasticy for me now; like a big wad of Bazooka
    stuck between the pavement and your shoe on a hot day in August.

    "Hot town, summer in the city
    Back of my neck getting dirty and gritty
    Been down, isn't it a pity
    Doesn't seem to be a shadow in the city
    All around, people looking half dead
    Walking on the sidewalk, hotter than a match head.
    But at night it's a different world man!"

    Sorry I see a lot of squirrels these days...LOOK there's one now!

    I remember stuff from way back though, like it was yesterday! What's your earliest memory?

    Mine is the way those horrible rubber pants that they made you wear over cloth diapers felt on my skin on the 100° days in Marion Texas. I used to run around on our humongous front porch in nothing but my diaper and those damn pants saying "Order in the court! The judge has to SPIT!" I have no idea where or how I picked that up, but I'd get my butt whooped if I got caught saying it! I was an onery little shit with a heart of gold.

    Anyways, here's the coolest memory!

    I'm like...let's say I'm 4. My mom's boyfriend took us to a drive-in movie. I'm pretty sure we saw Close Encounters. My great uncle's in that by the way. I shit you not! He's a middle-aged bald guy. Plays one of the scientists after they set up the facility at the mountain. He walks out of the little trailer with a clipboard, kinda looks around and walks back into the trailer. Uncle Bill Cotton, lives in Mobeeeeel, Alabama. That guy won the Lottery back in like '86. He and his sister put 5 dollars in and bought some Lotto tickets. They won Seven Million Dollars! They split it right down the middle. But hell, my parents won $50,000 off a scratch ticket in '84. That kinda luck runs in our family. Looks like it skipped me though.

    ...So we get to the drive-in and me and Julio, yeah me and Julio. My mom's boyfriend had a son my age named Julio and we were thick as thieves. Me and Julio are in the back seat, no seatbelts, no car seats, we're playing back there because it's the size of a small master bedroom.

    For *some* reason mom's boyfriend had to leave the car and we were sort of parked blocking a gate or something. We're sitting there giggling in the back seat, doing boy-stuff, when there's a loud rap on the window.
    A big sound for little guys.
    It's a police officer, and us being banditos? We were highly concerned about our welfare.
    Julio and I ducked down and hid on the floor of the that '55 Chevy and listened as carefully as we could.
    The car needed to be moved. It was still running and was blocking the gate. My mom didn't know how to drive! She never learned how! We were going to jail for SURE!
    Me and Julio we got real quiet and slid down as low as we could onto the floorboards. Maybe if the cop didn't see us, he wouldn't take us jail. Maybe they wouldn't hang us high for our crimes if we ducked down in time. Scary and exciting at the same time. We didn't utter a sound or even breathe. He *couldn't* find us, we couldn't go down like this! Not like cowards. We had to go guns blazing! That's the way the desperados did it! That's the way the cowboys did it too!
    Just when we thought the gig was up?
    Manny came back to the car with popcorn and cotton candy. Sugar babies and 4 cokes. We didn't even have to share a coke this time! He moved the car and we watched aliens and flashing lights and UFOs and we were safe again, little kids again. But I'll never forget the night Me and Julio almost got dragged off to jail and made to sit in front of the honorable Judge Roy Bean, "The Hanging Judge" we were lucky too, cuz that man was fucking mean!

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    1. Absolutely love this piece. The voice is so strong and true and the language anchors this in a specific place so well.

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    2. Really JD? :D Thanks! I had a lot of fun writing that. I don't think I've ever written so much so fast before!

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  25. I got a truth sharper than the devil's razor and I'm afraid to use it. I've been honest about every goddamn bad thing I've ever done. Why can't I be honest about the bad things done to me? Why do I have to be the crippled tree, tempest wind - you don't think about it, but I do. I remember very few names from the past. I killed my brain. But I'll never forget your motherfucking name. And you'll remember mine. In time.

    I don't know how yet. Haven't figured out quite how to unforget. But I will. And I'm going to let the truth eviscerate. Too little to late. But I'll take it. Like you did.

    And I'll comp you the months of freaking out and the years of being fucked up by it and the occasional remembrance that makes me feel naked now. I'll do all that for you. Bear addictions. But I had to bend your ear for a minute or two. Give you your due.

    And fuck you and fuck me and fuck every goddamn thing I see, but don't think that life won't catch ya. It has to. Hell, there are nights I can't sleep. And soon enough, you'll know exactly what that feels like. Terror.

    And that's something.

    Even if it's too little too late.

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    1. If loving this is wrong, I don't want to be right! This one hit me strong! Nice work Mister Mader.

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    2. If loving this is wrong, I don't want to be right! This one hit me strong! Nice work Mister Mader.

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  27. I can't stop thinking about making it stop.
    the pain, the strain, the pressure's too much
    I can't stop thinking about stopping the pain.
    Take a walk in the rain, try to talk to my brain
    I can't stop seeing how this is gonna end
    I can see now, how this is going my friend

    My breathing is like watching two hands on a clock,
    Alarm goes off but I'm just trying to make it stop.

    Need a reality check, like a noose , if it's not too loose.
    A bullet to the brain is an tempting escape.
    No more thoughts.
    No more lies.
    No more memories to rape.
    I need friends like you
    like a hole in the head
    I wish I was dead.
    There, now it's been said.
    Not in enough pain? Not good enough?
    Well here's some bleach, scrub away the stain, since you're calling my bluff.
    Guess you were wrong.
    I was just suicidal enough.


    People around me think that this is a game
    Maybe I'm to blame, it's a fucking shame.
    Always joking round, people think I'm a clown
    Got a smile a mile wide just to hide this frown

    No one hears the sound of a heart all alone
    No one picks up the phone
    No, no one's at home
    Everyone's out moving about
    While I'm stuck in this cage
    Every brick hand-laid
    Every bar is in place here
    A self-imposed death sentence
    For almost 2 years
    Bashing my brain with pain
    and pain and pain...
    like rain
    falling down on me
    This is insanity

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    1. Man do I get this. You captured it perfectly. :(

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    3. I started it on a realllly long walk...in the rain. It was a good thing too. Gave my brain something else to do.

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  28. The water across the harbor was gray and restless, reflecting the clouded sky. The jagged edges of whitecaps foamed as they rushed against the short stretch of sand off the far end of the docks.

    The air was colder than she had expected, full of salt and a bite that promised snow, ass if port town needed any more water. The sand crunched beneath her feet with brittle sound, icy from rainwater where the surf couldn't reach.

    It was quiet now that the fishermen who were going out for the day were gone. They had all shoved off before dawn, leaving the beachhead to the wind and waves. It was the solitude she had been seeking when she left the inn. Just a bit of time alone before going back up the hill to be surrounded by people. Some others, family and servants, she cared for deeply. Others among the council and assorted diplomats and visitors she could do without. she had even gone so far as to plead illness yesterday in order to slip down to the Punk & Spark to meet with a couple of sources of valuable information.

    As a child she has learned to be cautious and obedient, to keep her eyes down and her ears open. She had learnedthat if she played by the rules, she could expect certain responses. If she were careful when she stepped outside of the rules that cocooned highborn females, she could excel. Even the man who had paid for the tutors to make her into a lady had another side, a side that had taught her the value of information, and how to buy and sell it like cattle or land.

    The cry of a single gull brought her out of her reverie. She pulled her cloak a little tighter about her body, a vain attempt to block the cutting edge of the wind.

    The gull cried out again. She wondered for a moment as she squinted up at the bird why it made such haunting, lonely sounds when it seemed perfectly content on the wing.

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    1. Wow. This one rolls. I love all the sensory detail.

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    2. Awww wow. I've been on that same beach I think! That was awesome! Absolutely teleportic!

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