Friday, August 12, 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.

It's just escapism. It's not a statement. It's not a horror that you hide in the basement. You can abuse it, you can debase it. It's still an open goddamn file. I'm gonna case it. Fuck it. Pour the cup, let's erase it. Who knew you were going to get up and face shit?

Don't look to me for answers; I ain't got any. I got two cents, and I'll give you a penny. I believe in sharing, see. I'm quite a fan of it. You live on crackers and smear moldy spam on shit. I smell like roses only wish they could smell. You smell like straight olfactory hell.

If you want to wrangle, we'll wrangle, don't doubt it. We'll tangle and star-spangle bullshit about it. We'll shuck and jive in your jungle until the drought hits. Then we're out, bitch.

Dress a man up like a giant baby doll, pining. Distract folks from the fact that simple good is declining. That people are being their worst, entwining. Marrying hate to this vague apathy we're defining.

I'm not sure I want to play, not today. But I'll kick it off in a dystopiSuess way.


#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...


  1. That trademarked MaderRap! and dystopiSuess may be my new favorite word...

  2. Billy was a redneck. A good ol' boy. At least that's what you'da thought if you'da met him. I did, too. Then I heard about his daddy, dyin' in the mine, and how Billy dropped outta high school to get a job and feed his family, and that meant goin' down in the mine.

    I met Billy out in the woods one night. A bunch of us drinkin' whiskey we weren't old enough to buy. The moon was bright that night, bright enough we didn't need flashlights to read each other's faces. We just drank and sang and laughed around a big ol' bonfire. Mary Sue was the only girl there, and she and Jimmy went off into the woods together, and we all teased them when they came out again, clothes all akimbo.

    As the moon rose higher, folks started wandering off. School night, they said, and then it was just Billy and me and the embers of the fire.

    "I gotta piss," he said and stepped closer to the fire ring. I heard the buttons of his jeans pop open, and then the sizzle of steam as his stream hit the coals.

    "Me, too," I said, and I unzipped and made my own cloud of steam.

    Maybe my eyes lingered too long, or maybe they wandered too far down, or maybe we were both too drunk, but neither of us buttoned up when we were done. I saw his arms, almost as white as his t-shirt, ghostly white from all the time he spent underground, open wide.

    And I walked around the still hot embers, staggered really, and I fell first into those arms, smelled the whiskey on our breath, and then we both fell into a kiss. His tongue tasted like whiskey, too.

    Frogs sang nearby, and lightning bugs came out and we didn't say a word. When I pulled my lips back from his, I felt his hand in mine, and he pulled me to the back of his pickup truck. We laid down and counted stars and took off our jeans and studied geography with our tongues. When we'd done what some redneck buddies do, we fell asleep like a pretzel twisted together.

    Sometime near dawn, I had to water a tree, and I got out of the truck bed naked. I saw a shooting star when I climbed back in with Billy, and I held him close from behind.

    When the sun rose, we got up, and found our clothes, and we scratched at places that had never had mosquito bites before.

    "I sure was drunk last night," Billy said, in a ritual as old as Sodom and Gomorrah.

    "You sure kissed good," I said, breaking with tradition.

    He looked at me with half a smile and sky-blue eyes. "Ya wanna get drunk again tonight?"

    "Sure, but I got no money for booze."

    "It's all good," he said. "We'll just pretend."

    And every night that week, we pretended, and when the mine caved in on Sunday, no one knew why I cried for a good for nothin' redneck. That night, another shooting star fell from the sky, and the lightning bugs didn't come back all summer.

    1. Wow this is powerful with a punch--highlighted by a redneck secret. Awesome. Should be a book. :)

    2. Oh. Oh, my. I agree with IH. Should be a book.

    3. Yup. You nailed a very powerful tone and voice here, brother. I don't think the story is done.

    4. Meaning, I want to know more. ;)

    5. So many stories, so little time... sigh... thanks, y'all!

  3. At this point, Jacob didn’t even think much of it. It was just a job, that happened to be illegal. At least he’d moved up from slangin’ on the corner to collections and enforcement. This time, some fools had rolled a runner for a few keys of heroin, and Mr. Gibson asked him to get it back. Jacob had a MAC, Timmy a shotgun, and they ran up on the spot like gangbusters: kicked in the door, guns raised, shouting, “Hands up, on the floor, now!”

    The spot was a grubby, run-down trap in East Oakland, maybe three or four dudes who looked like they were in charge, five more who just looked like they were there to buy, rather than sell. “Whoa, whoa, what’s the beef, bro?” “Mr. Gibson sent us. He wants his horse back, NOW.”

    “Dude, you see any horses around here?”

    “Don’t fuckin’ play dumb with me. Just to be perfectly crystal-fuckin’-clear, it’s gonna cost you eight kilograms of uncut heroin to get me and my boy outta here without anybody getting hurt.”

    The next thing spoken wasn’t “Oh, sorry, here you are,” so Timmy blew someone’s leg off at the knee with 12 gauge buckshot. While that dude was screaming into the dirty carpet, he pumped the slide, pointed it at another man’s face, and growled, “you next if you pop off, nigga.”

    When that didn’t yield the reaction he wanted, he fired another load of shot into that man’s leg, and barked more forcefully, “do I look like I give a fuck? Cough it up, bitch! You think I won’t kill you over eight fucking keys?! I’ll fucking kill all y’all if you don’t get me that fuckin’ heroin!”

    For emphasis, he reloaded, thumbing a couple shells into his shotgun, but he also had a Beretta in his waistband. Timmy was ready, willing, and able to kill every last motherfucker in the house, if that was what it took. All the while, he was just pleased with himself because he wasn’t saying that with the intention of slamming that heroin into his own veins. He did miss it, just about every day, but not as much as he liked the money that this racket brought him, or putting it to Jacob’s sister almost every night. She was, by most any standard, a ride-or-die chick, but if he started using again, she’d cut him off in a second, and while he was too young to have a broad frame of reference, he knew her tight little brown ass was something else.

    1. Strong and effective as usual. I'd like to "see" a little more - visual anchors, but the dialogue is true.

  4. “Why do you do that?” she asked as I flipped the towel end to end in its final fold.

    “Do what?” I asked, but was pretty sure I knew.

    “Why do you fold the towels in half then in half again on the same axis, instead of half, half in perpendicular and then half again?”

    “I dunno, is it important?” I said and began wondering why, too.
    Maybe I do it for the same reason I fold tee shirts like they do in the store, bottom to top, flip in arms, fold right, fold left. In other words, I didn’t know why.

    But I knew it was important HOW to my shrunken soul, which I drape on a stiff plastic hanger that has foam rubber along its bar and on each shoulder, lest spiritual me slip off and become lost, once again forgotten, in the dark back corner of my heart’s closet.

    I flip-flip-flipped another towel onto the pile, careful I’d precisely squared its corners with one another.

    “You’re right,” I said. “It’s really not important, as long as the laundry’s clean and neat.”

    “No, I just wondered,” she said, heading upstairs with an armful of conflicted terrycloth compulsions.

    1. Ah, I love how you navigated that, and that closing phrase, "conflicted terrycloth compulsions," well, that may be one of my favorite lines from you in a long while! Well done!

    2. OOh, I enjoyed this take on OCD--something I pretend not to anything about until it comes to which way to place the toilet paper--facing in or out? Made me smile, thanks for that.

    3. Yup. Love pieces like this. So little action on the surface, but such depth. And that last line. Damn.

  5. (Not fiction, and a little long, but this was on my mind today.)

    To cross New York’s Hudson River from Poughkeepsie to Highland, you first have to finagle yourself through a kind of half clover-leaf that ties a knot around the Mid-Hudson Bridge and two major highways. It’s the kind of thing that, as you’re driving up and over and around and through, you say to yourself, “Who the heck designed this, and why does he hate people?”

    Worse, with so many moving parts, so many merging lanes and switchbacks and entrances and exits, one stalled car or fender bender in the right place and the whole deal becomes gridlock city. And it always seems to happen on a hot, hot day.

    Like yesterday. There was a three-car accident on the bridge. Granted, the people who had the accident were probably having a worse day than I was. But it’s tough to keep that upmost in your mind when it’s a hundred degrees and wickedly humid and you’re running out of gas and you don’t want to use your air conditioner for fear your car will overheat.

    I idled for almost forty-five minutes before I learned the bridge was closed. By then, I was stuck three-wide in a pack of cars angling to go single file, and the woman next to me was giving me the stink-eye because I wasn’t magically able to levitate my car away from where she wanted to cut in. Somehow I got my way out of it and had to squirrel my way out of the city and to the next bridge crossing, eighteen miles north. After which, I would have to drive fifteen miles south through rush-hour traffic on the west side of the river to get home.


    Lately I’ve been working hard on reframing. Instead of getting upset in a situation I can’t change, I try to look at big, fat negatives and find the silver linings. At that point, I was able to come up with two. First, of course, was compassion for the people in the accident.

    The second was that my detour would take me right by Beer World in Kingston.

    Not so much that I wanted a beer—although that might have been nice, had I not been driving. But I was hot and sweaty and crabby and I coveted their walk-in cooler like I’d never coveted anything in my life: a glorious, forty-some-degree refrigerated room in the back of the store.

    When I got there, I stood in the middle of the Beer Cave and just breathed. For a long time. Then, because it started to dawn on me that I couldn’t just suck up their air conditioning and leave empty-handed, I bought a six-pack of gluten-free beer. I tried to tell the counter guy that he ought to sell tickets to the Beer Cave, but apparently he didn’t find it as funny as I did. Maybe I was just delirious from dehydration and exhaust fumes.

    Finally arriving home, three hours later than I’d intended, I checked the internet for an update on the accident victims—there still isn’t one—and cracked open one of those beers.

    It tasted like a silver lining…light, cool, and in my own, small way, victorious.

    1. You are masterful at reframing. And there should be more beer caves.

    2. Don't you wish everyone from the top down would do some daily reframing? Excellent and creative.

    3. I really like this. Fiction or nonfiction. I used to be a waiter and I loved the big fridge on hot days. :)

  6. It was a bit surreal, at first. I grew up listening to Green Day. 20 years later, I was casually hanging out with Billie Joe, in the backyard of his house in Piedmont, just drinking beers and bitching about life on a pleasant summer afternoon. Well, really, he was bitching, I was listening with a mixture of amusement and pity. “Dude, real talk, I’m bored out of my fuckin’ skull. My kids are grown, they don’t really need parenting any more. I love the shit outta my wife, she’s still one of my best friends, but I’ve been with her since I was like 21, she’s not exactly a barrel of monkeys. I’ve been all over the goddamn world, I have more money than I know what to do with… fuck, man, I’m 43 and I don’t know what the hell I’m gonna do with myself now. Even having a midlife crisis sounds boring. What the fuck am I gonna do, buy a fourth muscle car?”

    I took a slug off my Bud tallboy, swilled for a moment, and replied, “I have some ideas that might be good for a chuckle.” “Yeah?” “Haha, yeah, like, you wanna go do some reverse spanging? We’ll get all punked out and hang out on Telegraph and like, hand out five dollar bills. We’re lucky, we both look way younger than we are. You got 10 years on me, but we both look like we’re still in our twenties.”

    Billie also took a mouthful of beer, thought about it, then did an exaggerated spit take, spraying a fine mist of beer on some nearby rose bushes. “Hah! That sounds like a laugh, let’s do it.” An hour later, we were sitting around on Telegraph and Channing, in worn-out Chucks, holey jeans, and dirty patch-covered hoodies, fucking with people’s heads by giving them money, instead of hitting them up for spare change. Only a couple recognized Billie; I could barely contain my mirth when he told them, “naw, my name’s Chris, but I get that a lot. I do kinda look like that fuckin’ rock star poser from Green Day.”

    1. Based on a dream I had not long ago: hanging out with Billie Joe in his backyard, drinking beer and listening to him bitch about how bored he is because his kids are grown, he's been there and done that, and is easily rich enough that he doesn't have to work.

  7. You pulled me into this scenario and I enjoyed riding along. Reverse spanging sounds cool--because some people really need the help.

  8. You tried all the characters till you found one that fit.
    You’re a pseudonym which escaped my peripheral vision.
    I’ve tried to see things your way, we are more alike than you may think but
    You hide in a shadowy world behind tinted windows and keep me at the door.
    You’ve worn so many faces I am dizzy. I’m made breathless by you and I know…..yet I don’t know.
    This time the crack was wider and you squeezed yourself in, a contortionist and weaver of words.
    And I’m lighter for it.
    I smile and glow in your dazzling light. Impossible, always impossible, yet there has to be a reason doesn’t there?
    I wanted to cry but my eyes were dry and the flapping birds in my chest fluttered till I was panting, then they soothed me with a lullaby.
    A single teardrop escaped from each corner so I wiped them away and I was spinning and spinning till they dropped on the ground.
    I was immersed in a cloud of tenderness and warmth, like a long forgotten friend.
    Sparks flew from my finger- tips as I twirled to a stop and I held them up to be carried on the wind.
    For you, only you.

    1. This is lovely writing. I got lost inside it. In a good way. :)

  9. Can't you see I'm tired, Son. Jesus. Godawful tired. It's inside me, the tired - I ain't been sleeping. And don't you try to tell me nothing about warm milk or pills that make you eat mayonnaise in your sleep. Tired ain't torture. I just want to bitch about it. That alright with you, tough guy? Huh? I got shrapnel in my spine. I got a right to bitch.

    How? Don't you dare ask me how. I got it alright. You think I'm lying? You think I'd lie about that? Your poor mother's picture staring right at me, fact-checking from the goddamn grave?

    Get me another beer.

    Yeah, you changed, boy. I'm sorry to say it, but it ain't even you being a faggot. I always knew you was a faggot. You changed 'cause of the money. I never gave two shits who you wanted to bend over a table, did I? You think I did, but that shit never mattered to me. I wanted you to be decent. That's all. Decent. Screw who you want but be a good man. An honest man, generous.

    But you didn't grow straight. And that ain't a pun, I told you I don't care. I mean that somehow your brain got twisted up. Somehow it seems normal to you to wear shoes that could pay my rent. No, hold on now. I don't want your money. I know just how you got it.

    Making poor folks who just want to sleep eat mayonnaise in the middle of the goddamn night. Ain't right. Just ain't right.

  10. At Mrs Periwinkle’s School of Thought, things had come to a sorry pass. There was controversy, bullying, and even, to her great dismay, a mutiny. The students, seemingly incited by the refreshing candor of her newly-appointed successor, Mr. Jameson Beans, had turned against one another in an unprecedented way. Recent graduates had refused perfectly secure futures in real estate and finance, there were rumors of non-conformity, rejection of the most recent innovations in the math curriculum; even the Yoga classes were deserted.
    Not a woman easily deterred, Mrs. Periwinkle called a meeting with the ninth grade seniors, seeking to source of their unrest. They sat in their chairs, arms folded self-protectively across their chests; they doodled in their notebooks and stared at their phones, even as, with her great heart, she reached out to them.
    “Tell me, Michael Smithson, what are your feelings about Mr. Beans?”
    “He’s kick ass, if you ask me. He’s got it down. He’s kinda like my dad, y’know? A guy could depend on somebody like that.”
    Mrs. Periwinkle drew a deep breath. “But at this school, we espouse understanding. We hold to a philosophy of mercy and tolerance. You and Kenneth Martin sent a boy to the hospital.”
    “Ha! He wasn’t no boy,” put in Kenneth. “He was a queer!Everybody knows that! Call me “they”. Fuck that!”
    Titters swept through the room.
    “Gender identification,” Mrs Periwinkle went on, “is not the issue here. At the School of Thought, our responsibility is to seek deep within ourselves, to imagine that we walk in one another’s shoes and to provide our support for one another, not matter what our differences.”
    “Oh yeah?” piped up a voice from the back. “what about that kid you kicked out last semester ‘cause his parents couldn’t pay the tab?”
    “Or Missy Conelly, who flunked algebra? So you got rid of her ‘cause she lowered the test scores?”
    Mrs. Periwinkle felt a headache take shape behind her eyes. They were so young, she reminded herself. The young so rarely understand the strength of numbers, the pressure to succeed. That’s was why she’d chosen Mr. Beans. He was a businessman, far more able to compete, far more able to fix the problems than she. But still, she would not relinquish her legacy easily; she had taught a generation of children the value of political correctness; of saying no to drugs and allowed them to feel the security inherent in following the rules.
    What had gone so terribly wrong? Even she couldn’t say.
    “To return to the recent protests, “ she continued. “Is there truly some reason why you feel we should abandon the School of Thought’s guiding principle?”
    “What is that again?”
    She sighed. “ Pertinacia et virtus, or something like that. The point is, I feel like Mr. Beans is somehow inciting and enticing you from our shared goals. I am appealing to you, from my heart. How has he managed to change this atmosphere from one of accepted goals, to one of conflict?”
    “Because he tells theTRUTH, that’s why!” Shouted Amy Phillips. “Because that crap about us all being equal is a LIE!”

  11. “At least he makes us feel good,” put in another. “He makes us feel that even if we’re shit, we count for something and at least we’re better than somebody else. That’s what winners DO.”
    Cheers rose up and Mrs. Periwinkle felt something in her guts turn to ice. Her eyes ran wildly down the list of names.
    “Andrea Watkins, you filled out the form we provided, but did not offer any specifics as to why you are against the approval of Mr. Beans as the head of the School of Thought. Care to offer anything now?”
    Andrea rose and cleared her throat. She was a wall flower sort of girl; smart in an undemanding way, pretty, but not ostentatious. Mrs. Periwinkle sighed inwardly . Of all the champions for her vision of the future, she could not have made a poorer choice. And clearly, the Yoga classes had not freed her Inner Self. But every dog, she supposed, must have its day.
    “Mr Beans,” The girl began. “Insults my intelligence. He makes fun of womanhood and consistently and repeatedly throws out lies and half truths in the vain hope that his ignorant supporters will seize upon his springboards of cliché to jump to foregone conclusions. What you have purported in the School of Thought, is that Tolerance and Mercy and Yoga and veganism will save us all, as long as we tow the line. But sometimes, Mrs. Periwinkle, you have to fight for a more objective truth. One where not all issues are created equal, and one where your income, your future and your security is intimately and inextricably linked to covering your ass and your retirement and not to every other life on this planet. So no, I cannot embrace Mr. Beans. And Mrs. Periwinkle? Just for the record, fuck you, too. “

    1. Oh, great close. Love the whole piece. The beginning, especially, has a sort of Roald Dahl vibe - the names and descriptions and cadence.


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