Friday, December 9, 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.

I work too hard, and I'm too high strung - I'm afraid I'm going to burn out young. And I remember when I didn't care, but it seems like a long time ago. Now, I want my daughters to have a Dad as long as possible. I knew a lot of girls who grew up without Dads. It's infuriating though, to find the medicine and then find out that the copay is so goddamn high. Guess I'll stay low. Easier to lift little ones onto your shoulders that way.

I've got a trunk full of long-expired Afrin and Mini-Thins. If you have a bottle of whisky, you can be my friend. I see him in dreams, sitting in the corner of a room, smoking. He wasn't happy. He was not-sad. Numb. There's a big difference. I've sold enough of my brain. Frankly, I'm surprised I can work a computer sometimes. I can sure as hell take back pain.

Sorry, Doc.


What I can't take is any more chances. I didn't see any of this coming. There was no Disney drummer drumming. There was freedom in the apathy. But it got damn lonely. So, I'll keep throwing away old shit when I find it. I'll keep that mental tape so I can rewind it. Remind myself that it wasn't fun most of the time. Most of the time it fucking sucked, but I convinced myself it was fine.

This? Hell, now things suck some of the time, but most of the time I'm styling. Coming home from a long day to three smiles smiling...

Yeah, this got sentimental fast, and that wasn't my intention. And I'm sure that there's still a lot of shit that I forgot to mention. But I got two minutes and my brain's still asleep. So, you get what you get. I'm going to try to keep what I can keep.


#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...

48 comments:

  1. A poignant reminder. We all go from thinking we'll live forever to knowing we're only immortal for a limited time. So yes, we change and grow, because now we know.

    Always a delight to read your work. Thank you.

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    1. You made me smile. And that's not always an easy task. Well in!

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  2. It was the phantom pain that shot you awake, gripping you around the throat, a reasonably warm room suddenly going icy cold. Sure, he knew in some distant part of his mind that it was all a dream, one he'd been having for so many years he'd lost count. Knew also that even though, mercifully, he'd not remembered the details this particular night, there'd been the blinding flash of the IED as the vehicle had glanced it, the deafening sound that had him involuntarily covering his ears. If only he hadn't done that he might still be whole. But "coulda, woulda, shoulda's" were an exercise in futility, a colossal waste of time. He knew better, shaking his sweat soaked head.

    Tonight's performance also hadn't included that godawful grinding, that twisting wrench of metal as the Jeep fought itself, morphing from a sturdy conveyance to a burning, jagged twisted coffin of a thing. He'd lost much, but two of his best friends, his comrades, had lost all. He sat up, rubbing his face with the three fingers that remained, the partial thumb. Olfactory resistance would be a blessing, but no, this smell was embedded into his psyche, the acrid scent of charred flesh that made it still difficult to take a deep breath from time to time. Scent was a powerful trigger and occasionally he'd be thrown into a waking nightmare, only to find himself being stared at when the panic released it's icy fingers from his heart, his balls. Horrifying the little ones was another hellish burden he was forced to carry.

    His family tried, he gave them credit for the effort, but in the end all of it had proved too much. His tour had ended but he'd left more than body parts on the side of the road near Fallujah. He reached toward his nightstand, needing water like he hadn't had any for days, parched as the desert in his all too vivid nightmares. His tongue stuck to the roof of his mouth, a golf ball was wedged in his throat. Flipping the light on, he grazed the glass decanter he filled each night, sent it skittering across the water stained top, hitting the floor with a jarring splintering of glass shards.

    Lovely, now he'd probably send a sliver into a big toe, or impale a heel, track blood all over the wood floor. Goddamn it all to Hell. Smoothing his hair back from the forehead where it was plastered, he slipped out of bed, the wood floor smooth and chill this morning as he stood, ready to walk through the landmine of shards around him.

    The jolt of finding himself on the floor was always horrifying. As he lay there looking at where his legs had been, he keenly wished he'd not ever have another dream where he hadn't lost those too.

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    1. Moving... and heartbreaking. Thank you for sharing and reminding us all.

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  3. The clock is ticking, I'm restless tonight,
    Aching mind and body, is the timing right?
    Trapped behind a wall of my own construct.
    For so long hidden, for too long tucked,
    Away and safe, frozen in pain.
    A thawing now, but much to gain,
    From heating up, beginning to crumble.
    But when it melts, I'll take a stumble.
    The ice and shards won't hold much longer.
    I want to prove I can be stronger.
    Do you hold the key, will you soon unlock,
    The emotions, fears I've had to block.
    Everything that's been chained up for years?
    Or is all I'll have just fresh new tears.
    Will your new bindings leave me unbound,
    Or have me broken upon the ground.
    May I fly so high, am I free to soar,
    Or will I crash as I have before?
    I can give you your dreams, let you listen to mine.
    We have the will, can find the time.
    A trust implied, outcome implicit.
    Will you be able to resist it?
    Can you let the animal trapped so deep,
    Awaken from his somber sleep.
    Out for safekeeping in my arms.
    Or keep him caged to risk no harms.
    The hurts run deep, the cuts bleed still,
    No easy answer, no simple pill.
    But a soothing balm we each might find,
    If we could leave our pasts behind.
    The music is playing, I hear the beat,
    To step in rhythm is no mean feat.
    I have what you want,
    I want what you'll give.
    Do we take the chance,
    Really start to live?
    Immolation is imminent, too far gone to stop,
    Will you still be standing when the walls all drop?
    The choice is yours, it's up to you.
    But a word of caution, whatever you do.
    If I should have to rebuild the keep,
    I'll fortify it, both high and deep.
    So one last try, no second chance.
    Your hand in mine, shall we try this dance?
                              -Tamara McLanahan

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    1. I wish I had your gift for rhyme... the last line is beautiful, especially.

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    2. Wow, thank you Leland. I'm humbled that you like it, and think I can rhyme. It's very appreciated.

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    3. I like it, too. Especially: Immolation is imminent. Dope.

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  4. (got one more in me and then I'll be busy most of the day, #breaktheblog!)

    There's a mockingbird in the tree, and she's looking at me - but I don't think she's intent on mockery. She cants her head to the side, and I smile. You and me mockingbird ... we'll chill for a while.

    The room smells like oatmeal. Dickens would approve. So would a bunch of nutrition gurus. Oatmeal is good. I'm gonna eat some more. No hog for me. That's why the rich always gave out before the poor...

    The fog is Bay Area bliss. Rain that doesn't fall and doesn't hiss - and it can't miss, step outside you step right into it. And it covers everything in a kind of soft reverie. No sharp edges in the fog, you see.

    And I remember Charlie, and the chick he loved. She didn't like straight lines. I get it. He wanted to be smart enough to stop the atrocities. I get that, too. There's a lot of weird shit going down in the City. I may be in the suburbs, but I'm not feeling witty.

    I feel like sharing breakfast with a mockingbird. Listening to a four year old mumble herself awake. I don't need coffee. Tap water's fine. You do mornings your way.

    I'll stick with mine.

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    1. Love the cadence of this. The fanciful flights and the heart of it. Your morning sounds like bliss.

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    2. Beautiful... rhythm and substance and rhyme... "no sharp edges in fog..."

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  5. You love someone, so you leave scented candles out (pomegranate, grapefruit), which you might never light.

    Flaxen wicks. Burgundy wax. Everything a stageset waiting on your stagecraft.

    Enemies? Perhaps. Pop the cork on a malbec, watch your little sister roll her eyes. What is that? No matter. She's beautiful regardless.

    Cedar posts and railings redolent of lanolin. Look west tonight at sunset, see the bright handwritten skies choked by gunsmoke and devotion.

    Someone spoofed your iTunes, left it channeling. Kicking off the night are Gucci Mane, Destiny's Child, Iggy and the Stooges, Miles Davis, Yeezy, Nina Simone, Sinéad, and Kings of Leon. The good, the raw, the bad, the wired, the ruined, the ugly, the damaged, the misunderstood. Some reassembly required.

    Reminds me. Looking for parts in the auto junkyard, clear-oiled bearings, virgin gravy, constant velocity boots, y'all still slay me. The rains won't likely ever stop, 's crazy. Deep within the dark green wood a cabin, quiet and locked, a woman tied to a chair and recently shot, gouting red on kitchen linoleum while a policeman squints through glass, misses her, moves on. Takes days to die. Has to be cut from her own congealed blood. Happens or not.

    Happens. My hands are free right now. Feel them cup your gracile face, lift your caramel eyes to meet my own, see the peaks that haunt my horizons beyond the gentle plains.

    I need a passenger like you are craving salvage.

    We all here now? Siblings, cousins, uncles, aunts? I'm mostly looking down through black arachnid lashes, so I usually look askance.

    I don't even know if I'm a girl or a boy, or even whether that affects our plans. Most likely not; I'm lazy.

    We hug the sides of the canyon and walk on, tongues awake to the mineral drip. We battle zero gravity, backlit by black and bathed in frontal sunglow. Before the aurora starts and we emerge from airlocks, exit doorways, tent flaps, orbital suspended slumber.

    Myriad gods congratulate us. Replenish our rehearsal with fireflies.

    I see you. I know all a y'all. Visitors. Hummingbirds. Vampires. Butterflies.

    We come in peace. Receptive. Nothing alien, not even bees. Don't bat your eyes.

    My stepmom touched me. I let her. We ossified. Long before we bled we crumbled.

    The electric sky dreams color while my bandwidth tunes itself some damn place other, someplace else. We pull over on the shoulder. Watch a coyote slip out on the road and dither, lift its muzzle, catch our mismatched drift, a far-off purple coaldust range proclaiming its own locus beyond our troubled selves.

    Dawn still struggles. Bleeds tourist real. Humble. Drums and regalia paint with smoke, smudge a hope, trace an asphalt splash, we stumble.

    Pine Ridge. Oka. Standing Rock.

    What do I find? This Glastonbury campfire, this huddle. And when? I awake in the backseat, your droll mouth working me, and I stay still. Letting you. Enjoying you. Enjoying you enjoying me. Enjoying me ironically. Consent some dream, some luxury. But I watch the coyote watching us. Dry lightning X-rays distant peaks. Immaculate Coachella. Our kind. We're all so faraway and road blind. Ciao bella, Mariela, we on fleek. You love most of this and so do we. So do all of us, and so iconically.

    We're almost perfect till the haters find us, slam into our matchless dry-run moment from behind.

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    1. Wow. Raw stream of consciousness with the more than occasional phrase that gobsmacks me.
      The good, the raw, the bad, the wired, the ruined, the ugly, the damaged, the misunderstood. Some reassembly required.
      Another incredible work. Thank you.

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    2. So many vivid images, so many loose threads from the world tied into a blood red tapestry... I don't know how you do the magic you do, but I'm glad you do.

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    3. Thank you, both of you! I feel bad because I didn't get to the other stories this week. I also wonder how completely tortured I'd be if I didn't let this stuff out of my head, lol. Stream of consciousness. Loose threads from the world, yes. Blood-red tapestry. I love all that.

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    4. This is a much faster pace than usual and I dig it. Keeps the sense of urgency without losing language and imagery. "Flaxen wicks. Burgundy wax. Everything a stageset waiting on your stagecraft."

      And the hummingbirds and vampires. Well in, D.

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  6. He'd dance to their tune, pay the piper. Why were so many platitudes so damn lyrical? Did others constantly have an insane elevator music soundtrack in their heads? Is that why so many banal sayings revolved around songs? Why couldn't he just change the channel or turn the cacophony down to a dull roar? Could he stop asking himself so many stupid questions; and wasn't that just the height of rhetorical?

    Tossing the pen down on his desk, he rose, walked to the window of his confining cubicle. Not much to see besides city sprawl and decay but it helped him focus. This was just a means to an end. And end to a means. God, he needed a coffee, a pill, a drink, only one of which was possible at the moment. Turning, he walked down the quiet hallway, barely glancing at all the pictures of encouragement and inspiration that lined the neutral and dingy colored walls.

    "Your struggles today bring you strength for tomorrow."

    Yada yada yada. Sure, as far as it goes. But if management wasn't so obdurate, had any vision or imagination, then maybe, just maybe his struggles wouldn't be constantly trying to suck him under, bury and close him over. Useless to ponder how things could be different. He blew on his coffee, not quite willing to singe his tongue for the kick of caffeine. By the time he got back to his cubicle prison, it should be good enough to drink.

    He sat, was just about to take a sip when his computer dinged. A new message. What fresh Hell had management dreamed up now? He needed to leave, a fresh start somewhere, a new career, a better life. Why was he putting up with all this bullshit anyway? Oh yeah, that's why, as he gazed at the picture of his four year old son holding a baseball glove entirely too big for him, his cap askew, a smile that lit up the room.

    Turning back to the computer, he read the last message with dawning horror. Some words leapt out at him, Promotion, Transfer, Accomodations, Plane ticket, San Diego.

    No! He couldn't. His life was ordered, settled, how could he upheave his family like this? Sure, it was satisfying to think they wanted to promote him, reward him, but no, he'd have to decline. He'd just begun a response when his boss knocked on the cubicle opening.

    "This is really embarrassing Wallace, but I just sent you an email. Don't know if you've looked at it yet, but...*cough* I sent it to you by accident. North should have been the recipient, I'm very sorry. Hope you understand."

    He sat there, stunned for a moment before grinning down at the picture on his desk. Taking a huge gulp of coffee, he leaned back in his chair.

    The tune wasn't so bad to dance to after all.

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    1. This is a really well constructed piece. The terror in the banal everyday. I get it.

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  7. I would think of her whenever I heard that song or even the singer. I’d recall the pain of obsessing over that which I could not have, yet still I dreamt of the possibility of it all.

    There was no way she could be more than she was, or really, what I was to her. But still my heart would leap when I saw her name on my ringing phone, feel the heat rise through my body and the flip-flop of something leap inside me as I held what I could of her in my hand.

    The distance between us would always exist because we each placed boundaries around one another, defenses against another broken heart. But mine was already shattered by the disappointment I realized whenever I stopped to think what might happen if… If we did breach my fear of our finally being together.

    How long before the joy waned and she discovered the secret I hide even from myself? I've yearned for so many, so much, so often, and the truth burns more than the longing. See, it’s really the yearning I love more than the yearned.

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    1. Oh my. Heartbreaking and so deeply felt, beautifully penned. And a truth hidden in there as well.

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    2. Ah, a beautiful description of the angst we have when we confuse our ideas of things with the things themselves...

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    3. Well played, Joe. What they said. :)

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  8. Cobwebs

    These things be made for telling, never to paper over the cracks, seeping into the here below, where the grey dust flies blow the insides out and the outside in, amidst a straggled wreath of scented blooms melting upon the door where a grizzly lizard curves his sharp tongue, inviting food in haste, bereft of such nourishment for days that seem endless, running into one another, here floating, unknowing time as a spent force, only realising the raw ache for what is gone, lived, breathed and spat out upon the floor to convulse, so obtuse, these shadowy remnants of past ages, sacred spirits soaring beyond this being, this structure, left to fend bodiless, minds intact, remembering all of these things unseen, where only a solitary daffodil blows idly in the faintest gust of wind breathing across the planet, lost in the arch of a rainbow stretching.

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    1. Whew, now THAT is a sentence. Great imagery.

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    2. all the contrasts... all the textures... I'm so glad you write!

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  9. Gust

    These are the days spent, the emotions wrecked, skin peeled from bone, shards cracking the simple flesh as a bough cracks in a lightning strike. He takes leave of his senses in the in between. The step into the gap; the black pit. His is the will to leave or stay. It abides with him alone. Teasing this trusting thing. While I believe the distancing will be good for him, the cockroach on the floorboard laughs at me. It screams like fire, this icy pain. Strips body from soul, soul from body, leaving an entangled, bloody mess of evidence behind. So is me. This reflection of my inner self wrung out as the laundry, left to hang in a field, frightened by the breeze, stripped by the elements. So my body lies bereft. So this song lies unsung. Words are meaningless against the bleakness of this ocean roaring inside my skull. Rap three times. And thrice again. Imagination plagues me. Pins pricking my insides. It sets you free and conjures up the purest demons. Within striking distance, I bow my head.

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  10. Gold

    She waits on him at the grand table,
    A yellow canary her only company,
    Scattering seeds as a sower sows,
    Hopping to and fro in steady rhythm.

    He seems to know everything there is.
    Resplendent in his sun-gold feathers,
    A peck here and a peck there,
    Until he stops, head askew in question,
    Peering at her, so quizzical.

    She cannot but pause in her endeavours
    For the bird knows her every thought,
    Or so she feels in her solitary idleness,
    Sweeping her hands on the empty wood,
    Never laid for anyone but herself.

    No company for her, never on a day,
    Only by night when the master rises
    To step through the walls from the dark
    Land, where she fears to follow behind.

    She lets the canary be her only guide
    In all these things, her wants, her fears –
    Tells her where to walk in the cold castle,
    Where to rest, and step and sometimes hide
    When the wailing starts and the grim rise,
    Strutting with the deadened things of old.

    He guides her, guards her, always near,
    A figment never of her imagination –
    Her only suitor until the dark one came
    And turned her lover into a dutiful bird.

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  11. I noticed the smoke coming from the chimney as I turned the corner. Smoke from Eddie’s backyard grill I could understand, but not the thick grey smudge climbing like ivy into the street side oak out front.

    I hustled my way to his front door and knocked, Eddie never did give me a key, even if I was his lone living relative. He’d changed the old locks anyway. After my third bout of rapping on the door, its frame and the glass, I heard Eddie call from inside.

    “Go ‘way. Nobody home,” he said from the living room. I could see his head poke up from behind Mom’s floral couch, the one she left Eddie and me when we got her house and it contents in her will. I sold Eddie half of my half.

    “C’mon, Eddie, open up. What the hell you doing in there,” I shouted through the old mail slot. I could smell smoke coming from within.

    From behind the old lace sheer curtains on the door window, I could see the fuzzed up image of my big brother coming my way, feel his stomping tread on the floor all the way out to the front porch. I knew this wasn't going to be an easy visit.

    Eddie unlocked the door, opened it about ten inches against his foot and gave me a look like I was his third Jehovah’s Witness at the door that day. I wasn’t, but I was still mighty interested in my brother’s well-being. It was my job now.

    “What the hell do you want? I told you I was busy,” he said.

    “I tried calling you to say I was coming over, just to say hi and see how you’re doing. You never answered or returned any of my messages.”

    “I been busy. Besides I told you I didn’t want to see you over here. It’s my house now and I’ll decide who to let in,” Eddie said. He started closing the door, not slamming it for a change, but this time it was my foot that braced against its bottom. I gave it a hard push back into the foyer, knocking Eddie back with it.

    “God damn it, Charlie, I think you broke my nose,” Eddie said.

    “You’re lucky I don’t break your neck,” I said, trying to maintain the self-imposed adult demeanor I’d developed in helping Mom with Eddie, as well as in defending my brother and his issues for most of our lives.

    “I got a call from Melody that you’re not speaking with her these days either. What’s going on, man?”

    “Nothing that concerns you…or her. Now get the hell out of my house.”

    “Still a piece of mine, man. And I want to make sure you’re not destroying that piece. Now what the hell you bring in the fireplace on a 85-degree day in July?” I said.

    “I told you. None of your business.”

    I pushed past Eddie in the foyer and strode into the living room, where that smoke I saw outside also clouded the room from the fireplace up to the ceiling.

    “One, you shouldn’t be burning anything, at any time. Two, I closed the flue back in April, so that’s why it looks like a fog in here. It’s a wonder you haven’t keeled over from carbon monoxide. Three, open the fucking windows so we can get this smoke out of here so at least I don’t die today. And finally, four, What’re you burning, anyway?” I said.

    “None of your business, little brother. None of anybody’s business now.” Eddie said. He pouted and stomped around the first floor opening the windows and back door.
    (Continued)

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  12. The room looked as neat as ever, Eddie being a fastidious guy, even if sometimes his mind left most of its toys out for us all, mostly Eddie, to trip over. But there in front of the hearth, an old cardboard box stood tipped on its side, piles of old black and white and faded Polaroid photos scattered in an arc along the floor as if they were marching their way into the fireplace.

    It was the box of family photos Mom kept on the top shelf in her closet. I hadn’t seen it for years. Never looked in the closet after she died, except to give her clothes to Goodwill. That’s thrown Eddie for a loop, like we were erasing Mom from the place like we erased her from the world by burying her.

    “Now what’s the deal, Ed. This isn’t like you at all. It’s okay to go through Mom’s pictures, of course, but what’re yu doing during the damn things? What if I wanted to see them?”

    “No.” Eddie’s face turned red and his eyes looked like they would burst into tears at any moment. “You don’t want to see these people anymore. And I really don’t. You don’t know what I do.”

    I kind of doubted that, since I was the only member of our family to ever go to college and Eddie, well Eddie went to his school, but no further.

    “Talk to me, bro. We’re in this together, right? With Mom gone, we gotta work together to make it through. Now what is it you know that I don’t?”

    Eddie picked up four or five more photographs off the pile and tossed them into the shrinking fire. As he picked through some more, I grabbed them from his hand and said, “Stop this. What’s going on?”

    He nodded at my hand, in which I now held three photos of Mom and Grandpa, Grandma and Grandpa and one of all of us at some Christmas back I don’t know when.

    “There, ya see now?” Eddie said.

    “No, just pictures of Mom. Why’d you want to burn pictures of Mom. I’d never expect this shit from you.”

    “You don’t get it, do you?” Eddie said and kicked a little book, its cover a faded pink with a rainbow drawn in the lower right of its cover. The top corner read: Missy Bruno. Mom.

    “Open it. Open it anywhere and read. I found it in the attic. In a little chest stuck in the corner. You’ll see.”

    I could see the pages had been pulled back and the dust freshly smudged by I assume Eddie. I looked at the page that was opened by Eddie’s kick. It read:
    “D came in agin last night. And he did it agin. I asked him why. He said cause he loves me. But I cant tell M cause she wouldn't understand and be upset with me. That’s what D said. Confused.”

    “The whole fucking thing is full of that stuff,” Eddie said, calmer but still angry. “I’d kill that old bastard if I could get my hands on him.”

    I finally got it.

    “Are there any more of these?”

    “Lots. Burned them.”

    “They all say the same thing? That Grandpa… and Mom?”

    “Yeah, and a lot more.”

    “Like what?” I said, not really sure I wanted an answer.

    “Like about me. About Grandpa. Him, mom and me. And you.” Eddie said, and then his eyes finally let go of their tears, and not from the smoke.

    I spent the next few nights with Ed. Got us both settled. And we burned every one of that bastard’s pictures. But memories are fireproof things. Not sure Eddie and I can bury those along with poor Mom.

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    1. A powerful telling of a dirty little secret that rips too many families apart and scars the victims for life. This one hits awfully close to home.

      So very well done. Thank you for sharing it.

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    2. Oof. This one cuts to the core.

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  13. You got your cheeks all puffed up and I'm supposed to ... what? I'm fixing to bite through my tongue trying not to laugh. The redder your face gets, the more I want to dance around like a monkey. Grab your dick and watch your head explode. And you want me to tell you ... what?

    Man...

    Alright, I'll tell you.

    Your pontification is mediocre and overrated. Your brain? Shit, you seem sedated. Your clothes make you look like an eight year old boy, and your car looks like a sad man's toy.

    You write like a six year old on mescaline. Not in a good way. That's why you don't get the 2 Minutes invite. You don't have the game to play. I'd say it in a nicer way, but I might have to use some big words, and I wouldn't be able to handle your pig face any redder. What's it about, cracker? Strictly cheddar.

    I don't have much and what I have I need. You broke the machine with your malice and greed. You brag when you don't have shit to brag about. You've left everyone hanging, gagged, when they should shout.

    So fuck you, and fuck your pretentious bullshit. Frankly, I'm filled to the fucking gills with it. Go play your games in someone else's yard ... and stop using the word 'retard'. I don't like it. Unless you're talking about yourself, in which case I think it's a perfect fit.

    Dick.

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    1. Oh my. So much ire. The recipient probably is a crier. Or so obtuse as to not see themselves in it. But if they do, surely they'll have another fit.

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  14. The boy liked to look at birds and take blades of grass, put them between his thumbs, listen to the whistle hum.

    He wasn't hurting anyone.

    He liked climbing trees and taking pine sap - making little balls out of it, enjoying the tack. Sure it got stuck to his clothes. And that was a hassle, lord knows.

    But the boy was just looking at crows.

    At night the boy read books, and you didn't like it. You thought it was odd and tried to right it.

    The boy just wanted to read.

    So, what does all this mean, and why am I saying it? Is it just sour graping, and I'm overplaying it? I don't know for sure, and you don't either. All I know is it wasn't 'Leave it to Beaver' - and it wasn't a happy home.

    You should have left the boy alone.

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    1. More unsaid then said in this one. A moving tale, sorrowful but eloquently told. Thank you Dan.

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  15. The box is covered in dust and time. It sits on a shelf in the back of the pantry and no one knows what's in there. Except for Jenny. She knows. She knows never to open the box again. She knows what will happen.

    She doesn't even like going in there to get snacks anymore. Afraid to get caught up in some Jack Ketchum lore. The problem is that there isn't nothing in the box. And she knows that. She also doesn't want to get rid of it. Doesn't want to touch it. Doesn't want it to touch her.

    There are memories in the box, and she is cursed with the memory. So, it will sit forever - right beside that can of yams that no one eats because no one eats yams anymore.

    Besides, the mac and cheese is closer to the door.

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    1. A few have picked up on a theme here, again. Amazing how that happens from time to time. Succinctly put but so well said. Thank you.

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  16. It was a pleasantly uneventful Wednesday night. Jacob was in the club, shooting pool with his boss, Mister Gibson. Gibson was winning, but Jacob was kind of letting him win. His mobile phone rang, just as he was lining up a shot at the 5 ball. He stopped and said, “hold up, son,” before answering the call. “This better be good, bitch.” “Are you fuckin’ serious? For Christ’s sake…” “Aight aight aight, just chill them niggas out, I’ll send my boy over to get yo’ ass.”

    He hung up and told Jacob, “I’ma need you to go take care of some shit fo’ me, Jake. Some fuckin’ white boys be mistreating Heather, I want you to go collect her ass. If they try and stop you, do what you gotta do, I don’t give a fuck. Just get her back, and get my money.” He tossed Jacob a Cadillac key fob, continuing, “here, take the Escalade. If you wanna get her in the backseat, ain’t no skin off my nose, I know you ain’t exactly swimmin’ in pussy these days.”

    So he drove up to that cute stucco house in Berkeley, feeling pretty fresh rolling in that shiny black Cadillac. It sounded like there was a small party going on inside, and the door was unlocked when Jacob let himself in. The scene inside was one of debauchery: a dirty rap beat pulsed in the background, the house reeked of blunt smoke, and young white men were blowing lines off the coffee table. One glanced up at Jacob and said, “oh, hey bro, I guess you’re here for Heather? Whatever, take her, that bitch ain’t no fun anyway.”

    “Where’s the money?”

    “What money? She ain’t no fun, we ain’t paying for her ass.”

    “You can pay for her, or,” Jacob drew his pistol, “you can come with me and explain that to Mister Gibson.”

    When dude didn’t answer, he stepped closer and placed the muzzle of the gun directly to his head. “Do not fuck with my paper, white boy,” he cocked the hammer, “you dig?”

    “Whoa, okay, okay. Pony up fellas, Shaft here looks like he means business.”

    A few of the young men pooled their cash to give Jacob five hundred dollars, and he left with Heather. She was prettier than he expected; thin but not too bony, with long blonde hair and hazel eyes. As soon as they were back outside on the street, she clung to him like a four-by-four in the ocean, thanking him profusely for getting her out of there. She didn’t want to get into a lot of detail, but gave the impression those dudes wanted to do some perverse, harmful shit to her, and would have done it with or without her consent, if Jacob hadn’t collected her in such timely fashion. He didn’t even have to ask her for the blowjob she gave him, right there in the front seat of the Escalade; he thought about stopping her, but it had been so long since anyone else touched his dick, especially a cute little blonde white girl. Even when he was going to Northwestern, with its relative abundance of available young women, he usually couldn’t pull chicks like her. Jacob didn’t have as much game as his brother thought he did.

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  17. The fly rod is old and made of bamboo. It's been broken and repaired. It's been well used and it has fought many fish. And someday it will break proper, unrepairable. The old man's wife will tell him to throw it away and he will scoff. Try to explain. The memories. The rod deserves a fair retirement, doesn't it? And his wife will still call it trash, and he will sneak down to the cellar and drink whiskey until he's tired.

    It is not meanness. He knows this. She just doesn't understand. Like he doesn't understand why she keeps dresses she'll never wear again. They afford each other these kinds of kindnesses. Because that's what marriage is.

    And when they die, the kids will say: "Jesus, what are we going to do with all this crap?" But there will be grandkids there, and they will understand. One will take the fishing gear. One will take the dresses. They might even fight over them.

    Because art makes folks passionate.

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    1. Lovely and so true. A tale about junk and treasure but so lovingly told. Thank you for sharing it.

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  18. Very late to the game, but it wouldn't be Friday if I didn't post something!

    In blue shadows, cast by a December sun, a little girl and a little boy play. They write characters in the glistening snow, fingers protected by woolen gloves. He draws a heart, and smiles at her. She makes a tiny Christmas tree and grins.

    In the faraway world of grownups, their names are shouted, and float across the frosty air unheard.

    He smoothes the snow, like a slate, erasing the pictures and the words they’ve placed there, and he puts his snowy glove on her shoulder. She gazes into his eyes, and leans toward him.

    She is as surprised as he when her lips touch his cheek in a kiss. They giggle.

    Their parents scold them for not coming when called. They shrug, and hold their secret.

    Now, seventy-three years later, the snow falls outside a window. His hand reaches for hers. He breathes on the window. She draws a Christmas tree in the condensation. He draws a heart.

    Young or old, sometimes love speaks best in silence. But now he kisses her on the lips.

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    1. How incredibly beautiful, Leland. True love in all it's simplicity and complexity. I adore this story. Thank you. It's never too late and you're right, wouldn't be much of a Friday without you.

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    2. Lovely piece about the timelessness that love's supposed to be about. Glad you could make it by, Leland

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    3. You're right. It wouldn't be Friday without you. :)

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