Friday, April 21, 2017

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.


Hunger

She looked into him with wolf eyes, but he didn’t see it that way. Maybe it was the noise from the jukebox. Maybe it was the bourbon he’d stripped his stomach with. All he saw were red lips and tight dress and possibility. I wasn’t in on it, but I knew the score. I knew he’d  leave with her, and I knew what would happen afterwards. His wallet would be a lot lighter. That might be it. If he was lucky.

I didn’t have a stake in the game, so I drank and let it dangle. I watched it flutter in front of me. And I wasn’t laughing, but I had one of those smiles. One of those hidden smiles because I knew and he didn’t. I could see the wolf inside the sheep’s cocktail dress.

I could see it all laid out before me like a straight flush. 



And it was a goddamn mess.

#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...

78 comments:

  1. Yellow

    He lay on his back, bleeding, staring into a too-bright sun that peeled back layers. It scorched his eyes and stripped him of his ego armor. It illuminated the closet skeletons. There was nothing to do now but lay in the sun and let the blood seep into the green grass and the dark earth beneath him.

    He was not an old man. He was a man who seemed old – felt old – because he had seen too much. Done too much. He was tired. That was the worst of it. He was tired in the way that goes deep down to your bones. The fatigue wouldn’t leave. Sometimes he wondered if he’d been born with it. It didn’t matter. 



    He stared at the sun until it dropped. And he let himself sink further into the blood damp earth. The night would turn ice cold. He knew that he would not see the sunrise.

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    1. And no doubt the too-bright sun has that little black spot that too many of us leave up there. Do we need that piece of our soul or are we better off without it? No easy answer. But you've made us feel and see what he's seeing, feeling. His life and perhaps an end to his pain. Beautiful, Dan. Heartbreakingly beautiful.

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    2. Whether or not to surrender? That is the question...Beautifully done, and don't you dare!

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    3. Through a very dark glass. Chills.

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    4. Hunger: sounds like the observer was there himself at some time.
      Yellow: perfect desert description. Day - hot sun. Night - ice cold.

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  2. Corruption

    Don’t your brain hurt tracking all them lies, Son? Doesn’t it chafe at ya like old burlap on soft skin. Aren’t you hearing the screams in your brain? I sure as hell hear 'em and I’m not even in there. But you made your choices. Your played your cards right into catastrophe, tipping your hat to every son of a bitch in town while they shook their heads, crying. 

What kind of man could do such a thing?

    What kind of soul allows things like that to take root? I look at your hands and I wonder how much blood is on them. Really. Literally and metaphorically. Lady Macbeth didn’t have half the blood on her hands and they make folks in fancy college write fancy papers about it.

    The papers don’t mean shit. 

Neither do you. You don’t matter to me, to the world. It will be the same with or without you. You are a speck on a giant canvas. And you will be painted over soon.

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    1. You are on a roll this morning, my friend... visceral and dark... I can feel these pieces in my bones, and in my flesh.

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    2. You workin those seven deadlies Hon? Aren't we all? Old burlap on soft skin. There's a truth.

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    3. No milk of human kindness exists in him, no musings on the amount of blood contained in his victims. Chilling account and well done, Dan.

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    4. Wow. Darker still. It really struck me because when I didn't do what my dad wanted me to do, he'd tell me I was a piece of shit.

      God how those words echo in my mind decades later.

      He was wrong.

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  3. Wow. Dan, Hunger...you leave us wanting more than just this taste. What a visceral punch.

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  4. Love is a conversation.
    Words may mingle,
    A dance between thoughts and hearts,
    Just as much as two bodies.
    Two minds,
    Connecting, communing.
    Flesh may meld, limbs may entwine.
    But partaking of souls?
    That transcends divine.
    When no words need be spoken,
    When language fails in the attempt,
    Expressive and eloquent
    Just by taste and touch.
    A non-verbal colloquy.
    Offering everything, giving so much.
    Lips that write sonnets,
    Heartbeats are a cantata,
    And the lyrics are love.
    Sing to me a cappella,
    And I will join in,
    A duet of the sublime.

    ~Tamara McLanahan

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    1. Maybe one day I'll have that sweet, sublime conversation...

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    2. Love with a soul mate.

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    3. Lovely and so classic in theme and feel

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  5. Fear and war and gloom and doom
    Playing like a radio in the next room
    Close enough to make me feel as though I ought to listen
    To that old familiar song
    Sad enough to pay attention
    But I ain’t got to sing along

    I’m looking for a good vibration, seeking me some excitation
    Humming a top 40 tune
    The past is done and the future ain’t yet
    And the present’s not turning out any greatest hits.
    I need something with a heartbeat
    Something with a soul
    Something I can dance to
    Before I get too old to dream and dance and sing
    Before I get too deaf to hear the sound of freedom ring.
    So I’m gonna cross my fingers and say it’s okay
    As I hurry up and wait
    Wishing and hoping and planning and dreaming
    Waiting on the a change.
    When they switch the channel on that radio
    And everything I thought I knew
    Wasn’t so goddamn strange.

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    1. Love the rhythm of this, Teresa. The rhymes that compel and have a rakish dash of Mader to them. He's influenced me as well and aren't we all the better for it? Parts of it almost had me singing the words. Wonderful!

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    2. You took me right back to my SoCal beach days searching for that ultimate exicitation.

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    3. Flash back to my youth - LOL.

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    4. I can feel the sand of the beach between my toes...and the fear from the first stanza under it all... well done

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    5. Agree with all of the above. This one has swagger. And I love this:
      Sad enough to pay attention
      But I ain’t got to sing along

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  6. With rapier wit,
    A rapacious thirst,
    He chose to indite,
    His creative burst.

    A bard with a mission,
    His poetry stirred.
    Raconteur most omniscient,
    With subject and word.

    ~Tammy McLanahan

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    1. Not enough. You left me begging MORE!

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    2. I like that this is succinct because it shows how much power you can pack into eight lines. Again, classic, but fresh. Love it.

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  7. The Denver sky is gray as I park at the church. St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, the sign says. I look at my notebook. Yep, it’s the right place. I take a deep breath, pick up my bag with the recorder and camera, and climb the steps. I try the door. It’s locked. I knock.

    “Who’s there?” a tiny voice asks.

    “Joe Nelson. I’m a reporter. I called…”

    The ancient lock makes a clicking sound, and the door is opened, only a crack. A child stands there, his eyes looking up at me in a mixture of fear and expectation.

    “Is your mother here?”

    “Yes, she sleeps, please be quiet.”

    So innocent. Foolish to let him man the door. His brown eyes break my heart. He opens the door farther.

    “Maybe you can find the priest? You shouldn’t open the door to strangers.”

    The boy is taken aback and the door freezes. “I think I can trust you.”

    A blonde, blue-eyed woman joins the boy at the door, and places her hand on the edge of the door, to hold it closed, in case I would try to rip it open. “May I help you?”

    “I’m Joe Nelson, from the Post. I called about an interview? With the woman who sought sanctuary here?”

    Her fingers release the edge of the door. “Do you have any ID?”

    I show her my credentials, and she looks nervously behind me, and then pushes the door wide open.

    “Come in.”

    There is the faded scent of incense, the sort that never goes away, the sort that is renewed with every mass.

    “Please come this way. Maria is sleeping at the moment, but perhaps we can talk first.”

    The boy and I follow her to an office lined with books, with paper everywhere.

    “Please, sit.”

    I imagine the confessions and tears that this chair has known. The boy sits on the floor. He is not interested in the other chair. The woman introduces herself as Mother Connie. I remembered vaguely that she was the first female priest in the Colorado diocese.

    “And this is Jesus,” she said, pronouncing his name in Spanish. “Can you shake Mr. Nelson’s hand, Jesus?”

    The boy rose and walked slowly toward me. His hand was cold.

    “Nice to meet you, Jesus.”

    “El gusto es mio. Do you understand Spanish, Mr. Nelson?”

    I shook my head, and answered, “Un pequeño.”

    “My mother speaks almost no English.”

    Well, that would have been a detail it would have been good to know before driving all the way here. Why hadn’t I even thought to ask it?

    “But before we talk, may I touch your face?”

    I nodded. He gently placed his cold hands on my cheeks and closed his eyes. After a few seconds he removed them.

    “It’s okay. I’ll go get mama.”

    “How do you know?”

    “Your skin is warm. You can’t be from ICE.”

    I wasn’t sure if he was serious or making a joke until he laughed, and then Mother Connie and I laughed with him.

    “But how will your mother and I talk, if we don’t speak the same language?”

    “It’s okay. I am here. I am la voz de mi madre. The voice of my mother.” And he left, and I looked at the priest.

    “Seven. He’s seven years old. Remarkable, isn’t he?”

    I nodded. If a boy named Jesus and a mother named Mary did not belong in a church, then nobody did.

    My phone vibrated. “Excuse me.”

    She shuffled papers, pretending to be busy.

    I looked at the screen. “Are they there?”

    I texted back. “False alarm. Only the priest.”

    I could go to hell for lying, or I could go to hell for selling Jesus and Maria out to ICE. It was any easy choice.

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    1. Oh, I want to know so much more, Leland. This could have been from the headlines of late. To what ends will ICE continue the search or will Mary and Jesus be safe? I suppose that question gives my politics away but I'm a centrist humanist and I don't apologize for that. Haunting, compelling, so well told. Thank you.

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    2. I might be part of that "sell-out" group. They cry against immigrants but they also cry against government intrusion.

      I cry out against government intrusion on common decency and common sense. Bravo Leland.

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    3. Like you said: with names of Mary and Jesus....

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    4. This is a smart, sharp, empathetic piece of writing my friend. I love it. Gave me goosebumps.

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  8. Sunshine dripped from the sky once the snow stopped. The dogs ran ahead of him along the creek, first the Border Collie led, and then the Black Lab, and then they reversed again.

    Birds were as surprised by the sun as the man, and they burst into song. Except the magpies who disapproved of it all. In their black and white wimples, they chastised all who disturbed the peace.

    Light glinted off the water, ripples where the water made little turns and falls. He wondered if there would be fish this year.

    The dogs barked, incessantly. He looked up from his reverie, and saw they had stopped, side by side. He shushed them when he caught up to them, and he looked where they looked. A deer. A buck with huge antlers.

    He reached for his camera, and as he framed the photo in the viewfinder, a manmade thunder rang out, and red exploded from the buck’s chest. Later, when he looked at the photo, he’d see the blur of the bullet, but now, all he could do was weep.

    And the birds flew off in silence, and the dogs cowered in the sagebrush, and the snow began to fall again.

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    1. Aww hell, talk about a snapshot of heartbreak. You make me look at things I hate so much, I'd rather pretend they don't happen.

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    2. Idyllic, a beautiful narrative, then you stopped my heart. I don't understand so much about the world. This reminds me starkly of that fact. Well done.

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    3. And I, a maker of thunder, can feed my family of six and my three dogs for another two weeks.

      I give thanks to the maker, from whom all good things come.

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    4. You know I love pastoral pieces like this. The switch in this piece is so powerful. As for the hunting. I've eaten my share of venison. Never killed a deer. I don't have any problem with hunting to eat, but don't have the stomach to do the killing myself. I've often wondered what that says about me. I don't even like killing fish. You reminded, had a dream recently where I caught a big trout that was hooked deep and I killed it and cleaned it and it broke my heart. Not because I thought it was wrong or that it was wasted, but because I hate to hurt anything beautiful.

      As you can see, this one got my brain twisted, and will continue to.

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    5. Like Dan, I'm not at all opposed to hunting for food. I've helped with the butchering, though I've never pulled the trigger myself. I am wildly opposed to trophy hunters. That said, I didn't mean for this piece to be a judgement call either pro or con... it's just a moment in time and an invitation to ponder. Thanks for all the comments!

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  9. Amelie walked through the back garden of her Great Aunt Julee's stately home in New Orleans. Correction, her home. The letter from an attorney was a total shock, especially since she didn't remember her Great Aunt. She knew she lived in New Orleans as an infant and toddler with her Grandmother. Julee was her Gran's sister. Before she was really old enough to get to know this Aunt, her Gran moved with Amelie to South Carolina. Gran rarely talked about the sister she left behind, and always with a hint of dark mystery. Amelie grew up, went to school and became a CPA and eventually mourned her Gran's passing. She had settled into a very ordinary life - that is - until the fateful letter arrived informing her she had inherited the mansion and her Great Aunt's fortune - lock, stock and barrel. So, here she was in New Orleans to sort through the paperwork and make some kind of decision for her future. At the meeting with the law firm, she had a million questions. Why wasn't she informed of her Aunt's death in time for her to at least attend a funeral or memorial service. The lawyers looked nervously at each other, cleared their throats and all started talking at once. Throwing out various excuses. The only thing Amelie garnered from it all was that Great Aunt Julee was eccentric and there was no formal funeral - in fact even the lawyers never saw her body and had no idea where she was supposedly interred. Amelie dismissed it all, remembering only that her Gran always talked in whispers about her sister. Amelie knew she had a lot more important things to think about. What to do with the rest of her life. Stay in New Orleans, or sell the house, and take the proceeds of the estate back to her life in South Carolina. She felt it was only fair for her to stay awhile at least, to explore the house and gardens and get to know the city of her birth and heritage. After all she had all the time in the world and money enough. As she was admiring the beautiful night blooming flowers and the lanterns all lit up on the garden path she suddenly saw a beautiful middle aged woman walking towards her. "Who are you and what are you doing here", she asked. The woman sighed and said she had been her Great Aunt's housekeeper, and overall manager of the property. Amelie wondered why she hadn't seen her before and the woman told her that her Great Aunt only wanted her to tend to her duties during the night hours. Amelie thought that was strange and remarked that even the lawyers never mentioned a housekeeper. There was something about this woman that niggled at Amelie's memory. She remembered her Gran always saying her sister had a secret; but never could bring herself to tell her the whole story. The next day, Amelie was going through the house and in the library found photo albums. There she got the shock of her life, recognizing a whole series of photos of her Gran with a woman who was labelled Julee. Yes, the so called housekeeper was the spitting image of her Great Aunt. Anxious for night to fall so she could confront the woman, she paced the hours away. Later she went back to the garden and found the housekeeper. After Amelie confronted her with the photos, the woman sighed and finally told Amelie the family story. Yes, her Gran took her away and never communicated with Julee again. The deep dark secret was that Julee was the victim of a vampire and had to live a very eccentric life to keep her secret. She realized that she had to finally "die" or too many people would be wondering. She knew she had a ready heir in her great niece - Amelie. Amelie was shocked to the core, but all the hints her Gran had dropped through the years came back to her. Amelie realized that she was now irrevocably tied to the estate and property in New Orleans and to her Great Aunt Julee.

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    1. well, well...can;t wait to see what happens next!

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    2. oh... nicely done! I love New Orleans, and it's the perfect home for night blooms and vampires... well told!

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    3. Agreed. So many cool places this could go.

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  10. And where the heck am I going with this? Part One:

    They called her Lourdes, though not immediately. For her mother, Missy, had caught rubella in the first days of her pregnancy and while the mother recovered, the group of cells, not yet identifiable as a fetus, did not, despite her physician’s assurances that there was no danger.
    So when the child eventually came into the world her parents did not name her right away, as it was not expected to live. She, and it was eventually determined to be a she, as nearly as anyone could discern from the various states of development of her organs, was born deaf and blind with a dwarfed arm, a crippling condition of the joints, one kidney and a heart defect. The doctors set to work repairing what they could of course, and yet, by some miracle, the infant survived and even grew, though without sight, sound or much by way of motor skills.
    Still, there is no end to the mysteries of the human heart and her family loved her and she them, at least to the best of their mutual limitations. They didn’t name her Lourdes until she was nearly three years old, figuring perhaps, that if there was a thing called heaven, then healing might yet come to such suffering, whether through death or something more miraculous. Until then, they could only do the best they could, communicating by touch, sunning her in her wheelchair on the side porch and feeding her the bland selection of foods she was allowed.
    It wasn’t until her paternal grandmother Rosario died the following spring that it was discovered that little Lourdes could communicate telepathically. Her mother had finished the weekly ordeal of shaving her head, which was necessary to keep her from pulling any hair longer than that out in clumps, when Lourdes reached blindly out until she found her hand. Pressing it to her cheek, Missy was astonished to hear a somewhat familiar voice in her head.
    “Fear not the canticles of mendacity, dear one. For I am among you and ye shall be healed.”
    Missy sank to the edge of the hospital bed, suddenly aware of a kind of warmth in her bones. She stared uncomprehending as what should have been her daughter thumped the tray that held her in. Missy tentatively reached out and the child’s fingers captured hers in a vice like grip.
    “Be grateful, little mother. For I am among you. The afflicted shall be healed. Selah.”

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    1. Part Two

      When the night nurse found Missy later that evening, stretched out on the bed in a blissful sleep, she was naturally alarmed. Patients like young Lourdes inspired hypervigilance, not rest, and she dutifully shook her awake. Missy yawned and sat up stretching like a cat, smiling as Lourdes snored in her chair, her head curled down to her elbow.
      “My God, “ she breathed. “We’d better get her to bed.”
      The nurse, still disapproving, nodded, unlocking the tray from the chair. “At that moment a hand shot out, gripping her wrist with surprising strength. And the voice was clear in her mind.
      “Your sister,” it said. “Bring her to me.”
      The tray clattered to the floor and Missy bent to pick it up, fixing the other woman’s eyes with a sort of beatific expression, though the gifts of the spirit are hard to describe.
      “You heard her, didn’t you? What did she say?”
      “My sister. The one with the cancer. She told me to bring her here.”
      Missy’s eyes filled with tears. “Then do it.” She said. “Today, for the first time, I cannot be sorry she was ever born.”
      And so it happened the sister was cured with Lourdes’ touch and then another neighbor and another after that. And word spread in the town of miraculous cures, though there were naturally those who disagreed. But even though they were somewhat inconvenienced by the strangers who lurked outside the bedroom windows and came knocking at the doors, Lourdes’ parents, as they always had, made the best of this turn of events, setting up an altar with flowers and candles in one corner of her room and dressing her in fine white nightgowns when strangers came to call, along with a box for donations for any miracles received.
      Of the two, however, it could be said that her father’s love for his miracle child was not so much unconditional as paradoxical. When he thought of Lourdes, emotions crowded his heart with disturbing force; as much as he tried to accept the will of God in such affairs, her suffering was unbearable to him, in much the same way a man would put down a beloved dog rather than see it in pain. What did it matter what she did for those others, when she dwelt in the darkness herself? Where was the sanctity of life in that?
      And so he came to her room late one night. It had been a day of visitations and Lourdes was already snoring, safe in her bed. He lit a candle and looked at her twisted body, then knelt down and prayed for deliverance. Hearing his weeping, her hand crept toward his, slowly at first, then gently entwining his fingers, one by one. And a familiar voice, which might have been his own mother’s, rang out clearly in his mind.
      Reverently, he rose to his feet and taking a nearby pillow, held it tightly over her face, feeling the endless years of his suffering, healed a little with every breath, until the darkness finally left him and he set his daughter’s demons free.

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    2. Wherever you went with it, I'm glad I was allowed along. The moral dilemma, so very well done.

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    3. No words. Just undeniable sadness for what is and what might be.

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    4. Never saw that coming.

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    5. Wow. I gotta agree. This is a special piece of writing. Reminds me of Gabriel Garcia Marquez in some way I can't define...

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  11. They sat together, facing one another, her right thigh against his left and their torsos almost touching. She took the pipe and held it toward the flame, pulling on it so the fire from the lighter and the breath from her lungs melded, the herb in the bowl sparking at first and then fading into a more comfortable low smoulder.

    "It's time," she said.

    Irena leaned against him. The lines of her face smoothed as she drew on the pipe again, eyes closed. She held in the smoke for one heartbeat, two heartbeats, three heartbeats and then breathed out again, mouth closed, the smoke seeping out slowly from both nostrils.

    She sighed. She looked within. She felt the bones of her skull soften and expand as the smoke began to work on her, the freed molecules bridging the membranes between her lungs and the blood flowing through her. She sensed the world looking in on her and she smiled inwardly, greeting it and beginning to interleave with it, her thoughts blending with the voices that were always there if she only had the ears to listen.

    She opened her eyes.

    Walt was still there beside her, both in body and in soul, his head a glowing noise that drew in on itself.

    "I'm ready," he said, his expression still angular, the heat from his chest a beacon that called to her. She nodded, and then drew again on the pipe; the fizzing crescendo behind her eyes blurring her edges. Now, she longed for the form and the solidity he had. She relaxed her hold on the cloud and merged with it a little more.

    She felt him then, his lips against hers, the sharp line of his chest against hers, their skins calling out for one another. She released a breath to him, the first of many, the fire rising from within her, her consciousness following the blood path with a languid surge of inevitability. Weight to weight, light to light; the skein of smoke rose up and fell within.

    He drew her in. He took from her. He held her inside his chest.

    One breath was all it took.

    She felt his response to her, mirrored first in her head and then through her whole body. She felt the simultaneous glide and release of both pairs of lips, the slim thread of smoke still linking them.

    She lifted the pipe again.

    Another pull, another blooming within her. Her head dissolved and merged, his thoughts a lemon sherbet core that etched itself upon hers, his fixedness softening already. She leaned back toward him, his physical gravity drawing her in. She rose up from between her lips, the vacuum of his mouth capturing her, his body swelling around hers, his skin containing her. His heart pulsed inside her chest, her blood poured through his veins, an exultant cry of delight escaping from her.

    They were now one. There were no divisions.

    The cloud had taken them both.

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    1. Knock me out, dude! "His thoughts a lemon sherbet core..."

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    2. The absolute best description of a power pull I have ever read.

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    3. Astonishingly intimate... and that last line...

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    4. So liquid and fluid. Love this piece. And the same phrase grabbed me. Lemon sherbet core. Perfect.

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  12. The low morning sun to their backs, two Arapaho boys searching the plains for their grandfather's favorite pony they'd let run off, came across a dead body lying at the bottom of a buffalo wallow. The remains of the Rev. Linus Quimby lay wrapped in a wool blanket at the bottom of the wallow, a thick book clutched in his stiffened hands and an expression of joy literally frozen upon his face.
    “It is already the Moon When the Buffalo Calves’ Noses Turn Brown and the first snow came last night, so to find a man, even a foolish white man, traveling without a horse shows he was as crazy as he looks,” said the younger boy, taking the blanket from the would-be missionary.
    “Look at the useless fire he made of these white skins with markings, not the leavings of the buffalo or even a stick from the trees on the banks of the big river'" said the older boy, pointing in the direction of what the Whites would call the South Platte. He then relieved his brother of the blanket and the Rev. Quimby of a knife and a piece of flint.
    Riding west until the sun had almost reached its highest point, the boys found the remains of Rev. Quimby’s horse being picked clean by coyotes and birds. Dismounting to get a closer look, they noted the white man's horse had been stripped of its saddle.
    “Brother, from the looks of these moccasin prints, a band of Cheyenne took whatever this carried upon its back,” the younger brother, called Hiisiisisoo, said.
    ”Everything but the fool we found this morning," replied the older boy. His brother paid Hiisiisisoo’s tracking skills no mind. He was more interested in finding more of those marked skins scattered on the yellow grass in the melting snow.
    He picked one up to peer at its water-smudged markings, shakily inscribed, yet with a flourish hard-earned under the switch wielded by the Rev. Quimby's father, the Rev. Thaddeus “God’s Echo" Quimby.
    It would be several years before any Arapaho boys would learn the white man's medicine he kept locked in books. But if these boys could read, they might notice one page dated two days before, November 20, 1830.
    It read:
    “My Lord God, tonight, to keep warm, I burned all my maps and some of your Holy Bible, even Psalm 23 and First Thessalonians. I am ashamed and will assume whatever punishment you shall mete out for such sacrilege, Lord. I do this because where I am going in Your holy name, I have faith You shall guide me, shall use my tongue to help me lead the heathen sons of Shem back to your loving embrace. And they, I, we shall never be lost again.”
    Hiisiisisoo’s brother let go of the page when his horse pulled it from his fingers and began to chew it. But Hiisiisisoo had already mounted and followed the tracks of the Cheyenne, leaving his brother to ponder the metal heartbeat he heard within the golden shell on a chain he found beneath the dead horse's haunch.
    He might be younger than his brother, who thought himself a great warrior someday, but the boy could read sign better that most grown men. He noticed the track of one of the horses headed west with the Cheyenne was shallow, lighter than the others. No one rode the horse and he recognized how it stomped its right fore-hoof. To him, this was clearly his grandfather’s horse.
    Barely any men, red or white, would ever learn to read sign like Hiisiisisoo. But such knowledge, his grandfather told him, was a gift from the Creator, cultivated with respect and affection by the old man, a legendary warrior called Echo of the Sun. He said it was a thing to thank the Creator for and never to fully share until he found someone worthy of it.
    That night, Hiisiisisoo crept up near the Cheyenne band’s camp. He was surprised they did not set a guard on the horses. In the moonlight, he could see their fire had gone to coals and he heard not much more than what sounded like snores and coughs.
    He quickly found and freed his grandfather’s horse and walked it away from the camp as the sounds from within it became fainter with each step.

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    1. The circle is closed. A complete tale with a beginning, middle, and end. I salute you.

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    2. Perfect follow through.

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    3. mystical in the circular structure... and the voice you've created here is beautiful.

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  13. Part 2

    “I would take one or two of their horses, but you were my quest, fleet one,” he whispered to the horse. “I think enough bad medicine has been spread over these days. Let’s go home.”
    He hadn’t missed his brother’s bragging, always trying to look like the great warrior, the special one.
    “Carrying all that booty from the dead white man, he’d have slowed us down anyway. We shall hurry, but at our own pace. Let him have his day,” Hiisiisisoo told the horses. He was sure his brother had returned to their camp and the lodges where the other boys were taught by warriors like their grandfather the knowledge and skills to become Arapaho men.
    Three days later, a smiling Hiisiisisoo brought his grandfather's horse back into the camp. But instead of accolades, he heard not much more than women chanting. As he passed the lodges where his friends stayed, he heard the heavy breathing and coughs such as he heard from the camp of the Cheyenne. In his own lodge, he found his friends ill and his brother missing.
    Leading the recovered horse to the lodge of his grandfather, he found his brother and grandfather lying inside, a shaman praying over them.
    "What has happened to my brother, my friends, my grandfather?" he asked his uncle.
    "No one knows. Since your brother returned from his search for the missing horse of our father, many have become ill. We fear our family will suffer the greatest loss," his uncle said, nodding at his father and nephew who lay bathed in sweat and breathing in ripping rasps.
    "He was so proud to give our father the yellow metal shell like a small sun with its beating heart. He showed all his friends the knife and blanket he said he found on the prairie."
    Around his grandfather's neck, Hiisiisisoo saw the white man's golden shell, now open to show marks around its rim and three arrows reaching out to touch them from its middle. At his brother’s waist, he saw the white man’s knife and saw he was covered in the Quimby’s blanket.
    “These things are cursed,” he cried and ripped them from his brother and grandfather.
    “What are you doing, boy?” his uncle said, pulling him back from the fire.
    “The white man who owned these things died in madness, alone and crazy. These things are cursed and have brought illness to our family and friends,” Hiisiisisoo said, holding the items at arm’s length.
    His uncle grabbed for them, but only came away with the watch.
    “Can’t you see what strong magic this has, Hiisiisisoo? It’s heart beats as does our father’s,” he said, placing the timepiece to his ear. The ticking sound of the watch had grown softer and it’s beats are more sparely than before. Then they stopped.
    The old man on the bed frame gave a great sigh and breathed no more. The shaman placed his ear to the old man’s chest, rose and shook his two fingers side to side in the sign for No.
    Hiisiisisoo grabbed the watch and ran from his grandfather’s lodge along with Quimby’s blanket. He sprinted toward the nearby stream that rushed south to the great river and threw the offending items as far as he could out into the water.
    When he returned to the camp, he was not allowed back into his grandfather’s lodge, where the women wailed over the old man and Hiisiisisoo’s brother, who had succumbed to the bad medicine, as well.
    “You and you’re disbelief are the cause of this Hiisiisisoo,” his uncle said with a small cough. “Go, leave us to tend our own. You are not wanted here anymore.”
    Hiisiisisoo mounted his horse, taking that of his grandfather with him and headed west, hoping to find another Arapaho band. His name was never spoken again among his family and their band, though not because of hatred or fear. Within a week, they all were dead from the influenza they caught from the Reverend Mr. Quimby.
    It seems, even in death, he had brought the Arapaho to his God’s loving embrace, only not how anyone would have prayed happen.

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    1. agghh! I don't know exactly what to say here, except that it rings so true, it hurts!

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    2. Richly, vividly told. Well done.

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    3. The tale was complete before. The tradgedy that followed brought the saddest completion.

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    4. I agree with Teresa. You do these pieces so well. The use of the watch/heartbeat works perfectly. Authentic and heartbreaking.

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  14. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    1. Creativity and expression takes all forms, knows all paths. We each find our best ways. Lovely, Ed.

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  15. Beautiful! My prayer is something different, let me BE the instrument. But I know that feeling, when you need something beyond words, more like music, to get it all across!

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    1. Sometimes words, for some it's brushes dipped in tempera. But for those who need more, a crashing crescendo or a lugubrious lament of notes will only suffice. Lovely.

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  16. Her old bones hated the cold and the wet, but her heart and mind were always soothed by the sound of raindrops pinging on the tin roof.

    She waddled her way to the wood stove and added another log to the fire under the watchful eyes of the cat stretched dangerously close to the hot metal.

    It wasn't an easy life for an old woman hanging on to the small house and piece of land her daddy left her. It was getting harder to keep the garden that fed her each year. She'd had to let the goats, pigs, and cow go last year. They were just too much for her to care for.

    Her retirement money barely covered her needs. She'd turned off the gas six months back and used the stove for heating and cooking. She'd unplug the refrigerator at night to save on electric, plugging it back in at dawn.

    The rain continued to ping on the roof with an occasional shush as it turned to sleet. She drifted off to sleep in her chair as she and the cat shared a can of Purina tuna for dinner.

    #2minutesgo #fridayflashfiction #flashfiction

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    1. A reality for so many.

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    2. Sad, and so much reality... but you left me a shred of hope... she still has her cat as a friend...

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    3. Echoing Leland. Heartbreaking, but at least she has company. I have so much, but I do not have my Cat anymore. The tone and timbre are spot on.

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