Friday, April 14, 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.

Beneath the angry sun, the old man sat. At his feet, there was an old dog the color of the sand. He nodded at the mutt and it nodded back. The dog was licking the man's feet. Trying to clean the blood from them. It wasn't working. 

The man had long ago run out of water and ambition. He had one piece of beef jerky he was saving, a loaded gun, and many, many regrets. 

He was thirsty, the dog was thirsty, but you can't drink gunpowder. He chuckled in spite of himself.

"Aren't we supposed to be put out to pasture, boy?"


The dog nodded.

"Not the middle of the goddamned desert..."

The dog whined and it turned into a low rumble. The dog was not scared, nor was the man. They were resigned to it. They were too tired to be angry anymore.

"Let's stop walking, boy."

The old man looked off into the distance. He had taken a half-assed shot at a jackrabbit earlier, but he had more than enough ammunition to end their pain. The dog thumped his tail. 

"You always did know what I was thinking, huh?"

The dog smiled and walked several paces away, looking off into the horizon. It was time for the old man to fix things. He knew the signs. The tight lips. The smell of resolve. The man would make it right.

The man pulled the gun from his pocket and looked at it. He sighed. If only it could be the other way around, but, then again, he wouldn't wish that on his dog. Or any dog for that matter. 

He aimed, closed his eyes. The dog did not move. He fired, but it took his several minutes to open his eyes and turn the barrel. 

#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...

40 comments:

  1. ohmigod... you did this so beautifully... I really, really like this one. Angelo nods in agreement.

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  2. The dog sneezed. He didn’t approve of the smoke the man blew from his mouth. Never had, never would. But he loved the man. He worried about the man. The man wasn’t moving as fast as he used to. He groaned when he tied the things he put on his feet. The ball wasn’t thrown as far or as often as in the old days.

    But what really worried the dog was the water falling from the man’s eyes. Dogs don’t cry, don’t need to. The man was sitting at the thing that he stared at… that he tickled with his fingers, like he used to tickle the dog’s belly. The dog sighed with remembrance. Old days. Good days. The dog got up and went to his secret corner, the place he hid all his favorite things. Except the bones. The bones stayed outside. He found the ball, and he carried it to the man, squeezing it for a satisfying squeak just before dropping it.

    The man looked over and smiled. A small smile, but a smile nonetheless. He picked up the ball. He made it squeak. The dog danced with excitement.

    “You wanna go outside?”

    The dog's tail wagged.

    The man stood up and put his coat on.

    The screen flickered as the man opened the door and the dog ran out.

    The newsfeed updated as the man threw the ball the first time.

    And so it came to be that the man and the dog were doing something important, something that mattered, as the first missiles launched.

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    1. Okay, I missed the memo about posting gut-wrenching man and dog stories today. Beautiful work, Leland.

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    2. That's the best last line I've read in a long time. Took my breath away.

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  3. Damn, Dan. That one cut me like one of your knives. Left me breathless. Swear to God!

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  4. As the higher, I'm reserving judgment on "highest," species on the planet, by now you would think at least one of us humans could/would/should have thought of a way to push ahead our evolution toward a means of peaceful coexistence among one another.

    But suspicion, greed, hatred and war seem part of our DNA. Even if there was an Adam, his sons kicked off the game of man versus man with brother against brother. The passage of time grew and multiplied these four like the funky fruit in Cain's garden east of Eden.

    Thereafter, whether you buy the Biblical or scientific, original sinning Man's antagonistic evolution advanced his four Secondary Sins as much he did fire, medicine and weaponry. Even his thumbs evolved in opposition to his fingers.

    Perhaps Man, the upright, big-brain atop the food chain, never has evolved. Rather, his seed scattered around the globe, always taking root in the less green places across the fence from his neighbors'. Our double helix rope frayed, never uniting
    us in perpetual amity. We represent the apex of Nature's orderly chaos, only made in some God's image. Or so the winners say.

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    1. and I always wonder if we got the direction of evolution backwards... maybe we were the starting point, and Nature just kept making things simpler and simpler, until they no longer felt the need to kill... hell, we probably got time backwards, too. Very thoughtful writing my friend... thanks for sharing it.

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    2. I love "double helix rope frayed," as well as the overall sentiment.

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    3. Love this piece. Want to steal: "Even his thumbs evolved in opposition to his fingers."

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  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    1. Her heart thudded silently behind the glass, although I knew I’d be able to hear it if I put my ear to her chest.

      “You see,” she said. “You excite it. I knew I was right showing it to you.”

      Dilys had always seemed so strait-laced and normal. She’d seemed dull, almost. But I’d never be able to unsee this.

      ‘It’s an augmentation,’ she’d said before she’d shown it to me. I’d thought the tattoos on her upper arms and torso had been quite artful, the ferns thickening as they neared her shoulders. The scarifications had been more extreme, her hair growing over them, although the twin nubs of her horns had been quite a surprise, the threaded inserts enabling her to add the larger, more dramatic prosthetics she’d shown to me earlier.

      But none of that prepared me for the hole in her chest.

      “It either was this or a silicone implant,” she’d explained as she’d slipped off her chemise. “But the implant felt fake. The breast was a goner – I finally resigned myself to that – so it seemed like the obvious choice. There’s nothing could be more real; it’s my heart, for Chissake.”

      It looked like a potato awash in red wine, although the thought quickly dented my appetite. It just hung there, pulsing against the glass, and I could tell that its movements were quickening as she waited for me to tell her what I thought.

      “It’s like a little port-hole,” I said, fascinated. “The rim around it; it’s chromed-steel, right?”

      “Yes. I was so into steam-punk when I had it done,” she said.

      “But the bezel’s removable. As is the glass.” She reached up and pulled off her T-shirt, her tattoos and her nakedness as nothing to me now.

      She’d a hole in her chest with a removable cover.

      I’d only a birthmark in the shape of a duck. And you had to squint to see it.

      It was going to be impossible to impress this girl…

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    2. Ha, I love where you took this!

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    3. Me too. The birthmark is hilarious.

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  6. She knew she was lost. In her urge to flee the wreckage she'd made of life she set out with no plan, no destination, just the undeniable urge to be elsewhere.

    Just past sunset, the road she found herself on was unpaved, unlighted, desolate. She pulled to the side of the road to collect herself, and check her bearings with GPS...no signal.

    She grabbed her water bottle and stepped out of the car for fresh air, to look for house lights, listen for sounds of others going about their evening. All she heard was the sigh of the wind through scrub. All she saw was a vista of low growth stretching to high, snow covered peaks.

    "Dammit. How did I end up here?", she cried aloud. Footsteps scrabbled close by. She froze in fear. "Who's there?" The footsteps slowed and she realized they weren't human.

    Her mind, so accustomed to going to the dark place, imagined hungry animals tearing her flesh to shreds. "After all this, this is how I die? Please don't let it be so!"

    Gradually out of the darkness, a figure appeared with the footsteps. A black and white dog approached slowly. It came to her side and sat, leaning against her leg.

    "Are you lost too?" she inquired, and the dog shook it's head. "Are you thirsty?" as she poured some water in her cupped hand and the dog lapped at the water, then sat against her again. In the distance she could hear more footsteps.

    The footsteps turned into another dog and a man. A voice spoke, "Angelo, what have you found?" "It seems he's rescued the lost" she replied.

    The man kindly directed her back to where she might find her way again and he and the dogs drifted off into the night.

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    1. Angelo loves this story, and so do I

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    2. Especially thank you and the furkids for the inspiration. It just flowed out so quick and easy?

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    3. These characters feel strangely familiar... ;)

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    4. I concur. This stuck out to me: "All she heard was the sigh of the wind through scrub. All she saw was a vista of low growth stretching to high, snow covered peaks." Beautiful language and imagery.

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  7. Dang! I didn't get the dog memo, either...But this is wonderful!

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  8. May I claim a week from hell followed by Easter and request an extension til tomorrow? I'll post then...god willing

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    1. I feel sure a lot of folks won't be reading until tomorrow or Sunday, anyway! post when you can!

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  9. Part 1.
    ______

    Somehow desolate, he woke to the sound of the distant surf. Low tide. The harsh sporadic gossip of seabirds.

    Open windows had left the room cool in the early morning. Light streamed in ghost layers of airy sediment through the gauzy drapes, which undulated in the salt breeze.

    Shivering slightly and scanning the room, Eric had to work at recalling where he was. Recumbent, he smoothed the thin sheet that covered him. Took in the light cyan walls with their tolerable paintings of driftwood and dunes. The beach house. Of course. In which case, he had no memory of how he'd gotten here.

    A herring gull outside the window shrieked a volley of spiteful laughter, startling him into a gasp. As if his unsettled dreams had pursued him into the vigilant day; dreams that murmured, The ocean is like the movement of blood through a living heart; we tune it out until the moments of consequence.

    He struggled to remember a French adage he'd once read about hangovers, something like "My eyes aren't opposite their holes." Accurate or not, it felt right. Every time he moved his head, it took his brain a few queasy seconds to catch up. Like he was seasick on shifting sand.

    Removing the sheet, Eric stood on shaky legs, trying to contain the swimming pain in his skull. The usual drifting tang of the sea stirred his guts, his mutinous senses queasily alert to the underlying decay of a billion rotting fish corpses. He barely made it to the small en suite, heaving the warm sluice of watery scotch into the pink maw of the clamshell sink.

    Only then, when he looked up at the mirror, did he see the bloodstreaks like warpaint on his face.

    ***

    With age comes not so much wisdom as perspective. We realize it's all built on something. Colonnades, piazzas, rialtos, domos. The Ponte Vecchio. Dikes and levees. Fifties-model Chevys and Buicks scurrying like vivid beetles along the Spanish colonial streets of Havana. Built. Pasted over. Like posters on walls. Dreamed of again and again in infinite ways. On sand or on bedrock or on water. Bourbon Street. The Bridge of Sighs. The ephemeral is no less momentous than the permanent, because really, there is no permanence. The ephemeral is the now, where we stand. Live there. Live here.

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    1. Before part two. Love the levee Chevy even if Don's ghost might haunt you. ;) And ONLY you can make puking sound so regal.

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    2. LOL! "The sound of regal puking." Title of a collection? And you know what? The Chevy/levee rhyme wasn't conscious. I did notice it at the last minute but left it alone as one of those serendipitous things. :) I like "American Pie" alright, and this story could be seen as a version of it, even, but like you, I'm more a fan of his song "Vincent."

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  10. Part 2.
    ______

    One part of Darla, her upper torso and crushed head, was on the wicker loveseat. Another bisected the open doorway to the sandy deck. Layers of sand had blown across the rivers of blood and made them coagulate. In all, she was in three pieces. At first he thought four until he realized the dripping horror on the glass top coffee table, amid the paraphernalia of an ill-judged, foolhardy night, was the remains of his unborn child who would remain forever unborn.

    Shot glasses, crack pipes, and ornamental swords. Beach detritus, abalone, kelp. All driftwood looks like the bones of the world.

    A lifetime of counterfeit strength had brought him here, and all his daddy's alleged billions couldn't help him now. The ferryman had demanded payment over half a lifetime and he'd ignored his entreaties, even laughed in his stoic face. But not now. He wasn't laughing now. Now that payment was long overdue, and the shifting sands of power had slipped through like someone gut shot and trying to hold in their viscera.

    ***

    What is this? Who are you? What kind of people can walk on by? Do you see the bodies floating in the filthy water? The people with their signs on the roofs? You remember the poor, the tired, the huddled, right? Did you once make a covenant with these people? Are you not obligated? Is this not your mandate? Or is our humanity lesser when placed beside your own? Go, then. Pass on by. You'd best pray your gods ain't the judging kind.

    ***

    He used her phone—the one with the precipitating text—to make a call, and then left the house. Headed for the beach and the incoming caress of a gentle tide. Everything gone. Love. Family. A future. Everything. He felt like crying, but his body sustained its rebellion and even the tears wouldn't come.

    The yielding sands were soft beneath his feet. He stepped barefoot into the clear waters of this once-bright world, and the merciful waves closed in.

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    1. Wow. Just wow. This made me want to read the years that ran up to this final morning.

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    2. Holy shit! Didn't see that coming. But it works perfectly. Super strong story and amazing language. I adore this: "What is this? Who are you? What kind of people can walk on by? Do you see the bodies floating in the filthy water? The people with their signs on the roofs? You remember the poor, the tired, the huddled, right? Did you once make a covenant with these people? Are you not obligated? Is this not your mandate? Or is our humanity lesser when placed beside your own? Go, then. Pass on by. You'd best pray your gods ain't the judging kind."

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    3. Yeah, that whole passage you quote came in from someplace else, I swear. I was merely the conduit. This writing thing is some weird voodoo sometimes.

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  11. He wouldn’t listen. That’s been his problem from the beginning. If he’d only listened when I said, “Ernie, don’t take that bottle down off the shelf,” we would have avoided a whole mess of trouble. Trouble like you wouldn’t believe. Like you don’t even read about in books, cause nobody would even believe that you made it up. But no, I saw it with my own eyes. Well, there not as good as they used to be, whose are, right? But I saw. And he took down that bottle and I said, “Ernie, you oughtn’t go messing with stuff you don’t know,” and him being a man and all, he just had to. You know how they say “watch out, that plate’s hot” and they gotta go touching it anyway? Yeah. Just like that. Wasn’t even a real pretty bottle, neither, not like the ones in the museum or in the catalogs, even. You know. That pretty blown glass all shot through with colors. No, he musta thought he was that Aladdin boy or something, the way his eyes lit up, the way he’s giving me the elbow and whimpering and all. Like, “Oh, Sylvie, look at that. Now that’s something you don’t see every day.” Uh huh. Right. You see them all the time. In the horror movies! The one you pick up and say “Oh, it’s so fragile, I can’t even believe…” and then some axe murder comes through the door and you drop it and it shatters into a million pieces. Well, okay, we didn’t have no axe murderer. Just that bottle. And then he has to shine it all up, since he can’t read the label. Thinks he might have hit the lottery with some expensive bottle of wine that got bought up in one of those auctions, rich guy died and they had to auction off all his stuff and it ends up in some shady secondhand store. Then what do you know, this smoke starts pouring out. Oh, he went and done it now. Then this big ass guy in fancy pajamas is hovering over him, and I damn near fainted. He looks like that big blue dude Robin Williams played in the movie. I damn near peed myself. And Ernie, he’s looking like the fox in the henhouse. Already he’s planning his three wishes. He didn’t even get one out yet when the big blue dude cuts him off cold, says, “Let me tell you how this is gonna work. I’m sick and tired of you guys coming around here asking for stuff and me always doing all the work. This time it’s gonna be different. This time I get the three wishes.” Well, that sounds fair to me, ‘cause he’s got a point and who asked Ernie not to go touching that bottle? And Ernie just stands there like a dodo. Like how’s he gonna grant a genie three wishes. The guy says, “One. You’re gonna do me a favor. You’re gonna get me a pack of cigarettes. Cause I’ve been stuck in this gol darn bottle for a hundred nears having one serious nicotine fit. Two. I want a burger. Like the biggest burger you can find.” Ernie’s just about as white as a sheet at that point, cause the guy’s huge and leaning over him. He looks like he’s gonna faint and can barely talk, but he says, “What’s the third wish?” And the guy just leans back and crosses those damn big arms over his chest—who’da thought a genie would have that kind of muscle? Then he says, “You get me the other things, then we’ll talk.” Well, Ernie looks at me and I look at Ernie and I say, “You heard the man.” I’m starting to kinda like this genie and maybe while Ernie’s gone I can take a lesson or two in getting my way once in a while. So Ernie takes off down the street and we’re just chatting away, trading tips about how to clean bottles and stuff and you know, we don’t even notice when Ernie comes back in. “I got your smokes and your burger, now you gonna let me have one wish at least?” Yeah. Mr. Genie didn’t care much for that. He sits up a little taller and says, “For my third wish. You’re getting into that bottle, cause I kinda like it out here.” Ernie should have known better. Before he could even say a word, there’s this big puff of smoke and a whoosh and Ernie’s gone. We keep him on our shelf, Mr. Genie and I do, where he won’t get himself into any more trouble.

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    1. Not easy to get people to read a wall of text but you pull it off here, Laurie. All about voice. After that, the story with its satisfying ending is all bonus. Nice.

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    2. Ditto Antrobus. And this line: "You know how they say “watch out, that plate’s hot” and they gotta go touching it anyway? Yeah. Just like that." Simple truths make your writing so strong.

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    3. Yeah. So true. And we do gotta go touching it anyway, so true. Probably a flaw in us.

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