Friday, October 6, 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.

The room was empty, and he didn’t like it. Walls white; he didn’t like that either. It was too stark a contrast. White room, white walls. Inside the boy’s head there were exploding rainbows of pain and confusion. Inside his skull, every color pulsed. He could hear them. The grumbling blue, the shrieking red. The bright green threatening to split his head. He had been in rooms like this before. He even knew why. It was supposed to calm him down. He could not tell them about the maelstrom of sickness the whiteness created inside of him.

The terror.

He heard the voice, but he told it to shut the hell up. Then another voice.

DON’T CURSE, YOU LITTLE BASTARD.

He wrapped his arms around his body and held himself. He could smell himself.

DON’T BE A BABY! ONLY BABIES CAN’T GO TO THE BATHROOM BY THEMSELVES.

Oh, the colors were awful. Worse than anything. He could feel his face peeling away from his skull. Smooth. One clean sheet of pain.

HERE’S HOW YOU TAKE THE DECALS OFF, YOU LITTLE SHIT. SLOW, EVEN. YOU CAN’T RIP IT! I WON’T GET PAID FOR WORK LIKE THIS!

YOU’RE FUCKING RIPPING IT!!!

He poked his fingers into his eye sockets and watched the bursts of white. They distracted him. His pulse slowed as if by magic. Carefully, he put his fingers into his mouth. All of them. He soaked them and rubbed saliva into the place where his face-skin used to be. Lose some skin and make some more. That’s what the magic spit is for. Rhyming is for kids, what are you, retarded?

ARE YOU RETARDED?!?

Stop it. Breathe. Slow and easy. Like the decals. He could hear that voice, too. A woman. She spoke much more gently than the man. She tried to help him. Breathe. Breathe. Breathe. His back felt warm like there was a hand on it. He jumped when he realized that there was. 

He backed into the corner and watched the young woman’s lips move. No sound came out. Or not the right sounds. There was a wailing sound. There were beeps and screeches and his breath in his ears. He could hear himself live. The boy turned his head to the side and vomit poured out of him, his man-mouth.


YOU’RE DIRTY! STOP BEING DIRTY! YOUR MOTHER CLEANS THIS FUCKING HOUSE!

The young woman was moving closer one small step at a time. She had one hand in the pocket of her jacket, and he knew what that meant. He pushed himself into the wall, thinking: I will climb this wall backwards like a spiderShe is small and she will never reach me. The colors started spinning, twitching. Orange, purple, yellow… He knew his colors. He knew them more than anything. Breathe. Breathe. Breathe. He knew that the woman’s hand would come out of her pocket, and he would have mere seconds before everything went black. He squeezed his eyes. Her shoes squeaked. White rubber, they were. White floor. When she got close enough…

Black. It would be black. Blank. It scared him, but it was better than the colors. He opened his eyes and smiled. Calm. Very. 

One more time around the merry.

#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...

61 comments:

  1. Wow! Intense acid trip stuff to my weakened senses, Dan. The intensity builds palpably and, though I'm not quite sure of the setting beyond the dude's mind, it all works enough to make me squirm in my seat. Not sure how helpful this is, but it really got me.

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    1. Astonishingly powerful... the flashbacks to childhood are well done. The repetition of colors, the shouts all worked together to make it real for me.

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    2. A descent into madness or the reclaiming of sanity? Tantalizing to think of the possibilities and not be 100% sure. White rubber, white floor and the hand coming out of the pocket. Hope the medication works quickly either way.

      Damn, this was good.

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    3. Wow...so powerful my head was vibrating.

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    4. Whoa!Like an explosion in my head, Dan. Well done!

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  2. Part 1

    Hi, hope you have a minute to talk to……oh, an old acquaintance. I can’t say friend because you never admitted that to anyone even when it was pretty obvious to everyone we were.

    Sorry about that. I don’t want to screw this up before we even have a chance to blink at one another. I should be more sensitive to your feelings. I know. That’s me. Sensitive, but just not recognizing that in others.

    Anyway, here I am and I hope we can talk, clear the air over how we parted.

    Yes, I know you don't, you know, have such feelings for me. And as much as it pains me, I don't think it'd help either of us if you stopped and honestly searched your heart to recall if you ever buried a cup of such feelings for me under the debris you swept from your life when you cleaned house all those years ago.

    No, no, I'm not looking for anything now. That ship has sailed, gone round the Horn and was dashed upon some rather pointed realities you were wont to use on me like a switch and I was a stand-in for someone you really hated.

    I'm not saying I didn't ultimately deserve some retribution for what I did, but I'll get to that later. No, what you experienced was horrible and I should have been more my true self than the cold and heartless man you encountered behind the “Hi, My Name Is…Ed” sticker.

    First of all, before I submit to your anger and hurt, how are you? I'm serious. Are you well? Good, good. Yeah, it's a hard process. I know.

    Me? Meh, not great, I'm afraid. The physical reality of the being I was all those years has caught up to me. I'm going deaf. Yeah, like I can't understand what some people are saying and can't even hear others. And I'm going blind. Rare type of glaucoma. No, they never caught it, even though I told them I sensed something was wrong. The world seemed to be closing around me and I couldn't see it in the panorama I did when I was younger.

    And my heart… You won't believe this, since you experienced such a hard-hearted me in your time of despair, but my heart actually is growing harder. Something called pericarditis, a stiffening of the protective sac around my heart. That allows it to pump out all the blood from its chambers, but constricts its sucking it back in to its fullest.

    And aren't these all some sort of metaphoric, karmic, ironic maladies? To rob from me my ability to hear your voice and the music we love so much. To steal from me my ability to see the whole world around me. And, though I can express what I have in my heart, I can’t fully accept whatever is returned to it.

    Sorry, I’m whining. You go ahead and tell me what you wish of your story. I’ll sit and listen. Honest.

    I see. I’m very sorry for your losses. I really am. Most especially for how you see my part in making things worse than they should have been. I was always there when you needed a man’s shoulder and voice you could count on. And suddenly I wasn’t.

    I’ll take all the heat for that. I deserve it. But I’d like to explain why I wasn’t, if you’ll listen with as open a heart as you can.

    Yes, I know, it’s shattered now. But please, listen.

    I was in a bad way when we parted company all those years ago. What I thought might be love was actually my obsessive and compulsive nature, especially where you were concerned, on top of my depression. This constant thinking of you was paralyzing me. I’d place you in everything I did, every walk, every bit of writing, every idle thought. And just when I thought I was over you, you’d pop up in my email with a note, sometimes bright and friendly, others seeming to rub my nose in your new life. And I would be lost to thoughts of you again.

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  3. Part 2

    My shrink was trying to help me work through it. I was getting desperate, losing sleep, lying there thinking of you, thinking of you and your lover, thinking of what could have been if I just told you when I could have.

    The psychiatrist told me to ignore your emails. Just separate myself from the source of my stress, especially since that source didn't want to have anything to do with me in the first place, other than to satisfy their own needs.

    So that’s what I did. Painfully so. It was like I ripped off the scab of my wounded heart. A new one grew back and turned into this jagged scar. But the thoughts didn’t go away.

    So I decided to leave that doctor and write you, asking how things were. That’s when you blasted me with both barrels of your own hurt, throwing some extra salty details in there just to make it sting more.

    That was the moment I finally realized you’re you and I’m me and you were always right. There never would be an Us. That doesn’t make me not think of you often, nor make your occasional messages from out of nowhere any less jarring. They’re just not so sharply painful. So, with that, I’ll just…

    What’s that? You want to talk some more? You need someone to listen now that you’re alone? I see. I had a feeling this might happen. Well, you’ve listened to me and my lame excuse. It’s only fair I do the same for you.

    Uh huh, I’m sorry to hear that. Yeah, I didn’t think you’d want to believe me, and that’s okay. I just needed to get it all out there before I say goodbye. Close the book, you might say. And yes, you were always right, you would always be bad for me. But you’re not the bad person you once told me you are. You’re passionately human and sometimes inhumanly passionate.

    And I’m just the guy you broke before you even started trying.

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    Replies
    1. Painful, honest... the first part felt like a telephone conversation, the second not so much. I'm curious if this was your intent, or if I'm just looking too closely. Regardless, a skilfully
      told tale.

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    2. "...searched your heart to recall if you ever buried a cup of such feelings for me under the debris you swept from your life..." The first part, that list of transgressions, imagined or otherwise was powerful.

      I agree with Leland, the tone changed a bit in the second part. Perhaps it was his confession at the end. A softening, or maybe just resignation. On second thought, acceptance finally that neither and both were to blame and there was no where else to go except separate ways. Hinting that this time, he'd listen but no further.

      Gut wrenching, his maladies. He seems one to take in every minutiae. To lose two senses would be devastating. His heart condition would make him eventually an invalid.

      Jeez, I could go on. The fact that I want to should show precisely how involving this was for me. Excellently crafted. Thank you.

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    3. He comes across so clearly, and the piece reminds us all of the difficulty in truly trying to understand one another.

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    4. I really dig this one, brother. Reminds me of a lament, songs I've heard and written spread onto the canvas. I'm impressed. It's easier to accomplish this in a song, I think - you nailed it in prose. Raw and real. I love this line: "I know. That’s me. Sensitive, but just not recognizing that in others."

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  4. It is late autumn, the time of year when summer's dreams die. The last aspen leaves hang on, like revelers who refuse to believe the party is over.

    Two butterflies dance in the sun, one blinded by love, or lust, the other blinded by age, on well-worn wings. Painted ladies, they're called, and they were separated from their migrating tribe, by choice or by chance.

    The clouds, more gray than white, march from the west toward the east, if not with military precision, then with lumbering resolve. The sky wears a deeper shade of blue than just a few weeks ago, the better to accompany the coming ice storms and blizzards.

    A man crunches through the piles of leaves assembled by the winds, his eyes alert for something, anything, though he knows not what. From time to time, he joins with the creek's laughter, as if they shared a joke.

    Soon, the creek would be ice, and he wonders if there is a metaphor in that, but wonders none too long.

    He stops. He holds his breath. A bull elk, head raised, looks not at but past him. He dares not move. Its antlers are magnificent, crown and weapons, and for a moment he imagines that once the elk was a tree, a tree in winter, with no leaves.

    And then the elk starts, and runs away. The man hears footsteps not his own behind him. He turns.

    A red-faced hunter, in full Cabela's drag. "What the hell, you made me miss my shot!"
    The man says nothing, and wonders if the bull elk will tell his future sons and daughters in the spring of the strange two-footed animal who stood between him and the thunderstick of death.

    The clouds have hidden the blue sky now, and as he walks, the wind howls, and it begins to snow.

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    Replies
    1. Oh well done! Beautifully eloquent, such imagery. You craft your animal characters so lovingly. "...Its antlers are magnificent, crown and weapons..." I can see him standing there, regal, majestic. And lucky to be alive in just the next moment.

      Thank goodness he blocked the shot.

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    2. I'm always impressed how you can paint a scene, a character, and put us THERE in so few words. This is lush and rich. And sometimes a thwarted hunt is a victory - totally get it.

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  5. Secrets

    A penitent man hears stories,
    That Nature's compelled to tell.
    The whispering winds hold secrets,
    If one listens truly well.

    The Earth will sing to us daily,
    If we strain to catch the beats.
    The trees dance to the rhythms,
    They're most willing paracletes.

    A symphony of flowers,
    To accompany the scores.
    The roll and rush of riptides,
    Rosin over ocean's floors.

    Illuminating sunshine,
    Completes the manuscripts.
    A golden wash of color,
    Off of Nature's fingertips.

    It's always the same instruments,
    That Nature has to play.
    But each song is slightly different,
    In a very subtle way.

    The natural world holds volumes,
    If you listen to it speak.
    In audible impassioned prose, if
    Enlightenment's what you seek.

    ~Tamara McLanahan

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    1. beautiful, in both its rhythm and its colors. Rosin is one of my favorite words and conjures up both color and smells... paracletes was an excellent choice, as well... and like I say every time with your poetry, it still astonishes me that you can put so much meaning into rhyme... well done!

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    2. Well, Leland pretty much stole my answer right down to the rosin. No gaps. That's what I like about your verse. And everything Leland stole from my brain. ;)

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  6. Wrote two short poems. Felt compelled to after all the unfortunate things said over the last few days. Whatever the politics,it's the tragedies we should concentrate on. Work together to fix. Eliminate in the future.

    I may have strong opinions
    But find tact's not overrated.
    I'll give you my position,
    Without something instigated.

    Each to his own, a valid point.
    We learn from good debate.
    But closed minds offer nothing,
    Only rhetoric and hate.

    ~ Tamara McLanahan

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    1. Sing it, sister! post that everywhere! a message we all need to hear!

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    2. Thank you, Leland. Response has been awesome.

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    3. Somewhere, Phil Ochs is smiling...

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  7. The poison that you're spewing,
    Meant to vilify, to hate?
    Those words you cavalierly wield,
    To sting and denigrate?

    They only show your blackened heart,
    No one will want you near.
    Look closely in the mirror.
    It's yourself that you should fear.
    ~Tamara McLanahan

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    Replies
    1. I rather like this one. Short, sweetly mean, to the point.

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    2. Sweetly mean...I love that. Yes, I was feeling that...just a tad. Thank you, Ann.

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    3. as my mother was fond of saying "Sh..t is free.No need to add to the pile."

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    4. A great companion to the other. And something we all need to remember.

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  8. "Honey?"

    "Yes, dear?"

    Winces. "That's -- ow! -- a little painful, hon."

    "My fantasy not yours. Shut up."

    "But-"

    Slapping sound from an open hand hitting a pectoral.

    "I said, and I repeat, shut up. Did I complain when you got a little riled up and lost your head while you were dogging my ass? No, I did not."

    Whimpers.

    "I took it because I love you and it got you hotter than I've seen you in a long time, didn't it?"

    "Yes, but-"

    "I'm not saying it again. Shut. Up. You are ruining my concentration. I won't break it, for heaven's sake."

    Whimpers.

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    1. This sounds remarkably authentic. I'm not asking questions ;)

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    2. Wonderful! I smiled after the first smack and didn't stop. I'm smiling still. But one word does pop unbidden into my amused thoughts, "Safeword."

      Like Leland, I'm not asking. ;)

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    3. Lol. Alright, I won't ask either. But I agree with Leland. ;)

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    4. I promise - it's made up. This time. And the second character didn't think to use a safeword, apparently, so he gets what he gets. Or maybe it' didn't hurt THAT bad...

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  9. Two parter...

    One

    My work boots crunched over the trail, navigating exposed roots and rocks and branches. The crickets and cicadas sang alternating choruses, joined by birdsong and the rush of the swollen creek and the ever-present background duet of chainsaws and helicopters. I heard that sound in my dreams. It was an earworm I couldn’t shake—whine, chop-chop; whine, chop-chop—as I ate my cold breakfasts and grimaced at over-sweetened cups of instant coffee and sponged myself semi-clean with a rationed bit of water and a stiff, old washcloth. Chainsaws. Everywhere. Cutting apart the trees that had toppled over in the last storm—blocking roads, ripping down power lines, crushing cars and roofs and whatever unfortunate things happened to be in their paths.

    I feared my uncle might be one of those unfortunate things. I walked faster.

    He knew this was coming. The crazy weather, the longer and longer stretches we’d have to go without electricity. “One day,” he’d said, pouring me warmed brandy while we sat in front of a fire on a frosty evening, when I was not old enough to legally drink. “One day all that”—he’d waved in the general direction of the nearest town and beyond it the city where I lived with my nuclear family—“will be gone. Collapsed under its own hubris, terrorist target, whatever. We’ll all be living like this, off the grid. No texting. No cell phones. No goddamn twenty-four-seven-everything-you-want. Someone’s gotta be the wise old fool that teaches you kids how to get on with it.”

    Like he’d shown me—where to find clean water, how long to boil it if it wasn’t, what plants you could eat and which could be used medicinally. The last time I’d seen him—over a weekend when I told my parents I’d be hiking with a girlfriend and her family—he took me hunting. He preferred a bow. It took more skill, made less noise, and wouldn’t poison the groundwater with lead. He took down a small buck and showed me how to dress it. He made me promise not to tell my mother; certainly if she knew that I’d not only lied to her about where I was going but helped kill a deer, she would never permit me to leave the house again. At home, she pretended my uncle didn’t exist. There was no talk of her younger brother; any mention of her childhood included him only peripherally and with a quick change to another subject. Like he’d been committed to life in prison or done something equally mortifying.

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  10. Two

    I’d never dare tell her of my visits. Or that he’d taught me how to shoot that bow and also how to skin a woodchuck. I couldn’t help a smile at the memory. He’d been proud of me for not being “all squeamish like a girly-girl.”

    I walked faster. The chainsaws and helicopters whine-chopped off into the distance.

    To get to him on a normal weekend, I’d have to take the subway to the end of the line, then a bus, then hike three miles from the road up to his place. But the storm had rendered many of the roads impassable; the train tracks also had to be cleared of trees and debris, so it was taking some effort and detours and waiting to even get to the foot of his driveway.

    By then I was half-drenched with sweat and feeling a little lightheaded despite the stale granola and two small bottles of water I’d swiped from the pantry.

    I stopped to listen. A chainsaw—the new state bird, my father joked—buzzed from the right. Not from his house.

    I walked faster. I tried to trick myself into believing he was okay. That eventually I’d smell woodsmoke and breakfast cooking. That he’d greet me with his big easy tobacco-stained smile and hook one flannel-wrapped arm around my neck and ask about my folks and what lie I’d told them this time.

    This time? I’d told them nothing. Dad was out back fiddling with the generator and Mom was in town, trolling for supplies.

    I figured they’d never miss me, and if they did, I’d say I was helping the neighbors.

    My heart pounded as I got close enough to see what happened. There was no woodsmoke. No breakfast cooking. All I could smell was pine. Fresh and sharp, like the tree—and his house—never saw it coming. I sprinted the rest of the way, calling his name. No answer. Calling again. No answer. Then I heard it. A small whirring noise. And something like…whistling.

    I nearly fainted when I found him. Sitting in the shed out back. Where we’d dressed the deer, the woodchuck. He was seated at a lathe, holding the blade of his axe to it. Whistling something that sounded like “Go Tell it on the Mountain.” He squinted up at me and grinned.

    “Had a look at that tree, did you?”

    I could only nod.

    “Well, stick around and we’ll show it what for.”

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    Replies
    1. Wow... you had me at birdsong and took me with you all the way through... I was all prepared to weep, and then you flipped it around again... a lovely story, and I think I'd like that uncle.

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    2. I found myself...well if I could compare my reading speed to quickening my step, that's what I mentally did. What a relief. And this line grabbed me. ..."A chainsaw—the new state bird..." Brilliant.

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    3. Terrific Laurie. Builds beautifully, tight as a drum! Yay!

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    4. Yup, the new state bird got me, too. And the characterization and description and the rest... ;)

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  11. Eulogy for Stevie Part 1

    I’m not much for the month of October; that’s the one where everybody dies. Think about it, Uncle M and his twin, not three days after, then brother Dean, then the baby, then that pharmacist I’d known practically forever. Old ones and young ones, too. My cousin Stevie who shot his wife and them himself; that was in October, too, right when we thought we were finally free. Goddamn, it hurts to think about. Stevie was a Lucky boy. A Marine. Went to Nam just before it was over; came back thinking he had the world at his feet. Purple Hearts and shit. But Stevie was wrong. Hero or not, turned out he had to come back home and struggle along with the rest of us.
    He went ahead and married his childhood sweetheart. She was a pretty little thing, Kindergarten teacher. I danced at their wedding to some bad disco shit. They looked like happy people, people in love and full of hope. They didn’t know any better. Neither did the rest of us.
    He got some kinda gig in construction, built a company, has a couple of kids. They loved each other, I guess, no, I know. But didn’t realize it fully until after they were gone. We never were close especially, but even after I moved all over the damn place, chasing my dream, I know from my mother,who followed her brother’s family, that out of their nine children, eight boys and one girl, her brother’s children, Stevie and his wife were Most Likely to Succeed. She even held held him out to us as some kind of example We didn’t take her at her word.
    I remember sending a pretty card to my aunt when the girl died in a car wreck at the age of sixteen. I lost track of the rest of them. I just assumed they’d do what those boys had always done==some went military or hunted the corporate jungle. Some just went underground. We had run with them in the sandbox, we had trained them for battle in childhood games. When you’re raised in a tribe like Lord of the Flies, you learn pretty early to let people go their own way.
    And Stevie and Connie might have succeeded, except Stevie won the lottery back in ’83. Seriously. Like I said, he was a lucky man. He and Connie got so much money, it almost made me regret we hadn’t been closer. But cousins are like that; they come and they go. And before long, they were living larger than they could ever have dreamed, drowning in it, sucking on it, trying to breathe. Booze and cocaine and a big ass McMansion, excess and sychophants and private schools. Stevie wasn’t stupid, he knew dealing beat working. Stevie was trying to keep it cool.

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  12. Eulogy Part 2
    She wasn’t much better; when the money ran out she borrowed and borrowed, until she ran up the max. She couldn’t let people know. Had to keep up those appearances, so she went back to working and gave poor Stevie the axe. He was the abuser, drove them into bankruptcy. There wasn’t anywhere for her to turn, so she went to the media.
    After he shot her, they couldn’t find him. So they put my 87 year old aunt under house arrest, cordoned off the old neighborhood for twenty miles, interviewed his brothers and my mother and created a conspiracy. The media reached out to me 1500 miles away and wanted to know if I’d “seen the signs”. They interviewed his bartender, his grade school teachers and the guy who sold him the gun. He’d been saying for months he might have to kill her, but they figured he just had the blues. Nobody took him serious; it was just the bourbon talking, so nobody listened, and nobody knew.
    When reporter for the local rag, called me on the phone, I said. “I never knew him well. But I know he was a man, who was taught to be a hero, you had to have two things: Money or a gun. He exhausted both those options. But he was never a monster.”
    It took the FBI, The CIA four SWAT teams, locking down an entire community and FIVE weeks of media coverage to find the body of my cousin Stevie, an unhappy man, educated only to the notion that being a hero wad all about the money and the power of your gun, in a city park on the bluffs, in the exact spot where he had first proposed to Connie, so many years before.
    It’s probably the saddest story I’ve ever had to tell. And I can only hope, somehow, some way. I never have to tell one like it again.

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    Replies
    1. Wow... what a tale of heartbreak and woe.... I'm glad you listened to your muse!

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    2. I love the easy style of this, the matter of fact telling of it. Like everyone in an easy chair and you're relating the facts. It pulls a reader in, all the more chilling because of it.

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    3. Yup, I agree. The conversational tone makes the impact intimate and distancing at the same time. Increases the impact. You do that really well. Not quite sure how it works, but I love it.

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  13. Weird, This actually stared out to be an ordinary ghost story called The Money Cemetery, where my brother and I discovered my Depression era Granddad buried cash in Mason Jars in "the Old House" where he'd raised his kids since become the barn. But then, this happened. I'm kinda glad it did,

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  14. It felt good to breathe in the fresh air, to feel sunshine on her face again. The hospital had smelled of antiseptic, bed pans and death. Two showers later and she could still smell it all on her skin, like it had seeped into her pores. But she planned to lie on the beach until she baked all those scents away. If she peeled, all the better. One less layer of stench to deal with.

    She drummed her fingers impatiently on the steering wheel when the red light took forever to change. She wanted to be gone from here. Too many memories. Maybe the good would come flooding back but right now the bad were pulling her under. She'd been caught in an undertow once. Scariest moment of her life until just three months ago. She still dreamed of being pulled under the sickly green water, sputtering for air when she managed to fight her way back up. The salt stinging her eyes, coating her tongue, burning her nose.

    The light changed and a gust of wind pulled at the scarf around her head. With her free hand, she held it in place. His voice came back to her.

    "It's your crowning glory, Mae. Don't you dare ever dye or perm it. You'll never get that beautiful shade of red back again." She'd believed him and only curled it from time to time. But that was then. The tears stung her eyes but she blinked them back. Catching a glimpse in the rearview mirror, she saw the scarf had slipped so much it showed the scar and the pale whiteness of her head.

    She'd have to wear a hat while baking in the sun.

    She passed uneventfully through the intersection she'd avoided for weeks. No ambulances, no bright flares burned on slick pavement. The skid marks had disappeared. She thought she saw blood stains but blinked again, deciding that was her imagination. Looking back to the road, she pressed the pedal down, needing to put as many miles away from this place as possible.

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    Replies
    1. The memory of places is so strong, and you showed us that in this piece. Those moments are like photographs that we live in... thank you for telling this story.

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    2. Agreed. And the undertow analogy really resonated with me. That feeling - I've experienced it and never want to again.

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  15. Genesis 3:19

    The sunlight slanting in
    through the window,
    lingered on a bowl of fruit,
    each waxen piece siphoning dust
    from the light to immerse
    itself in a world where
    an apple or banana wears
    as much fuzz as a peach.
    No one notices this since
    no one dines on the mahogany
    table upon which the bowl sits.
    No one’s moved more than one
    of the chairs from beneath
    the table in months,
    though handprints muss
    their dusty shoulders
    on the way to the living room.
    The tablecloth has yellowed
    around the footprint rings
    of teacups which helped her read
    the morning papers, except
    for the five that rest outside
    upon the threshold. But in
    two days, her name will appear
    on page C-8 of a seventh.
    In another couple of days
    after that, sunlight will slant
    beneath the green marquee,
    lingering on the spray of roses
    atop the mahogany box.
    A twirling wind will whirl motes
    of west Texas, gilding the teary
    lilies peering over prayer books
    that, as one, proclaim,
    “dust to dust."

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    1. Oh gracious. Pulled in, I thought it would be a neglected, long forgotten relative. "...an apple or banana wears as much fuzz as a peach..." Beautiful. But by "...except for the five that rest outside..." I knew. Your ability to paint the end of life without the usual key words, incredible. Clever title too. ;)

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    2. just beautiful... and my favorite line is "lilies peering over prayer books"... so very visual, so very metaphorical.

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    3. This is so well done. Absolutely love the phrasing here: "A twirling wind will whirl motes
      of west Texas, gilding the teary
      lilies peering over prayer books "

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  16. It began when their fingers touched. Electricity. Potential. Their hands, conjoined, looked newborn on the old bar that surely knew of other such beginnings. Five rough and tan fingers, five soft and white. Like piano keys, each leaning on the other.

    Their eyes, too, found amity, brown in the tavern's dim light, but morning's light would find them to be blue and hazel.

    They tried to talk, but the honky-tonk music stood in their way, and they found themselves dancing instead. Cowboy boots, two-stepping, hands that started at the small of the back moved lower, finding the pockets with Ws sewn on.

    When the music took a break, so did they. Cold beers, the same brand. Shy smiles. Something must have been interesting on the floor, because they both looked down.

    The one with the white hat stuck out his hand and offered his name, Cody. The black-hatted one returned the favor; Jeremiah. And their eyes locked again, and there were no more words.

    Like the old-timey movies, their faces moved closer together, heads tilting left, and their hungry lips met.

    When two cowboys kiss, the hats don’t come off till later.

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    1. Oh, that last line. And the interesting floor. And the piano keys. I love this snapshot.

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    2. If I had it to do over again, I'd take out "two" in the last line... but thank you for the kind words!

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    3. Oh, I love this. The piano keys.

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  17. I was in the cane fields and he came to me when I was alone, and the dirt was warm. I felt the dirt warm on my back. The sun hit me. First my chest clenches, then I feel something warm spreading over me, it goes from my stomach to my chest to my face. It's been weeks since I left my mark.

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