Friday, November 3, 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 stream is maybe eight feet wide, but it’s deep under the tree on the opposite bank. You can see the bottom in your mind. You’ve mapped it out with lost lures and broken line and fish caught and released. You probably don’t have it perfect, but I bet you’re closer than you think. It’s been many years. You’ve stood, braced against the rushing water, for many hours. There are brookies in the stream. And you know where to find them. That seems both just and unjust.

So many things do.

But, today, it doesn’t matter. You don’t care about the fish; it’s about the ritual. Because the old man is dead, and that doesn’t make any kind of sense. But he wouldn’t want you listening to some bullshit preacher talking doggerel and nonsense. He’d want you here on the stream. And it’s where you can still feel him beside you. Still smell the cigars he smoked to keep the bugs away – even when there wasn’t a bug in sight. 

Sometimes, you gotta hold your vices tight.

You flip the bait into an eddy and watch it dance for a second before it sinks. Your finger on the line – you’ve done this a hundred times. A thousand. A million? A lot. A whole fucking lot. And this was the old man’s favorite spot. So, it is both surprising and expected when you feel the tap, tap, tap on the line. You set the hook gently, and then it’s all focus. Time disappears and it could have been thirty seconds or a minute, but suddenly you got a nice little brookie finning by your boot and, for a second, you don’t know what to do.

And that makes no sense. Until you think about it.

Who are you going to tell when you’re packing up the car? Who’s going to give a shit about one fish – even though the colors were so deep? So rich. No one cares. It’s just a fish. But he would have cared. He would have asked if you’d taken the barbs down. How much of the hook did the fish get? Did you have to take her out of the water?

The car is waiting where you left it, but it’s a truck because it’s yours. It’s not an old, brown Dodge Colt. It doesn’t smell like horehound. It doesn’t smell like anything. There are a few worms left in the can on your belt and you dump them by the car. Strictly for the birds. You hear him say it. And that’s enough. 

It’s a damn sight more than you would have gotten at church.

#2minutesgo Tweet it! Share it! Shout it from the top of the shack you live in! I will be out most of the day, but I'll be back...


  1. Is it too much? Just raise your hand if it’s too much. Don’t have to reach for the sky. This is a casual good-bye. There’s nothing personal in it. Sometimes, there is. I ain’t gonna lie. Sometimes it’s like when you got something stuck in your teeth and you can’t get it out. Shit drives you crazy, and you’d do just about anything. Stick a fucking razor in there. And you can tell yourself that it won’t bother you if you just ignore it. Hell, it didn’t bother you before you knew it was there... But you also know you’re going to worry that motherfucker all day long until it’s exorcised.

    Think of this as an exorcism. Ain’t no incense. No priests in robes. But the basic idea is the same. You don’t need to be doused in smoke or holy water. It don’t have to be so complicated.

    I know you can’t talk with that bandana in your mouth, but I imagine you have some questions, and I’ll try my best to answer them. Why? You know why. You play with fire, you get burned. That’s one of those things people say that seems stupid, but stupid doesn’t mean it ain’t the truth. Isn’t there anything you can do? No. Hell no. I’m the last stop on this train wreck. I’m the last one they call. The minute they dialed my number, your fate was sealed. Can’t I just make an exception. Fuck no. You think I want to be where you are? Piss in my pants and an old bandana in my mouth.

    I’m not the only one they can call, see?

    Go ahead and look around you, but you don’t got to be all bug eyed. Seriously, you gotta try and calm down. This is the end of the road. You might as well enjoy the view a little. See, you can see some blue sky out that window. Right in the corner where it’s broken. And you’re breathing through your nose already. Enjoy it. They’re making pastry next door by the goddamn truckload. Smells like heaven. I might have to pick some up for later.

    That’s what I mean. You don’t get a later, so you need to get what you can while you can get it. I’m not your enemy, man. I get no pleasure from this. I’m trying to make it easy on you.

    You dipped your toes in water you shouldn’t have. I understand. Lord, I’ve made mistakes.

    You just made the wrong one. Because this is one mistake you ain’t gonna learn shit from.

    1. That first piece is sheer poetry... and I hope it makes it into your next collection of fishing stories.
      And this one is scary as all get out. Some mistakes are forever.

    2. Yes, I loved that first piece, the raw beauty of it. And what Leland said about this one. Man.

    3. In the first one, I loved especially "Some times you gotta hold your vices tight." And your dead, too. Wonderful! Loved it!

    4. Everyone loves the first piece, and yes, me too. But the second is more chilling and arguably more profound. Anyway, they're both amazing.

  2. The light turned her hair a gentle red. The red was always there, but it flew under the radar. She was a brunette inside. She was lots of things inside, as we all are. But the sun can’t reveal your hopes, fears, regrets, secret longings. The light can only do so much. It can unmask a hint of green in your eyes. It can reveal that shimmer of Irish red. The sun can do so many things, but, inside, we are all darkness – darkness of different varieties to be sure, but we are all dark.


    There was a deep, black darkness that lived behind her sometimes hazel, sometimes green eyes. You didn’t notice it at first, but it didn’t take long to realize that she was all pantomime. She laughed at the right times, but she was like a vocal mime. When the laughing stopped, everything went back to blankness. Darkness.

    Done before it ever started.

    This should have repelled you, but it didn’t. This should have confused you, but you were smitten. She was like a china doll filled with maggots. She was an enigma. And you never could resist a good riddle. Most folks can’t.

    She always wanted to talk about things you don’t really HAVE to talk about. Stupid things. Surface things. They seemed genuine, but there was nothing behind the words. She’d chat about wildflowers. Wax poetic about songbirds. But if you asked questions, she demurred, leaving you to wonder if your words even mattered. Thoughts scattered, you lost yourself in the mindless chatter. Convinced yourself it was enough. Kid stuff.

    And you could never figure out why. Even now, years later, you wonder. When the sun is high and it’s changing the way you see the world...

    Hell of thing. What happened to that girl.

    1. Really, really strong... and I love the eye colors throughout... I'm always intrigued with our memories of infatuations and crushes, and the memories as they change through the years... thank you.

    2. Totally what Leland said. And the brunette hidden inside.

    3. The way she talked...Beautifully rendered.People cover so much of their darkness with small talk. Makes me shiver...

  3. She was blonde and she looked like money. Smelled like vanilla and honey. She sat across the desk and gave you those blue eyes and you knew you couldn’t trust them, but you wanted to. Instead, you flipped the cigarette case, held it toward her. She took one and you took one. Look, we’re just like real people. Having all kinds of fun.

    “My husband is trying to kill me.”

    She wasn’t big on small talk. Considering that statement almost doubled all the things she’d said since you heard her knock on the rattle-glass door.

    You smiled. No reason for it. No reason not to smile either.

    “Why would your husband want to kill you, ma’am?”

    You expected the usual. Money. Another woman. A secret affair. Jealousy. Bribery. Flattery. Battery. Hell, it was like a cheap tattoo parlor usually – pick your cliché right off this poster. We got a bunch of them. But she didn’t reach for one. She took a long drag off her smoke and closed her eyes.

    “I don’t know.”

    That was a good one. You liked it. Let it hang for a second in the smoke.

    “If you don’t know why, why do you think he’s trying to kill you?”

    “Because he’s not an idiot, and I’d try to kill me if I was him.”

    This one stopped you in your tracks, and you dropped ash on your suit. The one that came with two pair of pants. The ash fell on the grey ones. Handy.

    “What did you do that was so damn awful, lady?”

    Then, she smiled, and your blood ran cold. That’s one of those stupid things that people say. But it absolutely went cold. Like a dead fish, cold.

    “It’s not anything I did. It’s what I could do.”

    And you believed her. And, suddenly, being a private dick didn’t seem like such a great gig. Your old man was a butcher. And for a minute, you wished you were holding a cleaver. Then, you remembered Larry with the sap and threats. Lit another cigarette. Stupid, long shot bets.

    “Let’s talk expenses, doll. Then we’ll get down to your potential evil.”

    See how deep it gets?

    1. Oh yeah... gimme some of that detective fiction! I could smell the cigarette smoke... and the ink from his typewriter behind him... and the way the ceiling fan is causing a strobe effect... and you didn't write about any of that, but I can see it and smell it and feel it... that's what good flash fiction is, and this is a prime example... inviting the reader's imagination to join in the scene building and character development. Thanks for sharing this!

    2. Oh, I love it! MaderRapNoir. So spare and lets us fill in the dots.

  4. The first and the last thing I’ve done every day for seventy years is to kiss her. Sometimes, in the middle of the night, when a full moon shines on her face, I stare at her. She is still the same girl I married.

    Her name is Adelaide. Addie is what I, and no one else, call her.there is a photo of us, when we were young, making a capital A with our bodies leaning at an angle into each other, holding hands.

    Without thinking about it, we reach for each other's hand a hundred times a day. Our hands have changed through the years from cool, lithe things into arthritic knots, but still, we draw strength from each other.

    We married before the war, before I headed overseas. Our honeymoon was exactly one night long. The Brown Palace Hotel in Denver. A bottle of champagne that went flat before we finished it because kissing was sweeter.

    When I came home, she saved me from the madness that took too many soldiers. And she gave me three beautiful daughters.

    Daughters who want me to move in with them now that... I can’t even say it. And I know tonight, I will turn to her pillow before I remember there will be no more kisses, and my hand will be forever empty.

    I will carry on, because Addie would want me to, but I will never speak of her in the past tense. And A will always be the most beautiful letter of the alphabet.

    1. " hand will be forever empty." Oof. You got me in the heart with this one. Story wise, I love the return to the hands. Hands are so evocative and offer such insight. I don't know why we don't write about hands more often.

    2. Oh, so sweet. Dan posted the line I liked best.

    3. Capital A...for authentic!

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    5. Thank you all for the kind words.

  5. The moon, nearly full, shines in the graveyard, illuminating angels of white marble with selene glow. I carry a candle and matches in my pocket. I know the path well, having walked it a thousand times, but always in the daylight before.

    It is the eve of All Souls Day. If I had buried her at home, in the old country, the cemetery would be glowing with candles on every grave. But it is different here. No one remembers.

    What happens to souls that are forgotten? Do they haunt those who forget? Or do they even notice? I think they do. But it is an idle thought, for I will never forget her, never forget to honor her.

    The trees whisper, though there is no wind that I can feel. Or perhaps it is the dead who whisper. Perhaps some are jealous that she is remembered, but they are not.
    There is her resting place. In the moonlight, the grass looks gray. When I sit on the ground, I can feel the cold of the earth, stealing warmth from my body.

    My fingers trace her name in the cold stone. I place the candle, and fumble with the matches. On the third try, one ignites, and I light the candle.

    "Hello, my dear," I say out loud, even though I know she can read my thoughts. "I’ve missed you." The words hang in the air. "The garden looks lovely this year. The roses you planted miss your touch. And so do I."

    I close my eyes, calling forth the memory of her face, her blue eyes, her dimples, her lopsided smile. It comes to me, but like an old photograph, the colors fading.

    "Do you remember the night we met? Of course you do. We danced, oh how we danced. People said we danced like Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, though it was you who had all the grace."

    Strains of music welled up inside me. The Tennessee Waltz.

    I stand up.

    I swear I hear her voice. "I remember." And then I feel her hand on my shoulder, and I smell her perfume, and we dance. I dare not open my eyes, for fear of breaking the spell, and the music swells to a full orchestra. How we swirl, how effortlessly we move together.

    And the song comes to an end.

    And her hand leaves my shoulder.

    And she kisses my cheek.

    And I open my eyes.

    The candle has gone out. The moon has hidden behind a cloud. When it comes out again, all is as it was before.

    I lean down and put my hand on the earthen blanket that covers my love.

    "Good night, my dear."

    I walk back to the car, twice as far away now, it seems. I sit in the car until my tears pass.

    When I adjust the rearview mirror, I see the lipstick on my cheek.

    1. Agreed. And you are determined to make me cry. The tone and imagery make this one for me. Beautiful.

    2. It is only better to have loved and lost until you've actually lost! Bittersweet & beautiful.

  6. Last night in my dreams I revisited my unearthly city.

    Things were getting active, a thin carnival air afloat like a banner between the college and the station.

    Busy congregants, rainbow flags, milling and dispersing, froth drawn in lattes.

    Long-haired white boy with a battered Jag, southpaw girl in black, fingerpicking. Some unruffled breed of left coast mood.

    A few blocks west, in the heart of the old city, place is older than the pope—leaden roofs, water spots on the ceilings, stone and brick facades begrimed, soot and mildew conspiracies lined up to dare to undermine us.

    Forever betrayed by AWOL landlords.

    Christ. We stopped in the road before we got here, stock still in a surge of brown sludge while we blinked and tuned our instruments. A cloud of wasps swirled overhead until they selected leniency. Moved on. We both did, all did. Found our niche, learned our secret selves, cried witless sidewinder love amid indica dreams, released livewire doves above a field of cranes, serial killers, statistical umbrellas, effluent, cupping in our stigmatic palms our entire reassembled DNA.

    "I love you, material girl."

    "You total sap, ethereal boy."

    Make a well with your hands and hold the liquid sun. Dispense its dewy gold in ways you see fit. I will swallow what you offer, nod when you make demands, bow to you. To it. You are my receptacle, and I am now your spout; clasp this sacrifice and erase all doubt. That which unfolds within is doubled without. It's lucid, doxxed, subservient, a shaky route running beside the oxen, battling chromosomes, rewriting countless pages, horns… flippant, ardent, genetic, recurrent.

    The library in Swift Current. Remember that? A late Saskatchewan afternoon in fall. The sun dipping low, no phone, no laptop, a need to communicate. Our poet of the prairies gone, will anyone remember this if I forget to draft it?

    He killed the living fuck out of himself, didn't he? Long before discarding him, I envied him.

    But yes. Things got tense, went south-southwest. We found a cabin deep in the trees, a dubious escape hatch. You laughed when I said I'd keep us warm, but I kept us warm, foraging for kindling, sparking a flint, building a fire from twig to branch to trunk. The bullet in your midriff worked its way inside, and however much you tried to laugh, I saw the panic in your eyes, the blunt and obtuse dimming of your light.

    Without you, I am nothing. Don't die. Please don't die.

    You died.

    Love and disappointment, fond planetary light and its chill shadow, will stalk us to our last reluctant breaths.

    I swept the parchment monarchs and the fallen hummingbirds, built of them the driest pyre. Alone, I found the edges of my city once again. Staggered into an urban patch, a battalion of grime, a place where grunge once thrived that now approximated ruined, tearless hives. Designated merciless, a spice-bound nest. What and where are you? By whom are you condemned or damned or blessed? The place you lived has been abandoned, echoless, and always I must clarify your plans and glean your schemes, and come at last to rest.

    1. Wow. I hold my breath, I realized, when I read your work. Like a mosaic, you lay down the words and their meanings and their sounds... parchment monarchs... lucid, doxxed, subservient, a shaky route running beside the oxen, battling chromosomes, rewriting countless pages, horns… flippant, ardent, genetic, recurrent... you change genres and tenses fluidly and effortlessly... thank you for this.

    2. Okay this is a wow!The cadence of the language is all there, man. You could say prayers to that same internal rhythm.

    3. Agreed. I was holding my breath too. There is too much to highlight. I love the Kerouac-y bits. That P after the dialogue and the last P. Not that they overshine the others. Goddamn, the whole thing shines, man. You CRUSHED it this week.

      "You died." I literally felt the force of those words.

    4. Oh. Yes. Holding breath. This: "Found our niche, learned our secret selves, cried witless sidewinder love amid indica dreams, released livewire doves above a field of cranes, serial killers, statistical umbrellas, effluent, cupping in our stigmatic palms our entire reassembled DNA."

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  8. The night is dark and cold, the full moon hidden behind a bank of clouds, and the glow in the distance calls to you. You are so weary, and the warm light is a beacon for your sorrow, a balm for your loss, a sleepwalker’s companion. Pinpricks of dancing candle flames form the arms of the cross extending to the walls of the shrine. You are late to the offerings; the shelter is quite full. You remember coming here before, and what you brought. You lit a candle for her, called her name, set down a small token that reminded you of her. Almost by rote you left your house on the first night of the Day of the Dead with something of hers in your pocket. A dried blossom, a poem, a picture she would have found amusing. Tonight you have nothing, because everything of her is now gone. You think of what you could have brought. The romance novel she urged you read, every time you visited. The nail polish bottles she insisted you take, although you never wore it. All gone now. The house isn’t even there anymore. But this shrine is. It’s quiet; too late for visitors. You’ve always come late, to have your privacy, to say the things you never had the courage to before. A different thought is on your lips this night as you approach. “You want to know why I left him.” Silence. The candles flicker. There are no answers. At least, there are no good answers. No undoing what has been done. You can now only hope for forgiveness, and that he might find something good enough about life to continue. Maybe he too felt the tug to return to this place, and you scan the offerings for remembrances he may have brought. There are photos of people you don’t recognize. Tiny Bibles and teddy bears and… You bring a hand to your neck. The strand of pink-tinted fake pearls you once adored lay among some drawings you remember giving him, the copy of The Velveteen Rabbit you loved until it was nearly falling apart and…a wedding ring. Yours. The anguish scares you backward, out of the sheltering walls, and you wail into the night.

    1. Amazing work, Laurie. Perfectly wrought, not a word out of place and SO evocative!

    2. Wow. Agreed. I can't even think of anything constructive to say. This is an epic piece of flash. Fantastic work.

    3. omg... the whole thing, but the last line, like a beautiful bow on a present... just amazing.

  9. The cube vibrated and began to flash.

    "It's for you," the creature said, handing it across to me. He had an earnest look about him as far as I could tell. I wasn't used to alien physiology, of course. He could just have easily been angry or trying to seduce me, for all I knew.

    "Oh." I wasn't the most suitable person to do this. In all the films I'd seen, the aliens had come to earth in huge spaceships, their arrival detected days or even months in advance. Everything was always ready in place for them; the military circling and the government leaders there waiting for them, hands outstretched, hoping they could be the ones to make history.

    I was a nobody and there'd been no warning at all. The spaceship was a doorway which had always been there; the only change to it being the space it opened into.

    I was trying very hard not to think about that.

    The alien was a little more comfortable to consider.

    The creature was taller than me and blue and slender. It had no clothes that I could make out, but it didn't seem naked, having no obvious reproductive organs.

    I called it Eric.

    The cube was six inches long on all its sides and light and warm and malleable. It had a vaguely organic feel to it; as though it was covered in leather. Or it could have been skin. It could have been alive for all that I knew.

    "You have to put your head inside it," Eric told me. He looked patient: he was obviously used to dealing with other species. I wondered why he chose to greet me of all the people he could have selected. I didn't understand him at all.

    I wondered what his name really was.
    I lifted the cube to my face, one hand on either side of it.

    "Go on," Eric said. "You won't break it."

    I pushed my head forward, not knowing what to expect. The front of it warped and then clung to my face.


    I emerged into the place I’d seen beyond the doorway, its strangeness no longer troubling me. I saw a small child with its head inside what looked like my cube, its faces glowing a cool, calming rose pink. I raised my hand to greet it.

    My arm was long, blue and slender.

    1. wow! this turns my head inside out. Nicely done!

  10. Friday, I saw the dark brown smudge rising to the sky over the river and I knew. I just knew its feel, look, sound, and haunting aroma.

    I’d had more than a few of these affairs when I was young and thought they existed for my artistic interpretation. The newsroom scanner would beep-boop-beep as its voice summoned the fire companies…and me.

    I would race with them, drawn by that sign in the sky, like some scribbling magus set on Bethlehem. I’d see the smoke belch a column so rank, so thick from a portal eaten through the roof, or twining together from broken windows, you would think you could climb it like Jack’s beanstalk.

    I’d interview the inferno, making notes of what she wore, how she stood, how the bright lights glinted in her shattered eyes, and how those eyes glowed gold and orange in a mesmerizing seduction I couldn’t resist. The freezing water she drank framed her as some angry crystal phantasm, scorching faces in hellish ferocity all the while we suitors shivered in the mist from what I’m sure was January’s frightful chill.

    When her show was over, I’d go back to the paper to write her birth notice and obit. Later I’d stumble teary-eyed to my tiny flat, shuck my stinking clothes in the corner of the room, feel her scratchy touch on my skin, smell her fetid perfume on my body, knowing she’d be with me for days. Then we’d sleep, skin against skin, intimate and codependent, until I met my next one.

  11. 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."

    1. Ah... what a paean... and I love the light throughout... the last line is perfect "teary lilies peering over prayer books"... just wonderful.

  12. “Hey, is that you? Thanks for calling, Honey. Been awhile.”
    “Me? Doing okay, I guess. Appreciate your tag on Facebook. Didn’t get it until a couple of days ago. They’re fucking with the ratings again, I guess. But believe me, if I’d posted a GIF of what it looks like inside my mind, you woulda thanked me for not sharing! ”
    “Wrong? Nothing’s wrong. Just a tough week. The whole thing. Like pulling fucking teeth. Clients who won’t pay, everybody wanting something cheap. Oh, did I mention my girl? Pregnancy scare. Remember when you took me to my first OBGYN appointment? Imagine it now. Arkansas.
    “No, she’s not, thank god. At least, not now. Don’t know how anybody could want kids in this world. She’s feeling that; I don’t blame her. I keep saying: ‘The universe provides’, she keeps saying, ‘the evidence indicates otherwise, Ma. They keep saying we are all created equal. Tell that to a single Mom making minimum.’
    “I know, right? What about you?
    “Aw girl, If they were doing to my retirement what they were doing to yours? I’d be transferring balances, too.”
    “Hubs? He’s okay. Yeah, I got him into this research study for hernia surgery, did I tell you? At first he was, like, no way. Bu then when he found out how much the premiums were going up? He can it it repaired for free, just to be a guinea pig? Yeah he got it. Even on Medicaid it’d cost us two grand we don’t have. This way, he gets paid 800 for being part of the control group.”
    “Sure he;s eligible next year, but even at this year’s , it’s 3 large out of pocket.
    “Me? Me? I’m okay. Hanging on. Trying to do the things that make me happy. Submitting writing. But even that’s weird now, you know? I mean, you got to identify as something before you can even submit a godamn STORY, okay? Okay, I’m not black, queer, gay, or trans. I don’t even have a gripe much less a story to write about how pissed off I am. I can’t because I’m privileged or something. But nobody wants to read that. Ever noticed how all the things you used to do have become passé?
    “Comfort food, speaking out, And when you get up off your ass and march or sign a petition? All you get are ads telling you you’re not doing it right? That all they really need is your money? It’s got me down, girl. It’s got me down.
    “But I don’t mean to do this. Hell, I’m as optimistic as they come, right?
    “ Did I mention my brother started his annual fight with me? I swear, every fucking November, he starts some fight about his family failed him, about how the world isn’t what he expected it to be. He’s the Victim. Okay? And it’s all over the really simple fact that he just can’t stand the fact that this year, he might actually have to give somebody a Christmas present without expecting something better back. Jesus Christ, the only thing worse than a 45 is a guy who thinks just like him without any money.
    “Are you sorry you asked? I’m sorry, too. Didn’t mean to dump. Like I said, the whole week’s been like pulling teeth. Only without anesthetic because we can’t afford the insurance.”
    But like old dubbya said ‘Enduring Freedom’. And we’ll do it, girl. We’ll endure. It’s like that old song: ‘The great relief of having someone to talk to.’ ”

    1. ah, how many millions you speak for in this piece... sad, true, and harrowing. And well-written.

  13. Six years ago, it seems so long, when dreams of mine soared and flew;

    A man I met, tall and strong, befriended me through the internet;

    A captain he was, in the Army, but kind and funny with loose of jaws;

    A promise he made, joking and jovial, but little he knew I meant what I said;

    “If I die before you can drink, legal I mean, then the Army you’ll join, seems fair I think?”

    And so that was the deal, morbid I know, but he thought it was funny but fate was sealed;

    A week to the future a letter I saw, shocked I was, and so dropped my jaw;

    He was dead, but a promise I kept;

    So now I serve, to uphold the deal;

    He was dead, I am alive, but a promise I kept.

    1. This is sweet, profound, and beautiful... kept promises are rare, and this is a good one.

  14. The last guy who sat in this seat was a war hero I heard. He was the ace who never flew. Eight confirmed kills from the bottom of the plane, can you imagine? Shit, man, and they wanted me to replace him?

    Before the war I ran newspapers for our local printing company. I had a pretty good eye, I’d say. I liked that job too. I mean, a 19 year old young man like myself could probably do better but Mr. Ridley said I’d become a printer myself if I kept running the papers.

    The air was cold, but this jacket was pretty damn warm. It was better than the one mama bought for me back home, which would’ve made her steaming mad if she heard me say that, heh.

    Our pilot was a nice guy. I heard he had three kids and a mansion on the hill, but I was skeptical. He had been flying for a while though, so I trusted him.

    I’m sitting in this crappy, cramped glass ball now and I hate it. The trainer felt more comfortable than this. The guns were loaded and I tried to adjust myself to make the flight easier, but I barely had time to scratch my ass before the first flak shell rattled the whole plane.

    I don’t think anyone understands how scary being a gunner is, let alone being the guy in the glass testicle on the bottom of the big slow target in the sky. It’s like having a bigger target painted on top of the target already on you.

    The flak scares me more than the planes do, because the planes have limited ammunition. The flak just keeps rumbling and rumbling, like a thunderstorm right on top of a country home that threatens to rip it apart at any second.

    Every time I see a plane, I just go for it. I just hold down the trigger and let loose the dogs of war, and if I squint right, sometimes the plane bursts into flames and tumbles away like a ballerina with a broken leg. But one of these days, it’ll be us plummeting from the sky. I only hope that I’m but a splatter on the inside of the turret before I feel the engines fail.

  15. If there's any one single person you should listen to in the world, it's yourself.

    And your parents.

    And your teachers...

    And your boss...

    Jesus Christ. Who am I supposed to listen to?

  16. Long fingers type, ghostly white in the bright light;

    Soft yawns escape, floating away into the night;

    A grumble here, a mumble there, a deadline at midnight;

    'I promise I'll sleep...oops, is that sunlight?'

    1. This is the one work out of my many that I'll title. I call it, "Tribute to Studious Girlfriend"

    2. LOL... humor and despair wrapped tightly. Nicely done!

  17. "I fucking love nuts, man."

    "Yeah I know, right? So salty and smooth in your mouth-"

    "Bro I'm eating cashews you mong."

    "Oh. I mean, they're salty and smooth until you crunch them up in anger."

    "I pity any guy who gets with you. Maybe your aggressive nut crunching is the reason nobody wants to be with you."

    "Please. I'm a Venus fucking fly trap. They won't know what hit them until- snap!"

    At this point I try not to spit bits of lightly salted cashews, biting my lip in the process. The salt stings, but I'm still laughing.

    "Amaya, you're not a fly trap. You're a fly."

    "And what the fuck do you mean by that?"

    "Small and annoying.

    "Hah-hah very origin-"

    "You also eat shit."

    That earns me a punch in the side, but we're both laughing. God, I'm so glad I met her, she's the best friend anyone could have. I mean, it cost me an arm and a leg to get used to her, but I suppose it's the same with anyone trying to get along with a Werewolf.

  18. "Forward Command to Mobile Suit Alpha, do you copy?"


    "Command to Alpha! Do you copy?"

    "It's no use, Command, we've lost him."

    "Damn...Roger, Command to Lockjaw, direct fire-teams Beta and Tango to the Northern F.O.B, we need reinforcements."

    "Copy, Lockjaw oscar mike."

    I watched the other pilot take off, jets flaring as he took off into low orbit. I sneered, but thank god the Mobile Suits don't have faces. It was already an amazing feat of technology to have massive killing machines the size of small sky scrapers, but movable faces would be pointless and waste time and effort.

    I've been posted on clean up duty again, and that just entails picking up broken pieces of other mobile suits for the R&D team. I hate it. They know I'm capable, and I sure as hell could smash up another MS just as hard as any one of those new Federation models that Alpha, Lockjaw, and any of the other fire-team leaders have.

    You don't get to name your Mobile Suit, even after three months of service, like they said. Your Fire-Team leader names it for you.

    "Roger, Lockjaw to Roadrash, drop the scrap collecting and reinforce South side, two tangos inbound!"

    They call me Roadrash simply because I got my clock cleaned once and the left half of my Mobile Suit's face looks like a biker with bad uh...road rash.

    I mean, it could also be because most of my gear was something a punk biker might use in a nasty street fight, but I just figured they didn't like me. I was unorthodox.

    Spotting two enemy MS on the radar, I directed Roadrash and activated my treads, zooming along on bad-ass versions of roller-skates. Upon reaching the area, I could see they were certainly not friendly. A volley of rifle fire almost put some nasty holes in my chassis. Grabbing the adamantium-titanium alloy hook from my waist, I swung it around and sent it flying towards the closer of the two, snagging him by the shoulder like a fish on a rod.

    "Hook, line, and sinker!"

    "Get off me, Federation Scum!"

    I liked keeping open-coms with the enemy, mostly so I could shit talk them while I put them out of action. Reeling in the hook via the winch powered by four V16 Diesel Engines, each cranking out close to 3650 HP, I caught the other suit by the face and slammed them into the ground, wrenching my hook free, before picking him up and using him as a shield. The other suit was mag-dumping, but thankfully his buddy here was thick enough to stop everything.

    At the end of it all, I had an almost fully intact suit (minus a head), and one filled with bullet holes.

    "Roadrash to Lockjaw, South secure."


    "Roadrash to Lockjaw, copy?"


    "Roadrash to command, copy."


    Shit. Communications were down. That was never good. Especially since I just picked up four more suits on the radar. It's always the rookie that gets jumped, isn't it?

  19. Do you remember the night the stars rained in Colorado skies and the fire was mostly embers and I asked if I could kiss you and you answered with a kiss?

    Do you remember how your eyelashes made butterfly kisses on my cheeks and neither of us noticed the mosquitoes until it was too late?

    Do you remember how we fit together as we slept, just slept together in one sleeping bag that night?

    And how just before the sun came up we watched the full moon kiss the western horizon, so big and so close we touched it and said goodbye to the stars, and then we turned around to watch the sunrise?

    If only the dementia had waited just one more day, just one more month, just one more year, but I remember for both of us now, until we both can touch the moon again, and watch the stars rain down.

    May I kiss you?

  20. In the hollow of the tree, in the glade that only you and I know, I stashed a treasure. When we are old, we will return to that tree, that glade, that sylvan glade, and we will take it out, and we will remember yesterday, and we will laugh together.

    No, I won’t tell you what it is. For all the coming years, you will wonder, and I will smile as you ask.

    We shall marry, perhaps have children, perhaps not. From one end of the earth to the other we will travel, but no place will hold the magic of that tree, of that glade. We will compare every mountain, every ocean, every forest to that place, and they shall come up lacking.

    And one day, one day, when we are old, we will return, and we will dance again, with our wrinkly skin and creaking bones, but there we will believe, we will be young again.
    And I will put my hand in the hollow of the tree, in that sylvan glade, and I will reveal, at last, the treasure, and we will know how rich we’ve been all along.

    No. I won’t tell you what it is, not until then.

  21. "So that's one of the things I can do," she said.

    George stared at his foot; at the roots that were already slipping into the soil searching for sustenance. He moved it quickly away, tucking his knees up against his chest. He reached out for his shoes.

    "You can undo this, right?"

    Katy stretched to her full height, arching her back with grace so it seemed she was an integral part of the woodland. She was so slim and so still and had become quite ethereal.

    "If I wish." She moulded herself to the tree behind her, her naked skin assuming the texture of its bark. She began to darken, and her arms grew slimmer, her fingers turning green as they became more stem-like.

    "So, you will," said George, now tying up his laces. "This is unnatural. You've got to stop it. You've got to change yourself back too. It might not take properly, and I'd be stuck like this." He began to stamp his feet, trying to bring the sensation back into them, not liking the dead feeling now rising above his ankles.

    Katy yawned, her eyes now closed. She had begun to sprout in the softer places enclosed by the angling of her joints. Small buddings of leaves had already appeared in the 'V' between her legs and a blooming of lichen was now spreading across her chest. "You said you wanted to go back to nature with me this weekend. What better way than this, my love?"


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