Friday, December 1, 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.

They were just an ordinary couple. And I’m not trying to be dismissive. I know no one is ordinary. What I mean is that they didn’t stand out. Not in a bad way. They looked like they were meant to be there. Like the paintings on the walls and the soft opera through the speakers and the tart, strong smell of coffee. They made me wish I was more ordinary. Because they looked happy. Maybe not even happy – they looked content. It made me jealous. I feel happy sometimes, but I never feel content.

They were leaning in towards each other, eyes calm and peaceful. I was tapping a spoon against the edge of the table and wondering why I quit smoking. Then remembering. Then, I decided to order a drink. But I can’t do that anymore either. I’m not ordinary enough for that shit. Makes me extraordinary. And it takes a toll. 

So, I sat and watched the human furniture and tried to balance my judgement with my longing. The snow fell outside, and I wondered how long it would be before it got old and dirty – sullied. I wondered if it would fall all night. Cover the city and give us a brief respite – a break from these holiday meanderings.

The couple in the corner were talking about what they’d scored on Black Friday. I chuckled. It’s all black, I thought. Every day. All day. There is no light.

Light is for ordinary people. The lucky bastards.

#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. This makes me want more. More detail, more story. It's great as it is, but it could easily be a part of so many larger stories.

    I love the sensory details in this, and I love the mood and emotion. Everything about this piece drags you right into it. But this might be my favorite bit: "I’m not ordinary enough for that shit. Makes me extraordinary. And it takes a toll."

    1. Felt the same. I loved the human furniture and the line "Light is for ordinary people." I also wanted more.

  2. Dumb down the world, slip under the bar. Who ever thought it would get quite this far? Mudslinging, craft of political trade; don’t trouble yourself with the mess that they made. Hide under the skirts of the lady in green while the children of immigrants cower, unseen. What does it matter whose kids that we kill; they can’t vote for us, they never will. Tell us a story we all want to hear, tell us that you will protect us from fear. Hey, over here, come see this cool game! It has whistles and bells and a scapegoat to blame. Pay no attention to what they call news. Go lower. No, lower. We’ll keep you amused…

    1. Bam! That was the sound of the mic hitting the floor. You probably could have guessed, but I like this one a lot. The rhyme scheme and rhythm are ON POINT. Dope piece of flash.

  3. Being part of a family was nothing like Claudia had imagined it would be. Of course, she’d stopped imagining such things when she was still small, young enough to conjure dreams of being cuddled on a father’s lap or having a mother sing her to sleep. She was fourteen now, nearly a woman grown, and she had no mother or father. Instead she had Thomas and Kate. Claudia was too old for cuddles, and while Kate had a nice enough voice, most of the songs she knew were of the bawdy, boisterous variety. And then there was Kate’s brother, Oliver, a grumpy old soul in a boy’s body.

    Of course, she’d likely be grumpy too if she’d been hurt and had to lie around in a stuffy room instead of being out of doors in the glorious summer sunshine. Still, he was nothing like the brother—or more often, sister—she’d imagined having, and they did not spend their time hatching plots and sharing secrets. Mostly she read to him or played quiet games with him or listened to him talk about how much he missed the life he’d had before he was injured.

    She’d much rather be hatching plots.

    Still, she counted herself lucky. So what if she didn’t get lap cuddles and bedtime stories? So what if she didn’t have someone to share confidences with? Who cared that her mother-figure swore at the horses and went about in trousers or that Claudia had to tell her father-figure when she’d broken some societal rule because he had no idea how young ladies were supposed to behave? Not Claudia. Not one bit. Her family might be small and unconventional and downright odd, but they were hers, and she would her very best to be as good to them as they were for her.

    1. I love the contrast of expectation vs reality. This is a really tight little piece of writing, G. "She’d much rather be hatching plots." - I love that line and it stands alone so well.

  4. It was cold. Men were dying. Some were lying. Some were crying.

    War is hell. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

    My helmet was so cold, frost began to coat the edges of it. The ragged blanket I'd sewn together from torn coats, shirts, and scraps of cloth did nothing but cling to my shivering, tired body. We'd been holding this trench for god who knows how long. Some of our guns were so cold and frozen, they didn't even fire.

    The worst of it, was that we were ordered to stay here until either the Germans retreated or died. I would've rather died by now, and I was almost envious of the men who closed their eyes and never woke up again. As I poked my head up over the trench, my tired and sore eyes scanning the battlefield, I noticed a few German soldiers peering back at me; at us. One of them noticed me, but when I stared back, he grinned at me. It was a tired, beaten, and bruised grin, but it was...oddly reassuring to see. I returned the smile, and even threw in a curt head nod. For the first time, I didn't feel as though my helmet might become a bowl for my brains at any given moment.

    "Joey, what you starin' at?"

    The young boy looked up at me, lips blue and upturned in curiosity. He'd been in this trench as long as the rest of us. He deserved to be home with his family right now, celebrating the holidays.

    "Nothing. Some Jerry was smiling at me and I thought it'd be nice to smile back."

    "Really? Wait, is he still there?"

    The boy hopped up surprisingly quick, sticking his face out over the edge of the trench. I turned back- and realized nearly their entire trench was staring at us. That set me on edge. Maybe they were about to attack. Our Commanding Officer noticed how tense we all were, and steadied us, giving the command to defend. The Germans seemed to be whispering to each other with varying levels of emotion, before slowly crawling out of their own trench.


    Our CO's voice was laced with a shiver as a cold wind blew past, flapping the cloaks of the slowly advancing Germans. It was then that I noticed the small parcels they were all holding. Not a single gun or grenade was in sight.

    "Sir, they ain't got no guns. We can't shoot 'em if they's surrenderin'!"

    The young boy, still young enough to be innocently naive, looked up at the Commander.

    "They're the enemy. We need their land. We must-"


    The enemy officer shouted into the still, frozen air, and all of our heads swiveled. That wasn't any order we were familiar with...

    "Sir, what'd he say?"

    "...Hold on a second, Johnny."

    The whole German line then held out white boxes with red crosses painted on them. They looked like hand made boxes of...bandages? Were they taunting us with their superior first aid supplies?

    1. "Nimm diese Bandagen für deine Männer!"

      "...shit, boys."

      "What is it sir?"

      "I want you to grab all the coffee, cigarettes, blankets, whatever you can find and climb out of the trench."

      Very confused, and mighty cold, we did as we were told, each of us carrying whatever we could hold. I myself grabbed a can of beans, a coat I had taken from a dead man, and my sewing kit and crawled out of the trench.

      What happened next will be a story for me to tell until my grand-kids got grand-kids.

      The German officer presented our officer with a box of chocolates, and for the first time in forever, he looked more like a man than a soldier. We were all just men, in the end. The man who had smiled at me and presented me with a box of what looked like dice and cards, along with a notebook filled with English and German translations. I handed him the can of beans and the coat- for he didn't have one.

      "Thank you."

      My eyes shot open, staring this smiling, shivering man right in the face. He'd just spoken English to me. A German had just spoken to me in my native language.

      "'re welcome...?"

      "My English...not good, I know. Sorry."

      "Your English is pretty good, don't worry."

      "My name is Jörg. What yours is?"


      For the rest of the day and into the night, even, we smoked, ate, even gambled with the men who'd been trying to end our lives. I helped Jörg fix his shirt, and he taught me how to play cards. People built fires and made stew and men lined up just to get a big spoonful of hot stew and beans and whatever assortment of food we could cook up. Jörg and I shared the can of beans I'd gave him.

      "This not bad. German make better."

      "Yeah, you probably do."

      That made him laugh, and for the first time in months, I laughed as well. I laughed with him.

      You'd never have believed this if someone else told you about it, but it was like Christmas away from Christmas. Who knows how long it'll be before we start trying to kill each other again, but god, I hope it's a long, long time. I'll be home soon. Keep some of that delicious pork roast you always make for me.


      Samuel Baker

    2. (This was inspired by the Christmas Truces of WWI. Happy Holidays, all!)

    3. Happy Holidays! This is a great story and the writing is just beautiful. The internal rhymes and assonance work so well. And I love this line: "...he looked more like a man than a soldier. We were all just men, in the end."

  5. He was waiting for me now. He’d be sipping at his drink or sitting watching other people. He was always able to entertain himself. It was what had attracted me to him that time we first met; both of us at one of Carla’s parties. She was a legend in the city and her celebrations were occasions that everybody who was notable would be found at - the rich and the influential and those who could be – if you ever received an invite you were made.

    I reapplied my lipstick, filling in to the outline, leaving it matte. I rearranged my hair and wished I’d brought something to hold it a little better, taking care to remould it so it was almost as it had been. Harper was a tactile man still, that would never change, and he did like to take a hold; his hands always busy. That was another thing I’d like, back then. Of course, that was then, six years ago. We were both different people now.

    We’d got on from that first sighting of each other. He’d been sitting at his table, with a group of other financials, and I’d been at mine with the girls. I’d been bored – there’s nothing worse than being at a party with close friends who’ve husbands or babies – but I’d been dutiful and polite for what seemed like hours. I was on my third drink and getting quieter by the sip when I saw him looking directly at me. At first, I looked away, studying the napkin I’d refolded but when I raised my eyes once more they aligned with his again.

    1. The visual detail here is impressive, my friend. This is a very controlled and well constructed piece. You put me right there.

  6. Maybe your mama didn’t raise you right. Maybe you’re fine, and I’m just uptight. I got this thing, though. Call it a compulsion. One of many. I feel like I shouldn’t shit on other people’s shoes. Like I should try to be civil and polite. Maybe that’s the part of me that grew up in the south and won’t quite die. I call old women ma’am sometimes, and they look like they want to cry. Point being, I try to live my life in a way that doesn’t negatively affect yours. Sound absurd?


    I see it in your grin. You don’t give a shit, and you think that’s how you win. You’ll learn. Maybe. You already got a bunch of years on me, and they didn’t seem to do much good. But it’s something to think about. Something you might WANT to think about. I sure think you should.

    Everybody’s got their buttons, and you’re leaning on mine. The siren’s gonna go off without a warning though. Don’t know why. Maybe that’s all the moving around – left me feeling like I was left out. Lost somewhere in the rye. All I know is it’s going to happen, and we’re both going to regret it. And you’re going to think: shit, it wasn’t even a big deal. And I’m gonna think: shit, you idiot. I tried to tell you.

    You didn’t want to listen.

    And I get that – not wanting to listen. But it’s an interesting aspect of the human condition. If you don’t listen, you end up with six feet of pissed off motherfucker in your face – which will be quite a stark contrast to the way you think I was raised. I listened to my Mama. She told me not to get mad. She taught me to bottle that shit up until the mixture was nuclear. Those are the fumes you’re smelling.

    They’re coming from my cellar.

  7. Imma gonna try and finish this tomorrow, but of Course, I could go on and on...

    Paul rode hard, the horses’ hooves thundering along the dirt road to the Proxxy farm.
    “The fascists are coming!” His voice broke. The fascists are coming!”
    Light flooded an upstairs window as the lamps were lit, traveling down the stairwell as Old Man Proxxy came to the front door, a semi-automatic rifle slung across his shoulder.
    “Get the fuck out of here, boy! I had enough bad news for one day!”
    “But Mr. Proxxy , sir, I saw ‘em myself. Down by the river. Alert thy neighbors, help me raise the cry!”
    Paul approached, him, hands raised. “Don’t shoot! I promise you, it’s true!”
    “ Get out boy, I gotta TV like everybody else and didn’t see nothing like that on the news. Besides, you gonna wake up my wife. She’s got anxiety disorder.”
    Not knowing what else to do, Paul mounted up and rode on, hollering as he approached the Adams’ place. He tumbled from his steed struggling to catch his breath. John Adams emerged in his night shirt and night cap, giving him a curious comical look, like the Elf on the Shelf.
    “Revere?” He squinted in the darkness. “ What are you on about?”
    “The British are coming! The Brit….” He gasped.
    Adams shushed him. “ Oh that, don’t believe everything you read, man. No cause for concern.”
    “But I saw them myself, the redcoats, down by the river. Armies of them.”
    “Nothing to be concerned about. Nothing at all. Met with them this afternoon, as a matter of fact. Behind closed doors, of course.” Adams glanced furtively over his shoulder, the pompom on his knitted stocking cap, making him sneeze. “thing of it is, Paul you’re an artist, right? But in order to really succeed in this world, you got to be a businessman, too. Capiche?”
    Despairing, Paul sadly mounted his horse. “You sir, are no patriot!”
    Adams raised his fist as he rode away. “And you, young man, are a fool!”
    Unnerved, Paul stopped at Benjamin Franklin’s. Ben was out in the field as the storm brewed to the North, playing with a kite on a string.
    “The fascists are coming !” he bellowed above the wind.
    Franklin giggled hysterically as electricity danced along the string. “I know! Is it not a miracle? This is almost worth the cost of the French and Indian war! Technology, young man! Watch how I have harnessed the power of Nature! Witness my triumph. Of course, I stole the idea, but those Frenchmen will never see it to its true potential, will they? Too stuffy, that lot! Too resistant to Real change! With this, we will become masters of the world!”

  8. Once we include all the things we think, it will be so much bigger than a novel.

    Everything grows then dies. Which itch do we deign to scratch?

    Them charcoal peaks off a ways. Daubed like watery oils on horizons, come eve, come dawn. You feel you could ride out to meet them and never reach 'em, even if you rode a hunnerd years straight. Our place is flat. This land is flat. Flat's pretty much everthin' we see. But we also see those peaks like hunched gray notions or long-abandoned questions. And we keep on dreaming up brand new strife.

    She woke and could barely see, let alone summon answers. She tried to squint and found her left eye a tad more operational. She lay still and breathed her own damp flannel funk while taking visual inventory.

    She was lucky because she liked herself.

    Had I been there, I might even have loved her right there and then. Loved her and hoped she'd love me back.

    But that ain't the story, and the folks that rode into town, made their sly inquiries, then made a beeline for her place, had no such sentiments.

    She never brushed her teeth that morning 'cause she had no reason to believe it was any special kind of morning. She woke to the taste of pepper chicken and sickly gin-based sediment. Had she brushed her teeth the night before, in accordance with habit? Maybe. She thought so, but she had to admit she was doubtful.

    She did swallow a skinful of water, though, this bright morn. Head back, gullet tight, abandoned.

    A bovine pelvic hitch.

    You think you know rape. Well, you don't. You don't. Ain't about bitterness or poontang or power, none of that. You can't reduce it to a single component, and you can't raise it on some pedestal it don't merit. It's a weak fist and a standup flinch, brutal and unblessed. It's near as bad as it ever gets, cocksure and cuntstruck, but it ain't no singular evil. It screams endless, chews up multitudes, rends tenets, tears ardor.

    The air in a room is more spray, fine unholy beads coughed scarlet from these ruined pneumatic plights.

    Bless this mist. Preach it. Senseless conflict governs and defines our species.

    The aspen shudders like the northern nightscape quakes—green, yellow, gold, ochre, blazes, rage—our dear, demented earth pitching fits.

    Something familiar, rhymes with "I'll kill ya," it ain't just the night but the day of the hunter. Who sure ain't right no more.

    Hear this. Speak this. Hurry. The quailing breath of some tracked, exhausted quarry. The peripheral ticking of a vehicle claimed by a ditch.

    Humans. Each of you ask, am I hunter or prey? Unclasped, I want your tusks. Your horns. Your sultry pelt. Your soft underbelly. Your goddamned humidity. What about you do I relinquish now? What about me do you wreck?

    "What are you? What do you relish?"

    "I'm a girl."

    "What's your goal?"

    "Don't matter."

    "I disagree."

    "Yeah, you would. Play a song for us. Walk on two strong legs and shriek at the heavens."

    "You ain't right in the head, bitch."

    "Uh-huh. Pay it back. Pay it all back, you terrible, terrible motherfucker."


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