Friday, February 9, 2018

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.

It was the kind of green you could almost taste, and it stretched for miles. This must be what Ireland looks like, I thought. It was a dumb thing to think, but my mind was snatched by the vast, verdant fields. I think I even said that phrase to myself. And then felt dumb about it. I do that a lot.

The point is that, when you’re confronted with that much of any color, it can be mind-boggling. And I don’t like the term ‘mind-boggling’ – but I use it a lot. I know. That doesn’t make sense. Things don’t make sense to me a lot of the time.

Going to stare at grass like you expect it to give you answers.

I guess I could have gone to look at water, or trees, or skyscrapers. There were lots of choices. I don’t know why I settled on grass. Maybe because there was a big old patch of grass nearby and I’m lazy. Maybe because I think the color green should mean something. Gatsby, old chap. Growth. New opportunities. Literature classes refuse to let green just be green.

I did run my fingers over the grass. I did pluck a blade of grass and put it between my thumbs to make a whistling sound. I did run, briefly, before I remembered that I was old and running is not as fun when you’re old. I did a lot of things.

I did not have any epiphanies. I did get stung by a bee, but it was my fault. I was trying to get too familiar with the bee and she wasn’t having it. I asked for that sting.

So, you want to know how all this ties together? It doesn’t. It doesn’t mean a thing. But there is potential. This story is green. And you know what they say about green.

They say lots of things, and most of them aren’t true.

#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. You have a thing about green. In fact, one of my favourite stories by you is a story called "Green." Short fiction needs strong openers and strong closers, and you nail both here.

    1. Marvelous. And this: "Going to stare at grass like you expect it to give you answers."

    2. Love it. Come on grass, give me the answers!! Loved the same line. It's also meant to represent youth :)

  2. This is not a story.


    After cancer took him the same year Elvis died, when I was young, I've seen the face of my grandfather most days since, in my dreams or projected onto my inner eyelids when I stop for a moment and rest and allow memory's fluid, capillary reach breach the dam of me.


    This child: "I made a snowman today."

    "It isn't snowing."

    "Snow is just extra cold water, and it's raining."


    "It's there. You just can't see it. The rain keeps washing it away. If the rain would stop, you'd see it."


    I was in the office that day when they brought the five children in, spanning age two to age fifteen. Even the administrative staff were vibrating with empathy and sorrow, while the three social workers called on all their training to help pacify the kids, whose shrieks and wails once they'd gleaned how fractured their family now was echoed like waves of cetacean grief.

    But who was I?


    Have you ever risked anything?

    No. Never.

    Why the fuck not?


    "The appaloosa is sometimes called the damnation horse. Beware, cowgirl."

    "Sir? I think you got your words mixed up."

    "Yeah. Probably. But truthfully, death ain't so bad. Although dying sure is."


    First day of school, I made a puzzle. Black-and-white cows and a barnyard. Summer blue sky and verdant grass. I sat beside a boy, John Simpson, as anodyne a name as possible in central England in the nineteen sixties. And his dad was a fireman, and I wide-eyed believed him—because why wouldn't I? In that classroom I was completely happy. The middle of England in the middle of a decade. I have no memory of the teacher. Or the other kids. Just a puzzle and a boy, and both were good. I didn't miss anyone.


    Her fingers were spatulate;
    I asked, "You gonna capture that?"
    My heart went all Montague and Capulet.


    He was one of those sports bros, those hockey dudes, who only articulate the last syllable of a name, as if begrudging full agency: the 'Nucks, the 'Lanche, the 'Gers. We got in a bar fight once when I called him a 'licker. He had no sense of humour. Not much of a fighter either. Shame. I liked that bar.


    Neon is the shout in the throat of the street. It hollers "Vogue!" and coughs "Orpheum!" into the smeared wet night, and our quailing hearts respond by shrinking. We are impostors, thirsty for sound. This is a broken boulevard jerry-rigged from busted dreams and only for monarchs, and we are pretenders, inadequates, vulgarians, slipping away in the sudden carpal reach of fog from the inlet. This is an ending we'll never get back, grey and mute and dead of eye. You blink, you fucking miss it all.


    Are you holy? For now I am winter. So lonely. Such fury. Would I sacrifice twenty more solitary years for a single year's touch of a woman's silk, of the tips of her spiderleg fingers? Yes. Probably yes.

    Roll down your windows and crank up the songs.

    You ask why I never ran. It's complicated. How about this? Watch the lynx stalk a snowshoe hare and maybe you'll have an inkling, and then maybe we can talk.

    Or answer this: Chandler or Bergman? The Big Sleep or Winter Light? Do you actually think we are the good guys?

    I bring comfort, a soft accommodating blanket drenched in smallpox. Nighttime, driving down to Memphis with you, all foolish pride and futile trepidation. Let the morning break like a bloody egg, the best girl I ever had lying by the quiet roadside, waiting in the muffled grey silence for the sirens and the ghouls in their important livery. And I still can't remember anything at all. Not one single thing.

    Goddammit, yeah. You can look.

    Just don't touch me.

    I said don't.

    1. Oh man. Closed like a boss. I love the schizophrenic feel of this one. And the writing is beautiful, but the ping pong effect really gets me.

      And this line: I stop for a moment and rest and allow memory's fluid, capillary reach breach the dam of me.

      Verdant huh? ;) Love it brother.

    2. Thanks, brother. And ha, verdant! We should edit an anthology of green-themed stories, The Forty Shades of Green.

    3. Jesus, there's so much in there I don't know where to start. And one reading isn't enough. Love the mini poem too. It rattles back and forth like a steam train. There's so much. It's great. So many images and so many lives or so it seems, cos I'd have to read it again to take it all in. I'd call this magificient.

    4. Steam train! I love it. Thanks, y'all. :)

  3. Billie adjusts her harness and hoists the rake higher, aiming for the sheaf of ice that had accumulated on one of the skyscraper’s uppermost overhangs. An occasional circus performer, she has no fear of heights, which is one of the reasons the manager hired her. She doesn’t even mind most of the people in the building, who stare and point whenever she hauls the platform up the side to clean the windows or knock the icicles down. Sometimes she’ll put on a bit of a show for them, twirling away from the platform or doing a somersault. Not today. Today it’s too damn cold, the ice too thick, and she doesn’t like the way the wind bangs the platform against the façade. Thank God for good support hardware. She knocks the rake against the eave and the ice cracks and falls, then she lowers herself to the next floor that needs her attention. A knot forms in her stomach. It’s his floor. She doesn’t know his name, but she’s seen him around. While she was getting her rigging together. When she’d taken a coffee break at the lobby café. He’s handsy with the women, and they don’t like it, and when they try to dissuade him, he laughs. She’d caught one of them crying, one of those random comfort-a-stranger moments, and Billie shared her tissue and a shoulder. He’d threatened to fire the woman, in a veiled sort of way, and her complaints to Human Resources had been buried. Even Billie is no stranger to his game. Yeah, there was always some guy who liked to play with the girl on the flying trapeze. Blow a kiss, give her a flirty smile, safe behind his window. This one...well, she could identify his privates at five paces. And she’d reported him, too. But his floor was high enough that those complaints also went missing. Today he sees her, and grins slowly. Stepping closer, one hand finding his belt buckle. And she finds something with one hand, too. The lipstick in the pocket of her coveralls. Big and bold, she writes “SEX ABUSER” backwards on the glass, gives him a wave, and bashes the ice above his window. She knows she’ll get fired for this, but she doesn’t care. She can always run away and join the circus.

    1. Damn, I didn't see that coming. It builds so steadily and evenly. It's almost like really good boxing. All about the set up KO.

    2. Love it. Love what she does. She's a great character with depth. Love to see her in a book. Like the insertion of the back story too. Kinda want her to run off with the circus. God he's seedy and it comes over.

  4. This is it. Finally after moving to Kansas I'm actually going to experience a tornado!!! I've been prepared since shortly after I moved here. At least I think I am...

    I come from the land of San Andreas where, for some reason, all our technology and monitoring cannot tell me that on 2/9/71 @ 6:00 AM my pre-teen faith in the earth beneath my feet will be shattered by an earthquake. That one month later I will collapse during an aftershock and have to be sent off to stay with relatives away from the quaking California ground. That on 1/17/94 @ 4:30 AM my adult self will be violently awakened again by the earth shaking crap my parents had to deal with 23 years before.

    But back to our tornado... one's never come closer than maybe 60 miles in all the time I've lived here on the western edge of what they call Tornado Alley. This one is tracking much closer. I've had to shut the weather radio off to silence the constant klaxon alert that annoys my mate beyond belief.

    The local weather is on the TV in the basement with real time radar tracking and storm spotters calling in as they scurry behind and around the angry funnel as it grinds its way northeast. Murky video doesn't show much since it's the middle of the night. The towns the spotters call in from grow closer and closer. The wind preceding the storm roars through the woods outside my windows.

    I've gathered myself and all the animals in the basement safety zone. We huddle watching to see how close it will pass. Will we get a direct hit or will it skirt past us?

    How close do I let it get before I wake my mate to the danger? More important, do I want to wake my mate to warn of the danger?

    No, I don't.

    1. Wow. I really dig this. For some reason, it made me flash to Geek Love, which I think is a brilliant novel. So, I don't know what it was, but that's a compliment. ;) Love it.

    2. Love the question at the end; damned if you do, damned it you don't. I live in a place where we don't get tornadoes so it's cool reading about something different. And with Kansas you automatically can't help thinking of that little dog too.

  5. We went to the beach to eat the sandwiches. And we made the stupid joke, but we ate the sandwiches anyway. That was all we did. It was sad, really. A crappy way to say goodbye. Let’s go get sandwiches and take them to the beach. We can eat them without talking to each other.

    It’ll be great.

    But what else was there to do, really. It seemed like we needed some kind of closure, and sandwiches are as good a way to say goodbye as anything else. Maybe better. At least you leave full.

    So, we ate the sandwiches, and I watched the gulls circle in the sky. The sky was so blue it hurt my eyes.

    Club sandwiches and the sand which was there. That’s the only thing I remember. That and the gulls.

    And the sad, empty feeling in my sandwich-full stomach.

    1. I love the idea. You can picture them. The bleakness of the situation, trying to make it nice. But the end rubs in the coarse sand emotions - it was always going to be sad. Closure with a sandwich - it makes it so mundane, everyday, and yet sums up the essence of life. The gulls keep on circling. And their relationship went full circle. Is the sandwich the anti-hero? :)

    2. Lol. The sandwich is always the hero! ;)

    3. "At least you leave full." I love things that are both poignant and funny, which this is.

  6. “Come sit with me,” she said, spreading her fingers across the counterpane. She pushed herself upright and Dwayne took a dry swallow, his mouth furring up in anticipation.

    “Loretta Watts,” he began. “Loretta…”

    But that was as far as he got.

    Afterwards, they were lying together, and he looked up, seeing the jar on the shelf. “They’s buttons, aren’t they? Hundreds of them?”

    Loretta rolled him over, the close-knit stitching of her skin rasping against his. She’d been made from an acrylic yarn and was quite the modern girl in town.

    “Just don’t look,” she said. “They’s nothing for you to worry about.” She pulled herself on top of him and began to rub herself along the full length of his body, crackling and sparking as the static charge began to grow. She leaned in close, her lips closing on his eye, her coarser wiriness loosening the threads in his cheek.

    “Enough!” Dwayne pushed her away, her mouth closing again; the stitches reforming as her face reconfigured itself to the cheerful Sally-doll visage she’d had before.

    “I don’t know what happened there.” She shrugged, the stuffing in her chest shifting as she leaned back on her elbows. “One moment we were kissing – and then the next…” She looked back up at the jar, the stitches reworking themselves so to give her a puckered half-smile. “I’s a bad girl, I suppose. It’s the way I was made.”

    Dwayne tugged at his face, his close-knit fingers testing the threads that held the button in place. It was bright blue and made from bone from a naturally sustainable source. “You could have had my eye,” he spluttered. “I was this close to losing it…”

    “Yes, I know,” Loretta said, soothing him. “Now cuddle up real close and let me try another time…”

    1. This is a really sweet and funny take on love/sex/romance - they're not what you think until you're reading through. It's a really original idea. I was thinking the button idea would go another way. I love how he could have lost an eye, it's funny, as she could stitch it back on! Does it mean she's collected button eyes from loads of 'guys' - I just realised ?! This is my favourite line: She’d been made from an acrylic yarn and was quite the modern girl in town.

    2. Damn. Literally exactly what I was going to say. Love the modern girl line. This is such a cool idea, too. Something about it made me think of Ray Bradbury.

    3. Got nothing original those guys haven't already said, except to say this is delightful.

  7. Scamp

    I wish, and the thing
    Takes shape,
    Flitting back and forth –
    A drunken bat
    Jagged of wing,
    Tinged by the rain
    In the way fire burns,
    Ever creating, renewing
    Sense, as it is –
    A transcendent thing
    Let loose upon
    The lost.

    1. Wow, this is lovely writing. So much in less than 50 words! I love the image of the drunken bat and the flow.

    2. Dittoing Dan. So succinct. Those last three lines are now rattling around in my head. In a good way.

  8. The clock radio clicked on, just as it always did. This morning, though, it played only static. The dog lifted one ear, rolled on his back, and fell back asleep.

    The man was unable to lift an ear, and remained asleep. When the sunlight hit his face, he mumbled and opened his eyes.

    "Dammit! I’m late!"

    He lurched out of bed, and ran into the shower. He turned the handles and...nothing happened. Backing out of the shower, he tried the sink faucets. Nothing.

    He wrapped a towel around his waist and made his way to the kitchen. Coffee. He needed coffee if he was going to deal with this morning.

    And of course, that was impossible. The kitchen faucets were silent, too.

    Calling the water company from his cellphone, he didn’t even get a busy signal. He tried to check their website. “You are not connected to the internet.”

    He pushed apart the blinds on the living room window.

    There was something wrong with the sun. It wasn’t supposed to be that color. Wasn’t supposed to have those kind of clouds around it.

    He clicked the remote for the TV. The screen remained black as night.

    “Huh,” he said to himself.

    He was thirsty, so he did the rational thing. He opened a bottle of Jack Daniels and sat on the couch. The cat judged him from high atop a bookshelf.

    When night fell, if he hadn’t passed out, he would have seen the viridescent green glow where downtown used to be. When morning came again, he was blind.

    1. Woah. This is a cool little slice of apocalyptic swagger right here, my friend. I want to know more. And I love that he just decides to go for the Bourbon. Cat always judged me a little, too.

    2. Cats are always judging. Yikes!

    3. I love it. So understated and matter-of-fact which works perfectly in contrast to a topic that's hyperbolic by its very nature.


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