Friday, November 16, 2018

2 Minutes. Go!

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 waves pull the sand off the beach, and you watch the gold flecks sparkle in the sunlight. The fish aren’t biting, but it doesn’t matter because all you hear is the murmuring of water, and all you feel is the sun on your shoulders.

The sun on your shoulders is comforting. Like a little league coach after you strike out. The sun says, “It’s OK. Everything is going to be OK.” Listen to the sun; the sun knows things.

The seagulls wheel and pitch in the air currents that buffet the cliffs. Far up in the sky, they are beautiful. Their cries sound like childhood.

You will stand on this beach forever. At least in your mind. The beach is the place you will go to when you shut your eyes to sleep. When you need that comforting hand.

#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...#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. Ah, that is gorgeous... and that comforting hand analogy is perfect.

  2. It is that time of night when it is not yet morning, but you can feel the regrets of yesterday transmogrifying into the hopes of today. If you stare at the eastern horizon, you can almost see light, but you are too early. Perhaps in another minute or five.
    A bright light turns on at the top of a mountain. You curse the people building cabins up there. It ought to be wild. It ought to be dark.
    And then you realize. It is not a light of human origin. You take a deep breath of air.
    It is Venus, just clearing the mountaintop. Pure, bright Venus. Against the Prussian blue sky, she rises.
    It is no wonder they named the morning star for her. Beauty and love.
    You were 17. He was 18. Science geeks, both of you. You carried matching calculators and in your eyes, you thought that was as close to an engagement as two guys might know.
    He wanted to show you the new blacklight he got. You went into his basement, and he turned off the regular lights, with his hand on your shoulder. It was weird, feeling him touch you like that, in the dark. Not weird bad, just weird unknown. You liked it.
    Seconds later, he flipped the switch on the blacklight, and everything was a weird purple except for the things that were fluorescent. His teeth. His tee shirt. Your button down shirt. His white athletic socks.
    Then he turned off the blacklight, and his hand was on your shoulder again. And he didn’t turn on the regular lights. You felt his breath on your face and you knew what was going to happen.
    He kissed you. You kissed back. All the while, you thought of his teeth, once glowing, now passing their glow to yours.
    He pulled away. And then the lights were on. You never spoke of it, and it never happened again.
    Twenty years later, you step on an elevator, looking down, as you always do. Afraid to look people in the eye. The doors close.
    You feel the elevator’s movement in your stomach, and you hope you don’t throw up, you never have, but you worry that one day you might.
    Someone at the back of the elevator says your name, and you freeze. You’ve built a career of not being noticed. A life, really.
    You feel a hand on your shoulder, and you are transported back in time. The hand fills the emptiness your shoulder has carried since, well, since forever.
    You turn and look up, and it is him. His teeth are not fluorescent but his eyes are the same brown, and he still has the goofy smile.
    It is cold now, and you draw him close to you. Your arms and his arms entangle. You mumble his name and he mumbles yours. This is how it should have been, these last twenty years, you think to yourself. If only he’d never turned the light on, if only he hadn’t pulled away. You lean in to kiss him.
    You awaken in your sleeping bag, kissing your own arm. Venus is higher in the sky, now, and daybreak threatens. Venus will be invisible after sunrise, taking with her the memory of beauty and love. Or was it hope?

    Even darkness has deserted you.

    1. This is so gorgeous. And so hopeful. And so sad.

    2. This is beautiful. I love the vignette structure and the language is so gentle. This line got me: It is Venus, just clearing the mountaintop.

    3. I was in an Antrobus-ish mood... I always admire how he does the small scenes. Thanks for taking the time to read it!

  3. She’d only meant to take a vacation, spend a week at sea with a couple of friends. They were travelling as part of a much larger group, and she thought maybe some of those people might be fun to spend limited amounts of time with, but she didn’t expect much. She was pants at dealing with new people, even fellow geeks like these.

    She’d only meant to have a good time for a few days, enjoy the ocean, and poke around in a couple of the ports. The ocean was her truest love, she loved cruising, and she was travelling with her soul sister, so it would sure as hell beat a week at work. As a plus, she would introduce a couple of her other closest friends to cruising, and finally get to share a ship with yet another longtime friend.

    She’d only meant to enjoy herself as best she could in this company comprised of a few friends and a lot of strangers (surrounded by even more strangers.)

    She hadn’t meant to make friends with every single member of their travelling party. She hadn’t meant to care about and share her life with all of these people…and to cruise with some of them again the next year, where she made even more friends. And she hadn’t meant to forge some of those bonds into strong friendships, and those strong friendships into a second family.

    She hadn’t meant to change her world, to turn it on its head. But she did, and now she means to embrace it, hard, with no regrets. She means to remember what it means to live more than a life half-full, and she means to live it well.

    1. Ah, I love this. Sometimes the best outcomes of our lives are influenced by those "didn't mean to" actions...

    2. and I had never seen "pants" used that way... thanks to urbandictionary and you, I learned a new word/meaning!

    3. Yep. With Leland on both counts. There is a resolute purpose to this that really works, too.

  4. If I'd have been going to do it, I'd have done it now. That's what I'm telling myself. It's not like I didn't make it difficult for myself.

    I'm sitting in the bath in the half-light with the box-cutter to hand. The bath's quite chilly now and I've already added as much hot water as I can to keep it warm. I'd promised myself I'd do 'the thing' before it got cold. I also swore I'd not wait until the tea-lights I've lit in here began to go out too. There are still a few of those alight but it's definitely getting darker.

    I made the bathmat wet when I turned about to relight the tea-lights on the window-ledge. Two of them had gone out but it wasn't because they were ready: they still had some wax left in the bottom. The one I'm holding now was one of those. It's going strong still and I might just decide to use this one as my gauge. Wait until this one dies before I make the final strokes.

    But the water's very cold now.

    Before this, I'd have thought my body would have kept the water warm. Flesh and blood. They have their own heat. Ninety eight point four degrees: that's the temperature of blood. I guess the flesh is colder, that's the way of it: the heat in the middle and the air cooling whatever's on the outside. Like a big jam doughnut but with blood inside instead of jam.

    1. Wow. This is super powerful. You lead up to that last line masterfully.

  5. “You’re a very fine dancer, sir,” I said, pressing my torso tightly against his. “I bet you have a full card every night.”

    He nodded and then shrugged, revealing a boyishness I’d not expected. “I dance most nights but never practice. But the dance is its own tuition. I get along fine.” He paused to perform a caricia, the side of his gleaming shoe grazing my thigh. If I hadn’t been looking down, I could have imagined it had been a kiss.

    “You’re confident. Women like that. Bold and flamboyant and skilled at what you do.”

    We continued to dance for few more measures before he spoke again, his hair plastered against his forehead and his cologne bright in my eyes.

    “You want to go somewhere else? Some place more select than this? I have a friend … he knows the owner … the owner knows other people. We have ‘una comprensión cercana,’ you understand?” He winked and flashed his teeth, his meaning self-evident.

    “I have a friend, she’s waiting for me. We’re very close.” I relaxed my hold and looked across the room to where she’d been sitting. Her chair was empty now and my clutch bag had also disappeared. I was suddenly very aware I knew nobody in this bar.

    She’d said we shouldn’t have come in here. That we shouldn’t have strayed so far away from where the tourists usually go.

    I’d said it was a big city. Valetta was a safe place. What could go wrong?

    1. Oh, I want this one to keep going. Brilliant snapshot. And the dialogue rings so real - nice job, my friend.

  6. How long do I watch this? Does MY ass look that big? Do I look like that? Do I let them finish? Do I watch? It won't be much longer. I feel bad for her. Does she know about his premature condition?
    This is not a normal reaction to walking in on your husband having sex with someone in your bed, is it? I mean shouldn’t I be angry or something? Why would I just stand here and have a conversation with myself instead of turning into a jealous housewife. Maybe it’s because I’ve been married to it for 20 years and actually feel sorry for this poor girl. I know what’s coming…DISAPPOINTMENT!!!! She can have him. Here’s the catch, there isn’t one.
    Sex with this man is like having sex with a 22 year old. Believe me I know. I’ve had sex with one and it’s over before it starts. Just when you think something MIGHT happen they announce, “I’m coming” and they’re done. The only thing you can think of is, “I got undressed for this shit?” I mean come on; I’ve had vibrator batteries that last longer. Sex should be longer then five minutes and involve two people not just a guy and a hole. I want to state for the record I am not a very good hole, I mean sure I’m there but I haven’t been wow’d yet. I enjoy sex. I would like to have it and be able to say that if I can walk to the kitchen and make a sandwich then they don’t deserve the sandwich.

    Maybe I should start at the beginning….

    1. Wow! I like the idea of a spouse who walks in and says, "All yours... get him out of here..." This is going to be a good story!

    2. This is great stuff. I'd like to see what happens after she kicks him to the curb. :)

    3. Yeah. Me too! The use of "it" to describe the man is super effective. This is an intriguing piece.

  7. I couldn't write this short to save my life today, but maybe it's the start of something...


    Betty had the wheeze of a pack-a-day smoker; a gift from years of exposure to the chemicals that did magical things to human hair. She had a permanent knot beneath her right shoulder blade, thanks to her Kung-Fu blow-dryer grip. She had knees that predicted the weather, eczema so bad she no longer did shampoos, and an aversion to celebrities who inspired her clients to ask for the Rachel or the Kardashian or whatever the hell Rhianna had done to herself for the Grammys.

    She’d seen and done and had it all, with the scars and T-shirts to prove it.

    Yes, she’d thought about hanging up her flat iron and shears, she’d thought about it many times, but it was going to be on her own terms. And not because the faceless corporation that now called itself her landlord wanted a bigger ticket in her location of the mall. That’s not exactly what the letter said—it had words like “redundant services” and “magnet development” in it, but she caught the drift.

    She gripped the letter so hard she was starting to get a knot in her right shoulder as well.

    Teresa the shampoo girl breezed in from her break, preceded by the whiff of cigarette smoke in her clothing. “Everything okay there, Betty?”

    “Yeah, peachy.” She half-wished for a cigarette herself. Her employees who hadn’t yet kicked the habit always seemed to return from their breaks a lot calmer. She could use some calm. Yes, receipts had been down. Yes, when one of her stylists left her for a higher-paying gig at the chain salon at the other end of the mall, near the theaters and where the parking was better, she decided not to replace her. But she always paid her rent, usurious as it was, and she always paid it on time. Even when it meant she had to skip a week or two of her own salary.

    But Teresa was a smart cookie. She’d taken this job to help put herself through business school, and the clients loved her. “Are we in trouble?”

    “We’ll be fine.” She tipped her chin toward the front of the salon. “Jeannie Mason’s waiting for a wash. She has neck problems, so pad up that sink for her and skip the scalp massage. Then set her up in Carla’s chair. Thanks.”

    Teresa gave her the hairy eyeball, but then strapped on her apron and did as she was told.

    Betty came out a few minutes later. She didn’t take as many appointments as she used to, but she liked to be visible, liked to make people feel special and pampered. That, she had over the chain salon. There was always fresh coffee and often goodies to go with them. She made sure she knew names and faces, who had which cuts, and how Maria Cuccinello’s husband had reacted each time she came home with a new hairstyle, or a new color. She smiled and cooed and gave out hugs and offered espresso. But a thread of sadness wove through her. She took it for granted many times, but she’d built a family here. With her clients—many of whom had been coming here for decades—and her staff. She couldn’t imagine letting some conglomerate take it away from her.

    As they were closing up later that evening, Betty took Teresa aside.

    The young woman’s eyes widened. “Did I hurt Mrs. Mason? I was being really careful, and I tried to keep the shampoo quick—”

    “No, honey, she’s fine. I just wanted to ask.” She glanced around her office, at the photos on the walls, at the framed newspaper articles, at the eager face across from hers. “You’re taking all those fancy business classes. Are you maybe learning any ways we could do a little better in here?

    Teresa smiled, and leaned forward, as if she’d been waiting to be asked.

    1. Yup. You hit on something powerful here. That first P. And:
      She’d seen and done and had it all, with the scars and T-shirts to prove it.
      This one needs to keep going - I want to get to know them.

  8. I want to know these characters... so real, so forlorn, yet hopeful.


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