Friday, April 5, 2019

2 Minutes. GO!

Man, those are some pretty eyes. Filled with marzipan and lies; sweet confectionary bullshit oozes out of the corners of your mouth. Beautiful, like blood. You can tell me all about the black escape, and I will understand. I've been there. I built a summer home there. Tell me all about it, darling. I got nothing to offer, but you can bounce anything you want off me. I'll absorb it - set you free.

My skin hurts like it's being torn.

I swore I wasn't going to write emo existential bullshit, but here we are. My eyes are only tiny slits, my throat feels like an ashtray. And I don't smoke. 

I'm sorry. Alright. I know some people like plot and character and whatnot. I don't feel like forcing it, and I'm out of spontaneity. Don't worry; it'll come back. I think.



  1. I feel the pain. And planning for spontaneity doesn't work. I try it every Tuesday.

    1. I like to plan my spontaneity.

    2. This sounds like an awesome one night stand Dan. <3

    3. I add procrastination to my spontaneity, just to mess with its head.

  2. I’m not gonna lie. I did it. Stole the cattle I mean. But I didn’t kill the boy.

    I could tell you I stole the cattle ‘cause my wife and baby needed to eat. But I don’t have a wife or kid. I did it for the hell of it. And to get back at Old Man Jenkins. He’s the rancher I stole from.

    “Get back” ain’t exactly the right words either. It’s just, well, he’s got everything. His old man left him the ranch and the cattle. His wife married him for the money. He married her because he wanted a son to leave it all to. And he’s never had to do anything harder than open a bottle of beer.

    So there I was, taking two steers. Harder work than you’d think. Cattle like to stay with their herd, and I didn’t want to start a stampede. I finally got the two separated and almost to the gate when the boy showed up.

    “Whatcha doin’, Riley?” he asked with a grin.

    “Helpin’ these two steers find their way to freedom.”

    “Is that so? They don’t look like they want to be free.”

    He rode his horse between the herd and the two steers. Like he was helping me. What the...

    “You get the gate, Riley.” He was helping me.

    Once we got the cattle out, it was my turn to give him a grin. “What’s up, son?”

    “I guess you might need ‘em more than Daddy does. Not like he’ll notice they’re gone, anyway.”

    “That’s right kind of you.”

    “Besides, I’m leaving. I want outta here.”

    “Son, you got it made. Why’d you wanna run off?”

    “I don’t need a silver spoon. I wanna find my own way. Maybe it’s with cattle, maybe not.”

    Boy had character.

    “What’s your daddy gonna think?”

    “I guess were gonna find out.” He nodded to my right, and damned if Old Man Jenkins wasn’t watching the two of us from his horse. Just watching. With a rifle in his hands.

    “Good luck, Riley. I got somewhere else I gotta be.” He kneed his horse to take off away from me and his daddy.

    Damned steers were trying to get back to their herd, just about pushing the gate down, and I was thinking up stories to tell the old man when I heard the shot.

    I just about shat myself, thinking he was trying to kill me. When I looked up, though, I saw the boy slumped over on his horse, his blood running down his horse’s side.

    Old Man Jenkins came up beside me, staring at me with his icy eyes. “Looks to me like someone’s been rustling my cattle, Riley.”

    “I was just... I saw these two out and I was gonna get ‘em back in the pasture...”

    “Is that so, Riley? It looks to me like you took ‘em out, and my son caught you, and then you shot him. Now let’s get you to town.”

    And that’s the story he told the sheriff, and the judge, and they believed him.

    They strung me up on that old cottonwood tree by sunset, and left me there till morning. Folks riding the morning train out of town were a little shocked to see me hanging there.

    I hear tell there’s not much cattle rustling these days, and Old Man Jenkins’ second son ain’t having any ideas about running off and making it on his own.

    The preacher cut me down and buried me. I don’t rightly know if a ghost can be superstitious, but while I hung there, I swear I heard that old tree cry.

    1. That old cottonwood's gonna start haunting my dreams soon.

    2. Damn. Way unexpected and so oh, I don't know. Chilling?

  3. Two parts. Dark. Not sure where this came from.
    “Coach? You awake?”

    You feel a hand on your naked shoulder. You open your eyes but it is dark.

    “You were having a nightmare, I think.”

    You try to remember where you are, how you got here.

    “Sometimes that happens. It’s a side effect.”

    The hand moves from your shoulder and down your back.

    “But you’re gonna be okay now. Everything’s going to be okay.”

    The voice. It’s familiar, but you can’t place it.

    “Trying to figure out who I am, aren’t you?”

    You nod, and realize how ridiculous it is to nod in the dark.

    “It’s okay. It’s been a few years.”

    How many boys—men—have you coached in your career? You sort through them one by one in your mind.

    “It’s okay. You’ll figure it out.”

    Finally you find your voice. “What are you doing? Where are we?”

    “Shhh. You’re safe, Coach. No one’s gonna hurt you on my watch.”

    His fingertips are rough, but he is only touching you lightly at the small of your back. You feel one finger trace your spine up to your neck.

    “You wouldn’t recognize me now, Coach. I’m bulked up. Muscles on top of muscles. Not like I was back then.”

    You feel both his hands now, on your shoulders, giving you a shoulder rub.

    “You’re a little tense, Coach. Let me help you relax.”

    His thumbs push into your deltoids.

    1. Part Two
      “What is it you want?” You are surprised at the sound of your voice. It almost sounds afraid.

      “Just want to get reacquainted, Coach. It’s been too long.”

      You want to push him away, but your hands are restrained. Straps around your wrists. You mentally catalog your body. Your sense of gravity tells you you are sitting, but there is no back to the chair. You can feel air on your back and chest, but you’re still wearing your jeans.

      “There’s no need to struggle, Coach. I’m gonna take care of you, I promise.”

      You feel the breath from his words on your neck.

      “Remember how you always made us shower after our workouts, Coach? ‘No excuses,’ you always said. I hated being naked in front of the other guys, Coach.”

      His hands on your shoulders are rougher now.

      “They made fun of me for being fat. I hated that.”

      His hands have moved to your arms now, working the muscles there.

      “But you know what I hated more than that, Coach? I was the last boy in gym class to go through puberty. I watched the hair sprout on every one of their bodies, watched them change from boys to men. Wondered if my turn would ever come.”

      You realize who it is, who it must be. “Shrek, is that you?”

      His laughter does not echo in the room, but it should.

      “You know my real name, Coach? Did you ever know my real name? Or was I just a fat stupid blob to you?”

      His hands have left your body, but you can still feel his breath, now on your cheek.

      “Polanski. Your name is Polanski.”

      “Very good, Coach. Very good.”

      You feel his finger on your Adam’s apple, feel it slide over your throat and in the valley between your pectorals.

      “You’ve kinda let yourself go, Coach. I remember how fit you were back then. Remember sneaking peeks at you when you’d change your shirt in your office.”

      “Polanski, let me go, and I won’t tell anyone about this.”

      Your words sound hollow, even to you. You turn your head from side to side, trying to pick out anything in the darkness. Anything.

      “Oh I know you won’t tell anyone, Coach. You always said if anything was bothering us, we could tell you, trust you.”

      He is in front of you now. You can tell from the sound of his voice, and you think to kick him, but your ankles are restrained, too.

      “I always wondered, Coach, why you didn’t shower after our workouts? Why did you just stand there watching us? I know you broke a sweat. I know because I smelled your sweat the way a hummingbird smells a flower from a mile away.”

      His hands are on your thighs, now, massaging, gently, through the denim.

      “And then I figured it out, Coach. I finally figured it out.”

      Your hands are cold now. Clammy.

      “I think you’re a big old closet case, Coach. That’s what I think.”

      “It wouldn’t be right for a grown man to shower with boys. It wouldn’t be seemly.”

      “And yet, you watched us. You watched as they teased me. You watched them snap me with their towels, and you didn’t do a damned thing but smile.”

      You feel his hands on your waist, and they meet just below your belly button.

      “And I think you didn’t do anything but you wanted to do something and you were afraid. That’s what I think, Coach.”

      His hands are on your belt buckle now, and now he unfastens it. You feel the belt sliding through the hoops. You hear the buckle clank on the floor.

      “You can trust me, Coach.”

      And you pray to a God you were never sure existed, until now, when everything you are, when all your secrets, when all your fears are about to come undone.

    2. Holy cats. This is way dark, but done so well.

    3. Yikes. Dark is right. It always amazes me how second-person works in very short fiction but not in longer stuff. Why on earth is that? You handle it deftly, Leland, as always.

    4. Wow, that was unexpectedly terrifying. Well done, Leland.

  4. Part 1
    The studio man with no name turned the engine off. Safe house. It didn’t look safe to Eli. The streetlight closest to the house was burned out. The front stairs looked long and treacherous, the curtains were drawn, and it was packed far too close to the other houses. You could open the windows and borrow sugar from the neighbors.

    “You waiting for an engraved invitation?” the man said. “Let’s go.”

    “So, I’m just supposed to…where is my family? How long am I staying here? Because if it’s overnight there’s a special pillow I need, I can’t sleep—”

    The man turned tired eyes on him. “Keep talking, pen monkey, and I’ll take you back to your cage.”

    Eli threw up his hands. “All right. But if my sciatica flares up—”

    “Holy Hannah. Out!”

    Eli went out. He let the studio man lead the way. “Do I even get to know your name?”

    “Inside, first. Talk after.” The man climbed the stairs, seeming like it was an effort for him. Eli, following, wondered about stairs. If there was a standard height, or if builders just chose a random height for stairs. These were dangerously high. He could see a petite woman like his Evelyn having trouble with them. And what about little Ruthie? He began to open his mouth to protest, to express his reservations and fears, but he thought it best to keep them to himself.

    The man flicked on the light. “Hi, honey, we’re home!” he called out.

    Nobody answered. “They should be here soon.” He set his hat on a table near the door. Eli did the same, and brushed his fingers through his hair. A nervous gesture. Evelyn always told him he should stop that; it’s how men go bald. She’d used that gesture in one of her own scripts; it made more money than any of his ever had.

    “My family?”

    “And the big guy.”

    Eli stopped in his tracks. The “big guy” only meant one name in the studio he wrote for. Or, maybe, didn’t write for anymore. No one dared say the name out loud. Eli’s stomach churned. This could be very bad. Or maybe good? No. Not good.

    “Make yourself at home,” the studio guy said, flipping a hand up behind him as he walked into what appeared to be a kitchen. While noises indicating the making of a pot of coffee commenced, Eli wandered around the living room. As nondescript as the exterior. In his head he was scripting it. Fade in. Interior, location unknown, night. Forgettable furniture in various shades of dull green and brown. Detective Chet Malone, late thirties, looking like a mile of bad road, sits heavily in a side chair, lights a cigarette.

    The coffee did smell good. It reminded Eli’s stomach of how long it had been since lunch. Pastrami on rye, extra mustard. Terrible pastrami. You can’t get decent deli in Los Angeles. He missed Brooklyn. He and Evelyn both believed going out to LA would be a good move for them, to be closer to the studios, to give their future children a better life, sunshine, a big backyard to play in.

    “Where are they?” Eli asked, his voice trembling. “Surely by now you owe me some answers.”

  5. Part 2
    A cup clunked heavily on a Formica countertop. Coffee poured. The man came out, the delicate cups absurd in his big hands. He set them on the table.

    “Okay. Look. Everyone’s safe. That’s the first thing you gotta know. We sent one of the office girls to talk to Evelyn. They already know each other from the studio, so that should make it easier. Shirley’ll bring them here, in fact…” He craned his neck toward the window. “I don’t know why they’re not here already. Women’s stuff, probably. I wouldn’t worry about it.”

    “Wouldn’t worry. You wouldn’t worry.” The man eyeballed him, another “shut up” look, and Eli tried his coffee. It wasn’t bad. The hot beverage was a small comfort, and slowed his mind enough to think. Packing up a most-likely bewildered Evelyn, in the middle of dinner preparations, and a three-year-old child, would take extra time. He allowed himself a small smile, remembering how difficult it could be taking Ruthie anywhere. You put a shoe on, she takes it off and throws it across the room and giggles while the two of them play fetch, like a game. It made sense that it might be taking them a while to get here.

    And what would he say when they got here? Sorry for ruining dinner? Ruining their lives? When he didn’t even know…not really…why this evening had played out like it had?

    “What did I do?” Eli asked, fingers clutched around the rim of the china cup. “You said before I was named, but for what? I’m not a communist!”

    “So you said. But that’s not how the committee looks at things.”

    He ran a hand through his hair, stopped himself, thinking of Evelyn. “Again. And please let’s be perfectly clear here.” He repeated, slower, “What did I do?”

    “Bottom line, your last picture.”

    His eyebrows rose. “My last picture? What was wrong with my last picture? There were hardly any rewrites, it was a hit! A box office smash! The reviews—”

    “Not that last picture, hotshot. The other last picture.”

    Eli’s shoulders sank. That last picture. After some initial interest, the studio had abruptly taken a pass and paid him his token kill fee. Since he was under contract, he couldn’t shop it around. He never even got a proper answer as to why they refused to make it. It was a good story. He and Evelyn had written it together; it was partially based on one of her mother’s stories about life under the czar. Only they’d tipped it on its ear and told it from the perspective of the czar’s son. “We’ll be happy to look at your next script,” his contact said. “Maybe something more…American.”

    Now it made sense. Then not. “But it wasn’t even made! I don’t see how—”

    “Come on. Are you really that naïve? Word gets around. Word got to the wrong guy.”

    “Because I wrote about a Russian czar means I’m a communist? Do you know what the Russian czars did to my people?”

    “Yeah. I took history class.” The man leaned toward him, elbows on knees. “But here’s some school of hard knocks learning. Most people don’t think that deep. They see Russia, they think commie. They wonder if the writer is a commie. They wonder if the studio heads are a bunch of commies for letting that picture get made. Studio loses money. Writer loses job. Class dismissed.”

    He sat back and lit a cigarette. “Oh, and by the way. The name’s Mike. But you can call me Mr. Jones.”

    1. As always, this flows so naturally. Voice, tone, mood, everything.

    2. I'm so ready to one click this Laurie. The sensitivity of it is clear and understated at the same time.

  6. Part 1:

    The Council: Biden Edition

    Forty-four leaned back in his computer chair, rubbing his temples.

    “Honey.” Michelle had just come in from the garden. “What’s wrong? Joe again?”

    It was easy enough to guess; the slideshow of Obama-and-Joe internet memes was open. Going through the Biden folder sometimes lifted his spirits, reminded him of their lighter moments. But he was running short on ideas to help Joe now. He’d gone up to Delaware, took him out for a beer, saw all the new pictures of the grandchildren. He said that the world was different now. There were certain things you just couldn’t do anymore. A teary-eyed Biden had thanked him effusively, then grabbed him in a bear hug and landed a big fat kiss on his cheek.

    He was starting to believe that nothing he told the man would make any difference. It was a bitter pill to swallow. Here he’d been trying to bring change to the country, and he couldn’t even change Joe Biden. Maybe nobody could.

    “I’m starting to think you’re right about him,” he said.

    “You know I am. I’ve spent time with that man. He’s not going to change. But he does need to feel useful. He needs to feel that he can still make a difference. You know what to do.”

    After she left, he picked up the phone.


    “Man, thank you for this.” Joe grabbed Forty-four’s arm as the former president swung his car off the Beltway toward Earl’s neighborhood. “A mission. It’s like old times.”

    Maybe this was not Forty-four’s best idea. But it was too late now. He’d already made arrangements with Earl. The Council was expecting them. And if he could sell this idea, maybe all was not lost. Lord knows they’d been short of ideas lately. “Look. Before we go in, there’s a few things I need to make you aware of.”

    Joe waved a hand. “Yeah, yeah. I get it. Mum’s the word. Secret society and all that. I get it, and believe me, I’m honored.” He grinned like a kid. “So, they’re all gonna be there, really?”

    “Be cool, Joe. I mean it.”

    “How come this is my first invite?”

    “Excuse me, but when were you president?”

    “I could have been. It wasn’t for lack of trying. Hillary’s in, so I don’t see why I shouldn’t have—”

    “Special circumstances,” Forty-four said. “And don’t call her that when we’re at Earl’s. Forty-three-and-a-half will do.”

    Biden tapped a finger on the side of his nose, gangster-like. “Ah. I get it. So what’s my number?”

    “We don’t usually…” Damn. That face. “Okay. We’ll call you Forty-four-and-a-half. Work for you?”

    “Fine and dandy.”

  7. Part 2:
    As Forty-four figured, Joe lit upon Earl like the old friends they were. A tap on the arm warned him to cut it short, as the others had started arriving.

    “Thank you for your indulgence,” Forty-four said as they all got seated. “I think you’ll find that our guest has some very special skills to bring to the table.”

    Thirty-nine nodded sagely after a long clasp of Joe’s hand, as did Forty-three after a deep look into each other’s eyes. Forty-two seemed to also be in agreement, and pleased to see his former colleague. But Forty-three-and-a-half smirked and said under her breath, “What are they going to do, out-gaffe each other? Smell each other’s hair?”

    “Now, Hill,” Forty-two said. “She’s been a little out of sorts lately.”

    The look she gave him would wither most men. Forty-two just smiled. Forty-four did not want to be him on the car ride home. He didn’t blame her one bit, though. Having to hear that “lock her up” nonsense everywhere she goes, despite jokers from the current administration getting locked up right and left.

    “Now if you’ll indulge me a moment, I have an idea. Forty-four-and-a-half here is going to help.”

    Joe’s face broke into an impish smile. “I’m gonna give him the business.”


    It lasted until Forty-three, steepling his fingers under his chin, said, “Perhaps you haven’t taken a full measure of our adversary.”

    “Full measure? I’ve been measuring that guy since the first day he even thought about taking our jobs. And forgive me for saying so, but I’ll tell ya the God’s honest truth. You’ve been doing it all wrong.”

    “Oh, please do elaborate,” Hillary said.

    “Thank you. Madam Secretary, I mean, Forty-three-and-a-half.” He winked at her. “See, he thinks he’s this big tough guy. And most of what you’ve met him with was tough-guy measures. Barry—sorry, Forty-four. You’ve seen this in action. You made fun of him at that Correspondent’s Dinner, and he lost his ever-loving mind. So we’re gonna weaponize it.”

    “A weapon of mass satirical destruction,” Forty-one mused, his eyes twinkling.

    Joe pointed at Bush the Younger. “See, he gets it. Dontcha see? We go crazy with the memes. Find one of them Russian bot thingies to spread it around. Everywhere he goes, he’s met with an army of orange baby balloons. Then we can hire Alec Baldwin…”

    “He’s gonna stroke out,” Forty-two hid a guilty smile behind his hand.

    “Wait,” Forty-three-and-a-half said. “Can we get plausible deniability on that?”

    “That’s why we’re keeping you out of it. Take a walk in the woods or something. Write another memoir.”

    “Screw that,” she said. “I want to be there when it happens.”

    “No.” The strength of Forty-four’s voice surprised him. And that he was now on his feet. “The last face he sees…is gonna be mine.”

    1. I've got this sense that you have an angle in this, something I can't quite put my finger on... ;)

    2. Why, whatever do you mean, David? ;)

    3. Although I'm sorta feeling that Forty-four would never do this in real life.

    4. Yeah, but don't we all secretly wish he would?

    5. Yeah he's probably too busy windsurfing to really do this. I think ObiWan2 as I like to call him actually had his feelings hurt and hasn't forgiven the country yet for all his sanguine speeches. And can you blame him? I can't. Nice work btw. I was thoroughly engaged throughout.

  8. Scorched earth is pervasive.
    One acre leads to thousands.
    Thousands lead to legions.
    It is all the more true
    when the charred loam is created by a seed
    you – yourself planted.
    So no matter what else happens,
    a part of you has leveled the ground you walk on.
    You can only hope that you are strong enough
    and loving enough
    to keep what is most important
    real and true for as long as you can.

    Scorched earth is unending.
    There is no escape.
    Wherever you go,
    however, you decide to reshod the land
    you can’t get away.
    It doesn’t matter if you’re willing
    or you’re in tip top shape.
    No sit up
    or hammer throw
    or tilling of the soil at this late date,
    will knock the dread out of your existence.
    You are marked
    and forever accountable
    for the love you gave
    to what was once the most fertile terrain.

    Scorched earth is deep seated.
    Feeling and thinking good thoughts cannot erase it.
    The deepest meditation only amplifies
    the subterranean depths of this searing.
    No trees,
    or mountains,
    or cobras,
    or cats,
    or warriors
    will give you solace
    because the roots of this dessert cannot be measured.
    They can only be endured.

    Scorched earth remembers
    everything and everyone
    for any slight
    or any kindness
    If any healing surfaces at all
    it would be
    from a humble forgetfulness
    that never, ever comes.

    Scorched earth once knew love
    and was nurtured to the point of harassment
    but now it only knows
    the singed hopes of regret.
    And it seems interested in little else,
    this now blackened territory
    you once thought you knew.

    Your only recourse…
    is to render the blistered ground useless
    and move far away,
    taking your toys and your love with you.
    Leaving nothing that you can use
    and hoping that the decisions you make today
    don’t burn your house down tomorrow.

    But there’s no way of knowing,
    which is why you should be careful,
    so very, very careful
    in the first place.

    Perhaps better
    not to grow anything at all.

    1. This is bleak too. What's wrong with everyone this week? lol I like it, though.

    2. Yeah, my poetry tends to be intensely dark. It's one of the reasons I rarely share it.

  9. “What?!”

    “I wish you’d not sneak up on me like that. It freaks me out and I lose the flow,” I said.

    “What the heck does that even mean? Who’s THIS woman your main character’s talking about,” Jeanne said, her finger leaving a smudge on my computer screen. Her tone more accusatory than interrogative.

    “She’s the angel who smashed the bottle on the bow of his Titanic of a life,” I said.

    “The Titanic sunk,” she said. “So you’ve longed for some woman all this time? And you’re going to write about her for the whole world to read and talk about? I hate you.”

    “She’s imaginary, like Queen Elsa and Olaf,” I said.

    “Well she came from some somewhere inside you. You couldn’t have just made her up from nothing. Who is she, Eddie?” Jeanne said.

    “Do you know how many books I’ve read over my whole life? Thousands. And all those characters are smushed together up here,” I said, pointing at the side of my head. “My imagination just picks pieces of those characters and builds a new one. That’s where she came from. If it’ll make you feel better, I’ll put a big notice on the flyleaf that swears that. Okay?”

    “Fourteen-point type?”

    “Eighteen,” I said.

    “Okay,” Jeanne said.

    “Now can I get back to this? My deadline…”

    “Okay. But please don’t work too late. We’re going to Mom’s tomorrow and you can’t be nodding off again.”

    “I’ll be up soon. I promise,” I said.

    When the door clicked shut, I returned to my keyboard, closed my eyes and that snowy day thirty years ago with Diana flowed back to me. And I started typing again.

    1. Nice! I think I've been in this place. Plus, I'm a sucker for writers who know their font sizes.

    2. Yes, this is subtle and effective. Laurie, maybe Joe is a font of wisdom. (Don't do what I just did and go down a Google rabbit hole searching whether that should be font or fount!)

    3. Lovely and yes, authentic too. But if my late husband had done that to me when I was in a flow...duuuude. IJS.

  10. Start of something?

    She was maybe fourteen when she first knocked on the door of my cab. Damn young even for a lot lizard.

    I rolled across and opened it and asked her, “What?”

    “Nothing much. Name’s Nora. I need a ride north…”

    “Alright. I’m heading out in an hour. Be here.”

    “You a good man?”

    I didn’t answer, just stared. She looked away.

    Don’t sing about tomorrow because I already know I’ve lost you.

    She was punctual.

    Underway, I cranked the tunes.

    “Hope you like Waylon, little girl.”

    “What’s a Waylon?”

    I nearly busted a rib at that, while she gazed ahead with no expression on her heart-shaped face.

    After I got a breath, I asked her, “So, you a runaway?”

    Ain’t much for social niceties, as it happens.

    She didn’t say nothing for a long time, and I was beginning to think she hadn’t heard me over the outlaw uproar coming from my speakers when she finally answered.

    “Not running away. Running to. I got me a man to kill.”

    Follow the endless poles and you’ll hear our song humming in the wires.

    My turn to think I heard wrong. I looked across at her, looked away, looked again. Her pretty face hadn’t changed, her eyes fixed on the unspooling ribbon of the eternal blacktop.

    “Thinking I might’ve heard you wrong just now.”

    “You probably didn’t. But I’ll say it again, mister. Got me a man I need to kill.”

    Here’s a thing. They’re all lot lizards to me; I don’t tell apart the ho’s from the lost souls, the thumbers, the runners. Excuse the pun, but I don’t truck with the former. I’ll pick ’em up if I want the company, but it’s strictly hands-off. I ain’t stupid. Plus, each year they seem to get younger. Probl’y ’cause each year I seem to get older, ain’t no mystery really. But this life’s a lonely one, and these girls often surprise me, make me laugh and sometimes even make me think about all the lives out there veering onto the shoulder, waiting to get bit by gators. Hell, I like their company, even the pissy ones who bitch about my choice in tunes.

    “Alright. Look, miss. Back there you asked me if I’m a good man, and I never answered. But the fact is, I ain’t entirely a good man. I done some bad things here and there, things I sure ain’t proud of, but I ain’t never been a party to no murder, so I’m thinking I’ll let you out, no offense meant. There’s a stop maybe a half hour up ahead that ain’t no pickle park, so you’ll be alright. And maybe you can think about shit while you’re there and come to a different conclusion.”

    “Sure, mister, I ain’t offended. Ain’t no murder, though. It’s a mercy killin’.”

    Be damned if I wasn’t curious, but I held my tongue and the big road kept on rolling and the music kept on twanging.

    Sing me a song of death. What do you love? The miles fill up with dread. You won’t resist.

    I glanced again, and her expression had changed for the first time; on her doll face was a full-on grin, wide as a toad’s, made me think of some real bad thing, and I felt a tremor inside me and stood on the pedal, wondering if I should just hit the shoulder and unload her right there, be done with it. But I kept on going.

    Hammer down and stack them eights. Ten-four my ass.

    1. I love this and I definitely think it's the start of something. I want to know what happens next.

    2. I do too! It feels like it could expand, but I'm just not sure in which direction. I even had to get off my lazy ass and do a little research for this one!

    3. Oh yeah, I want more of this one too DA. And help a girl out, what the hell is a "pickle park"?


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