Friday, February 10, 2023

2 Minutes. Go!

That girl don't care. She's headed for ruin or pregnancy or both. She's gonna get labeled, but she don't give a fuck. At least not while anyone is watching. 

The boy is filled with hate. Filled to the brim with it. He feels it growing in his muscle fibers, poses in front of the mirror and imagines himself ferocious.

The cops don't care that much. They don't like dark-skinned girls to begin with. They think, of course she's headed down a bad path. She started out on one, didn't she?

The holier-than-thou church going women don't even like to see her. She exposes their hypocrisy. You're supposed to turn the other cheek, not a blind eye. 

The men at the bar watch her with wolf-eyes. They are pragmatic in their misery and depression - they are looking for low hanging fruit. 

The kids in the neighborhood. They are the only ones who speak to her with kindness. They see that she needs it. She is skittish and afraid. The kids don't understand the reason, but they feel it. 

When she snaps, the kids are the only one's she'll spare. The boy will go first, crying like a baby. Then, she'll hit the church and the bar. She'll save the police 'til last. It will be her last stand. Literally

She will spare the children.

27 comments:

  1. Painful. Beautiful. Real.

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    1. Ditto. Powerful, true and sad. (Vickie)

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    2. What they all said. Really got me in the heart.

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  2. (based on an actual dream from last night... the untold stories part haunts me)

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    1. Welcome back, Leland :) I love this. Love all the pets walking down the street with him, the memories, the storytelling Angelo... he would tell some good stories. Adore 'a sunrise of possibilities rose in the eastern sky. A new beginning.' Wonderful. (it's me, Vickie)

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    2. Damn. That was beautiful. How I've missed you. Ah, Angelo...

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    3. Dammit Leland. You made me cry again. But also gave me hope. đź’•

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  3. This is JD. I’m so stoked you came by. And this is so pretty and lightly magical. You can’t see the stars well enough where I live.

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  4. Starling

    His last words floated,
    soared into a sky of curious birds,
    murmurations of past lives twisting,
    floating in the ether of yesterday,
    the truancy of angels.

    Friends wait in hesitation below,
    unsure of raising a glass in respect,
    unsure if it’s the right thing to do,
    stalling ‘til the son takes the lead.

    “It’s a fine day for it,” people said,
    nodding knowingly, in that polite way,
    too English to say how they feel,
    keeping it in, stiff upper lip and all.

    Everyone can feel the hole.
    It spreads outwards in violet hush,
    memories filling with postcards
    of happy days and well-worn anecdotes,
    offering a bright light in the cold.

    Above, the starlings are spinning,
    creating pictures in the quiet air,
    filling their audience with hope,
    honouring he who has passed.

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    1. ah, what a beautiful elegy... and you've used one of my favorite words in the English language: Murmuration.... I could say it over and over, and go into a meditative state.

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    2. I love the pictures you paint. And yes, what a wonderful word!

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    3. Leland, I love murmuration too! (Vickie)

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    4. I agree about murmuration. Also, this is just a beautiful use of language in general. The connection to the starlings is the icing on the cake.

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    5. The feb 17 anonymous is JD

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  5. Science officer Bradley scanned the horizon. The sky was a mess of stars, drones and security satellites, each a potential source of surveillance. He wished it was overcast like it used to be every night, back before the environmentalists ruined everything. Instead, there was nothing here but the eyes and ears of the Government’s watchers.

    “I don’t like it here,” he said, feeling exposed. “It’s cold, with a chance of frost later.”

    Melissa hummed. She drew the embroidered rug around her. She smiled as she traced Cassiopeia’s large ‘W’ shape, Schedar as bright as ever.

    “I think it’s romantic,” she said. “Comforting.”

    Bradley followed the direction of her gaze, seeing danger interspersed by vacuum, the immeasurable gulfs of space offering innumerable hiding places for an infinite number of enemies.

    “Another thirty minutes. No more. And then we can go back down below.”

    His AI-equipped emotional-support companion sighed, her pneumatic chest exhausting a mix of oxygen and water vapour back into the atmosphere.

    “I think it’s a nonsense,” she said, “sitting here, out on the surface. You know how it annoys you. And yet you persist in bringing me here each night. Scratching at an itch you know you can never hope to reach. Like sharing an EVA suit with a symbiont xenomorph or like losing your hands; it’s an exercise in futility, a self-inflicted wound -“

    “Suspend vocal circuits, dammit.”

    Bradley rose to his feet, shucking the hand he’d been holding.

    “Try again,” he said. “I want to be enchanted.”

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    1. ahhh... now that's scifi! well done!

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    2. Marvelous! I love reading your writing. "Like sharing an EVA suit with a symbiont xenomorph or like losing your hands..." Brilliant.

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    3. Agreed. You do the dystopic sci-fi thing so well. I love the way you use language to create worlds - that bit Laurie picked out. Super strong writing. I want more of this. This is JD, BTW

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  6. His name is Eddie. Not long after he pulls away from the curb, you ask the question, in the confines of a hired car during a half-hour ride to the airport at dawn, that no one should ask unless they want the answer.

    “How’s it going?”

    A long silence follows, during which you watch Eddie’s knife-sharp eyes dull to pewter in the rearview.

    “Actually, not great,” he replies. After a deep breath he unloads a list of grievances he has suffered since signing on for the job. From lousy pay to broken promises to the stomach-churning fear of picking up random strangers with no background checks and a dollar store debit card. You side-eye your phone on the seat beside you, wondering if you should call for help or just pop open the rear door and combat-roll into the street.

    The doors are already locked. “I promise not to carjack you,” you say.

    “Three guys got shot last month,” he says. Then after a pause, “At least it would put me out of my misery.”

    You think about the scene in Annie Hall where Annie’s suicidal brother drives Woody Allen’s character back to the city.

    “So where you going?” His voice is flat, a question asked out a dustbowl of nothing left to say.

    You tell him. Then regret it. Can he get your contact info from the app?

    “Is it nice?” he asks.

    “It’s, um, not bad. Taxes are high but it’s a beautiful place to live.”

    “Beautiful, huh. Bet you got a nice job, too.”

    “It’s okay. Hey, wasn’t that the exit for the airport?”

    “Bet they’re real nice to you and don’t try to fuck you over about every little thing.”

    “We can take the next exit and double back, I’m sure it won’t take long—”

    He drives faster. A red Honda in the next lane honks. Eddie gives him the finger. “Stupid drivers in this state.” The highway speeds by you. Another turnoff gone.

    “Or we could take the next one…”

    “Or you could just get out. Wait.” He yanks the car to the shoulder, unlatches the locks. Storms to the back and opens the hatch, takes out your suitcase, flings open your door and gives you a savage smile. “We’ve arrived at your destination. Have a nice day, have a nice flight, have a nice life in your beautiful well-employed paradise.”

    You step out, clutching your phone. He gets back in and drives away.

    You stand on the berm, frozen in disbelief as he melts into early rush-hour traffic. You consider opening the app to call another ride, but decide it would be safer to hitch.

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    1. I Iike this a lot, and I hear echoes of noir in the beginning especially. The dialogue really works, and there is an understatement to the tension. Really nice. JD, BTW

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  7. Wow J.D., really real. Maybe one day I'll be brave enough to write about my year as a homeless teen on Hollywood Blvd. Judging by what I see there today, I had it pretty good.

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  8. I watch Paladin in the corner he's made his own. The central heating boiler backs onto it in the next room, with only a wall of a single brick-thickness separating them. He’ll be larger now than when I last saw him in entirety, the length of his coils hidden by the gloom. He’s been foraging for himself for some weeks now, so I’ve no idea how often he feeds, but the number of posters in windows asking for sightings of lost animals is higher than ever.

    It was an experiment that went wrong. A trial for a pharmaceutical company. David was advised of the risks as far as they’d known them. That was what their claims officer said that single time Harvester Medical Supplementation sent a representative to speak to us. He offered us a payoff – an advance of ten thousand pounds followed by a monthly payment for everything he’d needed on the condition I signed the agreement he’d brought with him. It was to be a one-off, limited-time offer backed by penalties so large they immediately made me suspicious.

    Paladin’s moving again. He needs to keep active, forever rearranging himself. His head faces the doorway about half the time, his lidless eyes staring endlessly. I used to be able to read him, to anticipate his moods, but that was a long time ago. I’ve counted more than a dozen full sheds of his skin since then.

    It seems impossible that this can go on any longer. I suspect that Harvest is involved, using donations for incentives so that the police will look away, and bury any reports they’ve received, misdirecting any inquiries raised to probe into the lack of their success at explaining the problem. There have been too many people that have left this district and a complete collapse in the local population of the un-homed. The arithmetic is beginning to add up, and only one answer now seems credible to me.

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    1. The formal tone of the writing is interesting here. I feel like I'm observing at a distance. Your other piece was so close. Both strategies work really well, and that diversity is a strength for sure. Another one I'd keep reading. JD BTW

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