Friday, August 25, 2023

2 Minutes. Go!

They tell you you’re stupid because they feel stupid. They feel like they are impostors about to be found out. Its fear we’re talking about. Real, honest, gut-churning fear. They could be exposed. They could be laughed at. 

But they can also be the one doing the laughing, all spiffed up, looking like they never felt stupid once in their lives. 

They screw you over because they are convinced you would do the same to them. In their minds, everyone is a cheat, a liar, a potential criminal. They think highly of themselves and lowly of their fellow humans. 

It should be vice versa. 

They steal from you because they think everyone steals. Teachers, Doctors, Politicians, Plumbers, Landscapers. They must all be on the take, so it is only logical that they scheme and steal and misuse … it’s just par for the course.

They are not bright; they are dim in every sense. They hide as much of themselves away as they can, and they construct the rest. They are putting on a show. For themselves. For all of us. 

They are the court jesters, and all we can do is laugh.


  1. I think the feeling that everyone cheats & steals is pretty universal today. How can you think otherwise when that's all that's reported in the news?

    1. Hells yeah. Projection city.

    2. Politicians. Need I say more?

      Although, there are plenty more, many of them on TV and the various social media forums.

      As usual, you knocked it right out of the park. I never feel uncomfortable reading your writing, Dan. You may push at my morals, my self-satisfaction and my guilt regularly, but I never feel any lack of confidence in the delivery of your message.

  2. “Over this way, honey.”

    Angela turned toward the man’s voice, widened her lipsticked smile for the camera, dropped her thick lashes ever so slightly—the glamour girl pose she’d studied so long in countless dressing room mirrors. The lights flashed, the reporters and fans elbowing each other to get closer.

    “Hi, boys,” she breathed, her white-gloved hand raised, her fingers waggling. “I hope you like the movie, I got a little secret, I don’t really wear too much in it.” How they roared for her then, how they shone the love back to her brighter, almost too bright, and she stepped back, wincing, caught by unknown arms, falling…

    “No, honey. All the way over. Toward me.”

    The voice, female now, stopped Angela cold. The crowd hushed, the flashbulbs stopped, as if a hidden hand had stopped the progression of time and swept away the fog.

    She complied, rolling onto her left side, wrapping arthritis-gnarled fingers around the bed rail for support. The sudden exposure to air chilled her bare skin. The aide swabbed a warm, wet towel over her, calming her marginally. “People used to pay to see that ass.”

    “They still do,” the aide said, a smile in her voice. “I get paid to see it at least three times a day.”

    “It’s not the same.”

    “I know, honey,” the aide cooed. “Now roll this way and I’ll fasten the new brief up. You’ll feel so much better now that you’re clean.”

    Angela rolled, first onto her back, then her right, performing the ritual they expected. And the young aide was right. She sighed as the girl tugged the blanket over her, as she drifted back into her fog. “Anything else you need, Miss Angela?”

    “No…” The false eyelashes felt so heavy all of a sudden. “No autographs, please.”

    1. I love the delightful feint you used here. You set this up so perfectly, seducing us with glamour and sensuality and then resetting the focus so we see the reality of Angela’s present life. With the Vaseline removed, we see the truth, although you maintain a little doubt as to how much our star realizes her current situation. Is she fully aware or does she allow herself to slip back into the comfort of her delusions? Growing older can be hard and no-one ever manages to remain unscathed. There’s a lot to enjoy here and your characterisation and your scene-setting are on point, as always.

    2. You show so much in this. The first paragraph is a master class in visual writing just in itself. Really nice. JD

  3. She relit the lantern and shrugged the night away. Beyond its globe of light, she could see the suggestions of the men, each as aware of her as she was of them. She thought she could recognise some of them: there were Philip and Giles, the two brothers she’d first seen more than a year ago, their eyes shining like egg yolks in the dark. There was Edgar, his hand lightly caressing her each time she looked away, his fingers and his palm cupping her with a coldness that lingered. And then there was Louis, the beautiful martyr she’d killed first. He would never leave her side. His curse had been the trigger that had opened her eyes. She cursed him back every night as she fell asleep, feeling his tendrils tracing the shape of her lips, wishing him doubly dead and hoping he’d never return.

    Tonight, she had waited an hour longer than usual, letting the shadows deepen and watching their faces reappear in the gloom. Philip was always the bravest of them all, his tongue arcing along the inner curves of the outer shell of her ear, his breath, and the slither of his spittle the prelude to their nightly symphonies of massed depravity. She could hear him already, knowing he was readying himself to begin. She stiffened and braced herself against his opening moves, clamping her kneecaps together.

    “Esme,” he whispered, his voice close enough for it to be sensed as much as heard. “Are you ready?”

    1. This grabs me and tugs me along on such lovely language especially "eyes shining like egg yolks in the dark." Really nice.

    2. Woah, why do you keep writing stuff that ends too soon! ;) This is really strong and engaging. I would definitely turn the page. JD

  4. Two minutes, she’d said. That had been two hours ago. One hundred and nineteen minutes, to be fair, but right now it was. As though he’d ever had any faith in her coming through. She was erratic at the best of times, and right now, she was even worse.

    It wasn’t even as though she had any children creating domestic dramas to contend with. And since she’d separated from Simon; she’d all day, every day, to herself.

    Maybe she’d developed a drug habit. She was a keeper of snakes. He thought she’d got some new tattoos too. Discreet, but not at all classy. Like a reproduction of the Mona Lisa with a needle sticking in her arm. Eyes vacant and hallucinating shit like the Eiffel Tower made of cheese, bleeding out barrels of Courvoisier or haemorrhaging absinthe.

    She was a big lover of going to Europe. She’d left the house in his care a dozen times, asking him to check the post, feed her pythons, toss a few handfuls of pasta and soft fruits into her mouse farm. She was a go-away neighbour about half the time before her and Simon became a thing, her foreign travelling easing off for a while until they began to argue most nights. After that, she was hardly ever about. Even her constrictors began to pine, pressing their faces up at the glass in their tanks every time he went in their room.

    He was glad he’d never had to feed them live prey like they preferred. Just a boil in the bag dead rodent or three, making sure he was never too close. It freaked him out sometimes, seeing how they could throw themselves forward, sinking their teeth into their flesh.

    He often wondered why he never saw cats or small birds anymore. Maybe it was Sandra letting them out to free roam every night, picking off the small and the weak. And then oozing back in the morning, using the cat-flap she’d installed, replete but as dead-eyed as before. And Sandra just patting their heads and calling them her babies.

    He also wondered what had happened to Simon. Ajax and Felix could have been instrumental in that. An extra bottle or two of Merlot with a roofie to make sure he’d not wake. Her constrictors were well used to being draped around her neck; who’s to know what they’d do if left alone. A warm bed and a drunk and drugged common-law impediment.

    And then the problem would sort itself out without there being any fuss. With just a few trips to the local car-boot sales to dispose the evidence.
    He’d been careful to never eat or drink anything while he was there. And while he was still of more use to her alive, he supposed he’d probably be safe.

    Although, she wasn’t usually as long-winded as this when she said she was going to bring him her rent. It was almost as though she was expecting him to call by her place to collect it.

    Into the valley of vipers and pythons rode the unwary. Not knowing that they’d soon be dead.

    1. Damn. I am hooked. I want to know more about this character. This. This, this, this, all day long: "Eyes vacant and hallucinating shit like the Eiffel Tower made of cheese, bleeding out barrels of Courvoisier or haemorrhaging absinthe."

  5. Shit, Laurie pulled the same sentence I did. It really is a phenomenal sentence though. I got pulled right into this. JD


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