Thursday, December 24, 2009

FLASH FORWARD

The three words on this Christmas Eve are hinder, journey and rigid. Merry holiday season.

WEAK HEARTS

She should get up, throw together some hors d’oeuvres. Seth had mentioned something about people coming over. How long had she been sitting at the dining room table, fingering the doily, anticipating sunbeams across the oak grains?

His baritone carried to her. He was at the door, greeting his guests. She brushed strands of hair with her palms, smoothed her black dress, her favorite. Thank goodness for small miracles; at least she was dressed for company.

Before she could rush to the kitchen, Seth led his guests into the dining room. “And here we are. Miranda’s spot.” He cleared his throat. A petite blonde rubbed Seth’s back. Her manicured fingers caressed his back a little too intimately, in Randi’s opinion.

Seth used her birth name! Who were these strangers? Besides the presumptuous blonde, there was another couple and a black-haired woman draped in a sari and scarves and decorated with bulky jewelry.


Randi was about to lean in to ask Seth what was going on when the gaudy woman lit the centerpiece candle, asked Seth to dim the chandelier and waved her arms to indicate the others should sit. Randi sat again, decided to watch this soiree play out.

The stranger-man approached Randi. He placed his hands on her chair-back, pulled her away from the table and sat on her lap! She felt his body go rigid as a chill shivered through her body, drawn into his. He jolted up but his date glared him back to sitting.

“We are gathered today to help Miranda begin her journey to the other side. Taken so young, the victim of an undiagnosed weak heart, her soul is restless. Let us clear our minds.”

The medium, Randi realized, theatrically stretched her arms and laid her wrists, palms facing up, onto the table. Seth grabbed her left hand. The other woman took her right.

“Now, close your eyes and inhale, one deep cleansing breath.”

She sniffed in a noisy breath, held it for a five count, then blew out through pursed lips. "Join hands."

The man asked, “Do you feel a draft?”

“Bernie, shush!” his date hissed between gritted teeth as she grabbed his hand.

The blonde grabbed his other hand. “Five people in a séance or else it doesn’t work.” Her free hand latched onto Seth’s. The medium inhaled again. Seth and company closed their eyes and imitated the medium.

Randi sputtered, “Seth? Wha-what…?” but he didn’t notice. His hand, the one attached to the blonde, slipped below the table. The blonde’s lips parted; her breathing became shallow. He peeked across the table as the other woman opened one eyelid. Seth winked at her, she blushed and clamped her eyelids shut.

The medium’s face scrunched into lines. Randi realized the woman was peeking at the group, checking their commitment to this séance. Before the woman's third eye saw her, Randi ducked below the table.

“Remember, keep your minds clear and allow the spirit of Miranda to join our circle.”

The medium’s knee jerked up and bumped the underside of the table! Did Seth pay for… her consciousness screamed wrong question.

“Miranda is close, I feel her. I… I…” the medium stuttered. “I am opening myself to Miranda’s soul. Miranda, come forward, use my voice to tell us why you still haunt this room."

Seth’s hand rubbed the blonde’s pantyhose-covered upper thigh, and advanced under her skirt. The blonde was in a trance! Randi remembered. Seth's inbox, filled with texts from—

She felt her essence tugged toward the blonde. Randi grasped for the table leg, attempting to hinder the inevitable, but her fingers grabbed air. If anyone made googly-eyes again, she hoped they'd notice the pink-on-ruby line her heels were carving into the carpet's pile.

Her mind couldn’t wrap itself around the concept that a) she wasn’t technically alive so she could not feel the table cut through her mid-section as she was sucked into the blonde’s body; and b) she was a dead soul about to posses her adulterous husband’s date.

Randi popped into the other, settled into the blonde like a new suit. Seth's hand stroked the thigh, the strange heart raced. The other's chant zoomed into—

If her spirit is here I hope this gets rid of her. I sense her even if he says it's all in my head. Residual guilt from when she was alive, he says. I want him I want him I want him yes I love him oh that feels good keep at it Seth, yes, get over her, it's out turn....

“shut up shut up SH-UT UH-PP!” Randi shrieked through the blonde’s mouth. The blonde's shrill fear pushed at Randi. It felt as if the skull cracked.

The medium shouted, "Oh!" then "hmph. The spirit chooses the medium and tonight, Liz is the conduit.” The medium gazed at the ceiling for a moment before she commanded, “Miranda, speak through Liz. Let us guide you to the light.”

“Randi is here?” Seth paled. So did the medium.

“GO TO THE LIGHT. GO TO THE LIGHT,” the group chanted.

Liz’s hands flailed, breaking contact with her circle mates.

Randi was sucked out of Liz’s body, the sensation similar to sweaty thighs separating from a vinyl seat on a hot, humid day. She welcomed that familiar, instantaneous cool release. A spotlight from above dropped a huge, bright beam onto the center of the lemon-scented Pledge-polished dining death-site table.

Weak heart? No, broken heart. She remembered. He ruined her life, but like hell was she going to let him ruin her afterlife. She floated into the light.

The blonde bitch could have him.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

THIS WEEK'S THREE WORD FLASH

Okay, okay! I promise I'll get up and do my shopping, even though I stayed up way past midnight to finish writing this one. Before you read, I'll have you know I do not have any daughters. Or daughter-in-laws... yet.

MILF

Barbie tried the door knob. Locked. "Amber? Please, I never meant—"

'HOW COULD YOU MOTHER!" Barbie flinched. Amber shrieked vibrato, giving her words a contrasting harmony as if her daughter was possessed instead of just hurt and hating.

"He was my BOYFRIEND! DO YOU HEAR ME? [hiccup] MY FU-HU-HUH-KING BOYFRIEND!"

Barbie heard a thump and shattered glass. She wondered if it was the mother and daughter sterling-framed photo or the Amber and TJ photo inside the red-heart frame. Another thump-CRASH. The other one.

"Please baby."

"fuh-[hiccup], FUCK YOU!"

"I know you're hurt. Let me tell you, you can't trust males—look at your father! He left me, six months pregnant, no job, no home, no—"

"Shut up shut up SHUT UP! This isn't about you and your sorry fucking past! THIS… is… a... bout... ME! AND HOW YOU RUE-[hiccup] RUINED MY LIFE!"

"AMBER! HE mauled ME!" Barbie rattled the door knob. "UNLOCK THIS DOOR!" Barbie inhaled, then slowly released her exhale. "Let's talk."

"I HATE YOU GET THE FUCK AWAY FROM ME!"

Barbie slammed both palms against the door. Two more years of hormones and tantrums. A teary, loud, (guilt-ridden) two years. Barbie sagged. She didn't think Amber would stay until her eighteenth birthday. She wasn't sure if she'd stay until next week.

Barbie stepped into the bathroom, splashed water on her face. She stared into the medicine cabinet mirror. If she squinted hard, almost shut her eyelids, she could see a little bit of Amber's youthful features on her own face; between the 'laugh lines' (wrinkles), underneath the 'sun-kissed' (leathery) skin, framed by her lustrous golden (wiry brass) hair with the dark (gray) roots. She wondered if she'd get to see Amber age.

No, Barbie hadn't meant to hurt her daughter, she just wanted to pretend she wasn't fast approaching "middle age." She wanted to feel attractive again, even desired. She wanted the ardor of a young, virile male at his peak instead of the prescription hard-on of an aging, pawing, paunchy widower. Was that wrong? Was it wrong to want to be called a MILF?

Temptation knocked, and she opened the door. It was TJ asking for Amber.

Barbie invited him in, said he could wait here and how 'bout a cold one? His eyes widened, a smile teased his lips and he said, sure, why not. She knew. Hell, everyone knew an eighteen year old wouldn't say no to beer.

So what if she unbuttoned one blouse button, bent into the refrigerator, let him check out her shapely ass? Two hours a day at the gym, her ass better look good, to any age male. Maybe she did touch (caress) his shoulder, rub (massage) his back, asked him (whispered) would he like something… else? And when he said, er, no ma'am, maybe, just maybe, she asked him if he was gay. Teased him, unbuttoned another button, called him queer boy. Leaned in closer to him, watched his lips separate, heard him pant.

He grabbed her blouse, popping off the rest of the buttons and yanked at her bra and mauled and poked and demonstrated he was a testosterone-influenced eighteen-year-old boy with two beers in him and a raging need to prove he was one-hundred-percent-genuine-heterosexual. And just as she panicked and wondered how stupid could she be, what was she doing… Amber came home.

Barbie knew she'd done wrong and could not make it right. Middle age taught her one bleak truth: MILF meant 'Mother Is Lonely Forever."

Thursday, December 10, 2009

WHY FLASH?

I just realized it's called Flash Fiction because often, the story come to a writer as a flash, a glimmer, a lightening bolt of an image or an idea, with only the after image to imply the back story or the forward movement. Yet, it's enough to compel, to reveal, to intrigue.

DESIRE

From his tenth floor window, Gil stared across the alley, hoping to spy on her. The woman across the way often undressed before her windows, shades forgotten. Tonight her windows remained covered but backlit by bright lights. Two shadows danced across the ersatz screen. She had company.

Gil slammed his fist against his sill, feeling betrayed, offended that she didn't look out and NOTICE him. A tiny female figure grew large before it shrunk back to human size. Gil assumed his fantasy neighbor had walked across the room to pose for him. Maybe she was aware. Of his eyes. His presence. His need. He pulled a chair to his window.

Gil leaned on his sill, lips parted, unaware of his shallow, panting breaths. A male figure joined the woman across the alley. He reached for the female, pulled her into an embrace. Gil watched as her lithe form bent backwards, one arm extended over her head, a tableau of surrender. The man's shadow arm reached behind his back as his head lowered; two human shapes merging into one bulbous shadow. Gil seethed. Gil desired.

The arm shadow behind the man flitted down. The shade snapped open. Gil saw a room behind the pair; simple, stark. A bare wall. Two floor lamps, bright sentinels, each providing six different bulbs set at different angles. A man plunged the woman's bent form into a dip.

The man raised his arm again, the light behind casting him as an outline rather than a three-dimensional form. A knife's edge glinted. Gil held his breath. Light sparks arced into the chasm between their apartments.

He stood, kicked his chair aside, horrified, wanting to scream, to project his voice and warn the woman across the alley.

His arms trembled, his voice constricted. Gil didn't want to warn; he wanted to remain silent. His dread fascination elicited gooseflesh on his arms, a shiver down his spine, a throbbing in his loins. One part of his brain screamed, "NOOOOO!" as a smaller, more compelling voice inside his head whispered watch.

The shimmering blade plunged into the female bosom, a small hill conquered by a shadow, marked by a handle in the surreal outline tableau.

Gil shoved one wrist into this open mouth, stifling grunts, giving his teeth something to bite, squelching the scream worrying his vocal chords. His other hand crept to his jeans; fingers slithered to his zipper, stretched the slit into a gap; relieved the throbbing with feathery strokes.

Wide-eyed and moaning, Gil savored the pleasure, understood the truth. He could never reveal what he had witnessed; never. Her death would remain his until his grave. But until then, he would own her in a way he never could have owned her in life. He closed his eyes, watched the knife's arc, heard her catch her breath, whisper his name, beg for his mercy. Yes, he would replay that secret, treasure it, coddle it, embellish it until she became lost within him.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

CONTINUE THE SAGA...

Huh. I think I like Wednesdays that become Thursdays when you're not looking, but always, ALWAYS, remember... it's still tonight until you go to bed. This weeks offering:

SEGUE

Ben bounced his right knee. He heard Curly mumbling from the seat in front of him, "What in bloody 'ell is a 'kwadree, lattral'? Has a zee in it." Ben stared out the window and thought, the bus window is a quadrilateral. Wait… trapezoid? Ben jiggled his knee harder, jostling her seat. He tapped the window and mumbled, "Trapezoid." Toad-voiced Curly can stick that in her boxes and see if it fits.

She started singing off-key "Ice Ice Bay-bee" and Ben figured he died and went to hell, capital H-E-double L. How did he get stuck here? Oh yeah, I thought I could bluff a raise. My bad!

Mr. Brennan, THE boss, had stood but not come around his desk. He grabbed the stress ball from his desktop and squeezed it while staring at Ben. Ben cleared his throat. Mr. Brennan winked before offering his free hand.

Curly's voice interrupted Ben's memory. "Nine letter word for magnificent. Ends in 's'. Hmm." Did she raise the volume, hoping for his help?

Ben wriggled to get comfortable, kneed the back of her seat again. He sure missed his ergonomic office chair. Mr. Brennan's reply to Vesco Instruments is offering me 5K more a year, but I love it here and would hate to leave was a condescendingly cheerful, "That's great! Shoot, we'll miss your contributions but how can we stifle talent? Ben, when opportunity knocks you answer the door, invite it in. You woo it; hell, you schmooze that opportunity. Open the expensive champagne, splurge for that sumptuous feast and in the end, you'll get your Just Desserts. Yessiree, stroke that opportunity until it surrenders and gives you the ride of your life."

Yep. This is the ride of my life. Wait…that's it! Sumptuous. Nine letter word, ends in s, means magnificent.

Ben was about to lean forward and offer Curly the word, but she was whispering to a buzz-cut Neanderthal across the aisle; a Neanderthal with the same saucer-plate ears as his boss. His ex-boss.

That pompous prick had fondled his bean bag as he avoided eye contact with Ben and said, "Human resources will cut you your last check. And Ben? Return your washroom key."

Ben shook the memory clear, re-crossed his legs and concentrated on the humming wind, the moaning tires… hey! Small miracle! Curly wasn't croaking cover songs.

She had turned to glare at him. Ben raised his eyebrows and smiled a hey-I'm-sorry-I-insulted-your-awful-singing voice smile. The corners of Curly's mouth twitched. Ben took it as a hey-you're-cute-and-you-called-me-beautiful look.

"Sumptuous. Sumptuous means magnificent," he said, adding a wink, hoping she'd smile.

"If yer epileptic knee kicks me seat one more time," she threatened as she poked her thumb towards the Neanderthal, "Me brother Sean here'll kick ye so hard that yew'll fly through this...," she paused to reach over his seat and punch his window, "...TRAPEZOID."

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

3WW & #FLASHFRIDAY aka Double Duty

On this Wednesday in November, when (if you try hard enough) you can still dodge Christmas music, comes the appropriate words GIVE, OBVIOUS and THANKS. I didn't go dark this time, but still enjoyed being creative.

Enjoy the season!

INTERLUDE

“Give a little bit. Give a little bit of your love, to me.”

Curly sang aloud, off key, bopping her auburn mop to the beat emanating into her head. Even though the melody was off, it was obvious by her jiggly nods that she was listening to the bastardized Goo Goo Dolls version of the song rather than Supertramp’s feel good classic.

She sat directly in front of him on his first, and hopefully last, Greyhound bus ride. Thirty years old, without a job, without prospects, without hope, and moving in with his parents. Ben was extremely bitter. The last thing he needed was to travel the one hundred some odd miles listening to an off-key head-bopper with horrible taste in music.

Silence. She stopped singing. Curly bent forward. Ben thought he heard a quiet “damn”. Ben let out a breath, one he hadn’t realized he held. Maybe her IPod ran out of juice... one could hope. Just as he settled back, turned his head to watch the passing scenery, she started again.


“Did you write the book of love....” she croaked. Curly’s debauchery of Madonna’s debauchery of Don McLean. Toes curling, fists clenching, teeth gnashing, Ben wished the bus would just crash already and speed him to hell rather than torture him with the soundtrack.

After an eternal four more minutes, she pulled out her earbuds. Ben heard the tinny whine but blessedly, he couldn’t make out the song. Curly turned around in her seat.

“Hey! What doos ‘paradox’ mean?” she asked with a lilt. Irish, he thought. She kneeled in her seat and handed her folded newspaper over its back. “See? Right here, seven doown.”

“Paradox,” Ben repeated, pretending to look at her paper. She had the most gorgeous green eyes he’d ever seen. He cleared his throat.

“Well? D’yew knew or whot?” Her lilt softened the tone.

“Oh yeah, I know. A paradox is a woman with horrible taste in music and the singing voice of a toad, but the speaking voice of an angel. Paradox.”

She stared at him, expressionless. Ben smiled at her, but she didn’t move, didn’t react, didn’t budge.

After a full minute she shook her paper at him.

Ben blushed as he looked at the puzzle again. “Er, paradox means ah, let me see, ends in ‘a’… try ‘enigma’.”


“Another goddamn know-it-all, A-hole-critic,” she mumbled under her breath as she replaced the earbuds. “Thanks. Thanks a lot,” she shouted over her shoulder before she belted out “There she goes… there she goes again….”

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

3WW... Again.

I know, lame excuse, but it is a valid one for the whole month of November... (cue ominous music) NANOWRIMO! Yes, that's my excuse for taking a break, wandering along the friend-thread to the back alley where words hang out, get high, interface with each other and expect me (and you) to sort out their mess.

I think I did it. The words that stumbled into me (and spilled my beer without offering to replace it... the nerve!) were Obscene, Loyal and Accident. It was an obscene accident for me to try to be loyal to my tweet buddy, the f*#@ing administrator of 3WW...

No, that wasn't my offering. This is it:

A Head to Get Ahead

Troy, her great-great-great-great (how many greats?) grandson placed her head, within its cryogenic acrylic-alloyed capsule gently upon the gurney. She had told her lawyer (how many centuries ago?) that the MacIntyres were fiercely loyal to the family name, and would do anything in the name of family—as long as there was an obscene amount of money involved. Troy proved her right by authorizing the opening of the hermetically sealed vault and ordering the thaw.

She raised her eyebrows (and savored the physicality of it!) at her descendant. He nodded once before turning away from her. Her nephew-to-the-fifth-power was carrying her head to the reattachment center! "Hey there… Troy, right?"

Her progeny's freckles flared the same orange as his curly head. No mistake, he was a MacIntyre. Troy mumbled, "Yes Ma'am?"

"Am I really getting a body today? Pinch me to make sure it's real!" She added, "Just kidding!" when his pale skin flushed. That shade of red looked painful.

"Oh, to walk again and have arms to hug you!" Troy flashed a tight-lipped smile. Jenny didn't notice. She was too happy just to hear her voice again.

"Can you imagine living—no, existing—with only your brain? I can imagine smell. Sure, there's a nose on my face, but I can't actually… smell. Do you know what I mean?"

He glanced left and right before answering, "Yes ma'am."

Jenny frowned just to feel her skin wrinkle and crinkle—amazing.

Troy cleared his throat. "Um, since the twenty-third century—"

"You mean the twenty-first century! I know, a long time ago." Jenny laughed. "In the twenty-FIRST century, Dr. Leon Poule perfected cryogen—"

Troy shook his head. "No, I'm talking about the twenty-THIRD century, when legislation allowed the use of cryogenically preserved brains to provide energy."

Jenny shivered at the ominous tone of his words (though she relished feeling her cheeks jiggle). "Energy? Whoa, slow down. Energy! Like batteries?"

Troy continued. "Thawed cryogenic brains can power and maintain all the lights, heat, electronics--heck, if you get the right adaptor, you can even power a transport--plus your home for a year on just one brain! Imagine!" Troy beamed at her.

"Do you know how excited I was to discover our family, The MacIntyres, actually inherited a cryogenic head?" Jenny heard his excitement. He pushed her gurney faster.

"I paid to be preserved to gain a body!" Jenny shouted.

"Aunt Jenny, you're more appreciated as a head. Trust…." He crashed into another gurney rounding a corner. "Aw, fuck ME!"

Jenny's head smacked against the weakened acrylic, the force tumbling her off the gurney and onto the composite tile floor. A zipping crackle zapped her right ear as she watched a zigzag line glide then crack wide in front of her face. She gulped for oxygen.

"No, no, no, No, NO!" was the second to the last phrase Jenny heard.

A squeaky female voice pleading, "I'm sorry! It was an accident!" was the last.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

3WW

NaNoWriMo is a demanding... cretin (you thought I was going to say lover.. no love here in week #2!). Anyhow...

I took a break from my strange disc found by a metal detector and now in the hands of a bored housewife rather than the alien booked on InterGalactic Flight 1101... and tried to work 'errant' 'hanker' and 'murky' into a story. Enjoy.

THERAPY

I sit on the hard slats of the wooden folding chair, staring at the five—no, make that ten- o’clock shadow—of Bigsworth, or Bozsmouth, or whatever the hell his name is. The harsh fluorescent lights tinge his skin a sickly green. He’s a fucking whiner. He loved crack more than his old lady, his children, his six figure job… whatever. He lost it all and now he’s looking for redemption in the murky depths of a Styrofoam coffee cup. The one perk of Wednesday group therapy: burnt coffee. I hate that mud but by Wednesday morning I’m hankering for it. Maybe that’s how they get us to go to therapy… drug the joe.


“Joe? Would you like to share with us this evening?” I grunt no. Maybe later.

The brassy blonde next to Bigmouth, the one with the deep creases above her lips, deep from puckering them around cigarettes and god knows what else for the past forty years, says in her gravelly voice how sure, she lost it all, gave it away really, but she could do what she fuckin’ had to because of vodka and Quaaludes—that gave her strength. She spreads her legs; I get an errant view of a dick poking between the tear in her orange coveralls.

I never sipped, snorted, smoked or shot up. I have a carton of cigarettes back in the cell and a modified toothpaste tube. I wink at brassy, chin-chuck toward Bigmouth. Yeah, I'll share with them how I got here. Later.

Friday, November 6, 2009

six small meals

Today, I have six shorts live at http://sixsentences.blogspot.com. The last story is a tribute to my parents, who after almost 50 years of marriage, still love each other unconditionally.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Three Word Wednesday

At the prodding (wheedling, cajoling, borderline nagging) tone of my new writer friend Thom Gabrukiewicz, I have tried my hand at Three Word Wednesday. Briefly, Thom provides three words and anyone who is up to the challenge incorporates those three words into a cohesive story, posts it on a blog, and then sends a link in the comments section @ http://threewordwednesday.wordpress.com/

November 4th's words: Karma, Obey and Wither.

Here goes:

Turn Around, Tadpole!

"Prettyprettyprettypretty pul-eeze? Show mommy how you can be a daddy." She stopped to pretend to suck her thumb. "Mummy wuvs her sweet-ums."

Alton hated it when she talked baby talk. "Forever" was indeed a very long time, and becoming longer, exponentially so, with each passing month. He didn't get those men that said their wives bloomed during pregnancy, became glowing, sensuous goddesses. All he saw when he stared at Brittany's swelling belly was a manatee. That tadpole of his, the one he learned existed during junior high school sex-ed class, that one out of a million that waited those fourteen years since junior high to obey the laws of procreation; it probably high-fived all the other tadpoles before the mighty swoosh!—before it swam against the odds and left its flagellating buddies in the dust to impregnate that insidious egg. His tadpole fulfilled its karma and helped form the seahorse-image in the first ultrasound, which then grew into an alien-headed frog, metamorphosed into a… didn't matter what it looked like; all he knew was what it transformed his petite, feminine, sexy wife into a lumbering, sea cow. A sea cow that barked baby talk.

"Altee, Altee, cock's-in-free!"

Didn’t she understand that tone made his dick wither rather than grow? Alton focused on her pouting lips and tried to ignore her pendulous breasts; her once delicate fingers, swollen into Vienna sausages, stroking her distended stomach. He refused to let his stare wander to the foot of the bed where her cankles rested. Alton bit his lips, his physical effort to check his mental disgust. Brittany smiled.

"Aw, you're so sweet! You won't hurt me. It's karma, me getting pregnant. Us Winslows, we're fertile and we're from sturdy stock. My Grammy had fourteen children! Yessirree, fourteen pregnancies. Imagine that?"

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Under Construction

Yes, whatever that means, I am constructing this site. I hope to watch the tutorial by the end of this week and at least post one story that directly relates to Eldritch Way.

Eldritch Way, someday, will be a collection of short stories that all relate, in one way or another, to this fictional, shop(pe)-filled street. Some stories are complete; some still float over my head or inside my head or, well, who knows where stories float to when you don't give them your attention.

Also, once I figure it out, watch for links to some really great writers and blogs that I have encountered along the way. Oh look! A sale at Escapades--talk about jumping inside a story! Gotta go now.

And for my fellow NaNoWriMo-ers STOP READING RANDOM BLOGS AND WRITE YOUR 1667!