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."