Thursday, May 20, 2010


This 3WW and #fridayflash could be considered another episode relating to "Unchained Feeling" from a few weeks ago.  This flash features the guitarist Stone and stands alone; but if you're interested, follow the link.  I like the band members, and they seem to like me. We'll see how much they tell me about themselves.  I think the band's name is Red Arrow, but they haven't verified that yet. Comments welcome.

Pirate Glasses

The phone buzzed and vibrated against the nightstand. Stone grasped for it, trying not to actually get up. He brought its small screen to his face and squinted at the display. He groaned. She was the last person he wanted to talk to right now. The never-never land between Saturday night and Sunday morning meant she drunk-dialed. He didn't need to listen to her slurring; a body warmed his back. Stone replaced the phone onto the nightstand... he didn't own a nightstand.

The body murmured. Think! He peeked. Her face was turned away from his, one arm flung over her eyes. All he could see was a halo of red curls, a creamy neck and his Heavy Metal tee covering a different chest. Oh jeez, it had been that kind of Saturday night. Sore muscles competed with his throbbing head. His tongue felt wooly. Stone was pretty sure the Captain had something to do with his evening.

Oh my god, did she take me home? Solo gig at Terrence's, red curls bouncing under a green plaid fedora. The hot chick swayed and mouthed lyrics in front of the stage. She'd sent him a Cap'n and coke during his first break, proving she made the effort to learn about him. Of course, he was obliged to show his appreciation.

Oh man, he'd appreciated her vintage Pretenders tee, the block-style "P" stretched over what proved to be much more than a mouthful. She'd laughed at his wedding gig story, begged him to play the Righteous Brothers. He acquiesced, and followed it with Joe Cocker's "You Can Take Your Hat Off"—which she did, as part of a slow grind, her gaze locked on him as he strummed and wooed. Those gray eyes sparkled and for Stone, Katie's moves were irresistible. Katie!

Stone eased out of her bed, relieved he remembered her name. Katie murmured again before turning on her side. Stone pulled on his jeans, held up her discarded tee, decided against it. His phone vibrated again. He dreaded answering it.

"You should get that," a soft voice said within a yawn.

He pressed a side button, shoved his phone into his pocket. "That's okay, nothing important."

Katie sat up. "Really, it's okay. If she's expecting you, you should answer."

"It's not what you think," Stone answered. His pocket vibrated. Shit! he thought. Not that he expected this one-night-stand to blossom into a relationship, but he'd like his baggage to stop cock-blocking him. He definitely would appreciate a second round with Katie.

"It's my mother. She won't stop if I don't answer."

"Sure, whatever." Katie reached to flick on a bedside lamp. Stone could tell from her frown that she didn't believe him.

He bolted from her bedroom, found his way to the kitchen. An almost empty handle of Captain Morgan sat on Katie's kitchen table, set between two pirate glasses half-filled with watery amber liquid. Stone emptied the rum into one as he waited for his mother to ring again. Before he swallowed one gulp, his phone vibrated.

"He'sh gone."

"Who's gone ma?"


Stone pulled the phone away from his ear, shouted into the mouth-holes. "GOOD RIDDANCE. RAY'S A JERK!"

"HE'SS NOT A JERK! God yer'n ass."

"Is that why you called? To insult me?"

Katie stepped into the kitchen. His Heavy Metal shirt didn't hug her curves as well as her Pretenders one, but something about a chick in a man's tee got to him. He mouthed sorry.

Katie purposely walked to her coffee maker and pushed the start button. Through the earpiece he heard a click and a sharp inhale. "Ma, I thought you quit smoking?"

"I did, but I'm not a critter." Snorts filled his ear canal. The aroma of fresh-brewed coffee intensified Stone's headache. "I didn't quit, no sirree. Ray did. Ray'ss a quitter." Sobs replaced her bitter laughter.

"Don't mom. Please. He'll be back. He'll apologize and beg for your forgiveness. Just go to bed; we'll talk in the morning." Ray wouldn't apologize—it was his mother's fault, even if Ray was a jerk—but Stone had to say something to pacify her. He hated dealing with drunk mom.

The night faded to gray through Katie's sheer curtains. It was morning; he didn't want to talk yet.

"I don't wanna live alone" leaked into his ear. Me neither, Stone thought. He stared at Katie leaning against her counter, his tee draping her body, the hem caressing her thigh.

He wanted to caress that thigh. He wanted to ask her for his tee back, sniff it for her citrusy scent, forget about his needy mother. He fingered the pirate decal on the glass in his hand; different glass but still a pirate. Ever since he could remember, his mother drank from a pirate glass. If he visited now she'd be sitting at her kitchen table, clutching her jelly glass, amber liquid defining a faded red hat and hook; the vestiges of a movie promotion.

"Mom, you're not alone. I'm around. Go to bed. I'll be over later today." Katie cocked her head, blushed when she realized he watched her listen.


Stone heard his mother's hiccup. He got up and placed his glass in the sink, motioned for a mug. "Promise. I just have to finish my Saturday night." Katie smiled and poured him a coffee.

"Whass 'at mean?"

"It means thank you mom. I'm—I mean, you're not alone."

Stone pressed "end" and took a sip. Katie's coffee sucked. She yawned then smiled at him. "Your mother."

"Yes. I have to go soon."

"I heard."

He winked at her. "I need my shirt." Stone tugged on the hem, leading Katie back to bed.


Jen Brubacher said...

I love this: "I did, but I'm not a critter." Of course then it becomes very sad and I feel bad for her, but you balance the humour and the heartache nicely. And you make a promising future out of such a messy beginning! I'm impressed.

Cathy Olliffe said...

I like Stone.
He's a good boy.
I like his new girlfriend, too.
These are finely written, sympathetic characters who played on my emotions and piqued my interest.
More Stone, please.

Marisa Birns said...

I was riveted to this story. Was surprised that it was actually mom calling!

Stone and Katie. Good match. :)

ganymeder said...

Yeah, I was surprised it was mom too. But this story felt very real, I could hear the characters in my head. Well done.

mazzz in Leeds said...

great slice of life (albeit rock'n'roll life!)
I'm with Cathy - I like both Stone and his new girlfriend

Mike Robertson said...

Knocked this little story out of the park Peggy. Impressive character portrait in a few words. Seriously. You rock.

Laura Eno said...

Filled with different emotions and great twists. Very real and well done.

Chris Chartrand said...

I really enjoyed this story. The drunk slurring was well done and not over the top. You were able to give these characters a lot of depth in such a short space.

austere said...

Loved the dialogue.

Deanna Schrayer said...

This is fantastic storytelling! It is so difficult to write dialect, especially that of a drunk, but you seem to have done it with such ease.
And I LOVE the name Red Arrow for the band, it certainly seems to suit Stone's character at least.
Great work!

Timothy P. Remp said...

Your pieces always include characters with immense depth. This read very real to life. I was shocked it was Stone's drunk Mom on the phone and loved Katie's one night stance attitude.

Awesome work Peggy.


Jay Thurston said...

Very entertaining Peggy, you have really flushed out the veteran Stone character and his new interest Katie as well. Nothing like a call from mom to add a new facet to the character's personality. I'd be interested in hearing more of the Red Arrow as well.

Eric J. Krause said...

Good story. Stone seems like quite an interesting and good guy. Like Katie, I thought he was lying about it being his mother at first, too. I have a feeling, though, that he'll be seeing her a lot more in (and out) of his t-shirts.

Christian Bell said...

Well done! I like these characters. Entertaining and well written!

Sulci Collective said...

I have to ask, having some experience of the rock'n'roll & backstage world, do you have direct experience yourself? Cos this series reads absolutely spot on. Great work

marc nash

Dee Martin said...

oh man, I can't believe I waited so long to get here! It was so real and I loved the dialogue too. Drunk mom was sad and pathetic and the tone he took with her seemed just right, trying to be kind but irritated with the timing and the whole here we go again thing.

Bukowski's Basement said...

So much to dig about this piece. Namely :" but he'd like his baggage to stop cock-blocking him..."

Keep it coming. Like these tales...

Barry J. Northern said...

You gotta love Stone, what a great character. Sex, Rock & Roll, and good to his mother.


Peggy ~ Characters with such credible character even when the coffee sucks ... dialogue with drunken dialect ... and a fella who took his Mom's call. Though just learning him, I like this Stone rocker and will check the other link.

Loved the t-shirt tug. Nice touches (pun inclusive). Cliche to say this 'rocked'? ~ Absolutely*Kate

Carrie said...

The characters are so, so well-drawn. I love getting sucked into your world. I'd beg for a much longer piece, but I think you'll know if they keep on nagging you that you have to give them a way. Wow. I love it. I'll read it anytime. Eagerly.

ThomG said...

seriously good, Peggy. the dialogue was spot-on, which helped push the story along with such a fabulous pace. The characters really came alive for me.

Gracie said...

Great story, Peggy. Characters are well rounded and full, and the dialogue is excellent.

Very well done.

David G Shrock said...

Strong characters. Mom's voice is great.

John Wiswell said...

I thought this exchange:

--"He'sh gone."

--"Who's gone ma?"


was a switch of scene because the last thing that happened was the phone vibrating. Now I get it; Stone is actually talking to his mom. But with the "baggage" comment earlier, I thought he was actually lying about his mother "cockblocking" him. One more like of action related to the phone before the dialogue, probably picking it up, would fix it for me. I'm a new reader, so I couldn't figure out the mother thing like people with backstory might.

I'm not sure if I dislike him. His mom's in need, but he goes for another round of sack-toss before helping her. He ia disgruntled she'd call, but seems to enable her. I kind of wanted to throw a bucket of water on mother and son. Katie did nothing wrong, or at least nothing wrong that you don't go to a concert fantasizing about doing. No bucket of water for her, except possibly to wash up.

John McDonnell said...

These are characters with flaws, which makes them more realistic. I like that. Characters should have gray areas, because that's what real people are like. Good job. I pictured the scene perfectly based on your descriptions.

韋于倫成 said...