Thursday, January 28, 2010

I'm It


My friend Christian Bell of http://imnotemilioestevez.blogspot.com/ made me "it". I have been blessed with a blue circle, and it is now my responsibility to pass it on to five friends. Find a blog, read a post, these are very entertaining friends of mine. Hope you enjoy their words. (thanks Christian... I think)

http://quinbrowne-words.blogspot.com/ Quin Browne
http://linda-leftbrainwrite.blogspot.com/ Linda W.
http://albruno3.blogspot.com/ Al Bruno III
http://disenthrallme.wordpress.com/ Walter C.'s stunning ezine
http://thomg.blogspot.com/ Thom G.
Spread the love.

Rainbow Ends

This week's Three Word Wednesday calls for Beacon, Grieve and Kindred. Enjoy.

RAINBOW ENDS

Tom shot the flare at the rainbow. He thought if the rocket's trajectory arced along the bow, he could find the infamous pot o' gold. The smoke trail obscured the orange band, right on target. The explosion was awesome! Tom ran towards the glowing white beacon.

White hot flames leapt at the colored bars. Eight colors, each a separate beam, twisted into angry, smoking curls. A smoking lump of indigo broke off and crushed a chattering squirrel. Death by blue, Tom thought and giggled. His giggles turned into howls when he noticed the bawling leprechauns. Green and white striped leggings, leafy hemmed tunics, the tiny green men wailed and flipped and rushed forward and back from the glowing pot. Violet ash rained on their buckled hats.

Tom elbowed his way into the grieving green men, tried to approach the pot o' gold. Heat singed his eyebrows. The gold burned! His rocket melted the treasure.

Tom shouted at the leprechauns. "Come on guys! Use your magic! Shoot water out of your fingers or something, save our gold!"

As if one being, the green creatures turned to face Tom. Furrowed eyebrows contradicted exaggerated smiling faces—those smiles were not friendly.

Tom backed out of the circle, turned and dashed for yellow, its jagged end the closest to the ground. He jumped, pulled himself up and ran along the bright track.

Tom dared a peek behind him. The leprechauns swarmed, smudging every color into Kelly Green. The gap closed. Grit pelted his back, the back of his head, fell before him. The leprechauns threw tiny shapes, minute crystals refracting light in the brilliant sunshine. Tom ignored the pink hearts, yellow moons, orange stars and green clovers and focused forward, at the azure blue skies—

—the rainbow disintegrated before him. A small city appeared below the fading red. Tom dove forward, slid off the rainbow…

…into Killarney's. Green-clad creatures spilled onto him, knocking him off the bar stool, crushing him into the plank floor. Tiny hands pulled and pummeled, yanked and sparked.

"Guinness! Barkeep, for God's love, pour mugs for me mates!"

The green men chuckled, climbed off Tom, pulled him upright, clapped his lower back. One told a limerick, beer foam shot out Tom's nose. The leprechauns clanked glasses with Tom, kindred spirits, at least until the keg ran dry.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

I'm 40 Plus!

No, not age. Well, maybe age (shut up!) but at http://clarityofnight.blogspot.com/, if you look up my name (#136, thank you) in the "Silhouette" contest, you will discover that J. Evans and his editing team honored me with an asterisk. That means that according to his judging standards, my story earned at least 40 out of 45 points. I'm okay with that (YEAH!). Ahem.

Watch for my story from a few weeks ago appearing at http://powfastflashfiction.com/index.html. I'll let you go there to discover which one was accepted. Thank you Karen!

This week's 3WW and #fridayflash contribution is:

TRADE MARKS

"Two and tree lines," Saul yelled. Bryant resented the sheet-rocker. After ten years in America, couldn't the hairy Canadian translate "tree lines" to "three-eights-of-an-inch?" Bryant fumed, swore his best harsh-k's under his breath while Bryant whistled an Alanis Morissette tune.

"Bri-ent, bring me up more nails you."

Bryant balanced the cut piece of sheet rock up the ladder and considered what his ideal job would be. A CIA agent maybe, trained at Guantanamo Bay, one skilled in the art of torture. He'd use those skills to administer pain to anyone that couldn't sing all eight verses of America the Beautiful. Or not read a goddamn tape measure. Or whistle "All I Really Want" incessantly.

Bryant struggled over to Saul, shoved the freshly cut section of wall at the Canadian. Saul thanked Bryant, replenished the supply of nails under his moustache and blithely seated the dry wall, biceps bulging, still whistling. Saul's effort exposed armpit stains which not only offended Bryant's gaze, but also his nostrils… and his machismo. Two hours a day at the gym and he could barely balance one sheet of drywall, never mind lift it alone. Where did the goddamn Canadian get his strength?

Saul wriggled nails to the corner of his mouth. He snapped the tape measure out, marked the air between the studs. "You cut piece, eh…."

"Two and tree lines? Isn't that what it always is?" Bryant sneered. "Come on man! It's TWO FEET, THREE EIGHTHS OF AN INCH! INCHES! Not 'TREE LINES'!" Bryant punched a hole through the new sheet of drywall. "Cris-sakes, you live in AMERICA!" Bryant punched a second time.

His knuckles, obscured by a cloud of chalky dust slammed a stud. Bryant screamed in a pitch high enough to rival pre-teen girls at a Jonas Brothers concert. He yanked his throbbing fist to his chest, held it with his healthy hand and side-stepped in rhythm to his, "Ow, ow, ow, fuckin' OW!"

Bryant stumbled onto a loose piece of plywood, rocking it off the support beam. His arms—hurt fist and unimpressive biceps included—wind-milled as he teetered between second-floor sub-flooring and space-between-cross-beams.

Saul shook his head, took one giant step and reached for Bryant's tool belt, yanking him back onto the sturdy, nailed-down flooring.

Bryant collapsed, gasping for air. "Thanks, man. You saved my life."

Saul shrugged, wriggled the nails between his lips and hummed what Bryant eventually recognized as, "You Oughta Know."

Thursday, January 14, 2010

STARTING THE YEAR OFF RIGHT

Not even at the mid-point of January and I've already entered a contest. Whether I get a prize or not, I wrote a story based on a picture. I've used writing prompts, but pictures as inspiration has been tough for me. Check out the 235 entries at http://clarityofnight.blogspot.com/ Be sure to read entry #136 and look for some of my writing buddies, such as Timothy P. Remp, Thom Gabrukiewicz, Mike Solender, Mira, Christian Bell, Paul Brazill, Eric Beetner, Jodi MacArthur, John Wiswell, Angel Zapata, and probably a few others that I haven't found yet, but enjoy their words. Leave comments for any that you read! (Writers are comment whores.)

Okay, now for my double-duty 3WW and #fridayflash contribution:

HOMECOMING

"Where to?"

"Forty-two Trenton Street."

The rearview mirror revealed his raised eyebrows under the ball cap's brim. Teri ignored his look, reached for the door handle. Static shocked her fingertips. Stale sweat and old fried onions assaulted her nose. The meter's click jolted her. She shut her door. It had been a long time since she'd ridden in a cab. In any vehicle.

"Trenton Street, isn't that where—"

Teri interrupted the driver. "Don't know. I've been away."

Teri looked out the side window. She had escaped. Ess—caped. She savored the hiss between her teeth, the sibilant sounds fleeing her mouth just as she'd fled the compound.

"Miss, I drive by there every day—"

"I'm sure you do. Driving is your job, right? Just take me home, please."

Home. She hadn't used that word out loud or in her head for… two years? Three? Time was different at the commune. She'd called from the bus station, but her mother hadn't answered. Teri hoped her mother would be there when she arrived. The meter clicked again. Such a tiny sound, but she jumped again.

"How long have you been away?"

"Sir, it's been a rough… day." She'd almost said "life". The meter clicked. She started. Her stomach gurgled.

Brother Paul said his previous life as a dog trainer prepared him for his true calling. He used the clicker with zeal. Please Brother Paul, he'd click. Sometimes, her reward was food. Other times, her reward was to further please Brother Paul. The meter clicked. She shuddered. Despite herself, she drooled.

The cab passed the Circle K, turned the corner. Teri sat straighter, pressed her nose against the glass. Her eyes filled. How long ago had mom done that?

She shifted to see out the windshield. "When I was little and slept away, my mom would tie a yellow ribbon around the tree in our front yard. Corny, but we only had each other." The driver frowned. Teri explained, "You know, like the song—"

"Miss? Do you have anywhere else to go?"

Color caught her attention. "Yellow ribbons," Teri whispered around the lump.

The driver slowed the vehicle. Teri sagged against the back seat. She clamped her eyelids shut, against the tears, against the invasive black letters on the tattered yellow tape. They swathed the tree, the front door, the yard perimeter.

The driver's tone held pity. "Miss, do you have anywhere else to go?"

Thursday, January 7, 2010

TOO MUCH VODKA OR TOO LITTLE SLEEP?

I wish I could explain. Nah, I wish I could say that, but I don't. Explain it yourself. But I will say: Three words can inspire, if you stop trying and just think. Or in my case, don't think. (sorry mom!)

BANDITTIES

Stomach against the pavement (as well as her extended legs), Raven peered into the grating. Sparrow crouched next to her, ignored the loud protest of his knees and instead, appreciated the way her jeans molded against her derriere. He retrieved his pack of smokes from the inside pocket of his duster.

"I think I see them," Raven said as she scrambled away from the storm drain.

"Them?" Sparrow stopped thinking about how to get those tight pants off Raven and tried to recall her blabbering.

"YES! THEM! Don't you listen?" Raven stood, brushed off her thighs and stole a cigarette from his pack. "People blame rodents, but no, no, it's not mice that nibble through the walls and steal stuff. It's—" Raven leaned in for his cupped flame, inhaled and held the smoke before exhaling skyward. She swiped her hair curtain away from her right eye. "It's the banditties."

Sparrow thanked Judas Priest that he'd already lit his smoke, or he would have choked. "Raven Raven Raven. Pray tell, what are band-titties?" He couldn't prevent a giggle.

"BAN-DIT-TEES," Raven replied. She either was too engrossed or just didn’t hear his giggle. "Sometimes they steal things, like your keys or your wallet or, well, you know. They steal the stuff that you think you've misplaced."

"So when I can't find my lighter, I blame the... banditties?" Sparrow chuckled despite his intentions to humor her.

Raven flicked her half smoked cigarette into the storm drain. To any one else walking by, like the douche dragged by his collie singing off-key (you want it all, but you can't have it!) she appeared nonchalant, uninterested.

Sparrow thought,
shit! Who the fuck still sings that!

But Raven's squinting eyes and sneering nostrils told Sparrow—

("Epic!" What kinda asshole still downloads Faith No More)

—that he blew it. Or rather, that he wouldn't get it blown. Until she slapped him he had a chance. So he asked, "Okay, I'm sorry. What is the problem with banditties?"

Raven glanced between her feet. "Sometimes, they steal your things. And if you act upset enough, they are okay."

She peeked at him for approval. He smoothed his frown and smiled his practiced sultry look. Crazy chicks gave the best—

"SHIT! They're swarming!"

"What the fuck?" Sparrow yelled as the ground shook violently enough to knock them down. Six-legged spores swarmed from below, onto the iron mesh, across the tar and over his Timberlands. He kicked skyward, yelling, "RAVEN!"


Raven clutched his arm as the crunching, gnashing noises began. Her fright anchored him to the site. He wrenched his arm free, then grabbed her by the waist and propelled her onward. He wondered fleetingly if the dog and jogger were close enough to hear him scream.

"What the fuck are those… things?" Sparrow shouted.

"Banditties. They steal your… AHHH!"

Sparrow ran faster, spurred by her yell. The gnashing sound waned as his speed increased. Pins and needles prickled his skin under his clothing.

"I think I found those endorphins!" Sparrow yelled to her. He couldn't hear Raven over (or under, no not under, under means gone) his ragged breaths. He glanced to his left. Raven wasn't running beside him (Raven? What's a raven?), but the arm still felt warm in his closed right fist. He stopped to consider why he held a disembodied arm.

Tiny creatures swarmed his….

Friday, January 1, 2010

HAPPY NEW YEAR

So glad it's 2010! Here's the first story of the new year, brought to you courtesy of 3WW and #fridayflash. Ambush, hideous and meddle helped shape this one.

CLEAN SLATE

Sister Harrid hovered over the acolyte's cauldron. Warwick flipped the pages of his spell book back to the "Clean Slate" recipe. She sniffed. "Good job Warwick." She scratched the puckered scar of her right eye socket. "That's what you want, that distinct mold mixed with ranch dressing essence. That'll wipe out anyone's memory."

She zipped over to the second cauldron. Serena threw rabbit pellets behind her back and coughed. She didn't want Sister Harrid to hear the plops fall into Warwick's brew.

Sister Harrid sniffed again. Her nostrils sucked closed as her face crumpled into sharp wrinkles. Sparks flew from her pursed lips. Serena's watched the sparks disappear above her cauldron.

"Not your usual work, Serena."

"I know. Er, it's Warwick's fault."

"Hey! Don't throw me under the broom. You zapped me while I was at the pantry closet—"

"Splashing holly water over your shoulder! You ambushed my potion, Wart-Sick!"

"THAT'S ENOUGH!"

"Yes Sister Harrid," they answered in unison.

Their teacher sighed. "Witches don't complain; they get even. Tend to your brews."

"But sister? How do I counteract holly?"

Sister Harrid glared as she pointed toward the wall of tomes. She then zoomed to the room's corner. "Try the Encyclopedias. 'H' should help."

She swung her broom around, pointed the business end at the cauldrons and shrunk herself down to doll-size as she floated.

Both acolytes groaned. Serena glanced at her eight-inch teacher hovering from the ceiling perch. "This is your fault," Serena whispered, "with her meddling as a kitchen witch we'll never get the transfiguration spell."

Warwick glared. Use telepathy idiot! She can hear whispers. Kitchen Witch means all spells work. This means our spell will work! We just don't want her to know what we are really brewing.

Serena giggled. You're right. Okay, I added the rabbit pellets to yours. You look away and I'll drop a ladleful of my brew into your cauldron. That should do it.

The liquid plopped then sizzled. A tiny whine exclaimed, "Perfect, Serena! Now Warwick! Pay attention and stir." Both students snapped their mouths closed, trying to stifle their giggles.

Squeaky bought the revenge act. Warwick wrinkled his nose. Pew! This reeks worse than sewage!

Serena walked to the bookshelf and removed the "H" volume.

Remember Warwick, just your hand in the brew. Submerge for twenty seconds and I'll keep my fingers crossed and chant Edward, Edward and you should see scissor-fingers form.

Warwick glanced at the corner then peered at the hideous mixture. The gelatinous matter bubbled, forming boils on the surface that erupted into tiny pus volcanoes. Maroon threads slithered and quaked around the bubbles. Warwick gulped. Are you sure you followed the recipe?

I thought 'kitchen witch' guaranteed success. Should I call you Wuss-wick?

Warwick took a deep breath. Serena held hers. Warwick plunged his hand into the viscous mess.

"ARGH! ARGH! AHHHHHHH!"

Warwick yanked his pulsating hand out of his cauldron. His fingers elongated and thickened, bristles erupted along the creases and crinkles of his hand, spreading to his wrist and up his arm. Warwick collapsed.

Sister Harrid zoomed down from her perch and grew into herself. "You think I don't know about transfiguration spells? Hmm, rabbit pellets—my nose is very sensitive—holly, two cauldrons… what are you trying to become?"

She shook her head and cackled. Sparks showered the room. Serena thought, The sparks fell into my cauldron! She sabotaged us!

Oh, and I am a WITCH! I hear every thought. Scissor fingers carve hedges. How about another creature from a hedge?

Warwick writhed on the floor, bristled hairs poking through his robes, arms and legs sprouting from his torso. His eyes bulged and shrunk as his face rippled. Fangs grew out below his disappearing lips. Serena opened her mouth, about to ask what was happening, when her own milky brew splashed onto her tongue. She gagged.

"Transform, my acolytes." Sister Harrid rubbed her clawed hands together and watched.

Serena gagged as what felt like hair filled her mouth. She tried to grasp the strands as she ran to the cracked mirror. She screamed.

Gossamer filaments swirled above her tongue, with single strands lashing onto her molars, anchoring a spider web. Within moments, perfectly angled spirals filled the cavity. Her fingers plucked but only strummed the cords, causing discordant tones to resonate inside her temples. Her jaw fell wide, unhinging, her chin touched the floor. She backed away from the mirror—

—and eight legged Warwick scurried up her leg and settled onto the web inside her mouth. Serena tried to pluck Spider-Wick from her mouth, but his fangs sunk into her thumb.

Sister Harrid flew out the room and locked the door. Serena felt her head crack as her teacher's cackling voice filled her mind. You'll be yourselves again by morning. Tomorrow, we'll try a new batch of 'Clean Slate' and forget this ever happened.