Category Archives: fiction

Timothy Schande

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He wanted to see Jennifer again before everything got all fakakta. Their relationship was building nicely prior to arrest. Now Timothy wasn’t so sure.

He’d see a judge soon and could then cypher what came next. Just his luck to get popped right before he met someone he could finally introduce to his bubbie. A goy, nonetheless. She’d have been surprised.

A guy in the next cell kept yelling about something being “otra bobas,” but Tim knew no Spanish. The fella was de-toxing or still off his nut from a wild misadventure the previous night. Maybe something resembling his own.

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100-word challenge:  arrest

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Get Her Freak On

a porch swing

Tiny red and blue dots vibrated inside Joleen’s eyelids and fixated her in a false somnambulant stupor. Her consciousness stopped at the intersection of wakefulness and sleep when the screen door’s slap brought her bolt upright.

“What the hell are you doing?” Jed asked.

“Catching some z’s before tonight’s party.” She blocked an offending sun ray with a skinny arm gone tingly from its perch across the porch swing’s back. She gave him that suspicious sidelong glance often given people like him who can’t read without their lips moving.

“Don’t worry,” she assured. “”I’ll be ready to lap-dance soon enough.”

 

100 word challenge:  skinny

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photo: pinterest.co.uk

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An Inopportune Accident

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Rain fell for days on end. Its pallor hung like a sopping blanket left on porch rails in perpetuity.                                                                                              

She knocked tentatively on the door, both fearing someone might answer and still hoping they would. Tires on wet pavement caused the slide and bad news to deliver to a potential dog owner. 

A curtain pulled sideways as someone inside held as much dreaded curiosity as she did near to bursting. The hand proffered a glimpse at his visitor and wiped hungry slobber slipping downward.

Canine not on the menu, he’d order up roadkill regardless. The driver looked even more appetizing.

100 word challenge: order 100-word-challenge

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Blind Faith in Tomorrows

My 22nd birthday blurs into distant memory’s oblivion. Ancient history, it seems. Why did I ever trust that drunken punk enough to fly down a county highway on the back of his crotch rocket? Woe to imagine our parents’ horror at having to identify the remains in morgue boxes had one gravel slide caught narrow tires just right.

Naive bravado haunts me, though. The innocent ignorance of not caring about a possible tomorrow, just the next beer tab to be popped. A boy to kiss. No future prospects considered. Yet another night of fun.

photo by Jake Lichman

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Karma’s Cut

“Damn!” Mandy hollered when the sharp-nozzled vacuum hose cascaded to meet shinbone flesh already scarred by early-teen shaving hacks. “That’s gonna hurt me,” she lamented.

Stooping to retrieve the utensil, she peeked under her armpit in case anyone witnessed her sucking up passenger glass Pam kicked out the night before. “Just act casual. Can’t have anybody see me clean the blood.”

A high cost would come with suspicion of just what evidence was actually being purged. “A little bird might sing to the cops,” Mandy mouthed under her breath as she pulled of the Quick Wash and onto the street.    

100-Word Challange: Bird

Image courtesy Heath Parsons (creative commons) via Flickr

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I Feel Fine

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Sherrell bid the year adieu at midnight with a resounding, “Good riddance!” as she gulped the dregs of her gin-and-tonic in a final act of defiance against the year now finished. Gripping the highball glass in her hand, she resisted throwing it against the wall to drive home the point. Surviving the prior 365 days, regardless of its physical and emotional difficulties wracked upon her, required all the willpower she’d been able to muster.  

All other party-goers around the room raised their drinks to toast the incoming new year, circled noisemakers in the air, and blew paper horns in celebration. She silently envied their jubilation and wished she shared such a sense of optimism. The next 12 months surely held a more positive outcome, if only she could imagine it.

Her friend, Frank, grabbed Sherrell’s hand to swing her around. “Come on, Sher, let’s dance! ”

Frank talked her into coming to the party regardless of all her excuses meant to avoid it. “No, thanks,” she told him. “I’m going to just grab a drink.” She turned her empty glass upside down to emphasize the point, suddenly glad she hadn’t catapulted it into the wall after all.

He wouldn’t let go of her hand, though. “You’re divorced now. It’s time you had some fun!”

If that springtime change hadn’t been enough, a car accident in late June caused so many lost days at work they let Sherrell go. “I’m too exhausted, Frank. My new job has me worn out. I just want another drink.” 

Frank’s arms swung akimbo while his pelvis gyrated violently and eyebrows also pranced quickly up and down, as if those motions might convince her to join the fray of other people in relative expressions of excitement. He waggled a finger enticingly toward where she stood on the sideline listless and brooding. 

Sherrell couldn’t help chuckling at Frank’s dorky invitation. He could’ve asked someone else to come with him who, most likely, would be a much funner companion. This was one night in the earth’s last full rotation of the sun that allows complete abandon of all seriousness. Life provided her enough seriousness in that time frame. 

“Oh, shiiiiit, girl! That’s my jam!” Frank bellowed when REM’s “End of the World As We Know It” blasted through the speakers. His body went into a wild spin, head whirling on the axis of his neck, arms now floated askew.

Sherrell recognized those old chords and Michael Stipe’s voice from the past, what seemed like a lifetime ago, when she had far fewer serious concerns than now. The portent of those lyrics mirrored the past period of existence, a stage now — thank God — behind her.

Her shoulders collapsed in capitulation, and her feet moved forward, seemingly of their own volition. “Screw it! Let’s go, Frank. I wanna dance!” 

→→→→→ Here’s to a better 2019! ÷←←←←←

Day 1 photo courtesy of Matt Preston via Flickr through Creative Commons license

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The Day’s Catch

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His concentration went all to hell when that first lightning bolt flashed toward the horizon. It’s hard to pay attention to anything else when your butt is floating atop a plastic boat at risk of the next spark actually hitting the water beneath you. Finding a place to go ashore immediately became Tommy’s priority.

Warnings from his mother to watch for pop-up storms didn’t keep him from going out that morning. She didn’t want her son fishing alone in the first place.

Mom had cautioned, “There’s no fooling around with bad weather. Nature always wins. I’ve told you what happened to us on a float trip when I was young.” Using metal canoes meant a friend got hurt when lightning struck the surface somewhere upriver. They made it home feeling plenty scared but lucky.

With gear quickly stored, Tommy paddled for safety. Strong wind spiked waves that rocked the small kayak as rain began to fall, but heightened senses seemed to aid his rowing speed regardless. He thought, “Who woulda guessed these sticks could make me move this fast?” Boulders along the lake’s bank made for a formidable landing spot, though.

Both fast-moving dark clouds and Mom’s harping on bad stuff clouded the kid’s judgement when alighting shore. His inexpensive little boat found the sharpest rock possible, which shoved a hole in its flimsy hull. “Noooo,” Tommy hollered on impact. He had stood up at just that same moment and toppled forward to sprawl his thin limbs across the jagged shoreline.

Regardless of the pain, the boy’s first thought was, “Oh, man. I’m going to be in so much trouble!” He lay there on the rocks hurting but only dreading how he’d have to tell his mother about the damaged kayak.

Radiant beams shown into his eyes and broke that distraction at the abrupt arrival of a car on a berm adjacent the strand. He wiped rain from his face and blinked into the headlights’ glare. Relief washed over him to see his mother alight from the Honda and start toward him. She yelled, “Tommy, I’m so glad to see you’re off the water!”

“Me, too, Mom,” he mumbled. “Me, too.”

Two Word Tuesday writing prompt – radiant

 

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No Place Like Home

“We should get there by nightfall, Shelbina,” the woman told her sleeping daughter, the susurrus of the road having lulled a sense of calm. She always used the little one’s full name, unlike her father. He refused to recognize the namesake, yet another way to maintain his control, so everyone else knew her as Shelly..

Shelbina was the tiny place where her mother grew up. That town and the girl represented everything the woman truly loved, which only fueled her husband’s resentment. But his predictable delivery room absence left her a chance signing of the birth certificate without him. Someone wise might have warned that lack of parental participation as a foreshadowing.

She glanced over her shoulder at the girl’s limp form slumped in the backseat, eyes fluttering in a disturbed REM cycle. A big row earlier in the evening must have played part in such fitful slumber.

The woman reckoned all that nonsense had to come to a head before she finally split up their family. A glimpse in the rear-view mirror as she returned her gaze to the road convinced her that fateful decision was the right one. Proof in fresh bruising around her left eye.

Just lightly fingering the puffiness brought a sudden flinch. That kind of pain proved she’d done the right thing to hit him over the head with the floor lamp and gain enough escape time to get to the car. Even if her brother ended up beating the man half to death in retaliation when he saw her face later.

It was only a matter of time before her husband’s anger turned to Shelbina instead of herself. “He ain’t never gonna touch you, honey. Not if I can help it,” she whispered, not wanting to wake the girl. Maybe saying the words out loud would mean she could believe she’d actually left him.

Shelbina’s untidy hair glistened in the golden hour glow of gathering dusk. The closer they got to the western horizon, the closer they were to home. “Just a little while longer now,” the woman said softly. “We’re almost to Shelbina.”

 

Two Word Tuesday prompt – adumbrate and/or foreshadow

http://ourwriteside.com/28742-2/

video: Samantha Fish – “Go Home” via Local 909 in Studio

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Not a creature was stirring

Prison Bars

Something collided with the cell bars above him and reverberated against the crown of his head. Paulie scurried away from the sound and covered his now aching skull with crossed arms to protect it from further damage.

“Get your lazy ass on your feet if you want anything to eat,” the blurry man in uniform yelled at him. “There’s a cup of coffee and oatmeal there by the door.” The baton that rang out the metal tune on his head moments ago pointed in the opposite direction. “Serve yourself. This ain’t the Holiday Inn.”

Waking up on a cold slab that hung from a concrete wall at Jefferson County jail was a helluva way to spend Christmas morning. The bed felt as flat against his back as the empty wallet in his pocket. Paulie knew good and well his kids were at home expecting to open presents Santa Claus hadn’t brought from the North Pole this year. The coward in him was glad to not witness their disappointment.

Growing up, Paulie’s family ofttimes had its own lean years. His mom would find a way, some kind of hustle, to get his sisters and him a little something. Even if she had to stoop to making them all angels on some charity’s tree. The siblings enjoyed plenty of welfare dinners none the wiser.

Paulie would not only perpetuate the stereotype this year but do it one better. No money for gifts should’ve meant no cash for drinks, but he spent what he had regardless. All the bender did was land him an overnight stay in lockup. Not the best place to be when he should have been putting out cookies and milk for the fat man and carrots for some flying reindeer.

The tree he’d chopped down after dark at the nature preserve would still be there when he got out three days later, dried out and bound to start a house fire. A single strand of tinsel hung listless from a parched branch, and the ornaments still remained, but the sparse presents were all gone. Along with his kids and wife. She must’ve taken them to her mother’s before Paulie got released. He figured as much would happen.

He opened the otherwise empty refrigerator and retrieved a beer before collapsing into the threadbare recliner. No cheerful carols rung out or kids’ laughter greeted him. Paulie reached over and plugged the cord for the Christmas tree lights into the outlet anyway.

*Our Write Side writing prompt – ofttimes

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Taking In the Scenery

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That gray day obscured visibility and led to Mrs. Tolson’s accident but also reflected the farmer’s mood upon learning his heifer broke through the fence. The cow in the road caused a wreck that risked everything Mose Riley worked many hard years to earn. A legal battle still simmered over who held the liability for fault.

Mose swung a hammer to drive in the next nail for fence repair and caught a sidelong glimpse at crows that pecked debris left on the pavement. The specks of brain matter and intestine scattered across the blacktop reminded him of the mess he had ahead of him in court. “Damn that Clara,” he murmured to himself. “Why did she choose that stretch of wood to topple? A hundred yards down the row and she’d have just gone over into the neighbor’s field. Damn her all to hell.”

Mrs. Tolson’s lawyer later criticized the farmer’s negligence in not seeing a hole during the prior feeding time when he’d last checked his cattle. “Had the defendant repaired the perimeter fence, my client would never have met the fatal end to her Sunday evening drive,” the attorney contended.

Mose cursed the insurance adjuster who warned him to not say a defensive word about it. “Let’s not rile them. Keep the damages to a minimum,” the man cautioned.

Farming had always been a financial risk, but Riley lamented seeing all that money metaphorically splayed in a ditch beside the road. The carcass rested in a mangled mass just across the pavement since the Sheriff refused to let him take the cow away to slaughter. It needed to stay there as evidence until their fatality investigation concluded.

“Not only will my rates go up, but I gotta see Clara laying there and not even be able to turn her into burger. Lost her as a producer AND steaks, too,” he thought. One broken brown leg twisted around behind her haunch in a supremely painful-looking position. All the cow’s inner fluids had leaked through the boundaries of her body, and an incredible stench emitted from her bloated form. No future calves from Clara, and not even a rib-eye for dinner.

Spitting a long sluice of tobacco in the direction of the remains, Mose decided to leave the calculation of lost money to another day. “Dammit if she don’t stink, too,” he swore aloud. “I just wish she’d have landed on the insurance man instead of Mrs. Tolson.” Maybe the coyotes would scavenge enough in the night to take care of that stench.

Riley looked away and went back to his mending. “This blasted fence won’t fix itself neither,” he mumbled and gave the post a swift kick.

*Our Write Side prompt – supremely or very

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