Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Office (Part 3)

The woman who opened the door was not whom I was expecting. Her pixie size and contemporary clothes baffled me causing me to stutter over my own words. “Uhhh…. Ummm…. I’m sorry; I must have the wrong place.” I turned to leave.

“Julia, I’m Laurenn” she said. I looked over my shoulder. Her small hand reached for me, a soft smile invited me to return. “Come in won’t you? You look like…,” she hesitated a moment, her eyes over my shoulder taking in the small girl I had yet to notice. “You could use a seat and a glass of water.”

Her hand still hovered in the air. I returned to the door slowly. “How did you know my name?” I asked, not really bothered that she knew it, just curious. She threw her head back, a laugh bigger than her small frame escaped into the air.

Leveling her eyes to mine she replied, “You made an appointment with me. You gave me your name then.” My cheeks flushed in the simplicity of the truth. Not mystical power, but a freely given fact. I looked at her closely as I passed her in the hall so she could close her door. She certainly didn’t resemble a mystic. I’d only seen them on TV, but still expected a large lady with colorful clothing and a heavy turban. She had none of this. Neither was she dominated by her bust line. She was only small and quiet.

“Almost everyone is surprised by my appearance. I certainly do not match up with the stereotypes of a mystic do I? I don’t use a crystal ball either.” Her recognition of my thoughts startled me. She was starting to make me uncomfortable in my own skin. She smiled at me again, a comfortable smile that made me feel better. “The look on your face tells me you think I am reading your thoughts. I’m not. It’s simply a conversation I have had many times and find it easier to have before we start a session.”

My cheeks burned again. Without another word, she closed the door and waved for me to follow her down the hall and through the kitchen. “Just through that door is my reading room. That’s where we will talk. Feel free to make yourself comfortable. I’m going to get myself some sun tea. Would you like something?”

“A glass of water, please.” She nodded and went to the sink. I prepared myself for the heavy tapestries, lots of cloth, candles, incense and the smell I always associate with old oriental rugs. A smell that spoke of history and manual labor. Rather, I found myself in a four seasons room. Sunlight laid lazily on the deep seat of the chaise and wing backed chair. A round walnut table sat between them. The floor tiles were terra cotta. Flowering plants took up space in the corners. A large fan swirled the air in the room, making it very comfortable. I sat on the chaise, hands folded in my lap, my knees thanking me for shifting the weight, and waited.

Hidden behind the plants in her cozy corner, the butterfly-chasing girl peeked at me. Her body posed just as mine sat still in a rocker. A deck of cards sat next to her on a TV dinner tray.


I hate the new trend. Pants practically around the boy’s ankles, boxers hanging out. What will they think of next. I hope it includes dressing the boys like humans instead of rag dolls! Oh, and the girls need to put some more clothes on too because at those young ages, I have no desire to see their flat tummies and chests.

*** One Word ***

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


My father loved to carve wood into intricate doodles and little creatures impersonating bigger creatures. They were always beautiful and sometimes a bit inappropriate. I'll never forget the time the governor walked by one of his larger pieces and commented on its beauty. I'd never seen my father smile so big. I will miss him.

*** One Word ***

The Robin

Sarah sat in the drafty room, pulling in one trap after another. Most of them were empty. A few caught false hopes: fallen branches, a chipmunk, fur from a much larger animal. It was lonely tedious work and she was grateful for it. Working at the conservatory recording tagging birds had proven a perfect escape from life.

She sat back in her creaky chair, the dull ache in her arms forcing her to take a rest. Looking around, she noted her surroundings for the millionth time. the worn barn walls, dusty equipment, bowed rafters, creaking floorboards. There was a softness the way light slanted through some of the cracks. One of the cracks was so wide, she could see the branches of a tree that brushed against the barn. She summed them up the same way she had her life. Broken, with little beauty.

Rubbing her arms for warmth and to release the building tension, she went back to pulling the traps back in. She smiled at herself. It was the first time she had admitted there was some beauty in her life. The thought was large enough to push a door open and other similar thoughts came in. Had her emotional wounds healed over the last several months of solitude? Was she ready to face life? Could she do it without falling apart or imitating the mistakes made with her? She sat still, the rope held tightly in her hands.

The wind blew and the branches brushed against the barn wall. It drew her attention. Turning to look, she saw a Robin sitting delicately on the branch, several twigs in its mouth. Slowly, the red-bellied bird set to work building a nest. She watched silently, taking in every flight, the slow and cautious work of adding more materials, a home that slowly began to take shape, the persistence of that small creature diligent in creating a safe environment.

It was time to take flight.

*** Daily Writing Practice ***

Monday, June 28, 2010


The dog growled at me threateningly. I pulled back, afraid of the damage he could do to my fragile skin. He barked, his body banging against the little white picket fence. Someone’s face appeared in the window. I waved the mail high in the air. She smiled and came right out. “Good boy Spike. Now leaver her alone!” With that, Spike sank onto his haunches and let me proceed with my job.

*** One Word ***

The Office (Part 2)

New Hampshire Circle appeared on my right and I swung the car around the corner, bumping the curb, the tires flattening an ant hill. Number 175 was just ahead. It's blue shutters were closed against the blue sky. A green shrub grew wild under the window, it's branches spread wide as if it wanted to hug every passer-by. I eased the car into the driveway. "Look Maggie. I have to go. Maybe I will call you later tonight, if I am able to."

I could hear her blow out. I imagined her foot hoisted in the air, the phone tucked tightly between her ear and shoulder, as she blew the polish dry. A moment went by before she responded. "I have something I have to take care of this afternoon and dinner plans with my parents tonight. Why don't you come over around 7:30 or 8 tonight and we can talk then." Tears sprang to my eyes. It would be great to see her, but the resignation in her voice dug in deeper than the kindness she was showing.

"I'll think about it," I said, my voice betraying my hurt. I hung up before she could respond. My phone slid easily into the pocket of my green purse as I climbed out of the car. I didn't see the little girl chasing butterflies off to the side of the house, her yellow-white braids bouncing off her back with each gleeful step. Instead, I forced my legs to walk the narrow path to the front stoop and climb the meager step required to ring the doorbell. My knees ached from the activity. I kept my fingers crossed that I would be seated during our little chat.

The wind fluttered the leaves, a small rustling sound filled the cul de sac. I glanced at my phone: 10:24. I was six minutes early. Still, no one answered the door. Ringing the bell again, I blew the hair out of my eyes and replaced the phone in the side pocket. I glanced around. Nothing of interest caught my eye so I shifted my weight and reached for the doorbell again. Shuffling feet behind the door stopped me from pressing it.

*** Continuation from earlier prompt originally provided by Daily Writing Practice***

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Office

"She was horrible," I complained to a friend. "One of the worst I have ever seen!" I turned the car onto tree lined Vermont Street, leaves fluttering. Dappled light danced across my windshield. "Thank God she doesn't have the final say."

"It sounds pretty bad," Maggie responded. Her voice was far away and I rolled my eyes as a squirrel dashed across the road. Most certainly she was preoccupied in painting her toe nails a brilliant red. Maggie was always distracted by her own vanity. She never seemed focused on life's important issues, like my on-going office visits that resulted in a shelf full of little plastic bottles.

I sighed, shaking my head gently. Birds chirped loudly outside my window, but I only noticed the red of the stop sign. "Maggie, if this is a bad time, I can let you go." Disdain filled my voice, giving it a sharp edge. The car propelled forward, seeking New Hampshire Circle. My eyes followed the street signs.

"Oh Julia. Don't be like that! I have things going on in my life and I've heard about your Lochness Monster for three years now." She sounded exasperated by the conversation. My lower lip slid quietly into a pout. I knew she thought I was a hypochondriac and the hundreds of office visits I made certainly seemed to support that view. But she hadn't lived with my aches and pains for even a day.

Sorry folks. I am too tired to do anything more with this tonight. I was hoping to have her flash back to her most recent visit, but I don't have the ability to type well with my forehead and I am afraid that is exactly what will happen if I continue much longer. ***Credit to Daily Writing Practice for the prompt though!***

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Empty House

The little cottage at the top of the hill seemed such a pleasant place. Night flowers bloomed in planted pots and a fire burned, yellowing the windows with warmth in the eve. Smells of home cooking and laughter floated on the breeze during the day. None of the villagers ever visited and travelers stayed away; they all knew the house stood empty.

*** Daily Writing Practice ***

Friday, June 25, 2010

Beggar: Short, Short Friday Fiction

I looked at them all, every one of their dirty weathered faces surrounded by ratted hair, their yellow smiles and grimaces aimed in my direction. Their eyes told stories. Some were bright with the light of living free, a concept I could not understand. Most were dimmed from the repeated disappointments life had left packaged on their proverbial doorstep. This I understood and extended my empathy toward them like a hand reaching out to soothe their ills.

I looked at them every opportunity I could. At stop lights, in doorways, signing them into the homeless shelter, serving them soup. Their faces followed me. They slept on my pillow each night and stared at me in the mirror in the morning. They floated in the cream of my coffee throughout the day. Every different face gave me hope that my daughter was not one of them.

*** One Minute Writer ***

Thursday, June 24, 2010


Many people think that everyday is a vacation for me. Most of the time, they are right! After all, I have complete freedom of what I do, when I do it, and how it is done. If I want to go to a movie in the middle of the day, I can. If I want to watch TV, there is no one to tell me I can't or that it is an inappropriate use of my time. I go to the water park on a whim and can spend the day in my pajamas if I chose. There are relatively few rules and the ones that exist are driven by primal needs such as hunger. And its rewarding! I've never had better fringe benefits or more flexibility.

Sounds great doesn't it! There are only two cons. I work long days. Very long days. The pay? Non-existent. So sure.... its not the perfect job, but I couldn't imagine doing anything else at this point in my life.

Tell me then, why was my first thought, "Yes, please!" when I read the prompt?

*** Daily Writing Practice ***

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Explosion

The explosion was gruesome. Blood splattered the wall, her leg, and smeared across her trembling hand. She looked at the mess in amazement; humored she was capable of such a brutal act; concerned about the amount of evidence she would need to clean up. Still, she smiled, pleased with her accomplishment. Wet paper towels in hand, she began cleaning herself up while humming a tuneless melody of triumph. The thought of killing again sent a tingle down her spine and she knew she wanted more.... and soon.

It's Mosquito season.

*** Daily Writing Practice ***

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


I know I should write tonight, but as I am being honest with myself, I thought I would share the secret with you as well: I'm just not inspired or in the mood. I haven't been much as of late. I don't know why, but I think my writing is suffering because of it. Or maybe it is the other way around? Maybe I am not in the mood because my stories are suffering? Whatever it is, I hope it passes soon.

For tonight then, a short blurb about nothing in particular. See above.

Monday, June 21, 2010


They squared off, circling one another, anger and distrust heating the space between them. "Who the hell do you think you are?" George grunted at his competitor. "You think you can walk into this place and put your hands on anyone you want? That doesn't fly with me pal!"

His pal threw a left hook, missing George by inches, stumbling slightly over his own feet. George stepped back, but didn't throw a punch. He was angry, but not stupid. He knew his moment would come. "And now your throwing punches? That is not allowed in my establishment. I suggest you leave now before you end up hurting yourself or someone else."

A crowd had gathered giving a narrow berth for the men to weave between. "The only person who's going to get hurt is you," the pal responded before lunging forward. Alcohol played havoc with his coordination and he nearly tripped again, catching his rib on the side of the table. George saw him wince in pain as he regained his balance and height. Slowly, George began walking backwards, parting the crowd like the Red Sea.

The man came after him again, his slurred war anthem blaring "F*** you!" He swung his right fist at George's face. Checking to see the path had cleared and the door was still open, George used the man's momentum to send him sailing into the street. The street police would be near. They always were and they would take care of this situation. A cheap shot some would say, but one that had served him well for years.

George turned his back, his bouncers standing guard at the door. The police came running, alerted by the man's loud protest. A smile spread across his face as he announced half price beers for the next five minutes.

*** Daily Writing Practice ***

What She Did

The young woman sat on the blanket, her legs curled under her and her three year old daughter in her lap. Her son was running between the blanket and the crashing waves, yelping for joy. That is until he slipped on the worn path and fell into the mud. He screamed, calling on the furry of the devil himself. The woman walked over to him, her daughter's eyes brimming with tears, and fought the devil back into his burning cave to the awe of all the spectators. She should be sainted.

*** One Minute Writer ***

Saturday, June 19, 2010


"Farewell," I whispered with a sadness that sent a chill through my wife's warm body. I turned and began walking toward the gate, a joy wrapping itself quietly around me with each step. I knew I should turn back, reach for her, grasp at the quickly fading light, anything to indicate I was fighting for my life; it was expected of me. Instead, I moved ahead with only slightly less than reckless abandon as those old pearl gates swung open and I heard the choir sing.

*** Daily Writing Practice ***

Friday, June 18, 2010


When Ella received the letter that the farm was sold to a developer, she made a trip home. It was the first time in the six years since her grandmother had died. Her blue Hyundai idled at the end of the driveway, a pink antenna ribbon blowing softly in the breeze. Ella sighed. A small reservoir of water collected in the lower lids of her eyes as she looked toward the ceiling and took another deep breath. She'd loved her grandparents' farm as a child. She practically grew up there while her parents cavorted across the country trying to sell their musical talents.

Memories floated through her mind: reading Little House on the Prairie while sitting on the thick branches of the oak tree; treasure hunting in the hay for newborn kittens; long games of Red Rover barefoot in the grass; playing hide and seek in the cornfields; listening to the soft shifting of grains in the silo; dandelion bouquets filling the house. Every little thought trickling through her mind was an ode to her grandparents. Six years later, she was finally mourning the loss of them.

*** One Minute Writer ***

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Dog or Cat

I knew that damned creature lurked beneath the bed just waiting for light to ascend and my ankles to descend. It never failed. Every morning I awoke in that strange bed, I'd enter the breakfast nook with new scratches mixed with weeping blood and a frustration that far outweighed the sting of pain. "I hate your cat," I'd say as a morning greeting. My middle school best friend simply responded with a shrug. Is it any wonder I am a dog person?

*** One Minute Writer ***

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Heist

It had been a tiring day. The children screamed, for one reason or another, starting before the alarm clock went off and ending only when I tucked the blanket around them under the shining stars of night time. I was exhausted. Tired beyond belief! Sitting on the kitchen island, my Daiquiri ingredients were calling to me. 'Let me take care of you,' they promised.

I bent down and kissed my son, then my daughter. "Please mommy, don't go," my son pleaded.

"Stay mommy!" my daughter begged.

"Tell us a story," they said.

I was sure I could hear the ice cubes melting next to the warming Triple Sec. "Please mommy?" said two soft voices in the background of my thoughts.

Drowning my alcohol dreams with a deep breath, I began. "It wast thought to be the greatest heist of all time...." The hooligans' eyes glowed expectantly.

*** Daily Writing Practice ***

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Bet

So, I wrote a long section yesterday saying it was one of possibly two pieces. And then I received an e-mail responding to my question about length restrictions: both minimums and maximums. The other story is WAY too long. This one meets the requirements as it is exactly 1000 words. Please, still leave feedback as I am likely to use it for editing purposes. Thank you!

Wrapped in his arms, you continue to sob. Hard tears run down your face, your make-up draws deep shadows of sadness on your cheeks. “Why John? Why did she have to leave us like this?” you question him. As if the desperation in your voice didn’t convey your shock and misery, a thick moan follows your words. The eye contact breaks. You lay your head on his shoulder; his hand caresses your back; his kisses fall on thick hair.

“Shhhh…..” he encourages to no avail. His eyes are wet too, but he knows his time to mourn will come later. It is your time now. “Shhhh…” he says again, pulling you closer to him as your body shutters and releases another moan. The two of you sit in tears, no words exchanged, until every bit of salty liquid has been expelled and a raw flesh path shows evidence of his continuous caresses.

“Cut!” yells the director. Somewhere off stage a bell rings to indicate that it is safe to talk and shuffle to the next area. “That’s a wrap! Great job guys. We have a ton of usable material here. Let’s call it a day!”

Sitting up quickly, you twist your body away. Anger is etched in deep lines across your face. Your co-star looks at you, his mischievous grin widening in pleasure at your angst. “Awww, come on Sarah. It was bound to happen sooner or later. You can’t honestly be surprised, can you?”

You are so angry you can only respond with a primitive roar before stomping off, his laughter pushing against your back as you head to your new dressing room. The room is so small the dressing racks sit in the hallway. You push through the door of the closet you feel has been renamed a dressing room in your disgrace. It is far below your level of stardom and you vow to make someone pay.

Your assistant knocks softly on the door. “Miss Burns?” she says softly, afraid you may stuff an apple in her mouth and serve her up as the main meal for dinner in your current mood. “Miss Burns? I,I…I’m sorry to interrupt, but Mr. Seever wants to see you in his office as soon as you are changed.” She takes a step back, your glare pushing her into the middle of the hall. Her head lowers so you can’t see the smirk on her face.

You take a deep breath. You don’t want to be the Big Bad Wolf, but it feels like you have been huffing and puffing, blowing people’s houses down all day. Maybe breathing in will do the trick. Smoothing the silk blouse wet with tears dredged up from this morning’s discovery of your new dressing room, you take another deep breath and close your eyes. “Thank you Janie,” you say through gritted teeth, your face tipped back to the ceiling. “Please tell him I will be right there. Then you can go home.” Your voice is not unkind, but there is no warmth to it either.

Janie nods slightly and then hustles off down the hall, her heels clicking hard on the stamped cement floor. You make a promise to yourself to behave and then look into the mirror. Your face is a wreck. The crying has swollen your eyes and the heavy stage make-up is smeared across your face. Of course John smiled at you after the scene. You look like a clown!

Twenty minutes later, you walk from the small room. Your face has a fresh coat of make-up in the trendier day style that everyone else wears. Your hair is pulled up loosely in a twist. Your jeans and vintage T-shirt hug all of your favorite parts. The heavy thuds of the thick heels on your boots empower you as you move down the hall and to the elevator.

As the elevator ascends, you give yourself a little pep talk. “I can do this. It’s just another acting job. I’ll plaster a smile on my face, laugh along with the joke, and request a more reasonable room. Even if I can’t have my suite back, I should certainly be allotted something bigger than the janitor’s closet.” The elevator doors slide open. A smile sits pristinely on your pretty face and “I can do this” stamps itself deeply in the front of your brain. Cheerfully you approach Cynthia, Mr. Seever’s receptionist. “George asked me to stop up before leaving today.”

She pushes the little blue intercom button and informs Mr. Seever that you have arrived. “He’s waiting for you Miss Burns. Is there anything I can bring you?” she asks sweetly, her smile more genuine than yours. You’d like to ask for your pride gently stirred and not shaken, but you opt to save your self-mocking for George. “No thank you Cynthia. I’ll be but a short time, I’m sure.” You smile and turn for George’s door.

He is sitting in his leather recliner, feet hoisted on a matching ottoman when you walk in. Upon your entrance, he begins laughing, slapping his thighs. “Ahhh Sarah. I have to say I never thought I would see the day.” He chuckles a little more as his hand extends an invitation to sit on the couch near him.

Your smile widens with self-depreciation. “I never thought I would either George,” you respond while fishing in your purse. He laughs again. It’s a deep joyous laugh, one that warms your heart a little. “$1000 in cash, just for you George. I’m good on my end now. “I hand it over without reservation.

He sets it aside, a trifle amount for both of you. “The Detroit Lions won the Superbowl,” he says, a chuckle rolling from his lips.

“Yes, they certainly did.” You nod in disbelief. “So George, do you think I can have something a little bigger than the janitor’s closet and still fulfill my end of the bet?”

His smile is huge and your heart beats hopeful.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

A Day In The Life Part 1

I checked all of my favorite sites for prompts and nothing inspired me. So I began working on one of two pieces that I need to have written in a few weeks. This is actually one of the rare times I will allow myself to edit so your feedback is vitally important! Please, leave a lengthy comment and tell me what works, what doesn't, and where you see this piece going.... because at this point, I have no idea. (By the way, the one requirement I must follow is that it is written in second person, meaning 'you', not I, he, she, or it.)

The dawn breaks early, an orangey-peach filling the sky and nosing its way between the slats of the blinds, across the floor, and up the heavily embroidered afghan of daffodils, daylilies, delphiniums, and dahlias spread over your thin body in your too large bed. Blonde strands of hair fall haphazardly over your pillow, one arm flung above your head, and a stream of saliva eases over the hill of your flushed cheek. The combination makes you look like a child of ten, not 29. Your breaths come steadily from beneath the weight of sentiment in this final gift from the one woman you loved and trusted. Your grandmother spent months crocheting each petal and stem, wrapping each flower delicately around the others to indicate she was still holding you, caring for you, watching you from the highest of heights. She knew her illness was terminal and made plans best she could, the afghan being the only tangible piece of those plans. You found out about her illness at her funeral the day you turned 18.

Juice Newton’s voice sings softly, filling the space the sunlight hasn’t yet taken. You stir when he reaches your favorite line, “just touch my cheek before you leave me, baby,” savoring the idea of someone calling you angel one day. Maybe. Humming, you lay in bed, eyes closed, your body stretching for the ends of the bed, your back arched in the way it does when you invite that rare guest into your bed for the night. A release, pure and supremely innocent, flows through your body. A smile curves into your cheeks, causing them to plump a little more. Your hand traces a daffodil, a daylily, a dahlia before you pull the comforter off your warm body. Chills fall menacingly across your skin making your limbs retract from their lengths and rushing you out of bed, stumbling into the bathroom. Your eyes open falling witness to the softening dawn colors splashed on the cream walls in the narrow bathroom.

Closing the door is of no concern. You strip your clothes off, urinating naked. Living alone fits you well. It’s the way childhood went for the most part. Home alone, struggling to support yourself while your errant mother purred sex driven nothings into her newest man’s ear every time payment changed hands. “I’m doing this for you!” she’d tell you when she saw the disapproval thick in your eyes. “How do you think I would put food on the table and clothes on your back otherwise?” A combination of challenge and shame would set into her pretty face, her arms pulled back emphasizing the size of her breasts, all features you’ve inherited, before she’d storm off slamming her bedroom door. You’d mutter a short rebuttal, “How about the department store or flipping burgers at McDonalds like the other mothers and fathers do?” It was a rebuttal your mother would never answer. One she never heard.

These were the thoughts that thickened in your mind as the steam from the hot water rose in little vapor clouds, fogging the mirror and you wished, your memories. You release an audible sigh, water splashing on your chest and running in rivulets over the mountains and valleys of your body, crashing like a waterfall on the rock bed of your feet only to eddy into a swirling whirlpool, taking some of the thinner thoughts with it to the sewer. Drying off fifteen minutes later, using the back of your arm like a windshield wiper you clear the condensing droplets from the mirror, creating small broken paths in your wake. Deep blue eyes, high set cheekbones, a small pouty mouth and sharp nose stare out of the mirror. “Come on,” it whines, “grab the lotion and make-up brushes. Don’t torture me with my own nakedness!” You walk away, the heavy towel turban style on your head, your thoughts moving from your childhood role model to work.

The dresser sits obediently against the wall, holding the very few items entrusted to its care. The crystal vase stands tall and proud, offering the odor of summer in the arrangement of flowers it holds. Glinting in the now yellow sunlight, a silver necklace with a Christian cross spills out of the small opal covered jewelry box. The photograph of your grandma and you together, happily slurping spaghetti from the little Italian restaurant kiddy corner from her run-down house, whispers of happier times. You glance over these items, pulling open the top drawer in order to rescue the new lacey pink bra and panty set from the chaos of twisted straps and crotches. It feels rough against your hand, but will feel silky on you.

In the closet hangs several black dresses, all modest, all bought to add experience to your age. You plunk the sleeveless one off the hanger and slide it over your lotion moist body. Music continues to play softly in the background. More songs about love, romance, and heart ache. Your heart beats to the rhythm and truth buried deep in the lyrics. Damp hair falls from the towel and lands on your neck and collar bone as you pull up nylons, careful not to puncture a whole in them. Nude. Even this color is deeper than your porcelain white skin. You’ve never understood society’s obsession with baking skin until it turns into a hard leathery coat that can’t be taken off. There is no beauty in that as far as you are concerned.

Back to the mirror, the same face stares out, a little less pink, more its natural color now. Quickly, you paint it with neutral shades of bronzers, blushes, and powders. The products are subtle, but the effect always feels so dramatic, like Norman Rockwell when he took a pathetic piece of canvas and turned it into something with life, beautiful or not. Carefully, you retrieve the cross necklace from the safety of the jewelry box and fasten it around your neck, the chain slipping delicately beneath the cut of black fabric, the cross dangling just over your heart. Black satin heels with a soft pink heel add the only flash of color and complete the outfit.

Breakfast consists of the usual granola bar, glass of juice, and small piece of fruit. Rechecking for imperfections in the mirror, none are found. You grab the shiny pink purse altered with beaded fringe as a strap and get in the car, turning the engine over three of four times before the clinker starts. Effortlessly, the car glides down the drive and into the street, idling only momentarily while you direct it down the street and toward the low brick building you need to be at in 10 minutes. Soft songs float from the speakers.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Back in the Saddle: 4 Lines of Prose

She pushed her thumb deep into her thigh, pressing the length of the taut tendon with the force of a steamroller. After a few minutes, she moved to her left leg and then worked the backs of her calves over the same way, releasing only a small percentage of the tension that had built up. "Time to get back in yer saddles," yelled the tour guide.

"Why or why," she moaned to her companion as she climbed back on her too short stubborn ass, "did I think a three day trip by mule through the canyons sounded fun?"

*** Daily Writing Practice ***

Friday, June 11, 2010

The Assistant

He reached his hairy arm out, his floppy lips curling into an over-sized smile that showed his yellowed crooked teeth. The audience laughed and applauded. The assistant took a bow. "And for my next trick," the magician began, "my assistant will now use his charms to woo that beautiful woman into giving me her phone number."

Again, the audience laughed. Whistles and catcalls floated to the ceiling of the large auditorium as the assistance ambled agiley down the aisle. Midway to the woman selected by the magician, he stooped and picked something off the carpet. He held it before his eyes, the piece so small not even those in the end seats could make out what it was. Still, he scrutinized it with an intensity most people would have found alarming outside of the auditorium. Without warning, the young assistant popped it into his mouth and then tumbled forward, completing the perfect somersault to thunderous applause.

He swept his long arm across his middle and bowed to the floor, his face hovering barely an inch above the red carpet. He bowed tot he other size to continued applause. The audiences eyes were fixed on him, curious as to the next antic. He didn't fail to please. He leaped from his bow, his foot landing confidently on the thin edge of the seat arm. The shirt tails of his dinner jacket traced large circles in the air as he leaped and twirled over the seat arms of the next two rows.

Applause and laughter echoed off the walls and ceilings of the room. The assistant stopped. He looked at the young woman who was blushing deeply from equal parts embarrassment and joy. The young assistant stood balanced on one foot the row in front of her. He looked at her, his lips spreading wide again, a look that made everyone feel cheery even though he had such a funny little face. Slowly, ever so cautiously, he lowered himself to the ground and took steps toward the young woman. His steps showed a great degree of gravity and seriousness.

The audience quieted, anticipating the moment. The assistant reached his long arm toward her, gently taking her hand in his. His deep sigh filled up the room and maybe broke a few of the audiences heart. He bent down, his large brown eyes still trained on hers and placed a gentle kiss on her hand. Quick as a flash, he climbed into her lap and curled up into a fetal position, sucking on his thumb.

The audience sat silently having forgotten what the end result was to be. "So, what do you think?" said the man sitting next to the woman. She looked at him startled from the strength of his voice and the sudden appearance of the magician in the seat next to her. He smiled his glorious smile and handed her a rose. "Do I get your phone number?"

She laughed. "Only if your little Bobo Monkey is part of the deal," she responded, smoothing the fur on the young assistant monkey curled in her lap. The audience's approval exploded and Bobo left a wet kiss on her face.

*** Daily Writing Practice ***

Sick: Short, short fiction

Jordan shuffled down the hall, his head hung low and his eyes focused on the ground just in front of his feet. He huddled his books tight to his body. It made him look as if he was going to throw up. Someone bumped him hard. He stumbled forward, dropping his books so he could fling his hand out. His pale palm smashed into the concrete wall. Blood seeped from a few scratches as his breath increased in speed. Looking at his freckled arm, he waited for the next attack Nothing came. After a few seconds he straightened himself up, bending down slowly to pick up the books scattered across the floor. His glasses slid down his nose. Using his right hand, he pushed them back on to his face, leaving a streak of blood showing the path his glasses were forced to follow.

Two girls walked past him. They saw the streak of blood, the sickly characture of the way he held his body. Her nose pulled up in disgust, "Now that's just sick," she sneered as she passed him.

Inside, a little piece of Jordan's mental sanity screamed, "No, it's sick that I am bullied every day and still blamed for being the victim!" And then, that same quiet utterance withered and died.

*** One Minute Writer ***

Thursday, June 10, 2010


I placed my hand cautiously on the wall of the cavern. It was wet, reminding me of early spring mornings running in the grass barefoot when the frost turned to mildew, but it was also different. It was warm. Raising my hand, I licked the tip of my finger. I could feel my face crinkle into concentration. "It's salty," I whispered, swallowing the deep sadness that accompanied the taste. "The walls are," I paused searching for the best word "crying." Over my shoulder, I saw Tommy straddling the pile of clothes that covered the wizard. His body evenly fell between the lightness of the room and the darkness of the tunnel. It struck me as deeply metaphorical. Light and dark. Good and evil. My childhood teachings had taught me to expect this, I just hadn't considered this would be the result when we walked through the door. We were entering a battle and he would have to chose a side. I already knew which side I would be on.

"Are you coming?" I called back, easing forward over the rough terrain, understanding settling heavily upon my skin and sinking into my thoughts. I slid the dagger back into my waistband and felt the small journal pressing against my pocket.

Tommy's feet came scuttling behind me. "Jenny? You never mentioned an aunt before."

It didn't sound like a question, but I knew it was one. Grateful for the cloak the darkness provided, I swallowed again, preparing to offer an explanation I wasn't sure he could ever fathom.

*** Daily Writing Practice ***
To read the full story, go to the Daily Writing Practice link on the right and look for the entry posted June 9th, 2010

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

A Gift of Sorts: Two Haiku Tuesday

Cold, dank night of ink
Loneliness spared by small gift
Snow drifts in lamp light.

Ancient crowds, bright eyes
Night decked out in her finest
Shooting stars sail by.

Reaching for the sky
Green grass far below my feet
Gravity takes hold

*** Daily Writing Practice ***


"Jane, what are you doing today?" Lucy's voice was sing-songy, like it always was when she was really excited.

My stomach squeezed a little bit. I closed my eyes, afraid of the worst possible news. "Not much. Why? What do you have in mind?" I tried to sound teasing, but I felt ill. I longed for her not to say the words that would leave me alone on an island of loneliness.

"It's big," she continued to sing into the phone, obviously undeterred by my stomach spasms. "And you are going to be my right hand woman!" She began laughing. I felt bile rising in my throat. "So, get your stuff on and meet me at the gym. We'll run the track for a bit and then sit down and have one of those delicious Smoothies from the little bar. I'll fill you in on the details then."

I closed my eyes. "Sounds great. What time?" She knew I hated the gym. I didn't fit in there. Heck! I didn't fit most places. My girth had been expanding slowly ever since I graduated from college. Over the last 10 years, I had put on probably 50 pounds. It didn't seem like much from year to year, but the over all affect could certainly be seen and felt.

"I'm already in my car." The glee in her voice burst through the end of the telephone. "See you soon," she sang in closing. A small click followed and then silence.

Twenty minutes later I was at the gym watching runners circle around the track. My shirt hung limp around my body attempting to mask my true size. My hair was pulled into a ponytail. I hated wearing it that way, it made me feel like I had chipmunk cheeks. Lucy tapped my shoulder. "Hey gorgeous," she said, reaching over and hugging me. "Glad you're here. Let's get moving." With that, we were on the track and making our way around.

Lucy loves to run, swim, bike, hike, surf, and any other activity that requires great amounts of physical exertion. She looked fabulous in her little lycra-spandex clothing. There were no lumps or bumps anywhere on her toned body. She actually met her boyfriend whens he took a Master swimmer's class last year. They were largely inseparable and I had been missing our TV and popcorn nights a great deal. She was the only single friend I had left.

After speed walking the track for about a mile, I begged for a break. "Time for that Smoothie yet?" I asked, my breath coming ragged.

She looked at me, concentration pulling her face tight, her arms pumping fiercely to add in more movement because my pace was too slow for her. "Almost," she said setting all kidding to the side for later. "You're good. We can do another lap or two."

Five laps later, she finally relented and I found myself stumbling to the bar. We'd been on the track for about 40 minutes. I was exhausted. My chest hurt from the hammering of my heart. My stomach clenched again as we neared the bar and I remembered there was a greater purpose to my presence at the gym. "Strawberry Banana, large please." I lobbed my order to the staff behind the counter and then plunked into the chair.

"What's up Lucy..." I started to say and then noticed the two sheets of paper she was sliding to me. We'd stopped by the locker room to pickup her bag on the way to the bar. 'There's something in it I want to show you,' she had started to sing.

I prepared to see the engagement pictures and the newspaper announcement she was going to submit. I would have to ask how he had proposed and when. I choked on air when I saw the registration forms for a 5K race in 10 weeks. One copy had her name on it, no feat for her. The other had my name on it. It would be a miracle if I could do anything like it in my lifetime. "It's to support research on Fibromyalgia. It's the first of its kind I have seen. It's a big deal for you," she paused, "and for me. My best friend has it and it has affected the last 10 years of her life. She's kind of given up and I want to see that changed."

I sat stunned. I knew she was talking about me. I wanted to do cartwheels, but my limbs simply didn't work that way. Everything she said was true. It was a big deal. I had never seen anything like it. A tear slid down my face. I was torn. I couldn't possibly be ready in time, yet I couldn't say no either. I sat quietly, absorbing the information and all the little ways this would affect me whether I did it or not. "I can't do it without you," she said quietly. "You are the key piece. You are more ready than you think. It's only been one day of training and you made it a mile and a half already. You don't need to set a world record, but I think you have to try."

"I have to try," I whispered. I took the pen she had handed me and held it in mid air. I had to try, but could I do it?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


"You affect me," he said when he ran across her on a lonely country corner. She was nervous, not wanting to be in this situation and having only her sleeping child in the car across the street as witness to the moment. She'd stopped to take a picture of the winding road not expecting to see anyone, especially not someone she had largely forgotten. Raising her hand to shield her eyes from the sunlight was the only response she gave. He continued on, oblivious to her shielded answers and closed-off body language.

He started showing up to her house unannounced. It never set well with her. She socialized, but barely. Excuses were plenty on why he couldn't stay long or how bad her days looked for the next week or two. "I'm simply not available," she would say without looking at her calendar. She prayed he would just go away. He didn't.

She was most annoyed by his insistence that he knew her well. He never said it directly, but she read it in little ways. He tried to soothe her when she wasn't upset, telling her to give herself a break. She was fully in control. He offered up his carpentry skills to fix things she thought were lovely the way they were. He didn't understand her logic or love for the little imperfections. He invited himself along on trips, confused why she refused his offer in exchange for that of another mother. He tried to insert himself into her life.

She hid. Turning lights off, pretending she wasn't home if someone knocked on the door. She had her husband clean out the garage to ensure she could fit her car inside it and then left the garage door closed. She sequestered her children in the basement in front of the TV. She felt helpless, torn by her role in the mess. She thought she would break from the stress, being as fragile as the relationship she didn't want.

*** Daily Writing Practice ***

Saturday, June 5, 2010

The Coast: Four Lines of Prose

Flying high above the coast, looking for a meal or a game, their wings beat unperceptive to wayward travels below. The occasional guttural scream would attract the traveler's attention only to be dismissed as the wind howling angrily around one of the craggly rocks sitting tall at sea. Fleeting dark shadows drove a chill into the men, young and old alike, but it was the jeweled bellies that told them the promise land was near. For then, there was no denying that dragons were about.

*** Daily Writing Practice ***

Friday, June 4, 2010


Ethan inspected him carefully. It had taken him several days to thaw the massive cube from around the man without destroying the integrity of his skin. He was a well built man, probably in his 40's. The muscles were well defined from obviously heavy training. It looked as if he stood about 6' tall with deep brown eyes. He would have been exceedingly handsome if he were alive. In all reality, dead he wasn't that different from many of the other specimens he had examined. At least not physically. Being found in a block of ice... well, that was different.

Ethan finished transcribing his copious notes and sent the man's now preserved body on to the museum. He turned his attention tot he few items found with the man. A black suit resembling that of a bat. A belt with an assortment of tools he hadn't seen in one collection before. The mask that covered his face. An odd grouping of items, to say the least. Another part of the case that drew him from retirement. He pondered the items and the body, trying to figure out how it all went together. "This," he hesitated, searching for the right word, "Batman certainly has me intrigued," he said to the security guards who had come for the body. He locked the morgue's door shortly after they left and headed home for a nice glass of hot tea before settling down with his findings.

*** Daily Writing Practice ***

Late: Short Fiction

"Not until I am two weeks late," she had insisted over and over for the last month. But now that she was a few days late, it seemed she was changing her mind. Her movements slowed, her weight increased steadily, and her feet swelled. Her breath became ore labored, making it difficult at times to understand her. "We are almost there," she whispered each morning upon waking. Each night as she lay in bed, she would say, "It can't be much longer now."

The afternoon before the two week anniversary, she seemed crest fallen. "Babies come when they want to," she cried when she called form work. Cozied in a booth at dinner, she smiled for the first time that day. "Babies come when they want to," she declared.

"That's what you said this afternoon," I responded. "But our baby is coming as determined by the medical field."

"No," she said, fidgeting in her seat and still smiling. "Our baby is coming now. Do you think yuo could get the car and say several rolls of paper towel?"

*** One Minute Writer ***

Thursday, June 3, 2010


I cringed as they pulled the moving van into the driveway next door. The van sputtered to a stop, black smoke billowing from the tail pipe. My cough rose harshly from my throat which convulsed from the fumes. Tears directed themselves over the smooth terrain of my face. I blamed them on the still lingering fumes, but a mixture of shame and pity could have easily been applied as well. The family piled from the front seat of the van. The children were lanky and grubby, their arms and legs showing the scabs and scars from mosquito bites. A woman climbed out after the children. Her mud colored hair fell in long greasy strips over her shoulders and to her bottom. The tye-dyes dress had faded, making her skin look almost ghostly. I looked for the driver, he was standing on the other side of the hood, his blonde hair pulled back in a pony-tail at the base of his neck. He smiled at me revealing two missing teeth.

I waved back weakly. My tongue had become an island floating on the distaste swirling in my mouth. Quickly, I turned off the new nozzle the gardening club had bought me as a reward for my hard work as president. I smoothed over the few water droplets that had fallen on my linen pants in my haste and walked into my home, closing the door and locking it behind me. I continued to watch the new neighbors from the safety of my garage.

The carried worn out dressers, tattered furniture, bags and boxes haphazardly packed into the van. Pot and pans clattered in the driveway and were kicked up the walk by the children. The man and wife laughed gaily, hugging and kissing every time their hands were freed of their junk. I shuddered at the show of affection and obvious poor care of their belongings. In my air conditioned garage, I grew irritable at the riff-raff that were moving into my previously pristine neighborhood.

Something would have to be done. I walked back into the house and poured a large glass of lemonade, adding a shot or tow of alcohol to calm myself. I called all of my friends to report the horrible news, each one taking pity on me. None of them had any ideas on how to encourage the new neighbors to leave though. I gritted my teeth and realized that I was in for a war, not a battle.

*** Imagination Prompt Generator ***

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


He was weary of travel and disguises, having been following the roads and paths of the life he chose for himself three years ago. He missed home. The warmth of the hearth, the rich selection of food, and the softness of a bed that made the ground feel harder than necessary. Soon, he knew, it would be time to return home and accept his responsibility. Until then, he intended to learn more about the plight of the people than any advisor, all born to wealth and privilege, could ever tell him. He pulled the rough blanket over his shoulders, staring into the sputtering fire and listening to his trusted guards discuss the dangers of tomorrows journey to Gerdania.

Tomorrow would be difficult. He would visit the villages in the furthest reach of the kingdom. His scout had told him it would be disheartening. Death would lie in the streets. Food would be scarce. Men, women, and children would live in filth. As Prince, he would be held responsible, being the son of a man he now saw as a tyrant. These villages lived the most desolate lives, receiving only high expectations from the King. His identity must be kept secret if he wanted his men or himself survive. These were his last thoughts before falling asleep.

*** Daily Writing Practice ***

Perfect Day

The wind blows, pushing the tingle of the hot sun from my browned skin and bringing with it the scent of salt and deep blue water. Sand whips across my calves, leaving a slight sting where each granule impacts with my skin. My toes dive into its warmth as I walk to the tempo of the waves washing ashore. The silk of my dress wraps around my thighs and lifts, revealing the bright yellow of my bathing suit. I close my eyes and feel the long tresses of my hair fly in the wind, tangling. Carried away by the symphony of nature, I open my eyes wide, inviting it to fill me with its music. The wind hushes, giving way to a steady crescendo of sea gulls flying overhead. I stand still, arms still spread wide, my skin once again tingling from the heat of the sun, waiting for the song to start once again.

*** Imagination Prompt Generator ***


She sat quietly on the gold and cream fabric of the chaise, the deep walnut colored legs a deep contrast against the shimmery white robe she wore. Her well manicured nail traced a path across the top of the hourglass, the faint scratching reverberating off the walls of an otherwise silent room. Two taps dislodged the few that clung to the top. They fell against the cool curved glass, slipping through the narrow neck only to fall in place with the others. As the last one landed, she looked up, signalling to her legions to be on their way. She tipped the hourglass over to the sound of beating wings. Watching each soul slide from their world to the next, baring witness to those last few moments before dispatching the angels to gather the souls from their dark graves, was her pentenance for the lives she stole while still on earth.

*** Daily Writing Practice***