#ThursThreads 56 : You Can Get Up Now

I set the can down on the coffee table, kicked off my shoes, and then racked out on the sofa. I wasn’t going anywhere for a while. When Danielle came back from getting dressed, she saw me and said, “You can get up now.”

I laughed, shook my head, and croaked, ““Nope. Can’t. Not ‘till da room stops movin’.”

She grabbed my hand, and pulled it upward, “Come on, you. Get up.”

“Nope,” I didn’t budge. I pointed to the coffee table.

“So, you’ve had a drink. That’s nothing. Get up.”

I laughed some more. “Chugged four.”

“Four?”

“Yep. Had that last chug. Looked out the winnow. And da trees took off for da hills.” I smiled. At least, I think I smiled. Maybe I leered. Danielle was cute, you know, and I was blitzed, so yeah, maybe I leered. “An I ain’t movin’ ’till da trees, ceiling and walls stop movin’.”

She pouted, with that look. The one grabs you where it counts and squeezes. The one you can’t ever argue with. “But, you were going to come to the banquet with me.”

I remember thinking I was toast.

“This is how you get out of it? Get drunk, so you can’t go?”

“Lead on, darlin’,” I said, as I staggered to my feet. Standing before her, swaying I continued, “ I’m ready when you are.”

Then the ground moved up, toward my face.

I don’t remember anything after that.


This is my response to the #ThursThreads 56 prompt. I had the thought, and just couldn’t resist trying to write this. Thanks to Siobhan Muir for hosting #ThursThreads each week. Now, go read the other entries in this week’s challenge. Have fun.

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#MondayMixer : Living In An Outdoor Oubliette

Living in that outdoor oubliette for twelve months was not always fun. It had good moments, like when the sun shined through the grate above my head. I got the hear the wind, the rustling of the tree leaves, the howling of dogs, the meowing of cats, even the songs of several shrikes. When the three vocalized in unison it did get rather discordant, although quite humorous to listen to.

It was not all fun, however. I’d been ankle-deep in water at one point. And in that cave, water took forever to evaporate. Nor shall I forget the day I was looking up at the sun when a big dollop of bird pooh fell from the sky. It was days before it rained enough I could wash my face.

I will never forget that winter, living in my outdoor oubliette and the experience of frost upon its stone.

150 words.
@LurchMunster


I wrote this little ditty for Jeffery Hollar‘s weekly Monday Mixer flash fiction challenge. Please, go read all the other entries in this week’s challenge. They are all well crafted.

#FSF : Ringing

If I pay attention, I hear the ringing, no matter where I am, or what I’m doing, and even in my sleep. I know many people who couldn’t live with the constant ringing I hear, the constant high-pitched ringing that never ends, never fades, never lets up; it would drive them crazy. They’re not me, I know, and they lack the ability to decide the ringing is normal, to decide it’s supposed to be there all the time, to decide to ignore it like I do. I can make it so many things, like crickets singing in the night, an invasion of cicadas, the sound of fluorescent lights, aliens that are talking to me, if I could only understand them. The endless ringing is tinnitus, there is no cure, so I have chosen to live with it, to make it part of life, to worry if I don’t hear the unending ringing in my ears, knowing something will have changed if that ringing ever goes away.


Here’s my second attempt at Lillie McFerrin‘s weekly flash fiction challenge, Five Sentence Fiction. This week, the prompt is ringing.

Please, go read all the other entries to this weeks Five Sentence Fiction. It’s amazing what creative people can do with just five sentences.

#VisDare 4 – Stairs

I’d seen the stairs countless times. No one knew where they went. We only knew those that climbed the stairs never came back.

Our lights were our sun, they defined our days. We worked when they were on, we slept when they were off. There was no sun, no sky, no clouds. Only stone walls and rock ceilings everywhere. Our open spaces were our green houses and animal farms. Our water came from aquifers, and we only used what we needed for the farms, and ourselves. This was how things had always been.

But the stairs were always there, tugging me toward them. Until the day I started climbing. I climbed for endless hours until I saw a bright light ahead of me. It drew me in, like a candle draws a moth. I climbed out of the only world I’d ever known, into the light of day.

150 Words
@LurchMunster


This piece marks my first attempt at Angela Goff’s Visual Dare, a weekly flash fiction challenge. It was fun, and I will try it again. Please read the other entries in this week’s Visual Dare challenge.

Stories : The Bullies And The Late One

It was time for another story from the old man. The village campfire was strong and warm, pushing back the chill of the night air. We’d gathered around the fire, taking our places on hour logs and benches, the children sitting once more on the ground. We watched the old man move slowly, carefully through our midst, greeting each of us along his way to his log. Once he was there it was time for his story to begin.

It was a day like any other day. Jillian woke to the sound of her alarm clock, and fell into her routine of getting ready for another day of work. Years ago she’d learned to set the alarm as late as she dared, giving herself just enough time to get to work without being late. She’d fallen into the habit of always rushing through her morning routine, cursing beneath her breath at having to endure another day of work, in a job she didn’t really like, with people who didn’t care if she lived or died as long as they got paid. She rushed through her shower, drying her hair, getting dressed, getting her makeup on, grabbing an energy drink and a cold slice of pizza to eat as she raced out the door on her way to work.

Tommy woke to the sound of his alarm too. He dreaded what he had to do. The daily nightmare he had to face at the school bus stop, and all day long at school. He wished he could say home, not have to endure another nightmare day of being insulted, being called names, being pushed around, shoved out of lines, sitting alone in his classes, and at lunch. They laughed at him all day. Called him a klutz. Called him Sally. If only his parents understood what he went through, but no, they didn’t. His Dad always said, “Buck up, little man. It’s life. Get used to it.” He spent all the time he could in the safety of his home, before he stepped through the front door and made his way to the bus stop.

When Tommy arrived, the fun began. The biggest boys at the bus stop took his book bag. They pulled everything out, until they found his lunch. One boy took his sandwich, another took his apple, one his cupcake, another his little box of fruit punch. Tommy tried to take things back, like he’d tried a million times before. But it was no use. The other boys were bigger than him, and stronger too. They pushed him around, and all the girls laughed about how funny it was to watch.

Tommy reached for his book bag, trying to grab it from one of the boys. That boy bellowed out, “No you don’t!” and shoved Tommy away. Tommy staggered back, stepping off the curb, where he tripped and fell.

Jillian never saw him. She was late for work. She was in a hurry. She knew there were kids at the bus stop, but she knew they were smart, and wouldn’t be out in the street. She’s raced past that bus stop so many times before. But suddenly, there Tommy was. Stretched out on his back in the road. Right in front of her. She never even had time to hit the brakes. Her car bounced twice, like she had hit a bump in the road.

Little Tommy got his wish. He didn’t ever go to school again. He never got picked on again by the bullies at that bus stop. He never got laughed at.

When Jillian finally got her car stopped, she leaped out and raced back to see what had happened, pulling her phone out of her pocket, calling 911 for help. But it was too late. Tommy was already gone.

No one admitted they’d done anything wrong. Jillian was just doing the same thing she’d always done. Just like everyone else. Racing to work, so she wouldn’t be late, so she could keep her job. The bullies at the bus stop didn’t do anything wrong. Tommy just fell, they said. And the girls agreed with them.

But everyone knew the truth. If Jillian hadn’t be racing to work, if she’d been driving her car like she knew to, paying attention to the world around her, she’d have seen what was going on.

If the bullies at the bus stop hadn’t pushed and shoved Tommy around that day, he would have never fallen off the curb into the street in front of Jillian’s car.

If Tommy’s parents had listened to their son, they might have know what was going on, and been able to stop the bullying before it was too late. Before the son was gone.

Yes, no one was to blame.

Because everyone was wrong.

With those words, the old man bowed his head as he slowly pushed himself to his feet, and walked once more from the campfire to his home.

Stories : Cowboys and Indians

The  old man had another story to share with us so we gathered in a circle around the campfire while he took his place on the best of the logs. The children all sat on the ground while we sat on family logs. The stories around the fire were an honored tradition, started by our elders centuries ago, passed down from one generation to the next. It was how we learned from our elders, how we gained the benefits of their knowledge, and their experiences. We all eagerly waited for the old man to start.

Many years ago, there was a man, his name was Timothy, and he was very proud of his family. They meant the world to him. He worked hard each day to provide everything he could for them. He kept his family well fed. He kept them clean. He provided for them, a house, a yard, clothing, even books, and a bed. His family always had candles to light up their home at night.

Timothy was a good man, all his family knew, and all his village too.

One day, three strangers came to town, riding on their horses, armed with guns, and knives. They took what they wanted, did what they wanted. They got to Timothy’s home, broke down the door of his home, and they shot him. Thinking he was dead, they raped his wife and his daughter. Timothy saw it all, heard it all. He heard their screams of pain, heard their cries for help, heard the tearing of their clothes. He heard the single gunshot fired, and saw the lifeless body of his son as it struck the floor.

All he could do was watch, lying on the floor, his own blood pooling around him. He tried to move, to speak, to scream, to do anything at all. He found he could not. He’d been shot, and he knew he would die.

It was on that floor Timothy made an oath to the gods. He swore, if he lived, if they spared his life, he’d learn to protect his family, his daughter, and he beloved  wife.

When the three strangers had their fill of his daughter and his wife, they left Timothy’s house, moving elsewhere in the village. He heard the sounds of their guns, the screams they caused, the wails of anguish, and of tears, at another soul lost. He could only close his eyes, and beg the gods above to grant him time, to grant him life, to learn to protect his family, his daughter, and his wife.

With the coming of the dawn, those first rays of light, others in the village found him, his daughter, and his wife. They took him straight away to the medicine man, praying as they carried him along for the gods to spare his life.

It took time, more than a few weeks, even more than months, before Timothy grew well enough to walk. The medicine man used his magic, his potions and his spells, and his prays to the gods above, to save Timothy’s life. All the villagers helped him bury his dead son, repair the damage to his home, and take care of his daughter, and his wife.

But Timothy had changed, he was not the same as he’d once been. After that violent night, he bought several guns of his own, keeping them around his house, so they would be there if he ever need them to help him protect his home. To protect his family, his daughter and his wife.

He learned to use them all. The rifle first, then the shotgun. Last of all he learned to use the pistol he’d purchased. He even learned to carry it with him, every day of his life.

In time, his daughter found a man to call her own, and she became his wife. Timothy built a house for them, right across the village square. And every Sunday, his daughter and his son-in-law visited, spending time with him, and his wife.

Young married people being as they are, it wasn’t long at all before Timothy became a grandfather, and his wife a proud grandma. They love their twin grandsons with all their hearts, and took care of them all the time as they watched them growing up.

Those two boys loved their Ma and Pa with all their hearts. They did everything their parents asked of them. They helped with the chores around the house, and out in the fields they helped their Daddy with his work. By the time they were just six years old, both of them could ride a horse, and both could man a plow, and till a field. They went out in the fields almost ever day, working with their Pa.

Timothy was proud of his grandsons. They were going to grow up to be good men. Everything he’d someday hoped his own son could have been.

It was one day not long after when tragedy entered once again into the lives of Timothy, his family, his wife, daughter, son, and grandsons. Tragedy has a way of doing that, of just walking in like rain, on a sunny day. For just like rain, it happens, for no reason, just like rain, tragedy falls where it may.

And on that day, his two grandsons were over at his home, being seven-year old boys, playing seven-year old games. Cowboys and Indians, as it was. When Timothy’s wife asked him, please, to run to the village store and get a bag of flower, two eggs, and two cups of sugar, so she could bake a cake for the two young boys. And off Timothy went, through the village, to the store.

But Timothy made one mistake that day. He forgot the pistol he’d worn almost every day, since that day so long ago, when three strangers came to town and shot his son, and raped his daughter, and his wife. As he got to the front door of the village store, he realized what he’d done, and straight away, he turned back toward his house.

When a single gunshot rang out, shattering the peace and quiet of the village, bringing everyone outside.

Timothy raced to his house, as fast as he could run, for he knew, he knew, where that gunshot had come from. He slammed open his front door, only to see his wife, kneeling on the ground, cradling the head of one of her grandsons, looking up to heaving as she wailed, and streams of tears fell from her eyes.

Timothy’s other grandson was still alive. A smoking pistol resting at his feet. He’d been the Cowboy in the game, his brother the Indian. And like any Cowboy would have done, he saw that gun, and he picked it up, and drew a bead on the Indian.

He didn’t know a single thing about real guns. He didn’t know at all that never point a gun at anyone, that you never pull the trigger if you do. And that’s just what he’d done. And on that day, Timothy lost a grandson.

I’d like to tell you it’s because Timothy had the gun in the first place. But I can’t do that at all, because we all know by now Timothy bought his guns to keep his family safe. A lesson he’d learned on the day those three strangers came to town, and destroyed his family’s life.

I’d like to tell you it’s because of boys being boys, and playing violent games, the way boys have always done. But I can’t, and I won’t. I played that same Cowboys and Indians game when I was just a boy myself, so very long ago.

The simple truth is, a gun’s a gun. And like any tool made by human hands, they have no purpose on their own. But humans made them for self-defense, and in the hands of a brave, good man, they give him a powerful tool to help defend his family, his daughter, and his wife. But in careless hands, uneducated hands, mean, hateful, or angry hands, guns can become a powerful tool of another kind. A tool that makes it much easier for such careless, ruthless hands, to take the life of another living being.

That’s the real reason I have tonight for sharing this story with you.

And with those words, the old man bowed his head, and pushed his hands against the log as he slowly gained his feet. He bowed his head to all of us, and smiled a sad, broken smile, before he shuffled off, on his way to his lonely home, and we all said good night.

#SVWFlash Week 7

Picnic_in_a_wooded_areaFlashWInnerSQMomma wanted a family picnic every Sunday after church. Even though Daddy hated them. He always stood off to the side at them. But every Sunday after church, Daddy drove us someplace different in the countryside. Momma sat with us and we gossiped about who was dating whom, who was going to marry whom and who slept with whom.

Poor Daddy endured it all. We and Momma knew he loved us and would do everything he could to make us happy, but we all knew the one thing he’d asked for that God hadn’t given him.

A son.


This is my winning entry into Week 7 of the Shenandoah Valley Writers Flash! Friday challenge. Please, go visit the site, and read all the great entries in Week 7 of the challenge. They were all good.

SVWriters Flash! Friday Week 7