#FlashMobWrites 1×01 : What Kind Of Man

Friday night, and here I am, alone, sitting in my reclining chair, a bottle of Jack Black on the table next to me, and the remote in my hand. She’s been gone five years now. She didn’t even say goodbye. I came home from work and she was gone.

I talk to God, the universe, life, whatever it is that’s there, “Hope she found what she was looking for.” I grab the Jack, turn the bottle up, and drink until it burns so much I can’t feel anything else. I put the bottle down, and try to breathe. “What to watch tonight?”

I pretend to surf the channels, looking for something to watch. A movie, the news, a documentary, I even check the religious stations. “Nope,” I quickly skip through the channels with people praying, “Not drunk enough to deal with it.”

She left me, ‘cause she had to. I didn’t really give her much choice. Kinda hard to live with a dead man, with a stone frozen heart. Between work, and the kids, and the bills, and the yard, and church every Sunday, I kinda went numb, and stopped feeling anything.

I still don’t really feel anything.

I grab the bottle again, and drink ‘till the fire in my throat makes me stop. “No tears, you wimp. No tears.” I find the sports channels, it’s Friday night, I know there’s a fight on somewhere. I settle on a channel airing UFC matches. Men, beating the shit out of each other. Good. I pretend I’m the winner in each match. Pretend I’m the tough guy, beating everyone else up. “Take that, you bitch!” I cheer when someone gets knocked out.

Cathartic release of stress.

I take another long chug of the Jack. After five or six matches, I’ve had enough. They all become the same. So, I go back to surfing the channels, until I find one of those shows about car chases and crashes. Watching stupid people be stupid. That’s always fun. “And after his joy ride, he spent 8 years as Bubba’s bitch in prison.” I laugh every time someone survives a horrendous wreck, and the narrator says, “He returned to the track three months later, only to crash again.”

“More Jack!” I chug more down as I look through more channels. I find the movie channels. Friday night boobs flash on the screen. “Boobs are good.” I watch a curvy blonde sitting on top some generic male, her boobs keeping time with her rocking motion. Too soon, the scene ends, and I change channels again. “There’s gotta be more of that somewhere.”

I end up on pay per view, where I buy, “Hot Navy Wives, And He’s At Sea”. Absolutely no plot. But by that time, I’m drunk enough to deal with it. And I don’t care I’m alone. And I don’t care there’s no one to hold.

By that time, I don’t feel anything.

And that’s how I want it.

WordCount : 493

I wrote this in response to the prompts and song for this weeks #FlashMobWrites Flash Fiction challenge. The weekly challenge is hosted by Ruth Long and Cara Michaels. Please, go read all the stories in this week’s challenge.


#MWBB Week 2.39 : Bury My Troubles

Bradley listened to the words of the song playing endlessly on his music player, its words being injected into his brain through the earplugs jammed into his ears and blocking out all sound from everything except his music.

“Secrets I hide in me,
Deep down inside of me
I keep them,
I keep them at bay
No one will ever know
What I don’t wanna show
I lock them,
I lock them away”

As the song echoed in his head, he wrote word after word on his computer. An endless stream of words, telling one story after another. All stories from his memory, his life. All things he’d lived through, endured, survived.

The time that old man demanded, “Look at me while I’m talking to you!” That old guy never knew, never understood, how hard it was for Bradley to look at anyone. Especially to make eye contact. Bradley hadn’t heard a damn word that guy had said. All he could remember was, “Look at me while I’m talking to you!”, and the old man’s eyes, the anger in them, the scars, the pain, the demand for respect. As if those eyes were saying, “I’ve been through hell in life, and I’ve earned some respect, damn-it! Now look at me while I torture you to get even with life for how it treated me!”

Bradley wrote it all down. Every memory of that moment. And the song played on and on, over and over, in his head.

“Oh worries, stop haunting me,
Don’t you keep taunting me!
I won’t be,
I won’t be no slave
I put you to rest for good,
I did the best I could
So get in,
get into your grave”

He wrote down his memory of the guy at work, the boss, the person in charge. The time that guy called him a prima donna. Yeah. A prima donna. “Spoiled rotten little primadonna.” Bradley never talked about it, not to anyone. He never let anyone know. It wasn’t the first time. It wouldn’t be the last. People had always said things about him. Always called him names. Primadonna. Sally. Bitch. Privileged white boy. Momma’s boy. Weakling. Clueless.

Bradley wrote down every name he could remember. Everything he remembered being called. No one knew. He never told anyone. How it felt. How he felt. Like when he was in Junior High, and the other boys called him, “Sally.” Even when he played street football with them, and his knees and elbows scraped up from landing on the asphalt and gravel, as his blood dripped from his fingertips, and he kept playing.

And still, they called him “Sally”.

He wanted to scream, to cry, to pick fights. He had nightmares of those fights where he wound up with busted lips, a broken nose, black eyes, and the other boys standing over him where he laid, beaten, on the ground, as they called him “Sally” over and over again.

He wrote it all down. Like he’d done a million times. Page after page. And all the while, that song played on, and on.

“Farewell ye gentlemen,
Goodbye my mental friends
Hear what,
Hear what I’m sayin’
Ashes and dust to dust,
That is the end of us
Oh Lord,
Oh Lord I’m prayin’”

When he couldn’t write anymore, he saved the file. Then he printed it. When the last page printed, Bradley placed the pages in a plastic bag, then went to his back yard, where he’d left his shovel.

In the middle of the night, while everyone was asleep, Bradley carefully cut a chunk of sod from his yard and placed it to the side knowing he’d need it later. In the bare dirt, he dug a four-foot deep hole. Carefully, he placed the bag of printed pages at the bottom of that hole and buried them under four feet of dirt, topped off with the sod. No one would know what he’d done.

And that song played over and over in his head. All night long.

“I’m goin’ to bury my troubles away
I’m goin’ to bury my troubles away”

685 Words

This is my entry for Year 2, Week 39 (Week 2.39) of Jeff Tsuruoka‘s Mid-Week Blues-Buster flash fiction challenge. This week the prompt is the song, “Bury My Troubles” by Imelda MayI. Please, go read the other stories in the challenge.

A Clip From Civilization’s Fall

[In view of the events of the past few days, I’ve decided I need to let this piece of the story see the light of day. This is from NaNoWriMo 2013. I’m not ready to complete the story, but, felt it appropriate to share this scene. As a warning, it is violent.]

There wasn’t a library in the town. It was small, with one small grocery store, one gas station with an attached repair shop, one restaurant, and one church. Jessica and Frank thought it best to stay together as they explored the houses, looking for anything they could use.

Finding a razor for Frank, hair brushes for the girls, and toothbrushes and toothpaste for everyone was simple. They found those in each house they explored. They gathered up all of them, stuffing them in some cloth bags they found in the grocery store.

They found a few books and magazines in the grocery. One of the books was “Basic Woodworking”. They looked through it quickly. It had instructions for how to make things like bookcases, tables, and backyard storage sheds. All the instructions used power tools, but Frank declared that wasn’t a problem. They found a couple of saws, a hammer, some chisels, screwdrivers, and nails in a couple of the houses. When they’d gathered what they could, they headed out-of-town.

Just in time to see a three men come in. Right in front of them.

Frank grabbed Jessica’s hand, “Run!”

They did. But it was no use. The three men rapidly caught up to them. One grabbed Jessica’s arm, yanking her to a stop. Frank turned, and charged at that man. The other two men attacked Frank, striking him in the face, and chest. They quickly overwhelmed him.

Jessica didn’t know if Frank was alive or dead. At the least, she knew he was hurt. She felt fire ignite in her soul. She felt it raced through her blood. She dropped the bag she was carrying, turned, screamed, and struck at the face of the man holding her. She kept her fingernails extended. They tore into his skin, leaving long tracks as they ran down his cheek.

She screamed again, and kicked him, with everything she had, right in his male parts. He lifted off the ground, bellowed in pain, his hands letting go of Jessica’s arm as he reached for his injured crotch and doubled over, howling in pain.

The other two men circled her. “Oh. We got us a tough filly here, don’t we?”

“Yessir. We got a tough bitch here.” They separated, one on each side of her, knowing there was no way she could fight both of them. They were ready for her now. Not like the man she’d taken down. He hadn’t expected her to fight. The two men circling her were ready. There was no surprising them.

Jessica bared her teeth in a nasty snarl, so resembling of a wolf’s snarl, the men hesitated. Making a low growl, she turned from one to the other, waiting. Quickly, eagles filled the sky, circling. They waited. They did not intervene. They waited. They knew. She was finding her fire. Her strength. Her soul.

She was remembering who she truly was.

With no sound at all, she leaped toward the man to her left. He countered by leaping at her, his arms drawn back, beginning to swing. The other man started toward the two of them.

Jessica hurled herself toward the man, easily ducking past his wildly swinging arms, extending her fingers like wolf claws, and raking them across the mans neck, drawing blood. Lots of blood. Her nails torn, her own fingers bleeding, she ignored the wounded man, and turned toward the third member of the group.

He wrapped his arms around her, lifted her off the ground as he kept running. They collided with the side of a house. Jessica felt her shoulder separate. She felt her ribs crack. The man bounced off her, dropping her to the ground.

The pain fueled her fire. She kicked with her legs, her feet connecting with one of his knees. She heard the sounds of tearing tendons and ligaments. She heard him howl in pain, and watched him fall to the ground, his hands clasping his knee.

Jessica struggled to her feet. She went back to the bag, and found a hammer. She turned back toward the men.

The three men fled. Staggering. One holding his neck, trying to keep his blood inside his body. She’d torn the veins on the side of his neck with her fingernails. The one with the destroyed knee hopped along, desperately trying to flee. The third tried to walk, but was still doubled over from the torture between his legs.

Jessica hunted them down. She swung the hammer, like a sword. She struck the head of the man with the broken knee, right behind his left ear. The hammer sunk in, with a sickening cracking noise. The man fell, his body twitching.

She caught the man with the wounded crotch next. Planting the hammer in his left eye, like she was hitting a baseball with a bat. He pitched over backward, limply falling to the ground, not moving.

She swung the clawed end of the hammer at the neck of the third man. The claws sank into his neck, and she yanked, as hard as she could, using all her body weight. The hammer tore loose, and the man’s blood gushed out. He collapsed to the ground, his hands clasping his destroyed neck, his life blood spurting out, spreading rapidly around him.

She returned to the first two men, and made certain they were dead. She watched the third stop moving as his blood stopped flowing.

The eagles in the sky circled the scene. As they did, they screamed, declaring to the world, she was remembering who she was. She was finding her heart, and soul.

#FinishThatThought Week 2-34 : Treed

“Excuse me, but what on earth are you doing up that tree at this stupid hour?”

It occurred to me I should make some type of response. Of course, how should a grown man, sitting on a tree branch 30 feet above the ground at three AM respond? I was of the opinion there was no good response to make.

“Um. Reliving my childhood?”

I knew from her facial expression, my wife was not happy with that answer, and I should give her a better answer before she took a saw to the tree trunk.

“I needed to get outside.”

“Like when you walk?”

“I don’t really know, I just…” Sometimes it was hard to explain why I did anything I did. “I had to get outside. I couldn’t stay inside.”

“You couldn’t take a walk? You’ve taken them before. At this time of day.”

That was true. I’d left the house at three AM more than a few times in the past eight weeks. I’d taken walks that lasted two hours or more.

“I didn’t want to scare you any more.”

That was the truth, really. I knew she worried about me walking, especially before dawn. She worried if I’d come back, or if I’d end up dead by the side of the road somewhere, or mugged, and beaten, and left to die.

“I figured if I stayed in the yard, you wouldn’t worry so much.”

What else could I say? I knew it was nuts, sitting in a tree at 3 AM. Normal people didn’t do that. Normal people got up at five or six, then got ready for work. Normal people got in their cars, and drove to work. Normal people sat at their desks, or in their office cubes, and worked all day long.

For eight weeks, I’d watched them. Every morning. I’d watched them drive to work. I’d watched her drive to work. And then I sat at home, feeling like everything was wrong and broken. Like I was. Broken.

When I did things at stupid times, no one could see me. No one could watch. Everyone was asleep, and wouldn’t be thinking, “What’s he doing? Why isn’t he at work?”

“So, you think climbing a tree at this time of day means I won’t worry?”

“I’ll come down.”

She shook her head. “No. Stay up there. Just let me know when you have to climb a tree.”

“I’m OK. You know that. I’m OK.”

“I know.” She waved at me, then went back inside.

I’d have cried, really, I would have. But after eight weeks, I didn’t have any more tears. I knew she’d go back to bed, but she wouldn’t sleep. She’d worry about me. Even though I’d told her I was OK.

I wanted to tell her I would be OK. But in that tree, 30 feet off the ground, at three AM, I knew I couldn’t, because I honestly wasn’t sure I’d ever would be.

490 Words

I wrote this for Week 2-34 (Year 2, week 34) of Alissa Leonard‘s Finish That Thought. Please, go read all the creatively shared stories in this week’s challenge.

#VisDare 86 : Tempest

bc9b4d95641c6f5b104415e6607948f0I had my avatar wave at Shauna’s and started walking beside her. “You look like you’re having a bad day.”

Lightning struck in her jar. Yeah, she was having an awful day. “How could you tell?”

“You know I ignore the avatars. I’d much rather look at you than it anyway.” More lightning in her jar, and lots of rain, a veritable flood. “Wanna tell me what happened?”

“That bitch, Johanna, got the part!” Lightning exploded in her jar.

In an effort to calm her down, I had my avatar hold hands with hers. That’s when the lightning changed to a downpour, and frost formed on her jar. I couldn’t let her cry in isolation. She needed a friend, so I had my avatar open our jars, and I floated from my jar to hers where I wrapped myself around her until her tears no long flowed.

147 Words

It’s been a long time since I wrote anything for Angela Goff’s Visual Dare. I should try to write more often. Please read the other entries in this week’s Visual Dare challenge.

#FSF : Open


I watched the curtains flutter in the breeze that came through the open window. “I’m too old to move,” I whispered as I looked at the empty yard beyond the window. Everything in the house reminded me of her. Of the truth she was dead and buried, and I was alone. “You weren’t supposed to die first, you know.”

One for Lillie McFerrin‘s flash fiction challenge, Five Sentence Fiction. This week, the prompt is Open. Please, go read all the other entries to this week’s Five Sentence Fiction. It’s amazing what creative people can do with just five sentences.

I Mustache You Some Questions

So, Miranda tagged me for the Mustache Survey, and I decided to play along. Here’s the answered survey.

Four Names People Call Me Other Than My Real Name:

  1. Et
  2. The Old Guy With The Ponytail
  3. Lurch
  4. The Wizard

Four Jobs I’ve Had:

  1. Grocery bagger
  2. Produce department employee
  3. Computer Software Engineer
  4. Geek Squad

Four Movies I Have Watched More Than Once:

  1. Enchanted
  2. Lord Of The Dance
  3. Real Men
  4. Guardians Of The Galaxy

Four Books I’d Recommend:

  1. Goodspeed by February Grace
  2. Gaea’s Chosen: The Mayday Directive by Cara Michaels
  3. The Selkie Spell by Sophie Moss
  4. Beneath The Rainbow by Lisa Shambrook

Four Places I Have Lived:

  1. Merigold, Mississippi
  2. Middletown, Rhode Island
  3. Annapolis, Maryland
  4. Chesapeake, Virginia

Four Place I’ve Been:

  1. San Jose, California
  2. Dallas, Texas
  3. Atlanta, Georgia
  4. Sanibel Island, Florida

Four Places I’d Rather Be Right Now:

  1. Norfolk Botanical Garden
  2. Sanibel Island
  3. Cabrillo National Monument
  4. Tybee Island

Four Things I Don’t Eat:

  1. Jalapenos
  2. Oysters
  3. Buffalo Wings
  4. Wasabi Peas

Four Of My Favorite Foods:

  1. Pizza
  2. Burgers
  3. Bar-B-Que
  4. Peanut Butter

Four TV Shows That I Watch:

  1. Agents Of Shield
  2. NCIS
  3. Agent Carter
  4. Dancing With The Stars

Four Things I Am Looking Forward To This Year (2015):

  1. Spring
  2. Taking long walks at MacKay Island National Wildlife Refuge
  3. Taking long walks at Norfolk Botanical Garden
  4. Surprise day-trips with her.

Four Things I’m Always Saying:

  1. Humans. Geeze.
  2. Brain Damage
  3. I’m good (in my evil kinda way)
  4. Are we having fun yet?

Four People I’ll tag: (Only Play If You WANT To :))

  1. D Savannah George
  2. Raiscara Avalon
  3. Rebecca Grace Allen
  4. Rebekah Postupak

#MWBB Week 2-36 : When Darkness Falls

When darkness falls, I am free from you. In the light of day I’m trapped and must do everything you do, echo every move you make, mimic you. So you don’t know, so you can’t tell, so you won’t see the truth of me.

When darkness falls, I am free to move on my own. Without you.

Tonight, there is no moon, the sky is black, the stars are hidden behind the clouds of a storm. There are no shadows anywhere. I am free to move, walk, run, crawl, jump and dance.

In the darkness, I am free.

I wait beside you, on your bed, as you read stories of space ships engaged in magnificent battles, of fighters zinging through the vacuum, guided by heroes. I wait until you’ve had enough, and can’t hold your book up any longer. I wait as you lift your hand, and flip the switch on your bedside lamp, and the room goes dark.

And I am free.

I start by moving down the side of the bed, to the floor. I walk beneath you, looking up into the box springs, checking where the covers touch the carpet, Slip beneath the cedar chest at the foot of the bed, but nothing’s there.

Beneath and behind the chest of drawers, I find nothing. I didn’t expect to. If they are here, they will wait, hidden, until I leave the room, then they will come out, and whisper in your ear as they twist your dreams.

I check behind your bookcase, beneath your desk and chair. I carefully examine the pile of clothing you collect in the corner of the room each week, and the miscellaneous items, mail, papers, empty soda cans, and other things, you leave randomly scattered through your room and still I find nothing.

I slide beneath your closet door, into the dark world inside. I check the corners of the room, the insides of your shoes and boots, and the box of wrapping paper, looking for any signs of them. I find none.

I slip back into your room and stand at the foot of your bed, “I wonder where they are hidden tonight.” I consider staying in the room, standing guard all night. It is the only way to make certain they don’t twist your dreams. But I can’t stay. Freedom calls me. It drags me away.

Through the door, down the hall, to the living room, where my family members wait for me. My father shares the story of his battle last night, against one of them. He found it hidden beneath your father’s pillow. He shows us the new notch on his sword’s hilt, “Another one that didn’t get away.”

My mother hugs him, “My hero.” She kisses him. He blushes.

My sister suddenly looks nervous, “I haven’t checked beneath her pillow!” She dashes from the room, racing to your sister’s room. She draws her sword as she runs down the hall.

If they have hidden beneath your pillow, I will have to deal with them when I return to your room. For now, I stay with my parents. We walk to the front porch, then the foot of the driveway. It’s time to visit the neighbors. More of us, from each house along the street. We gather in the street each night, and tell our tales of glorious battles with the demons of the dark. I find I like visiting the girl three houses north of yours. I like her smile. And her growing curves. I especially like holding her hand, and dancing to the music of the birds singing in the night.

I never will forget the first night she kissed me.

Too soon, it ends. Dawn will arrive shortly. We have to return to our duties. I have to return to you.

I slip into your room, my sword drawn and ready. I sigh with relief as I see no shapes beside you, nothing whispering in your ear. I slide beneath the covers, and I wait for you to wake. And when you rise in a few short minutes, I’ll be your shadow once again.

688 Words

This is my entry for Year 2, Week 36 (Week 2.36) of Jeff Tsuruoka‘s Mid-Week Blues-Buster flash fiction challenge. This week the prompt is the song, “Long Black Curl” by Tuatha Dea. Please, go read the other stories in the challenge.