#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
@LurchMunster


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.

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#MWBB 23 : Drunken Sailor

Oh, my achin’ head. I knew I shouldn’t have had that entire bottle of Wild I with Ginseng by myself. But after my girl dumped me, and I got fired for calling the boss a fuckin’ bastard, well, I had to do something stupid.

Waking up on a bench in Central Park at three in the morning with two police officers standing by me, one shining this billion candlepower flashlight into my eyes, wasn’t how I wanted to wake up. Especially from the dream I’d been havin’.

Damn,what a dream! I snuck into the boss’s office and pulled his keys out of his desk. He thought they were safely locked in the top right drawer. Didn’t know I could open that drawer with a paperclip. Idiot. So, I stole his Bentley.

I drove the Bentley to my girl’s apartment. I broke in, tied her up, stripped her, and said, “One last fling before I go, sweetheart!” And I did everything she’d never let me do. And I left her tied up, naked, on the floor, with the apartment door wide open.

Hell, I’d stolen a $200,000 Bentley. I was already going to jail. I figured, “Might as well go out with a bang!”

It was a grand dream, dude. I’m tellin’ ya. And it beat the hell out of the day I’d had.

I woke up that morning, to get ready for work, curled to my right, where she was supposed to be, to wrap my arms around her. But that morning, she wasn’t there. She’d left a note on the bed.

“I’m outta here, you selfish bastard!”

I sat there wondering what the fuck I’d done, then got ready for work. I went out for breakfast. ‘Cause don’t ask me how to scramble an egg. Last time I tried that, I set the range on fire. She’d been pissed about that too. “You can’t even boil water, you worthless son-of-a-bitch.” She always fixed breakfast. Made sure I had something to eat. So, with her gone, I had to go eat fast food.

Work had been hell. It always was. Answering the phone 5,000 times. “No mam. I can’t tell you how to setup your firewall on your WEB site. You have to contact our software team, and pay them to do that for you.” “Well, sir. Your e-mail server got hacked, ‘cause you set the password to 123456. That’s life. If you want us to secure it for you, we can, but that’s $75.”

WEB site tech support. Don’t ever do that for a livin’. Geeze, that’s a sucky job.

After the 856th phone call the boss came in, “For the past month, you haven’t been meeting your quota for 50 calls a day. If this keeps up, we’ll have to terminate you.”

I told him the truth. “Hey, I’m answering more phone calls than you can, you fuckin’ bastard.”

Bam! Fired. Just like that.

I went home and posted the Spaceballs video on all the WEB sites I knew about that had passwords like “password”, and “123456”. The one that says, “What kind of a password is that? That sounds like something an idiot puts on his luggage!”

Then, I decided I’d get ripped on the worst wine I could find, and sleep on a park bench in Central Park. Wound up with that bottle of Wild I. Got toasted. Whistled at every girl that walked by. “I’d like me some of that,” and “You lucky bastard!” I said those a lot. The sun went down, and I threw up in the lake. Wild I don’t taste so good coming back.

So, I finished the bottle. Hell, I didn’t have to go to work the next morning, why not?

When the cops woke me, they hauled my ass to jail. “You get one phone call.” I called my ex girl.

“I’m not coming to get you out. You can just sit there to you rot, asshole.” Yep. That was my one phone call.

Women.

I do wonder, though, when the headache that Wild I gave me will finally go away.

685 Words
@LurchMunster


My entry, in all its unedited glory, for week 23 of Jeff Tsuruoka‘s Mid-Week Blues-Buster flash fiction challenge. Please, go read the other entries in the challenge.

#MWBB 20 : Home

I left her. I got up that Monday morning, and got ready for work, like I had for years. I left the house precisely at 0715 hours, like I had on Mondays for years. But I didn’t drive to work. I drove. I left town, and I kept driving, heading west. I drove all day long, stopping only for food and restroom breaks.

I left her. I left my job. I left my home. I left my life. I had to.

As I drove, I remembered my parents, growing up in their home. I’d never known they were in love. They always screamed at each other. Night after endless night. I used to lie awake at night, listening to the front door slam as Dad left. Listening to Mother cry. Listening to the silence when she finally fell asleep on the sofa, Listening to the front door open as Dad got home, just before dawn. Listening to him stagger through the house to the bathroom, where he threw up again, from drinking himself sick.

As I drove, I remembered the night Mom stayed awake until he got home. He was drunk, of course. She screamed at him. He screamed back at her. They fought. I remember seeing the bruises on both of them at breakfast that morning.

As I drove, I remembered my brother’s wedding, how he and Tabitha had been so happy. I remembered how proud he was of his baby girl. How he got sick at work one day, heaving his guts into the toilet. How they sent him home that day, and he walked into his own home, where Tabitha was naked, sitting on a naked man he’d never seen, her legs straddling him, as she softly moaned.

As I drove, I remembered the niece I had once. How my brother covered her head with a pillow, suffocating her, then went to the garage of his home, locked the door, got in his car, and turned it on. How they found him the next day, cold as ice, with the car still running.

As I drove, I remembered the woman I loved so passionately. How she always wanted more. More of everything. How I had to stay in that job I hated, to keep buying her the things she wanted. How she never slept with me any more, or even slept in the same room as me any more. How she always went out at night, “with the girls”. How I wondered if who she was sleeping with.

As I drove, I remembered how she’d once been beautiful. How her smile faded away with time, being replaced by empty eyes, and lines of age on her face. How he figure changed from a beautiful hourglass to a pear. We used to hold hands, years ago. I wondered when that stopped. She used to kiss me good morning, and fix me breakfast. That too faded, until she never stirred when I woke to go to work, and breakfast became a can of soda, and a bowl of cold cereal with milk.

As i drove, I remembered how I’d once been in love with her. How that love had grown cold and died. Like the love my Mom and Dad once had. I knew that’s why people started homes. They were in love. And thought they always would be.

I left her on a Monday morning, while she was still asleep, and I was heading to work.

Because I remembered homes become cold, and lifeless, and slowly kill the people living in them. And I knew the only thing I could do for her, and for me, was leave. And in so doing, free us both from the trap our home had become.

624 Words
@LurchMunster


My entry, in all its unedited glory, for week 20 of Jeff Tsuruoka‘s Mid-Week Blues-Buster flash fiction challenge. Please, go read the other entries in the challenge.

#DirtyGoggles : Dad Pushed Me Too Far

TITLE : Dad Pushed Me To Far
WORD COUNT : 624
AUTHOR NAME : Mark Ethridge
TWITTER HANDLE : @LurchMunster
CATEGORY : Dieselpunk
CONTENT LABEL : SFW


It was Friday night. Dad was late again. He was always late on Friday night. He was always drunk on Friday night.

Mom was sitting on the sofa, waiting for him to get home. She always waited. She always greeted him. She always dealt with him.

I checked the joints on the suit again. Made sure they were flexible enough. For safety, I added more grease to them. It wouldn’t do to have a joint freeze up when I needed it.

I closed my eyes, and remembered all the Saturday mornings when Dad slept in, Mom telling us to be quiet, and let him sleep. All the Saturday mornings I saw bruises on Mom’s arms and face. All the Saturday mornings something in the Living Room was missing. Another plate. Another picture. A lamp.

I remembered the Saturday mornings Mom wasn’t home. Dad was. And he told us to fix cold cereal. With milk. And he always made us drink orange juice. We used to ask him, “Where’s Mom?” until the Saturday morning my big sister asked, and Dad slapped her across the face. He busted her lips, and bruised her face.

After that, we stopped asking where Mom was. We knew. Mom was at the doctor’s. Or the hospital. We knew. Dad had hurt her.

One Friday night, Dad pushed me too far. He got home. I heard the sounds as he beat Mom. Then, I heard him come upstairs. He walked past my room, to Big Sis’s room. Then, he did things to my Big Sis. Anytime she screamed, I heard Dad slap her. She never told me what happened. I just know she never smiles anymore. And Dad goes to her room several times a week.

I sat in my room that night, and prayed to God. “God, make it stop! Make it stop!” That’s when God told me to build the suit. “You can make it stop. You can end this. You can protect your Mom. You can protect your sis.” I listened to God. He told me how to make the suit. It was hard. It took a long time. I had to mow a lot of yards. Do a lot of chores. Weed a lot of gardens. Babysit a lot of kids. But I finally got the suit made.

I tested it all Friday long. I didn’t go to school. I skipped. Mom was at work. Big Sis was at school. I made sure the suit worked. And that Friday night, I climbed into it, and turned it on. I listened to the small diesel motors run. I’d made sure I had plenty of fuel in the tank on my back. I walked to the front sidewalk, and I waited.

I’d learned the suit was called an exoskeleton. Made of cable, gears, and steel. Using it I’d learned I could pick up big things, like Dad, and throw them. I’d learned I could hit rock so hard I chipped it. I learned I could move faster too. Faster than anyone without a suit.

I was ready. Mom thought I was in bed. Asleep. Where I was supposed to be. Big Sis thought I was in my room hiding, and crying, and wishing Dad wouldn’t come home ever. Mom was on the sofa, trying not to cry. I heard her quietly talking to herself, “I have to protect my children. I have to protect my children.” I knew Big Sis was in her room, “Kill me God.” She said that a lot. “Kill me, and set me free.”

I waited. In my suit. On the front sidewalk to the house. I waited for Dad. He wouldn’t hurt Mom or Big Sis anymore. Ever. I’d see to that.


I wrote this for the #DirtyGoggles blog hop being hosted by Ruth Long, Steven Paul Watson, and Jenn. It’s my first attempt at anything Dieselpunk. Please, go read all the entries in the blog hop. There are some great writers out there.

#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.

#12DaysBop : Day 6 – The Sun Sends Its Regards

It’s day 6 of Stacy Hoyt’s 12 Days Of Christmas Blog Hop. Today, we get a gift from the sun…


We all knew the sun could be violent. We’d all watched solar flares and coronal mass ejections in the past. Some had been large enough to send massive amounts of particles across the 93 million miles between us and the sun. We’d never seen anything like this.

We knew it was a solar mass ejection. But it dwarfed everything we’d ever seen. And it just kept going. And going. And going. I tried to find the words to describe the images. I gave up. “Oh, shit.,” was all I could come up with.

After a couple of hours of watching, Nathan broke the silence. “I think I’ll go find a beach somewhere.” Then he walked out. I thought he’d had a brilliant idea, so I followed him.

We bought a stupefying amount of beer on our way to the beach. Carried it all out on the sand with us. We stood there, watching the waves and getting stinking drunk.

This was it. The mythical mega flare. A solar flare so ginormous it would sterilize the whole damn planet. We’d watched the satellite’s image feed for two hours after the flare had started. When we left it was still going. We’d never forget what we saw. It was burned into our memories.

The flare would take several days to reach us. When it did, it would last for days. It would fry every satellite and melt the global electric grid. Everything electric would short-circuit. Forests would ignite. Houses would burn. The oceans would turn to steam.

The Sun had spoken. Life would have to start over.

“Been nice knowing you, Steve.”

“You too, Nathan.”

We sat down on the beach, with our beers. And waited.


Please go enjoy the rest of the stories in the blog hop. There are some really gifted writers out there. It’s well worth reading their work. You can find the other entries here:

The 12 Days Of Christmas Blog Hop, Day 6 – The Gift Of Sun