25 March 2010

"Understatement" #Fridayflash

Photo credit: kesh from morguefile.com

I guess I'm dreaming in stereo because I'm both awake and asleep. Lead arms over mine, draped just like a coat on the upstairs guest room bed at my aunt's fabulous banquet parties. Dead old oak giving off the mustiness that only attics can infuse in high doses.

The government is guilty of making me hate this. The people and the peace of sky disappearing overhead as I close my eyes and listen to the sound of wind over the fenders. This grazing eagle feather: tip and spine dusted over flat surrealism. This boiling ink overflowing the pot that came before the kettle. This temptation to make it all better by burying myself in concrete.

I like fish. They slip silver and ogle the bottom of the tank with permanent bewilderment. Laid up on the shore for the desperately hungry to string on a line and transport to yearning mouths.

I take the obvious and drag it behind the mirror of recollection until the glass shears away, leaving a supine trail of sanguine and sublime. A delicate balance of trauma and bliss, only to ignore any sort of flagged decision that would sway the boat to port or starboard. This anchor drops here, disturbing the silt to cloud the center of the universe.

There is no hole.

18 March 2010

"Wire-in-the-Mire" #Fridayflash

Photo credit: mconnors from morguefile.com

The room languished in deep shadows cast from the cheap brass lamp with the paper shade as Peter wrote his letter. Note. It was on a pretty piece of stationery; he'd found it in the drawer, right next to Mindy's wedding ring.

The wedding cake was expensive; he knew that it wouldn't be so big of a deal, but she'd insisted, and so it was ordered: a heaving, tiered, chaliced and laced monstrosity of a thing, with a gag bride-and-groom statuette set on top, and the groom was sinking into the icing.

Wire-in-the-mire, his mind flashed at him, like a temporary neon vacancy sign, just before dawn arrives and the illumination is no longer needed or appreciated. He swallowed his gumption to call the whole thing off, and so they were wed.

Anthony came first: a robust, rosy-cheeked baby that grew to a boy that grew into a teen who learned to hate his own father. Renee was next: the total opposite of her big brother, a slender, sickly little thing that adapted to the shadier side of things and learned the biggest virtues in a good coat of SPF 75 in the summertime. And then there was Linda: a sweet infant that walked three months early, neither cried or threw any tantrums, but died mysteriously just before she turned a year old.

Her little death threw Peter and Mindy into chaotic torment, and nights of insomnia and drinking, until one day, Anthony stole the family car, Renee picked up her bags and followed her mom out to the taxi and Peter found himself alone in that big house.

The fridge tided him over for a solid three weeks before he was forced to go out into the cruel sunshine, pretending that his life wasn't utterly disgusting and worthless, and find sustenance to feed his withering frame. He wasn't good at cooking, and twice he set the burner afire, but soon he grasped the elementary mechanics of heating food to eat and was able to get by just a little easier.

Which of course, added to his guilt, and there was one gloomy afternoon that he ducked into a Goldrush Pawn Shoppe with two p's, one e on the end, like olde England.

Towards the back of the store was a glass case that ran the length of the wall, containing weapons of all shapes and sizes and among them, guns.

12 March 2010

"Trade" #Fridayflash

Photo credit: cohdra from morguefile.com

I count the till we'd turned over. Jimmy sits and watches tv. Sweat rolls thick and uninvited from my temple down my cheek like tears. Jimmy laughs at something said on tv. He has a funny laugh. I start over. I could take my ten-grand and make a clean break from him. My eyes cut to the back of his head. The blued steel tempts my fingers. Jimmy takes a drink. I count another bill.

“Louder,” he says and lights a cigarette.

“Ten thousand, like we agreed,” I say.

“Good boy.”

Ever since Mom died, Jimmy's been taking care of me. Teaching me a trade, but it's obvious I don't have the guts to stick it out in a life of crime. Maybe I'd get caught, maybe not. I could get taken in somewhere, anywhere but with him, because after dark, those scary ladies come. They growl and moan like weird cats. They have red nails and mouths and pretend to like Jimmy.

He's snoring. Finally. I don't think he ever put his cigarette out.

I slip the neat stack of bills he'd promised me into my backpack. Then I take his too.

For once, I don't let the screen door slam as I leave.

04 March 2010

"All of Me" #Fridayflash

“Jesus, would you just listen to me?” I felt my voice rise, which was exactly what I didn’t want to do. He triggered the defensive response. Sometimes I felt like I was shouting into the void, and other times, like I was the void.

He took in a breath and I braced myself for his belligerent scathing retort. He had two volumes: loud and ear-splitting. I stared at a random spot in the wall while he yelled so loud my face was sprayed with his spittle.

We were fighting about something. Three hours ago, I might’ve remembered. Now it was a battle of wills. Of domination and I would lose because I would give in. I always gave in because it was easier than this. This incessant spew of bullshit he thought was important. It was all important, wasn’t it?

He rarely touched me. There was a time before he’d hit a red spot in me and I’d gone black on him. He tried to convince me that he’d fallen. Why did we have to be this way?

This wasn’t love. This was prison.

I tuned back into his voice. Still screaming and stomping around. One of my ceramics hit the floor and then I was pulled off the sofa.


Oops, so careless wasn’t he. The shards cut my hands but I didn’t care. As long as I lived in this endless cycle of destruction, I’d rather be extinct.


Courage and valor was my conquest. I stood tall in my boots and stared straight ahead. Gone were the soft curves, replaced by steely form. Circuits snaked in and around my spine. My armor was not heavy.

“You acquiesce then soldier?”

“Yes sir,” I said smartly.

I was prepped and moved to the operating room. There, they took the last part of me and transferred the throbbing mass to a sterile tray. Inserted in its place, a titanium electric heart.

Memory fled at last of the soft, pathetic thing I used to be.