"I'm asking her in five minutes."
"You are? Here? In a bar? Drunk?"
"Don't stop me. I love her man, I really do and I want it to be forever."
"Doug, listen, I think what you've got going on right now, so far, is great and all and wort(more)h pursuing but you've on-"
"Have you seen her? She's beautiful. Like nothing else. That thing she does with her lip just good god it makes me want to fall over."
Doug was staring at himself in the mirror, and not quite believing his eyes. His head buzzed with alcohol, and he leaned onto the bathroom sink, gripping the porcelain sides. Josh had one hand up to his face, and was struggling to compose himself before he spoke again, lest he break into a chuckle.
"Look Doug, I don't want to ruin your game or anything, but you've on-"
"She's the one. I'm tired of this one night nonsense, I want something real. Don't you believe in love at first sight?"
"It takes time man. You're drunk. Get her number, and set up a date. Get to know her when you're both sob-"
"No! I'm doing it now!"
Doug launched himself up from the sink, the momentum carrying him into a trash can on the opposite wall. He recovered, and stumbled towards the swinging door to the bar.
"Doug you can't do this! It's only been 45 minutes!"(less)
"To be able to build your own version of this dns server..." He reads of a website, mostly to himself. "You need the the following packages." He mouths them all silently, one by one.
He's taken into trying software stuff, to broaden his horizons, maybe take one of(more) those minimum online coding jobs(wishfully thinking), and because he's bored. The script his been working the past few days still hasn't taken him past page 1, and he feels the energy has run out of him.
"You need your own local git directory..." He stares at the PC monitor with a dazed focus, ignoring the howling of dogs and meowing of cats outside his door. Food wrappers and boxes lie messily on the floor, ignored. "... the proceed to create your own makefiles..."
He scratches his head, turns his chair around and streches. He yawns, this is getting exhausting. Four hours in, and still he has no idea what he's doing. He looks outside for a moment, reflective.
After a beat, he notices, his sister's notebook, left with plans, memos, inspirational/motivational whatevers. He remembers her looking at him intently, with a stern voice she says, "This notebook will help you." She didn't sound convinced, more like hopeful. He couldn't blame her.
He picks up the notebook, flipped open a couple of pages. At a particular page, it reads, "... giving up is not an option, especially with big sis around..." He sees her smile as she said it, with a little sarcasm and honest sincerity. He feels happy at the memory, for a moment he just stares at the notebook, standing.
The monitor flashes at him, signaling it's completion of a task. He leaves the notebook at his desk.
"Ok, initialization is done." He reads the instructions for more. "Just the programming..."(less)
He looks at the mirror and he sees his handsome face. His high cheekbone, his steel blue eyes and his perfect teeth. Only blemish here is it's unshaved.
So he opens a bottle of shaving cream, lathers on his face after washing it. He brings out a sharp(more) razor, and proceeds to shave his face.
His eyes are focus sharp as he carefully, careful now, nudges off every piece of offending hair away from his pristine face. This must be perfect, his money maker must look right for the peoples. Can't dissappoint everyone now.
Another rinse, another wipe, all is looking right in handsome town. He grins wide, unnaturally, spot checking any nook, any cranny, looking for any kind of flaw. His smile returns to natural, it's all good, nothing is out of way.
Somehow though, he gets nervous. He doesn't know why, but he feels like everything hangs on this day, this moment, this instance. Like all the things that follow will get their queue from this. His heart beats a little faster, he leans on the bathroom sink and steadies himself. If he's crossing a line that will decide his future now, all the more reason to not be nervous and put in 110%. So he puts up a confident grin, yeah he can do this.
He dries himself and puts on the best suit and tie he finds in his closet. Damn, he's a killer, a handsome motherfucker, designed to slay every lady heart out there.
The sun is shining strong as he waits. He looks reflective, or contemplation, he's not sure. Maybe he succeeds, maybe he fails. Maybe he doesn't really know anything in this damn world.
A car beeping interrupts him in his thoughts. A older woman comes out and smiles at him. "Ready?"
strangle these fucking kids. the veins in my hands and wrists and up towards the fleshy parts of my forearms begin throbbing; screaming to leave. the bones snap into place, flimsy and slippery things becoming cold iron, black rock. squeeze the fucking life out of them. the nerves hiding(more) behind rough and uneven skin feeling the last whispers and fleeting ribbons, strings, flies, death; clutch it tightly, a gelatinous mess of tubes and pipes and veins that will close now forever; release.
kill them all.
im treading water in the ocean, just a few yards from the beach, swirling sand swimming through my toes, brushing against my bare skin; a quiet erosion - methodical even. a current of warm water beneath the meandering waves, a bolt of icy cold water only a few inches above it; lines and ribbons and strings from all parts of the world connecting here, in me. the layers of the ocean are profound and terrifying and a color-coded diagram of their cycles and functions remains tucked away in the back of my mind at all times; an old books and a loved one at that.
and its that exact experience that she mimics or maybe simply is - treading water at the intersection of many currents that have traveled the entire globe to converge exactly here: at me. i am wrapped in the warmth of bermuda sand, bright pink fish; i am thrown into the ice and have seconds of life left within me; i brush up against a creature of the depths; my feet are caressed by mermaid seaweed; shells cut open my stomach and my organs spill out into the blackness of the sea; primordial energies spiral around me, a deep rift has been opened somewhere and she makes me feel these things. (less)
What makes for a good story that others will want to read?
1. I wrote some 11 years ago about an experience in Sweden and sent as a simple email to a friend of mind who happens to be a journalist/freelance write and who liked the story enough(more) to put me in contact with an editor at Christian Science Monitor who, in turn, was able to publish the story. I think they took out one sentence. Otherwise the published version (The egg (and the value of sometimes doing nothing), http://www.csmonitor.com/2003/0806/p18s02-hfes.html) is identical to the first email message.
2. later, I sent a "crafted" story to CSM. It was not published.
The difference? The first story was real. Real people. Real feelings. I was out of the way and the story was front and center. The second story was more like an essay -- nothing to grab the reader. That, in any case, is my best guess so far. (less)
"Uh, doctor, wh-what are you doing...?" Even though it was sort of obvious--and the doctor hated obvious questions--Belle figured he should try and run some interference less one of their new recruits get in over his head.
(more) "This is a test of his abilities." Shinmaru stated plainly, finishing off the tie around the back of Yves' head.
"Oh..." Belle blinked. Yves patted softly for the inkwell, until the doctor slapped his wrist. "Er, why this all of a sudden?" the prince added hurriedly.
"Don't worry big brother Belle, I asked him to," Yves chimed, staring slightly to the left of Belle's actual position. "I realized this is a big liability after that ordeal in the cave." His hand crept again for the inkwell, and was rewarded again with a slap.
"Use your blood. This will also force you to draw more efficiently." Belle grimaced a little at the doctor's orders. "And don't draw anything living, unless you are prepared to be responsible for it."
"O-okay..." Yves nodded, settling himself down to work.
He drew another parasol. It wasn't finessed like his usual work, but it still opened and closed when he materialized it. Shinmaru bandaged his hand--"One every few hours is fine."--while Belle corked the inkwell.
"I drew one, too, Yves." The prince laid down his sketch next to the parasol. "I thought it'd give you some encouragement. Even blindfolded you are the superior artist!"
"Big brother Belle...!" The trembling of Yves' lip seemed almost exaggerated, but somehow cute, since the doctor hadn't removed the blindfold yet. "You mean it?"
"But of course."
"A-are you crying? Yves, don't cry, you'll be shocked, really, how bad I am."
"Eh?" Yves blinked once Shinmaru let the blindfold drop. "Eh?" He stared at Belle's drawing. "...Oh. I see."
The pain pulls me from sleep
I have to decide if I can walk today or not
I pull myself into my wheelchair not even the ability to get dressed
Today is going to be a long day
I take my pills and pray for the pain to cease
beep, beep, beep
the first thing to greet me when I awake
the kids are fighting
grumbling over waffles and cartoons
hurry, hurry, hurry
brush your teeth
(more) brush your hair
put on your shoes
my mouth is full of toothpaste.
lunches packed, doors slam
my husband gives a quick kiss
before whisking them away
to small chairs in
brightly colored classrooms
letters and numbers.
my pants are too tight
but I wear them anyway
no time, no time
too much traffic
the homeless man is working the corner
steam rises from the coffee
someone has given him
he smiles like he's won
tomorrow he'll get a dollar
if I have the change
but now I push through
no time, no time(less)
If this was a story, he would've heard a wolf howling by now.
Instead, what filled the eerie silence of the night was the meowing of cats, not all that haunting, he thought.
He creeped slowly, not wanting the spook that cats away, so that they may(more) give away his location.
He scanned the surrounding area, looking for, anything. Anything that might tickle his fancy. Something shiny, something weird, something that might give him a lot of dough.
High midnight found him digging along the fields of trash, grease and sweat and all kinds of nasty stuff clinging to his clothes. It will be worth it, he told himself, he'll find something here, something valuable.
The lights are off but he could still see everything clearly. Thousands of spying eyes glowed eerily in the night, watching, observing. On second thought, this is kind of scary.
He tried not to, but he can't help it, he found himself thinking about his sister. He felt sorry for her, for being sorry for him. He wasn't worth her time nor energy. He dreaded every time she knocked on his door, the disappointment and hurt showing on her pretty face. The way her voice cracked and wither but still she soldiered on. It hurt more than any black eye or bruised ribs or broken noses. It also made him feel like shit.
He sighed, believing he couldn't do anything about it. This was his life, tracks laid down for him to walk through. In the past he might have rode the right tracks into a better life, but he made his choice, and now he had to live with it.
A couple more digging, a little more swearing. He wiped the sweat over his forehead. Oh look there, a silver coin. Cool(less)
A bullet grazes whizzes past her ear as she rolls and takes cover behind a wall.
"I'll catch you Lady Justice, and then I'll flay you. I'll flay your meddling nose! So says The Man Flayer!" says the Man Flayer. Man Flayer has been Lady Justice's arch nemesis(more) for most of her active crime-fighting career. He wears a full body plastic suit that makes him look like a semi molten action figure.
Hiding behind the battered wall, Lady Justice searches her utility belt for weapons or anything that could help her get away. It's empty. "Great.", then she remembers that she had cleaned her utility belt earlier and forgot to put the stuff back in.
"You will never win, Flayer! Not as long as I draw a breath." she yells, still hiding.
"Wrong! I will slay you." He shouts and takes a pause to consider if he should say what he wants to say or not. In the end, he thinks YOLO, "And then I'll flay you."
"Oh, yeah! Then why do you use a gun? Do you even have a knife? That is misleading. You know the papers called you SpaceSuit Terrorist for 3 months, right?" she yells back. The firing has stopped for now.
Nothing happens for 5 quiet seconds, then, firing his machine gun in the air he says "I am the end of justice!"
"No! Injustice and crime have no place in the- Ah, screw it." She walks out from behind the wall and toward the gate that the Flayer is guarding.
"What? You're walking away?."
"I know, I know, but I haven't slept this week, and this is a lot of work."
"No! You'll finish this!"
"Sorry man, this is boring. Next time, maybe kidnap someone important." She walks out as he stares in disbelief.(less)
My mom couldn't hold a job, she didn't know how to dress (blue rayon pants with a red sweater), she more-than-once threw dinner plates if we complained about what was for supper (scorched tuna melts, burnt meat, fire alarm blazing as she walked to the table like nothing was(more) amiss). She slept most of the day and at least once a year dramatically "went of" her medication.
But she had certain scruples, just like anyone.
If she asked for water and you brought it to her in a mug she'd yelp.
"Water goes in glasses. Only hot drinks go in mugs. IDIOT."
Never, ever say "screw it." It would summon her from her own musings, sheer horror contorting her red lips and black-lined eyes into a mask of bitterness. "That's...VULGAR," she'd pronounce. Meanwhile we called each other bitch-fatass-idiot-fucktard.
She also got angry if the open part of a pillowcase faced the doorway. Because they are supposed to face the window.
"Don't you KNOW that?" she said, stirred from a dim netherworld of dreams by this offending sight of a pillowcase with the pillow peeking out. The whole house falling down around us. The first time I'd even made my bed in a week.
"Who is going to tell me things except you?" I shouted, throwing the pillow in the frustration of it all. Wondering what good advice other, better mothers were doling out elsewhere, in nicer homes.
"I shouldn't have to TELL you," she said, "it's common SENSE!" Arms folded across her chest. Her white panties blazed in the 3 o'clock sunlight streaming in the window. It was a halo like indignation.
Later in life I met similar people who'd share a needle with you but they wouldn't share a can of Coke. Germs.