OLWG #4 – Marni’s Revenge

OLWG #4

This weeks prompts:

  1. Time to excavate our relationship
  2. A twenty dollar shine on ten dollar boots
  3. It’s a handicapped spot


I found Marni in the parking lot at the market. She was scurrying back and forth
pushing stacks of shopping carts around.

What the hell are you doing Marni?

Collecting shopping carts. Why?

You know that they have people who work here that do that, don’t you?
You don’t have to do it.

Go home, Ed. It’s probably going to get ugly soon.

Marni, what are you going to do?

I’m just gathering their carts…
… they’re scattered all over the lot.
Need to be consolidated. I’m helping them, see.

Where are you going to put their carts Mar?

I’m going to put some of them in those parking spots.
Starting with the one over there.

Over there?
It’s a handicapped spot.
You can’t put all their carts in that handicapped spot!

Jeeze, Ed. I know that. There are way too many carts for that one spot.

What are you going to do with the rest of the carts then?

I’m thinking of blocking the doors. I’m thinking that would be a good idea.

Why? What did they do to you?

To me? Nothing to me, but they’re not going to fuck with my Grandma anymore.

She looked over by the entrance to the lot.
I followed her gaze
and saw her car parked and ready for a quick getaway.
I saw her Grandma sitting in
the front passenger seat, smiling.
I waved and she waved back.
She was a sweet woman who never had an unkind word for anybody.

Damnit,
we have to get them all staged before we push them in front of the doors.
Let me help.
Have you gotten the ones from the far end of the lot yet? Down by the Home Center?

Not yet.
Thanks, Ed.
You better hurry.

I tucked my head down and started jogging in
the direction of the Home Center.


Daily Prompt; Blossom

Daily Prompt; Blossom


We got to the test site base camp in the late afternoon of July 14th, and had traveled quite a distance to arrive at the Alamogordo Bombing and Gunnery Range that day. All told there were about 400 of us there.

They weren’t ready for me or my team when we got there so we moved into the camp and got something to eat. It was about eight o’clock that evening before word came down that we were on. My team worked under the code name “FLASHPOINT.” There were six of us and we worked in pairs. Victor and Loretta went to the northwest edge of the site, Larry and Rick went to the east, while Brenda and I drifted to the south. We stayed in contact with one another until everyone was in position and then shifted to radio silence while we set up our equipment and instruments.

Brenda was excited and she talked continuously; to me, and to herself, and to the night sky about what she thought we would see and about the benefits of this technology.  She was giddy with anticipation and looked forward to analyzing the data we expected would be gleaned from this first test. She was a talented engineer and scientist. I shared her ebullient anticipation but I lacked her loquaciousness. We worked straight through until almost 0400 on the morning of the 16th when our preparations were complete.

About half an hour before we completed our set up, Larry and Rick had broken radio silence to announce, “B Team standing by,” which was their announcement that their preparations were complete and they were ready.

At 0358 Brenda broadcast, “A Team is standing by.” Victor and Loretta announced their readiness at 0514 and we all knew that from that point it would be exactly 15 minutes until the test commenced. We expected things to happen fast when it began so we settled in on our folding chairs, where we could watch the equipment. We waited and at 0527 I reached over and took Brenda’s hand. We sat like that until it happened.

We felt it first. The earth jolted and the ground began to shake. It was immediate; there was no slow buildup or early tremors that we had anticipated. We had been wrong about that, but before I could register our miscalculation we saw it. In the blink of an eye there was a dome of light to the north of us. It must have been at least 500 feet high and then it blossomed into a mushroom shape of smoke and dust as the glow grew wider and higher. Brenda and I were both thrown backwards to the ground and everything went black.

I learned later that Larry and Rick were both killed as a result of the initial blast. They were the closest to the test site. Victor died less than three days later. Loretta lasted five. Brenda was hit by one of the spectrometers that had been thrown by the force of the explosion. It killed her immediately. It’s been a year now and somehow I’m still around. I sleep a lot and I have my moments of clarity, but for the most part I’m confused. Some days I can’t remember my name, or the future that Brenda and I had envisioned for ourselves. I get bad headaches that resist the best efforts of the doctors to treat. I’ve lost over 48 pounds due to the nausea and my inability to keep food down.

The symptoms are getting worse, not better. I think Brenda and I will be reunited soon. I hope so.


 

OLWG #3 – Tamara Tammy

OLWG #3 Three Vignettes



This was not what she needed right now

Tamara stood in the center of the crowded elevator, facing forward, staring at the numbers as they counted down. She was parked on the B5 level, deep underground. At almost every floor the lift would stop and the doors would open, the ride was interminably slow. Sometimes people would try to squeeze on; sometimes they would frown, gesture with their hands, and say something about waiting for the next one.

Whoever was standing behind her had their hand on her ass. She couldn’t see who it was as they were so packed into the cramped space that she couldn’t turn enough to look behind her. This was not what she needed right now but she decided to let it go. She thought that they were so jammed up on this car that everyone in this thing might have a hand on their ass. She took a deep breath and held it till the doors opened at the next floor, the twenty-first.

“Excuse me,” she said, “this is my floor.” She began trying to move forward; trying to get to the doors before they slid shut again. As she stepped into the empty hall the hand fell away. She turned and saw that she was the only one who had exited the lift. She pursed her lips and exhaled.

Was this what I went to school for? So I could get groped in a crowded elevator?

 

Nothin’ special

Tamara was sitting on the couch waiting; waiting for Grandma and Grandpa to get there. Mom was in the kitchen fixin’ dinner. She was making chicken fried steak with mashed potatoes, and a cherry pie. Mom always cooked a fancy dinner when Grandma and Grandpa came to visit. Tamara was always on her best behavior then too. When they came to visit it was always special. Tamara smiled when she thought about her grandparents.

Grandma wore sweaters, gave the best hugs, and always smelled really good. Tamara loved to sit next to Grandma, to snuggle in close. Grandpa was magic. He could make quarters appear out of thin air or pull them from behind her ear. He always kept candy in his pocket and shared it with her.

Tamara heard the car pull up, in front of the house.

“They’re here!” she shouted and jumped up running to the door. She waited with one hand on the knob and when the knock came she pulled the door open and jumped into her Grandma’s arms.

Grandpa tousled her hair, “I brought you somethin’, Tammy.” He said.

“Ohhh, what?”

“Eh, nothing special.” He grinned as he reached into his jacket pocket.

 

I have to find a way to tell them

Tammy got home first and collected the post. As she rifled through the letters she saw the one that she had been expecting. She clutched it to her breast and pushed the rest of the mail back into the box.

Upstairs in her bedroom she tore the envelope open and unfolded the single sheet of paper that was inside. She was in! The letter announced that she had been accepted and offered a full scholarship at State. It was like a dream come true. Mom would be disappointed. She had wanted Tammy to go to the Junior College in town for her first two years.

Dad had wanted her to go to North Texas, his alma mater. It didn’t matter, this was what she wanted.

I just have to find a way to tell them, she thought. She clutched the letter and went back downstairs. She thought she might rummage through the kitchen for a snack and wait for her parents to get home. Everything was starting to come together just as she had hoped.

Daily Prompt; Imaginary

Daily Prompt; Imaginary


I had left my car with my mechanic and hadn’t seen it in almost a week so I was hoofing it, or riding public transportation, everywhere I went. Imagine my surprise when my old friend Jess stepped up on my bus from the stop at Silver Fir and Grand. Damn, he looked just the same as he had all those years ago. He recognized me right away too and came down my direction. I stood up and we shook hands before hugging one another.

“Jess, I didn’t expect to see you. I haven’t seen you in years! How long’s it been?”

“Like ya said little man, it‘s been years.”

I said, “Hey don’t call me little man. Call me by my name. Call me Will. You haven’t changed a bit. Don’t you age?”

“Nah, I’d only age if you wanted me to but you would have needed to do that, like, years ago. Like when you were still six. It won’t work now. It’s been too long. I’ve had too many other friends in the interim. You know Will, of all the friends I’ve had in my career you’re the only one who just disappeared. You never even said goodbye to me. It was just… one day you were there and we were playing; the next day you weren’t around.”

“Of course I didn’t say goodbye Jess. You were my friend, my best friend and, probably my only friend, at the time; but you were imaginary. You weren’t real. Anyway that was about the time that Mr. Lindsey sold his house and Ricky’s folks moved in from California. I became friends with Ricky and Audrey. Ricky was real man, we could play catch and ride bikes together. He wasn’t just made up.”

“Oh yeah Will; we used to play catch and ride bikes.”

We didn’t play catch Jess I was just throwing the ball up in the air and catching it. We were pretending to play catch, but it was only me. And, you never had a bike.”

“I did so. I had that shiny red and chrome Schwinn that you gave me for Christmas. Don’t you remember?”

“That never really happened Jess, I had to make that up so we could play like we were riding bikes. You weren’t really riding a new bike. It did have a nice bell on it though.”

“Come on Will. Let’s let bygones be bygones. I’m willing to pretend that you didn’t desert me. Waddya say? Where’s your friend Ricky now huh? How come he’s not around? I’m here cause I’m a much better friend that that Ricky guy ever was. Where is he? Huh?”

“Ricky’s been dead since 1968 Jess, Vietnam. You’d been gone for years when that happened.”

“Oh shit man, I’m sorry. What about his sister? What was her name? Where’s she?”

“Audrey? She grew up and we got married, but it didn’t last very long. She left me for Debbie Honneycutt. They’re still married and living in Santa Fe. Have two kids in college. We send each other cards on our birthdays and at Christmas.”

This visit from my old friend Jess was turning into a real bummer. I hadn’t thought about Ricky in a long time and I hadn’t heard from Audrey on my birthday this year. I needed to call her.

“Jess, I’m on my way home from work. You wanna stop and get a beer or something?”

“That sounds pretty good to me. Maybe we can have a catch after?”


There’ going to be new prompts at The New, Unofficial, On-line Writer’s Guild on Sunday. That’s tomorrow. It’ll be fun. We can write stuff and maybe play Parcheesi later!

Imogene’s Flight

OLWG #1 – The prompts are:

  1. Miss Wilson did her best to hush the class
  2. But that’s not what it said
  3. The cool breeze blew in the back of her hospital gown


Imogene risked a look over her shoulder as she scurried down the street, the pavement cold on her bare feet; her eyes were wild and her shock of curly blue hair untamed, manic. A cool breeze blew in the back of her hospital gown. The gown that she could not hold closed and continue to move as quickly as she felt she needed to.  She needed to look like she did this every day. She needed to appear as if nothing was out of the ordinary, she needed to blend in; but she was clipping down the street wearing nothing but a pastel blue hospital garment that was tied only at her neck in the back.

How do you make that look normal?”

She thought that she had been lucky to get away from the infirmary at all. She had heard them coming and moved when they began whispering outside her door. She hid behind it; and when they came in, with weapons drawn, she had managed to slip out the door, unseen, and down the passageway to the exit stairs.

Now she was on the boulevard, moving towards 32nd Street, against the flow of pedestrian commuters emerging from the subway exits. Her attire assured that she stuck out like a sore thumb.

She had to get inside. She had to find clothes. She didn’t have much time before they would be on her again so; she ducked down a narrow alleyway and through the open kitchen door of a diner. Could she find clothes here?

“Probably not,” She thought to herself, “but at least it gets me off the street, out of the open.”

Someone was coming from the front and making no attempt at stealth, Imogene picked up a knife from the prep counter and crouched low. The knife was a prop, she wouldn’t be able to use it and she knew this, but if she could scare someone enough to give her their clothes? Well?…

Five minutes later, wearing an ill-fitting black suit and a white button down shirt she left the diner. She still had no underwear, but that was a little less obvious now. She tugged a purloined watch cap down to cover her unruly hair. She was still barefoot and stood out, but maybe not as much as she had before.

“The waterfront,” she thought to herself, “that was where this all began. I need to go back there if I ever want my life back.” She took a left on Ocean Street and turned up her collar.


Time’s up – 27 minutes (I cheated to get that last short paragraph in). No editing – this is raw and not very pretty. It could be the germ of an idea that I might develop later though.

 

Daily Prompt; Radiate

Daily Prompt; Radiate



Russell was a pirate and
he sailed the seven seas
till he finally found the atoll
Where the Spanish treasure was believed
to be.

Russell dropped the anchor
from the ship he’d named Lenore,
he had three able seamen
row him to the shore
Where the Spanish treasure was believed
to be.

Russell led his crewmen
behind a dune, inside the trees.
He double-checked his compass while
his eyes studied the scene
then he marked the spot for the men to dig
Where the Spanish treasure was believed
to be.

Russell tilted back his tricorn
found a spot out of the sun
the crew toiled for hours,
Russell sipped his rum.
They removed a musket, and then a skull,
Then the banded chest came too, the very chest
Where the Spanish treasure was believed
to be.

Russell used his flintlock,
his sabre, and a knife
to kill his trusted crewmen,
to rob them of their lives.
He cut the straps and broke the locks
that kept the coffer quite secure
then raised the lid of the ancient box
Where the Spanish treasure was believed
to be.

Russell gazed into the glow
it radiated gold
he laughed aloud, finished his rum
it was a glory to behold.
The first mate waited through the night
in the morn he came ashore.
There was no trace of Russell so the Mate assumed command
he turned Lenore and sailed away, ever bent to seek the place
Where the Spanish treasure was believed
to be.


I’m not sure if I like this or not. I leave it up to you – dismiss it or not, you choose.

Daily Prompt; Infuse

Daily Prompt; Infuse


Twenty-five year old Alexa Jones set her overnight bag down and stood on the sidewalk staring at the old house. She ignored the bright yellow cab that had brought her as it pulled away from the curb. It had been years since she had been home. She hadn’t stayed away because of the people who lived here. She had gotten along fine with her mom and dad. It was the house.

Her parents had bought that house when Alexa was sixteen years old and for her it had never been a happy place. The house seemed to be infused with evil and a dark angst. It hadn’t taken her long to realize that the house was haunted. It scared her to death. She tried to talk with her parents about her fears, but they wouldn’t listen, or take her seriously. They were not scared and were not going to move, they told her. No, she could not go live with her grandparents, or with friends. She just had to suck it up, make the best of it.

Alexa lived in the house for two months before she ran away. She avoided the obvious places where teenage runaways would go. She stayed away from LA. She stayed away from New York and other big cities. She found a small high desert town in eastern New Mexico where rents were cheap, jobs were available, and folks minded their own business.

She passed herself off as a recent college graduate and signed a lease on a one bedroom adobe that she could afford. She got a fake ID, and a job at the Dollar Store. She kept to herself and began taking on-line classes to get her GED. She got the GED when she was still sixteen and immediately signed up for on-line college courses. At the age of eighteen she was the manager at the Dollar Store and had several employees reporting to her. She had a BA from Smitherton. When she was twenty she ran for city council and found herself being appointed Mayor. She phoned her mother and spoke to her for the first time in four years. She found out her dad had passed away six months before.

Alexa rebuilt her relationship with her mom but never returned to that house. Mom came to visit her several times and was proud of what Alexa had done with her life. Although she was proud of her she was also a little upset at having been excluded. They had a few arguments about this but in the end both sides decided to let it go and concentrate on the now. Resentment, Alexa knew, could fester and abscess. Unchecked, it could destroy her rekindled relationship with her mom.

Now that her mother had also passed Alexa found herself staring at the house, the house where only spirits lived. She stood on the walk and listened to the house. It called her. She felt the fear. The funeral was tomorrow. Over and over she asked herself, what was I thinking, I can’t do this.

She picked up her bag, whispered into the breeze, saying her goodbyes to her mom. She turned her back on that hated house and began walking towards the freeway. She figured she could stay the night at the motel by the on ramp. Tomorrow she would find a way back to the airport and then home to New Mexico. It would be good to get back there and she knew her mother would understand.


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