OLWG · writing

OLWG# 207- To Live and Die in New Orleans

Written for OLWG# 207



Billy Bob Soulier scratched the stubble on his chin and crushed his cigarette in the overflowing glass ashtray. He knew that it read, “The Silver Penny” on the bottom, even though he’d covered the lettering with ash and dog ends. He’d been sitting on that barstool all morning, and he’d seen it before it was covered up.

From his shirt pocket, he pulled a five-spot and tossed it on the bar, signalling to Emi that he needed another drink. She pulled herself up from the stool she liked to perch on and went to work. Billy Bob lived to watch Emi work. She wore her dark, tightly curled hair in a #2 buzz. She stood well over six feet tall. The girl was long, lithe, and lean. She moved with an economy of motion that he admired. He could imagine her sleepin’ in the kitchen with her feets in the hall.

Emi sat his Bloody Mary down and lifted the fiver from the dark wood of the bar. With the bill in hand, she glided down towards the old National Register. Billy Bob was daydreaming about Emi as he watched her drift. Her head started bobbing, ever so slightly, as the jukebox played an old Dorothy Moore song. He smiled.



This week’s prompts were:

  1. kick up your heels
  2. a barroom in New Orleans
  3. every week

The Blog Propellant · writing

TBP New Prompt #8- 637 Consecutive Days Of Sunshine



Monday morning 0630

Spring 1965

 

Daniel’s alarm clock clicked, and Jimmy Fusion, the morning jock for KQMZ – 15.90 on your AM dial was yelling the weather, “TODAY MARKS THE 637th CONSECUTIVE DAY OF SUNSHINE HERE IN THE CITY OF THE SUN, THE PASS TO THE NORTH. HIGHS ARE EXPECTED TO REACH TRIPLE DIGITS AGAIN TODAY AND, AS USUAL, THERE IS A ZERO PERCENT CHANCE OF PRECIPITATION.” Jimmy Fusion played an ad for a local glass company:

♬ Break a glass… Call Baker glass… For broken glass… Call Baker Glass… ♬

♫♪ For faster service on all your glass ♫♪ 

Phone Baker right away

♬ ♬

 

Downtown by Petula Clark played next. It had been climbing steadily up the charts since its release last fall.

 Daniel rubbed his face with both hands before climbing out of bed and walking down the hall to pee. Back in his room, he pulled on a pair of ‘big bell’ Levis and a Rolling Stones tee then, padded to the kitchen where he found Melissa.

 “Good morning, Daniel,” she said. Daniel frowned and suddenly remembered why he didn’t want to go to school today.

 “Hi, Melissa,” Daniel groaned.

 “I really wish you’d call me, Mom; I am married to your father.”

 “Sorry, don’t think that’s going to happen.” Daniel grabbed a bowl and spoon from the dish drainer, a box of Froot Loops from the cupboard above the oven, and milk from the fridge. He sat down at the breakfast table. Melissa lit a cigarette and made herself busy in the kitchen, avoiding him.

 Daniel ate fast, grabbed his school books from his room and quickly left through the front door. He would be way early for school. As Daniel walked, he thought about what had happened yesterday afternoon and knew he would hear about it today at school. After all, Melissa (Mom – he grimaced) was only four years older than he.

 Yesterday had been the 636th consecutive day of sunshine. When he got home at about three, the temperature was almost 107 degrees*. Nary-a-cloud was in the sky. He decided to go to the pool for a quick swim. So, grabbing a towel and pulling on his trunks, he headed for the community pool. Only a block and a half away. 

Sunday afternoon (one day earlier) 1515

Spring 1965

 

 Daniel walked through the door to the Cielo Vista Community Pool Clubhouse; it was a quarter after three. He smiled at Janine and showed her the membership tag that was safety-pinned to his trunks.

 “Hey Janine, sure is hot today.” Janine was beautiful; she had perpetually chapped lips, a deep suntan from lifeguarding. Her long blonde hair was bleached by the sun and damaged by the chlorine.

 She flashed her pearly whites, “Hi, Daniel,” she said, “Your Mom’s here.”

 “I doubt that. My mom lives in Fort Lauderdale with her boy-toy, Hank.”

 “Sorry, I knew that. HEY, NO RUNNING!” She yelled at a bunch of kids hurrying through – they slowed down but still were walking fast. Janine shook her head and smiled again. “I meant to say that Melissa’s here.”

 Daniel grimaced and put his head down as he moved past Janine to the showers. He put his towel on a bench and rinsed in the cold water. He continued to the pool area, where he scoped the scene. Half the girls from school must’ve been there. Melissa was there too. She posed at the deep end, preparing to dive in. She wore a tiny pink bikini. It was not much more than two small triangles on the top and a high French cut on the bottoms. He ducked his head, looked away, and spotted Bodi Hale hanging on the side of the pool, holding court with a batch of his Toadies. They were splashing water towards Donna Bustamante, who was busy trying to ignore them.

 He looked toward the deep end of the pool again just as Melissa dove. She hit the water in fine form, a shallow racing dive, but she didn’t start swimming. She was working on the dives. She slewed towards the edge of the pool, where Bodi was splashing Donna. She pushed herself up to sit on the edge of the pool.

 Daniel noticed that Melissa had lost her suit top at the exact time one of Bodi’s little buddies did.

 “TITS!” guffawed the Toadie. He pointed at Melissa’s chest.

 Bodi’s mouth dropped open. He stared.

 Daniel ignored the “No Running” rule, hustled over to Melissa, who was now red-faced and embarrassed. He draped his beach towel over her shoulders and dove straight into the pool to retrieve the missing piece of apparel, which he got and promptly returned. He levered himself to the edge of the pool, stood and walked to where Bodi and his Toadies hung on the edge.

 “Quit staring at her,” Daniel said slowly to Bodi.

 “No way, Dude. Did you see those titties?”

 “That’s my mom. You can either quit staring at her or, I can drown you.”

 Bodi shifted his attention to Daniel, “Sorry, Dude. I didn’t know.” He focused on the blue wall of the clubhouse.

 “You should probably apologize and make your little friend, there, do the same.” Daniel was fierce. 

Monday morning 0820

Spring 1965

 

Daniel pushed through the door to the English wing and headed towards his locker. He knew that half the school had seen what happened. He had no idea what to expect, but he knew he was going to hear about it.


* 107 degrees F = 41.6666 degree C



Written for The New Blog Propellant Prompt #8

This week’s prompt:

Not really this week’s prompt – The prompt is from 28.April.2021.

In your WordPress Reader, have you noticed at the top they post three suggested topics to explore? The suggestions are usually a weird combination, but always entertaining.

My suggestions today are: Cocktails; Community Pool; Groovy. Write a post inspired by these suggestions. I took out the links because it took me so long to respond.


OLWG · writing

OLWG# 206- People You Have Yet to Meet

Written for OLWG# 206



Marie threw her car keys on the credenza, “Goddamnit, Ted! I don’t want to. I won’t.”
“You should give it a try, Marie. You might like it. Try it out for a year or so. If it doesn’t work, we can do something else.”
“Ted,” she exclaimed, “you’re asking me to give up my life and move to some little town where I don’t know anyone. You’re asking me to start my life all over! Why would I do that?”
“Why wouldn’t you?” He watched her, waiting for a reply. When she didn’t, he continued. “What do you have here? Your beloved husband left. Your children are all at least three hours’ drive away. What do you have here?”
“I have my house.” Marie snapped.
“You can keep your house. After a year, you can decide to come back to it or sell it and move on.”
“Shit, Ted. I don’t know. It seems drastic.”
There are beaches there,” Ted said. “There are people there you’ve never met, people who might engender a new slant on your perspective. You might even like some of them. Hell, it’s even closer to your oldest girl.”
“Yeah, there is that.” Marie set her pencil down and twisted her mouth as she considered Ted’s proposal. “No, I’m not going to do it. I feel as though I need to visit for a week first before I could commit. Just because you grew up there doesn’t mean I’m going to like it.”



This week’s prompts were:

  1. I don’t want to
  2. a town with no future
  3. elegant or crude

So I found a new writers group. They call themselves “Missing State Writers” because, you know we’re in New Mexico. I don’t’ have the statistics at hand, but there is a significant percentage of Americans who do not realize that New Mexico is one of the fifty states! The American mind is a marvel – sometimes ‘Magnificent’ ofttimes ‘Mediocre’. I wrote this during our meeting on Monday morning, last! Fifteen minutes.

OLWG · writing

OLWG# 205- Cutthroat Razor

Written for OLWG# 205



At the post office that morning, Melinda pulled a notice out of her box advising that there was a package for her. A package too large to fit into her box, so she should come to the desk and claim it. The notice was scribbled on an envelope sized green card and did not indicate who the sender was. She looked at the length of the line and then at her watch before determining that she would be late for work if she waited in that queue. Maybe she could come back, spend her lunch break at the post office. She took the green card, locked her box and hurried out to her car. 

The morning was uneventful. Mel tried to check email but was able to read only a couple before the 9:15 ‘all-hands, stand-up meeting’ at the circulation desk, where everyone got reminded of Children’s Storytime at 10:30, book club at 2:00, and the writers’ group coming in at 5 pm.” Melinda saw her schedule to work the adult reference desk from 10:00 till noon. After that, she went back to her cubicle to answer email, coordinate with volunteers and get a few other small things done. When 1:00 arrived (lunchtime), she grabbed her keys and handbag, logged off her computer, and made her way to the lot behind the library, where she found a large splatter of bird crap strategically positioned to block her view out the windscreen.

She pulled a handful of tissues from the box that always slid back and forth across her backseat. The box had a pastel green hand-crocheted cover that her mom had made a few years back. She spat on the tissues and tried to clean the window but only managed to smear the bird shit around. “Damn, now what am I going to do?” She wondered, then she remembered her unfinished cup of coffee languishing in the front seat cup holder. That worked well enough to get her out of the immediate jam. She could stop at the Shell station on Palisades and wash the windscreen. She got in the driver’s seat and fastened her seat belt, started the car, tuned to Texas Radio FM, broadcasting from somewhere deep in the Virginia Swamp, and pulled out onto 17th Street moving in the direction of the Post Office by way of the Shell station.

At the Post Office, Melinda presented the green card to Donna at the service desk. She waits. The package that comes out is about twelve inches square by maybe six inches deep. It’s bound by packing tape. Melinda recognizes her mother’s handwriting on the outside. That answers the first question. The second question is what, on earth, has her mother sent her this time. The last thing her mother had sent was a photo of her neighbour’s son. Mrs Carmichael lives next door, and her son is named David Carmichael. He goes to Med school somewhere in New England.

Reaching into her purse, Melinda takes out her razor with the tortoiseshell handle and slits open the packing tape. Inside, neatly folded, was a white gown. It was hand-beaded and embroidered with a white on white floral design. Melinda recognized her mother’s wedding dress.

“Oh, for fucks sake,” she said out loud and tossed the box, dress and all, into the back seat. 

She didn’t even have time to grab a sandwich before she had to be back at the library.



This week’s prompts were:

  1. a white gown
  2. it’s “coo-pon”
  3. are my seams straight?
OLWG · writing

OLWG# 204- Gems in a Sea of Mud

Written for OLWG# 204



Lincoln

Who needs Pat Garrett? Rains flood the dirty streets of Lincoln – cleanse the blood.

Power

The wife of a country field mouse, who just happens to be living in the greater metropolitan area, is usually the family breadwinner. She’s the power player.



This week’s prompts were:

  1. greater metropolitan
  2. field mouse
  3. rains flood the dirty streets
OLWG · writing

OLWG# 203- The Bounty Hunter

Written (promptly) for OLWG# 203



Kacela was knee-deep in the muck, making her way swiftly and quietly through the reeds at the edge of the intertidal zone. She’d been hunting Cooper for years, and now she was close. She believed that the man, now known as Charlie Ray, had used the money he’d obtained from the hijacking and bought this run-down marina at the edge of Côte du Golfe Marais. She was close, but she had found the marina abandoned when she’d wheeled her truck up to the pump hoping for an easy capture. He wasn’t there, but a cup of coffee sat steaming next to the old National Cash Register on the counter.

Cooper must have sensed what was happening. He’d fled into the marsh when she approached and hadn’t been gone long.  There was only one direction that he might have run and avoided detection. She headed that same way with her fingers crossed. Kacela hated snakes, and this landscape promised to be rife with them.

She’d always been a hunter. As a girl, she’d taken down the big cats that preyed on the village goats. As a young woman, she’d become a guide, taking European tourists, armed with either guns or cameras, in search of big game. It didn’t matter to her how her clients captured their prey. Death was not something with which she was unfamiliar. She accepted it.

From ahead came the thundering sound of wings beating. Countless dusky coloured birds burst from the wetlands like clouds of feathers intent on obscuring the sun. She knew she was close. She could almost smell the money she would earn by bringing in Cooper.



This week’s prompts were:

  1. smiling in the sun
  2. bread and morphine
  3. clouds of feathers
The Blog Propellant · writing

TBP Redux #15- A Golden Comet



She was a chick named Little, on account of, she only weighed three pounds when she was soaking wet. Although a friendly bird around people, she was ruthless towards others of her own kind. She could get things that she coveted from people, but as leader of a notorious, albeit ragtag, band of free-range chickens, she and her flock roamed the high desert sage south of Albuquerque. Little was the brains of the gang; she planned all the jobs, she found the food. She was cunning and sly. She was mean; she got that from her dad, a Goliath of a New Hampshire rooster. She was also a good layer; she got that from her mom, a White Rock hen.

The flock was mobile, and when they were on the move, Little typically rode in the bright red sidecar attached to Peck’s bike. Peck was a handsome cockerel. Almost all cream coloured with red-brown feathers on his back and wings. His giant comb was run through with a grey scar that looked a bit like a Harry Potter lightning bolt. He weighed in at just over six pounds. Even with his fierce looks, he was a bit scared of Little. He’d seen her single-handedly rip the head off a red fox when she was little more than a pullet. He loved her with all his heart, and thankfully, she loved him in return.

Little was as beautiful as she was ruthless. Her bright yellow legs were long and shapely; she sported feathers of a coppery red colour. Her beak was yellow-ochre, and it was sharp. She could snatch an eye from a rattlesnake. There were quite a few serpents in Valencia County who wore patches after having had a run-in with Little. What struck an observer most though? Her eyes, yellow with an orange glint, and when she turned her head sideways to study someone, she’d deliver a piercing gaze that could strike fear into the hearts of her enemies.

It was a few winters back; when the flock lost one of their own, a hen named Noodle. She liked to tell fortunes for other chickens and to dance naked around campfires. Noodle never saw it coming when the old man and his enchantress got the better of her. They were camping in the snow near the river, and they fell on her. They came out of the dark and snapped her neck. The predators made grilled chicken sandwiches of Noodle and the flock scattered.
After a brief period of mourning, no more than an hour or so, Little recognized the need to distract the two killers.

She took it on herself to gather a few eggs (donated to the cause by some of the girls). She dipped into her own stash for chorizo, took the tortillas that Noodle wouldn’t need anymore and sent Brewster to the truck stop where he got cheese and salsa.

Little, herself, during the darkest part of the night – just before the dawn, snuck up to the murdering bastard’s campsite and neatly stacked the foodstuffs in front of their tent flaps. When the killers woke, it was first light. They recognized the offering for what it was – a plea for peace. Peck and Little watched from behind the silver leaves of a Havard Agave as the executioners made breakfast burritos, broke camp and drove east.

Peck put a wing around Little when the desert was quiet again when the interlopers had pulled out of sight. They were both surprised when Kellogs sauntered by.

“Your old lady is a chicken,” he said to Peck, “appeasing those assassins instead of attacking them. Shit, I coulda took ‘em by myself.” He spat on the ground in disgust.

In a flash, like a whirlwind, Little pecked his eyes out and tore his comb clean off. As he lay bleeding, blinded, and gasping for air in the desert sand, she leaned over and whispered, “Sometimes, Kellogs, discretion is the better part of valour. You’re going to die of exposure. Blinded, as you are, you won’t be able to find food. If you weren’t such a cock we would have only lost Noodle, but I reckon you got what’s been coming to you.”



I’m a little slow with this one. ¡Lo siento! Written for The Blog Propellant

The Prompt: This is a re-work of a previous prompt. 1) Write of the most beautiful place you have ever seen, then 2) Place one of your favorite characters in this setting. The character can be one of your own, from another author’s story, or maybe someone you know, and then lastly, 3) Surprise the reader with something unexpected.


OLWG · writing

OLWG# 202- Attitudes and Platitudes

Written (promptly) for OLWG# 202



Live your life to the fullest
Be creative
Be bold
Reach out and help others
Kindle a love that might burn down your house
Be creative
Be bold
Bask in the warmth that ensues
Teach your children to be happy
Show them how to be creative
How to be bold
There is time enough for tears, and play
Steer clear the whimperers
Shun the complainers
Fill your spirit, and your place, with the positive
Live your life to the fullest
Be creative
Be bold
Reach out and help others



This week’s prompts were:

  1. tears in the sandbox
  2. whimpering and complaining
  3. it might burn down your house
OLWG · writing

OLWG# 201- Miss Santa Cruz County

Written for OLWG# 201



Sibley Fletcher, the newly crowned beauty queen from Aptos, sloped onto the stage to thank her adoring fans. She was as thin as a fishbone. Her eyes bulged, and her cheeks hollowed. It was almost as though they had been sculpted by the same wind and surf that formed the arches at Natural Bridges State Park. Her long blonde hair was piled atop her head; a few wisps fell loosely to frame her face. She raised her arms and began to speak, her voice: as soft as a whisper, “My first act as your Queen is to grant myself immunity for any crimes; state, federal or hate, that I may have committed in the past, or might commit in the future. I would also extend that same amnesty to my dear sister, Mirabel. Bless her heart.”

The audience crowded into the Louden Nelson Community Centre fell silent. This was truly unexpected. As Sibley lowered her arms, the sharp bones of her wrist brushed the delicate tiara she wore, knocking it slightly askew.

“Buried somewhere in Los Gatos Canyon are the bodies of both Hannah Sandoval and Bernard Medina. I do not recall the exact location; it’s been almost five years since I put them there, but it was near a big white rock and a twisted tree. The police should probably give the remains back to their mothers. They have been missing long enough.

“I must add, my dear subjects, that Hannah truly deserved what she got. She tempted my darling, Bernard. And, Bernard, well, he was collateral damage. Sometimes I still miss him. Mirabel and I didn’t bury them very deep. I’m frankly surprised that they were never found.

“My second act is to declare today, April the first, an official holiday, to commemorate my coronation as Queen Sibley. I declare that henceforth, on this day, there will be no mail delivery, and Ferrel’s shops shall provide free doughnuts to all comers. As truly befits a holiday of this import.

“Thank you, my subjects. I will strive to be a kind and just ruler.” She blew a kiss at the crowd, turned and walked off the stage. The spotlight went down and the house lights came up. The applause was deafening.



This week’s prompts were:

  1. thin as a fishbone
  2. buried somewhere in Los Gatos Canyon
  3. it fetters the will
OLWG · writing

OLWG# 200- Eleena

Written for OLWG# 200

Wait! What? 200? Really? That’s way cool, bitchin’



When ‘Big’ Jim Romero woke, he stayed still in an attempt to determine his whereabouts. He knew he was lying on his back. It felt like there might be a pillow beneath his head and, perhaps he had been covered with a light blanket. He was soaking wet; he was cold, shivering. No sound fell on his ears and, at first, when he opened his eyes, all he saw was darkness.

He closed them again and was instantly blinded by oncoming headlights and accosted by the loud roaring of a powerful engine. He lifted his arms upwards to fend off certain death and jerked back. At the last moment, the headlights swerved and left him unscathed. He felt a breeze as the oversized vehicle swept recklessly past.

He gasped and snapped his eyes open. It was still dark, but he sensed a presence, and then he felt a hand on his shoulder. He jerked again. The hand pressed down.

A voice lightly accented, “Be still, Mr Romero, be still, you’re going to be OK. We were worried about you for a while, but you’re going to be OK.”

Big Jim took a deep breath and opened his mouth to speak. He only managed a dry cough accompanied by a deeply pitched noise from his throat. He quit pushing upwards and fell back. The hand that had been holding him down relented and pulled away.

The voice again, “I’m going to raise your head a bit and get you some water.”

An electric motor hummed, and he slowly lifted into more of a sitting position. The hand on his shoulder again.

“Can you take this cup? Just take a couple of sips, don’t gulp it down.”

Big Jim tried but couldn’t take hold, or even feel a cup. Frustrated, he made a sound. It was more like an unintelligible grunt.

“Let me help,” the disembodied voice said. Big Jim felt the cup brush up against his lips. He raised his head a much as he could and took a couple of sips.

“How are you  feeling?” She asked, “You might feel a little disoriented and woozy, Mr Romero. Don’t worry about it too much. It’s the drugs and shouldn’t last too long. I’m going to turn this light on, but I’ll keep it dimmed down low. I need to take your vitals.” As the lights came up slightly, Big Jim saw a tall, slim woman who appeared to be in her late twenties or maybe, her early thirties. She wore scrubs with pictures of fish on a dark green background; her hair framed her face with ringlets and, she had flawless ebony skin that glowed when she smiled and lit up her eyes from within.

“What’s your name?” Jim croaked.

“Eleena,” she answered. Then she smiled again, and he watched as the light rekindled in her eyes.

“I am a little woozy, Eleena and you could be right. Maybe it’s the drugs, but I don’t think so.”



This week’s prompts were:

  1. I call shotgun
  2. maybe it’s the drugs?
  3. nightsweats