April 2013

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06 April 2013

The prompts were:
1. The welcoming committee
2. Wicked attraction
3. Rainbow, X-Ray Glasses, Stapler

Begin writing
It was a clear day but the air I was breathing belied that.  Cars and trucks rushed by, mere inches from the toes of my boots.  Bus stops are places where I hang out a lot these days.  Not really by choice, more a matter of necessity.  When the bus is your primary mode of transportation you tend to spend a lot of time in bus stops.  It was beginning to grow on me however.  I found it fascinating to study my fellow passengers.
Today there was one other gentleman hunkered down in the shelter that covered the bench.  He was wearing bunny slippers and a large, hairy thrift store coat with a fur lined hood pulled over his head.  I thought he was talking on the phone but, it turns out, he was just talking to himself and chuckling.  Hmm, maybe telling himself jokes he had never heard before.   I approached the bench when I arrived at the stop.  He jumped up and pulled a stapler from his greatcoat pocket.  Brandishing the stapler like a weapon he screamed unintelligibly at me.  I put up my hands and backed away a couple of steps.Returning the stapler to his pocket he sat back down and watched me from the corner of his eye.
“This guy has a larger than average personal space,” I thought but, he seemed calm now.  My grandfather had taught me that discretion was the better part of valor so, I determined to respect this man’s foibles and give him his space.
The number 6 bus chose that moment to arrive.  I noticed that overnight new ads had been placed on the side.  The dark and foreboding illustrations of vampires and seductive young people had been replaced by a sickening tableau of pink and yellow teddy bears, rainbows, unicorns and princesses.  I almost decided to wait for the next bus.  What if someone I knew spotted me on this conveyance.  I would be the laughing stock for weeks.
I looked around furtively and the coast was clear so I hurried on to the bus anyway.  The risky times would only be boarding and exiting.  If it looked like I would be spotted getting off, I would simply stay on for one more stop.  Nobody but other riders notice who’s aboard when the bus is moving.
I dropped my token into the thing that you drop your tokens into and turned toward the back of the coach.  I began walking slowly aft, making sure everyone got a good look at me.  I was strutting and swaggering, looking left and right.  The people I looked at all began to fidget.  They would turn slightly or lift their packages to their laps, clutch books and bags closer to their chests, cover up.  I tried to look tough and menacing but had to smile.  This always happens when I wear my X-Ray glasses on the bus.
Time is up. Put down your writing implements and step away from the paper.

That was fun.  There were only 5 of us at the meeting today so we decided to have another go at it.  This time we all wrote from a single prompt – time was limited to 15 minutes.

The prompt was:
1. What he/she left behind was indescribable

Begin writing
It seemed like yesterday.  Maybe because it was yesterday.  Today was Boxing Day.  Yesterday had been Christmas.  The family was all coming to our house for a proper Christmas feast.  Annabelle, my new bride, was nervous.  Her mother was coming and so was my new deadbeat brother in law, Andrew.  My Aunt Sally and her husband would be there but they would be late.  They were always late.
The decorations had been fussed with until everything was perfect.  Santa had come the night before and what he had left behind was indescribable.  Not because it was either horrible, or spectacular but, because I could not, for the life of me, figure out what it was.
I mean, I could describe it up to a point.  I could identify that it was large, rectangular, red and blue.  I could tell you that it was covered with a symphony of switches, buttons dials, levers and flashing lights but, that only works up to a point.  I could not describe it’s purpose.  I could not describe it’s use.  I could not understand it.
Andrew knew what it was though.  Or, at least he pretended to know.  He said something about the new ionizing proactive spectrum generator and asked how I liked it.  Before I could answer he lifted a panel at one end and slipped inside.  Quickly Annabelle reached over, flipped a latch on the panel, toggled two switches and pulled a lever.  A small puff of smoke came from around the panel through which Andrew had entered and the thing was silent.
I looked inquiringly at Annabelle.  “Yep,” she said, “and unlike Andrew, it works.”
Time is up. Put down your writing implements and step away from the paper.

13 April 2013
The prompts were:
1. The person in the mirror was not who I expected
2. Grandma’s Cottage
3. Being human

Begin writing
I sat down at the long wooden bar and waved at the bartender for a beer.  He nodded and I watched him in the mirror as he made his way down to the taps to draw me a cool one.  What the hell was I doing?  Why was I here?  This is the act of a desperate man wasn’t it?  Was I a desperate man?
Being human is confusing.  Internet dating is frightening.  In strict adherence to the couples.com policy no photos had been exchanged.  I had no idea what Ms. X was going to look like or how old she was.  Nothing.  But, she was in the same boat.  She knew nothing of me either.  The computer had analyzed the data we had submitted and determined we would be compatible.  I had received an email from couples.com counselor, Pat Greenly advising me to be at this bar, Grandma’s Cottage, of April 13th at 7:00pm.  I was to wear a navy blue blazer with a green handkerchief tucked in the breast pocket.  I was to meet Ms. X here.  I would recognize her by the flower she would be wearing.  A red hyacinth would be tucked behind her ear.
Grandma’s Cottage was decorated like a Marie Callendars or a Mimi’s Cafe. Strange motif for a bar.  I had already scoped out the patrons when I arrived.  Not a red flower to be seen so I kept my eye on the mirror where I could watch the door.  The door opened and I found I was holding my breath anxiously waiting to see who came in.  It was a tall man in a red cardigan.  I breathed a bit easier when I saw he was not wearing any red flowers.
“This is crazy,” I thought and stood to leave.  “What was I thinking when I agreed to this?”  Just then, light flooded the bar and I looked at the long mirror again.  The person in the mirror was not who I expected.  It was Elizabeth, my ex-wife.  She still looked good.  I hadn’t seen her in years.  There had always been a strong physical attraction between us, but emotional and intellectual conflict had proven stronger than lust and we had agreed to separate.  No kids, no communal property, no complications.  It had been easy to do.
Then I noticed the flower she pulled from her bag and tucked quickly behind her ear.  I tucked my handkerchief deeper into my breast poked and ducked my head.  I headed to the back
Time is up. Put down your writing implements and step away from the paper.

20 April 2013

No meeting today.  I thought I would give it a try on my own.  I made up a prompt and gave myself 25 minutes.

The prompt was:
1.The devil dances in empty pockets

Begin writing
My name is William Potts.  They are going to kill me today.
I was a poor farmer with a few acres just outside of Spotsville when I met Lucinda.  She was a young girl with a slender waist, firm breasts and pale alabaster skin. Her hair was as black as tar and her eyes were blinding, like looking at the sun.  Her smile? … well when she looked up and smiled at me I was done for.

They will hang me tonight when the sun drops behind those mountains and the shadows are long.  They should be hanging Lucinda as well.

I wasn’t enough for Lucinda.  She could never be a farmer’s wife but, I had to have her.  The devil dances in empty pockets and my desire was strong.  I had no money but I had my land.  I sold my land in a futile attempt to buy her favor.  I learned too late that she was not the kind of girl who coveted money or jewels.  She craved adventure, she craved danger.  I craved Lucinda – so we took the money I got for the farm and headed west in search of our destiny.  California, San Francisco, and we were down to our last.  Lucinda could not be kept by a pauper and I could sense her slipping away.  Desperation helped me to recognize that the old man was a target of opportunity.  As luck would have it, he died easily and yielded a saddlebag of gold.  I learned that there were lots of miners in San Francisco, ripe for the pickin’.  Lucinda and I were a good team.  She would bat her eyes and I would bash their heads.  For her, the accumulation of wealth was secondary to the thrill of the kill.  After a successful night Lucinda’s passion was unbridled and my lust would be stilled.  But, she preferred the hunt, the action, the murder.  I however, had a single goal.  Keep Lucinda happy.

Seeking further adventure we kept moving.  I acquired a clipper ship from an out of luck captain in a gambling den.  At Lucinda’s urging we took our gold, hired a crew, and sailed to China.  We found an unlimited supply of Chinese business men who were willing to trade opium, fireworks, silk and tea for the gold we had brought.  We also learned that those same Chinese businessmen wanted whiskey, women and guns even more than they wanted gold.  A red haired whore would fetch a good price on the waterfront in Shanghai.  We were in the trading business.  We had found a demand that we could fill and I had found a way to keep Lucinda excited and happy.  She was transported to another level when there was a storm.  Or when someone needed killing.  A bit of piracy came easily and we
Time is up. Put down your writing implements and step away from the paper.

 Gallows

27 April 2013

The prompts were:
1. Timing was everything
2. A different world
3. Then the man next to me on the train…

Begin writing
The platform was crowded but then, Shinjuku always is, and when the platform is crowded the train will be as well.  The Shinkansen from Tokyo to Matsumoto was about a three hour trip and the trains are always on time.  Timing is everything in Japan – Schedules are important.  I had landed at Narita last night.  Too late to get to Nagano, I spent the night in Tokyo. I’ll take the train today.  What a trip.  I drove to the KC airport and parked.  Flew to San Francisco to catch a connection to Narita.  The Limousine Bus took me from the airport to the City Center and I walked to the hotel.  All I need to do now is work in a bike ride.

The train arrived and passengers exited out the other side.  I looked around me and thought about where I was.  This sure isn’t Kansas Toto, this is a different world.  Everything is different.  Not better, not worse, just different.  The doors opened and we began filing onto the cars.  I had an assigned seat and I made my way to it.

Matsumoto is in Nagano Prefecture, high in the mountains.  My fellow passengers represented a good cross section of Japanese society.  There were old people, young people, men, women, businessmen and holiday merry makers.  I always see mountain climbers on this train.  Dressed for hiking with sturdy boots and walking sticks.  Matsumoto is a special city. The Jo is a popular attraction and short side trips can take a sightseer to Lake Suwa or to any number of ski lodges, resorts, museums, or restaurants.  Plenty to do for a short getaway.  The businessmen probably worked for or with Epson or Sankyo.  Both companies have major production facilities in the area.

We had been traveling about an hour when the man next to me on the train first spoke.  He spoke in Japanese so I was unable to understand and indicated as much.  I apologized and said, “I’m sorry but I do not speak Japanese.  Do you speak English?”

“A little bit” he answered and pointed out the train window.  “It is a clear day.  Look, you can see Fujiyama.”  He was right.  It was a postcard view.  The peak seemed to float as it rose out of the mist in the distance.

“It is beautiful” I said.  He nodded and told me, “In two days I will go to Fujiyama to climb.”
Time is up. Put down your writing implements and step away from the paper.

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