Daily Prompt: Twilight Zone

Daily Prompt: Twilight Zone

 Ever have an experience that felt surreal, as though you’d been suddenly transported into the twilight zone, where time seemed to warp, perhaps slowing down or speeding up? Tell us all about it. If you haven’t had an experience in real life that you can draw from, write a fictional account of a surreal experience.

***

Ted Parker set his coffee on the table and slid into the empty seat, looking at the paintings displayed on the wall. He twisted in his chair and looked around the shop, studying the faces of the other patrons.  He was here to meet someone and was a bit early so he settled in to wait.  It was warm and comfortable so he was content to wait for her here as long as need be.

The door opened and a blast of cold air accompanied a red faced man into the room.  Ted went back to his coffee and opened the paper he had brought with him.  Turning straight to the ‘Arts and Leisure’ section he scanned the articles.  In no time he was caught up in his reading so he was surprised when she came to the table and asked, “Are you Ted?”

“I am,” he said as he looked up at her.

She was tall, thin and exotic, with red hair curling around her face.  Her oval countenance was a perfect blend of green eyes, high cheekbones, a graceful nose and full lips that were quick to smile.  She was gorgeous and when she grinned and pointed at the seat across from Ted he stuttered a bit, “I’m sorry, please, please have a seat.”

Fashionably, but comfortably dressed, she lowered herself into the chair across from Ted.  “I’m Claire,” she told him with a slightly accented voice that sounded like music to his ears.

“You’re beautiful Claire” he blurted out.

She laughed out loud, “And you are kind.  I take it you like what you see?”

“Very much.”

“My normal fee is $500 for half a day” she said.  “Where should we do this?”

Ted immediately choked on his coffee.  Coughing and sputtering he reached for his napkin, “Five hundred dollars? …Do what?”

“You know what Ted.” Claire reached across the table and touched his hand. “You placed the ad.”

Ted felt a hand land on his shoulder from behind. He turned and stared into the angry eyes of his mother.  “Mom, how long have you been here?  Thank god you made it.  I’ve been waiting for you. What kept you?”  His mother stared at him with her mouth set in a firm straight line, lips colorless.  Ted felt a cold draft. Someone had entered the shop.

Standing next to the door, surveying the room, was a man in a grey pinstripe suit.  His eyes lit up and he came across the floor straight towards Ted, Claire, and Ted’s mother. Bending slightly at the waist he presented himself and began speaking rapidly, without breathing.  “You must be Claire.  I’m Theodore Thomas.  Please, call me Theodore.  You look just like your publicity shots.  You are perfect for our ad campaign.  I think we will need a day or a day and a half for the photo shoot.  Are these your people?  Shall we go to the studio and get started.  It’s just around the corner.  I’m anxious to get started.”

Claire unfolded herself gracefully from the chair. She was beautiful and Ted stared.  She leaned down and planted a quick kiss on his lips.  She took Theodore’s arm and they went out together to the street. She didn’t say a word. Ted was transfixed.

“Close your mouth Teddy. You’re gonna catch a fly.”

“I need a minute, Mom.  You gotta give me a minute.”

***

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Daily Prompt: Let’s Dance

Daily Prompt: Let’s Dance

 What are your earliest and fondest memories of dance?

 ***

Feel the rain. The music it makes as it dances on the roof, outside my window. Feel that?

Hear the rain. It taps onto my shirt, molding it to my skin. Do you hear that?

See the rain. Its life-giving essence two-stepping into the earth in my garden. Can you see it? How about now?

Smell the rain. Inhale the rivulets waltzing down my window glazing. Breathe deeply.

Taste the rain. Savor the cleanliness resulting from the gentle ballet, the dampening of the smog. Relish it.

Listen to the sounds of my children sleeping. Listen closely. They are still. Slumber, soothed by the dances of the rain.

***

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Daily Prompt: Sweet Dreams – Mark II, Mod VI

Daily Prompt: Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)

What is the best dream you’ve ever had? Recount it for us in all its ethereal glory. If no dream stands out in your memory, recount your worst nightmare. Leave no frightening detail out.

***

Look at it up there.

That’s today’s “Daily Prompt”

It seems to be taunting me.  I already responded to it with a short conversation about realizing your dreams and leveraging your accomplishments as you move forward.  I like that piece and I stand behind it. But, as I was driving this morning it occurred to me that I maybe, just maybe mind you, I maybe might have cheated the prompt.

I thought about it, thought about it some more, and thought about it a little bit more.  The prompt seems to beg for fantasy and the surreal.  Perhaps, I need a do-over. Perhaps the prompt needs further exploration.  Perhaps I should write about an actual, vivid dream.  Perhaps I should write about the time I dreamed of Desperados Under the Eaves…

Desperados Under the Eaves is a song written by Warren Zevon and it is his genius that inspired the dream.

In the dream, I am walking on a city street, typical inner city landscape.  The light makes me think it is dawn.  The street is lined with storefronts. The homeless sleeping in doorways.  The sidewalks are cracked and littered with trash blowing between  telephone poles and the newspaper racks on the curb.  There are no cars. There is no traffic.

A dollar bill lying on the pavement draws my attention and I stoop to retrieve it.  When I straighten back up there is a building in front of me that had not been there before.  A polished brass plaque next to the entry says “Hollywood Hawaiian Hotel”.

I recognize the name so I go inside.  The lobby is huge, and beginning to show signs of neglect. Borderline “seedy”. It’s decorated in art deco style; lots of brass geometric patterns and a palette of muted earth tones accented by hues of cream.   I stop just inside the entry and sit on a tufted settee.  I can hear the hum of the air conditioning.

Perhaps, I do need a do-over. Perhaps the prompt does need further exploration.  Perhaps I should write about the Desperados Under the Eaves.

Nah – that would just be silly.  You can’t write two posts for the same daily prompt.  That would be against the rules. Wouldn’t it?

***

Daily Prompt: Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)

Daily Prompt: Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)

 What is the best dream you’ve ever had? Recount it for us in all its ethereal glory. If no dream stands out in your memory, recount your worst nightmare. Leave no frightening detail out.

***

“Go on” I told her.  “This is what you’ve been dreaming about, now’s your time. Seize your dream.”

“I don’t want to.”

“Why not?  You worked so hard for this.  You earned it.”

“If I do this now, I’ll have accomplished my dream.  Then what do I have?  I need to have aspirations and goals. I haven’t planned beyond this.”

“There’s plenty of time to make new goals.  You don’t have to see them right now but, you need to live this moment.  Live it now.  Bask in the glow of a ‘job-well-done’ for awhile.  Then consider how to apply this achievement towards the realization of your next dream.”

“You’re right,” she said.  She stood and headed for the dais.  She was beaming.

***

Daily Prompt: We Got the Beat

Daily Prompt: We Got the Beat

Have you ever played in a band? Tell us all about that experience of making music with friends. If you’ve never been in a band, imagine you’re forming a band with some good friends. What instrument do you play in the band and why? What sort of music will you play?

***

I could play in a string trio,
The oboe or the piano,
Play a grand hall or studio,
No.

I’ll stick to playing the stereo.

***

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DPchallenge: Object

Nurse Ratchet, Dr. Pain, My Hand, and Me

***

It was last Wednesday afternoon when I noticed .  I was shopping at Midtown Hardware on East 17th.  I had gone for parts to fix a leak in the downstairs bathroom sink.  Al, my “helpful hardware man”, had steered me to the right aisle, I found the necessary parts and it was when I reached to take them off the shelf that I noticed .  My hand is rough and calloused.  It does, after all, have to do the same amount of work that most people have two hands for.  I’m used to wear and tear but I wasn’t used to this.  I wasn’t expecting this.  This scared me.  I needed to get to a doctor fast.

I abandoned the washers I had selected to reseat the valve, went immediately outside and hailed a taxi. I told the driver to get me to 83 Medical Plaza on the double.  I added that there was an extra 50 in it for him if he could get me there in less than ten minutes.  He did.  I leapt out of the cab and sprinted into the lobby.  Running in place while I waited for the lift – come on, come on.  I finally broke for the stairway and ran the eight flights up to Dr. James Thomas Payne’s suite of offices.

Jimmy and I had grown up together, next door neighbors.  He had always been part of my life as I had been part of his.  He was six days older than me.  We went to each other’s first birthday parties.  I know, I’ve seen the pictures.

We started school together, played ball for MacArthur High School together, and years later had  some interesting drunken evenings together when we discovered that we had even lost our virginity to the same girl, at about the same time.  She had been a senior, we were sophomores.   I shudder when I think about it.

Jimmy and I were inseparable for 18 years; until he went to college and med school.  I went into the Marines with the intention of being a lifer dog.  I didn’t make it though. I took a medical discharge and came back home as a one-armed vet. Jimmy was a full-fledged MD with a fledgling general practice on the eighth floor of 83 Medical Plaza.  He has been my doctor ever since, despite my initial trepidation of hiring a doctor with the unfortunate surname of Payne (rhymes with Pain).

I burst through the door to Jimmy’s office and went straight to the desk of his guard dog, Nurse Ratchet.  That wasn’t her real name but it was what I always called her.  I teased her and told her that she looked and acted just like her namesake from the movie.  “Ratchet, I need to see Jimmy!  It’s an emergency.” I gasped.

She clutched the top of her white uniform, pulling it tight at the neck, “Why, Mr. Barrett,” she said a bit flustered, “Doctor is with a patient now.  If you’ll take a seat I’ll work you in somehow.”

“Never mind, I’ll wait in his office.” I told her and, as she protested, I opened the door to the back passageway.  Jimmy’s office was the only door to the left, situated at the end of the hall. File rooms, equipment rooms, a toilet, and a few examination rooms opened off the passageway to the right.  All the doors were shut.  I hurried into Jimmy’s office and sat at his desk.

Opening the bottom drawer, I found his bottle of scotch and poured two fingers into a highball glass that I found on the credenza.  I drank it in a single draught.  I stood again and began pacing.  Pretty soon Jimmy came in and looked at me with concern in his face.  “What’s wrong, Ed?  Louise told me you’re all worked up about something.”

“I guess, I am” I said, “Look at this shit.”  I stuck my hand out, palm down, so he could see the back of it.

He grabbed my hand and pulled it closer so he could see it better, “Jesus, Ed, why did you wait so long to come in?” he asked, the sarcastic urgency apparent in his voice.

“Can you fix it?” his sarcasm was lost on me.

He dropped my hand.  “Does it hurt, because I sure can’t see anything wrong with it?”

“What do you mean you can’t see anything wrong?  Look at those brown spots.  Are they tumors?  Can you operate? Crap, Jimmy,  I only got one hand, I gotta take care of it!  You gotta take care of it!”

Jimmy pushed me into the visitor’s chair and walked around the desk.  He sat down and opened the whiskey drawer, got another glass and poured us both a dram.  He handed me one and sipped out of the other, “As your physician,” he said, “I am obligated to advise you that those discolored patches on the backs of your hands are what is known in the business as ‘age spots’.  They’re normal.  You’re probably going to live and, there’s nothing to worry about.”

“I want a second opinion.  My grandpa had these same spots and he’s dead now.”

“Your Grandpa was 94 years old when he died Ed.  And, he sure wasn’t killed by age spots. You, on the other hand, are 56 years old and these are to be expected.  Now get the fuck out of my office and go home and make mad passionate love with your wife.  You and Marie are still coming to dinner on Friday right?”

“You sure I’m alright?”

“You’re alright.”

I turned and walked towards the door, “OK, I’ll trust you.  See you Friday.”

“Bring beer” he shouted to the closing door.

I walked out to the lobby, “See ya, Ratchet.” I said.  “Thanks.”

“Have a lovely afternoon, Mr. Barrett.”

***

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Jennifer – Trifecta

***

It was Jennifer’s birthday.
Mom made her wear that shiny blue dress she hated.
She blew out the candles and Mom collapsed.
“An aneurism,” The doctor said.
I take it back she thought,

That wasn’t what I meant.

***

This time the Trifecta editors want 33 words in addition to and preceding the following:

“That wasn’t what I meant.”

Go take a look at the Trifecta Writing Challenge.