Random Scribbles · writing

Canto de Calacas

Image Courtesy of The Blog Propellant
Image Courtesy of The Blog Propellant


The old man led the group of people around the outskirts of the park. He droned on as he walked and the people listened with rapt attention.

“It was one of those pulse weapons. You remember hearing about them in school, I’m sure. The damage was minimized, there was no fallout zone and the physical damage was limited to an area of about a 10 foot radius from the point of detonation. Those kinds of devices were designed to kill a lot of people but spare most of the surrounding infrastructure. The idea was to allow you to annihilate your enemies and then move right into their houses, drive their cars, pillage their artwork and possessions. All the factions had them. None had dared to use them. No one thought we ever would.

“Anyway, it was Halloween when the launch was detected. Everyone knew it was coming, and it was coming over the pole so we had about 20 minutes warning. Our scientists had even calculated speed and trajectory to determine where it would hit. We all knew it was coming here. Evacuation orders were all over the media and on the “alert system”.

“The point of impact was there, in the park, exactly where that flagpole sits. It dug a crater about 5 feet deep and about 10 feet across. I got here about an hour after the detonation. We had been positioned outside the immediate area and there were teams assigned to work inward from the periphery towards the epicenter. The thought process was that if there were going to be survivors they would be on the fringes, so that was where we concentrated the bulk of our rescue and triage efforts.

“I was part of the forensics team who came directly here. Our job was to ascertain everything that had happened, how it happened, and when it happened. It was crucial to understand the chronology of events and how things unfolded. My team worked outwards.

“When I got here it looked like a ghost town. Everyone had fled in advance. We found a lot of dead urban wildlife, squirrels, opossums, cats, birds and the like. No people though, until we found these guys.

“On the way in, from the perimeter, the bodies we saw had shown no signs of trauma. There was no blood or gore. It was like folks had just collapsed on the street, but not these guys.

“If you duck down a little and look across the park you’ll see what used to be a white block of flats over there. We found these guys on the couch in apartment 207 in that block of flats. They looked just like this. Only their bones remained. And, they had been affected like no one else. Their bones had somehow been affected by the pulse – converted to steel and fused together. No one knows exactly how that happened or why that happened. The name on the door at 207 was Olivera. We found plenty of personal belongings, mail, photos, and the like there with them. Investigators determined that the Oliveras were newlyweds, both in their late twenties.

“There are a lot of unanswered questions. What happened to their flesh? What happened to their organs? Why did their bones change to steel? Why didn’t they run? Why didn’t they evacuate like everyone else? Were they aliens with an advanced skeletal structure? We may never know the answers to these questions, but it seems pretty obvious, to me anyway, that they chose love over life.

“For the tour, I refer to the bones as steel but that’s not really accurate. They are an alloy that’s “steel-like” but nothing we’ve ever made here. It’s pretty indestructible. The council recently voted to put them in the park by the flagpole. These young folks and the flag should speak more about the horrors of war than any marble sculptures or granite walls. We expect to have them permanently positioned sometime next week.

If you want to follow me now, we’ll head across the park. The apartment building where we found the Oliveras has been converted into our museum and gift shop.

“You can get your souvenirs; post cards, key chains and bumper stickers. Apartment 207 looks just like it did when we found these lovers but their wedding photos have been put on display so you can see what they looked like in life. Audio tapes are available for a self guided tour but please remember, no flash photography is allowed and keep your voices down. This is sacred ground for a lot of us.”

A warm and heartfelt round of applause goes out to Karmen’s grandfather. Thank you sir for your generous contribution!

Random Scribbles · writing

The Way of the Wolf

“There is a legend in these woods about a white wolf. A wolf who has lived here for hundreds of years; a wolf that most men cannot see. Who will wait on high ground and observe all that happens in the forest. The story says that he can divine the courage of all those who pass through the forest.

“This wolf will attack only the bravest of the brave to impart a vicious bite, then retreat, like smoke, back into the trees.

“Those bitten will suffer with a fever for three days, or they will die. Most die. If they survive; they will carry  the courage, the strength, the endurance, the power, and the wisdom of the wolf. They will rise to be leaders of their people. All others will treat them with deference and respect.”

“That’s a lovely story, John, but it’s just a story. I’m certain you don’t…”

Pulling back his sleeve and uncoiling the makeshift bandage he showed her the wound on his arm.

“Will you cool my brow and fetch me water for the next few days, Sarah. I’d be most grateful. I have nowhere else to go.”

Random Scribbles · writing

George Tooker

George Tooker Lovers, 1982 Lithograph, 12 x 16 inches Edition of 175
Lovers, 1982
Lithograph, 12 x 16 inches
Edition of 175

She told herself it was OK. What she was doing was OK.

The letter had thrilled her, but was unspecific; advising only his return sometime in March.

She took a room at Dixon’s farm in exchange for cooking, cleaning, and laundry. She told Ms Dixon that she was waiting.

The front window offered a view of the station. Whenever a train arrived she watched from that window.

There were three trains a day.

On March 19th, she watched him step down to the platform from the 3:15.

She was off, like a light and,

they collided on the dusty path.


Random Scribbles · writing

My Country ’tis of Thee


Where I live, we don’t get much viz’tors.
Prolly good, if they’as all like Gulliver.
He ‘us bigger’n ary house
But – ‘e turned out to be OK
‘Least till ‘e peed on the emp’ror. ‘Least till ‘e ran away.

Makin’ water on royalty’s a most treasonous crime
Of course we sentenced the brigand, but ‘e didn’t do time
We didn’t get to starve ‘im
We didn’t get to watch ‘im die
We didn’t get to shoot, our arrows in his eyes.

No, ‘e defected to Blefuscu
Across the deep blue bay.
An’ den dem bastard Blefuscudians
Dey let ‘im get away.

So beware, if you go on holiday
If you want a shore to splash and play,
We still ‘member Gulliver ‘ere.
Don’t come to our fair land.
We got no truck with giants. You mongrels all’re banned.

Random Scribbles · writing

The Things We Do For Love


Photo courtesy of Barbara W. Beacham at MFtS
Photo courtesy of Barbara W. Beacham at MFtS

Not knowing what to expect, he made his way into the dark of the forest. Roger had never been in a forest before. In fact, right here, right now, Roger was further from his TV screen than he had been in the last 14 years and he was frightened, he was conflicted; but he was doing it for love, he was doing it for Irene.

He and Irene had met at Chess Club in high school. They both felt the chemistry.

He and Irene had gone to State together. They fell hopelessly in love and wed immediately after graduation.

He and Irene had played Wii and X-Box together; but now she wanted to try hiking. She had already slipped between the trees. He could hear her giggling in there. He was expected to follow.

What if there were bears?

Or wildcats?

Or snakes?

Or skunks?

What if they got lost?

Random Scribbles · writing

A New Day


The building was a large whitewashed cinderblock edifice, slung low, crouched like a predator in the desert heat. There were no visible windows, only two doors set about four feet apart near the south end of the front wall; the two doors were shut, heavy, dark, industrial, and an open sign hung on one. Chuck paused before pushing the door and glanced over his shoulder, three or four pickups dotted the gravel lot. His blue ’64 Impala looked out of place parked close to the highway, about a hundred yards from where he stood now. On the other side of the highway was nothing but sagebrush, cholla, creosote bushes, and sand, as far as he could see. Even this early in the day, the heat shimmering off the desert floor obscured the mountains that he knew to be resting along the horizon.

Chuck pushed his Stetson back as he pushed the heavy black door forward and stepped into the gloom. The room was dark and cool. The distinct smell of stale beer and cigarette smoke hovered cloyingly, permeating the atmosphere. A long wooden bar ran along one wall and an empty circular stage stood in the center of the room. There were stout wooden tables and chairs crowding every inch of floor space up to the edge of the stage.

It was quiet in the room and he could hear the hum of the air conditioning. A couple of drinkers sat at the bar and a couple more had claimed tables for themselves. No one looked up when he came in and made his way to the bar to claim a stool.

A girl was working the bar, drawing a beer for a guy sitting at the other end. Chuck watched her work while he waited to be noticed. She was tall and thin with thick red hair piled high on her head. She wore nothing but riding boots and dark jeans; a short apron was tied around her waist. A new tattoo covered her left arm from elbow to shoulder where it wrapped around above her breast and across her back; it was an intricate design depicting a fireworks display. Setting the beer in front of the unaware drunk she plucked a ten dollar bill from the stack of cash he had in front of him. At the register she dropped the ten into her tip jar and removed a couple of singles. She pushed “no sale” on the machine and when the drawer popped open she put the singles in and elbowed it back shut. That’s when she saw Chuck waiting. She smiled and moved down the bar.

“Hey, Chuck how ya doin’? You wanna beer?”

“Morning, Rocket. A beer sounds good, but I don’t want one of those ten dollar drafts. I’d prefer something in a bottle.” As she leaned down to open a cooler under the bar he studied the unfinished tattoo on her back.

“This one’s on the house, Chuck.”She popped the cap and set it on a paper napkin in front of him.

He put a ten spot on the bar and leaned forward to whisper, “Put this in the register, Rocket. I’d hate for Jimmy to think you’re stealing from him.”

She leaned forward as well and in a low voice said, “I’m not stealing from Jimmy. I’m skimming. There’s a huge difference.” Nevertheless, she picked up the bank note and crumpled it in her hand as she moved down to the old National machine.

Ding – No Sale –

The drawer slides open and Rocket flattens the bill against the side of the drawer before putting it in and, once again, elbowing it shut.

She grabs a cigarette and lights it as she comes back down to lean on the bar.

“I’m not sure Jimmy would appreciate the semantics like you and I do. When are you going to come back in and let me finish your sleeve?” Chuck asks.

“I dunno,” she said, “maybe next week. “It’ been pretty busy here, Jimmy’s shorthanded and I pulled a couple o’ doubles last week. To top that off, Mama’s been sick and I hadda spend two days take to get her medicines. Not only is time in short supply, cash is too.”

“You make the time and I’ll worry about the rest.” Chuck told her. Her attention had wandered and she was staring at the stage.

“Look,” she said, “it’s that new girl, Jimmy hired.”

Chuck followed her gaze and saw a pretty young olive skinned girl moving listlessly on the stage, unbuttoning her blouse. “How come she doesn’t have any music?” he asked.

“She didn’t know she was supposed to bring her own so Jimmy told Devon not to play anything. He’s teaching her a lesson.” They watched her struggle with her emotions on stage for awhile, “What a prick,” Rocket said.

Random Scribbles · writing

Perchant Preparatory Academy

Miss Locke had to shrug. She watched monsters file in.

The procession, to her, seemed to be without end.

They had horns, they had fangs,

They spouted flatulent harangues;

Oh well, that’s how the school year must always begin!


Photo courtesy of Grammar Ghoul Press
Photo courtesy of Grammar Ghoul Press

Look – I won! These short ones are always so difficult for me. I’m amazed!

Random Scribbles · writing

Picture Prompt #33


Berdine stood atop the house and stared towards the sea. She hated herself for doing it but here she was, seemingly a caricature of the sailor’s wife worried and pining for her man to come back from the sea.

“Curse you, Peter Devereaux,” she said aloud to the approaching storm, “You’ve sailed great distances and been to sea for more’n 2 years. I’ve heard nary a word. No carrier pigeon nor mail deliverer has chanced to brighten my days with news of you. Come back to me soon, my love. Be safe!” She sobbed as she put the back of her hand on her forehead.

Pete Devereaux was an accountant for a sea freight company in Hartford, and his wife, Berdine was a crazy woman. Well, she was crazy, but she was crazy in a harmless way, even in an endearing way. The people in their neighborhood in Hartford knew her and tolerated her ‘eccentricities’. Many even encouraged them. Bill and Irene Sanders, who owned the house that Berdine was standing atop were even more than tolerator’s, they were beyond encouragers too, they were best described as enablers; inviting Berdine to use the widow’s walk atop their Victorian manse to play sea captain’s wife whenever she wanted. They had even given her a key to the backdoor in case she needed access when they weren’t home.

Berdine was posed, leaning on the wrought iron railing, clutching a black silk handkerchief and letting the wind blow her hair when the stairway door from the attic to the roof opened. She spun around to see Bill Sanders standing in his shirtsleeves. He rattled the ice in a highball glass that he held in his hand. He wore no jacket and his necktie was loose. Berdine surmised that he must have recently arrived home from the office. Bill was a partner in a law firm downtown, specializing in real estate law.

Berdine clutched her wrap a little closer and lifted her handkerchief to her mouth, “Gracious, Bill, you startled me.”

“Sorry Berdine,” he said, “I just wanted to let you know that Irene made a pitcher of margaritas and some chili con queso. When you’re done playing, you’re welcome to join us in the kitchen, if you want. Pete can come too, if you want to call him.”

“That’s so nice of you Bill. I’ll call him and ask. I’ll be down shortly.”

Bill nodded and retreated back to the staircase while Berdine dug for her cell phone in the folds of her wrap. She thought how the days seemed to be getting shorter and the winds off the Atlantic were developing a bite. She might have to invent some new characters soon. It was getting a little late in the season to be playing on the Sanders’ roof. She turned her back to the wind and dialed Peter.

Three minutes later Berdine came down the back stairs and popped her head into Irene’s kitchen.

“Peter sends his regrets,” she told Irene. “He’s working a little late tonight and I really should go too. Thanks for letting me come over.”

The two friends exchanged air kisses and Berdine hurried to let herself out the door. Bill came back into the kitchen to top off his drink as the door latched shut.

“Berdine’s not staying then?” he asked his wife.

“No, she had to go. I think she got herself all worked up playing lonely sailor’s wife, and now she’s got to go home and throw herself at Pete.”

“Lucky guy,” said Bill. He held up the pitcher of margaritas, “You want some more of this?”

Random Scribbles · writing

She’d Best Lay In More Whiskey

Blogging U.

Maria rose before the dawn and headed to the west
Her goal to make Picacho for the sunrise.
She spoke gently to the mountain, clutched her wrap tight to her breast
She loved this time of day, the drama in the skies.

She must be home for deliv’ries of whiskey and supplies
The wagons should be coming and they should be there by noon.
Closing on the summit she sensed a scent that was comprised
Of things: like salt, and sand, and seaweed, and the light of a full moon.

That’s crazy stuff, she thought but at the top her gaze was soon
Drawn downhill to the water, stretching far as she could see.
Armando had foretold of this, this was no mere monsoon.
California must be gone now, because her ranch was on the beach.

It was funny, she hadn’t heard a thing.
Property values must be skyrocketing.