Shoes, Shoes, Jimmy Choo’s


Ellen pushed her hair behind her ears and her sunglasses up on her nose as she bounced into the kitchen where her mother sat squinting and leaning in close to watch her soap operas on the ancient little black and white TV that sat on the counter.

“Maryanne’s here Mom. We’re going to the beach to hang out for my birthday. I’ll be back before five so you and me and Katie can go eat.”

“Where are we going to eat?” her mother asked.

“I want to go to Laramie’s downtown and have a big steak. You and Dad used to take me there for my birthday all the time. If we tell them it’s my birthday they’ll bring a cupcake with a candle and the whole place will sing Happy Birthday to me. I have a new pair of Prada Espadrilles that I want to wear.”

Mom said nothing; she merely nodded her head and reached to the chair next to her, producing a brightly wrapped package that she held out to Ellen, “Happy Birthday Girl.”

“Thanks, Mom,” Ellen said and plopped down in a chair to rip the paper unceremoniously from the box. Inside, nestled in tissue paper were shoes. They were plain shoes. Brown leather flats without any adornment at all, but they were soft and supple. They would probably have been comfortable if Ellen were to put them on, but she would never do that. Ellen only wore designer shoes. She wore Jimmy Choo’s, Michael Kors’, or Manolo’s. She even had a pair of Louboutin’s that she had saved over a year to be able to buy. Those were almost too pretty to wear. Outside of the house, she had worn them only once, and she had bought them almost two years ago.

Mom launched into her monologue, “You’re fifty years old now Ellen and I think it’s time for you to start wearing sensible shoes. I was just like you when I was young. I had a shoe fetish that drove me. My mother was the same way. The shoes you hold in your hand are the sensible shoes my mom gave me when I turned fifty. Now I’m giving them to you. That pair of shoes is an heirloom.”

“No way, Mom. These can’t be the shoes Grandma gave you. These are brand new. Maybe these are like the ones that she gave you?”

“Nope, these are the very ones. I never wore them. I thought they were ugly and I refused to. So I saved them for you.”

“You shouldn’t have, Mom.”

“Oh it was no trouble. I was happy to do it. I just shoved them in the back of my closet and forgot about them for a long time. Feel how soft those uppers are?”

“No, Mom, I really mean you shouldn’t have. I’ll never wear these! They’re hideous. I mean, they are soft and look comfortable but they are ‘butt ugly’. There are more important things to think about when choosing shoes than comfort. Jeeze!”

“Yeah, I figured you’d react like this,” Mom said. Throw them in the back of your closet and give them to Katie when she turns fifty. You never know, she might like ‘em. Besides That’s about all I have to leave you. Over the years I’ve spent most of my money on shoes! There isn’t much else.”

Purple is a Secondary Colour

Her chin fell, eyes snapped open, and her head popped back up. She struggled to stay awake.

The professor droned metronomically, “…violet is a natural component of the visible light spectrum, purple isn’t. When working with pigments…”

She slept.




Jim Tingle, DDS was reaching up from the side of the stage to tuck the five dollar bill under the strap of Miss Candy Delight’s G-string when someone reached up next to him to do the same thing. Dr. Jim backed off, he did not want to share Miss Delight’s panties with anyone else. He had driven almost 75 miles to come to this club, to see this dancer. He glanced over at the intruder.

An obviously intoxicated, slightly overweight, balding man with thick glasses, and a big nose was smiling and struggling to place his bills under the strap. Jim recognized him right away.

“Rick?” he asked incredulously.

The man turned, “Jim,” he replied after a taking a moment to focus, “What are you doing here?”

“I was driving past and saw this place. I, uhm, I just stopped in to see if I could get a sandwich or a salad,” Dr. Tingle replied. “They don’t have a kitchen here though, and I didn’t realize this was a strip club. How about you? What brings you here?”

“Well, I was getting gas at the station next door and their bathroom is being repaired. They suggested I should come over here to use the bathroom.”

“Uh huh,” said the dentist as he looked at the bill in his friend’s hand and the half full glass of beer on the edge of the stage in front of him. He could tell that Rick was lying but thought he better leave anyway. It probably wasn’t real good for his reputation, as a respected dentist, to be hanging out in strip clubs; probably even worse for Rick. He looked longingly at Miss Delight and shrugged his shoulders. She had really nice teeth. “Well, I gotta go Reverend. I’ll see you this weekend.”

“I hope so, Jim,” Rick said. He swayed slightly and struggled to focus. “I’ve got a good sermon worked up on ‘The Wages of Sin’. I think you’ll like it.”

The dentist nodded and turned. He felt a heavy hand grab his arm and turned back. His Pastor was looking at him with worried eyes.

“Jim, it might be best if we didn’t mention to anyone that we ran into each other here,” he said. “Word might get back to Elsie or Diane.” He paused. “You know how rumors and gossip can spread through the congregation.”

“I won’t say anything if you don’t.”

When Jim Tingle, DDS stepped out of the club and into the lot, a light rain had begun to fall. The road was going to be slippery on his drive home. He turned up his collar against the mist and thought about Elsie as he walked to his car. He began to think that maybe counseling might be a good idea.


Aches and Pains

  1. Well, there you are then
  2. Come here child
  3. It is sometimes vital to be misunderstood

Lisa opened her eyes just a slit, squinting against the bright sunlight and wishing she had a bottle of aspirin. She ached and turned her head away from the window. Another restless night spent in the recliner. Too many pains to climb the stairs; to crawl into bed, so she had settled for what had seemed easiest.

A soft noise drew her attention and she looked up to see a young girl, maybe six or seven years of age standing in the doorway. Gradually, Lisa gained focus and recognized it was Lucinda, her granddaughter.

Of course it was. Who else would it be? Still struggling with her eyes Lisa held out her arms to her granddaughter.

“Come here child.”

The girl put her right hand up to her chin and cast her eyes downward. Tentatively, she stepped forward; one step, then another. Lisa spread her arms a bit wider and Lucinda ran the rest of the way and hugged her grandmother around the neck – the pain began to lessen.

I’m out of time. This took the full 25 minutes to write, and then I went back and fixed things that my spell checker had flagged. I’m not sure how long that took.


TBP’s On-line Writer’s Guild #9

  1. Are you sure? There’s a lot of mud
  2. It’s the world’s largest
  3. A thick ghost of smoke

Sheila stood in the door and surveyed the scene in front of her, feeling more than a little self-conscious in the brightly coloured, yet ill fitting swimsuit. She would never have worn such a hideous costume when she had been alive. She tossed a surreptitious sideways glance at the imp who had escorted her here.

“Are you sure?” she asked, “There’s a lot of mud.” About a dozen souls were standing quietly in the muck. It looked to be about waist deep.

The crimson demon flicked his tail, leered at her lasciviously, and poked her in the butt with his pitchfork.

“Go on then,” he snapped. “You were the one who chose the kind of life you wanted to live. You were the one who ignored the warnings about hell and damnation. You must have expected something like this would result.” He poked her again and she jumped down into the mud. It was cold and she shivered. She might have even cried a bit. The devil leaned over and beckoned her with a crook of his finger.

“What is it, sir?” she asked.

He pointed his trident at various spots in the room, “Look Sheila, I’m only going to tell you this once, there are guards there, there, and there,” he said. “There is no escape and you are destined to spend eternity in this room; in this mud. The stories about hell fires were just that: stories. Hell mud would have been a more accurate translation but it got lost with the King James Version. We’re still laughing about that down here.

“There’s coffee in the urn along the back wall there. It’s pretty terrible, as far as coffee goes but it might grow on you after a few millennia. Go on and help yourself to a cup.” Then, like the Cheshire cat he vanished. His smile was the last to go.

Seeking modesty Sheila adjusted her swimsuit, and waded through the muck to the serving table. She helped herself to a cup of coffee and looked around. No one was talking. The room was as silent as a tomb with all the others keeping to themselves, sipping their Joe. She thought she might like some company and she sidled over to a young lady with dreadlocks and a dirty face.

“Hello,” she said, “I’m Sheila.”

The girl turned away, and at that very moment a loud buzzer sounded. Sheila jumped at the unexpected and intrusive sound. One of the guards cracked a bullwhip he held.

“All right,” he shouted. “Break’s over; back on your heads.”

Time’s up!
Written and edited in exactly 25 minutes. About 5 more to publish.


He Was a Nervous Child


Andrew had been a nervous child. He had grown into a tense and nervous young man with persecutory delusions. His therapist had diagnosed Paranoia and they had controlled it with medication, anti psychotics. Andrew had forgotten to take his meds for almost two weeks now. It wasn’t his fault. He had been distracted by Mr. Parsons, the postman. Mr. Parsons had been almost two hours late with the post that first day. It had been Andrew’s birthday and he had hoped to receive a card with a gift from Olivia, who lived in Hampstead.

He and Olivia were in a relationship. They had met on-line. They had never seen each other because they lived so far apart and neither of them drove but she had promised to send him a photo of herself for his birthday. When that bastard, Parsons had finally gotten to the house there was no card from Olivia. It must be delayed in the post, he thought, tomorrow – it’ll be here tomorrow, he told himself.

Andrew fretted and forgot to take his meds.

There was no card from Hampstead the next day, or the day after. Parsons was coming later and later each day and Andrew continued to neglect his medication. At some point Andrew decided Mr. Parsons had taken the photo of Olivia for himself. Parsons wanted to steal his girlfriend. After two weeks Andrew had waited long enough. He still had no photo of his beloved and she had stopped coming to the chat room. He missed her and blamed the postman; when Mr. Parsons bent down to push the mail through the slot in Andrew’s door that day. Andrew had been waiting. He yanked open the door, suddenly. One heavy blow with a claw hammer to the back of Parson’s head was all it took. Andrew dragged the lifeless postman into the foyer and closed the front door so the neighbors need not be concerned. He went through Parson’s mail bag but there was still no card from Olivia. No doubt the bastard had the photo tacked up on the wall at his house. Andrew decided to go to the postman’s house to retrieve the card and photo. He didn’t know where the man lived, however, so he grabbed a drill with a long wide bit and made his way to the post office, he was going to find out.

When he arrived, he entered through the back door and saw them there, taped to the dirty plastered wall. Four photos of different women in swimsuits. The photos looked old, the ink faded, the hairstyles just a little dated. He wondered which of them was Olivia. Something snapped inside his head, the photos of Olivia and the other women faded from sight and everything turned red.

There was a line of bicycles against the wall. There was a man, whom Andrew did not recognize, minding a large mail sorting machine. He knew that the machine could sort thousands of letters an hour. Why do they spend millions of Pounds for these machines and then give the post to an old man with a bicycle for delivery? It seemed inefficient to him and it fueled his anger. He hated old man Parsons. He hated the post office. He hated the machine. He hated the man tending the machine. That man never heard or saw Andrew. He had his headphones on and was listening to George Michaels singing some old song. There were only three other employees in the building. The letter carriers were undoubtedly out on their bikes. Those other three, spread through the building as they were, had been easy prey. He returned to the back of the building and carefully removed the photos of the women from the wall. He knew one of them was Olivia. He folded them carefully and placed them in his jacket pocket, then he went back out the front door of the Post office and turned north on High street, heading for home.

Andrew had been arrested on his way from the post office. He had fooled them. They always spoke about how it was the postal staff that went postal but Andrew had gone postal on the postal workers themselves and, he had used a hammer and a drill. A drill was a much more effective weapon than he had imagined. He hadn’t really thought he would survive this ordeal, and was surprised when he had walked out of the building alive. He was less surprised to see Old Bill waiting at the corner of High Street and Paddock.

“I’m gonna hafta take ya in Andy.” The cop said.

Andrew recognized him. It was Trevor Holmes. Trevor had been friends with Andrew’s father.

“Don’t call me Andy,” Andrew pointed the gore encrusted drill at the officer. “M’ names Andrew. If I were meant to be called Andy I wunna be named Andrew would I?”

“Ya might ha’ a point there Andrew, whyn’t ya put down the drill. Don’t make this hard on yerself.”


TBP’s On-line Writer’s Guild #8

  1. I first saw her on the midway
  2. Everybody’s story is more interesting than mine
  3. You’re everything that I am

“Why you wanna talk to me for, girl. My life wasn’t very interesting. Everbody’s story is more interesting than mine.”

“Weren’t you in the Army, sir?”

“Oh Lord; long time ago, that was. But, yes, I was part of the 369th Infantry; that came out of the 15th. Got to spend some time in France, I did. We was called the Harlem Hellfighters at least that’s what the Germans called us. We fought shoulder to shoulder with the Frenchmen. We earned their respect and they earned ours. As an outfit, my 369th earned a few medals; and we were the first Allied unit to reach the Rhine. That was a wonderful and horrible time.”

“Do you have the medals, sir? May I see them?”

“I suppose so.  There’s a red shoebox at the top of that closet there. Could you fetch it for me, please?”

“This one?”

“That’s it. Bring in over here. You open it. Take a look.”

“That’s a Medal of Honor, sir. You won a Medal of Honor?”

“I must have if it’s in that shoebox.”

“Here’s a Distinguished Service Cross. You have both?”

“I ‘spect I must if they’re in there.”

“What’s this one sir? With the red and green stripes and the cross?”

“The French gave me that. They called it a Croix de guerre.”

“You’re a hero, sir.”

“Nope, I’m no hero and you better not be writing that I am. I’m an old fool who thought he could change America’s perceptions. I was a naive idealist then; and now I’m just an old man who used to have a lot of friends in France. Most of them are dead now on account of war or old age. Those are the guys you should be writing about, if you want to write about heroes.

“Write about those guys.”

Time’s up!
I had to do this one in shifts, I wrote and edited for about 15 minutes before I got pulled away. When I came back I wrote for another 15. 10 minutes were spent on editing.


%d bloggers like this: