Daily Prompt · writing

Daily Prompt; City

Daily Prompt; City



Marteen stood on the ramparts and gazed across the valley below the city walls. From here he could see the armies of the North and their encampments. There must be a million men, he thought to himself. Surely, tomorrow this city will fall and we will all fall with it.

How many must die?
How many must be maimed?
How many families will be ripped asunder and destroyed;

because of the ego of one?

Marteen was a pragmatic man.
He was not a romantic, or a poet, like his comrades.
His comrades looked out at the armies of the North and saw pageantry. They saw banners waving in the breeze. They saw grand war horses, tents and encampments. They saw the glory of war. Kings and generals loved romantics and poets. Poets were willing to die for a handful of flowers, or a smile from their queen. They saw the glory of war.

Marteen saw the darker side. Marteen saw destruction, death, rivers of blood, fire and ruin. Marteen saw horror.


 

Daily Prompt · writing

Daily Prompt; Open

Daily Prompt; Open



Mom thumped the arrow on the spinner that she held in her hand. Right foot, yellow she announced and everybody maneuvered to comply. I was having a good time watching the game. My older sisters, all four of them, were twisted up on the mat; just like the name of the game implied that they should. I had to slip away though, I was waiting for my chance. I was on a mission that would begin as soon as the next round of twister began.

One at a time the girls fell out first Chenille found her left hand was unable to reach beneath Taffeta to the only remaining blue dot. Chenille was out. She came over and joined Mom and me on the sofa to watch the end of the game.

Organza was eliminated when the spinner kept coming up Red. Soon all the red dots were filled and she was eliminated.

“Poop,” she said, as she came over to the couch.

“Watch your mouth, Organza. We’re raising ladies in this house.”

Chenille popped me on the back of the head, “Did you hear that Cotton? Ya little butt,” she asked me, “you’re going to grow up and become a lady.”

“Chenille! Your mouth!” Mom snapped back at her.

The only ones left in the game were Taffeta and Beth. They played for a while as Mom spun the spinner and called out each contortion, “Right hand red, Left foot green, and so on, and so on.” Eventually Beth bumped Taffeta with her shoulder and Mom didn’t see it. Beth was declared the winner and Mom awarded her a chocolate chip cookie.

The girls took their positions for a rematch and Mom asked me to fetch another Budweiser from the kitchen. I slipped away and got a cool one from the refrigerator, popping it open I took a swig. Not too much though, I didn’t want her to notice. I set the can down on the side table next to Mom and picked up her empty. I faded back into the kitchen and dropped it into the recycle bin. I didn’t go back to the game though, I kept going down the hall to Organza’s room. I looked over my shoulder and quietly twisted the knob to open the door. I wanted to see the kitten. Organza had gotten a kitty from one of her school chums and had snuck it home. Mom didn’t know, but I did. Organza didn’t know that I knew though. I closed the door behind me and flicked on the light.

“Here, kitty, kitty, kitty,” I whispered. A little orange ball of fur rolled out from under the sheets and I smiled. I picked up the little guy and scratched under his chin as I made my way across the room and opened my sister’s desk drawer. I knew where she hid her cigarettes. I took a smoke, and lit it before I sat at the desk to cuddle with the kitten. I knew I couldn’t be gone too long but I figured I had time for a smoke and to play with the cat a bit.

Finally, I pulled the old beer can out from under Organza’s bed, the one she used as an ashtray, and dropped the butt in. I heard it hiss as it hit the dregs of beer that had been left in the can. I put the cat back on the bed and scratched him between the ears before I opened the door and snuck back out to the hall.

“Where ya been Butt?” Taffeta asked when I got back to the game room.

“Oh, I had to use the bathroom.” I answered.

“Right foot, blue” Mom said.


 

Daily Prompt · Random Scribbles · writing

Who Gets to Decide What Natural Is?

Daily Prompt; Natural



They knew
They both had always known
They hid it pretty well

Stayed Married – 25 years
Had 3 kids. They fit right in.
It seemed unnatural though, so they let their secrets out

Their ‘friends’ ?
Their ‘friends’ turned away,
Condemned them and

Slipped around the corner
Never looking back
Passing the news to one another, “Who knew?”

Last days spent alone
Speaking with only a few.
It cut like a knife

They had been excised
Their friends and families were left
Presumably healthy, with clean margins

But they, themselves, had been cast aside
As if, they never were.
It had to have hurt, but

They hid it pretty well
They both had always known
They knew


 

Random Scribbles · The Blog Propellant · writing

Saturday Night – Game Night

TBP



Hillary lifted the corner of her hole card with her thumb and peeked at the Ace of hearts. She let it fall back to the table and looked at the faces of the other five players. She looked at the pot. The pot was huge. The biggest one of the evening.

Richard, Richard somebody, she couldn’t remember his last name, but he was the new guy. He  sat to her right. He had come with Marlene. The rest of these guys she knew, she had played with all of them before, but Richard was a wildcard. She studied his face and he watched her right back. One corner of his mouth twitched just a bit. Was that it, she wondered? Was that his tell. Did he twitch when he was bluffing or did he twitch when he was pat? Maybe it was nothing. Maybe he was toying with her? Drumming her fingers on the felt, Hillary scanned all the other players one more time. Had he twitched earlier? She tried to remember.

“What the hell,” she said. Using both hands she pushed her piles of chips to the center of the table. “I’m all in.” Leaning back in her chair, decision made, she grabbed a couple of cashews from the small bowl and dropped them on a napkin next to her glass of Chardonnay. Lenny folded, so did Marlene.

Gustavo finished off the last of his beer, Negro Modelo, “I’m out.” He said as he turned his cards face down.

“What the fuck, Hills?” Beth whispered, “You trying to buy this pot?” Beth picked up her stack of blue chips and dropped them slowly, one at a time, back on the table. Click, click, click. She took her time, pondered. Finally she turned her cards over, as Gustavo had done. “Too rich for me. Up to you Richard.” She pushed away from the table and stood. “Anybody else need a drink?” she asked.

All eyes were on Dick. The corner of his mouth twitched again.


 

Random Scribbles · The Blog Propellant · writing

TBP’s On-line Writer’s Guild #17

TBP
TBP


  1. Just got back from Idaho
  2. Turn that up, will you
  3. Complex in its simplicity

It was about three o’clock in the afternoon when I turned my truck up the recently graded dirt track that led to my cousin’s cabin in Eastern Oregon. She lives just outside The Narrows on about 30 acres of land. The house is modest, she’s not rich, but she is paranoid. As I pulled close I saw her on the porch waiting. She must have heard me coming from pretty far away. She had her shotgun broke open and lying across her left arm. I knew she had shot in both barrels and I would have bet that there were more shells in the pockets of her coat. I stopped about 50 feet away from the house, set the brake and got out of the truck with my hands up where she could see them. She doesn’t like to wear her glasses much, says they make her dizzy.

“Lila, it’s me; Gerald. Gerald Templeton. Your cousin. Your Aunt Clint’s boy.” I wasn’t sure if she could see me this far away or not so I opted to provide too much information, just in case.

She snapped the barrel of her piece back in place and I bent my knees; ready to run if I had to, but she set it down on the porch and leaned it next to the door. She was wearing a brown leather jacket over a flowered cotton shirt and a blue jean skirt with cowboy boots. A straw hat with a red bandana tied around, as a band, finished off her outfit. Her blonde hair was pulled back in a loose pony tail and fell down her back.

“Come on up Gerry,” she hollered, “The hell are you doin’ in these parts?”

I got back in the truck and pulled up to a DG pad next to the house; slotted in next to her Jeep. I could hear old songs from Credence wafting from the house.

We hugged when I got out of the truck and she invited me in. “Good to see you Jerry. Whatcha doin’ here. Somebody die?”

“Nah, I just got back from Idaho, on my way home and thought I should stop and pay my respects. Haven’t seen you in what? Three or four years?” I thought it was funny the way I slipped into her vernacular so easily.

“Choo doin’ in Idaho?” she asked.

“Mostly fishin’. Got a cooler fulla keepers, thought you might like some of ‘um.”

“Nice ‘o you,” she said, “hungry? I snared a mess ‘o rabbits earlier in the week and I got a stew goin’. You’re welcome to stay the night. I could use the company. Got any whiskey?”

“Matter of fact,” I pulled a bottle of Jack Daniels from behind the seat of my truck and tossed it to her. She grinned as she caught it and I slammed the driver’s door on the truck. I went around back, dropped the tailgate and pulled a cooler out of the bed. “I got some nice steelhead here. Figure I should leave you a couple.”

She held the whiskey in her left hand and hefted one side of the cooler with her right. I took the other side and we moved up to the house. It smelled rich with rabbit stew. Lila’s cabin was a single room, for the most part but the bathroom was attached. The front of the cabin was taken up by the kitchen and the dining table. There were a couple of recliners on the wall behind the kitchen pointed at the fireplace and her bed was behind that, close to the bathroom door. The sheets were a mess but that was just Lila. The rest of the house was neat as a pin.

I had the fish on ice and there was a nice one on top he was at least 36” and she immediately said that that one would be enough for her, thank you very much! “You gonna have to share with yo Momma and Marlene as well, ain’t cha? This here’ll be plenty for me and I ‘preciate it.”

She pulled the fish out of the cooler and set him on the counter, next to the sink. “Don’t mind if I fillet him before I throw the good bits in the ice box do ya?”  She moved to the counter opened a drawer and pulled out a fillet knife. She opened an upper cabinet and took out a couple of glasses. She set the knife down next to the fish, opened the bottle and poured a couple of fingers of whiskey in each glass. She handed one to me. “Here’s to family,” she said and drank it down.

I pointed to the tape player she had sitting on top of the refrigerator. John Fogarty’s voice was telling me that someday never comes.

“Turn that up, will you?” I asked her.


30 minutes. Edited in real time as I wrote, so it’s still a little rough.

I just went back and read this. “little rough” is a bit of an understatement. I won’t change this one but I may revisit this story with a red pen soon. Hope not to bore you if you have to read it again. Gosh, thanks for reading it the first time!

50

Daily Prompt · writing

Daily Prompt; Understanding

Daily Prompt; Understanding



I think that the year was 1978 when the disagreement began.

A settlement was reached a few years later.

“So, we have an agreement now?
“We have an understanding?”

All parties agreed. It was fair and equitable.

The party of the first part agreed not to enter the computer business with the understanding that the party of the second part had agreed not to enter the music business.

What changed?


 

Random Scribbles · The Blog Propellant · writing

A Dinner Party for Ghosts

TBP



I hurried back into the house from the mailbox, clutching the envelope in my hand, careful not to mar it. If I was right, this was one of the most coveted invitations in the afterlife, and one had been sent to me. I held it, but savored the anticipation of actually opening it. I had all the time in the world.

I had been in this house for more than 100 years. I had been born in this house, I had married in this house, Maureen and I had raised four children in this house, and I had died in this house. My daddy and his daddy had worked together to build this house. This collection of hand hewn timbers and lovingly applied plaster was my daddy’s gift to his bride, my mother, on their wedding day. I don’t know why I’m the only one left here. You’d think some of them would have stuck around too, seems like they had a lot invested here; maybe even more than me.

I don’t know where Maureen is. My oldest boy, Lionel had been killed at the end of his war. I reckon he’s spending his eternity where he passed. I don’t even know if any of the other kids are still alive. I think probably not.

I hadn’t yet been born for the Civil War. I went to France, as a young soldier, for WWI. When I returned I married Maureen and we moved back into this house. I was too old for WWII.

I don’t get out much anymore. Specters’, such as I, are seldom invited to events or parties. There were some hippies living here in the 60’s. They would often invite me to play Ouija Board games with them and we had a blast, but the house has changed hands a number of times since then. I don’t think Eve and Steven, the only living occupants of the house now, even know I’m here. They are somewhat self obsessed.

Back in the kitchen I used a knife to slit open the envelope and removed the paper from inside. I was right. It was my invitation:

You are cordially invited to be our guest for dinner and celebration,
three nights hence
Dinner will be served on the village green promptly at midnight
Sheets are optional
RSVP

I found the reply card in the envelope and checked the box that I would be attending and I looked at my clothes. I tossed the card into the air and with a twinkle it disappeared, winging it’s way back to my hosts, advising them that I would be coming.

The thing I remember most about dying was the disappointment I felt when I realized that I would have to wear the clothes I died in forever. Shit, had I known that in advance I would have dressed up, but no, I was doomed to spend forever wandering around in my nightshirt. That’s what I get for passing away in my sleep. I figured I should find a good sheet to wear – Something colorful. I started rooting around in the back of Eve’s linen closet.

A burgundy coloured flat sheet caught my eye. That might be just the ticket, I thought to myself. I pulled it out and hid it in the attic. Neither Eve nor Steve had been up there since they moved in. In fact the lead soldiers I had hidden in there, as a child, were still hidden there, after all these years. Tucked beneath the floor boards where I had stashed them so long ago.

It seemed an eternity while I waited for the appointed night to arrive, but when the time came I pulled Eve’s wine coloured bedclothes over my head and floated up to the roof. With a flourish I waved my arms and felt the snap that always comes when travelling this way. My eyes closed and when I opened them again I was on the green and a party was underway.

It was good to get out. It was good to rub elbows with the other haunts. I made my way to a rough table set in the grass and a barmaid set a large schooner of beer down in front of me.

“Dinner will be served in about an hour,” she told me as she set the glass down, “feel free to mingle. You might see someone you remember.”

I thanked her and she disappeared. My eyes scanned the crowd, there sure were a lot of us dead folks.


 

 

Random Scribbles · The Blog Propellant · writing

The Ruthless Gang

TBP
TBP


  1. Is this thing working?
  2. Bill, Petey, and Baby Joe
  3. Can I have one?

Ruthless Robinson, leader of the Ruthless gang, sat his machine pistol down on the table next to his new wife, Scarlett. “Can you check this out for me doll?” he asked her. “I need to know if this thing is working. I swear I unloaded a full clip at those G-men and not a one of them went down. If it hadn’t been for Bill, Petey and Baby Joe having my back, I might not have gotten out of that bank alive. I think we been set up.”

Scarlett was the weapons expert and she looked worriedly up at Ruthless, popped her gum and slid her jaw from side to side. “Sure thing Ruthless, I’ll go check it out now.” She picked up the weapon and headed out the back door of the cabin. Soon the relentless popping of automatic weapons fire filled the morning air.

Scarlett came back in with a concerned look on her face. “Ruthless, this magazine is filled with blanks.” She dropped a handful of useless cartridges on the table.

He held his hand out, “Can I have one?” he asked her.

She picked one up and tossed it across the table. He caught it handily and you could see the anger build in him as he studied the offending cartridge. The set of his jaw changed, the wrinkle in his brow got deeper, and his shoulders squared up.

“Who was in charge of the weapons before the job?” he asked her.

“I was,” she replied as she leveled a chrome plated 45 at her husband. “You were never supposed to come back from that job, Ruthless. You were supposed to be taken down by those Feds, but now that you have come back, I’m going to have to take care of this little inconvenience myself.”

“Why are you doing this, doll? You know I love you!”

“My mom told me I shoulda married a doctor, not a bank robber. I’m doing it for her, Ruthless. I’m doing it for her.”


Veinticinco minutos exactos. Diez minutos para editar, más o menos.

Random Scribbles · The Blog Propellant · writing

A Night in the Life…

I wrote this story for Ms. Rose’s Prompt Miscellanea and kinda liked it but thought it needed a little editing. I had a few drinks and commenced to change it. Man, did I get that backwards. I’m supposed to write drunk and edit sober – not the other way around. Oh well, enjoy!



It had been a pretty slow night. A couple of short hauls was all I had gotten and I was at the tail end of my shift, driving in a holding pattern down by the south county line when the radio barked.

“Dannnnniel, a karumph en abeetle-anjo aro krisobongen.”

I picked up my mike and keyed the talk button, “Roger dispatch, I’m on my way.” I hit the brakes and cranked the wheel hard to the left. Roxanne bounced hard across the sandy median and crushed a few cresote bushes in the process.

Roxanne is my truck. She’s a yellow boom truck with blue flames, and she’s never failed me yet. Roxanne was also my Momma’s name. I’m fond of the name ‘Roxanne’, I was fond of my Momma, and I’m head over heels in love with my boom truck.

The message on the radio was from Elaine, our dispatcher, telling me that there was a call out on the scanner  and that the troopers needed a hook and chain or a boom truck at mile 78 on Hwy 43. Elaine has a bit of a problem with the bottle and has been known to drink all day and all night for several days running. That can make it pretty hard to understand her from time to time, but I’ve been working with her long enough that I can usually decipher what she is trying to say. Sometimes when she goes on one of her three or four day benders, Fast Eddie has to tell her to take a few days off. That doesn’t happen too often though, maybe once or twice a month. The rest of the time she’s good.

I got to Hwy 43 and watched one of Reynoso’s trucks  lugging a ’85 model ¾ ton pickup that looked like it had rolled a couple of times. That would’ve been a sweet tow but I just didn’t get there fast enough. I let Elaine know that I had missed the job.

“Awichhiwa,” she told me, “Engletop begninamin tre.”

“OK, Elaine.” I said and pulled onto 43 heading toward Pleasanton. I knew from her message that I needed to go to the strip mall at the edge of town. The one with the Adult Novelties shop, the Accident Lawyer and the Laundromat. When I pulled into the parking lot there were a couple of kids standing outside the lawyer’s office. His window was drawing people in with promises of a quick divorce, an easy bankruptcy or a huge settlement on their accident case. The kids were beckoning me to come over there. They turned out to be a couple of skinny kids with long, greasy hair, probably still in High School, and when I pulled up the really skinny one tentatively approached Roxanne’s window.

“Hey, man,” he said, “I really need a rack of whites. My friend Andy Juarez told me that if I ever needed drugs I should call a tow truck. Andy says all you recovery drivers sell drugs from the cabs of your trucks. What do you want for a rack of whites?”

I looked up towards the East and watched the first ribbon of sunrise brighten the horizon and took a deep breath.

“Hey man, the whites? How much?” the skinny little pock marked boy asked again.

I leaned down from my window and pointed at the sunrise. “Yo, little vato,” I said to the kid, “check it out. Colors!”

He looked at the brightening sky as I slipped Roxanne into Reverse. “Whoa,” the kid said and he was still watching the sun as I pulled out of the parking lot.

I picked up my Mike and keyed the talk button, “Elaine, this is Daniel. I’m coming back to the barn. There’s no action this morning.”

“Kelbroe, tsingjan.” She replied and I drove silently into the dawn back to the yard. I was going to sleep good today.


TBP
TBP