OLWG #34 – Spirits

 Written for OLWG #34



Shadorma

Shhh, listen
do you hear those sounds?
High pitched and
tortured wails,
the hollow sounds of dying.
Now, only poppies.

 

American Sentence

Sometimes on nights like this I can hear the songs of ghosts in the cotton.


This week’s prompts are only one:

  1. ghosts in the fields

Don’t think! Write!
You have 25 minutes but if it takes longer – just don’t tell anyone.


Reading at Night

 



Kenny sat his bucket down beside the back door and peeked in through the screen. He couldn’t see anyone, but he heard his mom knocking around in the kitchen. He wasn’t really worried about her and he wanted to go the other direction anyway. He was, however, worried about any chance encounter he might have with Dad.

Dad would be royally pissed off if he knew what Kenny was up to today, but Kenny didn’t care. He was pissed off himself. “Dad could just bite it for all I care,” he thought.

Last night Kenny had been up reading late in his room. He knew his parents wouldn’t approve; he knew the risks, but he’d been reading the new Tarzan book by Edgar Rice Burroughs and, it was exciting. Kenny got pulled in to the narrative and had tented the blanket up over his head and lit the pages with his flashlight. When Dad came in and ripped Kenny back to suburban Ohio from the jungles of Africa, he had made his displeasure very clear to his son.

“Damnit Kenny, what the hell do you think you’re doing?” he had yelled. “You should have been asleep hours ago!” Dad had confiscated both the torch and the novel. “If you’re going to read, do it before bedtime and read something worthwhile! Don’t read tawdry trash like this, this… cheap crap!”

When Dad confiscated things he always hid them. Sometimes he’d give things back but most often, not. His favourite hiding place was the hall closet. There was a high top shelf where he could put things and forget about them.

Kenny listened and sure enough he heard the closet door open and shut. If he was lucky, both the book and the torch had been secreted there. Not so lucky: maybe only one or the other. He lay awake seething with anger until an hour after he heard his parents go to their bedroom. When he was certain that they were asleep he crept from his bed, retrieved the step ladder from the mud room, and climbed up to see what was on the top shelf of the hall closet. He found his Tarzan book. Beneath that he found another novel he did not recognize, but figured it was his sister’s. The ‘mystery’ book had Harlequin printed across the top and the title seemed to be, “The Starlight and His Servant”. He folded it and stuffed it in the back pocket of his trousers so he could give it back to Monica. His Tarzan book, he clutched in his hand. The torch wasn’t there.

Back in his room he slid his book between the mattress and the box spring. He would have to look for his torch in the morning.

The next morning the flashlight was nowhere to be found. Kenny realized that he would have to find an alternative light source to read in bed tonight. The first thing he did was get Mom’s mop bucket and a roll of aluminum foil from the pantry. He rinsed the bucket with the hose in the backyard and scrubbed it with a brush till it was clean. A little before noon, when the sun was bright, Kenny took the bucket to the school and carefully placed it where the light reflected off the bright white side of the building. He sat down next to it and waited. Three and a half hours, he sat in the school yard, waiting. When he thought the time was right he unrolled two equal lengths of aluminum foil and folded the edges together to make a single piece that was wide enough to cover the top of the bucket.

Quickly, he slapped the foil atop the pail and carefully sealed it around the rim. He headed home with his bucket filled with more than three hours of sunshine. He thought that would be enough for him to finish Tarzan of the Apes, tonight. The bucket was too big to take beneath the covers, though. He thought that would not be a problem. He figured he would read in the closet.

Kenny sat his bucket down beside the back door and peeked in through the screen. He couldn’t see anyone, but he heard his mom knocking around the kitchen. He wasn’t really worried about her and he wanted to go the other direction anyway. He was, however, worried about any chance encounter he might have with Dad. When it seemed that the coast was clear he eased the screen open and snuck inside the house. Hurrying down the hall, he made it safely to his room, crossed the floor and hid the pail in the back of the closet.

Mission accomplished! Dad had not been spotted and, therefore had no inkling of Kenny’s scheme.

In a conscious effort to look innocent and inconspicuous he strolled down the hallway, whistling under his breath. He paused in front of Monica’s door and knocked.

He heard, “WHAT?” from behind the closed door.

“Mon, it’s me Kenny.”

“Go away, runt!”

“Monica, it’s important.”

The door swung open and his sister stood staring scathingly at him. He fished the book he assumed to be hers from his hip pocket and held it out to her.

“Oh my God! Kenny? Where? Never mind where. Thanks!” she grabbed his shoulders and kissed him on the lips, snatched the book and slammed the door in his face.

He immediately started wiping his mouth with the tail of his tee shirt as he walked toward the kitchen, and was still wiping his mouth when he ran into Mom.

“Kenny, there’s milk and cookies on the kitchen counter. Why don’t you go have some? Have you seen your sister?”


Last week, I had the crazy idea of putting light into a bucket and thought it was an idea that warranted some consideration here. I wrote a couple of things incorporating it. This is one of them.

OLWG #33 – Boom

 Written for OLWG #33



Mike and I looked across at one another. He grinned and I shrugged my shoulders as if saying, “What could possibly go wrong?”

I reached out with the wire cutters and studied the device. The numbers on the timer were counting down slowly.

“The red one,” Mike whispered, “red.”

I nodded my head and moved the tool toward the red wire.

“No, no, no… no,” Mike almost shouted this time, “blue do the blue.”

I looked over at him, raised my eyebrows, “You sure?” I asked.

“It’s either that or the green one,” he whispered like he was talking to himself. “Blue is one of my favourites and, the green is not very likely.”

I nodded and positioned the cutters to clip the blue wire. My hands were steady, my mouth was dry and something the size of a cat was doing somersaults in my stomach. Mike put his head down and covered it with his hands to instill confidence.

I snipped the blue wire.

Under my breath I shouted very softly, “boom.” I exhaled as if I had only just then remembered I needed to breathe. There was no explosion.

I looked at Mike to smile and noticed the alarm in his eyes. He pointed at the timer and when I looked I saw that the numbers were counting backwards twice as fast as they had been.

“Red or green?” I asked urgently, “red or green?”

Michael stumbled over his words, “I think red, man. I think red.” He put his head back down on the deck like he had before.

I clipped the green wire and the counter stopped, went black. I watched for awhile; then I stood up and held the wire cutters at about shoulder height. I dropped ‘em, “boom.” I said.

BOOM


This week’s prompts are:

  1. One of my favourites
  2. What could go wrong
  3. bandleader

Don’t think! Write!
You have 25 minutes but if it takes longer – just don’t tell anyone.


OLWG #32 – Where’s Sarah?

 Written for OLWG #32



Colin raises his glass and tips his cap to the lads on the other side of the table, picks up his darts and strolls confidently to the line. He clutches his arrows in his left hand as he walks, rubbing the fingertips of his right hand on his trouser leg.

He hears his mate, Malcolm saying soft and low from the bar, “You got this, Col. One, two, three and Bob’s yer uncle. That’s all there is to it, mate. You got this, you got this.”

Colin nods to Malcolm as he transfers one of his titanium barreled C4’s to his right hand; his throwing hand. As he toes the oche he glances at the scoreboard. He needs two twenties and three bulls.

Colin spins the shaft of his first dart between his fingers, breathes deep, exhales, and focuses on the board. The sounds of the bar retreat and he tosses his first arrow – BAM “tops” and that takes care of the twenties.

He transfers the second dart to his throwing hand and aims lower, at the center of the board. Once again, he caresses the shaft between thumb and forefingers, he exhales – WHAM a single bull. One arrow left, one double required.

He talks to himself, gives himself instructions. No sweat, Colin. You can do this, mate. Take yer time.

Colin pauses and transfers the final arrow to his tossing hand. Then he moves it back to the left.  He hitches up his trousers and rubs his right hand down the crease on the front of his leg. He blows on the ends of his fingers, then rubs the first three fingers of that hand quickly cross and back on the ball of his thumb.

With the dart back in his tossing hand Colin once again rolls the barrel and focuses on the center of the board. He takes a deep breath, raises the dart and all sound in the pub ceases. The only thing that Col can see is the bull’s eye on the target, his hand pulls back on its own accord. Colin exhales as he draws the dart back. The only light in the place is spot on the board, the bull glows and Colin flings the arrow smoothly towards the only thing that he can see – THUD, the dart buries itself deep in the center of the double bull.

Suddenly the place is noisy again shouts of his mates yelling, “Nice arrows” ring in his ear. Malcolm slaps him on the back, “Knew ya could do it, mate! I fuckin’ knew it!”

Trevor put a pint in his one hand and shook the other, “Ya winsome, ya losesome, mate. Ya picked a good time ta win!”

Colin looked over at Paul and smiled when he spotted him clutching a handful of blue money in one hand and collecting more bills from all the other punters who hadn’t placed the right bet. When Anne walked by he grabbed her attention, “Anne, where’s Sarah?”

“She’s gone Colin, she’s gone home.” Anne squeezed his hand, “I’m sorry.”


This week’s prompts are:

  1. hitched up his trousers
  2. there are no rules
  3. oh, I have tea too

I didn’t get ’em all in. It also took me three days to write this one! I took a lotta breaks though so, it wasn’t really three days.

Come on amigos – write something! There are no prizes other than the admiration of your peers and that feeling you get when you write – you know the one.


 

Ephemera

Haibun



The gentle hum of bees fills the air. I sing to them as I slog along the fence guarding Farmer Morton’s trees. I listen, and watch them work. They are tireless. Blossoms perfume the air and each day is a little warmer, a little more fragrant than the day before. Singing is the secret. My mother never sang out here and although her honey was sweet; mine always seems sweeter. I sing with my daughter in anticipation. Where my voice is gruff and low, hers carries the timbre of a violinist; sul tasto: ephemeral, light, airy, delicate and fleeting. Her voice will blend in harmony with the sounds of the workers.

The hives are abuzz
it’s almost time to harvest.
Three frames from a hive
produces about ten pounds
that tastes, as sweet as it looks.


This piece was selected and published by Vita Brevis – Check out this on-line literary magazine for yourself here!

OLWG #31 – New Year in Live Oak

 Written for OLWG #31



It’s warm out, maybe 60O . I pause and look at my cane, I consider, but ultimately decide to forego that crutch this morning. I feel pretty good and I’m in no hurry. My intended path is flat,  should be OK.

I step out the door and glance around, take in the day. Blue sky seems to be in order, from this vantage point at least. What few leafs remain in the Birch sway gently in the soft breeze. Golden.

At the street, I tug the brim of my cap down and turn south, the Pacific is there and although it is not visible, I can feel the marine layer crouching just beyond the horizon. There is supposed to be a negative tide this afternoon but I know that it’s high right now, I looked at the charts.

The hedge in front of the house next door, where Adrienne and Michelle used to live needs trimming so I cross the street. This new year, 2018, has a fresh clean scent; I breathe deeply, and do so again. I determine that the smell of “clean” must be the combination of salt air, redwoods, and fallen leaves combined.

I have to watch where I place my feet, so progress is slow. I meet no neighbors all the way to Rodriguez Street. Go west… time to go west; it’s rural, and there is no pavement but the street is wide and smooth. One or two cars cruise past and bees buzz in the rosemary that grows wild along the fence lines, small blue and purple flowers changing the colour of the day as they glow in the morning sun. The herbs themselves add another layer of complexity to the clean smell.

Dogs bark at the corner of 7th where I turn north, putting the breeze to my back. Past the dogs, past the VFW Hall, past Michael’s house, I’m almost home now. East at the back of the gas station, past the front of the elementary school and back home. One mile, exactly. One mile around the block. I didn’t fall, I stumbled only a couple of times and didn’t fall.


This week’s prompts are:

  1. pierced like daggers
  2. CPA
  3. Strange but true

I didn’t get any of them in. I’m sure glad that the rules say I can choose none of them if I need.

Come on amigos – write something! There are no prizes other than the admiration of your peers and that feeling you get when you write – you know the one.