OLWG #43 – Sounds of Country Music Coming Through the Door

Written for OLWG #43

Jill pounded on the screen door, “Marnie , Marnie? You home Marnie ? Awww, c’mon Marn I know you’re there; your car’s in the driveway and I can hear that country music you always play.” She stopped hollering and stepped back from the door – waiting. After awhile she opened the screen door open and pulled herself up on the hard wooden postern that served as the last barrier between herself and her friend’s kitchen. She peeked in the high window and saw Marnie  sitting at the drop leaf table. The chair was turned sideways to the gaily painted yellow table and Marnie was there with her eyes half closed and her head leaned against the wall. A cigarette burned between the fingers of her left hand. Near her right hand sat a coffee mug. An ash tray, piled high, and a half empty bottle of Old Pogue was in the middle of the table.

“God damnit Marnie, you know, I can see you. Open the door!” She kept looking through the window and watched as her friend shook her head and pulled herself off the chair. Marnie dragged herself to the door, turned the deadbolt then retraced her steps and and fell back into the chair. Jill took a deep breath and let herself into the kitchen where she closed the door softly behind her.

“What are you doing Marn? It’s not healthy for you to be in here drinking alone. Specially with your history.”

Marnie rubbed her wrist and looked at her friend, “You want a drink, Jill? Then I wouldn’t be drinking alone.” She raised her eyebrows, dropped her cigarette on the floor and crushed it into the linoleum with the heel of her boot. “No, wait…” she said, “you can’t have a drink. You’re pregnant.” She lifted her face and the girls locked eyes.

“Shit,” said Jill as she dropped her head and looked at the speckled pattern of the linoleum tiles, “when did he tell you?”

“He told me this morning and you know what? You can have him. I don’t want him anymore. He’s nothing to me. Will you get out of my house now?”

Jill reached out her hand and touched Marnie’s forearm, “I’m so sorry, Marnie. We didn’t mean… I never meant to hurt you. It just happened. Almost like an accident.”

“That’s rich, Jill. Now get the fuck out. Just leave me alone.”

Jill stood and walked to the back door. As she opened it she stopped and turned, “For what it’s worth – I’m really sorry Marnie.” She stepped out on the back stoop and walked slowly away.

Marnie poured herself another drink.

This week, the prompts were:

  1. Drinking alone, and pregnant
  2. This just isn’t doing it for me
  3. that’s rich

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

Eating Peas

But, I gotta ask: When was the last time you sat down to a meal of… (and, what were the circumstances surrounding that meal?)

I sat down at the table and looked across at my dining companion, Tony. He and I had gotten accustomed to eating together at least once a day, more often on the weekends. Tonight he was having sweet potatoes with turkey, apples, and cinnamon. I was having curry chicken over rice. He had a cup of water, I had a Dos Equis Amber.

“Cheers,” I gave him a nod as I held up my beer.

“Aargh,” Tony replied loudly and then he smiled. His mother, my daughter, grinned at him. She gave him another spoonful of orange paste and placed a handful of peas on the high chair tray.


OLWG #42 – Jammin’

I couldn’t resist – I had to come up with another short submission for these prompts. Practice makes perfect.

Written for OLWG #42

The roadies got the kit set up and did the sound checks.

Dennis came out on the stage and started warming up his fingers as well as his keyboard. If you watched carefully you could see the warm and colourful notes as they sprang from the speakers to soar above the tables scattered randomly behind the dance floor.

Anne came out and plugged in her bass, the Converse covered toe of her left foot began tapping along with the notes that flew through the barroom. She played with the strings of her guitar until she found a loose rhythm and began to work it. Dark blue and purple notes joined with the others that were dancing around the room. As she toyed with the bass riff Daniel came in with his twelve string, Marty sat down at his trap set and Bobbie stepped up to the microphone, humming softly. Colours flew from the stage as the punters, lured by the sounds and the colours, began filing into the room, filling the seats.

Anne locked in on her riff. She closed her eyes and her head began to move. Bobbie’s hips swayed to the bass as she whispered a voice instrumental, her scat singing adding new colours to the room, and Daniel came in, his amp turned low to keep the focus on the bass. All eyes in the room were on Anne. Anne was in the zone.

Behind the bar the girls looked at one another and Lindy clapped her hands. “Yeah, let her go.” A cacophony of colours bounced around the room. Rainbows showered down on the heads of the audience. A few couples paired up and moved to the dance floor where they swayed to the music from the bass guitar.

I think I got two of them anyway. The prompts were:

  1. the last time…
  2. Let her go
  3. the usual crowd was there

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

OLWG #42 – Tragic Love

This is not the story that I intended to write. I scrapped that one. I thought this would be more fun.

Written for OLWG #42

When Roland got to work that evening he could barely contain himself. It started off as a normal night, the usual crowd was there. Mal D’Augustino. from MGM, had his normal table and the big man was accompanied by three starlets. Roland recognized one of the girls, but he couldn’t remember her name. The last time Mr. D’Augustino had brought that many girls to dinner he hadn’t come in again for almost a week. Roland wondered what that would be like, but in all honesty, he didn’t really care. That just wasn’t his style.

Thad and Patricia came in late, but Roland had anticipated this. He’d alerted Benny that they would be coming and requested they be seated at table 13. That was one of Roland’s tables and he didn’t want to miss any of what happened between those two tonight. He and Thaddeus (call me Thad) had discussed it the night before as they sat together under the stars by the pool.

Roland had prepared the meal last night. He started it off with a Cider-Mulled Wine. He’d combined a fruity Beaujolais, with brandy, apple cider, anise, cloves and cinnamon sticks. He had simmered it until the flavours were smoothly infused before he covered it and set it aside to reach room temperature. The entrée had been crafted with chicken thighs, crispy bits of chorizo, and tender chickpeas. A few generous pours of a cheap dry red blend had deepened the sauce in this simple Spanish braise that his grandmother had taught him to make, years ago. It had all been served next to a dish of Swiss chard dressed with a touch of red wine vinegar. For dessert Roland had made a dark chocolate cake with a chocolate and red wine glaze. He had found a bottle of Pinot Noir that had been perfect.

They had eaten, swum, and studied the stars before retiring to the boudoir for a wonderful night. They had discussed their future together and Thad had impulsively announced that he was going to leave Patricia. He claimed to be tiring of her company anyway. Roland could move in with him and when they weren’t in LA they could travel the Mediterranean in search of the perfect beach.

When the couple arrived at “Chez ma Cousine” Benny had seated them at Roland’s table as agreed. Roland’s service had been first rate, he initially had Laurent, the sommelier, deliver a ’63 Lemures to their table. Roland tried to linger nearby to hear what was said. He was prepared to have Patricia escorted from the premises if the situation got ugly.

It never got to that. Thaddeus apparently got cold feet. He and Pat had sipped their bottle of Lemures, announced that they were not going to dine at the restaurant that evening. He paid, left a generous tip, and they left. Roland tried to call after his shift, but the call went straight to voice mail. He left a message, but it was never returned. Not wanting to seem needy, he never tried to call again.

  1. the last time…
  2. Let her go
  3. the usual crowd was there

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

What We Might Never Understand

Written for practice

there’s a crowd in the next room – huddling on the broken sofa and metal folding chairs – all formed into a rough circle

as if by prearrangement they’ve all tucked in their chins – tucked them into scarves and sweaters that are pulled up over their chins – over their lips seeking warmth

through the glass window I watch their eyes – I watch their eyes dart back and forth





a tiny young girl with dark hair and an orange wool coat and an orange knit beret of a slightly different shade is slowly and purposely cracking the knuckles of each hand – her legs extended straight out in front of her – crossed at the ankles – with her chin pulled back against her chest and tucked inside her bright wool coat she looks bored

there’s a heavyset and broad shouldered guy with straight blonde hair





he sits on the edge of his seat and watches the girl with the beret his rust coloured flannel pulls tight across his belly – button holes stretched and about to tear

he is speaking – addressing the group until he stops and they all seem to applaud politely

some of them stand and one of the standers grabs my attention she had been sitting with her back towards me facing the rear wall – her ass is wedged into a tight pair of skinny black jeans she wears a light brown cable knit sweater

when she moves she walks straight across the circle of seats and pauses at the other side where she leans down to speak softly to a balding man who has his chin tucked into a navy blue scarf that has been wrapped around his neck a couple of times

as he listens he crinkles his forehead and knits his brows – she straightens and he nods his head once then studies the floor analyzing the linoleum tiles that she has just traversed she turns her head and waves to the group

she’s older than I thought I think as I watch her head towards the door

nervous eyes follow her as she pushes her way out and disappears into the night

then it hits me

they’re twelve steppers

they’re twelve steppers who cannot trust one another

they’re trying hard to fix what they might never understand


OLWG #41 – Can I Buy an Entire Chess Set at a Pawn Shop?

 Written quickly for OLWG #41

Augie stood outside the storefront and stared in the window of Midtown Pawn. He was looking at a VCR, a couple of nail guns, a blue steel 45, a chess board, a saxophone, a Fender electric guitar, and a whole lot of golf clubs. Intrigued, he pushed open the glass door and stepped inside the shop, the bell on the door tinkled.

A large man with a full beard and long hair pulled into a pony tail sat in the dark, behind a steel mesh cage that fronted the counter. He looked Polynesian and wore black sunglasses. He must have weighed 350.

“Help you?” the big guy asked.

“Maybe so,” Augie said. “I was looking in your window.”

“So what?”

“So, I was looking at the chess set.” Augie paused as the big guy leaned forward and raised the dark glasses so Augie could see his eyes. His eyes were piercing, cold as ice.

“Careful what you say next.” The big guy said, “I’m not in a good mood today. My dog peed on the rug and I don’t got much of a sense of humor anyway. You see this steel cage?” he indicated the screen in front of him.

Augie nodded.

“You think they put this here to protect me from punks like you? Nah, they put this here to protect comedians like you from me. They put this cage up after the last guy came in and spouted a stupid joke.”

“What’d you do to him?” Augie squeaked.

“I ripped off his arm and beat him to death with it.” The big guy lowered his dark glasses back down over his eyes, sat back in his seat, crossed his arms and studied Augie carefully. “The judge deemed it justifiable homicide. He don’t like wise crackers either. Now spit it out; what you want?”

Augie swallowed and cleared his throat, “Uhm, I was, uhm, I was interested in the golf clubs,” he stammered, “Is that a ‘Big Bertha’ driver in the window?”

The big guy smiled, “You got a good eye, little man. It is a ‘Big Bertha’ and I can let you have it for only two hundred dollars.”

The two men stared at one another through the steel mesh and across the countertop for an interminable amount of time. Finally Augie reached for his wallet.

“Do you take Bank Americard?” he asked.

The big guy’s smile widened, “I wouldn’t of pegged you for a golfer, brah!”

This week’s prompts were:

  1. Pull my thumb
  2. It’s just a figure of speech
  3. Have we seen this already?

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

OLWG #40 – Blake, and Football, and Mama, and Velma – and Alcohol and Pills, and Life

 Written for OLWG #40

My brother, Blake and I were always together. Our mama passed away on the day we were born.

“Complications,” they said.

It was OK though, we didn’t even know her. We heard some stories, saw some photographs. We still had Dad, and more importantly, I had Blake. He was always there for me.

When we started school Blake took care of me. He helped me on the school yard. He helped me in the classroom. When I had trouble with Math and English classes – Blake worked with me. He tutored me. He made sure I passed. When I had trouble on the playground – Blake stood up for me. Eventually, no one would tease or bully me, but only because I was Blake’s brother. When I got held back in fourth grade Blake refused to move forward without me. That was the first time that I felt I was holding him back.

Blake and I had both grown a fair bit by the time we got to high school. I started playing football but Blake wasn’t interested in sports. He was interested in Velma Harris and she was interested in Blake. Almost as much as she was interested in alcohol and pills. I struggled with my studies, my grades were never good. Blake, on the other hand, always had good grades but as he and Velma slid deeper into the world of partying his grades started to slide as well.

Coach made sure that I kept my grades up high enough to remain eligible for the team and I tried to keep Blake involved with his studies by asking him to help me with mine. He did help – at first, but gradually the pull of the drugs kept getting stronger. Blake and Velma ran away together when they were both seventeen. Dad never saw him again, and I haven’t yet, but I remain hopeful. Likewise, the Harris’ didn’t hear from Velma.

I played college ball and had a good run there, but got hurt in my senior year. It was enough to end my career but people still buy me beers at the Boxcar. They want to talk about football. I got the house when Dad passed on. It’s starting to look a bit rough, needs paint and some repairs. I’m selling cars at the Chevy Dealer but its tough making ends meet. I miss Blake. If he was here we’d start up something of our own. We could take care of Dad, go to the Boxcar on Friday nights, we could make a lot of money, meet girls.

Life would be good again. Like it was when I was playing ball, or when Blake and I were kids. Life would be perfect.

Blake was less than half an hour older than me.

That’s how close we were.

Never more than half an hour apart.

Sometimes I hate that girl Velma. Sometimes I hate her.

This week’s prompt was:

  1. least common denominator

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


Written for Practice

The hospital where Denise worked had sent flowers.
Two of her co-workers even came to the service
One of them was a short, but heavy girl who introduced herself as Margie. She was young, had dark hair and glasses that continually slid down her nose
Causing her to continually push them back up with her index finger
The other was an average sized, middle aged man with slender shoulders, an acne scarred face and beige hair. I didn’t catch his name

Father LaFleur recited a few words from the scriptures
Then he told some stories about Denise as a little girl
The church women stood by stoically. When the Father was done he invited any of us to come up and share stories about Denise and, he looked directly at me

I stood, but hovered above the pew where I had been sitting. I somehow croaked out, “She was a good wife, a devoted mother, as well as a fine cook and housekeeper” I mentioned that if she hadn’t outlived her children they would undoubtedly be here this afternoon to bid her a goodbye too.
My ears were red when I sat back down

Everyone then looked at Margie, that poor young girl – I think they guilted her to say a few words about someone she obviously didn’t really know that well, “We all thought very highly of Denise at St. Anne’s. She always had a smile on her face. We all admired her efficiency.”
She sat down again and stared at her lap

The church women led us in song, robustly belting out a couple of hymns and then the gathering broke up

I slipped Father LaFleur a twenty, “For the orphans,” he shook my hand and muttered something I didn’t understand before hurrying through the door behind the lectern on the Gospel side.

I left through the wide front doors of the sanctuary and walked the two blocks home where I removed my coat and tie; grabbed a bottle of Jack and sat out front on the porch swing where Denise used to rock in the evenings

I watched the sunset, wondering what would happen next.
What else was in store for me?
It was cold when I finally gave up on the porch.
I pushed the front door open and went back inside to watch the eleven o’clock news before I stumbled to bed and stared at the ceiling, above my head, until dawn

Is this what loneliness is, then?


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