Carrot Ranch · writing

Backstage Lady- 99

It’s complicated, but I made this one for the December 19th Flash Fiction Challenge

The backstage lady said I’d go on right after Marvin Joplin. She told me to wait on the stairs, and when I heard them intro Marvin; be ready to go on.

When they announced him, I moved into the wings. He performed a Johnny Cash number I’d heard on the radio hundreds of times. I found the backstage lady and complained.

“You said we were to perform an original song.”

“That’s right.”

“I heard Johnny Cash play this song.”

“Yeah,” she smiled.

I asked her if I could go on later, not right now, not right after Marvin Joplin.

The prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that features an open mic night. Take a character backstage, on stage or into the deep woods. Go where the prompt leads!

OLWG · writing

OLWG#133- One of Those Days

This was written for OLWG#133

Rainey raised her empty glass and nodded to catch the attention of the bartender. He shakes his head, no.

She raises her glass a little higher and shakes it a bit. She clears her throat, the barman moves down and stands in front of her.

“We’re closed,” he says.

Rainey frowns, “I never heard a ‘last call’ can’t you get me another?”

He points at the clock spinning lazily at the end of the bar. Her eyes follow; it was a nickel after four.

“What time do you close?” Rainey slurred.

“We closed at four, and listen to you; you can’t even talk. You’re slurring your words. You’re drunk. Let me call you a cab.”

“I’m fine,” she replied, “I’m not slurring. I’m talking in cursive. I don’t want a cab. I want another drink. When do you open again?”

“Opening time is 4:15.” He advised.

Rainey squinted at her phone, “That’s like in ten minutes.”

“Yeah,” the barman said, “but ya gotta settle up, and ya gotta go outside. I can have another one ‘a these waiting for you when we open again, but don’t fall asleep in your car. You did that last week. Remember? I had to give your drink to someone else.” He paused, “I don’t want to have to do that again. I don’t want somebody else to get it this time.”

“Thanks, Lloyd.”

“Thank you, Rainey. See you soon.”

The prompts were:

  1. somebody else will get that
  2. broken ways
  3. a nickel after the hour

OLWG · writing

OLWG#132- Midriff Culture

This was written for OLWG#132

Mary Lou didn’t know about the camera. It had all started out as a bit of fun on her second date with Billy Sparrow.

Billy was a dreamboat and she had been trying to get him to ask her out for months, dropping hints, flirting shamelessly. So when he finally did take her to the movie they sat in the back, in the dark. She may have allowed him to take a few liberties that she normally would not have let him get away with. Billy was the quarterback for the football team and this was what she really wanted. Anyway, it was just a little petting. It was nothing to get worried about.

Now they were on their second date. They were going to play mini golf and then go to a party at Jordan Payne’s house. Jordan played on the football team too. Billy told her that Jordan was a Pulling Guard. Mary Lou didn’t care enough about football to know what a Pulling Guard did on a football team but she assumed it was just another position, like a center or a tight end. She knew what those guys did. She was feeling a little pressure that night though. Things were moving a little fast for her with Billy. After she had let him slip his hand under her sweater at the movies she wasn’t sure what to expect on the second date.

Mary Lou had dressed carefully, brand new shoes, short shorts, and a ‘midriff revealing’ pullover blouse. She was waiting in the living room when Billy picked her up that Saturday afternoon she was a little nervous. She slid into the passenger seat of his car and he leaned over for a kiss and copped a feel. Instinctively, she pushed his hand away. She knew that he was going to be expecting things tonight and she was trying to think of a way to give him something without giving him everything.

“I’ve got to stop at the ATM and get some cash,” he told her as he started the car and the engine rumbled to life. He parked the car, leaned over for a kiss and a squeeze then leapt out and headed to the cash machine. Mary Lou got out of her side and crept up behind Billy Sparrow. She gathered the hem of her pullover and pulled it up to her chin.

“Hey, Billy,” she shouted just as the ATM flashed and captured her image.

Mary Lou didn’t know about the camera. It had all started out as a bit of fun on her second date with Billy Sparrow.

The prompts were:

  1. no truck with you
  2. brand new shoes
  3. didn’t know about the camera

OLWG · writing

OLWG#131- What Your Heart Truly Desires

This  ‘longer than normal post’ was written for OLWG#131

John Lee and Ashley had been drinking all day. It was mid-afternoon when Ashley picked up the car keys and announced that she was out of cigarettes. She was going to drive down the canyon to Leo’s Market and pick up another pack. She was gone a long time and when she finally came back in the front door John Lee was sitting on the rear deck finishing another beer. He asked her where she’d been.

“I had to walk back, honey.” She said.

“Something wrong with the Porsche?” he asked.

“Nope,” she giggled I traded the Porsche.

“You did what?” he demanded. She held out her hand, “Damnit, Ashley,” John Lee looked at her open hand; she stepped closer so he could see what she held. “You traded my Porsche for a bean? I knew you were gullible, but this is beyond anything I could imagine.” He sputtered and searched for words to hurt her. He looked for words to demean her, to make her feel small. Then he snatched the legume from her hand and threw it off the edge of the deck onto the slope below.

“John Lee,” Ashley cried, “the man said it’s a magic bean. He said it’s powerful and will grow whatever it is that your heart truly desires.”

“That’s bullshit, girl; and you know it. Get out of my house.” He stormed back inside and went to the kitchen. He yanked open the ‘fridge and pulled out another beer. He popped the top off the bottle and chugged it down. John Lee repeated the process seven or eight more times until he heard the front door open and shut as Ashley left. He went out to the front stoop and watched her as she dragged a small wheeled suitcase down the street. “Don’t come back either,” he shouted as she rounded the corner at the end of the block.

John Lee went on a bender that afternoon and passed out. He woke up early the next morning lying on the floor in the bathroom off the hall. Dried vomit covered him, his clothes, the pedestal sink, and the floor. It seemed that he had puked everywhere except in the toilet. “Damn.” It smelled horrible.

He struggled to peel off his tee-shirt. When he did, he used the shirt to wipe a path to the door. Then stripped off the rest of his clothes, started the shower and crawled inside, where he lay until the hot water ran out. He collapsed to the tile laid there for a while, letting the cold sluice off his body. Finally, he turned off the tap and padded to the linen closet for a clean towel.

“Ash?” he called out, “Ashley, what the hell happened last night? We musta gone total blotto.” John Lee made his way into the bedroom. Ashley wasn’t there and the bed was crisp. It looked like it hadn’t been slept in. He began to worry and listened to the silence as he stumbled down the hallway to the kitchen. “Ashley?”

She wasn’t there. He looked through the sliding glass door at the deck but she wasn’t outside either. The front door was next and he noticed, that his Porsche wasn’t in the driveway. He fell back inside, relieved.

She must have run to the store, he thought to himself. I’ll call her and ask her to pick up another case or two of beer. I could sure use a cold one right about now. His head was pounding so he grabbed three Tylenol from the kitchen as he looked for his phone.

After an extended search, he finally found it on the arm of the Adirondack chair on the deck. He picked it up and dialled Ashley. Her phone began to ring from inside the house. John Lee realized that she hadn’t taken her mobile with her, so he pushed the button to end the call. When he did, he glanced at the slope that ran away from the deck. There was a good-sized vine growing up the slope towards the house. John Lee didn’t do a lot of yard work, but he thought he would have remembered that vine. The stalk was bigger ‘round than his thumb and the vine was about eight feet long. Lots of amber coloured flowers winked up at him from the vine. Each flower displayed small, round, white dots that looked like bubbles. He shrugged and went inside to clean the bathroom while waiting for Ashley to get back.

After cleaning the loo he settled on the couch to watch Oprah and fell asleep. When he woke the sun had navigated to the west. It wasn’t dark outside but it was clearly late afternoon. The house was still and silent as a tomb. He realized that Ash was still gone. It had been hours since he’d woken up on the bathroom floor and she still hadn’t come home. John Lee was beginning to worry. This time he grabbed her phone. Her phone had all her contacts. He started calling her friends, beginning with Miranda.

“Hey, Miranda – this is John Lee… Yeah, I guess I’m OK, thanks. Listen, is Ash with you; I’m trying to find her… No, no nothing’s wrong I just fell asleep and she was gone when I woke up… Thanks, if you see her, ask her to give me a call, OK? Yeah, thanks, bye.”

He followed that with identical calls to Chelsea, Krysta, Jenn, and Elaine. Against his better judgement John Lee finally dialed Ashley’s sister, the wicked witch.

“Hi, Evanora, it’s John Lee…”

“John Lee? John Lee. That name sounds familiar. Do I know you?”

He ignored her sarcasm, “Evanora, is Ashley there? I’m looking for her.”

“Yeah, she’s here.”

“Can I talk to her… please?”

“She doesn’t want to talk to you, douche-bag.” Eleanora hung up and John Lee threw Ashley’s phone against the wall. It smashed there; on the drywall right next to the television. Small bits of plastic, glass, and circuit board rained down on the floor where they clattered against the baseboard.

John Lee started pacing. He cursed Eleanora under his breath. On a pass through the kitchen he pulled the fridge open and grabbed the last six-pack of beer from the top shelf. He headed out to the deck to watch the sunset and drink. The vine had taken over the entire slope. The stalks were as big around as his forearm. Oddly shaped brown and green fruits hung from stalks on the vine. Something about them didn’t look right to John Lee so he took the steps down two at a time to check them out.

They were beers, tiny little beers in bottles. Some of the bottles were green; some of the bottles were brown, others were clear glass. He twisted a large green one off the vine and popped the top off using the edge of the redwood deck. He sniffed the bottle. He put his mouth on the opening and tilted it back. It tasted like an IPA but it was a little bit sour. Not ripe yet? He finished it anyway and looked for a brown one.

The prompts were:

  1. blue as a robin’s egg
  2. slow consumption
  3. it’s a magic bean

It took me a long time to write this one. In the midst of it I had to stop for cataract surgery. Which went very well, by the way. I now have 20/20 vision in both eyes but I have to wear readers.  Having worn eyeglasses since grade 5, this new ability is like a Christmas miracle. l believe another reason it took so long is that I really don’t like the character, John Lee. I think Ashley’s sister got it right when she called him a douche-bag. He doesn’t deserve a beer vine.