Zozo 25.05.23- ‘Ruby Woo’

The first part of this was written in 15 minutes, with the Carrizozo Writers- Raw, unedited, exactly as it flowed through my fingers to the keyboard. I tacked on the second part last night because I thought it would be fun.

And it was.

When my truck broke down en-route to Safford, on Highway 666, I nursed it over to the side of the road; safe and out of the traffic lanes, but the Highway wasn’t very busy anyway, as I soon found out, waiting for a passerby to stop.

I waited for almost an hour, and only one small Japanese speedster zoomed past… didn’t even slow down.

I got out of the cab, grabbed my water bottle and commenced to walking. I went north because I had come up from the south and knew that it was miles to the closest town, that way, and it wasn’t much more than a wide spot in the road and a store that claimed to sell homemade fudge and beef jerky.  There were no tow trucks. No mechanics. No gas stations. I thought if someone came by as I hiked north, I could maybe bum a ride.

I walked almost forever for before hearing an approaching vehicle. As it neared I commenced to walking backwards and holding up my thumb. An old green pickup with a load of lumber sailed past, making headway towards the horizon. I turned around and watched it get smaller and smaller in the distance till I couldn’t hear his engine anymore. I watched as he pulled over and swung around, coming back. Slowing its approach as they drew near to me again and then pulled around and abreast of me.

The window slid down on the passenger side,

Stop – Your ten minutes are up! The rest of this I’ve tacked on later.

and an elderly woman; with a light blue wash on her grey hair, done up in a bee hive hairdo, wearing a pair of large framed, rhinestone, cat eye sunglasses, leaned over from behind the wheel. She was proudly displaying her ample cleavage framed by the lace and taffeta of her low scoop neckline.

“Good afternoon, brother,” she hollered over the truck’s sputtering exhaust system. “Can I offer you a lift?”

I lifted the brim of my hat and squinted at her face, “Thank you, ma’am. I would appreciate that. It’s beginning to get a mite warm.”

She stopped and I took off my hat before I pulled open the passenger door. “I need to find a mechanic or an auto parts store, ma’am. I ‘preciate you stoppin’.”

“I’m going right where you need to be then, brother.” she said. “Cactus Flat! That’s where I’m heading, and I’m going to the Tent Meeting at Salvation Salvage Yard. You’ll be sure to find what you need there.” She reached into her bag and pulled out a tube of lipstick.

Bright Red

We almost went off the road three times as she stared into the rear-view mirror to apply the unnatural tint. She smacked her lips, and used her nail to scrape a bit of excess from the corner of her mouth. She looked at me and smiled, “Like this colour? It’s called ‘Ruby Woo’ by LUXE. It’s new and I love it.” She smiled, and one of her front teeth was Ruby Wooed. I leaned back in the seat and feigned sleep.


That’s it… That’s all I got… Story’s done, for now

The prompts:

  1. junkyard theology
  2. that’s life
  3. the devil just left

OLWG# 313- GalacticGwen

Written for OLWG# 313

Gwendolyn Anne Roberts grew up in the Mint Ridge Neighbourhood on the south side of Hartford.

She hated it  
Too suburban
Too white
Too middle class
She longed for rough

She couldn’t move, still too young – Still lived with her parents Robert and Marge.
Robert was a CPA. Marge worked in the library.
Gwendolyn began writing her own background story.
In it, she changed her name to GalacticGwen (one word, two capital G’s),
Told people that she lived in South Boyd (it sounded grittier than Mint Ridge).
She exclusively wore only black clothes and safety pin earrings. She didn’t carry a bag, only took what would fit in her pockets, quit riding the bus – walked everywhere.
She listened only to blues music, or beatdown metal.
She started smoking and going out at night.
Joined up with a crew and robbed liquor stores with butcher knives.
It was her fault though. Or maybe it was her parent’s fault, or her teachers, Or old Mr Simmons, who used to live above the News Agent’s shop.

She hated Simmons. She was glad he was dead.


This week’s prompts were:

  1. galactic
  2. one of those rowdy girls from the edge of town
  3. a little short on mercy

Zozo 20.04.23- Last Chance

Written in 20 minutes, with the Carrizozo Writers- Raw, unedited, exactly as it flowed through my fingers to the keyboard

Last night at the Last Chance Saloon the guys at the bar, and the girls too, I don’t want to leave anyone out. I don’t want to change the names. I want to embarrass the guilty. I don’t care about protecting the innocent. Well, they all got into a discussion about politics. It was Peter Kilkenney, Sam Ambrose, Walter Jackson and his wife Denise. I think what started it was when Pete made a comment about the border and how the immigrants (read darker skinned folks) were taking advantage of all the real Americans (read white people). People like Sam, Walter and Denise. It went downhill from there.

Sam was a respected pillar of the community.
Sam owned the hardware store.
Sam always wore a Stetson hat and a rodeo belt buckle.
Sam the leader of the boy scouts.

Denise was a big haired blonde Southern girl.
Denise was a cheerleader in high school.
Denise was a sorority girl in college until she got pregnant and made her boyfriend, at the time, feel so guilty that he married her.
Denise who was the only daughter of a newspaper man and his wife, the socialite who gave all the best parties

That marriage didn’t last long and Denise spent four or five years as a single mom before she met Walter.
Walter, a god fearing, gun toting, Christian man.
Walter, who worked for his daddy.
Walter, who took her away from all that and demanded only blind obedience and fealty in return.


time’s up – step away

The prompts (that I never got to… I was too busy with character development):

    1. fox in the hen house
    2. my dad’s gonna kill me
    3. when we all wake up

Zozo 13.04.23- The Poet

Written in 20 minutes, with the Carrizozo Writers- Raw, unedited, exactly as it flowed through my fingers to the keyboard

George was a poet, who went by Geo
Silly poems for the most part
A fan of Seuss
Couldn’t sell a thing
No publisher
No money
But he never gave up
The word “Tenacious” was his descriptive adjective

Then he met Ruth
He met her in Duluth
When they got together in a telephone booth
He invited her home to listen to his poems

Ruth was a cellist
She liked Geo’s work
and the two began to collaborate
He became her lyricist
She became his composer
and they began to share their work with the public
performing on street corners downtown
People liked them

Success followed
Money grew
They bought houses and fancy automobiles
They had children together

Several of them

And life was good


Geo met Martha

Who was everything that he believed Ruth used to be
Young, vibrant, talented, caring
Ruth hadn’t changed
Geo had just grown accustomed to her.
So he gave her the houses
Gave her the fancy cars
And the children; then he ran off with Martha

It didn’t take long for Martha to realize that Geo had nothing to offer her
No money, no houses
No fancy cars
Nothing, except a growing portfolio of silly poems and a complete inability to set them to music
So Martha left
She took up with a pharmacist from Akron

Geo hitchhiked south and bounced between Kansas and Missouri for a while
Eventually, he passed, peacefully, beneath a highway bridge on I35, near Sharps Creek,
in a snowstorm

He had nothing left

Neither Ruth,
nor Martha, knew what happened, cared what happened.

His children never tried to find him.


time’s up – step away

The prompts:

    1. just can’t shake it
    2. I got nothin’
    3. set to music

Zozo 06.04.23- When the Meatheads Come a’ Knockin’

Written in 20 minutes, with the Carrizozo Writers- Raw, unedited, exactly as it flowed through my fingers to the keyboard

James W. Radcliff III veered from his intended path and headed towards the door.

The door, where the pounding was coming from.

He smiled and pulled open the heavy oak portal. There were a couple of meatheads looking at him. The big guy was raising his arm to continue knocking. The little guy was focused on James and smiling.

“Yes?” James intoned with a fake accent that no one would have been able to place, because he just made it up.

The little guy’s smile widened, raising the ends of his pencil thin moustache. He brushed his dark, oily hair back from his forehead, “Mr Radcliff,” he questioned.

“I’m sorry, Mr Radcliff is not in. In fact he is out of town for the next few weeks,” James smiled back at the oily character standing on the stoop. “Visiting family in Wales.” He added, the accent was working perfectly.

“Who the fuck are you?” The little guy asked.

“I’m Andrew.”

“You family, Andrew?”

“No sir, I’m the butler.” James lied.

“What do you do here, Andrew?”

“Well, sir; I buttle, of course. If you would like to leave a card, I’d be happy to let Mr Radcliff know you stopped by. Do you have a message I might relay to him?”

“Yeah, yeah, I do. Tell him that Mario and Luigi stopped by to see him. We wanted to invite him up to the city to meet with with Mr Armbuster. It’s Mr Armbuster’s daughter’s wedding day today and Mr Armbuster wants the money that Radcliff owes right away. Can you get in touch with him today?”

Radcliff swallowed. He felt that the button on his shirt had just gotten tighter. He stuck his index finger inside his collar and pulled. It didn’t help.

“Of course, sir. I can dispatch a message straight away but he is in Wales, as I said. And, there is a time difference.”


time’s up – step away

The prompts, which I never got to:

    1. how in God’s name?
    2. by the time this is done, you might be wishing I was
    3. I heard you were dead

Zozo 30.03.23- Jean’s Prompts

Written in 20 minutes, with the Carrizozo Writers- Raw, unedited, exactly as it flowed through my fingers to the keyboard

Talons gripped the branch
The moon held water in the ink black sky
(Insert owl’s name here) preened her tail feathers
waiting for prey


Steve, the criminal, straightened his spine, threw back his shoulders, shot his cuffs, checked the Windsor knot was square at his collar, and strode confidently into the casino. He scanned to check everyone was in position.


He comes in every two weeks to sit in the chair and talk.
I turn the clippers on and let ‘em buzz around his head.
I snap the blades of the scissors together.
I ask about his family.
I ask about his work.
His hair fell out years ago when he was doing chemo – nothing for me to cut

I think he likes the company
I think he likes the camaraderie
I think he likes to feel as though he still belongs.


She answered the door wearing nothing but an owl feather knotted into her hair with a slender strip of rawhide


The plan had been made weeks ago. He knew his part. Everything had been rehearsed. Steve took a deep breath, pulled the bandana up from his neck to cover his mouth and nose; then pushed through the front door, “Everybody down on the floor!” he yelled, “This is a robbery.” He put his arm around the shoulder of the security guard, standing next to the door, “Give me the gun.”


time’s up – step away

The prompts:

    1. Steve, the criminal
    2. Owl feather
    3. barber

Zozo 23.03.23- Eros

Written in 20 minutes, with the Carrizozo Writers- Raw, unedited, exactly as it flowed through my fingers to the keyboard

Fettered, Eros struggled and raged against the ropes that bound him
He’d not expected to fall into his own love trap
Yet here he was
Helen towered above him, naked, smiling down where he was caught
Her long, feral, russet-coloured hair swinging
in time with her pendulous  breasts
The trap that had been set for her
Laid with great care
Had captured him instead
She must have known somehow
Had she heard him planning
Had she consulted with Zeus
          or Apollo

Helen laughed
“you wee cherub
“you tiny man
“did you think you would ensnare me with this feeble
“do you truly believe me so stupid

“How does it feel
“to not be in control
“to not be the one pulling the heartstrings of the unsuspecting
“Now you are mine
“You will always be mine
“to do with as I please.

“In the final chapters of your love story I think you will be scorned by me,
your true love
“you will die alone and never realize the love you seek
“Scorned by your Helen
“Lonely and broken for all eternity
“How does it fee, Eros? Does it hurt?
“This taste of your own medicine…
“Is it sweet like the poison hemlock
“or, is it bitter, like a lemon?”


time’s up – step away

The prompts:

  1. fettered, Eros struggled
  2. like the final chapters of a love story
  3. American dream


Written for one of those big flat fishes – Halibut/Helluvit… Something like that

Daniel and Mora were still newlyweds, but their first anniversary was coming soon, and Daniel was freaking out just a little bit.

Mora was the only wife Daniel had ever had, and he had never needed to buy an anniversary present before. Did anniversaries not have things with which they were associated? He dimly recalled that fifty years was a golden anniversary, or maybe it was a diamond? What would the first anniversary be? Perhaps dust or sand, maybe. What kind of present could you buy made out of those things? How would he know?

Then it hit him! He could visit a psychic, and have him, or her, tell him exactly what Mora wanted for her anniversary. Daniel dug out the phone book, and much to his surprise there were a lot of psychics in town from which to choose. He determined that it should be a lady psychic because even if she had no psychic powers, she was still a woman, and any woman would better know what another wanted on her anniversary. Better than he would anyways.

He called Madame Mystic first because he liked the easy way her name rolled off his tongue. As luck would have it, Madame Mystic had an answering service. They answered the phone, “Good afternoon, you’ve reached the parlour of Madame Mystic, Love Psychic. May we help you?”

Daniel was impressed and said, “I’d like to make an appointment to meet with Madame Mystic. My anniversary is approaching and I’d like to consult with her on the perfect gift for my wife, Mora.”

“I sense that this is only your first or second anniversary. Am I correct?”

“Wow,” Daniel said, “Yes, yes, it’s our first anniversary. When can I get in to see Madame Mystic?”

He listened to the sound of papers rustling on the other end and finally heard, “You’re in luck. She just had a cancellation. Can you be here by two, this afternoon with your American Express Card? And, can you bring something personal that belongs to your wife?”


It was five minutes before two when the bell tinkled from the top of the door as Daniel pushed his way into Madame Mystic’s Parlour. The room smelled of Sandalwood incense and Patchouli. The lights were low and it was quiet. He stood just inside the door with his hat in hand, unsure of what he should do or where he should stand. Should he shout out? Maybe Madame Mystic was in the back room doing some psychic stuff.

There was a glass sales counter/display cabinet and a batik tapestry slung over a door to the back of the Parlour. Daniel cleared his throat. He felt a cool breeze from the back that fluttered the batik. Into the room swept a large woman clad in blue silks. A gold maangtika with red stones hung in the centre of her forehead, and Daniel thought Mora might like a maangtika. He quickly discarded that idea though. Mora taught pre-schoolers. She had no opportunities to wear a maangtika.

The woman offered Daniel her hand, “My name is Mystic.” she said with a faint unplaceable accent, “You must be Daniel, and you are looking for advice on a gift.”

“Yes, ma’am, for my wife; it’s our first anniversary and I need to get her something special. Something to show her how much she means to me, how much I appreciate and love her. Her name is Mora.”

Involuntarily, she shuddered at the mention of Mora’s name. “Come and sit, Daniel. Would you like a cup of tea?” she steered him through a beaded curtain into a shallow alcove.

“No thank you, Madame Mystic,” Daniel said as he perched on a hard wooden straight-backed chair positioned next to a small round table. The chair was extremely uncomfortable. Daniel had the sense that it was a little shorter than a normal chair, but he dismissed this notion as a product of his overactive imagination and unfamiliarity with a psychic’s equipment. Placed in the centre of the table on a wooden stand was a glass orb about the size of his fist. His eyes grew wide as he stared at the orb.

“Is that a ‘Crystal Ball’” he asked.

“It is,” Madame Mystic replied, “but we won’t need it today. Were you advised to bring something of your wife’s?”

Daniel nodded his head and reached into the pocket of his jacket to remove a pair of wadded-up, and immodest lace panties that he had taken from Mora’s dresser drawer. He handed them to Madame Mystic.  She gasped when she took them. Immediately she dropped them to the tabletop.

 “Shit,” she said and she turned her attention back to Daniel. She studied him carefully with her eyes narrowed. Her accent disappeared and she asked, “These belong to your wife?”

Concerned by her reaction, Daniel could only nod his head.

 “These,” Mystic paused and breathed deeply a few times. She continued, “Have you been reading about the string of murders in Cabbage-town? The cops are calling the murder ‘The Blunt Force Killer’?

Daniel nodded his head.

“These panties belong to the Blunt Force Killer,” she said softly.

“That’s impossible,” Daniel almost shouted, “These are Mora’s Panties, They can’t belong to Mora and The Blunt Force Killer. Unless… oh, shit.”

 Madam Mystic handed the panties back to Daniel, “Perhaps you’d best go now.”


More than 650 words, Less than 700

My grandpa died last week and yesterday there was a fine service at the church on High Street. Pawpaw never really went to the church, but the Reverend Stokes did a right nice service. He and my grandpa grew up together here in town and had been friends for years. Sometimes they’d go fishing together but only if they took another member of the congregation along. Pawpaw always said that if you took just one good Christian, fishing; he would drink all your beer.

 You had to take at least two of ‘em.

 They’d watch one another.

 But, I didn’t come to tell you about the funeral service nor about the drinking proclivities of the bible thumpers who live around these parts. I wanted to relate a conversation I had with Pawpaw the evening of the night he passed on. Now, nobody knew or could’ve known, that Pawpaw was gonna meet his maker that night, or maybe it was the next morning, but he knew he was close. On Friday, he threw his-self a grand ole Cochon de Lait. Did I mention he was a Cajun and that you pronounce this kind of party as a coo-shon duh lay?

 I didn’t mention that.

 Well, now you know.

 If you were unaware, a Cochon de Lait is an event where a suckling pig is roasted over a blistering hickory fire until the outside is crisp and brittle, like well-cooked bacon, and the inside is tender and juicy. Not only is the event a Cochon de Lait but the roast pig is too, and we always tended to make Po Boys with it.

 It was getting late in the evening and I was sittin’ with my pa, my grandpa, and Rosemonde Thibeau, a woman Pawpaw kept company with, most times. We’d all eaten our fill of Cochon when Ms Thibeau looked off to her right, “Garde dai don!” she exclaimed. Then she jumped up and run off towards the river. I didn’t see her again that night till we drove back to Pawpaw’s house, at the corner of Railroad Avenue and Lee. She was with him when he passed.

 Weren’t too long before Pa wandered off, looking for an Abita or something. That left me and Pawpaw. He rolled his-self a cigarette, and looked me in the eye, “You got any regrets, boy?” he asked.

 “Prolly so,” I answered, “I reckon most everybody does. You?”

 “Course, I do. I got specific ones.”

 “Like what?” I asked him. I suppose I was ‘expecting to hear the usual shit that old men spout when discussing this kinda stuff. You know what I’m talking about. I shoulda finished school, or I should never have worked on the water… shit like that.

 But I didn’t. He said, “I shouldn’t have never bothered with that damned Iditarod.” He stopped and stared at the sky. “It was 1973 and I heard tell of these crazy fuckers in Alaska who wanted to race sled dogs almost a thousand miles. It sounded to me like a great adventure and I wanted to go. So I did. The other fellows, mushers we was called, said I should have as many as 15 dogs with me. Do you know how much a good sled dog costs in Alaska? I could only afford five and I couldn’t rest ‘em enough. I pulled out of the race and didn’t finish, on account I didn’t wanna kill the dogs.”

 I leaned forward to hear better. I’d never heard this story before.

 He lit his cigarette and inhaled deeply. “I also shouldn’t have never sold my soul to Old Scratch, that night in Mississippi. I’m not gonna give you any details on that one, but it involved one hundred and twenty-five dollars given for the procurement of a 1955 Buick Roadmaster. The Buick didn’t have fins, it was long and sleek; a beautiful automobile. And…

 “I should have splurged for the undercoating on that new Ford Mustang-2, I bought for your Mawmaw. It was a godawful ugly car, the Ford Motor Company managed to pack a double helping of loneliness and depression into that pig, but she loved it. If I’d bought the undercoating that that slick salesman tried to sell me it prolly woulda lasted longer, but I didn’t. I don’t think she ever got over it or ever forgave me.

 “I watched the first season of Breaking Bad. Should have watched ’em all.”

 He sat for a long time with his eyes closed. I thought he mighta have fallen asleep, but then he sighed; a long low heartbroken sigh. He picked the narrative back up, “I should have kissed that pretty girl at the County Fair in grade school. She had curly blonde hair and a smile that glowed. She and I rode the Ferris Wheel all night long. I just couldn’t muster up the gumption. I never knew her name.”

 He closed his eyes again, and I was scared to interrupt his reverie, so I sat in silence. After a while, he snored. Just a single snore, soft, quiet; we got him home all right though the next day he was gone.

Zozo 08.03.23- I Can Show It To You In A Book

Written in 25 minutes, with the Carrizozo Writers- Raw, unedited, exactly as it flowed through my fingers to the keyboard

I got a bass riff going that felt comfortable and played with it awhile until it flowed. Marnie started singing lyrics that sounded like she was making them up as she went along, short and snappy words, a kind of scat, if you will, like an old jazz tune – something you’d expect with Mack the Knife, or maybe from Ella, or that Crothers guy.

She got to a line, and I’m not sure what she said exactly, but it sounded like “What light through yonder window breaks.”

I stopped playing and set down the guitar. “You can’t say that Marnie.” I chastised her.

“Why not?”

“Because that was written by Billy Shakespeare, weren’t you listening to Jean earlier? That shit’s probably copyrighted. You’ll need to get his permission before you use his lyrics in your song.”

“Those are not his lyrics!” She insisted, “Those are mine.”

“No, I promise, that line belongs to Billy. I can show it to you in a book.”

“Well, maybe so,” Marnie shot back, “but I said it first.”

“Did not!”

“Did so!”


time’s up – step away

The prompts:

  1. decorated with short and snappy words
  2. what does he do when he can’t sleep
  3. poison trees
  4. I said it first

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