OLWG · writing

OLWG# 207- To Live and Die in New Orleans

Written for OLWG# 207



Billy Bob Soulier scratched the stubble on his chin and crushed his cigarette in the overflowing glass ashtray. He knew that it read, “The Silver Penny” on the bottom, even though he’d covered the lettering with ash and dog ends. He’d been sitting on that barstool all morning, and he’d seen it before it was covered up.

From his shirt pocket, he pulled a five-spot and tossed it on the bar, signalling to Emi that he needed another drink. She pulled herself up from the stool she liked to perch on and went to work. Billy Bob lived to watch Emi work. She wore her dark, tightly curled hair in a #2 buzz. She stood well over six feet tall. The girl was long, lithe, and lean. She moved with an economy of motion that he admired. He could imagine her sleepin’ in the kitchen with her feets in the hall.

Emi sat his Bloody Mary down and lifted the fiver from the dark wood of the bar. With the bill in hand, she glided down towards the old National Register. Billy Bob was daydreaming about Emi as he watched her drift. Her head started bobbing, ever so slightly, as the jukebox played an old Dorothy Moore song. He smiled.



This week’s prompts were:

  1. kick up your heels
  2. a barroom in New Orleans
  3. every week

OLWG · writing

OLWG# 206- People You Have Yet to Meet

Written for OLWG# 206



Marie threw her car keys on the credenza, “Goddamnit, Ted! I don’t want to. I won’t.”
“You should give it a try, Marie. You might like it. Try it out for a year or so. If it doesn’t work, we can do something else.”
“Ted,” she exclaimed, “you’re asking me to give up my life and move to some little town where I don’t know anyone. You’re asking me to start my life all over! Why would I do that?”
“Why wouldn’t you?” He watched her, waiting for a reply. When she didn’t, he continued. “What do you have here? Your beloved husband left. Your children are all at least three hours’ drive away. What do you have here?”
“I have my house.” Marie snapped.
“You can keep your house. After a year, you can decide to come back to it or sell it and move on.”
“Shit, Ted. I don’t know. It seems drastic.”
There are beaches there,” Ted said. “There are people there you’ve never met, people who might engender a new slant on your perspective. You might even like some of them. Hell, it’s even closer to your oldest girl.”
“Yeah, there is that.” Marie set her pencil down and twisted her mouth as she considered Ted’s proposal. “No, I’m not going to do it. I feel as though I need to visit for a week first before I could commit. Just because you grew up there doesn’t mean I’m going to like it.”



This week’s prompts were:

  1. I don’t want to
  2. a town with no future
  3. elegant or crude

So I found a new writers group. They call themselves “Missing State Writers” because, you know we’re in New Mexico. I don’t’ have the statistics at hand, but there is a significant percentage of Americans who do not realize that New Mexico is one of the fifty states! The American mind is a marvel – sometimes ‘Magnificent’ ofttimes ‘Mediocre’. I wrote this during our meeting on Monday morning, last! Fifteen minutes.

OLWG · writing

OLWG# 205- Cutthroat Razor

Written for OLWG# 205



At the post office that morning, Melinda pulled a notice out of her box advising that there was a package for her. A package too large to fit into her box, so she should come to the desk and claim it. The notice was scribbled on an envelope sized green card and did not indicate who the sender was. She looked at the length of the line and then at her watch before determining that she would be late for work if she waited in that queue. Maybe she could come back, spend her lunch break at the post office. She took the green card, locked her box and hurried out to her car. 

The morning was uneventful. Mel tried to check email but was able to read only a couple before the 9:15 ‘all-hands, stand-up meeting’ at the circulation desk, where everyone got reminded of Children’s Storytime at 10:30, book club at 2:00, and the writers’ group coming in at 5 pm.” Melinda saw her schedule to work the adult reference desk from 10:00 till noon. After that, she went back to her cubicle to answer email, coordinate with volunteers and get a few other small things done. When 1:00 arrived (lunchtime), she grabbed her keys and handbag, logged off her computer, and made her way to the lot behind the library, where she found a large splatter of bird crap strategically positioned to block her view out the windscreen.

She pulled a handful of tissues from the box that always slid back and forth across her backseat. The box had a pastel green hand-crocheted cover that her mom had made a few years back. She spat on the tissues and tried to clean the window but only managed to smear the bird shit around. “Damn, now what am I going to do?” She wondered, then she remembered her unfinished cup of coffee languishing in the front seat cup holder. That worked well enough to get her out of the immediate jam. She could stop at the Shell station on Palisades and wash the windscreen. She got in the driver’s seat and fastened her seat belt, started the car, tuned to Texas Radio FM, broadcasting from somewhere deep in the Virginia Swamp, and pulled out onto 17th Street moving in the direction of the Post Office by way of the Shell station.

At the Post Office, Melinda presented the green card to Donna at the service desk. She waits. The package that comes out is about twelve inches square by maybe six inches deep. It’s bound by packing tape. Melinda recognizes her mother’s handwriting on the outside. That answers the first question. The second question is what, on earth, has her mother sent her this time. The last thing her mother had sent was a photo of her neighbour’s son. Mrs Carmichael lives next door, and her son is named David Carmichael. He goes to Med school somewhere in New England.

Reaching into her purse, Melinda takes out her razor with the tortoiseshell handle and slits open the packing tape. Inside, neatly folded, was a white gown. It was hand-beaded and embroidered with a white on white floral design. Melinda recognized her mother’s wedding dress.

“Oh, for fucks sake,” she said out loud and tossed the box, dress and all, into the back seat. 

She didn’t even have time to grab a sandwich before she had to be back at the library.



This week’s prompts were:

  1. a white gown
  2. it’s “coo-pon”
  3. are my seams straight?
OLWG · writing

OLWG# 204- Gems in a Sea of Mud

Written for OLWG# 204



Lincoln

Who needs Pat Garrett? Rains flood the dirty streets of Lincoln – cleanse the blood.

Power

The wife of a country field mouse, who just happens to be living in the greater metropolitan area, is usually the family breadwinner. She’s the power player.



This week’s prompts were:

  1. greater metropolitan
  2. field mouse
  3. rains flood the dirty streets
OLWG · writing

OLWG# 203- The Bounty Hunter

Written (promptly) for OLWG# 203



Kacela was knee-deep in the muck, making her way swiftly and quietly through the reeds at the edge of the intertidal zone. She’d been hunting Cooper for years, and now she was close. She believed that the man, now known as Charlie Ray, had used the money he’d obtained from the hijacking and bought this run-down marina at the edge of Côte du Golfe Marais. She was close, but she had found the marina abandoned when she’d wheeled her truck up to the pump hoping for an easy capture. He wasn’t there, but a cup of coffee sat steaming next to the old National Cash Register on the counter.

Cooper must have sensed what was happening. He’d fled into the marsh when she approached and hadn’t been gone long.  There was only one direction that he might have run and avoided detection. She headed that same way with her fingers crossed. Kacela hated snakes, and this landscape promised to be rife with them.

She’d always been a hunter. As a girl, she’d taken down the big cats that preyed on the village goats. As a young woman, she’d become a guide, taking European tourists, armed with either guns or cameras, in search of big game. It didn’t matter to her how her clients captured their prey. Death was not something with which she was unfamiliar. She accepted it.

From ahead came the thundering sound of wings beating. Countless dusky coloured birds burst from the wetlands like clouds of feathers intent on obscuring the sun. She knew she was close. She could almost smell the money she would earn by bringing in Cooper.



This week’s prompts were:

  1. smiling in the sun
  2. bread and morphine
  3. clouds of feathers
OLWG · writing

OLWG# 202- Attitudes and Platitudes

Written (promptly) for OLWG# 202



Live your life to the fullest
Be creative
Be bold
Reach out and help others
Kindle a love that might burn down your house
Be creative
Be bold
Bask in the warmth that ensues
Teach your children to be happy
Show them how to be creative
How to be bold
There is time enough for tears, and play
Steer clear the whimperers
Shun the complainers
Fill your spirit, and your place, with the positive
Live your life to the fullest
Be creative
Be bold
Reach out and help others



This week’s prompts were:

  1. tears in the sandbox
  2. whimpering and complaining
  3. it might burn down your house
OLWG · writing

OLWG# 201- Miss Santa Cruz County

Written for OLWG# 201



Sibley Fletcher, the newly crowned beauty queen from Aptos, sloped onto the stage to thank her adoring fans. She was as thin as a fishbone. Her eyes bulged, and her cheeks hollowed. It was almost as though they had been sculpted by the same wind and surf that formed the arches at Natural Bridges State Park. Her long blonde hair was piled atop her head; a few wisps fell loosely to frame her face. She raised her arms and began to speak, her voice: as soft as a whisper, “My first act as your Queen is to grant myself immunity for any crimes; state, federal or hate, that I may have committed in the past, or might commit in the future. I would also extend that same amnesty to my dear sister, Mirabel. Bless her heart.”

The audience crowded into the Louden Nelson Community Centre fell silent. This was truly unexpected. As Sibley lowered her arms, the sharp bones of her wrist brushed the delicate tiara she wore, knocking it slightly askew.

“Buried somewhere in Los Gatos Canyon are the bodies of both Hannah Sandoval and Bernard Medina. I do not recall the exact location; it’s been almost five years since I put them there, but it was near a big white rock and a twisted tree. The police should probably give the remains back to their mothers. They have been missing long enough.

“I must add, my dear subjects, that Hannah truly deserved what she got. She tempted my darling, Bernard. And, Bernard, well, he was collateral damage. Sometimes I still miss him. Mirabel and I didn’t bury them very deep. I’m frankly surprised that they were never found.

“My second act is to declare today, April the first, an official holiday, to commemorate my coronation as Queen Sibley. I declare that henceforth, on this day, there will be no mail delivery, and Ferrel’s shops shall provide free doughnuts to all comers. As truly befits a holiday of this import.

“Thank you, my subjects. I will strive to be a kind and just ruler.” She blew a kiss at the crowd, turned and walked off the stage. The spotlight went down and the house lights came up. The applause was deafening.



This week’s prompts were:

  1. thin as a fishbone
  2. buried somewhere in Los Gatos Canyon
  3. it fetters the will
OLWG · writing

OLWG# 200- Eleena

Written for OLWG# 200

Wait! What? 200? Really? That’s way cool, bitchin’



When ‘Big’ Jim Romero woke, he stayed still in an attempt to determine his whereabouts. He knew he was lying on his back. It felt like there might be a pillow beneath his head and, perhaps he had been covered with a light blanket. He was soaking wet; he was cold, shivering. No sound fell on his ears and, at first, when he opened his eyes, all he saw was darkness.

He closed them again and was instantly blinded by oncoming headlights and accosted by the loud roaring of a powerful engine. He lifted his arms upwards to fend off certain death and jerked back. At the last moment, the headlights swerved and left him unscathed. He felt a breeze as the oversized vehicle swept recklessly past.

He gasped and snapped his eyes open. It was still dark, but he sensed a presence, and then he felt a hand on his shoulder. He jerked again. The hand pressed down.

A voice lightly accented, “Be still, Mr Romero, be still, you’re going to be OK. We were worried about you for a while, but you’re going to be OK.”

Big Jim took a deep breath and opened his mouth to speak. He only managed a dry cough accompanied by a deeply pitched noise from his throat. He quit pushing upwards and fell back. The hand that had been holding him down relented and pulled away.

The voice again, “I’m going to raise your head a bit and get you some water.”

An electric motor hummed, and he slowly lifted into more of a sitting position. The hand on his shoulder again.

“Can you take this cup? Just take a couple of sips, don’t gulp it down.”

Big Jim tried but couldn’t take hold, or even feel a cup. Frustrated, he made a sound. It was more like an unintelligible grunt.

“Let me help,” the disembodied voice said. Big Jim felt the cup brush up against his lips. He raised his head a much as he could and took a couple of sips.

“How are you  feeling?” She asked, “You might feel a little disoriented and woozy, Mr Romero. Don’t worry about it too much. It’s the drugs and shouldn’t last too long. I’m going to turn this light on, but I’ll keep it dimmed down low. I need to take your vitals.” As the lights came up slightly, Big Jim saw a tall, slim woman who appeared to be in her late twenties or maybe, her early thirties. She wore scrubs with pictures of fish on a dark green background; her hair framed her face with ringlets and, she had flawless ebony skin that glowed when she smiled and lit up her eyes from within.

“What’s your name?” Jim croaked.

“Eleena,” she answered. Then she smiled again, and he watched as the light rekindled in her eyes.

“I am a little woozy, Eleena and you could be right. Maybe it’s the drugs, but I don’t think so.”



This week’s prompts were:

  1. I call shotgun
  2. maybe it’s the drugs?
  3. nightsweats
OLWG · writing

OLWG# 199- Miss Willa Pound’s Faro Hall

Written for OLWG# 199



“Well, the way I heard it was that it all started mebbe 70 or 75 years ago when a man named Edward Teller stepped off the train and into Miss Willa Pound’s Faro Hall, which was across the street from the depot. At Miss Willa’s, a man could find food, drink, gamblin’, and wimmen. Customers were encouraged to check their weapons at the door, but that rule was seldom ever enforced.

“In today’s world, we would prob’ly call Mr Teller by a title, like a mathematician. In them days, he was just a smart man who had a way with numbers.

“In Miss Willa’s Faro Hall, like most gamblin’ dens, the odds favoured the house. Miss Willa ensured that. Her Faro hall employed crooked Faro Banks, and she hired skilled people. Hired folks who were adept at cheatin’, either through card manipulation, with fair cards and a fair dealing-box, or through mechanical appliances. Like modified Faro boxes. A good cheat was better off cheating for the house than against, but Edward Teller was no cheat. Despite the odds, though, in short order, he was way ahead on his bets. His winning streak captured the attention of Miss Willa and her security man, a local guy named Benito Schull. Pounds and Schull watched closely but were unable to spot him cheating. It did not seem to matter how close they watched.

“Ed Teller was almost a thousand dollars up when he cashed in his chips and made to leave. Benito confronted Mr Teller as he walked from the cashier cage to the door. Teller, of course, protested; he had a train to catch. Schull flashed his blue barrelled .31 calibre pepperbox, dissuading Edward from re-boarding the train and convincing him to visit Miss Willa in her office instead.

“There is no record of the discussion between Miss Willa, Schull, and Teller, but I heared that Teller convinced Miss Willa and her man that he just had a knack for seeing the odds and understood the game. He told them that it was a matter of calculations: addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Schull promptly shot Edward Teller in the gut. He and Miss Willa watched as the man died on the office floor.

“Willa determined that a keen understanding of mathematics might not be a good thing for her business. She lobbied the city fathers to ban ‘rithmetic in all the saloons and gamblin’ halls in Emerson County, but that proved to be impractical. They compromised; addin’, subtractin’, and multiplyin’ would remain legal, but not long division. They figgered no one understood it anyhow.”



This week’s prompts were:

  1. guard this with your life
  2. just hush
  3. and that’s why long division is illegal in Emerson County
OLWG · writing

OLWG# 198- Flashing Lights / Raucous Music

Written for OLWG# 198



Taking careful aim, Carlos exhaled slowly and squeezed the trigger.

The narrow stream of water burst from the muzzle. It ran true and hit the target. The balloon inflated. It grew larger and larger until finally, it popped.

The crowd went crazy.

Buffy drew smoke deeply into her lungs and reached above her head. She pulled the oversized, plush, rainbow-coloured caterpillar from the wire overhead.

Leaning over the counter, she handed it to Carlos, who held the prize over his head for a moment before turning it over to Noemi.

Noemi beamed as she hugged both Carlos and the giant multi-coloured caterpillar with equal vigour!

 

The couple wandered off down the midway, their brief moment of fame fading into the night; while simultaneously being highlighted by the flashing lights and raucous music.



This weeks prompts were:

  1. taking careful aim
  2. two step program
  3. there is only sorrow