OLWG · writing

OLWG# 276- Regrets? We’ve All Got ‘Em

Written for OLWG# 276



“You missed her by a couple of days, Dad,” Carmen said. She smiled sadly, leaned forward to put her arm around my waist and gave me a quick peck on the cheek.

I handed her the rosebud I was holding, “I’ll give this to you then.”

I saw Luke come into the room behind her. He raised his hand in greeting but said nothing as he retreated, leaving Carmen and me standing awkwardly together at the front door.

“Afternoon, Lucas,” I spoke to his back, but he didn’t respond, just faded into the gloom of the darkened hallway.

“I tried to get here sooner, Carmen, but…”

“I know Dad, it’s always something, huh? Mother was expecting you. She’s been saying for the last two weeks that you were coming.”

I turned on the stoop and pushed my worn tweed cap back on my head. I studied the road and tried to tamp my need to move on.

Carmen, “You know, she never quit loving you.”

“You’re not gonna let this be easy, are you, girl?”

“Stay, Dad. Why don’t you stay a while? Stay for dinner. Stay for the night?”

I turned and looked at my little girl, so grown up now. So much the same as I always remembered.

“It was peaceful for her, Dad. She passed in her sleep.”

I reached out my arms, and she fell into them, just like she used to do. “I’ll see you around sometime, girl.” I sniffed and pushed her back so I got a good look at her. Her eyes were beginning to brim with tears,

“I’m no good, you know,” I said as I backed down the steps and across the lawn. I waved, pulled the brim of my cap down low, turned, and walked toward the sun. At the corner, of Elm Street, I glanced over my shoulder. Carmen had moved down to the pavement, and she was watching me leave.

That’s all I ever gave to her. That’s all I’d ever given to her. Goodbyes and lots of words, always left unsaid.


This week’s prompts were:

  1. a single flower
  2. Carmen
  3. Mother was expecting you

OLWG · writing

OLWG# 275- Life Beneath The Universe

Written for OLWG# 275



Cheryl looked at me with her eyes wide from across the table. She had her lower lip clenched between her teeth. Her salad fork was tight in her left hand as she sawed the New York Strip Steak with a serrated knife secured equally tightly in her right. In front of her plate, random piles of julienned carrots lay scattered where they had been pushed onto the table by her aggressive meat slicing.

Cheryl had swiped right on my photo, and tonight was our first date. She had suggested dinner at Barrow Island Steakhouse. When we met at the restaurant, I recognized her immediately. She looked just like her photo; tall, with long straight red hair, and thin, almost painfully thin. I thought she was beautiful.

At the table, we got to know one another. Cheryl was a local girl, born and raised in White Oak. She was currently a paralegal in one of those law offices downtown. Billboards lined the motorway with photos of her boss, looking stern and pointing at the camera.

She struck me as too meek to work in that type of atmosphere. I told her that I slept most days; and spent my nights volunteering at a mobile soup kitchen that usually set up beneath the 14th street overpass. I might have mentioned that I had been an actor when I was seven years old and had snagged the part of Roger in the network television show – Roger’s Life.

Cheryl set down her knife and fork. She twirled her red hair around and around the index finger on her right hand.

“Really?” she asked, “I used to love that show. My brother would pretend to be Roger,” she paused, “and I was Selma.”

“You’re much prettier than Selma ever was.” I blurted out.

Cheryl’s face reddened slightly, she smiled and looked down at her plate. “Was that really you?” she asked.

“That was me,” I tried my best bashful smile.

Cheryl held up her arms, “OMG,” she said, “I’ve got goosebumps. Look at them.”

In the morning when I left Cheryl’s apartment early, I felt a little guilty about lying to her, but it didn’t last. I’ve been lying to girls like Cheryl for a long time. There is probably a name for people like me, some medical diagnosis. I don’t know what it would be called, though.


This week’s prompts were:

  1. falls right off the page
  2. It’s not about what you lost
  3. that was me

OLWG · writing

OLWG# 274- The Locket

Written for OLWG# 274



Bulldog Laughlin was not the sharpest tool in the shed, but he was always the most tenacious. He was unable to remember a time that he hadn’t loved Barbara. That was why he had agreed to this interview.

Arriving almost two hours early, he waited patiently for Barbara to arrive: rolling cigarettes and sitting in one of the elegantly upholstered wingback chairs. There were four or five crushed-out butts on the concrete floor when she entered the room. Of course, Bulldog recognized her straightaway and rose to pay his respects. She hung back at the door, and one of her people, an older gentleman resembling Col. Sanders, stepped forward.

“Mr Laughlin?” the old man opened.

Bulldog silently nodded his head.

“I’m Buddy Moss,” the man in the white suit continued, “I’m Barbara’s manager. We want to thank you for agreeing to this interview.”

Once again, Bulldog merely nodded. He kept his eyes on Barbara; it was she in whom he was most interested. The rest of these folks were just noise.

“Well, we’ll grab the gear and get set up then,” Buddy said. Barbara smiled at Bulldog as Buddy and his crew left to fetch the cameras and sound equipment.

When it was just the two of them left in the room, Bulldog smiled back at her and asked, “First time here, Barb?”

“Matter of fact, it is, but if I had known you were here, I’d have come sooner. I missed you, Bulldog. Are you really going to give me an interview?”

He shook his head slowly back and forth as he walked closer. Reaching out, he grabbed her necklace and pulled her in close. They kissed deeply and passionately. He pulled her closer, and one of the links broke on the chain. The necklace fell loose and dangled from his right hand as his left curled around her waist and pulled her in tight. He got lost in the feel of her body pressed against his, the floral scent she had always worn. Finally, she put her hands on his chest and pushed him away.

Holding the necklace up, he showed it to her as he slid across the room to the window. “I’m gonna take this with me,” he said, “I’ll see you in another twenty years.” Raising the window, he disappeared through it and into the night, leaving Barbara staring into the inky darkness, and that’s where she was when Buddy came back.

“Where is he?” Moss asked.

Barbara just pointed at the window, “He took my necklace,” she murmured.

“Goddamn.”


This week’s prompts were:

  1. I’m gonna take this with me
  2. Is this your first time here
  3. What are you reading

OLWG · writing

OLWG# 273- A Place of Truth

Written for OLWG# 273



Palmer Kanawha pulled his hat lower, over his eyes, raised his head, and studied the summit. Pico Nevado was a notorious peak, but it was a sacred place and he needed to reach the summit. So, he shrugged deeper into his heavy coat and ploughed on. The mountain was snow-capped year round; he had been told that he would find truth there, and he needed the truth.

The snow is ceaseless atop the mountain
It whispers my name
It tells me the stories of my people

It urges me to jump


This week’s prompts were:

  1. snow won’t stop falling
  2. speak my name in whispers
  3. Jan just told me, “we need to talk.”

OLWG · writing

OLWG# 272- Fireworks Down the Block

Written for OLWG# 272



Mort swung left into Chinatown and found himself moving through a maze of narrow streets and alleyways beneath strings of red paper lanterns. Neon lit the night, and pedestrians teemed in front of the green Buick. He turned to the slightly worn-looking blonde on the seat next to him.

“I’m going to have to ask for directions, or we’ll never find the place.” He said.

“Don’t stop.” she told him, “Take a left on Pine and park across from the alley. I know the way.”


This week’s prompts were:

  1. the road’s been my redeemer
  2. Chinatown
  3. like my favourite balloon

OLWG · writing

OLWG# 271- Dressing for the Ceremony

Written for OLWG# 271



I was getting dressed in the back of the house. Me, Dave, and Russ were changing clothes and drinking beer when I heard a light knock on the door. I looked at Dave as if to ask, “who would that be, then?”

 

He shrugged, “Dunno.”

 

Russ was closest to the door, so he reached out, turned the knob and swung it open. It was Mom. She looked at Dave, she looked at Russ, and then she looked out the door. Russ got the hint right away; he grabbed his beer, “Don’t be too long. I still have to finish dressing,” he said as he walked out of the room carrying his beer. He had not yet put his shoes on, so I knew he wouldn’t go far.

 

Dave looked at me, then out the door. He shrugged again and grabbed the beer he’d been working on along with a fresh one. He followed Russ out into the passageway.

 

Mom went over to the door and pushed it shut. “Sun,” she began. Mom always called me Sun. She used to say that it was because I was so bright, but in all truth, she couldn’t spell, and once she made the initial mistake, there was no going back.

 

I smiled at her and thought Oh Shit, here we go.

 

“Sun,” she said again. “In about half an hour, you’ll be marrying Phoebe. I’ve made certain that nobody’s out there who will object when the preacher asks, so I think it’s pretty much a shoo-in that you’re getting hitched. I want you to know that this means I’m washing my hands of you. You’re her problem now for as long as she’ll have you. This is the same speech that my mother-in-law gave my first husband when we got married all those years ago.”

 

She paused, pursed her lips and rolled her eyes, “No,” she said, “not my first husband. It was my third husband, Coot, whose mama told me that she was done with him and that he was my problem from then on.” I did get the last laugh though. After the shine faded, which took maybe a week, ten days at the most, I sent him back to her. Coot was a real ass. His mama was probably the only woman who could ever love him.” She paused her speech, reached over and pushed up on my chin. How long had my mouth been hanging open? I had no idea.

 

“Now,” she kept on, “If you love Phoebe, I reckon you better straighten up and treat her special. I don’t think you’ll ever find another woman dumb enough to put up with you, and I’m not takin’ you back.”

 

Mom lit a cigarette and squinted against the smoke in her eyes.

 

“You understand, boy? You better treat that girl good.” Mom stood and smoothed down the front of her dress. She spun towards the door and started walking.

 

“Mom?” I implored.

 

She lifted her fist above her shoulder and slowly raised her middle finger as she walked out of the room. It was nice to know that we had her blessing.

 

Shortly after, Dave and Russ wandered back in to finish dressing.


This week’s prompts were:

  1. you’re her problem now
  2. …but first, let’s look at the stars
  3. no, not my first husband

OLWG · writing

OLWG# 270- Gibson

Written for OLWG# 270



Then Gwen lifted the coupe glass that held her cocktail and peered at me over the rim.

Her charcoal grey eyes smiled.

I could smell the gin as she stirred her drink with the onion skewer.

She sipped, her eyes closed, as she savoured the flavour.

Long thin fingers, tipped with long red nails, lifted and twirled the skewer. Liquid streamed at first, and then slowly dripped from the end.

Slowly, sensuously she teased the first of three pearl onions free, using her lips and teeth.


This week’s prompts were:

  1. a long ago Sunday
  2. it don’t mean much
  3. charcoal eyes

OLWG · writing

OLWG# 269- Posse

Written for OLWG# 269



They were a crew, had been since grade four
Independent thinkers
Unconventional, Nonconformists
Librarians, Artists and Bohemians
 

Suzy was a heretic
Billy was a Boy Scout
Rosy was a feminist; Janet, a boi
 

Danny was a sculptor and painter who dabbled in impasto
Thom wrote screenplays and short stories about shit that amused him
Linda – a photographer and philosopher
Oscar – street artist, tagger, & muralist, with an inherent love of spray paints
 

Janelle was a busker with an angelic voice
Jim was Janelle’s twin
He could play any instrument known to man
 

Audre had interests that tended to the dark
Witchcraft, Spells, Numerology, Astrology, Alchemy, Kabbalah, Tarot, Charms, & the like            
Renounced by her mother on account of what she thought.  Because of what she’d done
 

An unlikely group of confidants and chums
Best of friends, despite their differences, and
nothing’s ever going to change that
 

Just ask them


This week’s prompts were:

  1. heretics and Boy Scouts
  2. nothing’s ever gonna change
  3. what she’d done

OLWG · writing

OLWG# 268- TNK

Written for OLWG# 268



“You ever read anything written by TNK…?”

“I don’t … so. Why?”

“… hard. … his stories … voyeuristic vignettes … meaningless … cobbled together … form some kind of a fragmented narrative … no beginning – no end. Stuffed with bursts of…”

“What … ?”

“… and hard to follow… keyboard’s been drinking. Editing … gratuitous … ”

“At least … oblique, hard … babble, unfinished.”


This week’s prompts were:

  1. oh, that’s old school
  2. his writing is fragmented
  3. knock me a kiss

OLWG · writing

OLWG# 267- Billy

Written for OLWG# 267



Billy told you in Basic Training that he was the black sheep of his family
It would have been more accurate, had he said “rainbow” sheep, but
You wouldn’t have been able to understand

In Afghanistan you promised Billy that when you both got home you’d introduce him to your sister or your cousin
Billy didn’t want to meet your sister; he wanted to hook up with you
You still didn’t understand

You loved Billy like a brother – in your way;
He loved you too, but you broke his heart
I don’t think you will ever understand, but it’s OK

It’s OK


This week’s prompts were:

  1. free from your promises
  2. black sheep
  3. Sunday-go-to-meeting clothes