writing · WU

Estero Point

Written for Write the Story

Like Joseph’s coat of many colours, now worn and faded
Almost matching, they stand in line, a particoloured coastal town, akin to soldiers at the edge of the road
A place for the Sunday Seafarer to store his skiff
Reel Deal resides at number four
Bull Fish, number twelve
A couple crewmen from the trawler “Taboo” squat in sixteen
The beacon at the Point remains ever watchful

huts-5224102_640-image-by-picardzucht-from-pixabay






writing · WU

Dancing Key

Written for Write the Story




Harry Harris had moored Niña, his Rhodes 22, at Swamp-Donkey Marina on the windward shore of Dancing Key in December of 1999. He hadn’t moved it again since. In those days, he had worried about all that Y2K shit, but his anxiety had been for nought – nothing had ever come of it. Dancing Key was a fine place to live and less expensive than Key West. His friend, Osvaldo, had a crab shack outside the marina gates. And the beautiful and most interesting Señorita Merisol Ibarra ran a watering hole called The Angels Trumpet right next door to that. At La Trompeta, the rum flowed freely, and the girls were friendly. Why would Harry want to go anywhere else? He’d finally found his home.

It was just before dawn in late September when Harry and Merisol again found themselves together on deck. They were enjoying the intimate afterglow that usually accompanied their rendezvous. Harry was occupied, pondering the funny way of pluralizing rendezvous when Merisol leaned into him with her unlit cigarette. Coquettishly she intimated the need for a light. He loved when she smiled, so he watched her face as he groped blindly for the lighter.

With her cigarette lit, she reached down and rubbed his leg, “¿Harry, podrías hacerme un Cuba Libre?”

He nodded, rose, and padded below decks, naked except for his old Marlins cap, pulled low over his eyes. When he came back topside, he carried two glasses coated with condensation and filled with light rum, Coke, and lime. When he stepped back on deck, he saw the excitement on her face. She was almost bouncing on the gunwale, waving her hand to the southeast.

“Look, Harry, look!” she almost shouted, “Un tormenta. A storm, a storm is coming! I adore storms, don’t you?”

Harry did like storms. Not quite as much as Marisol liked them, but he was glad that she liked them. Harry was up for it and walked past Marisol to sit on the transom, plonking his size 11’s on the lazarette hatch. He held her glass out, and she scooted closer to take it, her feet up on the bench seat.

sea-1883657_640-image-by-david-mark-from-pixabay-1
Image by David Mark from Pixabay

They sat watching the storm approach. Lightning silhouetted the clouds, the pilings, and Low Anchor Key that lay to the east. As the storm drew close, Harry paid more attention to Marisol than he did to the impending storm. He watched as the raindrops began to fall on her skin and pool in the hollow of her neck above her clavicle, watched as her dark hair grew heavy with raindrops and hung lower, softer, watched as she sipped her drink and as her eyes grew wider as she bit on her lower lip. Harry jumped with her when the lightning flashed, and she started when the thunder clapped overhead. He grew aroused as she moved closer, fitting her body to his.

He wanted the storm to last all night. He wanted Marisol to say aboard Niña all night, something she had never done before. For reasons unexplained, she would always leave before dawn. Marisol was constantly returning home to her ramshackle cottage back behind the bar.



The Blog Propellant · writing

TBP New Prompt #9- I Like Clouds



Russell woke when it was still dark. His head throbbed as the drink he’d drunk hammered on the back of his brain and stabbed needles deep into his eyes. He cursed when he banged his shin on the edge of the coffee table, which had stood in the same place for at least ten years. Maggie had arranged the furniture this way, and Russell had never changed it, never moved it. Maggie had rearranged furniture all the time, the layout never satisfied. Russell could understand running into things if Maggie had still been here, but she had left a long time ago.

When she had gone, Russell quit changing things. He rarely cleaned or cooked anymore. No one came to visit, and he seldom went out. His refrigerator was a science experiment, like a Petri dish filled with mould and fungi. The “Crisper” drawer brimmed with what he assumed to be a moss of some type, but he couldn’t be sure. It was safer not to open it. Russell lived on breakfast cereals, crackers, and potato chips. If he needed to splurge, he could always buy a pack of Fritos or a Twinkie. 

Since she had left, Russell had received three postcards from Maggie. The first one had talked about her travels through the rust belt with a peculiar friend named Gunnar. Russell had gone on a thirty-day bender. He remembered nothing after receiving the postcard until he was sprayed down with cold water, by Officer Willoughby, in the Tillamook County Jail. 

He lost his car, his cash, his credit cards, and his ID. It took five days to hitchhike back to Colorado. Once back in Denver, he found he’d lost his job as well. 

The second card had arrived a year and a half after his return home from Oregon. The photo on the front of the card was a sepia tone shot of La Tour Eiffel. On the back, written in a cramped hand, that he nevertheless recognized as Maggie’s, he read the following:

-Qui aimes-tu le mieux, homme énigmatique, dis? ton père,
ta mère, ta s«ur ou ton frère?

—Je n’ai ni père, ni mère, ni s«ur, ni frère.
—Tes amis?
—Vous vous servez là d’une parole dont le sens m’est resté
jusqu’à ce jour inconnu.
—Ta patrie?
—J’ignore sous quelle latitude elle est située.
—La beauté?
—Je l’aimerais volontiers, déesse et immortelle.
—L’or?
—Je le hais comme vous haïssez Dieu.
—Eh! qu’aimes-tu donc, extraordinaire étranger?
—J’aime les nuages… les nuages qui passent… là-bas… là-bas…
les merveilleux nuages!

He put it on the refrigerator door. It took almost a year, but eventually, he found it had been written in 1942 by Charles Baudelaire. A short piece of poetic prose titled “L’ Étranger,” he removed it from the chill box and tossed it into the trash.

The final card was the straw that broke the Camel’s back. Maggie explained, in that note that, her manservant, Gunnar, had finally lost his mind. She speculated that it must have been from the drugs he’d been taking for years. So Maggie had abandoned him in Tangier. She wrote that she could arrange a ticket for Russell if he wanted to meet her in Istanbul. She would be there in a month.



Written for The New Blog Propellant Prompt #9

This week’s prompt:

Visit TBP to see the prompt yourself. It’s magnificent – a true work of art. Go Here


The Blog Propellant · writing

TBP New Prompt #8- 637 Consecutive Days Of Sunshine



Monday morning 0630

Spring 1965

 

Daniel’s alarm clock clicked, and Jimmy Fusion, the morning jock for KQMZ – 15.90 on your AM dial was yelling the weather, “TODAY MARKS THE 637th CONSECUTIVE DAY OF SUNSHINE HERE IN THE CITY OF THE SUN, THE PASS TO THE NORTH. HIGHS ARE EXPECTED TO REACH TRIPLE DIGITS AGAIN TODAY AND, AS USUAL, THERE IS A ZERO PERCENT CHANCE OF PRECIPITATION.” Jimmy Fusion played an ad for a local glass company:

♬ Break a glass… Call Baker glass… For broken glass… Call Baker Glass… ♬

♫♪ For faster service on all your glass ♫♪ 

Phone Baker right away

♬ ♬

 

Downtown by Petula Clark played next. It had been climbing steadily up the charts since its release last fall.

 Daniel rubbed his face with both hands before climbing out of bed and walking down the hall to pee. Back in his room, he pulled on a pair of ‘big bell’ Levis and a Rolling Stones tee then, padded to the kitchen where he found Melissa.

 “Good morning, Daniel,” she said. Daniel frowned and suddenly remembered why he didn’t want to go to school today.

 “Hi, Melissa,” Daniel groaned.

 “I really wish you’d call me, Mom; I am married to your father.”

 “Sorry, don’t think that’s going to happen.” Daniel grabbed a bowl and spoon from the dish drainer, a box of Froot Loops from the cupboard above the oven, and milk from the fridge. He sat down at the breakfast table. Melissa lit a cigarette and made herself busy in the kitchen, avoiding him.

 Daniel ate fast, grabbed his school books from his room and quickly left through the front door. He would be way early for school. As Daniel walked, he thought about what had happened yesterday afternoon and knew he would hear about it today at school. After all, Melissa (Mom – he grimaced) was only four years older than he.

 Yesterday had been the 636th consecutive day of sunshine. When he got home at about three, the temperature was almost 107 degrees*. Nary-a-cloud was in the sky. He decided to go to the pool for a quick swim. So, grabbing a towel and pulling on his trunks, he headed for the community pool. Only a block and a half away. 

Sunday afternoon (one day earlier) 1515

Spring 1965

 

 Daniel walked through the door to the Cielo Vista Community Pool Clubhouse; it was a quarter after three. He smiled at Janine and showed her the membership tag that was safety-pinned to his trunks.

 “Hey Janine, sure is hot today.” Janine was beautiful; she had perpetually chapped lips, a deep suntan from lifeguarding. Her long blonde hair was bleached by the sun and damaged by the chlorine.

 She flashed her pearly whites, “Hi, Daniel,” she said, “Your Mom’s here.”

 “I doubt that. My mom lives in Fort Lauderdale with her boy-toy, Hank.”

 “Sorry, I knew that. HEY, NO RUNNING!” She yelled at a bunch of kids hurrying through – they slowed down but still were walking fast. Janine shook her head and smiled again. “I meant to say that Melissa’s here.”

 Daniel grimaced and put his head down as he moved past Janine to the showers. He put his towel on a bench and rinsed in the cold water. He continued to the pool area, where he scoped the scene. Half the girls from school must’ve been there. Melissa was there too. She posed at the deep end, preparing to dive in. She wore a tiny pink bikini. It was not much more than two small triangles on the top and a high French cut on the bottoms. He ducked his head, looked away, and spotted Bodi Hale hanging on the side of the pool, holding court with a batch of his Toadies. They were splashing water towards Donna Bustamante, who was busy trying to ignore them.

 He looked toward the deep end of the pool again just as Melissa dove. She hit the water in fine form, a shallow racing dive, but she didn’t start swimming. She was working on the dives. She slewed towards the edge of the pool, where Bodi was splashing Donna. She pushed herself up to sit on the edge of the pool.

 Daniel noticed that Melissa had lost her suit top at the exact time one of Bodi’s little buddies did.

 “TITS!” guffawed the Toadie. He pointed at Melissa’s chest.

 Bodi’s mouth dropped open. He stared.

 Daniel ignored the “No Running” rule, hustled over to Melissa, who was now red-faced and embarrassed. He draped his beach towel over her shoulders and dove straight into the pool to retrieve the missing piece of apparel, which he got and promptly returned. He levered himself to the edge of the pool, stood and walked to where Bodi and his Toadies hung on the edge.

 “Quit staring at her,” Daniel said slowly to Bodi.

 “No way, Dude. Did you see those titties?”

 “That’s my mom. You can either quit staring at her or, I can drown you.”

 Bodi shifted his attention to Daniel, “Sorry, Dude. I didn’t know.” He focused on the blue wall of the clubhouse.

 “You should probably apologize and make your little friend, there, do the same.” Daniel was fierce. 

Monday morning 0820

Spring 1965

 

Daniel pushed through the door to the English wing and headed towards his locker. He knew that half the school had seen what happened. He had no idea what to expect, but he knew he was going to hear about it.


* 107 degrees F = 41.6666 degree C



Written for The New Blog Propellant Prompt #8

This week’s prompt:

Not really this week’s prompt – The prompt is from 28.April.2021.

In your WordPress Reader, have you noticed at the top they post three suggested topics to explore? The suggestions are usually a weird combination, but always entertaining.

My suggestions today are: Cocktails; Community Pool; Groovy. Write a post inspired by these suggestions. I took out the links because it took me so long to respond.


The Blog Propellant · writing

TBP Redux #15- A Golden Comet



She was a chick named Little, on account of, she only weighed three pounds when she was soaking wet. Although a friendly bird around people, she was ruthless towards others of her own kind. She could get things that she coveted from people, but as leader of a notorious, albeit ragtag, band of free-range chickens, she and her flock roamed the high desert sage south of Albuquerque. Little was the brains of the gang; she planned all the jobs, she found the food. She was cunning and sly. She was mean; she got that from her dad, a Goliath of a New Hampshire rooster. She was also a good layer; she got that from her mom, a White Rock hen.

The flock was mobile, and when they were on the move, Little typically rode in the bright red sidecar attached to Peck’s bike. Peck was a handsome cockerel. Almost all cream coloured with red-brown feathers on his back and wings. His giant comb was run through with a grey scar that looked a bit like a Harry Potter lightning bolt. He weighed in at just over six pounds. Even with his fierce looks, he was a bit scared of Little. He’d seen her single-handedly rip the head off a red fox when she was little more than a pullet. He loved her with all his heart, and thankfully, she loved him in return.

Little was as beautiful as she was ruthless. Her bright yellow legs were long and shapely; she sported feathers of a coppery red colour. Her beak was yellow-ochre, and it was sharp. She could snatch an eye from a rattlesnake. There were quite a few serpents in Valencia County who wore patches after having had a run-in with Little. What struck an observer most though? Her eyes, yellow with an orange glint, and when she turned her head sideways to study someone, she’d deliver a piercing gaze that could strike fear into the hearts of her enemies.

It was a few winters back; when the flock lost one of their own, a hen named Noodle. She liked to tell fortunes for other chickens and to dance naked around campfires. Noodle never saw it coming when the old man and his enchantress got the better of her. They were camping in the snow near the river, and they fell on her. They came out of the dark and snapped her neck. The predators made grilled chicken sandwiches of Noodle and the flock scattered.
After a brief period of mourning, no more than an hour or so, Little recognized the need to distract the two killers.

She took it on herself to gather a few eggs (donated to the cause by some of the girls). She dipped into her own stash for chorizo, took the tortillas that Noodle wouldn’t need anymore and sent Brewster to the truck stop where he got cheese and salsa.

Little, herself, during the darkest part of the night – just before the dawn, snuck up to the murdering bastard’s campsite and neatly stacked the foodstuffs in front of their tent flaps. When the killers woke, it was first light. They recognized the offering for what it was – a plea for peace. Peck and Little watched from behind the silver leaves of a Havard Agave as the executioners made breakfast burritos, broke camp and drove east.

Peck put a wing around Little when the desert was quiet again when the interlopers had pulled out of sight. They were both surprised when Kellogs sauntered by.

“Your old lady is a chicken,” he said to Peck, “appeasing those assassins instead of attacking them. Shit, I coulda took ‘em by myself.” He spat on the ground in disgust.

In a flash, like a whirlwind, Little pecked his eyes out and tore his comb clean off. As he lay bleeding, blinded, and gasping for air in the desert sand, she leaned over and whispered, “Sometimes, Kellogs, discretion is the better part of valour. You’re going to die of exposure. Blinded, as you are, you won’t be able to find food. If you weren’t such a cock we would have only lost Noodle, but I reckon you got what’s been coming to you.”



I’m a little slow with this one. ¡Lo siento! Written for The Blog Propellant

The Prompt: This is a re-work of a previous prompt. 1) Write of the most beautiful place you have ever seen, then 2) Place one of your favorite characters in this setting. The character can be one of your own, from another author’s story, or maybe someone you know, and then lastly, 3) Surprise the reader with something unexpected.


The Blog Propellant · writing

TBP New Prompt #7- Chimes ‘n Shelby



When Chimes came to live at Mercer Park Zoo, she was probably eight years old and weighed exactly 63.5 kgs. She was the only Western Lowlands Gorilla at the park and, as such, commanded her own enclosure.

Coincidentally, on that very same day, Shelby Ellison began her first summer job, also at the zoo. She was sixteen years old and weighed exactly 53.9 kgs. She was the only summer intern at the park that year, and she was assigned to work with the primates. That was how Chimes and Shelby first met.

As time passed and Shelby worked with the primates, she realized that a bond had developed between the adolescent Gorilla and herself. Chimes would greet her when she arrived and would wish her adieu when Shelby went home in the evening. Shelby would sit with Chimes and tell her about her day. She would talk about her friends and things that were going on at home. Stuff that her brother was getting up to and the chores she had to do at home. Chimes seemed empathetic to the stories that Shelby shared. She listened intently. Sometimes Chimes would grow sad. Sometimes she would appear amused.

After a few weeks of visiting together, Shelby realized that Chimes was telling stories as well. She never spoke any words, but Shelby knew what she was saying. She worked out that Chimes was communicating telepathically. Chimes told her jokes. She told stories about Africa and the family and friends that she had left behind.  She spoke of her trip to New York, during most of which she had been sedated and had very little recollection. She told of the overland truck trip from New York to Mercer Park. The truck drivers would play the radio, and she enjoyed that. Of course, Chimes did not know the word “radio.” Maybe she didn’t know words at all. Shelby wasn’t sure, but Chimes was a communicator. She and Shelby could, and would, talk for hours at a time.

Chimes discussed the other Mercer Park Zoo employees and how they could not hear her in the same way that Shelby could. Shelby, in turn, learned about her abilities to communicate with the great ape as they rapidly became fast friends. Most importantly, Shelby learned to take nothing for granted. Chimes knew nothing of Western ways, bathrooms, bicycles, kitchens, cars, or the like; almost everything required explanation. At the end of that first summer, Shelby begged her parents to allow her to continue working after school. She had to promise not to let her grades slip, and eventually, they agreed. Shelby tried to communicate with others the same way that she talked with Chimes, but it was all to no avail. This special bond existed only between these two. She asked Chimes about it and was surprised when Chimes told her that it was the way that she communicated with all the other animals in the park. She did admit that Shelby was the first human who had ever responded in kind.

It was easy to get Mercer Park administrators to let her volunteer during the school year. The zoo loved volunteers and readily agreed to her offer. Shelby only wanted more time with Chimes, and she got it.

The girls grew up together. They’d spend their time talking about their families, Chimes family back in Africa, Shelby’s family, close by – in town. When Shelby brought her family to meet Chimes they only got to see her from the path that went by the enclosure. Shelby showed Chimes who her mother was, her father, her stupid brother, and her little sister. This, allowed Chimes to couple a face with a name when the two friends talked. Eventually, Shelby’s family became a proxy family for her friend.

When Shelby graduated from High School, she took a full-time job with the zoo, solely as a means to stay in contact with Chimes. She never told anyone about their bond. One day, when she was twenty-six and Chimes was 18.


Times up! Step away from your keyboard.

When I read this prompt along with the “special” request, the first thing that went through my mind was, “Oh shit!”

I have to admit that I was stumped. I decided to give myself a time limit, a deadline. I knew that would force me to begin putting words to paper (so to speak). At OLWG I usually give myself a twenty-five to thirty-minute writing time. This was harder, so I doubled my allotted time. Sorry, it did not get finished. I hope you found some redeeming value anyway. As for me? I still don’t know if I got it right…



Written for The New Blog Propellant Prompt #7

This week’s prompt:

Let’s speculate, shall we? Two beings with intersected consciousness.

This prompt has particular request: Because this is a prompt about speculation, try avoiding a story about a married couple, lovers, ex-lovers, friendship, or familial relations, etc. Need some ideas? Explore mythology as a place to start. Ask yourself, are they the same entity, or not? Is this a new discovery, or are they falling apart? Did they come by this state naturally, or was it imposed? Is their connection liked, or disliked? Is it threatening their status quo, or is it a dream beyond their known universe?


Poetry · writing

Triangle- A Poetic Text

Write the Story


Alex was a pickpocket,

a thief. He was a keeper of time,

husband to Mathilde

(who was kind, green-eyed, and fair).

Alex and Kirsten met at a neighbourhood barbeque

in the suburbs north and east of Odessa.

Kirsten was a coquette who quickly became his paramour.

 

They would sneak away for time together

She always carried a phone

to stay in touch with her mother.

He always kept a watch, a stolen timepiece that controlled time

ensuring that it ran linearly.

Until it no longer did.

                  

One summer afternoon, Alex and Kirsten arranged a tryst

in a citrus grove near the river’s edge. In his haste,

he dropped his pocket watch. It fell from his waistcoat, landed on the river bank.

The clock disappeared, quickly covered in white sand

due to the lovers frantic coupling.

 

No one noticed for a time. Till the movement on Alex’ watch slowed and stopped,

 time went awry; time ran backwards, time ran in loops, time ran in circles.

Caught herself; in a vicious, repetitious loop Mathilde, eventually spied her

husband and his consort passionately engaged.

 

Kind, unassuming Mathilde – killed them both, shoved them into the current.

She tossed the phone after them and picked the watch up from the sand.

She fastened it around her neck. Like a locket.  

 

When she wound the mainspring, time eventually settled back down.

To again become linear, smooth, predictable, unavoidable.

 

Mathilde was a widow. She was the keeper of time.



Write the Story! March 2021 Prompt
The Blog Propellant · writing

TBP New Prompt #6- Peter Altenberg



Peter collected his mail and took a table at Café Central by himself, away from the ghosts of his friends: Kraus, von Hofmannsthal, Klimt, and the others. He plopped down on the cushioned bench beneath the window. As was the norm, his pockets were empty, his stomach was too, but that didn’t matter. He fully intended to pen some prose today, some poetry. Armed with his inkpot, his quill, and an armful of correspondenzkarten on which to write (because he thrived on the limitations that they imposed on his writing); he selected one and scribbled on the back:

“Ich habe zu meinen zahlreichen unglücklichen Lieben noch eine neue hinzubekommen

den Schnee! Er erfüllt mich mit Enthusiasmus, mit Melancholie.” *


*Excerpt from „ WINTER AUF DEM SEMMERING “, Written by Peter Altenberg, master of the aphorism, first published in 1913.

I chose to steal this, and use it as the verse for my Haibun.



Written for The New Blog Propellant Prompt #6

The prompt directed me to choose an image. I chose this one:

write an ekphrastic poem
write an ekphrastic poem

The Blog Propellant · writing

TBP New Prompt #5- Kids Today



mini-tbp
TBP

 

I was in High School when I met Krissy (with a K) at a taco stand on night in El Paso. Me, Stevie, and Mike were out cruising in Stevie’s 1959 Cadillac convertible. It was a long, powerful automobile that was good for attracting chicks.

Krissy and her two friends didn’t require much prompting to crawl into the Caddy with us for a cruise downtown. Krissy came with a fat bomber, the size of her middle finger and I was pleased that she chose to sit in the back seat with me. On the way downtown we drank, smoked Krissy’s fattie, rolled up some Mexican weed so we could keep partying, and, most importantly, we stopped at the Piggly Wiggly on Montana where we bought a package or Oreos to stave off the munchies. I learned that night that Krissy could easily fit three whole Oreos into her mouth at one time.

Eventually we wound up near the University and lied our way into a Frat party. My smart mouth very nearly got us all into a fight but fortunately, my adversary developed a sense of humour at the last minute and we escaped.

The years have passed and been kind. Krissy and I have two high school aged children of our own. I don’t understand the kids today. They are not at all like their mother and I were. They’d rather play video games than throw up and hallucinate. I can’t figure it out. Can you?



Written for The New Blog Propellant Prompt #5

The prompt:

Use the theme “prompt,” or one of its synonyms to create a story or poem
(Some synonyms: incite, arouse, cause, convince, elicit…)