OLWG#155- Midnight Microphone

This piece was written for OLWG#155

Hopper Todd woke to the night. His alarm sounded at exactly 10:00 pm, or 2200 as his father, Ralph, would have said if he’d still been alive. Hopper’s dad had been killed at work. He was an armoured car driver and had lost his life when he braked hard to avoid a cyclist. The sudden stop caused a pallet filled with about a hundred 25-pound boxes of quarters to break free from it’s bindings. It slid forward from the back of the truck to the cab. Ralph was crushed into the steering wheel when the boxes hit from behind. He was killed instantly.

Tonight, though, Hopper wasn’t concerned with his father’s death. He was poised to perform at “Midnight Microphone”. A writer’s and performer’s venue held once a month at The Eldorado Hotel and Ballroom, downtown. A huge venue, a fuckin’ barn! Probably holds 6 or 7 hundred people, easy and always crowded for this event. It made him nervous.

After showering, Hopper shaved and wished that he could grow a beard. His Momma told him that maybe when he was a little older he’d be able to. His father, after all, had had to shave twice a day, but Hopper was almost 19 years old. He didn’t want to wait any longer.

“Oh well, can’t be helped,” he thought.

Checked his reflection in the mirror,

Ran his fingers through his wet hair.

Dressed carefully in his grey plaid skinny suit. He donned his waistcoat patterned in a blue and turquoise floral.

A thin grey leather necktie.

Downstairs he made himself a peanut butter and jelly burrito, strawberry jelly. He sat on the couch with Momma and they watched a little of her favourite TV game show, the $10,000 Pyramid.

“What are you up to tonight, Hopper? All dressed up; shaven and shorn? You look like you’re up to something.”

“I’m doin’ the Midnight Microphone tonight, Momma. I’ve got a bit of the stage fright. Butterflies, you know.”

His Momma took both his hands in hers. She looked at him for a while and then grinned, “Can I hear your poem?” she asked.

He pulled a folded sheet of paper from his suitcoat pocket, opened it, looked down, cleared his throat, and began to read.

“She was long and lean, spindly. She walked with a gangly gait.
She kept a small pistol within easy reach at all times and; she didn’t own a car.
She was a con and a charlatan, who ran a three card Monte game. A different corner every day

“on a cardboard box…
easy to fold away…
easy to move if it got too hot…

“We became embroiled with one another when I was sixteen.
She was twenty-one.
She gave me my first kiss.

“She tasted of rye and cigarettes.
I was smitten.”

Momma swiped at her eyes, “You know you should have it memorized for the show?”

“Yes, Momma.”

“You’re talking about that Ward girl, aren’t you? That red-headed girl, her name was Irene or Eileen? I knew that girl was a bad influence. I should have put a stop to that when she first started coming’ around.”

The prompts were:

  1. don’t tempt me, baby
  2. midnight microphone
  3. tear stained letter

OLWG#154- I’m Not a Rich Man

This piece was written for OLWG#154

The Circle Line to Kensington

On my lap, I clutch

A bunch of flowers, carnations and daisies
A bottle of cheap Spanish plonk
A small box of chocolates
A £10 note

The High Street stop for me

Got a call this morning from a Ms Emsworth

She says that she found my Flapjack

Got my number off his tags

She says that she thought he was missing me

Says she thought I should come pick him up

She says that any kind of reward would be appreciated

The prompts were:

  1. I can’t shake this
  2. lost dogs
  3. on the way to Kensington

OLWG#153- Revenge

This piece was written for OLWG#153

Maj woke cold and wet, not an unusual condition for a Finfolk mermaid. She looked forward to the day that she and her sister, Ægir, had planned.

They were going to visit the rocks off the Coast of Karmøy Island. There they would sit and sing sweet songs in order to lure sailors to their deaths; after having their way with them, of course. Karmøy was a good place to find sailors. Mariners were always lonely. Some, who missed their women, and still others who easily fell prey to a sweet voice and a bare breast; were the easiest to catch. Of course there were risks.

Their younger sister Gna had fallen in love with a lonely sailor. She had foolishly lead his ship away from the rocks where his death had been all but certain. Gna had been a fool and had ultimately been killed by her seaman, gutted with his ubiquitous folding clasp knife; she had died a horrible death. Yet another reason for Maj and Ægir to do what they did.

The prompts were:

  1. woke up cold and wet
  2. a drop of blue paint
  3. so alone

OLWG#151- Well, It’s not Illegal

This piece was written for OLWG#151

In the high deserts of New Mexico sits a small town in Lincoln County. You’ve heard of Lincoln County, haven’t you? Billy used to hang  out there. Leastwise, his friends used to call him Billy. Other folks would call him Mr “the Kid.”

Now, this town is called Carrizozo, and it’s named after the Carrizo grass that used to grow on the high desert plains there. It can get windy there and if you are visiting during the summer you are advised to roll up the windows and lock your automobile when you park on the street. Now this is not because of the wind kicking the dust up, although it does. This is because of something completely different.

You see, it takes about 4 plants to feed zucchini (aka Courgette) to a family of four for the duration of the season. In this small town people living alone usually plant about 12. The result is a tremendous surplus of squash. If your car is left unlocked on the street; people will fill it with bags and bags of zucchini. When this happened to me, the first time, I went to the Sheriff’s office to report it.

The Sheriff’s office in town there is a pretty intimidating place.  There’s a big, grand, round entry foyer. Lots of high windows, brick and linoleum; it’s designed to make you feel insignificant.  At the end furthest away from the street side is a high wooden desk polished till you can see your reflection in the wood. I know now that the stern looking woman behind the desk is Luella. Luella is a really sweet lady.  She’s related to half the town, has about a hundred grandchildren, and is a volunteer firefighter; but I didn’t know any of that at the time.  She has steel grey hair and looks like she don’t take shit off of anybody. She’s all sitting there under this bigger than life portrait of Pat Garrett, who’s staring down at me. Sheriff Garrett is the most famous Sheriff of Lincoln County ever. I mean, he’s the dude who shot Billy.

Remember Billy? I talked about him earlier.

Anyway the whole scene made me feel small and I was about to turn around and leave when Luella smiled at me.

“How can I help you?” she almost sings with a soft Spanish accent. She drew me in.

I told her the whole story. I told her that I had parked my car on Fourteenth Street and run into the coffee shop. I told her that I  hadn’t been gone for more than three or four minutes and I watched my  car the whole time, except for a brief moment when I was actually  ordering my triple doppio with added frothed frozen chai in a plastic  cup and extra whip cream.

Luella listened to me whine, nodded her head and smiled even bigger.

“How about that?” she said and nodded her head.

“Can’t you do something about it?” I asked, “Isn’t that against the law to fill someone’s car with unwanted vegetables?”

“Naw, honey, it’s really not. I recommend you take your 15 bags of squash. Go home and make zucchini bread with it. Give it to your neighbors. They’ll appreciate it and they’ll appreciate you too. That new family that moved in two doors down… hell, they might invite you  over for a barbecue, where you’ll meet the girl of your dreams, marry  her, and live happily ever after.”

“OK,” I responded.

The prompts were:

  1. how about that?
  2. when the dust clears
  3. four on the floor

OLWG#150- Maddie

This piece was written for OLWG#150

On our way back from the service Maddie and I stopped for green chile cheeseburgers and fries at a Blake’s. She was hungry and confused.

“What are we going to do without Momma, Grandpa?” she queried, brown eyes wide, wondering.

“I don’t know, baby girl,” I called her that a lot, “but we’ll figure it out. We have to.”

“I’ll take care of you now,” she added.

“We’re gonna have to take care of each other.”

We ate pretty much in silence after that, staring emptily through the window into the car park. Each of us lost in our thoughts, but after a while, Maddie gave up and gathered the remains of her meal. She carefully separated and smoothed out two napkins with a picture of the Lota Burger guy on them. She folded and tucked them into the pocket of her sundress.

“Why are you saving those?” I asked her.

“Momma liked to collect the napkins from hamburger places,” she informed me, “I’m going to put these into the vase with her. I think she’d like that.”

I smiled, “Great idea, baby girl,” I said, “that’s a great idea.”

The prompts were:

  1. put them in the urn with the cremains
  2. a bad poet with a good microphone
  3. A rather clumsy girl

OLWG#148- Sunday Moanin’

This piece was written for OLWG#148

“My lands,” Gramma Tamsin spat, “I could live to be a hunnert and never see that agin till my dying day.” She sat back and smiled to herself.

“What’s that Momma? Whadcha see?”

“It’s that no good dawg o’ yourn. He just pooped in your girl’s Buster Browns.”

“Which one?”

“Not too shore. Mighta been the left one, I think.”

“Not which shoe, Momma.”

“Sorry,’ twas the brown one without a tail.”

“No, not which dog, neither. Which girl?”

“Y’all need to be a bit more clearer when yore axeing questions, Tammy. It’s that redheaded girl. The one what doesn’t look like neither you nor Buck. The one what all-ays looks like a little ragamuffin. The one out here playin’ in the front yard. The bottom of the porch steps.”

“Damnit! Savannah Mae. Fetch yore shoes and hose the poop outen ‘em right now. Lawd ‘a Mercy girl, I don’t know what y’all gonna wear to church this moning.”

Gramma Tamsin jist kep rockin’, smilin’ ‘n watchin’ the kids.
There shore were a passel of ‘em.

The prompts were:

  1. What happened to my coffee?
  2. Buster Browns
  3. till my dying day