Zozo 02.02.23- Helen

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

She stood on my porch looking like a drowned cat. Her hair was wet and dripping. She shivered from the cold, but on the plus side the fabric of her dress clung to her body, provocatively.

“Helen, Jesus, get in the house. I have a fire going in the den, I’ll get you a towel.” I couldn’t help but stare as I watched her come through the door and head for warmth. Wet clothes looked good on her. I broke from my reverie and headed to the linen closet for a towel. I handed it over, reluctantly, as she huddled next to the fireplace. “I’ve got coffee on, or I can make a pot of tea.” I said, and waited for her.

She trembled, “Coffee would be good.”

I snagged a mug as I entered the kitchen and rushed to the coffee pot. Pouring coffee with one hand and snagging the sugar bowl with the other I rushed back to the den where Helen was drying her hair with the bright beach towel. Her cream coloured blouse clung tightly to her breasts and I tried not to stare, as I proffered the cup.

“What are you doing out in this weather?” I asked and forced myself to look at her eyes.

“I came to ask if you’d be my Valentine.”

I laughed, “You look so cold and miserable.”

“Will you?” she repeated.

“Of course, I will.”

“Then let me get out of these wet clothes. Do you have a blanket I can wrap up in? Can I borrow your sweater? Is the electric blanket turned on, on your bed?” She held her hand out for me and I took it. She smiled. We walked together down the hall.


time’s up – step away

The prompts

  1. in from the rain
  2. the people who have walked beneath them
  3. you’re my valentine
  4. I can wait


ZOZO 12.01.23- Friday Nights

Written in 15 minutes, with the Carrizozo Writers- Raw, unedited, exactly as it flowed through my fingers to the keyboard

Larry dragged himself out of bed and, with eyes half open, stumbled to the kitchen. His hair was wild atop his head. The stubble on his cheeks was coarse and sandpaper rough. His boxer shorts did not hang straight, they were twisted around his waist, misaligned. The taste of battling dragons lingered in his mouth.

He had one thought. He needed a pitcher of bloody Marys to cut the pain lurking in the shadows behind his eyes. To silence the screams of the dragons, put them back into their lairs, and organize his thoughts.

Saturday mornings.
Saturday mornings suck.
Why do others always villainize Mondays, when it takes all day Saturday to approach even a semblance of normalcy.
Saturday mornings suck.

Friday nights, on the other hand…
Friday nights were fine! True freedom
On Friday nights Larry was always rich. Money was no object.
He was handsome,
good looking,
funny and entertaining.
But when Saturday morning rolled around, his head usually hurt. Hurt bad.


time’s up – step away

The prompts

  1. lonely indecision
  2. bloody Marys
  3. Friday night


ZOZO 05.01.23- Nancy Pérez-Quiñones

Written in 10 minutes, with the Carrizozo Writers- Raw, unedited, exactly as it flowed through my fingers to the keyboard

Elizabeth held her breath as the emcee announced the winner.

“Miss Alamogordo!” he exclaimed and the crowd went wild. Liz turned to the right and spotted the winner down the row of beauty queens.

It was Nancy Pérez-Quiñones.

Of course, it was.

And, she was feigning surprise.

She wasn’t surprised.

In fact, Nancy was probably the one who had stolen Liz’s own lucky underwear.

The French cut pink ones.

The ones that, had she been wearing them today, would have ensured Liz’s coronation.

Nancy was from Tularosa. She knew that Liz had lucky underwear. They had attended grade school together. Liz had worn those panties when she won “Otero County Rodeo Queen”. Elizabeth had foolishly told Nancy that she attributed that win to her new found lucky undies.

Fuck Nancy Pérez-Quiñones!

She was such a bitch.

What had that malicious she-devil done with the charmed undergarments?


time’s up – step away

The prompts

  1. beauty contest
  2. blood
  3. lucky underwear


ZoZo 15.December.22- A Couple of Prompts means A Couple of Go’s

Written in 16 minutes, with the Carrizozo Writers- Raw, unedited, exactly as it flowed through my fingers to the keyboard

First Go

You’ve changed, she said

I should hope so

The old you would never have said that. Why did you say that now?

I thought about her question for a while, because, I’m not that old me, anymore, I replied This is another me. I didn’t like that other guy anymore. I grew weary of having him around. No one liked him. He was a Dick.

Well, you weren’t that bad, although you did tend to revel in your authority, or at least the authority you believed you had.

Yeah, you hit the nail on the head there. I learned about authority when I decided to change.

I learned about authority when I began to remake myself.
I figured out that the only one I could even pretend to have authority over was myself, and I had no business trying to tell anyone else what to do or when to do it, or how it should be done.

You’re still kind of a Dick though, she advised.

I know, but I’m working on it.

Second Go

Detective Constable Sue Holmes pushed open the door of the ancient brick garage beneath the bridge and shone her torch into the gloom. The stench was overpowering and she backed out. She pulled a scarf from her jacket pocket and tied it around the lower part of her face. She went back in and looked around.

Later, on the hand held, she called it into the precinct.

“I’ve got a possible 187,” she reported to dispatch, “although, it looks more like a sacrifice than a simple murder. You should send backup and a coroner. I haven’t found his head yet. I’m still looking.”


time’s up – step away

The prompts

  1. looks more like a sacrifice
  2. another me
  3. the apple revels in its authority


After the Funeral in Strongiron

My name is Hillary Pruit, and I recently returned to Strongiron when my Grandma Pruit passed away. As it turns out – I was the only family member who showed up for the funeral. Where were my brothers? There were only three other people there.

Her nearest neighbour, Edna Webster, was there. She lives two miles further down the road out from town.

Her gentleman friend, a farmer; named Casper Hutton.

And her other gentleman friend, a saloon keeper called Willie Shufflebottom.

I know, huh? She had two gentlemen friends, and she was only one Grandma. Who knew?

During my visit to Strongiron, I got my hands on Grandma’s recipe book, so I kept it. I had never really known her well, as she and Dad didn’t really get along. So, I got the wild idea that I could get to know her better by cooking.  I determined that I would cook my way through her recipe book.

I began with Grandma’s Sour Cream Raisin Pie because it sounded bizarre and piqued my curiosity. I combined raisins, sugar, cornflour, salt, ground cloves, cinnamon, sour cream, milk, and egg yolks. The pie is pretty and topped with meringue. The aroma when it is baking: is pure heaven, and best of all, it’s loaded with calories and carbohydrates, the way a good pie is supposed to be.

I followed up that pie with her Sweet Potato biscuits and then her Pecan Rum Bars, which tasted like a gooey fruit cake! Next, I plan to make her Vinegar Pie. Mr Hutton recommends it highly, and I think that; I’m excited to eat it.

I’ll let you know…



ZoZo 08.December.22 Chapman

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

The wedding party reached Bachfok just before sunset on a parade of Elephants. The bride and her family filled the front of the procession. The groom and his supporters were in the rear. It was a strict separation except for a few guests who intermingled in the centre. The maid of honour and the best man scandalously rode together on the same beast about halfway down the procession.

The bride, known as Min-ha, was from a wealthy family of landowners outside the capital. Their holdings included the vast farmlands and orchards near Kebel. The groom was an American, Daniel Chapman, who rumour had it was a deserter from the military in 1967, finding his way out of Vietnam and eventually settling here. Of course, that had been long ago. He had assimilated and spoke the language fluently by now. He was closer in age to his father-in-law than to his bride, a fact he was most proud of, but which his new family viewed with significant disdain. His saving grace, and the reason his father-in-law had agreed to the union, was that Daniel was quite wealthy. He had assimilated well into the culture of his new country and now controlled over 50% of the country’s opium production, which was vast. The combined families represented over 20% of the entire food and drug production of their little corner of SE Asia, and all was good… for a while.

It was about ten years later when Min-ha’s father passed. His body had become emaciated by his addictions and his zest for life. He was so slight and weakened that no one noticed he was dying. No one heard his dying words, no one, except Chapman, who now stood to inherit the entire fortune: all that his wife’s family had owned for generations and everything that he, himself, had accumulated since escaping Vietnam.


time’s up – step away

The prompts

  1. nobody heard his dying words
  2. this is all my fault
  3. arriving by elephant


ZoZo 17.November.22 Spycraft

Written in 15 minutes, with the Carrizozo Writers- Raw, unedited, exactly as it flowed through my fingers to the keyboard

Marquez walked nonchalantly to the park bench and sat at the end, just as he had done for the three days previous. The first day he had sat for 15 minutes and when no one appeared he left. The second day he sat alone for 30 minutes before departing. Yesterday he waited for only five minutes.

Today, almost immediately after he sat down a tall, thin, woman; with long, straight, dark hair sat down next to him. She carried a tiny dog in her purse.

“Do you have the diamond?” he said aloud, albeit softly enough that only his new companion could hear.

She sat up straight and dug around the dog to retrieve package and a lighter. She pulled a long slender cigarette from the pack and lit it, inhaling deeply, “Indeed,” she said as she exhaled, “In the cigarette pack.” She set the cellophane package on the bench next to her leg.

Marquez retrieved the package, brushing his fingertips along her thigh as he did. He felt the package and looked in from the top, before smiling, and proffering a single brass key on a chain, “Lincoln Street bus station, locker 223,” he said as he stood beginning to walk away. Then as if suddenly remembering something he turned back. “I felt something when I brushed your leg,” he said, “did you feel it too?”

She just scowled at him.

“Would you be interested in joining me for a grilled cheese lunch at the diner?” He continued.

She shook her head.

Marquez stared at her face longingly, then turned and left the park via the south path.


time’s up – step away

The prompts

  1. do you have the diamond
  2. outside of your comfort zone
  3. best time of day


ZoZo 03.November.22 A Greedy Man

Written in 10 minutes, with the Carrizozo Writers- Raw, unedited, exactly as it flowed through my fingers to the keyboard

In his twisted mind the twisted memories spun around and around the synapses that stood like signposts and navigational aids to mark the way.
His Mother
his money
his job
his Lovers
his Wife…
And his legacy.
There was even a dog, that seemed to spring from nowhere, she was named Kona.
The man could never have enough
he could never be satisfied
and only the best would sooth his tortured soul
even then, it was only for a little while. The thirst could never be quenched.
He wanted the moon
he wanted the stars
money meant nothing to him.
He had enough.
Pleasure, pain, debauchery.
Those were what he craved,
longed for.
He had forsaken his mother, his wife and the dog
he lived for his lovers and for
experiences with which he was
How long could this go on?

There was a twisted man who walked a twisted mile
To reach a twisted house filled with twisted desires

And pain
There would always be pain – no escaping it.


time’s up – step away

The prompts

  1. the greedy man
  2. twisted memories


ZoZo 20.October.22 The circle of life.

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

Enid had that old red suitcase. She’d had it for years. It had been her Mama’s suitcase before she passed away.

Enid was a trouper, a show girl, an actress, just like her Mama had been. That suitcase had traveled back and forth, across the country, at least a couple hundred times. Mostly on trains, but sometimes in the back of an automobile or a pickup truck; the stories that bag could most likely tell.

It was covered in embroidered patches now, New York, Atlanta, LA, Chicago, and Denver, just to name a few. Enid had made it a point to visit as many of the places that her Mama had done. She worked in many of the theatres where her Mama had worked, too. Even played some of the same parts that she had played, sang the same songs that she remembered her Mama used to sing to her as they rode the rails. Sometimes in first class, sometimes in boxcars.

The show must go on! There was always work, for a talented and versatile performer. That’s what Enid had learned from Mama. Don’t let yourself become dependent on some no good man. She had learned that too.

Enid never knew who her father was. She didn’t need to know. She was an independent woman.

She had spent some time with men, just like her Mama had done when a show ran for a long time. That mostly happened in big cities, Like New York, or San Francisco, or Dallas. Not too long ago she had spent almost six months in Kansas City, of all places. She had met a gentleman there, a stagehand, who claimed to be a distant relative of Wyatt Earp. He had been a kind man and she had allowed him to become a little more familiar than she mighta should have. It wasn’t the first time, but now she was beginning to feel a little nauseated in the mornings. Her appetite was off.

She suspected that she was going to pass this suitcase on to her own daughter soon.


time’s up – step away

The prompts

  1. so kind of you
  2. a battered old suitcase
  3. where we’ve been


Zozo- 29.Sep.2022 Breaking the Ice

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

They say that you can’t go home again, and it’s true. I tried it once and wound up sitting with all my family members talking over the rim of my coffee cup to anyone who happened to be sitting on the other side of the table. It sucked. I couldn’t think of anything to say. I had nothing in common with these people anymore, and I somehow lost my ability to relate a story. Any story.

That first evening, I started telling my cousin Renee about a time when I had the flu and she didn’t really seem interested at all. I figured out why when I learned she wasn’t my cousin, Renee. She was a friend of my cousin who had stopped by to pick Renee up and go to a concert at the Event Centre.

I asked who they were going to see and she told me the name of an artist I had never heard of. She added that they were going to be late if my cousin wasn’t ready soon.

“We’re going to miss the opening act!” she complained.

“Who is that?” I asked.

“Some old group I never heard of.” She told me. “Fleetweed something or other…”

“Fleetweed Mud?” I queried.

“I don’t know, maybe. They’re supposed to be pretty good though. My mom used to like them.”

“Tell you what,” I suggested. “Why don’t you and I go? Renee doesn’t seem that interested, she’s not even here, and I used to like Fleetweed Mud. If that’s the opening act, I wouldn’t mind seeing them.”

“Let’s go then.” She said, and then she introduced herself, “I’m Marie.”

“You want me to drive Marie?” I asked. “I’ve got some weed in my luggage, Let me get it.”

“Oh, not for me, I don’t smoke that stuff.”

“I know, I have some homemade mescaline. I’ll get that instead.”

She smiled and jingled her keys. “I don’t mind driving.”


time’s up – step away

The prompts

  1. have some of this
  2. a dog wandered
  3. had the flu
  4. talking over the cup rim