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21
Dec

Harriet

Harriet sat bolt upright at the sound.  That could only be one thing, Gabriel’s Trumpet.  It had been a long time since that had been used.  She checked her monitor and saw an urgent message had just arrived.  Opening it, she realized it was from the ‘big guy’ himself.  No mistaking it, the little angels fluttered across the screen as the message materialized.

It read, “Harriet, George needs you down in Binghamton.  Take care of him.”  It was signed with just his initial, “G.”  This had never happened before and she had a full schedule for today.  She was only halfway through her other emails and there was the report on reclaiming another section of heaven.  New arrivals had the oddest ideas about what heaven should be like.  Too many Cecil B. DeMille movies, she thought.  Scanning her calendar, she realized she could put off the report until tomorrow since it wasn’t due until next week and the prayer answering could be shifted to Marty, her assistant.  He had gotten pretty good at separating the sincere from the insincere and not going overboard, giving people everything they wanted immediately.  That cleared her morning. Read more »

21
Dec

Bob

Sara stood over the kitchen sink and stared at the greasy pile stacked haphazardly in front of her.  He had done it again.  Bill never washed anything.  He always left them for her.

She picked up the cereal bowl, encrusted with dried Froot Loops, and turned toward the Formica table along the wall.  Bread crumbs and a smear of orange marmalade decorated his side, a crumbled paper napkin on the floor next to his chair.  Closing her eyes, she breathed slowly.  If she opened them again, she would throw the bowl through the window.  Turning, she reached for the counter and placed the filthy bowl back on the counter.  There was no familiar clink as it hit the sponge next to the drainer.

Without opening her eyes, she shuffled out of the kitchen into the living room.  Once she was sure the sight and smells of the kitchen were behind her, she lifted one eyelid and saw the window overlooking the front porch.  Bob was there, hanging on the curtain.  Her Bob.  Her other eye opened and she smiled.  She loved Bob.  He never left her dirty dishes or Read more »

21
Dec

A mundane job

Five AM.  Another morning on the farm.  The cows were already lowing in the pasture, ready to enter the barn.  He turned toward his wife and decided to let her sleep a few extra minutes.  She would have the coffee ready after he finished the morning’s milking.  Quietly leaving the bedroom, he pulled on his overalls and buttoned his cotton shirt.  His barn boots were waiting at the door, sentinels guarding the kitchen.

This morning was different in some way.  He noticed that as soon as he carefully closed the screen door.  Even though there were no clouds, it was darker than normal.  He turned toward the east and, rather than bright white, the sun was coppery, almost brown.  Was it an eclipse he wondered?  No, he would have heard that on the radio weather report the night before when he went to bed.

Staring, he saw the sun had now disappeared altogether.  And, rather than red, it was definitely brown, almost black.  It was also irregularly shaped, round, but not perfectly.  The cow’s lowing brought his mind back to his farm and their Read more »

21
Dec

Split Pea Soup

“Is there ham in the split pea soup?”

“No.”

“Is there bacon?”

“No.”

“Are there any pork products at all?”

“No, I just like to stand here and argue with you.”

This conversation occurred in a small diner during lunch between a patron and the waiter serving them.  Would I focus on the waiter and his conversation with the cook or his fellow waiters/waitresses after taking the order.  Would he purposely add something just to piss the patron off?  Would he come back later and apologize?

If I focused on the patron, would they be a male or female?  What would their thoughts be as the waiter left the table?  Read more »

21
Dec

The Woman in Brown

She was wearing brown pants, a brown jacket, a brown knit cap and brown shoes.  She came out of an office building and walked to the corner just ten feet away.  Her right foot was cocked at an almost ninety degree angle to the other but her gait was unaffected.

In developing a character based on this individual, I would want to know how this had occurred.  Had it been an accident as a child or as an adult?  Was it congenital?  If as a child, how had her peers treated her?  Later, had this affected her ability to get a job or carry on the normal activities of an adult?  Did she see this as a deformity or just a normal part of her body?  Did she blame others?

If I used her in a story, what would I emphasize?  Would that foot just be an aspect of her body or the reason for her actions?  Was the fact that she was dressed totally in brown affect how I would portray her?  What was she thinking when she walked out of that building?  Was she happy, sad or just going home for lunch?  Do I portray her as having just committed a crime?

Would she be a central character or a minor one?  Would her appearance in the story be shortly after the incident that caused the problem with her foot or many years later?

 

11
Dec

Page 54, Good Man, Bad Man

“Wait a minute, were you out on the sidewalk Friday night?” Debbie stood in the doorway with her cell-phone open and a questioning look on her face. Rich shook his head; she didn’t need to call 911. He walked closer to the boy and extended his hand, “Hi, I’m Rich. This is my father’s house. What’s your name?”

“Me? I’m Dustin.” He looked down while he spoke and was barely heard.

“You knew my father? Why don’t you come in and sit down.”

“No.”

“Let’s sit on the steps. I’d like to talk to you.”

Rich moved back and sat on the bottom step while Debbie whispered, “I’ll go check on the boys and keep an eye on the two of you. Be careful.”

He nodded to his wife and motioned Dustin toward the step beside him. As he moved closer, Rich studied him. Other than a little acne on his left cheek, he was quite handsome with features reminding Rich of a very young Harrison Ford. “Let’s talk.” Dustin stopped and gave the slightest of nods; he wasn’t coming any closer. “There’s a lawn chair next to the garage; why don’t you pull it out.”

“I’ll stand.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yeah. I knew your father.” His voice faltered as he said ‘father.’ Rich didn’t know how he could encourage him in sharing more. “We used to talk sometimes. Did other things. Shot baskets together, too.”

“I did that too with Dad. I remember when he put the backboard up. He almost fell off the ladder when he replaced the net.”

“I tried helping him once. He didn’t want me on the ladder. I wanted to help; he wouldn’t let me.” Rich waited and Dustin relaxed. Dustin continued, “He was nice to me.” He turned, as if he was leaving, and Rich almost called him until he saw Dustin pull the chair away from the garage and unfold it.

“Sounds like he was nice to a lot of people in town.” Rich mused under his breath.

11
Dec

Without Punctuation

I was so scared on my bike that day in the spring while the white clouds rolled overhead and the storm clouds were held at bay by the fierce heat of the noonday sun that had blossomed so beautifully that morning after the starlit night filled with the sounds of insects and coyotes off in the distance calling to one another announcing their presence to one and all while at the same time throwing a scare into the children who had already been warned by their parents that they should close their eyes and fall asleep since they had school in the morning and chores to do before breakfast as well as walking the mile on the gravelly path to the bus stop and waiting for the bearded bus driver who was inevitably late on Wednesdays but never on Tuesdays for some odd reason that everyone speculated about but no one knew that the real reason for Jim to be late on Wednesdays was that he stayed up late on Tuesdays reading James Joyce’s Ulysses to his Persian cat named Scheherazade who always sat quietly on his lap purring softly at the turn of each page never once arching her back or hissing regardless of the odd occurrences recounted by her faithful owner of over ten years who Read more »

11
Dec

Wrting Group Homage

“Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!”

“No, grand-dad.  That’s not the story I want.  You know the one.  The one with the leopard, the ships in the night, the monsters on holiday, the lykens and all those other creatures.”

The slightly balding man pulled his grand-daughter higher up on his lap and smiled.  Holding her close, he said, “You must mean the one that occurred that spring of 2010.”

“Yes, yes, that one.”  The red-haired girl settled herself in his lap staring into his brown eyes.  “I like that one.”

He looked through the window to their left and remembered that wonderful period when he was a young man.  The group had come together, almost by chance.  The two leaders had announced an opportunity for exploring their minds, for challenging their abilities and for shaping their future.  He had joined, not really knowing what benefits he would enjoy. Read more »

11
Dec

Dear Ms Wray

Dear Ms Wray,

I really enjoyed our night on the town last week.  You were so kind to allow me to show you the sights of New York City.  The view from atop the Empire State Building was spectacular.  I’d never see the skyline before.  And the planes; that was exciting!  Especially when I grabbed the one and dropped it over the side.  I bet you found that breathtaking!

Living on Skull Island was really a drag.  Having to break the jaws of all those dinosaurs and then watching the blood dribble out was not a lot of fun.  You brought real joy to my life.  I never had any fun there.  Meeting you changed my life.

That get’s me to my point.  I realize I may not have all the social graces you are used to, especially having been to big cities in America.  But I can change; I can learn.  I want to take you out again.  I’ll be less of a cad this time.  I won’t pull your clothes off or tickle your ribs, I promise.  I’ll even shower first.  And, I’ll only whisper in your ear rather than roaring at everybody I meet.  It was those bright lights and sirens that bothered me.  We didn’t have them where I came from. Read more »