Mid-Week Blues-Buster Week 21 – Bobby “Blue” Bland Memorial Edition

Welcome to the Mid-Week Blues-Buster Flash Fiction Challenge, Week .

This is a flash fiction challenge.  The prompt is a song.  You are not required to write about or even mention the song.  It’s there only to get the ideas moving around in your brain pan.  If you want to write about the song (or the video- it’s all good here) go for it but don’t feel like you have to.

The rules;

500 words, but it’s a slushy 500, meaning you can go up to 700 or as low as 300.

Post your entry right in the comments section of this post.

MAKE SURE TO PUT YOUR TWITTER HANDLE NEXT TO YOUR WORD COUNT AT THE BOTTOM OF YOUR POST.  IF YOU’RE NOT ON TWITTER GIVE ME AN EMAIL ADDRESS OR SOME OTHER WAY TO GET A HOLD OF YOU!

The challenge starts whenever I post this on Tuesday and ends at 4:30PM Pacific Time on Friday.  You read that right.  Pacific Time.

We lost legendary bluesman Bobby “Blue” Bland two weeks ago yesterday.  I had the privilege of seeing him in concert a few years ago.   This week’s prompt is a tribute to, “Blue”.

Image

The tune is one of his biggest hits, “Further Up the Road”.

Here’s the link; http://youtu.be/Hq3cYcEfJtY

This week’s Judge is the marvellous Meg McNulty!

That’s all you need from me.  The challenge is now open & runs through 4:30PM Pacific Time on Friday July 12th

Go write!!!!!

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Posted on July 9, 2013, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 17 Comments.

  1. One Can Only Hope
    Jennifer Gracen

    I never go to bars. Especially by myself. But the loneliness and heartache were fucking suffocating me, yet again. I needed a drink. Something. Anything.

    I thought going away would help. A weekend trip, a different place, sightseeing all day, a fancy hotel room at night, all would distract me. Nope. Still missed him. He’d been gone two months. It felt like forever.

    There were two bars in the grand hotel. One was upscale, ritzy, downright opulent. One was dimly lit and more down-to-earth, with blues music floating from the doorway. No brainer. I didn’t feel opulent just then. I ducked into the darker one and took a seat at the bar. Drumming my fingers on the smooth, lacquered wood, I ordered a vodka gimlet and let the music playing flow over me, seep into my bones. Bluesy guitar licks soothed me. But the lyrics made me smirk; did the Universe know I’d be coming in here just now, and picked this song for me?

    “Further on up the road
    Someone’s gonna hurt you like you hurt me
    Further on up the road
    Someone’s gonna hurt you like you hurt me
    Further on up the road
    Baby, you just wait and see…”

    One can only hope, I thought.
    No. No, no, no. I scrunched my eyes shut as I winced. Snark wouldn’t help. Resentment wouldn’t help. Letting go of him would. Once and for all. Completely. Honestly.

    Of course, I’d been working on that since the day he walked away. Some days were better than others. Some had been very, very dark. Only recently had I started feeling like I could head towards lighter ground once more. Almost there…

    The bartender set my drink down before me and I thanked him before I sipped. It was strong. I felt the burn of it, but gulped down three more swallows.

    I was so close. So close to letting him, and the heartache, go.
    I just needed something to help me kick over to the other side.
    Too bad I’m lousy at asking for help.

    I stared down into my drink. And thought: I’m not a drinker. What am I even doing here?
    Thoughts of him flooded my head and I pushed them out with an angry mental shove.
    Time to let him go. Like he let me go.
    For real, this time.
    Reclaim yourself, goddammit. It’s fucking time.

    The sound of a barstool scraping made my head snap up. Two seats over, a man sat down, smiling at me briefly in acknowledgement before ordering a gin and tonic from the bartender. I did a quick onceover. He was attractive. About my age. Dressed like he’d just come from a business meeting or something. He glanced my way and smiled again, longer than a flash this time. “Drinking alone?” he asked.

    “Yup.” I nodded as I turned the glass around in fidgety circles, suddenly a shade uncomfortable with this strange, attractive man looking at me.
    I wondered if I radiated sadness, something akin to the blues playing over the sound system. If I had a neon sign on my head, “Loser In Love”.

    Let it go…

    “Can I buy your next drink?” the man asked.

    I blinked at him. “Why?”

    He snorted out a laugh, but said plainly, “Because I’d like to.”

    Heat rose to my cheeks. “I’m sorry. Didn’t mean to sound bitchy. Sure, why not.”

    “We could also talk, you know,” he said. “If you like.”

    My brows pulled down, mildly taken aback at his request. “About what?”

    “Whatever you want.” He shrugged. “I like to talk to people.”

    I used to also, I thought. What had happened to me??
    Time. To. Let. Go.

    “Know what? I’d like that,” I said, straightening up in my seat. I flashed him a soft grin. “Let’s talk.”

    The blues song that had been playing moved into its last verse:

    “Further on up the road
    When you’re all alone and blue
    Further on up the road
    When you’re all alone and blue
    You gonna ask me to take you back, baby
    But I’ll have somebody new.”

    One can only hope, I thought.

    688 words
    @jennifergracen

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  2. Crackles and Pops
    Stephanie Fuller

    He pointed her to the chair near the window and walked to the other end of the room. She saw a stack of vinyl albums in their dust covers sitting next to an old record player. It looked older than her, and well-loved. She wondered how many beautiful women he’d brought back to his bachelor pad to play one of these masterpieces, bringing them to life with something as simple as a needle sliding through a groove. She had never owned one, personally, but she remembered sitting with her grandmother and listening to Lawrence Welk. The bubbly, upbeat orchestra music always made her want to dance along. Right now, though, she was not with her grandmother. And she was pretty sure he wouldn’t be playing any Lawrence Welk.

    He picked an album from its dust sleeve and held it in his hands a second or two, blowing off the fuzz before he placed it gently on the turntable. She could see what great care he took in his treatment of his albums. He flipped the player on and slowly lifted the needle. She saw him, hesitant in the placement of it; she’d never seen someone so burly act so softly, so gently. She hoped he would be half as gentle with her once his hands were on her body.

    Her breath sped up slightly remembering their walk to his place. His hands were large, and a little rough; he said it was from his job in construction. They had been all over her during the walk: on her waist, her shoulder, her arms and her ass. Occasionally, she could feel the calluses scratch as they rubbed against her bare skin.

    She heard the needle make contact. The room filled with the crackles and pops she remembered her grandmother telling her was a sign of a well-loved album. It meant that the owner had listened to it enough times for it to have become worn. Closing her eyes, she felt the music in her body. It was a soulful blues tune. She didn’t know the musician, but it didn’t matter; the song was already part of her.

    Before she knew what was happening, she felt a hand touch her chin and lift her face upward. He stood in front of her with her face in his hand. He was smiling. “Dance with me.” He backed up and reached out to her. She placed her delicate hand in his as he lifted her from the chair, drawing her to the middle of the room. They began moving gracefully to the music piping through the speakers. His eyes never left her face while they danced. It made her want him even more. He slowed down, almost stopping completely as he asked her, “Do you like this? This music, I mean…well, maybe the dancing, too?”

    “I love it all. Thank you for inviting me.” She placed her hands on his chest, slowly stood on her toes and kissed him on the cheek. He moved to face her and their lips brushed.

    For him, the night had obviously been leading to this moment: the dinner, the drinks, the semi-romantic walk back to his place for some music and talk. It was just a matter of him feeling that the final moment was right… and he was feeling it.

    In one felled swoop, he brought her body closer to his and kissed her.

    The static between their bodies buzzed. He could feel her heart pounding as he kissed her like he’d never kissed anyone before: with passion, with depth. “I want you.”

    She looked in his eyes and nodded. Before she could say anything, he lifted her off the floor and swept her into his arms. As the two moved toward his room, she could hear the music fade, until all that was left were the crackles and pops.

    644 Words
    @ImaFuller

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  3. Just Give Me A Reason
    Christopher Cantley

    There was no doubting it, she was in love. She gazed over at her lover, slumbering contentedly beside her and she couldn’t help but smile. He put the greatest jewel thief to shame, the way he stole her heart. And how easily she let him do it. She had been hurt so many times in the past, but he was different. Somehow. She always put up a false front, hiding all the demons hiding inside. But not with him. He was different. She opened her soul freely to him. All those little ugly parts of her, he was able to soothe with a touch. Yeah, she was in love.

    Then something changed. One night she heard him talking in his sleep. The things he said, he never said to her before. And they hurt. So much. He talked of how he had enough. He wasn’t in love with her anymore. She cried, not thinking of him being asleep. Every word burned a new scar in her already wounded heart. She didn’t know why. She wasn’t sure she wanted to know. She waited for him to wake up and just give her a reason.

    He woke up, confused. Her back was to him, and an ocean of empty sheets between them. He knew she had been having bad dreams, but they always brought her close to him. She always sought the comfort of his embrace. He touched her shoulder, asking what was wrong. She pulled away from his touch, and told him what happened amidst tears. He didn’t understand where it was all coming from. She thought they had everything, and everything was fine. He reached for her again, trying to console her. He said it was all in her mind. They still had everything. But she knew what she heard.

    Painful words were exchanged. Tears flowed freely, but she finally calmed a bit. He knew what she was feeling, for he had faced the same. He promised to fix things for them. No more would they hold any feelings in. Their love was enough. Nothing was ever as bad as it seemed. They were not broken; they were just bent. They could learn to love again.

    366 words
    ccantley78@yahoo.com

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  4. People lie. Even worse, they believe lies. Like that one, “You reap what you sew.” Yeah, right. Let me tell you about Steve.

    It started on a Monday night in December. Steve went grocery shopping. Wearing a $75 shirt, $100 pants, a Rolex watch, and $200 shoes. He was on the prowl, looking for a woman. And it didn’t matter which woman, so long as she looked good.

    He talked with countless women in the produce department, “How do I pick out the best cantaloupe?” They showed him how to pick it up, smell the end, squeeze it gently, look for yellow color in the rind. In the liquor department, he’d ask women, “What wine do I need to cook my pork chops with?” and “I need the perfect wine to complement my steak.”

    That’s when a woman took pity on him, the poor, helpless male, and helped him do his grocery shopping. They stood in the checkout line together, and he helped her put her groceries in her car. “Thank you for the help.”

    They exchanged phone numbers. On Wednesday, he called her, “Let me take you to dinner. I want to, as a thank you for your help Monday night.” At dinner, he picked the wine, poured it for her, and asked if it was OK if he called her now and then.

    After a few calls, he asked her out on a Friday night. They went to a movie, always one she picked. They talked about the romantic threads through the movie. How it was a love story, and how they loved those stories. When the movie ended, they went to a restaurant, for a light snack, and a couple of drinks. Then he took her home, and gave her a good-night hug and kiss.

    He called her more frequently, asked her on more dates. Even a weekend trip to the amusement park, where they rode all the rides, and watched the shows. They spoke of how talented the dancers were.

    Steve carefully grew the relationship with her. Finally telling her, “I like you. It’s fun to do things with you, and spend time with you.”

    One night, he took her to a concert. Her favorite band was in town. He got tickets, and they watched the show. When the show was over, he took her home, and she asked him to come in. They cuddled on the sofa, watching TV. She kissed him, long and hard. One thing lead to another, and Steve spent the night.

    Steve spent many nights with her. Always in her apartment, never in his.

    One night, after a glorious round of sex, bringing his and her fantasies to life, she asked him if he would consider moving in with her.

    The next day, Steven didn’t even know her name. She called him, but he ignored the calls. She left him messages on his phone, he deleted them all. She sent him text messages, he deleted them. She sent him pictures and he deleted them too. As far as Steve was concerned, he didn’t know her. It didn’t bother him at all if she had a broken heart. If she had emotional scars. If she grew to hate men, and learned to never trust any of them again.

    Steve had gotten what he wanted. Steve had gotten laid.

    And on Monday, Steve was in a different grocery store. Wearing that same $75 shirt, $100 pants, $200 shoes, and Rolex watch. Trolling for another woman to satiate his hunger.

    No one can remember how many times Steve has done this. How many women he’s taken advantage of. How many he’s slept with, and left. He’s a love ‘em and leave ‘em kind of guy. The lie, of course, is that some day, he’ll get what’s coming to him. But that’s never going to happen. I know that. So do all his friends.

    The man’s going to break a lot of hearts before he dies. And that won’t ever mean a thing to him.

    670 Words
    @LurchMunster

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  5. Living A Good Life

    Lucy stood outside the fancy restaurant, nervous and a little uncomfortable. She didn’t dress up much and while she knew she looked good, this whole evening felt completely surreal. Her date was parking the car.

    Her date.

    That was just weird on a level she couldn’t really get her head around. Then again the last nine months had pretty much been one surreal moment after another. She turned to check her reflection in the plate glass windows. The dress was an early 50’s style, fitted in the bodice with a full skirt. She was actually wearing a crinoline under the skirt because Miri insisted if she didn’t the line of the dress would be ruined. Lucy was sure she was right but still felt a bit like she was in a costume. Even the cute peep-toed sling backs felt too…specific? It just all felt too outfitty and Lucy was starting to doubt the wisdom of this entire evening.

    Then she heard a wolf whistle to her right. She turned her head to see her date walking towards her with his hands in his suit pants looking like God’s gift to women. He was a lean man with red-blonde hair and the fair complexion of a red head and muddy blue eyes. It was his nose that Lucy loved the most about his face. It had been broken years ago and it took him from looking like a prep-school ass to looking like a man, a man who had been through some shit and was still standing. Every time he told the story of how that nose got broken it changed, a riding accident, a college football game, a street fighting ring, a pub brawl in Ireland, and so on. But Lucy knew his Dad had given him that nose when he was 16 years old. That was when Greg went to live with his Grandmother, Mama G. For years Greg was just…Greg. But now, now everything was different. Now he took her breath away.

    “You are the prettiest woman to ever stand in front of this place and that dress should be on a controlled substance list because seeing you in it has my head spinning.”

    Lucy grinned, “You’re looking pretty sharp yourself Mr. Brice.”

    “Why thank you. Mama G picked out this suit special for tonight. She said I had better show up looking my best because I was damn lucky a woman of your caliber was willing to be seen in public with me.”

    Lucy laughed, “I always did like Mama G.”

    “Shall we?” Greg pulled the door open and they stepped into the cool dark entryway of the most expensive restaurant in Ocala. The Hostess smiled at Greg, “Hello Mr. Brice, we have your table ready if you’d like to be seated.”

    “That would be perfect” Greg said graciously. He turned to Lucy and put his hand on the small of her back indicating she should precede him through the bar after the Hostess. Lucy was distracted by the biggest damn aquarium she had ever seen outside of an actual, well, public aquarium where they charged you money to see it.

    But Greg saw the dark haired man sitting at the bar. He caught sight of Lucy as she walked by and his mouth fell open in surprise and shock. Then he saw Greg. He saw Greg’s hand on Lucy’s back, slightly possessive, perfectly respectful, clearly claiming. They moved on to their table with a great view of the aquarium. Once Lucy was seated with her menu Greg excused himself for a moment.

    He walked back to the bar and up to the dark haired man. Greg didn’t say anything, he just waited.

    “So you’re the reason she won’t take my calls.”

    “No, Rick, she won’t take your calls because you’re a narrow minded judgmental ass, you blew it.” Greg turned to look the guy in the face, “I’m the reason she’s smiling and I intend to make damn sure she keeps on smiling.” Rick looked like he’d been punched in the gut.

    Then Greg grinned all the way back to the table where Lucy sat in the blue-green glow of the aquarium.

    Word Count: 696
    @MissBliss

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  6. Title: You reap what you sow.

    I looked out the window at the courtyard below, but there wasn’t much to see. I missed city life. I hated being here.

    I hated not being able to breathe either, although the tubes up my nose were no longer uncomfortable, but the worst thing was the loneliness.

    No one came to see me, you see, no one visited me; I hated it. I’ve got three children, but no one would know. None of them come. I’ve done so much for them too, but they can’t be bothered.

    Things were hard, they have to understand that. It wasn’t easy for me either. It wasn’t my fault that their dad had gone off with someone else, or that their stepfather had been violent. And no one had cared about me, had they? All my own mother cared about was the house. I can still hear her saying ‘but you’re leaving such a lovely house’. And my brother? Still visiting their father and his new wife I hear.

    I did my best; they went to private schools and had a good education. Yes, later there were a couple of state schools, but that couldn’t be helped, there hadn’t been any money after the divorce. But I always checked the school statistics first, before enrolling them. Other children had done alright.

    It wasn’t my fault we had to keep moving. I was just trying to provide a home, find a good father figure for them, and some kind of stability. Yes okay, Randolf hadn’t been that stable. I know moving round Leicester trying to find him hadn’t been easy. And I know putting the youngest in cabs late at night might not have been a good idea, but what else could I do? I needed to know where he was and whether he was having it off with that Lucy woman. And I’d been right too.

    Yes, the end of that relationship had been messy. It’d been tough leaving the youngest to live alone in that hotel for a couple of months, but it wasn’t like I’d had a choice, it was close to her school. I was in a bedsit myself!

    You see, I never really wanted to be a mother; I wanted to be a friend. But they weren’t really interested in that. They didn’t want to listen to me and hear about my life. They were too caught up in themselves.

    It could have been worse; I could have left them, or put them in a home, but they didn’t want to hear that. And I didn’t, I kept them with me. It wasn’t always easy either. Trying to convince Hugo to let the youngest live with us; he hadn’t wanted it, but the boarding school was too expensive. And yes, I had lied and told them both she’d been expelled, but it had worked. And from what I read in those diaries I’d found in her bedroom, she should’ve been anyway. She didn’t like hearing that mind. She’d always been difficult, the most ungrateful of the three. And in the end it had been too much for Hugo. She ruined that relationship.

    But I don’t understand it; I really thought I’d be looked after by now. Although men can be so pathetic, can’t they? So weak. I mean look at my own son. Can’t even be bothered to pop by; I’m not that far away. And he should too; I’m his mother; it’s what a child does for their mother. It’s probably her though, his wife, she’s never liked me, and he doesn’t like saying no to her.

    The youngest is overseas, so I suppose it’s too far for her. And the eldest, well her husband’s awful, isn’t he? Never wants her to go anywhere, or have anything to do with anyone.

    But I really thought my friends from the Church would come. I mean, I’ve done so much for them. I ran everything for them; the Church shop, the fete, the admin. They were helpless when I arrived; I had to take it all on. It was exhausting too, part of the reason I ended up in here.

    But no one appreciates anything I do for them.

    699 Words
    @PurpleQueenNL

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  7. Alas, I know somebody just like this! Nice piece of writing – you can hear the self-pity and the indignation.

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  8. Somewhere Down the Road

    Christopher sat self absorbed in the pitch dark room as a blues playlist chugged for the umpteenth time through the 12-bar stories of wronged men and women. Robert Cray once again gave way to Bobby Bland singing “Further Down the Road.” It cheered him up, thinking of the karma that would come and get Christine back on his behalf.

    He had realised their relationship hadn’t been perfect for some time, but he’d expected that eventually they would pull their socks up together and get stuck into an improvement plan. Christopher had loved Christine from the very first day they’d met, and she’d said the same. Even their names were the same. It must have been worth some effort, it must have been fixable. Tears formed again in his tired eyes, which he managed to fight back.

    Two days ago he’d got back from work to find a half empty house and a “Dear John” letter fixed to the fridge door with the banana fridge magnet. Christine had not pulled any punches and he was bemused how she could tell so many apparent truths in so succinct a letter after obviously lying for two years.

    ‘Bitch!’ he snarled to himself as he read the last line once again before letting the letter drop into the pedal bin.

    Fixable. He’d thought it was fixable. She was already gone, and evidently had been for an age.

    Doing the dirty. Why had she stuck around for so long while doing that? They could both have moved on by now, been happy or at least been over it. He slammed his fist into the fridge door sending magnets flying and spilling an autumn leaflet drop of fast food joints onto the sticky linoleum.

    Bobby sang his song. The bitch would get her comeuppance. Karma would come around and bite her big, and boy he wanted to see that.

    The problem with karma though is the waiting. There was no telling when it would pay it back and Christopher felt he needed to see it happen before he could move on.

    She’d had time to get ready to move on, two years. She had moved on.

    Christopher was facing the usual months it took him to bounce back from these life set backs. He was deeply hurt but could really live without these weeks of self assessment, self reproach and self loathing.

    To get out of the dark quickly he needed to be proactive. Karma was going to get a helping hand this time. Whatever road she was on Christine better be looking over her shoulder.

    (431 words)
    @zevonesque

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  9. It hadn’t rained in more than a week, and Jamie’s feet kicked up dust devils as they scuffed along the road. Her denim jacket was slung over her shoulder, flapping against her back as the gusts tore across the dirt farms that lined the road. Rising over the rolling hills to the east, the moon was waxing to full. Its glow made chiaroscuros on the ground through the dust, reminding her of their house in New Orleans and the last time she saw Billy, strewn on the floor like the debris of a past life.

    He’d come home early from the clubs that night, the only Friday in memory that he didn’t reek of cigarettes and whiskey. Some women hated those smells, but to her they were what sawdust and grease were to her mom – the smell of her man, coming home to her after a hard day’s work. This night, however, his shirt was still neat, the black cotton buttoned at the wrist instead of rolled to the elbows, and he moved like a man who’d sloughed off a heavy skin. His steps were light, and his smile was real, although it wasn’t for her.

    This had only been a short-time thing, he’d said, right? He’d gotten the call that night, that Melissa – the one who’d left him to go find herself and had sent him down to the land where you had to be living the blues to play the blues – was back, and it was time for him to go to her. Jamie hadn’t waited for him to finish his pathetic story, but was up and on her way out of his life before he could tell her how sorry he was that it had worked out this way. The kids she’d grown up with didn’t give a crap if you were a boy or a girl – you fought, or you hid behind your mom’s skirts. Jamie’s mom hadn’t worn skirts long enough for her to hide behind if she’d wanted to, and her dad would have popped her one if she’d tried. It wasn’t a life of comfort, and while she’d thrived on those streets, she’d wanted more.

    She’d thought that Billy was more, him and his bass and love in the early morning light and their studio apartment, but he was just another loser from the streets, waiting to get beaten because he didn’t know how to stand up for himself. Jamie didn’t know if Melissa was the nursing type, but she’d left Billy with enough bruises that the Elephant Man’s mom would have hesitated before going in for a hug, and then slipped out the door while he was still crying.

    447 words
    @drmagoo

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  10. WILD OATS

    They say you reap what you sow but that’s a crock.

    I worked two jobs to put him through law school and ran the household while he worked eighty hour weeks.

    He thanked me by shagging senior partners, embezzling client funds, and making a public spectacle of our family.

    Before the fallout was over, I was sick of men, myself, and life, and it was a damn good thing the feds seized our bank accounts and assets or I’d have hired a hit man and put us out of our misery.

    Instead, I was forced to find other outlets for my anger and disillusionment. Tried to cooperate with the psychiatric sessions but they didn’t do me near as much good as daydreaming about ways to make my ex suffer.

    Tried martial arts, yoga, and painting classes. Stuck with painting but that had more to do with my after-class latte habit. And the lattes had more to do with the stunning view than an appreciation of caffeine. Tall. Lean. Eyes so blue I wanted to dive in without a life jacket.

    He didn’t talk. Not in class. Not in the café. But his smile reminded me that there were still good things in life, things like summer nights and cherry tomatoes and roller skates

    He didn’t sit by me. Not in class. Not in the café. Not until the afternoon somebody spilled coffee down my back and then he was at my table in a heartbeat, helping to dry me off and facilitate apologies.

    From then on, we shared a table after class. He still wasn’t much for conversation but he took to ordering my latte and sharing his newspaper.

    Perhaps it should have seemed strange to share my time, table, and coffee with someone I didn’t know beyond his affinity for blue jeans, confident brushstrokes, and comic strips but our silences were companionable.

    And then one day, he looked across the table and said, “The oncologist gave me walking papers this morning.”

    It was the first personal thing he’d said to me after months of classes and coffee, and my heart stuttered, thrilled that he’d opened up and terrified that it prefaced a final goodbye. “You have cancer?”

    “Had. My last three screens came back clear. I wanted a good report before suggesting we have something more than a coffee date.”

    I couldn’t say anything because I was suddenly pierced by the realization that this quiet man with the strong hands, rough voice, and knowing eyes had become the sun around which my world revolved.

    And I was angry for a moment, resentful that’d he’d not spoken of his interest or his illness before now and forgetful that this wasn’t the man who’d hurt me. “What if I hadn’t waited around for you to speak up?”

    That slow sweet smile spread across his face like sunshine on a rainy afternoon. “I’d have pushed past my pride and come after you.”

    My breath got all fluttery like petals in the breeze but my mind was still churning like a mixer bogged down in heavy dough.

    He leaned across the table. “That first class, I wasn’t sure I had the strength to hold a paintbrush or that you had the strength to refrain from stabbing the canvas.”

    I touched him for the first time, putting my hand on his. “You weren’t just waiting for a clean bill of health, were you? You were giving me time to heal too.”

    He nodded, eyes like stormy skies. “Your name in my mouth was a luxury I couldn’t afford to squander or spend too quickly.”

    I saw riptides and sweaty sheets in his eyes.

    I felt symphonies and thunderstorms in his pulse.

    And when I kissed him, I tasted life on his breath and my name on his tongue.

    They say you reap what you sow but it’s not that simple. Life never is. Sometimes crops fail. The seed is bad, the soil barren, or the sky too dry. You have to accept that it’s out of your hands and move on. And sometimes, if you are very lucky or very wise, you realize that your wild oats have become your field of dreams.

    – – – – –
    699 words / @bullishink

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  11. Andy Bartalone

    You can do an awful lot of self-loathing when you are in a car by yourself for twelve hours. I can say with some conviction that I am almost over it. I never thought I would be. You really do find out who your friends are when the shit hits the fan.

    I came home from a month on the west coast, sorting out my parents estate to find my house empty, divorce papers on the dining room table and a letter informing me that my business partner and my now ex-wife had cut me out of the company we had built from the ground up.

    I crawled into a bottle for a couple of weeks. I talked to a professional. I talked to a couple of good friends about what happened to try to sort it out. All of them said the same things to me…they will get what is coming to them. Karma is a cast iron bitch that will crush your soul when you least expect it. I wasn’t seeing it. She had my money, the house, I was moving to the west coast and she was going on a three month vacation to Italy, Greece and Turkey. My friends assured me that it would all work out in the end.

    My buddy Brian (one of those aforementioned friends) had told me about a bar out here, halfway between Fort Collins and Cheyenne called the Rusty Nail, was not your typical bar was how he described it. He played ice hockey at Colorado State and definitely knew how to have a good time.

    I got a room on the far side of Denver and drove back up I-25 to find the place. It was about 10 when I got there and the place was not as big as I would have expected. I walked in and was met with a room full of people and a jukebox giving us the dulcet tones of Whitesnake at a volume that was loud but not deafening and the dance floor was full; all women except for one guy who was moving on 1 and 3, rather than 2 and 4.

    I made my way to the bar, found a seat and ordered a beer, spent a few minutes taking in the crowd and thoroughly understanding what Brian had said.

    *zzzzzzzzzzzzz*. I reached into my pocket and got out my phone;

    Me: “Hello”
    Brian: “Hey…..did you make it to the Nail”

    Me: “Sitting at the bar as we speak”
    Brian: “So…have you been approached by a slutty blonde, one drink on the wrong side of one too many, yet”

    Me: “She is a brunette….actually No…..that isn’t what I need right now” ….That is EXACTLY what I need right now.
    Brian: “ Well….they will show up, so prepare yourself. I have some good news for you”

    Me: “Good news…that would be certainly be new”
    Brian: “I don’t think that your exes are going have too good a trip”

    Me: grinning slightly “Why is that?”
    Brian: “ Karma…sometimes you have to speed it up a bit”

    Me: “What did you do?
    Brian: “I did nothing, but other parties…..parties that have access to the network at your former office, two phrases, kiddy porn and anonymous tip”

    Me: shouting in a spot where no music was playing “you are fucking kidding me”
    Brian: “Nope….FBI is there right now.”

    I felt a hand on my shoulder and looked over to see a blonde in a short skirt holding two beers and signaling me over to her with one finger.

    Me: “Brian, I have to go, something to do”
    Brian: “Give her a kiss for me”

    609 Words
    buffalo@guisarme.net

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