Mid-Week Blues-Buster Week 31

Welcome to the Mid-Week Blues-Buster Flash Fiction Challenge, Week 31.

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.

Our prompt this week is a great tune by Beth Hart.
It’s, “L.A. Song”.  Here’s the link; http://youtu.be/H87RQJ1GZL4

This week’s Judge is writer, musician, & all-around badass… Alex Kimmel.

That’s all from me…

We’re live from the second you read this until 4:30PM on Friday, September 20th..

What are you still doing here?

Go write!  Now!

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Posted on September 17, 2013, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. Amber’s Ride

    Amber looked at herself in the mirror for a long time. Eventually she said a quiet goodbye. Talking to yourself must be the first sign of insanity, she thought.

    She locked the shabby studio apartment behind her and headed on foot to the bus station. She put her hand over the $178.50 in her pocket, just to be sure it was still there. She had heard of golden parachutes, but her pocket full of cash was more like a frayed rescue line.

    She didn’t stop by the diner where she had worked. There was nothing in this town she would miss. Not her apartment, not her neighbors, not her co-workers, not her customers. Most of all, she wouldn’t miss the person she had become. She herself, was the only one she had said goodbye to.

    Amber was going home. Home where she had been miserable under the constraints of decent society. Where her mother tried to run her life and succeeded in sheltering her from every bit of fun she had ever tried to have. Home where the rules felt like a strait jacket on her free spirit.

    She had left to try and get away from all of that. Now she was hoping to find it again. All of it.

    She had left with an abundance—savings account, credit cards, even a trust fund once she turned 21. She would return with nothing but tough lessons learned. After buying the necessary tickets she had $5.37 left for meals along the way. Hardly enough to cover the five meals over the two days of cross country repentance.

    On the bus she read a pocket New Testament. She ordered off the dollar menu at stops. She avoided talking to the other passengers. And she cried, quiet tears, full of old sorrows and new joys. But mostly she planned how to not be the person she had said goodbye to back at the studio.

    When she reached the city, she realized she had made no arrangements to get from the terminal to her home. She had no cab fare, no remaining friends, no means but her restless feet. So she walked, it must have been about four miles. Each block passing a little faster than the ones before.

    At the door she grabbed the knob and turned, but of course, it was locked. So she rang the bell. She couldn’t stand the wait so started knocking, until her mother opened the door.

    For a second they just stared at each other. Then they embraced, cried, and finally, they spoke. At first both were cautious, but soon there was no stopping the flow.

    They kept on speaking for the next thirty years, and when it came time to bury her, Amber did so, without regret.

    @CharlesWShort
    462 words

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  2. I helped her pack her suitcase. I helped her fold all her clothes, carefully picking the ones she wanted to take with her, leaving the ones she no longer wanted neatly folded, placed in boxes on the closet floor. We put a small makeup kit together for her, with her favorite nail polishes, lipsticks, eye shadow, blush. We put her favorite jewelry in little boxes, and stacked them neatly between her clothes and the side of the suitcase.

    We talked. About where she was going. She had so much to say. She told me of all her heart breaks, all the men she’d loved and lost. How she’d cried countless tears each time, and wondered if her heart would ever heal.

    She told me again, all the stories of the girls at work. The way they treated her. The way they tortured her. Always talking about how they were all engaged, or married, or had a baby on the way. How she wasn’t one of them. I calmly wiped the tears of anger from her eyes, wishing I could find a way to stitch her cut and bleeding soul back together. Wishing God would give me a way to take those wounds from her, make them mine, so she didn’t have to endure the way her heart ached, or the tears I knew her soul cried every night.

    She told me how the men of LA were heartless. Soulless. Colder than any ice. Harder than any stone. How all they wanted was another bitch they could lay. Another trophy on the mantle. Another name in their black books. She told me no one slept with her because they loved her. But because she had boobs, and an ass, and her vagina. And that’s all they wanted. To get into her vagina. And I held her again, as she cried more tears of rage, and tears of pain.

    The tears of a child. A little girl. Whose world got destroyed before her eyes. Whose dreams got crushed beneath the boots of a world that wasn’t at all like it she’d hoped it would be.

    I carried her suitcase, and makeup kit to my car. Put them in the trunk. I opened the door, and let her in. Knowing it wouldn’t do for me to cry. It wouldn’t do for me to say anything. Knowing she trusted me to help her.

    Knowing she was walking out of my life. And I might never see her again.

    I wanted to kiss her. To beg her, “Don’t leave me!” I wanted to tell her how much I loved her. How I wanted to make her happy. Make her smile. Do everything I could to bring her dreams to life. But I couldn’t. Not because I didn’t have the courage, or the heart. Because I knew, my heart knew, she needed to go. She needed to escape.

    I knew. I had to let her go.
    I drove to the bus station. I paid for her ticket. “I promise not to follow you.”

    She handed me her phone. “I can’t take this with me.”

    “I know.”

    I wanted to tell her she was leaving for all the wrong reasons. Because she was hurt. Because she was afraid. Because she was running from herself. From her life here, in LA. Trying to escape herself. Trying to blame LA, work, the men she’d known, for her inability to live with herself. That it wouldn’t work. She was taking what she was afraid of with her. She couldn’t escape herself.

    I didn’t. It wouldn’t have worked.

    Instead, I let her go. I watched the bus disappear into the traffic of LA.

    I let her go.

    And I prayed, one day, she’d find herself. And remember me.

    627 words
    @LurchMunster

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  3. My sister Celia was right. I was too old and supposedly mature enough not to be dick-less game-playing jackass. The boys that come sniffin’ around her know that if they try to pull that shit they get to deal with me. Why would I want to treat the woman I supposedly love the same way? Probably because I am a stubborn ass when I drink; because I know that I can pull those strings and the reaction is palpable.

    She’s an LA girl, born and bred, she can handle it. But Celia points out, correctly, that she has been through a lot of shit. She beat the drugs and the pimps, and mostly that fucker who was her step-father and she is starting to have things work for her, and I have to stumble into life and be a fuckwad. My sister called me a fuckwad. She is correct. I am a fuckwad. But I am going to make it better and I am going to fix it. I shouldn’t have called her a whore and I shouldn’t have fucked that girl she works with. I didn’t beat on her or anything, but she was still cryin’ when I left last night.

    Driving across LA at night is a surreal experience sometimes, especially if you have been drinkin’. It’s never quiet, and it’s dangerous as all hell, that’s why I got her a gun, to protect herself. I thought it would be a good thing to do. A girl’s gotta have some protection from all the shitty people that might want to take advantage of her. She lives in a walk-up in one of those shitty neighborhoods.

    I got a parking space right in front of her place. The local boys were around, playing dice and drinking from paper bags. They always gave me an eyeful when I came over, but noone’s ever fucked with my car, but then again, who wants to fuck with a rusted out 1998 Supra.

    Head up the stairs and down the hall, dodging the two passed out guys on the first landing. Looks like two homeless guys got in a tussle over a back of chips. Get in front of 2D and knock loud on the door, probably too loud for this time of night in the middle of the week. No answer. Knock again, this time louder, still no answer.

    Trying the doorknob, it turns and I push the door open “Evangaline”, not trying to wake up anyone else on the hall. I reach over and turn on the light-switch, it goes to the kitchen and makes the living room backlit. I let my eyes adjust before proceeding further and then I saw it.

    Her hand, hanging off the side of the couch at a weird angle, with that revolver hanging from her finger.

    buffalo@guisarme.net
    471 words

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  4. My City

    “I’ve gotta get out of this town. I came here to act and the whole scene is just soul crushing. A girl from my acting class swears this city is making her full on suicidal. I hate L.A. I hate the cars and the stupid high rents and every sleazy asshole that’s writing yet another screenplay sitting outside The Coffee Table Bistro in Eagle Rock. ”

    “I know what you mean. If one more engineer boot wearing guitar player hits on me I’m gonna scream. This place has no heart, no soul. It’s just endless plastic people all trying to get a movie deal or a record deal or a TV show.”

    I kept wiping the bar and gritted my teeth. I had to listen to this shit or some version of it every night. The bottom line was they all wanted something for nothing and thought they could find it here. I can’t figure out why so many people think my city will fulfill all their dreams and expectations. No one seems to think that about New York or Chicago, but L.A. is supposed to step up and make everyone from fucking Racine or Eugene or Rockford or Jacksonville a star filled with the light of God.

    I schooled my expression into pleasant neutrality and approached the two overly tanned twenty-somethings, “Can I get you ladies anything else?”

    “No thanks” they sing-songed without a glance at me. They didn’t leave a tip but at least they left. Some days you just have to be grateful for the small gifts. I spotted the guy sitting at the end of the bar lifting a finger and tapping his glass for another whiskey. I smiled as I walked towards him. He came in now and then and was always a pleasant customer.

    I picked up the bottle and poured, “How you doing tonight?”

    He grinned at me with sparkling hazel eyes, “Better than you. I thought you were gonna grind your teeth to dust listening to those two.”

    My eyebrows shot up in surprise and then I huffed out a laugh, “Wow…guess I wasn’t covering as well as I hoped.”

    “Naw you were doing fine, but I was paying attention. That crap gets under your skin the same as it does me I think.”

    I leaned on the bar with a sigh, “Man, I get so tired of it. It’s not like this is the only city that has men that lie or women who are gold diggers or where jobs don’t work out, and there’s absolutely nowhere on earth where it’s easy to making a living in the arts. But somehow my city is to blame when it doesn’t all work out for these people. I was born here. This is home to me and I love this city. There’s nothing like walking down Franklin on a warm spring night when the entire city smells like pink jasmine or seeing a coyote running down Hollywood Blvd. at 3AM on a Saturday night in the middle of summer.”

    His grin turned softer, “Yeah, or that view across the entire city from the top of the pass between Glendale and Pasadena on a sharp cold clear winter day right after it rains or the first time the Santa Anas blow through for the year and everyone goes a little crazy.”

    “Sounds like maybe you were born here too?”

    “Nope. I used to be one of those assholes, but I left, moved back to Buffalo for a couple of years. After the second winter in that frozen hell hole I pulled my head out of my ass and ran back here as fast as I could with a whole new appreciation for this fanfuckingtastic city.”

    “Perspective is everything, I’m glad you got some so you could see my city for it really is” I glanced at the clock over the bar, “well it’s time for me close this joint up for the night. Thanks for cheering me up.”

    He took a deep breath, “So um, you wanna go get something to eat? Matzo ball soup at Canters?”

    A slow smile spread on my face as I closed the register.

    “Yeah, I’ll meet you there.”

    @MissBliss
    700 Words (not including Title)

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  5. Venus

    The vibration of noise and music rattled the walls and knocked his glass off the nightstand, crashing onto the floor. He reached for the largest shard of glass and flung it across the room.

    “I hate this damn town.” He collapsed onto the bed, inebriated and maudlin.

    His mind was a sloppy mess of irrationality. He felt himself slipping, slipping.

    He drifted above his comatose form and weightlessly circled the room. He was free again.

    The door burst open and several men entered his room. He zipped right though them as he set himself to soar through the clouds and into the stratosphere. The freedom was exhilarating.

    Once he’d ascended above the blue haze of the atmosphere, he noticed the moon off to his right and set his soul in motion, faster than the speed of thought. He dipped beneath the lunar ridges and floated above the surface for two, three, four orbits.

    He then turned his attention toward Venus, the bright green jewel of his eye. But just as he set course, he felt himself ratcheted back into his body.

    “Welcome back! You gave us quite a scare!”

    Hooked up to monitors and drips, he squinted and stared straight into the eyes of a burly paramedic. He couldn’t move his mouth to speak, and his muscles all felt numb. He drifted back off to sleep.

    “Barry! Barry!”

    He opened his eyes and saw a radiant blur standing over him. “How long was I out?”

    “Five days.”

    He tried to sit up, but her hand held him in place.

    “You’re too groggy right now. Give it a moment.”

    He could feel the IV strapped to his wrist, and could vaguely make out the sights and sounds of a hospital room.

    “You’re still in recovery.”

    He clamped his free hand over his eyes. “Christ. Recovery from what?”

    “Well, for starters, you downed a bottle of alprazolam with a bottle of tonic.”

    The words festered in his mind for a moment before they began to register. He’d wanted to die. Or get so high he’d leave his body forever. “It was the only way.”

    “Only way for what?”

    “To leave this town.”

    The lady moved in closer to his face and looked him dead in the eyes. “So, how bad do you really want to leave?”

    He groaned. “Anything. I don’t ever want to wake again.”

    The nurse quietly and deliberately closed the door, locked it shut, and began drawing up a syringe. “Are you sure, Barry? Do you really want to leave forever?”

    With all his strength, he let out a resounding, “YESSSS!!!”

    She softly drifted over to his side, injected the syringe into his IV line, and held his hand. “Shhhh. It’s going to hurt for one brief moment, and then it will all be over.”

    His body began to buck wildly and seize up, and then flopped down, lifelessly.

    The code alarm blared and blasted throughout the halls as his soul lifted up and out of the room.

    This time, he was definitely going to Venus!

    506 fabulous words
    @ducknado

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  6. LA Sunset

    Jennifer had been through the wringer and was a crushed and damaged soul. A delicate butterfly enclosed within a cockroach case. She’d left her home in a hurry – a moonlight flit.

    She fell on her feet in the next town, found somebody. Or he had found her.

    It took about six weeks or so but she was coming out of her shell. Smiling again – most days – and feeling comfortable about the world and about herself.

    David looked down at her face cradling her head in her arms, smoothly her fine auburn hair by her ear and gently caressing her cheek. She felt as comfortable as she had ever been and she gently sighed.

    ‘I love you, you know,’ Jennifer said.

    ‘Of course you do,’ said David.

    He stopping stroking her hair. Moments later he pushed her back on the bed, ‘I’ve given you everything this last two months – a roof, food, taken you out, shown you the best of things. I’ve even shared my bed with you,’ he said.

    Jennifer struggled to grasp what he was saying.

    ‘You do realise you aren’t getting this for nothing do you?’ David said, ‘I’ve slept with you, you whore.’

    Jennifer sat back in the bed shell shocked.

    ‘I said you do realise, dont you?’ David paused, ‘DONT YOU?’

    ‘Yes, yes of course,’ Jennifer said. ‘It’s not like it is really love, it’s just something you say.’

    She was trying hard not to cry.

    David stood up. ‘You’re going to be working for me from tonight,’ he said. ‘There’s a party at the marina. You’ll be hosting with a few of my other girls. You’ll be seeing a lot of them over the coming few months, don’t get friendly with them though – they’ll just be colleagues.’

    Jennifer was staring at the end of the bed.

    ‘Look at me when I’m talking to you.’

    Eventually she looked up at David. He looked different now. Violent. She wasn’t scared, but she felt disappointed with herself. How could she fall for this man – into this trap. Stupid stupid girl.

    ‘That’s better. Stupid whore,’ David said.

    ‘When do I need to be ready for?’ Jennifer said, struggling to sound matter of fact.

    ‘Nine on the dot, so you’ve got about 6 hours until we leave. With your state you’d better start getting ready now girl,’ he said, ‘There are some dresses in the second bedroom. Some will fit you, you scrawny bitch.’

    ‘I’ll go and look now. I will look good, I promise,’ she said getting up from the bed.

    David raised his hand as if to hit her as she passed and laughed as she flinched.

    In the spare bedroom she looked at the dresses in a semi daze.

    Some of the dresses looked amazing, and all looked very expensive – valuable. She picked one and tried it on.

    Jennifer selected some fuck-me boots and thought she’d look a passable hostess – if the slightly puffy eyes would come down.

    She walked through to the spare room she had first stayed in and took her rucksack from under the bed.

    Jennifer left at nine on the dot as he’d wanted looking a million dollars in her red dress. Her rucksack – looking a little incongruous – was stuffed full of dresses and her handbag was jingling now with jewelry. David lay on the floor in the hall with blood spreading through his expensive shirt like an LA sunset.

    (568 words)
    @zevonesque

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  7. A cloud passed in front of the moon just as Allie crested the hill outside her family home, and she arrived at the lake in near-total darkness. Anyone could be hiding down there, although not from her – there weren’t any sparks in sight. The lake house had been abandoned for five years, ever since she killed her father and started her search, and she hoped she hadn’t left anyone enough of a trail to find her, at least for a while.

    Getting out of LA had been a bitch. She’d underestimated quite how many people were after her, and it hadn’t been until she’d taken the spark from the overnight gas station attendant just outside of town that Allie had been able to get her hands on enough cash and a car to make her way east. Any one of the bastards who’d been after her wouldn’t have been a threat, but she couldn’t risk having all of them catch up to her, not when she’d gotten so close to her target.

    The memories were thick as she made her way down to the dock, the path coming automatically to her feet from a thousand trips in the dark. The lake was where she learned what having power over life and death really meant. It’s where she’d taken a life the first time and learned what the sparks were for, although it was years before she knew what her purpose was. Allie sat down on the edge of the dock, her toes dragging into the still water, swollen with recent rains, and tried to calm her racing heart. She hadn’t anticipated having this strong a reaction to being here again. A shiver came over her and she grew dizzy. “Worn out from the race across the country,” she thought, and lay back on the dock, falling asleep even before her head hit the wood.

    Allie knew before her eyes opened that she wasn’t alone. The presence she felt wasn’t one of the people she’d pissed off in LA, which should have served to calm her, but she could barely concentrate for all of the alarm bells going off in her head. It was already hot, and bright, and she gently opened her eyes, tilting her head back to see who’d found her. She could have played coy, but that wasn’t her style. Her companion was young, hardly more than a boy, his bright red hair aflame in the sunlight. He was catching flies between her finger and her thumb, watching them squirm, and then crushing them into goo with a giggle at the barely-perceptible spark.

    “Welcome home, Allie.” She squinted, trying to see into him, but while he was clearly sitting in front of her, she could see nothing more of him. “Yeah, don’t do that.”

    His voice was deeper than she’d expected, and she realized she might very well have misjudged his age. She changed tactics, smiling at him, remembering the power she’d held over a man his age on this very dock. “Or what?”

    “Don’t do that, either. Lucas was a simpleton. You’re the one who’s been chasing me for years – do you really think so little of me?

    “And there’s no or anything. I tell you what you can and cannot do, and then you choose whether you will listen. There’s no more or less to life than that.” He crushed another fly and wiped its remains on his jeans.

    573 words
    @drmagoo

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  8. Inside

    A. Carina Barry

    When I walked into the office, it felt like the walls were far too close. Hardly any light filtered in through the tall, thin window behind the woman who would be my new therapist. I don’t know what I expected, but it wasn’t this. Books lined the walls and a pair of chairs sat before me, no chaise lounge anywhere.

    “Won’t you come in Beverly?” the woman asked. “Please make sure the door closes fully behind you.” Checking I found it had, indeed, gotten stuck on the thick bulge of the carpet. The pile was short but the padding made it feel like you were walking on a cloud. I wondered if it reassured clients or just made Dr. Linda Spitz feel more comfortable spending hours there.

    Beverly took a seat without prompting, perching on the edge like a wary sparrow. “So what brings you here today, Beverly, to my office in L.A.?” Linda asked.

    What had brought her here? “The last time I was in L.A. things went pretty badly. I got into the local party scene and pretty soon they introduced me to drugs and things really took a turn for the worse after that. I lost my job but kept craving the drugs so I started offering my body to anyone who could supply me with one more hit.” Beverly’s eyes closed tight against the memories but they were waiting behind her eyes, always.

    “I didn’t like myself anymore, and one day, somehow, I got the courage to quit. I took a train and left L.A. I figured this town was poison. So I took off for a little no-name town close to the coast. I figured life would be better there. The people would be nicer, better and I’d be close to the ocean. I could feel the cool, clean breeze anytime I wanted instead of the wind whipping past the gutters here,” Beverly said. Her head bowed a bit under the weight of the memory.

    Linda’s voice crept over to her like a cat. “Sounds like you had a plan. So what happened?”

    “Steven happened,” Beverly said finally. “I went there with almost nothing in my pocket and this man took me in. He seemed like an angel, he had dark brown hair and an easy smile and he really seemed like a Godsend.”

    “But he wasn’t?” Linda prompted.

    “No!” Beverly cried out into her hands. She wept right there, in front of this stranger. “He was so nice to me, I thought he loved me. I feel for him and it seemed great and then he wanted things from me, more and more. And then money would disappear and I caught him lying about it. It got worse and worse until I realized he was a dealer in this little piss-ant town in the middle of nowhere!” The sense of betrayal lay heavily on her.

    “So what did you do?” Linda asked.

    Beverly straightened and took a tissue from the box proffered to her. Sniffling she replied, “I came back. My family is here. There I only had Steven, and the small town was no better than L.A. it just played out on a smaller screen. I thought maybe the key didn’t lie in the place, that maybe it had to lie within, so I came to see you. Is that crazy?”

    “No Beverly,” Linda replied, Beverly could see a fierce, tight smile on her face. “I think you discovered an important truth in your life. I’m sure I can help you now. Welcome.”

    lady_gryffon@hotmail.com

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  9. Home in L.A.

    I knew the darker side of the City of Angels. Pollution in the air, crime in the streets, drugs on every corner. This city ate my mother whole when I was four. I don’t know what happened to her. I don’t really care anymore. One day she was gone. End of story.

    Ten years later this city killed my father. I care about that. A lot. It wasn’t gang violence or some street punk. Some middle class high school brats were bored and daring each other to do dangerous and stupid things. One of them was dared to rob the mini-mart my Dad was working at.

    He gave the kid the money. Kid had a gun and my Dad wasn’t stupid. Some old lady, a regular I guess, was walking up to the glass door while the guy held a gun to the back of my Dad’s head. Dad saw her and tried to gesture her to stop. Guess that set Mr. Twitchy off because next thing anyone knew Dad had a hole in his head. Kids dropped the gun, peed his pants, and started crying. Old lady saw it all. She was the witness. Not that they needed one with the confession and all.

    If anyone had a reason to hate this city, it would be me. But I don’t. I’ve spent the past four years wanting to get back here. Four years living with my mother’s parents because no one else would take me. Four years of getting blamed for every mistake my mother ever made. Four years of getting punished for every fear that they had. Four years of Hell in Ohio. You see, what they don’t tell you is Nowhere, USA also has a darker side.

    Give me polluted lungs over small town gossip that pollutes your mind. Give me clogged high ways instead of clogged arteries from gramma’s home cooking. Give me gangsters with their own code over boys with no code at all. Give me dirty streets instead of dirty preachers who get away with dirty, dirty deeds.

    I don’t want to be a starlet. I have no desire to model. I couldn’t write a screen play for all the money in Hollywood. I didn’t come here to find myself or to pray for someone else to discover me. I came here because this place is my home. I’m home in L.A.

    wicked_wordsmith@gmx.com

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  1. Pingback: #MWBB 31 : LA Song | My Soul's Tears

  2. Pingback: Mid-week Blues Buster week 31 | Project Gemini

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