Mid-Week Blues-Buster Week 2.41
Welcome to the Mid-Week Blues-Buster Flash Fiction Challenge, Year 2, Week 41.
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.
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 MIDNIGHT PACIFIC TIME on Friday. You read that right. Pacific Time.
We’ve got a change in tone, kind of, after the last few weeks of gritty tunes, for this week’s song prompt.
The tune is… “Another Nail in My Heart”, by Squeeze.
Here’s the link; http://youtu.be/qqbQD8m2dC8
This week’s Judge is writer & all-around cool person… Theresa Johnson Miller!
The challenge opens the moment you read this post and runs through MIDNIGHT PACIFIC TIME on Friday March 13th.
Now… Go write!!!!
Posted on March 10, 2015, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.
I looked into his eyes and was completely smitten. The only trouble was he was my best friend’s new beau, and beautiful he was. Right there and then I decided he was going to be mine, and the beginnings of my demise began.
I could not stand seeing the two of them together but to get to him I had to keep Sandra around. That was hard to do when she had the same problem as me we were both obsessed with Tim.
I found out his schedule from Sandra’s whispered phone calls. Learnt when he was playing football, bowling or table tennis. He was a sports fanatic, I suppose along with his mother that’s what made that fantastic body. The body I was soon going to be licking all over. I digress. I have to keep a steady head. I need to bide my time.
I suddenly took a keen interest in certain activities, Sandra was bemused. I told her I wasn’t prepared to pile on the pounds like her. My beloved friend I watched slowly move away from me bit by bit. I did not care she was only still here at all, so I could keep tabs on Tim.
I started sneaking photographs of her and Tim just one now and again, she had an endless supply. I was making a space to keep a record of me and Tim and all our firsts. The first time we kissed etc. I did have to cut Sandra out and paste me in but I completely forgot that fact when the finished product was under my pillow.
Poor Sandra stopped taking photographs every few weeks as she kept breaking out in some nasty rash and had swollen eyes and lips. Her allergy returned on and off but she never guessed what was causing it. I could, I was injecting the very substance she was allergic to into her cream, and watched with a smile as she slathered it all over her precious to Tim’s face.
Stupid bitch kept asking my advice, Kelly look at me, what am I going to do. I told her she may be allergic to something in the pill and she better stop taking it for a while until she got her doctor to check it out. I then had to listen to her go on and on about how she’d have to curtail her sexual activities with Tim, I already knew that.
Today I’m getting a makeover it’s been three weeks and Kelly hasn’t heard anything back from the doctor, she would never risk pregnancy. I’m hoping a virile young man will be just ripe for picking. He has no idea just how close me and Sandra once where as he never sees us together now. So that will be one moral dilemma solved for him.
Sandra was not the stupid bitch I thought she was. The resounding slap she landed on me, deserved. The tablets are now the beginning of my end.
word count 500
The sun tries its best to make its way through the heavy curtains that cover the window. But the most it can do is poke through holes here and there and send long thin rays shooting across the room. They catch the dust that swirls in the air, and I stare ahead without really seeing.
It feels like I can’t see anything anymore. Not since you left. Not since the day I came home and found the note. The one you left taped to the fridge. At first I thought it was a grocery list, and I ignored it. It wasn’t until I began wondering about dinner that I bothered to look at it.
Its words are the last clear memory I have. The curve and swoop of your letters is forever etched on my brain.
Tired of the endless dust motes and too cheerful sunlight, I roll over and stare at the ceiling for a while. The white stretches before my eyes in all directions; an empty canvas that waits for my memory to paint the strokes that are my undoing; memories of you that play on an endless loop through my head.
I see you laughing, head thrown back, hair gleaming in the sunlight. Did you know—even way back then—that you were leaving? Did you know that I’d come home to an empty house, our old suitcase and half my heart missing?
Unable to watch those painful images playing across the theater of my mind any longer, I struggle painfully to my feet. My head swims for a moment. I’m not used to being upright. It feels wrong. The very act of standing seems too much, as if gravity is somehow heavier now that you’re gone.
I stumble into the hall, knowing I need water, but dreading the journey. In the hallway I pass the empty squares on the wall where our pictures used to hang. Now they’re just blank rectangles. I’m careful to avoid the crunch of broken glass that lies at my feet. There was a time when your departure made me angrier than it does now. As if the pounding of my fists against the blameless glass of your once happy and smiling face would be the beacon that would call you home. Now I just feel empty and tired.
You’re gone. You’re not coming back. My mind knows that. Somehow I just need to convince my heart.
(405 words not including title)
A Writer’s Conundrum
“Another Nail In My Heart,” she wrote, then crumpled up the paper. The words dripping from her pen were filled only with sorrow. And why? She had a charmed life.
The next sheet of lined yellow paper sat before her, a blank slate for her to fill. And this time, she wanted to fill them with happy words, words of rainbows and lollipops. Words of hope and inspiration. Instead of her usual: horror, pain, and sadness.
Diego plopped down beside her on the couch craning his neck to see what she was writing. She covered it with her arm like a child trying to keep someone from cheating off of her paper.
“Oh come on, I just wanted to see what you’re writing. Let me guess, another tale of killer clowns. Or divorce on a hike?”
She nodded towards the four crumpled balls of paper on the floor, and he reached forward and squeezed her leg gently.
“Maybe that’s your gift—making people cry…or scream.”
“Very funny,” Ana said. “How do you make happy interesting? Drama is much more fun, because it produces conflict immediately. There is always an issue to resolve.”
He took a swig of Sam Adam’s and put his arm around her. “You’re the writer, I defer to you.”
“A lot of help you are.”
He found the remote and started clicking through football games until he found the right one. Ana leaned up against him, tapping her pen against the empty pad, leaving tiny ink marks in her wake.
“Oh, did I tell you? Nick Hutchins and his wife are getting divorced.”
Ana sighed, set the pad down next to her on the couch and turned her attention to her husband.
“Didn’t they just adopt twins?”
“About six months ago, yeah. But turns out Nick was sleeping around. And guess what? She caught him in bed.”
“With who? Oh wait, don’t tell me, Shelly from accounting?” Diego was always telling Ana about what a slut Shelly from accounting was.
“No. With Patrick Weasler.”
“Oh God, that’s even worse. Who did you hear it from—Nick?”
“No, I heard it from Shelly. She’s best friends with the wife—what’s her name—and went over to pick up the pieces after Nick left.”
Ana picked up the pad, the blank lines seemed to suddenly fill up with words of woe, sorrow, divorce, infidelity and unhappiness: the shit of life. Diego flipped through the channels absentmindedly, not content with any of the games on T.V. as his wife scribbled furiously across the paper.
“Unicorns and rainbows?” he asked.
“Divorce and despair,” she said. “I guess, it’s just what I’m fated to write.”
A Better Man
She watched him out of the corner of her eye. He’d been there a while. He was clearly trying to drink some misery into submission but each song seemed to inflict a new wound and it was looking like there might not be enough booze to handle them all.
He caught her looking and a bitter half smile tipped his mouth to the side as he inclined his head my way. She inclined her head the same way.
“Sweetie I’m gonna have to aske Katie over there at the piano to switch to some happier songs soon. I don’t think I can watch you flinch every time she starts another.”
He snorted softly. “If you can think of a song that won’t remind me of my Ex I’ll buy you the most expensive whiskey in this place.”
“Ah. So that’s how it is. It’s been my experience that when you are in that particular section of a break up there isn’t a song on the planet that doesn’t somehow remind you of that person. I can see you’re working very hard to forget her but that might be the wrong approach. I’ve got nothing but time tonight if you want to talk.”
It took him a while to get going but soon the words poured out of him. As with all love stories it started out like a fairytale. But fairytales rarely have happy endings. He was beyond the point of making excuses for himself. He’d strayed. He didn’t mean to but at the same time he knew even that sentiment was adolescent.
“She knew. She could see it in my eyes and I could see that in her eyes. I kept thinking just wanting to be a good guy was enough. But she deserved a man who was actually good. I guess losing her is when I finally understood that my intentions didn’t mean shit. What I did was what mattered. So she told me in no uncertain terms that I was bad for her and then packed up and left.”
He tossed back another shot. It took a lot booze to float all that shame. He hung his head and then side eyed me.
“So go on. Let me have it. Tell me what a dirtbag I am and how I got exactly what I deserved. She’s better off without me and maybe now I’ve learned my lesson.”
She couldn’t help it, she burst out laughing. Then laughed even harder as he scowled at her.
“What’s so goddamned funny?” He was practically growling.
She wiped her eyes, trying to catch her breath.
“Oh please…get off the fucking cross. We need the wood to solve real problems.”
His eyebrows shot up in surprise.
“Oh come on sparky. You’re no wet behind the ears kid. I get it. You fucked up. You fucked up bad and now you’re paying the price. Don’t try to rope me or anyone else into your need for punishment. Not even your Ex. You’re gonna have to live with having been THAT GUY. No one’s fault but yours, no one’s responsibility but yours, but it’s all total bullshit unless you cowboy up. You either carry it and decide to be a better man because you want to be a better man or get ready to keep doing it over and over.”
He suddenly froze, next shot halfway to his mouth, eyes slightly unfocused. He slowly lowered the shot back to the bar and turned his eyes to her.
Her lips crooked up just a tiny bit.
“Well fuck.” He scrubbed his hands over his face and then nodded to her as he got up and walked to the door. He paused and she turned around to look at him.
“Thanks…I think.” Then he walked out.
The opening notes of “A Case Of You” by Joni Mitchell floated up from the piano as sad shadows filled the woman’s eyes. The bartender pulled down the good Irish and poured her a double. He picked up her hand, pressed a kiss to her fingers and then winked at her. She smiled and lost herself in the music.
Words: 689 not including title
The bar was packed for a Wednesday. I couldn’t figure out why it was so busy. People milled back and forth, jockeying for the bartender’s attention. I sat alone in the farthest corner. Deep into my fourth whiskey, I ran my finger along the smooth edge of my glass. I stared at the drink wishing I’d done a million things differently, yet completely unsure of which things I should have changed.
I came home from work to find a note saying Julie was headed to her old college friend’s home three towns over. She needed time to think about our relationship. She wasn’t sure how soon she’d be back. No, don’t try to call her. She won’t be answering her phone. She just needed some time away.
Unsure of what I’d even done so wrong in her eyes, all I could do was let it be. I sat on the edge of the bed and wept.
Everything in the house reminded me of her. The shampoo smell on her pillow. The decorative plates she collected on the wall. The leftover laundry in the hamper. It looked like all she took was a single suitcase and a few changes of clothes. Maybe it was a sign she’d be back. Eventually everything in the home was too overwhelming. I needed to get out of the house.
I ultimately made the decision to head to the local bar. It was the only place I could be perfectly alone and yet surrounded by people. Plucky’s was the perfect hideaway. The whiskey came fast and sexy. It went down like a balm for my ragged emotions. And here I was, four drinks later, staring at a near empty glass. Focusing was difficult, but home was only four blocks down. The noise all seemed to blend and whirl in my ears. Colors had dimmed and taste buds deadened.
It wasn’t until a voice came through the loudspeaker above the bar that I’d even realized how zoned out I had become.
“And now, your favorite local piano man, Mick Mitchell!!”
The name was met with furious applause and whistles.
This was the pianist that Julie and I heard on our first date. Screw this. I had to get out. I certainly didn’t need another nail in my heart.
I don’t know how I ended up in the middle of the road.
Last Rabbit Standing
“As scenes go, this one is pretty high on the puke scale.” I glanced to the 25 pound sledge hammer leaning against the wall. An 8 inch railroad nail piggy backed another in the center of the deadman’s chest. Blood pooled in the indentation. Maggots crawled in and out of a half-gone face. The stench of rotting flesh clogged at my throat and I did my best to ignore the bile in the back of it. When my parter walked up beside me, I pointed to the corpse.
“Neat trick,” Sam said before toeing the hammer. “Our guy?”
Guy was a misnomer and we both new it, but the vernacular was correct. The note left at the first scene claimed Mother Nature was our perp. The news reporters had ran with the name and based on their sexist views, deemed the murderer a dame. We knew he had balls as big as a beach ball and what little DNA we’d collect confirmed male.
“Appears so.” Kneeling beside what was left of Old Man Winter, I touched the nail head.
“How’d he burry the second into the first railroad nail without smashing the body into putrified liquefaction?”
“Split like an arrow,” I mused. “Mother nature really has lost her sense of humor.”
“As if he ever had one.” Sam snorted.
“We’re down Old Man Winter, Jack Frost, and the Sandman. Who’s next, Heat Miser?” I chuckled, but the rising temperature wasn’t laughable.
Sam reached into his suit coat for a crumpled pack of Camels. He lit the cancer stick as the coroner lumbered over.
I watched in silence as the she rolled the body onto his back and after several pictures, removed the nail. She looked at me.
I asked, “Death by stabbing?”
She shook her head. “Chemical electrocution. Like the others.”
I tapped my foot as the tech’s loaded Winter. Once the meat wagon drove off I voiced my opinion. “I think it’s Peter. He’s been miffed since the Sox lost to the Yankees.”
“Cottontail, why?” Sam looked dubious. “And Blaming Mother?”
I hadn’t worked out all the details yet. I said nothing.
3 O’clock and I was sweating like Porky. If we didn’t catch this guy and lost one more cold character, I was going to need an ice bath. I stepped onto the smoking deck and knew I’d been wrong. I couldn’t see him, but I sensed Harvey stood only a pace away.
“I came to turn myself in,” the six-foot invisible rabbit said from the rhododendrons.
I reached into my back pocket for my handcuffs.
“You killed Mother’s favorites,” I said.
“I was going to be the coup de gras.”
“Why frame Mother?
“She said I’d never measure up to Father Time, wasn’t as opaque as Jack, and lacked the stamina of the Sandman.”
“You’re not opaque at all,” I pointed out.
“Eliminating the competition. I thought you had more substance.”
“What I had was love, now Elwood’s with Mother and no one sees me.”
I watched as the patrolman covered Harvey with a sheet and led him away. When Sam offered me a lit one, I took it.
After a long drag I offered my final summation, “They say there’s three reasons for murder, I think there’s only one. Mash anyway you like, but sex, love, and money, always boils down to a dame.”
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