Followers of Awesome Writing

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Still Bad but Not so Bad

Okay, no story today, but if the prompt comes up I'll have one tomorrow I think.

Still not happy about having to accept this job for the short term but something hit me today.

Call it God, call it the universe, call it fate or your own personal muse. As a writer or any kind of artist sometimes something puts us where we need to be. While I was, and am still I guess, raging about this whole necessity my mind wandered onto two new ideas for stories today. All because I am where I am.

Damn it, now I need to be less upset.

Note, this does not mean you should not go buy the book. Now I have more ideas and not enough time to put them out. Your purchases help that goal. Just sayin'.

#aboutme #author #commentary #thoughts #writer #writing #muse

Monday, September 29, 2014

Spidery Tributes

So this one was a pun based prompt. I went with the title because the only author I know who does lots of puns who I still love is Spider Robinson.

Once upon a thyme there was a king known for his unique resolution. All will agree one’s resolve must be great to stand upon such a tiny blade. Believing less was more he chose words over swords as the method of ending conflicts. In celebration of himself he held a duel once a year wherein wit was the weapon of choice.  A duke and a baron two must face each other. Vulgarity could be tolerated but it must be dressed like a window in shades of grey.
All who participated must treat their opponent. While this had the side effect of twice paid checks it also meant each must follow protocol as if their opponent was a greater noble. The king, being a fan of white meat, was the sole arbitrator of whether a comment crossed the line.
Duke Quayle and Baron Lamb came from families long known to harbor ships plagued with hatred in their hearts for each other. Given their druthers the two would have settled their dispute with metal and blood over mettle and iron will. The king, however, would not be denied his sport. The contest took place that year in the great hall of Duke Quayle. As was tradition the baron was afforded the first salvo.
“Pardon the tardiness my lords. I was delayed as the duke’s wife gave us a tour. By way of the kitchen she took us, showing myself and all my knights how ready fowl females always are for a good stuffing and bred.”
Lamb looked to the king, searching for an indication he had crossed the line. He saw none but the king was known for his stoic visage in these events. Growing red at the implication the duke wasted little time in his riposte.
“One would think the baron to be a bit more sheepish. It is unsurprising his attacks start where they do as all know he credits his own wife with him being barren.”
Now it was the baron’s turn to run scarlet. Quayle beamed with pride at his attack. Lamb was determined that like his line this contest would end with him. Unsurprisingly as a bit of a fop he was always obsessed with the clothes.
“We must all forgive the absence of Duke Quayles’ knights. Often absent during the day they have reason now. This is a farming village and we all know the queen hates being roused by noise. Thus upon the duke’s orders, thinking only of the queen his knights are running around violently grabbing their cocks.”
Realizing the balls on the baron the duke went for the juggler.
“The baron again gives himself away. Being bereft of sons he is ruled by his knights. Thus his mind wanders to mine having chickens in hand. A posture the baron is familiar with from his dreams of reigning over the princess.”

“Lords,” the king intoned as he rose. “Your willingness to taint my family in this contest indicates you have both lost your heads.” 

#comedy #shortstory #writer

Sunday, September 28, 2014

It's That Time Again

So I had the first day at this temp job. I think I managed to get carpal tunnel in my shoulder after one night. Help save me from myself and pick up a copy of the novel. If you already have please go write a review so more people will see it.

Putting the finishing touches on three stories to put out a book of shorts soon. Since I can't do that as a Kindle Exclusive I'm going to look into the other ereaders for that one too.

But for now go here, click the appropriate link on the right, or search for Old Odd Ends on Amazon.

#aboutme #author #novel #shamelessselfpromotion

For Her Honor

With dagger previously aloft in left hand I hefted my Ice Shard in the right. The bolt of terror arched above us to scar the ceiling. I hazarded a glance at my compatriots. A sorry scraggly lot of mercenaries they were but also my friends. Honor must be defended. I bellowed back, advancing on the heathen wizard.
“Going in boys! Handle the ruffians!”
The stench of half rotted, heavily seasoned meat wafted to my nostrils. Mingling there with the odor of burnt hair from where the near miss singed the follicles of Ralph the Red. This blaggart wizard would pay.
The cacophony of shattering wood, clanging steel on steel and hastily cast cantrips comingled with meaty impacts of flesh on flesh. My eyes did glance to the dagger. Perhaps my vision was faltering. No! It was the greasy remnants of the aforementioned mutton clinging to the utensil. I advised it was my eating dagger, yes? No matter! I was near blood frenzy at the slight to our honor.
The wizard blearily glared at me through bloodshot eyes. Silently he did caution me, there would be no surrender, no retreat. I suspected he had already blown his… uh… big powerful thingy in his opening salvo though. He was the lone soul still sitting as the public house erupted into an all out, free for all brawl. We two, he and me, were the only combatants left out of the fray and that only due to our intent focus upon one another. I would show him a bard was not a man to be trifled with.
Anon did I tower epically over the villain, who feigned lack of worry and concern by remaining stubbornly seated and rolling his ocular organs. Were my hands not full slap him I would have I tell thee. Instead I affected my stage voice and demanded of him.
“Prithee, tell me why hast thou offended the crimson mane of my noble compatriot with your odiferous incantation.”
“He called the barmaid a wench.”
It vexes me so when a man of letters refuses to speak in a proper fashion. My blood it did boil, cooled only by my ire running cold. The din of the battle behind me echoed loudly in my ears and I refused to dumb my speech down for this one.
“Your anger is voracious, for is she not a wench? Of the serving variety.”
“He said it mean.”
“Be she your sister, or mayhap your wife?”
“My sister.”
“Only one thing for it then to end this all.”

It would not do to use the dagger. Instead I upended my hand and dropped the contents of my Ice Shard, letting it loose upon his head. Splutter and fuss he did. The deafening roar of combat fell to raucous choruses of laughter to end the melee. What a waste. I assume you are no foreigner and knew from the beginning of my tale; Ice Shard is the finest of ales for adventurers on a budget.

#author #comedy #magic #shortstory #writer

Friday, September 26, 2014

Once Voice

The ship is sinking and has been for some time. I see no evidence of captain or crew. The crew is taking an extended meal break. The captain’s whereabouts are a mystery. I do the only thing I can.
I look over the railing again, begging God to let what I saw be my imagination. I receive the same result all men in my predicament do. When has anyone found a need to beseech the divine when it was nothing but their imagination? I was not the first.
The tentacles crawling up the side are not the most disturbing aspect of the scene. Each is ten times the size of a human and I see only a portion of them. They are the vibrant, dirty green of late spring leaves in New York. At the tip of each is a mouth of razor teeth the brown of dentures stained by years of bitter tea. Each has one eye faced backward to see only itself. They softly whisper in different languages, seductively creating madness and chaos; inspiring images of Babble.
More disturbing are the cracks in the hull, fissures that have existed for years. The monster or monsters embracing the boat are greedily holding it together. That cannot last, for when they slither close enough to touch they strike each other like snakes. Biting and spitting venom they battle until one falls away and the ship takes on water at an increased pace.
Tearing my eyes away I survey my fellow passengers again. I am not alone in my realization. The others have seen and broken into groups. Alone I wander amongst them. I listen for wisdom.
“The crew has sold us to the beast for their own safety.” Speak those clad in leather jackets and thick rimmed glasses.
“It visits us as punishment for idleness and acceptance of the deviants among us.” This echoes between soft, well dressed gentry casting accusing gazes.
“We must sympathize as we have brought this on ourselves in some manner.” Say folks bound in tweed, sporting pocket protectors.
I hear many opposing views. Most speaking do so with furtive glances at the ones they blame. As the tentacles creep ever closer I notice, most do not speak. Instead they continue to dance, wander, and ignore; hoping it will go away. They wait for rescue, for someone else to act. From all of them I sense fear. Voices are disparate but emotion unified.  So I speak.
“Friends and fellows we are not powerless. We possess a duty not seen in generations to set aside petty differences and act. Risk death together or face destruction alone cloaked in the cold comfort of our disdain. Follow me, defend the little we can call our own.”

I heft the nearest object I can use as a weapon. Leaning over the railing I wait for my chance to fight back. Looking around me I wonder at what my voice has done as many of my fellow passengers stand beside me.

#politicalcommentary #socialcommentary #shortstory #writing

Old Odd Ends

So it has been a few days. #shamelessselfpromotion time. Go buy the book if you haven't! If you have please review! Short one on this subject today. I am looking at putting together a book of shorts in the next month or two as well. We'll see how that works out.

My favorite short right now is the one I just wrote for a contest so I can't post that one yet. Sad, but I'll get to it later.

Anyway, yeah... links to the right. If you fall outside of those markets you can just search for Old Odd Ends on Amazon or Createspace if you prefer.

#aboutme #author #novel #thoughts #writer #writing

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Cambreadth High School

Seeing Susan fall beside me I knew the battle was lost. I watched the bloodied hand of my last compatriot land near my backpack. My eyes moved to the open bag and our secret weapon inside. My mind drifted back three days.

“So set your sights lower.” Thomas said. He always had a way of understating the importance of things. He was one of mine though, one of the forgotten refuse roaming the halls of WWH.
“And then what? Vocational? The hell with that. They created this problem.” I had to make them understand.
“Wait… Explain it again. What happened at the assembly?” Susan offered me her smile. The one that always made it hard to think but I tried to relate it.

Mr. Swanson ran the teacher assemblies. His eyes shone with malice mirroring his crew’s lack of concern for students like me. Mrs. Green headed up the opposition board and they seemed to care about us. Until you noticed the earbuds they wore. Those probably explained the heads bobbing in all the right places better than actual concern.
Mr. Swanson was just finishing up a motion to send a million dollars in aid to Jefferson High. They were in the middle of a cricket war with insurgents from a community college. The motion passed with unprecedented support. I chose that moment to wave my hands like a headless lunatic having a fit. Mr. Swanson didn’t bother to call on me. He just responded.
“Student 3498, we already know your complaints. It would not be better to spend this money on extending the school lunch benefits. We have had this conversation.”
“But since all schools became boarding schools you are required to provide for us.” I interrupted.
“Only so long as you are involved in a student job. We are all very sorry you lost your TA position. Perhaps you should have been more subservient than good at your job.” His wicked smile gleamed at me, the bastard. “New business?”

“We all feel for you.” Thomas wouldn’t even look at me. “But we can’t win. The teachers have real weapons. What do we have? Pencils and tablets!”
“It’s not about winning.” Susan chimed in. Thank the gods she was coming around. She had a way of convincing the unwashed and disgruntled masses.
“It’s about what’s right.” I jumped in. “It’s about making a stand and hoping others can change things. We’re all going to starve anyway.”
Then Susan said the most profound thing I have ever heard.

As I donned the pack and raised my hands the teachers stopped firing. They loved submission and surrender. I approached slowly and a large unit of teachers closed in around me. Our secret weapon, a book bomb stolen from a teacher, ticked silent towards detonation in my backpack. I smiled, hoping they were all close enough. Susan’s motto ran through my head just before the world filled with white light and pain.

It’s about how many of them can we make die?

#commentary #political commentary #socialcommentary #shortstory

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Echoes of Legend

The world used to belong to us, but then monsters entered the night. One of the in particular is the thing you use to scare unruly children. He brings death with no conscience or regret. It is he that so often haunts my nightmares.
I look up to see him crouched on the sill just outside the window. Murder resides in those cold eyes but the most horrifying thing is the smile that graces his alien lips. He enjoys this. He loves the terror he brings to those like me. There is glass between us but that would not stop the likes of him. Thankfully there are bars between the two of us as well.
He is known as the Brother of the Book and he believes he is righteous. In the dream he leers down at me with the implements of death hanging from the ends of his hands. The bigot truly believes we should die because we are different. My skin is different than his. I eat different foods. I see the world in shades of grey that his black and white mind cannot tolerate.
When will people learn not to judge on things like that? Why does he wish to harm us because we are different than him? Do we not deserve the chance to live and thrive as much as anyone? If I were to ask him he would scream, No, no, no! Then he would end my life.
The dream comes at least three times a week. In the end he is always tapping at the glass and I wake with a scream in my throat.
Tick, tick, tick. The sound of metal on solid glass causes my eyes to pop open. My stomach turns to water as I see the monster of my nightmares in his customary place outside my window. This time he has set tools of homicide aside and used a torch to cut through my protective bars however. With that done he is hammering at the thin layer of glass that will not keep me safe for long.
I have a moment to lament and grow philosophical. It is a short moment as the glass shatters, spraying inward to litter the room. He will not waste words, he never does. Shooting through the opening he follows the shards down to land near my bed.
I think of how it used to be. When we ruled the night, when we were legends. Those were better times but then men like him came. They determined my kind must be exterminated for the good of others. If only he could see, if they all could. Those things the condemn us for are what they have become.
Those are my thoughts as his cheap cologne fills my nose, the crunch of broken glass reaching my ears. Then he is nailing me back into my coffin with silver. Hunters will never change.

Note: The man referenced is the main character of one of my current projects.

#ghoststory #horror #shortstory #monster

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Circus U

My girlfriend and I have a deal. When I meet people she has any association with they are not informed of our relationship up front. It works better that way. It makes living the dirty secrets of my life less complicated. In return I follow her advice in the other parts of my life without question.
Sometimes I hate the deal.
Like when I ended up in Women’s Studies. First year, first day, first damn class. Stupid deal.
I knew professor Kirst was insane when I walked into the class. In her three tone muumuu, hipster glasses, and wild hair she looked ready for Woodstock. Her voice was nasally and repellent. As if all of that weren’t bra burning hippie enough, she wore a homemade perfume composed of equal parts patchouli, red wine, and body odor. It was going to be a long semester.
So she sat us down in a “drum circle” and presented her getting to know you exercise. The class was small enough. I guess I’m not the only one that thought the subject was outdated and the name not at all politically correct. Anyway, she got us set up like a kindergarten class and introduced her ice breaking exercise. At least that part would prepare me for corporate America. She told us her script and where to fill in. I was on her left and it never got past me.
“Wait a minute, wait one minute.” Kirst whined in her migraine inducing tone. I already hated her.
“Yes professor?”
“Okay… your name is Jasper.”
“Yes professor.”
“You do this in a purple clown outfit and a yellow wig?”
“Correct professor.”
The rest of the students still looked stunned at my revelation. They were not reacting. This conversation was just between us. Well, all but one of the students were still, silent, and covered in looks of horror but we’ll get to the last one later. The professor continued.
“And, every day you like to go to the park and kidnap a small child?” She was suppressing a smile, assuming I was joking.
“Correct professor.”
“Then what do you do?”
“I find out what they enjoy and give them the best day of their young lives.”
“Then you return them home?”
“Oh, no professor.”
“Then you…”
“Kill them professor.”
“Why would you do that?” She seemed like she was starting to believe.
“Well, I anesthetize them so they feel no pain. Then I slit their throats and dispose of the bodies. I do it so they die with a happy memory and don’t have to grow up in this screwed up world. It’s better for everyone.”
“You’re sick.” She was still trying to laugh it off.
She went for her phone then. I tackled her. The other students made a run for the door. The herd was stopped by a loud click as my girlfriend, who had moved into position, locked everyone in.
It was going to be a long semester.

Sometimes I love the deal.

#dark #shortstory #horror

The Succubus

So Old Odd Ends has one of the main characters as a variation on the succubus. I got to thinking... what the hell? Why are we so obsessed with them. For a historical reference you can look here

So they started out monstrous and gross. Over time they got sexy as hell. They are a demon that even in religions that say all demons are fallen angels they were once human. Conflicting much?

I know many people who love angels and demons in their art. I know even more who think of the succubus when they think of demons. Why the obsession? Is it just the association with sex? Is there something more?

I am seriously asking here. I love them, love using them in my writing and I am not completely sure where my obsession comes from. Normally with angels and demons I prefer to stick to the traditional. Angels are angels and were never humans, demons are fallen angels not the souls of the damned. Yet, while I will fudge this in my writing, all information says these were humans not angels. So this is an oddity to me.

Succubi, why do we love them? Why do you love them? Sound off! Do it now!

#commentary #hello #magic #thoughts #villainess #writer #writing #succubus #demons #mythology #religion

What is Horror

So I am popping off a couple of non story things here. This is a post of some random thoughts on the subject of horror.

When I was putting Old Odd Ends out there I couldn't classify it. I mean it has monsters in it. It is dark as hell. It's modern but has magic. I'm very wordy and have a strong focus on the characters. I also focus on the story because while I love a character driven story that second word is still a big part of it.

Finally an agent told me what it was. She said it was Literary Genre Fiction. I was able to further define the genre to a combination of Horror and Urban Fantasy. For those of you who do not know Literary Fiction means the author is wordy and focuses on the characters, sometimes to the exclusion of the story. Genre Fiction is your standard stuff where the story is all important and it can be further sub-classified into horror, fantasy, urban fantasy, dystopian and the like.

So I was feeling great about myself. I had some information and this agent, unlike most of them, had been very helpful to me. Even though what I wrote wasn't in her realm I did and do like her. Then I went and self published. When you classify most places, guess what. Literary Fiction is not an option, and Literary Genre Fiction is a, what the hell did you just say? Also you are limited to one or two classifications. So I had to classify as either horror, or horror and urban fantasy. I went with horror because I write for adults. I have no problem with kids reading my books but they are dark and there are some touchy subjects in them. So I want parents to be involved if their kids pick it up. Horror tends to get a more watchful eye from parents than anything with a fantasy label.

So I was annoyed at not being able to classify it right but I went on. This leads me to my thought. What is horror?

In the modern day we think of Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street. We think of shocking, gory titles without a plot or a very simple one. We also think of things that are often meaningless and slightly entertaining for a couple hours on screen or a week in print. Shock value has replaced what is scary. That bothers me. I mean it has its place, don't get me wrong but it is not the horror I grew up with and still love.

I think of horror in one of two ways. It is either the thing where you sympathize with the monster. You feel a connection and that is scary. The other is the cautionary tale, the warning that things are bad and the world is dark and there might or might not be any hope. These stories might have those shocking and gory moments in them but they might not. If you look back dystopian works have their roots in what I consider true horror. What do I think of as true horror? Well I will give some examples from both categories without identifying which they belong in.

Dracula and Frankenstein are horror. 1984 is horror and probably the beginning of the dystopian movement as well. Almost anything written by Stephen King is horror. Edgar Allan Poe (one of my personal heroes) wrote horror almost exclusively, if you consider his stories not his poems. Bradbury wrote some amazing horror stories, some set in scifi worlds and some not. Silence of the Lambs is amazing horror. Mr. Frost is a great horror movie that is always classified as a drama. I guess that is my point. You take a monster out of any horror story and people want to call it something else.

To me horror is not a bad B movie with blood and guts. What about to you? Don't be afraid, leave some comments. What kind of horror do you like? What is horror to you? What are some of your favorite horror movies and books? Which great authors did I miss?

Maybe I'm just getting ready for Halloween early.

#author #commentary #dark #hello #writer #writing #horror #thoughts

Oh God No!

So there is a new writing prompt up and I have an idea for it but I am stopping by here for a bit first. Will be writing on the projects between the two as well. Mostly I had to share this piece of personal horror.

I had to accept a tempt job today. Half the pay rate of my last job, graveyard shift, part time, in an industry I have never worked. It is making me reminisce fondly of the days I worked fast food in my twenties. Yeah, I actually wouldn't mind that right now. But! It's something which I don't have right now.

I remember the guy that worked those fast food jobs. He was a bitter bastard. He hated everyone and was angry at the world that allowed him to be stuck in these dead end jobs. I hated that guy. You would hate that guy. Let's make sure that guy does not come back. Help me make sure I never have to take a job like this again.

How? So glad you asked.

If you have not bought my book yet go do so. If you have bought the book tell your friends and family to do so. Once you have done that go write a review for me on Amazon as that drives sales. Help a starving #author not become an angry, bitter old man before his time. That's it. Buy the #novel or promote the #novel and review it for me. You know you want to.Here, I'll make it easier for you. How to find the place to buy or review the book.

If you are in the US you can click on this link and it will take you to my author page where the paperback and ebook are listed. If you are in the UK, Germany, or France you can find the link over on the right side and down a little bit. Yes, the US store is there too but we are a society focused on instant gratification. So I make it easier. If you are in an Amazon market outside of those listed just go to Amazon and search for Old Odd Ends and purchase either the paperback of ebook. Simple right?

But wait... Patrick, what if I don't want to sign up for Amazon? Glad you asked. You can get the paperback on my createspace estore located here Aren't I just all about customer service?

But wait again.... Patrick, what if I am one of those people seeing this thanks to your linking the blog to Google+ and don't want to follow one of those links but do it in the most difficult way possible? Glad you asked that too! Follow the trail of breadcrumbs to my profile and there is a clickable link to the US author page there.

I think I have covered about every way to get my book other than walking in to your local bookshop and asking them to order it off createspace for you. Don't do that one though. The royalties suck and it will take you longer. Plus, if you're like me you'll forget you meant to do it and I will be a sad panda.

Okay, think I am done with this part now. In short, save me from myself and this terrible economy and buy my book. #AllHallowsRead is coming up and it is dark enough to make a good gift for an adult on your list. Go forth and be terrified.

#aboutme #shamelessselfpromotion

Monday, September 22, 2014

Three Windows

Screeching of points along frosted glass. Methane stench, razor teeth drenched in rotted meat. Clicker clack of wicked talons born of blood and pain to eviscerate the helpless and the weak. Red eyes of desperation and madness shot through with an unhallowed glow. A face born for murder and mayhem staring at me. The window protects, always it protects me but the monster strains at it. The monster wants in the homes of all men and will make an example of me when the glass shatters.
It was always the same dream. It ended the same with me jerking awake in a pool unwashed fear staining the sheets. It began the same until one week ago. Then the gypsy appeared. Since then the dream starts in her wagon.
She flips two tarot cards. The first, the hanged man wears my face and a beatific smile. The second, the beast appears as the thing outside my window. She speaks as I hear screeching against glass.
“You must choose.”
Choose what? I want to scream but then I turn and see the face in the window. That is when I realize I am in my own bed.
The dream began to haunt me during waking hours.
I was staring at the window to reality that matters most to people now. I would drift away, lost in the images of the television. The politician grew fangs, the officer sprouted claws, big model stank of fetid meat, master survivor’s eyes glowed red with hate. On the television and the computer each person grew into the monster and looked at me.
Normally I could snap myself out of the trance but at times it continued. The image proceeded to the monster ripping my heart free and feasting on it. The murder was in plain view. I was a martyr. My sacrifice and pain showed other people they must fight these forgotten evils. It woke a world grown numb and blasé to the horrors walking forgotten amongst the people. The voice echoed in my mind again.
You must choose.
I looked into the window showing my soul and my eyes lost focus. My face, its face, one in the same. Through the watery waves of displaced vision I saw myself rampage. Not a victim I devoured the hearts of those who would wrong me. The politician, the officer, the stars all fell before me. I was merciless. They looked on me and they were terrified.  The voice came again.
You must choose.
The dream is different now. I awake not to the screeching but the stench of eternal methane and rot. The window is open and he is laughing. I know not if it is a reflection in hidden glass or vengeance come for me. I stare up at it and it down at me. The head of the beast echoes my movements. I draw near the window. In the face looking back with curiosity to rival my own I see the answer.

And I choose…

#shortstory #politicalcommentary #socialcommentary

Political Anger

In general I try to avoid politics but today I can't. Promise I'll post a story later to make up for it.

I'm feeling very angry that with the budget extension congress can attach a rider to fund rebels but not bother to #reneweuc. If you live in the States reach out to your reps. Or you can go buy my book and make it unnecessary for me at least. Better yet... both.

Good thing there's not an election coming up or anything.

Okay, rant off. Again, sorry about that.

#aboutme #anger #politicalcommentary #shamelessselfpromotion #socialcommentary #novel

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Echo CoLocation

It started on Friday.
My job isn’t difficult but it’s stressful. The boss had been pushing us to “do more with less”. Which is code for work tons of overtime but don’t expect a raise for fifteen years. So after a seventy hour minimum wage week I was wiped.
Stepping in I heard the television. I guessed I left it on after checking the traffic that morning. Might as well start the weekend with some mindless me time. I zombied into front room and about wet myself. I saw some thief sitting and watching my TV.
Things just got worse when I realized it was me, remote in hand, staring blankly at the screen. I knew I must be losing it when I cleared my throat and said hello. I just continued to sit there, frozen.
Having never hallucinated before I decided the best cure was a cup of coffee with a slug of whiskey. I stepped into the kitchen there I was again, pouring myself a mug. Not only was this me frozen but so was the stream of brown nectar sliding into the cup. Right down to that one splash that always jumps and scalds my left wrist, hanging a fraction of an inch from my flesh.
Knowing I was completely mad I decided to sleep it off. In the bed I caught myself napping. Next to me, in the spot my girlfriend occupies when she stays over was another me. I did not look sexy in her lingerie.
I went to get a neighbor. Just to see if they saw it too. Where Mrs. Roberts was stepping out with that yappy mutt of hers was another me, midstride with a bonnet on my head and plastic bag in hand.
Now convinced I was nuts I walked to the store. You can guess what I saw. Cars not moving, me behind the wheel, cashiers and customers all with my face frozen in one interminable moment, I know you know because you, like everyone else, are me which means you’re brighter than average.
I tried finding someone other than me all weekend. I even swung by my therapist’s office. While I was waiting to see me, and I was manning the phones the me who shrinks heads had stepped out to lunch. I slept in the empty office.
I spent the rest of the weekend wandering, trying to get me to respond. I never did. Eventually I got tired of looking at my face. Those haunted eyes staring back at me started to spook me. I guess that’s why I took drastic measures.
Monday morning when it was just me at work, all of me staring blankly at me I sat down at my desk. Driven by an unexplainable urge I dug both middle fingers into my eyes. The pain was intense as I felt a double liquid pop and felt something warm and squishy sliding down my cheeks.

Then all of me started to talk.

#dark #shortstory #socialcommentary

Saturday, September 20, 2014

No Parades

This one was for a prompt called War Never Changes. Feeling a bit dark today so it seemed like a good choice.

The secretary of the army has asked me to express his deep regret that your husband, Enlisted Five Jeremy W. Jones died in Vietnam on 15 February 1968, from wound received while on combat operation when hit by hostile small arms fire.
Please accept my deepest sympathy, this confirms personal notification made by a representative of the secretary of the army.

I was three when that telegram came. I carry it in my breast pocket, close to my heart. With it I feel closer to a father I never knew. In me war skipped a generation.
Last month, 18 May 2011 0900 local time I received a visit from two Marines in dress blues. Different words, same message. With professional empathy and candor they informed me Terrence M Jones, enlisted three, died in Afghanistan on 11 May 2011 from wounds received on combat operations from hostile artillery.
I blamed the soldiers no more than the doctors twenty years prior. In the pocket with the telegram is the MRI image showing my wife’s cancer. Found too late. A year later I was a single father.
I do not know why I chose Turkey or that particular hotel. It was old and out of the way. It seemed like a quiet place where I would not be interrupted. Human interruption was not a concern but the past, as they say, has a way of catching up.
I traveled with one small handbag. At a local hardware store I added a shopping bag with a single item. Settling in was easy. Opening the suitcase on the foot of the bed I dry swallowed a Vicodin. I do not know why I turned on the TV.
Waiting for the pill to kick in I made preparations. I tied a knot I learned in boyscouts in the rope obtained on my trip to the store. Standing atop an antique chest my nose filled with the scent of archaic oil. Antique chest?
I climbed down and opened the relic. Inside were artifacts of the Ottoman Empire. Most important were a black and white photograph and a letter. The photo showed a dapper young man in uniform smiling at an older gentleman. The letter contained different words in another language but the same message. It informed Mr. Humayun his son had died from wounds received in combat with Russian troops during the First World War.
Through tears I saw faded scuff marks on the rafter I intended to use as a gallows. Victims of war are plentiful and only the combatants lack choice in their stories’ endings. I heard the president announcing our withdrawal from the hellhole that cost me my son on the television. I made a vow to be different than Mr. Humayun. I would not disgrace my son’s sacrifice.

                  I could make my loss mean something. I was on a plane home the next day. I arrived and immediately started contacting families. Together we unknown, distant casualties of war will ensure our relatives are not forgotten. In honor of my lost family I am calling my charity, Their Parade.  

#dark #politicalcommentary #shortstory #socialcommentary

Friday, September 19, 2014

My Thanks

Okay, and one more story. So this was around Thanksgiving last year that the prompt came up about a writing intervention. Since we're getting closer to that season I might as well post this one.

                I have never liked Thanksgiving. Bland food and boring company make me want to open a vein and end it all in a way that only the fights surrounding Christmas can compare to. I used to give in to convention and spend it with my family, then one year my mom gave me a typewriter, we were poor so no word processor or anything like that, and I fell in love. It became my tradition that once the drudgery was over I would slip away and write what I was thankful for and share it with no one. Over time my life became about writing and the dead end jobs that I worked to allow myself to get by until I am discovered.
                Now there is some grey in my beard and I live life on my own terms, sort of. Six years ago I decided I wasn’t doing Thanksgiving with the family anymore. I spent the night alone, writing and eating turkey curry from an Indian place down the street. This year I gave in though, I gave in when Joe and his new wife invited me over. Joe is my best friend, and a friend of the family so I knew at least my mom would be there. I was not expecting an ambush.
                Joe’s wife let me in, I always think of her as Joan because she’s a curvy redhead, and in a pun on my friend’s name. I didn’t smell any food, but then Joe wasn’t much of a cook. When I was led into the living room I saw Joe, Frank, Bobbi-Jo, my mom, my grandmother and a handful of other friends. Over their heads hung the Intervention sign above the mantle. I sighed, it was going to be one of those nights.
                “Getting right to the point you spend too much time writing.” That was Joe, scrawny little punk always has something to say. “If you were to make a living at it we might be able to accept that.”
                “I always have money.” My only possible response.
                “That isn’t from writing. I wish I’d never given you that typewriter! You ignore your family and friends for your fantasy worlds.” That was my mom of course.
                “I just don’t like most of you that much.” Time to be honest I guess.
                “You never go out, and you don’t have a girlfriend.” That was Frank, he should shut up more.
                “I have women when I want them.”
                “They aren’t real sugarplum.”
                That last was my grandma, god I hate her. What I said was true. I’m never broke, and I have women when I want them. You see, what I write always comes true. Six years ago I wrote how thankful I was that I wouldn’t spend Thanksgiving with friends or family for five years. It wasn’t enough. This year I’m going to have to write how thankful I am for the tragic chain of events that killed all my nearest and dearest.

#anger #comedy #magic #shortstory

Semi Random Thought

So I was out walking tonight and almost got hit by a van as I was crossing the street. The van was turning and behind me and no I wasn't texting and walking... at that point. As I start to back up the driver is waving at me frantically to cross. I finally did but I was wondering what kind of crazy person I was to walk in front of a vehicle that had just come close to running me over.

That got me thinking about why I walk. It started it as a way of continuing to lose weight but I keep doing it for the creative process. I walk and listen to a random Pandora station. Okay, not random, it's normally the one with the female led rock bands. But I keep doing it even on days I don't want to.

I got the inspiration from The Artist's Way. Losing the rest of the stomach I can live without if I have to, but losing the creative voice? Hell no. Seriously, if you are a creative person at all, no matter the medium, pick up that book. It is an eight week course and well worth it. Everyone I have introduced to it has thanked me profusely. It is also part of what finally got me off my ass to go publish something.

Hey, look at that. Promotion for something else. What is my world coming to?

#aboutme #artists #authors #author #commentary #thoughts #writer #writers #writing #theartistsway

One Eyed Jack

I don’t play cards for money. That’s a rule I should have lived by.
Vegas before wedding, he said. We’ll be high rollers, he said. You have to live before the life sentence, he said. Like an idiot I listened.
Lucky was raking it in. I was losing my shirt. My fiancé’s father owned a joint on the strip so maybe I was adding to her inheritance.
The pit boss that snagged us from behind. He wasn’t gentle as he ushered us through the club. Lucky earned his moniker when it was my face they used to open the door to the back room.
The lights were dim but I saw a metal table that glistened moistly with rust and fluids best left unimagined. I counted half a dozen convicts, down on their luck dock workers, or refugees from the gorilla pen. The shadows of them loomed menacingly in the deeper shadows making up the room. They each held an implement of slow pain and death in one meaty hand. In case they ran out or wanted to get creative there were finer instruments on the table.
Then the lights went out. A black bag slithered over my head. It’s interesting how easily concern transforms to terror when you are robbed of sight at the same time your hearing is muffled.
I meekly squeaked a demand to know what was going on. The voice that responded held the smooth, soft menace only heard in black and white gangster movies. It informed me that Lucky had been counting cards and the proprietors of the establishment did not cotton to that. Great, a genteel thug. That was the first time I lost control of my bladder but not the last.
I was held in place by hands belonging on a monster in a midnight feature. Even through that bag I heard it all.
Thump, crack, thumps and cracks of iron on flesh and bone was how it began.
Screaming! That was Lucky. A part of me that is small rejoiced. This was his fault.
Long liquid ripping like tight Velcro separating, a cut started with blade then spread with unhygienic fingers. I regretted earlier joy at Lucky’s fate.
So many sounds, other sounds of pain and wrath, there were hours of them. Then came the last and worst two.
Purring, soft and wet, signifying the savage amputation of his tongue.
Deafening roaring of large caliber termination, until the last Lucky howled.
I got off light. They scooped out my left eye with the world’s smallest, rustiest ice cream scoop and no anesthetic. Then they dumped me in an alley.
I got patched up and assured the police I could not identify my assailants. They grabbed me from an alley I insisted. Finally I made my way home.

My fiancé left me before the wedding. Not because I was disfigured, she assured me. Jack, she told me, I could never marry a man that would bring a cheater to my father’s casino.

#dark #shortstory

New Links

So I just discovered that when you set up your page on Author Central for Amazon it only does the US.

Spent some time doing the other markets that have one available and added the links over to the right there. Now I have a page in the US, UK, Germany, and France. Doing this publishing thing really eats into actual writing time.

Thank you to the visitor from Germany I have been noticing. Seeing that hit made me go back and read the email from Amazon about setting up the additional pages. I put all of the information in English because I don't trust translation programs completely and don't want to butcher another language. Interesting thing is while I can add twitter to all of the other markets I am only able to link this blog in the US. Makes me think about putting the link in my biography.

I also noticed some errors in the bio for Amazon because I copy pasted it from the back of the book cover information. Now it makes more sense.

So more links! Also more shameless self promotion since I am all about that. I guess I am also all about ease of use.

Okay, that is enough random musings and shameless self promoting information from an overtired me.

#aboutme #author #hello #novel #shamelessselfpromotion #thoughts #writer #writing #germany #uk #france

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Serial Monogamy

Emily was my first serious crush. We dated briefly, after Chuck, but our relationship was fated to burn bright then fizzle. Yesterday was the first time I called her since then. I was elated when she agreed to meet at noon today.
Emily arrived at my neighborhood pub before me. It was not until I sat down that I realized she was wearing a wedding dress.  She had ordered for me. She knew me well. The burger was perfect but I had not partaken in Amaretto Sours since that night. She responded to my gaze at her dress.
“I’m supposed to be getting married today but…”
I tried to find the words but they all stuck in my throat. She averted her eyes as she continued.
“You know how my dad never approved of any of my boyfriends?”
“Yeah.” Finally a word! It sounded weak to my ears.
“Well he approves of Jim, because my fiancé is an FBI agent. Good enough for me. You know?”
“Yeah.” It sounded weaker still.
“I don’t know if I can go through with it. Not how things stand. Jim started asking questions. I think he knows about the night.”
The night we had agreed never to speak of. Senior year she had been dating a boy named Chuck. One night over too many Amaretto Sours she confessed that Chuck hit her. As she went into detail my anger rose along with my intoxication. I called my buddies Bill, who had a truck, and Frank who was the biggest boy I knew. Emily tried to stop it but in the end she rode along. That night Chuck disappeared. The police looked but not very hard. Chuck had been from the wrong side of the tracks. There was a look in Emily’s eyes when it happened. Something broke inside her at witnessing that act. Even as it freed her it stole her innocence. I was always surprised at how well she coped.
She asked about our two old friends. I let her know that Bill’s brakes had given out one night on his way home. Frank suffered heart failure from too many drugs during a session with a prostitute that was never found. Emily looked annoyed hearing about the prostitute. She had always been a good girl. Of course the mention of drugs and whores would bother here.
“Do you think we can give us another chance? Get the worry out of my life and move on?” She was looking down shyly as she held up her glass of wine.
I gave in and clinked my tumbler to her glass. This was our new beginning. It had been a long time since I indulged in that cocktail. I didn’t remember it smelling so strongly of almonds. Had they always been so acrid tasting? Maybe the sour mix needed to be replaced.
Why is my tongue numb?
Emily is kissing my cheek and telling me she can finally get married.
                I thought we were leaving together.

#dark #shortstory #villainess

This Makes Me Happy

Okay, a little bit more shameless self promotion mixed with a happy announcement for me. Got my first review last night on Amazon. Hoping to see more. This first one was a five star so I am keeping my fingers crossed to keep the momentum going. Go me!

Oh, and in case you want to help out with that the link to the book is still just over on the right. For ease of use because I'm all about customer service though, it is also right here.

#aboutme #author #novel #thoughts #writer #shamelessselfpromotion #reviews #5star

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Wolf's Clothing Part 2

Apparently too long. Let's see how many posts this takes.

For a time the brothers knew peace. It was the peace that only one that lives without danger and with enough distance from his family that they might visit but not happen upon him can know. For a time solitude and peace brought with them happiness. That time was less than a week.

U’tana’ had watched the brothers argue from the top of a hill. He understood their language but was unable to hear the word from the ground on which he stood. When the soft men parted ways U’tana’ sent scouts to follow the two that departed the area. Then he gathered the surviving warriors of his tribe. The land, their women, and their brothers that had gone to the happy hunting grounds would be avenged.

U’tana’ led his band first to the north. Rage filled his heart when his eyes landed upon the mockery of his people that was the hut of the eldest brother Porc. It was only due to the respect the other braves held for him that he was able to still them before they fell upon the hut too early. U’tana’ made his way to the door of the hut and rapped upon it. The eldest of the soft men called from inside.
“Who comes to my home uninvited?”
U’tana was ready for such a response. He knew more of the ways these men held than they did of his people. He replied in a voice that was strong and proud. He spoke for his people.
“Little pig, little pig, let me in.”
“Not by the hair of my chinny-chin-chin.” Came the reply from inside.
“Then I shall huff, and I shall puff, and I shall blow your house in.” U’tana’ informed the soft man in challenge.
U’tana’ let his tribe do as they wished. The dwelling was shredded with ease. U’tana’ stepped through the wreckage and took his revenge with blade and might. He left the body in the sun as a warning to those that would dare defile his people in the future.

The band rode south. It was a day’s ride between the two homesteads. When they arrived anger still filled the braves. The man they sought was on their land, his brother had chosen to mock them and while this one did not he had tarried here; his people had brought disease and death to the tribe and the land. Still they might have been convinced to show mercy. Then they saw the stumps of the trees that had been used to construct the home, the sacred trees. Mercy left their hearts. They were warriors.
Again U’tana’ knocked upon the door to the home. The cabin was of sturdier make than the first and yet it was weak and the man was alone. Once more the man spoke as U’tana’ expected of him.
“Who comes to my home uninvited?”
Once again U’tana’ spoke the traditional phrase for Porc’s people.
“Little pig, little pig, let me in.”
“Not by the hair of my chinny-chin-chin.” The words, it seemed, ran in the family.
“Then I shall huff, and I shall puff, and I shall blow your house in.” U’tana’ cried out with rage and pain.
U’tana’ had shed the life’s blood of one enemy. He allowed the other warriors to do their will unto this one. At his signal flaming arrows were loosed upon the wood from which the cabin was constructed. The structure caught with ease and avenging smoke filled the air while purifying flames lit the land. The tribe was patient and required surety. It was not until the squeals and screams of the middle brother ceased filling the air that they moved south once more.

There would be no mercy for the youngest brother. The warriors knew that these soft men were no different than the others that came before them. Respect and compassion were absent from the hearts of the Porcs. The decimated tribe saw the fortress of stone in the style that cavalry soldiers built before going to war with the natives and they knew that the soft pink men intended no mercy for them either. Still they would not cease. They knew no fear and their cause was just, righteous. They had come too far to fail. What they were unable to see were the soldiers that had gathered at Pierre’s request.
The warriors dismounted and followed U’tana’ to the gate of the keep. U’tana’ pounded upon the larger door. He was greeted from inside, the youngest brother also the boldest though he could see those outside.
“Who comes to my home uninvited?”
U’tana’ raised his voice to the sky to be heard by the man within. He cried for his people.
“Little pig, little pig, let me in.”
“Not by the hair of my chinny-chin-chin.” There was a taunting laugh to the words.
“Then I shall huff, and I shall puff, and I shall blow your house in.” U’tana’ responded in a shout. This last time would bring peace.
The braves stormed the keep. Some climbed the stones of the wall but only attained half the height of the structure. Others flew in rage at the door, the weakest point of the fortress, attacking wood with their blades. There was commotion inside and at first it seemed the inhabitants were afraid.
Then the doors flew open. The soldiers flowed out with swords and rifles in hand. They bent to the attack with joy that all of the soft pink men seemed to share for slaughter.
The warriors on the wall dropped into the fray. Soft men fell and died, others were injured to a point that they would no longer be of service. The tribe was outnumbered. Their weapons were strong but no match for those of the soldiers. U’tana’ and his brothers gave it their all, bringing a good fight to the invaders but in the end they were slaughtered. To a man they died with their eyes to the sky. They perished knowing that the remaining soldiers would kill the women, children and elders without compassion to put an end to what had happened here.
U’tana’ passed from this life knowing that he had done what was right. He died knowing that he had failed, that he would be vilified by the soft men. His field of vision was eclipsed in his last moments by the body of Pierre Porc. That man held a torch that he used to set the ground around U’tana’ aflame. That was not enough. Pierre put his torch to U’tana’s clothing before jabbing the burning end against U’tana’s skin.
The warrior smelled his flesh burning away. U’tana’ never cried out with the pain. He was stronger than the Porcs and he would not give his murderer the satisfaction. He died a warrior as did those that had followed him.
The area was cleared and the ground stained red with the blood of heroes. The soft pink men had their way. The savages were removed by whatever means necessary.

And the land wept.

#dark #politicalcommentary #shortstory #fairytale #nativeamerican

Wolf's Clothing

Going a little longer and darker today. The challenge on this was to rewrite a fairy tale from the villains point of view.

                 U’tana’ Waya was a warrior of his people. The men of his family had been hunters since the times when land and sky were one. Once the sons of the chief had chosen their brides the men of the Waya line had their choice of the most beautiful women amongst the tribe. They always had. Hunters had been revered and loved. It was when the soft men came that the role of his family had changed.
                The soft pink men destroyed everything they touched. They ravaged the land, burned the trees, and slaughtered the animals of the forest with no thought towards leaving enough to breed and prosper to provide food for the children of their children. Witness the absence of buffalo after their arrival, a thing that had never before been a danger. Worst of all these pigs violated and defiled the women of the tribe.
                The tribe was naught more than animals to the pigs. Their women were property to be stolen, used, destroyed, and then returned in a tarnished state or worse left lying in their blood and shame; forced to survive on their own if they were able, which many were not. The tribe must then attempt to set to right whatever devastation had been most recently visited upon those women after the soft pink men had departed. They did what they could but as the pigs also slaughtered members of the tribe; man, woman or child; when the urge or strong drink was upon the interlopers the tribe had a difficult time of it.
If the natives resorted to extreme measures such actions could be understood could they not? They were necessary. What brave would wish a violated squaw? If one claimed or spoke for the woman she was left in peace. It made U’tana’ ill when one was disposed of. Avoiding such a fate for as many as possible was why he had taken one of the defiled for his own wife. It was also why his eldest daughter was not of his blood.
U’tana’ was thirsty for revenge. The tribe was hungry for blood and satisfaction. First the explorers came and some of those did not survive, though most passed through too quickly and the vengeance was much as ashes in the mouth of the tribe. Next the cavalry arrived and the tribe flowed their wrath upon the men in blue. Some of the soft men passed with the attacks. The losses to the invaders were not enough to hide that those attacks did more to leave the tribe broken and depleted of warriors than they did to stem the invasion. With U’tana’s people “broken” and depleted the government of the soft pink men declared the land tamed. The three brothers came to the acres they had purchased despite the fact that the tribe had never sold it. Finally the tribe saw the chance to balance the scales.

The brothers Porc had purchased the land at an amazing price from the government. They had no qualms about what had happened there, though that was part of the reason for the discount. There was still some concern that the efforts to drive off or exterminate the savages that inhabited the land previously had not been entirely successful. The official that had signed papers with them had been emphatic that he told them of the danger only because it was required. In his professional opinion there was no longer cause for concern. The cavalry had seen to that.
The brothers were divided in their acceptance of that assurance. Andre, the eldest and most morbid of humor had complete faith that the Lord and his rulers would protect him. Benoit, the middle brother and shortest of temper believed that God was on his side but that human officials were full of lies if it brought them the ends they sought. Pierre, the youngest and most nervous of spirit knew that all men deceived and believed that the Lord only helped those that helped themselves. Thus they were arguing.
“We should mock these savages!” Andre insisted in his gruff and boisterous tones. “We will build our homes from grass and mud in honor of their huts and in the manner of their teepees!”
The time had long passed that the younger brothers caved instantly to the bleetings of their elder. Both shook their head. Andre was hard to take, though his brothers could do so with more ease than others. Pierre would not look upon his brother. Benoit was more benevolent. He spoke in calm, soothing, reasonable tones when he offered his own opinions.
“While I believe that we are safe there is no reason to be cruel to the animals. Moreover it is wise to take precaution and avoid tempting fate by mocking them. I advise that we build cabins of log as we had back home.”
Andre laughed off the suggestion. Benoit had skin thickened by a lifetime of jibes from his brother and shrugged off this newest one. Pierre then offered his own advice. He seethed the words out in a sibilant hiss that was positively serpentine and brooked no argument.
“We must defend ourselves. We shall build a fortress of the sturdiest stones we can pull from the land and fill it with soldiers and men at arms.”
Pierre’s tone brooked no argument and yet the other brothers did so. Under open air and then in their tent to protect from morning dew the siblings raged and bickered. The disagreement knew no surcease. At the end they declared they were no longer family and would see each other no more. They divided the plot in thirds. Each would abandon the others and do their own will upon their private land.
Andre went north and built his mocking hut of grass and mud. Benoit cut down trees that had been sacred to the tribe and built his log cabin on the ground where he had lost his brothers in symbol if not fact. Pierre rode south to build his outpost after gathering the largest and mightiest of stones from the hills that existed there.

For a time the brothers knew peace. It was the peace that only one that lives without danger and with enough distance from his family that they might visit but not happen upon him can know. For a time solitude and peace brought with them happiness. That time was less than a week.

#dark #politicalcommentary #shortstory #fairytale #nativeamerican

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Trouble With Dreaming

Panting, legs pumping, arms swinging, rushing up stairs that had nothing to do with me. I had nothing against stairs, not even these stairs; in general. In that moment I hated them. As if it was their fault.
It wasn’t bad enough I only had a half hour for lunch. Now I had to rush up seven floors to talk Daniel out of ending his selfish life. It wasn’t even enough I was going to finish my day hungry, with the accompanying headache.
Funny thing about names, we never think about how they affect us. Names flow together, getting lost in the sea of conformity. To save us the pain of anonymity unwitting parents saddle us with “unique” monikers. It wasn’t enough my own parents afflicted me with the name Alton. No, I was also developing a stitch in my side to help Daniel, God damned, Brown. He better appreciate it.
But he wouldn’t.
I was walking to this wonderful little dumpling place when I saw someone on the ledge one floor below the roof. I wasn’t going to stop. I was fixated on needing to beat the crowd. If I got there, sat, and ordered right away… Yup, I had just enough time to wolf down the delicious Asian ambrosia then get my exercise for the week running back to the office six minutes late, avoiding write up.
There wasn’t even a crowd yet, just two cops. If I timed it right they might be chanting jump on my way back. That would lend my tardiness an excuse. I just might savor my lunch. My eyes lowered, and I heard one officer say Daniel’s name.
Daniel and I aren’t friends. But it would take a week of mourning then a month of training before someone replaced him. We did the same job, so guess who would be covering his work.
I entered the right office. Looking out the window I was surprised by what I saw. No news crews, so much for being a hero. Also the person on the ledge was a woman. I was shocked, but she was just a little too pretty for me to be annoyed. My stupid tongue delivered my best line.
“You’re not Daniel Brown.”
“No. I’m Danielle Brownsmith.”
Guess I heard wrong. Names, like I said.
“Well, don’t jump.”
“I’m not. I’m daydreaming. Sometimes I like to eat lunch here.”
She gestured to the brown bag with its contents spread on the ledge beside her. Damn it. I was missing dumplings for this? How could the cops be so wrong? I looked her over and decided opportunity was knocking. Continuing my suave delivery I said the first thing that came to mind.
“Danielle, would you like to go dancing with me sometime?”
I knew from her look she was a woman that liked dancing. A slow smile spread across her lips and I knew she was going to say yes. Why did I ask that?

Shit! I don’t know how to dance.

#shortstory #comedy #writing

Shameless Self Promotion Time

Okay, shameless self promotion time.

Have you ever felt like you are living in someone else's story? Have you ever wondered if you are the monster? This is the world Thomas finds himself in as he discovers the power of magic hidden in words. Old Odd Ends, the debut novel by Patrick Elliott is available now on ebook and paperback here and for those who avoid Amazon accounts the paperback can be purchased here if you haven't bought it yet... why not?

#novel #shamelessselfpromotion #writer #ebook #paperback

Second Guesses

This weeks WD writing prompt response. I went light kind of filling the dark and political in my other projects right now.

I have always been a light sleeper since that one night in Bangkok. We don’t talk about that. I had been awake for a good ten minutes trying to keep my eyes closed, my body relaxed, and my breathing slow and steady. My guess was that the person entering the room woke me. I believe my pretending to be asleep wasn’t all that effective.
The gun cocking made me jerk a bit. I tried to pass it off as a stirring in my sleep but I don’t think they bought it. I spent some time wondering who would want to kill me enough to sneak into my room in the middle of the night. It was a futile exercise. Eighty percent of the people I knew and probably half my fans would be happy to do the deed.
My eyes slid open a crack, dimming the smell of cheap sex and cheaper booze still clinging to the room from the romp the night before. The door was open so I could see two of my band mates watching from the hall. I idly wondered if they had moved since watching the circus sideshow that was my love life a few hours prior.
They were trying to tell me to not give them away. I guess they had a plan. That did not bode well for me. My band mates were, not to put too fine a point on it, idiots.
Her voice dripped like honey into my ear and now the shudder was unmistakable. She already knew I was awake but I couldn’t even pretend anymore. Female voice, well that narrowed down the suspect pool. Unfortunately it didn’t help because if you only considered the women I knew… one hundred percent of them had reason to want to kill me.
Wait… her? My hands reached out. Maybe it was one of the girls from the night before. Nope, they were both still unconscious where they should have been. My hands got distracted for a second, taking the rest of me with them. Finally my mind refocused, reminding me I was in dire straits and replaying what the woman had said.
“Don’t look at me or the game ends here. Give me a good enough one liner and you might get out of this alive.”
I was well known for my wit but I tried to stall. The morons in the hall would feel better if they finally did something useful. The swish of cloth filled my ears like impending doom just before tepid steel pressed to my temple. The hole the bullet would exit felt as big as the Grand Canyon. I knew I was out of time so I opened my lips and let words fall out automatically.
“Careful love, in this room I’m the one that makes a mess because my gun went off prematurely.”
She laughed.
I lived.
Everyone still wants me dead.

Nobody said leading and internationally renowned comedy polka band would be easy.

#shortstory #writing #light #comedy

Daisy Girl

So I just got my first pick up from the Kindle Unlimited program. I wasn't going to post anymore today but seems like something to celebrate. Here is another one that is chock full of social commentary and really, really dark. I know I disturbed a few people with this one and hope you enjoy. Oh and as part of the process, I was listening to Eve of Destruction a lot and thinking of the Daisy Girl presidential commercial when I wrote this one. I think it shows.

Twelve noon, twelfth floor, going down. Who hit the button for four?

Eleven passengers; soccer mom and infant child, Russian immigrants – grandma – mom - teenage boy, NYC cop from another era who serves and pacifies, two construction workers, gentleman from the east maybe a terrorist, woman that works in perfume wearing a short skirt with promotion heels, homeless Vietnam vet who panhandles covering Country Joe. The last is me.
“My budet perym oni vkyuchayut.” – Grandma Russia.
“Tikho, oni ne budut!” – Teen Russia.

Ten minutes after the car stops. An announcement: The roof hatch is locked. Early detection of possible missiles, everything is shut down. Stay put, stay calm.
“Keep that kid quiet.” – The angry cop.

Nine infractions of the child crying in an hour. The first casualty of claustrophobia it hits the wall, silence. None protest, he has a gun and anger. We have only fear.
“My po-prezhnemu ryadom.” – Mother Russia.

Eight seconds of deafness. The argument began. We are all going to die in here. We all agree. The blue collar boys blame the Russian immigrants. The immigrants argue in broken English, seeming unsurprised. The boys beat the Russians to death. Only the terrorist tries to protect them. Deafening roar of the cop’s gun barking once to keep the peace. It stinks in here now; death excrement cologne. Mother keens in one corner, Barbie perfume another. I can hear again. Why am I too weak to stand up to the executioners? I fill with shame.

Seven hours stuck here, no way there are missiles coming but we still believe. Heartbroken mom finally rushes the cop. Her revenge cut short by a bullet in the heart.
“You killed him!” She wails then deafness again. No wasted bullets. If he has less ammunition than people he knows we will end his terror.

Five hours until we’ve been in here a day. We have tried talking but no one wants to. We argue when we speak and the cop looks for the next target. More dead than living. Quiet is easier.

Four, it was the construction workers that pushed four, now we remember. Accusations: If not for them we would have been out before the stall. The cop starts it, beating them with their own hammers to conserve ammo. The lady joins in and, God help me, so do I.

Three meals from anarchy, sometimes less. Three left alive.

Two bullets fired. The strumpet starts seducing the cop. She gains his gun and fires one against the artery in his thigh, one into his groin. Now we are safe but she has the gun.

One violent tryst, I am afraid but alive. She has the gun. I do as she says. Fluids are exchanged but numbers are not. One day since the stall the elevator moves again.

Launch. Parking. She slides out and clicks away on her heels. She blows me a kiss. Surprised I am alive I do not follow. Instead I punch five, menswear. I need to buy a tie.

#shortstory #socialcommentary #politicalcommentary #dark #celebration

Monday, September 15, 2014

Snow King, Gypsy Queen

Another of my favorites, probably because the idea got all twisted around when I wrote it. Hope you enjoy. Oh, and since I haven't said it today, remember to go buy my book.

Louisiana to New York is a long distance to call, especially for eleven on a Saturday morning when there are lawns to be mowed. Mom was hysterical when she placed the call.
“Calm down mama. What’s wrong?”
“It… it’s… it’s your father…” She choked out between heart shattering sobs. “He’s been frozen solid as,” his cold and murderous heart “a block of ice.”
“Get hold of yourself. Have some tea and I’ll deal with it. Everything is going to be okay now.”
I knew my father’s condition was my fault, and I could actually fix it. Mama didn’t know either of those things. I went through my contacts as I stepped into the kitchen. Maybe I’d have a beer to help.

Isadora was a voodoo queen, a priestess of the Loa. She had also had a thing for me since long before I moved to the big city. She made me wait a full five jingles before she picked up. Who doesn’t have a cell phone these days? Or even voicemail? When she did answer it was in that sweetly seductive tone that made me consider moving her to New York with me.
“Mon cher, I was expectin’ your call laytah.”
“The Baron feeding you bad information?”
“Non, he jes’ fine. You the one normally be sleepin’ in.” She gave a throaty laugh.
“It happened just like you said it would.”
“Well you know tha price for my help.”
“You can fix it?” I was worried, I admit it.
“Non. Only you can do tha’ an’ you acted rash mon cher. There is risk, he may be harmed by the coming back.”
“But you think it can be fixed.”
“I’ll call you back when it is.”
I opened the freezer before dialing mama. This was a high price.

The phone only rang once when I placed the return call to my mother. She was sniffling but the wailing cries had abated. That, with the comatose way she slurred her words told me she had listened to me about the tea then chased it with a valium.
“Okay mama. I can fix this. Put the phone to papa’s ear for a second.”
“How lawn…guh?”
“You’ll know.”
A moment of silence, then the clink of the phone against ice and I was talking to my dear father. I seethed the next words quietly, only for him. Cold stung my hand, funny how I only felt it then.
“All right you son of a bitch. I’m going to put the poppet of you in cold water. You should unfreeze in about two hours. This was a warning. Mama ever calls me crying with a black eye or a bruise again and I’ll hit it with a hammer instead of a nice warming bath. You better understand.”
I raised my voice both to hurt my father’s ear and to let mama hear me.
“I’m hanging up mama; this will take a little bit. Just stay chill. Everything is going to be okay now.”

#shortstory #writing #voodoo #magic #familyissues #anger