Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Silent Night

Today's muse: Three Word Wednesday

Today's words: educate, object, silence

* * *

Silent Night

The object of the conference was to educate the family members, explain the options available and potential outcome of the treatment; but the bleak future Dr. Fischer projected was met with complete silence.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Utter Truth

Today's muse: Three Word Wednesday

Today's words: dabble, lean, utter

* * *

The Utter Truth

The brick was cold and rough against her back, but she pressed against it. Cheryl thought of it as penance, figured she deserved it. She tipped her head back and closed her eyes, cursed her utter failure at that first dabble in love.

She thought Craig meant it when he’d used those words, whispered them in her ear, his breath hot against her neck. His voice, soft and hypnotic, sedated her nerves. After the initial jolt of pain, he took her flying, soaring with her through the night. After, she'd floated home, Craig’s murmured promises dancing in her heart.

Then Andrea called.

Cheryl could hardly breath as she listened to her best friend tell her that Craig’s buddies had laughed while he told them what a lame fuck she was, how he had to show her what to do.

She dropped the receiver; it bounced across the linoleum kitchen floor, ear to mouth to ear. She tore through the penthouse as Andrea’s voice dopplered out.

Cheryl squeezed her eyes against the memory, slammed her fist into the jagged brick, felt blood trickle down her fingers. She wiped it against her t-shirt, leaving a crimson skid mark across her chest.

“No one will notice,” she thought, as she leaned over the narrow ledge.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Poetic Justice

Today's muse:

I was watching t.v. last night, my laptop balanced on my knees, and this idea drifted into my head.

* * *

Poetic Justice

Charlie dug through the wet soil in a fevered rage, spittle flying from his mouth.

“She actually had the nerve to say no. To deny me the pleasure I deserve.” A feral growl rumbled in his throat. “I’ll show her!”

He’d waited until she lay down in the living room with a glass of wine and a movie, before he skulked off to the bedroom. Methodical, he checked the walk-in closet, poking between dresses and pants. He peered behind the flowered chaise in the corner, even under the bureau. He found what he was looking for under the bed.

A pair of black Christian Louboutin shoes. Jackpot!

She’d come home from the vacation in Paris gushing about the shoes, raving about how slimming the ankle strap was. She’d preened in front of the mirror, twisting her foot one way then the other, checking out the look from every angle.

“What do you think?” she’d asked him. He admitted they did look good. He may have drooled a little.

But when he’d inched forward to get a closer look, she’d slapped him away.

“No, Charlie!”

What was the big deal? They were just shoes. She said they were expensive, but what did he care? If they were that precious, she shouldn’t have left them under the bed.

He lunged for the left shoe, tore off the ankle strap in one violent movement.

“Oh yeah, that felt good.”

He heard a noise from the living room and cocked his head, waiting for her footsteps down the hall. When he heard nothing, he continued with the systematic destruction of the sacred shoes. Satisfied that he’d inflicted enough damage, he thought it prudent that he hide the evidence. If she couldn’t find them, she couldn’t blame him. He carried the shoes down the hall, nudged open the back door and stepped out to the yard, where he dug the shallow grave.

Now, sitting at the edge of the pit, panting a bit, he dropped the mangled pair of red-soled shoes.


Oh shit.

“Charlie? Where are you?”

He whipped around, his eyes darting about, looking for a place to hide.

“There you are. What are you…”

He was sure she snarled. It was impressive, really. He didn’t think she had it in her. She looked down into the pit at her mangled shoes, the sexy ankle strap chewed beyond recognition except for the silver buckle.

She whirled on him, teeth bared, eyes boring into him. For the first time since he’d come to live with her, Charlie was scared. Something told him that a sloppy wet kiss wasn’t going to fix this one.

“Bad dog, Charlie! Bad Dog!”

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Christmas Decoration

Today's muse: The One-Minute Writer

Today's prompt: Decoration. Write about a holiday decoration that holds particular meaning for you.

Note: The Christmas Decoration is based on fact. I did make a macaroni picture frame in Grade One. Mrs. Van Dyke spray painted it gold, attached a ribbon to the back, then told us to give it to our parents to hang on the tree. My mom hung my picture in the dining room where everyone could see it. I still have the picture frame somewhere, though many of the noodles have fallen off.

* * *

The Christmas Decoration (aka The Macaroni Lisa)

Rebecca fidgeted a little as she handed her mother the Christmas present. Folded and re-folded many times, the colourful wrapping was torn in several places, held together with numerous pieces of tape.

“I made it just for you, mommy.”

Rebecca held out the dismal parcel, as though it were a priceless Faberge egg, her face glowing with pride and just a little anxiety. Tricia took the parcel from her daughter’s hand.

“For me?”

Rebecca blushed, clasped her hands behind her back and rocked on her feet.

With great care, Tricia pried open the gift, exposing the black and white picture of Becca she’d taken last week. Becca had posed like a little lady, sitting on the living room coffee table, her skirt fanned out about her legs, ankles crossed, hands held primly in her lap. Her angelic face held a serene smile that disguised the frog-chasing tomboy beneath.

“It’s lovely, sweetheart!”

So this was why the teacher wanted pictures of the kids and a supply of raw pasta.

Rebecca peered over the picture. “See the frame?”

“I do. It’s beautiful, Becca. You made this all by yourself?”

Rebecca nodded, grinning with pride. “I glued all the macaronis on one by one.” Rebecca poked at the raw noodles arranged in an intricate design. At the top of the oval cardboard frame was a farfalle noodle, just a little off-centre. A bright red ribbon was looped at the back for hanging.

“Mrs. Jenkins spray painted everyone’s frame gold. She wouldn’t let us use the spray paint.” It was clear that Rebecca was more than a little disappointed with that. “Then Mason licked his glue stick and he barfed all over the floor. It was gross.”

“I’m sure it was.”

Rebecca rolled her eyes. “Boys are stupid.”

Tricia bit her lip to keep from smiling. It wouldn’t be prudent to agree with such sage wisdom, nor did she think she needed to reprimand Rebecca for using the ‘S’ word at that moment.

“Are you gonna hang it on the tree?” Rebecca’s eyes were hopeful.

Tricia pursed her lips, thinking. Then she shook her head.

“I don’t think so, honey,” said Tricia, careful to maintain a straight face. “Becca, the tree is already decorated, and I don’t think that this picture really goes with the other decorations.”

Rebecca’s bottom lip trembled, but she didn’t cry. Instead, she nodded as though she understood, though it was clear she didn’t. Tricia cupped her hand beneath Rebecca’s chin and lifted her face so their eyes met.

“This picture…” Tricia turned the macaroni frame to face her daughter; Rebecca’s eyes darted over, then back to meet her mother’s. “This picture is too special to hang on some crummy old Christmas tree. This picture deserves a place of honour.”

Still not sure what that meant, Rebecca stood motionless as her mother crossed the room. Tricia removed the intricate wooden frame that hung over the corner table and replaced it with Rebecca’s macaroni picture.

Rebecca slipped her hand into her mother’s grasp and, as one, they stepped back to admire the art.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Not Waving but Drowning

Today's muse: Carry on Tuesday

Today's prompt: Not waving but drowning

* * *

Not Waving but Drowning

“Hey, Mandy!”

Amanda looked up from her laptop into Jake’s smiling face. His grin brought out the dimple in his left cheek, made his dark eyes laugh.

“Hey, Jake.” She closed the computer in an effortless move and picked up her latte, careful to keep her expression blank.

“I was in the neighbourhood, thought I’d stop in and grab a coffee.”

Amanda nodded. “Coffee’s good here.”

“Yeah, listen...” Awkward, Jake shoved his hands in his pockets. “I was wondering...” Wondering what? he thought. Whether you were dating someone? If you’d forgive me for being such a jackass? If you’d take me back? Jesus, this was a lot harder than he’d imagined.


He held up his hand. “No, wait. Let me say this. I know I screwed up. And I can’t change it, but I want to make it better. I need to make it right. Just...just give me a chance.”

It was all she wanted to hear, everything she’d fantasized about for months. God she missed him. And more than anything, she wanted to forgive him.

Amanda cupped her hands around the cardboard cup, twisted it around and around, let the warmth seep through her.

“Jake...” She shook her head. She didn’t know what to say.

Jake nodded. “I understand.”

Without another word, he left the cafe; the bell above the door jingled merrily. He stood on the sidewalk a moment, watching the traffic, then turned and looked back through the picture window. He met Amanda’s gaze, misery clouding his eyes.

Amanda raised a hand to stop him, ready to run out and throw herself at him, take everything back and start over.

Jake waved back at her, turned around and walked away.

“I wasn’t waving, asshole,” she muttered, “I was drowning.”

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Midsummer Night

Today's muse: Carry on Tuesday

Carry on with Shakespeare's A Midsummer Nights Dream, "The course of true love never did run smooth".

* * *

Midsummer Night

The course of true love never did run smooth. Of course it didn’t, he thought, the goddamned road was always under construction. Crawford Mitchell guided his pickup along the deserted highway. Virgin pavement, smoothed only hours ago, spread before him, crooked a finger in seduction. He could hear it chant, telling him to drive farther, faster, harder.

It was nothing to move a few cones and ease the truck through. They didn’t even have some potbellied security moron watching the place.


The new bypass was scheduled to be opened next week at an elaborate ribbon cutting ceremony where the Mayor, Town Council and other flaccid dignitaries would gather to clap backs and shake weak hands.


Crawford jabbed the volume control. Bass pulsed out of the radio, pummelled his chest. It made him feel alive. He dropped the accelerator and the truck rocketed across the deserted highway. He maintained the frenzied pace for several miles, then knocked it down, readied for the turn off south. The Shaldon exit was as far as they paved, though they were careful to spew empty promises of extending the pass to Millerton.


It didn’t really matter; Shaldon was far enough. As Crawford approached the exit, he glanced at the rear view mirror, comforted by the blackness behind him. He blew by Shaldon and slowed the pickup down so he could rock over the divide between pavement and gravel, manoeuvre around the dead end sign, and skid to a stop about two hundred yards beyond the pavement end.

He climbed out, wandered to the back and dropped the tailgate. He tore open the case of beer, selected a long neck, twisted the cap, let the spit and hiss release the tension he’d carried the last few months. After a long pull, he swiped his forearm across his mouth then walked back to the front of the truck, over to the dark gap illuminated by the headlights.

He dangled the half-full bottle between his knuckles, leaned over to peer down the crevice. As he thrust his free hand into his front pocket, he estimated the width, figured it was enough. He took another pull from the bottle, tipped his head back and emptied it down his throat. After a half glance behind him (you couldn’t be too sure, right?), he dropped the bottle down the fault.

One Mississippi. Two Mississippi. Clunk.


Crawford looked around, took in the rolls of sod, the mounds of earth and smiled as a plan formed in his mind. Beautification of the city was important, wasn’t it? The Mayor was always shooting his mouth off about it. He’d give him beautification alright.

Crawford wandered to the back of the pickup, reached in and pulled out a spade. He’d smooth out some earth, roll out some sod. Shit, maybe he’d plant some god dammed flowers. No, he thought, a tree. A fucking tree.

Pleased with his plan, he reached into the truck bed, hooked a meaty hand around the delicate, limp wrist and pulled Fiona to the edge of the tailgate. He ran his hands over her golden hair, across her delicate jaw, trailed his fingers across her cold lips. God she had an amazing mouth.

He yanked Fiona out of the bed, let her flop onto the cold, hard ground. Hoisting the spade over his shoulder, he grabbed her arm and dragged her to the crevice, whistling quietly. He let her slump at the edge of the opening, spiked the shovel into the dirt, then gave her an annoyed shove with his foot.



Crawford shovelled dirt into the gaping maw, whistling louder now, while he contemplated details for the layout of the sod.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Blind Judgement

Today's muse: Three Word Wednesday

Today's Words: judge, nightfall, safety

* * *

Blind Judgement

Through the picture window behind her, the crimson burst of nightfall glowed like a halo; a mythic contrast to the vixen before him.

Head held high, raven curls cascading down her back, she challenged him with her stare. Legs apart, a hand cocked on her leather-clad hip, she flicked her tongue across ruby lips and snapped the whip. The gunshot crack had him hard in an instant.

He couldn't judge, at that moment, whether he’d actually use the safety word.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Stone Burden

Today's muse: Stony River

Micro Monday #60:

* * *

Stone Burden

Leaves flutter and birds croon but she hears none of it; she only stares at the granite and knows it’s too heavy to bear.

Monday, December 6, 2010


Today's muse: Three Word Wednesday

Today's words: demise, effort, revival

* * *


“Today’s offerings are very generous.”

Brother Andrew sat at the head of the long mahogany table, his elbows resting on the arms of the vintage chair, fingers steepled, resting against his lips. His blue eyes travelled along the long line of wicker baskets that brimmed with folded bills. It humbled him to witness the endless faith of his congregation.

“Brother Phillip.” Andrew addressed the man at the opposite end of the table.

“Yes, sir.”

“See that the day care on Miller Street receives the funding they need to upgrade their playground.” Phillip scribbled notes in his book.

“Brother Marcus,” Andrew continued.


“Despite their efforts, it seems that Riverton Public School has failed to raise the necessary funds to update their gymnasium.” A sad murmur rippled through the group of men around the table.

Brother Andrew raised his hands bringing immediate silence. “See that they are looked after, won’t you?”

Brother Marcus nodded.

“Are there other matters to address?” Brother Andrew scanned the faces around the table. His gaze held nothing but care, an earnest desire to open his arms to the community he served.

“Sir?” A tentative voice spoke up.

He smiled. “Yes, Brother Walter?” Andrew’s deep, melodic voice put Walter at ease.

“The hospital, sir, it…”

Andrew raised his hand and Walter stopped, certain he had misspoke.

“My apologies, Brother Walter.” It was clear that Andrew was contrite, indeed remorseful. “I forgot that we agreed at our last meeting to assist with the expansion of the neo-natal wing.” Relieved, Brother Walter let out the breath he held.

“In fact,” Andrew continued, “with your financial background, perhaps it would be prudent for you to supervise this project.” Andrew stared up at the ceiling, as though contemplating this decision. “Yes. Yes, I think that would suit everyone.” He turned to Walter and smiled. “I have complete faith in you, Brother Walter.”

Flushed with pride, Walter grinned as the other Collectors offered their congratulations.

“Well then,” said Brother Andrew, tapping his hands on the table. “I think that brings our meeting to an end.”

In unison, every head around the table bowed, hands clasped in prayer.

“We offer our thanks, Lord,” said Andrew, his deep voice filling the room, soothing the loyal men who prayed with him. “We do only Your bidding, carry out the work You ask us to do. We serve in Your name.”

“In Your name,” echoed the voices around the table.

Chairs scraped the floor and voices boomed. As was the custom at the end of Sunday meetings, formalities were dropped and the banter was casual. There was discussion on lawn maintenance and golf tips. And, always, there was praise for Brother Andrew and the Tabernacle’s movement.

“Ask Sister Rebecca to come in,” Andrew called out, as the Collectors filed out of the room. “I need to dictate a letter to the Board of Directors and advise them of our prosperity.” The last man, a thin, aged soul, bowed his acknowledgement as he closed the door behind him.

Brother Andrew closed his eyes and smiled. The higher powers would be pleased that The Saviour’s Revival Tabernacle was doing so well. The community it supported flourished under his spiritual guidance. Perhaps it was time to pass the leadership to another—Brother Phillip would be a good choice—and move on to lead another flock.

Sister Rebecca entered the chamber. She wore the traditional blue robe of women in the congregation, her long hair pulled back in a demure knot. She sat at his right, her note pad balanced on her lap, pen poised for dictation.

“I’m ready, sir.” Sister Rebecca let the robe fall off her shoulders to expose the delicate chemise beneath.

As he bent his head to suckle on the pink nub straining beneath the thin silk, Brother Andrew dismissed the fleeting thought that this might mean the end of his church; not to mention the demise of his soul.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Happy Again

Today's muse: Three Word Wednesday

Today's words: clutch, delight, happy

* * *

Happy Again

The look on her face was raw delight as she snatched the solitaire from my hand and thrust it onto her third finger. She twisted her hand in the air, bouncing refracted colors off the living room wall. She laughed—a high-pitched squeal—then took my face in her hands and pressed a noisy kiss on my mouth.

“Yes!” she shouted, dancing around the sofa. “Yes! Yes!”

I thought my heart would burst.

Now, facing the stained glass windows, hushed voices behind me, my tuxedo compresses, squeezes air from my lungs. Misgivings rush at me in fast-forward; a Charlie Chaplin film of what my life will be, highlighting all the reasons this is a mistake. But I don’t have the balls to stop it. My heart pounds, chases sweat down my back. My bowels liquefy. I thrust my sweaty hand into my pocket, searching for a handkerchief to mop my face. Or hide it.

There is frantic movement in the pews behind me as a vicious game of Broken Telephone ripples through the crowd. At once, the voices are silent.

My best man clamps a hand on my shoulder. His voice breaks. “Hey, man…”

I shake my head. This is a happy moment and I don’t want him to mar it. I clutch the crumpled piece of paper in my pocket where my linen handkerchief should be. I don’t have to read it—I know what it says.

It makes me smile.

Friday, November 12, 2010

By Chocolate

Today's muse:

I'm ashamed to say I can't remember where this prompt came from. I know the word was (or had something to do with) Chocolate, but I can't remember where I found it. If you recognize the prompt, please let me know where it came from and I'll add a link to that site.

Though, I suppose, it would qualify for The Daily Writing Practice's prompt of "falling back". But I know that's not what it was. Sorry, Marc.


Thanks to Heather who reminded me that the prompt came from The One Minute Writer. In fact, as you'll see from my response below, I first found the prompt while browsing Heather's site.

* * *

By Chocolate

The Mixing Station towered eight stories above the warehouse floor. Measuring twenty by thirty feet, the floor of the platform was covered in anti-static rubber to protect the sensitive equipment that controlled the operations at Chocolate Bliss.

Alone, high above the main floor, Abigail Bedford went about her work, unsupervised. Not that she needed anyone telling her what to do. She'd been doing her job for more than forty years and could do it in her sleep, if she had to. Not that she'd sleep on the job, of course. She hadn't become Senior Chocolate Supervisor by sitting on her laurels, no sir.

Tired of listening to her pleas, Abigail’s father took her to work when she was only eleven, thinking that the tedious work of sweeping the floors at Chocolate Bliss, would soon show her that the hard life of a factory worker was something she could wait for, even avoid. Instead, from the moment she walked into the building, Abigail was mesmerized.

“There are fifty-two vats of chocolate,” Mr. Bedford explained as they walked between the enormous vats. “Each one measures three stories high and two hundred feet in diameter.”

Abigail tilted her head back to follow the dozens of ladders propped against each vat; ancient wooden rods that stretched all the way to the top. Factory workers, clad in faded and patched overalls, climbed the rickety rungs, boulders of cocoa balanced on their shoulders.

“When they get to the top,” Mr. Bedford said, “they drop the cocoa into the vat where it boils and melts.” Abigail watched a man, high above her, struggle to hoist an enormous chunk of cocoa over the ledge. It landed with a loud splash that echoed throughout the warehouse. As the day wore on, and the level of melted chocolate rose, Abigail noted the workers were sprayed with scalding chocolate, leaving angry red blisters on their faces and arms. Even at that young age, Abigail knew the position of Climber was perilous. By the time she was thirteen—old enough to climb the ladders herself—she had witnessed eight deaths.

Oddly, the high mortality rate didn’t seem to hinder moral at the factory. Queues of hopeful workers snaked for several blocks whenever the factory posted a notice for hire. The salary that Chocolate Bliss paid their employees far outweighed what came be to known as the inevitable end. In turn, loyal employees worked hard, increasing production year after year when other businesses around them failed. Indeed, Chocolate Bliss had survived two World Wars, The Great Depression and several recessions, its revenue growing exponentially every decade.

Now, decades later, Abigail had seen overall-clad workers replaced with chromed robots, supervised by a handful of human employees in crisp white lab coats. Though revenue was not what it was in the early years, Chocolate Bliss continued to be a major player on the stock exchange. Several past presidents had rung the opening bell; the current president, Reginald Bliss IV, honoured with the task just last week.

One of the monitors beeped an alarm and Abigail glanced at the message box open on the screen. Core temperature dropping. Not the least bit alarmed, Abigail made her way over to the computer, tapped in a few codes and made some adjustments. The computer made a satisfying beep and Abigail smiled. She adjusted her hair net and wandered back to the small overhang that jutted out from the high platform. The Lookout, as everyone called it, was directly over the one enormous vat of chocolate that had replaced the fifty or so smaller vats that once lined the warehouse. Large chunks of cocoa rolled down a chute to rest beside Abigail. She pressed a button that released the mechanism to eject the chocolate into the melted liquid below, where it landed with a loud splash. Chocolate geysered up a few inches shy of the Lookout.

Years ago, the smaller vats were filled by the end of each work day; emptied at night by the midnight crew. Now, the lone vat was filled to brimming every six months; emptied with a simple click of a button.

“Almost time,” Abigail thought, as she glanced at the gold watch on her wrist, presented to her several months ago at her retirement party, where Mr. Bliss gave a touching speech before sending her on a two-month European cruise. Her colleagues cheered, some cried.

“Don’t be sad,” Abigail repeated over and over to her friends as she hugged them. “It’s been wonderful working here and I couldn’t have asked for a more satisfying career. Bliss Chocolate has taken good care of me and my family and I couldn’t ask for more.”

Her peers nodded in understanding, for they all benefited from the company’s generosity.

Abigail checked the monitors one more time. Lines bounced across the screens and she made a few last-minute adjustments before stepping onto The Lookout. She gazed over the vast warehouse at her colleagues going about their duties; small white specks so far below her. A bell sounded somewhere in the distance and the tiny dots stopped moving. She thought she’d be afraid; instead, she was quite calm. As the bell sounded once more, Abigail turned around, her back to the edge of The Lookout. She could hear her understudy climbing the rungs to the platform, ready to take over the helm. Satisfied that everything was in order, Abigail closed her eyes, spread her arms out like wings and fell back.

She plummeted from The Lookout, landing with a soft splash into the warm chocolate. The core temperature had dropped enough that it wasn’t uncomfortable. Indeed, it was warm and comforting, like a hug, she thought. As the chocolate swallowed her, filled her ears and nose, Abigail’s only thoughts were of joy and peace.

In the executive offices, Reginald Bliss IV glanced at his computer. Reports were coming in from the Exchange, confirming another stellar year. Reg leaned back in his custom leather chair, folded his hands behind his head and smiled. The gods were once more appeased.

On the warehouse floor, the white dots resumed their work.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Buttered Popcorn

Today's muse: Three Word Wednesday

Today's words: abrupt, kernel, wield

* * *

Buttered Popcorn

Silence, abrupt and final, shrouds the tiny apartment as the last seed explodes. Lured by the bewitching aroma, Brenda wanders into the galley kitchen to find Evan (or did he say it was Ethan?) standing at the counter, wearing nothing but an imitation Rolex.

He pours the tiny cloud puffs into a clear bowl, snatches the few that scamper away. Brenda sneaks up behind him, presses against his back, trails her tongue across the eagle tattoo on his left shoulder. He murmurs his assent as she reaches around, delighted to find him ready. He presses a popped kernel into her mouth, muttering incoherent promises.

His prowess doesn’t quite have the effect he expected. Brenda wields the heavy corn popper high in the air and brings it down in a lethal blow.

“I said no butter.”

Monday, November 8, 2010

Into the Forest

I found a new muse: Microfiction Monday over at Stony River.

Every Monday, Susan Carleton posts a photograph or illustration as our muse to write a 140 character short. Perfect for Twitter, I might add.

I realize the photo speaks to bunnies and kittens, but I'm in a dark place right now and my mind wandered to more lethal things.

Microfiction Monday #56:

* * *

Into the Forest

Eyes squeezed shut, hands clamped over her tiny ears, she cowers in the shadows of the forest and prays the screams don’t find her.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Annual Sacrifice

Today's muse: What else would it be today?

* * *

Annual Sacrifice

Black and orange candles, etched with protective symbols, flickered throughout the house. Crouched in the corner of the front hall, her arms wrapped around her knees, Sandra rocked back and forth, chanting incoherently.

Darkness approached and with it, she knew, would come the same creatures who terrorized her home before. Threatened with violence if she offered no sacrifice, she proffered what she had, but it was never enough. Each terrifying monster was replaced with another and another and another, until she had no more to give.

Sandra’s head snapped up as the front porch creaked. Footsteps came closer and closer, then a vicious pounding on the front door. She squeezed her eyes shut and clamped her hands over her ears to block out the demanding voices that shouted their threat.

“Trick or treat!”

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Cause and Effect

Today's muse: Three Word Wednesday

Today's words (well, the words from October 6, at least):
hint, lust, sheen

* * *

Cause and Effect

With the slightest hint, he could convey lust and desire; make her body tremble with a thin sheen of anticipation.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Just Messin' Around

Today's muse: I’m more than a little disturbed by the increasing incidents of bullying.

Be forewarned: This is a dark piece and not for everyone.

* * *

Just Messin' Around

I killed Gerry Dodds.

Not with my own hands, o’ course, but I killed him. Gerry Dodds was this snot-nosed little shit who did nothin’ but whine and cry. Jesus, he pissed me off! He pissed everyone off.

Me and CeeCee, we was down by the ball diamond, hunched behind the bleachers, smokin’ a couple, when Dodds walks by. He’s got this humungous backpack and he keeps his head down cuz he knows if he makes eye contact, one of us is gonna slam him. So he keeps walkin’ by, like we’re not even there. It’s not like he don’t see us cuz CeeCee’s a pretty big guy and he kinda stands out, ya know?

“Hey!” CeeCee yells.

Gerry jumps about three fuckin’ feet in the air and I swear he shit himself. He looks over at us, then runs for it. I look at CeeCee. He looks at me. And we both shrug. Why the hell not, right? So we run after Dodds. It doesn’t take long before we catch up to him and shove him against the fence.

“Why the hell did you run?” CeeCee asks him.

Dodds is cryin’ and he’s got snot runnin’ all down his face. I roll my eyes and smack him. “Don’t be such a pussy,” I say.

I yank his backpack from him and dump it on the ground. There’s a bunch of books on math and shit and a few bills. I grab the bills and shove them in my pocket.

“Bring some more tomorrow.” I plant a solid right into his stomach and he doubles over and yacks on the sidewalk. CeeCee laughs like I just told the best god-dammed joke, and we walk away.

The whole school year went by pretty much like that. We smacked Dodds around a bit and he gave us money. No big deal really. I mean, we wasn’t gonna hurt him or nothin’, just mess around with him, ya know? Stupid fuck went and hanged himself anyway. I guess Dodds didn’t get that we was just messin’ around.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Mama Said

Today's muse:

This was originally the prologue to the book I'm writing. I decided, instead, to use it later in the book as a flashback. Or, perhaps, I won't use it all. The book is still evolving. It is edited for the blog and won't likely be recognizable in the book, but I thought I'd put it out there and get some feedback.

* * *

Mama Said

“Run and hide,” Mama said, whenever he got this angry. So Erica crouched in the corner behind her mother’s tattered, second-hand dresses, pressed her hands against her tiny ears to silence the yelling. She knew he’d punish her if he found her.

It wasn’t unusual to hear them shout, but it was different this time. He was in a rage like she had never seen before. His deep voice, slurred with alcohol, shouted threats while Mama pleaded for him to leave.

Erica pressed her thin frame further into the corner, hugged her legs to her chest and rocked. She heard him throw things around the room and shout bad words. Something shattered—perhaps a glass—followed by a high scream. Then nothing but silence.

She held her breath and waited. There was quiet movement in the room—someone was moving things, straightening up. She knew it was Mama making a useless attempt at making their home seem normal. Erica crept from the corner to help.

The closet door squeaked as it eased open. He turned, his red-rimmed eyes wide in surprise. An enormous hulking man, he towered over her, a faded plaid shirt stretched over his belly. She wrinkled her nose at the stink of beer and stale cigarettes. A low growl vibrated in his throat as he lumbered over.

Erica’s eyes darted around the room in desperate search of Mama. At the edge of the bed, she caught the faded fabric of a familiar dress and followed the trail of flowered material until she saw Mama’s face.

A pool of blood stained the matted carpet around Mama’s hair. She met Erica’s stare and blinked, the effort clouding her eyes with pain. A crimson bubble formed at her mouth as she spoke. It was the last thing Erica remembered from that night.

“Run and hide,” Mama said.

Sunday, September 26, 2010


Today's muse: Three Word Wednesday
Today's three words: gait, nudge, ripen

To add to the challenge, I went with a Twitter format and wrote a one sentence story.

* * *


As night falls and the full moon ripens, his gait moves from stride to limp, nudging his manly form into canine

Friday, September 24, 2010


Today's muse: The One-Minute Writer
Prompt: Write a brief bit of fiction using the prompt, "Dinosaur."

* * *


Heavy breathing brushes the back of my neck and the tiny hairs stand upright in a fight or flight stance. A low growl rumbles from the terrifying creature behind me, but I don’t turn around. I tremble in fear; make squeaking noises, too frightened to scream.

The growling becomes louder and I know he will pounce at any moment. I must attack before he does, so I dig deep for courage, whirl around and throw my arms around his torso.

Four-year-old Nathan squeals in delight and we roll on the kitchen floor while Nathan growls through his giggles and I plead for my life through mine.

Thursday, September 23, 2010


Today's muse: One Word
Today's word: Help

* * *


“Hepp,” he says as he taps his left foot on the floor, his arms spread out like a giant T for balance. I look down and see Matthew’s undone shoelace laying limp on his tiny sneaker.

“Hepp!” he says again, this time with much more authority, impatient to get on with whatever important two-year-old task he has abandoned. I bite my lip to hide my smile and bend down to tie up the rogue lace.

“We need to work on your pronunciation,” I say, as he places a hand on each side of my head to steady himself.

When I finish tying his shoe, he presses a firm kiss on my cheek and whispers “yub yoo” then dashes off, no longer worried about tripping.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Today's muse: Sunday Scribblings
Today's word: Clean

* * *


Water, scalding hot, formed billowing clouds as it sluiced over her. Amanda stood with her hands against the tiled wall, her head bowed beneath the torrent, blonde hair drooped like string. Her skin, red and raw from scrubbing, bled in some places, but that was from him. The bruising was coming up, too, she noted.

She closed her eyes to avoid the angry, purple marks shaped, unmistakeably, like fingers; but when she did, all she could see was his face looming before her, feel the tearing and burning as he—

She dropped to her knees and retched.

Writescape Seminar - Active Voice Part 2

Today's muse: Write to Win seminar with Ruth E. Walker and Dorothea Helms

Prompt: As I mentioned previously, the exercise was writing using active voice.

* * *

Fighting Dirty

Mickey fights real dirty, but like a girl. He pulls my hair and gouges with his vulture fingernails, leaving tiny, red crescent moons on my arms. The last time we went at it, he sank his teeth into my leg. It doesn’t really look like a bite scar cuz Mickey only had six teeth at the time. I tried telling on him, but Mom just rolled her eyes and wagged a finger in my face.

“It wouldn’t hurt,” she said, “if you just shared the chocolate chip cookies with your baby brother.”

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Swan Song

Today's muse: Spook's Scribblings
Today's word: Song

* * *

Swan Song

Angela’s voice, melodic and clear, drifted through the quiet room. A tradition since Joshua was born, she looked forward to their evening ritual when she sang to him until his eyes fluttered and he faded off to sleep. Dressed in his race car footies, his plump face serene, he seemed to sleep now. She wanted to hear him laugh, tiny bubbles bursting from his gummed mouth. Instead, she comforted herself by singing to him one more time, knowing he had drifted away hours ago. She wondered if he could hear her from the clouds above and hoped, if nothing else, he would remember her swan song.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Writescape Seminar - Active Voice Part 1

Today's muse: Write to Win seminar with Ruth E. Walker and Dorothea Helms

Prompt: Write using an active voice, beginning with "The rain poured down...".

This was a good exercise for me, as I tend to write in a passive voice. The other prompt was "Mickey fights real dirty", which I will use in a future piece. But for now ...

* * *


The rain poured down in fat drops, plopped onto the front step in almighty splashes. She fumbled with the key, spouted colourful words punctuated with kicks to the door. Raven hair, curled with such care this morning, now hung like burnt spaghetti in her eyes.

She’d kill him for locking her out like this.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Writescape Seminar - Show Don't Tell

Today's muse: Write to Win seminar with Ruth E. Walker and Dorothea Helms

Prompt: Write about an inanimate object in the room; show, don't tell.

* * *


Round and bright, it shouts out its message to anyone who will turn to look, though no one does. Everyone is determined to ignore it. Long, black arms wave for attention, but remain immobile. Or so it seems.

At times, she thinks, they seem to spin round and round like a vortex, flashing numbers just to trip her concentration.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Pebble

Today's muse: Spook's Scribblings
Today's word: Pebble

* * *

The Pebble

Nathan selected a small, flat stone and, after hefting it in his hand to gauge its weight, sent it skimming across Middleton’s Pond. It skipped once, twice, three times, then did a belly flop, sending rings echoing across the water.

Footsteps approached from behind and he scanned the ground around him, just to be sure; it would be most embarrassing if anything was left behind. A tiny crimson drop caught his eye (the last one, Nathan was sure) and he bent low to pick up the pebble that had caught it. As the policemen approached, he sent it flying through the air with a casual thrust, as though he’d been whiling away the time for hours, just skipping rocks.

Well, he supposed, that was what he'd been doing—sort of.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Downhill Thrills

Today's muse: Three Word Wednesday

Today's three words: break, negative, surface

* * *

Downhill Thrills

“See you at the bottom, turd!” Jamie shouted to his friend, Alan, before jumping onto his bike and roaring down the steep hill. He caught vignettes of scenery as they flashed by his peripheral vision: Alan’s dog racing beside him, Susan Vickerson waving at him from her front lawn, the construction sign that warned of large potholes ahead.

That last scene didn’t register fast enough and Jamie’s front tire dipped into the crater, bringing the back end up and catapulting him over the handlebars.

On the surface, spending the entire summer holidays with a leg bound in plaster sucked big time and put an enormous checkmark in the negative column. But Susan Vickerson came to visit him every day, bringing homemade brownies and rocking with him on the front porch swing well past sunset.

Jamie knew for certain that breaking his leg was worth it, just to taste that first kiss.

Friday, August 27, 2010

The Notebook

Today's muse: Daily Writing Practice
Today's prompt: Notebook

* * *

The Notebook

The moment Nathan picked it up, he knew someone had been through it. Not because the seven rubber bands intricately wrapped around the leather-bound book were out of place—they weren’t. Each one was exactly where Nathan had placed it; wrapped around the length or width, straight or diagonal, based on the colour and thickness of each band.

It was the smell that gave it away. The weathered notebook was shrouded in it. That foul, pedestrian stench of oil and sweat that wrapped around his father and seeped into his pores, infested the old man’s soul. It was the smell of the common worker, something that mortified Nathan. He was above that lifestyle, knew that he was meant for better things. He was meant to run factories, not work in them. He would build empires and have hundreds of people working for him. If he could just get out of this goddamned town.

It wasn’t that he hated his father. Hell, he respected him! With nothing more than a grade eight education, John Wilkins had managed to crawl from the mire of poverty and build a respectable middle class life for his wife and son. The one thing John boasted of (to anyone who would listen) was the small fortune he managed to squander so he could send his son, Nathan, to school.

“My boy is going to university!” he would brag to his friends. Cause for celebration, indeed, as no one else in his family had finish high school.

John was mindful of telling his son how proud he was, always telling Nathan that he could do whatever he set his mind to; that marching to the top of the summit, eyes set on the future, was what he was meant to do.

Nathan looked down at the weathered notebook in his hand, the bands wrapped around it like a rainbow fortress. In it were detailed plans for his future: lists of people who would help him achieve his goal, dates of events for which the timing was crucial. Plans he’d shared with no one, for they wouldn’t understand.

Plans his father had read.

At first, Nathan was terrified. What if his father didn’t approve? After all, it wasn’t what they’d talked about. But, somehow, Nathan knew his father would support him. Was it not every parent’s dream to see their child surpass them? Year after year, Nathan watched his father come home, exhausted after a double shift, and drop on the living room sofa; layers of grime embedded beneath his fingernails that didn’t wash out, no matter how many times he scrubbed. All to see his only child succeed.

Now the old man knew. After reading Nathan’s notes, he knew that success was inevitable. Nathan smiled then, thought of how proud his father must be. With fierce determination, Nathan vowed he wouldn’t let his father down. He loved the old man so damned much. Too bad, really, that he’d have to kill him.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Over the Moon

Today's muse: Full moon tonight. (Posted at Six Sentences)

* * *

Over the Moon

“For you,” he said, with an exaggerated sweep of his arm. She looked up at the brilliant orb, a lone spotlight shining down on her. Like faithful groupies worshipping a crooner, tiny lights paid homage as they danced in the night sky. “Go on,” he said “reach up and touch it.” Never before had anyone treated her like a goddess, elevated her to such a dizzying height. As she reached up, stretched to make contact with the tokens he had hung with such care, he kicked the pedestal from under her and laughed as she tumbled, down, down, down.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Wishing on a Star

Today's muse: Six Sentences

* * *

Wishing on a Star

As the meteor shot across the sky, I closed my eyes and sent a prayer to the gods. Their reply was almost immediate. You filled a void that I never knew existed, made me believe what I thought was a dream. My view from your marble pedestal was magnificent. I swear I touched the heavens. I never believed that on the next passing star, I’d be wishing you were dead.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

It Happened on the Ferris Wheel

Today's muse: A rewrite of an old piece from my other blog.

* * *

It Happened on the Ferris Wheel

“Single rider!” shouted the Carney.

Mary Sue cringed in the corner of the ride’s metal bucket, felt her cheeks blaze in humiliation. Just put the bar down and go, she prayed. All she wanted was a ride on the Ferris wheel, to see the lights sparkle from that great height. To feel, for just a few moments, as though she owned the world. And she wasn’t alone.

“Right here,” came a deep voice.

Mary Sue stared. Boy oh boy, there was Billy Wilson, and he was going to sit with her on the Big Wheel. Didn’t he look like a dream with his hair slicked back and his jean cuffs rolled up?

“May I?” He gestured beside her.

She gathered her skirt to make room. Billy climbed in next to her and pulled the bar down, trapping them together. Mary Sue felt her heart pounding beneath her sweater, wiped her damp palms on her skirt.

Billy grinned. “I’ve been watching you, you know. Waiting for the right time to say something.”

Her heart skipped. “Really?”

Billy nodded. “Really.”

The wheel began to turn. Slowly at first, then faster and faster. As the chair swayed back and forth, they talked. About nothing. About everything. When the Carney slowed the ride to let them off, he saw the way they gazed at each other and he hit the lever to send them around again. By the third ride, they were holding hands.

“So when did you know?”

Mary Sue blinked, stared down at the mixing bowl nestled in her arm. “What?”

“When did you fall in love with Grandpa? How did it happen?”

Mary Sue smiled at her granddaughter, continued to mix the brownie batter.

“It happened on the Ferris wheel.”

Monday, August 9, 2010


Today's muse: One Word. Today's word: Whiskey.

* * *


The pain is all-consuming, obliterating all else. The knives don’t just stab, they plunge deep—twist and dig—leaving holes the size of moon craters. Of course, she had imagined what it would feel like should this day come, but she never thought it would; not really. After all, this kind of loss happens to other people, to strangers.

“That’s not the answer,” says a voice, barely audible through the drunken fog.

“Fuck off,” she replies, and tilts the bottle, letting the amber liquid soothe her aching heart.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Calling Home

Today's muse:

I sought some advice from fellow writers at Six Sentences. I read some of my earlier work and cringed at how many rules I broke (I know Strunk and White are thrashing about right now), not to mention that I kept editing in my head as I read. I asked my fellow writers if I should just leave my work as it stands or if it's appropriate to edit it.

Everyone agreed that it's my work and I should do as I will. In particular, it was noted that my blog should be about my writing and not the evolution thereof. So, I am going to edit some earlier work, because I hate to think that someone will read it and think Pfft! She calls herself a writer?!

As I edit stale work on this blog, I'll post them on Twitter for any newbies that may be following ... in case you want to Tweet along with me.

I'm also going to edit a few pieces I wrote on another more whimsical blog (before I created this writing blog) and post them here. The first one is ...

* * *

Calling Home

Pulling his cell phone from his pocket, Gregg walked halfway down the secluded stairwell, away from the rest of the crew. He glanced at his watch. It was just before eight. She’d be ready for bed now. But he knew she was waiting for his call. It had become somewhat of a ritual.

He punched the familiar numbers into his phone, pressed it to his ear. She answered on the third ring, breathless, as though she’d run to answer the call.

“Hi, Daddy!”

Sarah’s voice floated through the telephone and the ache in his back melted away. Gregg forgot about the delays that had the supervisor cussing him out every night, set aside the stale humidity that made him feel like he was living in a furnace. Even the steady hammering behind his eyes subsided.

It was just him and Sarah.

He asked her about her day at kindergarten and listened while she chattered about the new puppy’s antics. He could see her sitting at the kitchen table, clad in her Dora the Explorer nightgown, tiny feet swinging well above the floor. When they hung up, she’d climb into bed with her entourage of stuffed bears, say a prayer and kiss her mother goodnight.

As soon as this job was done, he’d kiss her goodnight himself, instead of calling her on the phone. Though he had to admit, the evening routine was something he looked forward to. It was something only they shared. Father and daughter.

But the ritual was never complete until—

“Daddy, will you sing with me?”

He grinned into the darkness.

“Of course I will, honey.”

He glanced around, to be sure no one could hear, and began singing in a soft, off-key voice.

“Twinkle, twinkle, little star ...”

Her tiny voice joined in with his until the end.

Giggling, she whispered, “Goodnight, Daddy. I Love you!”

“Goodnight, sweetheart. I love you too.”

Pocketing his phone, he turned to climb back up the stairs and was met with several senior crew members, all grinning at him. He shook his head, his face reddening. As he walked through the group of men, they clapped his back and catcalled.

“Hey Gregg, will you sing Old McDonald with me?”

“How about Mary had a little lamb? That’s my favourite!”

He grinned back at them, knowing each one, at some point, had done the exact same thing. Their teasing was nothing more than an initiation; their way of saying welcome to the club.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

At Death's Door

Today's muse:

This was prompted by a dream I had last night. It was disturbing in its reality. I'm standing there, patting my empty pockets saying "where the fuck are my keys?!" Oddly, St. Peter didn't seem fazed that I was cussing in front of him. The only comforting thing is that dreams are symbolic and rarely have anything to do with what you actually dreamt. Still, when I go, I hope someone has the wherewithall to put my keys in my pocket.

Posted at Six Sentences

* * *

At Death's Door

St. Peter steps aside and, with an exaggerated flourish, waves me toward gilded gates. They are exactly as I imagined: enormous, imposing, beautiful and inviting. I am awed that my trip took me north, rather than into the deep south, where I imagine the climate is somewhat warmer.

“Please,” he gestures again, “come inside.”

I gaze through the bars, imagine what utopian universe lies beyond, and my heart sinks as I realize I am not prepared for this journey.

“I lost my key.”

Monday, August 2, 2010

About Clouds

Today's muse: My writing class with Richard Scarsbrook

I was sifting through some papers and came across my notes from Richard's writing class. I don't recall what the prompt was, but I'm sure it had something to do with a childhood memory. This is one of mine.

* * *

About Clouds

Five hours. That’s how long it took to drive from our home in Schomberg to the family cottage in Sudbury. Five. Long. Hours.

Mom did her best to keep us entertained. We sang songs and played games. Dad—he just drove; did his best to block out our noise.

The best part, the part I remember most, was when Mom got bored or tired; probably both. I’d sit back in my seat, and stare out the window at the clouds. Shapes formed as we sped along the highway, morphing from a house, to a cat, then a piano. As each image appeared, I wrote stories in my head, created a storyboard of white fluff, with cotton candy characters.

The drive up north hasn’t changed much. It’s still five long hours. But I’m the driver now and I can’t sit back and stare out the window while I write fanciful stories in my head.

Keep your eyes on the road, they say.

The road is hard, I reply, and I want to dream with the clouds.

Friday, July 30, 2010

All He Said

Today's muse: Six Sentences

This is a true story. Needless to say, it was the one and only time I skipped school. The matter was adjourned sine die, and His Honour warned us that if we appeared before The Court in any future proceeding, this matter would be revisted. I don't plan on finding out how long the statute of limitations is on this.

* * *

All He Said

On the way back to school, in the back seat of a police cruiser, I played the scenario through my mind. The scenario where I tell my father—the man who always gazed at me with pride and bragged to his friends about his Straight-A-Daughter—that I was arrested for shoplifting. My heart pounded as I imagined him shouting that I was no longer accepted in our family and the look of disgust as he showed me out the front door; the hollow echo as the lock snapped in place behind me. I wondered if any of my friends’ parents would take me in, or if I would have to survive on the street, begging for money and food. Nothing I imagined came close to the pain in my heart when my father looked at me, sadness pouring from him in waves, and said in a quiet voice: “You really disappointed me.” That was all he said.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Training Day

Today's muse: Three Word Wednesday
Today's words: abuse, cramp, hatred

* * *

Training Day

“When you’re sleeping,” she thought, “when you’re at your most vulnerable, I will come to your side and inflict pain like you have never imagined.”

Joan shifted on the narrow bench to ease the cramp that began to squeeze her left calf, cursing the man she once loved, but now hated so much she frequently planned intricate ways to kill him.

“I shouldn’t have to take this kind of abuse,” she spat out. Her soft brown eyes, usually shining with laughter, now sparked with hatred.

“You need the discipline,” Vince replied, as he repositioned her arms to his satisfaction.

“What the hell was I thinking marrying a fitness trainer?” she muttered, lifting the barbell for the next set of reps.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Gone Fishing

Today's muse: Three Word Wednesday
Today's words: bait, jump, victim

* * *

Gone Fishing

You cast the line, tickled the surface of the water, enticed me to nibble. Ripples beckoned and undulated, promised depths beyond my imagination. The bait was tempting and I surrendered my innocence. But your net held me down as I thrashed about, a helpless victim, unable to jump through the webbing to safety. The tide has now turned. The last fisherman to lure me was capsized.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Date Night

Today's muse: Six Sentences

* * *

Date Night

She moaned beneath him, clawed at his back, matching him thrust for thrust. More, was all he could think as he poured himself into her. Later, his arms wrapped around her in a protective grip, he contemplated asking her to stay, but knew she wouldn’t. Despite the intimacy of their relationship, she insisted on maintaining a certain distance. In silence, he watched her leave his bed and saunter across the room, adjusting her snug black dress. “See you next week,” she said, as she scooped up the bills from the dresser.

Thursday, July 22, 2010


Today's muse: Daily Writing Practice
Today's prompt: Garlic. Marc even said we'd get bonus points for writing something without vampires. Not easy for a Buffy fan!

* * *


“It needs more garlic.”

“I don’t think so,” said Andrea, taking the wooden spoon from John.

“Nonna’s sauce has more garlic,” he insisted.

He peered over her shoulder as she stirred the thick red mixture. The scent was intoxicating. Fresh plum tomatoes, yellow bell peppers, Spanish onions and, of course, garlic, bubbled together in an erotic dance.

John pulled his wife’s hair back, exposing the slender column of her neck, pressed a kiss just below her ear. Andrea slapped at him and made a half-hearted attempt to shove him away.

“Stop it! Your family is going to be here soon and I have to finish the sauce.”

“The sauce is fine. Just add more garlic.”

“It doesn’t need more garlic!”

“I’ve been eating my grandmother’s sauce since I can remember. Trust me—it needs more garlic.”

Andrea slammed the spoon down on the counter. Red specks dotted the pristine backsplash. She whirled on him.

“Am I a bad cook?”

“What?” Shit, this was one of those questions with no right answer. “Of course you’re a good cook.” He rubbed his hands up and down her arms in a vain attempt to sooth. She shrugged him off and turned back to the stove as the doorbell rang.

From the kitchen, she listened as his family came in, their voices raised in greeting. She pictured the confusion at the door while cheeks were kissed and hands were shook. Taking a deep breath, she wiped her hands on a dish towel and walked to the entrance to greet her in-laws. John’s grandmother stood in the centre of the fray. Barely five feet tall, she had a stocky build that spoke of confidence and strength. There was no question she was the head of the family.

Nonna held out her arms in a warm greeting and Andrea moved forward to accept the embrace, immediately soothed by the warmth.

“Come inside,” said Andrea, leading them to the living room. Once she was satisfied that everyone was comfortable and had a drink, she excused herself to check on dinner. Moments later, John was at her side.

“I’m sorry,” he mumbled, wrapping his arms around her and nuzzling her neck. She shrugged her shoulder, not yet ready to forgive him.

“I’m not your grandmother,” she said, trying to control her anger. She didn’t want to argue in front of his family. “I can cook just as well as she can. Maybe my sauce doesn’t taste the same, but it’s mine. And it’s good. Damn good!” She stabbed a thumb into her chest and John captured her hand, bringing it up to kiss it, knowing he risked a jab with an angry fist.

“I never said you weren’t a good cook. I only pointed out that the sauce could use a little more garlic.” He cut off her retort with a kiss, pouring himself into it, tangling his hands in her curls. Breathless, she pulled back.

“That’s not an apology,” she said, arranging her hair, though she admitted it was a good start.

“How’s this?” He cupped her face and as his head dipped down, Andrea caught a flash over his shoulder.

“That’s enough now.” Nonna batted at John’s arm, shooing both of them away. Andrea reddened, mortified that the family matriarch had caught them making out. Nonna plucked up the wooden spoon, dipped it into the pot and tasted. She gave an approving nod.

“You take your wife away and make friends again,” she said, dismissing them with a wave.

John tugged Andrea across the kitchen, prepared to give her a proper apology in the foyer, away from prying family eyes. They looked back as Nonna began to peel and chop a number of garlic bulbs. Andrea glanced up at John who made a brave attempt at fixing a blank look on his face.

“It needed more garlic,” he said.

“Shut up.”

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Truth, Lies & Judgement

Today's muse: Six Sentences

* * *

Truth, Lies & Judgement

Truths I believed as a child are coloured with lies when viewed through adult eyes. What once comforted, now only confuses and angers; makes my heart ache with questions. The black and white they preached whirls around me and the emerging gray sings to my soul. After so many years of turmoil, my spirit is now content. But, I walk the circle in darkness, afraid to step out and look into the face of judgement. And when I look up to the waning Mother for guidance, she only grins back at me like a Cheshire Cat.

Friday, July 16, 2010

One Last Time

Today's muse: Daily Writing Practice

Today's prompt ... Four lines of prose about: one last time

* * *

One Last Time

“This probably isn’t a good idea,” he said, as he nudged the door open and let me squeeze by him into the empty foyer.

I knew it wasn’t, but this was our first home—we moved in the day we were married—and we had raised a family here. As my hand brushed the etchings behind the pantry door that marked the height of each child on every birthday until they were thirteen, a tear trickled down my cheek.

“I just wanted to see it one last time.”

Growth Analysis

Today's muse: Six Sentences

* * *

Growth Analysis

The bottle of Bud spits and hisses as Jerry twists off the top. He takes a long pull, drags his bare arm across his mouth and lets out a sigh that echoes throughout the neighbourhood. Beside him, John smacks his lips (having just completed the identical ritual) and bobs his head in a meaningful nod, punctuating it with: “Yup.” Jerry takes another long pull, then lets out a thunderous belch, before continuing with the usual routine. “Comin' in nice this year,” he says. John surveys his pal’s backyard—the lawn that is the envy of every man on Falston Street—takes another pull from his beer, wipes, sighs, then: “Yup.”

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Catapult

Today's muse: Six Sentences

Further antics of Fred-the-Cat.

* * *

The Catapult

My husband called me at work and, without preamble, said: "Now before I tell you this, everything is OK." No good conversation has ever started with that sentence and a million things ran through my mind; none of which came close to what he said next: “Fred the Cat took a nose dive off our fourth floor balcony.”

It seems that as my husband stepped out onto the balcony, Fred the Cat scooted out and, upon realizing where she was, ran back and forth from end to end in a blind panic until she shot through the side bars, sailing down three flights, where she ricocheted off the front door canopy, before landing on the ground. There wasn’t a scratch on her and when I got home, she spent an hour telling me all about her exciting adventure and bemoaning the fact that, at the tender age of eight months, her cache had already dwindled down to seven lives.

For several months thereafter, my husband would ask the cat: “Hey, kitty, what’s this?” And when she turned to him, with the expectant look of a beloved pet about to receive a delicious treat, he would cup his hands around his mouth like a bullhorn and chant “Meeeeeoooooowwwww!”

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A Note from School

Today's muse: Three Word Wednesday.
Today's words: gentle, praise, vulgar

* * *

A Note from School

Avoiding eye contact, Johnny placed the note from his teacher on the table, nudging it inch by inch until it lay next to his father’s coffee mug. “What the hell is this?” John Sr. snarled, snatching up the monogrammed stationery and turning it over several times, as though he could read it without actually unfolding it. Johnny mumbled a response, but all John Sr. could make out were words like “trouble” and “teacher” and “sign”. John Sr. read the note aloud: “Johnny has, of late, dismissed his usual gentle nature and has taken to using vulgar language which is, shall we say, ‘too colourful’ for our classroom.”

“Well, shit, son!” he shouted, clapping Johnny on the back, knocking the boy into the table. “That’s gawdamned high praise coming from Sister Mary Theresa!”


Today's muse: One Word. Today's word: Lease

* * *


“Sign here, here, here and here, and initial here and here,” he said, punctuating each ‘here’ by poking at the parchment with a gnarled finger. I signed and initialled and handed the Mont Blanc back to him, shivering when his cold hand brushed mine. “The contract says you will give me wealth beyond my imagination,” I said, putting out my hand, palm up. “The contract also says you will give me your soul,” he replied. I threw my head back and laughed until tears streamed down my face and he stared at me, surprised I had the audacity to mock him. “There’s nothing left,” I said, when I could catch my breath, “that bitch I married already sucked it out of me.”

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Letting the Cat out of the Bag

Today's muse: Six Sentences

This site has become my new obsession. Don't worry, it won't last long. Just bear with me while I work/write through it. Besides, the format lends well to retelling anecdotes like this one (which, by the way, is a true story).

* * *

Letting the Cat Out of the Bag

A few years ago, before green was keen, we lugged our plastic grocery bags up to our apartment, and began to unload our bounty, tossing the empty plastic bags on the floor to later knot and store for use as garbage liners. Fred The Cat, living up to the Curiosity Adage (or, in her case, the Scare The Shit Outta Me Proverb), crawled into one of the discarded bags. It could have been her imaginary friend, or the ghost of Christmas Past—we’re still not sure—but something spooked her. She jumped up in the air, all four legs splayed out like a freestyle parachuter, claws at the ready. As the bag shredded to ribbons around her, one handle managed to loop around her head, and she ran around the apartment from room to room in a zigzag pattern trying to escape the evil plastic monster that dogged her every move.

It took us about fifteen minutes to remove the plastic yoke—not because we couldn’t catch her, but because we were both paralyzed with laughter.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Truth or Dare

Today's muse: Six Sentences

* * *

Truth or Dare

Staring down the length of a gun barrel wasn’t quite the experience she’d expected. More frightened, is what she should have been, and even though her heart pounded so much she was sure he could see it bump against her meagre shirt, she was rather calm about the whole thing. The argument had escalated, moving with lightening speed from harsh words to blood-letting blows, until they stood panting, each sizing up the other. He saw her gaze flick over to the night stand where he kept his .22 and he lunged after her as she darted across the room, his hand clamping on hers as she wrenched open the drawer. And now, his cold grey eyes stared back at her, unblinking, unfeeling, asking one thing: Who would have the nerve to move first? Well, she thought, it might as well be me, and she squeezed back the trigger.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Back in Order

Today's muse: Six Sentences

I have been wanting to try this for quite some time. Conveying a story (or at least a complete scenario) in six sentences is not an easy task.

* * *

Back in Order

She picked up a brass figurine, one he so often used to punish her, and wiped off a stray drop of blood. She wove her way around the various floor lamps, tables and chairs of the crowded living room, assuring herself that no item was out of place. Considering the vicious struggle that had ensued, it was quite surprising she was able to put things back the way they were—the way he liked them, the way he insisted they be. Satisfied that everything was in order, she left the house, closing the door behind her one last time. “They won’t even notice he’s missing,” she thought, quite pleased with herself. “Until he starts decomposing, of course.”

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Accident ~ a haiku

Today's muse: Daily Writing Practice

It's Two Haiku Tuesday at DWP. Today's prompt: Accidents.

* * *

some say accident
but you, my lovely daughter
were a nice surprise


a mistake you say
yet you continue to strike
sorry’s not enough

Friday, July 2, 2010

The Spill

Today's muse: One Minute Writer

* * *

The Spill


It was a frantic whisper as the glass of milk tipped and a white lake spread across the table. If he sees this, there will be hell to pay.

Sheila grabbed a cloth from the kitchen counter and sopped up the mess, lunging back and forth from the table to the sink to wring out the drenched rag.

“Jesus, what the hell was I thinking?” she muttered.

Her hands trembled and she prayed he didn’t walk in and catch her cleaning up. She knew that would be worse. Like the time she had replaced the broken vase. She had nudged it while dusting and it had exploded into a million pieces. It was days before he found a tiny shard that had slid to a far corner under the sofa. She had walked with a limp for quite a while after that.

The milk crept towards the edge of the table. She squeezed the cloth into the sink, wrung it violently, imagined it was his neck, and turned back to the table to damn the lactose waterfall.

This was how he found her. He stood in the doorway watching her. As she whipped around from the sink, shaking out the twisted cloth, she looked up and met his gaze. The terror in her eyes was unmistakeable. Her body twitched as she hesitated. He could see her mind spinning, searching for an escape, weighing all the options.

“Sheila.” He said her name quietly, afraid to startle her. “It’s me.”

His heart plummeted as he watched her crumble.

“I’m sorry!” she pleaded, holding her hands up in defence. “It was an accident.”

“I know,” he said, and started to walk towards her. She backed away, her eyes darting about, calculating the safest route to freedom.

“I can clean it up. It’ll only take a moment. I didn’t mean it. It was an accident.” Her words tripped over each other as she rushed to explain before he could mete out retribution.

“I know you didn’t mean it,” he said, his voice gentle and calm. He inched closer. “It was an accident. I know that.”

He stood next to her and studied the top of her head as she studied the floor. He was careful not to touch her, knew she’d shatter like fine crystal.

“Look at me.” It wasn’t an order, not even a suggestion. He was begging her because it tore him up inside to see her like this, to see her cower in fear. He couldn’t understand why anyone would destroy such a delicate flower.

“Please, Sheila.” He was embarrassed that his voice faltered, knew he was about to cry. “Please look at me.”

Before he could stop himself, he reached out and touched her arm. She cringed, but he only held her arm tighter. He wasn’t going to let her run away. Not this time.

“Look at me.” His voice was sharp now. This has to stop, he thought, and it’s going to stop now.

Recognizing the anger in his voice, Sheila lifted her head and met his gaze. Her eyes flared with challenge and there was no doubt she planned to win this time. He was surprised by that, and more than a little pleased. A smile played on his lips and he gave an approving nod.

“There’s my girl,” he said, and the smile broke into a grin.


She was surprised to see him. Just moments ago, she was back with the monster, living a nightmare. She could feel her heart pounding, but she looked around and took in her surroundings, realized where she was.

Home. With Allen. Not the monster.

He caught her as she collapsed against him. He held her tight until her trembling stopped.

“It’s ok,” he murmured into her hair. “I got you. He won’t hurt you. He can’t. Not anymore.”

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


Today's muse: One Word. Today's word: Carve

* * *


He ran his hands down her bare back, closed his eyes as his fingers travelled back up the line. His hand trembled as he caressed the silkiness. Who knew he could ever possess such beauty? A sculpture created by the gods, delivered on a whisper by angels.

“I will always protect you,” he whispered, as he pressed a kiss to her forehead.

Her tiny hand gripped his finger with surprising strength. Her bright blue eyes stared into his and she cooed. Though she spoke no words—at least, none he recognized—he understood what she said.

“I believe you, daddy.”

Monday, June 28, 2010

The Robin

Today's muse: Daily Writing Practice

I was delighted when I saw Marc's prompt was The Robin. Spring is my favourite time of year and I'm so excited when I see my first robin. It's like a message from the gods: "Fear not, child, the sun cometh."

* * *

The Robin

The delicate balance of day and night shifts,
ever so gently.

The light shall now defeat the darkness
and conquer the moon.

Glorious fire shall reign
and all will praise its power.

And The Robin shall herald its return.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Dancing with the Stars

Today's muse:

I was going through some old writing and came across this piece. I don't recall the muse, and barely remember writing it, but I rather like it. And I assure you that it's fiction! I seem to be obsessed with writing in the first person lately.

* * *

Dancing with the Stars

When Vanessa returned the iPod she borrowed, she mentioned that she had downloaded some music for me.

“To expand your musical library,” she said. I guess she wasn’t fond of my selection of one-hit-wonders.

I forgot about her little gift until this morning, when I put my iPod on before vacuuming. Turning the volume to an ear-splitting level to drown out the angry whir of the upright makes the chore tolerable.

I vacuum the second floor, my hips keeping rhythm to classic dance tunes I remember with fondness from my teenage years. As I move down to the first floor, the music fades from a catchy disco tune to a provocative tango. Ah, good ol’ Vanessa.

Without hesitation, I take the lead and spin the vacuum around, throwing my arm out with flair. I reach over and snatch a flower from the bud vase and clench it between my teeth. We strut across the living room floor, cheek to handle, twirling with finesse. I dip the upright in a provocative move, gazing at the worn handle with love, my eyes promising more.

As the music fades, I hear cheering and whistling, mingled with wild applause. I whirl around and see the construction crew that is installing our swimming pool. They are lined up along my porch, hardhats tucked under their arms, cheering madly at my performance.

After a moment’s pause, I do what any respectable artist would do: I graciously bow and make a hasty exit to hide downstairs in the den for the remainder of the day.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Speeding Ticket

Today's muse: Recent news.

* * *

The Speeding Ticket

“Slow down.” Though it is whispered like a caress, the meaning is clear. It’s a command, not a suggestion. “Slow down, child.”

I shake my head. “I don’t have time,” I mutter, and slap my hand at the air, as though I can make the Voice go away. It’s been nagging at me for months now.

“You can’t fool me,” I challenge the Voice. “If you wanted to take me out, you would have done it years ago.” God knows I’ve done things to deserve it.

I stare at my computer screen, careful not to glance away. If I make eye contact with anyone, I know I’ll cry. I’m barely holding it together these days.

I heard the doctor’s warning. Not only heard, but listened. There’s a subtle difference between hearing and listening that few people understand. Listening involves comprehension and digestion. What he had to say didn’t go down too well and left a bad taste.

The numbers are high and if you don’t bring them down there is a heavy price to be paid.

I don’t know what the price tag reads, but I’m certain I can’t afford it. I also can’t afford to stop. Stopping, in my mind, is an admission of failure. And that’s something I cannot do. It’s just not part of my DNA.

So, I lower my head like a bull in battle with a toreador, prepared to charge through the day.

“Slow down,” the Voice whispers.

“Get lost,” I snarl, as it squeezes my chest.

Friday, April 30, 2010

The Break Up

Today's muse: Based on a true story.

* * *

The Break Up

“Tell me everything,” Ellen says, as she drops her purse on the floor and slumps into the chair across from me. “And don’t leave anything out.”

“Thanks for coming,” I tell her, and take her hand. She gives me a reassuring squeeze and I attempt a brave smile.

Ellen signals our favourite waiter--a self-proclaimed Diva--who sashays over to our table.

“Dry martini.” says Ellen. “Straight up. Bombay Sapphire. Olives.” Ellen is serious about her martinis.

The Diva responds with an approving “Mhmmm!”

They turn to me. Ellen raises a questioning eyebrow and The Diva cocks his head. Out of nowhere, the weight of the world falls on me and I can’t make a decision; as though the choice between a Cosmo or an Apple Martini is going to topple the scales of life and nothing will ever be the same.

Tears well up and my lip trembles.

“Oh, honey!” The Diva whips a tissue out from an invisible pocket and dabs at my eyes, careful not to smudge my mascara.

“Make it two martinis,” says Ellen. The Diva nods and scurries away.

I shake my head, mortified at making a scene. “I don’t know where to start.” I lift my hands in a hopeless gesture and let them drop to the table.

“Why don’t you tell me why you’re leaving him,” Ellen prompts.

I take a deep breath and let it out in a shaky puff. “It’s just not working anymore.” I shrug, not really sure how to express how I feel. Ellen rests her elbows on the table, cups her chin in her hands. And waits.

“Things were going so well, for so long,” I begin. “Josh was perfect.” I stare up at the ceiling and Ellen nods, prompting me to continue.

“He listened when I talked. He really seemed to care, you know? When I got that promotion, he snuck in two mini bottles of scotch so we could celebrate. And no matter how late it was, he’d drop everything and make time for me.”

“Then why are you leaving him?”

I sigh. “It’s so hard to make the time to fit him in.”

Ellen nods, and I know she understands, without judgement.

“Almost every time I make plans to see him, something comes up at work and I’m rushing out to see him. Most of the time, I go back to work when we’re done, just to finish up a few things. It’s ridiculous.”

I bury my face in my hands and groan. “It’s too stressful. I need to find someone closer to home. Someone I can see on the weekend.”

The Diva returns and places our martinis on the table.

“Boyfriend?” he asks Ellen, flicking his head toward me.

She shakes her head.


Thursday, April 22, 2010

Hush Now Child

Today's muse: One Minute Writer

Prompt: Describe the most beautiful sound you've ever heard.

* * *

Hush Now Child

My pace slows and I come to a stop. I stand on my toes to see above the grass that sways in the breeze. The blades brush against one another making a sound much like a mother hushing a frightened child. It soothes me and I continue walking, my eyes scanning the horizon.

Then I see them—the tops, at least. As I crest the hill, they come in full view and I realize how enormous they really are. And more than a little intimidating.

They swing open as a deep melodic voice greets me.

“Welcome back.”

Thursday, April 15, 2010


Today's muse: The One-Minute Writer

The Prompt: Complete this thought: "I wish I'd paid more attention when..."

* * *


I wish I'd paid more attention
when the gods whispered in my ear
and explained my reason for being,
why they left me here.

Is it to help the homeless man
I see on the corner each day,
who holds his cardboard sign up,
and blesses me on my way?

Is it to lift the others
who have lived a life like mine,
to make them strong to face the day,
and leave abuse behind?

Is it to raise my children
and watch them as they grow,
to be loving, kind and fair,
and have children of their own?

Or is my lifelong mission,
the reason I am here,
to know that You are with me,
that You are always near?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Today's muse: Daily Writing Practice

* * *


Staring at the blue prints, I try to imagine his vision.

“It’s too boxy here,” he says, with a vague wave. “This all needs to come out.” He swishes his hand in a sweeping motion, as though this small gesture will magically fix everything.

I nod. He’s probably right, though I don’t think it’s possible. Isn’t some of that structural?

“And here,” he taps the paper. “We could add something here, just for aesthetics.” He makes a few marks with his pen. “See?”

“I just don’t know,” I say, not sure I want to commit to such an extensive overhaul.

I squint, trying to visualize what he’s trying to tell me.

“Is this all really necessary?” I don’t want to offend him. After all, he is the professional in this scenario.

He raises an eyebrow as if to say, Of course it is.

I back off, raise a hand to signal a truce.

“When I’m done,” he assures me, “you will wonder how you lived with it before.” He sees my hesitation. “You won’t regret it. I promise.”

I sigh. “Alright.”

And shake hands with my plastic surgeon.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


Today's muse: Seven Days Seven Answers

Checklist: A list of words will be accompanied by a scenario in which to use them.

Words and scenario: You are stranded on an island with only the following: spoon, ukulele, yarn, hand sanitizer, feather boa

* * *


For weeks the sun has risen into a cloudless sky, burning everything in its path. I sit by the water’s edge, scrunching my toes in the sand, as I watch the orange orb dip into the ocean.

The island is thick with vegetation, but not animal life. Except for that one thing that keeps rustling in the dense brush when the sun goes down. I am quite sure it is tall—taller than me, at least—as the golden orbs that peer out at me are much higher than my shoulder. He hasn’t attempted to communicate, nor have I. We seem to have an unspoken understanding, the Beast and I. I will live on the open beach, sheltered by the broken fuselage that has washed ashore, and he will stay hidden in the dense jungle that consumes most of this tiny mass of land.

With an oversized serving spoon salvaged from the 747’s kitchenette, I scoop ash from last night’s fire, making a crevice for the flat rock I use for cooking. Dried wood is steepled around it and I light the miniature pyre to heat the rock to an angry red.

Well away from the tide, the other odds and ends that washed up on shore are lined up like an open-air market. Too bad there are no buyers.

As the roaring fire dies down, I set the filleted fish on the rock and it gives off a satisfying sizzle. It smells good and my mouth waters in anticipation.

I hear a rustle in the foliage and squint to peer through the darkness. I know the Beast watches, but turn back to my cooking, confident that he will go back to his side of the island and not bother me.

I assume far too much.

He walks to the opposite side of the fire, his footsteps silent on the pale sand, and crouches down, bringing his face level with mine.

Expecting a hideous creature that will devour me, I’m surprised that the man before me is quite handsome. His skin is dark, baked to perfection by the tropical sun. His sun-bleached hair is long and tied back with a paisley necktie. The growth around his chin, though undisciplined, adds a ruggedness to his features. I recognize the designer suit he wears, though I’m sure the pants were never meant to be hacked off at the knees and he should be wearing a shirt beneath the tailored jacket. Then again, the sinewy muscles that ripple across his body wouldn’t be visible. A bow tie is centred around his throat, giving him the distinct look of a Chippendale dancer.

It occurs to me that he could still devour me, though I’m quite certain I won’t mind.

“I thought I should dress for dinner,” he says, by way of explanation, looking down at his modified attire. I nod, not trusting my voice to be steady. “Seeing as you went to so much trouble.” He gestures at the fillet that continues to sizzle.

I rise, self conscious in my worn shorts and meagre t-shirt.

“I’ll be right back.”

In the fuselage, I sift through clothing rescued from the crash, rummaging through folded piles stacked in the overhead compartments, like an enormous walk-in closet. I recall the beautiful tranny that sat in 23B, who had great legs and a killer outfit.

Letting out a cry of triumph as I spy the red silk dress, I pull it out and slip it over my head. Without a mirror, I can’t be sure how it looks, but I can tell the fabric clings in all the right places. Standing on my toes, I scan the bin and see the pink feathers peaking between the Airline’s bright blue flannel blankets. Jackpot! I hang the feather boa around my shoulders and saunter back to the fire.

I note that the Beast—he is still a beast, though of a different calibre now—has taken the liberty of shopping at my makeshift flea market. He sits cross-legged, strumming a ukulele that I know was left to dry in the sun. One of the strings is broken, but he manages to seduce a melody from the small instrument.

He glances up at me and smiles. “Love the outfit.”

I fling one end of the boa over my left shoulder. “What? This old thing?”

We laugh.

After dinner, he tells me how he came to be on this island, spinning a tragic yarn of sinking ships and drowning loved ones. His golden eyes bore into me the entire time, never looking away. I’m overwhelmed by his stoic behaviour and I tell him that I’m impressed with this bravery.

He shrugs, dismissing my praise. “Let’s eat,” he says, changing the subject.

“Are you still hungry?” I jump up, my mind already spinning, concocting a special meal just for the Beast.

“Honey,” he whispers, “it’s time for lunch.”

I glance down at my bare wrist. How does he know what time it is? Besides, the sun went down hours ago. It must be at least ten o’clock.


I look back up at him and the sun pierces my eyes, a sharp jab in the middle of my forehead. Pale blue eyes peer down at me, frowning with concern.


I close my eyes again. Not that I don’t want to see my husband’s clean-shaven face, pinking from too much sun. But I want to melt back into that spell and curl up with the Beast. Just for a few moments.

I hear a lid snap open and he pours hand sanitizer into my hands.

“Wash up,” he says.

“I’m not hungry,” I mutter, as I rub the liquid over my hands. The smell of alcohol mixes with chlorine and coconut.

“Why not?”

I lay back down on the recliner and recall a crackling fire, a starlit night and the lustful promise of a god-like stranger.

“I just ate.”

Monday, April 12, 2010

Grass Stains

Today's muse: Daily Writing Practice

Four lines of prose.

* * *

Grass Stains

The guys at school were relentless, teasing him about the stains on his knees, though he tried night after night to wash them out. They made crass gestures as he walked by—thrusting motions with their hands at their mouths—often accompanied with obscene sucking noises. He kept his head high as he walked by them, his face carefully blank, void of emotion. They don’t understand, he whispered, as he knelt before the etched stone that marked his mother’s grave.

Monday, April 5, 2010

The Mentor

Today's muse: Sunday Scribblings

* * *

The Mentor

“You need to tilt like this,” he says, as he re-positions my hand. I adjust the slant of my knife and it slices more easily. I nod my understanding.

“Cleaning up afterwards is just as important,” he continues. “Perhaps more so.”

I wipe the sharp knife, taking particular care to clean the custom bone handle. He smiles at me and nods his approval. I look up at the man who has taken me under his wing, the man who has treated me like a son.

“Are you sure you want to retire?” I ask him for the hundredth time.

He claps me on the shoulder. “It’s time.”

I nod as though I understand. I don’t, but I know he doesn’t want to talk about it. Although this man is a legend—hated and loved by so many—he is modest and will not acknowledge his achievements. His pale grey eyes stare back at me. I can see the pride in them. He has selected me to carry on his work. I only hope I will not shame him.

We look down at my handiwork and I wait for his criticism. Nerves dance up and down my back. He makes some indistinguishable noises, then smiles.

“It’s beautiful work, son.” He wraps an arm around my shoulder and I try to hide my grin. “I think you’re ready.”

My head snaps up and I stare into his smiling face. “Really?”

He laughs. “Really.”

He picks up the bone-handled knife—the knife he has used for twelve long years—and presses it into my hands.

“This is yours now.”

Never one for sentiment or ceremony, he breaks the moment before it becomes emotional.

“Let’s get rid of the body, then we’ll find someone for your first solo.”