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.