Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Today's muse: Carry on Tuesday
Today's prompt: Love is like a river. Use all or part of it within your poem or prose.
I only used part. And only in the title. I invoked my poetic license.
* * *
Like a River
For a time, it was heaven; what one imagines life is like if one’s back-split is located in the centre of a biblical sanctuary, landscaped by ethereal horticulturists.
Growth is now stagnant in the shadow of the eclipse; tulips and marigolds wilt in their beds, suffocated by choking weeds of Egyptian cotton. My own stem slumps beneath the weight of petals no longer stroked, their beauty long faded. The insect cares not to alight and I care not to self-pollinate.
I pray for a torrent to wash the ache, pray the old ship-builder will find me a mate. I covet the love I was meant to have; not this synthetic affection that dangles before me, only to be snatched away when my heart reaches.
It is fear that halts the quest for salvation, for I am certain of the journey's end. I shall remain alone in the raging current, my empty hands useless, unable to guide my vessel in the stinking mire.
Monday, August 29, 2011
Today's muse: Sunday Scribblings
Prompt #282: Muse
* * *
She’d been gone a year, or so it seemed. In fact, it was less than a week. Five days. A fucking eternity.
“Back in a little while, baby.” She’d kissed him before leaving; a smoldering meeting of tongues that had left him needy.
Jake crushed out his cigarette, scrubbed his face with both hands. “Where the hell are you, Vera?”
He’d had nothing but Laphroaig and take-away Thai since she’d left. More of the former than the latter. It hadn’t helped. He needed Vera.
She’d always been there to guide him, help him push through his blocks to the next chapter. It was easy to have a female protagonist when Vera was there for him. She offered insight on the female psyche, suggesting language, tweaking nuances. And it was far easier to write a love scene when she was there beside him, whispering erotica in his ear, stroking him while he typed.
How could she abandon him at such a crucial point in his novel? What the hell was he going to tell his editor when he called?
Then the keys rattled in the front door. Like a loyal puppy, Jake’s head sprang up, his heart thundered in eager anticipation. Vera was home!
He sprang from the sofa, all but dumping his laptop on the floor. She’d hardly closed the door when he was upon her, pressing her against the wall, his mouth searching, tasting. She responded with greedy kisses, laughing at his impatience.
“Wait a minute, baby.” She held him back, cupped his face with her hands, pressed a light kiss on his cheek. “I can help you with your chapter now.”
It was then that he noticed the stains, the tears in her shirt.
“Jesus, Vera. Are you alright?” He took her hands in his. Always manicured, her nails were now crusted in dirt and…was that blood? “What the hell happened?”
“You needed help, baby.”
“What did you do?” Jake wondered if he really wanted to know the answer.
Vera pulled him toward the sofa, urged him to sit. She set his laptop on his knees, opened it up.
“I’ll tell you.” She set his fingers on the home keys and as she spoke, Jake typed his next bestseller.
Friday, August 26, 2011
Today's muse: Thursday Tales
Today's prompt: Tale #74, picture prompt below.
Rules include: Minimum 55 words. Maximum 777 words.
* * *
Frank Wilkinson’s chocolate lab, Buford, heard the rumble of the Ford’s engine long before it crunched the pebbles on his driveway. The dog lifted his head, slid his dark eyes over to Frank.
“Stay,” said Frank. Buford, dropped his head. “You just lay there. I’ll take care of this.”
Frank remained seated in his rocker as the car made it’s way up the long lane and stopped in front of the weathered porch. A man and woman stepped out.
The woman carried a fancy handbag, wore heeled shoes. Despite the heat, the man’s sleeves remained rolled down, buttoned at the cuff. He hadn’t yet loosened his tie.
Too old, thought Frank, well into their thirties. It was better when they were teenagers.
The man dropped his head a moment, his grin sheepish. “Yeah, I think we are.”
Frank got up from the rocker, took his time crossing the porch. “Where ya headin’?” He leaned against the weathered post at the top of the stairs, seemed to be settling in for a visit.
The man glanced back down the drive, pointing at nothing in particular. “We’re driving to Mason.”
“You visitin’ family there?”
“No,” said the man, “we’re looking at a house. My wife was transferred to the University. She’ll be teaching computer sciences. I’m teaching chemistry.”
Frank hesitated a moment while he processed that information. “I take it ya’ll don’t know much about milking cows.”
The man chuckled. “No, not much.”
“Too bad,” Frank muttered.
He gave them directions, waved off the man’s thanks. Made them promise to stop by for coffee another time, once they’d settled into their new home.
“Drive safe now.” Frank watched the car drive away, waited until it was nothing but a cloud of dust before he stepped off the porch to make his way to the old barn. Buford trotted beside him, his tongue lolling to one side, a stupid grin on his face.
As always, Buford took the lead at the barn door. The dog ambled through the barn, ignoring the indignant snorts of cows and goats. He glanced back when he arrived at the last stall.
“Right behind ya, boy.”
Frank followed the dog through the narrow space between the enormous stack of hay and the barn wall. Buford plopped down on his rump, his tail thumping in anticipation.
Frank waved his hand over a rusted nail hammered into the weathered board. The contented cluck of a hen could be heard in the distance, though no chickens were kept on the ranch. At Frank’s signal, Buford bounded through the narrow opening that appeared between the weathered boards of the barn, and raced down the concrete stairs, barking to announce his arrival.
Frank followed, his transformation already underway. Shoulders pulled back, spine straightened. Hands—once calloused and weathered, now smooth and manicured—ran through dishevelled locks, instantly grooming them into what his assistant called a Cowboy Banker look. She insisted it was sexy. By the time he reached the bottom of the stairs, Frank’s gait was no longer a meandering stroll, but rather a militant march. He strode about the cavernous room, barking out orders in a commanding voice.
Andrea, his assistant, approached him, pressed a mug of black coffee in his hand. “Good morning, sir.” He took a sip, all but wept with gratitude. Andrea made damn good coffee.
In his office, Frank sank into the leather chair behind his desk.
Andrea wasted no time. “You have a meeting with Security at noon. The President will call at two-fifty to be briefed before the Iranian Consulate calls at three.”
He cut her off. “I may have found a recruit for Intelligence.”
Understanding he needed to talk, Andrea dropped into one of the club chairs in front of his desk.
He told her about the couple he met. Andrea knew it wasn’t uncommon to recruit a half, as they called it, but it was a scenario the Company avoided. Statistics on failed relationships aside, the security risk was a logistical nightmare. Andrea could see that Frank wanted to recruit the woman. “You know, Harold has been grumbling about retiring.”
“Works with André in Chem.”
She watched Frank as he processed this information, could see the moment he came to the same conclusion. She gathered her notepad and walked over to the door. “I’ll call the White House, have them recruited as a couple, arrange for them to be briefed before training.”
Frank shook his head. “What would I do without you?”
“You’d go through your day drinking shitty coffee,” Andrea said, as she left the room.
Sunday, August 21, 2011
Today's muse: Succinctly Yours by Grandma's Goulash
The rules: Using the picture and/or word (the word is optional), write a story under 140 characters OR 140 words.
Today's word: Tepid. There is nothing tepid about the message in my story so, needless to say, I decided not to use it.
* * *
She didn’t expect the sign to bring help—it was too late for her. She only hoped to warn others; protect them from her life of bondage.
Thursday, August 18, 2011
Today's muse: Friday Flash 55
The rules: Write a story in 55 words. No more. No less.
And I liked the picture prompt he used, so I used it as well.
* * *
“That lavender lace wrap.” Jeremy Wilkinson’s tone was bland, as though he asked for a dozen penny nails.
To her credit, Mrs. Shaefer remained stone-faced as she wrapped the silk in delicate tissue. She knew perfectly well he wasn’t buying it for his wife.
The door hadn’t yet closed before she was whispering the tale.
Friday, August 5, 2011
Today's muse: Friday Flash 55
Write a story in 55 words. No more. No less.
* * *
“I have something special for you.”
Lips like butterflies brush her ear. Sara bites back a moan. She wants him. God she wants him.
He brushes a thumb against the nub that strains against her thin tee. “Wait here,” he whispers, stepping away.
Sara nods, keeps her eyes closed until the door closes behind him.