Sometimes it is fun to take out my pallet and paint. I look at the blank canvas and begin to alter the world therein. I add a dab of the blues then lighten it with a bit of melancholy. Happiness is sprinkled into hope, but sometimes hope runs into despair. Painting green with envy can make the work more interesting, especially if envy is blended with regret. You always need some sympathy and maybe even some encouragement, but too much and your work would be labeled self-help, which is fine if that’s what you are looking to do. In the end I’m just looking for the right picture of emotions to make my work… novel.
Once upon a time there was a man who liked to leave everything to the last minute. He would find a million other things that had to be done, and never seem to work on the thing that was important. There was always something else that drew his attention. The man would complete a vast amount of things daily, so he didn’t feel foolish, but he just never felt totally caught up. When it came time to finally put forth the fruits of his labor he hunkered down, determined to not be a failure, but he had run out of
You look at reality as it is set before you. Before your eyes lay all of the possibilities of your life, splayed out in haphazard lines. Those lines representing choices and serendipity all connected by a sauce that is you. As you stare at all this you begin to question your own existence. Is that me, or am I that? Where does life go from here? Is there even a here amongst all those possibilities, or are you just here by your master’s wishes? Oh, then you remember, you are a dog, those are spaghetti scraps, and life is delicious.
“Who would you kill if you could kill anyone, anywhere, with a single thought?” asked Tatianna. She never broke stride as we walked between dorms on the way to the science center. It was cold outside. The spring semester had just started and the cold winds had also just come back from vacation.
Still it was that question that stopped me in my tracks. “Why did you say that?” I asked.
Tatianna stopped and laughed in her typical tee-hee fashion. “Darling, it was just a fun thought tease,” she said. “All these reports of people having superpowers freaks me out. Still, if I had the power to kill someone with just a thought, I would use it.”
Man I loved that accent. It was one of the reasons I was so madly in lust for her, not that she knew that. It was one of the many secrets I held from her, not that I wanted to. It was just easier this way, or at least that’s how I slept better at night, when I could sleep.
“Well, I don’t know. Who would you kill?” I said as we started walking again.
Tatianna hooked her arm around my elbow as we picked up the pace. Man it was bitter with that wind. “I would start by taking out all those terrorist assholes. Then I would move on to the drug cartels,” she said. “After that, we would see where the crap floated to the top. There would be plenty of crap once I got back home to St. Petersburg.”
I shook my head. This is where being a philosophy major had its perks. Okay, this might be its only perk, but it is still a perk. “I don’t think it would be that easy. Where do you begin drawing the line?” I said. “I think it would be easier to just let things play out on their own and not get involved. Things get complicated way too quickly.”
Tatianna leaned in close as the wind rose in fury. “This is worse than the time I visited Siberia. Let’s cut through Proctor. It’ll be shorter,” she said.
Proctor was a small park that sat on the edge of campus that was one of the only wooded places that might cut this accursed wind. It was also after dark and all sorts of people used the place to hide, from drunk under aged colligates to the occasional rapist. I made it a policy to avoid the place at all costs.
“I don’t think that’s a good idea. I would rather play it safe,” I said.
Tatianna turned us towards the trees. Did I mention she is a six foot two inch blond amazon goddess? Oh and I’m only five ten and maybe one sixty wet? She wins, not that I tried too hard. I did mention I was in lust. Maybe under the trees we could find a romantic spot where we wouldn’t get frostbite while we make out. Oh, and maybe I would win Miss America as soon as they open it up to young scrawny males who have good hair. I do have good hair.
“So why couldn’t you find a line?” Tatianna asked.
The wind blew her hair into my face and I inhaled the perfume she wore, or maybe that was her shampoo. Either way I was not complaining. Choking on paradise, maybe, but not complaining. “What about the kids of those you kill?” I asked. “They don’t deserve to lose their parent.”
Tatianna leaned in close as we entered the trees. The roaring wind died down to a moaning and the sound of tree branches dancing to a tune they didn’t enjoy. “This place always freaks me out,” she said.
“Then why, pray tell, did you come here?” I ask softly. I’m sort of freaked out as well, but I don’t want her to know that. Hopefully she didn’t notice my shaking a bit.
Once again the tee-hees pour forth. “If you could see your face right now,” Tatianna said. I knew I blushed, but in the dark and bitter cold I hope she mistook it for frostbite. Yes, I know frostbite is white, but I was still hoping. It is darker amongst the trees. She continued to pull me along. “But what about the kids of the people those dictators killed and maimed? You don’t get off that easy,” she said.
I kept my head on a swivel. Okay, I kept my eyes more on a swivel. I was enjoying leaning in and breathing Tatianna. Still, all was quiet on the eastern front, or was this west? Doesn’t matter, all was quiet, minus the tree and wind thing.
“Relax,” Tatianna said. “It’s too cold for anyone to be out in this. You would need to be crazy, or desperate.”
“So what does that make us?” I ask, then immediately regret it. I have a wonderful case of athlete’s tongue from all the running of my mouth.
“Hopeless fools?” Tatianna responds, giving me a small peck on my cheek. Okay, I almost fall over with the brute force of that small kiss.
I stop and look into those pale green eyes. I can’t really see them well in the dim light, but I have them on speed dial in my memory. I leaned in close and pressed my lips to her. I could feel a tingle pass through my entire being as we kissed. I didn’t want that moment to ever end.
I didn’t want that moment to end, especially as I was flattened by a truck the size of a linebacker. I rolled to my side and saw Tatioanna sitting on the ground with a large guy standing over her, holding that beautiful blonde mane in one ridiculously large fist. Two other guys materialized out of the dark trees as well.
“Look at what the wind dragged in for us guys?” said the thug holding Tatianna. “Looks like we get to have a bit of fun.” The two other thugs looked at Tatianna in such a way that left little doubt what they considered fun.
“Leave her alone,” I said as I began to stand up. The two other thugs took that as their clue to practice river dancing on my spine. My attempt at rising ended in a lot of groans and me getting into the fetal position to protect myself as much as I could.
“That’s enough boys,” the first thug said. “Don’t kill him yet.” Tatianna moaned. The thug looked at her. “You behave, and we’ll let you and your boyfriend live. Understand?”
Tatianna looked at me, pleading me to do something. I wanted to. I wanted to be that hero, but I couldn’t be. I watched the thug grab her breast hard and Tatianna just went limp. She was giving up everything, just so we could live.
I looked at the two thugs who had been dancing on my spine, then I turned back to the thug holding Tatianna. His hands groped her back into a standing position. I could feel my anger overwhelming my helplessness. “Leave her alone,” I growled. This earned me a few more kicks and I almost blacked out, but I kept my eyes on the thug holding Tatianna. He tried to kiss those lips that had just graced mine with their presence. Now they were the site of a hostile takeover.
“Leave her alone,” I said again, the red haze in my vision coming from the hatred or the brain damage I was receiving. I didn’t know, and I didn’t care. I felt something snap inside of me, but it wasn’t a bone or an organ. It was that moral place that always knew where the line really was, and I had never crossed it. Now though, the line had snapped.
I looked at the two closest thugs to me and I pulled my mental trigger. The two of them fell like someone had cut their strings. The thug holding Tatianna broke off his assault on Tatianna’s mouth and looked at me like his world had just been blown apart, which it had, since he fell to the ground dead as well.
The bad news was Tatianna fell to the ground too. Her eyes were open wide and her breathing was fast and shallow. I tried to comfort her. “Tatianna, it’s going to be okay. Everything is going to be okay,” I said, as I tried to get to a sitting position. Okay, maybe a bone broke in there as well since my ribs ground against each other.
Tatianna then put on a bright smile. “I know it will be. I promise. Everything will be okay,” she said. She took out her cell phone. “I have the subject in custody. Send in the sweeper team.” Then she blinked.
There are days when I attack the page with gusto. The words flow with just a small bit of priming of the pump. That flow is directed in ways that are sometimes artful, other times clunky, but still slowly something materializes and grows from that flow. Tonight is not one of those times. Tonight the words have declared a strike against my imagination. They are picketing, chanting silent slogans of protest. I have sent in strike breakers since I need them to work right now. How else can you be a professional writer? Well maybe this will break the deadlock…
Adam came out of the lab building and was heading for the mess hall when he noticed Eve talking to an older man in a military uniform. Actually, Eve was the only one talking. The man was yelling his part of the conversation, and Adam could tell Eve was not happy to be on the receiving end. Adam decided food could wait and headed over to see if he could help bail Eve out.
Eve was definitely at a physical disadvantage. Not only was the man loud, he was tall, wide, and looked hard. That impressed Adam. Too often military lifers let themselves go. Admittedly not as much as Adam had let himself before coming here, but still for a military man a potbelly would slowly crawl out of its muscular cocoon and those arm muscles would begin to droop a bit to for the wings. This guy could still military press a platoon or two at once. As Adam got closer it was easier to make out what the man was yelling.
“You need to just follow orders and not think! No matter what your designation is, at the end this is a penal colony under my jurisdiction,” the man said trying to beat Eve back with the force of their delivery.
While Eve did cringe a bit, she did not give too much ground. “Your jurisdiction is on that side of the wall,” she said pointing at the offending wall. “Over here is FBC territory and I call the shots.”
That sounded like a perfect introduction for Adam. As he covered the remaining ground quickly and stuck out his hand in the direction of the man and put on his billion credit smile. “Adam Durst at your service, and you are?” Adam asked. Eve rolled her eyes so far back Adam was worried she was about to pass out. Mr. Military though never skipped a beat. As a matter of fact he even kicked his voice up a notch, which Adam didn’t think was humanly possible.
“Did I talk to you?” Mr. Military asked.
“Well, not exactly, but I thought” Adam began, but the man cut him off.
“Then shut the hell up and let me finish!” the man practically screamed at Adam. Mr. Military turned back to Eve. “You may think you have authority over here, but I still call the shots.”
Eve stood up a little straighter. “You can go visit your space on the other side of the wall, or you can go back through the portal, but I think this meeting is done.”
Mr. Military was obviously not done. “Did I say this meeting was done? You will sit your ass right here until I say this meeting is done. You FBC idiots need to realize this isn’t Federation space.”
Eve was about to speak, when Mr. Military cut her off. “Complain all you want, but this world is a penal colony in the end. That makes you being here a favor, and I can work to remove that problem sooner rather than later if you keep pushing me.”
Eve seemed to take this last threat as an almost physical blow. She started to slouch and divert her eyes. The man could sense her about to cave in. A smirk spread on his rugged face, and it was light of a sun coming over the horizon on some hellish asteroid spinning in the cold of space.
Adam didn’t like what he saw. “Or she can push how much this planet is a resource. As a matter of fact this place is one in a billion with respect to almost everything, including possible expansion in this galaxy. You know what that means? They’ll have to remove this piece of crap penal colony,” Adam said.
The man never too his eyes off of Eve. “Keep this idiot under control,” he said. “I won’t ask again.”
Adam shook his head in disbelief. “Did you just call me an idiot?” he asked.
“Adam,” Eve said with an edge to her tone.
“I most certainly did,” the man said as he turned to Adam. The sunlight in the man’s expression was gone and the darkest, coldest expression pummeled Adam. Mr. Military continued. “I almost had the men scatter your worthless atoms anyhow when you crossed over, but I was told I would pretty much lose the coordinates on the jump gate”.
Adam realized he was in big trouble now, but that never stopped him from going all the way. “That would have been the stupidest thing you ever had done. Good thing you have someone with some smarts around you, or else…”
Adam hadn’t even seen the man move, but Adam found himself on his behind in the grass, his jaw felt dislocated. The man towered over him, blocking out the sun. He looked like he was about to explode again when Eve placed a hand on the guy’s arm. That seemed to calm him down some. “If you ever disrespect me again I will kill you with my bare hands. You have rights lower than a piece of shit here, do you understand me?” Mr. Military said. He didn’t wait for an answer that wouldn’t have come anyway due to Adam’s dazed state. The man just turned and walked back towards the portal.
Eve bent down and gently touched the rising swelling in the shape of the man’s fist. “You fool! That’s General Haden Marks. You are technically his. He really could kill you, and there isn’t a thing I can do about it.”
Adam mumbled something along the line of thanks, or maybe I couldn’t let him treat you like that, or maybe the rain was purple with puppies last night. It was hard to tell from the fog of a concussion and the rapidly swelling shut right side of his face. Still Eve took it as a sign of some sort of encouragement. At least that’s how Adam took it as he laid back down on the grass.
Eve spoke into her comm link. “I need a medic in the common square by the gate. We have an idiot down.” Adam thought her words had such a nice ring to them.
Inspired by a friend of mine and how she thought she felt stalkerish writing in second person. I wondered if I could flip that thought. Thanks Katie!
You open my blog and peer within. You read a few of my shorter pieces of fiction and chuckle at some bit of wit that I managed to properly capture. You look at some of my longer works, those both finished and in process. You wonder about who I am. You try to figure out how the same person might write these two pieces of fiction that had such a different flavor and tone. That’s when you realize you have crossed that line, the one that goes from a casual visitor to a resident in my mind. How’s that feel?
Sven adjusted his collar. You would think they could make a decent clerical collar that wouldn’t choke you the minute you became a little agitated. This was the event that would validate his career choice. How else would he be an official at Claire’s wedding? It was hard to believe it had been seven years since Claire had helped him begin his path down this road. Seven long years of working on their friendship, assuring her she had made the right decision.
Now it was seven short minutes till she arrived at the church. Ken, her groom, was downstairs in Sven’s study, waiting to be led out to a full church, and a hopefully a bride that was ready to go through with it this time. Sven was in the steeple, sitting on the railing as he was apt to do, watching for the limo bringing Claire. That was a gift from Sven on Claire’s happy day. He wanted to make sure she arrived to the event in splendor. Four more minutes to wait. Sven thought about the last seven years. It took a lot of planning and mental fortitude to get where he was today. Now all he had to do was let the last piece fall into place, and then his life would be complete. He wondered if Ken and Claire would ever feel that same joy. Sven knew that Ken was not Claire’s type. Anyone could see that, but that wasn’t Ken’s problem now. Today was a day he would etch in Claire’s mind forever.
The limo pulled up and Claire got out. She was beautiful dressed in white. It almost looked like she had a halo around her head, though that might be the tears running down Sven’s face. “Claire!” Sven yelled. Claire looked around, but couldn’t find Sven, so he yelled again. “Up here,” he said. She looked up and smiled. Sven would remember that smile for the rest of his life. She gave him a thumbs up and began walking to the chapel doors. Sven called out one more time, “I love you!” Claire looked up in confusion and dawning horror. She was about to speak when Sven seized the words right out of her throat by jumping high and off the railing, falling to the ground at her feet, broken and dead. His last thoughts were of her leaving him at the alter seven years ago and how payback is a bitch.
This story was inspired by the following reddit prompt: A person at the top of his building, waiting 7 minutes to jump to his death.
For this reddit prompt I was tasked to write a story that started with a ten word sentence and continued with a sentence one word less in consecutive ones. The goal was to come up with something that would fit this structure. How did I do?
I am almost home, but I am so very sleepy.
I need to keep my eyes open to drive.
Windows down, twenty degree air in my face
Teeth chattering to the blaring radio’s beat
Still my eyes threaten to close.
The view changes between blinks
But I don’t stop
I’ll be fine.
Jonathan looked at his watch once again. When was that pizza going to be here? He ordered it like twenty minutes ago. He knew he was going to be in trouble with his wife for calling in, but he really didn’t want to face what was at home. The crying of little Jake was getting louder. How do you tell a baby he had to wait? Jonathan never signed up for all this. Now he felt trapped. Maybe Jonathan shouldn’t have ordered the pie and just dealt with his son, but Jonathan knew he didn’t really care anymore.
The car pulled in the driveway. Jonathan’s wife, Cynthia slammed the door behind her. “Really, you ordered a pizza for delivery? You couldn’t wait till I got home?” she asked. She threw the pizza on the table.
“Thanks babe,” Jonathan said. “Can you change Jake’s diaper while your home? I think he has a poopy.”
Cynthia looked daggers at Jonathan, but she picked up Jake and walked to the bedroom. “You know this just pushes me further towards divorce,” she said.
Jonathan opened the pizza box and bit into the still steaming pepperoni pizza. This was a win-win today. “Do what you have to do babe. Do what you have to do,” he said with his mouth full.
“What did you say?” Cynthia called out from the bedroom.
“I love you babe,” Jonathan said louder as he picked up a second piece.