Category Archives: Writing

Green Poop

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Just when I get my writing grove back, shit happens. Yesterday morning if was green poop. You can laugh but my husband thought it serious and had a small melt down. His poop was apple green. He got up between 3:30 and 4:30 am (Why? Because he always does.) I rose around 7:30, and was greeted with this seven fire alert, before I had coffee.

Consequently, he cancelled plans to play bingo, waited for the doctor’s return phone call and worried. Attempting to be a loving wife, (we’re married 51 years). I spent the next five hours consoling him and reassuring him, he wasn’t going to die. . . today.

I’m working to enter THE WRITER MAGAZINE’S SPRING SHORT STORY CONTEST
https://www.writermag.com/contests/ and planned to hit my computer writing, with my first cup of coffee.

I won’t bore you with the other distractions thrown my way, but around 2pm the wheels fell of the bus and after yelling at my husband, he promised to take the anti anxiety-depression medicine.

This morning I woke refreshed and started writing around 8am. The disruption? Lost cable service.

The dead line for the contest is June 20th. However, we are leaving on a trip on June 14th and I would like to submit by this weekend.

If there is anyone willing to critique my story, (it’s 2000 words) Please let me know and I will email the document to you.

. . . Seriously Just Saying

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Bullshit and Peas

“Have you always gotten your way?”

It was a bullshit inquire from a detective.

The man, Fred, I think he said was his name, sat opposite me in a white dress shirt that was too tight and stained. My guess was, he missed his mouth during breakfast, frequently.

An ugly belt hugged his hips keeping his stomach in check, like a dam keeping water at bay. I speculated what might happen if his belt broke loose. 

“Pretty much, according to my sister, but you know how sisters can be. She swore if Mom served peas, I wanted and got carrots. But she’s an incurable liar. Miss Goody-Two-Shoes is what she calls me.”

“Did you like peas?”

“Sure, the small itty bitty kind, the frozen package says petite. And they had to be cooked right, bright green and not mushy, I hated mushy. Mom wasn’t a good cook.”

“So, you were spoiled?”

“No, I’d have eaten the fucking peas. It wasn’t about the God damn peas. It’s about power. Isn’t it? You have the power to screw me, Mr. Hot-Shot.”

“Calm down, it’s small talk.”

“Yea, small talk? I’ve been here for hours, you asking the same questions. Mr. Hot-Shot, wearing that not to expensive watch.”

The DA twisted his arm and looked at his Mavado.

“I know how to play your game. You provoke me, I get angry. Like with mom. I’ll push the peas around until they get mushy than smash the plate in the sink, and listen to the garbage disposal make a noise like an electric saw cutting up a dead body.”

     “Why did you do it?”

     “Mush the peas?”

     “No, kill your mother.”

. . . Seriously Just Saying

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Lonely in Volusia

quote-some-men-like-a-dull-life-they-like-the-routine-of-eating-breakfast-going-to-work-coming-home-hedy-lamarr-107048

 

Lonely in Volusia

“Doris,” he said taking off his hat.

“Jim?”

We had arranged to meet at a local restaurant after chatting on a social media site.

He resembled a potato, and an image of an Idaho spud flashed through my mind as he sat. Worn pointed cowboy boots prevented his knees from sliding under the table. He angled the chair sideways. Its wooden legs scraped along the floor as he said, “Nice to meet you.”

(It took me about forty minutes to write, and edit the above paragraph, my attempt to write everyday, and for now is all I’ve got.)

. . . Seriously just saying

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Flash Fiction

woman standing by the side of a watercraft
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Lynn

    Lynn stood on the sidewalk and could not remember who she used to be.

    It was a horrible feeling.

    She strolled casually to a nearby bench and sat to quiet the feeling.

    The weather was mild. The sun strong.

    It was not the present that disturbed her.

   Having silly thoughts, she hummed an old Peggy Lee song, “Is That All There Is?”

    She came to buy Christmas gifts, or so she thought.

    Instead, she window shopped and tried on clothes in an upscale woman’s store; attempting to find a new identity.

    Norman Rockwell’s picture of the golden-brown turkey on a large platter surrounded by family flashed  across her mind.

    Her romanticized past was painful to watch.

    She had been the women wearing the plaid apron, trying to fulfill other people’s dreams. Okay, perhaps they’d been her dreams too.

It was hard to remember, things were different.

. . . just saying

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.

Flash Fiction Titled Acerbic

Acerbic was previously published in Florida Writers Collection, Let’s Talk.
The challenge was to write a story less than 1200 words using dialogue only.

Setting; a doctor’s waiting room.

Acerbic

       “This is ridiculous.  I’ve been waiting more than twenty minutes.  My appointment was for nine fifteen.  What time was your appointment?”

     “Well, I’m not sure; I think nine thirty, why?” 

     “Unacceptable! My time is of value, too. Why aren’t complaining?”

     “I was told the doctor was running late when I signed in.”

     “It’s better if everyone is out of sorts.  I can complain for you, make something up, like your dog is in the car, sick and needs to be taken to the Vet.”

     “Reading here is as enjoyable as anywhere.”

     “Boy, you people are annoying, must you be so perky and pleasant?”

     “You’re upset.  Why don’t you thumb through a magazine?  There’s a travel article about Hawaii in this one.  Have you been there?”

     “You think looking at pretty pictures of places I can’t afford to travel to will help me… what?  Be happy I have to wait for a man I pay to tell me I’m sick. And looking at colorful advertisements won’t help either.  I’m Acerbic.  My parents and grandparents, on both sides, were Acerbic and proud of it.”

      “Acerbic?  Is that … American or … a religion?” 

     “Acerbic is a way of life.  You got a problem with that?  Our dispositions are generally crabby.  We find fault in others quickly and enjoy being sarcastic.”

     “Golly gee, everyone feels crabby from time to time.”

     “Golly gee?  Golly gee, we’ve been sitting here over a half hour.  Can’t you pretend you’re a little annoyed?  That wing back chair looks awful uncomfortable.  These doctors are all the same; think they’re better than the rest.”

     “His nurse said the doctor had an emergency, it sounded serious.  Are you really Acerbic?”

     “Our whole neighborhood is Acerbic.  We don’t like friendly.  People yell, ‘Don’t park in front of my house, jerk’ and threaten, ‘If your dog pees on my grass, I will call the police!’  Although things are changing.  Someone, I can’t find out who, moved my garbage pail out of the street on a windy day.”

     “You don’t mind if I read my book?’

     “Of course I mind.  I get it.  Why not say shut-up?  Add please if you have to.  It’s easy; watch my lips, ‘Will you please shut-up!’ ”

     “No, tell me about your life.”

     “Actually I had a great childhood.  We owned a small cabin not far from Rte. 95 below the Georgia border.  Dad named it Acerbia.  It was a retreat where we could be sour and discontent on weekends and during vacations.  You know, say nasty things about neighbors and relatives.”

     “Was that fun?”

     “Are you kidding, of course, the best.  By the way, they call me Unfortunately.  I’m Unfortunately Fortunato.  What’s your name?  Not that I care.”

     “Unfortunately is a first name?  And Fortunato your family…?”

      “Mom wanted an Acerbic name, nothing cheerful or common like Hope, Joy or Grace.”

     “That had to be a difficult name for a child.  Did she think it was a mistake?”

     “No, Difficult and Mistake are my brothers.  Mother named them good, too, because Difficult is in prison and Mistake, chronically unemployed.”

     “Was that a surprise?”

     “They still haven’t called anyone.  All they do is talk on the phone.  Someone else has to complain.  You can do it.  I like your pink eyebrows.”

     “My eyebrows are pink?”

     “Yea, they match your lipstick, compliments that bluish tint in your hair, and look cool on a woman your age.”

     “My hair isn’t blue! I’m not that old.”

    “Isn’t that book you’re reading in large print?”

     “It’s easier I don’t have to remember my glasses.”

     “Most seniors get a little forgetful.  It’s normal, not a problem unless you can’t remember what glasses are.  You know glasses magnify things, right?” 

     “I know what glasses are for and I didn’t forget them.  I do not need them to read a large print book.”

     “Did you hear that?  The receptionist called Ms. Fortunato.  That’s me, Unfortunately.  Doc’s ready for me.  Have a rotten, day”

     “You too, and my eyebrows aren’t pink!

The challenge was to write a story , less than 1200 words, using dialogue only. 

seriously . . . just saying, Claudia

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Flash Fiction

(The word pearl was a prompt given at a writing session. A strong female character came to mind and her story enfolded.)

Pearl

The last time I saw her, she was young; youth sparkled in her eyes. Now the sparkle is gone, the jade blue color diminished by time; her convictions etched in lines across her face. Her once narrow nose is broader, broken from standing up for others. Her chest sunken with anger, not there the first time we met.

“Pearl is that you?” I inquire.

She strains to turn towards me, her range of motion greatly compromised.

“Yes, I’m Pearl,” Her voice recalls dignity, and she pauses to ask, “Have I had your acquaintance?”

It was 1971; we got on the Concourse Avenue bus in the Bronx, each with a child in hand. She took notice of my bruises and we became friends.

I take the seat alongside her and gently touch her forearm, “Pearl, it’s me Rosa . . . . Rose, remember. . . .” I expect her to ooze with gladness, say, “Lordy, Lordy, Rose, how are you?”

Instead, she says “Rose? Can’t recall a Rose, refresh my memory child.”

If she remembers me, she would never mention beatings, and hiding in safe houses. I remind her of Bainbridge Park; how we would meet after lunch, let the children play in the sand box then walk them to sleep in strollers.

“I remember sunshine and playgrounds, how is your boy . . . ?”

“Danny, Dan, he’s at Fordham University; studying to be a lawyer.

Danny was five when I made the decision to leave the morning after a beating. I phoned my sister, asked her to get him from school, and left a note for John saying I didn’t want a divorce, and wouldn’t fight him for our son.

I worried about leaving Danny behind. Pearl said, “Don’t fret; your boy be fine,” and hooked me up with people.

John was a New York City Police officer and protected by his brothers, but the force would not ignore his beating a child.

Sill, I moved every four months with a new identity.

Three years later, the Richmond Virginia Newspaper reported the hunt for the killer of John McGill, a NYC Police Officer shot in the line of duty. I went home; stood next to his coffin, widowed with a pension; my eight-year-old son at my side.

John had never mentioned I was gone to anyone on the force.

Now Pearl dozes next to me, and her head bobs from side to side startling herself. “What was I saying?”

“We were talking about the time we brought the boys to the Bronx Zoo and rode the train around the park ten times. You packed potato salad and fried chicken; a stranger asked to buy your picnic lunch.”

The mention of potato salad crystallizes in her milky eyes, “I remember the day you left, bruised and wearing borrowed clothes; it broke my heart knowing I’d not see you again. How you been?”

“I never got to thank you, Pearl. . . .” She interrupts my attempt at gratitude and explanation of regret .

“Hush, Woman . . . tell me something that will make me smile.”

* * * just saying

(Originally posted on November 23, 2014)

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Monster Come Home

dragonboxfront

I am struggling to write. This morning I read another struggling writer’s thoughts and was inspired. I even borrow her pic. Please check out writersramblings

Monster Come Home

     Interesting? Yes! Pretty? No, was my initial reaction to the decorative item the customer ahead of me held in her hand.

     The box was unusual. A purple ceramic dragon sat on a book, whose gilded pages had been stonewashed to give the appearance of aged parchment.

“Can you come down in price? The filigree is chipped in several places.” She asked. Her voice was soft and gentle, her blunt haircut envious as she swung her head side to side.

      The cashier smiled an unfriendly smile. “What’s the color of the sticker?”

      The purple dragon glared with hatred and its blood red tongue stuck out. I anticipated the mythical creature breathing fire in her direction any minute. The reptile had a crusty head and shiny gold scales decorated its back.

      The customer raised the dragon box high to view the only flat surface a price tag might adhere, and said, “Red.”

      “Red means it has already been marked down fifty percent.”

       Putting the trinket box on the counter she responded, “Is that really the best you can do?”

       I positioned myself counter side and joined the conversation. “It’s unique, only appeals to a niche market unless something of value is inside.” The shop was one that invited patron participation, more a second hand or consignment rather than antique.

      The cashier studied the item with consideration, “No can do, that red sticker has the final say, that’s the price. Twenty-five dollars, if you want it.”

       “I’ll think about it, perhaps come back.” She returned the box to the spot in which she had found it.

        The elaborate details appeared to confine the dragon in ways I had not noticed before. Was he breaking out or settling in?

       I studied the disappointed on her face. Her eyes were hazel and when she closed them, thick black lashes sealed the lids. Opening them, she swallowed hard pressing her lips. I put my hand on her arm and said, “Why don’t you open it?”

        We have been friends since.

Red Pepper

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It has been a real struggle to write recently, so I have returned to a daily writing exercise. Randomly flip through the dictionary and point at a word. When you have ten words stop. Like them or not, use as many of them in a story/paragraph.

June 11, 2015:

Spacecraft, understated, dummy, numbers, goblin, downriver, rigor, sneak, thief, cayenne

Red Pepper

      A dream woke me in a terrible fright. I was swimming downriver and goblins were everywhere. In the moonlight, their distorted features appeared ghoulish. Some had their eyes in the wrong place, others suffered with over-sized lips, missing ears, or a hole in place of their nose. To say I was glad to be awake was an understatement.

     In the bathroom, I applied a cold cloth to my head then decided to sneak downstairs. I could hear my husband snoring. It was the middle of the night and everyone else was asleep. I took the stairs one at a time avoiding the steps I knew would creak.

     The numbers on the kitchen clock read three thirty and I sat to ponder my dream and recover. Then felt like a thief rummaging through the pantry looking for something to eat.

     The rigor with which the goblins had chased me chewed at my mind. They had not been violent but only a dummy could believe that would not happen with time. Who could these monsters represent in my life? I munched on stale popcorn and made a mental list of anyone I might have harmed. While looking for salt in the spice shelf the cayenne pepper fell on the floor. When I looked down broken glass and red powder covered my feet. My husband was still snoring as I fell to the ground.

. . . . seriously just saying

The Whistler

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Recently it has been a real struggle to write so I have returned to a daily writing exercise. I randomly flip through the dictionary and point my finger at a word, then use as many of these words in a story/paragraph.

June 10th Writing Exercise:

Use these ten words to write a story; Transport, discrimination, estimate, collection, chance, whistle, layer, best, provide, and forth.

The Whistler

     Tanya turned around when she heard the whistle. It came from a man sitting on a wooden box turned sideways. His butt overflowed on the top while his feet straddled its sides. It was the kind of box featured in a Norman Rockwell painting. You know the kind, usually had some colorful lettering on it advertising Borden’s Milk or another dairy or produce company. Sometimes the lettering was in bold block letters done in black ink.

     This box was weathered, like the man who sat on it.

     Tanya put her hands on her hips and wiggled back to where he sat. Her high heels scratched the pavement as she walked. She said, “Mister here’s your only chance to apologize, so give it your best shot.

     The man wore a week old beard but smelled of day old cologne, possible Old Spice. He drank coffee from a white Styrofoam cup after blowing a circle of steam aside. Then slurped and said, “Ah . . . .” signifying the caffeine provided some relief. “Now why would I do that? That would be discrimination. I whistle at every pretty girl that goes by, regardless.”

     Tanya’s layered thoughts confused her. She was flattered while offended. She pulled at her too tight too short skirt and turned her chin to say, “Well this pretty girl wants to be the exception . . . discriminate me. I won’t be part of your collection. “

     The man nestled his coffee cup between his knees to free his hands and wrap a coat of sadness around him. “Collection? Never thought I was collecting anything, but now that you put it that way, guess I have a collection of sorts, a collection of memories.”

     Tanya watched the man as he stared into space, got a faraway look in his eye. The sadness he wore fell to the ground. Then a smile appeared on his face and when his eyes met hers said, “Well Miss whatever your name is, I don’t have bad intentions. Just like to whistle no need for you to be part of my memory collection.”

Fang Man

Help-me

     Help Me! I am truly struggling with my writing. Ideas used to pop into my head, gnaw at my mind and interrupt my thoughts during the day. I even woke during the night to write in my head. But, and this is a big but, that has stopped. Yes, there are some upsetting things in my life and I am suffering with vertigo; so I have good excuses. Nevertheless I worry the world is passing me by. This morning I decided to nip it in the bud and resume a writing exercise from the past.

     Writing Exercise:

                 Randomly select ten words from the dictionary or any book and use them to make a story. I don’t time myself, although when this is presented to a group there is usually a fifteen minute time frame. I also like to title what I have written. This is what I wrote.

Fang Man

          (Stretcher, Lady, fang, checkpoint, random, lodging, mixture, single-minded, infectious, smoky)

     “I had to force myself,” the lady said as she was carried on a stretcher. The reporter hurried along-side scribbling in a note pad. Her voice contained a single-mindedness that he knew had saved her. But how long would she be alive? Determined to get her story, he jogged with the rescue team as they weaved their way through the mixture of smoky air and chemical scents he noticed at checkpoint.

      “Lady, can you hear me?” He yelled at her listless body after the stretcher had been placed on the ground next to other victims waiting transport. “What’s your name madam? Miss, what’s your name?” He prodded her to answer.

     “My name?” She lifted her head to ask with skepticism followed with an infectious laugh. The reporter lowered himself onto the grass and sat at her side. He felt helpless and wished to be invisible, not there. All he knew was there had been a loud explosion.

     The woman looked into his eyes and said, “I remember his fangs,” and collapsed on the canvas mattress.

. . . . seriously just saying