Wednesday, May 25, 2011


"Quentin said there was this place...a way station. Do you know of it?"

The old codger wiped his hands in his haggard beard, a thoughtful swipe. He stared at me for a brief eternity, wondering if my question was an interrogation.

"Well, you know Quentin," the Keeper began, "said a lot of wild things. Said we was goin' to hell. Always drummin' up some noise about this here rapture."

"What do you know of this...rapture? Do you believe?" I continued.

"Don't know what I believe. Ever since the Creed was declared, I ain't been sure of nothin'."

"But what is this place then? All these chairs.
Quentin spoke of this too. That this was..." I was interrupted by the old man, completing my thought.

"...this was where the angels came? Quentin was censured by the committee. Shouldn't have been speakin' his mind like that, I'll tell you!"

"Why do you just sit here old man? What is your purpose?", I asked, making the first query of interrogation.

"I am just minding my mind" he replied. "You sought me out, Intellectual! "

He saw it. Through my wrapping and gilding, the Keeper saw it. The Intellectuals were the first to depart. Quentin was an Intellectual. Our ilk posed a threat. The geezer knew.

"Did I miss it?" I asked of the rapture.

The Keeper's grin was ominous. His laugh hideous. I simply grasped his cloak to establish control. His neck snapped with the slightest of pressure.

Quentin always spoke the rapture; of us going to hell. I propped the limp shell of a man into one of the chairs, and prayed we weren't desolate. For I was not sure if we were too late for the exit, or bound here to this hell.

Either way, I was screwed.


Another holiday.

You wait all year and you make your preparations. Halloween. The witch's Christmas. My mother was being difficult. And my outfit was all wrong.

I took off the hat. The pointy top was making my face look chubby.

"If you're going to be a witch for Halloween," my mother said. "You should really wear the hat."

I turned on her. "Uh, I'm already a witch every day and you don't see me running around with a broomstick, do you? I really don't think we should play into stereotypes by wearing ridiculous costumes."

There was more to it than that. But really, the hat just made my face look chubby.

For every insistence my mother had, my power against her will was challenging. But my mother always got her way in the end.

"I'm not wearing it!" I finally announce, turning for the stairs.

"Fine, have it your way", my mother called.

There was a flash of light behind me. It made my head tingle.

Back in my room, I got ready for the celebration. I felt empowered. Mother didn't pursue with her usual persistence. And I removed my hat.

"MOTHER!" I cackled, "how could you?"

The image that returned its gaze from my vanity mirror was hideous. My head was the exact shape as my hat.

"Something wrong, sweetie?" Mother mocked.

"Look at my head" I yelled. "How could you?" I repeated.

"At least your face isn't chubby anymore," Mom smiled, "Now, it's long! And pointy"

"What am I supposed to do now?" I cried.

"Wear the hat, dear! No one will even notice your head!" Mom smirked.


A black cat crossed my path.

I saw him lurking there as I entered the room. His wide piercing eyes stared me down as I approached. The tension in the air was palpable. You could see the trepidation in his gaze. I felt the slightest tremble in my hands.

He caught me off guard when he jumped up on the piano and stumbled along the keys making a dreadful noise. I was relieved when he stepped down off away from the piano, giving me the opportunity to take my seat, still under his watchful eye.

Then he smiled that Cheshire cat smile of his. You know the one that stayed with you long after you parted company?

He ducked from sight for a brief moment, that grin still hanging in the air above him, only to re-emerge clutching his horn. Malcolm Jenkins played a smooth trumpet. His riffs were flawless, his passion was off the charts; his soul reached into the depths of hell to slap the devil into paying attention to his muse.

And as I began to tickle the ivories, Malcolm followed my lead, only to abruptly take charge and bring me along for the ride. We jammed until the wee hours of the morning, and when we were done, the devil and I were on a first name basis. Like I said the Dude was smooth.

A black cat crossed my path.

And it was apparent, that cat could blow!


Prompt from Flashy Fiction:

Donal was not amused. Once again, someone in the Guest Care office (Mrs. Cooks!) thought it would be funny to photoshop his head onto a drawing. Of Donald Duck. Because that never got old.

Once again, someone in the Guest Care office (Mrs. Cooks!) thought it would be funny to Photoshop his head onto a drawing of Donald Duck, because frankly, that never got old. Donal was not amused.

He sat patiently, hands still lightly gripping his steering wheel. "Twelve and two", he smirked inwardly as he waited. Three squad cars and the S.W.A.T. team flashed their semaphore behind him. The show of force afforded Donal some importance.

"They should see this, then they'd know not to laugh", he thought, his hands clearly visible.

An officer approached on either side of his vehicle, pistols drawn as Donal's breathing remained slow and rhythmic. He pressed the button on his power window, as it lowered fully open. Donal smiled.

"Problem officers?" he cracked, but the patrolman was far from playful.

"Get out of the car, Scumbag, and keep your hands where I can see them!" the cop shouted at Donal as the officer's partner rounded the front of the car, revolver still trained on Donal's chest.

He slowly pushed his door opened and stepped out into the crisp morning air, closing the door behind him. Officer Creedy and Patrolman Habib rushed the calm assailant, harshly pressing his face against the dust encrusted glass of his passenger window. Habib gave his handcuffs an extra twist as he slapped them around Donal's wrists.

The two took turns shoving Donal toward their squad car. But at one point, Donal hardened his stance, glancing back at his car. Through the rear window she stared, her designer sunglasses covering her eyes. A grotesque smile was fashioned across the stiffening lips of Mrs Cooks decapitated head, which Donal had "pasted" on the rear shelf above his back seat.

He knew he would always remember that smile as he entered the police car harshly. In his mind, it would never get old.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


The moon had ducked behind a cloud,
hidden quite clear away:
He did not care, so hidden there,
so there he thought he'd stay -
But, that was fine. Who ever saw
the moonshine in the day?

     The sun shone quite salubrious,
     for sure she knew the moon
     would sit and pout and not come out
     'til seven hours past noon -
     "Go have your nap you silly sap,
     and don't come out too soon!"

The windblown clouds were blown indeed,
the gale was stiff as stiff.
The fish that tanned upon the sand,
were not well worth a sniff:
No lemmings came to stand their ground --
they'd marched right off the cliff.

     The Manatee and the Contracted Home Improvement Specialist
     were standing near to blows;
     "My God" they cried through squinted eyes,
     holding fingers to their nose:
     "These fish smell rank, oh, how they stank;
     for sure, get rid of those!"

"Should Mr. Clean and brothers five
come swab the briny sea,
I think that they" the Manatee howled,
can make it smell heavenly!"
"Unlikely" droned the Contracted Home Improvement Specialist,
and spilled his Long Island Tea.

     "Hey Sea Gulls, fly to Timbuktu!"
     came the Manatee's command,
     "Quit dropping dropping on our heads;
     and across the heated sand:
     Then the Manatee and the Contracted Home Improvement Specialist
     cleaned out the Fresh Clam stand.

One surly seagull circled 'round
and made a nasty noise,
And soon the others flew in kind
to soil upon our boys.
They could not run; they could not hide,
they were targeted decoys.

     But, a couple fish (still quite alive)
     and basking in the sun:
     would flip around for an even tan
     and not a bit well done --
     And this was weird, because they heard
     that fish baked in the sun.

A group of gulls had noticed that
these gar were quite alive;
Three swooped down, then came two more
together there were five --
But they were shocked and so alarmed
by Cajun Black Fish talking jive.

     The Manatee and the Contracted Home Improvement Specialist
     had trekked for half a mile
     and came up to an alcove
     when the Manatee sat and smiled.
     He asked the Contracted Home Improvement Specialist
     if they could sit and rest a while.

"This is the place" the Manatee barked,
"Where I've done many things, you see:
I learned to bark, I learned to swim;
lost my virginity --
The Girlatees think I'm smoking hot --
and had their way with me".

     "Hold on a sec" the seagulls laughed,
     "before we loose our lunch.
     We've seen you hide and spank your whale,
     at least that was our hunch"
     And the Manatee became so irate
     he gave the Contracted Home Improvement Specialist a punch.

The Master Builder took the bait
"I'm sure they did not see
the private parts of you, my friend,
(you lying Manatee!)
And then he went behind the rocks
'cause he really had to pee!"

     They rambled further up the shore,
     the Manatee and him,
     when all at once the Contracted Home Improvement Specialist
     decided to have a swim.
     But, the Manatee knew their time was short,
     the sun was getting dim.

"You make me cry" said the Manatee,
"the light won't last much longer.
We should walk on before it's gone
and fall prey to the fish monger.
I can not fight far into night,
the dark makes me less stronger".

     So, the Contracted Home Improvement Specialist
     strapped on his trusty tools,
     and built a shelter for his friend,
     that masturbating fool.
     He called it "Wonderland and Sea",
     and that was really cool!

Friday, March 18, 2011


Energy in shades of brown, layered; thick and hearty. Stout like a bold bottle of the brew that carries her name, "Guinness".

Spring is a welcomed relief. I believe her spirit is energized by the change of season. As are mine. It is fine that her paws, all muddied and wet, get their prints all over the linoleum. It does my heart good to see her leaping and bounding.

She had been rescued for this moment. Freedom found in the compassion to which she clings. Free to love. Free to run. Never knowing which direction to explore first. Sometimes her decision is made for her, thanks to her squat legs and enthusiasm. Her feet go right; her body goes left.

She discovers a leaf. It becomes her adversary. It is her plaything. Speed is her ally. At least as fast as her stumpy legs can carry her. Trying to squeeze a lifetime of denial into a single afternoon.

Now, by the window she rests, dreaming of the warmth this day had brought to her explorations. Anticipation fuels her, and tomorrow is another day.

Thursday, March 17, 2011


Nathan Shell was a good man, to hear his Mama tell it. "My son, the screenwriter" she would proclaim. But, all the same she loved her Nate. Unfortunately, Mama wasn't around to make proclamations any more.

In the living room of his lifeless abode, Nathan Sheldon Sr. sat, staring at photographs on the wall... the grandfather clock... the sunbeam that danced across his morbid hardwood floor. He exhaled deeply, trying to expend every last breath of grief from his worn, tired chest. Nathan's gaze focused on one last portrait. "MY SON, THE PUTZ!" he shouted loudly for no one to hear. "That woman loved you! You bastard! Not even for her funeral?" he hissed.

He missed his son as much as he missed his Reva. She had been buried only a few days; Nathan Jr. only made it home once a year since moving to Los Angeles. It may as well have been an eternity.

"I need to be close to the business, Papa." Nathan begged off during their last conversation.

"She's not a well woman! She needs you around." Sheldon pleaded. "I need you" he admitted inwardly.

His son perplexed him. The senior had gotten over the fact that he changed his name to "Shell". No one but Nate really minded that his name sounded "ethnic". But he never had time anymore. No time to visit; too busy to call. Never time to write something for which he wouldn't be paid.

"Who has time?" the elder resigned.

"REVA!" he called out, "This house is so empty without you."


"Your memorial service, it was nice, no? So many friends. Important to so many people. They loved you. They respected you. Important to so many! But not to THAT SCHLEMIEL! YOUR SON, THE SCREENWRITER!"

Nathan's anger boiled. He leaned over his armchair and spit, soiling the magnificent Persian rug Reva took so much pride in. No sooner did his sputum hit the floor covering that Nathan recoiled in regret.

He fell out of his recliner and to his knees, handkerchief in hand, blotting at the stain. Tears streamed from his sad eyes as his pleas for forgiveness fell upon the deafness of his vacant home.

"It's only a rug" he heard in his head. "Only a rug." Reva's words came back to him hauntingly. Like the time he had spilled his coffee and soiled the arm of his chair.

"It's only a chair, Nathan. Only a chair." she always repeated. Words so important they had to be said twice.

The tears came freely now. Loud shivering sobs overwhelmed Nathan. He hadn't cried like this since he was a schoolboy. Not when his Poppa died. Not when his younger brother Sol was consumed by the cancer. And this, the first tears that finally came for Reva. Loud shivering sobs.

 He hadn't noticed that the spot on the rug had vanished. He paid no attention to the fact that the sunbeam had transformed into the street lamp's luminance. Nathan did not hear the resound of his door chime. There was knocking now.

"Papa?" the door voice called. "Papa, it's me. Let me in?"

"Who?" the elder Nathan replied. "What do you want?"

"Papa, it's Nate. Please Papa. I need to talk."


"Papa?" Nate said softly now.

"What do you want? WHAT DO YOU WANT?"

The sound from behind the bolted door came almost as a whisper. Humble. Serene. A hint of shame lacing his expression.

"Forgiveness, Papa." Nate apologized. "I'm sorry Papa, please forgive me."

Nathan swiped a meaty hand across his brow, furrowed and spotted with flecks of brown. Again, with the voices, his head spun. Memories flooded. Reva filled his thoughts.

"Nathan, your brother Sol is here."

"What does he want? I have nothing to say to that SCHIESTER!"

"Nathan. Your brother. Your own blood. He has something to tell you. Talk to him."

"I have no time for him. I have no time for... talking!"

"Nathan?" she pleaded with her stubborn mule.


"Forgiveness, Nathan. Sol asks your forgiveness."

"I have no time for for..." Nathan began, only to be silenced by her bony finger pressed against his thick lips.

"My sweet man. There is always time for forgiveness." She smiled, now caressing his cheek.

"Always time for forgiveness" Nathan muttered, as he touched his face where her gentle hand once landed. He reached for the deadbolt.

His hand gave the doorknob a slow turn, opening to reveal his son. Nate stood contrite; literally with hat in hand, eyes lowered to the floor.

"I am sorry, Papa!" he demurred. "I am sorry." he repeated. Words so important they had to be said twice.

"So, now you can make time for me in the time I have left?" Nathan prodded through squinted eyes.

"I have time for you Papa. I've put you off for too long. I have all the time you need. I'm home now, Papa!"

They came together in a thunderous embrace. Together again, for Reva's sake. And it was about time.

Inspired by "A Man In His Life" by Yehuda Amichai - Flashy Fiction Prompt 3/17/2011