Hey, which Pokémon is dat?^
Renfield, I love that picture. Love it to bits.
Did you draw it?
Nah, found it a couple months ago on http://fuckyeahmetalcats.tumblr.com/
You just blew my fucking mind.
Congratulations Renfield. Excellent story.
Rennie, that pic needs to go on a T-shirt.
It was the year 2814. The world's population had risen to 894 billion. People stood shoulder to shoulder unable to move. The entire planet looked like a subway platform at rush hour. Every available inch of Earth's crust had someone standing on it.
People still fucked, men and women, men and men, women and women, grinding against one another in the streets. Every twenty feet or so a baby was held aloft screaming at a pitiless sun or the mangled corpse of some poor unfortunate was passed shoulder high before being dumped in a huge chute. Urine, faeces, and hair flowed in a continual river at their feet.
The rich lived at the top of mountains and everyday, twice a day, aeroplanes would take off from secret locations and fly low over the masses, showering them with liquefied food and water. The squashed inhabitants of Planet Earth opened their mouths to swallow.
At the top of a mountain, the rich were having a conference. Something had to be done. President Wilmer rose to his feet. He scanned the various dignitaries present.
“Gentlemen, ladies,” he said. “We're running out of food.”
“What are we feeding them with currently?” asked a young senator.
The president moved to the window and with his hands clasped behind his back looked down onto the heaving crowd below. A corpse was being passed overhead. She looked young – maybe twenty – with flaxen hair hanging limply over her eyes. Her body came to a chute which was fixed at the end of the street. The corpse disappeared. From there it ended up in a huge meat grinder. Then it was made into soup, drugs were added to pacify the crowds, and the mix crop-sprayed over the crushed masses.
The president lit a cigarette and shook the match from side to side.
“We feed them soup,” he said. “But we're running out. We need people to start dying at a faster rate.”
The president filled the plane with poisonous gas. He flew over the entire population of his home city and exterminated them. The bodies were so tightly packed that they had nowhere to fall. He flew over the mountain and killed the rich. He refilled and went to the next city. And from there to the next. Soon the whole country was cleared. He moved north to Canada, and south to Latin America. Once this was done he moved to Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia and everywhere else until the overcrowding problem was solved once and for all. After doing a celebratory figure-eight he crashed his plane into the mountain.
That sounds like a great time period to get laid in.
Announcement: Rennie chose Tom Spanbauer's Faraway Places from Hawthorne Books' Catalogue for his prize.
Announcement: Rennie chose Tom Spanbauer's Faraway Places from Hawthorne Books' Catalogue for his prize.
Happy reading Rennie.
I seem to have missed this thread before, here's something inspired by too much SoCo...
Sweet, sweet sleep. Nothing in this life should be so sacred. Anything can happen when the conscious shuts down, or for arguments sake, shuts up.
One moment you're floating on an inflatable mattress, on a giant pool shaped like Mickey Mouse with three unattainably beautiful foreign girls giggling and taking turns nibbling at your penis. The next you're under the water. You can't move. You try reaching out for help but the girls pay no attention, those supermodel bodies just out of reach. You can't move your arms or legs. Suspended in a watery grave, you're desperate to break the surface for a breath. The girls' bums and their tiny g-string bikinis fade away and darkness surrounds you. The disappointment of losing them is nothing compared to the panic setting in.
Everett's eyes opened with force, only to discover he was still surrounded in darkness, struggling for breath. His brain scrambled to make sense of the current situation. A weight pressed hard against his face was about to be the death of him. He recognized the overpowering scent of cheap laundry detergent. His laundry detergent. He flailed his limbs in an attempt to free his airway. No such luck, he was completely immobilized.
Neve giggled and lifted the pillow from off his face.
"Finally," she sighed. "I thought you were just gonna lie there all day like a corpse."
"I almost did," he gasped, sucking in as much air as possible. His eyes darted around and his brain finally began to process his current situation.
Thick rope secured his wrists and ankles to the brass frame of his bed. Neve was peeling off the t-shirt he'd given her last night, and she was already sitting on his somehow still erect penis.
Life was never better.
We’ve all seen them, floral mile markers along interstates or curvy back roads celebrating life. Often, a couple of two by fours are slapped together in haste as a crude cross and erected along a tragic route, decorated with pink roses...her favorite, a picture, her name and brief bio. You never see anyone setting these up, they appear magically, as quick as the life that is extinguished, a blink of the eye. The flowers always fresh, alive.
I love how this thread is starting to take off. @ Fritz, Meat, & Christian - welcome to the party!
Where's those December finalists at, Chester?
Party party! I love how many completely different things people come up with in so few words, great idea.
Hey guys, just wrote this flash fiction for a crime-noir contest Richard posted on Facebook. I'd love to have some opinions or pointers before I submit it. Thanks in advance! The contest can be found here.
The floor was covered in cowering bodies and crying echoed off the walls.
“Fuck.” Tommy said glancing out the blinds, “They have us surrounded!”
“Stick to the plan, we’ll be fine.” I said, “Gather the cash.”
The red and blue lights flickered through every window. There was no way we would make it out of here free or alive. All I was saying was sheer optimism to keep Tommy in line. Tommy was just a street thug, always one step away from complete lunacy.
“Tommy, what the fuck was that?” I yelled to the back.
“That bastard tried to attack me!” Tommy said bringing in the cash.
“The cops had to have heard the gun shots you idiot, you better fucking pray Charles and Danny come busting in with the van before they do.” I said.
Almost on cue like a bad Hollywood movie the phone began to ring, and like every bad reality cop show, the idiot answered the phone…
“Hello?” Tommy spoke into it, “Yeah. One got out of line, and I put him down. If you bastards come in here I’ll take every last one of them down with me!”
Tommy slammed the phone on the receiver.
“You should have told them nothing before making negotiations,” I screamed at him, “They’ll be gathering the SWAT team any minute now imbecile.”
The phone began ringing again. Tommy went for it, forcing my hand. I punched him in the lip gashing it open on his teeth, and then I answered the phone as his empty threats filled the background.
The announcement from the other end wasn’t the Police. I hung up the phone, and broadcasted what must have been a look of absolute defeat.
“Who was that?” Tommy asked,
“Danny and Charles aren’t going to make it, and you have ruined negotiations.”
“AHHHHH” Tommy screamed, pacing around before turning his attention to another person in the room.
“You, get up now!” He demanded of a young girl.
“What the hell are you doing Tommy?!!” I questioned.
“I’m not going to prison without one last fuck!” He shouted, then put his gun to the girl’s temple and forced her to spread her legs on a desk. She was crying and screaming as Tommy began driving his phallus inside her. It was in that moment I completely snapped, cracking Tommy over the head with my pistol.
“I’m sorry,” I told the girl, “Fill your pockets with cash and go.” She nodded in understanding. Turning to stirring Tommy, I bent him over the desk and forced myself in. His screams louder than the girls, I clasped my hand over his mouth.
“How do you like?!!” I screamed.
He bit my hand as I pulled the trigger, and painted his insides.
Caught red handed with two duffle bags of cash and my dick in dead Tommy’s ass. The girl lied for me in court. I got five years, but I like the boys here just fine…
Whoa. That was an ending I did not see coming. Personally I like the last couple lines, they give it closure but don't sound forced.
Oooh I think I like that better, just a touch more twisted ;)
"So are you going to tell me who he is?"
"You know the rules." Daisy says.
"Your all buisness now I guess." I say.
"Of course." Daisy sips her green tea frappachino.
"Just tell your boyfriend that we're starting to attract some heat." I say and the light humor in our dialogue fades as soon as it starts.
"He's not my boyfriend, Adam, so stop calling him that. Take care of whatever is going on or the money is coming out of your pocket for having to relocate the lab." She says.
"I piss a hundred and fifty grand." I mumble to myself.
"Excuse me?" Daisy says while she stares at me from behind her sunglasses.
Three blonde high school girls walk into the coffee shop giggling. All of them are wearing tight jeans and I wouldn't mind fucking them even though one of them is kind of chubby. It occurs to me that everyone in the coffee shop looks the same. Black, thick rimmed glasses, tight, cut off jean shorts, dreadlocks, flip flops and Chuck Taylors with writing on them.
All of them smell like skunk weed and most of them are drinking iced coffees. Independent coffee shops are the best places for drop offs. Daisy slips right in and nobody pays attention to her because she is in her element. She is at a hippie safe haven. She is redneck in a Waffle House.
I haven't spent this much time around hippies since I was in college. The crunchies always had the best bud and it got to the point that I was smoking so much with them that I almost majored in poetry. It wasn't until my senior year that I decided to major in journalism, because I was already writing liberal articles for the school paper.
"Same stall as always." Daisy says before she leaves the coffee shop.
I watch her as she walks out to the side walk. She crosses the street without looking back at me. Daisy has probably had her bright, red, dreadlocks since junior high. Daisy is one of the only old school hippies left. I bet she still samples our product and eats cat food.
I'm the only one in the entire place wearing a suit with a newspaper tucked under my arm. When I sit up, all eyes are on me. I wash my face in the bathroom sink after locking the door. Daisy uses the same joke every month when I meet her here. Daisy is right though, it is always in the same stall because there is only one toilet, in one bathroom.
The bathroom reeks of bleach and air freshner and it stings my nostrils with every breath. I push a ceiling tile up and over and pat around for the product. The product is in a freezer bag. In the freezer bag is a bible of acid wrapped in aluminum foil. Thats 10,000 hits in sheets of 900.
This is the point where I have to be careful. More than once, my foot has slipped into the toilet, soaking my sock and dress pants. Walking out of the bathroom, leaving foot print tracks of piss water is way more embarrasing than toiet paper stuck to your shoe. And it isn't good for staying incognito.
I open the brick of foil to make sure the product is legit and to drop a blotter of my own. It's legit alright. They're the purple ones so they're on the higher end of purity content. A dab will do me, but I carefully cut two hits off a sheet with a pair of swiss army knife scissors, making sure to follow the preforated lines.
A knock at the door, so loud it could be thunder booming outside or a battering ram. I pray it's not the battering ram. I pray it's not a team of NARC agents ready to bust me.
The pounding startles me and I lose balance. With nothing to grab on to but the chemical odour air, my foot drops into the toilet as I fall off the seat. My head hits the tile on the floor and I'm staring at floating molecules on the cieling and the light bulb blinding my vision.
The knocks get louder, more impatient. If it's the cops than I'm set. All I have to do is push down the lever on the side of the toilet because a month's supply of product is disolving in the water that soaked my foot. My head clears a little and an omnious realization hits me like a kick to balls. After what I just did, I hope it's the cops that get a hold of me first.
@Martin and everyone, sorry, I have been slammed lately with work etc. but thanks for the great Flashes.
I think there were only two submissions in December, Martin and Bruno, so I was thinking about compiling those into the January pile.
But of course I would be willing to award a sort of 'default' book if you guys want me to put those two to the vote?
Nah it's cool, Chester - I was only teasing anyhow.
Put em' in with the January ones, fine by me. I'm happy enough reading all the other submissions to be fair.
Got to love flash. It's like mixing poetry with literature. Let me explain:
1 - literature: The object of writing is to convey meaning with maximum clarity and precision
2 - poetry: Clarity and Presion take a back seat to Brevity: ordinary declaritive syntax takes up too much space, so a poem compacts meaning with allusion, symbolism, metaphor, etc...
Flash is an attempt to marry the two, and in so doing, create something awesome.
Just thinking out loud.
@Fritz - right on!
@ Chester. No worries mate. I'm doing it for fun so just roll it over.
While working in the garage I thought, "What would Jesus do?" So I hammered a nail through my hand into a board.
When my laughter ceased, I realized I should've been thinking, "When in Rome."
Cool Bruno and Martin, will do.
Fritz, I think you are onto something there.
Keep 'em comin' peeps.
The lights above him burn and hum white noise. His eyes scream as they fry in the sockets. Goosebumps erect tiny hairs on his naked body under the trench coat. The gun is heavy in his boot. He savors the sting of the grain alcohol. His eye twitches and relaxes.
My dad reached out with his left hand, the one missing the last finger, and pushed open my bedroom window. There was no screen in the window so he didn’t have to remove it. We looked out onto the grass of the back yard and the shed at the back of it. Beyond the shed was a mile of cotton fields.
We lay on our bellies on the top bunk of my bunk beds, the rifle between us. Dad told me that this was how people hunted for thousands of years.
“On a bed?” I said.
He chuckled. “No. Waiting. Sitting and waiting.”
"Is this what Vietnam was like?"
“Nope. Vietnam was a lot more humid. Now you have to be quiet or it won’t be like the real thing.”
We lay there and waited. I think I dozed off. I know I was a little bleary-eyed when Dad nudged me with his elbow. He didn’t need to, though. I could hear the dog baying and it pulled me awake.
Dad brought the rifle from between us, came up on his elbows with the butt against his shoulder and the muzzle pointed out the window. My little sister’s dog came around the corner of the house into the back yard.
I don’t remember the dog’s name. Well, it wasn’t a dog, it was a bitch, in every sense of the word. Half red-bone hound, half blue-tick hound, with the red-bone showing more in the copper coat. Her brother had been my dog, but he caught a mange we were too poor to get rid of, so we put him down in the field behind the house.
The bitch was an escape artist. She spent nights tied up and in a chain-link pen, but when she decided it was time to leave, she left. Often as not in the morning we would find her chain draped over the fence, collar empty. Normally on those days the neighbors across the road would call my mom to tell her the bitch had crawled underneath their trailer at two o’clock that morning and begun to bay.
This was one of those mornings.
The bitch slowed to a trot in the back yard. She was a sleek, muscular creature. She stopped and stood a moment, head up. Dad exhaled, half a breath, and squeezed the trigger. The bitch leapt into the air as a gout of blood plumed from her throat. She went straight up and it seemed impossible she could jump so high dead. She twisted in the air and landed on her back. She didn’t make a sound, of course, with no throat. All the baying was done. She kicked a couple times, and then she stopped and all she did for a few moments was make a wide, red pool in the grass.
I need to trim it down like 65 words, but I wrote this last night.
The Wafflehouse Blues
The cups of coffee warmed my insides as I watched the snow fall outside.
“Is it just going to be you tonight?” The waitress asked.
“I hope not, but I doubt she shows.” I told her.
The lady gave a sigh of acknowledgement. I must have had a transparent broken heart. She messed up my hair with her hand. Something I would have usually found intrusive, but the gesture reminded me more of a kind act from a mother. I shrugged it off and as she refilled my coffee.
I have a habit of playing the same song every time I come in here, but it seemed too early to admit defeat this early into the evening. I tapped my fingers to the tune of my jittery heartbeat while watching time tick away on the clock above me.
It was about time for a bar rush, but I was always one for awkward tacky meeting places. The surrounding booths filled up around me as I kept drinking my coffee, leaving only the bar for other people to be seated in.
A fancy corvette with a couple rich kids in it swerved into the parking lot, obviously uncaring that everybody could tell they had been drinking. I watched the imbeciles slam their doors shut and stumble in through the door. They looked around the places as if they expected someone to give up their booth.
“I can get you guys over here at the bar.” The waitress said.
The leader of the over-compensated duo gave a smug look at her, and then turned his attention toward me.
“Can we have this booth?” He asked me.
“I’m expecting somebody.” I told him.
“Sure you are.” He responded.
The waitress sensed trouble and sat silverware down at the bar, calling them over.
Another hour passed, every minute filled with dirty looks from these pricks. I just sat there drinking cup after cup of coffee as I listened to these guys make fun of the employees as they prepared their food. I got up to stretch my legs and pulled a quarter from my pocket.
“I guess this is it.” I thought to myself as I made my selection on the jukebox. I sat back down as the intro began. I grabbed a pen from my bag and scribbled a note on a napkin, while smirking at the rich kid’s glare from across the room. Then the music began:
“So, so you think you can tell Heaven from Hell?”
I got up with my bag over my shoulder with my ticket to pay at the register as the boys quickly moved into my booth.
“Did you exchange a walk on part in the war for a lead role in a cage?”
“Have a good night.” The waitress said.
“Yeah, enjoy your walk in snow poor fuck.” The kid added.
“Oh how I wish, how I wish you were here.”
I walked outside, and then pulled my .357 from the inside of my bag. I slammed the butt of it against the passenger side window of the corvette, shattering it. I threw the napkin into the car as I turned to look in at the look on the rich kids’ faces. Then I crouched down with my head level to the window and splattered my brains throughout the car’s interior.
The napkin read: “Welcome to the real world, mother fucker.”
@Dakota: You tease. I really like the sound of that. I need more.
@Utah: Nice work. Didn't see that one coming. As always, nice sense of setting.
@Laurance: Love Pink Floyd. Didn't expect that ending either. Whoa. Yeah, that would be one hell of a wake up call, seeing a suicide that you may have been partially responsible for.
Thanks for the reads guys.
Everything is dark as night at three in the afternoon; the whole world is melting into the ground. It seems selfish, but all I can think is: I’ll never fuck Marilyn Monroe. Somewhere, a mushroom cloud kisses the sky. Arms open, I wait, naked and breathless. I’ll never fuck her.
Well, she is dead already anyway. Not much left to fuck, but maybe you're into that sort of thing.
She won't say no.
Some Like it Cold
circa 500 for a class tomorrow afternoon. i'll probably revisit this, and make it a full story... but the assignment was to do flash, more or less.
How to get Free Beer
Under the sodium vapor lights, her eyes resonate the way old photos do. In a way that makes them look like a memory, that burns them into a memory. Her eyes. Her hair. Even her fingernails, the color chosen just for tonight to match the car. Her dad's baby. The thing she says he loves more than her mother.
That smile. When she tells me everything will be alright. It's just beer, anyway. Beer expires. They throw a lot away, mini-marts do, she says this shoving her sodium vapor and brown hair back from her face. She says that sometimes the brewery buys it back, but other times it just goes all skunky in the cans and gets poured out for the rats.
In the doorway, behind me, she says it again: Rats.
The beer cooler, this place still has the walk-in kind, is in the back, by the bathroom, under the 'no merchandise beyond this point' sign. It all sits angled in such a way that looking down the hall feels like voyeurism.
In the cooler, stuffing my jacket with the cheapest, most likely to be rat-beer, cans with blue ribbons on them, shoving cans down my sweats, and shoving sweats into my socks. The idea is to do this fast, the way people cannonball into the pool on that first warm day in May. Do it before your body can react, before your muscles tense, before the cold travels up your spine, through your capillaries and arteries and nerve endings to make your teeth chatter.
Clothes full of throw-away beer, and I'm walking like Boris Karloff in green-gray makeup. Eyes darting around looking for something to buy.
Rule numero uno: When stealing a case and a half of beer from a guy with a shotgun, never leave empty handed.
Dorritos. Cheetos. Fritos. The whole damn Ito family. Buy them all. Pile them on top of the aluminum belly. Look stupid, move slow, anything so the clerk never hears a slosh, or the sound of the cans coming together with a missed step. Pay for the Ito family to go on vacation. Leave the change in the take-a-penny dish.
Outside, under the cold yellow vapor light, she smiles like a maniac. Works every time. She pushes her hair back, holding it there with her fingernails. They match her toenails, red and alien in the fake light of the moment. Just like the car. Sorry, again. She points a red nail at the car. The top. She says the soft-top is stuck in the trunk, bent, or something. She says not to fuck with it, because he would know somehow. That line from 1984, that thing about putting a hair over something just right? He does that. She smiles a little, and says they have the same color hair.
The sky is clear, cold. I tell her it's alright. It won't rain, and anyways I know how to turn back an odometer.
She says I can drive again, when we fill up.
We drive around the corner, and fill the backseat with the saved from the rats beer. She pops one, downs it like it has a hole in the bottom of the can, fries the tires into a thick blue cloud of rubber fumes.
Slow down. I tell her this as she tosses the can at the sidewalk, and burps the way a fat guy burps. She laughs, and we pass under a red light, and then another. The road is empty. Not just empty, but dead,
The rear-view, the black leather interior turn the red and blue of mini-mart ice drinks, and Amy is still laughing when she says: Everything will be alright.
@Nighty: I would fuck Norma Jean's mummy for god's sake. She was just that sexy. And your avatar fits the story perfectly.
@Chuck: Nice buddy. That is for the short story class? Cool. Stale beer and the Ito family. Amy is crazy.
@chet, yeah im in a short fiction class taught by craig lesley. im into it, so far.
Watching the colour seep from the bag and turn the water into a boiled black mess, I think about the days when I didn't need a pill to wake up. A pill to sleep. A pill to remember, or to forget. My hand shakes as I lift the cup to my lips, spilling hot tea down the front of my shirt. I let the pill for the shaking dissolve under my tongue, drop my shirt in the bathtub to deal with later, and wish I could remember where I kept the burn cream.
You mean burn pill, surely? Great micro-story.
Every time I sleep, I dream of fire.
I can't help it. There is just something about the way the flame moves that is simultaneously erotic and dangerous. I used to burn myself on the arms with a cigarette lighter until my mother threw me out of the house, now that I live alone, I can play with fire all I want. Sometimes I will dig a hole in the backyard and sit there for hours watching things burn. Bits of wood, papers, stuffed animals, plastic, books, kitchen utensils, garbage, a dead squirrel once, everything burns in a different way. It has a unique smell and the flame licks it in a different way. Then there are the colors, the strange burns, the chemical components that make the flames turn blue and red and green. Inside those flames, you can see people if you look hard enough. Bits and pieces of tiny little people from other dimensions or who existed before. Maybe even visions of a past life.
I once dated this girl who had half of her body burned including her face. She wore a veil and walked around in shame, afraid to look anyone in the eye. On our first date, I made her take off the veil and look me right in the eyes and I told her how beautiful she was. She couldn't see the artistic patterns in which the flames had licked her face. She didn't realize how she was a walking canvas now, an ode to the power of the elements. Her father had lit her on fire when she was seven, he was a raging alcoholic and didn't want to be a father anymore. He had just shot her mother in the head and he lit his kids on fire. Her brother was engulfed in flames but she escaped with half her body covered in third degree burns. I listened to her tell me how she spent months in the hospital, going through the unbearable pain, the endless skin grafts. The way the doctors tried to cover up the art of the flame. I often had an erection when she spoke of these things.
I liked to touch her burn marks when we made love. It got me off more than anything. I could memorize each scar, every indent of skin and the way it deformed and grew back. Then I made a mistake, I told her how much I loved fire. My one true love. I told her about my past, burning the shack when I was a kid, torching the house of my foster parents when I was twelve and the animals that I burned while they were still alive. I told her about the cavemen and ancient societys and how the fire was the only thing that connected us to the past, the present and the future. It was the eternal driving force and the strongest of the elements. She said that I was using her as a fetish, some kind of cheap thrill. I tried to explain to her that she was only an embodiment of the flame's grace. She left me, calling me a sick freak and I never saw her again.
Several years have passed and I am still alone. Working at the junkyard but it gives me time alone with my one true love as I shovel garbage into the large ovens that burn waste. It is the perfect job for a firebug like me but lately it's not enough. That familiar urge is calling to me. It's all I can think about, I can feel it pounding in my blood.
Yesterday, I lit my neighbor's house on fire. You should have heard the screams, they were beautiful. Today I burned my arm and watched the scabs form but I keep peeling them off so I can admire the burns then put antiseptic cream on them to protect them. I keep thinking about the smell when I burned the neighbor's house down. The way human flesh smells like pig fat on a griddle. There is a hunger growing in me. New neighbors have moved in across the street, they have such a beautiful little daughter. I wonder how she would smell on fire.
Alien, your story is really unsettling. I think my childhood fear of fire is back. Thanks...
It's my first day on litreactor...I might as well jump in with both feet.
“Today is the first day of the best of your life.”
Sandra would repeat this new mantra out loud every time she met her own eyes in one of the many mirrors in her thimble-sized apartment. These were the eyes of a risk-taker, the eyes of a free spirit. These were the eyes of the woman Sandra truly wanted to be. Today, she would quit her sorry excuse for a job and all the phony security she felt it brought. She would fall in love on the way home, move to Northern France next week and live the rest of her life as high as a kite, eating fiddlehead ferns and caviar and all that. At least this is how she pictured it. 36 years old and she would find a silver lining.
After packing up her paisley pull-out couch, which served as her bed, her kitchen table, and her office, she began crafting the “New Sandra” breakfast special. Egg whites that weren’t from a carton and toast slathered with butter, real, rich, salty butter. As she was enjoying her breakfast, she gazed into the eyes reflected in her chrome yard-sale toaster and repeated her new mantra again: “Today is the first day of the best of your life.”
The sequence of events that led her to this epiphany of sorts is neither sad, nor alarming. It was merely a shipping error made by some large online bookseller. Sandra came home one day and saw that a package was left in what would normally be a hollow mailbox. It wasn’t her name on the mailing label, but it was her address and so she decided to open it. The book was called Today is the First Day of the Best of Your Life. While the author looked like a homely nun, with pasty white skin suffering from an excess of psoriasis that even airbrushing couldn’t mask, there was a giant sticker with an endorsement from one of those talking personalities on TV. Sandra didn’t follow this particular sloped-foreheaded icon with enough pins in her hairdo to survive a typhoon, but she seemed happy. As happy as Sandra hoped to be. She read the book in one sitting.
After her first real breakfast feast, Sandra threw on her coat and with resignation letter in hand, forged out into the world. Not a block from her apartment she spied a beige butterfly. She was so entranced by the unpredictable movements and the freedom this creature had, rising and spiraling through the air. She paused and for a moment, she let out her first very real tear of joy.
It’s not so much a shame that this new symbol of hope and promise was nothing but a common hawk moth, it’s that Sandra didn’t even hear the siren of the speeding fire truck when she took that next big smiling skip off the curb.
@Meat Seeker: I second Rennie's comment. Nice microcosm. Pills, who woulda thunk it?
@D.G.: Dude, that is one hot story.
@Mike: I am glad you did jump in because that was a great story. You covered a lot of ground there. At least she died happy. That last part is like a flashback from a movie I saw last night called One Day.
Thank you all for the reads.
Okay, this is totally over the word limit but I had to share. I have wanted to write a story about pica for so long.
Whenever I am nervous, I swallow things, it has always been a habit of mine.
Ever since I was a little girl when my parents fought, I would get anxious and feel the urge to stick something down my throat and I would just grab whatever was in plain sight. If it was a stray cheerio on the floor, a screw, a thumbtack, a dead bug, anything. Down the gullet it would go. I thought this was normal until I turned thirteen and I was at my first slumber party and I saw a piece of old food under the couch. It could have been a chunk of cake or a cookie or hell, even an old piece of meatloaf for all I knew. I just popped it into my mouth. The other girls squealed and stared at me. The girl who was hosting the party called my mother and I was taken home in a hurry. No one wanted to be around the weird girl who eats things off the floor.
At school they called me “Garbage Girl” because they said I was a human garbage disposal that would eat anything and they were right. The meaner they were to me, the more I ate random things. In class, I ate pieces of eraser. I started carrying pieces of chalk in my pocket and nibbling on them between classes. In the corner of my bedroom, a piece of the wall was falling out and I stored the drywall in a sandwich baggie and carried it around with me like a secret snack. I love the sound the crunch makes on my teeth when I chew it. I also love the smell of gasoline, I could sniff it for hours. Glue, white out or permanent markers of any kind, the whip cream cans or the bottled air you spray your computer with to get rid of the dust. But mostly I just liked to eat things that weren’t meant to be eaten.
When I was sixteen and my parents announced their divorce, I ate a piece of plywood. The first time I lost my virginity and then the guy broke up with me the next day, I broke a bottle and ate pieces of glass. That was the first time I actually had to get surgery for my habit. It came out into the open then and they sent me to therapy.
“You have a condition,” the doctor said, “It’s called pica. It’s when people eat things that aren’t meant to be edible. Usually it’s for an underlining psychological reason. Natalie, what feelings are you holding back? How do you feel?”
I smiled and told him I was fine. I told him I just liked the way things felt on my tongue and under my teeth as I crunched them. I had no idea it was that bad. He said that I could cut up my intestines or cause a blockage where I wouldn’t be able to go to the bathroom, I would have an impacted bowel and could die.
I nodded and said I understood.
They put me on medication and years passed without incident.
I went to college, met a guy, got pregnant and became a stay at home Mom. When I was six months pregnant, I felt fat and gross. I overate compulsively but I didn’t eat anything that was non-edible.
By the time my daughter arrived I had gained an excess sixty pounds and my husband could barely look at me naked. He would turn away whenever I undressed in front of him. He liked my bigger breasts but when he looked down at my belly and thighs, he would make a disgusted face. Often I would cry myself to sleep and go into the garage where I noticed a piece of plaster falling out of the wall. Pieces of white powder crumbled and fire ants crawled around them. I started stuffing the pieces of white plaster into my mouth, even the pieces covered with ants. Before I knew it, I was back to eating chalk again, then bits of eraser, plastic zip-ties and matches. I had a box of toothpicks in the car which I chewed like bubblegum. I could go through a box a day. It was right around this time I suspected that my husband was cheating on me. I started eating soap, toilet paper, those bath beads with the Epsom salts inside. The bitterness floods my taste buds. It would change almost every week.
When I found the hotel receipts of their encounters, I ate a whole box of dryer sheets and then bandages.
My bowel movements became erratic and I was constantly constipated. I had laxatives always on hand.
Finally one day I confronted my husband and told him I knew about the cheating.
“Yeah, and?” he said, staring at me as if I was the stupidest bitch in the world.
“I said I know,” I repeated, expecting guilt.
Instead I got a smug smile in return, “Babe, I told you when I met you, I don’t like fat chicks. You gained a lot of weight and unless you do something about it, I’m not going to touch you. I don’t want to have to lift up your belly to fuck you. If you make the effort I will end the relationship, until then…”
He trailed off.
I stared at him, tears welling up in my eyes.
He laughed at me and went out to meet his mystery woman at the motel.
Suddenly I went to the bathroom and began to vomit, it was as if everything I had eaten for weeks came up, pieces of dryer sheet, toothpicks, the toilet paper bundles like hairballs, wet chalk bile, eraser bits half digested in stomach acids and even a rubberband.
I sobbed and vomited and then sobbed again.
Once I regained my composure, a strange sort of calm fell over me.
I went to the kitchen and smashed a bottle on the countertop. I gathered the glass in a small sandwich baggie and then smashed the pieces even smaller into tiny little shards that could be easily swallowed. Then I went into the nursery and checked on the baby, she was still sleeping. Ted loved that little girl. I stood over the crib staring at her for at least a full half hour before I woke her. I lifted her up in my arms and asked her if she was hungry, then I opened up the sandwich baggie.
A NEW excerpt from "Grandmother," a short story I submitted the Psychosis Anthology.
Haven't finished editing anything (reviews welcome - wink wink, nudge nudge), nor have I followed any of the rules laid out in the flashy-flash guideline and therefore welcome disqualification. So there.
+ + + + + + +
“Oh, won’t this be lovely spring dress!” Grandmother sang as she laid out my favorite green dress on the bed. I was pleased with her choice and felt a bit more relaxed.
While she busied herself in the closet, I crept into the shared bathroom and quietly closed the door until only a tiny sliver of the hall remained. Grandmother did not allow closed doors without her approval. The warm bathwater was running; she would be finished selecting my church clothes shortly, so I had to be quick. I pulled up my nightgown and sat down the cold plastic seat, whispering a prayer for a miracle.
Then my stomach cramped and I felt the lump in my colon, begging for exit. I had been holding it in for three days, and it had become a large, dark rock wedged inside of me. One hand gripped the side of the seat and the other grasped the porcelain toilet roll anchored to the wall as I strained to release the lump. I clenched my jaw, held my breath and pushed until my face was purple as what felt like a Picasso painting moved through my bowels. Two sad, heavy pellets plopped into the bowl. I turned around, peered into the water and winced. This would surely displease her.
“Dear, where are you? It’s time for your bath,” Grandmother called.
“Just a minute!” I panicked, and quickly reached for the roll, counting the sheets out of sheer habit. I hurried to wipe myself as Grandmother had taught me, front-to-back, before inspecting the paper. A mixture of brown mud and fresh blood stared up at me: I had torn myself again. I panicked and dropped the soiled paper in the bowl as I watched the pellets and rest of the evidence disappear in the whoosh of water.
The door swung open as Grandmother barged in, her pupils wide. “Why did you flush the toilet?”
“Uh, it was just pee,” I lied.
“When was your last bowel movement?” she interrogated.
“Um, I don’t remember – yesterday, I think? Yes, yesterday – remember? When you were at the store – I didn’t want to leave it in there too long – ”
“Don’t fib to me, you wicked little girl!” Her eyes became slits and her jaw quivered with anger.
I backed against the wall, bracing myself for the dreaded impact. She rushed over, grabbed me, stripped me down naked, and forced me into the bath to await her further instruction on how to cleanse myself.
Grandmother was naked, too; her large, pendulous breasts swinging down to her navel as she shrieked with anger and whipped me with the shower hose. She reached for the steel knob, twisted the spicket to cold and sprayed me down with the freezing water as she screeched, “You have the devil in you!”
I flailed around in the bathwater, crying as she dug her nails into my arms and shook me. The soap was bitter tasting and burned my eyes as she scraped the bar over my open mouth and face before I could retract.
All of a sudden, she released her grip and withdrew herself to a corner. The water continued running but the room fell still. Her gaze was blank as she panted melodramatically, feigning fatigue from the concerted effort it took to beat me. The peace was just as abruptly broken as she began sobbing and hitting herself in a maniacal method of self-loathing, repeatedly bleating “Damn my soul! Damn my soul to HELL!”
“Grandmother, NO! Stop it! Please! You don’t have to do this!” I couldn’t help but pity her and begged her to stop hurting herself. I loved her and she cared about me. I needed her and she needed me. She was my Grandmother.
Here's my shot at a bit of flash. First draft was ~850 words, had to battle to cut it down to right on 500, and I am still revising. Plus it features a grandmother, so it should nestle in nicely under Sarah's story.
Grandpa's funeral was black and smelled like perfume and dirt. Mum's wedding ring dug into my fingers whenever she squeezed my hand.
"Grandma is all alone now, John", she whispered.
Perhaps she thought I was too young to understand, that I didn't look suitably upset. Grandma wasn't crying, even when they lowered the coffin down, so I didn't see why I should.
I overhear a lot of things, like how Grandpa died. Attacked by teenagers with a knife while pruning his rosebushes in the front garden. Bled to death in Grandma's arms. Earlier in the car, Mum and Aunty Susan had been talking about Grandma, how she'd been a wild child before meeting Grandpa. A smoker and a feminist, but he'd been her rock and had settled her down. They whispered about some ladies Grandma must have known, Mary Juana and Miss De Mina, and I was looking at a faded old photo of Grandma and Grandpa from when they first met - his army greens and her yellow dress and flowers in her brown hair. Her eyes were so blue then, the colour of a summer sky.
I threw one of Grandpa's roses into the grave and gave Grandma a hug. White and grey hair, black dress, her eyes misty and pale. Nothing like the photo. She smelled like cigarettes.
Everyone was squeezed in at Grandma's little house for the wake, hands cupped under scones. I overheard people say how 'drained' and 'frail' she looked. Grandma just sipped tea at the table and only spoke to accept their condolences, and once to tell Aunty Susan to clear away the old photos and 'all that wedding clutter' which had been set out. I asked Grandma if she had a photo of Miss De Mina, but Mum growled at me. Grandma didn't seem to hear.
When they'd all left it was just me and my baby sister Lisa and Grandma in the sitting room with the ticking clock. Mum had ducked into the kitchen for some afternoon tea. Grandma was holding Lisa on her lap, smiling and talking freely for the first time all day, which Mum liked.
"Don't you worry darling," Grandma whispered. They were nuzzling noses and Grandma was saying something in such a quiet voice that I barely caught it, but my face started tingling. I realised what she'd said was, "I don't need to stab any more men."
I felt hot and cold at the same time and I realised my mouth was open, but I couldn't do anything about it except blink a few times. I counted two ticks of the clock. I am not sure if she even realised I was there. Mum returned with a cutting board and some cake, and Grandma glanced over for a second.
"Not that knife dear. Get my sharp knife from the top drawer." Mum nodded and hurried back out of the room.
"Much easier with a sharp knife," she said, smiling.
She was looking right at me when she said it. Her eyes were the colour of a summer sky.
One more hit and I would have seen God. My body was jelly, beaten down with invisisble billy clubs. Exhaustion. Dehydration. My brain fried and shrivled like a raising trying to suck up the last bit of moisture from my body. A bit of morning dew hits my lips and I curse the sun. I can't look up from the ground, the world is too beatiful. A new day is upon me. I can do anything.
Babe, There's Arsenic In My Coffee (497 Words)
Today is our second anniversary. We've gone through our rough patches, but through determination and communication we have overcome.
I watch her changing clothes, she looks stunning.
Downstairs Jenny brews coffee, while I make crepes. We sit at the breakfast nook and she hands me a mug. She smiles and tells me to hurry and drink. Before I drink I notice a floating pellet. Had I not looked closely I would have drank it. I say:
“Babe, I think one of the rat pills got in my coffee. It's a good thing I spotted it.”
I reach into the mug and flick it near. She drops her own mug and shrieks. The mug falls and shatters.
“I didn't mean to scare you. Here let me-” I say.
“No! I'll do it!” She says.
“Darling, don't be like that.”
“I didn't expect it to work anyway.”
“For what to work?”
“Nothing, I didn't mean anything. I'm just nervous.”
“Oh, don't be! We'll have a great day.”
I hear her cell phone go off. She picks it up.
“Yes, this is she. He's wearing a white shirt with blue stripes on it. “
She hangs up.
“Who was that?” I say.
“Barbara asking what we're doing.”
I kiss her good-bye. She tells me where we're supposed to meet. I tell her I love her and head out As I walk I start thinking of all the classes she's been taking. She's taken a knife throwing class, a chemistry class, and then an engineering class.
Yesterday she accidentally dropped our radio in the tub. Luckily I had exited right before she dropped it in.
On my way I noticed that I didn't like what I was wearing. Further up is a small suit outlet. While inside trying on clothes I hear something going on.
“Have you seen a guy wearing a white shirt with blue stripes!”
“No, I'm sorry sir I haven't.” says an employee.”
“Sir, if you don't leave I''ll call security.”
After I'm done I go up to the cashier. The employee says:
“You should choose your friends wisely.”
Not knowing what he meant I smile. He frowns and rings me up.
As I draw near the address of the building I find the opening. The walk upstairs is tiring. Outside I hear some commotion. A huge explosion erupts. The shock forces me to fall. I orient myself and run downstairs.
On the street I spot Jenny in a crowd of people. I go up from behind her and hear her say:
“Oh, Zach, how long I've tried!”
I place my hand on her.
“What have you tried?”
Her skin becomes prickly. She falls to the floor crying. Her shrieks catch the attention of the people and I say:
“She's just happy I went to the wrong address.”
as yet untitled (500'ish words)
Ten years had not been kind to any one of them. There were the Losers, and the Preppy Bastards, and the Cheer-Leading Lesbian Skanks. All of them, time had bent over in the most predictable and vindictive of ways. There are the traditional fatties, and the bald ones, and the trailer trash cheerleader with the Pabst swilling former football star, the one still living out the glory of the State game he lost by stepping his baby toe out of bounds. Then there is the missing limbs, fingers, toes; the spinal cord injuries and canes.
What was sad about the whole thing, and the statistics of obesity, baldness and diabetes, was that there could not have been more than fifty people there.
Parker stood behind the ham and pickle rolls, eyes bounced between the cheese platters, and the finger sandwiches, unsure which one was going to draw the flies first. Hands groped and slid across the plates and platters, and he walked over to the end of the table and poured himself some warm Coke.
The warm fizz was still in his throat when she put her hands over his eyes.
He turned, trying to swallow all the brown foam and not burp in her face. Kate Sullivan, the only person at the whole party that time was kind to. Her eyes were bright and wet. “How was graduation?” she asked.
“Not bad. Probably what you'd expect. You know? Not too unlike the one you had in Tacoma. Right?” Parker burped into the palm of his hand,
“How about your foot? Ever get back to football?” Kate pointed down at his shoes.
“No. Feet aren't as resilient as medical dramas want you to think. That, and quarterbacking with a couple missing toes means more bad passes and accidental taking of knees than you might think.”
Both of them took seats around a folding card table, in some cheap plastic patio furniture. Their hands wrapped together, like two halves of the magnet from a science kit, where one half had been lost for years.
“You think Old-Lady-Matheson will be here?” She asked taking a gulp from his warm Coke, and trying not to burp.
“Not unless they dig her up.” He took the can back. “Cardiac a couple years ago. Turns out more than her outside looked like an angry marshmallow.”
They both laughed.
“She is survived by her cats, and hundreds of people she failed in algebra...” Kate said.
“Did anyone tell you? That hippie art teacher went to jail for hot-boxing the supply closet....”
“No way,” she said, and then added “not surprised though.”
”With some of the freshman dance team. Like the kind of jail time you don't get your job back after.”
“Hilarious. This place gets better and better.” she said.
When they got up to leave, the party died quick, they walked to his car. “We should get some dinner,” Parker said. “I didn't eat a bite of that food-poisoning-platter back there.”
“I'm married now, you know?”
She slipped his class ring into his pocket, turned and walked away.
“Yeah, thanks.” he said to her back.