4-19-12     The prompt:     Hard room, soft colors. Soft squishy bodies. Berber carpet, nubbly.  Describe textures.

30-minute writing, fiction

He was a hard man in a soft town.  Why the hell did he get off that bus?  There’s nothing here for him, but everyone needs to be someplace.  The lady in front of him had stepped down just a bit too slow, and he pushed past her, in a rush to get away from the crowd behind him.  He stumbled onto the Common, and breathed in the soft air.  Slumped to the ground.  After three hours of a corduroy seat on a bus that still smelled of cigars and cigarettes decades after the ban,   the grass caressed and cooled him.  Earth beneath his fingers, cool and damp.

He looked around, trying to maintain situational awareness.  Students sunning themselves and smoking.  The smell wafting over him.  He stood and moved upwind, finding a tree for shade.  The sun was becoming brutal, drying and shrinking his skin.  Shade helped.  Another scan of the area, noting the placement of paths, cars sliding by, a police car sitting parked, the cop goldbricking.  No worries there.

He shifted again, the leather of the holster digging into his back.  He had to move, before people started to wonder why he was wearing a jacket on such a warm day.  Time to drift through the town, get familiar with it, and locate another target.

Donovan had slipped out of the last town a full day before the body was found.  It was a lot more run-down than this place.  An old mill town, sliding down into depression and grayness as only lost hope can produce.  Cinders in the streets, a sluggish river pulling dead branches through and away.   The target was tough, but not hard.  You need life to be hard.  All of the life had been sucked out of those folks years ago.  He had probably done the old guy a favor.

This new place had life.  Maybe he could find a bit of a challenge if he could just be patient for a while.  Maybe find the library.  They are usually air conditioned, so no one would care about the jacket.  And the people are so focused on their books that they find it easy to ignore you.  He could pick one lucky soul and live a bit of their life parallel to them, then follow them outside.  Maybe her.

From Here to There, Eventually

4-12-12    The prompt:     Trivia: The average number of people airborne over the US at any given hour:  61,000

30-minute writing, fiction


61,000 made it to heaven before me.  Damn them.   Is that what frequent flyer miles are good for?  To get to see St. Peter before the earth-bound rabble?  I’m trying to be patient; God knows I try.  So why doesn’t he let me skip the queue and sit right down next to him and Jesus?  I don’t even know Saint Peter.  What would I say to him?  61,000 in the grand scheme of things may not sound like much.  Here at the time of the Rapture, I believe the population of the world stood at 6 billion.  So that’s like .00001 % of all of us get a golden ticket. And those lucky sods decided to go see Grandma on holiday at just that minute.

Wait.  That’s over the US.  What about all of the people in planes all over the world?  But that doesn’t matter.  If you’re a true-blue American, you know that heaven is hovering right above Kansas at all times.  It couldn’t be over Azerbaijan!  The heathens.  They can stay at the end of the line.  Wait again!  They have their own line!  There’s no way that they would get into the same heaven as me.  If they all get 72 virgins and all I get are a robe and a harp, that’s not fair.  There must be another heaven for Azerbaijanis.  And Russians.  They have Easter at a different time!  I’ll bet there were some Russians and Azerbaijanis in amongst those 61,000 lucky ones.  I hope their heaven is all the way over on the other side of the planet.  They’ll be last in line! And suddenly my line isn’t so long after all.  Maybe it’s only 55,000.

The bastards.

I’ll just get a peek at the fella ahead of me.  “Oops, sorry, ma’am.   If I may, could you tell me where you were when all of this fuss started?  Des Moines?  I suppose that makes sense.  You’re closer to Kansas than West Virginia is.  I just figured that I’d be around folks from my jobsite, you know.  Like we’d all stick together.  I guess some of them weren’t as good as me, and got held up a bit.  I guess sending Dan out for the beer might have delayed his arrival in heaven a bit.  Unless Saint Peter is a drinking man.  I’d hate to think that Dan could get in a bit before me.  What if I get up there and he’s sitting at Saint Peter’s right hand, sharing my beer?  Does that have the same import as God’s right hand?  But that’s reserved for Jesus anyway.”

It sure would be nice if there were a billion Saint Peters.  Then all the frequent flier bastards would zip right through and not hold it up for us decent folk.

Is the line moving?

Homeward Bound

4-5-12   The prompt:     There are four points of the compass   A fifth point is possible in some Asian cultures.

30-minute writing, fiction


I headed north from Chelsea, knowing the destination.  All of my fears followed me.  Some even led.  Funny that it seemed like time slowed.  The footsteps got smaller. The noise of the traffic faded a bit.  I felt yanked along, with Ma shouting in my ear to “Keep up!”  That’s what it’s like with the homecomings.

I circled the block, heading east past the mafia restaurant over to Sixth Avenue, then down again, south to 18th, west to Seventh.  I had to go in sometime, but remained reluctant.  I was tempted to go back and dive down into the subway, but knew there was going to be no easy way out.  Maybe just once more around the block.

I surrendered, and went up the stoop, let myself in and climbed the 54 steps to the third floor.  Knocked, stepped back a bit when the door flew open and nieces and nephews flew out to greet their favorite Uncle.  From the kitchen, I heard Kathy yell out  “Ma, he’s here!”

Dragging the hoard with me, I stepped back into my mother’s heart.