Saturday, July 16, 2016

Revenge of the Family Idiot - part 1 (Horrible Marriages Collection)

        There were Stacy, Tracy, Lacey, Casey and Lola, in that order, from first to last. Lola because Lou, the father of the five girls, had prayed this was the last one, and as such, wanted to have a say in naming the closer. He loved the catchy tune on the radio, never realizing what it was about, or who the Lola in the song had been.
        Stacy senior, Lou’s wife and mother of five girls, was too tired to argue. Lola it was.
        It was Lola who started the trouble. Stacy, Tracey and Lacey had already been married to various local men for a number of years and Casey was dating Luke, a plumber from two towns over, when Lola introduced Grant to the family.
        “Oh, he's a handsome one! You’re a handsome one!” Stacy senior passed the looks and the smirks like a card dealer passes bad hands around a card  table.
        “Mom, stop it, your embarrassing him,” said Lola, quietly.
        “Oh no, that's ok,” said Grant, scanning the dining table and the family of young women. “I'm flattered.”
        “Casey,” scolded Lacey, “stop staring like that! Jesus, your not twelve! And anyhow, how's Luke? He still your boyfriend?”
        Casey rolled her eyes and licked her fork and looked at Lola and then looked at Grant long enough to make anyone who was watching uncomfortable.
        It took Grant one week to find his way into Casey’s bed. It took him an extra week to convince Lacey that sex was meaningless and married or not just didn't matter.
        “Bowling, shopping, sex, really – if you look at it - what's the difference?”
It didn't have to make sense. Lacey had long been jealous of Lola for being so different, so young, so unbound and so damned nice.
        Grant and Lacey didn't even speak. They didn't even really enjoy it. Her husband left the house, Grant came in, they undressed, got busy and then got dressed again and he left. Not a single word. By the time Grant left, Lacey was pregnant.
 End of part 1

Thursday, July 14, 2016

The Hit (Horrible Marriages Collection)

        “It's not that I never liked him – I liked  him enough -  if it mattered anyhow, which it doesn't,” she hissed.
        “I want him dead. I want it to hurt. I want him dead and then bring him back so you can kill him again, right away, right now…”
The hit-man squinted. “That's twice the cash, even if I could… I'm no expert, but even if I could, it ain't right...”
She smiled and the words sliced through clenched teeth, “You have no problem killing him once but..,” she said and shook her head.
        Stupidity. Killers. Assholes. Dropouts – they make it look like something in the movies.  A hit man is a losers loser: Bad breath, bad manners, dirty, filthy, stupid third-grade dropouts.
“Listen to me! Every week goes by I have to pay that schmuck to live, to breath, to exist in this world just to bust my ass and remind me of what a god damned fool I was in the very first god-damned place. Every check, every dollar in every check - every single cent in every dollar makes universes of hatred explode in my head! No more! Can you kill him with a pretzel? That would hurt! Do it!  No! Wait! I have a crow bar in the trunk – drive over there now,” she exhaled, spun sideways, took one deep breath and continued.
“If he calls me again, if he texts me again, if he sends me one more email about how I have to pay for one more god damned piece of dental work or asshole-doctor bill or lawyers bill – His lawyer is psychopath!! How can it happen? A lying, cheating, monster who should never have been allowed to survive birth!  - I'll pay you triple to kill his attorney! If you kill them together – make them watch each other die - I'll give you six million dollars….” The blood had flushed out and up darkening her face, a web of hate in veins emerged across her forehead.
The hit-man licked his lips. It was adding up.
“Lady, if I kill them both, together…” He smiled and she saw the missing teeth in the back, “And I do’em twice! How much is that?”
She was losing her grasp. “A hundred and sixty-six million! You could get new teeth! I have the cash in the trunk next to the crow bar! Believe it! One more threatening letter about how I'm a day late with the payment! Mother of God, he hasn't worked in eleven years and for that I have to pay? Because he can't pay for himself? What in Gods miserable plan is that?”
“Sounds fishy to me…” said the hit man, uncomfortably.
“I'm a woman!! It's supposed to be the other way around! I'm suppose to screw him silly! Not the other way around! Even the judge said it wasn't right – but the law is the law, is the law - and he wants to be a stay at home dad and I agree and now I have to pay for that? It's not even his kid! Did you know that! Because he's a good for nothing, mooching, low-life son of a bitch who tricked me, stole from me, lied and lied and cheated me and broke the law and lied again and used me and…”       She burst into tears.
“You’re a mess, lady.”
She wiped a line of tears from her face with a quick swipe.
“I'm a mess? Me? I'm a mess?” She stood and knocked the chair back and over. It bounced a few times on the tiled floor. The folks in the diner all turned their heads.
  “He  smiles at me in court! Did you know that? The same pretend smile he used when we were dating! Norwegian fisherman - my ass! The same pretend smile he used for the shrink when we were in therapy. The same smile he used to talk me and everyone else and himself into thinking he wasn't anything but human! HE’S NOT HUMAN!”
The words roared out of her mouth. She leaned back and the echo of the words blended into the words themselves and caused a horrible sound -  all of eternity - the sound of the pain and destruction of hope and peace and the collision of stars and…
        She fell backward, and collapsed across the overturned chair.
        The hit-man leaned over the table and watched the starburst blossoms of pink and red and blue grow beneath the thin flesh of the woman's forehead. She was dead. He stood, rolled a toothpick into his stupid mouth and grabbed the keys to her car from the table.
        “Yep,” he thought, “that's a hundred and sixty something million for me – and nothing for you!

The end.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Sweet Little Things - Part 2 (Horrible Marriages Collection)

Part 2

        I braced myself for the attack. It was a ritual.
       “King of the mountain! King of the mountain!”
  I am the mountain. No one ever won that contest. The mountain tumbled every time.
        They'd gotten as far as they could before I scooped them up and rolled them, elbows over giggles onto the soft, Persian  rug.
        “Your getting slow, Lurch!” Squealed Simone.
        “You're getting heavy!” I replied, honestly.
        I was Lurch; from the Adams family. They found that unlikely association hilarious. Especially when I tried the voice.
        After nuggies, a belch contest, and silly how-do-you-do, the girls composed themselves. I received a years worth of catch-up in a six-minute, stereophonic, high speed summary, which ended with four handed vote that my hairline had receded, and it was a sad state of affairs for my nonexistent love-life. They then slowly gravitated  to the photo wall.
Annette and Simon  reviewed their achievements without blinking or snickering or shrugging. It was what it was.
        “Balmoral is up,” said Simone, gently to Annette.
        “I see it,” replied Annette.
        The children were blameless. I'd known them as infants. Born hand in hand with identical physical  and emotional features; they entered the world well meaning, soft and wide-eyed.
        “What a doozie,” said Annette.
        “You could say that again,” replied Simone flatly.
        “What a doozie,” said Annette, sincerely and without a trace of sarcasm.
           Nothing in those small bone bags  betrayed the ongoing wake of destruction pointing to their next adventure.
“Way too many candles.”
“Don't you think Felicia might have…”
“Ladies!” My friend interrupted, “It's Mom, not Felicia – and don't you even think about blaming her for that one!”
“Where is your mother by the way?”
“Felic… I mean,” said Simone, “Mom is showing the guys with the  trucks how to get around the Glass-House.”
“The greenhouse,” corrected Annette.”
“We don't have a greenhouse..,” said my friend.
The girls giggled and blinked knowingly.
“…we have a greenhouse?” He asked..
The girls laughed again and turned away..
“Hey! Hey wait! What's the truck about?”
Annette and Simone had flung open a pair of French doors that lead to some vast field studded with statuary and fountains. They made for the field.
“Ladies!” He exclaimed.
They halted.
“The truck?” He repeated.
“Bullfrogs stuck in the waste-line,” said Annette evenly  to her feet.
“We’re not sure,” continued Simone, clearly mimicking something she'd heard, “but there seem to be other drama-fixations.”
My good friend put a palm to his forehead. “Ramifications?”
“Oh yes, that's it!”
I couldn't help myself.
“Simone,” I asked, “you didn't say truck, you said trucks. Like, more than one?”
“Three. Three trucks, one with a thingamajig on the front, and one with that basket gizmo on top.”
“And,” Annette added, “one regular one.”
And then no one said anything.
The silence was nearly frightening. Off in the distance bullfrogs could be heard echoing over various hillsides. The long afternoon shadows stretched the statues and fountains into exclamation points against the sloping fields. Cicadas called the evening closer.
After the girls had left, my friend looked up at me and said nothing again.
I had a few more questions but thought better than to break the silence.

 End of part 2

Friday, July 8, 2016

Sweet Little Things - part 1 (Horrible Marriages Collection)

     A  friend of mine tells me he's up to ‘here’ with his kids.
     “They spent the morning filling the washing machine with bullfrogs from the pond.  Felt bad for them,  all that dirty pond water…”
     We stood in his yard and looked first at the well manicured pond in the distance, and then back to the house where, from all appearances, there was peace and order and prosperity.
     He chewed his bottom lip and winced. “After the first rinse…” he gurgled, looked away and managed to squeak out,  “I have ha hard time talking about it…”
     “You have a washing machine?”
     “I didn't know it either, until…” His eyes glazed up.
     “Filled?” I made like measuring with my hands.
     “Up,” he said, through fist full of knuckles.
      I was going to ask another question – there were a few – but he shook his fist out of his mouth and headed for the house.
     This friend of mine, a white linen and straw hat in the summer guy, met his wife – a floppy sun hat over face covering sun shades in the summer gal – while traveling the islands by yacht to visit his offshore wealth.
     The twins arrived in Provence . They were christened in Florence, and had their tiny, pale-pink ears pierced in Shanghai by a well know monk who did those sorts of things for pale-pink people.
     “Girls. You figure less problems.”
     I laughed.
     “They've cost me,” he offered.
     He rifled off properties by location, “Bonnieux, Taiyuan, Balmoral… dear sweet lord, I watched that one slide down the beach and  slip in flames into the sea.”
     “They're what, eight? Nine?” I asked.
     “Three au-pairs, two assistants, one manager, and Felicia. The au-pairs know karate. Did you know that?”
     I didn't.
     “Yep. They also speak seven languages between them. They can drive blindfolded – some C.I.A trick they picked up in their training… you’d figure…”
     “Balmoral Beach - They all thought it would be a nice surprise for me. All of them! Filled the terrace with birthday candles – front to back, top to bottom. It never occurred to them…”
     We passed through the library annex to the reading room.
     “Have you been in here?” He nodded to a row of photos framed in silver leaf on a wall of plush red velvet with brown trim.
     The images were all black and white and mostly grey; smoke, splinters, crowds of people – mostly fleeing - animals in various states of discordant repose…
      “I've hired consultants to assist them with touchy issues: how to best feed the pets without collateral damage; which beach toys are least likely to produce deadly results; how to enter and exit a wildlife preserve without loss of life or property…”
     I stroked the edge of one of frames. The evidence of some growing malignant failure was on display without rancor or malicious intent. It wasn't the wall of shame. The photos were not a punishment or complaint; they were the family vacation pictures, unedited, objective, and direct.
     I hadn't been in the annex, hadn't seen the images or heard about half the stories behind them. A few more questions bubbled up in my brain.
     “Here they are! Simone, Annette, look who's here!”

End of part 1

Friday, July 1, 2016

Hogtied & Swearing (Horrible Marriages Collection)

“Nardo, what am I looking at here?”
“Couple, married. He's hogtied to a dining chair and dangling from the roof over here, on this side – and she, well, I don't think I have to explain it, Sir – but she's dangling from the roof off the other end of the rope on that side.”
And she was. Tied and bound to a children's wooden hobbyhorse, calico, with hearts and something that looked like red bursts of flowers… she was mostly naked except for the charred remains of Bo-Peep Halloween costume.
“It's her blood, sir. Oh wait, they're at it again.”
“You son of a bitth!” She lisped over the second story aluminum gutter, getting her chin up over it, lifting herself, ass-skyward, with her neck and enough hatred to do such a thing.
“He needed braces! You moaned about the braces – I got your God damned braces!”
The second engine company arrived as the fire flared up around the tightly knit hedges surrounding most of the house.
“Sir, The first engine company was nearly completely  incapacitated when the garage exploded – oh, here comes...”
“I'll kill you! And Irene, when we get down, I'll kill the both of you, all three of you!”
“He's talking about the in-laws, apparently they don't see eye to eye on many issues. The children are a sticking point.”
“Let her be! She had a baby! Let her be, she's depressed! Let her be, she's having a – Christ on a stake! Some-one of you schmucks pull a gun and just shoot me in the head! For the love of Christ!”
“Sir, I can do that for him.”
“Put that strap back on your holster, Sergeant..”
“Are we leaning something here?”
The words skidded over the rooftop, echoed into the early morning sky. “ We should be learning something!! Growing somehow! Try something new! What a jackass!”
She replied, “None of this is me! This is all you! I am none of this! All yours! Where the hell is Gary! Why haven't you assholes gotten us down yet! I can't feel my fingers, and the blood is running up into my eyes and my head…”
“Sweet Jesus! Do you hear it, complaining! Even now! Like this, with her panties on fire! Hanging from the roof! Never a space, never a god damned space for even a second!”
“Nardo, who’s Gary, and why haven't we cut them down yet?”
But the answer to the second question came as two Channel Six News vans pulled up and large cash transactions were immediately conducted.  Equipment rocketed into tripod ready action on the street in front of the now flaming home.
“Yeah, that's not right.”
“Oh! Oh yeah! Here she goes!”
“That's it, turn it all around! Go ahead! Like anyone – ANYONE - will believe you! Just shut up! SHUT your pie-hole!”
“Oh god, I'm losing blood! Get me down! I think I'm gonna pass out!”
“Ok, that's enough – get them both down.”
But no one moved.
“You hear that? Me? Always the same! ME!” It came with tears over blood.
The flames took to the white painted siding. They warn you not to paint it… Pink flames, almost quaint against the white siding and the green lawn.
The neighbors had been barricaded at a safe distance, children sent off with the more sensitive adults to avoid having to carry this burden, question this horror and its coming to be.
Barry was in the crowd. He didn't have the guts to step up there, step into that… whatever that was, and claim ownership as their couples therapist. Nope, not a chance. He found himself blending into the crowd.
The crowd.
 They turned their heads up to the scene and then away as waves of nausea danced over waves of delight and despair. Delight because everyone in the neighborhood hated those folks, and despair because each and every one of them had the same thought – there but for the grace of God…..

The end

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Lily - part 2 (Horrible Marriages Collection)

     Lily lay in bed and cursed herself for the habit of wearing socks to sleep. It worked in the winter, but in July the kitchen sent up hot drafts of midnight air through the floorboards.  It was a long-reach or a pretzel-twist; she went for the twist and sent the socks into the air with enough verve to never have to see them again.
     “Cmon Earl!”
      Not a sound.
     “I can hear you down there, Earl! Hell, I can smell you down there, Earl!”
     She loved the smell of him. She'd told him when they'd met, and reminded him frequently. He reminded her that she also loved the smell of buffalo manure.  And turpentine. And car exhaust..,
      “Earl, your not making things better here! Your making them worse! You know what I'm like when I don't get sleep!”
     Lily knew Earl. She’d seen the results of his efforts in just about every arena. It was all bleak, except for his lovemaking. He excelled in that area, or maybe he didn't -  she'd had nothing to compare it to - but she liked to believe he did. She pushed her pillow against some of the possible outcomes of her cajoling, the threats, the looks, and began to regret the sudden lapse in what had been endless patience with her man.
     “Put down the shotgun and come on up here before you hurt yourself!”
     Nothing on top of  exhausted nothing. It would end badly. She thought it but was too drunk and tired and worn out to do much more than roll over into the heat.

End of part 2

Lights Out (Horrible Marriages Collection)

(A story originally created as a submission to "The Big Ugly Review", for which I never received a receipt notification. It seems my little story might have simply been the last ugly straw for a seven-issue flash, but who knows - maybe they were just hiding from me. It's a Horrible Marriage story. -
Here it is so I don't feel like I totally wasted a handful of small words.)

“We were robbed.” 
She pushed the words forward against the carpet as she crawled.
“We what?”
Rusty wiggled around on hands and knees, nicked his chin on the edge of a side table and hissed, “This is what I’m talking about, Mare. This kind of thing, it’ll ruin us!”
He pulled the black mask up to his nose, felt the damage and eyed his wife angrily. 
In the unfamiliar room, soft moonlight crisscrossed with sharp shadows over her black bodysuit. Her full, pouting lips struck through the hole in her mask – those bright blue eyes - Mary filled the image of everything he loved about her in that very moment: the daring, the sexy innocence, the romantic thrill-seeker. She’s killing me, he thought, but…
“I’m sorry,” she said, “I just feel like we’ve been robbed here.”
And the moment was over.
Rusty yanked his mask down and hissed through the mouth-hole, “You and me, we’re robbing this house and you say, ‘We were robbed.’ He trembled. “That’s what’s costing us! That’s why we’re in therapy! That’s why we’re robbing this house to pay for that therapy!
Mary rolled gently onto her back in the plush carpet, held up the empty black sack and waved it theatrically. “Does this look familiar, Rusty? It’s our take tonight. Empty! Looks like most other nights!” 
Saying it brought tears of regret to her eyes, a mad torrent of haphazard regrets.
“Mare! Mare! Hang on now! Shhhh!” he ‘shushed’ her, didn’t want to. Her crying was so important - he’d learned in therapy without really understanding why – but he had to ‘shush’ her because of the headlights arcing, bouncing, filling the whole room, accompanied by the sound of an engine cutting off and…
“Mare! Mare! You can cry later, I promise you – I know it’s important to you, I swear it! but we gotta go! Now!
Rusty tried cool for Mary but instead stumbled over the hardwood floor off the living room and skinned his forehead on the dining room breakfront. 
Mary kept one eye on her husband’s enthusiasm and another on the front door as she effortlessly rolled through the darkened house.
They’d made it to the rear door of the house, stood on its threshold when they heard the keys, the lock, and the nauseating sound of light-hearted conversation. Lights went on in adjacent rooms.
Mary held Rusty tightly against the back door in the half-lighted kitchen. “Did you mean it?”
“Mean what? Let me go! C’mon Mare, let’s get out of here!”
“Mean what you said about letting me cry?” She felt Rusty’s fear building.
“Whatever it takes Mare! I’ll do whatever it takes!”
That could have meant many things, but Mary put it where she wanted it and that was enough for her.
A husband walked into his kitchen, turned on the light. The back door was open and an empty black sack draped the threshold.
He turned to his wife and said, “We were robbed.”

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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Buddha Thug - "Red eye" (Horrible Marriages Collection)

     The plane's tight: tight seats, thin air, narrow aisle, narrow folks, pinched faces and Bud. 
     Bud's wedged into row 21, seat B.
     It's an hour before midnight with little hope of finding Chicago through the squeeze of ice and wind without the wings flailing hard enough to make every soul on that jet pray they've done enough good to make a difference in the eyes of a wrathful God. Everyone's preparing. The silence says so. Everyone except for the woman in row 20, seat A. She's not worried. She's done with God, done with good, done with it all - she's all done. 
     "What!" She shrieks at her husband, "What is it! What! Tell me! What!?" Her voice is hateful. She's putting every ounce of done and nasty into each word, waiting for her husband to finally snap, spin around, break her neck. She wants him to end it, put his once loving hands around her throat - right there, near Detroit, before the plane has a chance to do it for him. 
     The man can't. 
     But Bud, he's thinking he might be able to lend the old couple a hand.  The foul woman's husband is in even worse shape than she is. He can't articulate his own horror.  He simply shakes his bony skull. A bit of tired white hair forgets where it belongs and so gives up trying, dangles air-born.
     "I asked you! What! You made a face! What was it? What is it!? What? Tell me!" It's toe curling. Bud's thinking he can reach through between the seats, get one arm around, if he can't reach her, he can at least reach him. cause Bud's thinking, 'if I get one of of'em I got both of'em'
      "Jesus Christ! It's my back! My back!"
     And the old man saying it is her reward. He's in pain. Good, her lips smack with joy. She sucks the last ice-cube from a soft-drink cup - bangs the upturned thing into her mouth - smacks the bottom of it with glee.  She looks over, leans in on the old man and whispers, "What! What was that? You just said something - I heard something !" But the old man simply turns away.
     The plane lands in Chicago just past midnight. The woman in 20A stands triumphantly, lips pursed, head bobbing, she stretches to show her husband what it's like.
     "What!? What was that face!?" It starts again.
     Bud wants to step on her foot, fix he breaks.  He's looking at their bags. One of them has a tag - if he gets a glimpse of the address... 
     "I need help with this bag." She says out-loud, to no one  and everyone. At this point Bud would have to get on line to garret the hag. The folks on the plane are tired, cramped and it's that moment before the cabin door is opened, the teeth-gnashing moment everyone feels will be the final moment of sanity before eternal chaos and confusion.
     Bud stands and smiles. Those nearby give him a dirty look. Is he crazy? A young man elbows Bud. A woman with a child in her arms shakes her head with disgust. 
     Bud's a big guy, six-two. He's over the woman, his large head suspended directly over her face. It looks like Bud may just clamp his mouth right over the small woman's head and have done with her. But no, his smile is his weapon. He's so close she can see the bubbles on each strand of saliva as his broad mouth widens. He reaches around the woman to get at the bag in the overhead storage compartment. As he does his body envelops the hateful woman, just for a moment. He doesn't take his eyes from hers. She doesn't flinch. There is no threat, no worse, no this or that or here or there or I and it for this creature. 
     When Bud puts the heavy bag in her hand, the woman says nothing. Her husband doesn't even watch the exchange. He has no hope left at all. Their misery is perfect. Transcendent. As the crowd ruts down the aisle a moment later, some folks are grumbling, snickering, yawning their way into the welcoming gusts of icy Chicago wind.
     Bud's still got a smile on his face. He'd met his match. He thought he's seen the worst of the worst: Killers, addicts, lunatics and mountains of self-righteous, self-doubting, self-hating sufferers clogged the city's and fouled the countryside, but this pair.... No. Bud caught that address on the travel bag, but he'd never visit. He owned that. Meddling in the old couples lives, or deaths, that would just pour bad karma on eternal misery. He, like everyone else that had the misfortune of running into that tragic pair, had to draw that horror in, hold it, feel it, and then either let it go or suffer the consequences. 
    The strength of their hatred for each other had eclipsed into a singularity, a black hole of undifferentiated fury. Nearness meant oneness. Oneness meant....
    Bud blanched at the thought of it, turned up his collar and steadied himself into the wind.

The end

Monday, June 27, 2016

Desperation Hill (Horrible Marriages Collection)

      "Ralph felt it first, the pull."
      "Yep, in the bathroom. I felt it in the bathroom."
      "What was that like? We're you frightened?"
    "Nah. I was checking to see if the hair treatment was working, you know - its been a while, nothing on top moving - and that's when It hit me!"
      "Was it a voice, a picture in your mind of this mountainous area or something like that?"
      "No, just a tugging feeling. At first it was awful, I thought I was going crazy. Like I needed something, I didn't know what, but whatever it was I needed it bad! Usually I'm watching the high school  varsity cheerleaders over the fence at Regional when I get that feeling!  Har-Har!! Well, The next thing I know, I'm in my car, up here on  Sunset Rock, waiting for the spaceship to arrive."
    "That's how I found him! Ha! He was in his car, no pants and shaving cream still on his chin!"
      "I didn't want to miss it."
      "Miss what?"
      "The ship."
      "We're all here for the ship!"
      "Actually, I don't know about them, I'm waiting for God."
      "Oh? They didn't tell me that was part of the story - God, you say? From, uh - up there?"
      "No, we'll, maybe. I can feel that he'll be inside the ship."
      "Wait, I thought the ship was going to take us to Sanctuary."
      "I don't know about him, I didn't feel no tugging  - I used a map! When Ralph called Eddie here, Eddie called me and told me where it was. I needed a map cause we just moved here from New Mexico after the plant shut down."
      Is the rest of your family going to join you?"
      "Not mine. They're not believers."
      "Who said God was com'in out of the ship? Ralph, did you say anything about that?"
      "Eddie said, 'I'm heading over to see Ralph but there's no more beer in the cooler. Would ya mind getting a case of two, is what he said. "
      "First thing will be I won't have a drinking problem no more either."
      "My wife won't be joining us until she sees its for real. That's what I said about couples therapy!! Haha! It'll teach her!! Couple this!"
      "How many of you are there up here, waiting for the ship, or God, or what-have-you?"
      Sixteen. Maybe twenty, unless - Edna! Anyone seen Edna? Huh? Maybe her kids might stay behind."
      "Any other kids?"
      "KJ and hers, but she told'em to shut up when they said they were scared, now we don't know where they are..."
      "Florence and Tammy are sixteen, maybe they're kids - Willy, your girls kids?"
      "Uh. No. That's why we're going you dumb-shit!"
      "Did Florence and Tammy feel the pull?"
      "Ha! You might say that!"
      "Knocked up - both of'em!"
      "Shouldn't they be in school?"
      "Yeah, and not knocked up and we should all be hanging up our firearms! Ha!"
      "What kind of arrangements have you made with your worldly possessions?"
      "You mean what we owe or what we got after the Sheriff auctions our belongings?"
     "Will you leave any kind of legacy?"
      "Dorothy wrote a nice letter and her husband - shhh.. He's a retard- he's going to chisel it into a rock and glue purple glitter to it so we will always be remembered."
     "Do you know exactly when the ship will arrive? and how long will you wait if it doesn't arrive at the expected time."
      "I say it's coming tonight, Eddie says before the beer runs out,  which is shortly, and Meg said she felt like it might be next Tuesday but she's not taking any chances."
    "I'm never going back, come ship, God, or if I'm just going to drop dead here from exposure."
      "Wow, that's some sense of dedication! And with that, I'm Darlene Overunster for DBJ news at ten, on Drake Hill overlooking Sam's Diner on Little Route Six, with a handful of would-be space travelers and die hard hopefuls who believe tomorrow may bring a brighter day! Good night!"

end of part 1

Lily -part 1 (Horrible Marriages Collection)

            Roger sat silently in the dark kitchen with the shotgun resting over one knee.
He was perfectly still in the hot, black air. The sweat dripped ticklish down his neck but he didn't flinch, didn't take the barrel of the gun off his mark, and kept his index finger so gently against the smooth black steel tab that he could feel the blood pulsing in his fingertip.
The kitchen got hot in late June. By early July it was nearly unbearable.
The air conditioners were still in the basement, where they'd been the day the signed the papers on the house. As far as he knew, they worked, but he hadn't bothered.
She'd warned him. He'd ignored her.
He hadn't bothered; hadn't bothered much of a job either, or kids for that matter. He hadn't bothered with a paint job for the kitchen, which needed it badly. Eight years of high-gloss banana yellow. It peeled about an inch each July, from the top down. He'd measured it once. Beneath the yellow was something lime-green possibly paisley, maybe mold - it didn't make a difference - during the day it made an uncaring man wince.
She'd warned him. Enough was enough.
"Earl, you're deaf to reason. I can't ask you again, if I ask you again, you're on your own."
In the dark he allowed himself a grin. She'd called him Earl from the day they had met. "Your parents were fools to name you Roger.  There's not a speck of Roger in you."
He called her Angel. That was the front and back of his romantic side. He hung onto the pet name more out of laziness than anything else. Her name was Lily. At thirty-five, Lily suited her as well as Angel. Tall, strong, smooth-skinned and topped with a wild mop of flame colored hair; he had no defense against such a creature. They'd arm wrestled during their courtship. If he was drunk enough she'd beat him. If she was drunk enough she'd let him wrestle her into the bedroom.
No one was there for the wedding at the county clerks office. The secretary was the witness. It was a hot day in June when they tied the knot.
She'd warned him. And now he sat with a finger on a smooth tab of black steel, waiting for revenge, a last resort, the result of laziness more than lack of caring.

End of part 1

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Flying Dreams ("Horrible Marriages" Collection)

"I keep having dreams about beautiful things; flying, finding love, visiting mysterious and beautiful cities..."
"Maybe you ate something..."
"Childhood crushes come back, grown women, large eyed, asking about me. Don't you have dreams like that?" 
"Never. Mostly I'm eating peanuts in a bar, and the bartender can't find me. He's got my beer and I'm dry mouthed and really need that beer."
"That sounds like some kind of lacking too."
"Sometimes I have dreams about wrestling alligators. I think they're alligators. They could be crocodiles. I'm not sure it matters."
"I've never wrestled any kind of animal in my dreams."
"I wrestle them about three times a week."
"How does it turn out?"
"The other night I woke up as a big one was about to chew my face off. I went to punch it in the snout. I woke up just in time to see my fist heading for Gloria. I was laughing when I punched her in the head."
"Oh dear."
"She wasn't happy being punched out in her sleep. She saw me smiling too. I tried to explain it."
"How'd that go?"
"Not so well."
"Sometimes I'm flying around naked, just over the tops of the trees. It feels wonderful, natural -except for the 'I'm-flying' part, I suppose - but then I'm aware that people might see me. For some reason it seems awful and wrong that people might see me flying around in the sky naked."
"Your a stranger guy."
"Birds fly in the sky naked. Whales float in the ocean naked all day long, for their entire lives. They float and look up at the stars and eat a bit here and there."
"Yeah, how's Samantha and the kids?"
"The kids are good. Good."
"We kill each other two or three times a day. When we're not killing each other, we're trying to convince each other to commit suicide."
"But the kids are good."
"How long you guys been married?"
"Two hundred and fifty six years, this coming June."
"That's a long time."
"Sometimes I fly up over the coast, touching the clouds - I pick up speed - and before I know it I'm in another country, pleasant places, open air markets, cities of tunnels, giant, impossible buildings..."
"You’re still naked?"
"No, no. But I get fearful, I can't find my way, or I've realized I had my children with me and now they're gone. I panic."
"Can't you just enjoy it?"
"Doesn't seem to be an option... There are no choices - sometimes there are trains. I have to get on one, make a decision, but then it's too late. Too damned late."
"That's pretty awful."
"What's more awful is waking up and not being able to blame any of it on Sam."
"That might be funny if it wasn't so lame."
"Yeah, that about sums it up. Anyhow, how's Gloria now?"
"Not bad, not bad. The black eye is clearing up. The swelling... She's talking to me again."
"Glad to hear it."

The end