March 25,2014 Prompt–a pile of papers

I wrote a fresh book about crime capers.

Is it any good or just a pile of papers?

By Mike Morrell

*****

A Pile of Papers

I woke with a little jump. Outside it was dusk, the streetlamps just starting to come on. Inside, the lights were all off except for those security lamps which make a sort of half-light that shadows monsters love. It was a wonder no one had woken me. Sure, I was kind of hidden back in a little alcove by a window, but you would think someone would do a last sweep to check for stragglers. I left my chair to return my books to their spot on the shelf, my belief in ghosts suddenly fortified by the towering dark forest of shelves. I had always loved to be surrounded by so many books. Not even to read them, just to be near them. Sometimes it felt like they had souls and if you closed your eyes and pretended you weren’t there, you could almost hear them talking to each other. At night, suddenly I was sure it was true, and my ears strained in the silence for the voices I thought were just beyond hearing, the dusty, raspy little whispers frightening rather than comforting.

I hurried down the dark aisle clutching the books to my chest. It took me a few minutes to find the right aisle, and then the right shelf, and I almost just put them wherever there was a spot just to get out a little faster, but part of me was a little ashamed to be scared of the dark still, at my age. Also, books out of order make me crazy.

I walked a little slower when I got out of the shadow of the shelves. They seemed to stretch across the floor in bizarre shapes to try to grasp my ankles, but I sidestepped the exaggerated corners. I thought the whispers receded just a bit as I approached the doors. I pushed, and the door didn’t move. Panic. I pushed harder, still nothing, and my heartbeat filled my ears as I abandoned dignity and all but threw myself against the door.

I felt so stupid when I noticed it said “Pull”.

By Abigail Eskew

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March 18, 2014 Prompt–Everybody’s Got a Story

The old man sat on the barrel at the end of the dock. The setting sun cast a halo around his disheveled hair and long white beard. A few of the sailors, who just got into port, started gathering in front of the old man.

“It was in the winter of 49 as we were rounding Cape Horn in a driving storm.” The storyteller’s eyes glistened from the gaslight above. “I have never in all my 50 years at sea have seen such a storm. The sky flashed bright with lightning, the waves grew higher than the mast. It was as if the gods were angry with us for what we did and wanted to destroy our ship.”

Just then a young man stepped between the crowd and the old man.
“Listen to me,” the young man shouted, “don’t listen to the ravings of an old sailor. I know everybody’s got a story, but this man is plumb crazy. I was there and that’s not what happened. This is the real story.”

Just then a bell rang and ended the story.

By Linda Scott

 

*****

Somebody’s Got a Story

from the prompt: “Everybody’s got a story…”

I heard that everybody has got a story, but I can’t seem to find mine. I think somebody hid it. Deep inside. From fear or shame.

If I share my story, do I still have it? Own it? Claim it?

Everybody’s got a story, but aren’t they all shared? Who else might lay righteous claim to my story?

I wonder whether it’s worth the risk to search for mine, to tell it true as I can, and face…. Who? What?

Perhaps I can disguise my story in facts and fiction to filter truth or essence beneath the tracks of time and title.

Everybody’s got a story, and each of us shares the pieces of many others’ stories. May we share the lessons of pain and joy without the claim of ownership, without the guile of ego, without the…the mystery of __________.

 

by Erv Barnes

March 11, 2014–Prompt: Moving

 

“Yesterday Freddy walked in from mowing the back forty and told me he was sick from breathing the new grass.”

Martha laughed. “What he really said was, “Martha, I’m tired of this shit. I think we need to sell.”

“Where would you move?” I asked.

“Well, I was thinking about moving to another State.” Martha grinned.

“Another State? What about your kids?”

“Oh hell, we wouldn’t tell our kids anything.” She took a drink of her morning Bailey’s coffee. “How else could we keep all our income? You know, they would be right here with their sad stories wanting money like they did when we moved five years ago.”

She slapped my shoulder. “Joe, our oldest son found us and came a callin’. I pretended I’d lost my mind.”

Suzie Hagen

*****

There are many times in a persons’ life where moving away can be a chance for a whole new way of life.

Graduation and turning old enough to at least think you are an “adult” and still “know everything” is one of the first times this may show up.

Other situations like your parents splitting up and one moves to another town; or splitting custody may be another opportunity.

Marriage also allows a chance to be on your own and get into a different lifestyle.

Some people go off to school or college. A lot of young women may be looking for their MRS degree, where others take learning seriously. What better way to ensure your future than to go to law or medical school and see who is going to make big dollars later on. Granted it may not turn out that way, but I know of some people that actually think like that.

Other times in life one may decide to move away from a cold climate to a warmer one. Some become “snowbirds,” others turn out to be permanent residents. Depending on your fate in life, it may not be a choice that would have been made willingly, but just turned out that way.

People’s children may be angered and no longer acknowledge you as a family member or grandparent. A lot of times a guilt trip may work, but for people that want to get a life of their own, it can be a liberating change.

What can be amazing is going back to a town that was moved away from and meeting up with others that never did. It allows a feeling of being more worldly or experienced in life. A lot of people “our” age are still trapped in living their high school days. One almost feels sorry for them and makes you happy that the new outlook and challenges made you a different person than you would have been without the opportunities.

Shirley Lentz

*****

Moving Away:

I saw an old pickup truck the day over filled with household items such as a full dresser set, headboards, and appliances. The sight reminded me of the old TV show Beverly Hillbilly’s, only no one was sitting atop the furniture pile.

As I and my husband were getting ready to pull into a restaurant by the road, so did the overloaded truck. A young man, and what looked like his newly married wife, hopped out. We said our ‘Hellos’ and started talking.

“Have you been traveling long,” I asked.

“No, we are just moving away, and you?” The man responded.

“We come here every Wednesday lunch. Why are you moving?”

“Oh, mom’s house is too small and since we just got hitched – you know.”

The young woman spoke up to say, “We are married, not connected like a trailer,” She admonished her husband as she didn’t like the expression of being ‘hitched.’

“Well, have a good trip you two.” I offered as we entered the restaurant together.

Nancy Nation

*****

March 4, 2014 Prompt– “sifting through sand”

 

The cat peered up with great blue eyes, periwinkle orbs too big for its sunken face. It was a dirty cream color, with a black face and feet. Three black feet. The back right leg was missing, amputated at the hip. I had suspected that there was a cat nearby based on the evidence I had found, sifting through the sand in the playbox out in the yard, but this was the first I had seen of this scruffy stray.

It opened its mouth and meowed silently.

“What do you want, eh?”

It meowed again, a thin thread of sound. It stared at me.

“What? Did Timmy fall down the well?” I picked a bit of ham out of my sandwich and held it out, but after sniffing it politely, the cat declined. Strange.

It meowed again expectantly.

“I don’t know what you want, okay?”

It sat down on its good side and tilted its head strangely, ears slightly flattened, and waited. I watched it for a minute, bemused, until I noticed that the stump of the missing leg was wiggling back and forth. It was trying to scratch. I wondered how long it had been since he or she had lost that leg, and if it had been one unscratchable itch after another.

I reached out and scratched its dirty ear. A gravelly purr rose from its thin chest and its bright blue eyes squinted nearly shut with contentment

By Abby Eskew

*****

On The Beach

 

I can still remember the one and only time I had sex on a beach some fifty years ago.  The beach was Half-Moon Bay just southwest of enchanting San Francisco.  The night was brilliantly clear, the moon lit the world, the wind was essentially zero, the waves lapped just enough to provide a delicate sensuality, and we had a blanket.  Who could ask or anything more?

It was awful.

My wife was the loveliest female on earth and still, it was dreadful.  It was impossible to keep the sand separated from the action.  No matter how hard we tried and how careful we were, sand crept everywhere.

When it was finally over, she and I argued for an hour about which one of us got the worst of it.  She finally came up with the best analogy — it was like sifting sand through all our body parts.

We fervently agreed, we’d never do that again.

By Lloyd Rain