Thursday, March 25, 2010
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
- You can flush an entire roll of toilet paper down a commercial toilet, but only if you unroll it first.
- Cats are not interested in trick-or-treating in costume. Or even without costumes. Nor do they like licorice.
- You can hard-boil an egg in the microwave.
- Hard-boiled egg white is very difficult to clean off a popcorn ceiling.
- Fortunately, hard-boiled egg white is hard to actually see against a popcorn ceiling.
- You should unplug the waffle iron before you put it into a sink full of dishwater.
- Having an rocket scientist for a brother is not as beneficial as being brothers with an electrician.
Sunday, February 7, 2010
Some People Just Know Things (Which Seems To Have Absolutely Nothing To Do With The Finished Prompt)
Clive stood in the middle of the field, beetles running helter skelter all over his shoes, and stared straight into the sun. He could walk away. That was his greatest gift, his ability to throw his life into a duffel bag and start moving. He had no sentimental attachments, no favorite songs, and nothing and no one dependent upon him. He liked onions, that was about as much of a commitment you'd ever get from the man.
But beetles were sending the onions into rot and Clive was grateful. He trusted nature to let him know when it was time to move on. His mother used to tell him never to stand still long enough to let the dust settle on his boots. It was the only piece of advice Clive had ever taken to heart, and it served him well.
The phone started ringing from inside the RV. It had to be Monica. Clive glanced around looking for signs of life. It was too soon after sunrise for there to be anyone about. The sky was the color of eggplant peel and old mushrooms. It'd be a bitch of a day. He could already feel the back of his neck prickling with sweat. No worries. He'd burn the RV and steal a motorcycle. Throw the phone into the reservoir. Monica was a witch, but she'd never be able to track him. He'd cleaned up her last mess. She could do it herself from now on.
As a parting gift he'd leave the hacksaw and the bolt cutter on her doorstep, cleaned of prints of course. Someday he'd leave evidence just for the hell of it. Just to make things more interesting. Clive was a ghost. His fingerprints changed every six months and his DNA morphed faster than that. He was perfect really. And now he was gone.
Monday, January 11, 2010
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Justin washed his hands, singing the ABC song to make sure he spent the requisite time, but it wasn't enough, so he washed them again. He dug a pointed stick from his mother's nail care basket and cleaned under his fingernails, then washed his hands again.
He pulled his T-shirt over his head and stuffed it in the bottom of the laundry bag, then took a quick shower. He stepped naked from the shower and remembering the shirt, dug it out of the laundry and wrapped it in a dry cleaning bag. He'd drop it in a dumpster on his way to work.
He dressed and, grabbing his keys, headed out the door whistling. He should feel bad, he knew, but something about being with a woman made him feel cheerful. He tossed his keys in the air and caught them again, then slid behind the wheel. The rumble of the muscle car engine worked on his seat like a vibrator, but the snake had uncurled from the base of his spine, so the result was only a mild arousal.
He pulled behind the grocery store and parked by the dumpster. After a quick look around, he threw the shirt into the metal bin and doused it with lighter fluid. He lit a cigarette, smoke half of it, then tossed it into the trash bin as he climbed into his car and drove away.
"You're late," Bert growled when he walked in.
"Sorry." Justin dropped his head and rounded his shoulders, avoiding Bert's eyes. He clocked in, grabbed his apron from the rack and pulled it over his head. "Had to run an errand. I'll stay late."
"Make sure you do. I don't have to keep you on here, you know. Only did it as a favor to your mother."
"Yes, sir." Justin disappeared into the store before Bert could say anything more. "Stupid prick," he muttered. "Think you can treat me like shit? I'll show you." He opened the janitor's closet, slid the rolling bucket under the faucet and dripped liquid soap into it. But not today. Let it go. He ran his hands under the good, cleansing water, imagined it rinsing off his anger the way Lucy taught him. When he felt clean again, he thrust his mop into the sudsy bucket, swished it around and headed out into the store.
He'd mopped half the floor before he saw Bert again.
"Looking good!" Bert called, as if the earlier altercation never happened. "I can almost see my face in the shine."
"Thank you, sir," Justin mumbled. Bert could see his reflection if he tried, Justin knew. He was a master at cleaning up messes, knew exactly how to remove all sorts of stains, didn't mind cleaning up the most disgusting messes. Bert was lucky to have him.
Sunday, April 19, 2009
Starting line: "The place was a real dump." Write for 15 minutes. Go!
The place was a real dump. I mean, really. It was a dump, the kind of place people threw garbage in the days before any of us had ever heard the word "landfill."
I turned to my date. "What the hell are we doing here?"
He blushed. Even the three inches of wrist that stuck out below his cuffs turned red. For a second I imagined his whole torso pinkening until it struck me .... Eeeeuuuuwww! This wasn't exactly Six-Pack Sam. I'd only agreed to the date because my brother -- who was trying to convince him to sell some uber rare drak-e-mon card -- threatened to tell mom Damon spent the night in my bedroom last week.
"So?" I demanded, but he didn't answer. I got off his scooter and ripped off the stupid half-helmet he'd given me, one I suspected he borrowed from his geeky little sister who was obsessed with horses.
"Wait," he said. "I brought a picnic."
I just stared at him. A picnic? He seriously expected me to eat here? No doubt the flies would add spice. "Fuck this. I'm going home." I turned around, but I slipped on a piece of rotting fruit and came down hard on my kneecap. "Ow! Ow, ow, ow."
He helped me up, but I couldn't walk, couldn't even stand on that foot. I leaned on his shoulder and hopped over to a boulder, where he lowered me down. "Wait here," he said, and he was gone.
"Where am I supposed to go? I'm hurt, remember?" I pulled up my jeans, grateful bell bottoms were back in style. My knee was swollen and stiff, and a trickle of blood slid down my calf.
He was back with a plastic Wal-mart sack and a dirty horse blanket. He spread the blanket on the ground beside the rock like it was a red carpet and pulled a root beer out of the sack with a ridiculous flourish.
"Oh, please!" I said. "Root beer?"
He blushed again. "It's not just root beer. It's Henry Weinhardts."
I squinted to see his face against the sun. "Yeah? You got anything to mix with it?"
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
The eyes stopped her. Elaine was thumbing through a pristine design magazine in the doctor's office, flipping the pages one after another without seeing them, when she noticed the ad.
A photograph of a woman's face, close up, the ad was a comical attempt to sell insurance with an exaggerated expression of fear, but she missed the humor and the exaggeration.
She saw fear, naked and staring. Eyes like her own, the woman on the page pleaded for release, for solace. Maybe even for life.
Slapping the magazine closed, Elaine tapped her manicured nails against the cover. The tip of her thumbnail was ragged, so she pulled an emery board from her Gucchi bag and filed it smooth.
She tucked the board back into her purse and sat quietly, but her right hand drifted across her sculpted thighs. Her fingers slid across the magazine's surface like a caress. Snatching her hand back, she held it in place with her will power and all 10 fingers.
Across the waiting room, a swinging door opened. "Mrs. Olson?" A 30-something woman with a distended belly pushed herself out of a chair across from Elaine and waddled through the door.
Elaine looked down, blinking away tears, and found herself clutching the magazine. She slipped it open, and without turning a page, found herself once again staring -- falling --into those eyes, dark and deep. The office dissolved as she was immersed in the blue.
Sometime later -- two minutes or an hour -- a one of the husbands coughed, and Elaine jerked. The magazine slid to the floor.
She stood and crossed the room, listening to the click of her heels on the marble floor. "Can you tell me how much longer it's going to be?"
The receptionist gave her a sympathetic look. "I'm really sorry about the wait. Dr. Janders was called out at noon with twins, so we're running a little late." She ran her finger down a row of names. "They're only two girls in front of you though, Ms. Armstrong. Shouldn't be too long."
Elaine swallowed. "Can you ... " Her voice sounded thick and muddled. She cleared her throat and tried again. "Did you get the results back?"
The nurse tipped her head and smiled again, but the smile looked stressed. "I'm sorry. I don't have any information."
Walking away from the desk, Elaine chose a seat six chairs down from the magazine, but she could feel the eyes burning across the space. She pulled out her Blackberry and scrolled through her mail. Mostly junk, though she made a mental note to call Jack about the meeting with the advertising people. Her thumbs flashing, she sent a quick note to her secretary, "Would you see if Abrams Plastics is still manufacturing? They're outside of Chicago."
After tucking the phone back into her bag, Elaine twitched her foot and checked her watch. Twenty minutes since she'd talked to the receptionist. How much longer would she have to wait?
She picked up another magazine, but found she had no interest in cupcakes that look like sunflowers. She threw the tattered pages aside, and with a decisive snort, crossed the room and picked up the design magazine.
"Ms. Armstrong? The doctor's ready for you."
"Just a moment." Turning to the ad, Elaine tore a strip from the page -- just the eyes. She left flapping in the magazine the woman's comical hair in rollers and the garish red mouth in a round "o".
Tucking the strip into her purse, Elaine followed the nurse through the swinging door and past examining room after examining room.
They stopped at the end of the hall, and the nurse opened a door Elaine had never noticed before. "The doctor will be right in."
Elaine stepped into a paneled office with rich leather furniture. "Oh, no," she thought as she sank onto a chair. "This can't be good."