Sunday, June 30, 2013

100 Words a Day 313

“Can you really say if you want to just have fun or a relationship?” Chris said, responding to what he was hoping to get from the girl they were discussing.

His noncommittal response betrayed the ache he still felt from the girl who broke his heart.

He wanted something substantial, but he was afraid of being hurt again. The wound was still half-raw, turning a healthy pink, but angry red around the edges. To protect himself, he chased girls he knew would let him down. That way he didn’t invest emotionally and it didn’t hurt so much when things failed.

100 Words a Day 312

The sun was out, watching the parade in earnest. The throngs of people were hot and sweaty, but not the way one would have hoped for. The press meant there was considerable exchange of bodily fluids, unfortunately it was sweat, and heaven help you if you got too close to the woman with the stroller. Relief came initially in the form of cold, overpriced beer. After that, it came in the form of the side of a building or the space between two cars. The food was bad, as evinced by how much of it lay undigested on the sidewalk.

Friday, June 28, 2013

100 Words a Day 311

“Come on!” he shouted, pulling the person behind him towards the exit. He lost his grip, but continued, trusting them to find the exit, which was near.

It was slow going, the smoke and debris made it hard to see. He did his best to navigate the chaos. The roar of the fire filled his ears and the smoke made his eyes tear, forcing him to simply focus on what he knew was the open door, and safety.

He stumbled out of the building, spent several moments coughing and wiping his eyes before turning. He saw no one behind him.

100 Words a Day 310

The city exploded after the home team took the last game in quadruple overtime. The next day I was writing by the university.

It was one of the better schools in the area, and attracted a lot of out of state students. One wouldn’t have known that based on the sea of jerseys. I marveled at the ease with which the students dropped pieces of their identity and replaced them with whatever was popular.

There’s a lot of incentive to fit in I suppose. It’s easy to talk to a girl when you both have the same team shirt on.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

100 Words a Day 309

His footfalls were regular as a metronome. He glanced back, confirming the zombies weren’t gaining.

That smarmy kid in that zombie movie had said cardio was key to surviving a zombie apocalypse. Josh disagreed however. Some of the best runners he had known were now shamblers. The key, he had realized, was pacing. Zombies always went the same speed and they never took a break. It didn’t matter how fast you could run if you had to rest for ten hours after. That gave the zombies ten hours to catch up.

The pace with the least resting was the best.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

100 Words a Day 308

Sapphire exhaled sharply as she reracked the weights. Her muscles were tired, but she was happy. She was covered by a sheen of sweat, like she had just emerged from a pool. Using a towel she wiped her arms and face and glanced in the mirror, giving her arms a flex before heading towards the door.

Her spirits began to drop as she walked further away from the weight room and got closer to the cardio room. While pumping iron left her feeling strong, cardio left her feeling overcome. There was never relief, only a distance counter ticking too slowly.

Monday, June 24, 2013

100 Words a Day 307

He stumbled out of the bar, his balance disturbed by the beer sloshing around his head. After several steps, a pair of girls came up to him. They began to comment on his shirt and how hot he looked with five o’clock shadow. He smiled at them when they invited him to back to their place to party; it was just around the corner.

They led him on a shortcut, through an alley. He felt a sharp pain, and then was on the ground. A few more blows left him cringing, unable to resist hands in rifling through his pockets.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

100 Words a Day 306

The encounter ended with an awkward kiss the next morning: him on the steps, her just inside the apartment door. After an equally awkward, formulaic goodbye, he pushed open the lobby door and stepped out.

He shaded his eyes from the morning sun and looked around, trying to get his bearings. Locating a landmark, he walked towards the bus he needed. He felt detached as he watched his feet fall one before the other, never having done something like that before.

He was still processing the experience when the bus arrived and he boarded by rote, his mind far away.

100 Words a Day 305

He cleared the pass and looked down into the valley. The devastation went on as far as he could see. The blasted land was devoid of any greenery and he could see misshapen beasts moving across the barren landscape.

There was a lonely keep in the distance, overlooking the husk of a village, with sagging towers. He recalled the tales of dark things that were said to dwell within.

“This is truly a place loathsome and forlorn, forsaken by everything bright and good,” he said to his horse before urging it forward with his spurs. They descended the narrow trail.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

100 Words a Day 304

The color of the sky shifted from evening’s blue grey to a lurid green. The clouds coalesced, blocking out the sky, before unleashing a torrent. The ferocious rain made everything beyond arm’s reach a blur and the continuous flashes of lightning were accompanied by thunderous roars.

The lovers sat together, arms interlinked and feet intertwined, and watched Nature’s fury through the old windows. The interior of the home was dry, but just cool enough for a blanket. The storm raged around them, but they sat unmoving and not speaking through it all. As the storm raged, they slowly dozed off.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

100 Words a Day 303

Galin stood atop the small hill and looked over the field. The carnage was so fresh, some of the bodies still had steam pouring from gaping wounds that bled red rivers into the cracked ground, making a brown mush that stuck to the boots of the scavengers picking over the bodies.

He watched them move over the field. Sometimes they would encounter a warrior who had not passed on. An expert knife thrust would help them. The vultures would begin stripping the man before he had stopped twitching and move on as though it was the most ordinary of things.

100 Words a Day 302

Peter didn’t like Mondays. He really did not like them. It was always a struggle to get up in the morning.

This Monday was different however. Peter woke up in an airy mood. He was buoyed by unexpectedly good spirits.

He wasn’t sure what the cause of his good mood was when he arrived at work. Almost immediately though, he began stabbing his coworkers with the knife he did not remember bringing.

He stood there in the office, his suit stained crimson with sticky sanguine fluid, and realized why he had been so happy. He had decided to do it.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

100 Words a Day 301

The old dog creaked his way over to The Boy’s bed and struggled to climb it. He made several circles before collapsing down by The Boy. He nuzzled The Boy, burrowing into the crook of his leg and exhaled sharply a few times. The Boy shifted a little before reaching out to pet him on the head.

He smiled to himself and wedged in deeper. He wasn’t going to have too many more moments like this. He felt his age catching up with him and knew that The Boy would soon be alone with no one to look after him.

Monday, June 17, 2013

100 Words a Day 300

The first thing Greg noticed was the TV. It was playing some finance channel, but there was a chair with someone slumped in it blocking part of the screen.

Greg crept forward, giving the figure in the chair a cautious eye. As he circled around the chair, he realized something was wrong. The person was absolutely still.

He came around to the front and saw why. The TV cast a harsh light on the corpse, making its white shirt stand out against the red bloodstains.

There was a revolver in the corpse's right hand, which slouched in its red lap.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

100 Words a Day 299

The pain was worse than anything he had ever experienced. It hadn’t hurt this bad when his first girlfriend broke up with him.

It didn’t really hit him until he had gotten home that day and called out for Rover. He was greeted with only silence, and then he remembered. Tears welling in his eyes he hurried into his room, ignoring a call from his mother in the kitchen.

As he sobbed, he conjured up every memory he could think of. It made the pain worse, but he somehow knew it would make if fade faster. He missed his dog.

100 Words a Day 298

Ugh, he thought. The last thing he wanted to do was drag himself out of bed and go to the party.

He felt obliged though. He had said he would go, and everyone would be there, but he was tired and just wanted to relax.

After finally disentangling himself from the party, he dragged himself home, regretting most of the experience.

So much of his time was spent focusing on something; he wanted to relax when he went out, not worry about what verbal jab someone was going to take at him.

He resolved to stay home at more often.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

100 Words a Day 297

It smelled like an old book because it was one. He’d liberated it from his mother’s collection upon moving out. He took it because it had been one of his favorites when he was younger. Now it tended to sit on the shelf, unread and hardly noticed, but he would feel its loss if someone were to remove it.

The pages were stained. Some of the stains were his mother’s fault, some his. He opened it to page 239 and touched the tea stain, remembering how he had knocked over the glass next to him when he heard the doorbell.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

100 Words a Day 296

He stared up at the billboard. It was a close up of a counter with a substantial cutting board. To the left of the board was a knife block with Toledo burned into the side, as though by a brand. In the background he saw a rainbow of produce, hanging, in baskets, or piled on another counter.

One of the knives was on the cutting board. It was straight and neat, no unnecessary ornamentation. It looked well-crafted, like it would cut effortlessly.

Presiding over the scene:

Because You Like Your Knives the Way You Like Your Meat: A Cut Above.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

100 Words a Day 295

“You did a great job last week,” Barry said, giving her a patronizing pat on the back.

“Thanks,” Annette replied.

“You had the best sales numbers of the whole team.”

Fed up finally, Annette turned to Barry. “Words are wind. Why don’t you put your money where your mouth is and blow a few dollars my way?”

Taken aback, Barry responded. “If you don’t like it you can always find a different job.” finishing his sentence with a superior smile.

“Fuck this shit!” Annette exclaimed, throwing the papers she was holding into the air, and storming out of the office.

100 Words a Day 294

The chilly Christmas Eve air found its way into the bar, dispelling any warmth that might have been found in the comfort of alcohol. Fairytale of New York was playing on the jukebox.

Don looked down and swirled his beer glass on the unfeeling bar top. His lips turned up in a remorseful smile and he sighed.

The song’s sad sound filled his head and trickled down, mixing with the sorrow in his heart. The blending of the two sent an acute pain radiating out of his heart and into his chest.

He slouched lower in his stool and sighed.

Monday, June 10, 2013

100 Words a Day 293

Everything was set. He was intentionally running behind, because people like the smell of someone else cooking, but the Caprese salad was ready. He had made it with slices of tomato and cheese, to be eaten with the hands.

There was also a small bottle of wine, recently removed from the refrigerator, on the table. It was just big enough to help facilitate conversation; it wouldn’t do for anyone to get too tipsy.

The pineapple was sliced and chilling, it simply waited for the Cointreau and it would be ready to be served.

When the doorbell rang, he was ready.

100 Words a Day 292

“It happens to everyone,” Sara said, snuggling deeper into the covers.

“You don’t understand. It’s never happened to me before. It’s like opening Pandora’s Box; it cannot be shut again. It’s like a soldier wondering if this is the battle where his courage will fail him.”

“You’re being too dramatic.”

Nathan ignored her and continued, “It’s a sword of Damocles, hanging over me, the thread fraying with age. The first piece of it has fallen on my shoulder, now I’m just waiting for the thread to snap and the sword to come crashing down.”

Sara was dead asleep, completely unconcerned.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

100 Words a Day 291

The thick glass was tall and heavy, being in excess of a pint in size, but empty. The handle was equally substantial, designed to stand up to heavy drinking. Casual inspection showed a pattern etched into the glass. It was a simple geometric design, but it felt nice against the fingers and added grip.

The actual vessel also had a design etched into it, the bar’s logo. It was a raven perched atop a barrel with a small spout. The bird’s wings were spread, as though it was about to take flight. Underneath was the bar’s name, Mr. Poe’s Barrel.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

100 Words a Day 290

“...and those are some of the ways you can challenge your subordinates,” the speaker said.

“Are you all a bunch of fucking idiots? Do you not understand anything about people?” The newest member of management said, leaping to his feet.

“Yes, people want to be challenged, but they want to be rewarded in relation to the challenge.”

He saw the looks of shock on his colleagues’ faces, but continued.

“I have an employee that does the work of three people, and they know it. Should I challenge her to do the work of four and not pay her another cent?”

Thursday, June 6, 2013

100 Words a Day 289

He slammed the shot glass down on the bar. The force, made his sodden body sway slightly on the stool.

His heart had been obliterated that night, and now he was getting obliterated. A moment of lucidity managed to pierce his deepening drunken haze and he heard The Eagles on the jukebox:

“Woah, and it’s a hollow feelin’"
"When it comes down to bein’ friends”

The small part of him that wasn’t whiskey-soaked decided The Eagles got it wrong. It was worse than a hollow feeling. He felt nothing. He hadn’t felt anything sober and he wasn’t feeling anything drunk.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

100 Words a Day 289

“She gave me a compliment,” Cliff said.

“That’s great!” Sherry exclaimed. “She likes you.”

“I’m not sure it was sincere.”

“Why would she lie about that?”

“I don’t know. I just have a hard time with compliments.”


“Every time I’ve ever identified with a character on the receiving end of a compliment, that character was receiving a false one. And, a lot of the compliments I have received are ones that are shown to be lies most of the time by popular culture.”

“What do you mean?”

“You know. Does this dress make me look fat? But for men.”

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

100 Words a Day 288

The radio crackled and buzzed, prompting them to gather around, eager for news of any kind. A voice cut through the static, echoing through the lonely basement:

The state of emergency is still in effect. Please remain in your homes. Anyone violating the curfew will be detained. Those resisting detention will be shot. The threat to our way of life is still at large and we need your cooperation.

The broadcast ceased, leaving the buzz that had preceded it. There was a palpable depression of energy in the room. It was the same as last night, and every night before.

Monday, June 3, 2013

100 Words a Day 287

She let the smoke drifted out of her mouth and into my face. It had that harsh smell that cigarette smoke has. I didn’t recoil from the wafting cloud coming out of her mouth; it took me back to a bar in another place.

It was hot outside, despite the late hour. I was sitting outside, a glass of Cruzcampo in front of me. That smell of smoke permeated the air around me. I wouldn’t say I was happy, rather deeply contented.

I was brought back by a stab of melancholy. I looked down into my beer and sighed deeply.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

100 Words a Day 286

He directed the iron across the shirt with careful precision. He took a great pride in the shirts he ironed. It wasn’t a glamorous job, but everyone appreciated a shirt with crisp, clean lines, sometimes starched. He finished the shirt and folded it with the same precision he had used to move the iron over the garment. Once that was complete he moved onto the next shirt.

There was no wasted movement in his process. Pride in his work and years of practice allowed him to iron with the precision of a machine and the care of a master craftsman.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

100 Words a Day 286

The two farmers stood on the disputed ground. They would battle to resolve the claim. No one else was present; it was forbidden. It was the two men and their two weapons, little more than rocks wrapped in leather strips.

Without ceremony they screamed and ran towards each other, arms held back to deliver the first blow.

They stopped within range of each other and swung. The rocks, jagged edges exposed through the wrapping, slammed into the men’s heads, sending them reeling.

Blinded by pain and operating on the primitive, the main retained only enough awareness to use their weapons.