Wednesday, December 17, 2014

December Story #1: Dario's Broken Mirror

Hah! I posted that little thing on inspiration then went stone-cold quiet. Nothing like cold stones...
I actually have a story, just haven't gotten around to editing it and then dragging that damn text to the blog. Also, I no longer have MS Word, so I use this farce of a program called WordPad which is basically the Kirkland of Charmin toilet paper. Totally serviceable. But it's thin where you need it.
Without further ado:
Dario's Broken Mirror
~alas, WordPad has no word count... perhaps 2000+

Dario stumbled as he ducked beneath the threshold of the café, recovering only just in time to greet the concerned smile of the hostess. She winced for himand he was grateful, as he had been terribly slow to reactbefore taking a menu from her stand and beckoning him to follow after her. He did so willingly and without comment, glancing back and forth down aisles of tables, chairs, and potted plants. There were many other diners. Most of them sat alone but were talking with animation. Dario found this odd.

Dario was not a normal person of the times. He had spent some time cryogenically frozen, at the behest of his famous uncle, who provided the necessary funds for the experimental procedure. The first person successfully frozen, though the twenty-seventh to attempt it, it was a charming achievement that Dario never celebrated. He remembered stunningly little of the resuscitation process. Cold hands prodded him, plucked his skin, and waved lights in his eyes. Then he was warm, clothed, and signing forms.

They gave him a rectangular piece of glass with images on its surface, a blurry, static kaleidoscope of nonsense. He thought a corner of the glass resembled a jellyfish. He stared at it, dumbly, as if he were looking into a mirror that refused his reflection. Dario sat. He considered leaving. Someone came along and tut-tutted and took the broken mirror from him; they fiddled with it, many clicks and beepsand perhaps one more tut; they handed it back to him; and now, the broken mirror spoke to him and the images moved with grace and clarity, and it explained some of the world to Dario. He forgot most of what it said but remembered this of it: Everything was different than his old life. Everything from his old life was dead.

At some point, Dario put down the glass that contained flat, moving people, and further from that point, he decided he ought to get on with his life. The glass continued to spout the café’s menu well after he was gone.

And Dario found himself in this café, looking with concern at each of the diners. At one table, a man was furiously stuffing a breaded confection into his mouth, some red gelatinous cream oozing over the top and busting through the sides, falling in dollops to a table that gathered all these together, moving like drops of oil until they sat in a neat pile at the center. The man, having dispensed with the greater mass of his meal, turned upon this little midden, scooped it with the back of his thumb and sucked it down with a victorious sigh. Then, as if he had been thoroughly engaged all along, the man resumed a conversation, speaking with great swings of his arms, yet no one sat with him. Dario stared and raised an eyebrow. How monstrously curious, he thought.

The hostess called to him, "Sir?"

Dario hurried after her.

But he passed another table, where a young lady sat in corner booth, hunched over and staring into a silver book that cast a ghoulish light upon her face. She was squinting as if in the middle of a desert and its glaring sun. Thick-rimmed glasses were pressed tightly to her face. Her fingers and nails clacked against the tableor was it the book?and, in the briefest of respites, she would straighten, arch her back, crack her knuckles together, roll her neck and lean forward to resume the whole process anew. During this, she spoke to herself, almost incessantly and certainly gibberish. Dario believed only every other word held any literal meaning. Her maddening giggle could only have resulted from inhaling too much funny gas, as it was too superficial and constant to be authentic humor.

He slapped his forehead, I must have left my mind behind or so everyone else has.

"Miss?" Dario said to the hostess. "I’m afraid that some of your patrons may be a bit loose in the head. You see that girl yonder, just a shade past that plant? Yes, that one. Yes, I’m worried for this girl. She appears to be unconscious of the fact that she is talking to herself. It is worrisome behavior whereor I suppose, rather whenI am from."

The hostess fixed a skeptical gaze on Dario, shrugged, handed him the menu, and said, "I’ll just give you a few moments then."

"I very much appreciate that," Dario said, smiling to her back. He slid into his seat, an uncomfortable and spine-shifting mold of plastic. He twisted in its depth. Finding that every position constantly harassed his tailbone with the hard demands of the chair, Dario frantically scanned for a new seat. He called to the hostess and waved that he would be moving to a new location. Far away, she nodded.

With an air of gratitude, Dario dropped into a booth of tired maroon leather and weathered mahogany veneer. A middle-aged woman already seated in the boothbut obscured from the sight of anyone looking at the boothheld a finger to her lips. She was dressed in a sharp business suit and engaging in a vicious dialogue with a spare half-eaten salad that deserved little of the showering insults. Dario yelped.

He waved in humiliation and whispered, "I’m very sorry, ma’am. I’ll be going."

Dario was defeated, tired and quite bitter. I just want something nice to eat! Is that so much to ask for? I haven’t had something to eat in a hundred years; I think I deserve to have an eggs Benedict. He found that he was glaring at everyone around him, absorbed in his or her meal and conversation.


Some days later, Dario found himself in a doctor’s office, atop a cushioned stool. The doctor was a kindly old man, wearing the honored white coat of a scientific person. He thumbed through something in the air, stabbing at motes of dust revealed in the veins of light streaming through the vertical blinds. With a single beep and from a point in space between the doctor and Dario, a small green circle appeared, steadily growing in gentle ripples until it formed a large rectangle. It looked as real and heavy as a chalkboard from Dario’s childhood education, until the doctor stepped through the panel as easily as if he were walking through sunlight.

He turned to look at the green screen from Dario’s perspective.

"Unfortunately, Mr. Crates, despite your wish to see otherwise, your physical health seems to be in perfect balance. Your brain patterns reflect little alteration from the resuscitation process. In fact, we find that you have achieved a heightened sense of awareness." The doctor waved at several graphs, sliding and minimizing them to the side, and bringing a vibrant picture of Dario’s brain to the front. It fluttered in the colors of the rainbow.

"Excuse me, doctor? What does that indicate? It is clearly my brain yet it appears to be confused as to what color it ought to be. Should it not be some placid blue? A tame violet?"

"This is an active scan of your brain, Mr. Crates, (meaning that it is happening this very moment!) and according to this, well, it would appear that your hearing and sight are operating above the peak standards of the standard citizen. You also exhibit a mental acuity that not only remembers but also vividly relives its past experienceshence this region here looking a bit like a burping toad. More than any of my previous and current patients, you meditate on your past and how to immediately improve upon it. Your mind is in constant motion, yet not due to stimulants or any visual accessories. This is quite a rare trait, as I hope my explanation has revealed. If you wouldn’t mind, we would very much like to have you come in for further examination."

"I think I very much mind. To what end are these examinations?"

The doctor scratched behind his ear, a fleshy orifice sprouting with white hair. Perhaps he didn’t expect Dario to refuse. "Well, this is quite embarrassing, and I hope you will take this as merely this professional’s personal opinion, but your attention to detail and understanding of your surroundings is intriguing. The desire to find your place in the community and your effect on it is admirable. People have certainly taken notice of the ‘frozen man’ who went into a café, asked for food, harassed seven separate patrons, wept, then expressed satisfaction with the establishment’s food by vomiting its contents on their doorstep as he left. Odd indeed.

"The extent to which you suffer introspection is, in itself, amazing. Allow me to explain, Mr. Crates, as you appear somewhat lost. Humans are a social lot. We enjoy the company of others. Perhaps not in your time, but certainly now, we have established that connection without pause. You may be familiar with the antiquated system called the Internet, is that correct? Oh, no? Well, ah… the Internet… ah allowed people to contact each other instantly, much like early telephones did, which you surely remember. But, people could send more than audio. Imagine! You see something fascinating on the street, say: a beautiful mural or a four-leaf clover. You could take a picture of that with a camera and send it to someone, in the blink of an eye, using the Internet. Of course, there are humanizing portraits, adorable puppies…"

Dario thought about this some while the doctor continued talking. He scratched his chin, roughing up the thin stubble. The desire to leave for peace and quiet struck him, yet something kept him in place. He sighed as the doctor finally paused. "Why would I send them a picture through this Internet?" Dario said.

"What?" The doctor had been talking about something else. "Oh, the Internet? To share, Mr. Crates! Because that is human nature. It is essential to our mental state, our health and sense of fulfillment, that we give our experiences to others."

"And so everyone shares every moment of their lives… with everyone else?"

"Well, not quite, but for the most part, yes."

"That doesn’t sound like something I’d want to be a part of."

"By no means am I a developed psycho-therapistthough I only need four more years to acquire my certification!but I would say that your refusal of joining the Meld is a curious behavior attributed mostly to your era. You believe in antiquated notions like emotional ‘closets’ and ‘privacy,’ and you may believe that those provide you some kind of dignity and honor, but those simply don’t exist anymore. The closets and privacy, I mean.

"Which in fact brings up my larger point behind further testing for you. The advent of the Meld has galvanized a technological boom much like that of the Industrial Revolution, but more than that, it has created an immediate evolution in the growth and manner of humans, and it begs the question: have human brains evolved drastically since the Meld came into existence and given yourforgive mearchaic brain, would you be able to handle existence with the Meld? I’m sure that this will begin to interest you as much as me once you understand the enormity of this question. We at the Malcom Richardson Medical Facility would be honored to handle your case. It will certainly make a splash, a historic paper for all the journals, to be sure."

The doctor stared mistily into the green panel, at the shimmering ripples of rainbow in Dario’s brain. He seemed to forget that Dario was in the room.

Dario said, "Well, I don’t quite think that I’m really in the mood for more testing. I’ve had enough of that the past few days to last the rest of my life. I’d really like just to be left alone."

The doctor whirled on Dario, his face uncomfortably intimate, and placed a hand on Dario’s shoulder. "But don’t you see? That’s the whole reason why it’s fascinating. No one wants to be left alone! It’s a precedent unseen even in the colonies. Socialization is an incredibly strong characteristic in humans. The fact that you desire such individuality harkens to your bygone era. We don’t have access to that information anymore (scrubbed in the wars), but you, you represent a whole era, its entire mentality! We simply must understand it. There could never be another chance." He breathed heavily.

Dario rose slowly from his stool. "I think I’ll be going now, doctor. Thank you very much for your time."

The doctor, his voice almost a whine, said, "You don’t understand, Mr. Crates, this, your brain with our research, it could change the world. We could understand what it was, why we shifted, everything! Don’t you see how important this is? How society might change?"

"Doctor," Dario said, "I think that society would rather look at adorable puppies."

Saturday, November 22, 2014

You Probably Want Inspiration Too

Let's face it: you have a hard time finding inspiration. 

Allow me to define that. 

Inspiration comes in a flash yet instills lasting courage and drive. It makes you want to get back to it, every morning, without fail. It gets you past the distractions, the imgurs, the forums, the quick memes and videos... the Internet. It makes you thirsty to get back into the trenches, fight in the scrum and the dirt, through the blood, sweat, and tears. 

Inspiration makes that shit exhilarating. I believe that inspiration lets you look beyond your frontiers, and lets you know, "Hey, that over there, those greener grasses? It's in reach. Yeah, go get it."

If you think that you're struggling in your writing, finding it hard to place the pants to the seat, then you gotta look for some inspiration. These are hard to find. It will take time, and do not let the false inspirations get you. 

There is little worse than believing that you are inspired, only to burn out. You only have so many burn-outs in your tank. The discouragement from these is brutal. Really think, really believe that when you have found your inspiration, that it will take you far, push you to grow. 

After you've done that, the necessary stuff—the stuff that you kinda hate and avoid doing—makes sense, and you understand the purpose behind the brutal, daily work. You are officially inspired to chase your dreams, one step at a time.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

November Story #1


A short little clip I want to provide for you, my dear reader. Hopefully, you enjoy it (and even if you don't, expect to see much more from this new character). As always, please leave me any comments/feedback wherever you can!

The Mage Without Magic

He was not sure whether the darkness was in his mind or reality. Several times, he blinked and rubbed his eyes until his vision was sprayed with stars. And yet, when the stars faded, nothing remained of his sight but complete darkness. He knew that this unsettling darkness was real. “What is my name?” he said to the darkness, and when not even an echo dared to reply, he became unsure whether he had ever spoken at all. He opened his mouth to speak again, by habit mostly, for he realized that his voice held no value, that speaking meant a conversation, and a normal one with two people. He would be insane to hold a conversation with himself, or so he thought. So he did not speak.

What is my name? he thought. Where am I, in darkness so absolute, that I dare not take one step? If I take one step, and I reach nothing, have I truly gone anywhere? If I cannot see that my step has taken my somewhere, is it still a step?

He hugged himself and found that he was naked, yet comfortably so. Hesitantly, he reaffirmed the existence of his limbs, the long scrawny arms with barely a hair to the soft skin and the legs, thin, yet still retaining some of the once-muscular form. He tugged at each ear lobe. With his left hand, he snapped his fingers continuously, tracing from his left ear to his right, and back again, then snapped away from his ear and repeated the snaps nuzzled close.

So I exist, he thought to himself, and suddenly, he knew that he had made this assertion before, that this whole act had happened to him already. And fear became real once again.
This is not right! I should be free, with my family, my dear wife, Rona, and my sweet children, Daisy and Dylan, but instead, I am here, in this god-forsaken darkness, trapped not only with my thoughts but also my body. Damn!

Something like a groan escaped his body as the memories flooded back to him.

His name was Kyborn Tjelvjekr, student of Doshta Firn, descendent of the Mountain Circle. He had once been a mage, and that had meant something. People had respected him, sought him for advice, aid, and ability. What did it mean to be a mage? Kyborn searched his mind for the answer to this question, and when none appeared, his hopelessness—much darker than his environment—bore down on him. He crumpled, only vaguely wondering whether his fall would be infinite. It hurt him that he should not know the answer to this question; it hurt him more than knowing he would never see his wife and children ever again; it hurt him, beyond all his memories, and struck deep in every muscle and fiber of his body. He knew he used to be a mage, and yet, with the certainty of his breath and bones, he did not know how he had been a mage.

In his fetal position, Kyborn Tjelvejkr cried himself to sleep, hoping full well that when he awoke, he would forget all he had remembered.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Dear reader:

Tonight, I am packing my bags and boxes (hopefully all within one trip of my little Corolla) and heading to a new apartment. I've been staying with my grandma, looking after her in the eleven months since my grandpa's passing. 

In spite of the reason for me being here, these last few months have been really really awesome. Growing up, I never had the chance to spend this much time with her—just 24/7: sharing bathroom, kitchen, laundry, chores, cat frustration, cat love and all the rotting food. Language barriers be damned, there are just lots of little moments that we've had, no words needed. I won't forget whenever she grinned sheepishly at buying too much food, laughed hysterically when the cat did something stupid, or got mad at me for refusing to eat six whole meals a day (we settled somewhere around 4.5). 

I'm always gonna remember those moments.

But, it's not a long-term solution for me to stay with her. I think she realizes that just as much as I do. Family is everything, and we're always trying to do right by one another. I think, for both of us, we need to show we can live on our own. 

That knowledge didn't make it any easier when she stood in my doorway—having just heard that I'm moving out—and was just speechless. Behind the glint of her glasses were some parts understanding and more parts sadness. But she didn't say a word. We were past that. She just sighed, the short hiccupy kind from too much crying, and shuffled off. 


That was a long night for me. 

I thought that maybe I was really wrong. Really wrong. Maybe I didn't know anything about her, had projected my own goals onto her. Maybe she wasn't ready. Maybe I was destroying all the confidence she had been rebuilding. 

But that night did end, and when I woke up, I knew she was going to be alright. And I think she knew, too. 

The thing is, you never know what's going to happen, but that doesn't mean you should be afraid of change or growth. Accept that good and bad outcomes may arise. You'll be there to meet them. 

Sorry, no October Story #2 from me. Just real life stuff. Stay tuned for a busy November though!


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

finished a book!

Not my book though.

I just finished reading Robert Heinlein's Starship Troopers.

Disclaimer* I love science-fiction and especially have a great deal of respect for the Big 3 of SF: Asimov, Clarke, and Heinlein.

Anyway, I loved the movie as a kid and never really figured to read any of the real creator's work. Now that I have, I am a little upset at the movie. It doesn't come near the depth of the book.

The book has themes, y'know those important elements of a book that give it meaning, something that you can chew on once you're done.

The book hits on lots of things: the meaning of citizenship, civic duty, morals, cultural identity, the value of human life. It goes through a lot of steps, and I think it hits on many of them.

That alone makes it worth the read.

Yes, it's about war. Yes, it's about military.

It's gotten a lot of flak for glorifying war, but I think that's too broad. Read it, think about it, then come back and we can talk about it. I don't want to spoil it.

So I won't go further into it because I'd love to do some more of my own writing tonight, but seriously, if you've got some downtime, check it out. It's a quick read at about 250 short pages.


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

October Story #1

I've been working on this one for a few days. I hope you enjoy it. 


Young Doug McMurtle wanted to pretend that buying the Thanksgiving turkey with his father was a boring affair. Fifteen-years old, he believed the world was something of a joke; he yawned through classes, receiving the highest marks and teacher’s disdain; the local papers—for lack of better news—frequently reported on Doug’s newest athletic achievement and the promise of his future; but when his father, Damon McMurtle, asked Doug help him get the annual bird, Doug struggled to conceal his excitement.

Doug walked—but was nearly skipping—beside his father, working to keep pace, and wishing he would hit his growth spurt sooner. The thin soles of his sneakers revealed every crack, panel, and vent along the sidewalk. It was a dirty, uneven sidewalk, with cigarette butts, bottle caps, and glass shards. The random street tree—planted for no sensible person or civic reason—only provided bumps and ridges where the roots paid no heed. An oblivious pedestrian was likely to fall, but there were no such oblivious pedestrians in the city’s “Gangplank” corridor.

It was nearing dusk. Any such night would merit a door-blocked-with-crossed-arms from Mrs. McMurtle and a scolding that they ought to know better. This was not one of those nights. The Gangplank corridor was no home of quaintness. When the sun fled and the streetlights assumed flickering facsimiles, the McMurtle’s neighborhood did not become an endearing corner of the city. Nobody left their homes, and when gunshots boomed, beds were checked and prayers were made. Mrs. McMurtle gave a tight smile as they left the house.

There was an edge to Doug’s breathing as they left the front door, the sun just fading behind the tallest tenement buildings. It was not yet dark out, but late enough, late enough.

Doug thought of the other Thanksgivings his father snuck out of the house and in the morning, there being a great big bird in the oven. The roasting turkey guaranteed a meal that the whole family would gather around. Past arguments would come to a halt. The savory smell of the McMurtle secret sauce calmed every sense. Neighbors would knock, hinting for an invitation. The McMurtle’s never said no.

As they walked quickly down the city streets, Doug realized they weren’t heading towards his father’s car. They would surely need it to reach a grocery store, as only liquor stores and chain fast food joints dared this part of the city. Doug glanced at his father.

Damon McMurtle was a big man. Old football days lingered on his hobbled ankles. On hot days, he grabbed at his knees and asked if someone wouldn’t kindly get an ice bag for their dad. He never spoke about his semi-professional days and rarely helped Doug with his various sports. Tonight was different: Damon’s stride could have carried him halfway to the moon. Damon McMurtle was a man drilled in the art of determination and the precision of strategy, and he still possessed the raw instincts of the big game. Doug didn’t know it then, but his father lived for this night.

Damon glanced at his sports watch, its brilliant turquoise light illuminating his coat sleeve. “C’mon, Doug, we gotta go down Woods. You’re doing good.”

Doug wiped at his sweaty brow. He was nearly jogging to stay abreast. “Thanks Dad.” He thought of asking why they weren’t in a car and why on earth they would go down Woods, but Doug knew that his father knew what they were doing. At least, Doug hoped he knew.

Damon scanned the streets. He kept a wide hand on Doug’s shoulder. A few people quickly walked the streets. From 81st and Woods, Damon and Doug looked ahead at 82nd, where five men sat on a couch and lawn chairs. They were smoking cigarettes, talking amongst themselves, and waiting for junkies.

They stood at 81st for thirty seconds, Damon counting off under his breath. A dented black sedan approached and stopped even with the men at the intersection of 82nd. One of the men had already risen, went to the open window, and came away with several bags, which he passed to the others. The car idled. Damon blinked the light on his watch. “Too long,” he said.

“What?” Doug said. He thought that perhaps his heartbeat had been louder than his father’s words.

“Nothing, hang on for me while Dad thinks, Doug.” But then he let out a breath as a man rose from his lawn chair, went to the car, and stuck a hand through the window. Moments later, the car pulled from the curb, stopped at the intersection, swept a slow U-turn, and drove steadily down the street.

The men resumed their lounging and ate hamburgers and fries.

Damon gripped Doug’s shoulders, and they walked carefully towards 82nd Avenue. Doug glanced at the men. They looked normal. He sometimes wondered if these men were as bad as his father and mother told him. Doug never challenged his parents because he knew this: Damon and Sophia McMurtle were good people, and when good people tell you something, you listen to them.

They made it past 82nd Avenue and continued down Woods. They paused at James Hill’s Park. The sun’s ambient light was fading as it reached the horizon. A city planner designed James Hill Park as the first in her “city revival” series. When she died in a car accident, so did her plans; the mayor lost his reelection; the city forgot the revival; and James Hill’s Park became the last in its series.

Geese were rampant in James Hill’s Park, lying on the grass when not drifting atop the roughly Olympic-pool sized pond. Shoe treads quickly accumulated handfuls of stringy feces. Day or night, no one entered the park.

“Dad, what are we doing here?”

“Doug, we’re here for Thanksgiving.”

For a moment, Doug thought his father meant to eat Thanksgiving at James Hill’s Park. Is he out of his mind? There’s no place to eat that doesn’t smell like shit! As Doug began to protest, Damon raised a hand for silence.

“You hear anyone?”

Doug strained his ears for any sound other than their breathing. “No, but Dad—”

“Ok, Doug, here we go. We’re going to move real fast here. I want you to pay attention in case you gotta do this for your old man in the future. We’re talking about the McMurtle Thanksgiving. You want a big old bird for everyone to eat? This is where we get it. Now, we don’t have…”

Doug understood nothing of his father’s next words. They were here for Thanksgiving. His mother had let them leave, despite the time. They weren’t in a store.

“…so you just stand behind and make sure you see everything I do.” Damon looked at Doug in the twilight. He squeezed Doug’s shoulder. “You ready, Doug?”

“Dad, we’re here to get the Thanksgiving bird? The one that you always bring back from the store? Is this just a joke? Why are we really here?”

Damon sighed. “Doug, we don’t have a whole lot of good light left to have a conversation. Can we do this later? You don’t gotta do a lot; we went over the plan. Just stand by in case I need you. Can you bear through it, son?”

Doug nodded heavily, but he knew he couldn’t. Emotions roiled in his heart, and no amount of thinking would quiet them. When his father turned away and headed toward a settling flock of geese, Doug ran away.

Doug ran like it was the race of his life. Lines in the pavement zipped past. Instinct took over. He kept his knees high, stayed on his toes, loosened his shoulders. His track coach always marveled at how effortless Doug’s form looked. Tears coursed down his face. Homes, light poles, fire hydrants, and park cars blurred. He didn’t know which way he was headed and didn’t care. Once breathing became a struggle and his muscles ached for oxygen, he slowed to a trot, then a walk, and finally stopped and leaned over a fence. Vaguely, he hoped there were no dogs in the adjoining yard. Doug took stock of his location.

He had only run three blocks toward home.

He wanted to keep going. He wanted to go all the way home, to cry in his mother’s lap, to tell her that they didn’t eat turkey for Thanksgiving, to tell her that it was all a lie. Instead, he only felt drained. The chain-links rattled and bent as Doug slumped against the fence.

“I can’t run anymore,” he said. “I’m the fastest boy in my school, and I can’t run anymore.” He wiped at his wet eyes with the back of his hand then glared at his palms, examining the lines in them. A palmist had once traced each line and told him the meanings.

“You’ll be a strong runner because you have a big heart,” she said. “Pumps lots of oxygen, makes you faster. These crossing lines mean that you’ll never be confused for very long. And you see this long curving line, untouched by anything else? That signifies…” The woman had paused. Gathering her thoughts and peeking at old maps hanging in her rafters, she cooed with realization. “Ah, yes, the long line refers to the lasting health of your family.” The palmist may have gotten that one correct if Damon McMurtle (then on crutches) had brought Doug to see her rather than Sophia.

Sneakers scuffed against the pavement as a pair of shadows—silhouettes in the diminishing twilight— stepped up to Doug. One of them threw a crumpled paper bag into the yard behind Doug.

“What’re you doing here, little man?” The voice was quiet and gruff.

Doug was afraid. He could feel his hands trembling on his knees, and he was unsure whether to stand or remain seated. His breathing quickened. The chain-links behind him rattled. “I’m just about to go home.”

“You’re about to go home, huh? You look like you’re sitting. Do we know you?”

“He’s with me.” Silent as a tiger, Damon McMurtle stood hulking behind the two men. “I owe you all a great amount of thanks for watching over my son so diligently, but we’ll be getting home now.” Damon’s voice was gravelly and forbidding. It brooked no room for discussion. Doug felt that—at that moment—no man in the world would have had the courage to defy his father.

The two men split and melted into the night.

“Come on, Doug, let’s go home.”

Doug looked with bleary eyes at his father. The sun’s light completely gone, Doug could only just make out the hulking form of his father and a dark object hanging limply by his side. “That’s a goose, isn’t it, Dad?”

“Yeah, son, it’s a goose.”

“We’ve been eating goose for Thanksgiving. We don’t even get it from the store like regular people. We kill them while they sleep—in a park, in James Hill’s Park.”

“Yeah, son.” Damon sighed deeply, and it seemed as though his hulking form lost several inches. He sat next to Doug. A few streetlights came to life. Under the soft amber lights, long streams of sweat glistened on Damon’s face. He was breathing heavily, his nostrils flaring and somewhere between breaths came a thin whistle. “I’m sorry you thought otherwise.”

“Me, too,” Doug said. He meant his words to be harsh. Impossibly, his father deflated more.

“You gotta realize that it’s not really the bird that matters, Doug. It’s bringing everyone together. Getting our neighbors together. Making us feel like a community, even if it’s just for one day. It’s the best day of the year, isn’t it?”

Doug couldn’t help but nod.

“That’s right, son. The best day of the year, and it’s all because of the McMurtle’s and their damn good secret sauce. I didn’t bring you out tonight just to be cold and sit against a fence. I wanted you to see that the world is only what you make it, not just the things that come easy or that everyone else is doing or expecting.”

They stood up.

“And Doug?”


“Next time you decide to run away, don’t go down Woods.”

-----the end-----

Monday, October 6, 2014

get after it

Read this great article by CJ Lyons:

I've never read her stuff, but that hardly tarnishes the advice. It's good stuff.

Highlights of the article:

1. Write 2k, read 2k, every day.

2. Lyons cut back to 40-hours a week at her job (community pediatrician) to focus on writing. Crazy. Crazy and awesome.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

September Short #2

Here's a clip from my new manuscript. Much love.

~500 words

Samuel leaned back in his lawn chair, wiggled his feet free from his sandals, and tugged at the loose grass with his toes. Children crawled all over the park. Most were prepared for soccer: shinguards, high socks, bright jerseys with numbers, and wails that warranted higher percent alcohol in his mojito. He took a sip and sighed and looked out over the field.

Carmin kicked him, “You’re glaring at the kids again, Samuel. You’ve got to stop doing that.”

He shrugged, “They’re not my kids.” Another sip.

“Some of them are your grandkids, Dad,” a voice behind them said.

Michael, the eldest son of Carmin and Samuel, dropped some bags beside them. Dark shadows splayed under his eyes and his hairline was receding; not by much, but if you knew him, you saw it dropping back like the ocean’s tide. Other than that, his physique was admirable. An erect posture he’d gained from the military made him look taller than he was and his presence commanded attention. He kept his muscles lean and veins rose out of his arms. The things he could control by himself were kept under control.

Of all his kids, Samuel loved Michael the most, and though he tried not to show it, the misbalance had become something of a family joke, much to Samuel’s chagrin.

“Glad you could drag your grumpy ass out here, Mom and Dad. Stella will love that you came out for her soccer game. Speak of the devil…”

Stella came shrieking, pushing through Michael and leaving her mother, Tamara, behind. She was a scrawny girl, much in the likeness of her father and grandfather. Samuel couldn’t help but love her, even as she wailed into his ear.

“You’re here! You’re here! I’m so happy you made it, Grandpa.”

Michael cleared his throat. “And, missy?”

Stella looked sheepishly at her father. She went to Carmin: “I love you, too, Grandma!” The moment suddenly awkward, Stella dropped all the soccer equipment she’d been carrying. “I’m going to go find Ashley, Dad!” She sprinted off.

“Wait Stella—” Michael said. His shoulders sagged momentarily. He brightened at the touch of Tamara’s hand on his shoulder.

“Just let her go,” she said. “She’ll be back in time to play the game. And she’s only ten. They’re supposed to run from stuff towards other stuff.” She smiled at Carmin and Samuel. “Nice to see you, Mom and Dad, glad you could make it.”

Samuel lifted his mojito towards them and grinned, “I’m just waiting for my favorite grandchild to kick some ass. I’ve been waiting a long time for her to start beating other kids at athletic sports. Even if you didn’t let her play when she was younger, I’m sure she’s going to beat the shit out of these kids.”

“Samuel,” Carmin said.
“Dad,” Michael said.

“What? A granddad deserves to be proud.” He took another sip. “When does it start?”  

-----to be continued-----