LXI

Birthday. I wrote this earlier in my journal:

I was driving down La Riviera towards Home Depot and a truck pulled into the left turn lane for the river access at Howe. He had our flag flying on his left quarter panel and the rebel flag on the right. I rolled my window down and as I drove by, pointed at him and gave him the finger. What’s funny is as I did so, I saw he was a tough looking dude, sun bronzed, shaven head, covered with tattoos. No question I wouldn’t say a fuckin thing if I wasn’t safely driving by.

Still, that shit pisses me off. We don’t need no god damn slave flag. Those fuckers broke away when they knew they were going to lose their pro-slavery votes in Washington and thus broke the rules in favor of keeping slaves. Fuck those motherfuckers. And fuck anyone who flies their battle flag a hundred fifty eight years later.

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Side Note

My previous blog still exists. I had a thought this one would be for whatever I can create that is not basically just a self-absorbed post about Me. Short fiction, for ex. If I feel about writing about Me, turn it into a little story. However, I haven’t been making time for that. And Oliver Sudden I decided to write about Me, so here.

The picture is purely because I felt like adding a picture.

2019-07-11 08.28.21.

Estranged

“What are you reading now?” He reached across and grabbed my book. “The Stranger. By Albert … Kay-miss?”

I grabbed it back. “Yeah, what.”

“What’s it about?”

“I don’t know.”

The bus squealed over to the curb and rocked gently as people got on and off.

“You’re like halfway through.”

“A third.”

“And you don’t know what it’s about.”

“Why should I?”

“Because you’re reading it.”

The morning sunlight hit me in the face as the bus growled back into traffic.

“That doesn’t make any sense,” I said.

“What,” he said. “You’re not making any sense. You’re the one reading it. You’re supposed to know what it’s about.”

“Maybe I will when I’m finished with it.”

“Maybe?”

I shook my head and stared out the window. A woman and her dog were crossing the street.

* * *

https://lightmotifs.wordpress.com/2019/06/13/thursday-inspiration-8/

Bubble Ribbon

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Kin lit a cigarette and said, “Show me.”

I nodded at Joey. She turned off the lights. I heard Kin draw in a breath as if to object. I turned on my little LED lamp so he’d hold off and unlatched the lid on the bucket. Holding the lamp in one hand, I reached in with the other and grabbed the wand.

The guy Kin had brought with him shifted in his chair and said, “Now wait a—”

“Silence!” said Joey. She was one of those women with a voice men tended to obey. It was one of the two main reasons I hired her.

I was a little dubious grabbing the wand, but I had decided there was too much risk wearing the gloves. It would tip my hand, so to speak.

I whipped it out. It was just a kid’s bubble wand, made of plastic and with a big hoop at one end. The film held within the loop, and I shined my light on it. It was really very beautiful. The pure white light of the LEDs refracted into countless colors, swirling and flowing within the plane of the wand, held in that plane by surface tension. I moved it around to show off infinite patterns and allow gravity to pull on them and make them move.

“Ah, okay,” Kin said, clearly not convinced but willing to wait and see. He needed a performance art installation for some party he was throwing.

I moved it around, getting nearer to them, watching them watch me. I kept my body away from Joey’s line of sight. That is if she had a line of sight. Other than my light the room was completely dark.

“Wait,” said Kin. His timing was perfect.

Kin had many enemies. I worked for one of them. One of them owned a chemical factory. I did not work for that one. But his chemicals worked great. When I whipped the wand down over Kin’s head the acids started their work on his face immediately. I stepped back to grab the bucket and complete the job while Joey settled the other guy down with a shot from her little Colt 380.

A shot in the dark works fine if you have dead aim from sound alone. That was the other main reason I hired her.

* * *

https://lightmotifs.wordpress.com/2019/06/06/thursday-inspiration-7/

FFFC16

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“The best part though, was when I was flying! I could really feel it! I was flying through the clouds and I was flying on the back of a swan! You know like that queen girl on the back of a dragon but it was me and I was on a swan!”

“Mmmm, that sounds wonderful. There’s really nothing like a good acid trip.”

“I know. Thank you so much for being my guide.” The girl smiled.

“You’re very welcome,” said the goose as she spread her wings. “Here, climb on, I’ll take you home.”

* * *

Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge #16

Gone

Gone
Are the joyful days
Like when the pain dies
And the mist dries …

An old, old song screwed itself into Hank’s ears, streaming off his data plan. Suddenly he was seventeen, at the wheel of his parked car, as he was now. But a different car, the old rod that he dearly missed, the one he bought off an old college professor and tried to fix up. When he and … Sally? … passed the threshold in the back seat this very song might have been playing. He had the cassette back then. Bump City. No, you don’t hear that old funk anymore. Gone.

He stared out over the cities below. Oakland shown dully at his feet. San Francisco glittered at the other end of the bridge, all those lights winking as air currents swirled over the Bay. Below Us, All the City Lights … Another old song. Probably never made radio outside the Bay Area. But Tower really knew how to capture the times. There was nothing like the East Bay in the 1970s. Well, Hank almost said out loud, we think that now. Then, it was just … what it was. Now? Gone.

The cold night air crawled through the open window and across his bald head. Were nights ever warm here? No. He remembered that too. Height of summer, you still had to take a coat. But the weather here was the best anyway.

A flash of headlights and a crunching of tires on gravel shifted his focus but he didn’t move. Kept staring, thinking about all that excitement, the mistakes, the really big mistakes, all those women … Where were they now? Were they all still even alive? Probably not. Gone.

Silence. He felt eyes on him. Casually he moved his gaze from the City to the Golden Gate, almost hidden by the fog. But his thoughts had shifted. There was a night, a lot like this one. He and Manny felt like kings, acted like kings. Manny had scored a big deal through his brother. It was his step up. Bangers were gonna be impressed. He and Manny were gonna go through chicks like Kleenex.

They were higher than fuck, and Hank never really remembered anything, but what he did remember, he remembered a thousand times. There were cars, there were dudes he didn’t know, serious-looking fuckers. Trunks opened, merchandise tested. Manny played it up, and he was bad, he was hella bad that night. Everything went exactly right.

Until it went exactly wrong. Sudden movements, blue and red lights flashing, guns drawn, bodies going this way and that, shouting, such scared shouting.

Hank never remembered the details. When his brain tried to, he coked them out. All that really stuck in his mind was holding onto Manny, pressing his palm into his chest, blood everywhere, crying. Manny tried so hard to be a man about it. In a hoarse whisper he said his brother was gonna be hella proud of him, hella proud. And he died.

Gone.

And Hank spent years stewing over it. Manny’s brother had set it up. Manny’s brother had fucked it up. By the time Hank got out he had decided anyone who brings a little brother into the business needs a lesson.

But he had no idea. He had to stay out of the state. Years passed. Hank spent most of them in the South. Dallas, Atlanta, wherever the airlines needed baggage handlers. It was all he could do. It was all he cared to do.

He felt rather than saw a well-dressed young man get out of the driver’s seat and go around to the passenger side. The door opened. An even more well-dressed older man got out. The feeling of eyes on him never wavered.

It was the God damnedest thing. Hank had tried to forget. Then some random name came out of the past on some social network. He clicked a link. He clicked another link. And there was the face, attached to some fly-by-night inner-city ministry. Toothy smile, dead eyes, a face kind of like Manny’s only seventy years old and crumpled like a paper bag.

Hank learned long since there was no point in talking. He opened the door and lurched painfully to his feet, smiled a little bit. The so-called minister narrowed his eyes … and blocked his bodyguard. “Amateur,” Hank said, and let his 9 mil say the rest to both of them.

Gone!

* * *

I wrote this from this prompt here, in moments stolen from the middle of the day, the theme being a song I didn’t use, a picture I also didn’t use, and the word “gone.”

Perchance To Dream

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Bill felt the truck slow down and opened one eye a slit to see a gas station come into view. He closed it again. Last thing he wanted was for Cosmo to know he was awake.

“Here, this oughta do it, yeah,” Cosmo said, in that quiet voice when he doesn’t think anyone’s listening.

The truck lurched to a halt. It made a hell of a lot of noise doing it, as all the crap in the back and in the trailer, not to mention the trailer itself, rattled to rest. There was no way to pretend he’d slept through that, so Bill groaned and said, “What? What happened?”

“Thought we was gonna run out of gas,” Cosmo said as he pulled the brake. “I was really sweating it for a while there. I mean, we’re outa water too, and people die from that shit, you know, running out of water, but if we run out of gas you can forget getting any water or anything else. You gotta flag someone down, and, you know, no one stops these days, they just pass on by, except maybe the highway patrol, and I don’t ever wanna deal with no got damn highway patrol. C’mon, man. Let’s fill up.”

Bill wished he could still pretend to be asleep. He wondered if Cosmo managed to stop talking when he was asleep.

“Where you goin’ with all that?” the counter person asked. Out at the pump Cosmo’s Power Wagon, twenty years old and going on forty, squatted under a ratcheted-down load of dusty bicycles with the flatbed trailer behind it buried in coolers, tent poles, a quad runner with a wheel missing, a Greenlee tool box with a truck bumper-sized dent in it, all kinds of junk, and more bicycles.

“Funny you should ask,” Cosmo said cheerfully. “My hitchhiker here asked the same question and it is a hell of a story…”

Bill quickly wandered off to look at the convenience store merchandise. It was the decision that had woken him up at exactly the right moment, and as he looked at the camping knives, especially one with a long, sharp, beautifully curved blade all set to slice through the plastic packaging and anything else it chose to, the decision was fully validated. Cosmo could talk on for a while yet. We’ll soon see, Bill thought, if he talks in his sleep.

Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge #15

Just written out, no editing time invested.