Saturday, December 27, 2014
Wednesday, November 26, 2014
And Leah's prompts continue. Today we write for an entire page (*cough* an entire page? *cough*) about peeling a potato:
Apple of the earth, right? And it does, it smells like earth. Even after I wash it, the skin, my skin, it smells like earth.
Apple of the earth, right? And it does, it smells like earth. Even after I wash it, the skin, my skin, it smells like earth.
Rough under my fingertips.
Careful not to cut my fingertips. Nine out of ten I do, I cut myself accidentally. Doesn’t matter if I use a knife or a peeler. I do it.
So generally I don’t do it. Peel the earth apples, I mean. I don’t peel them.
They say that’s where the good stuff is, anyway. That Russians kept the peels and gave their prisoners the insides. The soft, fleshy insides.
Anyway, back to peeling. If I peel them, I wash them and rub them first between my hands. Then I smell my fingers because I can’t help myself. The smell on my fingers is better than the smell on the potatoes.
Next I pull the green garbage can halfway out from under the sink, balancing it against my knee. One slice at a time, the peels curl away. Cut away from myself. Hold the potato in my palm, gripping with the ends of my fingers. Pushing the knife down, the peels fall down, and finally the white inside is naked in my hand. Strange knobs in the flesh exposed.
Set the exposed potato aside to start on the next.
And then the next.
Such a quick, casual affair.
I don’t like the way my fingers smell, all starchy and acrid, after peeling them. Much less intimate. Which is interesting since at that point the earth apple is laid bare.
Tuesday, October 14, 2014
Leah's prompt: Write about an ink stain, real or imagined.
Garh turned toward her and spit.
“Damn, dude,” Jess said, shuffling back on her haunches. She lifted her hands and tucked her hip to avoid his moist projectile. “What was that?”
Ducking his head was a feat in their confined space, but he managed. “Sorry.”
“No sorry. What was that?”
“Keep your voice down.”
“Too late. Why’d you spit at me?”
“Jess, can you just—“
She shoved him and he lurched forward from squatting on his heels to his knees.
“Hey!” His voice pitched.
They both dropped their heads as the steady treading above stopped. Garh poised with his hands and knees in the vile sludge making a slow stream downhill. Jess could just see his grimacing profile, pinched and angry.
Dude was too pretty for his own good. A little piss on his pants wouldn’t hurt.
The boots above resumed their heavy pacing. Garh rose up off his knees and wiped his hands on his thighs, scowling over his shoulder, but then he started forward again. Jess braced herself against the grimy walls and followed.
“Serves you right,” she said low. “Shouldn’t spit at girls. Didn’t think a guy of your elevation would need to be told that.”
“Ah, so now you’re claiming you’re a girl?”
She was at a loss for reply. Jess was never at loss for words. She muttered, “Jackal footed monkey ass man.”
“You sure you’re a girl? Most women of any elevation wouldn’t speak like that.”
So said only everyone. If it wasn't the way she spoke, it was the way she carried herself, or the way she didn't flinch when a man raised his fist.
Garh's words hurt more than she'd ever let him know. “I should spit at you. See how you like it.”
He sighed and gestured back the way they'd come. “I wasn’t spitting at you. There was an ink stain on the wall in the shape of the Horned One. I was spitting to avoid his evil eye.”
Snorting, Jess glanced around the graffitied walls. She didn’t even want to guess what dripped down the decaying boards.
“Saw just one stain, did you?” She said to his back and heard him muffle a chuckle. "You know you just traded one evil eye for another, though, right?"
Garh snapped as straight as he could and shot an encompassing glance around them. "What?"
Jess closed one eye and scowled at him through the other. He tilted his head. She winked and pushed him again. "Move, monkey ass. I won't take offense at your words if you don't take offense at mine."
Monday, October 13, 2014
“Just a little farther, babe,” Sam said into Enna’s ear, voice gravely in his dry throat.
Enna was exhausted. She’d been saying on repeat for the last hour at least, “Through the forest, past the crooked rocks, over the moor, there’s the store. Through the forest, past the crooked rocks, over the moor, there’s the store. Through the forest…”
“I know babe.” Sam tried to soothe her. “Almost there. Here’s the moor, see?”
She skitter-stopped at the boardwalk. They looked around at the flooded space. Something was off.
“Too much.” Enna shook her head, eyes narrowing on the expanse around them. They hadn’t been this out in the open for days. She hunched as if to make herself smaller and her breathing turned shallow. “Too much water. Not a moor. Not a store.”
She started to back away but Sam held her elbow firm, not allowing her to retreat. Not after all they’d come through.
“It’s just there,” he pointed to the little island with a shod hut sagging seemingly empty in the middle. “They disguise it to dissuade—“
“Let’s go back to the rocks.” Enna turned. “We must have taken a wrong turn.”
“Enna,” Sam huffed. “This is it.”
But Enna’s shoes were already kicking the scrub along the edge of the moor in her rush to scrabble back up the bank. Sam caught up to her easily and grabbed at her elbow again. She yanked away but stumbled in her overreaction.
Sam cursed and exerted his last bit of majix to catch her. Curling her light body into his chest, he retraced his steps to the water. Enna tried to roll out of his arms but he growled, adjusting to her movement.
“No, no, no, no, no…” Enna started in on repeat again.
The planks of the bridge creaked under Sam’s quick boot slaps. “Almost there.”
Enna shuddered and her voice deepened into a rumbling bass as she continued to writhe. “No, no, no…”
The hairs on the back of Sam’s neck rose. He leaned into a run. “Enna,” he whispered urgently. “Focus, babe. Now's not the best time to change.”
Wednesday, October 1, 2014
Once I bought a little home,
It didn’t suit me well.
I felt I’d sold my freedom to roam.
My cottage I did sell.
I need to find a house for shell,
Blue shutters upon my back.
Poppies in my window well,
Then nothing shall I lack.
Fat black cat,
Shoes on mat.
Until I find a home like that,
I’m good just renting a condo.
Wednesday, September 24, 2014
Leah's prompt today is another picture:
Initially I felt really ambiguous about this picture because my mind automatically went to peeping toms, which creep me out, but it’s an older gentleman paired with a younger boy and there’s nothing sinister about that, right? I don’t know. I’ve never had a good enough relationship with my grandparents to understand how a shared experience like this would play out.
So I added another element by randomly selecting a feeling out of the Emotion Thesauruses: Impatience. Which I have a lot of experience with.
And this is where my 10 minute free-write meandered from there:
I am a creeper. I am a peeping tom. So many times I’ve looked through the fence of life and watched someone else doing something, being something, and I’ve thought, “Ooo! I want that!”
People old and young join me at this fence, which helps me justify my peeping, because it’s okay if our individuality is swallowed up in the mass and everyone’s doing it. It’s really cathartic to get swallowed up in that unthinking mass. We ogle others and want. And want. And crave. And become impatient for the outcome without really processing all the work it takes to get there.
Patience is a virtue. Thus quoteth the mass. But the difference is that patience is something that has to be shaped by the individual, regardless of who’s toting the most up-to-date proverb. I’ve never known a patient mob.
Mobs crush in their rush.
Patience is a really hard virtue to develop.
I know this more as a mom than I did as a…whatever I was before. (Don’t get stuck in that loop of thought. Redirect.)
A mom. Yes. My kids ask for things and I see there is a process to attaining that thing but they must have milk NOW! They don’t even begin to understand the process, and how many individuals are involved in that work.
Which all means something, I’m sure, but in this moment all I hear is crying and so I putter off without anything being resolved. Or perhaps it is? I’m not impatient to find out.
Tuesday, September 23, 2014
This is where the elusive Jack starts, continues, and then thanks to Leah's lovely picture prompt, here is where we go from there:
The tires rolled to a slow stop on the gravel parking lot and Jenna thumbed her ignition off. But her hands were back to clenching and unclenching the steering wheel.
I hung my head out my window and said up to the dark sky, “So are we going to do this?”
“Do you think Janey will be there?”
“But does Jack like Janey?”
I puffed my lips toward the stars, then ducked into the car again. “Jack, Jenna, Janey. Make it a threesome of J’s and just get it over with already.”
“What? He’s not that big of a deal.”
He was kind of a big deal.
“You just say that because you’ve already had him for a year and now you’re over him.”
I rolled my eyes. “Obviously that’s why I say that. Can we get out of the car yet? I’ve never been to the caves at night and I hear the scene is amazing.”
Jenna fluffed her hair and reapplied her shockingly bright lipstick in the rearview mirror as she muttered to herself, “I’ll make the scene amazing.”
I yanked my hood up as soon as I popped the door shut behind me. Jenna pulled her short skirt down and slid her arm through mine. As we headed up the foot of the hill to the first cutback ahead, a handful of shadows huddling together came into view, chatting and roughhousing as they waited for the rest of the party to arrive. I looked longingly over at the orchard sprawling around the base of the hill, but plowed on upward beside my friend.
Just before we reached the group Jenna whispered, “Are you sure it’s not weird?”
Of course it was weird. But I played it off as if I didn’t know what she was talking about and she went back to complaining about Janey, the bombshell blonde. I knew Jackson actually preferred black hair and large, mixed-race eyes that tilted up at the edges, so all Jenna’s worries were for naught.
And that baked pudding she’d splurged last night? Not a problem for Jack either. The more pudding on a girl’s hips the better.
Not weird at all, though. Stupid.
Jenna rushed ahead and was immediately enveloped into the group. I pushed my hands into my hoodie and kicked a rock. But of course the rock wasn’t one that moved and my toe jammed into the end of my steel-toed boot.
Curses vomited from my mouth and those closest to me burst out laughing.
“Har, har,” I snarled through clenched teeth, which of course only spurred them on more.
More curses. Stupid. “It’s Rosa.”
“Rosa. Right. What are you doing here?”
“Something about caves, something, something.” I plastered on a bright smile and chirped, “Isn’t that why you’re here?”
Jackson ducked his head and put his hands in his pockets, looking anywhere but at me. By the general smell clinging to the group, I would wager it wasn’t water they were carrying up in their canteens. And I was pretty sure some of said bottles were close to empty.
I had known that would probably be the case, though, and I wasn’t really here for the hike. As soon as the rest headed up and I knew Jenna wouldn’t be alone, my plan was to sneak back down to the orchard and find a different kind of party.
“I thought you weren’t up for going out lately.”
“I’m not. I’m here for Jenna.” I waved toward where I heard her giggling near the middle of the cluster.
“Jenna,” Jackson echoed, not following my gesture.
“Yep. So I’m just going to go over here.” I thumbed behind me. “You should go over there.” I pointed the opposite direction.
“Cause I have to pee. Over here. So don’t follow me.”
Jackson frowned and watched me back away. When he turned and shouldered into the party again, I spun and ran down the hill. I couldn’t get to the orchard fast enough. Any tree would do. Any tree that had a piece of fruit I could bite, and I searched frantically for an orb in the dark, but I was so close to crying and I just.
Oh, I was so mad. And so hurt. My heart had never stopped feeling like it would explode whenever I saw his stupid, perfect face. I leaned into the rough bark of a tree, sucking in deep breaths.
A tiny green apple hung off a twig on level with my gaze and I gratefully picked the little ball, then plopped the whole thing into my mouth. Size didn’t matter. I closed my eyes and smiled, relief washing over me, but just as I crunched into the hard skin I felt a hand tug my hoodie and heard Jackson say, “Roo? What…?”
Dizziness washed over me, along with panic. As soon as I surfaced into the new dimension I spun to yank Jackson’s semi-materialized hand, and then he came stumbling into the Bimkian borders with me. Stumbling, and then rustling on the ground, and I shoved him off and was on my feet before he even had time to squeeze his temples and blink around.
“Pizza!” Beetje cried from the lowest branch of the tree we’d just fallen through. The gate on this side had a door, because Bimkians were a lot more open to cross-dimensional travel than humans, so they generally left their doors open.
“Beetje, I need you take him directly back please.”
The little bimkin pouted down at me, then grinned wickedly at Jackson. “But he’s just as yummy as I remember.”
“Whoa.” Jackson squinted incredulously up into the tree. “Is that real?”
Sprawling out on the tree branch, Beetje hooked a finger at him and purred, “Come to me my sweet pizza. I’d be delighted to show you how real I am.”
I rolled my eyes. “I feel like we’ve been here before.”
“I’ve never been here before.” Jackson rose, but then bent over again, hands on his knees. “Think I’m going to be sick.”
“That’ll happen the first few times.” First few hundred times. I was still trying to get the hang of interdimensional travel and I’d forgotten what number I was on.
“Seriously, though. What’d they put in those drinks?”
I narrowed my eyes at him. “When did you start drinking?”
“About the time we broke up,” he said straightening , staring directly back at me, “and I felt like I had a reason to.”
“What happened to your straight edge, never going to try drugs or drink, thing?”
Jackson looked like he could care less. “Life got sloppy.”
“You are so not the person I thought you were.”
“Likewise, your highness,” he smirked and spread his arms wide in a bow that probably wobbled more from the dimension change than it did from drink.
“Now see, Jack, that’s actually a lot funnier than you think it is.”
“Eee!” Beetje clapped, straightening on her perch. “What does he know?”
She slapped her boney knee and lit off the branch. “Raspberries! This is going to be fun! Do I really have to take him back?”
“You just showed your age, Beetje. That slang made sense maybe a hundred years ago.” I scowled up and down Jack, who was perfectly charming even when tipsy it would seem, then shrugged and turned. I shoved my hands into my hoodie and growled, “Stay or go. Doesn’t matter to me.”
He took this as a challenge. “Okay, I’m game.”
“Good,” Beetje took his hand and dragged him quickly past me. “Cause if you weren’t going to be game you were going to be gormandized soon.”
I looked over my shoulder and swallowed down a lump of sudden panic.
(This is what you were supposed to picture when Beetje yells out, "Raspberries!" Sort of. Close enough, anyway):