Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Creeper Peepers

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.

“But I—“

“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):

Monday, September 22, 2014

Baba Makes Better

Leah's prompts continue, via Sabrina and her picture this time:

And here's my 10 (plus a few) minute write:

“Baba! Baba!”

Remo stood from his crouched inspection of the vines his head gardener had brought to his attention. He could hear his small daughter sobbing and calling for him from the other side of the vineyard. 

“Here, Staci,” he bellowed, and heard the sound of her crying redirect toward him. He moved to the end of the row to intercept her, kneeling down as she careened into his arms. “What is it little stolidi? What turns you into a fountain that soaks my shirt, and will surely flood the whole of our estate, and then we’ll all have to pack our things and move to higher ground until your deluge settles again.”

A hiccupped laugh interrupted his daughter’s sadness, but she didn’t lift her head from his shoulder. He rocked her silently and patted her back until she quieted.

“There now. What has made you so upset?”

“Ajax,” the little girl sniffled. Just mentioning the boy’s name threatened to push her over into sobbing once more. 

Remo would throttle the lad. “What’s he done this time?”

“He told me about Fitzles.”

Remo frowned, immediately lost. No doubt they were another fantastic story Ajax had conjured up to scare the little girls again. “What did he tell you about Fitzles, then?”

“About how they stick their needle claws under your fingernails while you sleep, and then your fingers turn black and fall off.”

Throttling would be too kind. “Oh those Fitzles. I see. Except Ajax has it all wrong.”

“He does?” Staci looked up at Remo hopefully. 

“I don’t understand how he could become so confused. It must be that he’s so young. Fitzles, you see, move too slow to be able to put anything under your fingernails.”

“They do?”

“Yes. In fact they move so slow they have to use snails to get them places faster.” Remo pointed to a snail  inching its way up a support for the vines. “Maybe there’s one on that snail right now.”

Staci leaned with wide eyes into the creature in question. She inspected it from multiple angles, then pouted. “I don’t see anything riding on it.”

“Well you wouldn’t, now, would you? They move too slow for us to perceive them.”

“Oh.” Staci nodded as if she knew exactly what her Baba meant. 

He chuckled, scooping her into his arms again. “I think there might be two of them on that snail.”

“Really? How do you know?”

“Some adults can hear Fitzles because adults move so much slower than children.”

Staci nodded again, this time with complete understanding. 

“So there are two of them, a male and a female, and can you guess what they are arguing about?”


“The female is saying they need to ask someone for directions. The male is saying that not all who wonder are lost.”

Staci clapped. “Like Mama! Mama says that too!”

“She does. She read it from a book, I think, during her studies when she lived up in the Tricities.”

“Mama is so smart,” Staci sighed.

“She is.”

“She is so perfect.”

“I couldn’t agree more.”

“I wish I would grow up to be just like her.”

“Something tells me you will.”

Staci considered this, then squinted at him. “Do you also know that because you move so slow?”

Remo laughed and Staci joined him. He pulled the snail off the vine and told Staci to take the Fitzles to the shrubbery in the front yard because that was their intended destination. She cupped her precious cargo in her little hands and kissed her Baba on the cheek, then trotted happily away.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Heart Space

Leah is continuing the prompts through the weekend. What? I know! So I'm running behind on this one, and so many others, just don't think about it! Here's the prompt:

Make a list of places you don't go anymore

And here's my 10 minute list:
original link

dark room
the greenbelt
jungle run
table rock cross
simplot’s hill
bogus basin
orchestra practice
mandarin garden
basement of the business building
the quad
beaver mountain
swing café
mike hams
the raven
security office at the theater
employee lounge
on the bart
the underworld
the gym
path by the canal
green studio
the owl
the loop drive
secret orchard at Red Butte Garden
that one greek restaurant
Bryant Middleschool
smoke shops

And just because, here's a song place I used to visit frequently but don't much anymore:


What unvisited places fill up your heart spaces? 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Head and Hart

Today's prompt from Leah is a picture that lead to a mighty argument in my head:

Writer Deb: [pensive look with nose close to picture, then sits back in chair] Yep, so, I’ve got nothing.

Reader Deb: Wait, what? You can’t do that.

WD: Actually I can. I’m in charge.

RD: [snorts] Yeah. And my name is Ozymandias, otherwise known as Awesomeface: the mighty look on my works with despair.

WD: Nice reference Stumpy.

RD: [shrugs] Reading rocks.

WD: I’ll leave you to that, then. I have this other thing I’m working on.

RD: [in whiny voice] But you promised me something to read. You mentioned shapeshifters earlier. What about that?

WD: [looks back at picture; long pause, then shakes head] Yep. Nope. I just keep thinking about this other thing.

RD: No.

WD: No?

RD: [wriggles deeper into chair and folds arms firmly] No.

WD: I’m in charge, remember?

RD: No.

WD: [moves to edge of seat and thumbs toward kitchen] Okay, well I’m just going to go over here and warm up some water for tea and…

RD: No.

WD: That’s what I do to prep…

RD: Shapeshifters, shapeshifters, shapeshifters, shapeshifters.

WD: Stop it.


WD: Oh my gosh fine! 

RD: [smug grin]

WD: Once upon a time there was a man who was in love with a shapeshifter but then she broke his heart and left in the form of a deer but then he tracked her down which was easy enough because he was a hunter and he shot her and bled her out and ripped her heart from her chest and ate it which was only fair because a heart for a heart. 

RD: Um.

WD: And she was a hart! Ha! See my wittiness?

RD: [dark frown] That was not okay.

WD: What?

RD: Now I’m going to have that stuck in my head all day.

WD: [huge sigh] Well if you’d just let me…

RD: I know, I know, the other thing. But now I’m going to have that image stuck in my head all day. 

WD: Go away.

RD: But I want a good story.

WD: Go away.

RD: You’re rude.

WD: Go away.

RD: You smell.

WD: I am in charge now go away!

RD: You are not Awesomeface.


RD: Well at least you have the despair part right [gets up to find something else to read]

WD: [smug grin] Now for some tea.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Written On the Sky

Today's prompt is a musical one:

Written On the Sky

“Don’t do it.”

Ella looked up from the crumpled cash she was placing on the counter. She blinked at the guy snapping a lid onto her coffee cup. Small silver hoops winked against his dark ears. She tilted her head in surprise at the sky-blue of his eyes. How had she missed those before? He flashed a grin and handed over her cup.

“Uh,” she said, distracted from her morbid thoughts by an unexpected dimple. “Don’t do what?”

He shrugged. “Whatever it was you were thinking just then. Don’t do it.”

“Oh right.” She flushed and lifted her cup as she turned. “Thanks for the joe.”

“Hang on,” he said when Ella’s hand pressed the door to leave. She paused. “Ester, cover me for a sec?”

A couple customers huddled at their tables around the small shop, reading or sipping silently. Slow evening. The woman drying mugs at the counter lifted her chin, glanced up and down Ella once, then returned to her drying.

The guy stepped around the register and met Ella at the door. When he pushed it open a bell dinged. Outside he took off his green apron and folded it on the curb of the tiny parking lot.

Ella frowned and shook her head, unsure what to do. He gestured for her to sit, then sat on the cement. He pulled a pod with earbuds out of his back pocket and scrolled to a song as Ella sat cross-legged. When the music started, she couldn’t help but close her eyes to listen. 

Not what she’d expected.

It finished much too soon.

When she opened her eyes again she was immediately distracted by that dimple. She looked away as she quickly handed the buds back and fiddled with the top of her cup.

“So?” he asked.


He chuckled soft. “Here,” he said as he took the cup from her hands and leaned slightly. She held her breath, again not knowing what to do. He pulled a Sharpie out of his back pocket and hunched over the cup.

“Do you have a Mary Poppin's pocket back there or something?”

He didn’t look up, but smiled. “Is it sad that I get that reference?”

When he handed the cup back a line of black digits scrawled under the word ‘Chase’ in typical guy scribble. 

Ella quirked one brow. “Is that your name or a suggestion?”

“You’ll have to call the number to find out.”

original link
She smiled for what seemed the first time in forever. He took her hand and lifted her to her feet, then grabbed his apron and tied it low around his hips as he walked backwards toward the door. 

“You should do that,” he said.

“Do what?”

He paused, something indistinguishable written on the sky of his eyes.“Whatever it was you were thinking just then. Do that instead.”

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