Posts Tagged ‘Flash Fiction’

Handlebars – Flash Fiction

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I decided to use a random word generator just to exercise the brain muscles a little.  The word that came up was ‘Handlebars’.  This is what happened.  Enjoy!

Handlebars

“Really?” Jeff asked himself.  He was having a hell of a day.  The type of day that begins at 3 a.m. because the morning swallow can’t stop chirping a peppy tune in an attempt to get laid.  Then the thought of getting laid is enticing and one thinks about how long it’s been since he last saw his ex-wife.  That eventually turns into a brain catastrophe that reminds a certain someone of how much of a fuck up he’s been.  This was the type of day that when Jeff decided to get out of bed at 4 a.m. with an emotional headache he immediately stubbed his little toe on the corner of his dresser.  Of course he did.  Little toes are meant to find the edges of solid objects, it’s their God given purpose.

After some less than elegant profanity eased the pain Jeff used the bathroom.  And missed.  It was dark and he was tired.  Which was ironic he thought since he’d already been up for an hour wracking his brain about what he would do if he could go back in time.  A thought everyone has at some point in time he imagined.  They say that hindsight is 20/20.  Jeff’s sight was not.  He didn’t grab his glasses, which is probably why he stubbed his toe and missed the edge of the toilet.  He didn’t want to wear them at 4 a.m. when he knew damn well he should have been sleeping.  Putting on his glasses would give the world a little bit of clarity and clarity was the last thing he wanted.

He had to clean the pee off the floor, a thought that was unappealing.  Yet it was more unappealing to let it linger, dry, and smell.  Jeff being a divorcee with no kids was familiar with the stench of single spending day to day in a bachelor pad but pee was pushing it too far.  He had pride after all.  This was the type of day that when Jeff reached for the toilet paper it was only a roll.  Jeff closed his eyes, sighed, and knelt down to reach into his bathroom cabinet.  Which is when he struck his head.  Of course he struck his head.  Heads are made to find the edges of counters, it’s their God given purpose.

Maybe he should get a dog.  Which made absolutely no sense and all the sense in the world at that very moment.  Jeff wasn’t sure why banging his head on the edge of a bathroom counter would make him think about getting a dog, but it did.  Perhaps if he had a dog he could have went back to sleep?  Or maybe a cat.  The cat could have solved the problem by hunting and killing the goddamn swallow that started this in the first place.  Single guys with cats were weird though.  Something about it was off.  Jeff was well aware that if he walked into a bar and introduced himself to the classy broad just begging him to buy her a drink and he started his conversation with “Hi, I’m Jeff, I’m divorced and live with my cat Noodler,” would likely be a turn off.  Why would he name his cat Noodler?  Jeff was almost convinced he was concussed.  Reality swept back in with no dog and no Noodler, just a sore head and a hand full of pee.  Because he put it right in the pee didn’t he?  Of course he did.

“Really?” It wasn’t 5 a.m. yet and Jeff already had to ask the universe just what in the hell it was up to.  He washed his hands and looked at himself in the mirror.  He was thirty-four going on fifty-two.  Grey hair had already made its very unwelcome appearance on top of his head.  It then sent its scouts to go check out the rest of his face.  He hadn’t shaved in a few days.  Why bother?  Jeff wasn’t filthy, but he certainly didn’t keep up the same appearances he used to.

When his ex-wife lost the baby both of them went without shaving for quite some time.  So much time in fact that they eventually just stopped talking to one another altogether.  The house was void of emotion and full of detachment.  He still loved her, he thought.  Or maybe not.  Maybe she still loved him?  Or maybe they were just young fools in love that had one tragedy too many.  She was happy now anyway.  Or maybe not.

Jeff rubbed bloodshot eyes and grit his teeth.  Thanks brain he thought, which then made him think about how a brain thinking about itself has a sense of self-awareness.  Which lead him down a rabbit hole of humanity and the evolution of the mind to make itself aware.  A strange thing, the brain thinking about itself, other brains studying brains of others trying to figure out how the brain works.  The whole thing hurt his brain.  He needed coffee.  Or sleep.  Or both?

He pressed brew and when it was done it looked suspiciously like water.  Clear instead of black.  Because of course it was.  Jeff tried again.  This time he actually poured the grounds into the filter.  He poured the coffee into his mug and set it down to cool off.  Except he set it down on air because the table was still a few inches away.  A reminder that he still hadn’t put on his glasses.  The ceramic scattered and coffee splashed on the linoleum floor.  Which reminded him, he still didn’t clean up the pee.  Well part of it, the part that he picked up with his hand.

“Really?” Jeff asked the universe again.  He had to start over.  Jeff took a shower in an effort to wash the morning off of him.  The warm water helped to cool down his hot head.  He got out and looked at himself in the mirror again.  “Fuck it.” Jeff shaved his beard but kept his moustache and twirled the edges.  It was a solid handlebar.  Life was out of control.  Maybe it was handlebars he was missing the whole time.  Time to get a grip.

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I hope you enjoyed Handlebars.  Tell me what you thought of it in the Comment’s below, and don’t forget to share!

Love – Dedicated to my MIL

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Love

Love is not about finding the spark of connection between yourself and another, it’s the acceptance of yourself and the vulnerability to present that to another. It’s one of the reasons for heartbreak and pain, love can be a one way-street, taking a gift wrapped you and giving it to someone who opens the gift and scoffs. It’s soul crushing, to love and not be loved in return, and all too often it is misdirected toward oneself. Since love is about vulnerability, about showing someone the true you, it is exceptionally easy to hop into a vat of self-loathing. After all, if you were to give someone a physical gift, and they say that they dislike it, your choice was inadequate. So with love, once that ribbon comes off, it’s easy to feel inadequate when it has not been accepted.

Cheerful thoughts, and quite misdirected, love is vulnerability and acceptance. When it is one sided often times it means that the other person is not willing to forego their own pride, not willing to show their true self to another person. Instead of shedding their layers of ego they hide behind a wall forged of stone and steel. For love to go both ways both people have to be able to accept their insecurities and more importantly accept another’s insecurities. To reach out and embrace imperfection, to place faith into the arms of another and hope it doesn’t hurt.

All too often there is an argument about love, the concepts, the feelings, and the pain that can be associated with it. All of which is accurate, and representative of the power that it wields over one’s life. How come one can love and not be loved? How can someone that loves hurt the person that they feel it for? Why does love drive some people to madness where they forsake the concepts of survival or morality? Love is identity, and at the end of the day a very selfish thing. What one loves they want, and they want it to want them. Allowing oneself to be seen through clear lenses and revealing the scars of character is deeply personal, which often times leads to pain and misunderstanding. For these reasons it is easy to be afraid of love, to be afraid of pain, of change, and afraid of vulnerability. Doubtful though that anyone who has ever experienced love once or multiple times has not learned something from it, has not grown stronger because of it unless it broke them.

Too often love is categorized as romanticism, but that is just a very small, if powerful, part of the equation of emotion. The one that lay in bed next to a person is just an individual out of many the person loves. Family, friends, pet’s, communities, all of these fall under the umbrella of love and all of these follow the same rules as romance without the flare of physicality that goes with it. To love ones family and for that love to be returned one has to accept that these people are who they are. The expectation is that they will do the same. Many think about love as the flutter in the pit of the stomach, finding the courage to talk to a crush, the first kiss, the first night, the fleeting although important parts of something much greater. True love is not about that short term high, it’s the long con, the end game, it’s about wanting that person because despite the flaws, they enhance life.

Mother’s, father’s, mother’s in law, father’s in law, son’s in law, daughters in law, sons, daughters, aunts, uncles, cousins, and the furry or feathery family members are all people that are oftentimes loved. Friends, though through time they may disappear, are also loved, friends are a primary example of love without romance. Acceptance at its finest, where connections are not forced, and character is judged but in such a way that they embrace one another. So many successful romantic relationships are possible because of the strangers in one another’s lives become friends. There is little doubt that love without the acceptance of the lover’s family or friends is a difficult thing to manage.

Love is not a science though, nor is it logical, love is an emotional process by which one submits themselves to and tries to decide who or what will be beneficial for their lives. Selfish sounding yes, but if both parties participate it is equally selfish and thus mutual. It is possible for love to be given and not returned, it is possible for love to take over the essence of one’s humanity and drive their reasoning so hard in an inappropriate direction that malice occurs. It’s part of love’s power, deeply embedded into the instinct of survival, sometimes love would rather one die, or kill instead of feel the pain that strikes at the most basic of instincts. To give love is to accept protection emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and physically, receiving love follows the same paths. To lose that protection renders one’s vulnerability to be truly naked and unprotected, when backed into a corner it is a fight or flight response.

Is love truly as simple as all of that? No, there are many things throughout one’s life that will influence decisions just as there are several examples of unrequited love that simply doesn’t make sense. After all many people loved Hitler and many people loved Gandhi. Proximity is hugely influential in the creation and discovery of love, perhaps one’s soul mate lives in Bangladesh but they live in Australia, not often will those two find one another, they will turn to, and love, those is proximity to them. Not unlike family, not unlike friends.

Love is not something that can be summed up in very few words, which is why it has dominated our thoughts and souls for generations. What we know and accept is that it is incredibly important, powerful, and lastly it is very beautiful.

Hope – Dedicated to Linda Madden

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‘Hope’ dedicated to Linda Madden

Sarah knew that it was a funny and fickle thing. The difference between hope and faith was almost like dealing with the differences of black and white. When evil had bared its teeth, gnashing and clawing like some abomination she had tried to run. Sarah understood the inherent beauty of running, the philosophy that one didn’t have to be the fastest, just faster than the one next to them. Sarah was alone.

She had been alone a long time now, hiding, taking in the thoughts of the times and the days of which she sorely missed. Darkness was an envelope sealed tightly with wax, something that would adhere the lid shut better than glue ever could. When she was younger the world had shone brightly.

The family would awake with sunlight beaming through moth eaten drapes, they were not poor their father was just a miser. If it wasn’t broken he wasn’t going to fix it and if it was broken a patch would be its gift until, in her father’s words, “The Spirits came a callin’.”

Mother and Father, Parents and Guardians the former she would love forever, it was the latter she was having a hard time forgiving. Intense eyes watched everything but were never noticed, screams gone unheard as she cried out into the black, the only response the crack of a door. She was told that whenever a door closed, God would open a window, but the only window that Sarah could see had been long boarded shut, a miserable irony as it was meant to be a vent.

She vaguely remembered what it felt like to walk on sandy beaches, warmth that would permeate her soles and safeguard her soul. She craved the sounds of contagious laughter, cracked cans, and smoked meats. Family barbeques were some of Sarah’s favorite memories though now they felt distant and vaporous, always on the edge of being grasped by her mind’s eye and never fully realized.

Time was just a concept, seconds to hours to days to months to years fluctuated and rocked back and forth like too small of a ship on too large of a sea. How she yearned to rest though her perpetual state felt in a coma. When the monster showed his true face and bared his fangs, beware said she for as he giveth he may taketh. Age and wisdom were not interchangeable like gears in a clock, each tick offered understanding, while each tock stripped away innocence.

Clouds long forgotten offered Sarah their silver lining, towers spiraling into the heavens and sliding guardians back to her reality. Finally new pictures, new scenes, a new family lit up her dark world with warm backyard fires, scenes from their television, and games played with friends. Sarah was cautious, afraid of being noticed as she was fearful of the pain that may come, afraid of being invisible and the soul wrenching solitude that anchored her. A foghorn and a lighthouse, the painful realization that some of the things meant to guide you are some of the very same things that can hurt you.

Breathing, a vice she had taken for granted, the vacuum of despair would place its mouth upon hers and deprive her of oxygen she desperately craved. Drowning though she lacked the water, bruises were her eternal reminder, dirty, disheveled, unclean Sarah was desecrated and unforgiven. Eternity, a theory truly exasperating and unobtainable even while lived every day. Was it she who was unforgiven or had she misplaced her resentment? Sarah could smell the darkness, the evil that had defaced her, yet lingering questions in her mind wondered if it were truly to blame.

The reprieve offered through leaning, through sleep, and through prayer was off limits to one such as her. This box held her in isolation, senses deprived, muted, and misunderstood. How disconnected was she from the strings of fate that once held her high, boldly proclaiming purpose and being, limited by nothing but her own will. Painful realizations exaggerated by painful existences, it was will that drove and destroyed, and the freedom that all sought was sometimes the restraint that prevented closure. Sarah’s life was lacking closure, with the exception of her envelope of darkness, her muted box, her isolation.

Yet here was the tragic comedy that the bard used to love to play, as she mourned they laughed, as she hid they revealed, as she screamed they slept. What she wouldn’t give to reach out and touch faith, to be heard once again by someone or something, to release her from the shackles of the gloomy and unconsecrated walls. So she screamed, and she let her heart wrench, and she clawed at her despondent reality tearing open a hole that once bled and found a way to once more. Sarah tried to feel, unfolding the black envelope, desperately attempting to break chains that tethered her.

The difference between hope and faith seemed clear to her now, it was not a lack of faith that kept her, but a lack of hope. When the light pierced the darkness, and the door opened once more, she saw the smiling face of a girl maybe not unlike herself in the past. She dug deeply, and now she would have this girl dig for her as well, her story would be heard, and she would be set free. The monster that had choked her body had not succeeded in choking her soul. Light pierced the attic, fresh air filled the abandoned space, and Sarah’s restraints had been released. Though the girl should have felt threatened by the spirit before her she had faith it wanted peace. Sarah, for the first time since the monster had sharpened its claws, finally saw the silver lining. The light that pierced the darkness allowed her to realize that the despair had removed her from the only thing she had ever needed. It was the only thing that could set her free, she smiled once more full of hope.

A short story – Dementia

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Thanks to Brian Robinson for giving me the creative word Dementia to help me exercise my writing muscles.  This is a short story, 1000 words, titled simply Dementia.

What a morning, pulling open dusty curtains so the sun can shine through and light up the stove. Was it left on? “I had better check” he said aloud to no one but himself.

The sun was indeed shining brightly on this day, Thursday, also known as Thor’s day, of Norwegian heritage he certainly was proud. The kitchen, gleaming and immaculate not a stain under the counter, it’s time to get the brush out again. Aimlessly he wanders, holding the brush in his hand, it shakes in rhythm with his palsy. He combs it through his wispy hair of the dog, perhaps he did have too much beer last night. A Saturday to remember. It was time for his morning ritual a nice cup of black java needed to be updated on the computer again. Times were much simpler when all one had to do was replace the ribbon.

Twenty years ago there was a fancy ribbon wrapped around the present to his late wife, always late he remembered, waiting, on a woman. What was it that he waiting for he wondered. Creaky bones dropped themselves on creaky wood, a rocker to keep him comfortable. Comfort similar to the full moon that now beamed down on his face, lacking the heat that the sun brought and replacing it with an insipid chill. Do. Not. Move. Mother reminded him in time out, he missed his mother though she spoke with a soft voice and carried a large stick. He would make his way to her house, just had to find the keys of the piano were begging him to sit before them and play. Arthritic fingers attempted to dissuade him through pain and yet sit and play is what he did.

Notes floating through the air and being swallowed by acoustic guitars, just like his favorite Country Western stars of the past. Oh what had he become, his sweetest friend, everyone he knows, goes away, in the end. Everyone should remember Cash is stored beneath the mattress, never in the bank, can’t trust their numbers the accountants will fool you every time. It isn’t difficult for them to take out their wallet, where exactly was his wallet? And what had happened to the time? Rewinding his clock did not rewind the day, bloodshot eyes staring back at him from a silver mirror. Pajama’s draped on his fragile body, he brushed his teeth and went back to the living dead were not something to be afraid of. A good man knew that when they came back only the wicked would be tormented by the wicked, he had saved his wife when they were younger now. She.

Thunder, but was it only in his head? Or was it accompanied by this rain falling upon him and soaking his very core. That moon had risen and fallen not unlike the sun, a deserts heat that brought peace to his old soul. Sloshing through the mud, with a one horse open sleigh, o’er the hills we go, laughing all the way, ha, ha, ha! Tears rolled down his cheeks like drops of rain, he was waiting. On. The stove, did he leave it on, he wasn’t sure but he knew that he needed to check. Dusty drapes split apart with hot rays of the sun, like the romance he once had. “Honey?” He cried out to an empty home.

Where did his family go? His heart was beating in his chest too quickly, thump, thump, thump, thump, his foot marched with the beat. He was a drummer in the band with new bruises on his chest. Stop. It hurts. Don’t you tell me what to do I am a grown man, able to make my own decisions, able to work my way through this world, able to have my own family Mother, you cannot take that away from me! There he is, laying on the bed again, he was a good dog loyal to the very end. He patted him on the head, its tongue drooping lazily. He needed to brush his teeth, and where was his wife? He would look for her again. Do. Not. Move. But why? His heart cries out in agony, pain, panic, pressure, pills, palace, popsicle, portly, prominent, pompous. That one boss was very pompous, its good he owned his own business now, nothing to be done but doing the nothing to be done but doing the nothing. Blood shot eyes stared back at him reflected off of a silver mirror. The shower poured upon him luke warm water though he had already run a bath. It was spilling. EVERYWHERE. “Don’t hurt me Mother, put away the spoon!” He begged defensively, shaking, the salt, on. His. Food. Gosh he was hungry.

Back to the kitchen he wanders, swearing that he had already turned that light off. You cannot turn out the sun it is much too powerful for the likes of pitiful fools like you. Like me? She did like me, at one point in time, she liked the family too, I liked her a lot, my wife, his wife. Wives tales that stretch beyond time and imagination, he stitches them across the night sky. Like his scars back when he was. The spot under the counter, where had he put that brush? He ran his fingers through his hair, happy to still have some of it left on his head, he was doing better than his father. He vaguely recalled the funeral, something about receiving salvation and forgiveness. His mother didn’t forgive, neither did his wife, he tapped his foot as he waited. For. A. Woman. “Honey?” He cried out into the dark. He could have sworn he had turned that light on.

Maybe it was time for bed, the day had been exhausting, every day felt like a battle. Dreams about being a soldier, being a husband, a son, a man. Dreams that defined him. Dreams that put him to rest. He was tired. A good dog. Dementia.