500 Words

Trees turned red, gold and brown drop leaves on yellowed grass in the clearing where I’d parked my truck. My sneakers slid on dew as I walked toward her.

Morning sunglow fallen on her golden hair that wrapped her face, her eyes catch me and her cheeks raise to smile. I dropped my face to hide my own beam, catching twigs and leaves poking on the path between us.

“You’re early.” I say as I close in.

“I am.” She pulled a stray hair from her face.

“Glad you’ve got out to play. I would have been sooner if…”

“Don’t sweat it.” Her smile showed teeth and sea green eyes looked me up and down before they led her head toward the forest path. “Is that where you wanted to go? It looks like a painting.”

“Sort of.”

She shrugged, blue sweatered shoulders dropping. “Let’s go.”

“Yeah. That’s what we’re doing.” I grinned, she moved toward the path with that something in her hips that drew eyes and heartstrings in the same measure. “Those are nice jeans. Are they okay to go through here?’

“They’ll do.” She brushed her knees.

Leading down the path, she turned to look at me - smiling and shaking her head. I watched her hair flip over her neck and lost myself in staring at it. Smooth blushed skin yanking at my chest.

Dead leaves scattered every which way, she took striding steps through the patched path and caught me over her shoulder several times and sparkle grinned the way that women do. I’d laugh and clear my throat, letting her take these points.

We wound and we meandered, no sounds but the squeaks and groans of wildlife. She stopped and looked around - motioning her head toward some red berries hung on a nearby tree. Her eyes closing and her head tilted at them.

She reached up the tree, her legs stretched and I lose thoughts again as I trace her legs to the curve of her bottom and the peeking inch of skin on her lower back where her shirt raises. That flash of flesh softs my back and I exhale.

Instinct wins and I march toward her, my hand pushing her to face me. Those sea foam eyes pull mine and I feel like slumping toward her - but her smile and glint in her eyes remind me that I’m meant to press those lips against mine.

My arms tingle dead and she takes the wheel, throwing her arms around my neck her lips opening as they press against mine.

Hands go headstrong, running beneath her sweater and absorbing goosebumped skin as we fall backward - her body kicking me as I grab breath from the side of our mouths.

She moans and straddles me, her hands falling from my shoulders to pull open my shirt.

I try to kiss and smile at the same time, she is better at it.

“I’ am glad that I came out to play, too.”

5 Books: General

"The Sun Also Rises" by Ernest Hemmingway

This is my favorite meandering drunken bitch session about being unable to love a woman that I’ve read.

"Slapstick" by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

It’s my favorite of his books because of how personal it is. Not to diminish any of his other work, but it’s under the shadow of his love for his sister - and you can feel it in how every word tries to be light.

"A Brave New World" by Aldus Huxley

Stop watching television, read it and feel shitty about what you’re doing.

"The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" by Mark Twain

If you are reading or writing a novel about living in the United States, this is the book you’re trying to do. Even the clean and happy ending fits the American Dream.

"Moby Dick" by Herman Mellville

Every mother fucker’s got a whale.

5 Movies: General

In no particular order:

Cool Hand Luke

If I’d seen this movie when I was sixteen, it would have ruined the next ten years more than I already did. Paul Newman rules.

Empire Strikes Back

It’s the best of the series and one of the best science-fantasy stories of all time. An intimacy fills this film that the rest of the Star Wars don’t have.

Inglourious Basterds

This is a stellar and solid thrilling picture all around. It builds and releases like great sex.

The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

This is why they make movies. If you get the chance to see it projected - do it, if not, sit as close as you can to your television.

Princess Mononoke

It’s one of the most magical experiences you can get plugging into a television. Bittersweet and hits the notes it’s supposed to hit.

Howl

Grey clump clouds break in the sky over a farm gone dust, in the courtyard beside the well a boy levels his rifle on the eye of the leathered gunfighter. The boy’s finger ready on the trigger, the gunfighter growls “You’re dirt.” as a blast rang from the rifle, lodging lead in the gunfighter’s forehead and discarding a shell on the patch grass at the feet of the boy.

The gunfighter slumps into the pigpen, dead to the world. The boy let the rifle fall to the ground, before following it down on the dirt landing on his knees. The boy clutched at grass and began to sob. The whole place was black and ashes. Smoke pulled to the sky from the boy’s home, the charred taint smell of burnt flesh and fat tinged the air.

A motorcycle roared to life from behind the well house. The boy shook his tears and lifted the rifle from the ground. One aimless shot toward the driver and passenger kicked dust in their trail. The driver swerves clasping the handlebars with fear and death in his head. The driver stumbles, thoughts racing faster than he can catch - the motorcycle hits a stump and the body of the driver lifts in the air about ten feet in front of the machine. Tumbling, dust kicks as the man mangles on the ground.

Tears rolled down his cheeks, the boy blinks at the mess and the cows scattered in the pasture. Five or six hobbling on the ground with flashes of gore of their bones and muscles.  Their noise pain and drawn, the boy grimaces and sets to quiet them.

Coughing and sobbing, the boy came to his feet and slaps  his trousers. He exhales, wiping the tears-gone-mud from his cheeks,  and straightens his eyes on the massacre. All the herd mutilated or gimp beyond repair, were his father around - he’d moan about the money lost from the army. The boy’s father hadn’t been here for a season, back when the spring came early and the boy thought it was going to be chilly forever.

The back of the dead gunfighter laid a string of bullets for his pistol, still stuck in the holster at the man’s hip. The boy lifted the arm of the dead man and yanks him over on his back. Empty eyes caught the boy and sent a shiver down his back, the boy shook it off and wiggled the pistol free from the sling. Squatting at the head, the boy struggles with the carcass to free the bandolier. When free, the boy sat a hand on the chest of the dead man and adjusts himself.

The bandolier wrapped around his shoulders the boy stood and looked to watch his home burn. The building itself groaned and roared, window frames scorching out. The boy walks to a fencepost and leans against it, muttering prayers for his sisters and momma. Those men that shared the pyre were given a curse as the boy spat on the gunfighter.

The boy checks the loads in the pistol, five shots - he draws a bullet and shoves it in, and starts pacing to the first cow in the field. Three bullet holes in her back, her legs twisted in the chaos - she moo’d with a wet shake in her throat.

He held the barrel between her eye sockets and punched a hole in her with it, the head of the cow jerked back spitting blood and brains on the boy’s boots.

The boy moved from cow to cow. Single shots between the eyes. Some were suffering, some only breathing - all carrion now.

A whimpered howl from the center of the field, the boy rubs his eyes wide and darts; the bandolier falls from his shoulder as he sprints.

Behind a downed cow, a friend licks a cut paw and begins wagging a tail when he catches the boy.

“Hello Zeke” The boy kneels and extends a hand to the pup. The dog limps toward him as the boy curls his lips into a smile and begins patting Zeke on the head. “It’s just us g’boy, just us.” The boy tore off a shirtsleeve and wrapped around Zeke’s paw. After tightening, the boy nods and starts walking toward the pigpen. Zeke mouthed at the bandage then scurried to the boy across the field, catching him as the boy returned to the bullets.

They stop at the corpse of the gunfighter and the boy rolls him again to empty the dead man’s satchel. Two jars of beans, a fire kit and a line of string holding four golden rings. He repacks and slings it onto his shoulder with the bullets.

Making steps to the tack shed, the boy takes note of a sore in his mouth and starts tonguing it. The door of the shed swinging with the air, the boy holds it open and steps inside. His father’s tools hanging on pegs - this building untouched by the bandits.

Still deep in the table was the bone hilt knife the boy’s father stabbed before he left. “This was my da’s and it’s yours when you can pull it out.” The chuckle of his father’s memory faded as the boy wrapped his hand around it - pulling with what might left.

It didn’t budge.

The boy looks the room over, articles and instruments to take are pulled down and set beside the door. Zeke lays in the dirt outside the building. The boy shoves the tools that fit into the rucksack, hefting the splitting maul.

The boy stands at the edge of the table and gazes at the knife before chopping the table in half with the maul. Shards of wood scatter as the knife falls onto the packed ground. As long as his forearm, and about as thick - the boy could still picture his father wearing it at his waist when he would meet with the soldiers wanting to buy meat. The boy’s father called it a ‘negotiation tool’.

The boy tucked  the knife into his belt and slung the maul across his shoulders. He surveyed the shed for other necessities. The half empty can of lamp oil being the only worthwhile grab.

"We’re wasting daylight." The boy says. Zeke limped over; They began walking along the motorcycle tracks through the field. The smell of oil touched the boy’s nose and Zeke hanged his head as they passed the wreckage from the motorcycle.

A man crawled through the trim grass leaving a trail of blood from what damage the collision caused on his legs, he pulled himself forward with his arms - with soft grunts.

The boy steps in the blood path, glancing at the crimson glisten on his boots.  The man rolled over, eyes ready to plead for help.

“Lemme go. Pleas.” The man chortled.

The boy looked down and Zeke moved closer. Paws beside the shoulder of the man.

“P-lease… They’ll give you money for me alive. They’ll give you money.” The man reached out to grab the boy’s pant leg. Zeke beared teeth and dropped his head.

The boy shook his head, sliding the knife out of the belt - turning it as he removed.

A rolling growl began in Zeke.

The howls could be heard for miles.

A 300 Word Scream

Loaded on morphine to dull the cancer pains that rot his guts, he spun on the bed. Legs swing off the side, he sits upright and squares his eyes on my aunt. He grumbles “Do you wanna hear me scream?”  and belts a roar from parts that had been eating themselves for weeks.

My mother says that he could wake my sister, he turns to her and asks if he ought to scream again.

Sometimes standing near strangers, I overhear things they say - but it would interrupt their conversation.

I’m sat on a washing machine beside a woman that I’m dating. She’s typing a message on her phone, then says something and gestures - I glimpse her text informing someone that she doesn’t have much of a love life. I look away, my face and shoulders drop - she doesn’t want to hear it.

Great friends in different zip codes pass notes until focus blossoms elsewhere. Heartfelt chat becomes mutual reflection until one day you’re standing in line at the grocery store and all you have is a smile for that one time. Yesterday’s laughter and skinned knees keep getting further away.  The distance would mute it.

Waking up to dog piss over my legs and the gasping monster laying on my chest  - I carry him to the kitchen and set his rickety legs down near the water bowl. His heart racing and eyes closed, I sit beside him then his legs give out. Seconds like eternity pass and he stands again, emptying his stomach. Breathing slows and his heart rate descends, his muscles feel soft and weak. My eyesight fuzzes, but he’d only think I was mad.

The sky, endless freckles on deep black stretching as far as the eye can see. It’s not worth screaming at.

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