The Journey or the Finish

 

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Image: Pixabay

Short Story – I had to commit to the journey or the finish… I wasn’t even sure what that meant when they told me to check one box. 

“Only check one box. If you check both boxes they’ll send you to the back of the line and you’ll have to start over,” a shaggy man in a red flannel whispered.

I glanced around the open space at people sitting and standing – everyone around me looked like the shaggy man – as some filled out forms and others sat in rickety chairs held together by wire and clothespins.

“What is this place?” I whispered back. I felt like I had been running for my entire life what with my palpable exhaustion oozing out of me like a stench-filled puss and I was surprised, shocked really, that after all that running this is where I ended up.

He furrowed his brow and slunk his shoulders and I got a strange vibe.

I leaned in closer and asked in a barely audible voice, “Is that what happened to you?”

He nodded twice as his shoulders drooped so low I thought he’d fold into himself and then his eyes shifted to the left.

Naturally, I too, looked left and then saw an enormous and elongated creature leaning against a textured wall that looked like rice, but how could there be a wall of rice? It made no sense – none of this made sense. This creature had six limbs yet it stood upright with twelve eyes (I counted) and all it did was hiss and spit at anyone who moved too slow.

Was I dreaming? Was I fucking high? What the hell was going on?

Finally, it was my turn and I bid my strange friend ado as I walked up to the long table and stated my name.

“Which is your commitment? The journey or the destination?” one of the three creatures at the table asked, holding a box to its chin.

“Why do I have to commit? What if I change my mind?” I answered. A stabbing pain shot up my spine and I wiggled as I tried not to fall to the floor.

“Which is your commitment?” a second creature asked after holding a box to its chin.

A million thoughts flashed through my mind in a second but the biggest one was: How could I commit to the finish when I had no idea what I was starting? What would be between there and here? What if I just ended up at the finish and I hated it?

“I commit to the journey,” I stated and puffed out my chest and looked in all twelve eyes.

There was silence followed by a growing buzz of voices.

The creature stared at me and then placed the box on the table and raised four of its limbs to the air.

My heart raced as it climbed out of its prospective spot and lodged in my throat. Damn, I’m a goner. 

“Only rare specimens commit to the journey. Good luck Mr. Walker,” the creature hissed as it held that box to its throat.

The air swirled and popped and then I fell through the floor into the black.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/commit/

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Trace of Deception

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I knew he duped me. Knew it. I would hint at finding things around the house. Things I hadn’t placed where they had been found. I hadn’t placed them there for a good reason. They weren’t mine! The final straw was the traces of blonde hair on my dresser.

Did he think me a fool?

This entire time I thought I was the one he loved, I thought I was the one he wanted to be with… forever!

“Has your wife been here?” I asked slamming my mug on the counter; coffee splattered everywhere. That wasn’t the only thing that would be splattered if I didn’t get some damn answers.

His gaze shifted just as he shifted in his seat. “Why would she be here?” He scooped up his scrambled eggs with the fork and dumped them on the plate, over and over like a four-year-old.

“That’s not an answer,” I snapped.

“What do you want from me?” He snapped back.

“You said we would be together. You told me it was over for you two!” I screamed then steeled myself.

“Well, about that,” he started but I interrupted him with laughter.

“I found the hair. Why would you bring your wife here?” I cut right to the bone. The games were over.

“I didn’t. She just showed up,” he pulled at his collar and pushed the plate of eggs toward the center of the table. I opened the dishwasher and pulled out a butcher knife and a plastic baggie.

“She just showed up and wound up in my bedroom?” I turned and brandished the knife in one hand, the plastic baggy in the other.

“It’s not what you think, love,” he whispered and stood up. That’s when I saw the blood: on his pants, on his hands, on the chair. I took a good look around the kitchen and realized there was blood everywhere.

“What did you do?” I shrieked as I held the butt of the knife at my belly.

“You’re about to find out,” he cooed.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/trace/

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Buff Bufferson

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“You can’t go in there,” I shouted this time. I could feel my face crinkle with displeasure as I stormed toward the arrogant, naked man by the edge of the pool. My face twisted for two reasons: the stench of chlorine and I had dealt with this imbecile all week.

He scoffed and remarked, “I can do whatever the hell I want. Don’t you know who I am?”

Sadly, I did know who he was. He was Buff Bufferson. Allegedly the most handsome man in all the land. Women would take one look at him and instantly fall in love; men would become insanely jealous.

It was all bullshit. I couldn’t believe the number of people who had seemingly gone completely mad over this arrogant dufus. Didn’t people think for themselves anymore?

“Mr. Bufferson,” I sighed, “the pool isn’t ready yet. It has just been cleaned and shocked. There is enough chlorine in there to-”

“Don’t tell me about chlorine! I know all about chlorine! Don’t you know who I am?” Buff snapped and stuck his nose in the air.  “How dare you insinuate that I am a moron. Why I think I’ll call your manager right now and have you fired.”

This was not the first time he threatened me with a good time. Usually, I fell into his little trap of control. But not today. I was too pissed off that I was about to miss my game show thanks to this jerk. Not to mention, I was sure my eyebrows were burning off just from the lingering odor of the swimming pool. My face felt lighter so I was sure they had singed off at this point like some weird sci-fi trickery.

“Fine, Mr. Bufferson. You wanna go in the pool? Be my freaking guest. But can you please wait until I get back to the office? That way I have no knowledge and we can both plead ignorance. You know, help each other stay out of trouble if management finds out.”

“Don’t tell me what to do! I don’t need you to tell me anything and I damn sure do not need management,” he stopped to laugh then continued, “management to dictate to me. Now excuse me while I go-” he was still talking as I had turned around and started walking away.

I turned back around to see him mysteriously missing from the pool deck. There was no water on the concrete as I crept toward the edge of the pool. My hands instinctively went to my mouth.

There was Buff, floating in the pool as his skin melted off in chunks and sank to the bottom in gooey globs of gray and pink.

“Aww, man. Now I am going to miss all my shows,” I said to Buff. I knew he couldn’t hear me. His ears were at the bottom of the pool, also in gray gooey globs.

I snickered at the sound… gooey globs.

Gooey globs of Buff Bufferson floated and sank in the pool like melted pieces of concrete if that were at all possible. I debated for a full two minutes on what to do. Once I realized there was nothing I really could do, I went back to my shows and made a mental not to chat with the pool guy.

I guess he did go overboard on the chlorine this time.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/buff/

Panicked in the Subway

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I am freaked out… panicked.

Things were going well with my friends as we slammed back shot after shot.

Now I am in the subway.

But where?

I don’t remember seeing signs for a subway.

I look left.

I look right.

No light at either end of the tunnel.

It’s so dark.

I should start walking.

Oh gosh, am I still drunk?

The floor is vibrating and…

Now I see light at the end of the tunnel.

I should start running.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/panicked/

Mind Control

via Daily Prompt: Control

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How much control do I really have?

The only thing I can control is my mind.

So when I get that urge to sneak out of the house in the middle of the night, and slink down to the bad part of town I avoid like the plague, I have to beat those thoughts back with common sense. I have to control them.

It’s not easy.

I blame so many people, places and things when the battle becomes exhausting in this never ending war on my sanity – my life.

I haven’t been to that place, that hell, that devil’s den of bad choices in almost eleven years.

Those thoughts blossom in my mind when I get comfortable and complacent. They sprout like sick weeds in a garden of naive flowers.

No matter how many weeds I pull or kill, new ones grow and wait, searching for that weak crack in my foundation.

Control? I have enough to keep me alive.

Mixed Tape – #thedailypost

Put together a musical playlist of songs that describe your life, including what you hope your future entails. 

My life has been a seesaw of peace and calamity as well as joy and chaos. Can’t appreciate one without the other, right? If I really sat down to put a musical playlist of songs that describe my life, I’d be sitting here ’til next Tuesday.
So, I picked some songs that resonated with me during the decade.

Here is my lifetime mixed tape:

In the 70’s, my favorite music was disco and rock. I loved the Bee Gees. And I used to walk around the house singing ‘Staying Alive’ while playing my plastic Bee Gees guitar. Yeah, I still wonder why I’m not a famous rock star!

As I got older, I tip toed away from disco balls and bell bottoms and got into all things Purple and Rainy in the 80’s.

And then in my twenties, I went all kinds of crazy as I jumped from rap, to rock to grunge and then landed firmly on heavy metal in the 90’s.

In the 00’s, I got into heavier metal and also into the Philly scene of local musical artists.

These days, I listen to everything, although my heart is stapled to disco and heavy metal… which is hilarious when you really get down, get down into the mosh pit of it.
I’m seeing Metallica this week in Philly, but right now, my thing is the Sons of Anarchy soundtracks and any other kind of dark country.

My future entails excitement! A published book! Adventure!

What are some of your favorite tunes?

Flash Fiction – The Leaf

Carmine Carmichael smoked his last cigarette twenty minutes ago.  The sun rose above the row homes on Sutter Street as he sat down on the marble steps at the corner.  He hadn’t slept in three days, hadn’t eaten in two days and hallucinations had begun.  His four-week-old blue jeans felt crunchy as he ran his hands up his shins, to his knees and then his thighs.

A dead leaf blew down the sidewalk, past his battered sneakers and he thought of how peaceful the dead leaf must have felt. It was, after all, devoid of all feeling.  The leaf had lived its life on a tree somewhere as people passed it by without a thought.

Carmine knew exactly how that little leaf felt. Another leaf blew past and Carmine reached his filthy hand down and scooped it up with care. The weak stem felt dry in his fingers as he twirled it around, looking at the rips in the body of the little leaf.

“I’ll bet you were once so beautiful, little leaf, just like me.  I was a strong man once, little leaf.”

The little leaf stood lifeless in his fingers and Carmine felt his eyes well up as he clutched the leaf to his chest. Little leaf pieces fell to the ground as Carmine sobbed.

Footsteps echoed in the distance and Carmine put his filthy hands back on his thighs and watched the leaf blow away in a dozen pieces.  Carmine watched as shiny, pristine shoes stepped on and over the leaf.

Carmine knew just how that little leaf felt.