Flash Fiction Friday – The Broken Road

There was this road; this cracked, steamy, dilapidated road that I heard about in a bar about twenty miles outside of the small town of Centralia, PA.  The gentleman (and I use that term loosely) who spoke of the road was so inebriated, I could scarcely tell if he was telling a whacked out story handed down through generations or if there was truth to the tale.

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Photo: DAM Steelman (Centralia, PA)

But I had to know.  That was my nature.  I had to get to the bottom of everything.  So, like a snake slithering back into the trees, I slipped out of the bar unnoticed, and headed for Centralia. I drove around that bright, sunny Sunday afternoon and then I saw the sign:

CENTRALIA – 2 MILES

Yes!  I overheard the road was closed.  And why wouldn’t it be?  Apparently, it was in no condition to handle any kind of traffic.  There were cracks and graffiti; steam and overgrown weeds. I came around a bend and saw the cemetery on Highway 61 that was mentioned. It was old Highway 61 I was searching for and it shot right off of new Highway 61.

I made it!  I could go back to the city and tell everyone about the broken road I stumbled upon.  Well, I could have.

You see, there was a large crack in the road, I hadn’t noticed it really, if you could believe that.  I was too busy gazing at all the profane graffiti on the sun-baked asphalt while catching glimpses of steam shooting out from cracks far down the broken road.

There was no rumble when the ground opened wide and swallowed me whole.  It was almost as if the broken road had been waiting to feast on something to quell its burning innards.

I always did have terrible timing.

*This piece is a repost from an older blog. It is one of my favorites.

Short Story: Cotton Balls of Justice

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(NSFW – Language) I had this dream last night.  Real trippy shit.  Cotton balls. First, I thought it was because I went to bed drunk again, but then I remembered I hadn’t had a drink or a drug for close to seven months. So I chalked it up to too much television. You know, the standby excuse for all bad things is always too much television.

I thought it was a dream until I woke up to the silent dancing of flashing red lights. I don’t live in Las Vegas, so I knew it wasn’t a two for one special at Whores and Spores – Barbie’s Bouncy House.

It was a fire truck, two police cars and an unmarked.

Huh?

I grabbed my pants off the floor, walked over to the window while putting them on feeling like some suave, g-money gigolo, but a glance in the mirror at my doughy, bulbous body and crop circle bald spot yanked me back to reality.

After I stumbled to the bathroom, images resurfaced in my foggy brain about last night as I reached for some aspirin and stuck my face under the faucet to wash them down my parched throat that felt like a cactus riding a cheese grater.  I can’t say I’ve ever experienced anything like that, but I was damn sure it was close to what was going on inside my gullet.

As I peeked through the blinds, I flashed back to the bar – I’m on the nine-ball league – and there was this dude there from a different team (he was way more bulbous than me) and I remembered everyone not liking this guy.

It turned out he was my neighbor and I asked him, “What house is yours?” after we found out we lived on the same street.

He answered, “Legit, the one with all the Marigolds in the yard.”

I felt my face change after he said that. I said, “Oh, you’re the one with the stinky flower fetish.”

And he just looked at me and took his shot on the table. Five ball, side pocket.

“Yeah, it keeps nosy fuckers away from my windows.  Legit, I got some mouse traps buried in there, too.  I feel like I can tell you that ‘cause you seem like an asshole, like me.”

“Who you calling an asshole, asshole? And why are you on the other team if you live on my street?”

“I legit just moved,” he answered and chugged his beer like some 80’s punk in an afterschool special.

He missed his next shot and then I ran the table on him.

Ran it until I got to that shiny black eight ball, or it could be a white and powdery eight ball, but in this case, it was black and shiny. Legit.

“You wanna wager a wager?” He asked as he whistled for the barmaid to bring him a shot of Christian Brothers.

“Uh, sure,” I answered with about as much enthusiasm as a neutered dog at a dog park.

He snickered and threw back his shot. “Ah,” he said and smacked his lips. “Twenty bucks on the nine off the eight ball.  You gotta legit call it and bank it at least two times.” Bang. Shot glass on the bar. Another whistle.  Another fill ‘er up. I noticed the barmaid with her crinkled nose and curled upper lip.

She didn’t like him either.

“Seems fair,” I said and chalked my cue. I measured with my stick; the angles; the warps in the felt on the table.  A song by Chicago came on the jukebox as I called the rails and the pocket, leaned down and drew back to take the shot.

“Wait!” he yelled and motioned for another beer.  I flubbed on the shot and came within a hair of hitting the cue ball. “Sorry. Continue.” He laughed.

Son of a bitch.

After I lost twenty bucks, I called it a night and walked home.  The key was in the front door when I heard an incessant buzzing like a nectar drunk gnat behind me.

It was my neighbor. Bzzzz.

That’s all I remember.

Now, the street is a blinky crimson and I’m peeking out the blinds like a paranoid crackhead.

What the hell happened? And what is with all the cotton balls on my floor?

My bedroom floor – usually caked with dirty clothes and semi-clean socks – was blanketed with cotton balls.

“What the – ” before I could finish, my doorbell rang.

Another peek through the blinds revealed two detectives on my front lawn.

“Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit. What the hell did I do?” I ran down the stairs to open the door and waded through a sea of cotton balls in my living room.

“Hi!” I beamed too enthusiastically trying to block the view of cotton balls.

“Sir, we’re gonna cut to the quick on this one. Your neighbor was found dead on his front lawn this morning.  Someone stuffed about five hundred cotton balls down his throat, and well, they stuck cotton in all his orifices.”

“I’m sorry?” I heard him. I had to hear it again.

“You heard me.  Someone shoved cotton up your neighbor’s ass.  We think it was you. We heard he was an annoying son of a bitch who never shut the hell up.  Is that accurate?”

“Yes. He was a prick.” I thought of my dream.  The cotton balls, the blood, the guy who wouldn’t shut the fuck up.

Shut up!  

“Sir, that was some evil shit you did,” the officer said and slapped me on the back. “The neighbors want to thank you.”

There was some faint clapping across the street.

“Good job!” Someone yelled.

“The guy apparently was a real asshole,” he continued and handed me a piece of paper.

“What’s this?” I asked.

“A citation for littering,” he said.

I said, “Is this a joke?”

“Have a nice day, sir.”

I closed the door behind me and pinched myself. What was I going to do with the rest of these cotton balls?

This story is a response to the Flash Fiction Challenge via Chuck Wendig’s blog: http://terribleminds.com/

 

Flash Fiction Friday – The Darkness

Image: forum.skyscraperpage.com
Image: forum.skyscraperpage.com

I’m sitting in the dark now.  It stopped raining about an hour ago.  People are walking up and down this quaint little street in Newtown, Pennsylvania.  I tried to walk; I really did.  But it was just too much for me.  All the people. Man, the people.  Their eyes boring through my skin began to drive me mad, you see.  I could see everything.  Everything!  All their sins, their heartbreak, their desires seeped into my soul like rain into the dry, cracked earth.  I had to get away you see.

Now, I am isolated with the memory of a thousand different stares beaming into my brain.  It is just too much!

There is only one way to get rid of this torment.  I have to cut it out.  I have to let the tears bleed out of my skin.  I must release the screams from my pores.

It is the only way…

Flash Fiction Friday – Bullet

Reblog of a favorite Flash Fiction of mine.

English: Picture of a standard 'K Bullet' as m...

So I sat in a box for the last, oh, I don’t know, seven years?  Just sat there on a shelf with dozens of other boxes on other shelves with the others and I am finally free.
I don’t know who opened the box and put me in the chamber of freedom, but his fingers were fat like crinkled sausages and they smelled like shit. I guess some uprights never wash their hands.
“There you go my pet,” the upright says. “You are such a special little bullet. You were born to do great things.  You are going to change history, my pet.”
The upright talks a lot.
It’s freaking dark in here.  I have waited my entire life to get out of that damn box. I am a special bullet.  I don’t mingle with common bullets.
Seven years I have waited for this.  I don’t know what to expect. I just hear the voice.  I guess the voice thinks I can’t understand, but I can. I hear it talk about me.  It talks about my velocity, my speed and my distance.
It’s weird, you know? I don’t know what any of it means.
I can hear the upright speak as I sit here waiting for my moment of glory. He told me I was going to change history.  I don’t know what that means really…  but it sounds important.
Before the upright put me in here, it held me close to where the voice comes out.  It told me all these things.
“You’re so beautiful,” it says.
“You are the most special bullet ever, little bullet. You are going to make poppa so proud,” the voice cries.
I wanted to concur or validate the voices wishes. But what the hell, I’m just a bullet after all. A special bullet it tells me. But I don’t know what the means.  I don’t even know what my purpose is.
“Oh, special bullet. Be straight and true with your aim, young one.  Guide your soul into the heart of that bastard and save us all,” the voice screams.
The upright put me in something cold and long.  It’s dark in here.
Wait.  I just heard a loud bang and now I am zooming through the air toward another upright.  I don’t understand any of this.
Now I am in something hot, dark and wet. This is so odd.  I was happy in my box with the others.  I don’t feel so special anymore. Where is the voice?
I hear other voices now.  They are making high-pitched noises.  They are screaming, “He’s shot! He’s shot!”
My shell is gone.  I am now a flat piece of metal.
I still don’t feel special.

Friday Flash Fiction – Resistance

Minetta Tavern
Minetta Tavern (Photo credit: Gandhu & Sarah)

Carson Smithers sat on the bar stool as the clock struck the eight o’clock hour.  He had been on that bar stool for the last three hours staring at the now warm beer on the ratty coaster in front of him.  The day’s work had ended in shambles along with a verbal tirade from his boss in front of his co-workers; even Jenny, the hot girl from the cubicle at the end of the hall.

“Hey, buddy, you gonna drink that or do you want a fresh one?”  The burly bartender asked as he wiped the old, wood bar down with a wet rag.  Carson watched as the bartender methodically picked up coasters, wiped, put coasters down, and wiped all the way to the other end of the bar without missing a piece of the bar or spilling a drink.

Carson looked up sheepishly and nodded while he pushed the perspiring glass to the edge of the bar and pulled his cigarettes from his pocket.

The jukebox started playing an unfamiliar country western song as someone broke the rack on the pool table.  Carson counted three balls that dropped into the pockets without looking at them rattling around on the fuzzy green felt of the table.

His eyes gazed across the pool table, across the jukebox, across the blonde-haired woman with the heaving breasts and over to the repaired wall to the left of all the action.  He remembered making that hole over ten years ago in a drunken rage over a different blonde-haired woman so long ago.

The bar stool shrieked as he pushed it back with his legs to stand up.  All of the memories that flooded back reminded him of all the reasons why he stopped drinking and took steps to change his life.

The bartender rushed down to Carson, “hey buddy, you leaving already?  You bought two beers and didn’t take a sip from either.  What gives?”

Carson tossed a ten-dollar bill on the bar and said, “Sorry, man.  I got to get to a meeting.”

Flash Fiction Friday – The Broken Road

There was this road; this cracked, steamy, dilapidated road that I had heard about in a bar about twenty miles outside of the small town of Centralia, PA.  The gentleman (and I use that term loosely) that spoke of the road was so inebriated, I could scarcely tell if he was just telling some whacked out story handed down through generations or if there was truth to the tale.

But I had to know.  That was my nature.  I had to get to the bottom of everything.  So, like a snake slithering back into the trees, I slipped out of the bar unnoticed, and headed for Centralia. I drove around that bright, sunny Sunday afternoon and then I saw the sign:

CENTRALIA – 2 MILES

Yes!  I overheard the road was closed.  And why wouldn’t it be?  Apparently, it was in no condition to handle any kind of traffic.  There were cracks and graffiti; steam and overgrown weeds. I came around a bend and I saw the cemetery on Highway 61 that was mentioned. It was old Highway 61 I was searching for and it shot right off of new Highway 61.

I had made it!  I could go back to the city and tell everyone about the broken road I had stumbled upon.  Well, I could have.

You see, there was a large crack in the road, I hadn’t noticed it really, if you could believe that.  I was too busy gazing at all the profane graffiti on the sun-baked asphalt while catching glimpses of steam shooting out from cracks far down the broken road.

There was no rumble when the ground opened wide and swallowed me whole.  It was almost as if the broken road had been waiting to feast on something to quell its burning innards.

I always did have terrible timing.

Flash Fiction Friday – Rise and Fall

Arch, Tory. The east end of the island is prob...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I watch the sunrise over the ocean like a wild animal creeping out of a forest den.  It will be full daylight soon and the pain will come.  Sure, I could run back inside and hide in the darkness of the cave. However, that would prolong the inevitable and I want to see the sun.

Last night got so out of control.  How could I let Lily go with the others? I could smell their abhorrent kindness. The way Kaud, the leader, stroked the small of her back as they walked into the cave drove me mad.

He knew it drove me mad and he knew I would do something foolish. What a foolish idea, charging at Kaud!

I heard Lily shout, “I never loved you, Vol.”

As Kaud broke my neck, Lily broke my heart.

Now, I stare at the sun, so blinding and pristine, as I whither to a pile of forgotten ashes.

Friday Flash Fiction ~ Goodbye

image: fragrantica.com

Carmine spread the fuzzy, orange blanket out so pristine, he was sure he could bounce a nickel off it.
Everything had to be perfect.
He walked gingerly over to the bedroom window to peek outside to the street. The sun was shining bright, just as the weather man had assured him last night it would.
His eyes darted over the room.  The framed photos of flower gardens, the knick-knacks of dolphins and starfish on the black iron shelf in the corner by the door.
He looked at the dresser with the brass colored tray atop the white doily his mother had made when she was eighteen.  He had heard that story a hundred times. If only he could hear it once more.
The dust fell away as he slid his fingers down the edge of the dresser toward the bottle of Wind Song just to the edge of the tray.  His hand stopped just short of it.
“Why, Ma?” Carmine whimpered as he looked to the closet where her favorite red sweater hung.
He stood silent as he waited to hear her voice one more time.  Just once more.
There was no answer, no chirping bird, nothing.
Carmine shrugged and walked out of the room.
It was time to go talk to the detectives again.

Friday Flash Fiction – Sharon and the Scoont

image: 123rf.com
image: 123rf.com

Sharon sat at the dark, muddy lake with her toes just to the edge of the water.  She had been down to the lake for the last four nights hoping to see the Scoont that everyone else in her family had seen.  The stars twinkled like glitter in the night sky as the moon tucked in and out of the scattered clouds.  She said all the verses her family had told her to say; even said the last one twice:

Scoont of the sky of the night
The moon ever so bright
Scoont of darkness I plea
Wash the light over me

She giggled after the last line.  She always did.  Jake, her best friend, had told her the chant before he left for California five days prior.  He told her if the conditions were right, and she said the chant the correct number of times, the Scoont would come out of the water and kiss the tips of her toes.
She eyeballed the sky as she repositioned her toes exactly at the edge, whispering the chant as her eyes searched the sky for the biggest star.
A twig snapped in the distance and the darkness across the lake seemed to seep into the muddy water, stretching across the dollops of scum almost to the shore.
Trepidation seeped into Sharon’s mind as she pondered her timing.  She thought back to what Jake had said about character.  When calling the Scoont out, complete trust had to be shown.  One shred of doubt and the Scoont would turn vicious.
Another twig snapped and she felt someone there with her.  She couldn’t figure it out, but she knew she wasn’t alone.  She saw lights in the distance.  Were they fireflies? Stars? Or were they eyeballs being kissed by moonbeams?
She gulped hard as she tried to speak but all that came out was a whimper.
“Positive, Sharon.  Positive,” she whispered to herself as a dark cloud swallowed the moon leaving Sharon alone with the eyes.  Sharon knew they were eyes now.  Her fear unleashed the wrong Scoont.  Tears streamed into her mouth as she noticed the eyes were gone.  Hot breath that smelled of rotting meat beat on the back of her neck.
Fear had won.

Friday Flash Fiction – Vampeeble… The Priceless Weeble

“Stupid, stupid,” I said as I stood on the curb in rain-soaked clothes. I had to get to the Weeble Extravaganza before that mean old bitty Rachie did.  I couldn’t let her get the best Weeble of all!  I know she wanted to get that special vampire Weeble that we both had our hearts on.  No way!  That Vampeeble is mine!  There is a tale that goes with the Vampeeble.  Whoever possesses the rare Weeble, has unlimited power and wealth.  Apparently, I can make anyone do anything if I possess Vampeeble!

Weebles wobble but they don’t fall down!

I was finally going to beat Rachie at her own silly game.  Ever since we were little girls she always one upped me.  When I got my special blue dress with the two rows of ruffles on it for the sixth grade dance, she got a blue dress with four ruffles.  When I started dating Ricky, she told him lies about me and then dated him! When I got my first car, a little 1972 yellow Beetle Bug, she got a 1974 Beetle Bug, also yellow but with a big daisy painted on the trunk.

Well, my yellow Beetle died just yesterday and her Beetle is still very much alive.  At this moment, I am on the corner of her street waiting for her to come out her door. As soon as she does I am going to chat her up then hit her over the head and steal her Beetle! I know it sounds crazy, but the Vampeeble is very important to me.

“Hey, Renee,” a voice said from behind me. It was Rachie!  What? I had to look natural.

I turned and waved, “Hey, Rachie, what’s up?” Man, the rain is really coming down now.

“I didn’t see you at the Weeble Extravaganza last week.  It’s too bad, you know?  They had two Vampeebles.  Two! I could hardly stand it.  They were only fifty dollars each.  I got them both and -” she was pulling something out of her pocket.

Did she say, last week? “You greedy wench!” I screamed.  I saw the bus coming out of the corner of my eye.  I planned it perfectly.  I watched her smile beam on her face as she pulled two Vampeebles out of her pocket. She held them out, taunting me with her dumb smile.

I pushed her in front of the bus as it careened down the street. WHACK! The bus smacked her right off her feet and the Weebles flew into the air.  I had to get the Weebles!  I stretched my arms out as far as they would go.  As if by fate, the Weebles landed right in my hands! Oh happy joy.

I turned to run down the street, and was met with a second bus.  I forgot about the second bus! “Stupid, stupid,” I shouted as the Weebles dropped out of my hand and down the sewage drain in the street.

There we lay, two gals in the middle of the street.  We were Vampeeble-less and I had a broken leg.  I flipped over and began to crawl toward the sewer.  Tears streamed my face as pain shot up my body.  I had to have the Vampeebles.