Sunday Scribblings "Covert"

The prompt over at Sunday Scribblings is “covert.”

cov·ert adj
not intended to be known, seen, or found out
noun
1. a thicket or undergrowth in which game can shelter or hide
2. a shelter or hiding place
3. a small feather around the base of a quill on the wing or tail of a bird. Also called tectrix
4. a flock of coots

Mothers in Arms

I get home early from choir practice to discover my mother is a covert operative.
She’s mixed up is some ultra-radical homemaker’s reform faction, apparently a leader in the movement. Sheesh.
The kitchen table is spread thick with an orgy of evidence: pamphlets and leaflets, various household cleansers, powders and chemicals, parts of an old alarm clock, bits of wire and her wooden recipe box, her blue-ribbon-winning recipe for tater-tot hot dish sticking up from the shuffle.
I pick up a leaflet, which is inscribed with a quote by Che Guevara: “I don't care if I fall as long as someone else picks up my gun and keeps on shooting.”
The leaflet goes on to describe – in detail – how to make napalm out of gasoline and Styrofoam. On the back, there’s a 50-cent-off coupon for Styrofoam plates, as well as a recipe for “Dee’s Easy Goulash.”
I put the leaflet down, pick up a can of powdered cleanser, when my mother rounds the corner, puts a hand to her mouth, then smiles.
“Oh, you’re home early,” she says. “Dinner’s at 6. It’s your favorite, cheesy green chili enchilada casserole.”
She’s dressed in a black tunic, belted with a .45-caliber APC Kimber Ultra Tactical II sidearm, what looks like black pajama bottoms and a black beret with red embroidery, a flaming skull above a crossed mop and broom.
I open my mouth to protest, think better of it. She holds her ground, hands on her hips, her manicured right hand a little too close to the .45 for my comfort. Her red-painted lips part in a motherly smile.
“Go on, silly, get yourself a snack,” she says and she swats my backside with a handful of pamphlets. “I’ve make a lovely batch of double-fudge cupcakes, with whipped peanut butter icing.”
A delicate hand clamps down, painfully, on my shoulder and twists me to her with ease. She puts her other hand - in a loving embrace - under my chin and with a stern gaze says,
“Mind you, stay away from the ones packed in Tupperware. Those are for the church bazaar – and they’re loaded with lysergic acid diethylamide and ketamine hydrochloride. A little taste treat for the Bourgeoisie scum.”

then, sometimes

there are days when you just want to unload. off-load the heaviness of hearts and receive affirmation. those days where the verge of tears brings anger instead of sadness. begging for human touch, yet ok with the solitude. it’s not something learned, as much as it is pre-programmed, hard-wired at the factory. maybe medication is the answer? the salvation of pill bottles, serotonin levels. it’s a phase. just that it’s just lasted most of 365 days.

and shows no signs of change.

58 words and poof, a story

It's called Fiction in 58, an exercise in brevity.

Disconnections

“You know what your problem is, don’t you?”
He hated rhetorical questions, but played along.
“No, tell me.”
“You’re disconnected and it’s a distraction.”
“For you or for me?”
“Silly, for everyone.”
She smiled, checked herself in a compact and dove back into a glass of red wine.
He drained his drink, picked up his mobile, checked messages.

Tuesday's NaiSaiKu Challenge

Time for Tuesday’s NaiSaiKu Challenge.
Have you tried it? A NaiSaiKu is a form of poetry with a certain pattern of syllables and lines, with the title in uppercase.

lovers twist, a tryst,
rhythmic dance in the moonlight,
naked flesh glistens,
THE SECRET GARDEN
naked flesh glistens,
rhythmic dance in the moonlight,
lovers twist, a tryst

Memorial Day and an American Sentence

In honor of those who have served to keep America the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave, an American Sentence:

The wings of liberty glisten with blood of heroes past and present.

Sunday Scribblings, "Worry"

The prompts over at Sunday Scribblings is “worry.”
“Are you a worrier? Know one? Is there a particular worry that you can't shake? Ways of coping with worrying?”

Cab Fare
I should have hoofed it home, but it was late, it was cold and Briggs said he’d share a taxi.
Fucking Briggs.
Of all the people out tonight, I get stuck on a dimly-lit street corner in outside one of those hipster, back-alley clubs where there’s not even a sign. Just some steroid junkie in a black monkey suit sitting on a barstool next to a five-foot length of velvet rope strung between polished brass poles.
My head is pounding from the smoke, the lines shared with Tatyana in the ladies room (all the while having to listen to that whiny bitch of Tabor’s scream that she was trying to piss) and the dead Scotch and sodas in my gut.
And while everyone has escaped into the night (morning, really), there was Briggs.
Barely functional from the Mezcal (always the trend-setter), the marching powder (both nostrils caked with dried blood) and his ‘script of Xanax.
Sober, Briggs incorrigible asshole. Wasted, well, he was a severe sonofabitch.
“Hey, fuck you say, Brennan my man, share a cab?”
I look for a way out and succumb to the fact that we’re the only two left on the street. And I’m thinking I could use a couple of Briggs' Xanax right about now.
“Yeah, Briggs, we’ll split. But seriously, no fucking around this time.”
Briggs likes to play a game with cabbies he calls “Point of Origin.”
“Jesus, man, you’ve got no sense of humor,” he says, snapping closed his Zippo lighter and taking a hungry drag off a clove cigarette. “Relax a little bit, you’re a young man.”
Briggs steps into the street, puts his index and pinkie fingers in his mouth and makes this ungodly whistle.
And up rolls a monster yellow cab, a late-model Cadillac Seville. Pristine, clean.
“Sweet,” Briggs says. “Coming, comrade, or are you just going to stare.”
I duck into the back with Briggs and the door’s barely shut when the Cadillac’s V-8 rumbles to life and we’re pinned to the seats, which I notice are lush leather, cordovan-colored like spilt Cabernet.
Briggs doesn’t notice. He leans forward to the partition and immediately starts in at the driver, who is tall, thin and has this weird bowl-cut cap of tar-colored hair.
“Bet I can tell you your native land in five guesses,” Briggs says, raising his eyebrows like his best Belushi impersonation. “Say I get it right, and this fare’s free for my friend and I.”
The driver doesn’t speak, doesn’t turn, just trips the meter with a boney white hand. He’s wearing a wool jacket, black and tailored, and as the hand goes toward the meter, I swear the jewelry holding the guy’s starched French cuff shirt together is a silver skull.
“By your delicate, yet darkly handsome features, I’m guessing Eastern European, right? Armenian, perhaps, or maybe Bulgaria?”
“That’s three,” the driver says, brusque and oddly hollow through the Plexiglas, and accelerates the Cadillac down streets devoid of cars. “Guess again.”
We’re headed for the tunnel doing 90.
And I notice that there’s no door handles back here. No locks, either.
“Ahh, funny guy, huh?” Briggs says, cracking his knuckles and winks at me. “Ukraine.”
“That’s four.”
I can see the driver’s blood pump at his right temple, blue veins through pasty, white-ash skin.
“Get this guy, huh Brennan? OK smartass, Transylvania’s in Romania, right? You creepy fuck.”
“Five,” the driver says, just as the Seville’s nose begins the decent into the tunnel’s grade.
He turns completely around to face us, smiles a big gaping grin that’s full of sharp, twisted teeth, like porcelain spikes.
His eyes are split and yellow-green like a serpent, and he looks at Briggs, winks and says…
“Care to give it one more shot, motherfucker?”
The tunnel is a vortex of flames.
And that’s when I notice the meter – it’s running, only it’s years that roll up on the red digital readout, instead of dollars.

A Fiction in 58

A Fiction in 58.

Aftermath
He’s a brittle balance of angst and apathy.
Slender hands on thighs, fingers splayed, rib bones of skeletons. Dark circles rim reddened eyes, a crust of dried blood, this grotesque blossom, coats his chin.
He breathes in wheezes, a consequence of cracked ribs.
He stares at her, slumped in a chair, silent.
Debates the virtues, pills or razorblades.

Thursday's Three Word Wednesday

I felt like I’ve slacked off by providing a couple of prompts with stories from the archive. The words over at Three Word Wednesday are efficient, optimize and treacherous.
So, here’s a fresh, bonus, 3WW, just on Thursday.

The Clock’s Ticking

Strategic alliances meant nothing. Treaties, papers, rings, all out.
The situation was treacherous, changing by the second.
Battle lines were drawn, tensions escalated. An ambush erupted in the bathroom, as he brushed his teeth. He took a lot of fire, released none of his own.
He felt the most efficient tactic was silence. He set up his own demilitarized zone within the kitchen, where supply routes were still open. He took that eerie calm before what he knew would be a massive firefight to rest, get some chow. He poured cereal in a bowl, milk – and while he knew the maneuver would bring a response – ate noisily over the sink.
She was built for this war. Not a combat veteran, not by a long shot; be the truly indoctrinated, the real believers, know how to optimize resources. She’d amassed an arsenal, and she was ready to unleash it. The skirmish in the bathroom was just a probe.
She brought the blitzkrieg to the kitchen, weapons hot, guns set for automatic fire.
He was defended well, dug in, his silence a perimeter that was all but impenetrable.
She retreated, regrouped. Gathered intel.
It was on another probe that brought the response in kind, hurtful words tumbled from his mouth, the cereal bowl tossed in the sink a little too forceful.
She was wounded. Immediate evac to the bedroom.
He pulled back to the garage.
The Cold War began.
But in such close quarters on a rainy Sunday, the stress was a living, breathing being. They had to escape the trenches, where passions cooled. Olive branches were offered, domestic détente.
He fixed the wobbly casters on the dining room chairs; in response, she made him a tunafish sandwich, with pickles and that grainy mustard he liked.
The house was still DEFCON-4, but the lines of communication looked to be clearing.
Then, an uneasy truce looked to be breached, when she unexpectedly fled to the family room and covered up with a blanket, hugged a large box of tissues.
He sighed. Went to the kitchen. Filled two coffee mugs with ice cream (her favorite, mint chocolate chip). His presence was announced by the clink of teaspoons on the ceramic mugs.
He held one out to her, looked down, cleared his throat and began what was to be several hours of delicate negotiation.
“A baby, huh?”

Tuesday's NaiSaiKu Challenge

What’s a NaiSaiKu? It’s a form-based poem, constructed just for fun. Try it.

dog-eared book beckons,
flashlight shines under covers,
imagination
CHILLS, DOWN TO THE BONE
imagination,
flashlight shines under covers,
dog-eared book beckons

And a Fiction in 58 came out

Fiction in 58. Give yourself 58 words to tell a snippet of a story. Good practice.

Prayers
In a city that sleeps, there’s a square of light that illuminates the gloom.
A single candle tosses a feeble glow across walls.
He rests on his knees on the side of the bed, hands folded in prayer like a Rockwell painting. Eyes squeezed tight, lips moving, the plea silent.
He wants to be heard.
He wants change.

Sunday Scribblings, "Disconnected"

The prompt over at Sunday Scribblings is "Disconnected."
"It is amazing how much I have come to rely on being 'connected!' In honour of the occasion, I'd like to hear your take on being disconnected."
I wrote this piece some time back - and I think it fits the prompt very well.

Freelance
My mind works nights, freelancing for others.
Not every night mind you, just the nights when I don’t need it myself or often it is those nights when sleep will not come. Those insomnia-filled hours when my mind goes blank – not really, though, since it is working somewhere else – and I lay there, numb to the world.
Yeah, I’m OK with the arrangement. What else am I to do? A mind is a terrible thing to waste – ha ha – and, well, my mind has a mind of its own (OK, OK, I’ll stop; either that, or my mind has threatened a migraine).
I have no idea what my mind is up to at night. It doesn’t share, I don’t ask.
Something to do with nightmares, I assume.
Since I can always tell the nights my mind has been freelancing.
Glimmers - bits and pieces really – the horrors of others flicker faint across my waking brain.
And I feel, at long last, fully rested.

Saturday fiction

Birthday Balloon
Flanked by the dogs, he stood in the rich green of his suburban lawn and with hands on hips, tilted his head, back and forth.
There, anchored to the Kentucky bluegrass by a piece of plastic and a string was massive silver Mylar balloon printed with a festive “HAPPY 50TH” across the surface.
He looked up and down the street, identical pink stucco castles with their pressed concrete drives and endless swatches of perfect lawn.
He looked back at the balloon, and in unison, his head, along with the dogs, tilted in confused wonderment that bordered on bewilderment.
He took a step toward the balloon and stopped. The dogs criss-crossed their tracks, circled the balloon (but did not dally to sniff) and returned to him, sat. He looked down at the dogs, back to the balloon. He rubbed a hand across his lips, furrowed his brow.
And tuned to the home’s portico and began to drag one of those silly, heavy wrought iron chairs across the concrete and into the lawn, the legs digging divots into the manicured green of the lawn.
He sat and the dogs took the signal and lay down beside him. He rested his chin in one cupped hand and rubbed fingers across Saturday stubble.
The balloon, tethered to the plastic anchor by a piece of white ribbon, swayed in the breeze.
His neighbor passed, stopped, put a hand up to his eyes to shade them.
“Happy birthday, Bob. Fifty, huh, can that be right?”
“It’s not my birthday.”
“So what’s with the balloon?”
“That’s what I’m asking.”
“Huh,” his neighbor said, “OK, see ya.”
“Later.”
A half-hour passed. An hour.
The balloon swayed on the breeze.
Neighbors passed with well-wishes.
He responded with cryptic shrugs.
Finally, he fished a hand into his cargo shorts, pulled out a pair of yellow-handled garden shears. He tapped them to his chin, rose.
And clipped the ribbon, sending the mass of Mylar into a launch trajectory skyward.
As the balloon rose, he saluted, crisply.

The NaiSaiKu Challenge

I’m a little late, but here’s my submission for the NaiSaiKu Challenge:

gloom, like storm clouds, swell,
paralyzed, shut off, ailing,
hopeless thoughts burble,
IT’S MELANCHOLY
hopeless thoughts burble
paralyzed, shut off, ailing,
gloom, like storm clouds, swell

Wednesday's Three Word Wednesday

The words over at Three Word Wednesday at bicker, nervous and trajectory. Something short, bittersweet.

Hallmark’s Got a Card for Everything
We bicker.
It’s like a nervous tic between us, like picking at cuticles until they bleed. And they always bleed.
We notch slings on archer’s bows, aim for the heart, but fail to let go the string at the last minute.
Until last night, when I let an arrow – all this pent-up sorrow – go.
A trajectory for your heart. Pierced, shot clean through. My wince at your pain, the burning of tears that cascade down your flushed cheeks.
The couch is cool and uncomfortable, penitence for my sins.
But your silence. The roar of your nothingness trembles across my eardrums, makes me nauseous, listening to my own blood course through veins, capillaries.
Just give me the chance to explain.

Dyslexic Heart

In this chest beats a restless heart, manipulated by a mind full of dreams, tempered by the pressures of everyday life.
Restlessness.
Knowing the past, trying to predict the future.
Trying just to live, every single day.
New resolutions formed, the kind that tell you to make the most of the current situation, no matter what. Live the present.
Then pops tells you to put a little money away.
And blow the rest.
Live what’s in your heart.
And he’s dying of cancer, so the advice is to be believed.
A dyslexic heart thunders in this chest.

Survival tactics

I came to it a couple of weeks late, but I'm caught up with the action on The Discovery Channel's "Out of the Wild: The Alaska Experiment." In it, nine people are given a basic course in survival, then dropped into Alaska's interior and told to walk out to civilization before winter hits (they carry a piece of a map, and get new pieces at predetermined shelters, one of which was a downed bush aircraft).
They've got 50 pounds each of gear stowed in a Yukon pack (sort of a tarp with duct-taped straps), plus they could pick anything from a pile of junk (they took everything and split it up).
They also carried SPOT GPS units, just in case something goes horribly wrong.
Or, they could push it if they want to go home.
There are five people left to continue the experiment (the show airs on Tuesdays).
Where was I when they were looking for participants?
The idea takes my back to 2002, when PBS aired a show called "Frontier House." Three families were selected to go to Montana, where they were given everything a homesteader would have in 1883 to try and get ready for winter. They had to build shelters, farm, cut and split firewood and harvest hay for the winter. Experts then came in to score each family, based on whether they would have survived the winter.
(In reality, 2 million people signed up to get a 160-acre homestead; only 738,000 got the deeds to the land.)
I so wanted to do this.
I so want to test myself against nature.
(And "Survivor" doesn't count; screwing over your fellow man for an immunity idol doesn't say anything about your skills as someone how can really hack it in the bush.)
Maybe someday.

Sunday Scribblings "Healing"

The prompt over at Sunday Scribblings is “Healing.”

Sexual Healing (One Gene at a Time)

In geneticist parlance, it’s called “stirring the tanks.”
Gene therapy only left the door cracked a little; what flooded out were the parents who insisted on designer spawn, little tikes on trikes with Einstein’s wild grey hair expounding on quantum physics while being able to hit the hard slider to all fields with power.
Jerks.
So, from time to time, we stir the tanks.
Sure, anyone with clean room, some Petri dishes and a long-read tower sequencer can engineer a child to grow up blond, blue-eyed and with the intelligence quotient well in the 150s.
(Jesus, let’s create what Hitler wanted, but in test tubes and back alleys; continents of beautiful people, all with straight teeth and perfect skin, like we’ve all been stamped at the bakery with the same cookie-cutter shape.)
Stirring the tanks calls for leaving a few selected genomes to float free – free radicals – so as to cause a mutation when the gametes of the man and the woman meet, thus producing a human embryo, the little Timmys and Sallys of the world. The ones who may or may not grow up to be president, No. 32 on the wish on the list for parents coming into the center.
(Pitching for the New York Yankees is Numero Uno, even though the Bronx Bombers only carry a dozen pitchers on their 25-man Global League roster. Averages, people, the law of averages, still applies, no matter how good the geneticist.)
So these free radicals cause a mutation that, if natural selection is to be believed, nature will accept and adopt and adapt. Like color vision, walking upright, opposable thumbs – the biggies for chrissakes.
We all want one of our little tank stirs to be the next big leap. We all, of course, want to be the next Mendelssohn, whose stir is credited with advancing the human brain to accept telepathy as the sixth developed sense.
(Of course, it should be noted that Mendelssohn died penniless, persecuted and with a wicked case of mutated Herpes Simplex Virus 2 contracted from unprotected sex with an exotic dancer in Vegas who somehow managed to pass a handheld scan before Mendelssohn forked over a mess of Credit Units for an hour of slap-and-tickle.)
Alas, I digress.
All of us, I know, mess with stirring the tanks at home labs that don’t quite meet Global Union mandates on the safe and ethical use of gamete manipulation protocols. Like the farmer who first messed with the watermelon to produce a sweet fruit without seeds, we all wanted to see what we could do with the little Johnny or Marys of the world.
Some of us cashed in on the stirs; slip an extra grand in CUs and little Tommy is playing Piano at Carnegie Hall at 12, calculating a more elegant drag coefficient on the next-generation of mag vehicle technology at 15 – or, yes, pitching for the aforementioned New York Yankees (increase the size of the hand, increase the length of the index and middle finger by an inch, tighten and strengthen the arm and shoulder tendons, then extend a tank stir that gains the preponderance of squirting out a southpaw, and you’ve got yourself a kid with the raw materials to toss a wicked split-fingered fastball that even George Michael Steinbrenner IX couldn’t ignore.)
Me, I could give a shit. I’ve always been dedicated to pushing a Mendelssohn. On the grandest of planes.
I wanted to create man in God’s true image, one who was not tied to one dimension, but instead could learn to manipulate time and space.
There’s an elegance in that, I think. It was my life’s work, that one grand tank stir.
Until I met the Mehra family (the couple, actually), who tugged on a heartstring. Caused a stir, as it were.
My most effective, if predictable, stir to date.
Omar and Crystal Mehra (he Punjab Indian, she American Southern White Trash), came looking for help with their first spawn. She’d met Omar through Selection Singles, the “most trusted name in Neural Net dating services;” maybe a little research would have prevented the relationship from gaining purchase, before she spent all her CU’s for the introduction to Omar’s deep brainpan characteristics, she would have noticed his withered lower limbs, a routine case of cerebral palsy (spastic diplegia) that left Omar being able to fumble forward with the help of braces and aluminum crutches, yet out-think nearly everyone with an I.Q. well past 190.
While put off physically – she of blond hair, 38 DD breasts, long, tanned and beautiful legs and hips that were designed by God to squirt out offspring – she stuck with Omar, hoping the geneticists could bypass the CP and give her a Miss Global Union to dote on, pageants being her whole life, and combined with Omar’s brainpan, the child could get past what had always tripped her up – the question-and-answer portion of the competition.
(Besides, a sandy blond half-breed with big tits, long legs and skin the color of toffee was bound to tug on judges’ new definition of “global beauty.”)
It was my turn in GenEnTech’s selection bullpen (think of it as the DMV of gene therapy) when I met the Mehras.
Crystal Mehra was a shrill, overbearing bitch.
Omar was kind, considerate, quiet man who adored the Boys of Summer - the Yankees, especially.
We hit it off immediately.
Through small-talk, I learned that he was never picked for a game of stickball while growing up in the New York Metropolitan Quadrant, a sprawl of government tenements, concrete egg crates, really, where despair and disease were the order of the day.
Dude had an impressive brainpan, though, a true genius. But with a thick Fu Manchu mustache that would put Rich “Goose” Gossage’s to shame. And a love of the game that went past religious furor. It burned gracefully in every single cell in Omar’s being.
Crystal was adamant about a beauty queen; Omar simply smiled, spoke softly, wished for a child who wouldn’t suffer the slings of childhood oppression due to shriveled limbs and brown, patent-leather orthopedic boots.
So, I stirred the tanks.
Didn’t accept the CUs Crystal tried to pass under the table, but persuaded the couple for a double-blind stir, no questions asked – and no recorded geneticist of record on the birth certificate.
A mercy stir, we call it.
Darell Amat “Six-Finger” Mehra makes his Global League debut at The House That Ruth Built at 7:05 p.m. today. I’ve got clubhouse-level seats behind home plate, which cost me a fortune, but I couldn’t resist.
I just had to see the glow on Omar’s face, the simple beauty of a man whose withered limbs will be healed with the sound of slapped leather, the catcher’s target of his son’s scorching 120-mph fastball.

Fiction in 58, a story in small packaging

A Fiction in 58:

Aftermath

A tangle of sheets, not enough cover, heat radiates, knocks back the chill of the night.
Sweat cools on flesh, smiles tucked into warm curves. Talk, small, in whispers like someone will overhear.
He watches her nod slowly off, listens as quick breaths ease into measured cadence.
He slips off, too, sheltered in the passion generated between them.

Wednesday's Three Word Wednesday

The words over at Three Word Wednesday are cryptic, flash and malign.

The Messenger

I’m walking on the beach, the setting sun a Fiestaware plate of brilliant orange.
When I stumble on a bottle caught in a rocky breaker, protected by rotting seagrass. The bottle is dark green, indicating a former life as a vessel of fine wine, a Bordeaux maybe. It’s new use is that of messenger.
The corked bottle has a note in it.
I squat over the sand, dust debris from the pitted glass, shake the bottle. The parchment inside bounces silently.
I dig out the cork.
And uncurl the crinkled paper and flatten it by rubbing it gently across my thigh.
The note is cryptic in its message, written in a man’s heavy penmanship. Three sets of numbers, two of which I guess are longitude and latitude lines. The third a string of 15 digits in no discernable pattern.
A very personal note to a former lover, an apology, a pledge of undying love.
It ends with:
“God bless the finder of this communiqué.”
A fit of mischief fills my heart. I scan the empty surf, drum my fingers across the glass, break into a grin. What this note needs is an addendum, a twisted modification - the editor's touch.
I take a pencil out of my pocket, sharpen the lead with a penknife, scribble the back with the most horrid of details. Malign the writer’s family, question his manhood, imply his deep love of barnyard animals.
I roll the paper up, re-cork the bottle, return it into the surf with a loopy overhand toss.
And sit in the sand, watching the bottle bob in the water, watch as it casts a sunset shadow across a sea transitioning from turquoise to azure.
The tide’s in, and the bottle languishes. It gains no purchase in a sea current and slowly comes back to the beach.
I watch the surf try to crush the glass with pounding percussion.
A pang of guilt fills my heart. I sigh, retrieve the bottle. Uncork the note.
And with my mobile, punch in the 15 digits.
A woman answers, her voice accented, pleasant, but with a hint of melancholy.

Tuesday's NaiSaiKu Challenge

A little something for Tuesday’s NaiSaiKu Challenge.

Angry lyrics shout,
combustible words defy,
punk ethics, scream, shout,
POEMS PENNED IN GAS
punk ethics scream, shout,
combustible words defy,
Angry lyrics shout

When religions attack

Chant
I walk into the living room, where my mother noisily flips through a magazine; tears cling to her long, dark eyelashes.
Fearful, I sit on the ottoman and take her hand in mine.
She signs, puts the magazine down, smiles in a tired, almost wicked sorta way.
“Do me a favor?”
And I wander into dad’s den with a fistful of chocolate-chip cookies, even though the door is closed. There’s a strong smell of candle wax, incense.
My dad sits cross-legged, the lotus position, wearing what looks like a big diaper, only the rough cloth is the color of orange sherbet. He’s chanting in this low tone.
When I notice that he’s floating a good eight inches off the polished oak floor.
I quietly walk forward, saddle up next to him.
“HEY, DAD!”
The tranquility broken, dad falls to the floor in a loud thump. Because his legs are crossed, he loses balance and his head makes contact with the floor with a sickly slap.
Wincing, he looks at me through tears that now coat his eyelashes. He rights himself back into the lotus position, adjusts the orange diaper at the waist.
“Son, you can go tell your mother for me,” he says, rubbing the bald spot on the back of head with one hand, and plucks a cookie from my mitt with the other, “that the Methodists and their ilk can no longer contain my chakra.”

Sunday Scribblings, "Confess"

The prompt over at Sunday Scribblings is “Confess.”
“Anything to confess?”

Yes. This piece is a reworking of my first-ever try at a Fiction in 58, which I wrote in 2007.

The Lies of Lovers
A quilt spread in soft grass gone golden. Two young lovers.
A blade of grass in his mouth.
She chews gum, spearmint.
“In the war, I did grisly things. Shot a family’s pigs, just to hear them squeal.”
“In Prague, I’m Lady Tatyana, Dominatrix. For serious cash, I dispense spankings, humiliation.”
“I love you.”
“Warts and all?”
“Definitely.”

Free-form poetry

Thump
Search your heart, what’s there?
Dry as a desert? A wasteland?
Or is it fertile, like good bottom land refreshed and recharged by the floods of spring?
Will things catch there, grow?
Or wither and die in time?

A life-spring of chances, rich row crops of maturity.
Or a dead lakebed, cracked with salt and barren forever.