Thos post is a bit self-serving.
For a time now, I’ve been creating on Twitter #vss.
Or, very short stories.
Twitter allows someone 140 characters. Take away the hashtag, that’s five (with a space).
So the trick is to tell a story in 135 characters.
There’s a lot of really good writers who have embraced the #vss format.
I do it for fun.
But I wanted a repository for the stuff I’ve done. Sure, I’ve shortened some original fiction down to fit. But I’ve also had some ideas that I’d like to stretch into fiction that has more heft.
This post is that repository:
The leather and the studs, the whips and the humiliation was fine, part of their play. Making the bed afterward, that troubled him.
He fingers the powder that fills his pockets. Each digit dark to the second knuckle. He sniffs. No, the grit doesn't conjure her smell.
He was bound for Mexico. She hitchhiked, just for the thrill. He stopped. They shared Big Gulps, Twizzlers and eventually, themselves.
He fights for women in power suits, yet wears frilly lace and hosiery. He thinks of coming out. "The devil's in the details," he sighs.
He wakes in a stupor. In bed is a hooker, two midgets and an empty bottle of oil. "There's a punchline in here somewhere," he croaks.
Cut too deep and the blood doesn't flow. Too shallow - it's a scratch. Drag the razor just right, she thinks, and happy droplets form.
Instead of hands, he had pinchers. In winter, he masked them with mittens. While handsome, he was not popular in ballroom dance class.
On her bracelet, a brass key. Dull against surrounding silver. It unlocks a wooden box in a bottom drawer. Contents? His beating heart.
My subconscious works freelance. While I slumber, it goes to work. It's OK, I'm not using it. The insomnia, yeah, that can be a bitch.
He rubs the soft fleshiness of his arms, using the friction for heat. No matter, the coolness continues. "So this is death," he says.
The young entomologists wrapped themselves in passionate embrace. He shuddered in final ecstasy. She laughed as she removed his head.
Hot breath hangs like storm clouds around his head. In the bitterness he stands, waiting. The cold is anesthesia to his hopes, dreams.
Despite six months of 'rest,' Holden graduated with his class. Instead of catcher, he learned to answer advertising to career council.
After Becky left for college and Tom joined the Secret Service, Huck decided to try bootlegging. Best damn hootch around, folks agreed.
"Her mottled skin festers with many pus-encrusted boils." "What did you say, shithead?" my sis asks. "Nothing. Dad, are we there yet?"
He fears all manner of things. She, slathered in piercings and tattoos, flirts openly. In one awkward moment, she reaches for his hand.
Chronically unemployed, he'd tried everything. Scanning the news, he saw his calling: "Wanted, death's assistant." It even paid well.
He gets a feeling of weightlessness, walking along the roof lip of his building. Sometimes he shuts his eyes and the fear emboldens.
He checks his watch. Thirty-six seconds pass since he last looked. "Nervous?" she asks. "Kinda hoping for that four-hour side-effect."
he serves savory morsels to uneasy party guests. She explains offal, and they eat lustfully. He would have been pleased, she thinks.
The laser came parcel post, in one large cardboard box. Hooking it to the car was no problem. Explaining the need to his wife, tricky.
She'd convinced them, at $20 a head, LSD was woven into the wallpaper pattern. They shrieked; she marveled at the power of suggestion.
He's hell-bent for destruction, waltzing down a path with no salvation. "Say, lets get some Cap'n Crunch!" She cocks her head sternly.
Something swam in his lobster bisque. He fished with a spoon, pinned the offender. As expected, a sea fairy was dredged from the depths
He bought flowers, exotic perfume. He dazzled with expensive wines at dinner. Nothing fazed her. Silently, he took her hand. She cried.
He covers an eye, blinks. "I've a brain tumor," he says. "Ridiculous," she says, not looking up from the crossword. "It's a hangover."
He'd done an exhaustive cost-benefit analysis. "Sorry hon, but I have to let you go," he told his wife, pointing to a spreadsheet.
He could feel the toxins beginning to take hold, with every bite. "Honey, isn't wonderful mother came over to cook dinner?" He smiled.
He scoffs at her notion of uterine rights, through dessert and coffee, and the aperitif. "The penis is a political prisoner," he says.
They had an amusing wine, the house specials. Small talk ensued. The conversation became tangled in feminine politics, uterine rights.
He'd been busy excising past demons. At last, he twisted the wedding band off his finger, read the inscription, tossed it in the river.
Freezing rain pelts his upturned, ruddy face. He lifts his arms, raising colorful bags like flags. "Where's the fucking car?" he cries.
Young lovers hook pinkies over coffee and tell lies: "In Prague, I'm Miss Simone, whipstress." "In the war, I brutalized farm animals.”
He watches rain pelt the window, each streak a tear. His heart cries out. "Come back to bed," she says, this one who is not his wife.
It's a sultry evening under the stars. He points out constellations. She hides yawns. "That's Penis Minor." "What?" "Just making sure."
She sits naked on soft cushions, her skin luminous from oil. He walks in with a beer and a scratch. "You're blocking the TV," he says.
To fight boredom, he'd fill a syringe from the cryo-chamber and shoot their blood into zero gravity, capturing the droplets on canvas.
Her body was swathed in gauze, the beauty enhancement done. Curious, she dug at the bandages, saw green scales. And tried to scream.
She worked retail, which wasn't all that bad. Not as lofty as those childhood goals, princess or ballerina, but better than a stripper.
The child huddled, his cry a sing-song of misery. Maybe with some accompaniment, a guitar or tambourine, it would sound more festive.
The Cuddahy's basement smells sickly sweet. Playing Risk, the eldest Cuddahay daughter whispers, "Want to see dad's skull collection?"
A gas smell hangs heavy. Mom fingers her pearls, drops Styrofoam into a pot. "What's cooking?" "Napalm," she says, "for the church bazaar."
Tablecloth, candles, mood music, a sumptuous feast. He takes a greedy mouthful. "This is cold!" he says, spitting. "Revenge!" she cries.
In every boy beats the heart of a man. But her little Edgar's heart thumped the rhythm of a sociopath. Hence the iron bars, razor wire.
When the cuffs came out, he thought it was an extension of rough lovemaking. When the tazer came out, he knew he was in deep, deep shit.
Over breakfast, she asked nicely. He suggested they play rock, paper, scissors. He won, three out of four. She'd have to wake the boy.
She checked her lipstick, chambered a round in the .45, slid it into her apron. "What's that for?" he says. "You know these things get."
With any luck, he pleads guilty and gets away with time served. "I'm sorry for what I said," he says. "It's my mother's recipe," she says.
He hugs the glass in his hands, feels the coolness from the melting ice. It's late, dark and the only thing stirring are worries, heartache.
He felt his orbit decay, sensed the heat of reentry into the atmosphere. Frantic, he worked the knobs. "Leave the radio alone," she said.
He sulked in a stained tank, sipping wine from a jelly jar. She stirred a pot, sighed, recalled a time before she was Mrs. Crocker-Boyardee.
The interrogation lasted hours. She'd warned him in the car. Thanksgiving, parents. His payback lay in her childhood princess bed, later.
Water flowed over the counter, soaking her shoes. She clutched fists to her chest; he drew circles on the table. "Pink is positive, yeah?"
A TV flickers inside a living room; outside, a house cat stretches its paws on the porch. He stands, takes it all in, contemplates suburbia.
He examined the luxurious, dark carpet of fur covering his flesh and howled. Kicking numerous Rogaine bottles aside, he felt himself again.
He wakes naked in a hotel room, covered in bite marks. Picking his clothing up quietly so as not to wake her, he spies her teeth in a glass.
Ripping tags off the new mattress satisfied, especially the "do not remove under penalty of law" one. He smiled. Until the rap on the door.
If there had been screws, she would have turned them, oh my yes. Made him suffer. "I'm sorry, did you say something?" he asked. "No. Dear."
"Liberty!" she cried, upsetting the table service. He put fists on the table, tried to comfort the children. "She's been reading," he said.
She sits at a card table in the lawn, with a sign that reads "GUESS." "Guess what?" you ask. "That will be five dollars, please," she says.
She could barely remember the time before, the expensive trips, parties. The baby cooed, her heart swelled and everything felt as it should.
They gathered at the 7-11 for Big Gulps and snacks and pondered what it meant to be teenagers. Wait, strike that. They sneered at customers.
A gathering of their kind was set for the Hilton ballroom downtown. Everything was fine, until staff lit up the disco ball with the lasers.
He sits with elbows resting on the bar, expensive shoes hooked to the rail. Just like a Venus fly trap, waiting for a delicacy to happen by.
"Warmer." He tired of the game. Asked to find her spot, he ran a hand across her flesh, her breasts. "Freezing." Men are doomed, he thought.
They arrive at the place he hates. Like pre-school sharing; corporate sharing. At least he has something - Stevens' body cooling in the can.
The subway's crowded, it takes everything to stare at his shoes. She blows by, a cool breeze, drops a flower in his lap. A tear waters it.
Money's in the pot, rules set. It's early, so nobody's stepping up. He shrugs, stands. "One number?" We remain quiet about his open fly.
She was all angles and corners; he was curves, gentle lines. When out together, people snickered. Alone, their contrast melted into desire.
He stood at the sink, eating cold cereal. Peering into the drain, he saw what his life had become - a dank hole, filled with rotting debris.
He sat in a sunny place, squinting. "What are you doing?" she asked. "Crows feet. I'm making crows feet." "Why?" "On men, they're so sexy."
She awoke startled, gazing into dilated brown eyes. Pancakes? he asked, sour breath slowly replaced by the happy smell of warm maple syrup.
He scrunched the coldness of his murderous heart into a shard, screwed on a smile and went in for the kill, thinking only of her warm blood.
The watch hung from a heavy silver chair, itself worn shiny by the seconds humming like heartbeats. He checked it often, waiting for change.
Rain plays drumbeats against cool glass; the sun is hours from rising and yet he sits, watching. His tea has gone cold, just like his heart.