And So the Adventure Begins

Three-quarters of a harvest moon, yellowish-orange and brilliant, hangs over the night, illuminating it.
I’m up on the roof, in the shadow of the adjacent building, taking it all in. It’s quiet – the bar across the street is closed for renovations – and I’m trying to make sense of it all.
Knowing that I’m hours away from perhaps the greatest adventure of my life.
The pulse is quick. I try and calm the mind, but it’s been racing since the day I decided to throw caution and conventional wisdom out the door and follow a dream.
Live in New York for a year. Observe. Write.
(Try and write two short stories worthy of publication, although there are those people who are hoping for a novel.)
As I type this, 18 hours remain in my life in SoDak. Soon, I’ll run Trinity to the groomers, turn in my cable television box, come back to mop the floor, pack the truck. Walk-through with the landlord at 4:30 p.m., final beers and goodbyes with friends at 5 p.m.
The road trip east begins bright and early Sept. 29. Pick up the keys to my new condo on Oct. 1.
And the 365-day experiment begins.
So much excitement pulsates through my body, like a current.
I look at the moon and try and think of another time I have been so excited to try something. I know there must have been those times. The six months I spent in Japan. The eight weeks in Italy. The various journalism jobs, in various states, moving up, moving on.
But I can’t find any memories that compare to how I feel in the now. Maybe it is age, a better appreciation for things we are given.
I am excited.
I am happy.
My dad, who made this adventure possible financially, said he wanted me to be the kid I used to be: Full of wonder and questions. Willing to jump first, look later.
I have no idea how this year will turn out. I have thoughts, visions. I have the outline of a plan and freelance jobs to pay the bills. I will mostly take life in New York as it comes.
But I do have a feeling.
The notion that something good awaits me in the city.
And I realize that the next time I see the full moon, it’ll be from Manhattan.

Wednesday's Three Word Wednesday

The words over at Three Word Wednesday are gait, nudge and ripen.

Zooming the Girls

He falls to his knees and in mock torment, beats his fists on the sidewalk, which skews the contents of his backpack painfully to one side.

Two girls on bikes flank a third. She is tall and gangly (with a hint of the curves she’ll ripen into) and carries a skateboard.

Hazel eyes that sparkle in the sun, this tall girl is the one he craves. An adolescent tease in jean shorts, white blouse over a white tube top, flip-flops and a wispy braided bracelet around her right ankle. Her hair is long and curly and she’s pulled it back into a ponytail.

He stands up, thrusts his hands in his pockets, advances yet again in a cool, calculated gait.

“I gotta go,” he pleads.

The sentries nudge one another, put their hands up like stop signs, wag their fingers. He can only shrug his shoulders, eyes pleading.

The lanky girl, her skin the color of melted light brown sugar, thrusts her shoulders forward, shakes her head no, and screws her lips into a pout. Her cheeks are red; she puts a chewed fingertip to her lips. She smiles; her eyebrows arch.

“Just one kiss,” he says. “’Cause I gotta go home.”

The sentries won’t relent.

Even though she wants them to just disappear, in the very worst way.

OneWord, Pouch

You'd think pouch, today's OneWord prompt, would cause a freeze-up in creative thought. Man, this thing flowed.
(Sorry for being so absent on The Tension; the move to NYC has been filled with hiccups.)
Here's today's OneWord, based on "pouch:"

He was born with a pouch. Just a lit­tle slit below his navel, two folds of skin that formed a small pocket. He didn’t mind so much, as it became con­ve­nient to stash stuff there through his pubes­cent shenani­gans and, if he thought about it, it was a lot bet­ter than, say, a curly tail or an extra eye­ball. He mostly kept it to him­self, until the day he met his soul­mate. Ner­vously, in bed before mak­ing love for the first time, he showed it to her. She laughed, whipped off her skirt and with a flour­ish, showed him her two vaginas.

Thursday's Three Word Wednesday

The words over at Three Word Wednesday are charm, feast and robust.


He sat, contemplating the feel of it, as it rolled off her tongue and through pouty, collagen-filled lips:

Slack-jawed yokel.

The remnants of the Four Seasons Martini dripped slowly off his dark, impeccably-trimmed goatee and was, at that very moment, puddling on the China between a feast of mashed Yukon gold potatoes with rosemary crème sauce and the lamb rib chop with quince jelly glaze. Untouched was the medley of baby spring vegetables, their color enhanced with their quick sear in the a pan of garlic-infused olive oil.

The slap was unexpected and drew a slight web of saliva across his reddened cheek; the cool Gin had helped soothe the sting.

He had watched her retreat, in slow motion like passing a car wreck, and though briefly that maybe she should have worn a slip under the little red dress she fancied for nights out when she liked to charm him – it being more than a little tight across her backside, and showed the defined etch of panty lines.

Now alone, he swiped the linen napkin across his face, reached for the crystal salt and pepper shakers, and gave the plate a light hand to the seasonings.

He then stared down the other diners with a cold, calculated gaze, picked up his fork and knife and paused.

Slack-jawed yokel.

He slid an elbow on the crisp linen tablecloth, rested his still-damp chin on the heel of his palm, lips kissing his knuckles that were going white as he squeezed the silverware.

“What the fuck?” he said, causing those startled diners near him to avert their eyes into their laps.

Furthest from his mind was the quarrel, the one robust insult that had lead to the strike, the doused drink, the abrupt departure.

Further still was the stigma of now dining alone at the featured table, a deuce near the kitchen where you could watch the celebrity chef shake sauté pans with a flourish and maybe a bit of flame, dramatic.

No, what he chewed over, pondered deeply, was that phrase:

Slack-jawed yokel.

Who the hell thinks like that, let alone talks like that?

Fiction in 58

Since several people put out the OneWord prompt up on the Twitter stream, I’ll go with a Fiction in 58 today. Please enjoy.


The itch starts just above his right wrist, where blue veins conjoin. He scratches idly, which only intensifies the feeling.
He increases the pressure.
Until thick ribbons of skin came off his hand, exposing greenish-gray skin covered in thick, clear mucus.
He tries to scream.
No shrieks leave his lips; blossoms of itchiness spread across his chest.

OneWord, Trees

OneWord is a prompt that counts on brevity and quick-thinking. Click, word, write. For 60 seconds.
Today's word? Trees.

Alder saplings, thick, dark, hot, snap at him like whips from every direction. He’s had to move through the trees, quickly, since hearing the final screams from camp. He never saw exactly what happened, the pines too thick, but he had heard. Yes, he had heard the cries for help, the pleas for life. He didn’t even try and help, which stabbed through the adrenaline rush like tiny pin-pricks across his flesh.
But he was alive. For the time being.

Wednesday's Three Word Wednesday

The Words over at Three Word Wednesday are break, negative and surface. This is a reworking of an old piece of flash that I’ve never been quite happy with in parts, mostly the ending.

Moving Day

My agent convinces me that a move to into the city will be good for my career, which has cooled since I took a break and moved into the outer boroughs.

I say OK, but nothing pretentious. No SoHo loft, nothing in Tribeca.

I ask my assistant to find me something sensible, sedate, but with good on-street parking. 
He finds me a small one-bedroom in a rent-controlled high-rise with a doorman who wears a long purple jacket and a black derby hat.

“It’s the next big thing, as far as areas go,” my assistant assures me. “And I’m only eight blocks away, if you should need anything.”

Moving day arrives and I drive into the city with a few necessities – sheets that smell like home, favorite books, alarm clock, laptop – and I walk through the tiny space and take mental snapshots of my new nest.

There’s a knock at the door and I open it to find a tiny woman in a Chanel suit the color of Pepto-Bismol. She’s carrying a small, pink pastry box tied with white twine.

“Mr. Bascomb, my name is Mrs. Levitz and I just want to say how happy we are that you’re moving in,” she says. “Here at the Constantine, we’re all very big fans – who will absolutely protect your privacy like our very own.”

The box in filled with four monster cupcakes, two chocolate, one red velvet and one that looks like vanilla, with toasted coconut sprinkles covering the entire frosted surface. I thank her for her generosity and she’s already waddling down the hall, waving a hand and reassuring me that my solitude is safe.

I stare at the cupcakes and realize they’re the only food in the place.

I grab my coat, hat and head out to find the nearest market. There’s a slight drizzle, so I duck under a black-and-red striped canvas awning where there’s bins of apples, oranges, fresh-cut flowers. The doorbell jingles its little tune and I pick up a red-handled basket and start down the aisle.

Next to the coffee and teas, there’s a display for catheters and enemas.

Near the dairy case, a giant display of rubber bondage suits.
Next to the cereal and oatmeal, equestrian tack - whips, crops, bit gags.

There are shiny metal speculums mixed in with the cheese graters; nipple clamps on an end-cap near produce; all manner of dildos and vibrators near the beer and wine.

The entire back wall of the shop is one big magazine and DVD rack, with titles like WhAP (Women who Administer Punishment), Leather Journal, Whiplash, Lesbian Cat Fights and ToeKiss.

I decide it’s time to check out.

The girl at the check stand is early 20s, her hair raven-dark and she wears it like Betty Page. She’s in a black leather bodice, held together with red satin ribbon. Over her black leather pencil skirt, she’s wearing a white apron.

“Did you find everything OK?” she asks, eying me suspiciously as she rings up my purchases – a quart of milk, loaf of wheat bread, Swiss cheese, Parma ham, a couple apples and oranges, a bottle of Merlot.

“Just fine, thanks,” I say, trying for an even tone, nothing too stupid or negative.

“Nipple clamps are on sale today,” she says.

“That’s OK, thanks.”

“It’s Thursday, so all latex is 30 percent off.”

“I’m good, really.”

“Here, then, can’t let you go away empty-handed,” and thrusts a small tube into my palm, the label reads “Stroke 29, Masturbation Cream.”

I rush out, flush, and nearly flatten Mrs. Levitz. The small tube of lube falls, rolls, stops at the toe of one of her pink shoes. She picks it up, reads the label through cat-eye bifocals attached to her with a gold chain.

“Mr. Bascomb, tisk, tisk, tisk” she says, hands me the lotion.

And she waddles away, waving a hand and mumbling about my solitude.

I look back at the store, the sign reads “Food & Fetish.” And fish into my jacket for my cell, hit speed dial for my assistant.

To tell him that my transition from the suburbs will be much more gradual.