Three Word Wednesday, "The Key"

The words over at Three Word Wednesday are figure, juicy and stress. Short piece this week, as I’m working on a longer piece, and sending out two others to literary magazines.


The Key
A cheery jangle of silver precedes my mother’s entry into the kitchen.

She pushes my hair back from the scalp and tiny charms tickle my flesh as she plants a sloppy mom kiss on my forehead. She angles for the coffeemaker, her wrist a clicky soundtrack of happiness.

Most of my friend’s moms, they wear a string of pearls or maybe a big, fat diamond necklace.

My mother wouldn’t be caught dead without that charm bracelet, a chunky band of silver with all sorts of little silver charms hooked to it. A dog, to represent our golden, Murray; a house, which actually looks like the place we live in; a little silver boy. You know, stuff important to her life.

But what confuses me is a single tiny key near the clasp. It’s not silver, but brass and looks like one of those old-fashioned skeleton keys you need to get into our attic, just a lot smaller.

The brass is shiny, but looks totally out of place, especially next to all that silver. She polishes the whole thing weekly, always taking special care with the key. You can tell it’s really old, and she fingers it lovingly between her thumb and index finger when she’s all stressed out.

The only thing I can figure is that it has something to do with the polished mahogany box that’s sorta hidden in the drawer where she keeps her bras and underwear and stuff. I asked my dad about it once, but he just gave me this weird smile and asked if I’d finished my homework.

Curiosity finally gets the best of me. I wait until mom takes the bracelet off to shower and rush to the drawer and try the key on the box.

The lid pops open with a slight turn.

Inside is a juicy, beating human heart. Its beat cadence rises to a electric thump as I hear my mother’s footsteps on the bathroom tile, heading this way.

“It’s your father’s,” she says quietly from the door frame, so as not to startle me. “He gave it to me on the night we met. He’s sentimental like that.”

Wednesday's Three Word Wednesday

The words over at Three Word Wednesday are dare, essence and practical.

Massive Nights
Whatever you may have seen on television or in the movies, when some dude gets stabbed and practically falls to the ground dead, that’s just an untruth.

But, fuck man, do stab wounds bleed, like really profusely.

A single stab wound won’t kill a guy in all of eight seconds. Like I said, that’s a lie. Miss any important arteries, don’t nick the intestines (loose shit in your innards, that’s bad, man and it’s called sepsis), and you’ve got four hours, tops.

Unless, of course, you’re full of well vodka, the kind they sell to drunks in plastic bottles, well, then all bets are off. A hospital emergency room is definitely part of your immediate future, stat.

It was Timmons’ idea to go “slumming.” We’d dress down, toss on thrift-store clothing and drink with the common man in dark places that smelled of stale smoke, old piss, sour beer and the essence of despair.

We take a taxi to an area near the docks, a dreary place where bare bulbs splay harsh shadows across the filth piled everywhere. Perfect. Inconspicuous.

We’d also agreed, no crisp ATM $20s, just enough crumpled cash, $1s and $5s and maybe a $10 or two, to fit in. Besides, these were places where wrecks went to drink, forget. We went looking for atmosphere.

Collins, man, he gets lit on tequila, and starts talking in this really bad British accent, just pissin’ off the locals. Bartender tried to cut him off, but he drops eight brand-spanking-new $20s on the worn wood of the bar, I’m talking these things were virgin, man, and says, “Fuck it, gents, drinks are on the house.”

Then this little dude in black, two tears tattooed in the corner of his right eye, busts through the crowd that’s gathered flips open a butterfly knife and pins the cash to the bar.

“Fight or get the fuck out,” he says, mumbling in some indiscernible accent.

I’ve just enough vodka flowing in my bloodstream to take that dare.

The E.R. doc, who looks like he’s 12 by the way, tells the guys that everything was going to be fine. Once they got the bleeding under control.

“Massive quantities of alcohol have a way of hindering coagulation,” he says.

Ends up, Doogie Houser closes me up with 72 stitches.

Seventy-two very large, very messy black silk stitches. One ugly looking zipper.

Of course, they’d judged me by the clothing they cut off, figuring I had no medical, just another ward of the state. They’d save any reimbursement money by making the stitches huge.

“Hey, chicks dig scars,” the resident says, while I pay the bill with a platinum Amex card.