Monthly Archives: June 2008

“If I Was Still Alive”–flash fiction, Difficult People

If I Was Still Alive

 

 

          Don’t even think about life much anymore. But if I was still alive, I’d have a damned fine day despite the rain, despite the depression, think of something you like doing and do it! Oh yes, you think you should sit around and mope, huh? No. Look, don’t wait for the peak moments. Create them. Now that I’m dead I can see all this. Folks wait too long, they go sour on themselves. I sang the blues too long, wasting sadness on myself.

          Just for example, I used to hate bad weather. Say it’s a cold, damp day. You can build a fire and read your favorite book…or hey, start the day with a cold beer! Oh that’s a shocker in Peoria. Maybe there’s music or maybe you wanna lie in bed late on a Sunday, covers up to your nose. Maybe a long hot shower. Getting the picture. Make a list of things you wanna do, and then start doing them. Maybe there’s time for meditating, sitting around rocking on the porch, or driving your car, eating out, taking a walk in the park, calling a friend, girl, guy…or maybe sex…maybe work that in bright and early. More fun if you’re in timely tandem. Your choice. Make that happy list and do something for yourself. Uh huh.

          As for me, if I was still alive, I’d have a great cup of coffee, a nice breakfast, then I’d take a drive, walk around, smoke a cigar, eye the pretty ladies…hmmm, nice lunch, yes sir! Read a good book and listen to music, maybe hang out with friends, watch some baseball on TV, love good conversation…and maybe end the night with a little romance. You know what I mean? Live, live everyday, every night, then when you get over here on the ghosty side, you’ll say like me, hey, I did pretty damned good. I hardly moped around at all. I enjoyed my precious human life to the full! Yes sir, I sucked the marrow outta them ribs!

 

 

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“See Through Ways”–flash fiction, Difficult People

See Through Ways

 

 

          I fell for her watching big league baseball on TV. She was the waitress for the exclusive corporate box seats just behind home plate. She looked Italian, Greek, Spanish, whatever…definitely Mediterranean in extraction. There was her petite hourglass figure, the little white blouse with her nameplate, a silver rectangle over her left breast. She was shapely and lithe, with long black hair that she swept back and forth like a fine horsetail. Oh goddess, and those knee-bends, pulling out and lifting sandwich trays! Great coiled youth, peak, prime grade A loveable, bouncing up against gravity.

          I gotta admit it: I got a hard on watching her handing out the sweaty, cold beers, leaning over the big shots, her deft ringed fingers making quick change. Jesus, I was hooked when she bent over and her bare brown back was exposed, a crescent half moon of dark skin I wanted to caress and kiss as my hands stroked her weary body. God how much could she be making? Not much, plus tips.

          A love item, I’d have more income, and could gallantly offer to take her away from all this humiliation (the latter diplomatically unstated of course).

          When her male supervisor showed up near the 9th inning, he seemed to press too close, to engage her in conversation prolonged, too much personal agenda and forced laughter. The bastard was obviously abusing his position as he slowly counted out the money and bagged the take. One of those corporate caterer outfits, no doubt, had a lock on the food franchise.

          Enough was enough. I was bound and determined to rescue that exotic hospitality divinity, that goddess from sun-bathed Old World countries. Sure as three strikes you’re out…I’d save her way before she was used goods, hard carnie and bored with men’s see-through ways.

 

 

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“World Travelers”–flash fiction from Difficult People

World Travelers

 

 

          Mired in lovemaking, Don couldn’t see straight. His personal affairs were in disarray as he barely had time between job and seductions. Certainly he was sure that Kelly was the one…after that wedding night free-for-all party of their mutual friends Janice and Howard. What happened was more than a little boozy enthusiasm.

          Fact was Don had slept with Janice, and Kelly had been Howard’s playmate for a brief six months two summers prior. And something about the intimate knowledge of the newly weds stimulated the more than lust they saw in each others’ eyes…on the pier dance floor, Boston harbor and the lights of jets landing and taking off at Logan.

          “They’ll be leaving for the Bahamas in a few hours,” Kelly said to Don, her eyes misty and wistful.

          “I’ll take you there,” Don had said “and before we’re married…”

          She had stared at him, their hotel room overlooking the returning harbor cruise party boats.

          “I’m looking for a tropical vacation,” Kelly said and unzipped her party dress, wriggling its shiny satin shells over her hips.

          “I’m willing to go all the way,” Don had said.

          “Me too,” Kelly said and unhooked her bra.

          When Don pressed her gorgeous body into the bed, entering her with a gasp mutually expressed, the deal was sealed.

          Bahamas, Hawaii, Bali, Seychelles, and many more dream fantasy vacations, the whole world spun through their lovemaking like the planet had just recruited another primal pair of Adam & Eve swingers.

 


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“Sammy’s Question”–flash fiction, Difficult People

Sammy’s Question

 

 

          “Don’t know, Sister Sarah, but I got a tremblin’ in my guts.”

          “Is it a tremblin’ pain, Sammy, or is it just a kind tremblin’ nervous like?

          “Nervous like.”

          “You been drinkin a lot at night late?”

          “Uh, yeah, a little.”

          “Cut back, Sammy, alcohol’s eating at your colon. Got your first stage spastic colon.”

          “First stage?”

          “Yeah, later the pain starts. Pain twitches, then the bleedin’ in ya stool.”

          “Uh huh.”

          “No uh huh about it. You just cut back. You drink one, maybe two drinks tonight.”

          “Sure help me relax.”

          “Course it does. I recommend it. Moderation that’s the key…and listen here…”

          “Yes ma’am, Aunt Sarah.”

          “Get off that rear-end or that porch swing at ya mama’s. I see you layin’ up there.”

          “Yes. I been restin’ a bit. Contemplatin’ my career choices. I feel I’m come to a big crossroads.”

          “Uh huh, well Sammy, you a good boy. I helped deliver you. Hard birth for ya mama. Lotta bleedin’…tore her up good.”

          “I know. I’ve heard that all my life. I’m real sorry.”
          “Weren’t your fault. You just get busy and help ya mama.”

          “Yeah, I’m thinkin’ hard on it.”

          “And remember, drink water and walk and have yourself a regular B.M., you hear?”

          “I hear.”

 

 

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“Jacob Blackmur”–flash fiction, Difficult People

Jacob Blackmur

 

 

          In the mirror Jacob Blackmur saw an aging gray visage, slightly stooped in the shoulders, the long white hands on the railing. He saw the man pat his pockets in search of a cigarette, then worse he saw the creepy guy smile, a slow undertaker smile. Who was this guy? He felt like the boy Jacob, the teen Boy Scout, the track athlete at Yale, the banker, the dilettante sportsman…a John O’Hara knockabout character, hung-over in a seedy bed & breakfast somewhere in Western Massachusetts, near Pittsfield, with a woman still married to somebody important in Boston. Jesus! She was downstairs chatting with the lady owner about chintz and pottery and knitting and God only knows what else…and this poor owner of this small establishment will somehow compartmentalize all these conversations and a hundred other strings of narrative and wash their sperm-stained sheets. Jacob, you need a cigarette, a walk and the open road, flying down the Mass Pike, mind on empty, the little lady safely dropped at her friend’s house in Holyoke or Amherst, whatever. Adrift, an aging geezer checking out his performance index on a weekend rendezvous, not criminal, well, maybe a little. He at least was separated, own digs now. His paramour, a former fashion editor with a Jane Russell figure and feel…he knew why Howard Hughes fell for her, designed a bra for her using state of the aeronautical engineering principles. Sheila, give her a name. Sheila was feisty and living dangerously for a Connecticut Yankee. Jacob Blackmur, resident of Dover, Mass, yachtsman, golfer, philanthropist, board member of several family legacies, primarily paper, office supplies (so much for the paperless office!) and now software. Ah, he grinned into the mirror, skeletal, so what, he’d gotten lucky as usual and found that last cigarette.

 

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“Proud Flesh”–flash fiction, Difficult People

Proud Flesh

 

 

          Cut your finger, get infected, get blood poisonin’, red vein up your arm, son…yes sir. Clean that scratch…here let’s pour some methiolate into that wound. Make it burn. You killing them germs, uh huh…oooh…that hurts, don’t it? That ol’ Mercurochrome, that’s no good it don’t burn, see. Don’t cry now…blood poison’s lot worst…get to your heart, brain…kidneys, Lord, you talkin…’bout major problems, stench of gangrene—whew! You never smelled rotten flesh, proud flesh, all puckered up in a wound, Lord, all pink and purple, kinda wet…it be…it be pink that’s good but you go to to ya blue and black, bad color, and that smell of dead flesh, you wanna whiff sometime, you wait till one of the men folks cuts his finger bad, knife maybe, saw or ax…and you just wait till they pull off them gauze bandages. Pick it up and take a little sniff, smell it good, honey, you’ll never forget. Oh, that cut still burning? Now don’t dig at those mosquito bites this summer, and don’t run barefoot in the sandy soil especially, you get the hook worm and that’ll suck the blood outta you, big ol’ ball of those in ya guts, sucking up your life’s sustenance, then they get in you veins and ride around in ya body…and they’ll eat ya heart muscle till it’s like a nest of maggots. I know you know what that looks like cause all those dogs and cats you find by the highway that dead smell, that’s kinda like the gangrene smell on humans, ‘cept roadside animals, their putrefaction, big word, huh? It’s more musky than humans. Human rotten flesh, proud flesh, it smells sorta sweet and dark all the same time, something bad happenin’, neglect, filth, not taking basic precautions, like washing wounds clean, you need some more methiolate on that cut, sonny?

 


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“Big Legs”–flash fiction from Difficult People

Big Legs

 

 

          Roger was single again, second time. And when he got the final papers from Louise he went on a Casanova tear.

          First flight of the following day he talked a stewardess, Ginger, into having dinner in Tampa at the new Doubletree Hotel. They fucked half the night, and he ended the bacchanalia by eating her blonde pussy out till she screamed for relief. While she was dressing he had her again from behind and she barely made her morning flight.

          “You’ve slimed me!” Ginger laughed wiping the globs of sperm from her big thighs, licking it off her fingertips. “You’re a devil.”

          They exchanged phone numbers and email addresses…but he knew…and she probably expected it was over. They were both satisfied.

          Later the next day he picked up Wilma, a divorced woman also with big legs like Connie’s; Wilma had a broad smile, beautiful auburn hair and he wound up at her apartment in Pittsburg. They had a two-day fuck fest and he rode her in every conceivable posture. Wilma liked it on the corner of the bed in the ass, liked spanking and biting and had a great stash of marijuana. He sucked her big breasts till she was sore.

          Then they had a tiff when he called cab to go and to appease Wilma he banged her one more time against the front door while the cab idled at the curb.

          Wilma gave him cab fare. Roger was running late and on empty…but coming back to life.

 

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“Cold”–flash fiction from Difficult People

Cold

 

 

          Born on a day with every frame of the house frozen, the walls groaned as the cold shrank the skeleton while the muted fire within expanded feebly the inside spaces. In the air the breaths of the dwellers exhausted through the chilled air. Hands avoided banisters and walls and especially metals of any kind. After the weak sun rose to its pale zenith just over the fir trees the crows took up cawing raucously, some seeds at the base of the tree, and better, the icy bloodied remains of a rabbit killed, half eaten in daylight by a hawk or owl, maybe a fox. The tracks would tell the tale of the predator and prey, all too familiar. The cabin showed no signs of life but a faint wisp of gray smoke swirling now and then from the chimney top. All was quiet, and within the dark cabin, its gelid walls and furniture, the immense snow banks holding them prisoner, the denizens kept still in their resting postures, wrapped in clothing, blankets, any scrap that came to hand. The food was nearly gone, so was the charcoal…and soon someone strong enough would have to drag in wood from under the snow, someone still strong enough. They were a small band of five people, two related as brother and sister, the others as college friends…and a week’s getaway in the high snow country, skiing, hiking, snow shoeing had come to this dead end of entropy and will. No one knew where they were, exactly, but they were confident, less and less now, someone was coming to rescue them—take them back to cleared roads, warm homes and stores, smiling faces, confident in civilization to care for them, feed and clothe them. Now, time expiring, energy draining into a frigid inner space, their talk, once defiant, buoyant, was silent, their eyes half open, watching the white plumes of their breath.

 

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“Busby”–flash fiction, Difficult People

Busby

 

 

          Busby saw the contrails as an encrypted message inscribed across the snowy cloud banks, blossoms really…the sharp edge advancing mightily, the arrow evaporating into blue emptiness, the joy of going forward without being anchored to any simple hope. Busby, Busby, such a dreamer. To fill an ideal day with beautiful thought, nothing wrong there. Truth was nobody much cared what Busby Wright did on a holiday, sitting on a soft hillock in a backyard all his own…shared of course with the neighborhood animals, bugs galore in summer and in winter where did all those bees and hornets go: Uncle Jake pointed out that perhaps migration was a distinct likelihood. Uncle Peter joked and said that bugs went underground and drove around in little cars made of acorn shells, skidding around tunnels and corners. Sometimes they collided into each other. Of course they wore their tiny seatbelts and were in the best of humor about their mistakes. Nobody mad at anybody…but if things got really out of hand they were taken by beetle cops to the King & Queen’s court, which by the way was safely “ensconced” deep within this hillock.  Uncle Peter had read a lot of dusty books, and his head turned all the way around at midnight. It happened so fast, the blur made ordinary people think maybe a gnat flew in and blurred their vision with a tear. Uncle Jake said it was a good lesson to learn, namely, too much reading fills your pumpkin with weird seeds.

          Uncle Peter said, Uncle Jake’s just saying that ‘cause he has no imagination, so he can’t see the bugs in winter busily shopping, driving along their four-lane major travel arteries. The cool exit ramps, the little gas stations where they polish their acorn shells to make them slide easier round those pebbly corners…Lord, there were so many architectural wonders under this very hillock…and Busby watched the fading arrow overhead wondering, is this another clue?

 


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“Rutting Season”–flash fiction, Difficult People

Rutting Season

 

 

          Anna was like a bad habit. An addiction Thomas couldn’t shake. They just had sex together. Sex. That was it. They didn’t even talk that much after the first year or two. Yes, through the years the frequency went down, but there was still a fundamental rendezvous cycle.

          Pure lust, they whispered.

          They couldn’t stand each other as live-in friends, maybe mates. No. Anna didn’t want a man as intelligent as her. Thomas was strong willed and an independent thinker; and Anna was impossible because she never stopped talking about the abuse of women and children, about the horrors of illness, the torture of war and male stupidity.

          The good thing was they worked this out at the beginning. They stopped trying to make “it” work and just got down to fucking. When the animal surge came on, they set up their next rendezvous…that was the simple agreement. They would meet, no matter how their marriages might be going. Anna was always having problems with her less intelligent husbands; and Thomas steadily married to a wonderful suburban wife, sleep walked in domestic idleness and comfort.

          When Anna and Thomas met at last in some no-tell motel, they ripped off their clothes; they fucked with the curtains open almost in public view. This ache of lust neither could explain; neither of the lovers was particularly handsome or beautiful…but their physical fire for each other was volcanic. Thomas would fuck Anna for hours in every bearable position, for days it seemed…then without a sentimental word or farewell glance, they’d vanish until the next mindless rutting season.

 

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