Saturday, October 4, 2008

Joint Effort

"Me?' Gordan asked, very confused.

"Yes, you. 'Bout time you contributed more to the group than wise ass remarks and insights on how great America is. Trust me, it ain't that great Fish 'n chips." Casey mocked.

"Think of it this way, $500 to the winner, we split that five ways, that's $100 each. $100 can buy a lot of USA memoribilia." Parker says, trying to coax something from Gordon.

"Fuckin' fine mates, but if we win this, Casey can't bad mouth the states anymore." Gordon says, eyeballing Casey.

"That sound fair Casey?" Joe asks.

Casey sits silent, eyes fixed on the table.

"C'mon Casey. Don't think of it as doing it for him, do it for the group." Mali suggests.

Casey sits, still silent for a few minutes. "Fine, but we better win this, Brit boy." she says with a smirk.

"That's the spirit! Show us some brilliance Gordon. We really fuckin' need this cash." Joe says. Gordon grabs another napkin, and begins quickly scirbbling works to the paper. After a few minutes a silence, he brings his head from the paper.

"Got it mates!" he says triumphently.

"Well, let's hear it." Pakerker says.

"Ok, here goes." Gordon says, as he lifts the napkin to read.

Flowing white coats, a remnant hematoma in vein

A grub to the left, single mother on the right.

She reads People, he sleeps.

I drip, seep, spin.

A needle escapes my arm, already brused.

An addict?

Not even close.

Feet on the floor, the room spiraling with me.

Mr. Labcoat with an OJ, a pat on the back.

Flourescent lights seem piercing, daunting.

A plastic bottle of yellow removed from a contraption,

Urine or plasma I can't tell at this state.

Mine, though.

Worth twenty meaningless dollars.

Thursday, October 2, 2008


Thin lines in her face like
Granite engravings,
Leaf edged, splintering
Out from her eyes and mouth.

Cheeks like cold leather
Saw up and down on used teeth as
She speaks and laughs and
At young men.

I take her to her room,
Push blankets against the cold
While she tells me stories
About me.

Mali finished and smiled at Parker who's eyes were wide and bright.

"When is this thing?" She asked Joe and he looked at his watch.

"An hour or so. I think you should probably write that one down, Mali, while Gordon is thinking about his."

"Me?" Gordon asked, "You must be crazy, mate. Story telling is one thing, poetry and the like is another."

"We all have to do it," Joe told him, "We need as much help as we can get toward that money."

Mali handed Gordon a napkin and smiled at his sour look. God help all these people for what Gordon will give them tonight, she mused.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

fool's rush for gold.

lining their pockets.
wrinkling darkness curled and crept across the mid-morning sky, a threat of rain and wind beyond the windows of the diner. inside, businessmen studied their newspapers and housewives sipped their cocoa and in the center of it all sat the lowly troupe of vagrant storytellers.

"maybe this was a bad idea," casey said, staring into the murky depths of her chocolate milk. the tribulations of their encounter with the junkie and the gravity of the last few rounds of storytelling were etched in her expression, dim and disheartened.

"we can't get discouraged," joe responded, his voice uncharacteristically grim.

"yeah, i mean, we've come this far, what's the sense in giving up now?" mali chimed with a nod.

"no, i mean, we can't get discouraged," joe said, shaking his head. "i was looking at our funds before you guys got up this morning. surprise! we're broke. we don't even have the fare to catch a bus home."

"what are we going to do?" parker asked, his mouth full of pancakes. shamelessly and much to the chagrin of his comrades, he had ordered the smiling variety of flapjacks. the disheveled face now half-consumed, its one-remaining banana eye drooping as it floated on the thin layer of syrup, peered up at him from his plate. 

gordon slapped his palm on the table, rattling their glasses and silverware. "only thing we can do: ditch the long faces and start charging people for our services."

"we're going to whore ourselves?" casey asked, aghast. for one reason or another, all eyes turned to mali, which she returned with a sneer.

"no," gordon said, shaking his head and trying to stifle his laugh. he nodded in the direction of the front door. semi-annual poetry slam tomorrow night - first prize $500! was scribbled on a blackboard in brilliantly-colored neon chalk and decorated in swirls and five-pointed stars.

"neat," joe said, nodding his approval and shoveling another bite of his blueberry muffin into his mouth.

"so who gets the pleasure of embarrassing himself - or herself - in front of a whole group of strangers?" gordon inquired, pointing his fork at each of his companions.


"no one wants to?" gordon asked.

"i'm not really a poet," parker lamented, bits of pancake shooting from his mouth as he chewed noisily.

"you're disgusting," casey said with mild amusement, throwing a sugar packet at him. it landed on his plate, splashing his shirt with syrup. he glared daggers at her while continuing to masticate his breakfast.

joe produced the die from his pocket and gave it a toss onto the table. it collided with napkins and discarded coffee creamers until settling between casey's milk and mali's grapefruit juice. four circles stared at the stained ceiling above them.

"give it a shot, parker," joe urged. he paused, considered, then said, "well, after you've swallowed what's in your mouth." casey and mali giggled behind their napkins.

parker gulped and took a deep swig of his milk, belched once, then began:

across the room, belly to floor
crept the smallest of God's creatures
on six crooked legs, and no more

unaware that so close behind
crept another of God's creatures
on two sets of legs, front and hind

diligent in its forward crawl
the beetle spared little concern
though little good it'd do at all

for close at its heels paced a beast
of fur, of claw, of tooth, of nail
a feared hunter, at very least

to nest, to children, crept the bug
glowing with thoughts of home so near
so proud of its journey, so smug

but soon ceased the traveler's joy
sad the smallest of God's creatures
to a cat is only a toy

parker finished and wiped syrup from the corners of his mouth. the group sat in uncomfortable silence for a moment, everyone busying themselves with bites of food or long drinks. finally, gordon broke the quiescence.

"um, anyone else?"

Monday, September 29, 2008

High Definition Violence

“Curious story ye had there Joe,” Gordon spoke with a grin. Mali smiled and pulled up her pants to reveal purple and black striped socks with little Cheshire faces. “The road to hell is paved with good intentions. One of my favorite quotes.” Casey’s words ended in a smile. Joe nodded graciously, satisfied with the idea that his words were put to some use. The San Diego sky spoke volumes of the city, not a star in the sky. Casey took in the night deeply, allowing some time to pass. The idle chatter of the city discouraged conversation, and this annoyed her. She was on this trip for more than the sight-seeing, though the world did have much to offer her.

As they passed a Panasonic television that sat in a window, playing for the entertainment of a mannequin mock-up designed to mimic decades earlier advertising, a local news program played, airing a segment discussing the recent surge of violent crime in the area. How very common, Casey mused.
“Alright ladies and gents, I have an idea for a story, give me the dice.” Joe reached into his pocket and dropped it into Casey’s hand. She immediately gave it a roll. “A five? You have to be kidding.” Gordon laughed, chiming in, “Haven’t seen one a those yet.” Parker looked at the dice, happy that it wasn’t him receiving that particularly glaring realization that they needed to improve as writers. “Here goes nothing I guess, I’m not making any promises.”

Blood. It speckled the sidewalk, a splash of violence rolling across Park Avenue. Her throat was agape, a clean wound, obviously done quickly with a sense of precision. Her kind fingers clutched her purse in the same fashion those her age would do when waiting for the bus, and the sign located on the pole three feet from her body indicated that was the case. There were two others present at her time of death, a 40-something waitress heading home for the night and a large biker who suffered from a recently revoked license. Both were smattered with blood from the victim however the only fingerprints found on the recently identified Mrs. Jameson’s body, were handprints on her shoulders, most likely from being caught falling. Witness testimony amounted to nothing, both stating essentially the same idea; there was a faint pleasant smell, then Mrs. Jameson fell, her neck opened by a mysterious entity. Where they departed was on the smell. The waitress swore the aroma of her grandmother’s apple crumble wafted through the air at the moment whereas Mr. Engram insisted it was the same smell his wife had after a night of drinking and intercourse. Without sufficient evidence, or any at all for that matter, the witnesses were allowed to return home with a notice that further questioning may occur.

This continued to happen. Random deaths scattered the country creating a subdued panic. No single authority had a remotely reasonable explanation for the acts. If witnesses were present, they saw nothing. The single overriding characteristic is that a smell is present; an odor that is pleasant and accommodating to whomever smells it. Not a single testimony coincided. The country was a mess. Imagine an application of the Washington sniper, extrapolated country wide. After several months, the only real connection between the murders, if they could be readily called that, was the fact that those found dead were good people who wouldn’t have a real enemy. Age, gender, race, none of it mattered when they hit the ground. Some were found in their homes, others in public places, at every time of day.

Martin Sassax developed an obsession with the phenomenon. The Combination of horror, public paranoia and pleasant smells intrigued him to the point where his wall became plastered with any pertinent information related to the phenomenon. His detective agency became swamped with clientele seeking outside assistance in discovering the origins of the phenomenon. Then he received the call.

Her name was penny. She wanted ice cream, that felt like a hardly imposing demand. Granted, the motivation was the strawberry pineapple blend the pastor she was standing next to was enjoying, but that wasn’t why she called. She kept staring and staring and staring, and then suddenly, she smelled her mother’s cookies and a “lady looking man” as she described it, appeared behind the pastor, smiled at her, nodded, then cut the pastor open. Before she could scream, the man was gone, hitting the cement following his sherbet, that began to melt, blending with his own crimson life.

Martin was elated. For the first time, there was a witness, no matter how unreliable. At this point he’d take anything. That night, Martin did not sleep well. An entity that appeared neither male, nor female spoke to him. It spoke one word “Rapture.” He awoke the next morning to a quote he recalled. “Not with a bang, but a whimper.”

Casey finished her line and looked up to realize her audience was entranced. Parker smiled knowingly while Gordon spoke simply;” Found a lil God in ya, did ya now?”