Flirting With The Iron Horse

My entry in the Flash! Friday competition this week. The photo below was the prompt and “treasure” had to be incorporated somewhere in the story. As always, max word count was 160.


Jennifer relaxed on the tracks. Legs intertwined yoga-style, her jaw cupped in her palm. The rails vibrated imperceptibly, the train a mile off. Her face, bronzed like sun-brewed tea, was emotionless, unconcerned that death was assured if she didn’t relocate in approximately three minutes. She waited.

“Honey, I’m sorry, come back inside.” yelped her husband from the porch of their shack that abutted the railroad. “You can watch Game of Thrones, I’ll just listen to the game on the radio. It’s fine.”

She grinned, unfurled her lanky frame and sauntered home.

Two weeks later, Tommy was perched on the tracks. Head resting on his sinewy forearms, his mouth chirping like a wounded goldfinch. He demanded his treasured chocolate pudding for dessert. He waited.

Jennifer observed from the window, stifling a yawn. The growling locomotive and its cargo of malice surged forward, a steaming dissolution of marriage.

She plunged deep into the butterscotch pudding. Her aroused tongue savoring every luscious mouthful.


Wisp Of Smoke:

A very interesting and relevant post regarding the handling of relationships in our ever-expanding digital environment.

Originally posted on Druid Life:

Once upon a time if you fell out with someone, there was no simple mechanism for expressing this to your wider community. No symbolic divorcing was available, and either you avoided them in person, or you couldn’t and life went on. The word ‘unfriend’ did not exist, nor did the concept. I am fascinated by the way facebook has changed things for those of us who frequent it – and those other social media sites as well.

There have been seven people in my life who were known to me personally and whom it became, at various times over the last five years or so, necessary to unfriend. We’ll leave aside the spammers and the random internet connections that didn’t work because those would never have existed pre-internet anyway. Seven people I just didn’t want to interact with any more. There were reasons, some more serious than others, but it…

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Scribbled Thoughts On Writing

This will be a rambling and incoherent mixed bag of musings on writing. From me. A hack. Read, don’t read, it’s all good.

You will often see on social media and elsewhere that people will die if they don’t write. Seriously. Their heart will stop pumping blood. Lungs will refuse to inhale/exhale. Their mind will slip into a cocoon woven from imprisoned and unspent words. Hyperbole much? Writing is important. Writing heals. Writing is a medium that lends itself to escapism. I love writing, I genuinely enjoy crafting a unique story. Feels good. Dig it. Big part of my life. I won’t fucking die if I don’t write, I don’t take myself that seriously. Cigarettes, stress or a brunette with a taste for weakness will snuff me out long before an unwritten piece of flash fiction shall. I understand the sentiment of writing being this glorious thing that keeps a person afloat, makes them feel like they belong, that they have something to offer to the world. A purpose. I get it. Just ease up on writing being a life or death hobby. That flash piece you decided to toss when the words wouldn’t form? Keep breathing. Hang on. You’ll be OK in the morning. I promise.

Contests are fun. I enter one most Friday’s and I enjoy the experience. The competition is formidable which in turn forces me to work more diligently on my craft. It should be a positive endeavor for all involved. Every week I read at least 5 or 6 stories that blow me away. The kind of writing you can learn from, gain insight into structure, imagery, pace, wordplay and whatnot. The type of stories that you wish you had written. Stories that teach. Prose that eats bone.

Another aspect of contests is how subjective they are. One judge, a writer like us, tasked with picking the best of the bunch. A thankless job and a difficult one. Something I couldn’t do, to be honest. Every writer has a built-in bias of what they want in a story. We all have different tastes. Some like dark and gritty, others love surreal and weird, some like Sci Fi and fantasy. Romance. Thrillers. The judge has the same bias as the entrants so your story may be slick as hell, channeling Pollock or Palahniuk, a scintillating story worthy of a pretty blue ribbon but the judge is into sorcery and magic realism, so good luck nabbing the top honors. My main point is don’t criticize yourself too harshly if you don’t make the “winners” page. Also, don’t pound your chest too proudly if you do. It’s all subjective, man. Just write a story that captures your style and vision, the rest is out of your control.

I’m running out of steam, so let me finish this up thusly. If you want to write about a dude that eats women for brunch, write it. If your story is about masturbating while watching Law and Order SVU, write it. Got an idea for a piece of flash about dragons forming an alliance with unicorns? Write that shit. Write whatever the fuck you want to. Own your style, your voice. People offended by a story of yours? That’s a good thing. Don’t let others censure your creative pursuits. There are no rules to a story that belongs to you and you only. Just write. And don’t die.

Tracking A Nomad

This was my entry for the weekly Flash! Friday competition. The picture below was the prompt and the special challenge was a “missed deadline” to be incorporated somewhere in the story. As always, max word usage is 160. My story received a special mention for “use of language.”

mill-creek-watershedThey were getting close. Boots pulverizing snow. Lungs heaving consumed oxygen. Their grave pleas screaming at the white expanse, thunderous and primal. I kept silent and extinguished the small fire with a kick of dirt and slithered further into the cave. A chameleon the hue of rock and shadow.

There was no arbitrary deadline when hunting me down. Night would kill day but they kept searching, always locating me at some hideaway that wasn’t our home. My urge to vanish never diminished, nor did their prowess at rooting me out.

As they veered north, away from me, relief washed over me. Undiscovered and autonomous. I cherished and loved them but the father of their youth was gone. Dissolved. Solitude was my family now, my mute companion. I craved the quiet like a hungry vein begs for the sweet needle.

A faint echo of “Dad” bounced off the mountains and filtered into the cave. The arduous process of forgetting began. Again.

The Listerine Man

Wisp Of Smoke:

A big thanks to Ian Chung and Eunoia Review for publishing my story The Listerine Man. It was a dark time in my life but I felt it was important to share my story to shine a spotlight on homelessness. Plus, writing about my past has proved to be cathartic.

Originally posted on Eunoia Review:

He sat down at my table. More accurately, he crumbled into the booth, a disheveled mess of a man. I glanced up at him with fire in my eyes, a contemptuous look that I didn’t attempt to hide. He peered back at me with the eyes of a lifelong drinker: bloodshot, watery and blank. If the eyes are the portal into a man’s soul, then this guy had quit on life decades ago, alcohol and homelessness snuffing out his essence. I felt no sympathy for him. My icy constitution won’t be swayed by a vagabond who seems to share the DNA sequence of a wild dog. He sat at my table. I didn’t want him there.

McDonald’s is a homeless person’s mecca. Flat screen TVs tuned to ESPN, cheap coffee with free refills, warm air circulating throughout, a place to sit somewhat comfortably. I spent a lot of time there…

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Flash! Friday Vol 2 – 13: WINNERS!

Wisp Of Smoke:

Some really great stories this week and to get an honorable mention is pretty special. Amazing job by all the writers.

Originally posted on Flash! Friday:

It’s time to say thanks & farewell Her Extreme Judginess M. T. Decker . If I were more awake I would wax eloquent for several paragraphs on the depths and sparkliness of our gratitude. But rest easy, dear ones–I am not awake, which means you will only be compelled to read a few short lines: THANK YOU, Mary, for your time and dedication. What a blast it’s been having you aboard the FF judgeship. Thank you, thank you!


Judge M. T. Decker says: Wow!  What a long strange trip it’s been. When I signed on as a judge, I had no idea how much work I would need to put in, and no idea how much I would learn in the process.  I am, as always, amazed and humbled by the work, the art you all have created here, and if I have one regret it’s that…

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