Flori and the Snakes

I’ve been travelling for the holidays, and between that and the Nutcracker, I was an all around shitty friend and blogger. To make up for it, here is a Flori snippet. Her novel is finished, has been finished, for some time, but I have no fucking clue what to do with her. She was done at 65,000 for a long time. Then she leapt up to an ungainly 107,000. At the moment, I have her under control again at 95,000, but something still isn’t quite right. In the meantime, I’m considering what might happen to her AFTER the novel, and here is one potential series of events.… Read the rest

In Full Bloom

pimlicoroses.jpgThe young fighter knelt before the sacred rosebush in the sanctuary. “Tomorrow, I rip it out of the ground, Adi.”

“Don’t be so sure, Maximus.” The old fighter creaked into a more comfortable position on his bench.

“These are your people. They will boo and cry out when I slice your flesh.” Maximus drew out the ‘boo’, as if he already heard that throng. “But make no mistake: tomorrow, I root my own flower.”

“Maybe defile it with the blood of a virgin or two,” Adi suggested.

“Or two. I like that. You’re a cocksure old mosquito, squeaking in my ear.”

“In seven decades, I have been defeated only once, and she was a merciful creature.”

“You let her win so you could double your kingdom.”

“Were she still living, Batari would cut you down for such remarks.… Read the rest

Or Treat

“Of all the rotten goddamned days to die.” Richard Larks stared around the room, waiting for his wife to come to bed. She wouldn’t, of course. She was somewhere between Tyler Memorial and Beckman’s by now. Richard was left with a room full of her things, every object a phantom of the woman herself.

He palmed her opal earrings as the doorbell rang “Mrs. Larks! Trick or Treat!” called a querulous voice.

“She doesn’t hear you,” Richard muttered.

He found a needle and an ink pen among Sophia’s things then went to the kitchen for ice. Wasn’t this how they did it in the old days?… Read the rest

Letting Go

Ray sat at the bar flirting with the girls in the lone booth and throwing back one zombie after another like shots. He had been dead seventy two hours. Sooner or later, someone would find his body and he would be forced to shuffle off his mortal habits. Until then, he was having lascivious fun calling, “Give me your number gorgeous. Your boyfriend won’t mind.”

He signaled the bartender, who asked “Another?” This man didn’t know Ray was dead any more than the misses in the corner.

“Relax. I’m taking a cab.” And that was true, he suddenly realized. Someone was clonking up the stairs in his house now.… Read the rest

Corrections, corrections, corrections

This weekend, Trifecta has asked us to provide the 33 words that follow this illustration:

swamp_illustration

 

Typically, I don’t include other people’s pictures on my blog. It gives me the copyright heebie-jeebies. But Trifecta swears it’s OK as long as we give a link back to www.poisonedplayground.com and credit Poisoned Playground. Also, the whole entry makes no sense whatsoever without the context of the image. I have also taken wild liberties with the prompt. They said “Give us the 33 words that follow this illustration. What happens next?” They did not say that the following 33 words all had to be in the story’s TEXT.Read the rest

Lost in Translation

101

They spoke in their own languages, Matt’s English, Consuela’s Spanish, as they wound down the Pacific coast.

“I’m not going on some crazy-ass …”

“No estoy loco.”

“I didn’t say you were crazy. I said this… whatever we’re doing… it’s got to be nuts.”

“No loco.”

“Then why won’t you tell me what it is?”  He wished he spoke better Spanish or she better English. Throughout her son’s trial, they had communicated with a translator, a woman who whispered, “It’s not your fault. You did your best,” over Consuela’s sobs at the end.

But when, a week later, Consuela appeared at his office begging, “Vienes.… Read the rest

Passages and Secrets

SamHappyIt was a Paul Simon kind of morning, a rhythmic kind of morning, and everything built around a peculiar beat. The Alabama sky was dazzling blue, and Sam put on clothes without a fight for the first time in a week. Caroline lost her belt, and she nearly forgot to wear shoes, but nobody shouted getting out the door, and the Darth Maul mask didn’t have to go into time out like it has so many mornings lately.

Sam read to me last night, each word precious and halting, a hard won battle of chosen sounds. I didn’t learn like this.… Read the rest

Under the Veil

Tamekia had no grace. None of them did. Yet even the most awkward dancers moved with an unstable kind of beauty. “No Barbie toes!” Shari, the instructor, called out. “Use the balls of your feet, Tami.” Tamekia rocked down, so her heels weren’t so high in the air.

TamekiaStoryThe class was working on the taqsim, with its gentle vertical motion. “I think I got this figure eight thing.” A woman at the end of the line herked her hips up and down.

“You’re getting there! I can tell you’ve been working on it. You’re all getting better. At the end of six weeks, you’re going to be amazing.”

Without meaning to, Tamikia let her thoughts wander away from belly dancing.… Read the rest

Where you’ll also find me

I swear I didn't pose him. He insists on sleeping shirtless, and he's always cutest at bedtime. The rabbit is called "Nobunny"

I swear I didn’t pose him. He insists on sleeping shirtless, and he’s always cutest at bedtime. The rabbit is called “Nobunny”

And this is the place

In the soul shaken darkness

Where I find my son

 

I went to my favorite writer’s conference last weekend. Killer Nashville was incredible, as always, and I came away with new insights, new friends, and a few things that I completely didn’t expect. I’m sure I’ll talk about those things at some point.

The day before that, I took Sam to one of the myriad of doctor’s appointments that dot his schedule and left so soul-shaken that I thought I wouldn’t be able to drive to Nashville.… Read the rest

All My Best Friends Are Dead Rock Stars

deadrockEarlier, John Lennon wanted me to join together, or maybe that was Roger Daltry. Lennon was the guy telling me to let things be. But who can keep those old rockers straight? Half of them are dead anyway. Doesn’t stop grandma from blasting them all over the house. She’s even got LPs for Christ’s sake. I tell my friends they’re like early MP3s to save having to explain vinyl and EPs; 78s, 45s, and 33s.

She sashayed past my room an hour ago with a broom, and now she’s belting one out in the can while she scrubs the toilets. I do not want to hear about her good vibrations at this moment.… Read the rest