Drink from the burning well

coffeemug“There are two types of adultery.” Jillian poured the coffee and added a generous amount of cream to her own. She brought the cups to the table.

Sarah looked up for the first time to take hers. “You’re justifying.” She reached for the artificial sweetener.

“No. It’s got to do with intentions. Are you dabbling? Or is this the final act of an already broken union?”

“There’s no difference.” Sarah sipped, but flinched against the heat and spit back into the mug.

Jillian added two spoons of sugar. “Consider me. Blaine was trapped in a toxic marriage when we met. Our relationship motivated him to end it.”

“Until he did, you only knew you were screwing around with a married man.”  Sarah, allowed the steam to rise to her face.… Read the rest

Death at the Cosplay Ball

If you’re planning to watch Sam tonight, the ballet starts at 7PM central over at  http://www.frazerumc.org/media/live/

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Death stalked the convention, scythe at its side. There were other grim reapers, but they were laughing men and women who roamed among the other costumed characters posing for pictures and drinking at the bar. Death didn’t pose, didn’t laugh.  It walked in a straight line from the glassed in foyer to the auditorium.

Everyplace Death passed, people shrank away. Though none of them saw it, they all felt the cold pall that settled in its wake. In the auditorium, it strode down the center aisle, leaving waves of nausea.… Read the rest

Human Anatomy

Ellie hunched over her closed anatomy textbook. She recited the six essential digestive processes. Her roommate, Darla returned from the shower, wrapped in a bathrobe.  “Why are you working in the dark?”

Ellie looked at the ceiling. “Light’s on,” she said. “Ingestion, Propulsion, Secretion.”

“Your lamp’s off.” Darla pointed to the darkened shade above a hollow ceramic base.

“Yeah. It’s my grandfather’s birthday. Mechanical and chemical digestion.” Ellie drummed her fingers.

“I thought your grandfather was dead.” Darla fished in her own desk and produced a text identical to the one Ellie was studying. “Here’s to a new way of life.” Darla thumped down her own book and  reached for Ellie’s switch.… Read the rest

On the cutting room floor

Kallum breezed into the kitchen and grabbed an apple. “Hey, babe.” He kissed the top of his wife’s head. She had on her bathrobe, and a folded towel sat beside her coffee. “Newspaper attack you on the way to the tub?”

“Hey.” Jeanette looked up from her crossword puzzle and pushed her reading glasses up her nose. She didn’t answer the question.

“You look distracted.”

“I need a seven letter word that means samurai suicide. I’m trying to fit harakiri, but it’s too long and doesn’t start with ‘s’.”

“Try ‘Seppuku’.” Kallum crunched into the apple.

“Ugh. Of course.” She looked back down and started writing.… Read the rest

Loki’s son

Thor, Sif, and Loki walked into the bar.

“Oh fuck.” It was twenty minutes to closing and the place was deserted, except for the bartender. She snapped her fingers and the sign flipped from open to closed. “I told you to stay out of here.”

“Relax, Sigyn,” said Sif. “He’s with us.” Sif  shook her hair loose from her cloak, and four beer steins sprang onto the bar. “What ‘s on tap?”

Sigyn stared at the mugs for a few seconds. “The Sam Adams isn’t bad.” She regarded Loki with lowered eyebrows, while he looked at everything in the room except his wife.… Read the rest

Leading the

China let herself into her sister’s apartment. “Where’s Brian? I didn’t see his car.”

Sally clicked off the TV. “Bar.”

“Again?” China tugged her suitcase in and then locked the door. “He’s not going out to avoid me because I come so much, is he?”

“No.” Sally patted the couch. “It’s his letdown at the end of the week.”

Every week?” China perched on the edge of a cushion that swallowed her.

Sally shrugged.

“Doesn’t that worry you?” China reached down and unhooked her shoes, then wiggled her toes free and rotated her ankles.

“Nah.” Sally leaned back into the sofa, her small body enveloped in its too-soft folds.… Read the rest

Trick or Treat

Laura tugged the pumpkin suit over her ample stomach. “Still fits.” She smiled at her reflection, but a triple twinge in her abdomen told her bending down had been a bad idea.

“Every pregnant lady does ‘pumpkin’ for Halloween.” Her fiancé watched from the bed.

“Only the vastly pregnant ones, Sherman.” She turned to view herself in profile and strapped on the stem-shaped hat. The twinge intensified.

“You were a pumpkin last time.”

“No I wasn’t.” Laura hated Braxton Hicks. She had been dealing with them on and off for four days now, and the last three hours had been worse.… Read the rest

Great White

The Great White Shark flossed her incisors. “The better to eat you with, my dear,” she murmured to the mirror. It was the wrong line, from the wrong fairy tale, but the Brothers Grimm didn’t have any stories about a big toothy fish she could draw from. And it fit the case. It was what the defendant had repeated to his victim when he killed her. His bite marks on her body were some of the strongest evidence in the trial. That and the eyewitness testimony from her daughter.

In the kitchen, the Shark’s husband handed her a travel mug with hot coffee, Raven’s Brew.… Read the rest

Smells like…

“That’s not where I put you.” I plucked my Marilyn Manson CD off my desk and returned it to its place in my collection.  Actually, it was one of my Marilyn Manson CDs, Smells Like Children. I had two, and I kept them stored together at the back of a shelf. It was 1998, YouTube was still seven years in the future, and that shelf was stacked three deep.

Two hours later, Manson was back on the desk, where, once again, I had not put him. “Stop it,” I told the CD. The other Marilyn Manson saw no need to jump out and get in my way all the time.… Read the rest

Wake of the storm

Rain pounds on the roof behind me, and it rushes down the  trench by the sidewalk. The sound is an  arrhythmic drum line chorus with rumbling thunder accompaniment. All day long, on and off, we’ve had thunderstorms, the leftovers of Hurricane Isaac finally blowing into town. Puddles turn into pools in my yard.

I stand in the downpour, completely enveloped. Gray sheets obscure everything, blurring familiar shapes and bringing false ones to life. I’m soaked to the skin. Wet needles plaster me down and peel me to the bone. Nothing is dry. Nothing should  be dry. The rain records me; it recognizes every crevice and pore and marks me its own.… Read the rest