Rise Above

LiftedOnTheWingsThe Pascagoula River ran into its banks as if the Gulf of Mexico had oozed narrow fingers inland. At the I-10 rest stop, tourists bound for New Orleans debarked and snapped photos of each other and the muddy water.

A woman complained, “I don’t know why we stopped here; we’ve got toilets.”

“Grab a snack. Look at the bayou.” The driver walked towards the men’s room.

At the far corner of the building, an old man in a heavy coat shouted. “Repent!” He brandished a Bible like a weapon. “How shall you answer when He calls your name?”

He had an audience of one, a dark haired woman in short sleeves and jeans who had not arrived on the bus.… Read the rest

Dead Rock Stars

Jimi Hendrix shifted his weight on my couch and jabbed at his gums with a toothpick.

From the kitchen, John Lennon called, “Anybody else want a cuppa?”

Janis Joplin took a drag on a round kazoo and blew smoke rings to the ceiling. “John, you have to come back in here. You need to. You’ve got to come back in here.”

“Ever see Star Wars?” John and his cuppa nearly tripped over the dog in the kitchen doorway. “Whoosh, buzz, bap, crack.” He waved an imaginary light saber.

Janis shook her head.

“Died too soon.” Jimi threw his toothpick behind the couch.… Read the rest

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

Satan in the Basement

fireyno“He was standing right there.” The little boy stayed on the stairs and refused to step into the basement proper.

“Where I am now?” His father pointed down.

“Yes.”

“What did he look like, Dennis?” John Trinkle followed his son’s quick feet back up to the kitchen.

Dennis sat in front of his cereal and tucked his knees under his chin. He wrapped his arms around his legs. “He was made out of fire, with a face like a bull. He had horns.” The father poured himself a mug of coffee and sat beside his son, rather than across from the child where his plate of toast lay untouched.… Read the rest

Fiction: finally left

It was because we had the fall open for the first time since we were five years old. Think about it. Fall was school. And when we could have stopped, we didn’t, and we didn’t again, and twenty five years is a long time between free Septembers.

We went down to the beach, and everybody else had gone home, so it was just her and me. And we’d known each other our whole lives. We’d been a couple since high school. But that vacation after your Mom finished her doctorate was the first time we’d travelled alone together.

It wasn’t the same as going in a group, like we used to do over spring break.… 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

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