Untitled


Preface:  I wrote this piece a while back, and really had no direction or purpose to lead the overall narrative.  I merely wrote what was comfortable for the moment.  Sadly though, this piece is a little rough around the edges, but consider the grammatical errors as author’s will and judge the content, rather than the mechanics.  However, I really did enjoy this one, and the ending seemed tacked on so I omitted it–I think it reads better for it.  I also was unable to come up with a suitable title, so for the moment it’ll simply be labeled as “Untitled.”  But, if you have any suggestions, or something jumps out at you while reading it, please feel free to suggest something.  I might eventually rework this and write an adequate ending, but till then just enjoy the ride!  Hopefully you like the atmosphere and imagery, and as always feel free to critique.


He walked briskly in the night, gandering as he gaggled across the sturdily built bridge.  The moon hung high, and the stars shimmered in unison like a child whimsically toying with a flashlight beneath a sheet.  Elliot was not fearful, or in a hurry, but his feet and his heart wanted him at his destination.  He had several blocks to go, but he observed and absorbed his surroundings with taught fervor.

There was an old man partially lit in the lamp that lay sunken in the shadows.  His mast was a long wooden pipe that could only be distinguished by the slow inhales and synchronic puffs, as smoke wafted above the stoop.  The man grinned a crooked grin as Elliot weaved onwards in an equally crooked fashion.

Beyond the old man’s resting place nestled a cat on the nearby roof.  He lay between the gutter and the top rail, and his eyes were aglow and his tail twitched irritatedly as if to say, “Leave before I scrap and howl.”  Elliot smirked at the sudden revelation that the roof was tin.  His own humor goaded him further, and before long he was at his destination—he was at the place where everyone knew his name.

The loudness of people cheering and clinking glass could be heard out front, and just as the wind began to carry the hundred year old sign into a sway Elliot stepped through the massive door frame.

As his eyes adjusted to the new lights and the clinks stopped as all the stools of the house pivoted toward him he bellowed in response, “It is I!” and the whole establishment went up in a cheer!  Before he could even find a stool at the bar a vodka on the rocks was served.

“You can smell the freedom with every wisp,” he whispered to the nearest patron.

“Ah, what you smell is your next novel my friend,” replied the man, “after all you do your best when your drunk!”

And, at that remark the bar went up in a roar even larger than the first!

“Bah, you don’t know me too well ye old snark.”

“I know you better than most and pray tell would you call your best friend a snark?  That’s just unkind!”

Another round of laughs erupted from the fiendish bartends.

“Thomas is that you?”

“It looks like you put on the goggles early tonight Elliot!  Hopefully you didn’t mount a stray without recollection?  Remember the last one—I thought you had stumbled into a zoo!  I had to pry her off of you.”

There was no laughter this time.  Elliot’s face suddenly became very taciturn.  He looked at Thomas–eye to eye, like a man killing his first beast.  At that moment, he let his now empty glass adrift and just about the time a full one reached his hand he burst out laughing along with everyone else.

“God, I can’t even remember the tits on her!” and that elicited a much hardier laugh than all the others combined.

The hours waned, and even though the bar was closed many men and women still laughed and cried as their old war stories unfolded into the sunrise.  In the wee hours of the morrow Thomas and Elliot stumbled arm and arm into the cobblestone incoherently mumbling to one another about the tits on that one!  There was always a laugh to be found in a drunken tale of lust and crime.

They staggered and yammered past the cat on the roof and a stoop that now stood empty.  As the blocks faded into memory, like the first drink had many hours ago, they found their bearings and plodded back to Elliot’s home.  Thomas hiccupped like an old cartoon character as he bid his friend farewell.  He staggered back down the street towards the tavern that he owned.

Elliot ambled across the gangplank into his floating home and promptly plopped face-down into the double that was coated in pages of his manuscript.  His snores matched the soft laps of the water against the old boat and just as quickly as the sun had risen above the hills in the distance it sunk into the waters on the other side.

Advertisements

Sonia G Medeiros’ “March Writing Challenge: Make a Wish”


The past two months I have partaken in Sonia’s writing challenge, and March’s challenge is no exception.  I have never taken the leap and written a Western tale of any kind, so on this particular go I decided to run with the genre.  I was influenced by Bill Willingham’s “Fables” and its newest spinoff “Fairest” making my “Make a Wish” attempt one-part Aladdin and one-part wild west.

Overall, I had fun with the piece, but I did over shoot my word count mark by almost fifty-words but like King’s novels sometimes it is what is and it’s done when it’s done.

Abacus

Gunslinger by Kevin Jackson

Abacus gracefully rippled past the wind as she picked up momentum across the dusty badlands.  Dry shrubbery and various cacti dotted the landscape, but to William “Bat” Matterson they were barely discernible blurs as he hung low on his steed—just a small misshapen shadow upon the back of a valiant beast.  His left hand clutched a single burlap sack–it contained a small brass lamp with splotches of sand and deep engravings that spiraled ad infinitum around the curvature of its spout.

Bill had scavenged and piecemealed his way into surviving over the years, but his existence had not been an easy one.  If it hadn’t been for Abacus he would have surely thrown himself into the nearest quarry, but as irony would have it he had found a powerful disembodied voice buried in a quarry out by Rock Cliff.

His heart pounded as he made his first wish–it was the one thing Bill dreamed about as he slumbered beneath the desert lights. Bat wished to go home.  He remembered his wish vividly, because the mystical voice had chuckled first and then calmly replied, “Ride home.  You will be welcomed.”

He had immediately snatched up his newly acquired bobble and hopped upon his only saving grace, Abacus, to finally begin his venture homeward.

What Bill had not realized was that through it all–through the bungled poker games, through the liquor, through the leeches who called themselves friends, through thick and thin Abacus had always been there for him.  Abacus had saved his life on more than one occasion, and had become his best friend and by extension his home.

William “Bat” Matterson would ride Abacus for eternity as his graceful companion sped along the desert’s highway to a destination that would never come.  Bill was home at last, whether he knew it or not.  The genie chuckled.

Related Articles

Sonia G Medeiros’ “February Writing Challenge: Of Love and Leap Years”


Last month I participated in Sonia Medeiros’ writing challenge, which consisted of creating a fifty-word blip using a specific word from a predetermined list.  It was the first challenge of Sonia’s that I had the pleasure of partaking in and all-in-all I had a terrific time.  I loved throwing my hat in, but what I really enjoyed was reading everyone else’s take on the task.

This month she is holding a new challenge that asks readers to compose a 250-word short about ‘Love’ and/or ‘Leap Years.’  Within the confines of the piece the writer needs to include five-words from a new predetermined list and upon completing the challenge the writer is then required to add their own word to the list in order to mix it up a bit and vary the posts.

I completed a rough draft of my entry yesterday and this morning I polished it off.  Hopefully everyone like it!  My word to be added to the challenge will be ‘idiosyncratic’ and here is my take on Sonia’s February writing challenge:

A Defective Year

Today was his sixth birthday—technically he was twenty-four, but who was counting?  After all, Leap Year was a variance—an aberration; it didn’t need to exist; yet it did.

In his book lethargy was top priority for the day.  He showered, threw on some clothes, popped open a Guinness, but just as he was about to take sip—he let out a slight cough.  It was minute, but he could feel another building.  Suddenly, he dropped his Guinness and before the can could strike the white-checkered linoleum and the second cough had commenced–he was gone.

Vanished.  Poof.  Non-existent.

For a nanosecond he felt as if he were underwater, but when he opened his eyes he was kissing a beautiful woman.  Blonde-hair, fair skinned, blue eyes, and his heart skipped forward and proceeded directly past ‘Go!’  He blushed, but the kiss was so tender and intense he fell into it like Skywalker tumbling into the Sarlacc.

As the two parted, he smiled and, in return, a smile escaped her lips.  He didn’t know where he was or how he had gotten here, but he knew he wanted to stay.  Love at first sight had never been in his paradigm, but in his heart he—poof.

He was gone.

He was back in his apartment with a Guinness bubbling at his feet.  He immediately grabbed his coat and was out the door before the can could stop spinning.  He would find the girl—that was the magic of Leap Year.

The Elephant Killer


"Awakening" by Cedar Lee

I looked to the right—and, then I looked to the left.

“Nothing there,” I whispered to Ollie the stuffed elephant.

He wore attire akin to Babar, but I christened him Ollie after watching Orlando slay an Oliphant in “Lord of the Rings.”  I crept out from behind my bed.  I had pushed it away from the wall—leaving just a large enough gap for me to slither behind–with Ollie in hand.

“Ssshhhh, Ollie it’s ok.  It’s almost over.”

Mommy and daddy were fighting in the living room, and it was making Ollie upset.  I could hear daddy cursing.  He was saying words I had never heard before, but I could barely hear them over mommy’s crying.  I was brave, so I didn’t cry, but Ollie was scared and he wouldn’t stop.

“Ssshhhh,” I said again.

He stopped fussing for a bit, but I could still hear him whimpering.  I heard a loud crash from the kitchen and suddenly mommy stopped crying.  Everything was silent—even Ollie stopped.  I scuttled under my bed and hid.  The door slowly opened and the light from beneath the door spread throughout my room.  I cupped my hands over Ollie’s mouth to keep him quiet.

“Bud…where you at?” my father said softly, “I know you’re here.”

This time I was scared.  I slid further beneath the frame of my bed.  The last time he talked like that I got hurt and now everything’s fuzzy if I think too hard and I don’t remember things too well anymore.  My closet door groaned open.

“Bud, you in there?”

My pajama pants snagged on a loose nail in the floorboard and ripped.  Normally the sound would have been minute, but with the tension in the room it sounded deafening.  I automatically clasped Ollie’s ears.  Suddenly my dad’s face appeared.

“There you are bud.”

He clumsily groped for me but he couldn’t see very well because of the blood on his face.  I kicked in him in the face—hard.  He groaned like the closet door and then cursed again.

“You little bastard.  Get the fuck over here before I break your fucking legs.”

I screamed and lunged for the other side of the bed.  I scuttled out like a crab, but scraped my back on the metal frame.  I screamed again.  I start running for the door with Ollie in hand.  I made it out the door and stumbled into the living room.  I looked over my shoulder and saw pure hatred.  I tripped over mommy and fell into the kitchen.  He smiled.

I flipped over and said, “Sorry Ollie,” and swung him out in front of me.

The little buttons on his vest raked across daddy’s face and he stumbled over mommy just like I had.  At that same moment there was a loud ‘BOOM!’ and the dishes shook.  Suddenly daddy’s chest started to turn red and he slumped to his knees and fell beside mommy.

I started crying.  I couldn’t find Ollie.  And, then everything turned black.

When I awoke all I could hear were people murmuring and the soft tone of a television.  I was in an all white bed.  My vision was blurry, but I sat up and began frantically searching.

“Ollie…where’s Ollie!?”

And, then a nice man in a uniform handed me something soft.

“Ollie!” I squealed with glee.

“He was a bit of a mess, but we cleaned him up real nice for you,” said the nice man.

Everybody in the room was staring at us.

“Thank you—,“ I began to stammer out,  “—but, where’s mommy.”

“She’s alright,” said the nurse that I hadn’t even noticed, “she’s in the next room.  She just had a little bump on her head.  Officer Ackles here made sure to take care of her while you were asleep.”

“Thank you Mr. Ackles.”

“Just call me James, son”

“Okay,” I said, drawing out the ‘a’ as I clutched Ollie.

I don’t remember much after that.  I remember Ollie, I remember seeing the nice man again, and I remember seeing mommy, but everything was a haze as I fell in and out of sleep.

I was seventeen at the time.  I’m forty-nine now.  What I do remember is—is Ollie.  That was the night Ollie the elephant killed my father.

The Blues


It resided within one of the oldest parts of the city.  It existed to serve, and it had done well for years.  The men and women who came in attendance drank and jested with one another till the night was nigh and the morning was nil.  Frank was the owner and he had a reputation with the woman.  Almost every other week a stumbler was clamoring into the wrong room with Frank groaning and a waitress on her knees.  The piano player had always had an addiction of the Blues and was always creating a musical note storm.  He was talented.  He could have been somebody, but his true passion lay in the Opium dens at the waterfront and unfortunately the long sightedness in him and been burned out of him by the addiction and the hookers.  Marie Jo was his favorite and even she sauntered into the Elk every once in a while.  Usually tweaked out her mind, willing to fuck anyone for a dime bag and a Guinness.  Once and just once a particular surly patron by the name of Patrick, named for near alliteration’s sake, had taken a crooked swing at a man named James over a lost sports bet and a subsequent poor choice of words.  Instead, he ended up clocking Marie Jo in the nose.  A gush of blood and an equally crooked punch later Frank and the house pianist beat the pulp out Patrick so badly that it was unsure whether the street rats would be able tell if it were James or Patrick once the blood coagulated upon his features.  However, these sights were rare and just like the Elk, the Spark, and the Rum Bin the fights were minimal, the hookers were plentiful, and the sadness was perpetual.