Archive for August, 2017

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Book jacket love affair – a drabble

August 26, 2017

His black and white lips look soft, but like they could be cruel when least expected. I’d like to trace the shadow of his hairline while his hands find me in the dark and pull me in, because there are stories I’ve yet to hear. I want to listen, but those lips that speak in far off worlds and close up kisses distract me.
His eyes are troubled, they harbour a fear of carelessness, there is caution in the set of his jaw. The way he smiles, in those rare moments he’s surprised, makes me fall madly in love. Everytime.

(For Sam Shepard)

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Straight no chaser; a prequel

August 11, 2017

I walked into the club close to midnight, it was already jumping. A small room, crumbly damp brick walls juxtaposed warm solid wood timbers, and packed with revellers. With just enough room to maneuver, I sidled through the crowd, my eyes on a space that had just opened at the bar. I slid my boots, rather than step broadly, for fear of tripping over someone dancing next to me. They came up knee high and offered some protection against the possibility of an exuberant kick, though there were no guarantees of safety in a place like this. I adored the unabashed wildness of it, this was not a place people came to watch a show, this was the kind of place where the music pounded loud, filling one’s bloodstream and driving you to dance. Not a place for observation, but participation, a refreshing perspective within the society of apathetic small screen voyeurs we had become. There were no selfies being taken here, no minds working on clever hashtags to document what was happening. There is no time to capture a moment when you’re busy living it.

I found my place at the bar and nodded to the burly, white shirted man behind it. The club had only been open just over an hour, but he was already covered in sweat. The band started playing at 1130 and didn’t let up until the morning shift of birds took over. I couldn’t believe my luck in finding this place. Not that I would tell anyone where it was, but even if I told people who knew the city well, there was still the possibility they would never find it.

—————————————————————

I followed a rumour one night, desperate for something more. I stumbled across it, more than found it, because of a well timed gasp. It was delicate, and just around a corner I wouldn’t have thought to check. Curious, I moved slowly and saw a woman pressed against a wall, her white blouse open to reveal black lace and gently rounded breasts. Her head thrown back, a few blonde hairs escaping from her topknot, her long slim fingers woven through a dark head of hair attached to a man who knelt before her. They were almost all the way in the shadows, anyone just walking past would likely never have noticed them. He had one of her stocking clad legs over his shoulder, her skirt pushed up, to allow his lips and tongue access. One of his hands held her leg firm against him, so she wouldn’t fall. From the way his other arm moved, I could guess where the other hand was. She moaned again and started to shudder as he leaned in to finish what he had started. I watched her, transfixed by the elegance of her form as she surrendered completely to the pleasure he inflicted. She came hard, her bottom lip caught tight between pearly teeth to keep from completely giving away their position. He held her tight as she folded forward, then deftly loosed her leg and stood, one arm wrapping her waist as the other hand pulled her skirt to a more demure state. She clung to him a moment, her eyes closed, shudders still moving softly across her body until they stilled and she smiled. Then threw her head back and laughed before looking him in the eyes and leaning in for a lingering kiss. I could see her lick his lips, tasting herself and taking as much pleasure from it as he did. He brought his fingers to her mouth and she sucked them deep, eyes closed, a light smile curling like smoke.

I stood completely still, parts of my body throbbing hard enough to make me think my position would be apparent but they didn’t notice me, wrapped up in each other as they were. They stepped from the shadows and headed towards the darkest part of the dead end, where I hadn’t noticed a small recess until now. He held her hand as she stepped down some stairs, how she manoeuvred in those heels, I had no idea. I looked down at the scuffed and worn short leather boots covering my feet, suddenly feeling slightly underdressed. But surely my jeans and nice blouse wouldn’t look too much out of place? It wasn’t like this was some upscale nightclub, it was a modern day speakeasy, that’s what I’d heard, a place to unwind and find joy in the hedonistic pursuits of music and dancing.

I waited a few moments and then, with some trepidation, headed down the stairs. At the bottom was a dark door, clean and free of graffiti, which was extremely unusual in this part of the city. I wasn’t sure if I should knock, or just try to open the door. I hadn’t heard the couple alert anyone to their presence, so reached for the knob when I heard a voice from beside me.

“Are you lost?” It was a deep voice, even through the tiny speaker I could just make out on the wall next to me. I stammered, unsure of how to respond to gain entry. Was there a password of some kind? I thought about all the magic spells I had ever heard, all the stories that contained hints to gain entry into those places forbidden and mystical. Somehow I didn’t think ‘a la peanut butter sandwiches’ was going to cut it. Perhaps honesty was best.

“I think I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be.” There was a chuckle from the other side of the tiny box.

“Well, that remains to be seen, my darlin.”

The door opened and a man that could be considered huge by any stretch of the imagination filled the doorway. Though his size and stance were intimidating to say the least, he had bright eyes and a broad smile that suited him. He looked me up and down, not invasively, but I already knew what he was going to say. My stammering out reasons why he should let me in would not sway him in the least. He reached into his breast pocket and pulled a white card, handing it over while he maintained eye contact with me.

“Call her. She’ll help you. You’ve got a bit of a journey ahead of you, darlin. But you’ll get there. I see that fire in your eyes. You’re hungry, that much is obvious. If you don’t focus that desire, you’re going to get burned by your own impatience. Too much too soon will apply.” He put his massive hands on my shoulders, they were completely eclipsed, and lowered his face so it was level with mine.

“Patience grasshopper. Enjoy the ride.” And dropping his hands, he turned back to the door, I caught the faintest whiff of jazz horns somewhere below. He closed the door without turning back. I had been dismissed. I stood there, holding the card, almost ready to cry from frustration at being so close and being denied.

Wait, grasshopper?

Did I just get miyagi’d by a bouncer?

I looked at the card, completely blank but for a name and a number in black. I whispered it to myself, standing there in the dark doorway, feeling the goosebumps all over my skin.

Celeste.

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The dinner party

August 10, 2017

My date was a bore. He came across as charismatic and wild but within the hour established himself as an exasperating fool. He drank too much and fawned over the other diner’s wives, his roving eyes making mine roll. He foolishly assumed that because I had come here with him, I was a sure thing. Now and then he glanced over, raking his eyes over my form, wrapped in an aubergine dress that could make a tomato blush, all rounded hips and bourgeoning cleavage. I could tell that he wanted to put his hands on me, perhaps was even now growing hard under the table imagining my lips on him. He winked at me lasciviously and turned to the woman next to him. She tittered at something he said, at least someone here found his tired wit amusing.

I sighed and wondered how long I would put up with the boredom before I made my excuses and left. Wishing I had a friend in town who I could emergency code for an out. But that was the point of being here tonight. I was new and didn’t know anyone yet. I had hoped that his easy charm, how had I ever been taken in by it, suggested that he was within a social circle of interesting individuals. I could see now, that he was the eccentric they invited for something fresh. A lacklustre crowd of old money and stagnant tradition, there was little excitement for me to have here. At least the wine was good.

Raising my glass to my dark red lips, I felt the hairs on the back of my exposed neck react to a sudden shift in the air. As though the room grew warmer and cooler at the same time. Glancing down the table, I saw a young man and woman had entered. The host, a genteel sort, if a little stuffy, stood and called down the table.

“Alain.” The young man nodded to him, steel blue eyes in a handsome face, his hand on the lower back of the woman next to him, her eyes cast down. “Dinner started at 7. I’m sure there is a good reason for you to show up so late.” I wondered how many people besides me saw the spark in those eyes, the defiance that anyone should demand an explanation from him.

Before he could speak though, the host’s wife, a pleasant woman who has seen the better side of life for a long time, lifted herself gracefully and went to greet her son and his companion. She waved her hand idly toward the head of the table and beamed at her offspring.

“Now Jean, does it matter if he is a few minutes late. What matters is that he is here now, with us. And you’ve brought the lovely Elise with you.” At the sound of her name, Elise looked up, directly into the blue eyes of the hostess. The same blue as her son, but tempered by kindness and time.

Elise was absolutely stunning, green eyes to match the emerald dress she wore. Her auburn hair, just a shade more natural than mine, twisted up on top of her head, not a loose hair to be found. Her eyes sparkled to rival the necklace that rested between her gently rounded breasts as she greeted Alain’s mama.

“Madame, it is a pleasure to see you again.” Her voice was like crystal, clear and delicate, with an unexpected strength to it. This was no simpering church mouse, much as her stance of hands clasped and shoulders tucked, suggested.

I finished the sip of my wine, realizing I had been holding the glass still, through this entire exchange. It would seem as though my evening had the potential to be quite interesting, indeed.

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At a crossroads

August 9, 2017

She sat on the railing of the bridge, the warmth of the sun drenched plank juxtaposed with the cool air rising from the river that drifted below, bare legs stretched out, ankles pivoting in circles as she waited. Tilting her head to the side, unsure if the noise she’d just heard was the sound of a fish jumping, she spun so that she was straddling the railing and smiled at the man suddenly standing there. He gave her a look, one eyebrow raised with a smirk.
“I wasn’t going to push you.” She saw his smirk, and raised him some incredulity, along with an eyebrow of her own.
“No, you never push, do you? I’m sure that if I had fallen in the river, perhaps startled by someone sneaking up on me, you’d bust out the old free will argument? After all, I chose to sit on the railing, perhaps out of some unconscious desire to self-sabotage? Put myself in harm’s way?”
“You said it, not me.” Pulling a pair of sunglasses from the pocket of his shorts, he grinned and climbed up next to her, swinging a leg over so that their knees were almost touching…but not quite. He saw her glance and moved back an imperceptible distance. She rolled her eyes.
“For someone as ancient as you are, you can be frustratingly childish. Do you ever get tired of the games?”

“Never.” He hadn’t moved and yet somehow she heard his voice directly in her ear, as though he’d leaned in and whispered. She shivered involuntarily and tried not to smile. “It’s not so much the game I like, it’s the reaction. For example, when I do things like this..”
He dropped his sunglasses to the bridge of his nose and looked at her intently for a moment. She struggled to maintain composure in these moments when he let her see past the facade. If he saw her struggle, he didn’t mention it, but leaned back, somehow finding enough room on the 2×8 railing for both of his elbows behind him, grinning.
“Oh my girl. You could be so deliciously wicked if you would just let yourself, the way you did that night in Paris..remember that?”
“Of course, it was midnight, a tuesday. I was drunk and asked you for a light. On the corner of Rue des Archives and Franc Bourg…” She grinned as his jaw dropped. “I’m kidding! How could I forget that bar on Oberkampf?”
“I bet that young man hasn’t forgotten.” He laughed as she ducked her head, unsuccessfully hiding the smile. “I was so pleased with your progress. Yet you turned your back on all of it. You could be as bright as a morning star in the city of light and instead, you’re here…which,” he gestured to their surroundings, “is clever, by the way. Everyone always thinks of a cross roads as being a place defined by blacktop when the reality is so much simpler.”
“And so we come to it. The reason for your visit.” He sat up, the motion pushing his knees against hers, but did not move back this time.
“The reason for my visit? You think I have time for social niceties like visits? Darling, you summoned me. It must be something absolutely fabulous for pride to take a back seat like that. Unless you’ve changed your mind? I know you miss Paris. I bet sometimes, you even miss me….”

“You won’t rope me in with nostalgia. Exes are exes for a reason. Because it didn’t work out. And darling, we didn’t work out. I know you hate to lose, but there are creatures much more adaptable to your proclivities than I. I couldn’t keep up. I didn’t want to. I thought it was what I wanted, how terrible and wonderful of you to give me exactly what I thought I wanted, so that I’d be better equipped to discern when it actually showed up.”

“Let me guess, it showed up.” She nodded with a small smile.

“There’s this house…”

“And you want me to, what, make it so you win the lottery? Convince the owner to fall for you and then die, leaving you the property? Ghost write a best selling bodice ripper like those ones you used to devour and then pretend to have disdain for so you can make a ton of money?”

“I’d like you to do nothing.”

He narrowed his eyes and looked away, trying to work out the angle she was playing.

“You summoned me here, to the crossroads, to ask me to do…nothing. Have I got that right?” She nodded again.

“Yes.”

“Okay, consider my interest piqued. Explain, little girl, before I forget myself and look inside your skull for the answers I seek.” He waggled his eyebrows dramatically. “Unless you’re into that of course…”
She rolled her eyes once more. He knew exactly what she was into.

“Be serious for a second and I’ll explain. I’ve wanted this house for a long time, but it was mostly intangible. I couldn’t imagine ever wanting to settle in one place. But I kept coming back, no matter how far I went. It’s not even that I don’t still want to go places, surf warm ocean, tango in Paris, watch the sunrise from as many different horizons as I can manage. But travellers need a base camp. It’s time. And so I need you to step back, I need to know that I can pull this off on my own. It would be so easy for you to do that thing you do but sometimes it’s important to earn it.”
This time he rolled his eyes.

“You’re going to buy a house without any help? I find that hard to believe.”

“Oh, I’ll need help. Lots. In the form of roommates and work trades and renters and probably even my mum.”
“Oh, how is your mum? Still going to church? Does she know about…” He pointed frantically between the two of them, grinning like a loon.

“You remind me of Rik Mayall in Drop dead Fred when you do that, you buffoon. And no, she doesn’t. Unless this somehow ends up on my blog, I’m really not planning to tell anyone about..” She used the same back and forth gesture. “Seriously though.” She arched an eyebrow. He smiled.

“I hear you, cherie. I won’t interfere.”

“Thanks for that. I know how sentimental you can be.”

He lifted his sunglasses onto his head, so that she could see the mirth in his eyes.
“Me? Sentimental? Well, I do have some good memories. Like that time on the canal, with the champagne? Remember when you..” He leaned forward and whispered in her ear, then laughed uproariously at the blush spreading across her face. “I see that you do. You know, this is sort of like a canal. If only we had some champagne.”

“How about a tea party instead? You’re officially invited to my housewarming.”

“For a house you haven’t bought yet. Charming.”

“Exactly, the key word being yet.”

“You are determined, aren’t you?”

“I am. Everything is going to work out just fine.”

“How?”

“I don’t know. It’s a mystery.”

“That’s my girl.”

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Prompted, because sometimes a kick in the ass is what’s needed.

August 6, 2017
  • Word count: 600
  • Genre: Science Fiction
  • Character: An angel
  • Material: A bottle of wine
  • Sentence: ” I didn’t mean to answer the call.”
  • Bonus: Your character is fearless to the point of stupidity.

“I didn’t mean to answer the call.”

“One could argue you had no choice. Voice of God and all that..” the sentence trailed off and he glanced around before taking another long pull from the wine bottle.
“Fuckin hell,” she laughed briefly at that. “When are you going to stop living in perpetual fear of being struck down? Once we’re out, we’re out, there’s no going back, which means there’s no one looking over your shoulder. He can create new minions if he cares to. He is so far beyond that. Caring, that is. And so am I. Pass that here.”

“Have you no sense of self preservation? Even though we’re not in there,” he made a furtive gesture, a head tilt toward his right shoulder. “It doesn’t mean that no one knows what we’re up to.”

“You’re right! That’s the trouble!” As her face lit up, the knot in his belly grew denser and he attempted to drown it with more wine. “No one knows what we’re up to besides a select few! Perhaps its time that changed.”  He shook his head wearily.

“You know how it goes. After three the multitude! Followed by disbelief, fear, panic, and destruction. Do you really want to invoke chaos? Are you crazy? Or just stupid?

“That ‘after three the multitude’ thing is a myth. Stories we’ve been told to keep us from engaging anyone. To keep them separated from truth. Look at them.” She gestured to the people walking past the low wall where they sat. Walking heavily, laden by baggage, whether they physically carried anything or not. Attached to screens and lost in thought, carrying on interactions that were connected to events far removed from where they actually were. “There is this constant impetus on the part of humans to ‘find themselves’ but then they spend money on distractions. They pay to be lost. I think it’s time they knew what was actually hiding in the shadows. Wouldn’t actual magic be more impressive than this pseudo technology they believe to be so impressive? Isn’t it time they found something worth believing in again?”

“I know what you’re doing. You’re trying to get His attention. You could just call back. It goes both ways, you know.” He pointed the neck of the bottle toward the cell phone sitting between them.

“Ha! That might be your game, why else would you be here except to curry favour. To try and persuade me to abandon my irresponsible plan to let humanity in on the cosmic joke. Hey! Ask me what makes me such a good comedian.” He sighed.

“What makes you such a goo-“

“Timing!” She exploded with laughter and a woman walking past looked up from her phone screen, startled. There was a brief moment when she thought there was something shimmering…but no. Just a low wall, with park stretching beyond. She smiled, suddenly realizing this was the park where they showed outdoor movies in summertime. She recalled seeing the Wim Wenders movie, about the angels, with Tomas. Remembered the way it felt to lean into him, the solidity of his arm around her shoulder. She wondered how he was, perhaps she should look him up, see how he was doing. With a smile dancing about her lips, she moved on.

“You did that on purpose! She was going to see us and you used her memories to distract her.” He pulled another bottle of wine from the bag at their feet. Her eyes narrowed. “Hang on. Is that why you’re here? Not to persuade but to distract?”

Smiling, He opened the bottle.

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