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by -xXx-
Rated: E · Other · Contest Entry · #2049996
sampler plate; more tapas, less sushi
edit in 11292015

-You Owe Me an Explanation- 250 words

He comes swaggering over, hoodie over his head, staring. He sits, staring. She watches cars and people moving around the lot.

"Gimme that cigarette." He stares. She continues watching the lot, and smoking.

"Who the heck do you think you are? Slinkin' over here, trying to stare me down, demanding MY cigarette? Who you be?!" She meets his eyes. "I'm a person and you're a person. That did NOT sound like a request to me; perhaps, you'd like to try again", she pauses.

Significant time passes. People move in and out. Cars park and pull out.

"Can I have a drag off that cigarette?" He manages after considerable silence.

"How old are you?"

"22", he said.

"So, if I pull your ID from your pocket right now, it's going to say 22. Don't mess around with me. I got kids and I don't need that kind of trouble. If you're over 18, I'll GIVE you a lousy cigarette."

"22." He lights the cigarette, placing the lighter gently on the ground. He's in a time warp and moving as though fighting his way through refrigerated syrup. People move through the lot.

"What's your name?" she asks.

"Christopher Brown Reeze", he states boldly.

"With a "d" or a "v", dude...Reeds, Reeves..."


She flips her butt on the sidewalk, steps on it, and takes it to the trash can.

"It was a pleasure to meet you, Christopher."

She drifts away, into a world filled with Christophers; people who are, and are not.

-250 words

-Killer Prompt- 250 words

The autumn night in 2005 was extraordinary. The temperature worked it's way down from mid-seventies toward expected lows in the forties like a cautious, but well seasoned, down climber. The shadows shifted and so did he. Jeff loved the feel of the air and the smooth asphalt massage that erased the tense awareness of the upcoming board meeting that had set ground camp in his lower back.

As he rounded the bend, he turned to look at the beauty of the pristine lake. He inhaled the serenity which flooded into the vacancy created by departing tourists flocking back to work and school, and knew he was moving in the opposite direction: toward the snow covered caps of craggy cliff faces. Ascending was something he knew well.

Sunset would soon give way to twilight, he thought, leaning into the curve of the second bend. He turned his head quickly as the sound of motorcycle engines appeared unexpectedly. The immediate rumbling became rambling and settled into words recently spoken.

It wasn't what had been said, Phil was too practiced for an error of directness, but his meaning was clear: This is your last warning.

"Unfortunate things happen all of the time. So many, in fact, that no one seems to notice. Some intentionally look the other way, saving themselves the unnecessary discomfort acknowledgement can bring. Don't you think?"

It felt a little like 2003, echoing words and images and ideas converging to smash against themselves. He hit the mule deer full on.

-250 words

-rows of share.on- 250 words

She read the paragraph. She drew a sketch. She wrote on post-its. She played a game of pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey with herself, feeling only partially blindfolded.

Dunbar's numbers were 1, 5, 15, 30, 150. She looked at the inside circle. She put the five names that she most trusted one year ago in the next one. She took out the ones that no longer belonged there and thought about the third circle. She moved one name all the way out.

Two names remained. She moved to the third circle. Dunbar proposed 15. She placed five names. She moved to the fourth circle. Dunbar proposed 30. Now, Sharon laughed out loud.

She added 20 to the final circle. She smiled. Sharon's numbers were 1, 2, 5, 10, 50. She looked at the name she had moved out. "Don't come any closer." that one had said clearly; increasing both the radius and intensity of their personal blast zone.

She wondered how it must feel to not be able to trust one's self; to find a core with no stable identity, to confabulate illusions on the fly; to be forced to maintain separation lest inconsistencies be revealed.

Off on an independent trajectory that comet would fly. Perhaps if elliptical and orbital paths crossed in the future, collision would not be inevitable.

Every year Sharon paid respects in this way; tools might evolve. Every year she took however long she needed to resolve and reintegrate. She called it her birthday and it was a living celebration.

-250 words

-too untied laces- 250 words

He was sure he had known the moment before. Aren't you forgetting something? He could only guess.

It all looked unfamiliar, like he'd gotten off one stop too early or fallen asleep en route only to be prompted by the driver that he'd ridden the full route and reached the terminal.

Other people were nearby, he was sure of it, but all he could see was shoes. Empty piles of shoes; herded in the street and staggering the sidewalks. He could feel the brush of air from bicyclists unseen. He wanted to reach out, just once, but his hand had grown comfortable in the warmth of his pocket.

Fingers dragged upon a miniature washboard which responded with a muffled rattle. He removed the container and squinted.

   Bernard Soultrane
   c/o Elsa Soultrane
   2010 Station Road

   20 mg per day

"Elsa.", he said lightly. "Elsa loves Bernard." Her voice, forever eighteen, echoed calico heart stitched time in a comfortable quilt pillow top of their handcrafted design.

He glanced down the block, hesitating upon one door and then the next, until he saw the neighborhood black and white sitting curbside.

He remembered Elsa. He was thankful she had chosen to stay. He had worried her again; something he had promised himself he'd not do. Maybe they were right. He had, after all, had a fabulously full life. Maybe it was time to retire. Maybe, his time should be Elsa's. He smiled and opened the door knowing he had found his way home.

-250 words

-corn yer, dinah- 250 words

"Order up: two over easy, white." The bell slammed above the stir of conversation.

"Add bacon," Chrissy yelled at the white laminated slot, en route.

Four strips of bacon slid into place from a toast plate as the puppetshow of fingers withdrew.

Sizzle escaped before Tanya placed the grill weight on a smoky thickcut replacement.

"OMG!!!" Chrissy leaned on the lofty counter. "I'd have you start some for me, but rent's due." She headed out, coffee pot in hand. She flipped the sign in the front door to Sorry We Missed You, Please Stop Again, deposited the plate, topped off the existing cups and headed back.

Tanya floated a saucer of crumbled bacon within reach, but below view of the tables.

"I'll box hash browns and... sausage gravy. That hold ya'?"

"Thank you, thank you. You'd think everyone got a raise when that living-wage-minimum thing passed. My rent went up sixty percent. I told him waitresses weren't covered...he told me to get a real job." She stared at her book bag and sighed.

"No worries, you. We'll come up with a way to pull you better tips for a year; keep ya' fed." The grease splattered white hat bobbed. "Here."

Through the window came a frosty juice glass filled with orange, ruby red, frozen apple juice and a skewer of maraschinos.

Chrissy slid the cherries into her mouth, slurped the juicy refreshment and turned back toward the tables.

"Oh," remembered the cook, "that's the last straw."

-250 words

-spud, dear- 250 words

The old lady sat on the curb. The parade seemed to go on forever, though she knew it actually came in spurts. She faded into the shadows, rarely registering to the throngs in pursuit.

Well balanced, she thought. No single presentation; no visible concern about presentation. He was middle aged. They were in dress uniform. She rode a skateboard. They giggled and glanced at smartphones. They sighted elevation. He recorded the walk between buildings real time.

One hundred Cinderellas, she had read. One hundred GI Joes. One hundred brown monkeys. She enjoyed long nights by lamplight, reading textbooks for fun. One hundred, indeed, she thought. One hundred butterflies; fade accepted.

Transparency and accountability were the banners of the day. Community involvement, service to others, respect and equity were ribbons trailing in an asymmetric braid renaissance. Her smile rose into sky blue atop those ribbons dancing beneath her in a majestic maypole rebirthed.

The harsh navy cut, trimmed hard in ivory piping, dragged a heel. "What's the world coming to?" the wiggling wig let dangle from the edge of boldly painted lips, landing on sagging sympathetic ear.

The old woman was excited. She fought the urge to run over to Mrs. Potato Head and tell her of the wonder of it.

"A better ending of Dark Ages," the invisible woman said quietly to the parade. "An ending to the rape of our daughters, the slaughter of our sons and the economic crushing of bones. That is what it is coming to."

-250 words

06102015/2044833 -You Owe Me an Explanation- 2.8 05 21 just.i.fi, x(is)t +13 tpond10
06172015/2045615 -Killer Prompt- 4.5 01 20 waves rushing 13+ tpond20
07042015/2047676 -rows of share.on- 4.5 01 16 daze.n.mays tpond30
07272015/2050799 -too untied laces- 3.5 02 20 Aren't you forgetting something ~bE>*Heart*e~ tpond60
08312015/2055619 -corn yer, dinah- 3.5 02 20 that's the last straw ~let her, not in tent~ tpond80
09012015/2055773 -spud, dear- 4.8 02 21 What's the world coming to? ~round.n.round sir.cull~ tpond80
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