“‘Sir,’ she said with a quiet smile, ‘you’re blushing madly, and I can’t imagine why.’ John Stone did the following in this order: Looked at the ground, smiled, looked at her, shrugged, giggled, darted his glance away, and attempted to say the word ‘thanks’ but only mouthed it, letting out an airy breath drunken with a promise of laughter.”

“Mr. Stone, you see, having seen many streets in the city by way of meandering (less by account of wanderlust and more for homelessness’ sake) had rarely had another soul hold their place on the sidewalk near enough him for some kind of mutual connection to be made, let alone one such chance meeting of himself and a fourtysomething with a smile like a hanging red candle, and just as warm. Naturally the man had little idea of what to exactly do with the newfound opportunity.”
Keep on Readin’ on?

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Quick Story

January 7, 2010

Despite the world collapsing around her and directly throwing its debris into her spirit, there was something beautiful left in her voice. Something still there, hidden to her but present, even if barely discernible, like a birdsong filtered through the echoes of a winding tunnel. It was there, and he would find it.

Quick Story

December 23, 2009

“Table it,” he said with a smirk. (She gently pushed the paper over to the side.) “The platters ain’t silver here. They ain’t even tin.”

“We’re not done yet!”

December 22, 2009

{A Phonograph Recording: Part 1}

[Kinda gimmicky, kinda rough, kind of a test run for doing more. But that’s part of the blog, I guess.]

…”We’re not, and you know why!”

Holiest of hells, I muttered to myself in my head. The guy’s not going to let me jump this proverbial boat, is he? Promptly after yelling that like murder down at me from up on top of the sewer pipe, he grabbed the top edge of the pipe, swung in, and dashed down with a misplaced sense of heroism. I just stood for a minute, letting the words sift through me, before confirming with myself that, yes, the guy was nuts. Maybe one of these days he’ll run into a pillar somewhere, I thought once again. That’d be a nice sigh for me.

I should say: My business is strange, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned from it, it’s that strangeness is a relative concept. Keep on Readin’ on?

Quick Story

November 30, 2009

And so she made the fractures of her heart into dents: Still present, still remembered, but not deep and paining enough to sag her steps. Her feet would rise and fall slowly with the rhythm of her breathing–But yet they rose…!

“Righteous Days”

November 28, 2009

(OR: Fun with attempts at cliche-less dialogue and making up colloquialisms!)

“So I’m on the shop shift the other day, right? Nobody comes in all day, surprise, it’s a wonder that Lee still lets the place stay open. But yeah, so I sit around and let the place sit still with me, read some of the magazines, that sorta stuff–”
“Get the damn story out, Johnny!”
“I’m getting, I’m getting! Right, so, sittin’ there, and about an hour before the place dies the daily death, and good spirit up high, this kid walks in!”
“Kid!”
“Kid! It’s crazy! I mean, I get some old creeps every now and then, chah, but a kid! In the shop! I barely knew how to sit! I mean, my mind ain’t quiet around kids in the first place, couldn’t really understand ’em after I stopped bein’ one, chah, but here! The shop ain’t really decent enough to be a playground, catch?”
“Catch, yeah, but what, you chase him out the chimney or somethin’?”
“Nah, nah, I let him wander the place a little first. Didn’t really know how to dig for a split tick, but then I guessed I could just let him go off and see the shop around, chah? So he goes off around the place.”
“And then he…?”
“And then he comes up to the marbletop counter holding an old violin he cropped off one of the shelves and goes, ‘Pretty crap shop y’got here, oldskin.'”
“Crap shop!”
“Crap shop!”
“Kid had some spikes on his back, he did!”
“Crap shop! Spikes! I mean, I ain’t proud of the place, chah, it ain’t even my spot to be proud of, but just callin’ it like that! Kid had spikes to the ears! Little bastard! So I give him a stare for a tick and soon enough ask him why he thought it was a crap shop. He goes, ‘Got nothin’ here that ain’t got a dust coat.’ I tell him that’s the sort of deal that gets hunted for around here. And he runs off his mouth, ‘Ain’t a deal if it’s a deal fer nothin’s worth.'”
“Y’hit him, right?”
“I tried, chah, but the kid dodged, dropped the damn violin to the ground (it didn’t get any more bent up, ‘least that) and ran down for outside’s safety. I fired down after him yelling death and curses like a black siren, already thinkin’ how I could grab his hair and brand his cheek red with my palm, but he hopped one of the broken windows and made off down the horizon like a jackrabbit on ice.”
“Skedaddled!”
“So I stayed grounded for a tick or two, real thoughtful in my little world, and soon then went back in to the counter. And would you know it?”
“What’d I know?”
“Kid left a shoe. Ran clean out of it.”
“A shoe! Ha, put it on a shelf and stick a number on it.”
“Think I will, chah. Kid gave me some merchandise for my worries, hah!”
“Hah! Man, Johnny, for a guy with a dead-boring gig…”
“I catch that, man. I catch.”
“Hah… ‘crap shop’. …Hah!”
“‘Crap shop.'”

(Continuing this! A bit of magic realism for you guys, today.)

“Man, Ginnie, yer glasses look ‘specially dumb today! Hwah!”
“My name isn’t Ginnie, Johnking! It’s just Gin!”
“Oh, look, Ginnie’s complainin’. Ain’t that just the latest news from the lil’ bird’s beak?”

Johnking knows that callin’ me that got under my skin, but he always does that anyways. Thinks he can be a jerk just ’cause his voice is deeper, or somethin’. Of course, then Sinda had to chime in:

“Yeah! Yeah, looks like he’s complainin’… a-GIN! Haw! Haw hah!”

For a girl with such pretty freckles, Sinda can really be a leak in the boat sometimes. Thankfully, then Ralphie hopped on down from the treehouse, waving her knapsack around for a moment before settling on the northern direction. She hollered out real high, jumped clean over everyone else, and started walkin’ fast on down in the direction of the Train Trestle. More of a prance, really, now that I think about it–But, uh, anyway, we all kept on after her. Keep on Adventurin’ on?

“Windboat Children”

September 1, 2009

I have a lot of ideas for this. It’s based on me mishearing the title of the song “Rainbow Children”, which has incredibly little to do with this story (although it was a pretty great song, anyway! Very touching.). But yeah! I have a good feeling about this one. Think I’m gonna continue it even after posting some of it here, hopefully. But anyway! Here’s the first part, rough draft.

“So! Where are we adventuring today, guys?”

I always get real scared whenever Ralphie says that. I can’t show it, though, or else everyone else’ll get mad at me or tell me I’m fussin’ and a big wuss and that I don’t deserve my membership in the Best Adventurers in the World Club. I’ve lost the membership a couple’a times, actually, but Ralphie lets me back in when it happens. But yeah! Uh, Ralphie asked us where we were gonna adventure today, and immediately everyone chimed in all at once.

“The Woods up north!”
“Let’s go cross the Long River!”
“No, we should go up Owl Mountain!”
“The Train Trestle! The Train Trestle!”

“Oh!” Ralphie perked her ears up. “The Train Trestle! Keep on Adventurin’ on?

(This is a continuation of this quick fictionstory. I’ve really enjoyed microfiction this summer, for some reason. Might also be partially due to the fact that, this being a blog, it work a little better as far as short installments go. But yeah, here’s part two:)

“God.”

A little cliche, yeah, but it felt like the right thing to say after a performance like that. The whole thing had almost felt holy–not just in the sense that it was beautiful, utterly so, but because everyone was completely silenced by it. It felt like worship. I watched him go sit down at the bar–Damn, he’s at the end of the bar and there’s no empty seats, I thought. It wasn’t even a romantic attraction–more of a simple matter of following beauty, like I was being drawn in. My mind tried to sort out how to talk to him. I didn’t even know how his voice sounded; he hadn’t said a word during his performance. Somehow I knew it had to be mellifluous, though. It felt true. You’ve gotta understand, though: After you haven’t heard live music in a decade of working in the steel mill every day, you become a little obsessed.

I waited for a minute a ways down the bar. He was sitting there silently, like me. The bartender asked me if I wanted a drink a few times. Each offer I denied. The barkeep was about to kick me to the curb when a seat opened up next to the saxophonist. I nearly ran over there, slowing down halfway through to avoid garnering attention. I sat down, and the awkward silence began. I was too afraid to say anything. What could I say? My raspy, cigarette-smoked lungs couldn’t produce anything worthy of communicating with the tones of his tongue. After another pause, I worked up the courage to say something. What would I say? Hello? Yeah, yeah, start simple. Okay, here we go–

“I’m not much of a talker, friend.”

Raspy. Pained. Almost a growl, and at least three octaves lower than my own voice. It was like scratching a piece of gold only to find that it’s painted. Like scratching the bell of his saxophone.

(Prolly continued again soon.)

It was quite sudden. Mr. Totington, frankly, wasn’t at all sure what to do about the situation. For a moment he simply stood there on the sidewalk, watching people pass by. A man in a suit. A woman in a red dress. A little girl carrying a balloon. Another suited man. Instinctively he tapped his chest–there was something hooked on the left side of his suit. He looked down: It said, “MR. TOTINGTON: A RATHER STAND UP GUY.” The name, which he presumed to be his, was in blocky, straightedged letters, while the subtitle below was made to look handwritten and fancier. Keep on Readin’ on?