Liberation (Speakeasy #165)

From the first labored breath, our days are numbered;

from the first hints of speech, our words are squandered.

I should’ve known the very instant your practiced, easy smile nailed

my heart that we- rather, I- was doomed; that misery was our fate before we

uttered ‘hello’.  Still, nothing could have stopped me from desiring your embrace,

or the thrill of your sweet lips searching mine, or the shivers from your hands trailing my

skin; unblemished, uncharted territory. I should have heeded the warnings of my crumbling

defenses. Foolish, to think I could absorb unbridled passion and keep some semblance of myself.

Silly, to think you wouldn’t yearn for another after I succumbed wholly to you (what’s the sport

in that, I suppose.) Naïve to believe the cruel myth of ‘happily ever after’ or the deception of

forever. Ha! The chink in my youthful armor destined to be a constant reminder of how

I should have paid attention to the tale of the moth devoured by the flame,

instead of thinking it would never happen to me. It can. And it did.

I got the first inkling of forever when I acknowledged, we

gave it everything we had, but it wasn’t enough.

A new dawn, a new day,

a new life, is what I need.

They say one ending is the opportunity for a new

beginning. “They” apparently never loved (and lost) you.

Last night, I dreamt of butterflies and peace. Then, this morning, I

knew what I had to do next. No way could I move on carrying the burden of

you. The sun had risen, keeping watch as I buried my figurative and literal skeletons.

The rays thawed frigid topsoil as I burrowed deep, preparing for a long-awaited ‘goodbye.’

You let me go long before I could bring my heart to do the same. How liberating to grasp the

freedom I’d lacked for some time.  You’d know how that feels, wouldn’t you dear?  The waiting.

So heavy was the affliction of love decomposed. Satisfaction fluttered in my soul with each

toss of earth. I delighted in the paradox of the emancipation by six feet under, give or

take (pre-dawn soil was difficult to penetrate, I found) but oh! The triumph when

your abnormally long toes were covered. I was exhilarated by the scent of

pine; the crunch of brittle needles as I walked away… one last time.

With your last labored breath, my days were numbered;

with your last words, my love for you was squandered.

~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-

This is my response to the Speakeasy weekly writing prompt, which is to write a piece in 750 words or less (I’m at 421) and (1) use the sentence “We gave it everything we had, but it wasn’t enough.” anywhere in the piece, AND (2) make some sort of reference to the media prompt, which is he song Feeling Good, performed by Muse.

This poem is supposed to be in the shape of an hourglass, but I’m not sure if it will come out right when I post it.  (Sometimes they do, sometimes not.)  I probably don’t have to clarify this, but it is fiction.  Although I  have lost loves, I have never, ever literally buried any of them (or murdered them, in case you were wondering) 😛

The prompt is open to anyone, so if you’re interested in joining the fun, click the badge below!

Til Clicks Do Us Part (Speakeasy #163)

02-04 Remote

Aggravation welled to a boiling point

as channels flickered in rapid succession

in 65-inch high definition.

Click. Click. Click. Click.

The device death-gripped

in his right hand,

he surfed 90 channels-per-hour.

She contemplated staging a coup;

a hostile takeover;

usurping of power.

With glazed eyes,

he defended his journey;

virtual visitation from Africa to Italy.

She released an exasperated sigh

when he claimed self-discovery

via vigorous thumb flexing.

Click. Click. Click. Click.

She stomped from the room

as he opened a black hole,

some 12 million light years away.

A whoosh of wind stifled distant screaming,

but she never looked back,

she just kept walking.

~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-

This is my response to the Speakeasy weekly prompt, which is to write a piece in 750-words or less (mine is a mere 104 words) AND 1) use “She never looked back, she just kept walking” as the last line, AND 2) make some sort of reference to a sci-fi short film, The Device.  (It’s pretty cool – if you have 3 minutes and 40 seconds, I recommend watching it!)

To recap my progression in weekly responses, I had a couple weeks of weird, followed by depressing last week.  Nancy requested something with a happier ending this week… I don’t know that getting sucked into a black hole is exactly a happy ending, but perhaps the silly humor will make up for it? 😛

The prompt is open to anyone, so if you’d like to check it out, click the badge below.  (Note:  the challenge opens for links on Tuesday.)

Rolling in the Deep – Speakeasy #161

Ominous clouds...(since I can't locate any ominous shadows!)
Ominous clouds…(since I can’t locate any ominous shadows!)

Paulina struggled to untangle herself from the satin sheet. Perspiration beaded along her hairline as she gulped air and flailed her limbs.

Her neighbor freed her legs and she tumbled from the bed, landing in a heap on the floor. “Did you have another nightmare?”

After several minutes, her labored breathing slowed enough for her to talk. “It wasn’t a dream. Robbie was here.

“That’s impossible.” He stretched across the bed and rubbed her shoulder as she huddled on the ground. “Didn’t you say she died of anaphylaxis years ago?”

“She was my best friend.  It was my fault,” she whispered. Whether awake or asleep, guilt always managed to worm its way into her psyche.

“You had no way of knowing the gravy contained nuts. No one could’ve guessed.”

“I need to go for a run.” Paulina scrambled to her feet and headed to the closet, her bare feet slapping on the hardwood floor. Her nightie dropped to her ankles and she pulled a sports bra over her head.

“Why don’t you come back to bed and try a different workout?”

She glanced over her shoulder. Though tempted by his teasing smile, she held firm. “I’m suffocating. I need fresh air.”

“I’ll wait right here.”

She pulled on jogging shorts and grabbed her running shoes and socks. “Maybe you should go home.” She kissed his forehead. “See ya.”

*****

After fifteen minutes, Paulina slowed to a stroll. She fought to catch her breath. Is this how Robbie felt?

“Yes.”

Paulina stopped and looked over her shoulder for the source of the voice. The only people around congregated near a group of children playing soccer. No one paid her any mind. She shook her head and continued to a park bench to rest.

Once seated, she leaned over and dropped her head between her knees. Her heart thudded against her breastbone with such ferocity, she half-expected the bone to crack. She tried to soothe her panic, but once again, her thoughts drifted to Robbie. Did her heart feel like it would explode?

“It hurt worse than knowing your best friend betrayed you.”

Paulina’s eyes widened.

“You pay me back in kind and reap just what you sow.”

“R-R-Robbie?” Paulina’s stomach churned and nausea crept upward. “It can’t be.” The clouds shifted, casting an ominous shadow on the ground. A prickling sensation inched up her left arm.

“I’ve waited six years, six months and six days. The man-beast promised the time would come. I’d begun to doubt and thought I’d been betrayed again, but indeed, he planted the seed of guilt and fed it until it flourished.”

“I-I couldn’t go through with our plan.  It didn’t feel right.”

“We almost had it all. We could’ve had it all.

“Robbie, I’m sorry.  I feared you’d go through with it anyway, so I added crushed cashews to the gravy.  It was an impulsive move that I regret.” Paulina covered her face with her hands to hide her tears. “I miss you so much!”

“Me too.”

The sun shone through the clouds again. Paulina felt her guilt ease into a peace she hadn’t felt in years. She rested her back on the bench, lightheaded- almost giddy. She felt a pinch on her arm, followed by an intense burning sensation coursing through her veins. Her throat tightened and panic rose.

“I forgive you, but I made a deal that can’t be undone.”

Paulina tried to form words.

“Her lips are blue!” A shrill voice shouted. “Call 9-1-1!”

She felt breath slide down her throat and compressions on her chest. The sun’s brightness became more intense. For an amount of time she couldn’t gauge, she basked in the radiating heat. Then, she heard a man’s voice announce, “time of death: 8:53 AM; anaphylaxis.”

Is this how Robbie felt?

This time, she had no answer.

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This is my response to the Speakeasy weekly prompt, which is to write a piece in 750 words or less (mine is 644) (1) using “The clouds shifted, casting an ominous shadow on the ground.” anywhere in the piece, AND (2) making some kind of reference to the music prompt, which is Adele’s Rolling in the Deep.  Oh, and as an added challenge, it’s the last week of “family-free” writing, which means no family relationships.

The challenge is open to anyone, so if you’re curious, click the badge below to check out the guidelines and link your own story!

The Recruiter (Speakeasy #160)

The Crowd ("in" or "out"?)
The Crowd (“in” or “out”?)

“Tell me if you’re game.”

Francine looked into the crowd, gauging the reaction. The sea of bobbleheads wearing the corporate uniform of dark suits and red power accents (ties, hankies peeking out of suit pockets, high heels, scarves…) Hooked. She smiled to herself, but her face held the impassioned veneer of a fire-and-brimstone preacher.

“To elevate, you must excavate!”

The head nods slowed.

“You must dig deep. Shed your preconceptions and embrace the MicroManage, Inc. way.” She paused, right hand raised in a clenched fist. “You’ll make more money than you ever imagined as your creative ideas are molded and channeled through the corporate hierarchy.” Francine scanned for skeptics. “Power and success cultivated from countless hours of effort aren’t for everyone. If you’re not up for the challenge, no one will judge you for leaving.”

Francine scowled as seven people, heads bowed, headed for exits. Security guards led them out of the room.

“Now that the weak-minded have forfeited their opportunity, I’ll ask again: are you game?”

“Yes,” a smattering of murmurs answered.

She shook her head. “Come on people, this is your chance to become part of the fastest growing corporation in North America- the world!” She counted to three to time her pause for maximum effect, just as she’d been trained. “Are you ready to seize the biggest opportunity of your lives?” She thrust fistfuls of hundred dollar bills toward the prospective corporate drones.

“Yes!” The recruits squealed, tripping over each other to grab the money.

For entertainment value only, she tossed more bills into the melee. The frenzy reminded her of the fish in her aquarium at feeding time. “Marcus will be here shortly to lead you to your final destination.”

*****

“Marvelous presentation, Francine!” Andrew Norman said, clapping as he made his way around the over-sized mahogany desk. “Your brainwashing skills get better and better.”

She held a hand up. “I prefer motivational recruiting. I simply tap into their natural desires.”

“Whatever you call it, it’s brilliant.”

Francine smiled. “Thank you, Andrew. I appreciate your admiration.”

“You manage to find the best recruits.”

“Only seven this time.” She shook her head. “They are dwindling.”

“We pay you handsomely and are confident you’ll continue to provide superior staffing.” Andrew poured a scotch at the minibar beside the desk. “Would you like a drink?”

“No, thank you.” She cleared her throat. “I fear the quarry will run dry soon. Creative thinkers motivated by curiosity are being overrun by the greed-driven. You know, as it becomes more difficult to find candidates, I’ll be forced to increase my fees.”

Andrew chuckled. “As the Lord told Gideon, ‘there are still too many men. Take them down to the water, and I will thin them out for you there’.”

“I don’t understand.”

He set his glass on a sandstone coaster with a clank. “Come with me.” He led her by the elbow outside his office and down a long corridor.

“Where are we going?”

“It’s time you see more of our operation, so you better understand our needs.”

They reached mirrored glass doors and Andrew swiped his badge. He held the door open. “Ladies first.”

After Francine stepped inside, he let the door close behind her. It locked with an echoed click. She peered at the faces around her and realized she stood among the rejected recruits. She tugged at the door, but it didn’t give. “Come on, Andrew. This isn’t funny!”

Water seeped through her peep toe shoe. She looked down, shocked to see nearly an inch of water on the floor. Then, she noticed streams of water feeding in from all four mirrored walls. She took her shoe off and hit the glass several times with the spiked heel. Not even a chip.

By the time the water reached her ankles, she recognized the significance of Andrew’s biblical quote. In waist-high water, she grew bitter at the unfair judgment against her; she didn’t belong with the greedy, mindless drones.

Finally, Francine looked beyond her despair and noticed a skinny door on the other side of the room. She sloshed her way toward it, weaving around the crowd tapping their smart phone screens held above rising water. She twisted the knob on the door and her heart rate surged when the knob turned. Unlocked! She tugged, but the door wouldn’t budge; the water level provided too much resistance.

A pit in her stomach churned. The room had been a test, and she’d thinned herself out.

~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-

This is my response to the Speakeasy prompt, which is write a piece in 750 words or less (mine is 743) (1) using “Tell me if you’re game.” as the first sentence, AND (2) make some kind of reference to a photo prompt of construction machinery (possibly a digger?)  I admit, I’m not up on the terminology of construction equipment, so if I’m totally off, feel free to laugh.  I’m used to it.

The challenge is open to anyone, so if your curious, inspired, or both- click the badge below to check out the guidelines for yourself!

Therapy (Speakeasy #159)




“You have to address your demons to be a better you,” the woman with the degree and certifications framed on her wall said to me.

“I don’t have demons,” I responded with an air of indignation.

She snorted. “Unbroken people don’t come to my office.”


Sly, coy, like a silver fox, my defects

lurked in the depths of my subconscious.

Unchallenged, they roamed my inner recesses at will.

The mere mention of finding them roused them from slumber,

their golden eyes peering at me from under heavy lids.

I would like to say the concentrated introspection,

light-shining,

soul-searching

demon-hunting

resulted in my cure- my becoming “whole”.

I would like to say

I conquered my biggest vice;

that it fluttered for a moment,

magnificent in its struggle,

then wilted and lay still.

Alas, I sat crouched in the room,

lit only by the bluish glow of the microwave clock,

12:34 illuminating my secret- mocking me

as I unwrapped another candy

pilfered from an unattended Easter basket.

Shame emanated from the pastel papers

I buried in the garbage,

like a kitty covers her waste.

Vices, one.

Me, zero.

I reminded myself tomorrow would be different.

I journaled that I’d had a “good” day.

I brushed my teeth and slipped into bed;

the sting of truth soothed by

milky chocolate and denial.

~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-

This is my response to the Speakeasy weekly writing prompt, which is to write a piece in 750 words or less (mine is 219 words) and (1) include some reference to the media prompt,  a painting of a silver fox, by John James Audubon, and (2) use the following sentence anywhere in the piece:  “It fluttered for a moment, magnificent in its struggle, then wilted and lay still.”

We are in the middle of ‘family free’ writing on Yeah Write, so I wanted to make a special note to reiterate that this is purely fiction.  I’ve not made any attempt to address my ‘issues’ through therapy.  Also, although we do have Easter baskets of candy around here, I don’t graze from them…. I bought my own candy a few days after Easter for 75% off  😛

I may or may not eat chocolate late-night, but I never bother to bury the wrappers.  I have no shame!

The challenge is open to anyone, so if inspiration strikes, click the badge below to find out how to link up to the fun 🙂