Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Squalor...the Begining

Bring on the profanity.

Warning: This one starts out as vulgar as a story could be. It takes place in a futuristic apocalypse. Old idea, I know, but this is my version. One where you have to wade through hell to get to heaven...

Just enjoy the depravity, unless you're easily offended. In which case, you may not want to read this:

She said she knew the way to paradise. I should have known better than to trust a hooker. She winked, and smiled, and spun her web over coffee and a line of gold dust. I watched her brown tits bounce as she leaned back, snorting deep. Whores never suffered from the inhibitions of other women.

I thought about Mandy from back home. She wouldn’t be caught dead doing lines, let alone naked. But you can’t really expect a farm girl to act like a cash whore. Gigi, the hooker, told me I could find paradise for fifty bucks and my dad’s gold watch. Sell a memory for paradise? I didn’t buy that. My hand clenched protectively over the watch. Gigi smiled that sick, ‘I’ve done one line too many,’ smile as she pulled on my dick.

“It’s paradise, baby. Heaven. No pain, no worries, and all the fuck you can handle.” She winks at me knowing I’ll take the bait. She pulls my dad’s watch off with her teeth and I’m so busy staring at her pussy that I don’t care. She climbs on my lap, white powder dusting her dark nostrils. She fucks me and I know she’s done this a million times.

A voice in the back of my head says, “Use a condom you dumb fuck.” But the feel of skin to skin has me moaning, closing my eyes. She’s velvet liquid sliding over me. Besides, what's a little death anyway? I don’t see her put my dad’s watch on her arm. But when I open my eyes, buzzing with dust, she’s got it wrapped around her bicep like a barbarian goddess.

The gold band winks at me. It knows things that I’m too dumb to see. I push the diseased whore off me and throw fifty bucks at her. “So where’s paradise?” I look at her expectantly, wondering how I ever found this bitch interesting. Her brown face is full of acne scars; her wild hair looks unclean. There is nothing exotic or beautiful about her too-thin frame and coke-head eyes.

She smiles again. Typhoid Mary come to wreck my world, she leans over to whisper in my ear. I cringe when her tits touch my arm. My come clings to her crotch like a raging yeast infection and I fight the bile crawling up my throat. It’s ridiculous what I’ll stick my cock in sometimes.

“Paradise lives in Squalor.” She licks my ear, a parting infection, no doubt.

Gigi picks up the gold ensemble that I ripped off her gaunt frame. She dresses as if she’s the hottest thing in this quadrant and I try not to roll my eyes. Squalor? Everyone knows that Squalor is the local name for New Mars. I look at her with disgust. I say, “Is Paradise the name of another whore…a friend of yours?”

She winks at me and walks off without a word.

My gut screams, "You’ve been tricked!" I get up to chase her, wanting my dad’s watch back. But I’m naked and covered in whore sweat. I go to the window of the run-down hotel. She’s hustling another guy on the street below. I scream, “Give me my watch back, bitch! Gigi! You hear me?!”

She looks up and shouts, “My name is Gloria. You got the wrong whore, babe.” She gets in the guy’s car and starts to strip. I can see her tits through the windshield. She never even cleaned my come off her crotch. I vomit where I stand.

The gritty hotel has a bathroom, but it’s as ugly as everything else. Roaches have set up camp in the tiles and the water runs orange with rust. This quadrant is the worst in the galaxy. Nothing but depravity lives here—if you can call it living.

I scrub my body with the orange water, eager to get the stench of slut off my skin. The water runs cold after a few minutes. I towel off with the rag hanging next to the stall. What could she mean about ‘Paradise lives in Squalor?’ Was it just a scam?

I’d bounced around since I retired. I didn’t know what was wrong with me. I was adrift, as if nothing in my life made sense. I dressed and ran down the stairs to the street where Gigi/Gloria had been, but she was long gone. I found a man selling health tablets on my way to the ship dock. I bought one, hoping it wasn’t a placebo.

You never knew with these street people.

I’d take a trip to Squalor and see what was there. It was probably a wild goose chase, but I had nothing better to do, so what the hell? Anything had to be better than this district. I stood in line with the day workers. An azure-skinned Arcairian took my money and scanned a bar code on my hand.

I’d never get used to this mix of alien and human populace. Some people didn’t care. But I remembered the aliens bombing Old Earth. I remembered Mandy dying. Rumors that survivors were carving out a life in the charred crevices of Old Earth’s surface abounded. No one knew if it was true, but I hoped it was. It’d be nice to have someone to envy.

Besides, I was sick of seeing the human race whoring themselves out to the Arcairians or turning mercenary, like me. This homeless, nomadic lifestyle was no way to live. There were other alien races, but none harvesting humans for slavery like the Arcairians. Most of the other species ignored or forbid us in their districts—we were the roaches of the galaxy.

To be continued...

Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Rest of "Something Real"

As break-ups go, it really wasn’t too bad. There was no screaming, nothing thrown, or broken. Somehow, that made it worse. It felt like there should have been some emotional outcry. It was too controlled. My hands started to shake, so I sat on them. I was full of nervous energy. I looked around the living room with panicked eyes. All of his stuff was gone. I was the only thing he left behind.

I grabbed the vacuum and viciously attacked the dust bunnies. I dusted the coffee table even though it was already clean and shiny. I sprayed the windows and wiped them dry with a paper towel. I looked around the living room for the next thing to clean. My breathing labored, not from exertion, but from sadness. My eyes fell on the bookshelf—on the photo album. I picked it up and ran my hands gently over the cover. Memories lived in photo albums, and not all of them kind.

My knees gave out and I crumbled to the floor. Paper dolls have more
substance than I do. I opened the album and ghosts poured out. They spoke in riddles, in voices I longed to forget. I slammed the book shut and threw Pandora’s Box back on the shelf.

Bob said he wanted something real. He wanted to crawl inside and see my soul. But what if my soul was ugly and dark? What if he couldn’t handle what lived there? What if he rejected me and carved another gash into my already troubled heart? Could I survive it? I picked up the photo album with shaking hands.

In movies, it’s usually raining when the hero goes to make everything right with his true love. There’s a moment of uncertainty between them, before his lover pulls him into warmth and safety and wraps her arms around him. The music swells, the audience cries as the lovers seal their commitment with a kiss. All is forgiven and no obstacle lingers between them. It’s cake in the movies.

I stepped out into the warm clear night. There wasn’t a rain cloud in sight, not even a cold breeze to make Bob take pity on me for forgetting a coat. Damn it. I hugged Pandora’s Box to my chest and headed for my car. I thought about turning back a hundred times during the fifteen-minute drive to Bob’s house. My stomach was churning. This clown had lost her laugh.

He lived in a row of townhouses. I knocked on his door and his nosy-ass neighbor stuck a bald-head out of the window. I scowled at him and knocked again. Bob opened the door and glared at me. I braced myself, “Can I come in?” My eyes pleaded with him to say yes. He shifted his weight to his other foot and leaned on the door jam. “Where’s your false bravado, Amy? It’s kind of clingy for you to rush over so quick, isn’t it? I’ve barely been gone an hour.”

My spine stiffened and my eyes hardened. “Never mind, if you’re going to be a dick, then forget it.” I turned on my heel. He grabbed my arm and pulled me into his apartment. His hand slid softly along my skin and I closed my eyes missing him even though he was standing in front of me.

“What do you want Amy?”
“What every girl wants.”
“Alright, what’s in your hands?”
“Something real.”

His brown eyes narrowed on my face and I set the book on his coffee table. He closed the front door and I watched the way his clothes shifted on his long frame as he walked. At six foot six, he was taller than anyone I’d ever dated. His jaw was squared and strong, his hands stronger still and lined with veins. He sat next to me and I practically sprinted from the couch. I couldn’t sit next to him if he wasn’t touching me.

I paced the floor nervously. I felt trapped, caged by my own doing. I leaned over Pandora’s Box and felt a cool wisp of air rush up my skirt as it swirled around my legs. He ran his hand from the back of my knee to mid thigh and I froze. His familiarity with my body was heart wrenching. What if this was the last time he touched me? What if he hated what I had to tell him? He massaged the back of my knee in a soothing motion. I was anything but calm.

I tried to ignore the warmth of his skin on mine as I flipped through the pages of the album. I stopped at a picture of my brother. I tapped the image. “That baby is my brother just shy of two weeks old. Do you see that glass coffee table?” Robert nodded absently, his eyes searching mine.

I licked my lips, cringing inside. “I had to clean that table every day after school and it had to be perfect. If it wasn’t, then I’d have to do it again until it was. One night, when my brother, Michael, was almost three weeks old my ex-step-father came home drunk. That was nothing new, he was drunk all of the time. But this night he had gone drinking with his son, Junior. Anyway, I woke up at like, midnight, to the sound of him screaming in the street. He was trying to flag down cars to fight him.”

“Junior tried to stop him. They exploded into the living room, beating the crap out of each other. I stumbled out of the hallway to see what was happening; my little sister followed me. The noise had woken her as well.”

I was pacing faster now, tears burning my eyeballs. I kept going.

“They fell on the couch, cussing and clawing each other. They rolled over my brother and Momma screamed. Somehow, she snatched the baby out from under them and she shoved him in my arms. ‘Go hide under the desk in the office,’ she said. I took my sister and brother and went to the adjoining room.”

“But just before we went in I saw my ex-step-father pound her into the wall. He railed against her for trying to stop the fight. I shrieked and turned toward her. But she picked herself up and told us to ‘get!’ I stared at the crater her head made in the wall. I saw blood dripping down her face. We ran into the office and cowered under the desk like little ghosts.”

The words were flowing by their own volition now. I was running on autopilot, and I sounded as emotional as lead. “We huddled under there for a long time. Michael started to cry and I tried to shush him. Nothing worked. I started to sing to him and my sister. She was staring off all glassy eyed and it scared me. The only song I knew was ‘Silent Night.’ So I sang ‘Silent Night’ while the grown-ups fought in the living room.”

“I was on the second run-through when I heard a huge crash. The guys had fallen on the glass coffee table and it shattered everywhere. Mamma got very quiet and I saw Junior stumble past the office doorway. He was covered in blood; massive shards of glass clung to his clothes and jutted from his head. I was crying so hard that I could barely sing. My voice felt tight and small and the song became a prayer.”

“We stayed there until Momma came for us awhile later. She said she had wrapped Junior’s head with towels, but he kept bleeding through them. An ambulance came and took Junior to the hospital; my ex-step-father went to jail. We crawled out from under that desk like victims of some war. Momma hugged us tight and told us to give the table remnants a wide berth.”

“The glass from the table was embedded in the carpet and furniture. The brass frame was twisted beyond repair. Junior dropped the charges the next day and his dad came home. My ex-step-father almost killed his nineteen-year-old son and got away with it. Can you imagine? I should have called 911, but I was nine and didn’t think about it until years later. I’ve always felt guilty about that. I failed Junior that night.”

I looked at Robert for the first time. I was cold and empty inside. I gave him the hint of a smile. “You call my jokes false bravado; I call them survival. All of my stories are like this and …worse.” He took my hands in his and pulled me down on his lap. He stroked my hair the way parents pet their children.

We didn’t say anything for a long time. I’m not sure what you can say in the face of confessions like that. So we just sat there. He held me until the darkness faded and warmth returned to my limbs. He didn’t ask for anything, he just held me. I knew the questions would come, but they weren't important now.

I shifted in the safety of his arms and looked at him. He smiled slowly and moved his lips over mine. It was going to be okay, his mouth said, as he tasted me. His kiss welcomed me home. When the kiss changed—evolved into something more—he laid me on the sofa. I smiled a real smile. I laced my fingers with his and then I welcomed him, too.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Cirtique Circle

Critters is cool and it's the only online workshop I've been using. But not every story I write falls into the genres they crit. So I found another site (Critique Circle)that will crit just about every genre.

They work on a credit system. It seems pretty interesting. I haven't joined yet, but I'm considering it. It's free to the best of my knowledge. Details available on the newbie page I've cited.

Here's the link if you're interested:


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Voice in My Head

I suppose I should be glad that there's only one, lol. Okay, maybe two. :)

I've been reading a lot of submissions on Critters and trolling several blogs lately. Because I'm not sure what to do with my blog. So far I've just posted poetry or random things of interest. I've been fairly conservative about writing actual blog entries. I've no idea why. I've got a big mouth and lots of ideas, so you would think the words would just flow. Wouldn't you?

But they don't.

Some of the Critter's authors that I've read remind me of my problem. It seems that a few of them are looking for their voice, also. It's hard to find that unique style that is all yours and conveys your thoughts or imagination fluently.

I find myself second-guessing a lot of what I write. Or wondering if it sounds like "me." Whatever that means. The problem is particularly obvious when I switch genres. My fantasy "voice" feels nothing like my mainstream "voice."

But maybe that's a good thing? I don't want to read a fantasy that reads like reality. Do you? I want to be taken to another world, time, or concept that makes me forget about reality. Otherwise it isn't fantasy. There has to be something that makes it different or magical, for me.

In art, my professors used to say, "You have to find your niche." They'd chastise me for bouncing from realism to pop art to abstract. They'd tell me to find the one style I loved and pursue that. I've always hated boxes, lol.

I think I'm close to finding my voice in fiction. I hope to find my voice in this blog. Though I may end up posting nothing but poetry for awhile, lol. Who knows? I never do, lol.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

An excerpt from "Something Real" (short story)

I need to run the sweeper again. I could see dust bunnies beginning to amass an army under my overstuffed chair. I stared at them because I was too afraid to look Bob in the eye. Bob—I cannot believe I dated someone named Bob. He stood in front of me, hands on hips. He pulled my face toward his. “You won’t even look at me?” His voice was curt and clear.

I shook out of his grasp and shrugged. “What’s to look at? You’re leaving, remember?” He laughed cruelly and said, “No tearful pleas to stay?” I looked at him then and beamed a brilliant smile, “I don’t cry over bartenders, Babe. Sorry. Now if you had been a doctor…” He shook his head, his frustration apparent in his stiff posture. “It’s always a joke with you. Always sarcasm—nothing is ever real for you, is it?”

Confusion furrowed between my brows. “I’m sorry; I thought that you were leaving me. Why should I be ‘real’ with a man who’s got one foot out the door?” Bob tensed—much more tension in his body and he would snap like a rubber band. I pictured him shooting across the room and ricocheting off the wall. I stifled a chuckle. Focus, I thought, pay attention. You should always pay attention when the person you love is leaving you, even if his name is Bob.

“I just wanted something real from you. I thought…I thought we could get married and you know, have a life together. But you won’t let me in.” Okay, I thought, that was funny. I busted out laughing. “Robert, I let you in all of the time. I let you in the bedroom, the kitchen, on the couch…” His jaw clenched and I knew he was furious. “Did you hear what I said, Amy? I said that I wanted to marry you.”

I laughed and leaned back into the couch cushions. I snapped at him, “Yeah, because men who want to marry their girlfriends always leave them. Sure. Why should I believe you? And just what is my big crime anyway—that I joke too much? Quick, call the Gestapo!” I laughed at him and his angry, bulging veins. He looked livid as he walked to the door. He picked up his overnight bag and reached for the doorknob. I sat up, arched my back like a cat stretching, purred at him like Eartha Kitt, and quipped, “What, no ‘thanks for the ride, kid, it’s been fun’?”

Bob looked at me over his shoulder. I watched the tension in him slowly ebb. A small wry smile lifted the corners of his beautiful mouth. “Thanks for the ride, Amy. It’s been fun.” I didn’t watch the door close behind him. I could hear the doorknob click just fine. I felt tears sting my eyes and I quickly wiped them away. I don’t cry over bartenders...

Friday, July 17, 2009

Warrior and Shield

Shadows lurk where light fears to tread
Axe glints in bold defiance
Filtered light seeps through bony branches

A cackle fills the air
A shriek, laughter of the dead
Warrior stands at the ready

Shield flinches and bemoans this wayward decision
"You just had to fight wraiths. You couldn't have
gone the other way?"

Warrior shrugs and snaps--
"What do you care? You won't feel a thing."
Shield sighs, "Never a mage when you need one."

"Ssh!" The warrior cautions, "You're enchanted
aren't you?" The shield scoffs, "Not nearly enough,
since my lot got cast with yours."

"Too late now!" The warrior shouts as the first wraith descends
He swings his axe, but it's no use
The shield laughs, "leave it to a fighter to use an axe on mist."

The warrior dodges, rolls to his left
"Not helping, shield."
"Wasn't trying to," shield replies

The world beneath the trees turns blacker still
Oppressive--as the other wraiths lunge forward
They sweep over the warrior and he feels his skin burn

Icy fingers scratch and claw
Rancid breath gags the warrior
He drops to his knees under the shield

"Great! Just throw me to the monsters!"
The warrior silently curses being tricked into
taking the shield, damn gypsy woman

The warrior begins to run in his awkward crouched
position to the clearing and the wraiths scream as the
sunlight burns holes in their ethereal forms

The creatures withdraw to the shadows
And surround warrior and shield
The sun rises high in the sky

"Shield, if we ever get out of this
I'm melting you down into a really nice breast
plate" Shield just grunts

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Off Topic

I was scouring the web for interesting images of Robert Redford to draw today and a thought occurred to me. It must be just as hard to be a male sex symbol as it is to be a female sex symbol. I think that men get overlooked on this issue.

It became a little sad for me as I compared his before and after images. My first thought was, "Why haven't I drawn him before. The man is incredible." But that thought quickly turned to empathy as I took in his hair dye and stylish clothes. Is he trying too hard to hang onto that boyish charm that so endeared him to us? I hope not.

For me the greatest thing about Redford was his acting. His movies are above and beyond. But what made them so great was his blend of boyish charm and masculine steel. Sure he could wink and smile and capture our hearts. But he also carried himself in a way that left no doubt that he was an articulate, intelligent man who could cut through the b.s. It's his complexities that I find interesting.

At 71, he looks amazing, hair dye or no. He still has that smile and carriage. He still has that laid back, natural way about him. But as an artist, I find the recent lines in his face far more beautiful than the iconic images that the web is littered with. Every line tells a story. And I can't wait to sketch them down. I'll post the drawing as soon as I can...I hope I do him justice.

Monday, July 13, 2009


Sunlight warms the earth
A little Boy hangs upside down from the swing set
Puppy darts to a fro

His brother chases the puppy and laughs maniacally
Another scraped knee
Another “wasted” summer day

Hey guys, let’s get ice cream!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Risky Business

It's amazing how easy it is to get beaten down, to second guess my work. Sometimes I write and think, "Why am I doing this?" I look at my favorite authors and feel defeated before I have typed one word.

I think that a lot of people experience this uncertainty.

So I started to question what the difference is between published authors and hopefuls, such as myself. And I came to the conclusion that it comes down to perseverance and courage. I think that they are tenacious and willing to put themselves out there regardless of how scary it is.

So in the spirit of fearless tenacity...I sent out my first literary submission. I've got my fingers crossed and a healthy dose of determination.

What more does a girl need?


Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Some art...


A quiet hesitation
Endless calm

An easy sigh
A question in the silence

Morality and denial
Crosses and religious symbolism

A weeping crucifix
Bleeding Madonna

A choice to make; open bible
Salvation in the balance

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


You think you have me where you want me
A pretty little pet
You think I’ll stay and do your bidding

You break the vow you made
Yet expect me to keep mine
You sacrifice me on honor’s alter

Broken marriage
Broken promises
Broken heart

You think I’ll forget
You think I’ll appease you
But you are wrong.

The Bravery: Unconditional