Spite of Croton

Carried that grudge. Picked it up and set it on his shoulders, from calf to full grown ox. Dragging down the corners of his mouth most of all. Smell of it kept others away. Feared it might rear or kick or he might drop it, might land on or at their feet.

Beast bedded down on the fresh turned earth of his grave. Stayed there, had nowhere else to go. Waited to get picked up and walked again.  Wanted to walk once, but legs atrophied. Could only be. Grow. Carried, weighing heavier.

Could’ve floated if it’d ever been set aside.

Prompt courtesy of Sue Vincent’s #Writephoto.

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Ebb

“Which covers the greater distance?” Mare asked the man at the fruit stall. “Up the street, or down the road?”

“What does that have to do with apples?”

“Nothing, I guess,” she said, and then pointing at a bushel of apples. “Did you grow these yourself?”

“I got other customers,” he said.

He didn’t, but Mare didn’t say anything. His apples were gritty, anyway. She walked along the beach. Low tide always made her want to run away, follow the sea. Find somewhere else to lap at the land.

The shorebirds pecked at the shallows. She went home. Started dinner.

Prompt courtesy of Sue Vincent’s #writephoto.

Warm Welcome

The hermit watched the dot on the lake grow, until he could barely make out a man sculling the rowboat towards him.

He put flame to the prepared pile of tinder set in the middle of the stone circle. And, when the spool of spruce branches caught, he added the thin kindling, stacking them in a triangle shape, its point due North. By the time the man in the boat made it to shore, the flames were almost as high as he was tall.

The two days on the water settled in the rower’s shoulders.

The hermit did not appear.

First Draft

The man sat beside Dzinski said he used to be a writer.

“Anything I know?” Dzinski asked.

“Probably not,” he said. “Unless you liked the rubbish the pretty little housewives read between running a duster over the knickknacks, and taking the roast out for dinner.”

The writer slouched, so Dzinski ordered them another round.

“What can I do for you then, Mr. Clark?”

“Someone recommended you. I don’t remember who exactly,” he said, lifting his bottle and twirling it around. “I need you to find a book. Or a manuscript, really. It was the only true thing I ever wrote.”

Air Strike

Owl and Raccoon tossed rocks at the thin ice on the edges of the creek.

A struggling whine of an engine broke through the morning’s quiet. They looked up the hill, and saw a shadow cast by the low morning sun. “Plane,” Raccoon said. They hopped over the creek and sprinted to copse of thin birch and alders for cover.

A biplane flew low enough overhead for them to spot the sun glinting off the machine gun perched on its nose.

“Gonna spot the camp, for sure,” Owl said. Raccoon nodded, knowing they couldn’t possibly warn their squad in time.

Stroll Down

Went out to meet some guy I knew as a kid. Found me online. Second grade. I went. Wondering what the hell he expected.

You still love dinosaurs? Because I fucking do.

Nothing that fun, he’d just gotten divorced. Wondered if I knew any women looking for used goods. His words.

He asked how long I’ve lived here. Half empty pint.

Empty. Should I l know more people?

Fresh pint. One long sip.

People are pretty terrible, I told myself, and him. Laughing. He nodded and pretended to get an important phone call. Then left.

Anyway, his jokes were awful.

Walk Over to the Water Cooler, Why Dont’cha

An afternoon of sun and five beer deep, Coyote sits at the typewriter and just spews out gibberish. In that moment – it’s pure. Perfect. Abstract feelings given form. But not caged. Outlines of birds flying against an overcast sky. Swoop and dive and soar. Diving against escaping hares, running through field choked with wildflowers. In the morning – something else, but who knows what. A bunch of dumb words in a row. Another vague feeling of repetition. Then forgotten. Breakfast. Coffee. Commute. Coffee. Smile. Struggle. Dead silence from within in the middle of the day that scares him more than anything.