Heels and Taboos

“Sexual acts are usually more shocking because of taboos and have nothing to do with the experience level of the person.” I’m sick of her voice, the know-it-all tone that won’t accept criticism or contradiction.  She will only wait, for a moment, for my agreeing nod.

I’m not sure what will happen if the nod never comes, but I’m sure I won’t like it.

She made me leave my shoes on the side of the road, my red penny loafers Nan had bought me for my sixteenth birthday. She told me only children wore heels that short and she didn’t associate with children. She forced me to leave them next to the shoe store and blow three months allowance on uncomfortable tall heels instead.

My heels click along the cobblestone carefully now. I balance listening to her and not catching the heels in a crack of the sidewalk. It’s difficult.

She, on the other hand, floats along, continuing her comments like they are gospel. “So it doesn’t really matter if you’re a virgin as long as you do something daring.”

My ankle curls, soft skin scrapes the cobblestone. I wince but barely pause in my stride to adjust the heel. She wouldn’t wait for me anyway, probably.  “What do you mean daring?”

She looks back at me then and I cheer inwardly that she did not witness my near fall; I am floating now too, just as cool and calm. But her eyebrows rise at my question and I feel like I’m sinking below them, a shame rides up my spine that I cannot explain.

My face must be as red as my abandoned penny loafers.

“You know,” she manages to make the whisper ring along the street. “Mouth and butt stuff.”

I have no idea what she was talking about but an image of Jimmy Chen holding a stick and poking my backside comes to mind. “Right…”

According to her dramatic sigh, my uncertainty must be transparent. “Oh come on, Jamie. You’re so…. bawdy.”

That word does not mean what she thinks it means. Words are my thing, and if anything, she’s the vulgar one, talking about butts and mouths right outside the shops.

Her hair whips around like a shampoo commercial as she turns away from me to continue down the sidewalk. She was wrong about something and it thrills me. I almost call her out on it but then I notice the boy inside one of the shops rubberneck her as we walk by.

I want to be rubbernecked. I want to be a cool sixteen year old that knows what taboos are and how they relate to Jimmy Chen, I want to be bawdy and have hair like a shampoo commercial; so, I nod and continue to follow her along, heels clicking.


This piece was inspired by two separate challenges. The first is #FinishThatThought and the second was from over at Mindlovemisery’snagerie,Photo Challenge #61, Red – to use this image as inspiration for a poem or short-story:

Photo Credits: Zvaella

Flash!Friday Dragon Winner! (Can you tell I’m excited!)

I’m relatively new to WordPress and writing competitions in general but one was hard to miss when I started actively participating in the community – Flash!Friday. I am so honored to be placed on the Winner’s Wall for my story Journey.

FFwinner-Web

Thank you for your wonderful feedback and kind words:

This piece jumped out at us immediately by its simple originality. What seems like a drug trip at first glance, evolves into a modern day vision quest. The vision quest is an approach to the prompt that very few people (if any) took. What worked best for the piece was that the writer does not tell us this outright, but rather shows us this through the words. Instead of telling us everything was a blur, the writer shows us “the gray sidewalk nestled between the gray skyscrapers and gray street.” We also liked the circular nature of the piece. It starts out talking about droplets of rain making rivers on the widow (in that great showing, not telling way) and ends with the voice in the character’s head telling her “No river can return to its source, yet all rivers must have a beginning.” That circular approach is hard to accomplish in flash fiction without seeming too repetitive, but this writer does an excellent job. In the end, we are left with a feeling that something monumental has happened, but neither we nor the character can grasp its full consequence. Wonderful job.

I’m Only Sleeping

“Time to wake up,” he said, opening thick curtains before sliding into the chair by the foot of her bed.

She blinked her eyes awake but did not try to shake away her grogginess. “There’s a Beatles song about sleep, you know?”

“There’s a Beatles song about everything,” he replied, fishing out a newspaper from his bag.

“But this one is different,” she murmured into her pillow.

“Why?” He asked.

“Because, it is the song that made me understand.”

“Understand what?” He looks up from his newspaper, listening.

“It’s okay to be lazy.”

Her eyes had closed again but she could imagine his forehead furrowing with anger. “It most certainly is not ‘okay’.”

She sang the song through a yawn.“Running everywhere at such a speed; Till they find there’s no need (There’s no need).”

“There most certainly is a need,” he implored with a hint of anger, “Your Majesty.”

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “To Sleep, Perchance to Dream.”

Voices Within

Writing Prompt #107 “Passenger”

“Do it,” It whispers with a voice only I can hear. A pain like nails digs into the space behind my eyes; I bend over with a searing headache.

“W-why?” I manage through clenched teeth.

“Because you want to. You know you do.”  The thing inside me turns into anger.  Anger alleviates the headache by burning it away.  I lift my head as the heat boils within.  “You see them there with their smiles, their easy life of friendships and boring. You can burn it to the ground.”

I look at the student body from my corner in the cafeteria, where no one bothers to glance at me, not even to bully. I am invisible.

“You don’t have to be.”  The voice sears through my veins and creates burning images featuring my lunchroom peers.

I take a deep breath.

Then another.

Holding it in like it said on the internet: 6 seconds inhale, 6 seconds hold, 6 seconds release. 666.

The burning turns into a ball, coalesced in the center of my chest.  It is bright, so bright in my mind’s eye. I wonder how no one else can see.

With the exhale comes calm. With the calmness comes another voice, a softer one.  “They’re just living, each of them, trying their best to muddle along their adolescence.”

The words cause the tension in my shoulders to release, words like a melody, carrying peace.  The peace brings empathy.

I turn back to my lunch.

The Journey

I watch the droplets trail down the window from inside my boyfriend’s car. The water makes rivers across the glass, distorting the gray skyscrapers.

We’re tripping on shrooms.

I know, I know, we shouldn’t be driving. I told my boyfriend this, so that excuses my own irresponsibility. I nod at the skyscraper as if they can nod back in agreement. The festival is downtown, so downtown is where our journey takes us.

Plus, the shrooms haven’t even kicked in yet. Well not entirely.

We pull into a spot. My boyfriend slides his hand into mine as we walk along the gray sidewalk nestled between the gray skyscrapers and gray street. The rain soaks our hair and clothes and leaves me with the desire to twirl on the sidewalk, so I do.

“What is a rain dance when it’s already raining?” A man asks me from inside my own mind. It’s a gravelly voice and for a moment I smell campfire smoke.

My thoughts flutter, from gray to vivid, colorful images. As we approach the festival, the man’s voice returns, the shrooms kick in. “No river can return to its source, yet all rivers must have a beginning.

I nod with the man in my head and enter the festival.


Written for this week’s Flash!Friday and as always, the piece follows a two part prompt…

1) Setting in Downtown

2) Photo to incorporate:

Navajo man representing the Yebichai god Zahabolzi/Zahadolzha. 1904 PD photo by Edward S. Curtis; image retrieved from Wellcome Images.

Navajo man representing the Yebichai god Zahabolzi/Zahadolzha. 1904 PD photo by Edward S. Curtis; image retrieved from Wellcome Images.

Daddy Starring as Hero

“Please, please, please!” My daughter begged through her sobs. “We need to save him!”

A bubble of snot formed under her tiny nose. It wasn’t long ago that the bubble would have distracted her from her sobs and thwarted the panic that filled her brown eyes.  But now, at seven, she is not as easily distracted. And why should she be? Her best friend is missing. Froggie is gone forever, according to my baby girl.

I picked her up into my arms, even though her mother and I had already weaned her off being carried. Her red face twisted with the sorrow of a child whose whole world revolved around a single toy and then lost that toy. Her face still fit into the crook of my neck, it was warm and wet and I rubbed my hand along her back. It didn’t stop the sobs.

“Calm down for a moment sweetie so you can tell me where you left Froggie.”

“I don’t know!” She sobbed. Her fists moved to her eyes and I had to readjust her weight as she flailed. “One moment it was in my bicycle basket and the next – “

Another sob ripped from her throat.

“It will be okay, honey. We’ll retrace your steps.”

She inhaled a breath and the air wedged in her throat, forcing her to cough out more sobs.

The area my daughter is allowed to ride her bike is limited, only around the block. So while carrying her, I walked down the driveway and onto the street.

“Froggie must be scared.” My sweet girl whispered into my neck. “It’s so dark and what if a fox comes?”

The sun was only starting to set. There were no predators in the area but still I reassured her. “We’ll find him before anything happens.”

It took another ten minutes to turn the corner of our block and see, sitting in the middle of the street, as if waiting for my baby girl to come and claim him: Froggie, still smiling.

“Daddy! You’ve saved him.”

She hugged me hard then, as hard as a seven year old could hug and for a moment I didn’t want to let her go. “You helped, Sweetie.”

“Let me down, let me down!” She wiggled her way out of my arms and ran towards her plastic smiling friend. For a moment I wondered if that would be the last time I would carry my not-so-little-girl. Inexplicably, tears sprung to my eyes as I watched her run.

“Froggie! Froggie” She hugged the toy close to her chest. “We saved you!”


Written for Tale Weaver #13 – Heroes

michael

Photo Credit: Mandy Smith

Carl’s Mathematics Dilemma

Carl tried to keep his eyes away from the clock. He had been trying, and failing, for the last three hours. Instead, he swung his feet under the table, doodled onto the margins of his worksheet and, with each thirty minute chime, he would walk to the window and wait.

Carl waited for his mother.

But he doesn’t want you to think this is some sad single mom tale! His mom isn’t struggling as a waitress or bartender or naughty dancer. His mom is an engineer, a great engineer, for the US Navy. She knows so much stuff! All the numbers make sense to her and she knows how to check the equation so the math turns into a backwards riddle.

Mom was awesome. She was just late again.

The timer buzzes from the oven and with one last look outside the rain-fogged window Carl moves to shut it off.

Mom had left him his favorite because she is awesome.

Only, he didn’t want to eat alone. He thought of Mr. Quaid across the hall with his smelly cat and tiny furniture but didn’t want to hear him complain about the tenants upstairs. He just wants to eat his favorite casserole with someone nice but all his friends were far away until school tomorrow. He wants to eat with his mom.

His eyes flicked to the clock again. He should complete his math worksheet; have it done before the morning so his mom doesn’t get mad. He clicks on the television instead and continues to wait amongst the blue glow of the screen. Mom is better at math and math will be better when Mom is here.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Land of Confusion.”

An Ocean in Between

-Vampire Zombie

My ears pop as I break through the water’s surface. Where once there was silence, now there is a rush of life: the wind blows, the seagulls cry, on the beach a group of boys swordfight with sticks.

I swam for hours.  My aching limbs are relieved but my mind already misses the stillness only an ocean can provide. Under the water all sight is blurred and all noise is stunted. All needs fade away except for two – keep moving and breathe.

I jumped off the bridge because I had no other option. The two I owed my life are gone; the ones I owed money were coming. I had nothing but my white dress and they wanted to take that first, then what was under it second.

So, I swam.

The boys on the beach stop playing and turn to watch as I emerge between waves. The dress clings to my body, catches in the sun. I must be a sight for their young eyes; one even drops his stick to stare.

I see them, and in them I see the men who chased me off the bridge. Only they are not those men. My knees cut along the sand as my legs give out. The boys run towards me and I try not to fear. This is not that; that was hell, this is freedom.


This was written for Photo Challenge #60 over at Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie.

Treachery in the Kitchen

“Those dishes won’t clean themselves.” Momma reminded us with a hip perched against the doorframe. She watched over her horde of offspring as we licked the last of the syrup off our plates, lips smacking into sticky smiles.

“I made breakfast.” Rich, my older brother, replied. He knew the sentence removed him from dish-duty and crossed his arms smugly because of it.

My younger sister shouted. “I wash them!”

It wasn’t that she loved dishes, she just hated everything else.

Momma nodded, approving Jane’s enthusiasm with a tired smile. She took a moment to watch the seven year old lather up the sponge before turning back to the remaining four of us.

“And the rest of you?”

Saturday was chore day in our household. It was akin to Sunday gamenight, in that it was just as horrible but for completely different reasons. No one wanted to spend hours around the dining room table with their siblings (especially ones that acted like complete dorks) any more than they wanted to clean the gutters – at least, that’s how I felt about game night. Jane and Charlie loved it.

“I’ll mop.” Anne told the pages of her book.

Crap.

Mopping, dishes and cooking were officially taken and if I didn’t say something soon I’d end up mowing the –

“I got the bathrooms!” Charlie, barely ten, shouted triumphantly in my face before walking to the bleach. My teeth clenched.

I looked out the window to where the summer rays had grown the grass nearly a foot, where heat rose from the ground to blur the green blades, where the unrelenting sun would be laughing at me for the next couple of hours. It was a sweltering eighty-five degrees outside and my siblings just tossed me into the Pit of Carkoon.

Traitors.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Those Dishes Won’t Do Themselves.”

Mechbot Nanny

This drabble received an Honorable Mention over at Micro Bookends, a weekly micro fiction contest where they provide the first and last words and we provide the rest.


First off, I’m not even supposed to be here. I’m a Mechbot 3827, not equipped for this important mission.

Yet here I am with a baby crying in the corner.

No one is around, no one else can hear. I’m a Mechanic by design not a NurseDroid but there is something wrong, something making this human cry, and my programming wants to react.

I stand, crack my knuckles and gather strength.

The human is even tinier in my arms, the wailing is louder. Through strange instinct, I rock the fragile body against my chest. I can fix this.

The baby quiets as I continue humming. “There, there, sleep little lady.”