Curse of the Programming


BadPoet™ took one last look in the mirror. Not for the first time, he cursed his model’s programming. His wrinkles were coming in nicely as was his receding hairline.

“Today you will evoke emotion,” he told his reflection before letting his eye slip to the window. He contemplated the passing planet.

Today will be different.

On the flight deck there was a dais. On the dais stood BadPoet™ and, surrounding him, was the flight crew curled in laughter.

Today was not different.

“And in the dying light,
We hold on for our might,
Against the sight,
of our frights.”

“The only fright here is this awful poem,” the second-in-command boosted. “Captain, I love our new jester.”

The word stung. He tried to balm it with the fact that laughter was a physical reaction of the emotion ‘happiness’. He evoked that response – he did it.

The thought lifted his spirits up and until the rehydratable tomato hit him in the face.


“Jazz,” the man explains.
“That’s it, Grandpa? Jazz is your answer?”
The man catches his grandson’s eye. A twitch of a frown is all it takes for the boy to drop his head and, hopefully, his attitude.
“You asked, ‘what made me the saddest in life?’”
“But your answer was the same for, ‘what made you the happiest.’ How is that possible?”
“That’s jazz for you.”
He could see his grandson’s frustration, his fist clenching the pencil with teenage fury.
“My saxophone controlled the emotions of the audience, and myself. That’s why they called me the Master of the Age.”

Photo Credit: Jimmy Baikovicius via CC.

Photo Credit: Jimmy Baikovicius via CC.

Written for: Micro Bookends


 “Take a step back and look.”

Written for: Cracked Flash

“Take a step back and look,” Allen grabbed her hand.  She brushed him off, again.

“Don’t tell me what to do,” Charlotte said through clenched teeth.

Allen heard the same noise from before – a creaking that was indistinguishable to human ears.

“Charlotte, please. Trust me.”

The sunlight filtered through the window, lighting up the floating dust that danced throughout the abandoned building.  Charlotte watched it, transfixed.

“This building is going to collapse,” Allen warned.

Charlotte laughed. “This building has been here my entire life. I wanted to show it to you and here you are ruining it.”

Allen watched as Charlotte pressed her lips together, eyes looking everywhere but him.  His stomach tightened at her words, at the glimpse of vulnerability she rarely let slip.

The creaking made itself known, again. He knew Charlotte still wouldn’t hear it.

“My parents were married in this church,” Charlotte told the floor.  “They stood under that stain glass and said their vows.”

A gust of wind came off the mountainside; Allen held his breath and waited for it to be the final straw.  As it passed, the building still stood for now.

Charlotte walked down the aisle between the pews. She was walking too far away, he couldn’t monitor the creaking from there. He couldn’t ensure her safety.

Another step. A louder crack. The wood under her feet split into two and Charlotte’s scream cut across the abandoned building.

Allen flew.

After all the hiding, after centuries of secrets – he was in front of Charlotte before her scream could end. Lifting her higher and higher. Her head turned towards him, familiar eyes squinting in fear.

“Please, trust me,” he said, again. Only this time the words were lost amongst the rush of air.

With Him

From Heaven, I observed my charge

and felt through him; everything.

For the first time, the cold dissipated.

With him,

a summer breeze on the river;

with him,

seasons turning around a love-seat.


As an angel, I fell for my charge

and felt through him; everything.

For the first time, I chose.

With him,

Heaven exchanged for an embrace;

with him,

time stood still, and yet whirled by.


On Earth, I watched my charge age

and felt through him; everything.

For the first time, I loved.

With him,

Touch, nights, silence;

With him,

Words, laughter, sunshine.


In soil, I buried my human

and felt through him; nothing.

For the first time, I grieved.

Without him,

I turned to stone;

without him,

I have reached my end.

“I turned silences and nights into words. What was unutterable, I wrote down. I made the whirling world stand still” Arthur Rimbaud

Collage 6

Collage #6 Prompt

In the Hallway

Written for Cracked Flash:

She bolted down the hallway, the children screaming behind her. Behind them was a man, a man with a water hose.

He held the nozzle down and the screams turned to shrill laughter. She barely got away, dashing through the bathroom door. She poked her head around the corner and observed her children under the kitchen fountain’s stream. In the moment, it did not matter that they had carpet or that they would need to dirty a clean towel.

Her son spun under the spray, head facing the ceiling as the cool water broke through the summer heat. Her youngest sat next to him, having fallen in her escape. Her hands rose upward and feet kicked in delight.

And over their shoulders, behind the nozzle, she met the eyes of the partner she loved and realized that in this moment lived her happiness.


Written for Flash Frenzy Round 77:

“And she keeps drawing the same face, then faces within the face. I’m not kidding, Doc. It has to be a problem, right? I should’ve changed her afterschool program. Or, at least kept her away from the movies her brother likes. You have to help us! I don’t know what else to do.”

The Doctor turned to Harriet. “Why do you draw this face?”

Harriet shrugged.

Her mother sighed.

The Doctor waited.

“I like it,” Harriet finally whispered.

“Why do you like it?” The Doctor asked.

Harriet bit her lip.

Her mother sighed.

The Doctor waited.

“Because it scares Mother.”

Artwork provided by Dib

Artwork provided by Dib: “Kindergarten Self-portrait”