“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

Love’s Craft


Love brought color to this world.
We walked this path, hand in hand, the warmth of your coat around my shoulders. You lit me up and with that light the world was anew.

Love brought purpose to my world.
Your small hand in mine, a whiff of your perfume. I would walk this path and wait, for you. Then you’d turn the corner with a bright smile and the world was anew.

Love brought unrecognizable pain.
Flayed us open. Let the harsh wind scrape our most private of parts. You were mine, I was yours. The world was anew. Then the gods stepped in with their malicious craft.

Photo Credit: Xenja Santarelli via CC.

Written for: Micro Bookends.

Road Trip

“Plotting coordinates on a map,” Meagan answered.
“With push-pins?” Her son asked.
“Yes – not everything needs to be done digitally.”
“But then we have to take the map with us!” He grumbled.

Later, they sat side by side in the old Toyota she hoped she wouldn’t have to pass down to her son. She hoped a lot of things, including breaking down this wall that grew between them.
His nose stuck in his phone, her eyes on the road as they entered the mountains.
“Something’s going on with my phone! I’ve lost service.”
Meagan smiled, triumphant, but hid it quickly. “Time for that map! Now, isn’t this a twist?”

A Micro Bookends story: where they provide the first and last word, we provide the rest!

Carry On

Photo Credit: Paul Townsend via CC.

Photo Credit: Paul Townsend via CC.

“Carry everything you own,” the Announcement had said, posted on every door in the city.

Later, we learned that we had to take it all on our backs. When possessions are reduced to that, it’s easy to pick and choose what’s important. I was shocked how quickly the gadgets fell away to leave room for journals and photo albums.

Now the rain falls on our ten-by-ten shelter, the neighbors encroach on our borders but under the orange tint of the tent, we’ve found home.

My mother strokes my hair as I let the rain soothe me. I drift in and out of sleep as life continues on.

Written for Micro Bookends

Baseball Star

“Child! Hush.” Margaret screeched and eyed the stoplight, praying for it to change.
The group laughed.
“Miss! Money?”
“Miss! Food?”
She wished her automobile had windows like her cousin’s.
The miscreants quieted. A growing unease twisted in Margaret’s stomach. Children were never quiet, unless they were scheming.
The sound of wood striking an object broke the silence. “Miss! Here!”
Margaret held her breath, captive in this place. Then, bam, the smack of an orange against her face. Juice trickled down her neck and Margaret couldn’t take it anymore. “Scram! You scoundrels, you wastes of space!”
The boy smiled through dirty teeth. “Miss! You’re wrong. I’m gonna be a baseball star.”

Photo Credit: via CC.

Photo Credit: Cliff via CC.

Written for last weeks Micro Bookends


URBAN, was the theme of my project. So I gathered my camera bag and a snack for the ride. The nearest city was hour’s away but as grassy fields turned into suburban sprawl, it seemed like a different country entirely.

I didn’t expect it to turn out this way.

“Name?” The guard had asked.

“John,” I replied. “I’m here to take photos.”

“Go on, but be careful,” he warned, not looking up from his magazine. Who still reads magazines?

My first clue, had I paid attention.

As a trapped soul in a mirrored room, the guard’s words make sense now.

They see me as they ride, forever a reflective legend.

Written for last weeks Micro Bookends – where they supply the first and last word and you write the rest

Final Act

“Double that,” Henry grins around his cigar.

“There’s no way you’ve slept with that many women.”

“Oh come on, Carl, in seventy years? Over two hundred women is not uncommon.”

Carl sniffs into his scotch. “If you’re a playboy!”

“Not everyone finds their one and falls in love.”

Like most comments about ‘love’, it makes him think of Ann and how she felt in his arms. He smiles through the tears that spark in his eyes.

“Was it worth it?” They both ask at the same time.

Neither answers the other. Carl raises his glass of scotch, instead.

“Cheers to our final act.”

Written for Micro Bookends, where they provide the first and last word – you write the rest.

Can’t Get You Out Of My Head

“Soap, John. We need more soap!” The walls are thin and I hear his wife’s shout like it is meant for me. In a way, it is.

It means John’s leaving.

I hear the screen door slam and count to ten before I pull on my boots. The snow crunches as I walk around the corner.

John is leaning against his truck, a small smug smile across his face.

“It took you long enough, Charles.”

I growl and grab the loops of his jeans, pull him in close. “I’ve been waiting all goddam day.”

“Where can we go?” John asks, nuzzling my neck.

“She’ll never find us at the opera.”

Written for Micro Bookends where the prompt chooses your first and last word, you write the rest!

Photo Credit: gfpeck via CC.

Photo Credit: gfpeck via CC.

The Speech

Fear grew in her gut. She knew she didn’t fit in, knew yellow teeth belonged to her alone in this sea of pearly whites.

But when it came to ideas, there were more important factors than pretty packaging. Ideas were her currency.

She climbed the steps that led to the stage and stepped into the spotlight.

“Don’t smile, don’t smile.”

All eyes turned towards her. She counted the faces that winced: four men and three women. Those were only in the first few rows.

Then she began her speech. She watched as their expressions changed, like they always did, towards thoughtfulness.

That was it, she was flying.

Inspired by Fear [Micro Bookend] Flying.

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.”