Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Lightning Sketch - That's Not What You Said

The oily salesman had his look at the old, decrepit face and laughed.
“This is not the work of my fathers, of my lineage. This is the work of carrion crows come to steal just the slightest flesh from the maddening ways of one so vile as he. But look, the work is shoddy, it’s amateurish. The carrion crows forgot to pick the soul from these bones when they picked the flesh. My work would have been artistic and left no trace of the soul or moment of life left. These crows though. Amateurs.”

Lies. Lies begin and end with the rubbish of the fallen and ill soiled. Lies begin with the very need to be lied to and the very lack of will it takes to shine light on the shadow of a lie. But where this light shines, there shines the ignominy of confrontation, the graceless back-peddling of the accused and rejected. A lie is known when a lie is heard, and here Bertrand Russell knew a lie too and so was content to let it lay. But, the Carnival Master needed to be heard and believed, as all liars need.

“Look boy, look at these bones! My work is better than this. You are a fool of a boy. Be gone with you, trash. I have real customers coming with real coin and real taste. I did your job. I told you I would leave some remnants of the old soul’s quickening on the bones if something went wrong..”

“That’s not what you said. Challenge me not Carnival Master. The very fabric of your transient soul lay as finely untwining threads in my fingers. I see what you wish to hide and I will have what you promised, with or without your assistance or knowledge.”


This segment comes from an old story that I started about 7 years ago, in Boston. There may be more of this, or not. I haven't decided.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Lightning Sketch - Fleeting Feelings

Fleeting Feelings

I have been awake now for four days. That’s four days of waking up, working, laying down at night and pretending to close my eyes as the sun reclines beyond the horizon and the sky dons the moon as the watcher of sleeping souls. So then would the moon be sorely cross with me for these days gone by, four of which drifted down the canal of lost time into a remoteness so vast as to render all deposits forever gone.
When I am awake, and not pretending to close my eyes and therein placating the very moon that sours her face at my wan, dull and lifeless expression – the implacable void of an ancient hollow stamped upon my rubbery face, I work. I work well. I feed those who need it and have a little left over for myself. I even dream. I dream of sleep and have waking visions of nightmares that should have happened as the moon tended to my restless soul in the waking nights.

Sometimes, when spare moments arise between the vague traditions of caloric intake and work, I remember what it is to feel, to thrive and know that zest for the sun, the moon and all the world that acts in consort with itself and acts as clock that tells the periodic time of the universe and life itself. Of this vast, magical and inspiringly calculated clock came a single universal second wherein I knew her feelings were fleeting and that what was left, was all that was left and more than the lowliest could hope for.
In time, the universal time measured by the dances of stars and planets, the times between food and work will open up and in that gap, like grass in a sidewalk, new life will grow.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Lightning Sketch - Fun Freebies

Fun Freebies

She tickled the ends of his toes which hung like ripe cherry tomatoes in the light of the open window. Beyond the windows, in the world that happened and the planets that arced among the stars that shone through the vastness of darkness to bring a warm and bright sky to these two lovers, the blue domes of Santorini’s coastal architecture accentuated the vibrancy and depth of love she felt for him – and he for her.
Reflexing to her touch, and pulling his foot away, he mumbled a quiet protest, his eye lids sank back to closing, his head sank back into the pillow, and his quiet protestations drifted from thickly accented English to native Greek.
She loved him. She couldn’t say why. She tried, but found no words nor prior feelings to describe this new devotion. This only made her love him more.
He loved her as well. But to him, love is a bizarre and endlessly errant past time, prone to the sorts of uncategorizable chaos that can only be predicted with the 20/20 vision of hindsight. Despite this feeling of helplessness, to an event where insight cannot penetrate, he devoted his free time to looking out for her, protecting her and promoting her interests. This makes loves real, to him, and this is what he wants to give her.
Their love, like all things fluid, turbulent and tied to the lives and whims of humans, was complex and chaotic and it endured because each found a way to navigate from rough seas to fairer weather.
This moment of gentle kisses, passionately spent energy and well-earned sweat, was made sweeter because it was easy, natural and fun. Soon, there will be work and travel and kids and colliding intentions, but not now, and not here.
Here, they are free because of the fun they’ve shared.


I had no idea where I was going with this one. It came out as I wrote and it wasn't clear how I was going to tie this into a fun freebie, or if even it was well done. But, it reads well and paints a scene that is clear so I'm inclined to say this is one of my better submissions. However, a reread tomorrow may prove all the difference required to change my mind. Also, not sure why I wrote about romance or something romantic. This is a clear departure from monsters and sci-fi. Hmmm.... curious.
I hope you liked it.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Lightning Sketch - The Heart of Pluto

My tiny vessel has been executing a series of corrective micro-spins to keep the flat side facing the solar winds. Three years ago, one of my orienting thrusters was knocked about by interstellar debris. The geniuses back home figured out how I could navigate to the nearest terrestrial body that lined up close enough to my trajectory. My speed is now decided by the winds that I catch; which by the time I get to my landing spot may have me well under, or well over, the desired speed. This will be a risky landing with a predicted probability of success between 3 and 8 percent. It beats the odds of zero percent though if I stay floating in space and end up flying through the Kuiper belt without functional guidance. For a spot of humor, I renamed my vessel to Space Swiss Cheese. It’s a little fatalistic but reminds me that it’s all out of my hands at this point.
               As for landing on the surface, and surviving, I’ve been told, through personal messages that were sent when the ops chief wasn’t looking, that Vegas bookies are taking 4,000:1 odds against, with some putting it at 10,000:1. There are so many things to consider: speed, weight, rotation of the planet, amount of fuel, structural integrity of the hull and the solar wings, and the fact that I have no landing gear since this section wasn’t meant to operate by itself. I hear that I missed an orbital slingshot by a month, which would’ve put me back on a course toward Earth, which would’ve given the brains back home some time to plan a rescue.
               The plan? Land intact, optimize the vessel’s life support capabilities, absolutely do not expose myself to the atmosphere, partly because I technically don’t enough water to last 10 years, waiting for my rescue team, so any exposure will release priceless moisture and I’ll never get that water back; on top of that, I have to share this water with the plants that I’m supposed to grow. The other half of my diet will consist of meat proteins reconstituted from my own waste.
               I look out and can see a tiny dot, and I know that somewhere on that dot is where I will land, on the plains in the heart of Pluto.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Lightning Sketch - Why Do I Feel Nauseous?

Why Do I Feel Nauseous?

“Why do I feel nauseous?” She asked.
No response came from the walls or the spaces between.

“Hello? Anyone?”
Again, silence met the breaking of it and silence was once again.

“Mom? Where are you? I can’t believe this is happening…”

Minutes continued with a dark quiet driving them fastidiously across the clock in lethargic measure.

“Mom! I think I saw a spider! MOM!!! Where are you?”
The young woman, whose pallor is now tinted with green around angry, red, bite marks, leans forward from sitting and begins to stand. As she straighten her spine, her entire form loses all rigidity, crumples and falls to the floor. She thrusts out a single hand, as an instinct, to deflect the rapidly approaching floor.

“Mom!” Silently now, the air escapes too slowly from her lungs to create a scream, so it comes out as a burbled plea.

“I’m here sweetie. What’s wrong?” The voice drones in a cadence of sub-audible clicks and wheezing, though the sweetness of a mother’s love softens the syllables.

“Mom… why can’t I… what’s happening… where are you…. What happened to you?” With the last ounces of strength, the young woman turns her head to the side and falls flat to the floor and her eyes begin to dilate. In the doorway, with the last of her fading vision, she sees the impossible and knows that she must be hallucinating as she dies. A giant spider is standing in the doorway, wearing what looks like tatters of her mother’s torn clothes, and says…
“I’ll see you soon Sweety. Come down for supper when you’re ready. We’re having the neighbors for dinner.”


Another creature sketch. Too much fun! The sketch started out very moody and isolated but I really didn't want to make an overly emotional, dramatic sketch. So... monsters. This time, giant spiders that eat people.... A recipe for awesome.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Lightning Sketch - Luxury Bathing


I've never been good at writing dialogue, and I can't say that today's sketch is any better but it's an attempt to improve on an important area of writing - the interaction of two people in real time.

Luxury Bathing

“Why do you do that?”
“Do What?”
“Not answer me. I’ve just asked you a question, like twice.”
“Honey, I’m really busy and tired. Can’t it wait?”
“It always waits. How long does it have to wait now?”
She just sighs, rolls her eyes and gives no answer. He, needing something to happen, anything to happen, walks out.
She slips inches further in to the warming suds, covering her up to her chin, leaving only her toes and knees breaking the surface of the water as tiny islands in a small sea. The steam gently rises from the surface of the water filling the room and covering the walls with misty droplets of warm water. She breathes and sighs even more causing the minor sea with the tiny islands to rise and fall with every inhale and exhale.
She cries silently to herself, the tears running rivers to the sea of warmth and comfort.

Minutes pass. Stress and sadness evaporate into the self-contained soapy sea. More minutes pass.
He walks in with empty hands and words of apology and comfort.
“I don’t want to hear it right now. Can’t I just finish my bath, please?”
He leaves, and before doing so, places a gift at the foot of her bath.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Lightning Sketch - Jam and Toast

It's Tuesday. Time for another Lightning Sketch from the great writing group at The Overlook Hotel. Today's concept is:

Jam and Toast

The sun radiates through the windows of the new kitchen, tracing pathways of golden light on the new hardwood floors. The pristine curves of the brushed steel doors on the mint refrigerator reflect a happy softness of the light and shadows, the cabinets and cupboards, and the custom sculpted light fixtures.  And two feet behind the kitchen island, the kitchen feels a vibe out of sync with its own domestic harmony. An intruder has entered but the kitchen has no voice. There are no pans hanging on swinging hooks that it can shake - no spices precariously placed on haughtily thin racks that it can will to fall and create a clamor from such – and no oven to turn on that would trigger the smoke alarm were it ever installed.
On the floor, behind the island, Maury writhes from the last synaptic firings of muscle memory even after the body has died, and from a slow, rhythmic jolt, smearing his face and gore upon the recently happy floors. Attached to his waist are two menacing creatures, with eyes expressionless and void, covered in bloodied fur. These were the family’s exotic pets, mutated by airborne pathogens, and were named Jam and Toast.

After Thoughts...

I couldn't pass up turning something so conceptually innocent as Jam & Toast into a ghastly monster scene inspired from a life of B-Movie watching. Too much fun. The trouble with writing, is that it has to be entertaining, at least I hope it is. Were it not for this limitation, I probably would have written about how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.