Sunday Brunch

Sylvia sat on the hood of the the Ranger, the engine still warm against the cool autumn breeze.  Inhaling her cigarette, she watched a family of four spill out of the diner.  Still dressed in their Sunday best, the father was dragging a crying toddler in a mini suit and tie and the mother swatted a hand at the little girl tugging at the collar of her dress.

“It’s itchy!” The girl objected, squirming away from her mother.

“Young ladies do not fidget with their clothing in public,” the mother intoned as her child glared up at her.

Sylvia snorted back a laugh, looking down at her sandals as they passed by her.  Slowly exhaling the cigarette, she realized just how much her life had changed.  She used to be those people.  She used to be just like that mother, clacking along the sidewalk in heels that pinched like hell, pretending to have everything under control, pretending everything was perfect.

But what a difference a year makes, Sylvia thought with a chuckle.  Here she was, on a Sunday morning, sitting on a beat up pickup truck in jeans and a t-shirt with no bra, tousled hair hidden by a bandana, still a little high, smoking a cigarette while she waited for her girlfriend to come back out with breakfast.

“Daddy’s rolling in his grave right now, I’m sure.” She leaned back on the hood, enjoying the sun basking down on her. Subconsciously, she quickly check the western sky to confirm her stars were still there.  Satisfied, Sylvia closed her eyes and took another long drag on the cigarette. She realized that a year ago, had she walked by herself at this moment, she would have averted her eyes and hurried past. 

“What the hell was I afraid of?” 

“Talkin’ to yourself again, babe?” Esther opened the driver’s side door and tossed two plastic bags on the floorboard of the cab. 

“Always,” Sylvia rolled off the hood, flicked the cigarette butt in the gutter and opened the passenger door to climb in. “That smells awesome! God, I’m starving now.”

“And you wanted to lay in bed all day,” Esther laughed.  “I hope you like cheesy hash browns. Kat says the churchgoers ate ’em outta grits an hour ago.”

“Sounds perfect, sweetheart. Thank you.” Sylvia slid her hand across the cab, taking Esther’s hand and giving it a squeeze. They locked eyes. “Really. This is perfect.”

“Good,” Esther’s eyes sparkled. “Cuz if I tried to eat it all by myself I’d explode.”

Laughing, Sylvia leaned back in her seat and glanced out the window as Esther backed out of the parking lot. Her stars twinkled back at her against the bright blue sky.  This was gonna work.


TBP’s On-line Writer’s Guild #15

“Oh no, not again… Damnit, Rick!”

“What’s wrong, doll?”

“Buster got in the trash again an’ this rug is ruined! Looks like someone bled out!”

“What the hell was in the trash can, babe?”

“My hair dye! This color red don’t make itself ya know…”

“Aw, but it looks so sexy on ya, baby…”

“Thanks Ricky, you’re so sweet… What’re we gonna do bout this dog though? The rug is pure destroyed!”

“It’s all good, baby doll… Me an Bobby got a thing tonight, I’ll get ya a new rug. Tomorrow morning it’ll all be fixed.”

“Just like my Ricky, take a problem and make it all better. You’re so good to me baby…”

“Hush now, nuff sweet talk, I got’s to go pick up Bobby now. Make sure them windows are shut, will ya doll? S’posed to be a bad storm come through tonight.”

“I love a thunderstorm! Sit out on the front stoop in the rocker… Thunder rumblin’… Watchin’ the lightin’…  Frogs and crickets chirpin’… Best thing in the world… ‘sides you, baby…”

“Don’t wait up, doll. I’ll have you a brand new rug in the morning.”


Timed Free Write incorporating the following phrases:

she loved storms
Oh no, not again!
Just like Rick

Twenty minutes to write enjoying a glass of wine by the water. And a special thanks to the rambunctious good ole southern boys at the next table and the waitress with unnaturally red hair for the inspiration…. Number 47 please.

Source: TBP’s On-line Writer’s Guild #15

Calm Before Chaos

Caria wasn’t sure how everything was going to end.  She had done as Papa asked. Everything that could be sacrificed was burned. Everything too sacred to destroy had been hidden in various places throughout the farm: under floorboards, in hay bales, behind false backs of the cupboards, even buried in earth beneath sycamore trees.  If the Maker was good, at least some things would survive a raid.

The thought sent shivers down her spine. If the Guard found any of what she hid, her neck would be dangling from a rope beside Papa and their only hope in passing on the Glicken Clan traditions would lie in the memory of her six year old brother.

Poor Ian… He was too young for this.  He should be playing Soldiers and Dragons, trampling through the fields, slashing a wooden stick in front of him to slay the monsters.  She was the Keeper. A tradition passed from mother to daughter for centuries, she knew the stories and truths of her Clan.  It was her duty to teach the next generation — if there was a next generation to be taught.

Hearing the approaching gallop of horses, she rose from her reflections, and braced her hands around the back of the kitchen chair.  This was it.  Either the Maker would be good and the Guard would find nothing, or she would be brought before the Elders with charges of breaking the Edict of Allegiance.

“I will not be acquiescent,” she softly recited, willing the words to give her strength. “I will not forget. I will not comply.  By the Maker, I embrace all open hearts with open arms, but I will not deny my own truths. Harmony is life, suppression is discord.  I will not be suppressed.”

Her eyes fluttered shut as she willed her energy towards the violet horizon of the setting suns. The harsh knock on the door snapped her violently back into the present. “May the Maker see fit for me to see another dawn.”

Source: Diverse | The Daily Post

Impossible Choice

His mouth tasted the bitter antiseptic of the room.  He stood there, looking around, fearing to touch anything lest he contaminate it.  The harsh white of the fluorescent bulbs in the ceiling glared at everything in the room, making it all seems alien.

This is real life, he thought.  What the hell am I supposed to do?  No one had prepared him for this.  This wasn’t covered in school, none of his extensive training and testing had prepared him for anything like this.  For once, there was no guide, no manual, no higher authority to step in and make the final decision.  It was just him, standing on the precipice, waiting for a strong wind to knock him into the abyss.

Trying to gain back some sense of reality, he peered into the monitor and blinked.  The numbers shifted up and down, fluctuating ever so slightly.  He had no idea what any of it meant, only that the steady chirp indicated all was okay.  Following the wires from the monitor down to the bed, he watched her chest rise and fall.  It looked like she was just sleeping, except he knew better.  She never slept that peacefully; always tossing and turning, she would wake him up at least three times every night.  He’d never minded though.  He considered himself lucky she had chosen to sleep with him at all.

A lump rose in his throat as he thought of the first time he had laid eyes on her.  He had just been hired as the new history teacher at the middle school where she taught math.  A fight had broken out in the cafeteria during the seventh grade lunch period.  She had skillfully jumped in and broke it up.  She was wearing that sunflower dress he loved so much, along with the faded navy blazer that she loved so much.  He bought her several other sweaters and shawls, but she insisted that dark blazer was her favorite because it fit perfectly.  No matter it was worn down.  She pointed out that a middle school math teacher wasn’t supposed to look sexy anyway. He told her she would look sexy in a burlap sack.

And now, he had to make the ultimate decision for her.  The doctors said there was almost no chance she would wake up.  He really wished she were here to break down the odds for him.

Twenty minutes to write, five to do quick edits.  Number two, please.

The challenge: Timed writing using the following three phrases somehow in the story:

  1. She wore a dark and faded blazer
  2. This is real life
  3. He peered into the monitor and blinked


Source: TBP’s On-line Writer’s Guild #12

TBP’s On-line Writer’s Guild #11

“Who is this Nicholas Degas that is sending you flowers?” Ashley raised her eyebrows questioningly.

“Oh that is Marie’s latest soul mate!”  Megan came swooping into the kitchen to dish out the gossip before Marie had time to open her mouth.

“Soul mate, huh?” Ashley’s mouth quirked into a teasing smile.  “What happened to the last one, the shaman, guru guy?”

“Turns out dancing naked in the rain isn’t Marie’s cup of tea after all,” Megan flitted around her younger sister mimicking a Hollywood rain dance scene.  After a few seconds, Marie had had enough and threw her dish towel down on the counter.

“I have no problems dancing naked in the rain!” Marie stomped her foot down defiantly and glared at Megan.  “I just don’t like to do it in front of crowd of people,”  she pouted.

Megan and Ashley immediately doubled over in hysterical laughter, leaving Marie to stand there sullenly with her arms folded across her chest.  “Well I don’t!  I prefer that to be a more… private affair.”

This just made her older sisters laugh even harder.  Finally Ashley composed herself enough to speak.

“Well I suppose that’s fair,”she observed, still chuckling.  “So who is this Nicholas Degas anyway?”

“He claims to be a writer, ” Megan responded.

“He is a writer!” Marie interjected.

“Oh, come on Marie!” Megan started laughing again.  “Is Nicholas Degas even his real name?  It sounds like something some one who claims to be a writer would make up for themselves.”

“It really does!”  Ashley started chuckling again as well.  “And seriously, your soul mate?  When did you leave the guru guy anyway?”

“Yesterday!” Megan answered.  “The whole rain dance thing just went down yesterday!”

“Oh then it must be fate!”  Ashley waved her hands like she had just hand an epiphany.  “If you realize a guy is wrong for you then meet a different space cadet the very next day… Well then, this one must be your soul mate!”  She and Megan laughed all the harder.

“I hate you two!” Marie shouted.  “I’m not speaking to either of you again today!  I’m going to book store for open mic night!”

“Let me guess,” Megan managed to get out between fits of laughter.  “Nicolas is reading something.”

Marie threw an evil glance at the both of them and stormed out the kitchen.

“Should we be worried?” Ashley asking, still giggling.

“Nah,” Megan answered.  “She’ll run into a musician on the way there and we can make fun of him tomorrow.”

20 minutes to write, a few to do a quick edit check, and the number 12.

Source: TBP’s On-line Writer’s Guild #11

Home Shopping Network

“Knock, knock! Gail, you here? It’s Peggy…”

“I’m in the kitchen Peg! Just ignore the recliner in the foyer and step over the China set.  Watch out for the chandelier! I’m waiting on a mount before I can hang it. I’m just beyond the potted ferns.  It doesn’t look it, but you can push through them easily.”

A few moments of rustling ensued before Gail heard squawking followed by a yelp of surprise.

“Meet Tinker! He’s my new parrot. Sorry, forgot to mention him. Oh, and don’t let me forget to take you out back to meet Georgie-boy.  You’re good with bull mastiffs, right?”

Peg sighed in exasperation as she parted the heavy ferns to enter the main kitchen area.

“Gail, we need to call Mary. This is getting ridiculous. She can help.”

Gail dismissed Peggy with her hand.  “Mary is a fuddy duddy! Come, pull up a barstool.   Park Avenue Diamond is about to start.  I need help deciding between a classic princess cut or one of those chocolate diamonds.  And then Your Home with Jill has their outdoor edition today! I need to figure out an outdoor space out back so I can sit and stargaze at night. The sky is so much bigger here, Peg! It’s gorgeous…”

Peggy faced her friend across the island and pulled a cell phone from her purse. “I’m calling Mary. Right now.”

Gail sighed and rolled her eyes.

“Mary? Hi, this is Peggy McKenzie. Yes, that’s right… In fact, I’m standing here with her now. It seems she’s shopping again…”

25 minutes writing and 10 to edit and look up infommercial names (there is some… interesting…. stuff out there!)  Random # 3


now one of us has to tell Mary
conflict diamonds
the sky is so much bigger here

Source: TBP’s On-line Writer’s Guild #7

Surreal Awakening


I stare at the gargoyles from my driveway.

I seriously don’t know if I can handle this before coffee.

Who are these people living across the street?

Squatting down to pick up the paper, my eyes don’t leave the statues.  Their stone mouths snarl open, exposing vicious teeth warding off intruders.  As I stand back up, paper in hand, I commit to never accepting a dinner party request from those people.

I’m so focused on the cold grey monsters hissing at me that I barely register the person pulling up on the bike.

“Morning, Lori! Hey, you okay?”

“Hey, Mike, yeah, yeah, I’m fine. I’m just not quite sure what to make of that.”

“Make of — Whoa!” Mike shifts to follow my gaze. He lets out a low whistle. “Those are the new people, huh? What’d ya say? Fifteen, twenty foot tall?”

“Looks like it.”

“It’s a tad early in the morning to behold the likes of that…”

“My thoughts exactly.”

“Why am I suddenly scared to blink?”

“Because you watch too much TV.”

We stand in silence for a moment, staring at huge, hideous statues.  I don’t know about Mike, but I’m not blinking.

Gradually I am aware that I am standing outside at 6am in sweatpants and a purple tank top with no bra, scared to turn away from a stupid statue. I shake myself back into reality.

“Mike, have a good morning. I’m going in for coffee.”

“Yeah, you too, Lori.”

I turn and start up the drive, leaving Mike to continue to stand there and gawk.  The second I pour my coffee I’m checking the real estate section in the classifieds.


Source: I ain’t foolin’ around

Thanks to April for the words: gargoyle, sweatpants, purple

Harnessing Fire

“Step onto the dock and stare into setting sun. 
See the fire of the sun engulf the water, claiming it for it’s own.
Feel the flames consume and transform to their will
Conquering all in its path…

“Now, see a vessel emerge from your center
Push it out into the lake
See the energy of the fire pour into the chalice
Until the chalice is filled to overflowing.
Seal the chalice, holding the fire trapped inside
Begin to bring it back into –“

“I can’t!” The boy shouted, flailing his arms in front of him to wipe the image from his mind.  “The fire won’t stay in! Why won’t the fire stay in?”

“It is a matter of will, Master Killian, ” the priest sighed.  “Only through practice and patience can you master the harnessing of the fire. This amulet helped your father focus, but he was almost twenty before he successfully harnessed the energy.”

“My father is an old man who has more interested in books than the family honor. I must harness the energy before I go to serve the King!” Killian jumped up and glared at the priest. “If you will not teach me, there is another that has guaranteed quicker results!”

“Young Master,” the dread rose in the priest,” if you are referring to who I think you are, only death and destruction come from that path!”

“For some maybe, but glory and honor for me!” Killian snatched the amulet from the priest and shoved him aside, storming out of the sanctuary. “You will regret this old man!”


Feeling the ancient amulet around his neck, it was finally time to make the old priest pay.  He had waited years, as the priest had warned, but not to harness the fire, just to exact his revenge.

He stood on the ridge, staring across the valley at the castle waiting on the other side.  An easy day’s ride, his men would be in place well before sunset tomorrow and the siege would begin.  That priest would regret seeking sanctuary with the enemy. And he would soon deliver another stronghold to his King.

“Lord Killian,” his captain approached. “The men await your orders sir.  Do we march on or make camp?”

“We will make camp here tonight. Make sure the men have plentiful food and drink. I want fresh horses for all. Tell them tomorrow we ride into battle for the glory of their King.”


25 minutes writing, 10 minutes editing

i pick #42
Source: TBP’s On-line Writer’s Guild #4