Monthly Archives: June 2012

Koira Part II

Jacob’s book lay precariously on his lap. The young boy’s head rolled to the right, a small dribble of droll peaked out the right side of his mouth. He shifted his leg. “Lord of the Flies” dropped to the floor.

Jacob stirred. He twisted his neck. He stretched his arms overheard and inhaled deeply. The house was quiet. He sat upright. The thought, “What time is it?” raced through is mind. He got up. He hesitantly asked, “Grandpa?” Silence spoke back.  He walked into the kitchen, “Grandpa?”  He opened the basement door. The lights were off. He walked outside opened the side garage door, “Grandpa?”  The car was there, but nothing else.

Koira delicately nudged the extended arm. There was no response. She let go a whine.  She lay down. It was getting dark, cold. The temperature had dropped and a cloud cover had crept in from the west. Koira was slightly hard of hearing, but she thought she heard a voice she knew. She picked up her head and turned her ears down the path.  There it was again.  She stood up.  She barked.


Jacob came running up the path. He broke out of the forest line into the clearing. “Grandpa!” his voice pierced.  He ran to the body, kneeled down. “Grandpa” sobbed from deep within.  Koira nudged the boy lightly on the shoulder. Jacob’s shoulders heaved in a spasm of sobs.

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I am working on a mystery and you get to participate! In this post you will find two versions of the opening paragraphs. Vote for which version you like best! Please comment on your preference.

Version One – Jacob

The shot ripped through skin, fat, and muscle. Bone shattered along with the peacefulness of the cool, autumn day. Fallen maple and birch leaves were painted with an additional color of red like someone had sprayed a paint brush of red across the ground.

Koira’s romp in the woods had stopped dead. She lay under the low branches of a fir tree her black eyes watched a pair of mud specked army boots walk through the dead, dried grass.

The boots approached Koira’s owner. The black lab mix lay motionless, hidden. Her fear of guns overwhelmed her. The boots stood next to the body, nudged it gently.

The owner of the boots, smiled. He dipped a finger into a freshly painted leaf. He smelled the red liquid, tasted it. He felt an arousal, a small dampness in his pants. He couldn’t believe the sense of excitement, the exhilaration. The rush could was intense. But he also felt a sense of disappointment. He would not be able to talk about it to brag. It had to remain a secret – his secret.

Jacob jumped out of truck. “Thanks Dad, I’ll get grandpa to give me a ride home.” Jacob ran to the house, bolted through the back door.  “Grandpa?” There was no response. Jacob dropped his book on the kitchen table. He opened the refrigerator. He pulled out some leftover lasagna, loaded it onto a plate and put it into the microwave. He found a package of Oreos in the cupboard. He twisted one apart, licked the cream feeling and popped the top half of the cookie into his mouth. Jacob wondered where his grandfather was. Maybe he took Koira for a walk. Hopefully he wouldn’t be gone too long.

Version Two – Penn

Hank Saari debated whether he should walk around the fallen maple that blocked his path or climb over it, either way it wasn’t going to make his day any better. Hank decided to go over the trunk. He stepped over with his left leg. As he pulled his right leg over, the lace of his walking shoe snagged the stump of a small branch. He tugged on the shoe. A shot rang out. As Hank fell forward, his eyes registered a spray of red floating before it fell to abstractly paint the scattered orange and yellow leaves of autumn.

Koira yelped loudly at the gunshot and scuttled under some low hanging ever green branches. She lay low to the ground and peered out. Her black eyes, watched Hank’s prone figure.  She whimpered a couple times and then lay quietly.

Penn honked his horn and parked his Chevy S10 in front of the two car garage. He stepped out of the truck and started towards the house. Opening the door into the neat, tidy kitchen, Penn noticed there was no bakery. He laughed to himself, “Wonder how long this diet will last.” The house was quiet.  Penn shrugged, “Must be out for a walk with the dog.”

Penn took a sip of his coffee. It was lukewarm. As he looked out the kitchen window towards the back forty, Penn picked up the coffee pot. He heard a sloshing sound and poured some. “Ahhhh, much better.”

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Man in Black II


Personal Note – Was hoping to have more, but I’m posting what I have. What are your comments? Thoughts?

Man in Black – Continued

I took the cup and threw it into the front seat of my car. It flew across the seat, hit the passenger window and dropped between the seat and car door. I left it there to join the empty Fiji water bottle and gum wrapper that occupied the passenger side floor. I hopped into the car. On the way to the gym, I pushed the cup out of my mind and went into my pre-workout preparation phase of deep breathing and light meditation.

After my workout, I stopped to get some groceries. I walked into the store in my workout shorts and sweaty tank top. An elderly woman, elderly meaning over 60, gave me a disgusted look. I shrugged it off. “It’s just a little sweat,” I thought. I went through my mental check list, “Let’s see, I need ground chicken, oatmeal, romaine lettuce, almonds, avocado and paper toweling.” I do admit I checked out the ice cream. The store brand was on sale and the Chocolate Cookie Dough was very tempting, but I convinced myself I didn’t need the calories. I proceeded to the check out.

I was putting my change into my worn wallet as I walked through the exit doors. I was no more than four steps away from the store, when I heard my name. I turned. I got dizzy for a brief moment. There was Dee standing sitting alongside the exit. I believe I said, “Hi.”

Dee smiled, got up, grabbed his bike and walked. He reached out with his right hand, “Surprised to see you here. Was out riding my bike and stopped to get a bottle of water.” As if to show me he had purchased water, he took a swig out of a one liter Fiji bottle. Dee continued, “You live near here?”

I eyed him suspiciously, “No, I was at the gym and I stopped to get some groceries on my way home. I live a couple miles up.”

Dee smiled. I hadn’t noticed until now how white and straight his teeth were. “You shouldn’t be afraid of me. You need me as a friend.”

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Mission Oak III

Mary woke. Adrenalin rushed through her body. Her mind instantly took an assessment.  Small bed, hands and feet tied to the posts. Arms lifeless from a lack of blood. Right leg bruised from the hip to knee. Someone was to her right. She slowly turned her head.  Her neck muscles punished Mary for the movement. She winced. A pair of blue eyes peered into hers. The eyes were close enough for Mary to make out various shades of blue.

A girl’s sunny voice said, “Hi.”

Mary audibly asked, “Where am I?” She made out the young face, long hair pulled back into a pony tail. Loose strands of hair reached out.

 “Here,” the eyes blinked.  

“Where is here?”

“I don’t know. Just here.”

Mary’s forehead ridged. “You don’t know where you are?”

“No. They won’t tell me. They just say here.”

Fear raced through Mary’s body. “Who are they?”

“David and John.”

Mary’s stomach churned, her heart started to pound. She took a deep breath.  Her mind spoke to her subconscious, “Remain calm. No matter what remain calm.”

“Are you ok lady?”

“Yes, I’m fine.”  Mary attempted a smile, “So what’s your name?”


“Just Girl?”

“Yes ma’am. That’s what they always call me. I don’t know my real name. I forgot it long time ago.”

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Red Schwinn


I opened the door to the storage shed, grabbed the handle bars, and started to wheel my unscathed red Schwinn bike backwards. The left training wheel caught on the edge of the door way. I kicked it with the toe of my white converse tennis shoes. “Stupid training wheels.” I readjusted the bike and backed it into the yard.  I got on and started pedaling, my feet barely touching the pedals. Occasionally one of the training wheels would graze the ground.

I had permission to ride the bike up and down the dirt ally behind our house and no further.  The turn around at the end of the alley was tight. On the right stood the wall of a storage shed and on the left a fence that surrounded a dog kennel. As I made the tight turn, the bike wobbled, training wheels touched down lightly. I pedaled home, took a sweeping turn in the bumpy yard and headed back down the alley. I enjoyed riding.  

I know I asked my dad a number of times to remove the training wheels. The answer was repeatedly, “Not yet.” He didn’t think I was ready to ride my bike without them, but I knew I was. I couldn’t wait to have them off. I hated them. I didn’t want them. They looked stupid.  I didn’t even like the name training wheels. It reminded me of toilet training, something I had mastered years ago and I wasn’t a baby anymore. I was ready to be a big kid, to ride a real bike.

Finally, my dad consented or I may have annoyed him enough to take them off, but the training wheels were off. I was happy, excited. I couldn’t wait to ride. I got on my bike, started to peddle. I was focused, mouth open, tongue hanging out.  I started a wide loop of the yard. See, I could ride. I was a big boy.  I fell, but I didn’t care. I got up, started off. The bike shimmied. I was riding with no training wheels. 

I approached the end of the alley.  Started my turn, got three quarters of the way around, the bike reached for the training wheel, it was not there. I fell hard.

For some reason, my bike did not want to make that tight turn and on the fourth or fifth time of the bike throwing me off I lashed out. I started kicking the bike tire as hard as it could with the soul of my white converse tennis. With each kick, I repeated, “Stupid bike!” The bike rattled in protest to the beating. I hated that bike. I picked it up. Pushed it for several feet and hopped on. Shakily I rode home and put it into the storage shed. I was done.

I stomped into the house. My dad must have seen the expression on my face. With a smile he asked, “You want me to put the training wheels back on?” 

“NO,” I shouted. I plopped on the couch and turned on the tv. I don’t know how long I sat there, but it was not long. I got up, walked outside, got on my bike and tried again.



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Mission Oak Furniture Part II

Mary relaxed. John pulled his hand away. John spit, “Don’t scream.” Mary took a deep breath and then exhaled into action. She kicked back hard with the heel of her shoe catching John in the right shin. She pivoted up and back with her left elbow. The blow struck John in the temple. She spun to face David. With her heel of her right hand, she thrust upwards into his face. She felt and heard the crunch of his nose. She turned to face John. He reached to grab her by the shoulders. She kicked upwards with all she had. John dropped to the ground and rolled into a fetal position.

Mary ran to her car. “Thank God I left the keys in the ignition,” she though. Rocks and dust flew as she sped down the gravel drive. Her heart pounded. Her blouse was damp with sweat. The back end of the SUV swerved outwards as she turned right onto County Road 18. She checked her rearview mirror. She pressed on the accelerator harder as she saw the green pickup pull out behind her.

Mary reached for her cell phone. “911,” she thought. “Got to call 911.” She fumbled the phone. She looked down. She could see the phone under her right leg. She reached down with her right hand. Her fingers touched the phone. The front right tire hit a pot hole. The SUV veered left, tipped, rolled. Mary was tossed like dirty laundry. Glass churned around her. “Oh god, please don’t let me die,” were her last thoughts.

Comments? Feedback? Thanks!

Man in Black

Another story idea.  Comments?


Normally I don’t go to coffee shops, but to fulfill an assignment for my writing class I headed to a local independent coffee shop. It was small, narrow, somewhat claustrophobic and relatively close to where I lived. I parked, put money in the meter, grabbed my notebook, a pen,and the novel I was reading and headed in. There were four people sitting along the wall, one behind the other like they were in their assigned seats waiting for class. I walked up to the counter and asked for an iced tea. The barista asked, “Ok, dude. Do you want herbal or green?”  

“What type of herbal do you have?” I asked.

“Well, dude, we have mint, chamomile and orange.” I asked for chamomile. As the barista was making the order, he turned, “Oh yeah, you know the chamomile we use is really fine, so some times it gets those little floating things in it. Just wanted to warn you dude.”

I told him it was ok. I paid and selected a table that would give me a good view of the room and patrons. Everyone seemed absorbed in a computer, except for one guy that was reading a newspaper of all things! Behind me I heard a loud flush and a door open. “Great! I picked a table right next to the john.”

A tall, thin guy walked out. As he approached the barista he spoke, “As I was saying, things will work out, ok? Don’t stress about it, just chill, ok?” He was wearing a black long sleeve shirt, black pants and a pair of black converse tennis with white shoelaces. His hair was even dyed an unnaturally dark black.

The barista replied, “Yeah, yeah, I know dude.”

There was that dude thing again! I wanted to say, “You know dude, stop with the dude! You’re in your 30’s and it’s really annoying” but I held my tongue. Yes, occasionally my sarcasm gets me into trouble.

The barista continued. “I’ll chill. Promise, I’ll chill.”

Black, walked to his table, which was just to the left of the entrance as you walked in. He started typing on his Mac computer. He looked up and noticed me looking. Actually I think I was staring. He smiled warmly and then went back to his Mac.

I wrote down some notes and drank my tea with the floaters. There wasn’t much happening here. Everyone was self absorbed in their own little world, so I decided maybe I should try a more active coffee shop. I wanted something to write about and I definitely wasn’t getting it here.

I got up, tossed my trash and walked towards the entrance. Black looked up and smiled and I nodded back. He asked,”How are you doing?”

I replied, Good. How about yourself?” I think it came out more as a mumble, something on the lines of “Gud, how bout self?”

“I’m Dee.” He offered his hand. We shook hands and I gave him my name.

“Nice to meet you Dee.” Or maybe he meant “D”? He went back to his Mac. I pulled my car keys out of my right pocket and proceeded to my car. As I pulled into traffic, I noticed Dee on the sidewalk in front of the coffee shop stretching. His fingers were interlocked, his arms stretched straight overhead.

The next morning, Sunday, I woke at 7. For some reason I can’t sleep late on weekends anymore. I putzed around the apartment for a while and then got ready for the gym.  As I walked towards my car, I noticed some trash on the hood, “What idiot left that there?” Well, I have to admit it was a bit more vulgar than that, but I am trying for the nth time to break my habit of swearing. I reached to grab the trash and noticed it was a flattened take out cup from the coffee shop with a phone number and the words “Call me” written in red ink. I pulled my hand away, and spun my head to see if anyone was around.

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Mission Oak Furniture

An idea for the story of a story. Please comment. Thanks!

Mary turned right past building C and saw a young man standing at the far end of the storage units. He looked pleasant, short dark hair, blue jeans, and a baby blue button down dress shirt. He smiled, waved. Mary parked and got out of her car. “Hi, I’m Mary. I called about the furniture.”

“Yes, I’m David. It’s nice to meet you.” He was an attractive man, nice smile, warm inviting eyes, athletic. Mary felt herself blush a little. “My brother John went to the market to get some beer. He has the keys, but he’ll be back in a minute or two. You don’t mind waiting?”

“No, I’m not in a rush. Could you tell me a bit about the furniture?”

David’s his eyes welled up, “Well, the furniture belonged to my grandmother. We put it into storage and hoped to keep it, but money’s a bit tight, so we decided to sell.” David warmly talked about his grandmother, how she had valiantly fought cancer for a number of years and finally succumbed to the disease. Mary’s heart went out to David. She gave him her condolences. Told him that things would get better, but it takes time.

Both turned to see a rust green truck turn the corner of the building and park. A young tall man got out. David spoke, “Mary, this is my brother, John. John, this is Mary.”

“This was his brother?” She didn’t really see any family resemblance. John was tall, thin, had a bit of a pot belly. His clothes were dirty, unkempt. He stared hard at Mary, nodded and spit a wad of chew on the gravel drive.

David took the keys from John and moved towards the unit. Mary felt a sense of excitement and nervousness. How long had she wanted Mission Oak furniture? She prayed quietly that it was in good shape and that the price would be reasonable. David tried a key in the lock. Nothing happened. “I know it’s one of these.” He turned, smiled at Mary, nodded.

At that precise moment, a calloused hand came across Mary’s mouth and nose. Mary crashed into the door of the storage unit. The crash echoed throughout the empty unit. Mary tried to scream, tried to struggle.

A pair of lips brushed her ear and then David’s voice quietly stated, “Go ahead, keep struggling and it will just be worse for you.”

If Only..

A few weeks ago, I participated in a writing competition. We were given the first paragraph and from that we had to create a short short story. It was not a requirement to use the first paragraph, but it had to be obvious that the paragraph inspired us. I chose to use the first paragraph in its entirety. And now on to my entry.

If only…

With blistered, salty skin and matted hair, they were down to their last sips of fresh water. A recreational day at sea had turned into a fight for continued existence. Slumped on the bow, searching for any hint of a breeze to soothe her burning face her eyes widened, when she noticed something fast approaching in the distance.

Angela’s mind panicked. “No, no, no. This couldn’t be happening. Please, no. All I wanted was to have an escape for one day. To spend time with Michelle. Please not this.”

Hope overcame fear. “Maybe, maybe I am seeing things. Maybe I imagined it. Please let me be wrong.” Angela moved forward, stretched her torso over the water like a striking cobra. Her hands gripped the slick edge. She squinted, tried to focus. Her body shivered. Goose pimples broke out along her sunburned bony arms. “No. It wasn’t her imagination.” Her left hand slipped. She toppled.

Her body clenched as it hit the cold water. The water wrapped itself around her. Her auburn, tangled hair formed a circle around her head. Several loose strands reached for a ray of sunlight that pierced the water. She thought, “I wonder what it’s like to drown. To just let go, to give up?” She fell deeper.

Angela’s lungs protested. She kicked. Her hands reached up. Her head broke the surface. Her lungs opened, took in life. Fingers felt for the edge of the deck, struck. Fingertips dug in. “Michelle?” No answer. “Oh god, I have to get out.” Using her fingertips, Angela started to pull herself up. Her grip gave way. She slipped back under. Angela bobbed back up and coughed once, twice, three times. A sense of desperation set in, “Michelle? Please? Please, can you help me?”

Michelle’s tanned faced looked over the edge. She knelt down and grabbed her best friend by the arms. She leaned back, started to pull. She struggled with the weight. “Angela, kick your legs hard.”

Then, darkness enveloped the two girls. Michelle looked up. Panicked she let go, scurried back. Angela sank back under the water. “Hello, Mrs. DeWitt,” Michelle stuttered.

Angela tried, tried hard to stay under for as long as she could. To stay in the cocoon of water. But even this protective cocoon could not prevent the shrill penetration of her mother’s voice. “Angela! Get your ash out of that pool. You were shupposed to be home two hours ago.”

The hard metal ridges of the ladder dug into the souls of Angela’s feet as she climbed up out of the pool. Angela gripped the handrails hard, as her mother swayed, almost fell in. Pink liquid sloshed over the edge of her mother’s chipped martini glass. “Now shee what you did? You made me sshpill my drink.” Mrs. DeWitt slurred. She licked the lost precious liquid from her fingers. Angela’s sunburned, freckled faced darkened.

Mrs. DeWitt and Angela walked down the Martinson’s driveway. Angela lagged two steps behind. Mrs. DeWitt turned, stumbled two steps to the left. She regained her balance, pulled her shoulders back, and smoothed her white fitted blouse with her free hand. Her eyes widened to focus on her daughter. “When I get home, I might jush have to call that girl’s moder! Keeping you all day! Unseptible.”

The spouted words of her mother were blocked by Angela’s mind – her mind already deep into its safe zone. “The young girl trudged obediently behind her ruthless captor. What tortures awaited her? What demented punishments would she have to endure? Out of the corner of her eye she saw possible escape. If only…”