Guilty – Yellow

100 mph. Light’s not red yet. So what if I kill that kid?

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Grammar Ghoul Press’ Shapeshifter 13, #49!

The color prompt is Yellow
The challenge is to create a microstory in exactly 13 words.

The media prompt can be seen here.

Writing submissions may be enjoyed at http://www.grammarghoulpress.com/shapeshifting-13-49-kickoff/

Guilty – Orange

The gavel cracks through a cacophony of cheers, shrieks and flash bulbs. The cuffs snap; the chains jingle in response. The spittle hits my face as they curse, while bailiffs drag me toward the door that leads nowhere. The world itself has burned to ashen grey, except for my new orange clothing.

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Grammar Ghoul Press’ Shapeshifter 13, #48!

The color prompt is Orange
The challenge is to create a microstory in exactly 52 words.

The media prompt can be seen here.

Writing submissions may be enjoyed at http://www.grammarghoulpress.com/shapeshifting-13-48-kickoff/

Compassion for Styrofoam

“Vuh-NAY-dee-um”, said Vera.
“Vanadium. And why this?” said Dad.
“C’mon, Dad! V, Vera, V, Vanadium? If I have to build an atom model for science class, it should be one that says me. And when you look up ‘Vanadium solutions’ online, you see vials filled with these amazing, shiny blue, green, purple and yellow liquids. Totally cool.”
“Ah, so this is why you’re painting the styrofoam balls in different colors.”
“Yep, 23 Purple Protons, 28 Teal Neutrons and 23 Silver Electrons!”
“I can see it now, New this fall! The Fashionista Physicist! Only on NBC…” said Dad.
“Dad!” said Vera, with perfectly feigned annoyance.
“Leaving you to your work, Doctor.”



Vera was an eleven-year old of equal parts scientist, fashion designer, karate student, literati and pop singer. She was also the wisest and kindest child that Dad had ever encountered. He liked to say that he was expecting Tibetan monks to appear at his door, letting him know that Vera was going to be the next Dalai Lama. Vera had always exhibited the type of outward-facing compassion usually not seen until a child was grown, and often not ever. They were at a birthday party when she was four, and a much older kid at another table was telling a highly animated story. He knocked his glass right off the table with a wild arm gesture. He was so into telling his story that the crash and splash of the glass hitting the floor caused the boy to burst into tears. Observing this event from their table, without any prompting whatsoever, Vera grabbed some napkins and leaped to the boy’s aid. She touched his hand and said, “Don’t cry, happens to everyone, it’s okay. Here, let’s clean up together.” They crawled around on the floor, wiping up the spilled drink, as Vera continued to console him. She even asked him what his favorite drink was, and turned to ask Dad if she could go get the boy some more. That special four-year old had only gotten more remarkable as the years flew on.



After Vera had gone to bed, Dad decided to help out with some cleaning of his own. The dining table was strewn with all the things one needed to reconstruct an atom in wire, foam and paint. There were a number of unused styrofoam balls which got swept into the garbage along with bits of tape, empty paint bottles, cut wire and all manner of unidentifiable effluvia. “Creative minds are rarely tidy,” thought Dad, and he was certain Vera would be happy that she didn’t have to clean up after herself this time around.

The next morning, Vera was up early, excited to bring her creation to science class. As they drove towards school, Vera turned the model, looking at it from many angles. As she observed, she said, “You know, it’s really cool to make things. We get all these parts that were made in some factory somewhere, and none of them had any idea they would become a model of a Vanadium atom. It was my job to help them find their destiny. Like I was the guardian of their future. Sitting there in a bin at the craft store, plain, just like all the others, now these balls are protons and neutrons! This wire is part of the orbital cloud of an electron! Even this wood is now a cool stand. They were all there waiting in the store, and now they know who they are. They get to teach the other kids about my atom, just like I’ll learn from theirs.” And then Vera sighed in the contentment of balance, a creator, a giant who stood tall to touch these rough pieces and imbue them with purpose.

Dad smiled proudly as Vera ran up the stairs into school. He wheeled the car about and headed back to their home as fast as he could. He had a job to do. As soon as he hit the driveway, he beelined to the garbage can and began digging. Those unused balls of styrofoam were his daughter, filled with undiscovered promise. He had seen them as junk, unneeded after the project. She saw them as possibility, as the uncarved block that could become anything as long as desire and hard work were given. She drew no line between herself and these objects; innately she knew everything deserves the chance to find its destiny. Dad couldn’t wait to see what life Vera would bestow next.

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Grammar Ghoul Press’ Mutant 750, #25!

The word prompt is Guardian (A person who protects or defends something).

The media prompt can be seen here.

Writing submissions may be enjoyed at http://www.grammarghoulpress.com/gg-writing-challenge-25/

Zona Pellucida

“Eastside Abortion Clinic, no fetus can beat us, Bob speaking.”
“Do you accept walk-ins?”
“Sure, why not?”
She arrived seconds later, for the call was placed at the front door.
“Just get it out, this is the sixth clinic this week.”
She straddled the table and spread her legs.
Bob’s eyes flew wide.
The homunculus aimed and fired.
“Six down, a million to go…” it said.

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This week at the Grammar Ghoul Press’ Chimera 66, the word prompt is: homunculus. Exactly 66 words, no more, no less, should be written with the word “homunculus” included.

Look here for more stories answering the prompt: http://www.grammarghoulpress.com/chimera-66-writing-challenge-9/

Maximum Swagger

“Get the fuck out of here!” said Preacher.
“I kid you not. 37 hours.” said Spike.
“You’re fucking shitting me.”
“You know, for someone named Preacher, you sure curse a lot.”
“You know, for someone named Spike…well… fuck you.”
“37 hours. A new record. Guy needed to piss so bad, his hair turned yellow. You want that bike, that’s what you’re up against.” said Spike.
“Fuck.” smiled Preacher.

2:36 AM. First one there. Preacher could smell that bike. A brand-spankin’ new H-D. Maximum Swagger. Forty Fucking G’s. For suckers who paid full boat. He was getting his for a lot less.

The rules were simple, spelled out on the flyer:

“KISS THE HOG” CONTEST BENEFITTING MDA!
MARCH 14TH, 2015!
$500 ENTRY FEE!
NO FOOD BREAKS! NO BATHROOM BREAKS!
It’s that time again, folks! Woodinville Harley-Davidson, in cooperation with The Motor Company and the Muscular Dystrophy Association, are holding the 9th annual “Kiss the Hog” contest!
All YOU gotta do is Kiss That Hog!
Harley-Davidson is generously donating the bike, and we’re donating the money, all for the cure! Ten bikes to kiss, come early to claim your spot. Once those lips start smoochin’, they can’t leave the bike or you’re out! Last one kissing rides off with a 2015 Harley-Davidson CVO Road Glide Ultra, a $45,000 value!

Preacher had no clue what muscular dystrophy was, never understood why you’d give someone a trophy just for pumping up their body, I mean shit, he did that just by going to work every day. None of that mattered. No wheels since his accident, his beloved ’05 Springer totally trashed right along with his body. It had taken months to recuperate. No luck and no insurance meant no bike. Preacher had spent massively on that ride, gone.

The quiet night helped calm him as the parking lot started to fill up. The line began snaking out and around the building. At last, the sun came up and the dealership doors flew open, just after the television crew set up. Preacher strode in like he owned the joint. There was the bike, resplendent, chrome screaming like a thousand sirens to all the women he’d inevitably have riding bitch. Yeah.

Ten kissing bikes all parallel, space left for officials to fit through. Preacher ran to the far end. He reached into his pocket, pulling out an air pillow. A few puffs and he had a cushion for his neck. There was space behind the front tire to lie down and slide his head in. All he had to do now was lean and his lips would be planted. Since he was leaning, his lips would stay in place even if he fell asleep.

Twenty-two hours in, he awoke from a dream of rolls and fresh-brewed coffee. The pillow strategy had worked. Listening to that hot TV reporter do her check-in, he learned that there were eighteen contestants left. At one point, she came towards him and asked how he was doing. He wasn’t about to fall for that shit. He carefully turned, making sure his lips were still on the tire, and spit out, “Fine, ain’t tired no more.”

“Don’t you have to use the bathroom?” she said teasingly.

“Nope!” said Preacher, with all the confidence in the world.

Thirty-one hours. Just two remained, Preacher and some old bag. She was a fighter; he had to hang for almost three hours more before she cried uncle. Somebody said later she had bent the rules by wearing Depends.

Preacher wouldn’t move until he heard the official announce twice that it was over. He creaked to his feet and let out a weak cry, but his eyes shone like the chrome he had won. People crowded him, whooping in congratulations.

“How do you feel, Mr…?” asked the hot reporter.

“Preacher. I feel like a guy who wants to see your fine ass perched on the back of my new bike! What do you say to meeting me here when I come get her?” he howled. The reporter’s wink told him everything he wanted to know.

Spike was waiting outside to take Preacher home. Still weak on his legs, Spike helped him into the truck. As they drove away, Preacher looked at him and said, “Hot damn! When I dropped the Springer and spent all that time in the hospital, never in a million years did I think a catheter and a colostomy bag would end up being my best friends!”

“Heard that!” said Spike.

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Grammar Ghoul Press’ Mutant 750, #24!

The word prompt is Tired (In need of sleep or rest; weary).

The media prompt can be seen here.

Writing submissions may be enjoyed at http://www.grammarghoulpress.com/gg-writing-challenge-24/

No Tears

Forgive the way that I fantasize,
About your imminent demise,
Need to watch how you gasp and claw,
Agony from your rancid maw,
There is no redemption left for you,
If I can’t have you, wretched shrew,
Coffin, it waits, only for us,
And there on the stone, shall be written thus,
“Life was choked from these two souls, hers by neck, and his by holes.”

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I cheated a little on using the prompt word, I hope that’s okay…

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This week at the Grammar Ghoul Press’ Chimera 66, the word prompt is: Fanatic. Exactly 66 words, no more, no less, should be written with the word “fanatic” included.

Look here for more stories answering the prompt: http://www.grammarghoulpress.com/chimera-66-writing-challenge-7/

Chimera #7

Fine Cuppa Joe

“The finest thing about ricin,” Ralph said to no one at all, “is that it’s invisible. Less than a thimble full can take a hippo down. Heat and cold don’t affect it. It’s a guaranteed kill, and the autopsy shows death from the flu.”

He heard the door being shoved open.

“Come in Alice, so glad you’re here. I’ve just put some coffee on for you.”

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This week at the Grammar Ghoul Press’ Chimera 66, the word prompt is: Thimble. Exactly 66 words, no more, no less, should be written with the word “thimble” included.

Look here for more stories answering the prompt: http://www.grammarghoulpress.com/chimera-66-writing-challenge-6/

Chimera #6

Open Heart

“Step on it, man, he’s crashing!”

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“ER, we’ve got an unresponsive white male, 45-50 years of age, code blue. CPR in progress, has been intubated, cardiac drugs administered. The monitor is showing asystole. We’re inbound to your location, approximately two minutes out…”

___

Michelle told him it was his confidence that drew her in. The way he took her hand without asking, without hesitance. How he waited until his finger drew up against that most sensitive part of her wrist, where he could feel her pulse quicken as he looked in her eyes and said, “I know this, I am certain. We’re going to be together…”

___

They slammed the gurney onto its wheels and ran full speed into the ER; the IV bag waved on its hook like a semaphore alerting to the emergency. The attending and her team leapt into action, a well-choreographed ballet of orders, actions, protocols. There was little doubt he was in very good hands.

___

There was little doubt he was in very good hands. Their first real date, at the Armadillo Bar & Grille up on Abeel Street, was supposed to be just lunch and a get-to-know-ya chat. Instead, it turned into hours of confidential talk, devastatingly hot flirting and the kind of intimate entwine of hands and eyes that told them both this was something rare, something to be cherished. When they discovered their matching dreams; each wanted to buy an old church and convert it into a living space combined with a music hall, a place where musicians could be encouraged as they deserved to be. The first seeds as two lives began to grow into one.

___

The monitors all screamed as one.

“He’s gone into Vfib!” one of the nurses yelled.

“ACLS protocols in place. Prepare for defibrillation! Clear!”

The voltage ripped through his chest as his body flopped like a fish out of water.

“Again. Clear!”

Hairs on his chest burned in pungent fetor.

___

Michelle wrote him 100 poems. The sex was otherworldly. The day she made dinner at his house, he looked at her, hair piled high and thought, “I have found my Madonna, my angel, my whore, my abbatissa, my goddess…” She said she would never mess this up, how cheating had devastated her in the past, that a good man was nearly impossible to find, she said she believed in him, she said her father would love him, she said it was so cool how they were both Italian, she said they should figure how to combine their names, she said that loving support was his new normal, she asked him to marry her.

___

The flatline had begun.

“Immediate heparin and nitro push! Increasing voltage. Clear!”

The shock produced nothing but more nothing.

___

He knew something was wrong the day they stopped for ice cream at the Jolly Cow Drive-In on 9W. The way Michelle looked at him when that Russian lady embraced him. The lady’s son and his daughter had gone to kindergarten together, and they hadn’t seen each other in years. Never mind that there hadn’t ever been anything remotely romantic between them, just two parents of two kids. But the lady was beautiful, and Michelle didn’t like anyone touching her man. And she liked it even less that he didn’t seem to mind being hugged, as though her hugs weren’t enough, as though he needed anything other than what Michelle had to offer. None of these things ever crossed his mind, because he actually didn’t need or want anything other than what they were building together. But a chill ran through him that night, and vaguely he began to realize he had been convicted of a crime he didn’t commit.

___

The cardiac team was running out of options.

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A few days later, Michelle asked to grab a bite to eat because her stomach was hurting, and they ducked into a diner. She asked him some questions about his ex-wife. Afterward, they drove up Abeel, passed the Armadillo, and she pointed out an old building, a former synagogue with a for-sale sign on it. She suggested they should just figure out a way to buy it. It would be a great place to start their home and musical space together. He most heartily agreed.

___

“OK. All interventions stop. I’m calling it. Time of death, 1:11AM. Cause of death, total heart failure.”

___

That night, she said goodbye. She never spoke to him again.

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Grammar Ghoul Press’ Mutant 750, #20!

The word prompt is Crash (as a verb).

The media prompt can be seen here.

Writing submissions may be enjoyed at http://www.grammarghoulpress.com/gg-writing-challenge-20/

Mutant 750, #20

Shell

Oceans I consume as a mortal sips her afternoon tea. Your forests disappear when I need to clean my teeth. Gold, platinum, silver, rhodium, neodymium; all memories now, baubles for my amusement. Your inner core left as ice; ah, the pleasure of a warm bath. Your populace, my breakfast, ever so tasty.

The Lord of All has enjoyed your planet.

Truly, the world is my oyster.

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This week at the Grammar Ghoul Press’ Chimera 66, the word prompt is: Oyster.  Exactly 66 words, no more, no less, should be written with the word “Oyster” included.

Look here for more stories answering the prompt: http://www.grammarghoulpress.com/chimera-66-writing-challenge-5/

Chimera #5

Slices

The demons sat just three tables away. There was a divider running down the middle of the restaurant that had plants arranged on top. Our table was on one side of this divider, and theirs was at the end. I was certain that the one with the white pharaoh’s beard was the only one with any chance of identifying me. I guided my daughter to a seat so she’d be facing away from these spirits most foul. I needed to observe; I was convinced it was them, but had to make absolutely sure. You don’t get to be a Level VI demon hunter by making mistakes.

There was one woman and three men. Their disguises made them look like carnies on break from plying the local populace with cotton candy and the chance to win ultra-cheap stuffed animals. The trained eye, however, could see the through the leathery skin, tobacco-stained fingers and greasy hair. Did pharaoh beard really think I wouldn’t know he was actually a ram-headed guardian? The hubris of him wearing that beard in public, when he had to know someone was on the hunt for runaways. And that long-running joke about the owner of the Dallas Cowboys being Satan? I guess that’s why the tall one with the gamey air about him chose a Cowboys hat to cover his misshapen head. The third man had the best chance to pass for human, if not for the Neanderthal brow ridge he had chosen to adopt. And then there was the woman, clearly a succubus. She had dressed herself in current-day drab, mousy hair matching blank expression. But I could warm my hands from our table with the heat coming off her thighs, and the near-drunken swoon I felt unless I really focused, yes, she was a succubus first-class. There was no doubt any more. This gang of four were the runaways I’d been chasing these long years. Their reign of horror was ending in just a few more seconds. Who knows what future havoc I was about to spare the world in finally catching them.

I looked away from the beasts for a moment to find my daughter glaring at me.

“It’s not polite to stare, Dad!”

“I know, sweetie, I’m sorry,” while my eyes involuntarily darted back to the group.

“Dad!”

“Eat your pizza.”

I looked back again. They were ordering dessert.

I intercepted the waitress as she came through the kitchen door.

“Hi, sorry to bother, but the people you’re bringing this dessert to are… really good friends of mine, and we haven’t seen each other for ages. Would you mind if I delivered it to them?”

“Sure,” she said, “Anything that saves these feet a few steps is fine by me. Here ya go!”

I rounded the corner, using the platter to shield my face. Standing, I could see over the divider, watching my daughter as she happily munched on her second slice. I had to make sure they were taken without warning. Arriving at their table, the volcanic lava of my hatred for demons finally free to burst forth, I lowered the platter and yelled, “Now!”

With balletic grace, my daughter leaped from her chair. She turned, drew her immobilzer and fired. As usual, her shot landed exactly in the table’s center, sparks blooming like a fireworks finale. The demons froze instantly as they always do, having had just enough time for surprise and shock to carve their faces. The rest of the dinner crowd seemed completely oblivious to the supernatural arrest going on about them. I reached into my pocket for a cigarette case that actually held four tiny vials, opening them one by one. Like the exhalation of smoke after a long drag, the essence of each demon flowed into their respective vial. The smoke coalesced into an angry coil at the bottom as I firmly screwed on each cap. I looked down at the four slumped-over bodies; two were just coming to, one was snoring and the now-former succubus was blinking in owl-eyed confusion, having absolutely no idea where she was. I’m sure the police had a grand time figuring out where they actually belonged.

I threw enough cash on the table to cover both their dinner and ours plus a generous tip, and took my daughter’s hand to leave. As we pushed through the door, she turned to me with her best WTF face.

“Really? Could they have been any more obvious? Four slices of devil’s food cake? Sheesh!”

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Grammar Ghoul Press’ Mutant 750, #19!

The word prompt is Volcanic (as an emotion).

The media prompt can be seen here.

Writing submissions may be enjoyed at http://www.grammarghoulpress.com/gg-writing-challenge-19/

Mutant 750, #19