Benefit of the Doubt – Fiction

Holy crapsticks I’m on a roll.  Two posts in two days, both of which are fiction?  Satan must be ice skating down there in hell, cos I sure didn’t plan for this to happen.  Hell, it almost didn’t happen: I’ve had kids crawling over me all day, cable techs drilling holes in my walls, babies who need attention, twitters to tweet and housework to do.  The last thing I wanted to do was write.

Then I saw this Flash Fiction Friday #29 thing — I always come to these things late, as yesterday’s Free Gisch contest will, well, attest — and a story started taking shape in my head. After many stops and starts, and wanting to alternate between killing my kids and killing myself, here it is.  I suppose I failed the challenge; I didn’t post it before 9am PST.  But in the end, I don’t care.  I finished the challenge, and that’s more important to me. 🙂

I’m not entirely sure I like it, and I didn’t read through it as heavily as I do my other bits of flash… the huge number of stops and starts on this thing saw to that.  But done is done, written is written, and garbage is only garbage if you consider it so.

Call it a writing exercise, and be done with it.  I am.

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My Hero – Superhero Flash Fiction

“Did you see?”  Hannah comes skidding around the corner, her face all aglow with the rush of meeting one of her heroes.  If her eyes got any starrier, she’d have to apply for a galaxy to hold them all.  “Did you see?  The Golden Mask came into my store! The Golden Mask, Erin!”

See him? I want to say. Sweetheart, I’m living with him. But I don’t, of course.  It’s all about the secret identity, David tells me.  If random Joe Q. Everyman on the street knew who he was, everyone in his life would be open to attack. Including me.  And the last thing I want in my life is for the Razor or Captain Beak or Dead Kennedy to come after me, snatch me off the streets and torture me for all three of David’s secrets.

So instead of telling her just who the Mask is, I light my cigarette and blow a lungful of smoke into the air.  “I didn’t know he liked frozen yogurt.”  I don’t know how I manage to keep a straight face.

“Neither did I!” Good Christ, she’s actually bouncing in place and clapping her hands together like a happy toddler.  Don’t get me wrong; I love my boyfriend and I tolerate the superhero gig, but I don’t think he really needs this much enthusiasm when he’s not even here.  “Chocolate raspberry! With sprinkles!” Her eyes go wide and she sucks in  a breath so quick I think for a moment she’s having an asthma attack. “OhmigodIhavetotweetaboutthis!”  Her BlackBerry comes whipping out of her pocket so fast that, if I didn’t know otherwise, I’d suspect she had superspeed.  Within seconds, she’s tweeted about the experience.  The sighting.  The encounter.

If Jesus wore red tights and a glittery papier-mache mask, I guarantee Hannah’d be in church every Sunday.

Hannah tucks her phone back into her pocket and thumps back against the side of the building with a dreamy sigh.  “He’s so cute,” she says, tucking her hands under her chin.  “He must be a playboy millionaire, with a Jaguar and a private jet and…”  She trails off into incoherent babbling about fast cars and mansions in the Hollywood Hills.  She’s probably drooling too.

I roll my eyes and stay silent on the issues of superheroes and money.  As cool as David’s invulnerability and ability to fly are — and trust me, they are — they’re somewhat impractical for cash flow, and McDonald’s was the only one hiring.     It would break her fucking heart to learn that the Golden Mask has a dayjob at the Golden Arches.

I’ll tell David about this later tonight, if he makes it home in time for dinner.  Christ only knows if whatever nemesis-of-the-month he’s currently chasing will be courteous enough to finish the fight by five.  I doubt it; villains are so rude.

I stub out my cigarette and readjust the nametag on my Walgreen’s vest.  My break was over five minutes ago.  There’s still two hours on the clock and I have bills to pay.  Lots of bills.  That are all past due.  David’s too proud to ask his buddy, the rich-as-hell Quakemaster, for a loan, and I don’t know the guy well enough.  We’ll make do; David’s up for promotion to manager in the next few months and I can pick up some extra shifts.  “David’s planning to barbecue tomorrow after the game; y’wanna come?’

And just like that, her nose wrinkles in distaste.  She gets along with David, for my sake, but she doesn’t really like him all that much.  Most days, the irony amuses the bejesus out of me.  Today, I’m too tired.  Being up half the night worried sick that Doc Mayhem or Mantis Face or the Wrangler has finally found a way to kill your boyfriend will do that to you. “As long as he doesn’t start talking about the war in the Middle East or the government or teabaggers,” she sniffs.

“I’ll pass it on.  See you after work?”

“Nah,” she says.  “I’m going to go to the park.  Queen Corona’s supposed to be making an appearance there.” Her eyes brighten at the mere prospect.  “Maybe I’ll see the Golden Mask again! OHMIGOD that would be awesome!”

I sigh, toss her a wave and head back inside.  I know without a doubt, she’ll buy one of our thermal green-earth bags before she goes home, and I know without a doubt there’ll be a chocolate raspberry frozen yogurt in it when she takes it to the park.  With sprinkles, no less.

I’m ringing up an old lady with a million coupons when it occurs to me that David doesn’t like sprinkles.  He hates them.  In fact, the last time he had them was…

Oh Christ.  He got hit with the Reverso-Ray again.

Or the Evil Twin Beam.

Or the Personality Matrix Exchanger.

So help me, if he got himself split into two separate people again, both of him are sleeping on the fucking couch.

Unwarranted Advice: Bloggit

Everyone has a blog these days. Seriously, you can’t go five feet along the virtual highway without tripping over someone’s list of badly-written poetry, a really bitchin’ series of personal essays and articles about gaming or literature (or travel or cooking or eight billion other hobbies and activities), weblits and blogfics, or journalling communities established so people can come together as a group to bitch about shit and share porn.

Since I was a teenager, I’ve been hearing that the world has become a global village.  Zimbabwe might as well be next door, with the communicative, informative, connective qualities of the Internet.   Australia is down the street hosting a barbecue (Must have barbecues on the brain.  Jesus, what is my neighbour cooking out there?  I smell herbs and spices and roasting bread… God I’m hungry now…) in the middle of a snowstorm.  Did you see the kangaroo being chased by the lion in the community park? Watch out for those reindeer herders — they owe the Bushmen some money, and they’re getting shirty about it.  Also, France is having all sorts of questionable types over til all hours of the night, we’ll need to keep an eye on them.

Alright, so maybe it isn’t quite as ridiculous as that, and maybe my idea of a village is a little skewed.

Where was I again?

Right. Porn.

No, wait.  That wasn’t it.

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You Found Me How?

My penis is powerness. So say my search terms.

Also, apparently I like it when leprechauns fuck unicorns.

And I teach people how to paint shotguns.

In all honesty, the search terms people are finding me with (with which they are finding me?) aren’t the most horrific or whacky I’ve seen.   In fact, do a Google search in the Blogs category for “evil spirits trepanation”, and you’ll probably come across Terribleminds.  And now, probably this blog.

Language is freakin’ weird.  That is all.

“Painting With Shotguns”

Inspiration comes from a lot of places.  A snatch of song on the radio, a phrase overheard on the street, the title of a book or blog. Some people get it from watching the OwlBox.  Some people get it from staring off into space and waiting for divine lightning to strike.  For me, for this story, it came from a blog.

Every week, Chuck does a column called “Painting With Shotguns“; it’s a catchall column where he talks about the miscellaneous things that have caught his attention throughout the week, and things he thinks his readers should check out.  The column itself isn’t what’s important, the title is.

See, this week, the title caught my attention in a way it never has before. I started to wonder exactly how a person would go about painting with a shotgun, and what kinds of situations might arise from it.  Me being me, I couldn’t do a story about a Gallagher-style artist who shoots paint-filled watermelons.  No, my mind went darker places, and my fingers on the keyboard followed.

This story is not lighthearted.  In fact, it’s downright disturbing.  You can find it after the jumpcut.

Remember, I warned you.


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FlashFriday (On Wednesday) – Dead Unicorn Bridge Part Two

A few weeks ago, I posted a #FlashFriday fic that started off, “The dragon selling hotdogs on the corner gave me the 411 on the dead unicorn.”  It was a silly little fluff piece I listed under the heading “Suicidal Unicorns”.  I had no intention of ever doing anything with it again (though I said I might someday), but the story just wouldn’t leave me alone.

This second flash installment weighs in a little longer than the first one, at around 950 words.

Back by popular request — here’s lookin’ at you, Julie — I give you the second installment of what I’m now calling Dead Unicorn Bridge.

When we left Mason, he was investigating the possible suicide of a unicorn named George who had either thrown himself or been thrown off the Brooklyn Bridge.  The hotdog vendor, an unnamed dragon with questionable adherence to health code standards, gave Mason a lead to check: the unicorn’s live-in virgin, a girl named Sunshine, who’d left George the previous week for a guy she met online.  With this information in hand, Mason returned to his car, hoping against hope that his elven partner would still be inside it, instead of out chasing butterflies and talking to flowers.

The story continues after the jump.

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Whine and Cheese Platter, Side of Bacon

They told me my body would be undergoing some chemical and hormonal changes as my systems attempt to rebalance themselves after Amber’s birth.

I said, “I’ll be fine. I’ve been through it before. Twice, in fact. I’m what you might call an old hand at this baby-having business thingamabob.”

They said, “Why are we even bothering attempting to hand you medical advice you might need?  You obviously know what you’re doing.  Silly us; we’ll just go along now and hand out free enemas to our next ten patients.  Carry on then.”

I said, “Pip pip and tallyho.”

They said, “Eleven on this floor alone.”

I said, “Huh?”

They said, “It’s something of a subtle joke.  Just let it sink in; you’ll get it eventually.”

… I’m sorry, where was I?

Right.  Digging into my whine and cheese platter.  Join me, won’t you?

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