Sunday, August 25, 2013

A New Life Goal

This week's prompt words in bold.

Bob banged the schooner on his personal altar, the bar at the Inn All Night, crushing a tipsy spider. The inn's name was a misnomer, as most customers paid by the hour. Bob had been one until he caught "the disease." Now, his granite ego turned tissue-thin, he waited for her return, his revenge planned. (55 words)

Sunday, August 18, 2013

How Bruce Became a Lover of Key Lime Pie

Today's prompt words in bold.

How Bruce Became a Lover of Key Lime Pie

He consumed the key lime pie, while wearing a lime-green sports bra, the result of a lost bet with his bud, Paul. The brunette in the corner booth winked. Bruce mouthed a "help me." She nodded toward the rain. He pointed at the bra and mouthed, "umbrella." They left before Paul returned from the restroom. (55 words)

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Waiting for the Storm to Pass

"What's that?"  Angle said, pointing at the man's arm.

"What's what?"

"That thing on your sleeve."

The man looked at his arm, a frown on his face. "My heart. What the hell do you think it is?" 

"It's beating," Angle said.

"I sure as hell hope so. Wouldn't need to worry about the tornado if it wasn't, would I." 

Angle looked around the storm shelter. None of the other fifty or so occupants seemed to notice anything unusual. Most were huddled with family members, keeping an eye on the stairs leading to the exit.

He stared at the beating appendage, as it's pulse quickened, and idly raked bony fingers through his beard, not sure what to say. "What's your name?" he asked.

"Harold, but most people call me Hank." A honed edge remained on the man's voice, like he didn't want to be bothered. "What's yours?  Not that it matters. I'll be continuing on my way to Kansas City once the storm passes. That's assuming the bus is still upright."

Angle decided the man was right—that it didn't matter. He told him his name anyway. "Angle."

"Angle?" Hank scratched his heart.

"That's my name."

"What the hell kind of name is that? You Greek or something? Shortening your name so people can say it?"

"The person who filled out my birth certificate misspelled angel. My dad was so pissed when he found out he went to a bar and drank an entire bottle of Jack Daniels."

"Can't blame him," Hank said. "I would'a been pissed, too."

Angle nodded and smiled. "I don't think I would've killed the parrot, though."

"He killed a parrot? Did the bird make some wisecrack about your name?" Hank put his fists in his pits and flapped his arms, the heart beat faster with each movement. "Polly wants an Angle. Polly wants an Angle. Waaak!" Hank laughed so hard he nearly fell off his chair.

Angle reached out to steady the old man but pulled his hand back, not wanting to touch the beating heart. "Some other drunk challenged him to a game of darts. Dad threw the first one about thirty feet right of the target into the bird's cage." A loud bang from outside the storm shelter interrupted his story. Everybody in the room jumped. A woman Angle couldn't see screamed and prayed to Jesus to save her. Just her. No one else. "The owner tried to have my dad charged with murder."

"This just keeps getting better," Hank said, as he started to cough.

Angle patted Hank on the back until the barking stopped and the heart slowed its pace.

"Hey, folks." It was a high-pitched male voice coming from across the room. "I think the storm's passed. We're going to open the door."

Angle and Hank and everyone else sat still while a large man in a Chicago Cubs t-shirt, his bloated belly uncovered, a tattoo of a hot dog in a bun with cole slaw under his belly button expanding and contracting with each breath, opened the hatch. Sunshine brightened the dim room. A breeze carried fresh air into the dank rectangle.

"Well," Hank said. "I don't know what we're going to find out there, but it was nice talking to you." Angle noticed Hank's voice had calmed to normal, so had his heartbeat.

"Same here," Angle said. "Hey, you going to get that fixed?" Angle asked, pointing at the man's heart.

"Not sure." Hank cupped it in his hand, like it was a baby's head. "It kinda fits there don't you think?"

Angle watched Hank's fingers caress the organ as they climbed the stairs. "Yea. I think it does."

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Calvin Seeks Perfection

Today's 5 to 55 prompt words in bold.

Calvin smiled: the camper, the tall trees, the waterfall, his wife, her lover, the blood. Perfect. Until the branch snapped. 

He sidled behind a pine. The ranger approached.

Calvin frowned. The licence plate stolen. The trailer unregistered. He'd thought of everything.

There should have been applause. Instead, there was likely to be a dead ranger. (55 words)

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Three Lives Altered

This week's 5 to 55 story.

He changed the station in his mind. The news remained the same. His daughter. Dead. Her life shortened by a known hazard, a disturbed man with an assault rifle. He flung his reading glasses.

The cellphone lolled in the forgotten pasta, a voice echoing from inside, pleading. But there was no one left to reply. (55 words)