221 Extracted Words – The Tease – January 2019

January 2019

I write flash fiction, non-fiction, essays and novels. This month’s Tease is from a work in progress.

… they cleared the ridge’s final incline, the walls of the world fell away, releasing them into full panoramic exposure. She was truly amazed. Obviously, Mann was loaded, wealthy, spackled with the stench of riches, (none of which she had any objection to) but she never expected this. He actually had good taste. His second (or third) home was not just some giant, Frank Lloyd Wright-scholarship-winner’s graduate thesis insult, super-glued on to the limits of the slope. It was a true architectural effort. Some cabin, the thing was four or five thousand square feet. But the slate and pine components accented the terrain, almost as if the structure had erupted from the rock itself in a seismic upheaval of building codes and rebar, or sprouted organically, like one of those massive burls stemming from a coastal redwood, distorting the bark, changing the tree’s form from within. And then she thought about her experiences and how her life had been distorted from within more than without and she wondered if that was how Bart felt too. And she knew, if she ever developed the confidence to think of herself as brilliant rather than merely street smart, then this would be where it started, because she was being brilliant and not just sensible.

 

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99 Extracted Words – The Tease – December 2018

December 2018

I write flash fiction, non-fiction, essays and novels. This month’s Tease is from a work in progress.

Boxing Day. What a way to end Christmas. And this thing about the “boss” bringing presents … If his boss’ idea of a gift was acting like a big, honking pain-in-the-ass, then he nailed it. The only gift here was the fact that he had showed up for work at all. Half his co-workers hadn’t.

A young man with flat tires for cheeks stepped up with an energy drink and a pack of gum. As he aimed the wand to scan the beverage’s bar code it struck the customer’s bare forearm. He recoiled with the wide eyes of fright.

163 Extracted Words – The Tease – November 2018

November 2018

I write flash fiction, non-fiction, essays and novels. This month’s Tease is from an essay in progress.

Almost all my possessions had been removed from my reach. I was with my family, but in a strange place, somewhat fearful for our safety. There were few familiar scents or sounds. Above all, I was displaced, uprooted, devoid of foundation. I was nearly homeless.

The ideals of empathy and love for our fellow humans, are never more tested than when we are actually faced with strapping on their footwear for a day, a week, a season. Recent experiences have taught me something about the homeless, and my naïve, misguided thoughts about what they truly need. I had always maintained the traditional view that food, shelter, protection from violent abuses, were the basic needs of those individuals forced to live on the street. And while all that is important, there is another element I had never considered, that might be even more vital to their survival.

 

59 Extracted Words – The Tease – October 2018

October 2018

I write flash fiction, non-fiction, essays and novels. This month’s Tease is from a work in progress.

Light to dark, an opening door, a closing window. This place of long, tear-stained faces, like so many, named for a servant of God. We enter afraid. We exit a little wiser, but no less frightened. From light to dark to light again. A window opens and a door closes, all within the space of a broken heart.

 

Horseshoe Lake Drainage – Autumn

Fall colors visit the Little Spokane River Valley.

 

 

 

 

 

376 Extracted Words – The Tease – September 2018

September 2018

I write flash fiction, non-fiction, essays and novels. This month’s Tease is from a work in progress.

He packed what he could of his gear, mostly on his sun-roasted back, since she had chosen a motorcycle to transport him. A sleek rocket at that.

“Ducati?”

“The man knows his bikes,” he could hear her comment, although muffled, through her full face helmet.

“Just a few more things,” he reassured her as she leaned up against the bike’s seat, holding her second helmet. “The tent is staying, probably a good decoy.” When he said the words it was as if someone else was speaking. A decoy? Bizarre.

Soon, they were pulling out on the main street and looping past the Roguehouse. He shifted his position twice as she accelerated. It had been a lifetime since he had ridden on the back of a motorcycle. He underestimated how the acceleration pushed on the torso and shoulders.

She must have sensed his lack of confidence, shouting through her face guard, “If you’re having a problem balancing, you can grab on. I won’t bite, at least not unless we get to know each other a lot better.” She laughed, which didn’t make him any less uncomfortable.

At the edge of town they suddenly slowed, causing his chest to press into her shoulders blades. “Did you forget something?” he asked as they turned around, not sure if she could hear him. They headed back into town and south, then across the old covered bridge where she could pull up in the dark and kill the engine and lights.

“What are you doing?” he asked.

She pulled off her helmet. Her hair was pulled up in a bandana, small strands pasted across her forehead like reeds in an eddy. He had never really looked at her for long when she was serving drinks, but now he could appreciate the counselor’s attraction. Her eyes were striking – a dangerously enchanting pair of dark pools.

“Just seeing if someone is following. They won’t be able to see us once they go in here, then we’ll just book the other way.” They waited a few minutes. No one came. “Ok, watch while we take off, I need to know if anyone comes in sight before we go around the corner.”

“Are you ex CIA or something?”

“No, just had a lot of jerkwad ex-boyfriends. It teaches you skills.

 

London Lucky.

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Ever since he was 14, just a pinfeather, preened on the darkly wet streets of Piccadilly, he had been opening doors, toting bags and tipping his cockade-pinned bowler to the lodgers of the Stable Cross Arms. He had watched a thousand gentlemen walk through those doors, women on their arms, some their wives, some not. Doctors, barristers, clergy, each as capable as the next of ignoring the irony of their hemmablind moralities. It didn’t matter to him. There business was their own and Lucky could keep a secret.

Every week, he slogged toward his paycheck and the weekend frivolity it subsidized, one held door at a time. Now, silver in the eyebrows and stooped in the back, he left the younger lads the heavy lifting, but he still kept his weekly appointments with that emerald edifice from Berry Bros. and Rudd on James Street. Saying his offs to the staff and concierge, tipping his hat to the young lady in marigold that had just completed her last set in the lounge, he scurried in half steps down the stairs to the Tube, rocketed under Buckingham Palace and popped out under Trafalgar Square, reentering the boggy, summer air of Westminster, just east of St. James Street. His chest felt weighted, as if he were walking underwater. He stopped for a moment, gathering his breath while leaning against a brick wall, like Tiny Tim’s crutch. Eventually, he entered the opaque, green-glass door of the distillery and purchased his weekend spirits. “Don’t forget to look under the cap, Pops,” the young clerk commented as he bagged the doorman’s quality gin. “500 quid times a thousand. That’s what it’s worth, you find that gold token.” Berry Bros. and Rudd had their annual treasure hunt under way. Every bottle purchased had the potential to bestow a fortune. The single cap with a golden nail placed in its underside and engraved with a coded message (to make it difficult to falsify) would reveal the winner. “Good luck to you, Lucky.”

He scurried home, started some porridge simmering on the stove and sat down to the table – an able, functional piece of new world mahogany. He grasped the smooth, green bottle in his chapped and mottled hands. He peeled the sealing foil slowly, sliver by sliver, until the final shred fell away, releasing the cap. He pulled the cork stopper straight up and it broke free loudly, with the “pop” of an index finger being pulled from puckered lips. He had to draw a breath, and then one more, before slowly turning the cap over …

Another Monday, his dress the same, his manner perhaps just a liter lighter. He opened the door for a wealthy couple that could barely be pestered to acknowledge his existence. The decorous lady stepped forward toward the London mist, demanding an umbrella be held over her head. The gentleman looked toward Lucky, snapping his fingers tersely, as if addressing a beast of burden. He had an urge to inform the pair that he could buy and sell them twice over and still have enough coin in his pocket to enjoy tea and cricket at Lord’s, but instead he remained silently deferential, all while picking at the remnants of cod between his teeth with his newly acquired gold nail. Lucky could keep a secret.