Categories
Funny and/or Strange Photo I Like Short/Micro/Flash Fiction

Sarah In The Morning

20731_1351607707108_4432096_nIt was a cold, October morning at the Super 8 just off exit 337 and things were about to go, well, the way things tend to go.

The detritus of a night gone wonderfully wrong lay about us: A crumpled bag of NASCAR-themed barb-e-cue Fritos, a spent bottle of Yukon Jack, a crumpled patriot-blue camisole and a pair of Jimmy Chou pumps that cost more than my vintage Impala–one under the chair in the corner, the other dangling from the lampshade beside the TV.

I lay on the bed, pulling deep off a wrinkled Gauloise, absently tracing my hands over the swollen bite marks on my thighs and abdomen,  when the bathroom door clicked and swung halfway open, releasing a cloud of steam.  I grinned, rolled off the bed, stepped on a beer cap and almost knocked over an open, half-eaten styrofoam take- home box of ribs and gravy-soaked fries from Applebees, limping to the door to watch as she did her lips, the heavy coat of eyeliner.  Her bright red dress hung from a hanger on the towel rack–an open bottle of Smirnoff on the sink, hair of the dog.

She looked so beautiful, in the steam; I raised my phone to snap a picture.  She tried to block me, but too late.  There were enough pictures of her in the word, she’d said once before. Modest, to a fault.

“You can’t.” She shook her head. “I can’t. Not the picture. Not us. Never again.”

“You said that the last time.”

“There’s too much at stake.  I’m not getting any younger, and the money won’t always be like it is now,” she sighed.  “My family. America. They need me more than you do.”

“Leave it all.”

“It’s too late. I’ve already called them.”

I looked up towards the door even as the shape of a large, black vehicle skidded to a stop beyond the worn, gauzy draperies.  A second later, the door burst open and two large, glowering men burst through, the first with a blackjack in his gloved hands.

I whipped around for one last look. Her moist eyes were sad, but not sorry: determined, resolute.

So that’s how it was.

“You broke my heart,” I said, thumbing the SEND button on my phone.

“You betcha,” she smiled.  The blackjack swung down on the back of my neck, stars exploding in my skull, like the fourth of July, like the stars I’d touched in her aching, desperate embrace.

Categories
My Poetry Poetry

Trout Fishing With Edgar

cutthroat-trout

One, no, two big silvery, slippery
shadowy trout lurk silent, tails sweep
slowly steadying against the current,
beneath a tangled lodgepole strainer
Left over  from spring’s high water.
These fish must be grateful
For a log like this, just right
And rotting back to the mud it sprung from:
A once-proud, once tree skeleton
Now just an eddy sanctuary
For two old cutthroats–like Butch and Sundance,
Pancho and Lefty, like Edgar and me–
No, not that.  He’s downstream with his fly rod
And I’m not shouting.  These two are mine.
I don’t let my shadow cross the water,
But here–big luck, Vegas-odds luck:
A greenish grasshoppery weed-to-weed leaper
Vaults, a mini-martyr, into my denim lap.
I snag him by one frail spring-loaded leg
And
I
fling
him
in.
Plop.  He’s in.  Can’t swim. Fish keep station.
We wait,
as the sun
dapples ripples,
we wait
and wait
and wait
and wait
(bug flits around considerably, like a…bug)
FLASH!

Categories
Fiction Excerpt Short/Micro/Flash Fiction

Fiction Excerpt (Rough Draft in Progress: Olya’s Warhol Night

SilverCloudsDC2

Try to ignore the issues with verb tense–these reflect unresolved narrative decisons in the longer form version and are not meant to imply that Olya exists on three different but simultaneous temporal planes, although now that I think on it….

Wake up at noon, legs trembling, back muscles slip-knotted, drawing tighter with every slight movement, something like arthritis in my elbows, arms weak. Cotton mouth—carefully, artfully extract my limbs from Olya’s—she’s sprawled like a squid across the mattress, a long-legged, mad, booth-tanned bleach blonde Czechoslovakian squid with maroon nail polish. But by the gods, if squids had legs like that the sea would be clogged with fishermen.

I should write that down, but I’m parched and bloated at the once, bloated and parched–parched to the point I’m not tempted to bury my face in her thigh and bite her awake—nearly tempted, I say. To the bathroom—mold and cobwebs, no heat, a garden hose duct-taped to the faucet, the shower curtain stapled to the ceiling in a gross approximation of those classy suspension showers that hang inside a vintage clawfoot tub.

Artists.

I piss a gallon, bend down to suck cold, crisp water right from the tap. There’s no cup, but no problem: this is it, the ticket, the cure; it tastes like rust and chlorine, as good city water is supposed to taste. I pull back the window shade, let a shaft of daylight blaze into shadows, burn through my retina, skewer my brain. I see gray spires, yellow bridges, green heights.

That’s right: Pittsburgh.

Is that the dim future, waking each morning to hose down the fuselage and change fluids, hazily wondering where the hell yesterday left off?

Not yet.

Last night was the opening of the Andy Warhol Museum. We’d come out of the woods, drove three hours, gorged on goi cuon and mind-bending pho served up by a brusque, one-armed guy in a dismal Vietnamese joint across town, half expecting him to run us out of there two steps ahead of a waving cleaver, then drank ourselves silly at the Rosa Villa, last bulwark of the Genovese family, where the bartender kept passing out free rounds while shady guys filed in and out of a back room.  Olya slides around on her bar stool like she’s Rita Hayward, crossing and recrossing those legs, blouse dropped down to there.
Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin on the juke box.

Exclusively.

It’s almost too much.  I feel like I ought to be in a suit, wingtips, a brazen necktie.

Each time Olya proclaims she was done drinking, the tender lays down another Rolling Rock, looks down her shirt, and she’d sigh, Just when I think I’m out, they pull me back in! And take a long pull off the cold, green bottle.

At some point, we wandered outside and took our place near the front of a thousands-faced throng that backed at least two blocks down the street, possibly all the way to the horizon, where we lingered until the doors opened. Brand Knight found us shortly after, trolling the line like a Rocky Horror cast0ff, vintage black mod suit—narrow lapels, tapered pant legs, and a bright red bow tie.

He’s got wingtips, I notice, black and white patent leather tuxedo shoes polished to mirror-like reflectivity, mutton-chop sideburns neatly trimmed, long autumn straw hair pulled into a pony tail.

“Hello, loves!” He grabbed us by the elbows and pulled us out of line. “You hardly look like farmers at all.”

“Thanks, I suppose.” What to do but laugh?  Olya in the black dress. Yep, that black dress, 4” heels, the stockings with seams down the back. I’ve gone with the blue-black sharkskin jacket and skinny black tie, both circa 1967, inherited from Uncle George but, luckily enough, presently on a fashion rebound.

Brand led us in through the back door, armed us with pilfered press passes, and pointed us to the freight elevator.

We were there until five in the morning, most of it a haze of soap boxes and mad Marilyn canvases, Giant Mao leering from the wall—communist maximus, the last grand Caesar–

Mao Series Andy Warhol

In the room of Silver Clouds, white walls with a sky of bobbing chrome-like mylar balloons, Brand was telling us how the same artist made these balloons who had made the original peices for Warhol.  I didn’t listen much, intent on trying to feel something from the images of the floating silver pillows.  Max wandered by, muttering “art ou fromage” and Olya was carefully pushing on of a handful of the balloons which hovered below the ceiling, some chest high, some near the floor.  Brand explained that they were still working on the best mixture of helium to oxygen, that all the balloons should be hovering around the ceiling.

A pack of feral adolescents giggled through, kicking and punching the clouds with fierce determination.  Olya kicked the loudest of the bunch in the shin, hard, and hissed a stage whisper that drew every eye within earshot.

Uciekaj! Pieprzony sączące infekcje psów świnia!

The whole bunch of them skittered away.

“One of the balloons,” Brand continued, “floated out of the room, down the hall, and somehow ended up in one of the elevators.  When the elevator was called down to the lobby, it’s doors opened and out floated the balloon.”

“The sky is falling, the sky is falling,” Max chanted, but quiet so that only I could hear him within the din of the opening night crowd.

Categories
Commentary

Don’t Let Hollywood & Big Business Control The Internet!

Tell W3C: We don’t want the Hollyweb!

“Hollywood is at it again. Its latest ploy to take over the Web? Use its influence at the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) to weave Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) into HTML5 — in other words, into the very fabric of the Web. Millions of Internet users came together to defeat SOPA/PIPA, but now Big Media moguls are going through non-governmental channels to try to sneak digital restrictions into every interaction we have online. Giants like Netflix, Google, Microsoft, and the BBC are all rallying behind this disastrous proposal, which flies in the face of the W3C’s mission to “lead the World Wide Web to its full potential.”

http://www.defectivebydesign.org/no-drm-in-html5