Wednesday, January 27, 2016
PROMPT: As a child, he'd been told dolls were for girls.
Jackson picked up his newest creation and looked it over. A smile spread across his face. His new Vampire Doll looked stunning. The teeth were pearly white, poking out from under a mischievous grin. The long dark hair pulled back into a pony tail at the nape of the neck. He came with a removable black cape with an inside lining that could be a variety of colors. It was perfect. His smile grew, showing in his eyes.
As a child, he'd been told dolls were for girls. Now, here he was making dolls for a living and his largest market was any aged male. He was making it okay for boys and even grown men to enjoy dolls after having the stupid rule of 'dolls are for girls' was jammed down their throats. He'd proven everyone wrong and set new standards. Sure there had been some bumps along the way, some of them more like mountains, but he'd managed to come out ahead.
When he'd started his doll business just five years ago, the world was all in an uproar about gay marriage, offending someone else, and being offended. It seemed like no matter what someone said or did it was wrong and offended someone. Jackson didn't care who decided to feel offended by his dolls he was going to make them anyway.
When Jackson was a child, when he decided to do something, it got done one way or another. He had the determination of the Little Engine That Could. Throughout his college years, he had the highest GPA and earned the highest awards available. When he graduated medical school, hospitals and doctor's offices were fighting each other to have him. Instead he set up his own little clinic is his home town so he could help the people that were always there to help him when he was growing up.
It was during his first year as a doctor that he discovered that many of the boys that came into the clinic would grab the rag doll from the waiting room toy box and bring it back to the exam room with them. He also realized that nearly every parent told the boy that dolls were for girls and he should have grabbed a truck or car instead.
The more Jackson thought about this, the more he remember that he too liked dolls when he was a boy. Heck, he even liked them into his teen years. Of course he always had to play with them in private because he couldn't let anyone know he was playing with dolls. Dolls were for girls and he didn't want to be called a sissy.
Within a week of his revelation about boys and dolls he started to sketch out a more masculine doll to make for the waiting room. The first doll he made was a little farm boy carrying a stuffed cow. The farm boy wore dingy overalls as if he'd been busy working hard to help with the farm chores. He wore a straw hat and a pair of barn boots.
Tuesday, January 19, 2016
Use these three words - failure butterfly sun
James sat on the sidewalk with his head in his hands, elbow leaning on his knees. Tears ran down his dirty face. “Stupid older kids.” He grumbled. “They don't know anything. I'm just as good as they are at kick ball. Why didn't anyone pick me to play?” James and his seven year old mind could not understand the failure of the teenage boys to pick him. “I can run fast just like they can; maybe even faster.” He wiped the tears from his face, smearing the dirt into a streak of mud.
A butterfly fluttered down in front of James awkwardly. “Awww, what's wrong little butterfly? Something wrong with your wing?” At that moment James had a devilish idea. He shot up and ran into his house. Moments later he came running back out with a magnifying glass in his hand.
“I wonder if this really works.” He'd heard some of the big kids talking about how they'd used the sun and a magnifying glass to start fires and torture things like ants and beetles. He looked up at the sun and held out his magnifying glass. Nothing. “I must not have it in the right spot.” He moved it around here and there until he saw some sun rays coming from the magnifying glass onto the ground. Excited, he jerked his hand and lost the position. “Dang it.” he grumbled. He moved it around again and found the spot, now to get it so that it was aiming to the butterfly. With a little more maneuvering James found the sweet spot. “I wonder how long I have to wait.” He waited and waited and waited. James sighed. Just as he was about to give up, he noticed some smoke coming from the butterfly's wing. A smile spread across his face. He held that magnifying glass in place moving it slightly when he wanted to help the fire spread faster. Soon there was no butterfly left. “I wonder if this works on big kids.”
Failure can mean so many things even to the same person. Some see failure as not succeeding at bring in enough money. Some see it as never finding the right person or not being able to hold a job. For me, failure means that I have given up. As long as I keep working on making myself and my life better, then I haven't failed. The moment I stop growing and moving forward is the time I have failed. I have done the best I can do with the circumstances that I had at the time. Maybe it wasn't the best in someone else's eyes but what others think does not define me, my successes or my failures. There were times when the best I could do was just get out of bed. That doesn't mean that I failed; at least I got out of bed. I refuse to give up. There has to be more to my life than what I have made it so far and I intend to find out what it is. I have only failed, if I give up.
A little caterpillar found a twig to climb. It climbed and climbed and climbed. Just when it thought it couldn't go any more, it realized it was where it needed to be. Exhausted from the climb the caterpillar decided it needed a rest so it started building a cocoon. It rested and rested and rested. When it was no longer tired, it pushed its way from the cocoon to discover that it had turned into a butterfly. The butterfly flew off into the sun feeling beautiful and renewed.
Sunday, January 17, 2016
Prompt: use the words skill, phone, and dance
“I swear that man could talk the ear off a stalk of corn. I have better things to do than to listen to his drivel all day.” Louis said as he flipped his phone shut. Maria stood in front of his desk with her hands behind her back. “Now, baby, what was it you wanted?”
Maria smiled her prettiest smile, walked around the desk to him and sat on the desk in front of him. He placed his hands around her waist and pulled her gently into his lap. She leaned in and kissed him lovingly.
“Out with it, baby. What is it you want?” He smirked at her and pulled her closer to him.
“Well,” Maria snuggled into him laying her head on his shoulder. “I would like for us to take some dance lessons.”
“Dance lessons? Baby you can take any kind of lessons you would like. You know that I won't stop you from doing what you want.”
“I'd like us both to take the dance lessons together. You know, couples dances. Pretty please?”
“Now, Maria, you know I don't have the skills to dance. I have two left feet and would have us both in a knotted pile on the floor.”
“Hence the reason for the lessons.” She giggled. “Please? It would means so much to me. Then we could dance together at all the social functions like all the other couples do.”
Louis sighed. “Fine. You set it all up and just let me know when it is and I will arrange my schedule to be there.”
“Yay. Thank you, baby. I love you.”
“I love you too baby. You know I can't resist giving you what you want and making you happy. Now, how about you hop down and let me get some work done.”
Prompt: shadow of a doubt
The sun shone brightly that October morning with temperatures in the 90's. There was only a slight breeze, just enough to waft the stench of the dead body in Gerald's direction. He turned away from the stench covering his nose.
Gerald slowly made his way around to the other side of the body to avoid being down wind of the stench. It didn't help much. The smell was almost unbearable. He pulled a bottle of vicks vapor rub from his pocket and dabbed a little under his nose to mask the smell of the rotting body.
“There's more than one body here.” Gerald's partner Amber remarked. “There's at least three. One looks about the size of a one year old. With the way the heat has been there is a shadow of doubt as to how long the bodies have been here until the coroner gets hold of the mess.”
Gerald nodded. “Who found this mess?”
“A group of kids found it. They had come out here to play some baseball.”
“In this heat? Have they been questioned yet?”
“They have but they really can't tell us anything other than that they found it. One of them almost stepped in it.”
“How did they manage to not smell it before they got close enough to step in it? The stench is almost bad enough to turn my stomach and I have been on the force for 20 years now.” Gerald wrinkled his nose and took a deep breath in of the vicks.
“Don't know. They are kids. They don't always pay attention to shit.”
“Have they played in this field before?” Gerald asked.
“Nope. They said their regular place to play is being turned into a parking lot for a new store. Today was the first time they had played here.” Amber pulls Vicks out of her pocket, dabbing some under her nose. She couldn't take the smell any longer. Her eyes had started to water, making her eyeliner start to run and sting her eyes. She was a rookie and hadn't learned the finer points of wearing no makeup on duty.
“Is the coroner here yet?”
“Not yet but he should be soon.”
“Good. I think we are done with the kids. Call their parents to come and pick them up so they know what happened here.”
“Can't I just let the kids walk home? They don't live very far from here.”
“The parents need to know what happened so they can deal with any nightmares or whatever may happen because of them seeing this mess.”
“Makes sense. I'm on it.” Amber took off back toward the kids, her long brown pony tail swaying back and forth as she walked. Gerald sighed. If only he was younger.
After things were finished up at the crime scene, Gerald and Amber made their way to the coroner's. The coroner had already started the autopsy. They arrived just as he was finishing up. Gerald had planned it that way. He didn't think Amber was quite ready to sit in on an autopsy yet.
“Howard, we need to stop meeting like this.” Gerald joked, shaking Howard's hand. “We need to plan a lunch or something to meet on better terms.”
Howard chuckled and shook Gerald's hand. “May be difficult with our schedules to find a time we both have free but I will take you up on that offer one of these days.”
“I see you have just finished up. What have you got for us? Do you have any names for us?” Amber jumped in.
Howard and Gerald looked at each other and grinned. “No names yet,” Howard answered. “It's a little early for that yet. With the bodies being so decomposed it makes it a little more difficult. What we do have is this: one male approximately 25 years old, one female approximately 30 years old and one female infant approximately 1 year old. We also know that they had been in that field for about three days. The heat accelerated the decomposition along with animals feasting on them all.”
“Animals had been eating them?” Amber asked feeling a little uneasy.
“Yep, happens all the time when the bodies are left in areas like that or in the woods. They don't know enough to leave them alone. They just follow their instinct to survive and eat.” Howard said.
Amber smiled shyly feeling silly for even asking.
“All three of them had smashed in skulls. The baby was the worst. It looked like someone held her by the legs and just smashed her head against the wall repeatedly.”
Amber gasped. “How could someone do something like that? I just don't understand people sometimes.”
“People do some crazy, messed up shit sometimes, Amber, and we get to see all of it. Be prepared for even worse than this.” Gerald commented. He hated being put with a rookie but he was getting used to Amber after a couple of months. Of course it didn't hurt that she was nice to look at and had a great personality.
Friday, January 15, 2016
Prompt: "Why did you scream like that?"
“Why did you scream like that?” Brandon asked, pushing Charles into the locker room shower. “Are you listening to me?” Charles was looking off in the opposite direction. “Look at me when I am talking to you.” Charles glanced into his eyes then glanced back to whatever had him captivated. Brandon followed his eyes to a section of wall across the room. There minding its own business was a spider. Mind you this wasn't a huge spider but not tiny either. It was a Daddy-Long-Legs. Its legs made it look much bigger than what it actually was. “This? This is what you are screaming about?” Charles could only nod and back away. Brandon picked it up by one leg with a grin and tossed it at Charles. Charles screamed backing further into the shower. He slipped on someone's soap that had been left behind and down he went, hitting the tiled floor hard. Charles didn't move. Brandon picked up the spider again and walked into the shower. He stopped, looking at Charles, and dropped the spider, now forgotten. He hollered out to his friends that were watching, “Go get the teacher, there's blood. And say nothing about the spider. Got it?” He looked around at his friends, each of them nodding in agreement not to say anything about him picking on poor Charles.
Word spread quickly through the school about what happened to Charles and that he had to be taken to the hospital in an ambulance. Of course, none of Brandon's friends were talking. We pretended like it was our first time hearing about it. It was interesting to hear all the different stories as to what exactly happened to him. Someone said he'd heard that Charles picked a fight with Brandon and Brandon had obviously won. Another story was that he was the only one in the locker room at the time and was being his normal clumsy self and slipped on the soap. Brandon liked that last theory best.
By afternoon the halls were buzzing about Charles. Word was that he was in intensive care and in a coma. Brandon was hit with a brief pang of remorse. It dissipated as quickly as it came.
Dean, one of Brandon's friends, came up to him in the hall between classes. “Did you hear about Charles? What are you going to do?”
“Do about what exactly?” Brandon sneered.
“About Charles. It was because you were picking on him that he fell in the shower. So, well, it is kinda your fault he is hurt.” Dean gulped.
“I will have you know that it is NOT my fault that baby was afraid of spiders nor that he backed up onto a slippery bar of soap. Do you understand?” Each word spoken emphasized with a finger poke to Dean's chest.
“Sure Brandon. I understand.” Dean stammered and backed away, leaving for his nest class.
Brandon made his way the bathroom. He found a quiet stall in the far corner and waited for classes to begin. 'It was not my fault.' He thought. 'He was being a baby with all the screaming over a tiny Daddy-Long-Legs. It was not my fault that he backed up onto that bar of soap.' With the halls quiet and a teacher check out of the way, Brandon lit a cigarette and took a long drag. 'If only this was a joint. I could really use a toke to calm me down right now.' After every couple drags, he sprayed a bit of the air freshener that he kept in his inside coat pocket specifically for this very reason. He sat on the heater in the very back of the room propped up in the corner where no one could see him unless they walked nearly all the way there. By then he could have the cigarette disposed of without a trace. Thoughts of Charles invaded his peace. What was he going to do about Charles. After what felt like only a couple minutes had passed, the bell for the end of school blared in his ears. Brandon hopped down from the heater, getting rid of his cigarette butt and spraying a little air freshener. He confidently walked out of the bathroom and headed to his bus.
Brandon had lost his driver's license so was downgraded to riding the bus every afternoon. Dean gave him a ride in the morning but he left a little early every day because he only had a study hall last class. Brandon hated him for that. To him it felt like Dean was ditching him in the afternoon. Whether he was or wasn't was a mote point. He was stuck riding the bus regardless.
The bus was full of chatter with about ninety percent being about Charles. Someone said that he had died. Another said that no, he was just in a coma. Some expected him to live while other said they didn't expect him to make it. With so many different stories, how was Brandon to know which one was correct? He couldn't. Unless he went to the hospital himself. Brandon sighed and pushed the idea as far from his mind as he could. He slipped his earbuds into his ears and cranked up the volume on his iPod blasting music into his ears to drown out all the chatter. He slouched down in the seat, put his knees on the back of the seat in front of him, rested his head on the side of the bus watching the world speed by, and eventually fell asleep.
Thursday, January 14, 2016
The darkness knows its place
It creeps in when I am not looking
and finds its place within the far corners
and recesses of my mind.
It settles in and lives there festering,
waiting for the light to start to fade
so it can come out to play
making my life miserable
It tortures me constantly
even from its safe places
in my mind.
It always seems to find its way
back out to surface after things
had been going well.
Thus the down hill spiral
into the deep dark abyss
The darkness knows its place
because it created its own space
within my thoughts and feelings.
It turns them into bad things
things I wish I would not
think and feel.
I think dark things
I feel dark things
I fight and struggle
with the darkness
I try to bring in the light
to make it a better place
to live inside my head.
I pour positive affirmations
into my brain
to find my light
Wednesday, January 13, 2016
The Empty Nest Blues
The house wasn't the same to her any more. She remembered how alive and vibrant the house was with the kids all running around and arguing over every little thing. The kids have all grown up and moved on to their own lives. As each child left, the house slowly grew quiet until the last child left last week. He was headed off to college to get a degree and hopefully have a good job at some point. The past week had been the quietest the house had ever been. She was alone in the house. Her husband had passed away a couple years ago. She was still trying to deal with that and the loneliness that brought. Now with the house so deathly quiet, she wasn't sure she could take one more day like this. It was just too quiet.
Her thoughts took her back about ten years as she remembered the last four in the house all playing hide and seek together in the house. Sure they were older but they never tired of hide and seek. She could hear the giggles of the girls and hear the boys scheming together to find them. It was this time that one of the girls somehow got locked in one of the closets. No one could find her. She didn't make a peep. She was the Queen of hide and seek. A couple hours later we heard her pounding and yelling to let her out. She was in a closet and fell asleep when no one found her. Somehow the closet had become locked and she couldn't get out. When the rest of us finally figured out where she was, we opened up the door and all of us laughed. She wasn't happy about us all laughing at her but she mollified listening to our laughter and started laughing too.
That's what she missed the most. All the laughter. The laughter is what kept her going for so long. With nine kids it wasn't always easy to keep even a smile on her face. Some days she just wanted to pack her things and leave but the laughter was what kept her from leaving. She found peace in her children's laughter. Now it was all gone.
She could feel herself starting to sink into a very low place. A place she hadn't been in for a good twenty years or more. The place of darkness and depression. She frequented this place for a long time before she started having kids. Even her husband wasn't enough to keep her out of the abyss of depression. The kids gave her a reason to be alive, a purpose to get up each morning, and a reason to smile and laugh. What was so going to do now that the kids and her husband were gone.
The house was much too large for just one person. She supposed she would be better off selling the house and land and finding some place much smaller. She would ponder that for a while. She wasn't quite ready to part with the memories the house brought to her. Even in memories the kids made her laugh and smile.
She walked into the kitchen where on one wall there was a height meter for each child. Every year each kid would stand in their spot and she and her husband would mark off their height with a pen and then fancy it up later with marker or paint. She touched the chart for each child as a tear ran down her face.
She grabbed the tea kettle and put it on the stove to boil. She prepared a mug of instant coffee and Stevia and waited for the kettle to do its thing. She remembered all the cold nights she would make hot chocolate for all the kids and herself and they would sit huddled around the kitchen table sipping and talking and laughing. Must not forget the laughing. She wiped a tear from her cheek.