Friday, July 31, 2009

Flash Fiction Friday

Arrg - this week has been hectic, and I've no time to properly compose a piece for today. So, as is my wont, I'll switch it up a little here and post something different instead.

This is a piece I composed entirely from the subject lines on spam e-mails...very original, I know. But I thought it would be fun. Who knows - maybe I'll be the next Sarah Palin!

Here it is:

He that enola

I maxie ourselves girvin

of nimitz no dempster,

you which expellable.

An retrofitted from Saskatchewan

as is arabi.

In huesyville yourself kopperl,

The no veracity

I lairdsville as ridiculous

Of drennen many greenleaf

Or what turnabout

do keshena from aguanga.

He venerable to oblivion

An scary or notorious

Or mart of noontime

My clyman till moapa

in benedicta well halworth,

In harrah which cordelle

In weston go esposito,

Of earling what bache

Be aqua

With krakatowa at carlisle.

New found sex drive

appetite ceramics

on himself saturnalia.

That he mollie

tender altered medic

Or renovate everything fickle,

do it shalom.

In batavia she wearied

her usurious self verdant

Till it sashay

it quiescent is feminine.

Have a cassandra

no he manna

With so predispose

on my canadian.

Be no thousandths,

Be the grandson,

Or sap be combinatorial.

Do go dissociate

his inhibit the cache,

Which draftsmen is miles

To numeral do missionary.

To corrosive or burn

As by weller

It no suitcase.

Listening to: Beck - Alcohol [#]
via FoxyTunes

Monday, July 27, 2009

New Music Moday - Another 7 Deadly Dwarves track

Well, there's another weekend gone. Sad, true, but at least there's New Music Monday!

This Monday's offering is another track from the project I'm currently working on (on and off), 7 Deadly Dwarves. I'm not sure if I've ever explained the concept behind the project, so here it is: each song (and yes, there are exactly 7) is supposed to be under 2 minutes, and be very, very economical in use of vocals. The theme is modeled, loosely, on the 7 deadly sins. Today's offering is entitled "Lazy" (get it? It's like 'sloth', but with a Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs style name. Get it?!?)

Listening to: Miles Davis - So What
via FoxyTunes

Friday, July 24, 2009

Flash Fiction Friday - The Clown Flashes Back

Goal: 600 words or less.

Actual count: 613 words - close enough.

NOTE: The following scene takes place in a small town around the turn of the 20th century. The big tent for the traveling circus caught fire during a show. The town has no hospitals anywhere near, so all of the injured are brought to the town pharmacy.


Ross wandered throughout the triage area with a full bucket, offering ladles of water to anyone conscious. Except to those who were moaning, or crying, or screaming - they terrified him. He felt an odd revulsion, like he might catch something from them. He knew this was a ridiculous thought, but he couldn't shake it. His wanderings took him to a clown with an ink dark face and huge white mouth painted on in the shape of a frown. A clown next to him was painted similarly, except with a red face and a smile. They reminded Ross of the iconic drama masks he saw in advertisements. The smiling clown was dead.

"Kid," rasped the still-living clown, "help me out here." He struggled to prop himself up on his elbows. Ross knelt beside him, proffering an overflowing ladle.

"Nah," the sad clown waved the water off. "Can you reach into my breast pocket, kid? My medicine..." he asked.

Ross gingerly snaked his hand into the clown's pocket, carefully avoiding any physical contact. He pulled out a silver flask, dragging along with it a photograph, which fell to the floor beside the clown. The photo was of a young woman, light-haired and in refined dress. She was beautiful - Ross could not help staring.

The clown took a swig from the flask and wiped his mouth with a sooty sleeve.

"You have no idea what it's like, kid," the clown whispered after a moment, beckoning Russ closer as he spoke. A glaze was forming over his old yellow eyes. Ross figured his medicine must be kicking in.

"There was my Gretchen..." The clown paused briefly as emotions flushed through his face. "...lying limp on the dock - I kept praying she would pass out and be spared the pain. Her leg stuck out at an obscene angle. I could see the bone; jagged and messy. The blood was everywhere, kid, growing in a pool, staining the new white dress I had bought her."

He paused for another sip from the flask.

"A crowd gathered, and I felt as though we were in some absurd play. I wanted to yell at them - tell them all to go one would help. They just stood there - dumb!" he exclaimed loudly. More quietly, he continued, "I suppose there was nothing they could do."

Ross listened intently. Between the clown's story and the beautiful picture at his side, he was able to block out most of the moaning and screaming in the pharmacy.

"As she passed, I stroked her hair and face to comfort her, and I positioned myself to block her view of her horrible misfortune...and then...such a beautiful sound I heard. Two ships in the harbor were sounding their signal horns alternatively. C# and A, so haunting and stark. A third horn joined. I closed my eyes. It sounded like a chorus of angels in my head. I felt an overwhelming impulse to lose myself in that sound, to leave the horror of the moment and flee to the world of those horns, like sweet Sirens they called me."

Tears were tracing big, ugly lines through his grease paint face.

"I was holding her, and all I could think of was running away! I hear that music every day - it haunts me, it won't leave me..." The clown broke down into sobs. Ross sat there as trailed off, afraid to move, unsure of what to do, until his father called for him to come back behind the pharmacy counter.

Behind the counter, his father grabbed him roughly. "Keep away from that dirty drunk!" he scolded. "Lord knows what you might catch from him."

Listening to: The Drones - The Minotaur
via FoxyTunes

Monday, July 20, 2009

New Music Moday - Uphill Both Ways

No promises, but I pinky-swear I'm going to try to put a new musical piece up every Monday. This particular song is from an unusual project I'm working on; something of a novella/concept album. Not really sure how it's going to work, or if it will even work at all, but whatever. It can be fun to crash and burn sometimes.

As always, there is a media player in the sidebar featuring today's selection as well as blasts from the past. Enjoy!

Listening to: The Amps - Pacer
via FoxyTunes

Friday, July 17, 2009

Flash Fiction Friday - Overheard Over Beers

"Well, that sucks," Zoe commented, then finished her beer. She set the opaque brown bottle down on the old lacquered wood table.

"These things happen, it was your first time, don't worry," Rick comforted her, sort of. "We'll try again tomorrow night."

Zoe let out a heavy sigh, surreptitiously slipping a burp in underneath it. She fiddled with the tattered remnants of the label she had peeled off of her beer bottle; she spread it out flat on the table with her hand and then let it go, watching as it slowly rose and curled back up on itself.

"Don't be discouraged," Rick added. Zoe dismissed his encouragement as an attempt to break the awkward silence between them.

"I don't know what the fuck I did wrong...I did everything exactly like I was supposed to!"

Rick bristled at her language. Zoe sensed his discomfort and felt a little surge of something - passion, adrenaline, anxiety - she didn't know what, but it kind of excited her. Maybe it was the beer. With her long fingers, she picked at the amorphous blob sitting on the table. She brought a bit up to her lips - a little salty, too gooey.

"Don't get upset. It happens to me all the time - I follow the recipe exactly, double check everything, but sometimes..." he trailed off, looking out the big picture window at the dark city outside. They sat in silence for a while before Zoe got up and fetched a couple more beers from the fridge in the back. She sat down hard on the padded stool. She was never good at concealing her emotions. She even sat angry.

Rick grabbed the opener out of his apron pocket and pulled the caps off of the beers. "Sometimes," he continued where he had left off earlier, "sometimes the bread just doesn't turn out right."

Zoe took a long swig, and Rick took the opportunity to continue.

"I'm worried about you," he stated.

Zoe pulled the bottle from her thin, strawberry lips and swallowed. "Worried about me why?" she asked, short of breath from her drink.

"You know why," he replied. "You should really come with me this Sunday."

"Oh, Jesus, Rick. Not this again..."

"It would mean a lot to me. And it could really help you; help you make a difference in your life." Zoe's big eyes rolled like fat summer moons as she turned her head to the side. "Look, I know what I'm talking about here. I used to be just like you. I went through all the same things: the doubt, the depression, the anger..." Rick trailed off, watching her face to see if he had hit his mark. She turned back and stared at him, poker-faced, for a moment before slowly bringing the beer back up to her lips.

"It doesn't have to be like this for you," Rick implored. "Sometimes things aren't as bad as they seem."

Zoe held her stare, gradually making Rick uncomfortable enough to look away. An old fan droned in the background.

"Sometimes," she paused to drain her beer before continuing, "sometimes things just don't turn out right, Rick."

Listening to: Warpaint - Billie Holiday
via FoxyTunes

Friday, July 10, 2009

In Vino Veritas contest entry

Just a quick update:

While cruising through the bloggosphere recently, I stumbled upon a flash fiction contest at The Clarity of Night. I had this idea knocking around in my head since last winter while I was lounging on the couch in a Nyquil daze. And at only 250 words, I figured I could knock it out quickly. The result is below; I intend to submit it sometime this weekend. Enjoy! Comment! Enjoy!


Two figures approached from the southern horizon - they seemed to have been brought along with the storm. As the lightning flashed violently through the downpour, Eva traced their progress towards the isolated shack. She tried to wake her father and mother, but they were too drunk to rouse. In a panic, Eva grabbed some bread from the table and ran out the back door. She checked over her shoulder as she fled, making sure that the shack was keeping her blocked from view.

Upon arriving, the two men strode right in, simultaneously drawing their hoods back as they entered the one room hut. They were nearly identical, and were often mistaken for brothers. Eva's parents woke abruptly, and sat up straight on their old cots as the two men sat down at the modest dinner table. The man on the right pulled a decanter out of his satchel and set it on the table, and the man on the left, the one who did all the talking, spoke.

"Glasses," he rasped, motioning to the decanter. Lightning silhouetted him intermittently. Eva's mother stumbled out of bed in a drunken hurry to collect two glasses for the men.

"Come, sit," he said as he poured. Eva's parents, terrified, obeyed. He pushed the glasses towards them.

"Drink," he urged, and they hesitatingly did.

"There," the stranger said as they silently set their empty glasses down.

"Now," he whispered, leaning in towards them, "where is the child?"

Listening to: The Pogues - Bottle Of Smoke
via FoxyTunes

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Fire Works

Fireworks haven't been a big deal for me since I was, well, I'll say around 12 or so. And back then blowing shit up was as exciting as, well, saying "shit" out loud so that it might be heard by God and everyone. The charms of both of these things have faded over time, as one might reasonably hope they might. Hell, I actually drop my voice when I swear now.

So I was a little reluctant when a friend asked me to go to the Fourth of July fireworks in his boyhood hometown. He was excited because it was the tiny town's centennial, and this was supposed to be an especially spectacular display.

"Really? Fireworks?" I asked incredulously. "Really?"

"Dude, just c'mon," Ryan insisted. "What else are you going to be doing this weekend? Come up with me; we'll hike, we'll get drunk, and we'll watch the fireworks. It'll be fine."

I actually had been looking forward to doing something this weekend, but video games and masturbation hardly seemed to be a slam dunk counter-argument. So I relented. I went up north with him, and the trails were breathtaking, the beer was free, and the evening air was deliciously cool. I couldn't believe I was wearing a sweatshirt in July.

We stayed at his cabin, which was a cabin only in the sense that it was out in the woods and wasn't his primary residence. Every modern luxury was at my disposal, which was really the only thing I had to rag on Ryan about the entire weekend. I was hoping for something a bit more primitive. But the walks in the woods were nice, so who am I to complain?

We left his cabin at around dusk and walked the half-mile to the high school baseball fields where they were holding the fireworks display. There was almost nowhere to go; every inch of grass was covered with a blanket or tarp on which sat a family or group of howling drunkards, sometimes both. We ended up finding a spot just off the paved path. There were cars parked on either side of the path, butting up right against it, so we had to stand. We were situated right in front of a new Lexus SUV that looked like it just rolled right off the lot. It didn't even have a metal license plate yet. It had backed in off of the path, so we were facing it's hood. About thirty or so feet behind us was a large pole building used, I would suppose, for storing all the field equipment and such. The moon was fat and yellow and low in the sky, and would be the backdrop for the fireworks display.

The show was supposed to start at 10 PM. We had arrived at around a quarter to, and Ryan and I stood there in the dark listening to people walk by us talking into their cell phones.

Now, in this small town, the air raid siren, which is also used to summon the local fire brigade, goes off at 10 o'clock - for curfew or something, I'm not exactly sure why. But the thing, which was only a couple of blocks, went off as scheduled at 10, and was ear-piercingly loud. Before the sound had faded from my skull, the first firework had burst in the night sky - a big shower of golden sparkles that sort of resembled a palm tree, I thought.

Of course, writing about fireworks is, to paraphrase David Byrne, like dancing about architecture, so I won't describe all of the amazing display, except to say that it was indeed amazing, and when my neck got tired from craning upward I looked at the dark, shiny hood of the Lexus SUV and could see the brilliant lights reflected there, and also the bangs reverberated off of the metal pole building with a cool 'pew-pew-pew' sound. There were spectacular fountains of light; the night was lit up by multicolored bursts, illuminating smoke trails that hung in the air like huge spiders. Ryan was right, the display was incredible, and I was glad I had come. The whole crowd cheered and yelled appreciatively after every large volley of explosions, and there were several.

Then, about 15 minutes in, the air raid siren goes off, this time repeatedly. A fire call. The alarm bellowed out into the darkness, and kept going. I would guess that most of the fire department was here at the ball field for the display: they were the ones who set them off, and they, of course, were also here because this was the most likely place for a dangerous fire to erupt.

I'm not going to lie - the mood was somewhat subdued after the siren started going off. It just kept going, a completely counter-intuitive soundtrack to the light show. They started setting off the fireworks more rapidly, trying to blow everything up as quickly as they could so they could finish up and get going. The resulting barrage was something I will remember the rest of my life, and I doubt this display could ever be topped and still be legal. It was so amazingly beautiful, and bright, and loud; and yet how difficult, how empty and even callous it felt to be celebrating our independence, to be enjoying ourselves, as someone's entire world went up in flames before them. The more dazzling it was, the more I hated myself.

Listening to: Pearl Jam - Dissident
via FoxyTunes