We All Knew- Microfiction Challenge

We All Knew

 

We all knew the bombs would explode. The peaceful chose a quick death, and the warring chose to survive. One thousand years passed, and we did it again.

 

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Thanks to Chuck Wendig for this flash fiction challenge!

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Give it a shot- it’s 3 sentences!

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Comments are welcome.

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Vegan Cookies for Easter

Instead of dyeing birds’ eggs this Easter, try frosting egg-shaped cookies. No stains and no shells. It’s more fun for you and the birds!

 

Easter Sugar Cookies with Frosting

 

1/4 of a 15-ounce tub of Earth Balance

1 1/4  cups Sugar

3/4 cup Almond Milk or Soy Milk

1/2 tablespoon Vanilla, Almond, Coconut, or Lemon Extract

2 teaspoons Baking Powder

4 cups Flour

Powdered Sugar, Almond Milk or Soy Milk, Fruit Juice (dark)

 

1. Beat Earth Balance and sugar together until light and fluffy.

2. Add milk and extract and stir.

3. Sift baking powder into flour.

4. Slowly add flour mixture to Earth Balance mixture while stirring, until just blended.

5. Roll the dough into a log and wrap with parchment.

6. Add a layer of plastic wrap, carefully seal it, and refrigerate for at least a few hours. (May also be frozen.)

7. Heat oven to 350 F.

8. Remove dough from the refrigerator and remove the wrapping.

9. Slice thick cookie discs and place them on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Squeeze discs into egg shapes.

10. Bake 18-20 minutes. Remove cookies from oven and let cool 5 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack.

11. Thoroughly mix an ample amount of powdered sugar with a wee bit of milk and an even wee-er bit of juice.

12. Spread frosting on cookies.

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Happy Easter to us and our feathered friends!

 

Time for the Last- a Flash Fiction Tale

 

For the Last Time (part 1)

Who is that pretty girl in the pink floral dress, lace anklets, and mary jane shoes?

Such pretty pink ribbons in her long, blonde hair.

Who gave you the lolly, pretty girl?

I lower my lollipop and stick my tongue out at the mirror.

“My hair’s not blonde. My hair’s black. Tried to bleach it blonde once, but it turned orange instead,” I say to my reflection, giggling.

But that doesn’t matter anymore. Tonight will be the night. She’ll look at me this time. She’ll walk through the front door and down the sidewalk. I’ll be brave- a big girl- and lower my sunglasses. We’ll lock eyes . . and she’ll recognize me.

She looked into my eyes once before . . on the day I did a very bad thing. I don’t blame her for kneeing me in the balls. I deserved it- showing up unannounced like that. I don’t even blame the two big burly men for tackling me to the floor. Everybody was confused- me especially. I was so desperate and so scared. But screaming “I love you” and running around an office building naked is not how a civilized person acts.

I understand that now.

I just don’t understand why the police expected the blanket to stay on me as I stepped out of the back of the squad car with my hands cuffed behind my back. So I spent a week in jail instead of a day.

No hard feelings. I’ve moved on.

And the next week I found a room for rent across the street, above the Chinese restaurant. My disability check covered the rent and my food and my cell phone bill. No kitchen- but that’s just as well. The roaches were relentless.

I say “were” now, because I turned in my key this morning. It’s Do or Die for Chrissy Day. I can’t wait any longer. All I need is one more look from my princess Misty with the long blonde hair. So pretty and so perfect. She’ll gaze into my eyes and I’ll draw the strength I need. And I’ll finally call the number and finally move on with my life. I know that’s what my princess wants. And now I want it too.

Five o’ clock. It’s almost time. She leaves at five after five every Monday through Friday. A quick trot across the street and I’m in front of her office building.

Please, oh please, oh please, let her recognize me.

One more minute. I check my wig and makeup in my compact mirror one last time.

Misty is gonna be so proud.

The door opens. It’s her. She’s walking toward me. I square off in the middle of the sidewalk. I reach for my sunglasses.

Goddess Misty I love you. Forever.

A few more steps. I lower my sunglasses. She slows . . and pauses.

Going to faint, going to faint . . yes . . no.

“Excuse me.”

“Yes?”

“You’re blocking the sidewalk.”

“I’m sorry.”

“Well could you move, please? The grass is muddy from the sprinklers.”

“Okay.”

I step aside. She walks past. I smell her perfume. Hear the click of her high heels. See the sparkle of her hair.

She looked me in the eyes. Did she recognize me? Maybe? Yes, I think she did. A hint of recognition. And when I spoke, I know she recognized my voice. Her mouth opened. Her perfect pink lipsticked lips parted and formed a perfect oval of surprise- and pleasure. I did good- very good. Her residue still floats around me. Drink it in. Breathe it. Absorb her magic.

And she’s gone.

“Thank you, Misty.”

I have the strength to call the number now. I reach in my purse and grab my cell phone and the magazine page. I read the ad again-

Sissy boys wanted. Permanent position. Call 747-797-9646. Singles only.

Time for the last phone call before I start my new life of servitude. I dial. It rings. I bite my lip.

“Hello.”

“I am a sissy boy, at your service.”

“You single?”

“Yes, sir.”

“You know the Radisson on 86th?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Be there in an hour. Meet me at the ice machine on the fifth floor. Be dressed like a girl and be alone. Understand, sissy?”

“Yes, sir.”

He hangs up.

He sounded kinda mad. I hope I didn’t make him mad.

I sit on a bench, dig my flip-flops out of my purse, and take off my high heels and stockings. It’s gonna be a long walk, but I’ll make it in time. I hope. I don’t wanna make him mad. Maybe he’ll like my lollipop.

***

Thanks to Chuck Wendig for this flash fiction writing prompt!

***

As with all my flash fiction, I welcome any and all constructive criticism and comments.

Have You Seen Tom Cullen?- a Flash Fiction Tale

Have You Seen Tom Cullen?*

“You sure, Nick? You sure Stephen don’t care? Don’t wanna make Stephen mad, Nick!” Tom says, shuffling side-to-side.

I stare at his smooth, tanned chest. His six-foot, six-inch body towers over me. I work my gaze up to his perfect face, and focus on the golden hair falling over his eyes. Sky-blue eyes that reveal an uncomplicated mind. And a primal mind, I bet. Lustful. He blinks at me and I lock my knees to keep from buckling.

“Stephen won’t be mad. I already asked him. He said we could play in his house,” I say softly.

Tom grins a little. Good. Trust is coming. Move slowly. Talk slowly. Stroke him. Hold him. Rock him. His breathing slows and I feel a steady heart beat against my chest. He hugs back. His nakedness presses against mine. I draw a sharp breath-I’m-gonna-scream-pure-bliss . . I bite my lip and tremble.

“I promise, Tom, nothing bad will happen. Just get in the swing. It’ll be fun. You’ll like it. And if you get in the swing, we’ll be friends forever. You wanna be friends forever, don’t you?”

“Yeah. I guess so, Nick. I like havin’ friends. Stephen is my friend. I hope he don’t get mad.”

“He won’t get mad. He wants you to have fun. You can stop the swing anytime- I promise. But first you have to get in the swing. I’ll help you.”

“Okay, Nick.”

I reach up and grab the restraints off the bar and buckle them around Tom’s ankles.

“Now all you have to do is grab the bar and kick your leg up. Press your foot against the bar, then swing your other leg up.”

I press my hand against his bulging thigh and feel the massive muscle shift and ripple.

“That’s it. Good job. Now catch the bar with the hook. Good. Do the same with your other leg. Now let go with your hands. Let go, Tom. You won’t fall- I promise.”

Tom releases the bar and swings freely.

“How do you feel, Tom?”

“Feel funny. I got the tickles.”

“It’s fun, isn’t it? That’s why they call it the fun swing.”

Tom pumps his arms and starts swinging.

“Look, Nick, look at me- I’m swingin’! Whee!”

I hear a creak, then a pop, then a crack. I look up. The door frame is splintering.

“Tom, stop.”

He pumps his arms and builds momentum. He’s a machine. His body becomes parallel to the floor at the apex of each swing.

“Stop swinging! Stop, stop-”

The frame gives way and Tom flies-into-the-wall BOOM.

Can’t look. Can’t look. Can’t look.

“Nick?”

I lower my hands.

“Yes, Tom?”

“Don’t feel so good. Think I’m gonna make throw-up.”

“Please don’t. Stephen will get mad. Please.”

“Gonna make throw-up, Nick.”

“Wait here. I’ll get some medicine. Pepto-Bismol.”

“No! Not medicine- bad medicine gonna kill Tom Cullen!”

He lumbers to his feet, ankles still in restraints. He sways, vomits, then barrels down the hall and out the front door.

***

*Acknowledgement to Stephen King.

***

Thanks to Chuck Wendig for this flash fiction writing prompt!

***

As with all my flash fiction, I welcome any and all constructive criticism and comments.

Tom Cullen Cocktail

Serve at room temperature.

2 parts gin

1 part fresh lemon juice

Pepto-Bismol

Mix gin and juice in a glass, and top with Pepto-Bismol.

IBA Tom Collins Cocktail

Pour over ice in a Collins glass.

2 parts gin

1 part fresh lemon juice

drizzle of sugar syrup

chilled soda water

orange or lime slice, or a cherry

Mix gin, juice and syrup in a glass with ice, and top with soda water.

Garnish.

Moon Over My Nicky Cocktail

1 banana, cut into slices

8 oz. banana liqueur

2 limes, cut into thin rounds

12 oz. melon liqueur

2 peeled, de-pitted mangos, cut into chunks

Shake vigorously in tumbler.

Moon Over Miami Cocktail

1 banana

4 oz. banana liqueur

2 peeled, de-seeded limes

6 oz. melon liqueur

2 peeled, de-pitted mangos

Whir in blender until uniform.

For the Last Time- a Flash Fiction Tale

<ring>

“Hello?”

“Good morning, princess Misty. This is Chris.”

“Who?”

“Chris. Your servant, my princess.”

“Oh! Chrissy . . now I recognize your voice.”

“Thank you, princess. I hadn’t seen you on in a while. I was getting worried. I thought I might never get a chance to serve you again. Actually . . I was terrified. So scared. My heart is still pounding, princess.”

“Yeah . . I didn’t think my account was still available. My girlfriend must’ve turned it on last night as a joke before she left.”

“You’re . . leaving GirlyCalls.com?”

“Yeah. I figure I’m twenty-three now, and it’s time to get a respectable career in the real world. Had my birthday party last night. Christ. I’m hung-over.”

“But Misty . . I need you. Please don’t leave me, princess.”

“Just call one of the other girls. They’ll be glad to take your money just like I was.”

“But Misty- you’re the only femme domme for me. I tried all the other girls before I met you. They didn’t understand me. Not the way you do. The first time I called you I knew we were a perfect match. You make me feel so girly inside, Misty. So feminine. Pretty. I’ll do anything you want. I’ll get a second job so I can call you more often. We can even play raise-the-rate every time.”

“That’s sweet of you, Chrissy. But I already got a new job. It’s in an office. My first day is today. And . . oh my god- gotta go, Chrissy. I don’t wanna be late on my first day! Stay sweet, and bye-”

“No, please princess, no!”

“Good-bye, Chrissy.”

<click>

<ring>

“Hello?”

“Hello princess Misty. This is Chris again.”

“Damn. I forgot to log off. I told you I’m leaving Girly Calls, now-”

“Yes, I know- I just want to congratulate you on your new job and wish you success, princess. You deserve it. I’m sorry I was rude before. I will punish myself according to your whims. What would you like me to do? Clothes pins? Doggie leash? Shot glass? My fingernails and toenails still have the sparkly pink nail polish from last time, and I’m putting on the matching lip gloss. I’m already naked and primed. It won’t take long.”

“Hmm . . how about- no wait! I’m not doing that anymore. For the last time, call somebody else-”

“Okay, okay, I’m sorry. I will do as I’m told. Please forgive me. I won’t keep you any longer. I wish you much luck and success in your respectable office job. To prove my sincerity, I’d like to send you some flowers. Do you like pink snapdragons?”

“Oh! How sweet . . those are my favorite.”

“I just need to know where to send them.”

“Oh. Maybe it’s not such a good-”

“Just think of how jealous all the other girls will be when they see you get flowers on your first day. And all the guys will think you have a boyfriend, and won’t harass you.”

“Hmm . . that would be nice. Okay. It’s 3230 Pallet Road- wait. What state are you in? I don’t want you showing up at my office.”

“I’m in, um . . Alaska. On a tiny, isolated island, all by myself. I don’t even have a car. There’s no way I could show up, even if I wanted to.”

“Oh. I’m in Texas. So I guess it’s safe to give you the address.”

“Texas? Wow- that’s amazing! I mean . . that’s so far away.”

“Hold on, Chrissy- how do you get food if you live by yourself on an island and don’t have a car?”

“I grow my own food. I’m a survivalist.”

“Well okay . . the address is 3230 Pallet Road, Houston, Texas.”

“Houston? Oh my god!”

“What?”

“I mean, oh my goddess. Thank you, goddess. I will send your flowers to your office, princess- goddess.”

“Okay, Chrissy. Gotta go.”

“Good-bye, princess Misty. I love you.”

<click>

***

Time for the Last (part 2)

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Thanks to Chuck Wendig for this flash fiction writing prompt!

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As with all my flash fiction, I welcome any and all constructive criticism and comments.

Round of Editing – 80 Days

After meeting my goals in the first round, I’m back for Round 2 of ROW80! As before, each Round has 3 challenges- measure, chunk, and blog. For Round 2, my personal challenges are:*

1. Measure- finish editing my novel draft (from last year’s NaNoWriMo).

2. Chunk- At least an hour of editing per day, except on Saturdays.

3. Blog- check-in with ROW80 regularly.

*My ROW80 Round 2 ends on June 15. I will be vacationing from June 16 – July 5, and will not be editing, checking-in, or otherwise online during that time.

But wait, there’s more!

I’m also listing other goals and including them in my ROW80 progress:*

1. I’d like to balance my fiction reading with my non-fiction reading. Lately I’m reading *a lot* of non-fiction. I still want to do that, but I also want to fit more fiction in there somewhere. At least five 15-minute fiction-reading sessions per week.

2. My computer files and paper files are a mess. Plus I have boxes of books, photos, notes, mementos, notes, poetry, who-knows-whats all mixed together. No more. Progress on organizing my files or boxes every week. What constitutes “progress” will be up to me as I go.

3. Ramp up my French lessons. At least five French lessons per week.

4. Do “The Artist’s Way Workbook” by Julia Cameron. I’ve had this workbook for a while, and it’s been a good dust-collector, but now I want to use it as a workbook. Glancing through, it looks like there’s 12 weeks of exercises, with each week having 4 – 10 tasks, plus spaces for weekly check-ins throughout. One week’s worth of exercises per week, (including check-ins) according to the workbook, for 12 weeks, except for the exercise about getting up 1/2 hour early.

*Vacation time is exempt.

So now that I’ve mixed all my words together, baked them, and even frosted them, is my word cake ready to serve? No way! Blow it up first! (I’m a horror writer. There’s nothing like the horror of a blown-up birthday cake.)

OK I’m off to blow-up . . er, edit my novel.

 

4-6  So far so good . . editing over an hour every day- currently tidying my draft.

  1. Diving back into Stephen King’s complete & uncut “The Stand” every night. Hopefully it will give me nightmares- I’ll use them in my writing.
  2. Recovered and sorting through important “hidden file” emails.
  3. French- check.
  4. Doing the Morning Pages in the workbook every day, first-ish thing. 

4-10  Edited over an hour daily, M – F.

  1. Exceeded my fiction reading goals.
  2. I made some (very little) progress with my files. *Technically* met the goal.
  3. French- check.
  4. Still have Morning Pages to do this morning / afternoon. I’m kinda not doing them the first thing in the morning- just don’t feel like it. I usually do them by the afternoon, and I do them everyday. Also need to do 3 additional workbook exercises today to meet my goal for this week (M- M). Will do. 

4-12  An hour of editing every scheduled day. I’ve been doing it in the wee hours, and toward the end, I start to fall asleep. I need to figure out how to manage my time more effectively.

  1. Fiction reading completed so far this week. Now I need to catch-up on my non-fiction. There’s a mountain of it.
  2. Again, *technically* met the file-organizing goal.
  3. French- check.
  4. On schedule with the workbook. So far there’s a lot of exercises in which you flip back and review previous exercises- I like that. It’s good to review. There’s also a lot of repitition of affirmations. I’m skipping the overly repititious repititions, as I find repititious repititions repititiously irritating. See what I mean? 

4-17  So far so good with editing at least an hour 6 days per week. I was struggling with the story flow until I decided to go with an unusual format. A futuristic stream-of-consciousness in a futuristic book calls for a futuristic format.

  1. On schedule with my fiction reading. I doubled and tripled the reading on some days to keep up.
  2. My computer desk and my coffee table aren’t (as) cluttered.  S  l  o  w  progress.
  3. French- check, though the pronunciations are giving me the smack-down.
  4. On schedule with the workbook for the most part. A couple of the exercises I started, but decided to finish later, because they call for traveling and borrowing or buying a sewing machine and buying some specialized tartan. Yes- kilts!

4-20  On target with editing. Slow but steady, by the hour.

  1. Way ahead on my fiction reading. I love to read fiction.
  2. Cleared some more computer files.  S  l  o  w  on this one,  as usual. I guess I hate being organized I’m pre-disposed to disorganization.
  3. Some easy French lessons lately. Confidence is boosted. I’ll enjoy it while I can.
  4. Right on schedule with the workbook. I abbreviated a few of the repetitious exercises. In some places the workbook goes a bit over the top with cultish chanting IMO. I do a step above what is reasonable to me and move on. 

4- 24  Almost completed finding the weak areas in my WIP. This week I will strengthen my WIP and print it to facilitate scene shuffling.

  1. Way ahead on fiction reading- mostly responses to Chuck Wendig’s flash fiction challenges, and Stephen King’s “The Stand.”
  2. Managed to get a little bit more organizing done thing week than last week. The key word is “little.”
  3. French- check. Though now I’m gettting the double smack-down on spelling and audio word recognition. The last lesson was brutal.
  4. Pretty much caught up on this week’s workbook exercises. One of the exercises was to list dead people you wish you had met, and dead people you’d like to hang out with, (assuming they’d somehow not be dead) and why. Nobody came to mind. So I listed “good traits in friends” instead.

4-27  Decided I need to isolate my scenes so I can easily shuffle them. They were written out of order. Now I’m going to put them in order. In the meantime, still working on strengthening the weak areas. In other news, on Monday I had a bad reaction to my monthly allergy shots. I still managed to keep up with my editing, but I’m one or two days behind everything else. Hope to catch up by the end of the week.

  1. A small amount of fiction reading so far this week. Need to catch up.
  2. Converted a bunch of files which were previously lost in a computer crash. Still have a bunch more to go.
  3. A day behind in French. Also repeating a lesson until I get it right (normal for me).
  4. A day behind in my workbook exercises. Need to catch up.   

5-1  Going strong with my editing. I’ve identified the weak areas and so far re-written a few scenes stronger. Plowing ahead.

  1. On schedule with my fiction reading.
  2. Still struggling with organization, but making *some* progress.
  3. Caught up in French. Trying to hammer in a few new phrases.
  4. Did most of this week’s workbook exercises (a couple didn’t apply to me, so I skipped them). This is where I’m still behind from my allergy shots reaction last Monday. I need to do 2 “artist date” activities- one modest one and one day-long one. I expect to catch up on Monday.

5-4  On track with my editing. Re-wrote and embellished a few more scenes, slow but steady.

  1. Ahead on my fiction reading. Easy to do once I open the book.
  2. Got a nice chunk of computer files converted. Another slow but steady progression.
  3. I’m actually remembering how to spell most of my French vocabulary words. Pounding out the lessons.
  4. I managed to catch up on my workbook exercises, though this week I have to find pictures in magazines of things I like- lots of pictures. Luckily, I have stacks of magazines I haven’t organized donated yet. Some of the religious wording in the exercises are ponderous, (my only criticism of the workbook so far) as I’m not a religious person. But I just work around it.

5-8  Just about ready to print my WIP. I’ll be scene-shuffling this week. I need to see it all in front of me on page instead of scrollling up and down and up . .

  1. Fiction reading going great. Reading a lot of flash fiction lately.
  2. Got even more computer files converted. Still haven’t tackled my paper files yet, though.
  3. Excelling in French vocabulary. Still need to work on sentence structure.
  4. A bit behind on my workbook exercises, and I also need to pick out the magazine pictures- so far I flipped through a couple magazines but didn’t find anything. I’m picky. But the “morning pages” (“morning” in name only) are going faster for me. Now I only take an hour to write 3 pages- filling the entire page- longhand. The trick is no interruptions and no distractions.

5-11 I discovered a new (to me) method of looking at relationships between characters using the 5 senses. I’m quite pleased with myself, and this method will be a future blog post. Tonight I am cutting and pasting my WIP (literally). I need to shuffle scenes by hand on the floor to get the continuity correct.

  1. Chugging along with my fiction reading. Lots of great flash fiction on the web!
  2. As for my organizing . . I put all my “look at later” book notes in one place (except for the ones buried in a box in the closet). But that took  less than a minute.  So I had to think of something else to “organize.” Finally, I recycled some magazines and processed a stack of mail that had been piling up. This weekend I’ll start processing my consolidated “look at later” book notes. Yikes.
  3. French is on the upswing again. Sentences are flowing (somewhat) easier now.
  4. I completed last week’s picture-finding exercises in the workbook as best I could, and decided to match 1 picture to each exercise. Outdoor scenes. They represent harmonious environments, nature, beauty, vitality, excitement- all the good, important stuff. Now I just need to catch up on this week. Again.

5-15  I printed my WIP. I started reading it. Right off the bat I’m finding things I didn’t see looking at it on the computer screen. Lots of things. Argh. I thought I would be mostly just shuffling scenes, but I still have a lot of line editing to do. So I’m still experiencing a steep learning curve. Learning is good, I can work with this.

  1. Reading flash fiction and loving it!
  2. Wow! I sorted through the whole box of stuff I said I was going to sort through- woo-hoo! So the contents are organized. Next step- processing.
  3. Repeating my latest French lessons- speaking French sentences is proving to be more difficult than simply speaking French words. I am diligent, though.
  4. Most of the workbook exercises were a breeze this week, though I still have a bit of catching up to do. One exercise necessitates collecting leaves outside, and it’s been raining all week, so I’m going to do that one when it’s drier. I’m combining a couple other exercises as I type- baking focaccia and having a drinky-poo (artist date).

5-18  Chugging along with my editing. I’m in the last few chapters of my draft- either that or I forgot to number a bunch of chapters at the end. (I think it’s the later.) I’m wondering how I’m going to get this done by June 15. Argh.

  1. Breezing through my fiction reading.
  2. Went back to converting files. I’d say I’ve converted about half of them so far.
  3. French is giving me the double smack-down. I’m having trouble with pronunciations and phrases this time. But I keep getting back up and taking my lessons.
  4. Still rainy here and I still haven’t done the leaf-collecting exercise from last week. Now I’m supposed to be half-way through this week and I’m not quite there. And this week’s exercises are long and involved. Argh indeed.

5-22  Now that I’ve made my corrections to my printed WIP, I’m making the corrections to my computer file WIP. I’m still amazed at what I see on the printed page that I don’t see on the computer screen.

  1. I’m reading “The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress” by Robert A. Heinlein. Amazing stuff, and I’m in awe that it was written in 1965. It’s futuristic in every sense of the word, even today. The style was a bit jarring at first, but I’ve adapted. It’s making me re-think my own futuristic WIP.
  2. Converted another hunka-chunka burnin’ computer files. I see the light at the end of the tunnel on these.
  3. I faithfully continue to flagellate myself with my French lessons. Some phrases are starting to sink in.
  4. Still have a few workbook exercises from last week that I need to complete. Some of these exercises aren’t easy to do in rainy weather. And It’s supposed to rain all this week too. So I’ll do what I can.

5-25  An hour of editing every Sunday through Friday. I’m actually enjoying the editing and correcting process.

  1. Still reading Heinlein’s Moon novel. Also reading “Transition” by Chaz Bono, which isn’t fiction, but I mention it anyway because it’s so interesting I kind of lost track of how much time I’ve spent reading Moon. But I’m pretty sure I met my goal for fiction these past few days.
  2. Hubby needed to do some programming on the desktop computer during my “prime file converting time” these past few days, but I still managed to converted a small amount. Technically on track.
  3. I’m reviewing French vocabulary, which is quite a bit easier than struggling with sentence structure.
  4. Finished a big workbook exercise for this week. At the same time, I’m still working on catching up a bit from last week.

5-29  I’m nearing the end of my computer file corrections to my WIP. I’m wondering how many more times I’ll have to print it.

  1. Finished “Transition,” by Chaz Bono (non-fiction) and now I’m back to reading Heinlein’s Moon novel. On track.
  2. I got another chunk of computer files converted. By the time I check in again, the rest will be converted!
  3. Pounding away on my French lessons, and trying to work through a plateau. I’m wondering when the cursive French lessons will come. I might have to do some outside research for a few choice French words.
  4. Oddly enough, I got a little ahead of schedule on my workbook exercises, (not counting the delayed exercises) and so I took a few days off from doing these to enjoy the Memorial Day weekend.

6-1  Finished the edits to my paper WIP. Now onto the scene-shuffling. As I lack the chronology gene, I predict this will be a teeth-gnashing steep learning experience.

  1. Chugging along with Heinlein’s Moon. CHUG-A-CHUG-A-CHUG-A
  2. Chunked out another chunk o’ computer files. By the next check-in, they will be all chunked out.
  3. Still trying to pound French phrases into my brain. They seem to be half in and half out at this point. Makes my head look funny. May have to wear a beret, even though it’s now summer.
  4. Trying to catch up on my collaging workbook exercises. Finding acceptable pictures in magazines is more time-consuming than I thought. 1 hour = 2 pictures. Too picky?

6-5  I started to read my WIP aloud for the first time. Holy crap. Will this editing process ever end? It’s black marker time. Again. But I figure as long as I edit 6 days per week as my goals state, I will have technically met that goal by June 15. I’ll have an “edited” WIP. Not “completely edited,” but edited nonetheless.

  1. A-OK on the fiction reading. The Moon book isn’t an easy read IMO, but it’s a very worthwhile read.
  2. Computer files- DONE! WHOO-HOO!
  3. French? Yes, I use my French Press to make coffee. It’s fun. French lessons? Yep, they’re still French-frying my brain. Yum, coffee-flavored french fries . .
  4. As far as those damned enlightening workbook exercises go, since the last check-in I’ve managed to find some more magazine pictures for my collages, and I spent most of the day last Saturday being a socialite. (This was for an “alternate life” workbook exercise, and I dressed up in floaty skirt set and mincing heels and went to a fancy-shmancy bridal shower. I was even invited. It was a lot of fun, though by the end of the day, my feet were killing me. How the heck do those socialites do it?)

6-8 Still steadily editing aloud. Still rolling my eyes at what I find. But as long as I’m making progress, I’m happy.

  1. I dove back into reading flash fiction online. I love the variety of writing styles, and I bet a few of these authors will become successful career authors.
  2. Dug out my papers in my file drawer. Scary. Time to sort.
  3. Ditched the beret idea. Too hot. And it’s supposed to be even hotter on Thursday. In the meantime, I’m still French-pressing my brain. I’m stubborn that way.
  4. Slow going on the workbook exercises. These last few weeks of the workbook are difficult. Maybe I’m just ready for the exercises to be over. Either way, at the end of the workbook, there’s another contract you’re expected to sign, promising to do “Morning Pages” for another 90 days. I’m not going to think about that too much, I’m just going keep scrawling incoherently filling pages with soul-stretching insights writing 3 pages longhand daily until it’s over. One day at a time.

6-12  I might be a day off on my editing, but none of my 3 calendars (1 calendar isn’t big enough) say I am. Just a weird feeling. But I’m not going to fret it, because I’ll simply do an extra hour of editing before I blast off on my vacation after my last ROW80 check-in this round. Still on the aloud edits. Still slashing away with my big black marker.

  1. Devouring online flash fiction and smacking my lips. YUM
  2. Finally organized my paper files. Funny how quick and easy it is once you just sit down and do it.
  3. If I knew any French curse words I’d type those here. But I don’t (yet) so I’ll just say I’m back to repeating a single lesson over and over . . and over again until I get it 100% right.
  4. According to the last hocus-pocus workbook exercise I did, I guess I’m supposed to be a drug addict, or have drug addict tendencies. I drew the “drugs” slip 3 times out of 7 draws. I’ll go with the “drug addict tendencies” and admit, at times, I do tend to go heavy on the Advil when my Cousin Flo visits. She parties way too hard for me.

6-15  The end of my ROW80 Round 2.

Measure goal- OK how about this- I finished a KIND of editing, wherein “a KIND of” is a modifier, and “editing” is the overall goal. What kind of editing did I finish? The kind where I go through and and fix typos and put scenes in order. And when is editing ever done, really? I guess when you send your manuscript to an agent. And I’ve got to find an agent before I send my script!

Chunk goal- 1 hour per day, six days per week- check! And I even threw in an extra hour of editing, just to be on the safe side.

Blog goal- Checked in with this post at every check-in!

But wait, there’s more!

  1. Fiction reading- met the goal.
  2. French lessons- met the goal.
  3. Organizing- met the goal.
  4. Workbook exercises- Though I’m not done with the workbook yet, I did do 1 week’s worth (more or less) or exercises per week. There are parts of a few exercises I need to finish, and I will finish them, along with the rest of the workbook, including the extra 90 days of Morning Pages, without skipping a day. The workbook exercises are about nurturing your artist, not stressing out your artist, so I’m not going to fret about needing to wrap up loose ends. I’ll wrap up when it’s convenient, and at the same time recognize that finishing the workbook is a priority.

    As of today I am on vacation until July 6. See you in Round 3. Happy summer!

 

Re-rapture at the HOTEL- a Flash Fiction Tale

Rapture at the HOTEL (part 1)

The fish-people swim in lazy circles. Every six hours, a chute in the wall above the tank automatically opens, and guppies and minnows slide into the tank. Lee munches on minnows with vestigial back teeth while gazing at his reflection in a mirror. Amin grimaces and swallows guppies whole. Viv opts for the fish food pellets stashed in the decorative cave. The trio eat and sleep submerged. When bored, they breach the surface and argue.

“You caused this, Viv. You stole the holy water. You caused our punishment. Now you get us out of here,” Amin gurgles.

“Simple. Just jump out of the tank. You’ve done it before. Do it again,” Viv replies.

“You know I can’t breathe out of the water. None of us can.”

“No shit.” Viv flips water at Amin. “But I’ve been thinking. The drugs they gave us- they are active only in a hyper-aqueous environment. Otherwise, they would’ve injected us first, and submerged us later. They went to the trouble of tanking us, and cutting us underwater.”

Lee bobs his head, creating mini-whirlpools with his gape-mouth. “We’re fish, Viv, get over it,” he says, hyper-bulging his eyes.

Viv rolls onto her back and stares at the ceiling. “Not exactly. We still have our basic DNA- we’ve just devolved, that’s all. I bet if we jump out again- and stay out- the air shock will activate our latent, evolved DNA. We’ll probably feel like we’re dying at first, but that will be a side effect of our bodies reverting back to normal. Our skin will smooth, and our gills will fuse. We’ll be fully human again.”

“Seems kinda dangerous,” Lee says, flexing his face fins. “What if we jump out and nothing happens but we can’t breathe?”

“Then we die, of course,” Viv answers.

“I don’t wanna die. I’ve suffered enough,” Amin wails with a thrash.

“I’d rather be dead than live the rest of my life as a fish in a tank. Especially looking at you two. You guys really creep me out with your face fins and gape-mouths.”

Lee flutters his face fins. “We can’t help it if we adapted more than you did. Besides, I’d rather be adapted to my environment than be struggling against it. Looks like you barely adapted at all.”

“You’re right. I’m still mostly human, unlike you freaks.”

“I’m a merman, dear god, a merman!” Amin blubbers and thrashes in the tank, sloshing water over the sides. The auto-filler turns on, and fresh water fills the tank from the fill-hose.

“Calm down,” Viv says. “I figure since I’m the one the least devolved, I have the best chance of surviving outside the tank. So I will jump out first. If I survive, and am able to move around easily, I will help you two after you jump out. Understand?”

“Yes, I don’t wanna be a fish no more. Please help me,” Amin says, moaning.

“Suit yourself, Viv,” Lee says. “Just remember, after you jump out, we freaks can’t help you, because, you know, we’re fish. Understand?”

“Absolutely. Now get under me and push me out.”

Lee swims under Viv and hoists her up over the edge of the tank. She rolls, tips, and falls to the floor with a thud. First she lies motionless, then wiggles, then thrashes.

“I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe!” she gasps, her gills pumping furiously. Lee and Amin watch gape-mouthed from inside the tank. Finally Amin dives to the bottom, grabs the fill-hose with his mouth, and rips it from the wall. He pulls it to the surface and aims the stream of water at Viv’s exposed gills. She sputters and spasms, and begins breathing again.

“What are you doing?” Viv calls out. “Let me die. I don’t wanna be a fish. You don’t either.”

Amin drops the hose. The food chute opens and lunch slides out. Lee scoops a mouthful of wigglers and swallows and watches Viv die. Amin dives to the far side of the tank, shoves his fin between the tank wall and the mirror, and the mirror snaps. Amin impales himself on a jagged shard, and the water billows red. A chemical sensor beeps from inside the decorative cave, and a cocktail of hormones pours out of the food chute and into the tank.

Lee sinks to the bottom and falls asleep.

The next day he drifts back into consciousness. The tank is dry, except for a small pool of blood around Amin’s dead body.

“Like you said, Amin, we just have to wait for a second Rapture,” Lee mutters to himself. He looks over the edge of the tank and sees Viv’s dead body. “The Rapture has returned, and it is dry. And this time I did not reject it. I had faith,” he whispers.

Lee crawls up the food chute, into the automated dispensing tank, and into a supply tunnel. Ten minutes later he pushes the grate off an access portal, wiggles out of the tunnel, and flops onto the dry floor. His gills are fused, his legs are separated, and his skin is smooth. After retrieving his street clothes from the processing room, Lee steps outside of the HOTEL for the first time in three months.

The sun is shining- no clouds today. He pauses in front of a window and studies an image- face fins and a gape-mouth.

“Amen,” Lee says, admiring his reflection.

***

 

Thanks to Chuck Wendig for this flash fiction writing prompt!