Of Brothers, Worms, and Men…

“Let me get this straight. You’re telling me that, before Pop Crawley died, he entrusted you with this key document that’s centuries and centuries old and that, if disclosed to the wrong people, could cause the beginning of the whole freaking apocalypse?”

Cereal and milk spewed from my mouth somewhere in the middle of this repeated declaration. Partly because of my incredulity about it all. Mostly because my twenty-eight-year-old baby brother practiced the same amount of responsibility in assuring the freshness of his dairy products as he ordinarily did in things like, say, keeping up with a full pair of shoes.

“I guess Pop Craw had gotten dementia, after all.” I dropped my head in a sad pause about the loss of our mom’s stepdad, before continuing my inquisition. “So I’m dying to know…where exactly did you stash away this theoretically vital piece of information for safekeeping?” I figured there was a catch in here somewhere.

My brother acted as if he was having a conflict of conscious about answering me. I knew better. It just took a long sigh, a dropped chin, and an arched eyebrow to get him talking. “C’mon, let’s get this over with. What’s it going to take to worm this out of you?”

“Well, I knew it needed a sweet place – like only a trip across three oceans, over a ridiculously mega-mountain, and some sick spelunking into the deepest, darkest cave could guarantee.”

“So, basically, what I’m hearing you say is that it’s here…in your apartment…probably out in the open somewhere. Does that just about sum things up?”

“Pretty much, yup. I figured maybe you’d be awesome enough to help me clean up and find it – I mean, since you’re already here and all…”

***

Trifecta has us squirming with a new word to open the week, so wiggle on in & join up!

I hadn’t noticed the squishy 33 word limit (since that usually only comes with a Trifextra), so I won’t be linking up officially this week – no time for rewrites on anything other than Research Questions 4 through 6. But that shouldn’t stop you from digging down deep and submitting! And it won’t stop me from sharing unofficially in the fun.

This week’s word is:

WORM (transitive verb)    (betcha’ didn’t catch me fishing for that one, huh?!)

1a :  to proceed or make (one’s way) insidiously or deviously<worm their way into positions of power     — Bill Franzen>

:  to insinuate or introduce (oneself) by devious or subtle means

:  to cause to move or proceed in or as if in the manner of a worm
:  to wind rope or yarn spirally round and between the strands of (a cable or rope) before serving
Remember:
• Your response must be exactly 33 words.
• You must use the 3rd definition of the given word in your post.
• The word itself needs to be included in your response.
• You may not use a variation of the word; it needs to be exactly as stated above.
• Only one entry per writer.
• If your post doesn’t meet our requirements, please leave your link in the comments section, not in the linkz.
• Trifecta is open to everyone. Please join us.

– See more at: http://www.trifectawritingchallenge.com/#sthash.6vNTN58A.dpuf

Why it may be Best to Avoid True Love

He was certain she had exhibited pure craft and cunning, luring him into her web of lies. She’d never possessed one ounce of love for him, despite all of her convincing performances, her repeated manifestations that had all but assured him otherwise.

He was sure that she’d been playing him all along. He’d tried every way he knew to confess the depth of his love to her when they’d last met. In return, she’d mutely sat there, staring at him, almost imperceptibly nodding, though never uttering a word in return.

He’d stewed over it for weeks now, until he’d finally mustered enough anger from within that he was ready to confront – maybe demoralize – her.

***

She knew why she hadn’t heard from him. What she didn’t understand was why she couldn’t bring herself to send him all the words she’d written from deep within her heart – the ones that acknowledged her undying love for him.

Her mind had rehashed that night many times over. Awkwardly, in the midst of all his shared frustrations, he’d worked in his true feelings for her. After all this time. But he’d also worked in his feelings for another – how he’d felt torn over a decision he would be faced to make; how he was being pressured to marry another.

All the love she’d held inside that had been bottled up for so long, swelling with joy at his earlier utterances, suddenly felt as ripe as an over-filled water balloon. The cork that had held all that pressure – so tightly, for so long – refused to release, refused to allow her to declare the words she’d long wanted to say.

Her heart raced…and then it ran away. It had been shredded too many times before to bear yet another assault.

***

So as their paths crossed this final time, the result was an unfortunate collision.

Alas.

Sometimes, the truest kind of love is the craftiest and most cunning of them all…

leaving no survivors in its wake.

****

****

This 333-worded flash-tragedy was brought to you courtesy of this week’s Trifecta challenge prompt:

CRAFT (noun) (3rd definition)
:  skill in planning, making, or executing :  dexterity

2 a :  an occupation or trade requiring manual dexterity or artistic skill <the carpenter’s craft> <the craft of writing plays> <crafts such as pottery, carpentry, and sewing>

plural :  articles made by craftspeople <a store selling crafts> <a crafts fair>

:  skill in deceiving to gain an end <used craft and guile to close the deal>

Come join in!
Remember:
  • Your response must be between 33 and 333 words.
  • You must use the 3rd definition of the given word in your post.
  • The word itself needs to be included in your response.
  • You may not use a variation of the word; it needs to be exactly as stated above.
  • Only one entry per writer.
  • If your post doesn’t meet our requirements, please leave your link in the comments section, not in the linkz.
  • Trifecta is open to everyone. Please join us.

This weekend’s challenge is community judged.

  • For the 14 hours following the close of the challenge, voting will be enabled on links.
  • In order to vote, return to this post where stars will appear next to each link. To vote, simply click the star that corresponds with your favorite post.
  • You can vote for your top three favorite posts.
  • Voting is open to everyone.
  • You have 14 hours to vote. It’s not much time, so be diligent! We’ll send out reminders on Twitter and Facebook.
  • The winners will be announced in the comments of Friday’s post and will be posted in our typical fashion in the post on the following Monday.

– See more at: http://www.trifectawritingchallenge.com/#sthash.qkWkbl8o.dpuf

Untethered Dreams

20130906-135451.jpg

A wee lad peeked from the loft overhead,

gaping at the giant beast led by his father’s mere tether,

dreaming of the day he would ride such a creature for the Triple Crown.

***

The Trifextra weekend challenge was to add 30 words to their 3 prompts for a total of 33. Their words were:

TETHER

LOFT

CROWN

The minute I read the words, the above description was the image that jumped into my mind. One of the reasons children are such a joy is because their dreams are limitless, and life puts up no barriers in their minds. Oh, that we could hold on to that sort of passion in possibility as we grow!

Since I make it a practice not to read anyone else’s entry before I’ve completed mine, I’ll be interested in seeing who else had a similar imagery come to mind.

InMON Challenge: Being Raised to Heaven can be a Nasty Affair

AT 18, you’re sure you know exactly what you want from life. Trouble is, by the time you’re 28, that wasn’t it. Then it takes another 10 years or so to, um, well…find a new one.

I stood at that prom, in all my finery and favorite aunt’s costume jewelry, looking around at the ridiculous colored cellophane decorations, strung from one side of the room to the other. Yet it all felt magical, as if someone had thought to raise heaven just a foot or so above us, where I could almost reach blissful eternity.

I was dangling in idyllic delight on the arm of the one who had captured my eye when he walked into our homeroom three years earlier. I was never sure whether he meant to create the gleeful response in my being when he took the seat next to mine, looked me straight in the eye and said ‘hi.’  But then, I was never certain of a lot of things – like when he held my hand two years later and whispered in my ear (things I won’t repeat) whether he was solely thinking of me. He seemed to have a wandering eye that night as one of the popular senior girls strolled by us at the party, and I feel certain she gave him a little wink. He assured me he hadn’t noticed because he only had eyes for me.

By the end of the next year, we had left that prom together, and he had promised me paradise.

Funny how things turn out.

As I stand here today, in this courtroom, trying to escape from paradise once and for all, I feel that I lived the past 20 years trying to breathe under colorless cellophane. I once believed I could raise heaven’s little angels together with him, if nothing else, but even that became more like raising…well, you get the point.

My new costume consists of a brave front and a good dose of ill discontent. Truth is, in the end, I’m the one who had the wandering eye.

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inmonsterbadge1Thought I’d do a little word play with the 5 prompts (and the 200-500 word limit) this week, shifting the key words along with the shift in the story.  In case you missed it, the prompts for this creative writing piece of fiction (yes, fiction!) were:

RAISE HEAVEN

COSTUME

ESCAPE FROM PARADISE

WANDERING EYE

CELLOPHANE

Trifecta Fiction: Seeking Graceful Closure in a Generational Gap

There she stood, in that dream space of familiar unfamiliarity, gazing upon a fair-haired young lady displayed in a breath-taking formal dress, likely dating to the early 1900’s, with a hand-tatted lace chemisette collar matching the gloves spilling over her wrists. Mounds of navy taffeta swirled about, pulled up into a small bustle in the back. A satin sash gathered it all in, with dainty pearl buttons carefully placed as opulent accents. The woman’s hair was elegantly piled upward in a loose pompadour. She had a fancy parasol opened to cover her in the mist, though it looked too elegant for anyone to actually consider using.

Danielle searched the beautiful profile questioningly, wondering who she was – until the other young woman turned directly towards her, her gaze soft, loving and kind. She extended a gloved hand to Danielle’s face, fingertips gliding across her cheek, brushing away a tendril of hair. Danielle gasped at the flawlessness of the woman’s skin, the way her bright blue eyes glittered and danced, rather than being faded to gray and sunken back into her head. This woman’s lips were full and vivid, her skin was the peachiest shade with the rosiest of cheeks. Danielle wanted to call the woman by name, but the only label she knew for this angelic creature didn’t suffice.  This beauty could surely never pass for anyone’s ‘Granny.’ After a few seconds of consideration, the best she could conjure was, “Mary?”

The other young woman’s eyes twinkled, her lips spreading upward, as she nodded her head, her face radiant. She took Danielle’s hand, gently pulling her back towards an ancient stone that could serve well as a make-shift bench. Mary carefully sat sideways, one foot crossed over the other in such a lady-like fashion that Danielle felt archaic and without any sense of grace at all. Mary daintily closed her parasol and leaned it against the rock, taking both of Danielle’s hands. Her eyes searched Danielle’s face, intent on finding something specific there.

_________________________

This one’s a little rewrite of a scene from At the Water’s Edge, in which my protagonist, Danielle, is wrestling with an important life-altering decision…and about to engage in a life-altering (as in, she might not have hers anymore) action. She’s in her current predicament after trying to honor her now-deceased grandmother’s final words to her. Or were they?

I’m submitting these 333 words in response to the Trifecta Challenge for Week Ninety-Three, in which the word was:

GRACE (noun)

– See more at: http://www.trifectawritingchallenge.com/#sthash.d4MOL4ll.dpuf

And thanks to a lovely invitation from my lovely friend, Kir, I’m also submitting it to WriteOnEdge’s Write at the Merge, with this week’s theme: “The Space Between” (the pause between two events).

Re-Sieving the Light

Re-Sieving Light

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Inspired by Trifextra for the Weekend…on the subject of light. Here’s the exact wording of the challenge:

“This weekend’s prompt is to write 33 words exactly inspired by the following photo project by Eirik Solheim.  Each slice of the photo compilation is a different day of the year, taken from the same location. Note the progression of light and seasons.  Take some time to ponder the rebirth and resurgence and ultimate triumph that is nature and growth and light.  Think about time and the sun and the movement of both.  Fill yourself up with it, and then write.”

– See more at: http://www.trifectawritingchallenge.com/#sthash.N1EHgLS2.dpuf

In response, I considered how blind we are to so much going on around us and how very different we see through our various lenses. Each time we see from another perspective, in many ways, it may be as miraculous as a blind person receiving sight for the first time. Perhaps there’s excitement on one level, resistance to the change on another – regardless of the originally planned desire “to see.” Even the blind person surely already “saw” – just differently. In either case, we must re-sieve (re-filter) that which we thought we understood well before. Isn’t that a good lesson to learn from the changing seasons gifted upon us? The fact that it happens again and again, each and every year, tells me there are many lessons for us to learn – or maybe only one in which we need a lifetime of practice to get!

I hope you enjoy my varying perspectives in formatting here, where I’m attempting to guide you through the change in a direction your eyes might not have naturally chosen for you.

Peace on your journey,

-jody

Bygone Bar-Flies in Destined Disguise

“Quick! Come here! I need you to create a distraction.”

“Uh-oh. You don’t sound so good. But look at it this way. This can’t be any worse than that time you went back into that bar and pretended to be searching for something, in hopes those two guys, given a second chance and several minutes closer to closing time, would engage us in conversation.”

“You didn’t seem to think it was such a bad idea at the time…Ouch!!!!! But maybe I do now!”

“Easy there. Hey! Remember how everything was good until the one guy asked if you’d lost something? When you said yes, I had a feeling things were going to go down quickly from there!”

“So, I panicked, okay?”

“Just don’t panic now. Going back to that evening though…I would’ve gone for the answer ‘keys.’ Just sayin’…ow, ow, ow – don’t squeeze my hand so hard, please!”

“It’s entirely feasible that a girl searching around aimlessly in a bar at 1:50 in the morning could have had a lost voice…especially when she couldn’t think of a better response to give at the spur of the moment. My voice did get a little lost in his eyes, you know.”

“Yeah, most people who show up at the bar around 10:00 are still trying to figure out how to adjust the mask to put on their charade. By 2:00, they’ve generally given up. But not you. You ripped that mask right off for full exposure of what little self-esteem you – I mean, we – had left. I’ll give you extra credit points for that final burst of effort. And speaking of masks, has Jerry gotten his on yet, Doc? He needs to hurry up and get in here!!”

“Heck, it was either that or go watch the peeling paint dry on our little efficiency apartment walls until the sun came up, and we’d giggled our way into finally deciding to call it a night. Ohhhhhhhhh!!!!! Geez, this hurts! This is getting worse. Keep talking…”

“Fast breaths, remember?…Funny to think back to the good ol’ days. Wonder if Jerry would’ve laughed and offered you a ride home that night if he could’ve fast-forwarded into the future and foreseen the pressure of a 4-bedroom mortgage, two kids, and another bun in the oven – that’s about to burst open at this very moment?!”

“Well, that’s all about to be history now….Jerry!!!!!!”

“Yeah, but it’s made room for a new history in both your lives together. Sometimes I miss the stupid things we used to do, but I’m proud of the woman you’ve become, sis. Look, there’s your husband now – looking a little green around the gills. Now, push!!!!!”

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inmonsterbadge1Writing for Inspiration Monday on this one (which means it will officially post on BeKindRewrite this coming Monday, and yes, Mondays are always difficult for me to keep straight!).

I’ve bold-typed all the prompts – and for an extra challenge to myself this week, I used them all – in order of how they were prompted.

I also managed to stay within the word count of 200-500 words. My Word Count = 447.

Not too bad for anything having to do with a Monday!

How to Keep Your Friends by “Dumping” Them

What’s in the bag?”

“Little of this…little of that. All in all, some pretty useless stuff.”

“Now you’ve piqued my interest. What’ve you trapped in that silk prison on your arm?”

“ I used to carry items that I thought were important to my appearance there – a tube of lipstick, a compact for smoothing imperfections, a brush to freshen up, a credit card for purchasing any whims I fancied. Eventually, I came to grasp that accumulations were just weighing me down. That’s when I cleared all that stuff out to make room. Now this bag serves a much greater purpose.”

<Long, Uncomfortable Pause>

“I’m still waiting for an answer to my original question. What on earth are you carrying around in that pretty little bag swinging from your arm?”

“Don’t let its outer appearance fool you. Its contents aren’t all that impressive, truth be told.”

<Shorter, Terser Pause>

“Very well. If you absolutely must know…. It’s full of today’s mind clutter.”

“Pardon? Did you just say…?”

“Yes, I did, as a matter of fact.”

“Why in heaven’s name would you empty out your beautiful purse, only to fill it with…mind clutter?!”

“I’d rather contain it there for a time as have it swimming in my head, distracting my brain all day. At day’s end, I simply open it and dump this mess out, then begin fresh tomorrow.”

“Interesting concept. What happens if you mistake essential information and accidentally discard it too?”

“Have you been staying up early again?”

“Staying up early?! That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. No, you’re the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard – someone carrying a purse full of mind clutter.

Wait! What are you doing? Are you placing this memory of me in there?! How dare you!! Take it out this instant!”

***

“Trust me. By the time I dump this tonight, my mind will be emptied of all insults it tried to heap onto you in retaliation. Better this way. We can be friends again – come tomorrow.”

As I ended this post, I was reminded of this beautiful gift I received from a physician visiting the states from India, after spending the day working with him on imaging simulator demonstrations.

As I ended this post, I was reminded of this beautiful gift I received from a physician visiting the states from India, after spending the day working with him on imaging simulator demonstrations. Isn’t it marvelous?

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I took the opportunity to provide this little moral life lesson through 2 fun writing prompts heaped upon me this week.

inmonsterbadge1The first was from BeKindRewrite’s Inspiration Monday prompts (in which I worked to use them all – because it’s more interesting to see how the story turns out that way). Stephanie likes to “tease” and say there are no rules, but since such a thought gives me a migraine, here are the rules-oriented prompts:

  • Silk Prison
  • Waiting for an Answer
  • Mind Clutter
  • What’s in the Bag
  • Staying up Early

Other non-rules “highly suggest” limiting between 200-500 words.

From there, I looked for the opportunity to incorporate this week’s Trifecta prompt, which slid right there in the midst of my ridiculous bag. So before I accidentally dump it as useless information, here’s the uncluttered word and definition that had to be used:

GRASP (verb) – 3rd definition

3 : to lay hold of with the mind : comprehend

– See more at: http://www.trifectawritingchallenge.com/#sthash.OVZymUQ4.dpuf

By the way, Trifecta requires between 33-333 words. (My count came in at 333, which just so happens to land between 200 and 500 – how fortuitous!). By the way, this week’s entries are being community judged at Trifecta. So come one, come all! Come read, come vote, come enter!

When the Brain Defies all Logic

When I read the Trifecta prompt today, it brought me back to a short story I had been working, some time ago, as little ideas came to mind – Life Beyond the Late Great Henry Sceates. This seemed like a good opportunity to develop one more tiny piece of it, as it always helps in bringing healing to personal loss.

I’ve submitted another little excerpt on these two characters before, so I thought I’d use this prompt to let Henry (a past semi-pro baseball player who coincidentally prefers to be called Hank, though his wife never does so) make another portion of his case to his widow, Megan (a librarian who is not necessarily enthusiastic to continue seeing her husband beyond his grave and who adamantly prefers not to be called Eggs by Henry). Despite their many differences, breathing being the main one, the two can’t seem to let one another go.

If you’re interested in getting to know these two a little better, the prior excerpt is a banter between them, entitled:  The Overly Ordinary Life of Megan Scott Sceates

Today is Henry’s (aka, Hank’s) voice from the beyond, working to strengthen his own case for his right to exist:

________________________________________________________________________

Eggs, if you keep trying to define my existence through your logic, you’ll come up weak every time. Every stinkin’ analytical time. Besides, when did you ever know me to be a rational kinda’ guy, anyway? If you had ever operated on logic where it came to you and me, then…well, Eggs, we weren’t rational from the beginning, were we? So keep operating through your systematic, scientific approach to come up with a suitable explanation for what I could be. Let me know when you get it all rationalized out. Oh, but then…I might not be here anymore to hear about it. Are you really willing to take that chance? Or could you, just for once in your methodical, self-righteous life, admit that you don’t have all the answers that this vast universe holds? That maybe, just maybe, the truth’s not nearly as organized as all those library books that fit in just the right spaces on just the right shelves, forming a safe little compound to surround all those indexed ideas that could otherwise escape and swim around in that pretty little head of yours?

Am I making any sense here, Eggs? Gawd, don’t you just hate when the sensible one turns out to be me?

______________________________________________________________________

So, if you’re a non-Trifectan, did you try to guess the prompt?
(Or, would you like to join us as a Trifectan & work on developing your own piece using the prompt?)

Not to keep you in further suspense, here it is:

WEAK (adjective) – by its 3rd definition only:
If you decide to join up with us…Remember:
  • Your response must be between 33 and 333 words.
  • You must use the 3rd definition of the given word in your post.
  • The word itself needs to be included in your response.
  • You may not use a variation of the word; it needs to be exactly as stated above.
  • Only one entry per writer.
  • If your post doesn’t meet our requirements, please leave your link in the comments section, not in the linkz.
  • Trifecta is open to everyone. Please join us.

– See more at: http://www.trifectawritingchallenge.com/#sthash.vQkjbWRy.dpuf

Bee Czar

Honey B.
Urbanbees, CT

Our state – possibly even our world – may no longer be the bee’s knees.

Reports have been drizzling in for the past several months regarding the disappearance of bees. Honey has become as sparse as all sweetness in our region. While crops have ceased to reproduce, arguments breaking out amongst farmers have not, with stinging accusations about commercial pesticide and fungicide use.

Amidst this activity have come strange reported sightings of a new superhero bumbling around in our area. Witnesses claim to have seen a gigantic bee-like creature pollinating crops. Our state is even abuzz with rumors of an over-sized feral colony tending to a hive in an undisclosed location.

Hail Busy Bee! Let’s just hope he doesn’t come across the otherwise reported gang-related nemesis known as The Yellow Jacket, which could become a very sticky situation.

Photo of Busy Bee taken by our Friday Fictioneers photo-journalist, Jennifer Pendergast.
Copyright – Jennifer Pendergast

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Concocted for Rochelle and her creative bunch over at Friday Fictioneers.

Unfortunately, I got stung on the 100-word-count this week, as every pollinated word tasted like honey on my lips and I couldn’t bring myself to allow anymore of them to disappear.

As much as I tried to keep this “faux report” lite & “punny” to go with the photo prompt, I hope you are able to hear my environmental concern between the lines.

To read Rochelle’s beautiful piece, as well as others AND to hear more about what scientists are saying about our shortage of bees, link onto the image to your left and check it out.