Short Story (Poem) Of the Day, Coffee by Bill Chance

“Even bad coffee is better than no coffee at all.”
David Lynch

Deep Ellum, Dallas, Texas

I have been feeling in a deep hopeless rut lately, and I’m sure a lot of you have too. After writing another Sunday Snippet I decided to set an ambitious goal for myself. I’ll write a short piece of fiction every day and put it up here. Obviously, quality will vary – you get what you get. Length too – I’ll have to write something short on busy days. They will be raw first drafts and full of errors.

I’m not sure how long I can keep it up… I do write quickly, but coming up with an idea every day will be a difficult challenge. So far so good. Maybe a hundred in a row might be a good, achievable, and tough goal.

Here’s another one for today (#27). What do you think? Any comments, criticism, insults, ideas, prompts, abuse … anything is welcome. Feel free to comment or contact me.

Thanks for reading.

 


 

Coffee (from an old Turkish proverb)

Black as death

Hot as hell

Bitter as lost dreams

Thick as love

She liked her women like she liked her coffee

Dark, Bitter, and Colombian

 

 

Short Story (Poem) Of the Day, Rich Women Shopping by Bill Chance

“Buy what you don’t have yet, or what you really want, which can be mixed with what you already own. Buy only because something excites you, not just for the simple act of shopping”
― Karl Lagerfeld

Main Street Park
Dallas, Texas

I have been feeling in a deep hopeless rut lately, and I’m sure a lot of you have too. After writing another Sunday Snippet I decided to set an ambitious goal for myself. I’ll write a short piece of fiction every day and put it up here. Obviously, quality will vary – you get what you get. Length too – I’ll have to write something short on busy days. They will be raw first drafts and full of errors.

I’m not sure how long I can keep it up… I do write quickly, but coming up with an idea every day will be a difficult challenge. So far so good. Maybe a hundred in a row might be a good, achievable, and tough goal.

Here’s another one for today (#25). What do you think? Any comments, criticism, insults, ideas, prompts, abuse … anything is welcome. Feel free to comment or contact me.

Thanks for reading.

 


 

Rich Women Shopping

Their legs are so long

they reach all the way to the ground

their bags small

and shiny

sparkles and bright colors

logos

hunters

of wild and gorgeous efficiency

 

 

Short Story Of the Day, The Reluctant I by Bill Chance

Oscar had, on the other hand, been working there forever. He was as grumpy as Cynthia was cheerful. Still, he knew everything and was the person you wanted around when things were going South.

—-Bill Chance, The Reluctant I

Sculpture and Building
Downtown Dallas, Texas
Near the Arts District DART Station

 

I have been feeling in a deep hopeless rut lately, and I’m sure a lot of you have too. After writing another Sunday Snippet I decided to set an ambitious goal for myself. I’ll write a short piece of fiction every day and put it up here. Obviously, quality will vary – you get what you get. Length too – I’ll have to write something short on busy days. They will be raw first drafts and full of errors.

I’m not sure how long I can keep it up… I do write quickly, but coming up with an idea every day will be a difficult challenge. So far so good. Maybe a hundred in a row might be a good, achievable, and tough goal.

Here’s another one for today (#17). What do you think? Any comments, criticism, insults, ideas, prompts, abuse … anything is welcome. Feel free to comment or contact me.

Thanks for reading.

 

 


Today, I writing using a writing prompt from the book by Brian Kiteley, The 3 A.M. Epiphany. It… and its companion, The 4 A.M. Breakthrough, are unusually useful collections of prompts in that each one is designed to teach a lesson – rather than some random idea seed. The prompt I used this time happened to be the first on in the book.

Description of this week’s Writing Prompt #1

The Reluctant I

Write a first-person story in which you use the first-person pronoun (I or me or my) only two times – but keep the I somehow important to the narrative you’re constructing.  The point of this exercise is to imagine a narrator who is less interest in himself than in what he is observing.  You can make your narrator someone who sees an interesting event in which he is not necessarily a participant.  Or you can make him self-effacing, yet a major participant in the events related.  It is very important in this exercise to make sure your reader is not surprised, forty or fifty words into the piece, to realize that this is a first-person narration.  Show us quickly who is observing the scene.  600 words

 


The Reluctant I

I was sipping at a morning cup of strong coffee, filling a sheet of paper with my checklist of things to do for the day, and looking out the window, thinking between items. The sky was an amazing and unusual crystalline blue. The plane was so small at first and it looked oddly low. It came on fast, growing and growing until I could see the rivets around the pilots’ windows.

Then at a huge speed it disappeared around the corner of the building an there was a tremendous crash followed by an impossibly intense crunching and cracking. The building bent to the side. People that work that high off the ground are used to swaying in the wind but this was far beyond that. The windows blew out and the building came still after a few seconds.

Cynthia sat at the next desk and Oscar at the one beyond that. They both leaped up and ran towards the stairwell at the center of the building but were driven back by a solid wall of acrid smoke spilling from that direction.

Cynthia was new, she had only been there for two months, transferred from the Philadelphia office. She brightened up the place terrifically and her effortless good looks and cheerful disposition helped everyone look forward to coming to work more than they otherwise would.

Oscar had, on the other hand, been working there forever. He was as grumpy as Cynthia was cheerful. Still, he knew everything and was the person you wanted around when things were going South.

Cynthia was covered with black soot and ran to the shattered windows to try and get some breathable air. Oscar was slower and didn’t retreat in time and his suit was burning. He fell to the floor and rolled but was unable to extinguish the flames. Suddenly, he rose up and ran straight into the smoke and flames to his death.

The smoke was advancing and getting thicker and it was becoming impossible to breathe. Crouching flat on the ground right next to the open hole in the wall helped but it only bought a few short seconds.

The look on Cynthia’s face was horrific. It was a mix of unbearable fear and hopeless resignation that I had never seen before. The heat was beginning to rise and the tatters of curtains overhead were bursting into flame. The black smoke began to shut out the entire world. The scream from Cynthia was awful as she succumbed to the flames. It wasn’t very loud because she couldn’t inhale enough air for that, but what floated abouve the din of the burning office contained a thousand lifetimes of agony.

There was only one choice left.

Anyone that works in a high rise building, especially the few that work in the rarefied air over a thousand feet off the ground inevitably thinks of the fall.

First there is the feeling of weightlessness. There is the comfort of being away from the heat and burning smoke, the air fresh and clean, the sky blue and the sun shining. The column of smoke is now high, high overhead and starting to retreat quicker and quicker.

The air, so comforting at first, begins to rush and push and it feels like being held in a soft cushion or giant hand. There is a quiet, peaceful space and only the sound of the ever increasing wind is heard and that isn’t as loud as you would think.

There isn’t much time, but there is enough for the fresh fast breeze to start to clear the burning from lungs and nose and the eyes to clear and truly see. There is a desire to twist around see below and there it is… rushing up, coming close, impossibly fast until….

Short Story Of the Day, the descent by Bill Chance

“ As he collapsed into deep slumber he felt himself still plummeting through the earth.”

—-Bill Chance, the descent

Dallas Museum of Art
Dallas, Texas

 

I have been feeling in a deep hopeless rut lately, and I’m sure a lot of you have too. After writing another Sunday Snippet I decided to set an ambitious goal for myself. I’ll write a short piece of fiction every day and put it up here. Obviously, quality will vary – you get what you get. Length too – I’ll have to write something short on busy days. They will be raw first drafts and full of errors.

I’m not sure how long I can keep it up… I do write quickly, but coming up with an idea every day will be a difficult challenge. So far so good. Maybe a hundred in a row might be a good, achievable, and tough goal.

Here’s another one for today (#13). What do you think? Any comments, criticism, insults, ideas, prompts, abuse … anything is welcome. Feel free to comment or contact me.

Thanks for reading.

 


 

the descent

Lucien stood in front of the refrigerator and scooped a large spoonfull of chicken salad into a small white bowl. He added a handful of curved shaved shards of Parmesan cheese and ate it standing there.

He was struck by such exhaustion he barely made it to his bedroom before tumbling over into the tangle of sheets, pillows, and quilts in a sudden torpidity. As he collapsed into deep slumber he felt himself still plummeting through the earth, falling into a jagged opening dream-chasm,  falling faster and faster into the darkness of sleep. Eventually, at the bottom of the opaque void he found himself wandering blindly, stumbling into and between the jagged remains of his lost hopes and broken dreams.

 

Short Story Of the Day (flash fiction) – Intersection, Transit and Rose by Gail Anderson

Obscurity or fame. Everyone here craved one or the other.

—-Gail Anderson – Intersection, Transit and Rose

Decaying wall, Ladonia, Texas

I had plans for today. It’s the last nice day before a cold front barrels through. So I mapped out a long bike ride into a part of town I rarely ride now – but remember well from decades ago. Also, I have some ideas and itch to write some fiction so I was going to re-start my old “Sunday Snippets” – and squeeze out something new, original, and crappy.

But getting out of the shower and going to put my cycling clothes on I stepped with wet feet on the cheap imitation wood flooring, which is like snot on ice when damp, and went down in a naked heap. I did save the coffee cup I (for some unknown reason) had in my hand – throwing it into the hamper while I spun to the floor. A clumsy lifetime has taught me how to fall. I’m okay but this getting old shit is not for the faint of heart. My knee is twitchy and my hip is sore and I don’t think I should go very far in this state. The sheet of pain (again, I’m fine but it really hurt for a while) wiped my mind and now I can’t really come up with the lies I need for fiction right now – maybe next week. I’m essential, so it’s another week of work starting tomorrow, too.

So, at any rate, here’s a tasty piece of flash fiction (literally flash fiction) that won the Best of Winter 2019 award from Reflex Fiction. Mystery of its own and action inspired by Hitchcock – what else can you want?

Read it here:

Intersection, Transit and Rose by Gail Anderson

from Reflex Fiction

Gail Anderson Twitter

I’ve always loved the electric hum/whine/screech a Sunpak flash makes while it recharges.

Like Burning Tears

“And now, my poor old woman, why are you crying so bitterly? It is autumn. The leaves are falling from the trees like burning tears- the wind howls. Why must you mimic them?”
― Mervyn Peake, Titus Groan

Fall Colors
University of Texas at Dallas
Richardson, Texas
(click to enlarge)

Oblique Strategy: Revaluation (a warm feeling)

The trees along my drive to work have exploded into flame.
Their conflagration tinted according to their species from a sodium flame yellow, through orange, on to a deep blazing crimson.
Except for the cemetery, monocultured with live oaks, all their usual dark spinach.

I knew someone once, a long, long time ago. She said she liked the fall better than the spring. She liked the sense of foreboding, the knowledge that a cold storm was coming – the excitement of onrushing doom.

It took me decades to understand what she was talking about and how important it was.

That Time of Year Again

Trinity River in the Fall, December, three years ago
Dallas, Texas

“But when fall comes, kicking summer out on its treacherous ass as it always does one day sometime after the midpoint of September, it stays awhile like an old friend that you have missed. It settles in the way an old friend will settle into your favorite chair and take out his pipe and light it and then fill the afternoon with stories of places he has been and things he has done since last he saw you.”
― Stephen King, ‘Salem’s Lot

Riding my bicycle to the Dallas Farmer’s Market from the DART train station for September’s Critical Mass bike ride I felt a sensation as the breeze blew by me. For a minute, I was confused, “What is this?” I knew I had felt it before, but I didn’t remember it right away. Then, it popped into my mind.

I was cold.

It has been so long, I didn’t remember what it felt like to be cold.

Now this is the end of September/beginning of October… in Texas that’s really the tail end of summer, so it shouldn’t… I shouldn’t be cold. But it has been raining for days, that cold fall rain, leaving the air, if not frigid, at least comfortably cool.

Nothing to worry about, the Texas sun will fight through the cloud remnants and warm things up a time or two before the fall really arrives.

Bluetooth Keyboard and iPhone – another portable way to write stuff.

I’m struggling to get all my vacation time taken before the rapidly approaching end of the year – so I took a few hours off and came downtown a bit early. In my eternal quest for a method of writing that I can carry on my bicycle, I’m using this Bluetooth keyboard – torn out of an iPad case that I bought at a church rummage sale for six bucks. It has a slot that I can drop my phone in and I use an app called Compo to type into. Once I’m done I’ll email what I write to myself.

Fall Colors, November, three years ago
University of Texas at Dallas
Richardson, Texas
(click to enlarge)

You Expected To Be Sad In the Fall

“You expected to be sad in the fall. Part of you died each year when the leaves fell from the trees and their branches were bare against the wind and the cold, wintery light. But you knew there would always be the spring, as you knew the river would flow again after it was frozen. When the cold rains kept on and killed the spring, it was as though a young person died for no reason.”
― Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast

Fall Colors University of Texas at Dallas Richardson, Texas (click to enlarge)

Fall Colors
University of Texas at Dallas
Richardson, Texas
(click to enlarge)

An Aggregate of Last Moments

“It’s been a prevalent notion. Fallen sparks. Fragments of vessels broken at the Creation. And someday, somehow, before the end, a gathering back to home. A messenger from the Kingdom, arriving at the last moment. But I tell you there is no such message, no such home — only the millions of last moments . . . nothing more. Our history is an aggregate of last moments.”
― Thomas Pynchon, Gravity’s Rainbow

The end of a game of giant Jenga - Community Beer Company, Dallas, Texas

The end of a game of giant Jenga – Community Beer Company, Dallas, Texas

“My peak? Would I even have one? I hardly had had anything you could call a life. A few ripples. some rises and falls. But that’s it. Almost nothing. Nothing born of nothing. I’d loved and been loved, but I had nothing to show. It was a singularly plain, featureless landscape. I felt like I was in a video game. A surrogate Pacman, crunching blindly through a labyrinth of dotted lines. The only certainty was my death.”
― Haruki Murakami, Dance Dance Dance