Ain’t No Mountain

Just another little piece of nonsense from this month’s writing challenge. ~  J

“Write a 250 word stream of consciousness from the perspective of a woman whose life will change drastically in three minutes.”

breakers-cliff-coast-256

Oh, dear God, that hurts.

Why am I here?

It seemed like a fabulous idea when it first came to me.

Life changing, liberating, making everything right.

Then there was the thinking, planning, and second guessing.

I was certain the labor would be worth the feeling at the end, but now I’m not so sure.

Finally arriving at the decision to go ahead felt like such a perfect thing.

Why did it have to become so complicated, so difficult, so painful?

I feel like I’m going to tear in half.

It’s not like I expected it to be easy, or fun.

Nobody would go into this situation thinking that, not unless they were a complete blithering idiot anyway, but holy hell, if I’d thought it would be this hard I’d have just gotten some other poor schlep to do it.

People will do anything for money.

Just a little further, a little more work. Push, push, push … and I’ve made it!

Jesus, that splash was satisfying.

I think I’ve weighed the body down enough that it won’t come back.

The water in the cove is deep and full of fish anyway so they should make short work of him. Think maybe I separated my damned shoulder. I hope Ivy can fix it. If not, I’ll have to think of a good story or maybe go to the ER over in Mendocino.

Just a short walk back to the car and I’m home free.

I was right.

It was worth the effort.

On the twelfth day of Fic-mas, shades of present, future, past, try without success to make an impression that will last …

Boiled in His Own Pudding

The persistent drizzle made the trip back across the lawn about as pleasant as their visit inside had been. Even the spectacular tree and light display that graced the grounds of the edifice could not make the view appear cheery to the three figures plodding toward the sidewalk.

They should have opened a portal closer. All any of them wanted was to get home.

“Can you believe this guy?”

“It’s not like it’s the first time we’ve had an unsuccessful visit to this place, Present,” the young boy with close-cropped hair, dressed like he was auditioning for Newsies, grumbled. “Remember Nixon?”

“Ah, he wasn’t all that bad,” came the muffled response from under a sodden black hood. “His prospects weren’t nearly as depressing.”

The affable, brightly dressed man who’d first spoken sighed in such a defeated way, it made his companions both look at him with concern. “He can’t even see the truth of this moment. How could he possibly learn from the past, or consider the consequences of days yet to come? We should have tried harder.”

“Ah, Present, don’t let it get you down! How are the rest of us supposed to keep the spirit if you get all depressed?” the boy asked with some urgency. “Yettocome, help me out here!”

The hooded figure spoke again, trying to brighten his perpetually dark voice a bit to cheer his companions. “You did a fine job. Both of you. And I gave it all I’ve got. Sometimes you just have to see a brick wall for what it is, and stop running your head into it. You know?”

Present glanced at his companions. They’d only made it a short way from the imposing structure, sloshing as they were over the muddy ground. “Maybe we should go back in there. Give it one more try. All together.”

“Full frontal assault?” the boy asked eagerly.

“Shock and awe?” the specter of hopeless futures suggested, and they could hear his grin.

“Yeah, yeah, let’s do it!” the spirit of the joy of Christmas, of living in the moment, said, managing some of his usual enthusiasm.

The three figures turned, and marched with determination back inside, their invisible presence sending a thrill through the minds of the Secret Service agents they passed along the way.

Read the rest in The Twelve Days of Fic-mas – Holiday Tales With a Twist Vol. I

White house xmas

*****

On the seventh day of Fic-mas, a little something sweet, prepare for merry gatherings wherever you meet …

Kitchen Witch

Eye of Newt

It was the night of the new moon, the perfect time to begin her work.

The witch bounded up the steps of her home, an almost wicked smile on her lips, and all the necessary ingredients in her bag. She couldn’t wait to work her magic and present her intended with a gift that she was certain would make him love her for life. Well, it would seal the deal, anyway.

She prepared her space carefully, wiping everything down, and starting the fire with the reverence she brought to all tasks she’d set her heart to. Each bit of spice, each little herb was set carefully out in its own ceramic container. Every necessary component at the ready for the perfect moment to add it to the pot.

She murmured the words written on the old, stained, reverently passed-down piece of paper in front of her as she set to each step in her unfamiliar but promising task. This was her first time attempting this concoction, although the women in her family had sworn by it for generations.

It wasn’t exactly like other things she’d let bubble in a pot in her little apartment for the purposes of enchantment, but the currants it called for were a step up from eye of newt, she supposed. And her little home was infused with the smells of it, exotic and familiar, warm and inviting. It told the tale of pleasures yet to come.

From simmering pot, she gave it one last reverent stir and tipped it into the pan to set in her oven, a little ring of seductive perfection.

When it was done curing and setting she tool it out and set it on an iron ring on her counter. “Now,” she smiled, “I’ll just infuse you with most powerful spirits.”

Her task accomplished, she laughed to herself. “I believe I’ll infuse myself too!” and she tipped the bottle into a waiting glass.

A whole month her creation waited. Infused each night of the waxing moon with more of the spirits that would make it great, make it perfect, make it last. Finally, on the eve of the Solstice, the moon full and round above her, she knocked on he beloved’s door, her work wrapped in festive silver paper and tied with a red and white bow.

He invited her in, grinning, thrilled that she had made it, and eager to share her holiday with her, as she had promised to join he and his family for Christmas in a few days.

She led him by the hand into his kitchen and set his gift on the counter. He opened it and though he was smiling, he raised a skeptical eyebrow at the strange looking lumpy contents of the beautifully wrapped box.

“Is this some kind of weird witch thing?” he asked, laughter in his voice.

“It’s my grandmother’s fruitcake recipe. It’s the first time I’ve ever made it,” she answered. “I thought it would be nice to share for dessert tonight. And we could take some slices to your folks this weekend. It’ll last for months,” she beamed.

“I mean, you know because this is … Yule?” he asked, wanting to get it right.

“Ummhmm,” she nodded, encouraging him.

“I meant is it, like, magic?”

She laughed and moved to cut them each a slice. “Well, if how buzzed you’re going to get from a little taste of it is any indication, then probably.”

He took the proffered bite, eyes rolling in pleasure. “Yeah, this is definitely witchcraft, of the very best kind.”

Get the recipe for Real Magic Fruit Cake in

The Twelve Days of Fic-mas – Holiday Tales With a Twist Vol. I

*****

On the second day of Fic-mas, these writers are strange; they give us Krampus and he’s not deranged …

Krampus and Saint NickLook, Ma; No Cavities

“Maybe just try to embrace it this year, man,” he said, stroking his beard, thoughtfully.

“Look, Nick, I appreciate what you’re tryin’ to do here, but c’mon. There’s no universe in which this doesn’t suck.

His friend stifled a chuckle. “You had a choice you know.”

He frowned, not that anyone could tell, what with the horns, and the twisted vile wrinkles, and lolling forked tongue. “I don’t think that’s true. If I’d said no it would have broken my father’s black heart.”

This time Nicholas chuckled openly. “I suppose that’s true. He did have a heart for the work.”

“Beating badly behaved young ones with a stick?” he asked wryly. “I supposed he did, at that.”

“Well, at least they have it coming,” Nick tried again.

The demon nodded, finally. “They do, indeed. My mother was a high school teacher. Seeing what that did to her, what she became in Hell, I suppose I should be proud of what I’m accomplishing.”

“Good man!” Nicholas laughed, patting his companion on the back. “Have some fun with it then,” he said, stepping out of their shared sleigh. The reindeer backed away from his companion and he slapped the one who snapped at his friend on the hind quarters. “Behave, now, Agueda!” he chastised. “He brings your grain every night!”

“She doesn’t know me when I wear this guise, Nicky. Don’t be too hard on her. I think the sound of the chains spooks them.”

“I suppose,” he said. But he felt badly about the expression on his friend’s face. They knew each other well enough that even in his Hellish form, Saint Nicholas could read Krampus’s face. “But you’re just doing your job.”

“I know, but … Magical or no, Nick, she’s just an animal. And they know where I come from. They can’t help but know.”

Nicholas looked a little sad for his friend. His own appointed duties were so pleasant. He wanted to cheer up this creature who set the stage for his celebration each year. “Come to the feast tonight.”

“No … I couldn’t.”

“You’d be most welcome,” he assured the demon.

“At a Heavenly feast?”

“You were appointed to be a part of it. You’ve always been welcome.”

As he started off down the first of many streets, his large, unwieldy, head nodded slowly. “Perhaps I will.”

Read the rest in The Twelve Days of Fic-mas – Holiday Tales With a Twist Vol. I

*****

On the first day of Fic-mas, these writers give to thee, a poker game in hell to see …

House Edge

“Remember the stakes,” the dealer cautioned when he saw the gleam in the current player’s eyes. “Loser is pranking Heaven. Don’t lose sight of that.”

The demon in question just tipped him a wink. “I’ll see that gold, and raise you three,” he grinned. It was a look that said he sensed the proverbial blood in the water this hand.

“Three, Al?” Naberius glared. “Fine. I call.”

“Well, Beri’s got nothing.”

Alloces’s smile grew.

“This is in the bag already.”

Melchiresa tossed her hair over her shoulder and looked down her nose across the smoke clouded table at the cocky demon leering at the rest of the gathering. “I don’t think you’ve got a damned thing in your hand. And I think this is going to be your year to send our little gag gift, Al.”

Laughter traveled around the table in a wave. Alloces narrowed his eyes at her. “Money where your mouth is, Resa.”

She laughed lightly, almost able to ignore the blond demon to her left who wasn’t even looking at his cards. He was just leaning back in his chair, resting an elbow on the arm and worrying his lip with his thumbnail, while seeming to almost look through Alloces who sat just across from him.

Resa looked over her hand dramatically. “I do believe I’ll see that, and do you one better.” A collective impressed murmur went around the table then. “Although if I lose, my gift will most certainly get under His skin. The boss’ll be so pleased.”

She tossed the gold onto the table, as though she didn’t know she was taking her rather comfortable eternity into her hands by risking a loss tonight and being the one to have to send the “gift” Above.

Everyone looked to the next demon in line to bet. He was relatively new among them and everyone was still trying to get a read on him. Something he was all too talented at making difficult. He continued to stare across the table for a moment.

Resa nudged his chair. “Ronoven, your bet.”

He didn’t respond with anything more than a creasing across his forehead.

“Ronoven! You! Ben! Pay attention!”

He glanced up, a bit taken aback. But when he answered, it was with a confidence that made his words entirely believable. “I’m thinking it over. Don’t rush me.”

He still didn’t look at his cards, but rather let his startling golden gaze travel around to the faces of each of the other players, his expression that of someone trying to do complicated math in their head and not liking the sum.

The fingers of one hand drummed against the table top for a moment. Then, in what appeared to be a snap decision, he tossed his cards onto the table. “Fold.”

“Again?” Stolas asked from across the table. “You, young Ronoven, are entirely too careful to be any fun.”

He gave an indifferent shrug and a half smile. “Sorry I give such poor entertainment value, Stoli. But you’ll notice my pile of cash isn’t dwindling half so quickly as everyone else’s. And … I watched you deal.”

He gave a significant raise of his eyebrows and a knowing smirk that caused the table to explode with accusations about the propriety of the Prince’s deck. “Damnit all, Ronoven! Look what you started!”

The demon laughed and ran a hand through his tousled hair. “I’m sorry. I’m really … Oh, you guys are too easy. There’s nothing wrong with the deal or the dealer.” He took a minute, getting his amusement down to a conversational level. “I’m just screwing with you. I don’t know any of you well enough to bet aggressively.”

“It’s just a game, Ronoven,” the Prince reminded him, sounding just a little wary of his own words.

“A game where every previous loser has lost his head and immortal soul to Lucifer’s ire after God finds the gag funnier or more useful than he was supposed to,” Ronoven returned, tapping his finger on the cards he’d cast aside. “I like my head attached, that’s all.”

Resa frowned. “Some of the gifts have done well,” she insisted. “What you’re saying … That’s not true at all.”

A blond eyebrow arched. “Isn’t it though?” He paused, thoughtful. “In fact, name one time one of Hell’s gag gifts hasn’t backfired.”

She frowned. “Well, there was …” her frowned deepened and she threw Ronoven a glare.

He smirked. “He made the platypus the freaking official mascot of Heaven, Resa!” Several of the demons laughed at that, but it was beginning to be more strained than before. “Hell’s game is so weak, I bet the Big Guy is rubbing his Almighty hands together waiting to see what we cook up next.”

Read the rest in The Twelve Days of Fic-mas – Holiday Tales With a Twist Vol. I

 

Star-of-Bethlehem

*****

July 11, 2016 ~ JF

“Write a list of 15 songs (like a mix tape) that you would use to tell someone you hate them. None of the songs can have “hate” or “you” in the title. Include links to each of the songs so people can listen to them.”

A Playlist for That Special Someone

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CSvFpBOe8eY&index=6&list=PL0520710630F13D85

July 6, 2016 ~ JF

“Write a poem, 12 rhyming lines, about getting increasingly drunk.”

Friday

Someone unqualified seems to be in charge of the jukebox,

But the bartender is a next level raven haired fox.

Do I want tequila, whiskey, vodka, gin?

You ready to pour? I’m going all in.

What’s this putrid sweet oppressive goo?

Sour Mix? In a Margarita? Honey, let me come around there and show you what to do.

Tequila, Cointreau, Lime juice, Ice, Kosher Salt.

Amateur. You tend bar like Rand writing about John Galt.

This is not chemistry, kid; it’s art, it’s alchemy.

Keep ‘em comin’ done right and when I tip I won’t be able to see.

“Whoo!” says my brain. I could do this all night!

Next morning though, tread softly and leave off the light.