William James… 111 Words

 
 

111 Words of Anything Goes

 

Azalea ran the numbers though Katz’s equation. Pushed the button. The machine clanged three times. The jackpot was hers.

Terry was in the playroom plugging tokens into the high-stakes claw machine. He maneuvered the claw over the thousand dollar bill, but won three butt plugs instead. Each time he grabbed his prize out of the slot, he shouted, “Look folks, another cliché!”

Azalea got careless. She was hauled out of the casino in chains.

Terry wrestled with the cops. He got a black eye. Later a sore bottom.

Katz was the big cheese of the operation. His brainiac hacks worked every time.

He kept himself out of danger with cunning schemes.

 

Copyright © 2014 by William James Lindberg

 
 
 
 
 
 

Carla Blaschka… Robbing Love

 
 
 

Robbing Love

 
       “He’s a racist.”
       “No, he’s not.”
       “Yes, he is. You told me he has White Pride tattooed on his chest. His very nickname means “Hi, I’m a racist.”
       “Look, he no longer goes by Bubba. His name meant White Obscurity. His name meant he who lived in the hills back of Northern-White-Water where I’m gonna go hiking. Now his name is Daniel, which means my friend.”
      Justin laughed and wrapped his arms around her neck, mashing her face against his chest. “Alright, but you need to be careful. I don’t want you to come back and vote Republican.”
      She gave him a nip and pushed away. “God forbid.”
      He gave her an affectionate slap on her ass as they parted.
      Before she left she called the newspaper office and got the weekend service. It gave her the info she hoped for. Throughout that day, Standard Island kept traveling between Kahoolawe and Maui, but that night it would be at anchor. Her rubber dinghy knocked against the island’s bumper and she was helped on board by security. Tonight it was Robbie. She said Hi! and asked to see her mother.
      She hadn’t visited in quite a while. Her mother’s short brown hair had more streaks of gray than Val remembered, but otherwise she looked the same. Her mother offered her some peach ginger hot chocolate.
      She wrapped her fingers around the cup and inhaled the steam. “How are you?” she asked after the initial pause to catch up and test the emotional waters.
       “I’m fine. John’s fine. We’re doing well,” her mother said. “Our harvests are doing well.”
      Val nodded in acknowledgement of the message that her mother was happy with her new friend.
       “How about you? Still seeing Bubba?”
       “Daniel, Mom, his name is Daniel, and he is working as a mechanic.”
       “Of course,” her mother murmured.
      Val frowned at her.
       “We’re O.K., we see each other a lot but, I don’t know, that’s what I wanted to talk to you about.”
      She got an eyebrow raise.
       “I’m pregnant. Twins.”
       “Daniel’s?”
       “No.”
      Mom fired both eyebrows at her. “Who then?”
       “I don’t know.” She paused to get her voice under control.
      Her mother waited.
       “I went to a bar, woke up in the back seat of my car. I knew something had happened, but I didn’t…”, another pause. “I just let it go. I wasn’t hurt. It seems foolish now but I didn’t know what happened, so I didn’t say anything and now, well, here I am.”
       “Are you going to…?”
       “No, but I don’t know…I just wanted to…”
       “See how badly I wanted to be a grandmother?”
      She nodded.
      Her mother came over to sit beside her and put her arms around her. “I’m so sorry this happened. It’s going to be all right, we’ll see to that.” Her voice was low, the kind you use to soothe a baby. They rested like that for a bit.
       “Any child…” her mom said then corrected herself, “any children of yours are welcome in my life, in our life. But I think not knowing who the father is is going to eat at you, and probably the kids too. We’ll figure out a plan, do you mind if I tell the people on the island?”
      Val shook her head. Val considered them all her family.
       “One thing,” her mom went on, “do you agree the person did a bad thing and shouldn’t do it again?”
      Val nodded.
       “Then I think we need to file a report. When the babies are born, maybe we can get them to run a DNA check against their database. Honey,” and here her mother went all delicate, “how sure are you that you are pregnant because of this? Could it be someone else…?”
      Val shook her head again. “I was at that bar because Bubba…Daniel and I had broken up a month before and I wanted to get out of the house.”
       “O.K., I see. Well, finding out wouldn’t hurt, no matter what happens after that.”
      Two beautiful babies were born, a boy and a girl. Daniel stepped up and asked Val to marry him. Tests were done. Val wished she hadn’t. She didn’t want to know this, ever, but she went to the jail to confront Justin, her friend.
       “Why?”
      His face turned into a mask of frustration and hate. “You were willing to fuck that racist but not me? What the hell is wrong with you?”
      Tears streaked Val’s face as she leaned forward and whispered, “What the hell is wrong with you?”
 

Copyright © 2017 by Carla Blaschka

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Carla Blaschka… Time for the Trump Talk

 
 
 

Time for the Trump Talk

 
      It was officially Rainier Beer’s R Day and they were within sight of the village before the thought of Pelham Ravenshaw occurred to shatter my peace of mind, again.
      I had talked the pub’s owner into stocking some of this exotic American beer, so beloved of Seattleites. I promised I’d buy everyone a round in return to make it profitable.
      We had gotten an early start; we wanted good seats to watch the soccer game later and the conversation had gotten around to movies we had seen.
      Eli, 3:22 p.m. “I am completely lost. Why are we talking about banning movies?”
      Me, 3:23 p.m. “To avoid molestation.”
      3:24 p.m. Evelyn choked on her tea and hastily set the cup down. Not a big beer drinker, Evelyn, but a huge soccer fan. “What?”
      Me. 3:25 p.m. “You heard me. I was groped at a movie once when I was 13 and I don’t want it to happen to Angie. She’s going out with the horny Pelham and I don’t know if I should have the Trump Talk now or later.”
      Evelyn, 3:27 p.m. “How do you know he’s horny?”
      Me, 3:28 p.m. “He’s 16,” I said.
      Both Eli and Evelyn gave me a ‘Oh, of course’ look – a raised brow and a tilt sideways tilt of the head in agreement.
      “Dealing with that crap is something all girls have to learn.” Eli said soberly.
      I nodded but held my glass with fingers locked tight. I didn’t want Angie to have to learn it but I had a hard secret myself. As much as I didn’t want a stranger to grope my daughter against her will. That was exactly the kind of behavior I had given my boyfriend permission to do. I liked him grabbing my tits, making them his. He had a pass at all hours to do so. It excited me, not knowing when it was coming and he seemed to like it. It was a double standard, I knew. No wonder we still struggled with it. The lines between for ‘real’ and for ‘play’ can get very blurred, easily confused. Do I give up my sexual fantasies or trust my guy can figure out the difference?
      3:40 p.m. Angie came in. It was time.
 

Copyright © 2017 by Carla Blaschka

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

David Christopher la Terre… Cynical Internet Pundit & Dead Jester

 

Cynical Internet Pundit & Dead Jester

we are being led. even the grumpy, cynical internet pundit – s/he’ll go kicking & hackneyed – but led down the same path to the same pit that history half-recorded: for the wits had their glasses shot off, & all the sportos were in charge of cargo transport. the goon squad is reborn everyday in learning institutions & halls of government. i painted myself as a satyr but still made bids with ATMs & communication companies, as head-nodding Heaven & organ-failure Hell looked on .. even this pendant life doesn’t accept characters or emoticons on their .docs. we didn’t make the template. we just went down the hole

dead jester: send more jesters. send a variety of shop-sink malbec with talons in spirituality & survivalist mediocrity. is this gonna be the matt damon version or the gary cooper version of floating literatzi bogem? a car is a salute is a hamburger. love comes slowly like an annual teetering orbit & we munch on panini mango in the channel-separation. hail, here comes the coolie retail chain blocked-hat. Caveat Bipedum; IED in the afterlife Barneys party dress parade ~ i walked out of the experimental film of my life .. this ‘anteroom’ smells like cliched embryonic buzz.

 

David Christopher la Terre is an old punk, advertising brat, artist, writer, hit-and-run orator, humorist, exfilmmaker, “asexual icon” and sentimental Modernist pursuing work in new formats, hybrids, language arts, Sound Poetry, decon, “post-mod,” prank-art … ‘living satire’ … he has been published in the Slate, Spleen, Lost & Found Times, Rag Mag, Roar Shock, Open Minds & Monkeybicycle.

 
 
 

 
 
 

 
 
 

Guinotte Wise… High Bridge

 

High Bridge

He was scared shitless, up this high. But he was scared not to come up, off balance with the bucket of bolts, a drift pin and a wrench. The steelworkers above him placed angle-iron sides and he put the cross pieces on, an X, stuck the drift pin in a hole to secure it while he bolted the open holes. Then he’d tap the pin out, bolt that hole. Three inch angle iron was his footing. Climb up the X, do another one. No one used harnesses. It never occurred to him. OSHA was not a factor in the 1950’s.

He’d heard about steeplejacks and mountain climbers just letting go, relaxing backward to gravity, falling without a sound, no yelling. It was a rapture of some sort, a fuck you to fear. They gave themselves to the monster.

The wind was wilder up here. His hard hat blew off. He grabbed for it reflexively and lost his footing for an instant before he hooked an elbow on the X, hugging it while he watched the metal hat fall. The hard hat turned over and over in seeming slow motion as it fell, smaller and smaller: he saw it hit the deck a hundred feet below, a hundred and fifty, bounce off the plate steel, into the water, flashing in the sun. A couple of men tying steel below looked up, shading their eyes.

He left his bucket hooked to the X, climbed down X by X, slowly, shaking. When he got to the bottom he fell forward on all fours. He saw the foreman’s Red Wing boots, heard his voice, lowered so only he could hear, “You don’t like working high, you don’t have to, son. Hell, I got welders who won’t get up on a stepladder.”

 

Guinotte Wise has been a creative director in advertising most of his working life. A staid museum director once called him raffish, which he enthusiastically embraced. (the observation, not the director) Of course, he took up writing fiction.

Copyright © 2015 by So-in-so