Posted in Creative Writing

SUPERBLOOM

There once was a boy named Rain who grew up in an apartment with no backyard, in a city where the parks were paved in asphalt. At 20, Rain worked in a tattoo shop, his arms and neck covered in ink. After ages of studying to be the shop’s resident body piercer, he estimated he had pierced 29 nipples, 34 septum, 8 earlobes, 14 lips, and some other body parts, he tried not to picture when he closed his eyes. When Rain was four years old, his father disappeared mysteriously, leaving behind a packet of flower seeds. 

The packet of seeds was a great novelty in the little apartment, where boiled rice was eaten on an unvacuumed carpet in front of an ancient TV with a wire hanger sticking out. Missing his father, Rain slept with the seeds under his pillow at night, pulling it out to examine the grainy picture of bright orange flowers now and again. The packet with its picture served as a message from afar; yes, this was an image of the place Rain’s father had gone. He fell asleep and dreamt of great fields of bright orange poppies, and his father, wading through them, far away. 

At midnight, one month before his 21st birthday, Rain boarded a plane to Barcelona. He left behind his job, his friends, his apartment. He took enough clothes to last for two weeks and he took the packet of seeds, which he was no longer keeping under his pillow for fear the paper would disintegrate. Arriving in Barcelona was like cutting into a wedge of stinky European cheese, or opening a fresh can of mediterranean tuna, or biting into a Spanish olive for the first time: the feelings were intense, robust, undeniable. And for the first time, the thought entered his mind that he would like to open his little packet of poppy seeds, and plant them. 

The years passed, and Rain was quite satisfied with his new life and his surroundings. There was the familiar concrete jungle in all directions; however, in this new land it was peppered with beautiful stained-glass windows and art nouveau ironworks. There was an underground railway system which could transport him to the Parc Guell — as close to nature as he had ever been in his lifetime. In this magical park, there were no straight angles; only curves, “as nature,” and the architect who designed the park, intended. The centerpiece of it all was a sprawling “placa,” where the tourists gathered. They came from all corners of the earth to take in the whimsical mosaic swirls of benches and scenic overlooks. Everything was plastered in shards of bright color that seemed to have fallen directly from the artist’s imagination. 

The primary color in Rain’s imagination had always been a searingly bright orange. It was the color of a thousand poppies in the sun when he saw his father again. He thought about the poppies as he counted his years in Barcelona on his fingers: one, two, three, four… five. Soon, he feared, he would be 27 — the age of his father when he left — and the curse of time would overtake him. And he had yet to meet his father!

He set out to form a plan. He knew he had to solve the mystery of his father’s disappearance and reunite with him before midnight on his 27th birthday. This was the most urgent plan, since it had the potential to save him from repeating his father’s mistakes… or falling prey to the same unfortunate-seeming destiny. When he accomplished this, he would part with the poppy seeds, and plant them in the field where they would live forever. 

The sky growled, opened up, and began to heave terrible sobs. Normally Rain would have noticed the gravity of this storm, but on this day, his head was full of its own clouds. All he saw was a shower and some puddles, and he pulled his peacoat over his black hair and hurried down the little hill that marked Parc Guell’s entrance toward the Metro station. His thoughts were careful and warm; he thought of so many scenarios in which he would find his father, what he would say, do. 

He never wondered how it would feel: he knew. Like a field full of poppies. And then Rain died. He was hit by a railcar while walking across the tracks. His eyes could not see what was right in front of him, because they were filled with the images of the orange poppies. When he fell over, the packet of seeds spilled from his hand, its wilted paper torn by the blow of the fall. Seeds scattered onto the concrete and into the railroad tracks. Passersby could make out a faint orange image clutched in the palm of Rain’s hand.  

Posted in Creative Writing

Strange Fruit

The boy turned up on her sofa one afternoon while she was out picking grapefruits. It wasn’t Ivy’s grapefruit tree. Her neighbor had prolific fruit trees which smelled of tequila and ceviche and which made her dizzy, because of her allergies. Ivy was driven by intoxication to pick the low-hanging grapefruit, which dipped over the red wooden back fence and into her yard. Not that her yard was barren: she had cultivated a beautiful garden of cacti and stones. A “desert landscape,” the magazines called it.
It was in this state of parched drunkenness that Ivy climbed down her staircase — catching a splinter in her bare foot from the worn wood on the way down — and limped out into the rocky terrain of her garden. She was accustomed to walking barefoot on the warm stones that covered the ground. A nice kind of massage, she thought. And she massaged her feet all the way to the back of the yard where the red fence stood, wincing whenever she stepped on the splintered part of her heel.
The neighbor’s grapefruits were forever plopping into her garden. They lived there unnoticed for weeks before she came upon one on the ground and was forced to clean up the unpleasant mix of rot and flies. Ivy had taken to picking the fruit in hopes of avoiding that sorry situation. But, like when she vowed to wear sunscreen every day before going out, or when she promised to visit her parents at their beach house once a month, her best-laid plans often went awry.
On the day the boy appeared, Ivy picked two pieces of fruit. One she would eat this afternoon, with sugar. The other she would save for later when she would cut up a steak and sautee it in the grapefruit’s juice and a little soy sauce. Little clusters of pleasure in her brain were lighting up at the thought when she returned into the house through the back door. She went to cut the bigger piece of fruit in half, anticipating: Tequila. Salt. It smelled like dinner on the beach in Cozumel.
“Mmm mmm mmm,” she said to no one as she grabbed a plate and a spoon and limped into the living room to flip on the TV.
And so she saw him.

Posted in Creative Writing

BangCrash

There was a crash. It was more silent than a dream. As if nothing had happened at all, whole words reshaped themselves unnoticeably, right under men’s beards and women’s mustaches. Nobody spoke. Or, if they did, the sound was mute. The force was so strong it erased all sense. Afterward, it took months for things to be sorted again. When they did, the world was different. Things had a different shape: buildings were lopsided, roads had new curves. They had to put up a series of new hazard signs to protect people from the possibility of it happening again.

 

The universe started with a bang.

Posted in Creative Writing

Peacocks

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There was a party once. It started fashionably late. Very glamourous people gathered at an ordinary house and ate pizza. They spoke plainly about the lives of common people and unless you knew to look, you would think they were dressed as everyone did in those days. They got away with their charade for a long time; until one day they turned into peacocks. They were all male birds.

A burst of energy shot through the room. A picture fell off the wall, its glass frame crumbling on the carpet. Someone rushed to clean it up. Guests covered their mouths with their napkins. Women fell off their high heels. Two toddlers crashed into one another.

They had all turned into bright blue peacocks. Some fanned their tails right away; others slumped their long necks down to the ground, ashamed of their transformation. The brave tried to fly home across the backyard swimming pool.

As a group, they moved to the arboretum in Arcadia where they continue to wander. You will see them around the area, stomping on front lawns, still thinking themselves more special than the people who live there. They will even stop traffic in various attempts to get someone to notice their predicament, anyone who might be able to reverse the spell. But who would believe a wild peacock’s story?

Posted in Creative Writing

The Cool Guys

12:00, time to wake up. If it’s 12 PM, I shower, pull on my worn-in black yoga pants and a sleeveless black cotton shirt (normally with some kind of 70s concert logo on it.) I drive my big black SUV to The Coffee Bean. The people sitting at the tables out front say hi when they see me. There’s Judy with her little white dog, Satre. There’s Mike with his laptop, working on a screenplay. Those two are here every day, like me. I saunter by them without stopping. I am aware that most people think it is the middle of the afternoon, but for me, the day is still nascent, and it moves in fits and starts.

“Large Red Eye over ice, coming up! Hi Marisa.” The barista gives me a nod. She knows my order — it’s the same thing every day. A large iced coffee with three espresso shots. A real bartender’s drink. When it’s ready, I take it and go outside with the regulars– put on my sunglasses, take my seat and let the sun do its thing.

It takes me two hours or so to down the Red Eye. Finally feeling alive, I hop back into my SUV and head over to Gold’s Gym on Gower. It feels like everyone there is famous, but in truth only some actually are. The guy from last year’s big holiday movie works out there, and the lady that starred as Tina Turner, and the guy who was really famous as a kid on that big TV show — he’s really nice. I like to go places where I’m “famous,” where everyone recognizes me and my attitude. I walk on the treadmill for half an hour, giving a cursory nod to the new girl who is running on the treadmill next to me. She is looking at me like I’m a rock star. Of course, I know who she is right away — we all know each other in this town — she works at the shop where I buy my 70s concert Ts. I make a quick decision to remain silent and maintain my allure until she leaves.

That’s my 12 PM routine.

If the alarm goes off and it says 12 AM, I get up and shower, put on other, cooler black clothing, put up my long, black white-girl dreadlocks in a cool way (unlike the messy ponytail I wear to The Coffee Bean and the gym,) and drive a couple miles to Akbar. I pour drinks, schmooze all night, and make a killing in tips. Everyone thinks they’re my best friend. The gays are good tippers — Akbar is a gay bar, but only for the youngest, hippest, and most alternative. You know what the boys like to say there: no tank tops allowed! If you like tank tops and Cher, go farther west, that’s what they’ll tell you. My bar is for the cool guys.

Posted in Creative Writing

Nothing Really Does Compare: I

The air was thick as cheese, and he wanted to slice into it and release even more of the pungent aroma of the downtown Barcelona evening. It didn’t stink there, it was just humid, and noisy – with Spanish ‘motos’ whizzing by, leaving trails of exhaust only the Italians in the crowd didn’t seem to mind. The scent of a row of tapas bars that extended as far as the eye could see was at once intoxicating and slightly sickening. It was a never-ending story of tapas bars on Las Ramblas, here at the center of it all.

Rain arrived this morning on the red-eye from London, but he was no Englishman; he was a working-class American kid, just 20. One day about a week ago, a guy came into the tattoo shop where he worked in Detroit and talked about how traveling was the greatest thing a man could do. This man planted a seed. Rain realized that his tattoo-savings were enough to buy an impulsive one-way ticket to paradise. At home, he googled for about 20 minutes before deciding to move to Barcelona. He sold all his stuff in a matter of days and, his pockets lined with cash, set off to find himself.

He figured he would stay about five years, but he didn’t know if he would bother to learn Spanish. Who needed it? He was an American – everyone wanted to practice their English on him, anyway. This morning when he got here, he found a job in a tattoo shop. He was just walking down the street casually, not talking to anyone in not-Spanish, and he saw a cool-looking shop, so he stuck his head in to see what the guys were like. God knows he wasn’t thinking of getting a job, not that he believed in God.

But that was the way it went. They became fast friends, they joked around, and in a couple of hours, he was employed– in Barcelona. He inhaled: he could say he really lived here. He exhaled: he could stay. In a few short hours, his plan had worked. He saw that he had tended to the seed properly, and now, it would begin to sprout.

Posted in Creative Writing

#FridayFictioneers: D is for Dome

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#FridayFictioners write a 100-word, complete story based on their response to a photo.

This week’s prompt:

rogers-skylight

“Is this where the humans live?”

“Well…”

“Is this where they are born?”

“No, this is where they grow, before that.”

“Do they grow from the lamp light or the window light?”

“Both, I think.”

“So, this is what it looks like.” He exhaled the scent of feces and rotting fruit and inhaled a pure, crystalline dew.

“This place reminds me of Nancy.” A little shake. “She was like this.”

They sat together in a silent awe, staring at the impossible ceiling.

“Let’s go out and get a new one.”

“It’s not that easy. They’re not all so…”


#FridayFictioners is hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields at Addicted to Purple.

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Posted in Creative Writing

Book Review: For the Love of The Goddess #ChicLit

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This is a story with only one fault.
Gods and humans clash.
They want to own a thing that’s powerful.
They suffer, they show courage, they lie.
They squeeze mandrakes.
They get revelations.
It is a story with one fault only:

You want it to never end…

Welcome to Lady F’s world – the kind of place where almanacs filled with ancient spells sit on dusty bookshelves, surrounded by crystals and charms most people don’t know how to use anymore. A place that welcomes the curious to tempt fate. Here, an “almost wizard” named Ashton Rowan pursues Freya, the great Goddess of Love, Attraction and Sex– and rightful owner of the precious Brisingamen.

“When the Brisingamen graces your neck, no one can resist your charms.”

But Ashton has an ulterior motive for contacting Freya—he needs her help with his love life. He is infatuated with Vivienne Chantel, a passionate woman who…

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Posted in Creative Writing

#FridayFictioneers: “Rapunzel’s New Hairstyle”

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“It’s Not What You Look at that Matters, its What You See.” –Henry David Thoreau

#FridayFictioneers write a 100-word, complete story based on their response to a photo.

This week’s prompt:

stone-house

PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Rapunzel’s New Hairstyle

“Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your… where’s your hair?”

“Prince! I’m here! I got a new hairstyle, just for you!”

“But Rapunzel, you’ll be trapped! Now how will you let down your golden hair?”

Afraid of the witchy stepmother’s return, Prince began to climb the big tree which had grown alongside the tower for a century.

When he touched the second branch, it’s leaves turned brown and orange. By the time he reached the top, the tree was strewn with golden threads.

Prince tossed a handful of the shimmering silk through the window to Rapunzel, who gladly climbed down its rope.

word count: 100


From Rapunzel by The Grimm Brothers

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