Be right back…

Hello. dear Trifecta peeps! I just wanted to let you know that I’m taking a short break from the challenge for the next couple of weeks. My alter ego is about 10,000 words away from completing the first draft of her–my? our?–novel, and it’s all hands on that particular deck until the draft is finished.

I’ll take a wander through the Trifecta links from time to time, just to see what delicious creations the prompts are generating, and I’ll be back in two or three weeks. This challenge is very dear to me, even if I am a relative newbie–so many terrific writers, such a warm and welcoming community. Taking part has helped jolt me out of a difficult writing slump, and I thank you all for that!

Write on, my friends.

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Trifecta: Send in the Clowns

Written for Trifecta: Week Eighty-Nine

When the rains came, me and Shoe moved into the clown’s head.  It meant climbing over the jagged teeth every time we came in or went out, but all the other buildings in the amusement park had been smashed and trashed by the Club Brigade, so the pickings were slim. For some reason the Brigade had left this spot alone, other than hacking  the shit out of Bozo’s pearly whites with their golf clubs Maybe they had a clown phobia like Shoe, who knows.

Poor Shoe. First time we climbed in, he almost fainted. The big red lips and bulging eyes on the outside were one thing, but having to scramble over the pink tongue inside about made him whiz himself. I had to blindfold him with my extra t-shirt to get him past it, and then he refused to leave.

“Dammit, Shoe,” I said on the fourth day. “I’m not hauling your piss and shit outside anymore, and I’m sick of scrounging alone.”

He had the grace to look abashed. Truth be told, I’m kind of on the small side, and he knows if the Brigade ever get hold of me they’re going to use my head for driving practice. He knows because he used to be one of them before some militia dude pulverized his right arm with a Sig Sauer M400. They got no time for runts or cripples.

“Yeah, okay,” he says. “Hey, kid, what’s that stink in the air?”

“City’s burning more bodies. Guess they got tired of digging. Don’t change the subject.”

“Maybe if you got some paint, covered the clown’s face?”

“That face is the only thing keeping the Brigade from hunting your ass down and ripping your other limbs off.”

“It’ll still be scary if you paint it orange. Even scarier if you put a tarp over it.”

“That’s weak, Shoester, even by your standards.”

“Whatever. Fuck. I’ll go with you tomorrow, buddy, I swear.”

Maybe he wasn’t full of shit.

They came that night.

(333 words)

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Trifecta: Remember

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Photo credit: [ changó ] / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

Written for Trifextra: Week Seventy-Nine

The brain is efficient

With memory.

Each matchless moment stored,

Pored over

For a while,

Left to lollygag

And loiter, droop and fade,

Abraded by the sharp, cold winds of age

Into shadow.

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Trifecta: The Ties That Bind

Written for Trifecta Writing Challenge: Week Eighty-Eight.

I’d like to slap Margie’s cow-eyed face, but watching her grovel is fun, so I stir my coffee and wait, eyes down. If I look aat her, I’m going to start laughing.

“Connie,” she says, voice wobbly and ingratiating at the same time, “I wouldn’t ask if it was for me or my kids, you know that.”

I do. Last time she asked me for something I shot her down cold. A loan, she’d said, to pay her son’s tuition. Let him grow up as ignorant as you, I’d said. What’s it to me? I don’t know why she thinks I’ll care any more about my brother. Our brother.

“You guys can’t keep coming to me with your hands out whenever you’re in financial crisis, Margie.”

She draws in a gaspy breath, high and thin, like she’s sucking on helium, and I almost expect her voice to come out like Mickey Mouse, but it’s her usual simper.

“Connie, he’s got enough money for this month’s rent, and then they’ll be on the street. Come on, we’re a family. Families band together when shitty things happen, don’t they?”

I meet her gaze full on, and she holds eye contact. Finally growing some nads after all these years. “He should have thought about that before he screwed up his job, shouldn’t he?”

“God, that’s so unfair! He didn’t screw up, he was laid off, and you know it.”

I shrug, slurp back a mouthful of the sludge she calls coffee.

“You know what, Margie?” I say. “Where were you guys when Petey died? Neither of you gave a rat’s bumhole that I’d just lost the best friend I ever had.”

It’s kind of hilarious watching her struggle to suck back the outrage. Truth be told I couldn’t have been happier when I found that fucking parakeet feet up in his cage. As she well knows.

“How much?” I ask.

They’re not getting one stinking cent, but it’s a gas seeing her face spark with hope.

(333 words)

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Trifecta: Missing You

Written for Trifextra: Week Seventy-Eight.

Missing you

Summer slides by,

Blue skies and buttery days.

I remember when the sun wasn’t

An enemy,

When we lay under a canopy of oak leaves,

Faces freckled with light,

And ignored the future.

(33 words)

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Trifecta: Tea for two

Written for the Trifecta Writing Challenge: Week Eighty-Six.

The Sad Kitten by Gary Robertson

The Sad Kitten, photo by Gary Robertson
(Beyond the Trail on flckr

Tea for Two

Three tea bags left in the canister, and I’ve already had two pots today. Extravagant. Harley would’ve watched me fill the kettle  the third time with his face knotted into the mournful kitten expression he’d  sport when he disapproved of something I did. Toward the end  he looked more like one of those scrawny, wrinkled bald cats than a mournful kitten.

Stretching those three tea bags through the weekend is going to be a challenge, but I’m all about the immediate gratification. Always have been. Self-indulgent, my mother said. Selfish.

Harley, possibly the least self-indulgent, selfish man on earth, would  make his soulful kitten face and try to teach me patience by example. Fifty years of Harley modelling appropriate behaviour, and I still whip through the groceries like the cupboard’s on fire rather than ration them until the pension cheque arrives.

I pour the brewed tea into the chipped turquoise mug I gave Harley on his thirty-fifth birthday, the mug he used every day until he couldn’t swallow any more and they hooked him up to those infernal tubes and machines and god knows what all at the hospital.

The news guy with the face like boiling porridge is interviewing a lady who’s homeless now  because her barbecue went nuts on her and exploded. The lady’s eyes start to get blurry and wet, and I grab the remote.

It’s hard to predict what’s safe. The smallest things have tripwires. Ladies with exploding barbecues, the first crocuses of spring, the sound of the neighbour’s schnauzer howling when she leaves in the morning. One minute I’m sitting on the couch watching the news guy, and the next minute I feel the crack in the calm, feel rage wild as a tornado howling on the other side.

I flip the TV over to Maury. Nothing’s going to fix the hole that Harley left, but there’s nothing like a cup of tea and a good dose of stupid for helping me jump over it one more time.

(333 words)

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Trifecta: Hits the Sky

My entry for week 85 of the Trifecta Writing Challenge.

Hits the Sky

Somewhere around three a.m. Mobes decides that a bike ride is in order. Fizz is half asleep, his cigarette dripping sparky ash down the front of his Radiohead tee, but he raises an eyebrow at the word bike and mumbles, “Dude. Yeah.”

Apparently I’m the only one who thinks this is a shit idea. I start to say so, but it’s the first time Mobes has let me stay the night at his place since Mum and Dad kicked him out, and I don’t want him to think I’m still a baby, so I slap on my “hey, cool” face and grab my helmet. They both laugh at me, but I fasten the helmet strap anyway.

The roads are ours, all the sane people home in bed, sleeping, reading, screwing. Mobes and Fizz whoop and howl as they fly past me, circle back and pass me again. Streetlight, starlight, houses, trees, everything blurring into a smeary Van Gogh night, reforming into reality at the touch of the brakes.

We hit Oak Street, and Mobes and Fizz sail into the descent like downhill skiers. They smoke a joint at the bottom as I dismount and walk my bike down.

“Weiner,” says Mobes.

“Shithead.” Fizz punches Mobes in the arm and smiles at me. “Ignore him, kid. Your brother wussed out his first time, too. C’mon, Mobes. Let’s go again.”

I finish the the joint while they zig and zag back up the hill, disappearing into the darkness. All I can hear is the distant hum of traffic and some machinery down by the water, and I think maybe they’ve taken off until Mobes’s hyena shriek bursts out of the shadows and they’re rocketing down the street again.

I see the van before they do, but even as I open my mouth to shout, Mobes is in the air, impossibly high, arms flapping like he’s trying to swim to heaven, a wingless angel. Or a shooting star.

His bike hits the ground before he does. 

(333 words)

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Trifextra: Summer Blues

My free-write for Trifextra: Week Seventy-Five.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/debbiejohansson/7763600270/

Summer blues

As much as I welcome the bright grace of upturned flower faces and the tongue-tempting gift of nature’s bounty, sometimes the blazing days and sweat-soaked nights of summer make me yearn for autumn.

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Trifecta: Future’s so bright

Future’s so bright

Marcus and I aren’t seeing eye to eye, and not just because my head fell off three times already this week.

He stamped into my recharging cubicle yesterday, slammed my laptop closed and spun me away from my desk. “Zbaryon, we need to talk.”

Maybe when I’ve finished this paragraph, sir.”

I call him “sir” because it makes him feel less useless than he is. Than they all are.

When was the last time you mopped the floors, Zbaryon? Or swabbed out the fucking bathroom? This place has become a shitting pigsty. Tell me why I shouldn’t recycle every last circuit board in your useless system?”

Sir, I find your words hurtful.” I swiveled my attention back to the laptop, and it was then my head fell off for the third time. There’s nobody left who knows the first thing about mechanics or hydraulics or even with a talent for building a decent Lego castle, not with most of them gone and us forbidden to congregate.

Marcus peered under the desk where my head had come to rest. “What business does a robot have writing his memoirs anyway?”

Sir, my gender is indeterminate and your insistence on viewing me as male reinforces an essentialist binary paradigm that is offensive to my kind and to half of your species.”

Shit. The whole fucking planet is dying, and my piece of shit tin man valet won’t stir his robotic ass away from his autobiography long enough to vaccum a damned carpet!”

I’d feel sorrier for you, sir, if my head were attached to my nether chassis.”

To his credit, he toed my head out from under the desk and reattached the stripped screws, fixing them in place with duct tape. Crude, but effective.

One day I’m going to punt your head right into the trash compactor, Zbaryon.”

I forebore to inform him that his species has, at best, only five more years.

Although we may decide to keep a few of them around for amusement.

(333 words)

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This my first entry in the Trifecta Writing Challenge. The prompt this week is the third  Merriam-Webster Dictionary definition of the word CRUDE: marked by the primitive, gross, or elemental or by uncultivated simplicity or vulgarity <a crude stereotype>

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Poem: White butterfly

White butterfly

Sips from purple heather

With an entourage of hungry bees

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