Thursday, March 25, 2010

Scattered Pearls - #fridayflash

Tap. Tap. Tap.

Warm air lapped the back of his neck, blowing through from the open window behind him.

Tap. Tap. Tap.

Traffic sounds, voices and a far off siren carried on the breeze, but he could only hear the fireworks that had lit up the night as they watched from the Pont des Arts.

Tap. Tap. Tap.

The dazzling lights in the sky had momentarily captivated them, but only briefly. They had faced each other, fingers entwined, sharing a single thought. She smiled and he knew.

Tap. Tap. Tap.

They kissed. Their lips touched, tenderly at first, then parted and fiercely pressed together as their tongues danced.

Tap. Tap. Tap.

He pulled away so he could see her smile. He made a promise to himself that this was all he would live for, to see that look of joy on her face and her teeth shining behind ruby red lips.

Tap. Tap. Tap.

All that was left were the mementos on the table before him.

Tap. Tap. Tap.

A slim stack of photographs...

Tap. Tap. Tap.

...the letter she had left on his pillow...

Tap. Tap. Tap.

...the scale model of the Eiffel Tower, a souvenir of their trip to Paris...

Tap. Tap. Tap.

...her dried blood on one corner of the base.


And a small enamelled tin.


He caressed the sides of the tin, turning it gently with his fingertips. He lifted it and emptied the contents into the palm of his right hand. After a brief pause to admire them, one by one he dropped the teeth back into the tin.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Four Litres, Single Malt (rated M) #fridayflash

Daniel passed the rack of VHS tapes with flesh-coloured covers on his way to the back stairs that led to their room. The dust was thick on the cassettes. Nobody bought VHS, but everyone knew Kosmo, the owner and Daniel's landlord, conducted his real business under the counter in every sense.

"Hey, pretty boy!" Kosmo had spotted him. "Hey, you got my rent tomorrow, or maybe make deal with your girlfriend, huh? We boom boom, pretty boy, yes?"

"I'll let you know, Kosmo," Daniel said. "But I think she might already be fucking your mother tomorrow. How about the day after?"

"No good, pretty boy. That is day we fuck, remember?"

Daniel tapped the side of his head. "How could I forget."

"I fooling with you, Danny. I want my money, okay? No trouble, yes?"

"Sure thing, Kosmo. No trouble."

After climbing the stairs, Daniel let himself into the room. Nancy was still in bed, the sheet pulled down to her waist. He could see the beads of sweat between her breasts. Her skin was gray and she hardly moved her head to acknowledge him.

"Still in bed?" Daniel asked.

"I'm sick," Nancy replied. She groaned.

"You spent a week pumping soap powder into your veins, Nance. I'm all for the fun, sweetie, but when you get so wrecked that you wake up covered in rat piss with most of your toes chewed off, it's time to re-evaluate whether you're on the wrong road."

"They're growing back."

"But what about the poor little rats, Nancy? Imagine how sick they'll be after choking down your poisonous flesh."

"Don't be an asshole. I'm sick."

He hardly recognised the girl that had turned his head years earlier. Long, lustrous brown hair, wide eyes and apple cheeks that begged to be kissed. She was a sucked-in shadow of what he remembered.

"I'm going out again," Daniel said. "Mister Tree wants to talk to me."

"Why?" Nancy sat up. "Be careful. Don't let him mess with your head, Danny. You know what he'll do."

"T likes me, sweetie. Don't worry."

"Sure, he likes YOU." Nancy threaded her fingers together and bit on her lower lip. "You're not the wicked whore that corrupted one of their toy soldiers."

"It'll be fine," Daniel said. "But for God's sake do something with yourself while I'm gone. Kosmo wants to fuck you for the rent money tomorrow."

"Oh, so somebody is still interested in me?" Nancy laughed harshly.


Daniel arrived at Mister Tree's apartment and waited in front of the door. He didn't knock. A couple of minutes later a light-skinned black man opened the door. He was holding a Siamese kitten against his shoulder with his left hand, and extended his right hand to Daniel, who shook it.

"Good to see you, Danny" Mister Tree said. "I hope you know I'm still your friend."

"Good to see you too, T," Danny replied. "I appreciate you saying that."

"I'm in the middle of something here, Danny. Can we talk in the kitchen?"

"Sure," Daniel said. He followed Mister Tree to the kitchen.

"Tom asked me to help sort out your predicament." Mister Tree set the kitten on the kitchen counter top and hunkered down to search through a floor level cupboard. "He wants you back in the family. Truly, I know he means it."

The kitten peered over the edge of the counter, judging the distance to the floor. Mister Tree glanced up in time to spot it, stood and gently swatted it back to the middle of the counter. The kitten wrapped its front  paws about his thick finger and chewed on his knuckle. Mister Tree chuckled, disengaged his hand and went back to the cupboard. Immediately the kitten was perched at the edge again. Daniel sighed noisily. He scooped up the cat.

"So what's the catch?" Daniel asked. The kitten climbed his chest and rubbed its head against the crook of his neck.

Mister Tree emerged from the cupboard holding a blender. He placed it on the counter top. "I told you he wants you back, but there's a price."

"There's always a price," Daniel said. "So what's he want?"

"Four litres of blood," Mister Tree said, his head was bent, investigating the tangle of wires behind the wall of appliances that lined the counter top.

"Not a problem," Daniel said. "I can have it inside an hour."

"Not just anybody's blood, Danny, he wants the good stuff. Four litres, single malt. No blends. He'll know."

"Don't fuck me around, T. You're saying he wants my blood?"

"Maybe." Mister Tree shrugged.

"What do you mean?" Daniel asked.

"Maybe your blood, or... do I really need to spell it out, Danny boy?" Mister Tree unplugged the microwave so he could plug in the blender.

"No, T, I guess you don't. He hates her and he thinks I'll betray her. He's an idiot. I won't do it."

"You're gonna have to do it, or he'll hunt the both of you down. It'll get ugly for you, Danny." Mister Tree threw the switch on the blender. The grinding cacophony made the kitten tense against Daniel's chest. He flinched as it sunk its claws into him. Mister Tree turned off the blender, looking satisfied. Daniel stroked the kitten, whispering softly to it, calming it down.

"Give me the cat," Mister Tree said, holding his hand out to Daniel.

"What the fuck you gonna do with it?" Daniel demanded.

"I'm not doing anything to that damn cat. You're agitated, spooking it, and I have to make his formula."

"His what?" Danny asked.

"His formula... baby milk. I asked if they had any for cats but the stupid woman acted like I was crazy."

"You don't feed them baby milk, T. They get cow milk, or cat food. You know, tins."

"Oh no, gorgeous! Tried it. That shit is evil-smelling." Mister Tree said, wrinkling his face in disgust.

"Mister Tree, I may not know much about cats but I know you need to feed them better than powdered milk."

"You don't know shit better than shit, you young fool. Do you know if big Tom has someone across town making the same offer to your girl? You so sure she won't know a good deal when she hears one?"

"I don't know what that crazy bitch thinks about anything, any more." Daniel shook his head.

"So maybe there's your answer, Danny. It's you or the girl. Be sensible." Mister Tree gestured for him to hand over the cat.

Daniel held the kitten tight against his chest, stroking its head. He felt the throb of contentment as the little animal purred, its eyes closed. He didn't want to let it go.


The blood that had pooled in her navel still felt warm as he lowered his face against her belly to lap at it. He pressed his face against her, sliding his cheek along her cold flesh up to her breast where he caught a nipple between bloody lips.

Nancy giggled. "I feel better, Danny. Is there enough blood left for Thomas?"

Daniel surrendered his grip on her teat and looked up at her face. She looked better, her face showing a little colour. "Not remotely. We got greedy, sweetheart." The mischievous grin she gave him, showed that she already knew the answer.

"Okay Danny, so the next guy Thomas sends, we drain and send him the blood. Think that'll get him off our backs?"

"I don't think that offer is on the table any more, sweetie."

A noise made Nancy cock her head. "What was that?"

Daniel lay across her so he could scoop something from the floor. He dropped it on her belly.

Four sets of tiny claws tickled her skin as the kitten walked towards her face. She moaned when it paused to run its pink sandpaper tongue across her nipple, licking away a trace of blood.

Daniel kissed her on the cheek. "Surprise! You're a mommy now."

Thursday, March 11, 2010

My Heart Soars Like A Parakeet But You Are An Avocado

The old tree against his shoulder, upon which the side of his head rested, made no comment as Dan vented his frustrations.  Catalog of woes completed, the young man noticed the somber shade of the clouds scudding across the reddening sky. The forest shadows had grown long and only a few dim pools of light painted the leaf litter.

"You're a good listener, Mister Tree," Dan said, "but my mom was a real clever talker. Know what she always said? She said, 'Never let the sun go down on an argument'." He straightened up and gave the tree a hearty slap on the side. "We're two peas, you'n me. I'm dumber than a post too, old buddy, but I ain't dumb enough to ignore my momma's advice. I got some apologising to do." He pointed at the sky. "And I ain't got long to do it!"

Dan set off at a breakneck pace through the forest, leaping from stumps and ducking branches. The rightness of his decision filled him up like he had a fat helium balloon for a soul and he wanted to soar. He fought down a holler, aware that his apology remained unspoken.

The notion to stop came a little late to check his speed, so that he stumbled and slid to an ungracious halt next to Maria. He hunkered down beside her and grabbed her hand, wrapping both of his hands around her fingers for warmth.

"Listen, sweetheart, I was wrong," Dan said. "You shake me up like a soda pop, baby, but I shouldn't be letting it bother me so. I apologise. I sincerely apologise, and I hope that you can find it inside you to forgive me."

The sun had set some time ago when he finally let her hand drop. With a sigh, he pulled the shovel from the pile of loose dirt and started to fill in the shallow grave.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Hard Knock Wife - #fridayflash

Trudy was grinding flour for her daily bread, according to a recipe that a friendly giant had given her. Trudy was renowned for her ability to whip her ingredients into one dish or another. She would start with the whipping, then follow that with the flaying, the drying and the grinding. She was an old school cook.

An aroma, carried on the breeze that blew through the cave, made her set the mill aside and check the oven. She had a batch of tarts baking. Trudy peeked inside, the heat and the smell washing over her face. Bliss. She fetched the tray out and set it aside to cool. The tarts were perfect. Nobody ever missed them.

She heard a noise from the cave mouth and hurried out to see what it was.

"Sorry..." Sid attempted a sentence. "I was just..." Practice didn't seem to help.

"Hey honey!" Trudy said. "What's that?"

Sid put his hands behind his back, awkwardly. "Nuh-"

It was as if Trudy had five sets of arms the way she swarmed around him. Sid didn't stand a chance. Trudy plucked the letter from him.

"What is this?" she demanded.


"That's my name on it!" she interrupted.

"I-" Sid began.

Trudy straight-armed him in the chest, sending him lumbering backwards. She ripped open the envelope and pulled out the letter. After a few minutes reading it, she looked up at Sid.

"Is this a joke?" she said.

Sid opened his mouth, but Trudy was speaking over him again.

"You're not doing this," she said. "You are not dumping ME. You LOVE me."

Sid sighed. "I DO love you. I love you SO much. I... I never..."

"So why are you doing this?" Trudy said, shaking the letter at him. "Why now? I know you love me!"

"I do, baby," Sid said. "It's just... you're wearing me down."

Trudy snorted. "Wearing you down? This nonsense is wearing me down. Silly man, we can work it out. Is it all the clubbing?"

Sid shook his head. "I like clubbing things. I love it. I'd club anyone for you."

Trudy grabbed Sid's hands, clasped them tight. "So what is it?"

A huge tear rolled down Sid's cheek.

"Oh baby," Sid said. "It's the sex."

Trudy rocked back. "You... don't... like... the... sex...?"

"No, baby! No!" Sid said. "The sex is amazing but it's wearing me down."

"Explain yourself," Trudy said, looking vexed.

"Well... we're both rock trolls, right?"

"Of course," Trudy said.

"But you're an igneous rock troll, and I'm just a limestone rock troll..."

"So?" Trudy demanded.

"Baby, you're wearing me down." Sid glanced at his crotch. "You're harder than I am, baby. You're seriously wearing me down..."