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What In The World Did I Agree To?

Categories: Creative Writing Prompts Tags: online writing exercises, online writing prompts, writing prompt.

You had the best time at your New Year’s Eve party—such a good time, in fact, that you can hardly remember it thanks to a little too much vodka. While nursing a hangover, a friend calls and says, “I’m so pumped we’re doing this New Year’s resolution together. I know it’s unusual, but doing it together will make it easier. I’ll pick you up in an hour.” The problem: You have no idea what your friend is talking about. Write the scene starting with the car ride.

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235 Responses to What In The World Did I Agree To?

  1. Amyithist says:

    I leaned against the glass and closed my eyes. Nick looked up at me, his eyes gleaming with excitement. “Are you ready for this,” he asked.
    I rubbed my head and tried to focus through bleary eyes. “Dude, I don’t even remember what I agreed to last night.”
    Nick frowned deeply. “Curtis, you aren’t backing out on me on this,” he murmured, throwing the car into gear.
    “No, no, man, I’m good on my word. I’m just a little nervous. I mean, I don’t know where we’re going.” I rubbed my temple, wincing as the pain shooting through my head intensified.
    Nick grinned at me. “All the better,” he replied. His voice was pumped full of octane and vigor.
    “Didn’t you drink the same amount of alcohol I did last night?”
    Nick pulled out onto the road and grabbed his cigarette from the ashtray. “I’m on cloud nine, right now,” he replied. “I’m so excited for this shit! This is going to be amazing.”
    Nick is a pretty extreme guy. The fact that he’s jittering in his seat has me nervous. He passed me the cigarette and I took a long drag, coughing slightly as the smoke infiltrated my lungs. I let it out in a slow, long stream and turned to face my best friend. I’ve known this guy since I was a kid. I know something big is about to happen and I can only hope I’m up for the adventure.
    We turned into a long drive lined with trees. We drove for a few moments before a towering, abandoned looking building rolled into view. Nick pulled the car to a stop and jumped from the driver’s seat, letting a yelp of excitement escape. I felt a shiver creep up my spine as I climbed out of the car. The building was grey brick and covered in dead ivy vines. Broken, grimy windows stared back at me; as if they were wondering what we were doing there.
    The chilled January morning bit into my skin as I jogged across the gravel drive, catching up to Nick. He took the stairs two at a time and shouldered the old door open. Dust and light mixed through the air, sending the black shadows retreating to the furthest corners. “It’s upstairs,” Nick said, grinning.
    I nodded and followed him down a narrow corridor. We walked up the stairs and made our way down another hallway. He stopped in front of a door. It, like everything else in the building, was old and worn. It hung loosely from rusted hinges. Nick looked back at me, a wide smile crossing his face. He twisted the doorknob and pushed the door open.
    I gasped at the sight before me. Two young women tied to decrepit-looking chairs stared back at me through the dark. Nick clicked a spotlight on from the corner and sallow light quickly flooded the room. The scene quickly intensified. The women looked as though they had been whipped and beaten.
    “Nick,” I heard myself gasp. “What is going on?”
    “I told you this was my dream,” he said. His eyes were alight with excitement. “You agreed to help me.” He stopped and looked up from the space he’d been preparing and frowned at me. “You aren’t backing out on me, are you?”
    I tried desperately to remember the conversation we’d had…but the memory was a foggy blur in my mind. I tried to imagine myself doing this. Did I have it in me? I grabbed the sledgehammer from my best friend. For a moment, I feel lost in his gaze. So hopeful. So excited… I sighed. “A promise is a promise, right?” I brought the hammer up and brought it down as hard as I could.

    • isaacstowe5 says:

      Shabby sadden ending but great story overall. It was very interesting and the intense foreshadow kept me in tuned. Great Job!

    • Ink.Reign says:

      I really liked this one, especially because at the end the Protagonist doesn’t back out but instead reveals himself to be dark and as, or more, psychotic than his friend. Leaves you thinking what you would do, or if your close friend is a potential killer and If all that stands between us and murder are the means.

  2. nastimal says:

    Ugh, what did I do last night? My head was pounding and my mouth was so dry. It must have been a crazy night if I can’t remember it. I looked over at the calendar and it said January 1 so I gathered that last night was New Year’s Eve.
    Just then, my phone started buzzing. My only thought was to end that agonizing sound of a vibrating phone against a hardwood floor. “Whoever this is, you better say this fast and quiet.”
    “James! I figured you’d have a little bit of a hangover, you were definitely slurring your speech on the phone last night.”
    It was Mike Blugass! I haven’t talked to him since college. He got arrested for assaulting an officer his senior year and we lost tough when he left school. Why is he calling me? More importantly, why did I call him? “Mike! What’s up dude?”
    “Dude, you know what’s up. Legit, I can’t believe we’re actually doing this. It’s a little strange I know, but I do this all time and it gets easy after the first time, it’ll actually seem a little funny.”
    Uh oh, what did I agree to last night. I would ask but I don’t want to insult him and say that the only reason I called him was because I was drunk. I think I can probably figure it out though, I just need to keep him talking. “Yeah, I know, well I figured there’s a first time for everything.”
    “Well, yeah, but I’m surprised ol’ goodie two shoes James Hawthorne would ever want to do something like this.”
    It was true that I was always a good egg in college but I had changed a lot since then. Still, whatever I agreed to contradicts that well-behaved version of me. Oh gosh, is it illegal!? “Well, times change. Just to make sure, this is legal right?”
    All I heard was laughter. “Did you really this kind of thing would be legal when you suggested this? Geez, how much booze did you have?”
    I take it that it’s not legal. I better try to laugh this off. “Yeah, I was just messing with you. I meant what are the odds of us getting caught?”
    “Well, in my experience, it depends on how well connected this guy is. From what you told me, it sounds like we should be out of there without any witnesses.”
    Oh crap! We’re gonna murder someone. Okay, let me think, it’s gotta be someone I know who lives alone. Damn! I’ve gotta go out to pay the landlord too. What a heartless jerk! It’s the first of the month but it’s New Year’s… That’s it! My landlord lives alone! “Mike, I know we talked about killing my landlord, but I’ve been thinking lately and really think that’s a bad idea.”
    “Kill your landlord?” I hear him laughing again, almost insultingly. “You’ve got it all wrong”
    Phew, that was close!
    “We’re only going to kidnap him.”

  3. Critique says:

    I managed to pull on some sweats and running shoes. Call me spineless – a wimp – whatever. Just because Ashley was my boss why couldn’t I say no to her? A car honked. I peeked through the blind. Yup. She was here. I took another sip of hot coffee. What in the world had I gotten myself into. Apparently I was accompanying her on some mysterious New Year’s resolution I had agreed to – starting today.

    Walking gingerly down the sidewalk the drumming in my head increased. Oh mercy, my stomach churned.

    Ashley leaned over and opened the car door.

    “Jackie I’m so pumped. This is going to be great.” Ashley said.

    I managed a smile – more like a grimace – and moaned when the door slammed.

    The radio music hurt my ears but I was afraid to open my mouth and protest for fear I would throw up.
    Ashley drove energetically – just like everything else she did. Stopping quickly. Accelerating quickly.

    Ten minutes later we pulled up to a warehouse building. The parking lot was full. Emblazoned over the double doors in huge red letters was a sign: X-treme Kickboxing.

    I squinted in disbelief – mostly to keep my eyeballs from popping out of my head – and read the finer print: Accept the challenge. Begin a journey that could save your life. Kickboxing is fun, exciting, and energizing.

    Ashley was already out of the car and halfway up to the big doors.

    I followed, desperation and nausea building with each step.

    Inside music blasted and the gym was packed, a sea of fit people kicking and boxing in sync.

    I clapped a hand over my mouth and sped outside. Ashley found me spewing last night’s party mix and coffee all over my shoes and the surrounding gravel.

    “I’m so sorry .” I gasped. “Could we take a rain check?”

    “Jackie you should have told me you were hungover. I’m taking your home.”

    Laying on my couch in the darkened room – an icepack to my head – I’ve resolved to forgo hard liquor in the future. Ashley may think I’m still on board with the kickboxing. I hope I’m strong enough to say ‘no’.

  4. PGS says:

    Carefully closing the door to Carol’s yellow Prius, I put the seat back. I thought about asking where we were going, but that meant admitting I didn’t remember making any New Year’s resolution, or last night for that matter. I decided to just relax and go with it. Putting the seat back I closed my eyes. It’ll all come back to me in a minute. Whatever resolution couldn’t be that difficult I decided, Carol was not what you would call a risk taker. About a half hour in, and Carol mostly keeping quiet, the fuzz began to clear, but I still had no clue. About the time not knowing started to bug me, we turned onto a side street and stopped in the driveway of a yellow ranch house. There was a big number 7 on the side door. Pulling in beside an older model green Nova and a black Blazer, Carol stopped the engine and just sat there. “They say the first meeting is the hardest,” she mumbled not taking the keys out of the ignition or making a move to get out of the car. “I know it’s unusual, but doing it together will make it so much easier. “Ok I give” “What the he** are you talking about and who’s house is this. “You really don’t remember, do you?” Carol said staring at me. She held out her phone. I heard my own voice, only crying, and really drunk “… I mean it Carol, you have to make me keep it.” “I don’t want to be this way anymore. Please, p-l-e-a-s-e, p-l-e-a-s-e, p-l-e-a-s-e!” “I don’t know what’s wrong with me.” “I let the vodka win every time!” “Yea”, Carol’s voice said, “you’re an alcoholic and you need help.” “Yea, I’m an alcoholic and we both need help.” My voice said. Then there was more crying. My tear-filled voice again, “That is my resolution, I promise, promise, promise, I will go to all the AA meetings with you, and never, never ever take another drink ….” Carol put the phone down and yanked the keys out of the ignition. “Together we are stronger than anything, we can do this.” Walking down the driveway I took Carol’s hand. “Thank you.” Opening the door to number 7 I knew this was the hardest thing I would ever do, but a New Year’s resolution we were going to keep.

  5. bilbobaggins321 says:

    The clouds hovering ominously above my brain were at last beginning to unfurl, but I felt like I didn’t want to see what was after the shower. Darkness leading to blind reality…
    “What…”
    My neck slid over to the side, and I peered glassily out of the window as the town flew by. I had absolutely no intention of gathering enough muscle strength to turn to him, and so my words would have to give well enough indication of my confusion.
    I was in a car, at least I noticed that. We turned to the right clumsily, and my neck slid back across the headrest. Short Jimmy was in the driver’s seat, holding onto the steering wheel with a kind of look that pined for one more tequila before slumping into his plate.
    “We’re gonna rob a bank, man,” he responded in his lethargic surfer accent. “Far out, right? I actually can’t believe you agreed to this last night, man… big Al down the street hooked us up with some 50-calibers.”
    I automatically turned into a bound and gagged harbinger, a paralyzed individual who knows of some incoming asteroid but can only painfully wait for it to happen.
    The steady drumbeat of my fatigue turned into a kind of metronome for my warning efforts. Struggling, my fingers brushed his jacket.
    “Do you think this is the best.. the best idea, Jimmy? Turn around…”
    “What, man, and miss out on the $200,000? You agreed to this!”
    I looked back momentarily on the previous twelve hours, and it seemed like some jigsaw puzzle, the pieces not quite fitting together. I must have crazily agreed in one of my drunken stupors, before I staggered outside to retch on the cobblestones.
    I wouldn’t be more surprised if he took advantage of the situation to steal my wallet and use the funds to order a few more drinks for himself once we were flat outta cash. I personally wouldn’t put it past him- let’s just say he’s desperate sometimes.
    “I agreed to this? Jimmy, that is complete bull!”
    “Yeah, you sure did, man,” he foggily replied. “It’s been a New Year’s Resolution for some time now, and I thought I might as well get it out of the way right now, right, dude?”
    I stared blankly ahead as he pulled into the vacant parking lot of the bank, swerving into two parking spots at once. He clumsily slipped off his seat belt, and motioned to the glove box.
    “Get out the ski masks, and I’ll get the guns out of the trunk.”
    He opened the door, hurriedly charging to the back, where I heard the key slip into the hole. I tiredly clicked open the box, pulling out two ski masks that looked big enough for kids, both pink.
    “Dang it, Jimmy!” I yelled to myself in the seat. Leave it to a drunk guy to pick out a hat, huh.
    Seconds later (he always had an incredibly quick, placid reaction to outbursts), his form surfaced alongside my door. I popped it open, now able to move quickly, and my first quick move of the day was to seize his collar and push him back a foot.
    “Jimmy, what in the world are you thinking? Some ragtag, Three Stooges duo is not going to pull this off. I-”
    “Look, Henry,” he interjected, “you’re not going to believe what’s in the trunk!”
    Not expecting anything less than a nuclear bomb at this rate, I slammed the door, felt my stomach bolt up to the clouds and back once, and stormed to the trunk.
    The sight of the body surprised me, more so than the sight of the dagger sticking unceremoniously out of its back. The large rifles were stacked up on top of him, accompanied fondly by a note, reading, “Happy Holidays: Hope You Enjoy Prison- BA.” My jaw remained unhinged for the moment.
    “Far out, right?”
    I heard the slam of another car door, the squawking of some radio.
    “Having any trouble, gentlemen?” Some crisp voice bounced around, and I heard footfalls right behind.
    My eyes remained glued on the corpse, until Jimmy pushed the trunk closed, one arm of the dead man sticking out of the compartment and onto the ground like in some bumbling crooks movie.
    “Not at all, man? Whatcha doing, just surfing the roads, huh?”
    I turned to face some stiff, unmoving policeman, the kind of man who stole candy from children because it was bad for them. My hands slid down to my pockets, sinking into some abject pit of regret as I noticed the handcuffs dangling from his belt, his dexterous fingers slowly reaching for them.
    “Not at all. Just stay right here, will you?” He moved in the direction of the trunk.

    We were at the jail around ten minutes later, having gone through the rigmarole of being in the police car and chained to the front bar and everything. My brain was now pretty much fully unclogged, though my body still refused to agree with me.
    I changed into my prison clothes, awaiting to be taken to my cell. I fingered my wallet, remembering my scattered thoughts of earlier. Before the officer came back, I went through it. There did seem to be around ten dollars less in it than before.
    But that didn’t really surprise me. From this recent turn of events, I knew that Jimmy must have been a lot more drunk that me to trust Big Al.
    THE END

    Sorry it’s so long, but I usually prefer to finish all of mine. Comment- I know I could have made it a lot better but I had only so much time to go back over it.

    • Observer Tim says:

      It was long but quite clever, Mr. Baggins. I loved the way these two low-level reprobates got hosed by Big Al. I’m guessing by the treatment they received that they were already “known to the police” before this. Luckily, it’s something that even a court-appointed lawyer should be able to eventually get them off of.

      When you said 50-calibers, I had this bizarre mental image of these boys dragging a full-sized machine gun into the bank. “Nobody move while my buddy sets up the gun!” Hilarious!

  6. snuzcook says:

    This late posting is my first take on the prompt. It is uncanny how many parallels there are with Rebecca05′s story, and that is why I did not post initially. But if anyone is still reading this prompt, here it goes. Just can’t bear to have it sitting in the drawer all dressed up with nowhere to go.

    FURY

    Darla’s car stunk of cigarettes. It made me want to throw up, that and about a quart of last night’s booze churning somewhere just below my diaphragm. I was cold and still half-way drunk. Why did I let her drag me out of bed on New Year’s morning? “What did you say I promised to do?”

    “Don’t worry about it. This’ll be quick.” She pulled into the winding driveway of The Bastard’s house and parked out of sight. “Here.” She shoved a bundle into my hands.

    It was a scarf wrapped around something heavy. I unwound the fabric and a shiny metal revolver dropped onto my lap. I screeched like a little girl.

    Darla shook me. “C’mon, we agreed. We have to stop his bullshit, and it’s now or never. Are you in or out?”

    My head was spinning. I remembered something about getting even with TB Williams. I hated him with a passion after what he did to me, and now he was blackmailing Darla. Whatever I’d agreed to, I’m sure he had it coming. At the feel of the gun in my hand, my stomach rolled and a dozen demons gnawed at the base of my throat threatening to escape.

    I staggered out of the car after Darla, the gun hidden in the folds of my bulky sweater. We slipped through the gate. TB was alone in the pool doing laps, just as we knew he would be. If he’d had a female companion last night, she would be long gone. He did not offer breakfast to his conquests.

    Darla and I positioned ourselves by his folded towel. It didn’t take him long to notice us.

    He climbed out of the pool, his arms wide in a gesture that appeared friendly and at the same time made him seem larger. He flashed a smile, but his eyes had the calculating look of a predator.

    My neck and scalp tingled as the hairs shot upward; my belly clenched and my lips curled. My body was reacting to the presence of pure evil. Unbidden, my right arm extended out in front of me. The weight of the pistol filled the curve of my palm as if it had grown there, like a huge retractable claw revealed now in response to danger.

    I saw his eyes widen and his lupine grin slacken as something kicked my hand aside. An explosion slowed the world, and in silence I watched TB Williams fly backward. The waters of the pool opened in twin arcs and swallowed him.

    I was on my knees, shaking, when sound and motion returned. All I could hear was Darla, screaming.

    “Are you crazy?”

    I looked up at her from a great distance. “What did you say?”

    Darla yanked me to my feet and we ran to the car. She shoved me inside and sped away. I sat, gazing blindly at houses and trees flying by as the car wound through residential streets. Darla was swearing a blue streak.

    Finally she calmed down enough to form words. “We were only going to scare him, you crazy bitch! Now you’ve gone and screwed us both.”

    There was nothing I could say. I bent forward and threw up.

    • Observer Tim says:

      It may have a similar concept to Rebecca05′s, but the take is all your own. This is an excellent story, and I’m quite happy you let it climb out into the sunshine.

      It does look like they’re both screwed (again); the MC should have clarified what the gun was for, and her friend should definitely have reminded her it wasn’t meant to be TB’s last meeting with them…

      • snuzcook says:

        Never handle firearms while still drunk and in the presence of one’s arch enemy. The MC had no conscious intent to fire. Her arm extended forward of its own will, her hand bucked and he fell. Wonder how that will come across in court?

  7. veronica_gurlie says:

    Here is my shot at it. I’m still working on improving my punctuation skills better.

    The evening October wind was chilling to the bone and the street was naked with an eerie silence. I regretted not wearing a jacket and at least taking time to wash my hair. I looked at Samantha’s car and noticed there was dirt all over it and it was clean at the party. “Come on, get in,” she said, and leaned over and opened the passenger door. “You’re still driving this piss of shit?” I asked. “Where’s the Camaro?” Samantha looked out at the window at me and said “We got to go, come on, come on.” and gestured me to get in. I noticed her long jet black hair was uncombed, her eyes had dark bags under them and she was wearing clothes she only wore when she did work in her backyard.

    I dropped my purse on the floor of the car and said, “My fuckin head is killing me, you got some pain killers?” “I told you not to mix your liquors at the party last night,” she replied. “What are you talking about?” I asked her. “And what is that damn smell!” “Don’t tell me you’re getting cold feet, it’s to late to back out now,” she said, while taking a puff of her cigarette. I noticed her hands were shaking. “To late for what?” I replied, as I looked her straight in the face.

    Ooh, shit, you fuckin forgot.” she said and drove the car off the road and slammed on the breaks. I started to reply but suddenly I heard a thump sound coming from somewhere in the car. “What was that sound?” I said to her and looked back and noticed a large pile of blankets on the back seat. “Get out of the car,” she said, and got out herself. She walked over to me and grabbed me by the arm. “What the hell are you doing, let go of my arm Sam.” I said. She let go and opened the trunk of the car. “Look in the damn trunk,” she said. I slowly walked over and looked in. Inside, I see her husband tied up and gagged.

    “Remember now, our resolution.” she said, with her hands on her hips. “Oh my god, oh my god, what have you done!” “Why in the fuck did you do this!” I replied. I closed my eyes and turned my back to the trunk. Samantha closed the trunk and leaned against it. “Don’t you back out on me now, we agreed to this. I killed your husband, and now you got to kill mine,” she said, and lit another cigarette. What do you mean, you killed my husband?” I replied slowly. A wave of cold air blew over me. “What the fuck you think is wrapped up in the blankets on the back seat, ” she said, and blew a thick lace of smoke out of her mouth.

    • Observer Tim says:

      This is a pretty intense tale, Veronica_Gurlie. You kept me wondering what was going on until the last paragraph. I hope Sam has a good place to hide the bodies; she’s not going to be able to make it look like an accident.

      The punctuation looks reasonable from here; my “big suggestion” is to split up the dialogue paragraphs. The general rule is to start a new paragraph when you change speakers. It just makes the reading easier.

      • veronica_gurlie says:

        Thanks observer. I had the different speakers separate at first then out them together:0( I never edit as I write so I usually got to do editing on the punctuation when I’m done. I just started sharing my love for writing short stories.

      • veronica_gurlie says:

        Observe, as far as them making it appear like an accident, perhaps them not doing that adds to the problem they have. Don’t forget that there is no such thing as a perfect crime and when people kill it is not always thought through carefully. I always leave room for my problem in story to excalate so that I back my characters in the corner. Did u enjoy the story? I notice you didn’t mention if you did. I always try to tell writers that cause it is good for motivation. Just wondering.

        • Observer Tim says:

          I did indeed find it a very enjoyable read. I try to mention that, but sometimes I get so caught up in the story I forget to. I’m looking forward to reading more of your posts.

          I never quite understood the “I edit at the end” way of doing it, because my inner editor refuses to shut up. My writing is more like the tide – write some of the story, then correct it and write more, then correct the whole thing again and add to it, and so on.

          • veronica_gurlie says:

            I’m sorry, here is what I meant. I never edit the punctuation, grammar and especially punctuation. I find that editing those things as I go along, interrupt my creative flow and I can loose ideas by going back and editing those. I come up with an idea, more like a plot for the story and just write it and as the ideas come I let them come out. I edit once I’m done with the scene. I may add to ideas as I go but I never edit things like grammar.
            Thank you very much and for taking time to tell me what you thought of about the punctuation.

          • Observer Tim says:

            I hope you didn’t perceive my comment as negative; when I said I don’t understand “write now, fix later” it is that I literally don’t understand – I can’t do it. In a way I am kind of envious of people like you who can. Not only were you able to write an enjoyable story, you easily managed to edit away whatever missing punctuation there was in your first pass.

            Bravo!

          • veronica_gurlie says:

            I think people who can do what you do is amazing. I tried that and each time I do, I loose my ideas and get stuck. My mind races so fast with the plot ideas, that often I have had to use a tape recorder. If I was rich, there would be two people I would gladly hire regularly, and that would be an editor and housekeeper. LOL. My writing life would get so much easier.

  8. michellelweston says:

    Tension rolled through the car and thickened around the passengers. Maggie’s chin was resting on her chest in the passenger’s seat, her curly brown hair tousled around her face. Daniel’s eyes kept to the road.
    “You okay, Mags?” Daniel asked.
    “Yeah. This hangover is a mean one. Wish you would have kept me from drinking so much like I’d asked you to,” Maggie said, her voice muffled by the thick purple scarf surrounding her neck.
    “You can’t blame me for your mistakes, babe.”
    Daniel chanced a glance at Maggie. Her chin remained resting against her chest. She’s gotten so thin, he thought.
    “I’m not doing it,” Maggie said.
    “Not doing what?” Daniel asked, knowing full well what she did not want to do.
    “Whatever it is you said I’d agreed to last night.”
    So she didn’t remember, Daniel thought. “I think it’d be best for the both of us if you just gave it a shot. I really want us to work and—“
    “Really?” Maggie picked her head up for the first time since she’d gotten into the car. “You’re going to threaten our relationship for not doing this stupid thing I can’t even remember agreeing to? If you don’t want to be with me, no one’s telling you to stay.”
    Daniel could feel her grey-blue eyes boring into him without having to look back at her. The eyes that he loved were also ones that he feared. She had become a lost soul in recent months and was prone to outbursts at any moment.
    “What happened to you?” Daniel said. He had meant to only say this in his head but it came out as a whisper.
    “You. You fucking ‘happened’ to me,” Maggie said, holding her hands up in mock quotation marks. She looked as if she might begin one of her long-winded rants, but instead she furrowed her brow and held her hands to her temples.
    Tears began to well in Daniel’s eyes but he fought to keep them from streaming down his face. He eased the car to the right onto a small road covered in a canopy of trees stiff with the winter air. As they reached the end, maybe a quarter mile down, a sprawling white ranch house came into view. Daniel pulled around the circular drive-way and put the car in park right out front.
    “Listen, baby. I really wanted to do this with you, I did,” Daniel said. He had Maggie’s hands in his own and held her gaze, ignoring the anger welling deep within her eyes. “But I can’t keep shouldering your problems. This is your battle to fight and you’re never going to win if I keep trying to fight it for you.”
    A pair of women who looked to be about thirty walked out of the front door of the house, bundled in their winter coats. Daniel smiled at them and held up a finger to indicate that he needed just a moment longer. They nodded their understanding and stood waiting a few feet from the car.
    “I paid for us both to do this rehab together but I don’t need it. You do. So if you need to stay longer, you can because it’s already paid for.” Daniel held his breathe, expecting an outburst. He expected her to hit him and hurtle insults at him. Instead, she began to cry and as she cried, her eyes never leaving Daniel’s, he saw the anger dissipate until it was replaced by acceptance.
    On Daniel’s queue, one of the women outside opened Maggie’s door and helped her out while the other grabbed a single duffle bag from the trunk which Daniel had packed for Maggie ahead of time.
    Daniel watched from the car as she was lead into the facility, her head hanging low and her shoulders heaving with each of her heavy sobs.
    “Good luck, Mags,” Daniel whispered.

    • Observer Tim says:

      This is good, Michellelweston; making that decision to go to rehab’s a tough one. I spotted a couple of wording things (Daniel held his breath, and expected her to hurl insults, but neither impacted the power of the story in any real way. Welcome aboard!

    • CharlieGirl77 says:

      Nice story. You captured the essence of the moment and really projected that into the story. I agree with Observer Tim. Powerful.

  9. rboydstun says:

    I felt a quiver in my belly as I watched Joe’s car pull up to the curb. I should’ve known better. Tequila, fine. Gin, no problem. Beer, plenty. But vodka… no. What I remember most about the few times I’ve had vodka is the stark absence of any memories–it’s all black. Just a blurry, gaping hole in an otherwise pretty solid chain of events. Still, I guess I had fun. And I know I made it home safely–I woke up in my own bed, teeth brushed and PJs on, including my pants this time. So how bad could this resolution be? Right?

    Joe–which is short for Josephine, of course–lurched out of her compact car, a big smile on her face and jazz-hands fluttering in the air. “Tada! I’m here. Are you ready?”

    I stared, more likely glared, and grunted in response to her inappropriate peppiness on such a morning. My head was still heavy and my breakfast did little to settle my stomach. If she’s lucky her car’s interior will make it through the day unscathed.

    Reluctantly I crawled into the small car, latched my seatbelt and looked straight ahead, trying not to tip my hand that I didn’t have the slightest clue where we were going. Joe glanced over at my choice of clothing and wrinkled her nose, “Is that comfortable enough? You don’t mind getting your jeans dirty?”

    I shrugged it off, “Yeah, I figured jeans and a t-shirt are good for anything.”

    We drove for nearly an hour. With every passing mile out of the city my fingers and toes shrank into knots and my eyelids fluttered increasingly, making my eyes water. Eventually we exited the highway and turned down an unmarked, single lane, dirt road that led for far as I could see, straight into the desert.

    Joe had been chattering incessantly the entire way, more at me than with me, but that never seemed to bother her. Occasionally my mind would fade back into consciousness and hear her mutter the phrase, “Chinese-American buzz-cashy.” I had no idea what that meant (some form of handicraft maybe?) but from the context I could tell she was very excited about it. My head and belly had started to calm down, and I was beginning to feel more like myself, so I settled back in my chair and let her lead the way.

    We finally pulled up to a steel pipe fence that had a yellow vinyl banner dangling crookedly from it and bold black text that read, “Buzkashi Lessons – Every Saturday!” Beyond the fence were a wide variety of people all perched atop yaks. They were riding back and forth trying to lean down and knock a small ball around the field with their hands.

    Wide eyed, I took a deep breath and held it. Eyebrows scrunching down into my nose, I exhaled slowly, letting my anxiety resolve into a grin and said, “M-kay, let’s give this a shot.”

    • Observer Tim says:

      I had to look up Buzkashi, though at the mention of yaks my mind was already thinking it would be strange. The Wikipedia article mentions Buzkashi is usually played with a headless goat carcass for a ball, which I think would have pushed it totally into the twilight zone. Good to see the main character was ‘game’ for it.

      Well written and clever story, rboydstun.

  10. A PROMISE KEPT
    ==============

    “Damn,” Marnie said as she pulled over onto the icy soft-shoulder and got out, leaving the car running but the door ajar. The beep-beeping cut through me like knives. I watched as my sister grabbed a handful of frozen snow and washed the road salt from the windshield. Satisfied, she clapped her mitts together and climbed back inside and slammed the door a little too hard for my liking. The heat hit me in the face as she pulled away and I felt slightly nauseous.

    “I told you to stop back in Timberlea for washer fluid,” I said, irritated. “Why won’t you tell me where we’re going?”

    “Does it matter? You promised last night we’d take care of this today. It’s been a year. It’s time.”

    “I likely pledged many things last night.”

    “Yeah, about that. You owe Stacey an apology.”

    “Really?”

    “You shouldn’t drink vodka, Will. That’ll never get out of her dress?”

    “Vodka doesn’t stain.”

    “Puke does, bro.”

    “Oh. Shit”.

    “Call her later. Don’t forget. Good girlfriends aren’t easy to find.”

    We drove in silence for a bit. Marnie squinted through a fresh layer of salt and I suffered the consequences of over-indulgence. Happy New Year, indeed.

    Looking out the window at our upcoming destination, my resolution from last night flooded back. I sighed with resigned guilt and knew our duty.

    I don’t remember ever visiting Peggy’s Cove in winter before. It was like a ghost town this morning, deathly quiet save the wind pushing the grainy snow into stinging squalls. It’d be busy later as patrons from the afternoon’s levee at the church wandered about the rocks. It wasn’t safe, of course, but that never stopped anyone.

    Uncertain of my footing given my condition, I picked my way over the white rock, mindful of the icy black ones close to the water. I cursed Marnie’s invincibility to booze. She drank like a fish and you’d never know it. No doubt, it’d catch up to her.

    “Will!” she shouted from a dozen paces ahead. “You bring the box?”

    “Yes,” I said and held it up for her to see.

    She nodded and waited for me to catch up. We needed to get right to the water’s edge, meaning we’d have to trod across the black rock, frozen slick with sea spray. The tide was mercifully high, so it was a short jaunt. We held hands for balance until we found the perfect spot.

    “Here?” I asked.

    “Sure,” she said. “You want to do the honors?”

    “Let’s do it together.”

    I held the box while Marnie opened it up and untied the bag inside. A wisp of wind caught the contents and the gray dust joined the snowy squall and drifted over the ocean. We tilted the box and let the the Universe claim its prize until there was no more to give.

    “Should we say anything,” murmured Marnie. She looked at me with wet eyes, tears frosting her reddened cheeks.

    I turned back to the sea and felt the scant warmth of the sun.

    “Goodbye, Andy.”

    • Observer Tim says:

      A beautiful desciption, Doug. I’ve been to Peggy’s Cove in summer, and the place can be treacherous enough then. Even as native Nova Scotians, they’re still taking a fair risk spreading Andy’s ashes.

      It’s a touching scene, with what is very likely an interesting backstory behind it.

    • jhowe says:

      Doug, that was well done. The dialog was natural and crisp. When Will said, “I likely pledged many things last night,” that was the perfect way of showing us instead of telling us that he didn’t remember what transpired.

    • agnesjack says:

      Very nice story, Doug. Excellent descriptions — especially liked “the wind pushing the grainy snow into stinging squalls”. I agree that I am curious about the backstory. Is Andy another sibling?

    • Amyithist says:

      GREAT excerpt! I loved the flow. You are a great writer! Are you published yet? :)

  11. Simone Dubois says:

    (I’ve tried to submit this before…umpteenth time’s a charm!)

    Getting into Derek’s little sports car with my 6 foot, 250 pound self wasn’t easy. When he slammed the door behind me my head exploded. Well, not really. The CD player was blaring about ho’s and bro’s and I winced and felt to see if my ears were still attached.
    “Tough morning, eh Bud?”
    Knowing he’d just flick more crap if I admitted to a hangover, I merely grinned and said, “So, I’m having a little memory lapse, as you probably are experiencing yourself…”
    “Nope. I remember everything. Quit drinking early and started on water so I could drive your sorry ass home.” Looking rather smug, he continued, “So, are you as pumped as I am? We’ve talked about doing this since we were in grade school.”
    Aha! A hint! But Derek and I are in our 30’s now, with wives, kids, pets and mortgages. We’d talked about doing hundreds, if not thousands of things over the years.
    “You know, I…”
    “You don’t have to say anything. Just checking off a bucket list item with my best friend is thanks enough.”
    Head spinning with jumbled memories sloshing along with the vodka…I just couldn’t for the life of me remember what I’d agreed to.
    Not long later, we came to a gravel road densely forested on both sides. Where were we? I’d never been here before I didn’t think. What had I gotten myself into?
    “Hey, you’re not having second thoughts are you? You can’t chicken out now, man,” Derek seemed to read my thoughts.
    “Um, how much further?”
    He continued, “Cuz if you’re having second thoughts…”
    “No, not at all, I just can’t…”
    “Well, too late now. We’re here!”
    Derek, leaned back his seat and started taking off his shirt. I sat there. What the hell? Then he went for his belt buckle. I do NOT recall talking about doing that in grade school.
    “Whoa. Derek, dude. We’ve been friends for many years and I love you like a brother, but, um, I’m just not into you.”
    Eyes wide, mouth gaping, Derek looked as if I’d just stabbed him.
    “Man, what are you talking about!?”
    I couldn’t even look at him. “I can’t do Brokeback Mountain.”
    Derek froze with one leg out of his pants. I could see he had on, what? Swim shorts?
    Then he laughed. It started low and deep, then swelled into hysterics. Tears streamed down his face as he held his belly like his guts were about to leak out.
    “Now, that’s a good one, Bud. You don’t remember last night at all do ya?”
    I could feel my face burning red.
    Still chuckling, Derek shook his head as he continued undressing. “The polar bear plunge at the river. Does that ring any New Year’s bells?”
    I’ll kill him if he tells a soul.

    • Observer Tim says:

      Brilliant Simone! I loved it. You caught me totally off guard. Excellent job building the MC’s confusion.

      Don’t worry about the multiple posts going into the twilight zone. The first time you post/comment, it has to go through a human moderator. That can take time. From now on things should go up as soon as you send them.

  12. mimipii says:

    “What’s all this about, a New Year’s resolution? I never make those, they’re a waste of time”, I tell Rachel as I plunk myself down beside my oldest best friend in her ancient jalopy.
    “Well you did last night. You were probably too wasted too recall the circumstance, but you promised me last night you’ll do this if I come with you for moral support,” Rachel counters.
    I still have no idea what I promised her so I ask tentatively, “Okay, tell me, what did I promise in my drunken stupor? It better be good or you can forget about it.”
    I know it cant be anything I’d consider if I was sane ‘cause Rachel replies, “There’s no backing out now, you already told him you’re coming.”
    “What?!” I bug out. “I told who that I’m coming to do what? Stop talking in riddles and just spit it out already!”
    “Okay, calm down, there’s really no need to get all riled up. You just vowed to visit your dad in the hospital.” Rachel says this as if it’s nothing. When in reality it is a MAJOR SOMETHING.
    “You mean the dad that abandoned me as a child? To go visit him on his deathbed? No way in hell!” I shout. “The man is seriously screwed up, Rach. He used to call me “his biggest mistake ever” ‘cuz I disrupted his party life. He had to babysit me weeknights so mum could work her second job to pay the bills. The lazy-good-for-nothing loser couldn’t get a job to save himself. Not only that, he didn’t want to be stuck watching a five year old when he could be partying so he’d put me to bed early and then leave the house to go have fun!”
    “I know”, Rachel replies soothingly, “I’m sorry your dad was a real jerk. He doesn’t deserve for you to visit him now. He really doesn’t.”
    I rant on pretending not to hear her, “When he didn’t come home one day it broke mum. She couldn’t get out of bed, let alone go to work. She became majorly depressed and could barely care for me. Thank heavens, your mom came around to help out. I don’t know what we’d have done without her”, I say, tears flowing freely from my eyes. Rachel reaches over to pat my hand and offer comforting words, “Your father definitely deserves for you to snub him now. But do you remember him calling you yesterday at the bar to wish you happy new year? How he told you it was his new year’s resolution to make everything right between the two of you before it’s too late? You are an emotional mess it seems you would benefit from closure. C’mon, you can do this. Do it for yourself.” She leans over to give me a hug and a shoulder to cry on.
    After fifteen minutes of me bawling like a baby, Rach helps me from her car which she has already parked in the lot by the hospital. And squeezing her hand we ride the elevator to his room together.

    • Observer Tim says:

      This is a touching story about a broken family, mimipii. One of the great pities of life is that there are so many stories where this resolution doesn’t get made.

    • agnesjack says:

      Forgiving is the hardest thing in the world to do, sometimes, but it is also the most worthwhile. I’m rooting for the MC to find some closure with her dad and move on.

      • Critique says:

        I agree agnesjack. Not forgiving gives power to the one who inflicted/s hurt. Forgiveness frees. It can be the toughest thing – Rach is the best kind of friend.
        Enjoyed your story mimipii.

  13. BlukBow says:

    As a child I had an endless fascination with the recesses of things. I would occasionally misplace a finger, a random digit that willed itself into the corners of a couch, my fathers’s ear, the carved legs of the buffet in granny Madge’s hallway. I would get lucky, find change or a bit of chip. Mostly, though, I just found dust. Once, on an extended vacation cum internment at my uncle Mac’s farm, which I don’t mind telling you was not so much a farm as it was a plot of land meant for breaking the souls of young boys, I found one of his used copies of High Society. Now I learned two things from that magazine—a distaste for seeing a man naked and guilt. When my mother found out about it, I was extradited from his home with a cold hand that started a riff between the two that still flares up. Honestly, I wish I could go back in time and keep myself from showing my little sister that magazine. Such is guilt.

    So, after hanging up the phone still unable to recall why we were headed out, I resolved to steady my stomach for the trip—my wife prefers Vodka, and let’s be honest, I was too lazy to go to the liquor store day before yesterday. Besides, apart from begin a horrible driver, Bobby reminds me of uncle Mac. Did I tell you that Bobby’s been trying to expand himself by taking classes at the local community college to get a realtor’s license? He seems to think that it will assist with his dating life.

    One time, we’re drinking wine on porch, and he starts telling me he can’t seem to understand why he can’t find a woman. I told him it takes time, suggested he should consider making himself more desirable. He looks me and says, “Do you know how large my cock is? Seriously. I’ve got everything a woman could want and more.” He’s a dick.

    Anyway, we pull up to his community college, and I start to wonder why we’re there—it’s January 1st. But I notice a few cars parked near the Michael’s building. We join them, and he turns to me, he’s got these doe eyes, but he turns to me and he says, “Thanks man. I couldn’t do this without you.”

    “I wouldn’t miss out on this.” I lie.

    He flicks a cigarette, rolls the window up, then says, “I hope she’s impressed.”

    “Impressed? Bobby, who’s gonna be impressed?”

    He doesn’t respond, so I have to follow him into this room in the building, and in walks this woman, Sam. Bobby’s eyes devour her, and I know she is the she he was talking about. Sam leaves and he looks at me, his cheeks rising so high his eyes are almost shut, and says, “thanks again.” Then starts taking his clothes off. “I know we’re gonna find me a woman this year. I’ve always wanted to pose naked.”

    • Observer Tim says:

      This is a well told story, BlukBow. You had me going right up until the last sentence. Bravo.

      I was a little confused by the first paragraph until I realized you were using “misplace” in the sense of “put somewhere it shouldn’t be” rather than “lose”.

  14. blanderson says:

    Kent’s over exuberance about the epic New Years’ resolution, which I had forgotten but soon learned was to stay up to see the sunrise, was completely uninteresting, and I couldn’t wait for him to get me home. Each mile of the jostling car ride was painful.

    Once home, I considered the events of last night, and my thoughts immediately ran to Shelly. She had always been a bit of an enigma to me. She was very polished and conservative, well-spoken and well-dressed, but she expressed an interesting juxtaposition between free spirit and melancholy when you’d talk to her. It was really difficult to get a read on her sometimes. The New Years’ Eve party was no different. I was surprised she even showed up, and she was fairly stoic as she sipped wine in the corner, occasionally talking to friends passing by.

    I recalled having a lengthy conversation with her late in the night, but I’ll be damned if I could remember what it was. Sitting on my porch, I fished the breast pocket of my corduroy sport coat, which was a little worse for wear after last night, for a cigarette but only found a small envelope. Removing it from my pocket, I saw that it was somewhat crumpled, as though it, too, had a long night. The words “I resolve” were scrawled across the seal.

    I considered the envelope for some time. “I resolve”? What the hell does that mean? What did I resolve? And that wasn’t my handwriting. I slipped the envelope back in my pocket and went inside to find a new pack of smokes.

    I was what you’d call a social drinker; one who usually would have one or two, and only rarely drink too much. Last night was much different. I did recall taking shots—and I never took shots—and am fairly certain I threw up a time or too.

    Back outside, I took a long drag on the cigarette. The January air was crisp but not cold, and despite the fog of last night’s war, my mind was clearing. But I still couldn’t remember this fucking resolution. Brady, my overly enthusiastic black lab, was pining for a walk, so I stepped back inside to grab his leash.

    As I walked through the neighborhood, I racked my brain, trying to remember what it was that I resolved. At this point, I was fairly certain Shelly and I made a joint resolution. I could just open the envelope, but something inside me told me that I shouldn’t do that. It was the mystery in things that made life interesting. Still, whether in work or relationships or mysterious letters, I wasn’t particularly good at follow through.

    Later that evening, with the letter resting on the kitchen table, I heard an aggressive knock on the door. Before I could even get out of my La Z Boy, the insistent rapping continued.

    “Mr. Chenowith. This is the police. Open the door!”

    And it all came flooding back.

    • agnesjack says:

      And… ? This is an interesting setup, blanderson, but I can’t say that I have a clue as to what happened. Did they resolve to commit suicide and she did it first? That would be one heck of a resolution to forget.

    • snuzcook says:

      Intriguing story. I found I wasn’t exactly sympathetic to the MC, and didn’t have a clue what the resolution might be. Like the MC, I didn’t really care enough to form any serious guesses until the final twist.

    • Observer Tim says:

      And …

      While the MC’s slow recovery from his hangover has a place, it seems to have displaced the story. Your tale is well written and full of effective imagery, but it left me hanging.

  15. thekoltes91 says:

    John’s grin was too bright for such a painful morning. I groaned.
    “Woohoo!” John thumped the steering wheel as we drove down the main road. “I can’t believe we’re actually doing this!”
    I wish I could say the same. John was psyched about life in general, but today he couldn’t contain himself. He rolled down the window and screamed at the top of his lungs till my head felt like it was going to pop. “Yeahhh, baby!!”
    He switched on the stereo and turned up the volume, falling right into song along with “Getting Jiggy with it”.
    “When are you going to tell me where the hell we’re going?” I yelled above the music.
    He looked at me with another one of those sunshine grins before bursting into laughter. “You mean…you don’t remember? Oh that is just classic. I knew you were chugging it down last night, but this?”
    “John, if you don’t tell me now I swear I’m going to throw up all over you!”
    “Woah, girl. “ He pat my head. “Take it easy—Here we are.”
    He swerved right down a dirt road. If it could even be called a road. The car jostled us up and down as John avoided potholes. Whatever was left in my stomach came right up.
    “Gross.” John grimaced, handing me a Kleenex. “Clean yourself up.”
    “Where are we?” I croaked, opening the car door. We’d only been driving for a couple miles but I was sure I’d never been here before. We were surrounded by bare trees and what looked like piles of scrap metal. Further down the road stood a ranch house with battered-up red siding and a sunken in roof. I squinted in the sun to see a man leaning on a rusty wheelbarrow.
    “Jenny, wait.” John held me back. “Let me go first.”
    He straightened his back and stepped forward. His legs seemed a little…shaky. With what, fear? I reached for his hand. It was shaking too. No way I was staying behind.
    As we approached the man I was surprised at what I saw. Maybe I expected some old red neck, doubled over in dirty overalls. But this man was wearing a crisp blue collared shirt, dark jeans, his hair gelled to one side and he smelt…good. Plus, he was young, and shockingly good looking.
    John stopped short five feet away. I copied.
    The man looked us up and down. His eyes were an icy grey that somehow made me sweat.
    “You’re late.”
    “Here now.” John squeaked. Squeaked? This was getting weird.
    “So,” The man reached into his back pocket without taking his eyes off of us. “Here’s the deal: See you in three days. I get the Amore, you get the 1 mil.”
    “That’s the deal.” John nodded.
    The man handed him an envelope. “There’s your advance.”
    And with that, turned to walk away.
    “John,” I whispered through clenched teeth. “What the…”
    “Jenny dear,” He said, smiling nervously. “We’re going to Italy. To steal a yacht.”

  16. BlukBow says:

    I’ve not posted something before. I tried to submit it once, but it never showed up. If I double post this, I apologize. Here is my attempt at responding to the prompt.

    As a child I had an endless fascination with the recesses of things. I would occasionally misplace a finger, a random digit that willed itself into the corners of a couch, my fathers’s ear, the carved legs of the buffet in granny Madge’s hallway. I would get lucky and find change or a bit of chip. Mostly, though, I just found dust. Once, on an extended vacation cum internment at my uncle Mac’s farm, which I don’t mind telling you was not so much a farm as it was a plot of land meant for breaking the souls of young boys, I found one of his used copies of High Society. Now I learned two things from that magazine—a distaste for seeing a man naked and guilt. When my mother found out about it, I was extradited from his home with a cold hand that started a riff between the two that still flares up. Honestly, I wish I could go back in time and keep myself from showing my little sister that magazine. But such is guilt.

    So, after hanging up the phone still unable to recall why we were headed out, I resolved to steady my stomach for the trip—my wife prefers Vodka, and let’s be honest, I was too lazy to go to the liquor store day before yesterday. Besides, apart from begin a horrible driver, Bobby reminds me of uncle Mac. Did I tell you that Bobby’s been trying to expand himself by taking classes at the local community college to get a realtor’s license. He seems to think that it will assist with his dating life.

    One time, we’re drinking wine on porch, and he starts telling me he can’t seem to understand why he can’t find a woman. I told him it takes time, suggested he should consider making himself more desirable. He looks me and says, “Do you know how large my cock is? Seriously. I’ve got everything a woman could want and more.”

    Anyway, we pull up to his community college, and I start to wonder why we’re there—it’s January 1st. But I notice a few cars parked near the art building. We join them, and he turns to me, he’s got these doe eyes, but he turns to me and he says, “Thanks man. I couldn’t do this without you.”

    “I wouldn’t miss out on this.” I lie.

    He flicks a cigarette, rolls the window up, then says, “I hope she’s impressed.”

    “Impressed? Bobby, who’s gonna be impressed?”

    He doesn’t respond, so I have to follow him into this room in the art building, and in walks this woman, Sam. Bobby’s eyes devour her every movement, and I know she is the she he was talking about. Sam leaves and he looks at me, his cheeks rising so high his eyes are almost shut, and says, “thanks again.” Then starts taking his clothes off. “I know we’re gonna find me a woman this year. I hope she’s impressed.”

  17. BlukBow says:

    As a child I had an endless fascination with the recesses of things. I would occasionally misplace a finger, a random digit that willed itself into the corners of a couch, my fathers’s ear, the carved legs of the buffet in granny Madge’s hallway. I would get lucky and find change or a bit of chip. Mostly, though, I just found dust. Once, on an extended vacation cum internment at my uncle Mac’s farm, which I don’t mind telling you was not so much a farm as it was a plot of land meant for breaking the souls of young boys, I found one of his used copies of High Society. Now I learned two things from that magazine—a distaste for seeing a man naked and guilt. When my mother found out about it, I was extradited from his home with a cold hand that started a riff between the two that still flares up. Honestly, I wish I could go back in time and keep myself from showing my little sister that magazine. But such is guilt.

    So, after hanging up the phone still unable to recall why we were headed out, I resolved to steady my stomach for the trip—my wife prefers Vodka, and let’s be honest, I was too lazy to go to the liquor store day before yesterday. Besides, apart from begin a horrible driver, Bobby reminds me of uncle Mac. Did I tell you that Bobby’s been trying to expand himself by taking classes at the local community college to get a realtor’s license? He seems to think that it will assist with his dating life.

    One time, we’re drinking wine on porch, and he starts telling me he can’t seem to understand why he can’t find a woman. I told him it takes time, suggested he should consider making himself more desirable. He looks me and says, “Do you know how large my cock is? Seriously. I’ve got everything a woman could want and more.”

    Anyway, we pull up to his community college, and I start to wonder why we’re there—it’s January 1st. But I notice a few cars parked near the art building. We join them, and he turns to me, he’s got these doe eyes, but he turns to me and he says, “Thanks man. I couldn’t do this without you.”

    “I wouldn’t miss out on this.” I lie.

    He flicks a cigarette, rolls the window up, then says, “I hope she’s impressed.”

    “Impressed? Bobby, who’s gonna be impressed?”

    He doesn’t respond, so I have to follow him into this room in the art building, and in walks this woman, Sam. Bobby’s eyes devour her every movement, and I know she is the she he was talking about. Sam leaves and he looks at me, his cheeks rising so high his eyes are almost shut, and says, “thanks again.” Then starts taking his clothes off. “I know we’re gonna find me a woman this year. I hope she’s impressed.”

  18. EllanoiStone says:

    “I know it’s unusual, but doing it together will make it easier. I’ll pick you up in an hour.” He disconnects without saying goodbye. Strange how people in films always seem to do that, but how it would be considered rude in real life.

    I roll onto my side. The alcohol in my bloodstream makes sure to force my vision into a delirious spin. I shut my eyes again. The armchair’s too warm, the cushions are disfigured around my body and Dave’s robotic phone-voice has woken me up too much to fall back to sleep. What did I agree to last night? Well, it’s the new year. Start it as you mean to go on and all the rest of that capitalist-commercialised bollocks. I throw off the thin black cover I’ve entombed myself in; tear myself away from the brown fabric moulding itself around me, and step into the kitchen. Cold linoleum feels numb against my alcohol-poisoned flesh. I grab a glass, and reaching the sink, turn the tap on too quickly. Freezing water splashes my bare chest. Shocked, the glass falls from my hand crashing into another glass already occupying the cast iron bowl. I cut my hand as I reach to rectify my actions. The alcohol numbs the pain, but all this blood and cold water and linoleum is too much for my current fragile state. I wretch into the sink, spewing stomach acid, it mixes with the blood from my hand producing a rainbow of colours I can’t seem to look away from. I feel weak, but I remember something from the night before. Something Dave had said to me: “The weak are meat and the strong do eat”.

    “Jamie! Where you at bro?” He’s at the front door.

    I try and mumble an “I’m here, in the kitchen”, nothing comes out but a perfectly timed globule
    of last night’s curry. Anyway he must have heard my pathetic attempt at a response, because in he prances, footsteps too loud for my liking.

    “Hey man!” He throws a sympathetic, if a little condescending, arm around my shoulders as I slink closer to the foul smelling vomit in the sink.

    “Dude, you’re bleeding.” I don’t look up at him, but I do let some spittle drip onto my chin.

    “Don’t worry man, I’ve got you.” Dave sets to work on a hasty but, I reflect later in a less compromising situation, perfectly efficient field bandage for my hand. After he’s done, I slump to the floor, he fetches me a glass of water. I wipe my chin with the back of my naked hand and test the water’s authenticity. It’s good. The moistures reaches deep into my dehydrated oesophagus, washing away any cobwebs that might have been there. Dave waits a minute, letting me compose myself before I mumble a half hearted “thanks” at him.

    “Hey no worries man…. So, when do we kill the bitch?” I look around the kitchen, this isn’t my house. It’s Dave’s ex-girlfriends’.

    • Observer Tim says:

      This turned dark surprisingly quickly! You did an incredible job painting the imagery here, EllanoiStone. I could really feel for the Jamie.

      A coupld of quick things: first, the verb is “retch”. Also, the last paragraph should probably be split in two between the quote and the realization, since they’re by different people.

  19. agnesjack says:

    Gina sits, chin in hand, squinting out the car window at the snowy landscape that is flying by. The snow seems so unbearably bright and her head feels like lead. Peg hasn’t said much since picking her up and Gina feels too sick to start a conversation. She and Peg had way too much vodka after running into each other at the New Year’s Eve party the night before. They hadn’t seen each other in more than thirty years.

    All through school, they had been inseparable friends, but in their junior year Peg’s mom and dad were killed in a car accident, and she had to go live with her grandparents in Florida. Peg was miserable there and she and Gina wrote for a while, but eventually, as happens in life, they moved on to other things and lost touch.

    “How’s your head,” Peg says, finally.

    “Lousy,” Gina responds. “How about you?”

    “Oh my God, I haven’t had that much to drink in ages. I don’t actually drink anymore.”

    “Sounds like a good resolution,” Gina says. “Don’t you think?”

    “Sure,” Peg agrees, “but the one we agreed on last night is so much better.”

    The problem is that Gina can’t remember for the life of her what they had agreed upon. All she remembers from the night before is toasting and laughing and then throwing up when she got home.

    “It’ll be O.K., Gina. I promise,” Peg says. “Why don’t you put the seat back and take a nap. I’ll wake you when we get close.”

    Gina is grateful for the suggestion. Perhaps a little nap will help clear her head. It doesn’t take long before she nods off and finds herself in an old, familiar dream.

    She and Peg are sitting on Gina’s back steps. They are children. They are sitting quietly, but there is a great deal of noise coming from the house. Gina’s dad and mom are screaming and yelling and doors are slamming. Peg puts her arm around Gina’s shoulder but Gina doesn’t cry. She refuses to cry. She stares at the yard until she hears the car drive off. Usually when she has this dream she wakes feeling angry and empty inside, but this time she feels different. She feels hopeful and forgiving and she remembers what she and Peg had resolved to do the night before.

    She straightens her seat and looks over at Peg. “You were always such a good friend, Peg,” she says.

    Peg smiles. “Feeling a little better?”

    “Yes,” Gina says. “You know, I would never have been able to do this without you.”

    “I know,” Peg says. “But I only have to drive you to Syracuse to see your mom. You’ll have to fly with me to Florida to visit my Grammy.”

    Gina feels like she might cry. “Do you think they’ll be happy to see us after all these years?”

    “I think we’ll be happy to see them,” Peg says, “and that’s good enough for me.”

    • don potter says:

      True friends stay with you through tick and thin, even if you’re not together. Nice story.

      • agnesjack says:

        Yes they do, don. I’m lucky enough to have a few old friends who I don’t see often because they live thousands of miles away, but whenever we do see each other, we just pick up where we left off as if no time had passed at all.

    • Observer Tim says:

      This is beautiful, Nancy. That’s what true friendship is about.

    • PGS says:

      What a wonderful story, and very nicely told! True friendship transcends time and real life, put some things should not be left undone. Thank you!

      • swatchcat says:

        I agree, this is a nice story about friendship. It is the backstory that intrigues me more though. I get that Peg goes to live with granny in FL. and after rereading, I get that Gina’s dad left the family but, why do the girls have to make visiting family a resolution? Why or on what terms did each girl stop living, speaking, or see the respective relatives and why is it important to go back after (after how much time)? I’m more interested in the whosits and whatfores. Good starter.

        • agnesjack says:

          As always, swatchcat, you make a good point. It is a good starter for what could actually be a whole novel.

          As you know, it’s hard to tell a complete story within the 500 word limit, so I decided to make it about the enduring support of a good friend and leave the rest to the imagination through hints: Gina’s mother left when she was a child; they were in their teens when Peg went to live in FL, and they hadn’t seen each other in thirty years. In Peg’s case, she probably had just moved away when she reached a certain age and become neglectful of her elderly grandmother.

          I’m glad that it intrigued you. I think I may expand the backstory and see where it goes. Thanks very much.

      • agnesjack says:

        Thank you, PGS, and you are right about not leaving certain things undone. Peg and Gina just needed each other’s support to to do the right thing.

    • snuzcook says:

      Great resolution story. One of those tales of things we all know would make us better people if we did them.

    • Nice write, agnesjack. I found the present tense a little distracting, but the story was well put together.

      I really like how you captured Peg and Gina’s friendship in so few words. Totally bought in to the tale.

  20. Jeff says:

    Grinder’s Surprise

    Grinder’s pickup truck rolled to a stop and he leaned over to unlatch the door so I could climb in. My head pounded from the previous night’s New Year’s Eve party.

    “Mornin’ sunshine,” he said around the cigar stub sticking out of his beard. I sat down. “You gotta slam it,” he added. I yanked the door shut and my hangover headache went to a whole new level. Too early for this, and too damn cold, I thought to myself.

    My hair hurt. “You wanna tell me where the hell we’re going?” I asked as we turned out of the addition. His phone call was brief, saying only that he was picking me up in an hour and I better be ready. I knew better than to say no.

    He glanced at me over his shades. “You don’t remember our New Year’s resolution?”

    A wave of panic kicked my heartbeat up few notches as I searched through mental fog. This was not good. Grinder’s twisted sense of humor was legendary. My silence gave the answer.

    Grinder laughed and the rally pins on his leather vest danced in the sunlight. He pointed to a Styrofoam cup in the console and said, “I stopped at the donut shop. Have some coffee and think about it.”

    I sipped hot brew. What resolution? Yesterday I’d been ready to kill something after chasing down yet another dead lead to Dad’s old Harley. It was still just as gone as when it disappeared a month ago. The rest was a blur.

    He slowed the truck and turned in at my brother’s storage-rental business, punched in the entry code and the gate rolled open. The office was dark, no one around. Grinder drove to the back row and parked.

    “Gotta get sumpn’” he said and stepped out. “Gimme a hand.”

    The overhead door rolled up before we got to it. Inside, Jake stood next to a bike, a Shovelhead like dad’s, same color too. Only this one looked showroom fresh.

    “Where’d you steal that, a museum?” I asked him.

    He smiled and said, “Happy New Year, bro.” He held up a key ring with a key dangling and tossed it to me. Our dad’s high school class ring hung next to the key. I looked at Jake, then at Grinder. Both had shit-eating grins. I looked down at the motorcycle. I could see it was Dad’s, the very bike he left to me last year, the same bike I’d been chasing over three states on a wild goose chase.

    “We stole it so we could restore it, ” Jake said. “Grinder had his buddy in the sheriff’s department keep you busy looking for it.”

    I was in shock. All I could think to say was, “Wow.” I looked at Grinder. “What was the resolution?”

    “Ride at least 1,000 miles every month this year, come hell or high water,” he said.

    Jake handed me a set of leathers. “Suit up, we’re going on a polar bear run.”

  21. tboss says:

    Maybe 3rd time’s the charm. I’ve tried to post this twice and it hasn’t shown up. Comments welcome.
    _____________________________________________
    “God, if you let me live through this, I promise to never drink that much again.”
    Terri I’s horn sounds like a cruise ship whistle leaving port.
    “You look like death warmed over.” she quipped, throwing the car in reverse.
    “I just feel like death, thank you”
    I want to say more, but my body is still rebelling from last night.
    “Girl, I am so glad we made this resolution. This will be a fresh start for everyone!”
    Far be it from me to admit I remember nothing that happened twelve hours ago, I keep the conversation general.
    “Me too. Been a long time coming. How long before we get there?”
    “You still drunk?”, she asks giggling. “You know Darryl lives twenty minutes away.”
    Since I was seventeen, two things could make me sober up instantly — my mother’s voice and impending drama. Darryl was my ex. Exes equal drama. My mind is spinning and not because of the hangover, which is now a distant memory. Why in the hell would I agree to go to Darryl’s as part of any New Year’s resolution? Crap! What have I done?
    “Um – what’d you say?”, I said trying to stay calm.
    “You remember! As part of our ‘cleaning out the closet’ resolution, we get everything that has haunted us and held us back out in the open. 2014 is the year we declare freedom from all the secrets.”
    She sounds like Scarlet in Gone with the Wind. It’s taking every ounce of strength not to reach over and slap the curls out of her hair.
    “I made my confession to you . Now Darryl needs to own up to his part in our affair.”
    “Affair?”
    “The affair we had the last year you guys were together. Were you that drunk? We talked for an hour about it. You said you forgave me and wanted to put everything to rest.”
    The fog lifts. Memories of last night’s conversation play back in my head. I remembered our “resolution”. My cheeks feel hot from the blood rushing to my face.
    “Darryl’s house hasn’t changed in two years.”
    Darryl was a creature of habit to a fault. I figured even a person’s faults could benefit someone.
    “You said you had a key so we could surprise him”, Terri reminded me.
    “Oh yeah”
    I unlocked the front door and stepped in. The house was clean and sterile as usual.
    “Hey Darryl, time to own up to your lies you maggot!” Terri yells down the hallway.
    Laughter consumes me as I flop down on the sofa.
    “What’s so funny?”
    “Remember what I told Darryl, I’d do if he ever cheated?”
    “Yeah, you said, you’d kill him and the tramp he cheated with. That he was such a recluse no one would ever notice.”
    I took a deep breath to expel the last bit of laughter.
    “Exactly – I always keep my promises.”

  22. mod.nova says:

    Alcohol. The sweet sensation of gulping down a glass of whisky never seemed so bitter. Head still spinning from the night before, I find myself slowly awakening, swaying back and forth, as the car I’m in veers uncontrollably through traffic.

    “We are late!”
    “It started five minutes ago.”
    “What were you thinking last night?”

    Mumbling, half drowsy, I answer, “I don’t know, I think…. I thought we…” as I begin to dose off.

    “Please tell me you can still do this?”
    “You promised me last night that we would be partners.”

    Suddenly the car skids to a halt, jolting me forward,

    “Are you even listening to me!”

    I begin to drift out of delusion and into the reality of feeling woozy, ready to vomit from all of the alcohol I had ingested the previous night.

    As I force my mouth shut and clench my stomach in agony, I yell “Greg pull over! I need to throw up!”

    Disregarding my urgency to throw up, Greg tells me to wait till we get to the event, we were only a few turns away, a couple speed bumps through a parking lot until we arrived. I really wish I could wait; however, I have already begun to feel my body temperature increase, palms tingling, and mouth watering. Then it came, throw up hurled out of my mouth and landed all over Greg’s dashboard. The smell was horrifying, reminding me of a sour, day old, Jamba Juice that had been left on the warm kitchen counter for too long. I can feel the acidic fluid from the combination of alcohol and bile rotting away at my teeth.

    Greg disapprovingly yells, “Really?” “You couldn’t wait just two minutes longer!” The disgust in Greg’s voice rose.

    “First you can’t wake up on time and make us late, and now you show up to the event covered in throw up!”
    “I thought I could count on you as my partner.”
    “I can’t believe you, this is disappointing.”

    As I sit in the passenger seat of his car, embarrassed, I attempt to recall what exactly I agreed upon last night. Where were we going? Where is Greg taking me? Partners? I realize that I cannot remember anything from last night; I don’t even remember the New Years ball drop. Regardless of what happened, I need an excuse. I say,

    “Greg, I’m sorry”
    “I never meant to sleep in and make us late”
    “I never wanted to throw up inside of your car”
    “In fact, I never want to drink alcohol again, it has ruined this whole day, and I’m making it my New Years resolution to stop drinking.”

    The first few excuses were total bullshit. Of course my intentions weren’t to do all of that stuff, but he’s my best friend, hell get over it. The last excuse; however, actually wasn’t an excuse at all, I truly meant it, I completely lost all appetite for alcohol. The aching it brought to my body this morning, the misery of ruining a good day with my best friend, and the absent mind it left me with, all terribly haunting me to never drink another glass of alcohol again.

    Then we arrived.

    I finally understood where we were.
    I’ve never wanted to crawl back up in bed, tuck my head under the covers, and never leave my room so much in my life.
    After everything that happened to me last night, along with this horrific, unbearable morning, I found myself paired up with my best friend in front of the national beer pong championship.

    Then, to make it even worse, Greg said

    “Remember my resolution last night? To stop drinking?”

    “You were almost in tears over me wanting to forfeit this tournament, but then, like the best friend you are, said…and I quote:”

    “Greg, don’t worry, I’ll drink for the both of us tomorrow, that’s what best friends do!”

    …My new years resolution is ruined.

    • seliz says:

      Good punch line. I wasn’t expecting the MC to have agreed to drink MORE, but I suppose since he was drunk, it probably seemed like a good idea at the time. I did notice that a few times, the dialogue for the same person was split up for with a different set of quotations for each sentence. That was a little distracting, especially in the very beginning because it almost made it sound as if three people were talking, not one. I would suggest working on that, but other then that it was a nice piece. Good job :)

      • PromptPrincess13 says:

        Oh that’s cruel…so very, very cruel. I feel for the MC…he has a lot more messes to clean up than the car. Not a good start to the year for him!

      • swatchcat says:

        This was a fun story and yes interesting twist but I have to agree about the quotation marks with lack of attribution. I was busy keeping track of how many people were involved in the story when all of a sudden Greg showed up. It made the story lose power.

    • jhowe says:

      Good description of the vomit scene. That’s got to be a new record — quit drinking one minute and then agree to drink double the next. Every time I drink too much, I swear I’m going to quit, but I never do.

    • don potter says:

      I was disgusted by the description of the vomit. Nicely done. The final twist was a complete surprise.

    • Observer Tim says:

      I like the twist, mod.nova. So much for that resolution. ;)

    • snuzcook says:

      A cruel, cruel irony, Mod.Nova. Definitely drew my sympathy to the MC. Nicely done.

  23. billswords says:

    Last night was a blur to me. That must mean it was a good party. Those mixed drinks were good, even with a little too much vodka. My buddy and I, that I hadn’t seen in years, drank while we caught up and kept on drinking like we used to. When I woke up my head throbbed and my memory faded into oblivion.
    Brian called that next morning and said, “I’m so pumped we’re doing this New Year’s resolution together. I know it’s unusual, but doing it together will make it easier. I’ll pick you up in an hour.”
    Do what? I thought.
    I made coffee, ate some cereal and hopped into the shower. I had barely got my pants on when I heard Brian in the kitchen.
    “Man you really gotta get over this shitty coffee bro!”
    I walked in, slumped down in a chair and put my socks and shoes on. He was standing on the other side of the table drinking the cup that I had just poured for myself. Same ol’ Brian.
    “Well what do you drink these days?” I said
    “You know the gourmet stuff that you have to grind up yourself. Good shit.” He took another sip. “Your crap isn’t too bad if you put a little Kahlua in it.”
    “Get a cup and let’s blow this popsicle stand!”
    We drove across town in his old 80′s pickup truck with the huge tires that’s about as fuel efficient as a Sherman tank.
    When we pulled up to the lake I was almost awake and my hangover was just a dim ache behind my eyes.
    “Are you ready?” he asks with that half cocked smile of his.
    “For what? I don’t remember.. What are we here for?”
    “You don’t remember?” He slid closer to me and put his hand on my knee. “You agreed to it when you were drunk, sooo you must really want to deep inside.”
    Then he started unbuttoning his shirt.
    “Um whoa. Stop. I don’t think that..”
    “Relax you homophobe.” he said, but he still kept stripping down. “We’re going polar bearing!”
    “Um… what?”
    “You know, swimming in freezing ass water.”
    “Won’t we get hypothermia?”
    “Not if we jump in and back out real quick. I brought towels, and I’ll leave the heater on.” And with that he hopped out of the truck and got naked.
    Reluctantly I got commando.
    We ran down to the shore and I swam out as far as I could push myself. The water wasn’t frozen yet, but damn talk about pins and needles! When I got to my waist, I had to just plunge in all at once. I think it’ll be summer before I see Mr. Winkie again.
    As soon as we ran in, we ran back out and jumped into the truck laughing and shivering. He took a bottle out from under the seat, took a swig and passed it to me.
    “How was that?” he asked with a stupid crooked smile.

  24. CharlieGirl77 says:

    Julie will be here any minute. She is never late and I have no idea if I’ve dressed for wherever it is she’s taking me. New Year’s resolution? What on earth was she talking about? I don’t do New Year’s resolutions. Of course, I don’t do Jell-O shots either, but that was not enough to stop me last night.

    “Ughh…” I moan as I open the front door and my eyes are accosted by the mid-morning sun. My head is pounding and my stomach feels like it wants to tear its way out of my body never to return. I can’t blame it. I feel awful. I want nothing more than to crawl back into bed but Julie is never late.

    Right on time Julie’s car turns the corner onto my street and pulls up along the curb.

    “Hey!” she beams at me with a huge I-can’t-believe-we-are-doing-this smile. “Get in. We don’t want to be late.”

    Be late? Late for what? I have no idea what I have gotten myself into but Julie is so excited that I have agreed I do not have the heart to ask her. I know it will only spoil her fun. I drop myself into the passenger seat thankful that I keep a pair of sunglasses in my purse. Maybe if I can get her talking she will give me a clue as to what we are doing today.

    “I can’t believe I agreed to this,” I say as she pulls back onto the street into light traffic.

    She turns to me with a face-splitting grin. “Me either! You never set resolutions. I was half-joking last night but you jumped right in and said we had to. I am so glad you insisted on doing it today. I know I would definitely back out if I had time to think about this with a clear head.” Julie is beaming. She is truly excited about whatever adventure we are embarking on. As she talks she glances at me turning her head only slightly so she can watch the road and other drivers. “You’re not having second thoughts, are you?” I can see her brow furrow slightly into her please-don’t-notice-I’m-frowning frown.

    “Of course not,” I say a little too brightly. “How much time do we have?”

    This seems like a vague enough question and hopefully her response will give me some clue. This is clearly important to her. We are headed west and I know that should give me some indication, but my head is just still too foggy and I am having to focus too much on not throwing up right here in the car to try and make sense of it.

    “Not much.” She gives me a quick smile before turning her attention back to her driving. She looks great. Fresh faced and lovely, as usual. I hated we could not spend New Year’s Eve together, but her family is still in town for the holidays. “I called earlier to make sure they would even be open today. The office is closing at noon. Poor things had to be there at eight this morning. Seems totally unfair for the morning after New Year’s.” I glance at the clock on the console of the car. It’s ten minutes until eleven so wherever we are going must be close by.

    We travel a few miles in comfortable silence. I take deep slow breaths trying to settle my stomach as she flips on the blinker and exits the freeway. I am only half looking around but there is something familiar about the neighborhood we are in. When Julie turns onto Chestnut Avenue I jerk my head toward her with wide eyes as realization and faint memory of what today holds, what I agreed to last night, floods through me. My chest swells and I am dizzy but no longer feel ill. Sure enough she pulls up in front of the white Craftsman home we looked at last week for fun. The realtor is waiting for us on the front porch. I turn to Julie and smile, my beaming face now matching hers.

    We are moving in together.

  25. PromptPrincess13 says:

    Still working on staying under the limit all the time. Comments very, very welcome.

    ——–

    Free-Fall

    Somewhere between the painful climb out of my blissfully sympathetic bed to the cold, cruelly moving car, I’d come to a decision:

    I needed better friends. Better, kinder friends who were compassionate to poor souls with hangovers instead of dragging them off to who knows where.

    I sipped my way-too-hot coffee, dark sunglasses cocked carefully on my nose- even my skin hurt. I put down the cup on the counsel, freeing my hands to rub my temples: “Angie, you’re totally insane if you think you can hold me to some resolution I made when I was drunk.”

    She only laughed and waved a pamphlet in front of my face, her irritatingly non-blurry vision stuck on the road ahead of us. I sighed and reached to grab it, but my depth perception was apparently still off, because I only managed to knock over my coffee. I bucked against my seat-belt as scalding liquid seeped through my jeans and irreparably stained my once-white sneakers.

    I cursed and fumbled with the napkins Angie calmly passed my way, hands deftly sweeping up the mess. “Ughh…”

    I turned down the radio. Right now, Katy Perry’s image of TGIF wasn’t very welcome… it was bringing back memories. Especially one weird one about a conversation with a plastic pink flamingo that really loved cheesecake.

    “Read, Kat. I know this is a little unusual, okay a lot unusual, but it’ll be great. I promise…Thanks for agreeing.”

    I grunted and started to read the pamphlet, only a little crumpled after the coffee fiasco.

    Halfway in, I knew where this was going – it was something Angie had always been badgering me to do.

    “Turn the car around, I’m not doing this. You really are insane.”

    “I already bought the tickets and they’re waiting for us… you can’t back out.”

    I tugged on my door handle, slapping the window when it wouldn’t open.

    “Let me out.” She’d turned on the child-safety locks.

    “No, you promised,”

    “Look, I know, but haven’t you seen that commercial for Snickers with Robin Williams and that guy who shows up everywhere?”

    “Pitbull?” Kat was obviously loving every minute of this.

    “No! Um…Betty White!”

    “She’s not a guy.” Kat interjected, softly laughing now.

    “It doesn’t matter. The point of the commercial is that ‘you’re not you when you’re hungry’, same thing when you’re drunk. I would’ve never agreed to this if I were sober.”

    Kat didn’t say a word.

    For a second, I thought I’d won, but then I saw the pain in Kat’s face; she looked devastated

    “You know what, forget me. Let’s do this.” That sounded like the most pathetic apology ever.

    Kate nodded but didn’t talk. I realized then that this wasn’t just some insane idea she wanted to do; she needed this. After the whole mess with her divorce she needed to feel free again.

    As we tumbled out of the plane two hours later, the wind a maelstrom of power around us, I knew I’d done the right thing. The ground was coming closer and closer, but though the part of me that was still terrified of heights was screeching like a hysterical hyena, I barely noticed; I was too busy marveling at the look of glee on my best friend’s face. Something in Kat had changed when we’d jumped.

    “Kat, what was our resolution?” I yelled.

    She looked at me, and through the burn of the wind-lashes against my face, I saw her give me her trademark smile, somehow different…happier.

    “To let go.”

    ————-
    Note – I can’t take full credit for the idea. I got it from the lyric: sky-diving drunk, now there’s a story, from Lee Brice’s song Years Off My Life.

    • Observer Tim says:

      It doesn’t matter where you got the inspiration from, PromptPrincess, it’s still a lovely story!

      If you really really need to trim words, you could back-reference the coffee spill rather than including it in the direct narrative. Trouble is, it’s so wonderfully fun it’d be a shame to reduce it. That’s the problem with good writing – which part of the gem gets cut away to make it sparkle more?

      • PromptPrincess13 says:

        Thanks, Observer Tim for the kind words. I did just notice a typo (counsel), and the fact that I wrote the wrong name for the second half of the story. The MC was Kat, the friend was Angie. Oops.

    • jhowe says:

      Nice one PP. Well written dialog really added to the story. I liked how you compared the Snickers commercials with the drunk influenced agrrement.

    • seliz says:

      Nice piece. I like the Snicker’s commercial joke in there. As far as cutting it down, the only thing I would suggest is editing the portion, “her irritatingly non-blurry vision stuck on the road ahead of us”. In first person, the MC wouldn’t know if her friend’s vision was blurry or not (although she could assume it). You could put it that she looked alert or simply remove it, but that’s your call. I personally hate having to go through and cut lines to get to the 500 word count.

    • agnesjack says:

      This was a nice story with a lovely ending, but your characters seemed to switch at the end. In the beginning, Angie is driving and Kat is narrating, then all of a sudden Angie seems to be narrating.

    • don potter says:

      Letting go holds most of us back from enjoying life to the fullest. Nicely told story.

    • snuzcook says:

      Great principles in this story: You’re not yourself when… and the benefits of letting go.
      Good story, well told.

      • PromptPrincess13 says:

        Thank you! Yes, I realized the second after I posted that I’d messed up with the names. I’ll definitely be working on keeping my characters straight!

  26. Writers.block says:

    The black mustang roars under the changing sky. Trapped between the last minute of the dark night and the first second of a sunlit day, the vehicle presses further down the deserted city. A metropolis of a million and more people, not a cat to be seen right now but that is a good thing for the driver pushing the gas to the pedal treating the asphalt road as his own personal racing circuit.

    “So we are doing this, eh Bobby?” The driver asks.

    Bobby nods his head in submission. A long day and night of partying and drinking had left Bobby like the zombies he loves to watch on TV. Tequila, Martini, Vodka, Scotch, he had drank them all, some even twice, and to the point where if Hally Berry would have asked him to have sex on the beach, he would told the goddess to put a bit more ice first.

    “Bobby!” The driver exclaimed.

    “Yes…yes, we are doing this Joe.” Bobby grumbled.

    Joe, his partner in crime who drinks like the Irish, makes the engine roar as the nightscape outside blurts into shady shapes and streaks of light. Whether Joe is Batman or Robin always depends on the day but they are in fact inseparable. It a quality Bobby now curses in his head for every word Joe speaks jackhammers his swollen beaten brain.

    “Good! I am glad we are doing this. I am telling you man, its time to grab life by the balls and make some lemonade!” Joe howls, the mustang roars.

    Sparked by Joe’s enthusiasm, Bobby’s mind backtracks through the past 24 hours. Though half asleep, the boozed passenger picks his brains searching for a hint of significance in Joe’s words. Every New Year’s eve, since they were two little boys, Joe would always come up with some crazy New Year resolution. The most outlandish was the year of 2001, which lasted all of 2 days, when they both decided to become professional wrestlers- Many years, many resolutions, yet no results.

    “Yes…” Bobby whispered.

    “Wait, I am putting this on Facebook right now!” Refusing to relinquish the wheel, Joe smiled.

    Joe could have said that they were aiming for the stars by becoming astronauts and it still would not matter because the country has already sent monkeys to space. Bobby could not help but wonder a little bit what Joe had decided as their fate. His pondering was cut short by white lights invading his vision. Intruding all over Bobby, the glow conquers his frame as he reaches out to Joe. The sound of metal giving in to velocity howls in his ears. The screeching of collision rake Bobby like sharp nails clawing on a blackboard.

    “Momma…” His last words are lost in the symphony of breaking metal and bone.

    When the police arrived, all that was found intact was a cell with a message yet to be posted on Facebook.
    “2013 is over! Time to grow up…no more booze!”

    • Observer Tim says:

      That’s dark, Writers.block. Now if only Joe had resolved to drive more carefully instead…

      This is good view into Bobby’s mind, and a fairly clear portrait of Joe by his actions. Welcome to the site, and I’m glad you made it past the human gatekeepers. Your new posts shouldn’t have to be done twice.

  27. Writers.block says:

    The black mustang roared under the changing sky. Trapped between the last minute of the dark night and the first second of a sunlit day, the vehicle pressed further down the deserted city. A metropolis of a million and more people, none could be seen right now but that is a good thing for the driver pushing the gas to the pedal treating the asphalt road as his own personal racing circuit.

    “So we are doing this, eh Bobby?” The driver asks.

    Bobby nods his head in submission. A long day and night of partying and drinking had left Bobby like the zombies he loves to watch on TV. Tequila, Martini, Vodka, Scotch, he had drank them all, some even twice, and to the point where if Hally Berry would have asked him to have sex on the beach, he would told her to put a bit more ice in it first.

    “Bobby!” The driver exclaimed.

    “Yes…yes, we are doing this Joe.” Bobby grumbled.

    Joe, his partner in crime who drinks like the Irish, makes the engine roar as the nightscape outside blurts into shady shapes and streaks of light. Whether Joe is Batman or Robin always depends on the day but they are in fact inseparable. It a quality Bobby now curses in his head for every word Joe speaks jackhammers his swollen beaten brain.

    “Good! I am glad we are doing this. I am telling you man, its time to grab life by the balls and make some lemonade!” Joe howls, the mustang roars.

    Sparked by Joe’s enthusiasm, Bobby’s mind backtracks through the past 24 hours. Though half asleep, the boozed passenger picks his brains searching for a hint of significance in Joe’s words. Every New Year’s eve, since they were two little boys, Joe would always come up with some crazy New Year resolution. The most outlandish was the year of 2001, which lasted all of 2 days, when they both decided to become professional wrestlers- Many years, many resolutions, yet no results.

    “Yes…” Bobby whispered.

    “Wait, I am putting this on Facebook right now!” Refusing to relinquish the wheel, Joe smiled.

    Joe could have said that they were aiming for the stars by becoming astronauts and it still would not matter because the country has already sent monkeys to space. Bobby could not help but wonder a little bit what Joe had decided as their fate. His pondering was cut short by white lights invading his vision. Intruding all over Bobby, the glow conquers his frame as he reaches out to Joe. The sound of metal giving in to velocity howls in his ears. The screeching of another vehicle’s tires claw at Bobby like sharp nails on a blackboard.

    “Momma…” His last words fade into the symphony of breaking metal and bone.

    When the police finally arrived, all that was found intact was a cell with a message yet to be posted on Facebook.

    “2013 is over! Time to grow up…no more booze!”

  28. seliz says:

    I could be called a lot of things—easy going, jock—but never a light weight. I guess that’s why New Year’s was so surprising.

    I couldn’t remember anything.

    That is—except her.

    Even in my intoxicated state, I knew she was perfect. The most beautiful girl I’d ever seen. She seemed to float into the room, moving gracefully with every step. She was wearing a white lace dress that buttoned up to her neck and made her look like she had stepped out of an old picture. She had the darkest black hair I’d ever seen; so dark it made her skin look porcelain—doll like.

    I knew I had to meet her, if only to know she was real.

    I couldn’t remember anything else from the night—not even her name! But it must have worked out, because the next night she was outside my house, waiting for me.

    “Are you ready to keep your promise?”

    “Promise?” I said, echoing her dumbly. “Uh…I don’t remember a lot from last night. It’s strange. I didn’t even drink that much.”

    “Strange,” she said, a hint of a smile on her lips. She moved closer, rubbing her laced hand across my chest seductively. “Take me.”

    A shock went through me at her touch. I was aroused and terrified in the same instant. She stared up at me expectantly.

    “Okay, yeah,” I said, swallowing nervously.

    As if under a spell, I found myself driving down an unlit road. We passed under the archway to a cemetery, but she didn’t stop me. It was only when we were outside a large stone crypt that she put her hand on my arm.

    “Take me inside.”

    I wanted to argue, but it felt like my lips were glued shut. I simply followed her into the crypt, and without being asked, lay down on the stone slab in the center of the room.

    “You’re remembering,” she said, stroking my face.

    As her laced hand touched me, images crashed into my head from the night before. Her face close to mine—looking as if she were going to kiss me. Without taking her dark eyes from me, she had pulled out a knife and slashed her arm, red staining the lace of her dress.

    “Drink.”

    My mind was buzzing from the memories. It felt like my forehead was on fire. I shuttered against the pain, but not before remembering that I took her arm and drank.

    “You are ready,” she whispered, pulling me from my memories.

    “Who…are…you?”

    She removed a lace glove, revealing a wrinkled, withered hand. She placed her bare hand on my cheek, smiling grimly.

    “I am the ageless one.”

    I seized at her touch, my heart first quickening, then slowing—ba, bump.

    Ba, bump.

    Until my heart gave a final beat and was silent.

    I stood outside my body, staring at the boy who had once been me. He looked porcelain—doll like.

    The ageless one floated out of the crypt, energy lighting her, and moving her forward into the night.

  29. snuzcook says:

    CRISS CROSS

    “So I’m thinking how we should do it.”

    I had barely clipped on my seat belt when Sandy started, both the car and the banter. She likes to begin talking like we’re already in the middle of a conversation.

    I squinted against the overly bright daylight. “Tell me again what it is we’re talking about.”

    “Bumping them off. You know, like Strangers on a Train.”

    “Bumping WHO off?”

    Sandy pulled into a drive up coffee stand and leaned out the window. “You still have pumpkin pie spice lattes?” The barista nodded. “I’ll have a tall, extra cinnamon.” She turned to me. “What do you want?”

    “They have Bloody Mary’s?” My tongue felt fuzzy, and I could feel a pounding headache threatening like a high plains hail storm. A little hair of the dog would set things right.

    “Nooo.”

    “Then a small Americano, black, two sugars.”

    “Bumping WHO off?” I repeated when we had received our orders and Sandy pulled out into traffic. The spicy aroma Sandy’s latte was triggering a wave of nausea; I quickly took a sip of scalding coffee.

    “The hubbies,” Sandy replied a matter-of-fact tone, gesturing with her latte cup. “Don’t you remember last night? You were telling me how you were thinking of leaving Stu, how you wanted to be free to write but your dysfunctional marriage was holding you back?”

    “Yeah,” I said slowly. It sounded vaguely familiar.

    “And I told you that I’ve been wanting to ditch Larry for years, but I didn’t want to have to look for another job right now to make ends meet.”

    “Uh huh,” I prompted.

    “And that’s when we decided to do it,” Sandy said. “We just have to decide how the bump off the husbands, and we’re home free.” She said it so casually, as we were going in together on a vacation rental or something.

    Was some uninhibited, drunk part of me capable of that kind of violence, just to escape my unhappy, stifling marriage? For a split second I pictured myself at Stu’s funeral and the corners of my mouth curled upward.

    “It would have to look like an accident,” Sandy was continuing, stopping at a traffic light. “Maybe a skiing accident, or rock climbing.”

    I pictured Stu on the end of a rope dangling over a precipice, the rope fraying with a little help. “No,” I said. “We could never get Stu rock climbing. He’s afraid of heights.”

    “What are you talking about?” Sandy gasped. The light changed and she nosed the car forward.

    I burst suddenly into an embarrassed sweat. “Well, the…husbands…Stu and Larry…criss cross, like you said.”

    “Oh, Helen,” Sandy said, “I was talking about the book we’re going to write together. The one you promised last night to collaborate on, the one that will launch our writing careers.” Sandy looked at me, then laughed. “Boy, you had me going there. I thought for a minute you were serious!”

    “Yeah, ha ha.” I said weakly. “Had you going.”

    • snuzcook says:

      Author correction of irritating missing words. Note: The word count was at 496, so it wasn’t a sad attempt to come in under 500…really.

      “The hubbies,” Sandy replied IN a matter-of-fact tone, gesturing with her latte cup. “Don’t you remember last night? You were telling me how you were thinking of leaving Stu, how you wanted to be free to write but your dysfunctional marriage was holding you back?”….

      “And that’s when we decided to do it,” Sandy said. “We just have to decide how TO bump off the husbands, and we’re home free.” She said it so casually, as IF we were going in together on a vacation rental or something.

    • seliz says:

      Great descriptions in this. I loved these lines, ” I had barely clipped on my seat belt when Sandy started, both the car and the banter. She likes to begin talking like we’re already in the middle of a conversation.” That pretty much sums up my best friend, so I could definitely relate.

      I also like the twist at the end. Nicely done! :)

    • Observer Tim says:

      Great story, Snuzcook! I did not see the last coming at all, though it made perfect sense when it arrived. It’s a classic twist ending, done perfectly.

    • DMelde says:

      I liked the flow to your story, the easy banter between friends, the confused MC as she tried to figure out what was happening, The only suggestion I could make is to change the following sentence to — “The hubbies,” Sandy replied a matter-of-fact tone, gesturing with her latte cup. “Don’t you remember last night”…at the New Years Eve party? or Don’t you remember last night…at the party? I know that they attended a New Years Eve party and so does everyone else who read the prompt, but anyone who didn’t read the prompt wouldn’t know it. To me, that was the only confusing part. I also loved the twist at the end, and the last line, the lame response of the MC. Very well done!

    • jhowe says:

      Snuzcook, that was brilliant. You wrote a classic here. Helen picturing her husband dangling from the end of a rope… loved it. I liked it when she tried to order a bloody mary at the coffee shop.

    • agnesjack says:

      The ending was unexpected and a huge relief. I laughed out loud. Well done, snuzcook.

  30. Bellamonte says:

    “You look like hell,” Jane said as I hopped into her little Carolla.
    “Cheers.”

    As the car lurched forward, the motion sickness set in. Why had I done this? Because I was a masochist? I didn’t even know what we were doing.

    “So Janie?”
    She turned and eyed me eerily, before cracking a smile, “I know you can’t remember. That’s half of the fun.”
    “And you’re not going to tell me.”
    “This is why we hang out.”

    I tried my hardest to bargain, and eventually beg, to know where we were going but Jane was not giving anything up. When we arrived, I knew why.

    “I’m not doing this,”
    “Yes you are.”
    “No. I’m really not,” I said gesturing to my feet stamped to the floor.
    “Fine. Stay in the car.”

    Even as she left, rounded the bonnet and walked passed the sign that read ‘Speed Dating at 10:30′, she showed no inkling of looking back. Had she noticed my noticing? Was this her way of subtly telling me to move on? I did not remember much from last night but I did recall the awkward silence we held at 12:00:01 this morning.

    She entered the building.

    As my chips fell into place, I knew there was no spinning it. There I was feeling like death warmed up in a car that belonged to the girl I liked while she was inside a community centre, speed dating. I was the definition of friend-zone.
    Defeated, I left the vehicle. Upon searching my surroundings, I squinted hard enough to make out the words ‘Hot Coffee’ on a corner cafe about 200 meters away. I started to walk.

    The sun was shining, but a gentle breeze was the savior of the day, a welcome sensation on my cheeks. The small country town buzzed with sounds, people talking: cars driving by, and a very talkative crow in a nearby tree. But then there was another sound, an unexpected one.
    “So that’s it?” It was her voice.
    I spun and saw Janie standing there, hands on her hips staring at me.
    “What?”
    “You and I. Just a bit of harmless flirting ay?”
    “Are you saying…”
    “That I like you Robert!”
    Baffled, confused and not well at all, I was speechless.
    “But last night?”
    “Midnight last night? You had had about 6-7 vodkas, and no offense, but you weren’t too pretty.”
    “So what’s with the speed dating?”
    She dropped her hands from her hips and shrugged, “We’d eventually get each other and it might, I dunno, speed things along?”
    I had to laugh.
    “What? And you’re method? Getting us blind drunk for one of the most cheesiest traditions of the year?”
    “I, I was nervous. It was dumb.”
    “Yeah, well,” she said gesturing to the sign.
    We paused, fell silent and looked at each other, a hint of a smile on both of our faces.
    “Want to get a coffee?” I asked.
    “I’d like that.”

    She came over to me and took my hand.

  31. R. Octavius says:

    The first thing people notice when Dan rolls up in his Corolla is the dent that swallows up his bumper. It’s been a conversation starter for six months and I’m sure it was no different at the party last night. The first thing I noticed was Dan’s hands glued to the wheel, but his leg bouncing like it was ready to shoot out of the socket. I laid my palm on his knee as I settled into the seat next to him, but it didn’t stop pumping. I pressed down until his leg came to a stop.
    “ If you want to work off your leg fat try jogging.” I gave a dry smile, but he didn’t acknowledge me.
    “ Maybe you should drive.” He said.
    “ Yeah, of course. But first I need to know where we’re going.” I leaned closer to him,“ What are you so pumped about?”
    “ You don’t remember talking about this last night?” Dan asked.
    “ Whatever you said went right the other ear. I was so wasted.”
    “ We’re going to 516 West Oak. You’ll figure it out when we get there.”
    “ Let me just bring that on my phone.” I fumbled around with my smart phone to find my gps application. I made at least five attempts to type in the address, before getting it right.
    “ This is a cemetery, oh.” I said as we pulled up. Linda.
    Dan took a minute, but I was able to drag him onto the lawn. Stone, stone, stone, I wasn’t sure which one of us was leading, but after perusing several rows, Dan stopped. The tombstone was unremarkable, until he laid a simple marigold bouquet below the epitaph.

    Linda Allwright
    Beloved Daughter
    1987-2013

    I left him to make his peace and I made a few rounds of the graveyard. Every time I glanced over, it seemed he hadn’t moved, just casting a shadow on the gravesite. I grew impatient after circumnavigating the place more times than Magellan so I returned to my friend.
    I didn’t say anything, but I placed my hand on his back and walked him to his car. A 03’ Toyota Corolla, 150,000 miles. One dent in the front bumper, one count of careless driving. Dan came so close to being convicted of manslaughter, I’d say he had luck on his side. Still, his car wore that dent like it was permanent. I tried to put my mind off on other things, and I realized my hangover had subsided.
    Dan slipped into the driver’s seat.
    “ Shotgun.” I made my way around to the passenger’s seat.
    “ It’s a new year, and you deserve a fresh start.” I rubbed his back,“ Maybe we can start by popping that dent in your car. I’ll pay.”
    “ No, it stays. It’s never going away.” His leg began to tremble again.

  32. Toni says:

    “God, if you let me live through this, I promise to never drink that much again.”

    Terri I’s horn sounds like a cruise ship whistle leaving port.

    “You look like death warmed over.” she quipped, throwing the car in reverse.

    “I just feel like death, thank you”

    I want to flip her off, but my body is still rebelling from the hell I put it through.

    “Girl, I am so glad we made this resolution. This will be a fresh start for everyone!”

    Far be it from me to admit I remember nothing that happened twelve hours ago, I keep the conversation general.

    “Me too. Been a long time coming. How long before we get there?”

    “You still drunk?”, she asks with a giggle. “You know Darryl lives twenty minutes away.”
    Since I was seventeen, two things could make me sober up instantly — my mother’s voice and impending drama. Darryl was my ex. Exes equal drama. My mind is spinning and not because of the hangover, which is now a distant memory. Why in the hell would I agree to go to Darryl’s as part of any New Year’s resolution? Crap! What have I done?

    “Um – what’d you say?”, I said trying to stay calm.

    “You remember! As part of our ‘cleaning out the closet’ resolution, we get everything that has haunted us and held us back out in the open. 2014 is the year we declare freedom from all the secrets.”

    She sounds like Scarlet in Gone with the Wind. It’s taking every ounce of strength not to reach over and slap the curls out of her hair.

    “I made my confession to you . Now Darryl needs to own up to his part in our affair.”

    “Affair?”

    “The affair we had the last year you guys were together. Were you that drunk? We talked for an hour about it. You said you forgave me and wanted to put everything to rest.”

    The fog lifts. Memories of last night’s conversation play back in my head. I remembered our “resolution”. My cheeks feel hot from the blood rushing to my face.

    “Darryl’s house hasn’t changed in two years.”

    Darryl was a creature of habit to a fault. I figured even a person’s faults could benefit someone.

    “You said you had a key so we could surprise him”, Terri reminded me.

    “Oh yeah”

    I unlocked the front door and stepped in. The house was clean and sterile as usual.

    “Hey Darryl, time to own up to your lies you maggot!” Terri yells down the hallway.

    Laughter consumes me as I flop down on the sofa.

    “What’s so damn funny?”

    “Remember what I told Darryl, I’d do if he ever cheated?”

    “Yeah, you said, you’d kill him and the tramp he cheated with. That he was such a recluse no one would ever notice.”

    I took a deep breath to expel the last bit of laughter.

    “Exactly – and I always keep my promises.”

  33. Simone Dubois says:

    WHAT IN THE WORLD DID I AGREE TO?
    Getting into Derek’s little sports car with my 6 foot, 250 pound self wasn’t easy. When he slammed the door behind me my head exploded. Well, not really. The CD player was blaring about ho’s and bro’s and I winced and felt to see if my ears were still attached.
    “Tough morning, eh Bud?”
    Knowing he’d just flick more crap if I admitted to a hangover, I merely grinned and said, “So, I’m having a little memory lapse, as you probably are experiencing yourself…”
    “Nope. I remember everything. Quit drinking early and started on water so I could drive your sorry ass home.” Looking rather smug, he continued, “So, are you as pumped as I am? We’ve talked about doing this since we were in grade school.”
    Aha! A hint! But Derek and I are in our 30’s now, with wives, kids, pets and mortgages. We’d talked about doing hundreds, if not thousands of things over the years.
    “You know, I…”
    “You don’t have to say anything. Just checking off a bucket list item with my best friend is thanks enough.”
    Head spinning with jumbled memories sloshing along with the vodka…I just couldn’t for the life of me remember what I’d agreed to.
    Not long later, we came to a gravel road densely forested on both sides. Where were we? I’d never been here before I didn’t think. What had I gotten myself into?
    “Hey, you’re not having second thoughts are you? You can’t chicken out now, man,” Derek seemed to read my thoughts.
    “Um, how much further?”
    He continued, “Cuz if you’re having second thoughts…”
    “No, not at all, I just can’t…”
    “Well, too late now. We’re here!”
    Derek, leaned back his seat and started taking off his shirt. I sat there. What the hell? Then he went for his belt buckle. I do NOT recall talking about doing that in grade school.
    “Whoa. Derek, dude. We’ve been friends for many years and I love you like a brother, but, um, I’m just not into you.”
    Eyes wide, mouth gaping, Derek looked as if I’d just stabbed him.
    “Man, what are you talking about!?”
    I couldn’t even look at him. “I can’t do Brokeback Mountain.”
    Derek froze with one leg out of his pants. I could see he had on, what? Swim shorts?
    Then he laughed. It started low and deep, then swelled into hysterics. Tears streamed down his face as he held his belly like his guts were about to leak out.
    “Now, that’s a good one, Bud. You don’t remember last night at all do ya?”
    I could feel my face burning red.
    Still chuckling, Derek shook his head as he continued undressing. “The polar bear plunge at the river. Does that ring any New Year’s bells?”
    I’ll kill him if he tells a soul.

  34. Toni says:

    “God, if you let me live through this, I promise to never drink that much again.”
    Terri’s horn sounds like a cruise ship whistle leaving port.

    “You look like death warmed over.” she quipped, throwing the car in reverse.

    “I just feel like death, thank you”

    I want to flip her off, but my body is still rebelling from the hell I put it through.

    “Girl, I am so glad we made this resolution. This will be a fresh start for everyone!”

    Far be it from me to admit I remember nothing that happened twelve hours ago, I keep the conversation general.

    “Me too. Been a long time coming. How long before we get there?”
    “You still drunk?”, she asks with a giggle. “You know Darryl lives twenty minutes away.”

    Since I was seventeen, two things could make me sober up instantly — my mother’s voice and impending drama. Darryl was my ex. Exes equal drama. My mind is spinning and not because of the hangover, which is now a distant memory. Why in the hell would I agree to go to Darryl’s as part of any New Year’s resolution? Crap! What have I done?

    “Um – what’d you say?”, I said trying to stay calm.

    “You remember! As part of our ‘cleaning out the closet’ resolution, we get everything that has haunted us and held us back out in the open. 2014 is the year we declare freedom from all the secrets.”

    She sounds like Scarlet in Gone with the Wind. It’s taking every ounce of strength not to reach over and slap the curls out of her hair.

    “I made my confession to you . Now Darryl needs to own up to his part in our affair.”

    “Affair?”

    “The affair we had the last year you guys were together. Were you that drunk? We talked for an hour about it. You said you forgave me and wanted to put everything to rest.”

    The fog lifts. Memories of last night’s conversation play back in my head. I remembered our “resolution”. My cheeks feel hot from the blood rushing to my face.

    “Goodness, Darryl’s house hasn’t changed in two years.”

    Darryl was a creature of habit to a fault. I figured even a person’s faults could benefit someone.

    “You said you had a key so we could surprise him”, Terri reminded me.

    “Oh yeah”

    I unlocked the front door and stepped in. The house was clean and sterile as usual.

    “Hey Darryl, time to own up to your lies you maggot!” Terri yells down the hallway.

    Laughter consumes me as I flop onto the sofa.

    “What’s so damn funny?”

    “Remember what I told Darryl, I’d do if he ever cheated?”

    “Yeah, you said, you’d kill him and the tramp he cheated with. That he was such a recluse no one would ever notice.”

    I took a deep breath to expel the last bit of laughter.

    “Exactly – and I always keep my promises.”

    • jhowe says:

      Toni, that was really good. Very original. I missed this the first time through, it must have posted later than it was sopposed to. I look forward to more of your stuff.

  35. Rebecca05 says:

    Kate’s ’96 Ford Mustang smelled of men’s cologne and jelly donuts and I pressed a fist to my mouth, willing myself not to vomit on the already-stained passenger seat.

    Kate, her hands bopping the steering wheel to some stupid pop tune on the radio, said, “I’m totally stoked about this, Liz.”

    “Uh-huh,” was all I managed to say.

    “I’ll admit I wasn’t going to say anything,” she babbled on. “But when I finally mentioned the idea and you actually agreed to it? It was the summation of everything I’ve been waiting for.” Kate gripped the steering and breathed a sigh. “Actually I’ve been thinking about doing this for a long time.”

    What the—what was she talking about? God, I just wanted to open the car door and let myself roll down the road. It couldn’t be any worse than this hangover. I shifted in the seat. Had I brushed my teeth? My mouth tasted like the bottom of an empty cat food dish. “Where…uh…where are we going?” I asked as I let my head fall back against the seat.

    Kate giggled. “As if you don’t know.”

    I was barely conscious by this point. “I…uh…I don’t know. Just tell me what we’re doing or…where we’re going or…whatever.”

    “We’re robbing a bank, Liz! How cool is that?”

    “What!” Okay, now I was awake. “W-what’re you talking about? What bank?” Oh God, my head hurt.

    Kate patted my shoulder in an almost motherly fashion. “You’re so funny, Liz. There’s a ski mask in the back seat, by the way. I chose the blue one for you. I know it’s your favorite color.”

    I glanced at the back seat and there lay two ski masks, one blue and the other red. This time I pressed a fist to my stomach. Maybe…maybe this was some kind of…alcohol induced delusion. Maybe I was lying unconscious in front of the toilet.

    I squeezed my eyes shut briefly. “Kate, you can’t…you’ve got to turn the car around. We cannot rob a bank.”

    Kate heaved another sigh. “You can’t back out, Liz? Besides, it’s New Year’s Day. All the banks are closed.”

    “What difference does that make?” The woman was nuts! Hell, maybe I was nuts. I didn’t know.

    She spoke slowly as if I was a small child. “It means that no one will see us, Liz. Get a clue.”
    “What about the security cameras?”

    Kate shrugged. “Oh, we’ll shoot those out.”

    “Shoot? Y-you mean with guns?”

    Kate rolled her blue eyes. “Of course, with guns.” She signaled and turned into the bank’s deserted parking lot. “Put your mask on. We’re here.”

    I obeyed, hands shaking.

    “Did I ever tell you I robbed a liquor store back in my teens?” Kate asked, slipping on her ski mask. “Now I’ve moved up to banks.” She slapped my shoulder. “It’s all thanks to you.”

    I yanked open the passenger side door and vomited.

    “Maybe you should drive the getaway car,” Kate said.

    Stepping into oncoming traffic sounded better.

  36. don potter says:

    The sound of the phone ringing set off an explosion between my ears. I wondered who would disturb me so early in the morning. Then I glanced at the clock and saw it was 10:30 AM. My head throbbed as I fumbled for the phone on the night stand next to my bed.

    “Hello,” I said in a raspy whisper.

    “Happy New Year.”

    I recognized the voice but could not place who it belonged to.

    “How ya feeling?”

    “Like I was run over by a truck. A big truck,” I replied trying desperately to match the voice with a person. It had to be someone from last night’s party. Boy, did I ever tie one on. Can’t remember shit. Didn’t even make it to midnight, so I thought I’d play offense instead of defense and said, “Great party, huh?”

    “I loved it. Did you?”

    “I think so.” The offensive plan flew out the window.

    “Well, are you ready to start the resolution we agreed to last night?” he asked.

    “I’m ready if you are.”

    “Good. I’ll pick you up in an hour.”

    “Looking forward to it.”

    An hour later a car pulled in the driveway. It was Brad Lewis, a guy I hadn’t seen since last year’s party. I had to know what the resolution was and why I made it with him, so I jumped in the car and we sped away.

    “Going for a jog?” Brad asked after giving me the once over.

    “Always be prepared,” I said, realizing I guessed wrong. “If it’s not a jog it’s the gym. I know I’ll run or workout sometime today, maybe both. Got to sweat out some of the booze from last night.”

    “That won’t be necessary.”

    I was glad to hear this, since I needed something to drink more than I needed exercise and asked, “Do we have time for a sandwich and a couple of beers?”

    “No, we need to get there before the place fills up.”

    “Maybe I should go home and change.”

    “Not enough time.”

    “I don’t want to be inappropriately dressed.”

    “You’re fine.”

    “Think I spoke too hastily last night?”

    “No, I hoped you would ask me about it. And I can’t think of a better time to start.”

    “Are you sure we’re on the same page?”

    “You were the one that brought it up.”

    For the life of me, I could not remember talking about anything with Brad. Must have been drunker than I thought. I was shocked when Brad parked in front of a church. Things were going from bad to worse.

    “I’ll introduce you to everyone. Don’t worry,” Brad said.

    “Before or after the sermon?”

    “There’s no sermon. We’re going downstairs to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting.”

    “You’re kidding?”

    “No, and you weren’t either when you asked how I stayed sober for a year and I told you it happened after going to AA.”

    “When did you tell me that?”

    “Just before you pasted out in the pasta.”

  37. peetaweet says:

    “David. Please slow down. Both with the talking and the driving.”

    “Sorry. Here,” he says pointing to the console of his jeep. “I brought you coffee and water. I’m like a hangover ambulance here.”

    Only my brother could convince me to do whatever it is we so eagerly decided to do today. He says I was all for it last night. Last night, ugh, just thinking about the party makes me wince. I was already buzzing when I got there, switching from beer to vodka, and then later still, a dense fog of scotch set in.

    At some point I went from life of the party to total jackass. Something about a fight. A bowl crashing to the floor, salsa on my shirt. The huddle of concerned faces. I woke up confused, in my bed half dressed and trembling, my mouth without a hint of moisture, spewing a stale concoction of loser with each exhaled breath. Movement wasn’t an option.

    But then the phone. And now the car.

    David is all over the place, talking with his hands, chipper and fresh. He’s the kind of guy who comes to a party and drinks two maybe three beers. I’m the guy who drinks everything and then hobbles up on a chair to confess my love to the host’s wife. All while wearing her bra on my head.

    I grab the water and dunk it into my mouth. It’s 12:02 but time doesn’t matter to me right now. The day is a wash.

    “So refresh my memory, I got a little blasted last night.”

    He jerks his head dramatically. “Yeah, I’d say. Well, first off, I hope you don’t plan on going back to Graham Stiller’s house, because you can’t. Ever.”

    A rush of Mr. Stiller’s angry freckles bore their way out of my memory bank. We hop on the expressway. I’m not sure where we’re going but I hope it’s nearby. Mainly because David’s air freshener smells like a combination of Robitussin and liquorice.

    “Alright, where are we going?”

    David grips the wheel with one hand and then rubs his goatee.

    “It’s just up a little ways.”

    “A tattoo. That’s it, isn’t it?”

    “You may want to check your ass for that. I found a sharpie while carrying you to bed last night. No, we’re doing something a little more, uh, life changing.”

    As soon as we turn into the hotel I can feel a rash of anger and I turn to rip him a new one for thinking I’d be stupid enough to go into a hotel room full of family and friends. But I’m at a loss. I’m at a loss for sarcasm and ridicule, for blame and guilt and masking my shame with anger.

    For a moment we both sit in the car with only the medicinal smell of his little tree hanging from the gear shifter. I look at my little brother, wondering what he remembers about Dad and if they match my own memories.

    “You ready?” he says softly.

    “How about a drink first?”

    He smiles. Traffic swooshes by and I try to recall the last clear day without a headache or shaking hands, or worrying about covering my breath and hiding under sunglasses. How I slog through each day awaiting that first clink of ice in the glass and the sad laughter of thirsty friends. I take a breath. The defrost has pushed away the frost and now the sun feels warm behind the safety of the windshield. The world is a bright and lovely place. It is also utterly terrifying. I look back to my brother.

    “Let’s do it.”

  38. jhowe says:

    The lobster man pulled the weathered skiff from the back of his battered pickup truck as the sun began to rise. The calm Caribbean water was turquoise, streaked with yellow and orange. He lugged the boat to the water’s edge and fitted the oars into the locks. The lobster man walked back to the truck and opened the passenger door. “Rise and shine mon!”

    Larry Johnson blinked and shielded his eyes. “Who are you?” he said.

    “You funny mon. Let’s go.”

    “Go where? What are you talking about?” Larry vaguely remembered a party at a bar on the boardwalk somewhere in Kingston. His buddy from the marine research lab had been there, at least for a while. There was a Jamaican cutie in a pink dress drinking his rum and getting friendly. There was a man, a man with dread locks and a killer supply of primo ganja. Larry groaned… the ganja… the lobster man, shit the bed.

    “Your brain is working now mon?”

    “Hey, I can get the money. I’m good for it.”

    “We made plans mon. You catch the lobsters and we take them to the restaurants. They pay good money.”

    “No way. I’ll get the money.” Larry tried to shut the truck door but the lobster man intervened with a strong left arm.

    “How bout this mon?” the lobster man said. “We go back to town and see my brother-in-law. He the sheriff round here.”

    Larry was horrified. The drug laws in Jamaica were notoriously strict. He let go of the door and got out.

    “That’s better mon. We can consider this your new year’s resolution. Get a little color on that paisley skin, you think?”

    “What do I have to do?”

    “We start by getting in the boat.” The lobster man rowed, timing his strokes with the lightly breaking waves. They traveled a few hundred yards and he threw out a barnacle encrusted concrete block tied with a length of rope to the skiff.

    “How deep is it?” Larry asked.

    “Six, eight feet. Not deep.” The lobster man handed Larry a swim mask and a wooden dowel with a wire loop at one end. “This is how we catch the lobsters. They are Caribbean lobsters. Not like the ones in the states. Small claws, very fast.”

    “How do I catch them?”

    “They hide under the ledges in the reef. When they peek you grab them with this.” He took the snare and looped it around Larry’s bare foot and pulled sharply.

    “Hey, that hurts!”

    “No worry mon. Now get down there and catch us some lobsters.”

    Larry lowered himself into the warm water. Without a lengthy discussion about how he accomplished it, the floor of the boat soon swam with lobsters and the word count hovered near 500. With the boat loaded onto the truck and the lobsters scurrying around in a large plastic cooler the lobster man started the truck and pulled away.

    Larry stood on the dirt path and stared after the truck. He flexed his shoulders and felt the sunburn on his back. His head didn’t hurt any more. One brake light came on and the lobster man got out and pointed. “The research lab is one half mile that way mon.”

  39. Reaper says:

    Resolve

    I peered at the weaponry in the back of Frances’s town car. Sliding the sunglasses back down I shook my head. It was a mistake. A mistake that forced me to dry swallow a handful of aspirin to compensate for. As the chalky lumps slid through my throat, still tight from the two packs of smokes that always accompany a fifth of vodka in my life I assessed my partner in crime. Franky is handsome in a way that is called classically so. Most often those words are only spoken by women of pure Italian descent that were born and raised in the states. It is only ever applied to men of the same genetic makeup.

    “You sure I agreed to this?”

    In my expert opinion there were too many guns in the back seat, and the calibers were bigger than we needed. I looked back at Franky. He could be messing with me, I wouldn’t put that kind of joke past him. He nodded solemnly. I was forced to sigh before I asked the next question.

    “How drunk was I?”

    “Drunk as I’ve ever seen you.” His low tone was the only indication that he was hung over too.

    “Figures.”

    There was no point to continuing the conversation. We were there. We made our way upstairs and set up. I sighted across the street. Finding my target I breathed and pulled the trigger. Business was done so I glared at Franky.

    “I really agreed to quit smoking?”

    • Observer Tim says:

      A wonderful twist, Reaper. The end caught me completely by surprise and produced that lovely humour-spike of a well-done disconnect.

      The first paragraph suffers a bit from the switch from past to present tense, and from a double qualification (Most often … only). But those are quickly repairable.

    • don potter says:

      Your tale was reminiscent of the assassins (Travolta and Jackson) in “Pulp Fiction” when they discussed why a Quarter Pounder is called a Royale in Europe because of the metric system. Then they go on to blow away several college students. I enjoyed your version.

    • jhowe says:

      Description, character building and dialog were all well done. Nothing like a guy with a car load of weaponry to ask, “How drunk was I?”

    • snuzcook says:

      Nice use of the ironic bait and switch. Very ‘Get Shorty’ for me. Perfect length for this nice, concise and highly entertaining piece.

    • seliz says:

      Really nice piece. I also liked the twist at the end. But I have to say the beginning was my favorite part. You did a good job with descriptions and setting the mood for the piece.

    • agnesjack says:

      Well done, Reaper. Did no see the end coming.

  40. kimtblades says:

    I peered, bleary eyed at Lorna’s excited face as she drove with sober precision through the holiday traffic. How

    did she manage to look so cool and clear-headed. We had shared a bottle of vodka and more at last night’s

    New Year festivities. My brain felt like a blocked drain. I could remember drinking and dancing, on a table at

    some stage I think. But what Lorna and I talked about and what resolutions we made as 2013 slid noisily into

    2014, I had no recollection whatsoever.

    ‘Aren’t you excited? I am. I don’t know why we didn’t think about this years ago.’ Lorna glanced sideways at

    me as I tried, rather unsuccessfully, to smother a vodkery yawn.

    A frown creased her 30 year old, as yet unlined brow. ‘What’s the matter, Tracy? You do still want to go

    ahead with this don’t you? It was your brilliant suggestion for goodness sake.

    ‘Yes of course I still want to go through with it,’ I muttered groggily, wondering for the hundreth time what ‘it’

    was. ‘I’m just feeling hungover and like I’m going to throw up any minute. How are you managing to look and

    sound like you didn’t drink enough to fill a bathtub last night.’

    ‘Because I didn’t. I only had a couple of drinks and then I switched to water. I started a course of

    anti-biotics for my ear infection the day before yesterday and shouldn’t have had any alcohol at all. But

    • kimtblades says:

      I only remembered after I’d already downed a few. I did tell you but you were obviously blotto by

      then. Don’t you remember anything we talked about last night? Lorna sounded disappointed.

      I decided to be honest. ‘No, I’ve no idea what resolutions we made and now I’m wondering what we’ve

      got ourselves into.’

      ‘Well in your condition you probably won’t appreciate right now what we decided to do, but don’t

      worry the hangover will wear off like they always do and then you’ll be as excited as you were

      last night and as I still am.’

      ‘So what have we got ourselves into?’ I asked, vodka fumes and something that tasted like

      Christmas cake rising into my sinuses.

      ‘We’re going to to book for the next climbing expedition to Mount Kilamanjaro in Kenya. The training

      course starts next week and the actual climb is in 3 weeks time. So don’t worry, you’ll be sober by

      then.’

      A wave of relief mixed with horror rolled over me. I had an overwhelming fear of heights. But

      another sensation overpowered these purely emotional ones. My unsteady hand unwound the

      car window to its fullest extent and leaning my hot head over the sill, I projected a reeking mixture of

      vodka, cheese and fruit cake onto the tarmac.

    • Observer Tim says:

      Okay, I knew there was something coming, but I didn’t expect that. You painted the age gap between the two protagonists subtly and nicely, as well as the physical sensation of being hung over. It sounds like the two are old friends. This was quite an enjoyable read.

      The parser was not friendly to your text.

      My only quibble is that the word ‘tarmac’ (at least where I’m from) is used almost exclusively for airfield runways. Probably a cultural thing.

  41. PeterW says:

    A person died in Jimmy’s trunk on New Year’s Eve. He sat in the loft and knew the person was down there. It had been unintentional. They had put her in the trunk as sort of a joke. Then Jimmy had dropped off everyone, and they had just forgotten. But in was now 3pm, Jan 1 and Jimmy was remembering than they had put her in the trunk as a joke and they were supposed to drop her at the Hyde Apartments on Seagrass Ave. Jimmy knew she was dead. It had dropped to 30 below zero that night. She had on a skirt and no coat. She was probably an icicle down there in his Accord. She had probably been screaming as he ripped the icy streets, drunk out of his mind, cranking Auld Lang Syne at an outrageous volume. How she had giggled when they had tossed there and Jay had duct-taped her and poured light-beer all over her. She had thought it was so fucking funny. Jimmy supposed that it had been pretty funny after sixteen glasses of champagne. Now this person was dead and Jimmy could only light up his bong and feel the hang-over and regret his entire life. Jimmy got high enough that he no longer had a clue what to do about it. Light beer freezes at negative 30.

    Someone buzzed. It was Carol: a girl who had been much more attractive and had luckily sat in driver’s seat. He looked at her through the peephole. She was bundled up and her cheeks were chapped and red and very attractive. “You can’t come in,” he said.

    “I’m freezing,” she said.

    “I’m sorry you just can’t come in.”

    “Remember our New Year’s Resolution?”

    “No.”

    She giggled. The sound tore through Jimmy’s mind.

    There was a dead girl in his car. He stared sobbing. Carol started laughing and said, “Why are you doing?”

    “Get the fuck out!” Jimmy screamed, high as shit, through sobs, that sinking feeling hitting his stomach every 10 seconds. Jimmy screamed some more and Carol left, angry.

    He fell to his knees. His phone vibrated and felt like an insect in his pocket and he thrashed and twisted until it ended up on the floor. He lay next to the phone. Maybe it was the icicle girl. But it was his mother: a text. It said “Happy New Years. Mom.”

    Jimmy tried to light his bong, but he dropped it and it smashed on the floor ruining the expensive Persian his parents had bought him for Xmas.

    He got another text. It was Carol. It said: “The resolution was to fall in love, you asshole.”

    At 3am, now Jan 2, Jimmy got in the freezing Accord. It vroomed a few times before starting. His suicide note was on his desk. He drove towards the lake in the country where he used to go as a child.
    The Accord didn’t go through the ice. The tires spun and spun on the black lake. Jimmy turned the car off and got out. He was in swim-trucks. No shoes, no shirt. The summer cabins around the lake were abandoned. The moon shown and they looked like black rectangles. The trunk was frozen shut. He suddenly didn’t want to die. He got back in the car, but this time the car didn’t start though. He vomited. It was all liquid. All champagne.

    Happy Optimistic New Years!!!!

    The girl in his trunk… She had kicked her way out before Jimmy got home on New Year’s. Then rolled out at a stoplight. The car had sped off. She was too cold to be scared. She eventually found a frozen man on a park bench. She could go longer move, so she had cuddled up against him. They became a single human icicle.

    • Observer Tim says:

      This was an enjoyable read, PeterW. Sounds like one of those New Years where a lot of things that can go wrong do. On reflection I’m not fond of the outcome (everybody loses), but it’s a well told tale and deftly written end to end.

    • snuzcook says:

      Nicely done! I enjoyed the story, cringing at the MCs terrible timing and substance-induced stupidity. I held a hope the whole time that the girl was no longer in the trunk–just as I suspect you wanted me to. Then the cold, cold ending made me think of Dickens for some reason.

    • seliz says:

      This was a nicely written piece. You had me hooked from the beginning.

  42. Matt Barnes and I had been in the car for about thirty minutes, having driven out of the city and into the country.

    “This is going to change our lives. We’ll be better people this year, you know. We’ll be happier and find greater things, eternal things,” he said, keeping his eyes on the road. “Oh, here it is.” He pointed to a square brick building. The sign read “On The Rock Pentecostal Holiness Church.”

    “Here?” I asked Barnes. “Why this church?”

    “It was your resolution. Find God in your life, and I thought it was good too. A little less drinkin’, a little more praisin’.” He nudged me. “And you wanted to come to this church here.”

    “A Pentecostal Holiness church out here in the country?”

    I opened the heavy wooden doors, which led directly into the sanctuary. There was no sneaking in and sitting in the back row. Just our luck. All the back pews were full of people, who were not giving up those seats. The pastor, a lean man wearing glasses with lenses that magnified his eyes, was beginning the service but stopped when he saw us.

    “Welcome, guests. Glad you could join us. Get a seat. The Lord’s on his way now.”

    We found seats in the front.

    The minster continued, “The Lord is here this morning. I feel the Holy Ghost.” He shined in his enthusiasm about the supernatural.

    A woman on an organ started pumping out the old-time hymns with the pianist on the other side of the room.

    “O they tell me of a home far beyond the skies, O they tell me of a home faraway! O they tell me of a home where no storm-clouds rise, O they tell me of an uncloudy day!”

    The people kept on singing their praises louder. And I never heard the cages unlock.

    “When we all get to Heaven, whatta day of rejoicing that’ll be. We’ll sing and shout the victory!” Halfway through that song, I felt something move slowly by my ankle and over my shoe.

    But I continued to sing, “When the roll is called up yonder, I’ll be there.” I felt it again. I lifted my foot in case someone behind me had dropped their jacket or something. I didn’t want to stand on it.

    I reached down to grab it and I brought up a rattlesnake instead. My mind went blank, and I only raised it up higher and shook wildly in my shock and terror.

    “Dance, brother, Dance!” the minister shouted to me. “Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents!” The place erupted with shouts of praise. It wasn’t praise to me though.

    I tossed the snake away and ran through through the heavy doors. I stopped in the parking lot, shivering. Barnes ran after me.

    “Wow! Did you know they handled snakes here? I had no idea.”

    “Barnes, I need a drink and I need it now.”

  43. NoBlock says:

    As I walked out to the parking lot of my apartment building where Jeff was picking me up, I desperately tried to conjure up any memories of what happened last night. I’d rather be asleep still, because I could hardly open my eyes or even walk; I think Jeff and I must have polished that entire bottle off. It was dusk already, so I must have slept all day.
    I’m leaning against the trunk of my car, waiting for Jeff’s car to appear when a car behind me honks its horn. I turn and look expecting to see Jeff, but instead there’s Jeff’s car, with a long, curly blonde haired woman sitting behind the steering wheel, smiling broadly and waiving emphatically at me.
    “Who the h-“ I ask myself as I squint inside the windshield, while half raising my hand back at the woman. I cautiously put one foot in front of the other and with a tilted head I walk over to the driver’s side window, I look inside and to me this woman looks familiar.
    “Jeff?!” I said in a higher pitched voice than planned.
    He rolls the window down and says,“Hey man, come on get in. I picked up a blue sequined dress for you, and I hope you don’t mind being a reeeed heeeaaad, they were all out of brunette wigs. You can dress on the way, we’re way late and they WILL start without us!”
    My jaw absolutely dropped to the other side of the planet, Jeff was not only the burliest man I knew, but there was no way I had agreed to wear a blue sequined dress! I must still be dreaming, so I slapped myself hard across the face, which brought out a most feminine yelp from Jeff. Nope, he’s still in a dress. I know he’s been going through some hard times since his wife left him and I don’t want to hurt his feelings, so with my mind now fully awake and racing, I try to pull myself together as I slowly walk around the car to the passenger door.
    Reluctantly, I dress as he drives, I mean he’s my best friend and I want to be supportive, also I figure strength is in numbers right? I couldn’t let Jeff do this, whatever this is, alone. He’s as giddy as a teenage girl while he sings along to Katy Perry on the radio, and I’m still wondering where he’s taking me.
    We have been in the car for a while and it’s just eating me up, so I ask, “Hey Jeff, wh- where exactly are we headed?”
    Not that it bothered me, but Jeff was now in full lisp mode. “Weeeell, I don’t know for sure, but supposedly we will know the place when we see it. I think we are close though.”
    No sooner had he said that, we turned a corner and I saw a big, bright neon sign that read,
    “TONITE! CROSSDRESSING KAREOKEE! COME ONE, COME ALL!”

  44. Observer Tim says:

    THE CAKE

    Part 1. In the Car.

    “You know, Eileen, I was a bit smashed last night…”

    “No Bill, you were a lot smashed last night. Vodka, whiskey, tequilas. I’m surprised you didn’t spend all morning throwing up.”

    “I did. And I don’t really remember…”

    “Agreeing to help out at Peter and Nancy’s wedding shower? I can’t wait to see the look on Nancy’s face. She’ll be so surprised. Peter too.”

    “But what are we…”

    “Trust me, it’ll be great. And now that you’ve agreed, I’m not giving you any chance to back out. That’s why I’m driving.”

    “Okay, where are we going?”

    “To the hall. That’s where the shower’s going to be. The wedding’s not till tomorrow; tonight is the pre-nuptial party.”

    “A party sounds good. What are we doing there?”

    “We’re going to jump out of the cake. We’ll dress up like a bride and groom and jump out of a breakaway cake.”

    This was your New Year’s resolution?”

    “One of them. Thanks a bunch for helping; this will be a night to remember.”

    Part 2. At the Hall.

    “Come on, Bill! We have to get in position before the others get here!”

    “I’m almost ready. This fake tux is a nightmare to get into.”

    “Do you want me to come in and help you?”

    “No, I’m ready. Here, how do I look?”

    “Dashing. What about me?”

    “Gorgeous. I don’t think Nancy could fill out that dress as well as you do.”

    “Why thank you, Bill. Now let’s go cozy up in the cake.”

    Part 3. Inside the Cake.

    “Are you sure they haven’t forgotten us?”

    “Don’t worry, Bill. We’re supposed to pop out when they play ‘Wonderful Tonight’.”

    “Okay, I guess. I’m just not very comfortable with confined spaces. And pressed up tight against you like this is a little …”

    “I can tell, Bill. Does this help?”

    “Eileen? Um, not that I object, but is this really the right place?”

    “It’s private.”

    “But what if they start the song and you have your hand …”

    “Shhh. There’s plenty of time before our cue. In fact, if you undo the zip on my dress I’ll stop using my hand…”

    “Eileen! It’s going to be hard to get this tux back on in here.”

    “Shut up and undress me, Bill. Now!”

    Part 4. A Short Time Later.

    “Bill, are you okay?”

    “Uh … uh …”

    “Funny the way the cake just sort of fell away like that, isn’t it?”

    “Gah …”

    “Aren’t the looks on their faces priceless?”

    “Ei … Ei …”

    “I’m glad you decided to join me in my resolution to shed my inhibitions and get naked in public. It was worth it, Bill! I feel so free and alive!”

    “Hnh! Hnh!”

    “Just smile and take a bow, Bill. Smile and take a bow. And maybe next year cut down on the drinking at New Year’s.”

    • frankd1100 says:

      Awesome, OT! Hilarious… The dialogue describes the chatacters, their personalities and the relationship. Home run..

    • frankd1100 says:

      Sunday, 8 a.m.. He’d slept for three hours. He pulled his ringing cell phone from the pocket of his jeans, which he was still wearing with work boots, dungaree jacket and construction helmet as he lay spread eagled on his living room rug.

      He tried to open his eyes to see if Darlene was standing in the room yelling in his ear. His right eye opened enough to confirm her voice was coming through the phone and snapped shut so hard he heard the eyelids slap together.

      “You up Bernie, you old rattlesnake? Hey, I had fun last night. I could tell you did too… Bernie?”

      “Yo! I’m here Darlene…. Yeah, it was fun, how could I forget?” He prayed he hadn’t proposed or asked her to move in.

      “ I’m five minutes away so be ready because it starts at 8:30 and I don’t want to be late.”

      “Of course I’ll be ready,” he said rolling onto his side, then his belly. Ready for what he thought? He pushed back onto his knees then dropped the phone as he tried to stand up from a bear crawl position. Her voice continued to jabber as he lifted one hand from the floor to grab the phone and went back to his knees as the room spun and he tipped over.

      “What’d you say Honey?” he managed to squeak out, struggling to a wall for support as he slid up onto his feet.

      “You sound like you’re wrestling a man, Bernie. I was saying, I know you said you didn’t care if I got pregnant but we have to be more careful. I’m not ready to have a baby but I’m the type of girl, if I do get pregnant, I will have that child and love her and raise her with you, and,….You know, Bern, you’d be a cute papa with a little girl…”

      “Darlene,” he said too loudly, interrupting her, “Do you think, I mean, it’s too early to know and all, but ….”

      “Probably not, Bern. The odds are fifty-fifty at my age even at the right time in my cycle, which it is, but we’ll discuss it later, okay?”

      “Ah, let me call you back, Darlene,” he said and hung up before she could answer.

      He lurched to the bathroom and reached for the mouthwash and his toothbrush.

      The mouthwash tasted like the vodka from the night before and he almost got sick. He held it together and stuck his head under the cold water, which was where he was when Darlene burst into the bathroom, looking sleek in her tight black warmups and pink trainers, hair neatly pony tailed and her makeup all straight.

      “Bernie! What are you doing?”

      He stood facing her braced against the sink as water dripped onto his dungaree jacket and formed a puddle at his feet. He sputtered, “What? I’m ready. Just let me dry my….”

      “Bernie!” she said, her face scarlet. “You’re not wearing that to my Zumba class!”

      • Observer Tim says:

        Love it, Frankd! I can just see Bernie showing up at a fitness class dressed like a construction worker. Actually, Zumba in dungarees would probably be a good workout aside from the strange looks.

        I got a bit jarred by the line ‘You sound like you’re wrestling a man’; it left the momentary impression that Bernie was female. If you run with this story, it might not hurt to change a man to someone or a bear or some such. Just a thought…

      • snuzcook says:

        Poor Bernie! Way too much for him to absorb in his condition.
        This story was a lot of fun!

      • agnesjack says:

        Excellent surprise at the end. Also, the description of the hangover was first rate, frankd.

    • don potter says:

      This was a funny routine.

    • don potter says:

      I got a kick out of this read.

    • snuzcook says:

      Bravo! Is this really about Eileen, or is it Bill that’s being taught a lesson? Either way, or both, it was a lot of fun.

      • Observer Tim says:

        I think it’s a bit of both. Eileen cares for Bill, and would probably like him to tone down the drinking; but that said, she was more than happy to drag him along on her little adventure!

        I’m thinking there’s a relationship developing here, if there wasn’t one before.

    • jhowe says:

      Pretty wld one OT. I enjoyed it a lot. The sounds Bill made were priceless.

    • agnesjack says:

      A very funny response, Tim. Poor unsuspecting Bill.

    • Great one, Tim. Without any descriptive narration, I read this like I would have heard an old-time radio play. Wonderful.

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