Writing 101, Day Nineteen: Don’t Stop the Rockin’

Prompt:

Today is a free writing day. Write at least four-hundred words, and once you start typing, don’t stop. No self-editing, no trash-talking, and no second guessing: just go. Bonus points if you tackle an idea you’ve been playing with but think is too silly to post about.

Chuck was a normal guy. He just had a few issue just like every other person. He was actually exceptionally normal compared to the people who walked around him. He didn’t like to acknowledge their existence for too long for fear they might influence his behavior– All that brain washing was contagious you know.

Maybe we should talk about something else.

Today was the day Chuck was being force to go to the library by his mother. She was a devious one and knew exactly how to push his buttons. She was probably some sort of machine with wheels and dials designed by the government for this very task, but Chuck never looked directly at her so he couldn’t exactly be sure. Sometimes he’d throw pieces of bread at her feet in hopes that she’d pick it up. If she did, she’d be at the perfect, height, lighting, and angle for Chuck to catch a glimpse of her without being infected…that is if he looked away quickly enough. He was talented in this and wasn’t worried.

“You’re going to the library.” He heard her say. The monster pulled his hearing aids right out, before shouting it. He felt woozy and strange, the sound of the infected world filtering in. He need the sound of different things chopped up and rubbed down into a white noise. He needed that because it was the only way the government couldn’t get into your mind–his mind.

Instead of replying Chuck hissed and scuttled back in the living room, carefully taking three steps at a time up to his room. His mother didn’t follow him, so he froze. She was a wild card. She would do anything to get her way. When she didn’t run after him…it meant the worst. She’d already done something

“What?” He said, halfway making a question. She was grinning. He’s never seen it, but he could almost feel the air chilling right through his denim jacket.

“I’ve licked a sock…an american flag toe sock, and i’ve hidden it in your room.” Her voice crushed through, clearly, and it hurt Chuck all over. He grabbed his body and crouched over. Socks were the bane of human strife, forever looking for a matching pair, and american flags are the source of baseless nationalism in young adults. He couldn’t stand such a thing, “Unless you come over here, take your hearing aids, kiss your mom goodbye, and go the the Library…i will hide more and more purple socks in your room.” and Purple was sooooo very evil.

Chuck shot up six feet in the air, bound down the stairs, and snatched the hearing aids, careful not to touch her skin. She could have malaria…or might be part poison oak. He snuggly put them back in, the sound of jackhammers and rivers, and groaning, and cats taking the clear air away, just the way he liked it. She handed him a back of stick pretzels and opened the door for him.

Naturally he took the pretzels and climbed out of the window, careful not to land in the bushes. Bushes were a sign of evolutionary subservience… He shouldn’t trust his mother for a second. So he had never go through a hoop she made…and she made many hoops.

[to be continued?]

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Writing 101, Day Eighteen: Hone Your Point of View

Prompt:

The neighbourhood has seen better days, but Mrs. Pauley has lived there since before anyone can remember. She raised a family of six boys, who’ve all grown up and moved away. Since Mr. Pauley died three months ago, she’d had no income. She’s fallen behind in the rent. The landlord, accompanied by the police, have come to evict Mrs. Pauley from the house she’s lived in for forty years.

Write this story in first person, told by the twelve-year-old sitting on the stoop across the street.

Twist: For those of you who want an extra challenge, think about more than simply writing in first-person point of view — build this twelve-year-old as a character. Reveal at least one personality quirk, for example, either through spoken dialogue or inner monologue

Mrs. Pauley has always been one of those angry old women. She liked to sit on the porch, glaring at all the new houses like something smelled bad. I didn’t like it. She kept to herself most of the time. Unless someone walked up to her she didn’t start a conversation. She wasn’t the long winded type, like my uncle Frank, so i appreciated that at least. She brooded all the time though. She frowned and glared, and whenever my mom made my go over to give her fruit or pie or whatever she’d smile for a second before making a snide comment about my clothes, or make up, or my hair.

“You’re a beautiful young girl, not some cheap slump dog. Dress like you’re worth something.” Then she’s say something sad like, “Enjoy your youth and use it to your advantage. If you waste it on this esoteric phase you’ll regret it.” I didn’t understand most of the things she said, but when i repeated them in class my teachers always looked so shocked. “esoteric” was so esoteric. I looked that one up.

My mom liked to give her things, “It lets her know some people remember how much she’d done for a place like this when it just started out. She’s about your grandmother’s age, Emily. You should respect that.” My mom would say, peaking out of the blinds to see if Mrs. Pauley went back inside her house smiling. She liked to make Mrs. Pauley smile…no matter how impossible it was. My mom also liked to tell me over and again about the story of how Mr. and Mrs. Pauley lived here for nearly 30 years. Mr. Pauley passed away a little while ago though. Yeah well. I didn’t care how long she lived anywhere. She needed to respect me and my clothes choices. It isn’t a phase, and i’m old enough to make my own choices.

I was sitting on the porch one day, eating watermelon, watching Mrs. Pauley carve up the rest. While she stood there, lip pulled into her mouth, and her yellow old lady sleeves rolled up, a car rolled up. The watermelon juices were rolling down my arm and my mom had come back from the house with napkins. I looked up and reached for them, but my mom seemed fixated at across the street.

“Mom.” I say, the napkins just out of reach.

My mom’s mouth hung open as she stared, lost somewhere. I frowned and stood up, took the napkin and slid it down the pinkish lines of juices on my arm, muttering a sarcastic “thanks” that my mom was still not paying attention to. I finally turn and see two men standing in front of Mrs. Pauley house. Suddenly i see Mrs. Pauley, nodding sternly. She’s biting her lip like she’s angry, and then i see these tears rolling down her face.

“Mom…what are they saying to Mrs. Pauley?” I asked, watching the woman who seemed so tall and stiff and stern,  lean over the watermelon like an old hook, crying her eyes out.

“Emily, get back in the house.” My mom says suddenly, taking a few steps into our lawn.

“Mom?” I take a step, and my mom turns to look at me. She was serious and scared.

“Emily, please. Just go inside. And lock the door behind you.”

I step back into the house, and my mom puts one hand on her hip and the other over her mouth, for a moment. I lock the door and watch from the window. My mom is walking to Mrs. Pauley. The men leave in their car, and then Mrs. Pauley is crying on my mom. Mom stays out there for a few hours, sitting and talking to Mrs. Pauley, who had stopped crying after a few minutes.

Mom doesn’t talk about it when she gets home. I ask her about it, and say, “grumpy old lady” and my mom burst into tears

“Don’t talk about her that way! You don’t know what she’s going through!” and my mom stared at me for a long time, until i started crying. She came to me and hugged me, “I’m sorry for yelling at you. You don’t know. Mommy’s sorry. Mommy shouldn’t have yelled at you like that.”

She doesn’t tell me about it.

A week later Mrs. Pauley was moving her things out. Mom and Dad helped her. I was forced to too. I don’t know where she was going, but mom and dad were helping her a lot. They gave her money, but she didn’t take it. She sold a lot of her things at garage sales. When i got her alone during one of them and asked her about what was happening, she smiled at me. A long smile, that made me feel sad.

“You’re a good enough kid. Don’t let those horrible clothes change that about you.” And then she patted me on the head. I don’t know what about it all made me cry, but i cried, “Don’t cry. You must despise me.” She said, patting me on the head.

“I don’t despise you.” I say to her, and that makes her cry.

She left and i didn’t hear about her. MOm didn’t like to talk about it, but she talked to Mrs. Pauley on the phone some days, but soon Mrs. Pauley wouldn’t take my mom’s calls. That made my mom cry.

A year later,  mom gets a phone call and cries on the phone for a few minutes. Then she cries with dad on the couch. I stand by the living room door way and i’m crying, because i know what the call was for.

 

Writing 101, Day Seventeen: Your Personality on the Page

Prompt:

What are you scared of? Address one of your worst fears. If you’re up for a twist, write this post in a style that’s different from your own.

She was telling to stop being a child. Stop crying. Get on this right now or something would be waiting for me when we got home. but i was cry so hard. i didn’t want to go. i didn’t want to step on. it was going down and i couldn’t hold on. i was crying so loudly. i should stop. i know i should stop. people are watching. if she got embarrassed it would be worst for me. I need to stop crying right now. Stop right now. Stop right now! STOP RIGHT NOW! and the tears were still coming and I was breathing heavily. i couldn’t stop hiccuping. no. a man has seen me. What’s the matter? he didn’t know that he’d crucified me with his kindness. she’d seen, standing at the base of the escalator looking up at us. he waves at my mom. Is this your child? he’s asking her something that is about to change soon. she won’t want me after a stunt like this. he was holding my hand. Want to go to the elevator? i did. i do. i go with him. i think that maybe he’d be my new dad and i won’t have to go home with those people. i’d live a life so much better than i did, but there he was, my real father. he’d come to elevator and grabbed my hand. She’s not taking the elevator. She’s taking the escalator. i’m crying harder. my stomach is so painful right now. She’s afraid. they’re arguing and i’m dropping to the ground, my dad’s grip is too hard. i didn’t want to go. i didn’t want to go. i could run. i could run away. This is none of your buisness. and the man looked at me and frowned like the adults did when they knew they couldn’t do anything else. my dad looks down at me. he’s not upset. We’ll take the elevator. You’re mom would have killed me if i let you go with that man. and like that i was holding onto my dad tightly as we went down the elevator. and i didn’t mind that he was my dad.

Writing 101, Day Sixteen: Serial Killer III

Prompt:

Today, imagine you work in a place where you manage lost or forgotten items. What might you find in the pile? For those participating in our serial challenge, reflect on the theme of “lost and found,” too

I would have even gone as a far so say that it was glowing there in that pile. LIke a warm kind of glow that feels like milk and home. It was one of those old timey promise rings, silver smithed by some sort of apprentice to get a discount. It was old and rubbed and rough, but still strangely alluring. The basket of things were wadded up with chains, lanyard, glasses, and ids and bus passes. But that ring, sat like that pile of lost things were a throne for it. Like it was an ever lost ring for the queen of lost items. It had to be my ring.

I reached over the desk table to grab up the basket and tuck it back into the lower cabinets. Just before locking them up i slid the ring into my finger. The left ring finger. For a moment  i felt like a wedded queen, engravings rubbing against my finger. I slipped it off after a moment and slid it into my pocket.

The bus station wasn’t a bad place to work but security was just a shit job over all. The people came and went, and i sat, looking menacing at each one. I had to do that. Just sit there, my hand on my gun/taser, eyeballing anyone who looked stupid enough to try anything. I don’t know why anyone would try anything at a  bus station, but if they did i’d be the first one to take that opportunity to finally shoot my gun/taser. I’m not entirely sure if i’m allowed to bring a personal gun to work, so just incase…it might be taser.

After my eight hour shift– People coming in as good samaritans returning things that didn’t belong to them…and some other careless people trying to find what they’d lost. No one came in for the ring. I doubt anyone would because it’d been sitting in that basket for a good couple of months now and i’d had my eye on it ever since– i went on home. I lived in a small shack on the side of town that was nice and cosy when i got it, but after 4 years it’d warn itself into me. The walls need new paint, but i’m not in the mood. Maybe when i get a husband he’ll do something like that.

When i sat down, on my couch, clothes peaking out of all of it’s sides, the ring was already out and in my palm. I thumbed it around silently, thinking–i don’t know what i was thinking, I lifted it up to the light and the engravings glimmered. I pulled it closer to read.

“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” I read outloud to myself, “well, isn’t that encouraging.”

 

Writing 101, Day Fifteen: Your Voice Will Find You

Prompt:

You’re told that an event that’s dear to your heart — an annual fair, festival, or conference — will be cancelled forever (or taken over by an evil organization). Write about it. For your twist, read your piece aloud, multiple times. Hone that voice of yours!

NO. NO. No. No.no. LIke seriously shut the fuck up. I’m not about to live in a world that doesn’t have roller-coasters that are more deadly than standing blade to blade with a circus freak. LIke no. I live for the news reporting people dying on a certain attraction…or of an elephant ear overdose. LIke i’m not being fucking facetious. I’m not trying to sound cool. Like i legitimately feel like i’m directly connected to Youth Fair and like if someone tries to take that from me i will literally die. Metaphorically literally die, but die all the same.

Fuck. Like it’s the old grandparent that no one talks to because she was too crazy or too modern for her time…but she likes to talk shit on the porch. She’d talk about the family that never takes care of her. LIke the granny who smokes pot or cigs and chews tobacco and gives little kids the bird and then flips it for them. It’s out of time in a cool and strange way…like it’s iconic.

Fuuuuuck. I love that place…i would never fucking ride anything there because i have future plans, and that shit is rusted as fuck…but like i really would be devastated. LIke maybe even more than i would be if someone in my family died. Like i’m not too good as expressing my feelings outwardly and i feel awkward in social situations involving death because it’s inevitable and it’s easier to move past it than wallow and cry and shit. But with things like monuments it’s like…dude…this sort of thing could have been like a fucking landmark. It didn’t have an expiration date like every one of us…150 years and we’re certain to be in the ground like bugs.

LIke i just like imagining that things can keep on existing even when i won’t. THings that are broken and trottin along as the weird village creature that people have accepted to the point that they don’t gossip about it anymore…not gossipping about whose sister bred with who to creature such an abomination. He’s just Henry at the post office with weird eyes and slow speech.

Like i figure the Youth Fair would be like that. Lovably broken.

Fuck man. LIke don’t fucking close that shit hole.

Writing 101, Day Fourteen: To Whom It May Concern

Prompt:

Pick up the nearest book and flip to page 29. What jumps out at you? Start there, and try a twist: write in the form of a letter.

Nearest Book: Choke by Chuck Palahniuk

Word: CoDependent.

Co:

Hey,

I was just wondering where you went. I’ve been waiting around the house for a couple of days waiting for you to come back. I didn’t shower, just so you know, you didn’t bring any bathing soap back from your last trip to the store. I just wanted to point out that these trips are taking longer and longer, and i’m starting to worry about you. Maybe the shower we had yesterday, you know when i wet up your favorite wig in the bath–still very sorry about that– got a bit on your nerves, but you can’t still be so bitter about it. It’s one wig. Get over it really. This little passive aggressive trip aren’t going to hurt me as much as it’s hurting you.

Oh and in the frig there isn’t anymore honey and cheese. When you buy some cheese don’t get the off brand. I need Jamaican imported cheese. And get any kind of honey, as long as it’s in a glass jar. If it’s in anything else it’s as good as shit. I leaving this on the kitchen while i sulk in the bed room because the kitchen and bathroom have begun to stink…and can’t stand the smell. Come home already. I haven’t eaten at all. I miss your cooking—and the cheese. So how ’bout you come home, clean up, give me a bath, and feed me like a good woman? I’ll be waiting in the back room

Emily,

Your child.

 

Writing 101, Day Thirteen: Serial Killer II

Prompt:

Earlier in the course, you wrote about losing something. Today, write about finding something. For your twist, view day four’s post and today’s post as installments in a series.

I spend hours every day trying to understand what it is that everyone else seems to understand that i don’t. HOw is it that all these people feel so strongly, and so rightly that they devote their lives to it. Certainty. How do you know that you’re right, how do you sleep at night knowing that the choice you made was a good one or not? God. I wish i couldn’t honestly denounce him like the “clever” atheists, know that he doesn’t exist. I wish i could embrace him in my heart like the “loving” religious do, know that he does exist.

Why can’t i be certain of one or the other to overwhelm myself with a sense of belonging and one ness with eveyrone else. Knowing that they know what i know,and that what i know is what they know. To be certain of things.

To be sure that the choices i make in college and work are the right ones. That the friends i make and relationships i let go of are the right ones to do so with. I wish it was more like i like what i liked. I hate what i hate. And i’m sure someone is going to tell me that it’s about faith…but it’s really not that easy.

I find myself just wandering.

 

Writing 101, Day Twelve: (Virtual) Dark Clouds on the Horizon

Prompt:

Today, write a post with roots in a real-world conversation. For a twist, include foreshadowing.

Knees:

Hey! Hello!

Yeah me!

Down here, Genius!

No! Not your ass, dumbass!

Fine. Take a seat. When you’re nice and cosy and bundled up in your nice lovely bed we can have a conversation.

Pull up the legs of your pants.

Yes!

No, why would i even do that?! First of all it’s impossible for a 100 reasons! Two, how could lifting up your pant leg even be a sexual advance?

Nevermind. Don’t even answer.

I just wanted to say two things…

ONE: You treat me like shit and

TWO: i hate you.

Why? He’s asking me why! HAHA! Ankles, do you believe this guy?!

Hey, Steven, when you pick up something heavy, yeah to impress those bimbos, you use me. Dad’s are always saying lift with your knees. Well hey! We need a friggin break, alright.

BACK?! Back! Oh my–I fucking hate Back!

You go to the masseuse and get him all loosened up all the time, because you have “tention”. DO you know what they do for me?! They barely even touch me!

I have tension! I have needs, Steven!

The closest they get to me is behind me. What is that even called? The knee’s ass?

I don’t even know, Steve!

What’s my problem?

I’m depressed, overworked, underappreciated! At least Elbow gets to be in the pictures!

All i want, Steve…is to– to be recognized, to get touched, to know what i am!

What’s my butt called, Steven?!

WHAT IS IT CALLED?!

 

Writing 101, Day Eleven: Size Matters

Prompt:

Today, tell us about the home you lived in when you were twelve. For your twist, pay attention to — and vary — your sentence lengths.

What a Dump:

My home used to be a dump. As a child my parents moved around a lot and I think that it colored how I turned out as a person. It changed how I see people and homes and friends. Nonetheless we moved a lot. But nothing compared to THE BAD PLACE oooh. Scary. Title Drop~ Cue the spooky lights and sounds.

So THE BAD PLACE (wolfhowl) is a rundown apartment complex. It’s a limey place just next to like one of the biggest plazas. It was a useful place to live because when my dad’s car got stolen out of that parking lot we could just walk to the major stores.

I’m not gonna say where exactly this place is because my dad was friends with the owner. And…bad enough the place is a dump. He doesn’t need more bad reviews.

Okay so by now you’re imagining some shed or nothing at all as a placeholder for where I used to live, but don’t bother with that. I’m gonna paint you a nice clear picture of where I lived.

It had this peeling yellow pain, like the yellow wallpaper story about postpartum depression. The walls were soft because the leaking had gotten so bad that it seeped into the wood and into the cheap plaster substitute. The floor was tile, but that too started to inflate and loose its ability to be flooring. In the dining room and the under the fridge the grown had given way into these darkened black and brown gaping holes that led to God knows where. My parents tried to retile it with some shitty tiling from the Family Dollar and now some of the tiles are white and then grey and black.

The apartment was infested with all kind of things. Bugs, rats, lizards, iguanas, and even possums at one point. I never had trouble with anything really. I’m fine with rats, lizards, possums, and even most bugs, but I have a pathological fear of cockroaches. I think it has to do with the horrors I witness in that “home.” It’s funny actually because when we used to drive past that area, where it still stand to this day, my siblings and I clam up. Anxiety you know. It’s a bitch.

Well, so back the roaches. So there was such an infestation of them in that apartment that I couldn’t look in any direction in the entire house without seeing at least 10 roaches. I am not exaggerating. They were everywhere. It was more like we were the infestation to them. Some of them actually built up confidence through the consistent amount of genetic evolution these buggers went through in our house. (They breed like crazy!). They evolved to not be afraid of us. We called them to Brain Damanged ones. Mainly because they died much faster than the others. They didn’t run when the lights came on. They walked towards me and my younger sister probably thinking to themselves

“These are the pussies in the group. We can get away with anything because they won’t kill us.”

They always stood in front of the bathroom late at night when I had to pee. I’m this 12 year old hopping from leg to leg, quivering, knees locked to keep the pee from coming. I had a very weak bladder since I was young so any little scare or slip or laugh, and I’ve got the yellow river down my leg. My mom thinks it’s because I had potty anxiety. I took a long time to potty train, and it frustrated my dad. This is not important and this tangent is a bit disgusting. Back to the roaches.

Well, they were wrong about my little sister. She got a year older and just started killing them like the rest of my family. Picking up a shoe, the light gone in her eyes, as she slows down her steps to an agonizing Japanese Noh gesture, and then quickly slams down the shoe, hoping in what little concern for the suffering of roaches is left in her, that it was dead in one strike.

Like in a way it was good, that I lived in THE BAD PLACE (Dun dun dun) because it’s really hard to gross me out now, as a person. I lived in that place for a good couple of years of my life. The flying roaches didn’t show up until after the roof fell in on my older sister. The plaster was too weak to hurt her or anything but we lived with a giant hole in the ceiling that looked like a giant at ripped out with his bare hands. We lived with that for like another two years.

That night had been fun actually. We—my siblings, my cousin, and I— were playing hand games and stuff in the living room on the floor. Because we didn’t have beds in our room anyway, we didn’t mind sleeping in the living room to allow for more of us to lay together as possible. My cousin had come over to visit or live…I was never too certain about the relationship that cousin had with my family. Sometimes she lived with us for months, maybe years, I don’t remember. Then years would pass and we wouldn’t see her or hear from her. Not the point. Back to the roaches.

So my cousin slept in the shitty apartment and had to get used to the roaches. It’s funny. Apart from this story I can’t remember any interaction with her and roaches. But that night, when we were done playing and all of us were fast asleep on the ground like angels, I would dare say, silent and beautiful, I woke up. I usually do, in the middle of the night because of the anxiety I felt. The possibility that I might be attacked by bugs at night, kept sleep at bay.

She, my cousin, is laying there in the bed she’d made of pillows (she was better than the floor. She was a guest and must be treated as such…Brat). Her milky skin lit up bright by the dim light in the kitchen. My mom often left the lights on because I was afraid of the dark. She, my cousin, is white, even though we aren’t and I always thought that was cool. She has cute curly brown hair and a big smile, but an evil child to say the least. Pink lips and green eyes. Beautiful kid really, but evil as it gets.

So she is sound asleep. I lean down to watch her face. It isn’t often I see such a cute kid sleep, and no one is around to tell me to stop so I continue. I don’t know how long I sit about a yard from her, crouching down, watching her sleep. Her chest goes up …then down. Up. Down. Up. Down. It doesn’t matter, but after a while I see a two inch thick blob crawl across her milky face, first over her nose. I freeze, bile in my gut and in my throat. It is one of the biggest roaches I’ve ever seen. I swallow hard, and she doesn’t stir. I want to be brave and smack away the roach. I should and I hate myself for this but I don’t. It horrifies me into stillness. The bugs harry looking legs pinch at her skin as it moves in hurried scuttles; its antennas bounces up and down against her cheek. The bug then starts crawling into her mouth. I convulse there in my mind, but my outward self doesn’t budge. The brown monster contrasts in the dim light against her milky skin. It’s hefty disgustingly dirty body crawls quickly in then out of her mouth. I feel like I’m going to vomit and I stand up abruptly. Maybe I scare it, maybe not, but and the creature scurries quickly into the darkness.

I stood there above her, wanting to pee. I wanted to throw up. Part of me didn’t care her then. It was just disgusting. It wasn’t about her; It was about me. So. I never woke her. I never told anyone.

 

Writing 101, Day Ten: Happy (Insert Special Occasion Here)!

Prompt:

Today, be inspired by a favorite childhood meal. For the twist, focus on infusing the post with your unique voice — even if that makes you a little nervous.

Everything is Forgiven:

She thinks if she gives me this silly little dish everything is forgiven. Ha. She’s even more stupid than she looks. I don’t mind her making it, thinking that this smile is a smile of forgiveness–but it’s not. It’s the smile of victory. This large cheek ripping grin is the grin of a man who has successfully duped. The grin of a Duper. I don’t mind her rushing around the kitchen, slowly building up a sweat, that is thick and flabby like the butter she’s cooking in the frying pan. oooooh that smell. She is definitely stupid and terrible at all things, but by some miracle of fate, she is able to make this one dish like no other. It’s like the universe is trying to apologize for making her so remarkably useless and unappealing.

She comes to sit across from me at the table, her forehead dark and beading still with sweat, and again i am put off. I can hardly look at her now a days.

“It’ll be just a while longer.” Her voice is soft and raspy, and i can hear the saliva and wind whistling through the holes and cracks in her teeth.

“I know how long it’ll be, Gillian. And don’t sit at the table with me. I can’t stand the smell of you.” I waved her away. She got up promptly, standing next to her seat like a dog…oh for the love of God, “Watch the damn pot, woman!”

“It’ll never cook that way.”

Oh God did she love her own superstition. So she stood there, staring absently out, lost in what i’d inaccurately call thoughts, because i’d hardly call her a thinker. She’s more like a st– no. I’m not a child. I won’t stoop to that level. Good God that smell! It was rising, filling up like whipped cream inside this chocolate eclair room– except the chocolate is probably dried blood or dirt, not the usually crusted shit from Spain beaten down by cream and sugar. She had that look on her face, under her hooked nose and her beady eyes, like she was so sure she’d won a race she couldn’t even run in. I’d let her think that, but i’ll know the truth she hadn’t.

The frying pan popped and sizzled, and i knew what that meant, the woman waddling back into the kitchen, through the old western swinging doors, and i was alone. I sat there, waiting, mouth watering, hands wringing the white napkin in my hand like rope–or better yet, like a wash lady wringing out clothes. The dish couldn’t come fast enough. My mind warped images of the inept woman standing behind the door, counting my breaths, holding back the plate, making me suffer in the only way something like her could.

Then the door swung open and her sweaty body, spun out of my vision, and the plate floated and glowed alone with me in the room, like a being. It floated to the spot in front of me, erasing the worn out wooden table beneath it…..and for a moment i was happy.

“There you are, Mr. Rattle.” Her voice creamy and cured like a fine meat bathed in sauce.

Those browned crowned round dumplings, fried, sat there and soon i blinked and time had passed. My clothes had been ravished. My gloves were oily, my belt buckle pulled, and sliding out of the loops of my trousers, and my shirt unbuttoned. My stomach peaked out from my open shirt,  ruptured and torn, and probably spilling from the inside out. Sweat everywhere.

“Is all forgiven sir?” She whistled.

“Naturally, you beast. Call for my butlers to come fetch me!”

I was ashamed–of her of course. I was pitying her, a woman of such meager means, of such little talents. I was pitying her and this…i will return for her meals. I will “forgive” because that is all she has in the world. All she has is me.