Ye Olde Archive Archived Posts: 2004-2009

29Jan/05Off

Microfiction #1: Dance / Dancing

Only three stories this week. I hope more people will get into it as we progress, but I'm not going to twist any arms. If people want to write stories, that's excellent and I'll enjoy reading them. And if it comes down to just me, putting up one story every week, that will be okay too.

The topic for next week is: Cooking / Food.

As you can tell from this week's stories, adherence to the topic is lenient, though I think it more fun to challenge yourself and try to write about the subject. Length restriction, it turns out, is fairly optional too.

Without further ado, stories!

------------------------

Two Sisters
-Emily Jindra

"I quit smoking," she told me in passing, and I tried to bury some of my excitement. The fact that she said it nonchalantly meant that she was readying her mind for a relapse and didn't want to get too excited, lest she fell off the wagon. I was happy, though, and have never been very skilled at hiding my emotions.

"That's great," was my reply, probably delivered too quickly and genuinely to mask my eagerness for her to be successful. "When did you decide to do that?"

"Well, I've been wanting to for awhile." She sighed. Paused. Looked at the ground, probably hoping that the words to express what she was thinking would somehow materialize on the earth beneath her. My family has never been very skilled in the art of communication. Dialogue with each other is the dance we all fumble through awkwardly, like pubescent teenagers at their first mixer. She looked at me and I met her gaze.

"Do you ever think about death?"

I scanned my brain for a frame of reference, a precedent by which to make my response, some clue that would explain how and from where this question had come, and where she was taking me with it. My older sister and I don't often get beyond the weather when it comes to conversation. The brain scan was inconclusive, and in a moment of resolve I decided to stop being so reserved around my own sibling.

"Yes," I offered. "Sometimes I think that death is the only worthwhile thing there is to think about."

She paused for another moment, trained a sharp gaze on some far-away object, and began to speak. "I was covering part of someone's midnight shift last night. It wasn't a full double because I only had to cover until 3 am, but I was pretty tired when I was driving home." She stopped and once again searched the ground for the words to accurately build her recollection. "I try to take the back roads when I'm coming home that late, to avoid the drunks. I was on Oberlin Road, about to turn onto Russia when I saw it. I couldn't make out what it was from the intersection, but the hairs on the back of my neck stood on end and that damn cop instinct we all got from Dad kicked in. I turned left instead of right, my impulses taking the reigns from my logic. First it was just a cracked side view mirror glistening like a beacon in the other lane. Then there was glass, pieces of chrome, and the crimson. God damn, to think about that awful color painting a picture all over the road..."

She shifted her gaze and looked me directly in the eye. "I hope that you never see anything like that. It isn't at all like what you think it would be. The smell was," but she stopped to clear her throat, and the far away object called her gaze back. Another moment and her face was emotionless again, but there was a new franticness in her eyes, something akin to desperation, the urgency of sustained hunger.

"Libby..."

"It was an accident scene, and I was the first one there. Discovered the body I guess you would say. He must have been going over 100 to smash the bike up that badly. The trail of scattered motorcycle parts stopped at the telephone pole that served as the object to prove Newton's first law of motion. The bike was wrapped like a pretzel around the base of the pole, I had to blink several times to convince myself that this was tangible reality I was looking at, and not something from a dream. The high tension wire must have then grabbed hold of the bikeless driver, because it stood sentinel over the bifurcated corpse. It was a cold night, and the wounds were... they were steaming."

She looked down again, but this time with closed eyes. "Everyone says that life is so short, but it's not." A pause. She opened her eyes and that wolf-like desperation was even stronger than before. "We spend eons squandering it away, placating ourselves with the vacuousness of daytime T.V., tax deferred annuity payments, trips to the mall and low interest rates. We hide our true feelings, argue about meaningless bullshit, wait like idiots for greatness to happen to us, wait for meaning to one day magically appear. We spend our entire long ass lives waiting, and then in an instant the wait is over and we're lying in two pieces on the side of some stretch of abandoned road. I'm going to live, Emily, every second that I draw breath into this body." She looked at me. "Waiting is a game for a fool."

She held the gaze a few moments longer, and then returned to her hawk-like surveillance of the distant horizon. I didn't turn my eyes away from her, for fear that this fragile and tender moment between us would crack like an eggshell if I dared even breathe. She stirred suddenly, got up, and walked back toward the house. My eyes were transfixed and followed her up the familiar steps, and I noticed for the first time how strong my older sister is. She has yet to light another cigarette.

------------------------

The Dance
-Don Ferrari

“You’re a very special person.”

“Take’s one to know one.”

There was a pause as their eyes held, - similar to the two or three times before in the last hour – only this time it wasn’t from across the room – wondering if they were together or if you were reading it right – this time you were close, as it felt it should be.

“You make me want to touch you.”

“Yeah, I know.”

The eyes remained one, both open and vulnerable. A hand moved up of its own accord and laid itself gently on a cheek, remaining motionless while 2 sets of I’s sang songs that children sing.

“Phew.”

"Bawaack – I got the little ones,” a voice called forth and they both suddenly regained note of where they were. The tavern was crowded this Sunday night, yet no gaze was upon this meeting and faces once more turned to find hand still upon cheek, - then hand held cheek moved down and met a hand in hand and the tavern had two less people.

A silent journey thru the night – pine tree crest met starlit sky and air of breath for both to see. Soon they were making fire in the cabin on the rim of the mountain, the wood smoke sweetening the fragrance of this life.

A hand held cheek once more reached out and gently took a coat from form – Fingers weaving – dancing thru a land of button – Thru this hole to the other side, and you - and you, and then a turn.
Plop on the floor and flesh met touch and eye.
This hand of mine, on myself it seems
Then both, a dance of flickering flames,
Two foreheads touched
And eyes
And nose
And tongue traced patterns new unfolding,
Then hands moved down and pulled the final bit of name to none,
And both wide-eyed souls met dancing.

------------------------

Dimmer Switch
-Ahniwa Ferrari

Cal leaned against the wall and made an effort not to squint as light danced across the room and fake smoke drifted past his eyes. He’d heard that the parties senior year were bigger and better, but he’d never imagined they included light shows and smoke machines. Still, he knew that to the people who threw these parties image was everything, and the expense was the equivalent of pennies. In any case, he hadn’t come to see fancy special effects. He had a purpose.

Liza was the kind of girl every boy in school had dreams about. She was head cheerleader and valedictorian, and had already spent a year studying in France. She’d come back with a certain savoir faire that made her seem mysterious and unattainable, and an accent that over time had faded until you could only ever hear it when she got very emotional. It was fate’s cruel joke that her locker was right next to Cal’s, but he doubted that she had ever really noticed him.

If you asked someone at school what they thought of Cal, most people would sum his character up in a single, concise word: “Who?” . He wore clothes, ate food, walked about and talked, laughed, smiled and joked with his friends; all in such a way that no-one but his friends were ever inclined to pay him any notice. How he’d ever gotten friends in this state is a mystery, though could most likely be attributed to the fact that they’d been his friends since the third grade, before he’d realized that he was destined to a life of inexorable obscurity. He went about his business like a shadow, was never called on in class, got straight ‘B’s, and avoided school activities or doing anything in which he might stand out like the plague. Even his senior picture in the yearbook had turned out fuzzy, as if he were blurred around the edges; a ghost.

Tonight was different. The dimmer switch of Cal’s personality, halfway down his entire life, was now in the full “On” position. Dressed in a suit, he had a distinct outline, a physical presence that dominated a particular space. His hair, usually a bland brown and neatly parted, seemed to change in the light, one moment wild and the next, keenly sophisticated. His eyes, usually brown, were now hazel and chestnut and cedar, mahogany and driftwood, and they sparkled as they set upon Liza Anne Hartley and never strayed.

Liza had noticed him, too. Noticed, but not recognized, despite having the same lockers for the past four years. She laughed as a friend told a joke, excused herself, and let her feet follow Cal’s gaze across the floor. As she reached him, the music changed from a loud beat to something slow and intimate. She wasn’t used to being shy, but her breath caught in her throat and she was held transfixed by Cal’s presence. It was years of natural social instinct that allowed her to ask, “Would you like to dance?”

Cal smiled, his teeth flashed pearls. His brown eyes engulfed hers, blue, and the music flooded out the world.

As he left the party, all he could think was that if he hurried, then he and his friends could have a good long party themselves before the night was over. He ripped off his tie, threw it out into the night breeze, and grinned as he remembered his response:

“Sorry, I don’t dance with cheerleaders.”

Filed under: dance, poetic 1 Comment
26Jan/05Off

It’s news to me

  • You can't make a bad thing good, but you can make it better.

    A full month later, and we're just getting started on cleaning this all up. Another article I read compared the medical problems we are experiencing in these countries to ones we had during the US Civil War. Hopefully this can be improved, and fast, though I reserve my cynicism. As the article states, a disaster such as this, sudden and unpredicatable, makes us realize that it could have happened to any of us, without warning; reminding us that the Earth is not compassionate, and that we need to make the most of things now, not later.

  • Suck-assiest suicide attempt, EVER.

    How pathetic can you get? I would like to feel some compassion for the guy, but he "tried" to slash his wrists, "tried" to stab himself, and then "tried" to get hit by a train, killing ten other people and injuring hundreds. Perhaps, right along with suicide prevention hotlines, we could use a couple suicide success lines, providing helpful information about how to end your life successfully without wrecking trains in the process. Like S*P says (I tried to find the particular strip, but couldn't), "Remember kids, it's up the river, not across the street."

  • Oh, those evil children and their drawings.

    Isn't this what therapy is for? Or perhaps a sound talking to from the principal? Since when do kids get felony charges for drawing violent pictures? I bet you every kid between the ages of 8-12 has drawn something somewhat violent at some point or another. They've a morbid fascination with death, because in general it's not a particularly real occurence. So yeah, explain to little Timmy and Billy why it's wrong to draw pictures of stabbing and hanging your classmates, but don't throw them in a federal, pound-me-in-the-ass prison.

  • The Aviator flies rings around the competition.

    Sorry, I couldn't resist my own clever headline. Still, eleven nominations, hot damn. I guess I should go see that, and soon. I think Moore's an idiot for taking Fahrenheit 9/11 out of the Best Documentary category to run for Best Picture. For someone who does documentarys on American society, he sure seems kind of clueless sometimes about our ... tastes. I loved the movie, personally, but I was never less than absolutely sure that it would never win Best Picture. That it didn't even get nominated is no surprise either. Besides, what's wrong with the Best Documentary category? Perhaps Moore needs to come to terms with the fact that his movies are, in fact, documentaries (though some might argue), and that there's no shame in that. Like he said when Bowling for Columbine won, documentarians are people that focus on the truth in fictitious times. This is important, and in my opinion, commendable, regardless of whether or not you agree with this "truth".

  • 7% of Japanese students take video games way too seriously.

    When it comes to spiritual beliefs, I try not to be judgemental. It's a fairly non-factual field, where what you feel is more important than what you can prove. I don't know if I think that resurrection is likely, but I certainly think it's possible, and as an idea, I kind of like it. Even so, I don't think I would ever, ever equate the reasoning behind a belief in resurrection as "Well, it's like a video game. You just hit the reset switch." I just mean, c'mon! You're Japan! You've got a gazillion years and eras of history, myth and folklore, and the best your youth can come up with as an analogy for resurrection is resetting their gamecube!? Only in Japan, I tell you.

    Read more crazy Japan stories.

  • Filed under: cinema, game, news 3 Comments
    25Jan/05Off

    Smidgeons of un-truth

    Microfiction is rollin'.

    The topic for this week is: dance / dancing.
    No longer than 500 words, if you can help it.

    Drop them at brieflies (at) gmail (dot) com.

    Stories will be posted here on Saturday, Jan 29th.
    Get 'em to me before then!

    Happy writing!

    Filed under: poetic No Comments
    25Jan/05Off

    Tell me a story

    The hiatus is back off, again.

    Micro-fiction is now set to "On".

    I know there are some super-creative folks who stop by here every so often. I'd love to read some of your stories. If you're interested, check out Brief Lies. The first batch of micro-stories will be posted this coming Saturday. Under 500 words and the topic is dance/dancing. It's a small, super-fun creative enterprise to undertake, and oh-so-much better the more people we can get involved.

    It's no NaNoWriMo.
    It's only 500 words!
    Just do it!

    Filed under: poetic No Comments
    25Jan/05Off

    Yours ’til the wheels fall off

    Life's been flowing really smoothly lately,
    such that the year is passing quickly;
    and somewhat lacking in moments of stunning catharsis.

    Yesterday was summer. We danced out at the Evergreen campus
    in the main square while students sat outside on the grass
    and forgot their studies in the sunshine, eating healthy
    lunches and watching the grass think it's spring.
    Unseasonably warm.

    Talking with Emily about love, and the process of saying
    "I love you" for the first time to someone. We were together
    for three and a half years, but almost didn't last out
    two months because she told me she loved me and I just smiled.

    The summer just before Emily and I met was an odd one.
    Theo and I had arrived home from France in June,
    and we spent the entire summer hanging out at a dive,
    writing poetry and philosophy and talking about relationships.
    I also assisted with a french class on campus,
    where I met a young woman named Whitney.

    Perhaps it was post-France fervor,
    or a misplaced, overzealous confidence
    now that I was a world traveler;
    I walked the neighborhoods 'til four in the morning,
    I left notes and flowers, wrote poems,
    stared at the stars and sighed melodramatically.
    I belonged in 19th century Paris that Summer,
    burning at both ends, a bottle of absinthe in one hand,
    pen and paper in the other.

    Whitney gave me the runaround for awhile,
    I came to terms with a lot of things and mellowed out.
    It ended abruptly, somehow with no loose ends
    though we never talked to resolve anything.

    The summer trailed into Fall, and the Russia program.
    I knew Emily was going to be in the program,
    because I'd talked to her sister, Anne, over the summer,
    and she had mentioned it. Anne has mentioned it to Emily
    as well, and told her to look for me.

    From such simple chains of events are life-altering
    relationships formed.

    My summer rambling and roamings had left many ideas
    lingering in my head. Two of which:
    People say "I love you" too much, and why?
    Would it be possible to emote love obviously and often
    enough that ever saying the words would be redundant?
    And more sensibly, to never say those words without
    first being absolutely sure that they were true,
    and that I could live up to the promise that they made.

    A relationship isn't a sterile lab, where one can
    test the ideas one's posited on paper alone in
    the bowling alley restaurant while horse-racing
    played on a 20" television and people bet in the bar.

    Even so, I think the ideas are sound.
    The first, perhaps only if you've discussed it,
    and you're on the same page.
    I've come to think there's no harm in saying the words,
    a thousand times an hour each day, if you mean them.

    I stand by the second more strongly.
    You can't tell someone you love them
    just because they want you to.
    I'd like to think it was noble of me,
    but who's to say it wasn't just needless torture?
    I delayed a month before I told Emily I loved her,
    and I was sure of it when I said it,
    but we almost didn't make it through the month.

    We give these words such power over our happiness.
    Inversely, they have such a bearing on our sadness.

    It's a good thing we have chocolate.

    Filed under: dance, love, poetic No Comments