Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Westside Writers Fall 2011 Challenge Entry

Here is my response to the challenge made by Westside Writers:

I wailed seeing Benny’s body hanging from a tree. His arms and legs stuck out at right angles, his clothes hung off his frame: a grotesque fuchsia and the General’s message.

She smothered my screams, pulled me into the shadows, and pressed something in my palm. “Quiet message. Seven d son, set frankly dead swan.” Pointing at a sedan, she pushed me forward. “Fast go.”

I stumbled across the deserted street and looked at my hand: my lover’s passcard and a key. Can’t go home, they know where we live. The key worked. Why’d he have to come out?

In gear, the car lurched north. At a red light I shook myself. Not seven d – seventy! It was code. Take Highway 70, but which way? Seventy sunset… West!

City lights fading in the rearview mirror, it was a long way to anywhere. Frankly dead swan? Frank lead Aswan?

Another car entered the road behind me. The lights flicked high and low. Was I paranoid or being followed? I sped up but they followed through the curves. On the floodplain, the horn wailed and they overtook me. I slowed and tried not to think about Benny. Frankly deads won?

Low fuel! Where’ll I find gas? Twenty to forty miles and the car’s dead. Rounding a bend a faint light glowed. A gas station and someone stood inside the door. I alighted, he was gone, but left a note: “Half mile turn left, follow gravel road to inn.”

What choice did I have? Was it a trap? All manner of places are tucked away in coastal coves screened from the road by a ridge.

A sign flickered, “Lily and Swan.” I parked, entered, and was greeted, “Sorry about Benny. I’m Frank. You’re safe here until we can smuggle you over the border.”

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Westside Writers Fall 2011 Challenge

Westside Writers, a semi-monthly critique group meeting in the Reedsville area of Hillsboro, is inviting other Washington County writers to join our Fall 2011 Challenge.

Basically, the challenge involves creating a piece of flash fiction that incorporates six words in the text. No prizes, just the chance for Washington County writers to connect with other Washington County writers. We will publish submissions on the Westside Writers blog or include a link to the author's blog/website. Details are available at and the deadline is Oct 12th.

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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Addiction: The Writers' Campaign Challenge

Cheryl, from Beaverton Evening Writers, wrote about a challenge to write a piece of 200 word flash fiction on her blog. The original post is on Rachael Harrie's blog. And here's my attempt:

The door swung open.

“Come to Mama,” she moaned. “I need more of your sweet, creamy satisfaction. Melt in my mouth, lover.”

He was silent, but I heard, “I’ve got what you need. Don’t I always take care of you?” So smooth.

When would I ever learn? She told me she would stop: yesterday, last week, for my birthday. But it was always the same. A day went by and she’d have to have it. Problems at work and she couldn’t get enough. A long commute and she’d stop on the corner to score.

Twain said giving up smoking was the easiest thing he ever did: he did it a thousand of times. She made him out to be an amateur.

I’ve tried to get her help: twelve step programs, rehab clinics, even threatened and cajoled. It’s been useless: useless as a critic without an audience.

“It’s me or him.” My voice was strong, but my eyes were weak. “Choose. Now.”

“What’s your problem? I can handle it.” She laughed. At me. “It’s not like I’ve got a real problem!”

He said nothing. What a cad; bury him I will. Someday.

I turned and walked away.

The door swung shut.
Word count courtesy of Microsoft Word 2002 SP3 -- take it up with Uncle Bill if you count other than 200 words.

Monday, September 5, 2011

“Welcome to Portland”

After driving a thousand miles, I pulled into the driveway of rental house in about the only neighborhood I could afford: SE 67th off Flavel. I was beat; grabbed my sleeping bag, found the key under the mat, and sacked out in the back bedroom.

Next morning I got up with the sun since the place had no curtains. After splashing some water on my face, and something else on the toilet bowl, I headed out to start unloading my Subaru station wagon.

On one side was painted “Go Ducks;” the other, “Go Beavs.” The car was empty. On the windshield was a computer-printed note: “Welcome to Portland. Thank you for your donation. The Felony Flats Unemployment Committee.”

Free of earthy possessions – hey, at least they didn’t take the car! I knew I was going to like it here.