Archive for fiction

Marital Mondays: Publish or Perish

For one of our four indoor date nights last week, we played Star Wars Epic Duels, and I loved it! That’s because I whipped Hannibal’s booty at it. Emperor Palpatine was my dude! My favorite thing about this table top board game is that I didn’t have to know a lick about Star Wars — just good old strategy.

The night was reminiscent of our first date, where we played Pente (my favorite game ever on the planet). I beat him at that, too. Then I used my eyelashes and bargaining skills to bribe him when Scrabble wasn’t going my way. Good times.

Our relationship was built on a foundation of sweat, spirit, smiles, and sex. We work hard, but when we take the night off, we play. Our current schedule has us working three nights out of the week, and connecting (on many levels) for the other four. I usually design and blog on work nights, and Hannibal writes and promotes himself at the same time.

I’m really proud of his publishing push this year. He has released The Crown: Ascension (sci-fi) as an e-book with new bonus chapters. His sci-fi prison thriller, Faraway, is also now available in e-format. Hannibal is the 2012 Top Cow Talent Hunt winner, and his work has been published in Steamfunk, an Anthology.

 He is on a publishing mission — currently writing the sequel to Stranger Comics’ Dusu: The Path of the Ancient. Planning pays. That’s novels, comic books, and anthologies all in the first three months of the year. Oh, he writes poetry, too. Okay, I’ll stop bragging. I just thought I’d take a moment to show my support.


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I Swallowed Glass and Science Fiction Said I Would Die

We interrupt your regular Wednesday programming to bring you an Emergency Marital Mondays.

I was putting away the food Monday night, and it was so good, that I decided to make myself one more plate of … well … everything. When I put the third spoonful of rice into my mouth, it didn’t feel right. There was something crunchy. I pulled it out and looked at it. It wasn’t an onion or a piece of celery. It was glass!!!

I spit out everything into the trash can, rinsed out my mouth and went to put the kids to bed. Hannibal left to go do our laundry, and I was about to start my work when I got a sudden urge to vomit. I went into the restroom and proceeded to do so, and I noticed there was blood in the vomit. Strange. I thought back to the rice, and figured that maybe the two heaping spoonfuls that I’d shoveled into my mouth had contained glass as well.

I flung myself over the bed to get the my cell phone. I called Hannibal to share what had happened and he was at the front door in less than two minutes. If you know my husband, then you know that he reads a lot of fiction and watches a lot of TV in the corner of his computer screen while he’s working. Well, apparently, in some thriller he read, someone died of intestinal bleeding when another person ground up glass in their food. He offered me two options, “Either I’m calling an ambulance or we’re packing up these kids and going to the emergency room ourselves. I can’t lose you. I love you, and more importantly, I can’t raise these crazy kids by myself.”

I tried to talk him down of the ledge by stating that I’d already thrown up, so the worst was probably over. He wasn’t having it. It was so windy Monday night that I couldn’t imagine waking the kids and dragging them to Kaiser’s lobby to sit for hours. I offered that maybe someone could come and sit with them while he took me. Then I realized it was eleven o’ clock at night and most of my friends have children of their own. I don’t have a mother either. I thought of my aunt, so he called her but she didn’t answer. “I’m calling 9-1-1” he said, grabbing my phone.

My mental rolodex was going as fast as it could. “Call my godmother!” I said. She lives close, and her son is in high school. He can stay home alone.” She picked up the phone and said she would pack up her midterm paper and come over. She did.

We went. We waited for hours in the lobby for them to say it would pass in my poop. “Sounds fun.” I replied, heading for the door. The lining of the intestines is constantly renewing itself and it’s pretty tough, so swallowing glass is, apparently, no big deal. Oh, science fiction.

After the hospital

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Character Brief

She stood in the hallway just beyond a shadow from the coatrack, warmth rising from her skin to fill the stillness around her. A knotty fist in her lungs kneaded the breath in and out, then back in. She pressed the bones of three toes into the brown of the doorframe, trying to keep tears from pooling in her lower lids.

Dark, inky clouds filled her eyes. She mistook her fear for guilt. Thoughts are oblivious to the stretch of skin across bone.

She wanted to say she hadn’t meant it. She wanted to be comfortable, but neither of these things would be true again, if they ever had …

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Fiction Friday: Throw Back

This is a throwback post. Sorry.

Through her living room bay window, Tanya could see the sun beginning to rise. “Eight ‘o clock service is too freaking early!” She mumbled to herself running back in her room. She pointed her pink polished toes, and put her other size ten foot into one side of her sheer black stockings. As she wiggled to pull them up, she hopped over to jab a small gold hoop earring into each ear. “Mom, do you have a bible I can borrow or something?” she yelled.

“You’re really going all out for this one.” Her mom chuckled sarcastically from the other room.

“Mom.” Tanya answered rushing.

“I’m just saying.” Her mother, Marilyn, said walking into her room with a crisp black Holy Bible. “I have to drag your tail out the bed every Sunday to go to church with us.” She smiled at her daughter. “You look very pretty.” Tanya’s mom was always on her side. She never wanted to have a bad day with her daughter. A tall light skinned black woman with deep dimples and very kinky hair, Marilyn was a proud preacher’s wife. Even though she was quite antisocial, she wouldn’t miss a Sunday supporting her husband in his endeavors. “He must be really special.” Her mother said. “Have fun!” She shouted behind her daughter, who was already running out of the door.

Tanya had put her white Mercury Sable in the shop the day before to have the radiator examined for the third time that month. She didn’t mind walking down the suburban streets of Cheviot Hills to get to the Santa Monica Blue Bus, which would get her to John’s house. The number seven ran up and down Pico Boulevard every twelve minutes each day. As she approached the bus stop, she thought about dashing across the street for McDonald’s breakfast. She couldn’t remember the last time she’d had an Egg McMuffin. Unfortunately, the bus was pulling up and she wanted to make a good impression on John’s mother. She hopped on the bus heading east.

The ride couldn’t have felt longer to Tanya. She glared out of the large chrome trimmed window at all of the landmarks she knew so well. When she passed the McDonald’s on Pico and Pointview, she knew she was almost there. She figured she’d get off on Hauser like she did when she went to Winnie’s house. She wasn’t sure if there was a Burnside exit. The middle aged latina lady sitting in front of her had to have been wearing at least two bottles of perfume, and there was a fussy infant, who’d gotten on the bus one stop after Tanya. They arrived at Hauser before she knew it.

Now Tanya wished the ride had been longer. Nervous, she stepped off of the bus quickly, remembering why she’d always feared bus doors. When she was two years old, her baby sitter had accidentally let the back door of an RTD bus close on Tanya before she could get off. Tanya screamed and was forced to ride to the next stop before other adults on the bus notified the driver. He carried two-year-old Tanya off the bus at the next stop and handed her to the sweaty sitter, who’d run all the way from the last stop.

Wiping the perspiration off of her neck, Tanya proceeded toward Burnside. She almost never sweated. “Get it together.” She said to herself. “She’s either going to like you or she’s not.” She was extra nervous since John had told her that the night before his mom asked if he and Tanya were having sex. He assured Tanya that his mom was just straight forward, and that he’d told her they weren’t. Even though they really hadn’t, Tanya hoped his mother couldn’t detect her freakiness with her mama senses.

Tanya’s red lips were the first thing that entered John and Sandra’s appartment — at least to Sandra they were. She was John’s single pious mother, who was actually from around the way. She looked at Tanya’s neatly ironed white blouse and, without a facial expression, admired the way it was tucked into her black knee length pencil skirt. Sandra didn’t really want Tanya to know what she thought. Her face didn’t look pleasant, though. “Hi.” Tanya said stepping into the house to take a seat on the black leather loveseat near the door. She wondered why John and his mother were dressed in jeans and t-shirts. Upset that she’d missed the casual dress memo, Tanya tugged at her skirt to make sure it covered her knees when she sat.

“Hello.” Replied Sandra, whose voice had a little of the same rasp as her son’s. “I’m Sandra, John’s mother.”

“I’m Tanya, John’s … friend.” Tanya said wishing she’d just told the woman her name instead of stumbling for a title.

“Are you hungry, John’s friend?” His mother asked smiling. She knew the ball was in her court once she could detect Tanya’s nervousness.

“Yes, ma’am. I rushed out without eating.” Tanya answered relaxing a bit.

“Come on in the kitchen, and you can make some instant oatmeal.” Sandra said in a welcoming voice. Tanya quickly sauntered into the tiny kitchen and looked down at the yellow linoleum floor. She held her breath as she looked around the cluttered room for the oatmeal. Sandra had taken a seat at the table in the family’s cozy breakfast nook, leaving Tanya to fend for herself. “You’re not scared of roaches, are you?” his mother asked.

Tanya sucked in a breath. Her eyes suddenly darted all around the light blue kitchen. She noted two medium-sized cockroaches gliding over the sink full of dishes. “No.” Tanya lied. She was not used to anything but ants and spiders, and she wasn’t too fond of those either.

“Oh, good.” said Sandra. “My daughter, Tashawn, is in Ghana right now. She went with a group from our church. Tashawn is usually our dishwasher. John and I do our best.”

She grabbed a small blue saucepan from the old-fashioned stove, and rinsed it out in the empty side of the sink. Adding a little water in it, she placed it on the burner. While the water was heating to boil, Tanya found the oatmeal and opened the package. She was trying to move as quickly as possible, so nothing would crawl up her leg. Now in full roach panic, Tanya fanned herself, and wondered where John had disappeared to. She left the kitchen to peek into the living room, where she found him flipping through her bible on the couch.

Tanya pushed her fears into her diaphram and dragged herself back to the stove. Her water was boiling, so she selected the maple brown sugar packet of Quaker Oatmeal from the variety pack and poured it into the water. “Can you cook, Tanya?” John’s mother asked from her seat.

“Hell yeah!” Tanya responded with vigor, completely forgetting where she was. She stirred the oatmeal, and turned off the fire. John, hearing this, looked at his mother, who was clearly appauled. Her bottom jaw was on the floor. Tanya was totally oblivious about her offense. She would hear about it later from John, though. “I’m done.” She called from the kitchen.

“There are bowls in the cabinet above the spice rack.” Sandra offered. When Tanya opened the chipped cupboard, roaches scattered. She quickly shut the door. Instead, Tanya decided to hover over the pot and eat directly from it. She took a spoon from the sink and washed it vigorously. After two bites of oatmeal, she poured the rest down the garbage disposal, and announced that she was full. The three headed down to the blue Thunderbird that would take them to King Boulevard, where the church was. John’s mother let him drive, but Tanya insisted that she sit in the back.

They arrived at the church. It sat in the parking lot of the Santa Barbara Plaza near the Baldwin Crenshaw mall. There were a lot of cars in the lot, but John found a parking spot immediately. It seemed like it was waiting for him. He opened his mother’s door first and then Tanya’s. Sandra dashed off into the building. “See you after church!” She called out.

“She’s not going to sit with us?” Tanya looked up at John.

“Oh, no. All of the youth sit together.” he replied. This made Tanya completely uncomfortable. She and her sister, Harmony, were the only youth at her dad’s church. She wasn’t looking forward to awkard stares and strained conversation. She wanted to go home. From her frowned brow and the way the corners of her mouth turned down, John could sense something was wrong. “You’ll be fine.” he said. “I’m honored to be walking in with you.”

“They’ll all be wearing jeans.” Tanya said. “They’re all gonna laugh at me!” she quoted the horror movie, “Carrie.” Just then two girls walked by wearing pink and gray Nike tennis shoes. Both were shorter than Tanya in her heels. They looked at her and snickered.

“You *are* a little over dressed,” he said, “but you look fine.”
Tanya rolled her eyes at him. “That was my ex-girlfriend, Tiffany. Don’t pay her any mind.”

“Which one?” Tanya asked.

“The one with the braids and the big nostrils.” he responded, massaging her shoulders briefly. John and Tanya laughed and walked into church.

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Fiction Friday: Cheat Sheet (Part 2)

Every Friday, I’ll tell you a story. More than likely they’ll be done in parts, because your attention span is very short. In case you missed last weeks story, click here, because this story is continued from last week. Enjoy.

The woman scoffed at Sarah, clutching her purse tighter and walking through the door. Sarah mumbled to herself under her breath and moved her thumbs around each other like she was knitting. Her left knee began to vibrate.

“Ma’am, the doctor will see you now.” the receptionist said from a different open doorway than the first woman had walked through. Pale flourescent lights lined the long hallway behind the petite woman as she called out again, “Ms. Johnson, come with me.” Sarah heard her, but she couldn’t respond. She was paralyzed with anger. The receptionist closed the door.

“Wait.” Sarah finally opened her mouth. It was too late. The woman had gone to get the doctor. Sarah began to rock and moan. Her thumbs now moving faster. She was sweating and swearing.
By the time the doctor got to the waiting room, Sarah was limp on the charcoal gray carpet staring up at the slow ceiling fan — its blades hypnotizing her. She thought about the last time he’d choked her. His gorilla grip cutting off her circulation. He seemed so determined. His torso pressed against her slim figure. He let go and slapped her face.

“Sarah” the doctor said firmly, “You need to get up.” Sarah blankly looked at the doctor, breaking her focus on the fan only with her eyes.

“I can’t take it. I can’t take it, Doc.” she mumbled. “My panties keep slipping into my ass.” The doctor’s eyes rested on Sarah’s beauty queen cheek bones and big brown eyes. “Do you have any hand sanitizer, Dr. Finkelor?” she asked. “My hands are dirty.”

“C’mon.” said the doctor. “Let’s get you into the office, so we can sort some things out.”

“I need some sanitizer.” Sarah said, sitting up.

“I know.” Dr. Finkelor replied, pulling Sarah up onto her feet. “We’ll get you some sanitizer.”

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