Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Game Over

The Wii game controller shook vigorously and the crowd cheered as Godzilla stomped onto the screen. After hours of playing, it was time for the final showdown. No one had been able to defeat Epic Godzilla in competition.

Shawn squatted as he prepared to do the only attack that could defeat him. Godzilla came within reach and Shawn launched the mighty jumping super roundhouse kick that he practiced for hours in the basement at his mom's house. His take off was perfect but he didn't jump quite high enough.

Godzilla roared as the kick grazed his head and swung his tail at Shawn's character's head. He hit Shawn squarely in the chest, sending him flying across the screen. The character on the screen stumbled and fell to his knees.

There was no other option. Shawn raised his hands up then committed hari kari as the crowd booed him. He hung his head and walked off the stage. He had failed -- his marriage, his job, and now this.

After he left, Shawn stopped at the liquor store and bought a big bottle of whiskey then went home to get his Japanese samurai sword. He drank all of the whiskey as he drove to his ex-wife's house.

Shawn stumbled onto the porch, sword in hand, and rang the doorbell then dropped to his knees. When she opened the door, he stabbed himself like he had in the game and slurred, "Game over."

Word prompt: Godzilla, vigorously, squatted

Friday, October 31, 2014

Apocalypse Trick or Treat

The young zombie dressed in a ballerina costume daintily skipped up to the house. She knocked on the door and waited for the human to answer.

"Trick or treat!" she mumbled when the door opened.

"That's the most realistic costume I've seen all night! Here's your treat," the old woman said then put a package of unfrosted strawberry Pop-Tarts in her bag. "I ran out of candy and it is all I have."

"This is a trick!" the zombie yelled then then lunged at the woman. She bit into her skull and pulled out the brains, letting the woman fall to the ground.

She pulled the Pop-Tarts out of her bag and unceremoniously dropped them next to the woman, leaving them swimming in a puddle of blood. She skipped off to the next house as she chewed on the fresh brains, happy with her unexpected treat.

Prompts: Pop-Tarts, daintily and swimming.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Pumpkin Festival Catastrophe

“Three … two … one … shut off the lights!” Mayor Larry Kimball yelled into the microphone. The lights throughout the downtown area turned off and the area was filled with the soft glow of candle light from the more than 30,000 lit carved pumpkins that lined the streets.

A chorus of ‘ohhs’ and ‘ahhs’ rose up from the crowd. It was a spectacular sight seeing so many pumpkins lit at the same time. Over at the food court, a weary festival-goer ordered a salty pretzel. 

“Would you like that heated?” the cashier asked.

“Sure, just enough to make it soft again.”

The cashier picked the largest pretzel and placed it on a paper plate then put it in the microwave. It ran for twelve seconds then suddenly stopped. “That’s weird,” the cashier said. “Is that going to be good enough for you?”

“Yeah, I just want to get out of here before everyone else.”

While they talked, a spark from the extension cord lit some old leaves on fire. The fire quickly spread from one leaf pile to the next.

“Holy shit! Fire! Call 9-1-1!” someone screamed. The blaze was headed straight for Main Street. Food vendors and the gift tent tried to douse the fire with whatever water they had but it was fully engaged.

The crowd could smell the fire before they saw it. Everyone started to panic and run away from the fire. Chaos filled the air and they trampled over each other in their attempt to escape, knocking pumpkins over and igniting all the dried leaves and hay that lined the main street.

It took several hours and responders from six towns to get the fire put out that had spread for up to three blocks on either side of Main Street then assess the damage. More than 1,500 people of all ages and a dozen pets had perished in the attempt to escape and thousands more were treated at a makeshift emergency room or transported to nearby hospitals. The fire caused millions of dollars of damage to the businesses. News outlets shared the grisly story, dubbing it Nightmare on Main Street.

That was the last year they held the pumpkin festival. On the one year anniversary of the fire, the town placed a bronze carved pumpkin in the center of town honoring those who died in the fire and the end of more than 20 years of pumpkin festivals. The plaque read, “Let it Shine – Your spirit, love and devotion will forever shine in our hearts and thoughts.”

Dinner

Jake stared at his math homework. He would much rather be out in the main part of the house partying with his fraternity brothers but he couldn’t afford to fail the class, he would be booted from the fraternity and have to find a new place to live. The music from the party seeped through the floorboards.

Maybe a few drinks would be okay, then I’ll be less stressed,” Jake thought to himself as he glanced at the closed door. No one would fault him. After all, it was Thirsty Thursday. He could have a few drinks and still have plenty of time to study for the test he needed to retake in the morning.

He closed the book and stood up. It was time to de-stress and get some fun in at the same time. As he came down the stairs he saw Debbie. She was wearing a hot purple dress that clung to every delicious curve of her body. Her long blonde hair was pulled back into an elaborate bun held in place with black decorative chopsticks.

“Hey sssssstud,” she slurred as she leaned towards him. There was no doubt that she’d had more than a few drinks.

“Hey Debbie,” he replied and took the beer she was holding out to him. “How’s the party?”

“Boring as all hell. Let’s find a room and fuck.”

“Whoa! Lindsey is only away for the weekend, I can’t cheat on her like that.”

“No one will ever find out.”

“She would run me over if she did. I’m not willing to take that chance.”

“Whatever. You’re just not man enough for all this,” Debbie replied and stumbled away to find another brother to sleep with.

Jake finished the beer then started looking for another. When he downed that he headed back to his room to finish studying. On the way, he passed Homer, their giant pet spider. “Looking for dinner?” Jake asked.

The spider chittered his response and climbed along the wall to the stairs then across the ceiling to where everyone was milling about. He waited patiently for one of them to be alone. Homer wasn’t kept waiting for long.

Debbie had passed out and had been left to sleep it off. Homer silently dropped from the ceiling and started spinning a tight web around her, starting with her bare feet. He quickly worked his way up her body, squeezing the life out of her with each rotation around her body.

Homer was just getting to the face when she woke up and started screaming. He panicked and bit her, his venom filling her blood stream with poison. Debbie died instantly and an eerie silence descended on the room.

The next morning Jake came downstairs. Beer bottles and cans were strewn everywhere. In the corner, Homer was eating from the web. His frat brothers were eating breakfast. “Which one did Homer get?”

“We think Debbie,” Henry answered.


“Good. She was nothing but trouble anyway,” Jake replied and ate his Rice Krispies.

Monday, October 13, 2014

A Hostile Take Over

    "What's the news on Project Acquisition Earth?" Commander Smraelth asked as he gazed on the distant planet.
    "The religious zealots we placed there have been quite effective, especially the Republicans in the United States. They've torn down nearly all the environmental controls, increased poverty and reduced health care thus weakening their populace. They've segregated nearly all non-white, heterosexuals so they have no willpower or desire to fight," Officer Theulla reported.
    "They've destroyed most of the infrastructure of the government. The military is strong for a ground or air fight but their space program will be dismantled enough for them not to be able to oppose us. I estimate less that in less than two earth years they will be completely unable to launch a defense against us."
    "Excellent! Your undertaking of learning earthling culture has paid off and your recommendations seem to be working very well. If the take over goes to plan, I will personally make sure you get a giant promotion and your choice of earth real estate when the dust settles."
    "Thank you Commander!"
    "Dismissed," Commander  Smraelth said then focused the telescope so he could see the earthlings as they moved about then licked his lips. His stomach rumbled in response to seeing his favorite delicacy.
    He picked up the phone and called the kitchen. "Do we still have any earthling left in the freezer?"
    "Yes, Sir. There are five or six full bodies left from last month's hunting expedition."
    "Wonderful! I want earthling soup for dinner tonight."
    "Very well, Sir."
    The commander hung up and turned off the telescope then sat back in his chair, smiling smugly. He loved it when a plan came together.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Adventures in Geocaching

It was a warm autumn day, Tim and two of his friends decided to check out a geocaching trail they had found online. The web site had said the trail was known for having really unique items in the caches and well worth the trip.
The first two caches were empty but they left behind a red solo cup and beer opener in the first one and a handful of passes for a free round at a nearby miniature golf course. At the third cache, they found a Roger Clemens trading card in a batting glove. While Jimmy researched the value of the card, Tim placed an inflatable replica statue of Gandhi into the cache and covered it back up.
Suddenly eerie green clouds filled the skies in the distance and the wind began to blow. They could hear the faint sound of the town's emergency warning siren. "I think its time to turn around," Dave, the third member of the group, suggested.
“We can probably get two more done, they’re not too far away,” Jimmy said as he switched back to the trail map on his phone.
They were halfway to the second cache when the skies opened and the torrential rain started. The three men ran back to the parking lot, laughing as they climbed into the car. Tim looked out the back window and was the first to see the dark swirling cloud.
“Shit! Tornado! Start the car and boot it out of here!”
Jimmy tried to start the car, it wouldn’t turn over. The other two men screamed at him to try again. Nothing. They started to panic, yelling at each other for one thing or another as they tried to figure out what to do.
“Hunker down,” Dave said and tucked himself as much as he could into a ball and slide into the area in front of the seat. Jimmy climbed into the back seat and curled into a ball on the floor across from Tim.
The small car was quiet as they waited then filled with screams as the storm rocked the car before lifting and carrying it several yards before dropping it on its side. The three men waited for several minutes to make sure it was done.
Dave climbed out of the car then opened the back door to help Tim and Jimmy out. They looked at the devastation around them, shocked that they’d somehow managed to survive and beat the odds. The car, however, was damaged to the point of not being able to drive back to town.
They huddled together for several minutes then started the trek back to the college, thankful to be alive.

Word prompt: warm, climbing, replica state of Gandhi

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Only the Finest

"What a dumbass!" the cop exclaimed when he came across a man draped over a limb of the big oak tree in the middle of the park. "Hey, you. What are you doing up there?"

"I had to jump from the alien ship," the man replied. The cop laughed.

"Right, of course you did."

"They tried to do tessing on me but I got away," the man slurred.

"Alright, come on down."

"I can't. I'll break my neck! I need you to come get me. You's one of Yuma's finest. You can do it!"

"I don't get paid enough for this," the cop said as he started to climb up the tree. Just as he got to the man he vanished and the tree morphed into a spaceship.

"Dinner time," the creature who'd been disguised as a drunk man called. The room filled with a dozen young creatures. "Only the finest for my children. Bon appetit!"

Friday, August 29, 2014

Chances

Joyce's eyes are closed as she jumps from the plane and starts to freefall. She counts to thirty, like she'd been taught, then pulls the cord. As the parachute expands, she opens her eyes. The view is fantastic and she can't believe how far she can see.

"I can do this!" Joyce thinks, proud of herself for taking a chance.

She closes her eyes again as the earth gets closer, scared she is going to crash and break all her bones. She tries to remember what the instructor told her when she suddenly lands on something soft. Before she opens her eyes, the skanky smell of the municipal landfill assaults her nose and she starts to heave.

Joyce stumbles of of the pile of trash then steps on her shoelace and falls on her face in a compost pile. From the office she hears the workers laughing at her as Joyce wipes decayed squash and tomatoes from her face, and vows, "Never again!"

Prompt: shoelaces, leap, stanky

Thursday, August 28, 2014

It Pays to Listen

“Don’t skip out now, ya hear?” Bertha, the sole waitress at the small diner, said as she handed a man who was passing through his check. “Hank is in an ugly mood.”
            Two cowboys who were regulars at the diner laughed. “When is he not ugly?” the taller one asked then they laughed some more.
            “You boys behave or I’ll have Hank teach you a lesson,” Bertha replied then headed into the kitchen to make a batch of iced tea. A few minutes later she heard a scuffle in the dining area and stormed back out. “What’s going on here?”
            “This here stranger thought he wouldn’t pay,” said the taller cowboy who was holding the man against the wall. “Ain’t that right Jim?”
            “That’s right.”
            “Let me go! I left the money on the table!” the stranger said as he struggled to get away.
            “I don’t see no money,” Jim replied.
            “You took it!”
            “Now see, we don’t like it when people make accusations like that around these parts,” Jim said.
            “Ben, you better bring him out back to Hank.”
            “Wait … what? I just want to pay my bill and leave.”
            “You should’ve had thought of that before,” Ben replied then started to drag the man out of the diner with Jim and Bertha following close behind.
They stopped next to a large animal pen. “You can’t do this to me! I have rights!”
            “Boy, you’re in Texas. We have our own rules,” Jim said. “Hank! Come here boy,” Jim called out. A small grey creature ran out of the dog house, headed straight for the stranger and tried to bite him through the fencing.
            “What is that … that thing?” the stranger asked, horrified.
            “That’s my pet Chupacabra,” Bertha answered.
            Bertha carefully unlocked the entrance and Ben shoved the man inside. Hank pounced on him and quickly started tearing the man apart, his screams piercing the mid-afternoon quiet.
            As they made their way inside, Bertha said, “People jus’ don’t listen.”
            When they got back inside, she got the cowboys slices of pie. “Thanks for your help boys.”
            “Anytime, Bertha,” they replied and ate down their pie.
            Outside there was an eerie silence. Bertha looked out the window in the kitchen. Hank was taking a nap, curled up next to a pile of bones and a half eaten carcass. She went back to making lemonade, happy knowing her pet would be well fed until the next stranger passed through.


Prompt: Texas, skip, ugly

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Sacrifice

The earth rumbled and everything in the house wobbled as the thirteenth earthquake of the week hit the small village. "Those damned earth trolls," Bonnie exclaimed as she watched the family pictures on the walls sway, coming dangerously close to falling off their hooks.

"I hope today’s sacrifice works," Joey replied without looking up from his newspaper.

"Me, too. I'm getting tired of their demands. The last five fairies were perfectly good. Fussy bastards!" Bonnie said then went back to her knitting.

Later that afternoon, everyone in the village gathered around the square. A jeweled gilded cage with a beautiful fairy inside was placed before the altar. Her wails could be heard for miles. The high priestess called on the gods to bless the offering then beseeched the earth trolls to accept their gift. Everyone waited with bated breath.

Suddenly the ground rumbled and opened, swallowing the fairy and cage then closed again. The crowd cheered and celebrated then headed home to make dinner. Their homes were safe ... for now.


Prompt: Bonnie, wobbled, tired

Friday, August 15, 2014

A Rocking Halloween

The Halloween party was in full swing as people frolicked around the open field. Josie was wearing a vintage flapper dress and Bob was wearing a Batman costume. They ran off to the nearby woods and were in a passionate embrace when the earth below them rumbled.

“Earthquake!” someone yelled.

Everyone panicked as they tried to flee down the mountaintop. Josie cursed as she stepped in a pile of moose dung, twisting her ankle.

The event made the headlines the next day. “There wasn’t an earthquake,” geologists said. “It was just an orogenetic event; a mountain was born.”

Word prompts: flee, frolicked, passionate, Batman, moose dung and orogenetic

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The Minstrel Lament

     The silence of the balmy summer evening was interrupted by the minstrels' gentle strumming. The music echoed through the deserted town. Behind him laid a trail of death and revenge.
     "Sit down, let me tell thee a tale," he sang. "Of a town filled with ill-will for a simple man and his mangy pup. In fear they did hang the dog. In anger the man did stab them all."
     He walked out of town, tears dripping down his face. A heavy heart for the loss of his best friend and a deepened hatred for mankind.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Clowning Around

     Jason pulled off the highway and followed the dirt road. He came across an empty field and pulled over, parking on the edge. "Well, that's convenient."
     He climbed out of the car, grabbing the grocery bag and his sword from the passenger seat. Jason looked for a flat clearing then set the bag down as he looked around. He couldn't afford to have anyone see him. There was too much riding on this.
     His sword glistened in the mid-afternoon sun. He opened the bag and pulled out an orange. Tossing it up in the air as high as he could, he counted, "One, two, three, four, five ..."
     Jason swung the sword around his head three times. The squelchy sound of the blade hitting the fruit was music to his ears as the juice dripped onto his head and the orange halves landed on the ground at his feet. He repeated the action on apples, a cantaloupe, and finally a watermelon.
     "I'm ready," he announced to the grass and trees. He left the fruit for the animals then drove home.
     Two days later he appeared in full clown make-up on the stage of America's Got Talent in the Kitchen. His performance was flawless. Jason made it to the final show with a promise to blow their minds.
     The spotlight hit his face and he smiled. Jason held four apples in his hand and four knifes. Jason stared into the camera as he threw the fruit into the air over the judges heads followed by the knives.
     One by one the knives hit the fruit as it reached head level for each of the judges and set off a bomb that had been planted in each apple, blowing off each judge's head.
     Security rushed the stage and tackled him. When he asked why he did it. Jason replied, "TV viewers have suffered long enough. We're done clowning around: America doesn't have talent."

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Tomorrow

      The soft glow of the moon filtered through the clouds. Susand looked out the clocktower. In the street below she could see the zombie cannibals roaming the streets and the distant fires of the refugee camps.
     Next to her the cage rattled. Timmy, her baby, was awake and started to whimper. She slid him out and exposed her breast. He hungrily latched on and she watched him chew on it, biting her lip to keep from crying out. Timmy was soon done and she rocked him back to sleep then slid him back into the cage and covered the wound he left behind with makeshift bandages.
     She wistfully watched the fires for a few more minutes then closed her eyes. Maybe tomorrow she would find a vial of the elusive anti-zombie serum and cure her baby. Tomorrow. There was always tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Night Off

on her day off
the prostitute wakes up alone
the night's chill
- Chiyo-ni

The lights and sounds of rush hour traffic rouses Suzy from her sleep. She glances at her cell phone and wonders why the alarm hasn’t gone off then remembers that the night is hers.

The bed next to her is empty. She wonders if her last customer robbed her or if he was kind-hearted enough to leave his payment, and the rest of her earnings, under the mattress. A quick check assures her stash is untouched.

Suzy runs her fingers through her thinning brown hair, trying not to notice the lice as she lights a used cigarette. She debates getting food or a quick shower at the local YMCA. It was Tuesday. Enzo works the front desk the first half of the week; maybe he’ll let her shower in exchange for a blowjob or quickie so she can use her money to buy dinner.

The room is chilly as she slides out from under the thin blanket, pretending not to see the mice scurrying away. Maybe it’s time to relocate—move to Florida where the old-timers retire. She could make a fortune off them and their shriveled up dicks that barely got hard anymore.

Suzy laughs aloud at the thought. As if her pimp would ever let her go.

She uses the cracked toilet in the corner of the room then slips on her cleanest clothes. Suzy picks up the vodka bottle from the nightstand and finishes the rest in one swig. Maybe Enzo will buy her more if she offers to let him spend the night with her. Just in case, she pulls $10 out from her stash.

Suzy slips on her worn heels then locks the door and heads up the stairs. Behind her she hears a woman screaming as she’s beaten. She wonders if it’s their pimp or an unruly customer. Not that it matters much. After the first few beatings, you only hope to live through it.

The YMCA is only a few blocks away. Suzy barely notices the cold March air as she makes her way down the street, weaving between the drug dealers, crackheads, and other working girls. The wail of police sirens nearby encourages her to walk faster.

Enzo greets her with a smile. He’s wearing his usual outfit: a stained T-shirt that barely covers his large stomach, sweatpants stretched as much as they can, and holey sneakers. His bald head is covered with a Mets baseball cap.

He presses the button to let her in. “Here’s a towel. When you’re done, we can go into the office.”

Suzy takes the cotton towel then kisses his cheek. “Thank you.”

The hot water feels good against her skin as she uses the cheap soap they provide to clean a week’s worth of grime from her malnourished body then washes her hair as she thinks about Enzo. He is always good to her. Better than she deserves. She quickly dries off then gets dressed again.

Enzo is in the office, waiting for her. “What would you like tonight?” she asks.

“Dinner, my place. I already have vodka there.”

She looks at him, confused. They’d only ever gone to her apartment. ”Why your place?”

“I was gonna do this later but here goes.” Enzo gets on one knee and holds out a small cardboard jewelry box. “Give up your crazy life, and become my wife.”

Suzy opens the box. Inside there’s an engagement ring with a very small diamond. Her eyes well up. “I—I don’t know what to say.”

“Yes. Say yes!”

Her hands are shaking as she stares at the ring. “This ... you ... I ...”

“I love you.” He takes the ring out and slips it on her finger. “We can get married tonight. I know a judge who can do it. Then you never have to go back.”

“Hank won’t let me go.”

“We won’t ask him. I’ve saved a little. We can start over somewhere new.”

“Florida?”

“Anywhere you want, baby.”

“Yes, Enzo. Yes!”

Relief washes over his face as he struggles to stand then pulls her to him and hugs her tightly. “Pack your stuff and be back here as soon as you can.”

Suzy kisses him then dashes out the door. It doesn’t take her long to get back to her apartment and even less time to pack her few possessions. She pulls the money out from under the mattress, shoving it into her bra.

She closes the door, leaving the key in the lock for the next whore. Suzy is halfway up the stairs when she hears someone step out of her neighbor’s apartment.

“Where you going bitch?” It’s Hank.

Suzy races up the stairs. Hank chases her, catching her before she reaches the door.

“Let me go!”

“You’re not going anywhere.” He punches her face several times to remind her of her place. Her lip is bleeding and her cheek is swelling.

“She’s coming with me.” Enzo is standing in the doorway holding a gun. He is calm and collected. Suzy has never seen this side before. For the first time in her twenty-two years of living, she feels like she has made a good decision.

Hank laughs and throws Suzy to the floor. “Fat man, you ain’t going to shoot me. Just walk away.”

“You’ve hurt her enough,” Enzo says as he pulls the trigger. The bullet misses and Enzo quickly fires twice more. He hits the pimp in the chest with the third shot. Hank’s body crumbles to the ground. Suzy sobs uncontrollably.

“We gotta go. Now.” Enzo puts the gun in his jacket and helps Suzy stand. He stoops down and pulls the wad of cash from Hank’s jacket, shoving it into her bag, then drags her out to the cab waiting outside. “Hoboken, NJ. Step on it.”

As the car takes off, Enzo pulls her close. “Don’t worry, you’re safe now.”

And, for the first time in years, she does feel safe. As they cross the George Washington Bridge, she whispers, “Goodbye New York, and hello future.”

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The Missing Mug

"No! It can't be." Milly stared into the cupboard at the spot her favorite mug had been. Not only was it a Starbucks limited edition collector piece and worth hundreds of dollars, it was her biggest mug. After a night of no sleep and not having the energy to roll out of bed until nearly noon, she needed as much coffee as she could get before going to her office to stare at the computer screen and try to get work done.

There was a piece of paper where it had been. She snatched it up and read the typed message, "If you want to see your mug again, go to The Java Hut in Danville at 1:30 p.m. Come alone."

What the hell? Who would take her mug? What could they want? How did they get into her house? Milly stared at the message. Her sons! They must have done this.

Milly stomped up the stairs, cursing with each step. At the top, she look down the hallway. Her sons’ bedroom doors were closed.

She pounded on her eldest son’s door. No answer. Milly threw open the door. “Where did you put --”

Her son wasn’t there. His bed was made, his clothes were in the hamper and the rest of the room was tidy. That never happened. Something was wrong.

Milly sprung across the hall to her other son’s room and threw open the door without knocking. She was met with the same scene. Something was very wrong.

Milly raced around the house looking for any sign of her children or a note suggesting where they might be. There was nothing. She looked at the clock. It was already noon. There wasn’t much time for her to get to Danville.

Confused and in a rapidly growing state of panic, she headed to her bedroom. Milly pulled out the first outfit she found in her dresser, an ugly pink sweatshirt and jeans, then quickly got dressed. She didn’t bother with makeup or her unruly red curls; there wasn’t time.

It was warm for February so Milly didn’t have to worry about clearing frost from her beat-up old BMW. She got inside and put the key in the ignition then turned it. The engine rumbled but didn’t turn over.

Milly turned the key again and held it in the start position until it finally roared to life. She gave it a minute to warm up then flew out of the driveway, narrowly missing the cars parked on the side of the street.

The traffic was nearly non-existent as she sped across the Illinois landscape. Milly looked at the clock as she passed through Paris. There was an hour left and she should have plenty of time. But, to be on the safe side, Milly floored it and was soon going seventy-five miles per hour. If the cops had the nerve to pull her over, she was ready with a story and waterfall of tears.

A sigh of relief rushed past her lips as she crossed the city line into the rundown Danville and the clock showed she had ten minutes to get to the shop. She was going to make it!

Milly pulled into the parking lot and barely remembered to put the car in park as she threw open the car door and stormed towards the building. She stepped into the shop and her nose was assaulted by the smell of a dozen flavors of coffee. It was empty other than two employees, who glanced up when she came in then went back to their cleaning.

“Excuse me,” Milly said to the woman behind the counter, her breathing ragged. “I was told I would find my mug here.”

“Is that it over there?” The woman pointed to a table in the middle of the room.

Milly followed the woman’s finger and saw her mug. She bumped into the other tables as she hurried over to it. Her hands were shaking as she picked the mug up and quickly examined it for damage. There was none. Relieved, she sat down to collect herself and try to figure out where her sons could be.

A few minutes later, the woman came over to her, holding a cupcake with a sign on it.“This is for you.”

Confused, Milly took the plate from her and read the message, “Look behind you.” She spun around.

“Surprise!” a chorus of voices called out. Her sons, ex-wife, and a few friends were gathered just inside the door holding a birthday cake and presents.

Milly was speechless. They knew how she felt about surprises. All the emotions from her sons and the mug being missing and the panicked rush to Danville turned to anger. She forced herself to smile and greet everyone.

They sat down and chatted as they ate the cake then Milly opened her gifts. “Thanks everyone!” she said as her friends headed out.

When they were gone, Milly turned to her sons and ex-wife. Her eyes had a crazed look. “Whose brilliant idea was this?”

“We wanted to give you a party but we needed to be sneaky so you’d come. Mom helped with the plan,” her eldest answered. Her eyes moved to her ex-wife who was smiling, impervious to Milly’s glare.

“Be happy people cared enough to want to give you a party.”

She leaned in close then whispered, “Do anything like this again and I’ll have a new home at the County Prison.”

They laughed uncertainly. “Whatever you say.”
-----

Just over a year later, Milly stood next to her lawyer in a packed court room. The foreman read their decision, “The jury unanimously finds the defendant guilty on all charges.”

“Thank you,” the judge said then turned to Milly. “Your senseless actions leave me no choice but to give you a life sentence with no chance of parole.”

On the way out, Milly told the reporters. “Its not my fault; I told them not to surprise me again.”

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Disguised

"I can't wear this in public," he lamented as he looked at his legs, which were covered with hair and pink socks. 

"Why? No one will know," his wife assured him.

"But ..."

"There is no but, there is only do!" his wife said as she handed him pants. When he was dressed she handed him his gun then kissed him on the cheek. "Good luck, Hzerog!"

An hour later, she was watching her soaps and a breaking news story interrupted the show. "We just got word that the Saturian Active Defense has declared war against Earth. Hzerog Kiwwal, a member of this fringe group, was taken out by secret service after he attempted to kill the Earth president while on a tour of the capital building."

Hzerog's wife clapped her hands with delight then shed the human skin she was wearing and teleported to the Mother ship. "It is done," she said as she slipped into General Zimpi's tentacles and kissed him.

He returned the kiss. "Our honeymoon suite awaits."

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Retribution

Police Chief Lance Williams pulled up to the crime scene, parking behind two squad cars that had been there since the call came in an hour ago. The stench of burnt flesh greeted him when he opened the door and stepped into the early morning air. He covered his face with his scarf to filter out the smell but it still nearly overwhelmed him. Outside the building police officers and coroner were hunched over and vomiting. There was a line of body bags stacked three high on the sidewalk.
“I’ve never seen anything like this,” Lieutenant Brian Green said when he saw the chief. “I don’t know what kind of outlandish party these people were having but they won’t be doing it again.”
Green followed Williams into the building. Scorch marks marred the walls the walls had been covered in black with large planets, stars, comets, and other spacey items painted in neon colors. With black lights, it would have looked spectacular. Glass shards covered the floor, the remnants of a huge aquarium that had featured a giant octopus, which was now laid lifeless in a puddle on the floor, and a life-size fake scuba diver. The outlines of charred bodies were all over the floor.
“What happened here?” Williams asked as he tried to take in the devastation.
“We think it was a fire bomb though we haven’t found the device yet. It looks as if it may have been ignited remotely as the windows blew outward from the force of the explosion. The sudden influx of oxygen fanned the flames and engulfed the room. The aquarium shattering is the only thing that saved the whole building from going up but hadn’t happened soon enough to save everyone.”
“There are survivors?”
“Just one,” Green said and pointed to a woman sitting on the floor. She was wearing an alien costume and rocking back and forth, mumbling to herself.
“Have you talked to her?”
“We tried but she just kept saying over and over, ‘They will free us.’ Then we found this newspaper ad.”
Williams pulled out his reading glasses and read the ad Green had pointed to. “Join the STARS. The rendezvous party begins on 12/21 at 12:21 a.m. All those seeking refuge should meet at 42 East Galaxy Way.”
“I thought the U.N. put a ban on Strategic Transfer Alien Rescue Ships?” Williams asked.
“That never stopped them from running, they just went covert.”
“This isn’t very covert,” Williams said as he held up the newspaper.
“Maybe they were just desperate? Maybe they knew something was going to happen and didn’t have time to do it quietly?”
“Were there any witnesses?”
“The young man who called us about it is the only one we’ve found,” Green said and pointed out the door. A man, about twenty years old, was leaning against a parked car. He was wearing a leather jacket with a patch on the sleeve. Williams knew he’d seen it before but couldn’t remember where. A group of reporters were talking to him. “Go listen to what he’s saying,” he ordered. Green gave a quick nod then headed outside.
Williams rubbed his chin as he considered the lieutenants’ thoughts about the meeting and the patch on the man’s jacket. Somehow he knew they were connected. He carefully walked around the glass and remaining dead bodies, stopping in front of the woman. Williams realized she wasn’t wearing a costume, it was her true form. He’d known aliens had lived on Earth for thousands of years but this was the first time he’d seen one in their true form. They were forbidden by the U.N. to show their true form while they were stationed on Earth.
“May I ask you some questions?”
She looked up at him, her eyes were black and dull. “Grrez du pwazi errfa jytt,” she said in her native language then translated, “Our prison is now our grave.”
“What? Prison? Grave? That’s crazy talk. Explain yourself,” Williams demanded.
“You selfish earthlings have upset the balance in the universe with your pollution and all the garbage that has leaked from your atmosphere. The Federation of the Universe warned you time and time again. But you didn’t listen. You kept on with your ways. Those of us imprisoned here tried to help but it was too late. And now, it is time for all of us to pay the penalty.”
As she finished speaking, hundreds of missiles were fired from a fleet of intergalactic war ships from federation surrounding the planet. All life was destroyed and the planet was left a pock-marked shell.

Word Prompts: octopus, vomiting, outlandish, corner, scuba, spacey, newspaper ad, running, crazy, ban, free, parking.

Bone Work

"Ma, my hands are tired," Ruby complained.

"Keep working, we can't stop now." Ma expertly rolled out another clump of clay into a long thin rope then cut it in precisely seven inch lengths. 

Ruby stretched her wings then picked up a piece of the clay and folded it in half. She pinched it at the crease, flattening and bending out the ends. When she was done, she placed it on the drying tray with the others.

"Why do people use these things? Don't they know they're not magic?"

"People don't need for them to be real; they just need to think it might work."

"Kinda like how people think about God?"

"Just like that, Ruby. Now hurry up. The chickens are waiting to get their wish bones."

Picture Prompt

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

You're So Vain

"I knew I shouldn't have had the salad for lunch!" Jenny thought as she stepped away from David, her new super hot boyfriend. "I'll be back in a sec, I want to see if I can see Macy's from here," she fibbed as she tried not to show her teeth while she talked.

"Sure thing," he replied as he dropped quarters into the binocular machine.

Jenny crossed to the other side of the Observation Deck and pulled out her phone. She lined it up to take a selfie to see if she actually had lettuce stuck in her teeth or if she was being overly sensitive. She smiled really wide so she could see as many of her teeth as possible. click

She looked at the picture. Phew! No lettuce. Then she noticed something in the corner. "Hey David," she said as she turned around. "What do you think ..."

The meteor hit the Empire State Building before she could finish.

 Picture Prompt for the Story