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Writing Games & Challenges / Winner! Fiction #131
« on: January 07, 2018, 10:40:51 AM »
We have a winner! Congratulations, Mr. Barry.


The Gap

A bone chilling wind was blowing the fallen snow into towering drifts that made the landscape appear to be on some mysterious planet far away.  Far away was the key.  Anywhere but here. 

That is not how one is supposed to feel at Christmas, but it was the reality that year.  It was the beginning of what our family came to know as “The Gap”. 

I am the eldest child of seven.  Sadly, Child #6 died just as she was born.  I found Mother in the bathroom, unconscious, with a little purple baby beside her.  The aid car arrived, and took Mother and baby away.   

The next year was a blur for our whole family.  Mother never did recover from this tragedy, but it was revealed that we had another sibling on the way.   She was born healthy, and completed “The 6 Pack”.

For every family event we would line up by age, and there was always this gap near the end of the line.  No matter how close we stood, there was always an empty space where a little shining smile should have been. 

The Gap was especially evident the Christmas after our youngest sibling arrived.  Mother had closed herself off in grief, and Father simply threw himself into work.  He was away, training in the Navy, that holiday season. 

Our home was not decorated as it had been in past years, and there was no joy in the rooms or in the hearts of those living in those rooms.  I was ten years old, and was doing my best to keep things together.  I taught myself how to cook, and kept the house reasonably neat.  I learned to forge Mother’s signature on checks to pay bills, and to use similar forged checks to shop at the local store for necessities. 

But, I had no clue how to handle the upcoming holiday.  I didn’t know where the lights and decorations were, so I worried and directed a silent prayer to God.

On Christmas Eve day, our doorbell rang.  We did not have many visitors, so right away that was strange.   I cautiously answered, and there was our neighbor, “Rainy”.  Her name was really Renata, and she was a teenager. 
Oddly enough her parents were also at our door.   

Rainy said they noticed that we did not have a tree. She added that her family was going out of town for the holiday, and asked if we wanted to use their tree so it wouldn’t go to waste.   Astonished, I said OK and welcomed them into the house.   They proceeded to set up a completely decorated tree, and then even brought in several presents.  And just as quickly, they were gone.
My silent prayer was answered!
It was not until after the holidays had passed that I realized that Rainy and her family were Jewish.   

Writing Games & Challenges / Sticky: Flash Fiction #131, --
« on: December 06, 2017, 05:15:43 PM »
Flash Fiction #131

Write a story that takes place during the holiday season. Any topic, any genre.
You could write, for example, something endearing about the family sitting around the burning hearth. Or someone's desperate attempt to make it home in time for Christmas.

500 words or less

Since this is the holidays and people may want more time off, I'd like to move the deadline to next year, if that's all right.

Due Date: Jan 7, 2018


Pm your responses to me :   bailish

Just click on my name, choose 'send PM'. Put the title of your story, in the subject box and cut and paste your story in the text box.

Review My Work / Running -- 486 words
« on: November 28, 2017, 11:25:23 AM »
I wrote this earlier this year and then abandoned it. Do you think it's worth reviving? Thanks.


I silently ran across the part of the marsh I'd scoped out, knowing that one false step could be my last. The full moon provided some vision, but the fog stole it back, and the fetid odor of the swamp left only my hearing to protect me. This was my third night testing their defenses, and it would be my greatest incursion to date, meaning the riskiest. I had managed to avoid confrontation so far, but I doubted my luck would hold out.

The cove was up ahead. Only scraps remained of the rowboat I had used to cross it, and I had been searching for an alternate path back, but the water was vast and the banks treacherous. My supplies were running out and swimming across the foul waters was the only way back to the ship and off this island.

A deep guttural yell, somewhere between animal and demon, rang out against the bleak landscape, not out of pain or fear, but announcing an intruder – me. The cry came from far behind, so I kept going.

As I entered the part of the marsh near the cove, I heard the soft quick clomps of a four-footed beast in pursuit, the rhythmic snorts warning me it was almost upon my right flank. I made an evasive turn, but carelessly tumbled over a tuft of grass growing on the edge of the watery bog, landing with a splash. Teeth snapped the air behind me, nipping at my long blonde hair. I quickly rolled away and pounded my slippers against the muddy bottom, thankful for my waterproof outfit. I splashed through the shallows and swung my sword behind me, a yelp telling me I was nearly in its grasp. I searched for a point where I could turn and fight with some advantage, but the haze shrouded any helpful terrain. The growling getting closer, I knew a battle quickly approached, and I feared I would have to fight the beast in the open where it would have the advantage.

Trying for surprise, I made a quick turn and swung with all my might, but the demon, fangs snapping at me, effectively parried with its talons and slashed at my exposed waist. Any laceration translating to a slow and agonizing death, I chose to continue running instead, the beast close behind.

I was tiring when a fortunate opportunity appeared to one side. An old trunk of a tree twisted and tangled by the harsh environment came into view, and I aligned on it, leaping out on the bank and swinging on a low branch to make an immediate one-handed turn into the demon, the momentum of my sword across the neck sending the head in a different direction from the body.

The demon fell in the swamp writhing and shriveling, but I watched only long enough to catch my breath before swimming across the cove to my ship.

Writing Games & Challenges / Winner: Flash fiction challenge #103
« on: May 18, 2015, 11:53:15 PM »
It's time to cast your votes. The winner will be announced Tuesday, 26 May midnight

Here's the original challenge:

Take a well-known character, someone most would recognize, and place them in an uncomfortable situation.

By using a famous character, you don't need to spend much time on character development, and you can concentrate on the new scenario.

Here are a couple of examples:
1) the Thing from the Fantastic Four covers a kindergarten class for a day.

2) Fujimoto from Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea is trapped in the desert.

Word count:  350 word limit. (the title is not included in this count)

Here is entry #1

Gandalf has an Awkward Conversation

“Radagast, do you have a few minutes?  I know we're on this quest and the Witch King is back from the dead and yada yada yada, but something's really been bothering me.”

“Sure, Gandalf.  If you don't mind I'll just feed the rabbits while we speak,” Radagast said as he began to rummage through their supplies.

“Look, we've known each other for a long time now.  You've changed over the years.  This isn't a conversation I'm entirely comfortable having but I think you have a problem.  The things you do are troubling.”

“What's this?  What's the trouble?  I spend my time alone in the woods with my animals, taking care of the woods.  I don't see how I'm a bother to anyone.”

Gandalf sighed.

“It's not that you're bothering anyone.  It's just that whenever I need you, you're not all there.  I mean, look at what you packed.  It's like eight heads of lettuce and the rest is mushrooms and poppy flowers.”

Radagast turned around with an innocent look on his face.

“I like the taste of mushrooms and the poppy flowers smell nice.”

Gandalf started to get angry.

“Last night we fought a band of orcs led by an undead King from a thousand years ago.  Instead of helping me, you kept shouting that you'd concentrate on the bats so I could handle the rest, shooting electric up in the air.”

“Well you didn't get hit by any bats, did you?”

“There were no blocked bats.  You were tripping balls, man.  This shit is important and you're out here eating every berry we come across in the hopes that you'll get high.  Oh, and by the way, it's not good for the rabbits.  So here's the deal:  For the rest of this trip, you stay out of your bag or I'm telling Saruman and I think we both know what a dick that guy can be.  Deal?”

Radagast looked around.

“The bats are back.”

Here is entry #2

Pretty Lady

“Alrighty then.” Joe peeked between the two wide shoulders of the men before him. They noticed and smiled.

A shadow behind them stepped forward. “Hulk smash?” he asked in a voice which shook the fillings in Joe’s mouth. Hulk’s green meaty fists were raised.

“No Hulk. No smash.”

The green beast looked disappointed when he lowered them to the floor.

“Here it is.” Joe presented his jewellery store like a work of art. He waved across the fragile display cases and fine crystal statuettes. “Are you sure he’s safe?”

“Relax,” the grey haired one replied. “He’s on medication.”

The Hulk shuffled from one large green foot to the other. Picking his nose and wiping the slimy monstrosity into his shorts.

“Doesn’t he have a suit?”

“Ha. Ha. Ha.” The soldier dabbed tears from his eyes. “He was wearing it. Look, just let him do this community service. We’re stationed outside and will pick him up after closing.”


The army personnel left and Joe went to the safe to get cash for the till leaving Hulk to wander around. Joe was just about to come out when a mighty roar shook his whole office. He heard Hulk’s voice booming.

“That. Not. For. You!”

A woman screamed. It sounded like Mrs. Johansson. She was due to come in early and pick up that trinket for her daughter’s birthday. Joe had completely forgotten.

“Hulk smash!”

And Hulk did.


By the time Joe made it to the front, stepping over broken display cases and dodging sparks from hanging lights, all of her remains dripped out from between Hulk’s callused fingers. He cradled the tiny figurine in his lap.

“Pretty glass princess safe.” Hulk sniffled child-like.

The soldiers came in force. They didn’t even wait for questions, all barrels blazed. Hulk went down like a lump of shit, but didn’t let go of his prize.  

The military took the cost for most damage, but that crystal princess, they told Joe he’d have to take up with the big guy himself.

Insurance would cover the loss, Joe decided, far better than a hulk smash.

I'd like to try something a little different in this flash fiction challenge.

Take a well-known character, someone most would recognize, and place them in an uncomfortable situation.

By using a famous character, you don't need to spend much time on character development, and you can concentrate on the new scenario.

Here are a couple of examples:
1) the Thing from the Fantastic Four covers a kindergarten class for a day.

2) Fujimoto from Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea is trapped in the desert.

Word count:  350 word limit. (the title is not included in this count)

End date:  Next Sunday, 10 May 2015 - midnight GMT

Private msg your entries to me. You can do this by Clicking on my name and selecting 'Send this member a personal message'

It is in the 'additional information' section near the bottom of that profile page.


I look forward to seeing lots of clever entries. Good luck, all!

<Message to Moderator: Please sticky this>

The Coffee Shop / Game of Thrones TV series v book
« on: January 23, 2015, 04:31:48 AM »
I'm working my way through book 3 of George RR Martin's Fire and Ice series, and I was wondering, how close to the books is the TV series? If I were to watch a random episode (I've never seen a single one), would I understand it from reading the books?

Review My Work / Free fall, 500 words - swearing
« on: August 07, 2014, 01:09:44 AM »
"Pass me a hammer, Bill." I ignored Charlie and continued with my welding. He shot upright, removed his security belt, stormed across the girder separating us, and picked up the hammer lying on platform inches from my hand. "If I fall, it'll be on your conscience."

Go on and fall. See if I care. Serve you right for sleeping with my wife, you bastard.

While my mind wandered over these ramblings, my foot accidentally kicked the box of welding rods, sending them careening over the edge. I loosened my security belt and gave a "heads up" shout to the men working on the lower floors. Stupid of me. But it's easy to blame this on Charlie. At least in my mind. I smirked at the thought of getting him in trouble.
In a flash, my weight shifted and I found myself dangling upside down, the only thing keeping me from plunging headfirst being my ankle tangled in the security strap. A screwdriver falling out of my utility belt hit my head as it began its downward drop, five seconds of freefall from the pavement below.

My life flashed before my eyes. I saw Wendy as she beamed at me on our wedding day. I've never seen her lovelier, except possibly on the day our son was born. I wanted to name him Charlie after my best friend, the one I now thought of as an asshole. And then I saw Wendy waiting up for me as I stayed after work drinking with friends, bragging that I could outlast them all, and Wendy gently asking me to make more of an effort to come home so the three of us could enjoy dinner together, but somehow I never made that a priority. A few years of this and Wendy's gentle demeanor morphed into constant complaining.  I started finding companionship in other places. I would yell at her for little things, things I didn't care about, but had become excuses to blame her instead of myself. And Bill, who had told me to pay more attention to my wife, I had told him to mind his own business. But now, I clearly understood that the one who had failed to mind his own business was me.

"Give me your hand, Bill."

I looked up at Charlie's friendly face, the friend who had been there for me all along, who had tried to nudge me in the right direction. My anger for him vanished, and I redirected it at myself where it belonged. I would be a better husband and a better friend. I grabbed his hand, and when he had pulled me upright, I gave him a manly hug and patted him on the back. "Thanks, friend." I pulled out my cell and had a long heart-to-heart with my wife. For the first time in a long time, I enjoyed my life.

The Gallery / Shock
« on: July 30, 2014, 03:47:03 AM »
I used to think about the way the sunshine glistened through your hair, that first weekend I met you on the beach, how you pouted when I kicked sand onto your face, but just as quickly smiled at my apology. Little did I know we would marry before the year was out.
But that memory was replaced yesterday when I barged into a motel room and bashed my best friend's brains all over your naked body, the
blood-covered crowbar in my white knuckles.

Review My Work / Where's Andy? 443 words -- suggestions of violence
« on: July 20, 2014, 08:28:22 PM »
This is an alternate version of a previous post I did. Let me know what you think.


"Where's Andy?" Bobby and I had been playing for hours, and I hadn't seen our oldest brother in a while.

"Haven't we been having fun, Charlie?"

I had to admit we were.

"And doesn't Andy always spoil our fun?"

"Yeah, but he's looking out for us."

Bobby drew up his chest. "I can look after us just as well."

"You play too rough."

He glared at me, grabbed me, and threw me down on the mat.

"Hey, stop it. Andy!"

He jumped on top of me and pinned my arms to the mat. I got free and he grabbed me around the neck. I gasped for air, and then Bobby released me, shock on his face.

"You can't choke me like that. Andy said so."

"Well, Andy's not here anymore."

"I'm telling Mom."

"Go ahead. It's your funeral."

He was right. Asking Mom to help only got us all in trouble. She'd tell us to clean our rooms, or something else to get rid of us. Andy was our real parent.

"So where's Andy?"

Bobby slapped my head and yelled, "Stop asking about Andy."

"But what happened to him?" I covered my head against a future blow.

"Andy ran away. He can't help you anymore."

"Where is he?"

Bobby grabbed the space helmet from the bookcase and handed it to me. "Hey, let's play Spaceman. Andy's not here, so you can be the pilot."


Spaceman wasn't as fun with only the two of us. I took off the helmet. "This is boring."

I walked to the door, but Bobby blocked my path. "Where ya going?"

"To get a drink." I tried to walk around him, but he pushed me back.

"I'll get it for you." Before I could protest, he had run out the door and locked me in. He returned a few minutes later with some orange juice on ice. I took a sip and stopped. Bobby stared at me. "What's the matter?"

"It smells funny."

"Well, that's the way it's gonna smell from now on, so get used to it." He chugged his drink to show there was nothing wrong with it.

I ran to the door, but Bobby was too fast for me. He jerked my arm and shoved me into the wall, pressing my face against it, whispering in my ear. "You're gonna do as I say from now on, do you hear?"

I struggled in vain. "Let me go. You’re hurting me."

But he pushed even harder. "You do as I say, or I'll do the same thing to you I did to Andy."

He let go and slugged me. He wasn't playing anymore. I couldn't stop him. And now nobody could.

Review My Work / very short - 128 words
« on: July 17, 2014, 03:31:36 AM »
So yeah, like, this is a really short clip, and uh, I, like, just wanna know your, um, opinions, like, if you got a second. I mean, like, if you're doing something else, I'll understand.


"I'm telling Mom what you did."
My big brother looked me in my eyes, silent for what felt like an eternity but was really only a couple seconds. "You're not telling anybody. You got that?"
I was kind of scared he was about to hit me like he always did, but I tried to hide it. Probably not good enough to fool my brother as I think back on it.
"I'm telling anyway." I turned to run, but Bill grabbed me by the shoulder. The firmness of his grip overpowered me. Big deal. A twelve-year-old restraining a seven-year-old.
"You'll be in as much trouble as me if you tell."
That was probably the truth. Mom always had a way of looking at things that made me feel guilty.

Review My Work / Short Story - 1200 words, coming of age
« on: July 08, 2014, 05:35:39 AM »
Here's a short story I wrote last month. All comments welcome.


A warm hand on my shoulder wakes me. I'm alert so fast I wonder if I slept at all. From the darkness comes a deep low voice I recognize as Nkima, the lead hunter for our village. "It's time."
This is not a day for playing. It is my first day joining the hunt.
I follow Nkima out of my tent, wearing only my loincloth I had slept in. He stops and faces me. "Are you forgetting something?"
I rush back in the tent and grab my spear, its shaft still coarse in spite of months of practice, and step out again, hoping my mistake wasn't noticed. The chuckle through the ranks informs me otherwise.
Although as the newest member, I should be in the rear, today I walk beside Nkima in the honored spot at the front, since the first prey is my right of passage. I admire the glistening sweat on Nkima's muscles as we head into the jungle, embarrassed by the weakness in my own arms, wondering how long before my muscles develop.
As we walk through the dense trees, I realize all eyes are on me. I am the one who must find the signs of our prey.
They say most boys follow the hunt for days before their first kill. Will I see anything today? I say a quick prayer to the jungle god to grant me a quick kill.
We head to the territory of our prey, my first time I'm allowed here because of the danger. No one makes a sound, even as we tread on dried leaves and twigs. I resist the urge to cry out as I step on a sharp rock. After years of hunting, the soles of my feet will become tough as animal hide, but now they are tender and easily cut.
Nkima pulls a green leaf from a bush and applies it to my foot to stop the bleeding. He indicates for me to pick up the leaves I have stepped on, because a trace of blood will change us from hunters to hunted, allowing our prey to track us. I fasten the leaves in my loincloth.
After a few hours, Nkima suggests I find a hiding place where we can lie in ambush for our prey.
I choose a place near the land inhabited by our prey, and I hold my breath until Nkima nods approval of my choice.
Even after hours in hiding, no one makes a sound. Our prey is too clever for us to let our guard down. My grip tightens and relaxes on the shaft of my spear in anticipation, the tip aimed ahead. Nkima rubs my arm, encouraging me to remain vigilant.
The bushes near us rustle. Every muscle tenses. I move my eyes, refraining from turning my head, because any movement could reveal our presence and scare away the prey. The rustling nears at a normal walking pace. The prey has wandered our way alone. A perfect situation has come to me. Without moving my head, I look to my side to see Nkima waiting for me to make the call. My breathing is shallow, my vision focused, the way I have been trained for this moment. As the prey passes on the path nearest me, I leap up and thrust in one smooth movement, aiming up between the ribs showing through the thin skin. Direct hit. The prey is shocked, but still manages a sharp cry for help. To keep it from escaping, I thrust more until the others can surround it and tie it up. We rush in the direction of our camp as our prey squirms in our arms.
Not until we step into the open camp do we relax.  The prey is dropped on the ground. The sun is setting as the villagers gather around. The hunters congratulate me in front of the women, who start preparing the prey for the ceremony. I am exhausted from the run and yet excited in sharing my victory. I look into its eyes, and I understand its feelings: desperation, and yet acceptance of the inevitable, for although this time I may be the victor, next time I may be the prey.
As I prepare for the ceremony, Nkima says my father is proud of me as he watches over me. He was captured by animals when I was younger, and I wonder if my father had a look in his eyes similar to the way this prey looked at me.
At the ceremony, Nkima reminds me I will fashion my knife from one of its ribs later, and he lends me his knife for the ceremony.
I join the dance of the hunters around the prey. The beat of the drums is all consuming. My actions get larger and larger. I maneuver close to the prey and place my fingers in the wound where my spear entered. I let it see into my eyes, the eyes of its hunter. As I dance, my heartbeat thumps so loudly I'm sure the beast can hear it over the drums. I wave the knife in front of its face to let it know what is coming. I glance at the faces of those watching the ceremony. All eyes are on me again. I look a bit slower and see Kanga is also watching me. Her approval is all important to me.
I take one more pass around the beast, and then cut a piece of its flesh from its side near the wound. I pop it into my mouth, gnawing on it, letting it see that I am greater than it, that I have more courage. It screams through the bindings over its mouth. Good. It surrendered a lot of its courage in that bite, the bite in my mouth.
The others join in, now that I've had the first bite, and they all cut off pieces of its flesh, hoping for a taste of its courage.
The ceremony is over now, and each hunter gives me a last pat on the back as they leave. There is only one more task that I must perform to become a man in my village. I must choose my prize. And I already know my choice -- Kanga. We have played together for many years, and she recently became a woman of the village, so it is a fitting choice. Her downcast eyes tell me she wants to be chosen. I lead her into my tent.
Tomorrow morning, I will awaken early again and join the hunt, this time at the rear. I am a man now, I have proven myself, and can take my rightful place in the tribe.

I am cannibal.

Review My Work / Family Vacation--624 words
« on: July 18, 2011, 08:04:34 AM »
Here's the start to my new story. Let me know what you think.


Suwannabhumi Airport, Bangkok

The sun had scorched us for ten straight hours eighteen thousand feet above the ocean. Immigration, baggage claim, customs, all became a blur--my body said it was late at night as I shielded my eyes from the glare.

No one seemed to speak English among the hordes pushing and shoving us away from the exit door. I tried in vain to hurry Marsha along. She was phoning someone about some fundraiser she had committed to arranging before we found out about my mother's passing. Ken was at the age when he did not listen to his parents, but he kept up with us anyway. I think he was more afraid of being left in that airport than coming with us. He tapped on his phone, either playing a game or messaging his friends. I fought the urge to sleep and stumbled through the airport crowds, dragging my luggage and family.

My father had said he would have a driver waiting for us, but it would not be the first time he had made a promise he did not keep. I glanced around and kept going.

When I finally herded my family outside, we loaded our bags in the trunk of a taxi. I gave the driver the address for our backup reservations--which I made for just such a contingency--and he pulled away from the curb before slamming on his brakes, jarring our heads. A Thai man blocked our taxi, waving like one of those people who signals the pilots where to taxi their airplanes.

The taxi driver inquired whether we knew the man. I explained that we had been in Thailand for less than an hour, and so we could not possibly know him. I gave him permission to run the person over if he refused to allow us to leave. Marsha chimed in with, "He's only kidding," as if the driver would actually run him over because I said to. Her subtle perfume reminded me of a time when I was attracted to her, but now I looked at her with disdain.

The man spoke little English, but managed to communicate through constant panting and the taxi driver's translating that he was my father's driver, who was to pick us up, but we had rushed through the crowds so quickly he was unable to catch us. He said it was lucky that he caught us before the taxi left. Not exactly my sentiment.

The taxi driver rasped at the man in Thai. I figured he wanted money even though the taxi had barely moved one car length, while my father’s man tried to get our luggage out of the trunk.

I proposed the perfect solution that should have satisfied all. “We’ll go with this taxi to the hotel. Tomorrow we’ll meet my father.” Everyone accepted this, and we were almost back in the cab when my father rushed up, huffing and puffing. His man instantly stopped talking and placed my father’s arm around his shoulders for support.

I explained again about my resolution of the problem, and as to be expected, my father shook his head. Like my wife, he always opposed me. Before speaking, he placed a pill under his tongue. It was the first time I saw him take heart medicine.

“We’ve got to beat the rain,” he whispered as his breathing calmed.

“We can go tomorrow after the rain,” I offered.

“The rain will make the path to the excavation impassable.” Of course. Just like my father to withhold information. We transferred our luggage to my father's van and I gave the taxi driver a tip, which he accepted with a broad smile and head bows. I must have tipped too much.

Review My Work / Stalemate in Bangkok--449 words
« on: April 19, 2010, 12:29:44 PM »
I'm considering this as the start of an historical account of events in Thailand. As always, let me know what you think.


I'm sitting in a McDonald's restaurant, eating a cheeseburger combo, looking through the large glass windows at the barricades set up by the red shirt protesters, forcing traffic to redirect from Silom Road, the financial district of Bangkok. In front of the barricades stand the ever-vigilant red guards, the nonviolent contingency unit whose goal is to reduce the number of casualties. Across the street from me are a contingent of riot police fortified behind barbed wire, preventing access to the subway, listening to the loudspeakers from behind the barricades. All the side streets in this area have barbed wire affixed to one side, ready to block access to the roads in the event of the protesters marching this direction. Soldiers holding a variety of guns, from M16 machine guns to M79 grenade launchers, line the streets, checking cars for anything suspicious. An occasional floodlight scans the rooftops of nearby buildings for snipers concealed by the darkness.

As I dip my fries in ketchup, I notice that the traffic includes an unusually high number of taxis, many of whom are waiting for a dwindling supply of passengers. The office workers hurried home and the tourists kept away this evening.
Journalists could very well outnumber soldiers. Everyone seems to be wearing a green press armband and carrying a camera, anxious to capture the first shot.

The crisis in this area started two days ago when the red shirts threatened to demonstrate on Silom Road in front of the Bangkok Bank head office, implicated in a questionable loan involving a government official. The current prime minister, Abhisit Vejjajiva, warned that entering Silom Road was not allowed. He regretted allowing the red shirts into the commercial district of Rajprasong, blocking the high-end shopping centers of his supporters, and ordered the soldiers to block off the entrance to Silom, starting at four this morning. Within a few hours, police from various provinces around Thailand had arrived to maintain public order, leaving the military to provide tactical support.

The troops waited. As the office workers arrived, many returned home immediately, opting for sick leave instead of passing the coils of barbed wire and armed men.

And the troops continued to wait. But the red shirt protest never materialized. Around ten, a leader announced that the demonstration had never been scheduled--the leaders had never finalized their plans for the rally. They apologized for wasting the time of the military.

But the military is staying. They were here to end the protests, and they were not leaving until that time.

After putting up my tray, I return home for the evening. I need to get up early for work tomorrow. The inevitable civil war would wait.

The Writers Circle / The Lyttle Lytton Contest
« on: March 29, 2010, 02:14:58 AM »
It's about that time of year again, folks! The Lyttle Lytton Contest is getting ready to judge the entries for 2010. For you newbies out there, people enter first lines that are so bad people laugh at them. This is not to be confused with intentional humor, which people laugh at because it's funny.

Let's have a little contest to see who can make the worst first line.

My own personal criteria are:
1) is it so bad that I would immediately put back a book if I read it as the first line, and
2) does it look like the author was trying to write a good opening line?

Deadline is 15 April 2010, so hurry!

So without further ado, here is my entry.

"Egad!" cried Mary as she ran as fast as she could. "I must run away from this terrible menace that will kill me if it catches me!"

Review My Work / Boyz in the Mob -- REVISED
« on: February 23, 2010, 08:30:10 AM »
I've got quite a few views, but no opinions since I revised. Why isn't this working for you?
Mid-forties and muscular, Al Zyzzynski walked briskly to his vintage white 1966 Ford Mustang ragtop with his chest thrown out and his head held high. He liked the feel of the wind through his shoulder-length blond hair. Even though he had grown used to wearing fashionable slacks and silk shirts, he would miss the car the most.

He slid his key into the lock, squealing the wheels as he spun two hundred and seventy degrees to the exit.

A chime filled the air. He glanced at the name on the display and answered his cell phone before the second ring.

"Yeah....It's on for this afternoon....I've got it right here....I'll call you after I pick up the money, so keep the line open."

He hung up and set it on the passenger seat next to the microphone as he pulled into the parking lot of his temporary residence.

He opened the driver's door to get out, but reached over to the passenger side and brushed the microphone into the glove compartment. When he straightened up, he only saw the two men for a moment before losing consciousness.


He awakened to find himself sitting in a barber-shop style chair alone in an air-conditioned room. He could hear the soft melody of a popular song from the sixties, but his mind was slow to focus. He felt a sharp pain at the base of his skull, but when he tried to lift his hand, he discovered his wrists were fastened to the chair. What time was it? A door creaked behind him.

"Hello, Al." The voice and the slow click of her boots were unmistakable.
"Hey, Marty. What's the big idea?" Zyzzynski flapped his hands around to bring attention to his bound wrists.

Marty appeared in front of him wearing her signature black felt knee-length boots. She jabbed her left spike heel into the foot-rest so the toe stuck up between his legs, tempting his eyes to follow her upper thigh at the hem of her hip-hugging black-sequined skirt. Usually her hemline revealed the tattoo "Bitch", but with her leg bent Zyzzynski could see the word "Sick" above it.

She spoke in a low, calm voice. "Where's the money?"

Zyzzynski spoke faster than normal. "Marty, I'm gonna pay you back this afternoon. Honest. That was the deal. I'll-"

He stopped talking when she raised one finger to her crimson lips and hushed him. "Don't be nervous. I'm just playing with you."

Zyzzynski gave a nervous chuckle. "Untie my hands and I'll be happy to play."

She leaned down until her sallow white cheeks were an inch from his, her perfume filling his nostrils. She puckered her lips in a playful way as she pressed her toes into his crotch, mixing pain and pleasure. "This is the way I like to play."

Her low-cut neckline revealing a pistol next to her braless cleavage distracted him for a moment. As his head cleared, his first concern was for his safety. "Let me make a call and I'll—"

"We'll let ya know when you can make a call." He recognized Leon's voice from behind—a firecracker waiting for a lit match.

Marty glared at her brother for only an instant before returning her attention to Zyzzynski, her crew cut platinum blonde hair intensifying her expression.

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