Two Minutes Go: Spring Break Road Trip

Strange golden smoke taking away from coffee seedsHappy Friday, everybody! JD Mader is having some technical trouble today, so Two Minutes Go is at my place. So, pull up a chair, pour yourself some coffee, and enjoy. Or, as he so eloquently wrote in the bit I stole from his website:

Hey, writer-type folks. AND PEOPLE WHO JUST WANT TO PLAY BUT DON’T IDENTIFY AS ‘WRITERS’ – all are welcome here! Every Friday, we do a fun free-write. For fun. And Freedom!

Write whatever you want in the ‘comments’ section on this blog post. Play as many times as you like. #breaktheblog! You have two minutes (give or take a few seconds … no pressure!). Have fun. The more people who play, the more fun it is. So, tell a friend. Then send ’em here to read your ‘two’ and encourage them to play.

Here’s one to start us off.

“He is always the smartest man in the room.” That’s what everyone used to say. Best student, best and brightest, all spit-polished and gleaming, walking tall in a beam of God-ordained sunlight while occasionally he wafted a little my way, as if in pity, as if sometimes hit with a sliver of consciousness that the good lord was lavishing too much goodness upon him and it was unfair to do that to humankind. Not once did he lack for something clever to say; not once did the hems of his pant legs not break crisp and perfect over his shiny shoes. But I knew differently. I saw her. Picking up his dirty socks as if he didn’t have human feet that sweat and stank. She smiled when she did so. Most of the time. Most of the time like a Disney princess in training. And then I skipped a class. Came home to the room I shared with Mr. Inevitable. Maybe she didn’t hear me come in; maybe for a second she was transfixed by one of those dirty socks, reexamining her life in a way I never thought her capable. I always thought guys like that grew to a certain age and God handed them one of these women, who had been similarly groomed to serve, and I felt pity for these women in the same way Mr. Sunbeam pitied me and the other paltry citizens of the planet. She and I, we’d never really talked before. Nothing more than the hellos and goodbyes in passing, the nods of recognition, her shy smiles that attempted to explain why she had a key to our room. It was not for nefarious reasons, certainly not the commerce of key juggling my friends and I had performed for our girlfriends. She was there to serve him in a more Godly manner. And serving him was what she was about that day, until I found her sitting on the bed, clutching one sock between her knees. Tears gleaming in the one beam of sunlight he’d left behind, a shining path of enlightenment down her bruised left cheekbone.

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Author: laurieboris

Writer, editor, proofreader, stand-up comedian in another life.

41 thoughts on “Two Minutes Go: Spring Break Road Trip”

    1. Wow Miss Laurie this is beautiful. Leland beat me to your description of light! It *is* awesome! But Leland gets up WAY earlier than me, so he gets to the best parts sooner! “This line though…it slayed me. Tears gleaming in the one beam of sunlight he’d left behind, a shining path of enlightenment down her bruised left cheekbone.” That is exquisitely painful.

  1. It was the sort of rain that fell like feathers, tiny drops, some would call it mist, but after his time in the desert, any moisture at all felt like rain.
    The desert. The place he’d left all his memories and all his books. He was done. It was time to get on with his life. They all said it. His therapist, his minister, even his barista.
    Get on with it. But how to do that when you don’t even know what it is?
    And so he walked. Alone. On a highway that led to the clouds, lit only by hope.

  2. There was never enough time. Take the kids to school, return the library books before the were overdue, clean the house, rescue the cat, walk the dog, pick up the kids, prepare dinner, feed the tribe, wash the dishes, try to listen to her husband’s diatribe about work. There was never enough time to write the story that was aching to be put to page. Sometimes she fantasized about a quiet place, a place far away from the madding crowd where her passion could be expressed and she could finally be at peace.

    That was fun Laurie – thanks for hosting.

  3. He awoke slowly that morning, and he watched the sky grow red. The sun, when it peeked through the clouds, cast a ray through the bedroom window onto an old mirror, where it shattered into a mosaic of color, reflected on his sleeping dog.

    He watched the dog, afraid for a moment, and then when he saw her chest rise up to take a breath, he released a sigh of relief. Just for a moment, he was afraid.

    Hearing the human’s sigh, the old dog struggled to her feet, stretched, and padded over to the side of the bed. Her cold nose urged him out of bed.

    They were both old now. Their shared arthritis flamed up when the weather grew cold like this. He looked through the window again. A dusting of snow overnight. What did the damned forecasters know anyway with their talk of a spring blizzard.

    Now dressed, he opened the door, and she went to the corner of the yard to do her morning business, and he poured himself a cup of coffee.

    His arms were tired from yesterday’s wood splitting, but he managed to get his coat on. He filled his pocket with treats for the dog, and they set off.

    The wind picked up as they walked. The dog’s tail fluttered in the wind like Tibetan prayer flags. He always suspected she was a Buddhist. Halfway to their destination, the sun disappeared behind heavier clouds, and the wind stopped. A train whistled in the distance.

    He wondered if he would keep walking, if and when the dog died. He wondered if he’d find the strength to get out of bed. He wondered if he’d want to. A tear came to one eye as he felt the icy cold of not the wind but fear wrap his heart.

    And the snow began to fall. Not small flakes, not sleet, not rain, but big fluffy snow clumps.
    They chased the flakes together, the dog and man, both trying to catch them on their tongues, both sometimes succeeding, sometimes not.

    And for another day, worry and fears and dread were banished by hope, nowness, and laughter.

    “Today,” the dog said. “We have today.”

    And the snow continued to fall.

    1. Oh, this makes me sniffy. What a great last line. And this: The dog’s tail fluttered in the wind like Tibetan prayer flags. He always suspected she was a Buddhist.

    2. So sweet. I love the moments I share with my dog and I love this. …”both sometimes succeeding, sometimes not.” Life is a team effort.

  4. There was a thud against the glass and a small green insect ricocheted off, to fall down onto the sill.

    “Katydid,” Gramps creaked, rocking forward in his chair.

    Jenna, laughed, completing the old man’s oft repeated joke. “No. No, she didn’t,” she said. “But Ella Mae!”

    Gramps chuckled drily, his mirth causing him first to cough and then to spit, catching the phlegm in the well-used paper handkerchief he kept ready for use on the table beside him. He closed his eyes and then rocked backward.

    The old shed was as worn and as well-lined as its occupant, the wooden slats gapping in places so that it froze inside in winter. It was August now and Jenna would normally have been outside in the fields herself, stirring up the crickets herself instead of waiting for them to come to her. Only this year was different and she’d been assigned ‘folks duty’, keeping an eye on the man who’d usually gone out with her, helping her find the tiny creatures he loved.

    Ella Mae had died in the spring and it looked like Gramps might soon be joining her, having fled into his shed immediately after he’d returned back from the funeral. At first they’d tried to cajole him out and when that hadn’t worked, Jenna’s mom had refused to feed him in there, hoping he’d come back into the house when he got hungry.

    But he hadn’t.

    It’d taken all of two weeks for the impasse to be broken, with Jenna sneaking him food after dark after her mother had left to go home to her own family. The old man had never eaten in front of her – and he was too proud to be fed – but his enamelled tin plate was usually empty the next morning when she called in to visit him on her way into school the next day. But for the last three days she’d found the food untouched and he’d refused to acknowledge her when she’d quizzed him about it.

    Maybe Gramps would be gone before the crickets stopped singing this year. It was almost unthinkable but she knew how he must feel. She’d lost a dog three years ago and knew all about mourning a loved one.

  5. Once she got it in her head, she couldn’t shake it. Monsters. Sex was an ambush and drugs were lame; hunting for monsters seemed a better prospect than either.

    Of a night, she’d purloin a semiautomatic pistol from the gun safe in the basement—having a cop for a dad had at least that perk—and go hang out behind the Walmart parking lot, down in the scrubland near the river. Or over by the skateboard park, beside the wharf. Anyplace with deep enough shadows. She lived in a town that floated on dirty rainbow water, its reflection swaying like a deranged mother rocking the corpse of an infant.

    When the monsters came—and they always came, as they had done so even in the asylum of her home, the sanctuary of her bedroom—she would make it all right again.

    Tonight, an older boy kept eyeing her even as she tried to blend into spindly bushes so full of late-summer dust they were more brown than green. The dark waters of the wide river sent brief warm breezes ashore that tasted in her mouth and nose like lukewarm decay. The boy was a skater and the spill of hair over his face still couldn’t hide his gimlet stare.

    “What you doin’ down here, home girl?”

    She ignored him. Spit on the dirty ground. Wondered if—hoped—he might turn out to be a monster.

    “This no place for a shawty.”

    “I ain’t a kid.”

    An urban coyote yipped a sudden sharp thought from the other side of the oily waters. Between them, a dark barge slipped by soundlessly, a silent apparition. River spirits passing between scant gutterings of life.

    “Wanna see somethin’?”

    Her hand went to her waistband and the boy watched and nodded like he knew. He came closer and she tried to send out a warning but she froze. He was standing below a streetlamp from whose dome emanated an orange mist more sodium haze than any true kind of light. He held his skateboard in front of him like an oblation.

    “‘Sokay,” he said. “Lookit. Move into the light.”

    She did as he said. Stared at the wooden board. Its surface was filled with shifting graffiti, textured and swirling, in which she saw a land made of slate and purple rhododendrons, watched auroras dance over breaching pods of orca, left her body to cavort with forest dryads in a spore-filled sunlit clearing, flew impossible distances across a black howl to taste the ice mountains of Pluto.

    She felt too naked so she came back to herself, though she didn’t want to.

    “What the fuck…?”

    “Told you it was okay.”

    It had to be a trick, but she couldn’t fathom it.

    “How?” she asked.

    “You see what you see, is all. What you need to see. And it’s a’ight, shawty. You oughta get on home now. Lock up that nine, yo.”

    She felt the need to thank him, but he was gone as if he’d never been there at all, and only moths moved in the weak beams of light.

    Nothing to do but go home. Funny, but she sensed she could handle this. Somehow the monsters had all up and left and, while relieved, something about that still disappointed her.

    1. The dark and the light. Loved it. The dark barge, streetlamp, spore-filled sunlit clearing, black howl and more contrast than I could think up in a day! Incredible. 🙂

  6. At first, she took small gasps of air for fear that inhaling deeply might bring attention to her fate. Those were the happy days. Back then, she could step over most of it. They thought her foolish for evading pain. Heavy, rotting fruit surrounded by those tiny annoying flies, hung from every word but she decided to smile through her tears and laugh like a hyena when confronted with the obvious.

    Finally, a day came, when the room swayed with the heady, somewhat fermented perfume of decay. It held her ankles and grasped her thighs, pulling her down. She took bigger breaths and of course, now she had to face them but she didn’t recognize the sounds emanating from her throat. The detritus piled high around, muffled her once lyrical voice.

    She had to stay afloat. She gulped air but couldn’t swim through the distasteful remnants of waste, the fragments of life and the shards of death. Perhaps a snorkel? No, it was too late. Lies had consumed her and she was gone.

  7. Charlie didn’t like it. Not one bit. The way this drifter looked at Sara was the opposite of how any grown man should look at any little girl. It was one thing not to like children but Charlie sensed much more than dissatisfaction with youth or frustration at their energy level coming from this man. Charlie was picking up on a level of antagonism that just didn’t make any sense at all for this stranger to be directing at his six year old.

    He felt the need to penetrate that gaze; to eviscerate it in thin air so it wouldn’t touch his Sara. The child hadn’t felt it yet, her father’s level of anxiousness or the man’s stark unfriendliness directed at her. Or she’d adopted a level of fearlessness in her personality that Charlie hadn’t yet seen or known was there. If he was right and she was unaware he needed to be careful; Sara could pick up the slightest upset coming from him or Maggie but she was particular attuned to his moods. On the rare occasions her parents fought they never raised their voices but Charlie could always tell from Sara’s loving attempts at peacemaking between them that she’d figured it out somehow.

    Bending at the waist, he grabbed a short branch he found and turned to Sara.

    “You think maybe if you could toss this stick real good so that Bert and Ernie would want to play fetch with you, honey?”

    The child’s eyes almost glowed with excitement. Normally her father insisted on being the stick thrower in that game. She barely gasped a happy assent before she took off towards the back of the house, stick in hand, ready to wake the dogs or challenge them to a duel if they wouldn’t play.

    The moment she was gone Charlie whirled around towards the stranger. Taking a deliberate step forward into the man’s line of sight obstructing his view of anything but him, Charlie voice was low and baleful.

    “You need something?

  8. From Ann Cathey:

    Legs pumping, heart pounding, she pedaled for all she was worth. A quick glace over her shoulder showed those big men were still behind her, still running, still not giving up even as sweat poured down their faces.

    It was a race for something precious and she was determined not to loose. Rising on her pedals, she worked the bike even harder. Lights flashed and voices came and went, but no one seemed to care as they glanced up at her. She pedaled harder.

    A second glance over her shoulder. They were still there. They weren’t gaining on her, but neither were they falling back.

    An alarm suddenly blared in her ears. With a jerk, she reached up to pull out the earbuds so she wouldn’t go deaf.

    Her time was up. She’d done what she came to do, and those idiots behind her were still at it. Slowly, her own sweat glistening on her skin, she dismounted the stationary bike and started walking herself cool.

    With her imagination, time just flew by at the gym.

  9. Your love.
    Your love humbles me
    Some days you carry me
    Like a tired mermaid
    That was drowning in the sea.
    You see me.
    You’re a fool.
    Your foolishness drives me to drink
    Some days it’s like you’re trying
    To drag a claw-footed bathtub
    Out of the ocean’s reach.
    It’s heavy! It’s full of tears
    (Nothing but more seawater)
    It’s heavy when it’s empty!
    Even on your strongest day!
    And still you try…
    I see you.
    Your smile.
    Your smile drives me wild.
    Like you’re a wise old man
    Trapped in an impish child.
    Or is it the other way around?
    Either way, You’re my blue-feather clown when I’m down
    and out
    of options.
    Remember the time
    you were carrying the T.V.
    my suitcases and all I owned?
    Just to show me that you could
    And you would?
    I laughed…
    and told you to take it all back.
    Then you carried me back to shore
    And made me want all of THAT
    Even more.
    I see you…
    …and you see
    And through your eyes,
    I see all that I need.

  10. How do you write so much in 2 minutes??? Anyway, here’s my 2 minute write….

    It had been a long tiring day and Megan wanted nothing more than to get her mail go inside and enjoy a nice hot cup of tea. Looking at her mail as she headed towards her house she saw that most of it was obvious junk mail. A single pink envelope caught her attention. Opening it she read the card inside. Moments later the card fluttered to the ground a scream welling up inside Megan.

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