Little Red Alien (flash-fiction)

It’s a simple town, small, orderly, and as many outsiders would call it, boring. Of course living in such a stuffy town where the most excitement comes when the wind blows the leaves in a vortex, and running through it fulfills your itching need for adventure, one takes interest in other forms. Well, at least Henry does, and by other forms, he means aliens. You know, the little green beings that probe into your house while you’re asleep, taking samples and notes on your strange existence and obsession with the color blue and gluten free snacks.

Henry awaits their visit, setting out various foods to entice stop every night by googling ‘Aliens Diets’ online. He makes sure to have a clean house so they can come inside without fear of tripping and waking him up. He even leaves letters for them on the dining room table to introduce himself and to tell them about his lifestyle, you know, to make their job a little easier. But one day, Henry came across something that proved too much for him to handle.

While preparing for his job at the local Wallmart, Henry found a red balloon tied to his mailbox with a thin silver string. With no children neighbors within miles, Henry is greatly taken back and concerned with this finding. Could this be the aliens? No, their mental capacity would find balloons feeble and irrelevant. This must have been the work of some other force. The mystery left Henry concerned and confused.

With no idea what to do with the mysterious balloon taking residence on his beat up metal mailbox, Henry devised the best plan to handle this situation. He walks back inside and rummages through the kitchen drawers until he finds a pair of child protective scissors left behind by his three year old niece, and walks back outside, being sure the scissors are pointed away from his body.

Henry then cuts the silver string and watches the balloon slowly float away with the breeze twisting its path. Some things are best left undiscovered and Henry was already late for work.

Born in Cigarette Smoke (flash-fiction)

We’re the bad kids, the ones grown in broken households and in cigarette smoke that puffs from ever blast of breath from our families’ mouths. We’re train-hopping tyrants who never pay for a meal and have no fear of punishment; we face the truth with a snarling grin and take nothing for granted, only that life is painful and holds blades always pointed in our direction.

Fighting to catch my breath I sit in the back row of the train while Ezra paces back and forth. She’s testy, anger is the only substance flowing in her veins. She paces in a tight circle with her hands on her hips, eyes surfing through the other train passengers for someone to give any look in her direction, just so she can start trouble. That’s what she lives for, why she started this group in the first place, but how she finds so much enjoyment out of it, I’ll never understand.

We’re kids. We evolved from sucking on candy cigarettes on the playground to puffing the real deal, and any other substance one can puff. We’re a gang driven out of anger, and for me, fear, mostly of my sister but also for the repercussions that will come from all that we’ve done if we’re captured. So we live on the run, hopping trains, stealing cars, and lots of walking on foot. We have the blisters and stained shoes to show for it. But there will never be rest, we will forever be on the move and I will forever be bound, with Ezra there to keep me in line with the rest of the group. Every painful beating to remind me of my place. Every shot taken by my body with whatever is closest at the time: wood planks, metal rods, rocks, fists.

My eyes begin to burn as the dirt coating my face begins to run. With nothing clean enough to wipe them, I clench my eyes tight for my tears to wash them, but clenching them only sends the dirt deeper.

Through my hazy glaze and stinging eyes I see Ezra glaring in my direction. Her black hair radiating from her face as her brown eyes glisten with red rage. She huffs and rolls her eyes before turning away and staring back into the passengers again, more deliberately this time, clearly searching to start trouble.

I look down at my arms for a clean spot of shirt, only to find it torn, dingy, and some strange color between grey and tan. My dark hands are covered in black soot with dirt coating around and under every fingernail. My fingers run over my left forearm, a vision of pain and burning red metal blasts through my mind; the pain of losing my family, knowing how and who done it, their hands wrapped around your fingers as something cold and heavy rests so easily in your hands as they tighten their grip, then tightening yours. The pain of feeling your first powerful recoil, the vibrations you feel all over your body that has since never left. The buzzing and vibrating of clippers as they glide across your head as every strand of curls fall from your mane. A once beautiful lioness deduced back to a cub, head bare, body scrawny and weak, skin brown and scared below the left elbow. A symbol of your dead past and the forever painful future. This is home now. This is my life.

The Outlander (Flash Fiction)

The crowd grew heavier within the next hour. The police put up barred metal barriers to keep them back as far as they could, giving the workers on the inside enough room to move.

The rain picked up and the clouds left no space for the fair morning sun to rise. People stood around the barriers, pushing themselves as close to the estranged intruder as they could, often causing the metal barriers to hobble and the police to resume their positions as a human wall to keep the crowd from getting too close.

The workers were given large metal spoons with a handle on top of it to penetrate and remove the intruder from the concrete. As they thrashed the spoons into the ground, they brought up a gritty brown substance that spilled over the metal as it mixed with the rain. The workers threw this to the side and continued to work despite their pants becoming dyed with this material and feet being completely consumed by the substance that they could barely be seen.

The intruder is just as far below the concrete as it is towards the sky. Its many arms and fingers pointing in every direction, threatening to take all the space that is rightfully ours, all that we’ve worked for, all that we’ve claimed and deserve. This thing has no right to this space; it must be removed.

As the workers dug, their labor continued to show pointless as the intruder managed to sink its arms deeper than expected. Its limbs twisting and coiling like a corkscrew, and the ground is the cork it refuses to release.

The watchers began to scream with frustration and anger towards the intruder and few workers, threatening to break through the barriers and do the work themselves. The workers, clearly perplexed by this large outlander and no clear plan for its removal, continued to thrash at the ground. How do you extract something that no one has ever seen before?

The workers continued to dig, removing their hats and jackets, bearing the cold strikes from the rain that bulleted from the aggressive sky in the darkness or morning. The gritty matter quickly covered most of their bodies and became slick as it refilled the gap the workers have created. Everyone yelled with anger as the matter slithered its way back into the crater, disguising any progress with an unmoved puddle of brown slime.

The crowd continues to grow in size and frustration. The yelling erupts in unison blasts for the poor work of the bare and mysterious coated men, and the unmoved intruder that continues to threaten our land.

I stand, belly smashed against the metal barrier as the crowd rapidly grows and pushes forward. My red knit hat is drenched, along with my black coat and tennis shoes. The pain I feel in my stomach is less than bearable, but with no clear exit I’m forced to stay in my poor position, however, I’m sure even if there was an exit my eyes wouldn’t let me leave.

The workers take turns with the large metal spoons, handing them off to another who slides into the crater while the latter tries to climb his way out. The throwing of the brown slime is endless, and still the intruder’s limbs have made their way deeper into the ground.

I allow my eyes to leave the mystery that lies in a large brown being with many arms, and I glide my eyes along the crowd, at least what I can see from the position I have been slammed into.

A few of the officers rush from my side of the barrier and run to the left where a man has managed to pummel through the metal barrier by throwing himself over the lookers in front of him. My eyes don’t follow the officers, or the man dressed in see through striped button down and tan trousers. My eyes find a slim space between the workers, officers, and brown intruder where a woman’s standing. She’s dressed in white, hair black and branching in every direction, just like the intruder. Her brown eyes are stern and body steady; she is grounded and powerful. Her dress is spotless with no looks of water staining the gentle cloth and no spots of brown slime from the pile that has been throw in front of her.

Her eyes eventually glide across the crowd and meet mine. She stands on the outside of the barrier and remains still despite the chaos running around her. No one seems to touch her even as they push and run past with anger and fury in their eyes. She stands still with no look of hesitation or falter in her gaze.

The crowd erupts again as one officer raises his gun in the air and fires a single shot. BANG!

The crowd and other officers come to a running stop, one officer blocking my view of the young woman across from me. I try my best to move, but the crowd only pushes harder against the barrier and against me. The officer soon shifts his position, offering a small space for me to peek through, but to my dismay the woman is gone.

The crowd didn’t lighten, there was no space for her to leave, but somehow she’s gone. Like the gust of wind the carries last week’s newsprint across the street, or the sudden blow the sways the many limbs of the intruder.

Ocean Waves (100 word story)

She does not live near the sea but feels the waves coming closer and closer, teasing to drown her in the pitch black of night when no one is around or awake to care. But this strange occurrence is one she is beginning to find comforting. The waves will always come to her at night as the sun begins to fade from behind the buildings and billboards of the city. She doesn’t have to wonder where her mind will lead when she lies down in her bed to sleep. The tides shift under her mattress as orange floral sheets deepen and darken as the ocean erupts. But somehow she finds this comforting. Normal.

To Be a Bad Poet

I’m sitting in poetry class with my homework assignment sitting in front of me: “Use a timer. Give yourself seven minutes to freely a poem with this as your first line…”

Seven minutes. I used up all of that time like it was honey and I had another hot cup of tea in front of me, not a drop was spared.

Looking around at my classmate’s paper, I noticed that seven minutes was a lot shorter for them. My paper, well papers, were filled three times over, theirs was barely once.

We took turns in groups of four to read our poems aloud, then to pick the best from the group to read theirs to the class. Mine got turned down first because it was too long: “I would have rather liked this as two separate poems.”

Two separate poems?! But how can you break apart a bond as tight as tea and honey? Mustard and ketchup? Small dogs and frilly purses? You can’t break that!

Haven’t you read Gertrude Stein’s poems? Most are at least three pages, and better yet, they make no sense! It’s great! That is poetry just as much as Emily Dickinson’s twelve line poems. Haven’t you ever heard that size doesn’t matter, it’s all about the motion of the ocean. My poem can create waves just as well as yours, and if size did matter, wouldn’t mine make more? Just saying.

So, sure, we can read the smaller poem by a classmate who confesses to giving up after three minutes into the assignment because seven minutes was too long and you have “stuff” to do. I’ll just remain a misunderstood Gertrude Stein in disguise.

This isn’t the poem I wrote for the assignment, just one I wrote quickly out of frustration.

To be a bad poet.

To rhyme and no one like it,

To not rhyme and no one feel it,

To give your all and no one to care for it.

To the bad poet.

Maybe you’re the kind

Who gets recognized when you’re dead.

The living just doesn’t get you yet.

Give them time, 70 years or so.

They’ll come around eventually,

Just keep writing.