Wednesday, February 29, 2012

388. Cucumber: weapon

Something was wrong in the house.
It was a prowler.
In his sleep-addled state, he went to the kitchen looking for a weapon.
Groggily, he grabbed the first menacing item he came across - a cucumber - and headed for the sounds of the incursion.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

387. Parallel structures

He had the ability to see beyond his choices.
With each decision, he could inspect the infinite "could have beens".
Maddeningly, he was only enlightened after each choice was made.
The many worlds behind him gave him no insight into the one ahead.

Monday, February 27, 2012

386. Man in a top hat, woman in a ball gown

He opened the door and offered her a white-gloved hand.
They entered together where they were announced by an elderly man in tails.
At the entrance to the garden, they were greeted by a full-sized African elephant.
Oneupmanship truly is the sport of kings.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

385. Raiders of the Lost Ark

When I was a child, my parents took me to Disney (Florida, not California).
We drove in a bronze Ford Taurus (for seventeen hours).
I waited for six days (by turns patiently and impatiently) to see the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular!
I can still remember the heat from the explosions.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

384. Casual dishonesty

She pulled the phone closer and lied.
It wasn't a big lie, but it was a lie nonetheless.
She shouldn't have.
She didn't want to lie, but she couldn't face her girlfriends today.

Friday, February 24, 2012

383. Devotional music

On Thursday morning, she awoke with a snippet from an old church hymn in her head.
No words came to mind, but the tune was there.
She had odd bits of religious music rattling around in her head from the eight years her mother insisted she sing in their church's choir.
It left her with a vague sense she'd done something wrong.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

382. It melts my heart

A melted red and green mess of plastic lay on the lawn.
In another life, it had been a life size version of that famous holiday elf.
Scattered around it were beer cans.
Beyond that were firefighters cleaning up a prank gone wrong.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

381. The personal and private lives of gangsters

The mobster's life was all nuance and shades of grey.
He was a consummate family man, but loved the company of prostitutes.
He was capable of genuine generosity but disposed of rivals with brutal inhumanity.
But this was television and his moods were the arena of Hollywood writers from Harvard.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

380. The mall will be closing early today

First one, and then others began to drift by.
They walked quickly in twos and threes.
Then, led unofficially by a middle-aged man moving like his ass was on fire, they were running.
The mall was flooding.

Monday, February 20, 2012

379. Confessions of a Hardy Boy

Her obituary was fascinating.
She graduated from Vassar before joining an all-women's motorcar racing circuit.
She smoked a pipe.
She held more than two dozen jobs, including, for books 3, 13, 38 and 43, writing as Franklin W. Dixon.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

378. Static

Her ears crackled.
It felt like a static-filled radio was playing in her head.
Within a few seconds, the foam ear plugs had expanded to their full size.
She could barely hear the 4 a.m. jam session taking place upstairs.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

377. Grace, too

She was breaking up with him.
Red embarrassment crept up the back of his neck.
He got up quickly, hoping to make a hasty retreat.
He caught his jacket on his chair, sending it clattering toward the next table.

Friday, February 17, 2012

376. Cusack

She had a crush on John Cusack.
Her desk was stuffed with top five lists.
Her silver boom box was named Lloyd.
She had seen all of his movies; everything but 2012.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

375. The vintage ice bucket

They bought a vintage ice bucket at a weekend antique sale.
Its brushed silver exterior was a perfect addition to their basement bar.
They liked to think it was owned by Sinatra or some famous mobster.
It wasn't.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

374. Our brother, the robot

The brothers hauled a wagon full of old electronics out to the garage.
They carried their materials inside by the handful and locked the door behind them.
Sitting at the kitchen table, their parents smiled as they listened to the sounds of hammers and saws.
Earlier in the day, they had tried and failed to explain where babies come from, suggesting the only way they'd get a new brother would be to build one.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

373. Elaborate car chases

An expensive-looking car crashed through a fruit stand.
Half a second later, two dozen police cruisers followed at high speed.
The chase careened through the city until it reached the Port of Los Angeles.
With only a few feet between it and the sea, the car's wheels vanished and it took off into the sky.

Monday, February 13, 2012

372. Change your life, man

They won the biggest lottery in Oregon State history.
They took their money to Hollywood and bought the mansion once owned by MC Hammer.
For three years, they partied like the world was ending.
When the IRS claimed the remaining money, they took a bus back to Oregon.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

371. Tea and toast

Every Thursday, Beth rode the bus to visit her grandmother at the Willow Bend Residence for Seniors.
Her grandmother was infirm and didn't go out.
Beth was her only unburnt family bridge so her grandmother eagerly awaited these visits, even if she never said so.
Every Thursday, they sat in the dining room, ate tea and toast, and watched the traffic go by.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

370. A wing and a prayer

Tom was crying.
He scooped up a couple of napkins and wiped at the tears.
Looking around the table, all his friends were laughing.
He didn't have the stomach for the atomic suicide wings.

Friday, February 10, 2012

369. Gordie Howe Hat Trick

He got the promotion at work.
On the way home, he stopped and changed a tire on a Buick for an elderly woman.
Basking in his own smugness, he stopped for a celebratory drink and ended up having six or eight.
The drunk beside him bumped into him one, two, three times so he stood up and took a swing.

*Some of you might need to read this:

Thursday, February 9, 2012

368. Interview skills

Brian McKeen had owned an electronics store and repair shop for 28 years.
The store made less money than it used to on account of the new big box electronics store at the mall.
Things being what they were, he couldn't afford any staff besides the odd high schooler on a part-time basis.
For interviews, he kept an old TV and VCR on the counter for them to program.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

367. Scylla and Charybdis

The water draining out of the sink reminded him of the whirlpool Charybdis from Homer's Odyssey.
He had loved the study of Classics in school and this particular anecdote had always stuck with him.
Coincidentally, it seemed like a poetic way to describe his present predicament.
He secured the drain plug as hot water began to refill the sink, reminding him of nothing in particular.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

366. Major changes

Charlotte's parents were supportive of their only child.
They had grown up in the 60's and had always insisted she make her own choices.
They supported her decision to leave med school to write a thesis on the political subtext of children's cartoons.
They weren't sure they could get behind her decision to drop out of college to raise alpacas with her boyfriend, Chance.

Monday, February 6, 2012

365. Happy anniversary

There was a birthday cake on the table.
Someone had expertly piped 'Happy Anniversary' in icing over the white frosting.
On the cake, fifteen candles had burned down to the nub, but they hadn't noticed.
They were upstairs with an entirely different set of candles.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

364. Panic in The Northeast

It had been a strange winter.
The locals called it "unseasonable".
Now spring was coming and there was panic in the region.
The strange weather had affected the trees and the maple syrup season was in jeopardy.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

363. Feats of athleticism from days of yore

He had been a shoe-in for the company softball team after bragging frequently of his days as a high school all-star.
Now, as the ball sailed over his head and bounced off the wall, he turned and gave chase.
He snatched it up and threw it back toward the infield, feeling his shoulder give with a pop.
He finished the game on the bench with a bag of ice pressed to his throbbing arm.

362. Living room furniture

He closed the door with his backside.
It had been an excruciatingly bad day.
His knee was still killing him.
He put his feet up on the coffee table and it split in half.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

361. Dragon scales

Dragons are funny creatures.
They are as large as a house and they tend to breath fire and devour men whole.
Most people, however, don't believe in them so they often go unseen until it's too late.
As the beast shifted toward her, she shook a blackened sword free from a skeletal hand and prepared for the worst.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

360. Celebrity look alike

The famous actor was going bald.
He looked somewhere between 'Die Hard With a Vengeance' Bruce Willis and 'Live Free or Die Hard' Bruce Willis.
He carried it well, but it was clear it bothered him.
The man on the sofa watching the famous actor on tv wasn't sure the comparison his wife drew between the two of them was a compliment.