Tuesday, March 31, 2009

When the wind blows.
Part One.

I crouched behind a bush, cautiously peering through the leaves, trying to get a glimpse of the scene inside. What was that noise? I thought he was dead, didn't he kill himself? Then what is he doing in the house? Who are all those people? My mind beat furiously with questions. I quietly inched forward, but my foot pressed against something and all of a sudden there was a cacophony of noise. HOLY SHIT! Sirens blaring, lights flashing; me in the spot light! What the Fuck is going on?! Oh my gosh!


It's my alarm. I'm awake. I'm awake. Am I? I whipped my head around and saw the object responsible for all the noise. Shit. 1:23. How long has my alarm been going off? Since 11? Shit. Oh well it's Sunday...then why did I set my alarm? My mind wandered into consciousness as I stretched and yawned myself out of bed. I have a splitting headache. Ughh...too much wine. I need water.


What's that noise? Someone's outside. What time is it? 1:36. OK, so if my clock is 16 minutes fast then it's actually...ummmm, it's Fuck. 1:20? Is that right? 1:20. But I thought she had church? A door slams. OK, maybe she left. Nope, another door. She just left? Another door. Goddammit! I need water. I open my bedroom door and am relieved to see my roommate's bedroom door open across the hall. Good, she did leave. Thank God! Whoa! Shiiit! There she is reaching for the telephone in the corner of the living room. Her blue t-shirt and yellow and pink poke-a-dot shorts are obnoxious. Why is she still here? We both grunt a greeting. As I fill my big mug with water, I hear her on the phone.



Both behind close doors with the living room as our buffer zone we wait. We wait for the other person to make the first move. We're roommates, but more than that we're friends; and that was the most I've seen and talked to her in weeks. What happened? We waited so long to live together. We waited until we were sure that living together wouldn't come between us. We can do it. We did it. Then something happened. And now there's an uncomfortable tension between us, and I'll be damned if I make the first move.


There's a knock on my door. Was it? Wait. Was that just the wind? No! There it was again. It is a knock? It is? I'm suddenly nervous. What is she going to say? What am I going to say? But this is it. This is what I've been waiting for. Finally, there will be some peace in this house. I reach for the door and twist the knob. Open!


Nothing. Huh? A door slams. I look across the hall. My roommate is nowhere in sight. But across the hall I see her bedroom door closed.

It was just the wind.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Eyes Closed
Eyes Open
Eyes staring out the window
A morning haze veiled
Red and yellow
Words never spoken
Spoken words exchanged

My eyes are staring out a window that is veiled by a red and yellow tapestry,

Thanks wade from oklahoma!

staring into a morning haze; staring at the words of the previous night. Words were exchanged; between two people who never spoke to each other, two people deafly making their way through the cacophony of love. And because words were exchanged things can never go back to the way they were.

I began to unveil the truth while staring out the window into the morning's haze; the night before we were both honest with each other and I was finally honest with myself. As I turned over and saw you sleeping beside me I couldn't help but replay your words over and over in my head. Not Again. Each time the cassette looped more and more of the truth came out. Again. And every time your words rang through my head, I shrunk further and further away. But, like always, you were still there, with a sleepy arm moving to grab my body; to hold, to expose, to really understand and to see. But to love? Words were exchanged. 'I love you.' Pause. Blank. 'You love me? How can you possibly love me? You don't even know me. You just think you love me. This is not love. I know what love is and this is not it, this is an infatuation. You love they way I look, you don't love who I am.' Pause. Pause. Don't say it. Gulp. 'You love me because everyone wants me and can't have me, but you can have me and you think that means I love you? I don't, I just don't.' Pause. 'I can't.' I should have told you that I can't love you because I don't know how to love you. I don't even know how to love myself. Is sex love? You seem to think so. I give you sex in exchange for your love and then I am loved.

I didn't mean for this to go on this long. I only mean to tease the little fishes with my delicate line and dainty hook.

Thanks scazza!

I never meant to get one caught up in the net of love. I only wanted to sit and dangle my feet off the dock and watch as all the pretty red and yellow fish swam to me, battling for the bait that I always kept just beyond their reach. I never meant for anyone to see through the haze, never meant for anyone to figure it out; but you did: You did as you watched. Your eyes were always on me; but I pretend not to notice. Your stare is so intense that it pierces to my very core. But do you know this? Do you know that with every shift of your pale blue eyes, I feel as if you're undressing me and unveiling the truth about my empty soul? You keep searching, watching, looking for something that's not there, for something that I don't have to give. My waters are too shallow for me to feel anything; to love anyone. Yet, you keeps disrupting the current and the more you do the harder it is for me to stay above water. I'm choking. I'm drowning . I can't breathe. Stop. Stop watching me, you won't find anything. I'm empty. I have no soul, no emotions, I'm just a body. I don't want you to look too close because you might see that there's something hiding; there's something to hide because there's someone to protect.

Thanks rickydavid!

Last night I saw you watch me as I started fishing. I began by tossing out my line with an aloof, yet sexy nature, with a body that bends and invites, with my massive tangle of hair that flies up then lands on the small of my back. I smile with wide eyes that sparkle with a mischievous gleam. My full lips slowly form a circular grip around my finger, then it moves from between my lips and runs a trail off my chin that disappears down my neck. As I lean my head slightly to one side the tip of my tongue traces the outer layers of my lips. Is any one watching? Everyone is watching. I know this, but I also know that you're the only one that sees me. You make me so conscious of each and every one of my movements. But I know I'm worthy of being watched; marveled at, but analyzed? NO! There's nothing about me that needs figuring out because I have it all together. I am confidence. But you saw otherwise.

I always wondered what it was about you that intrigued me. I had a whole school of fish to choose from, so why you? Last night I watched you. I watched you watch me. And I didn't like what I saw because you saw too much of my truth.

The red and yellow tapestry covering the window was billowing in the breeze, slowly revealing more as I recalled the exchange of words; the morning haze was getting cleared. 'But he's my roommate!' Pause. Pause. 'I just don't understand why you don't know what I'm pissed.' Gulp. I tensed up because I was afraid of what was coming next. My head was spinning and the only thing I could think to do was reach for a lighter. The sea of blankets that once wrapped us close together was now drowning me. I can't swim. Breathe. With every inhale I took in more of the truth. I'm not listening, but I hear everything. The wave is coming down over my head but I don't struggle; I don't want to confront this.

Thanks swingnut!

It's too much. 'Why do you always do this? You need all these guys liking you.' Breathe in. 'You just use people that like you to get what you want.' Breathe Out. 'Are you doing this to me too? You ignore me when other people are around.' Breathe. '...only when you need something.' Breathe in. 'Do you even care about me at all?! Do you? Do you even care that I love you.'

Just breathe and let everything settle in. I slowly began to see as I swallowed the salt that rubbed and tortured my wounds. Fuck. I knew I reeled my catch in too close. I should have thrown those pretty red and yellow scales back before you saw a little too much, you nailed it; described me so exactly that I couldn't help but cringe as I heard your words once again. I tossed around in the bed; but the tide was calmer now in the early morning light, the wave of truth finally broke and all that was left was the white waters of the receding crest;

Thanks chrisforsyth!

all that was left next to me was the one person who could really see; the one person who I could never love.

Words were exchanged and things can never be the same. Your arm around me now feels like the grip of guilt smothering me. Breathe. The game had gone on too long and I have only myself to blame. I'm alone and insecure, you're right. I love myself more than anyone and the more I know that I am love the more I love myself. I need the attention; the eyes watching. It makes me feel safe; people like me. But I never give it all away; I keep my distance which makes the eyes stare longer; harder. And you finally saw. And when words were exchanged I knew I had lost. Did I really think that I would get away with all the teasing and lying, faking in order to protect myself? Because underneath all the subtle mind games, I know what I'm doing; what I need to do - what I always do and it always works: I am loved. I never love. I love myself while all the eyes watch.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Growing Up.

This is a fictional essay I wrote in college. The assignment was to write a piece that had a distinct voice. So I tried to have the voice convey the deep confusion and ambivalence of the character's sexuality. Enjoy.

All I see is red, a stream of red gushing out and washing a part of me away.

Where is it going?

I am not a child anymore.

Mom told me that I'm supposed to wash the white clothes in one load and the colored clothes in another load, but I'm confused. The red is making my white underwear color; the red is still pouring out while pouring me into womanhood.

Thanks kandyjaxx!

I am not confused anymore. I'll wash this with the colored clothes because it is not white anymore; it's haunted with a shade of crimson that is slowly revealing that I am turning from a little girl into something...not yet a woman, but something else.

I am in a state of limbo, so I guess I'll just wash this stained underwear with the colored clothes and see what happens. Maybe if I wash it good enough I can make it stop: stop bleeding, stop ruining, stop changing me into the slut I couldn't help from being. I am making my debut into a society where sex sells. Yes! I blame you for everything, you not only soiled my underwear, you soiled my innocence and virginity, you spoiled my reputation and all I have left is a raped image of myself. Because my white underwear was never white again. There was always a faint outline of where the blood left it's mark and morphed me into a sluttier version of a "me" I didn't recognize.

I thought I could still play with the boys like I always did because they were my friends (but little did I know, I was their "friend" who was becoming a young lady). I could have acted like a lady, but I chose to play the role of a slut. And that is when my true self emerged as a product of my generation. A generation where the media, models, and magazines tell girls what to wear and what not to wear, when you're ready to have sex and when you should wait because he's not "the one,' whom to be attracted to and how to shed those unattractive pounds. They created the image and I obeyed.

Thanks spookygonk!

Those boys weren't my friends who innocently wanted to see the underwear that mysteriously changed color; they wanted the slut who was wearing the underwear when it was blessed with a stench that bled me into their sexual creature. I purposely didn't wash it good enough, I didn't really want to hide it, because little did they know I wanted them to see the slut in me. And guess what those boys saw?! They saw Temptation reincarnated as an image of Woman that they couldn't say no to. Their mouths were salivating and their tongues were teasing the forbidden lips; lips that spoke of promises, lips that revealed a state of ecstasy, lips that once tasted can never be ignored. I want to be the epitome of sin. I want to live up to my duty. I want to experience my sex. The boys didn't want to honor and respect a young lady; they wanted to take advantage of the girl who was slut before she became a woman. So I let them and in doing so I got what I wanted.

I'm confused. How could this surge of blood make me a slut? I am a slut because the boiling blood erupted and my private self exploded into the public announcing; I am ready to take my place in society as a woman. And because of that I have to suffer the consequences; I have to see a doctor to get rid of my child before it even becomes a child. My Child. My unborn child.

Do you have an unborn child, Mom?

Thanks amayita!

I do. And now I understand what it means to be a woman. I've felt both pleasure and pain. I am forever changed. My worst nightmare has come true: I was with child, I do not have a three year old child, I will not forget. I will not forget that it was because of your weakness, your inability to resist the outside forces that I am forced to have this image of myself. I am assuming the role society has created for me and in doing so I've created a version of a "me" that failed to embrace these changes and instead exploited my body; my womanhood.


I don't want to say why I think my short term memory's shot, because that would open up a whole different can of worms that I'm not ready to talk about, but probably it's just because I'm getting older, a friend of mine told me that no matter how straight edged you are, you're short term memory will always go. Anyways, I used to have a good memory, my mom used to say, 'ask Shannon, she has a good memory.' except she doesn't say that anymore. I think I used to have a good memory because I practiced remembering things.

Thanks poe tatum!

This was before I got really cynical about life and all the crap that goes on in the world, but there used to be these moments that I just wanted to hang on to and remember forever and I thought that I would keep these memories for the rest of my life and some how it was meaningful. When I was growing up I went on a lot of trips and I would be so excited every time and I would have the best time on these trips; except when it was over I would get so sad that all the fun and good times were over that I would cry myself to sleep at night. So what I would do was rehash what I did on the trip the week before, for example if I left for a trip on Monday and came back on Sunday, the next Monday, I would think to myself, 'a week ago, I was getting ready to go to the airport,' and then midday I would be like, 'this time last week I was on a plane traveling to Los Angeles,' and then that evening, I would be like 'this time a week ago, we were getting to our hotel,' and stuff like that for the entire week after our the trip and even the week after that, and so on until the memory was so ingrained in my mind that I knew I would never forget it. Although by now I think I forgot all those memories that I tried so hard to preserve. I didn't practice just with trips, I also practiced with special occasions I had with my family. I think it was also the anticipation of something exciting that made the event all the more special and the memory worth capturing and immortalizing and saving for all eternity.

Thanks woodenship!

I saw the play Cats once, or maybe twice, but they sang a song about memories and how you can find the the meaning of what happiness is in a memory and I think that is what I was trying to do because those were the times that I was the happiest of happy and I wanted to feel that way forever. Although as I got older I got really jaded and tried to fake that feeling of utmost, euphoric happiness and to be honest, it wasn't the same. It wasn't as pure or as real as those childhood memories. Sometimes I think that maybe I'll never experience happiness like that ever again, or maybe if I ever have children I'll experience it through them because maybe only children can experience true happiness in it's purest form. But you know how I feel about children. Anyways, I decided that I should keep a journal that documents my everyday life, like not one of those journals that you write to reflect on the days events and what you learned and how you felt, but like actually cataloging what time I woke up and what I ate and what I was thinking while riding the bus...stuff like that, like everyday stuff. I don't know what good that will do.

Thanks ekler!

It's just something that I'm thinking about doing. Although, it seems like as I get older there's more things I don't want to remember than I do. Like I said maybe I'm just jaded. Or maybe I've grown up and I understand the importance of not living in the past and just enjoying the present. Except I tend to forget the present as soon as it happens.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

College Literature.

Back when I was in college, I stumbled across a case study about a psychotic girl who had violent outburst and the doctors did all these test on her and couldn't figure out what was wrong.

Thanks chris.peplin!

I remember sitting in a narrow row of books that went up to the ceiling and thinking how awful it must be for the girl and her family. I was actually looking for research material for a paper I was writing. See, I was taking an Asian literature class my freshman year and I we were reading this story about a girl who had to dress like a boy to go before the emperor...or was it the other way around. I forget which way it was, but I remember it was very interesting story and it was the first class I ever got a 4.0 in. It was my second quarter of college and I thought it was going to be cake if I could ace a 300 level class, but things got a little harder after that. Anyways, my professor was this woman who went to Harvard and I think I had a little crush on her. Actually maybe it wasn't a crush, I think I just really admired her. See, when I was in the fourth grade, my Dad look me to Boston. It was a really short trip, just long enough for him to watch a Celtics game, and honestly, I don't remember much, but what I do remember was the Harvard campus.

Thanks tgigreeny!

They don't have brick buildings where I grew up and it felt, well, very collegeic like exciting things were happening all around me, things that were going to change the world and I wanted to be a part of it. Needless to say, I fell in love and decided then that that's where I wanted to go to college. Turns out, I didn't know what I was falling in love with, after all I was only 10, it's like a little girl saying she wants to be a ballerina when she grows up, although I wasn't the girliest of girls and never wanted to be a ballerina and also never played with barbies, believe it or not. Like I was saying, I didn't know that I was falling in love with an ivy league school, but 7 years later when it was time for me to pick a college, I still had the technique of picking something by looks. See, I used to be an MTV junkie, I mean what high schooler isn't, right? I was watching MTV back when they actually played music videos, they were just venturing into the world of reality TV. Now, it's all reality shows, I mean I don't know for sure, I don't have cable and its been years since I watched. But back then they had this show called the Real World. I was obsessed with it! I remember thinking, 'that's what it must be like to be grown up and living on your own, in the real world'! What a fitting title.

Thanks the real truth!

This was before I realized what a joke it all was but back then I was hooked, and it just so happened that the Real World was in Seattle when I was a senior in high school, and man did they make Seattle look cool, so guess where I ended up for college. At least they were in a city with a decent school and when I saw the university of washington campus I fell in love all over again, I think I'm attracted to brick buildings because UW has a lot of those too, anyways, this time my love was tangible.

Thanks elephant wearing striped pants!

So my first year I took an Asian lit class and that's when I came across the case study. The thing was as I read it, the girl didn't seem much different from myself, her angst and self doubt, her inability to control certain impulses, her failure to keep her emotions in check, it made me wonder if I was psychotic and need someone to study my case. The thing is I never got to finish reading the case study, so I don't know if they ever found out what was wrong with her. Maybe it wasn't anything. Maybe it was hormones. Or maybe, she just grew out of it. I know I did. Not.

Friday, March 20, 2009

My Name.

For those of you following my blog, you're used to the serialized form of my fictional story. However, I decided to have another section where I have random pieces that are loosely based on reality, but fiction nonetheless. It's a little more free form and are not all part of the same story, in any case, enjoy.

My parents gave me an Irish name. They said it was a name of a student they really liked; my parents are teachers by the way, and they both had students with the name Shannon, so maybe they thought that I would be a good student too, which I was for the most part. Although sometimes I think that the reason my Dad wanted to give me an Irish name was because he was in love with the Boston Celtics, I mean he was fanatical about them, for years he only wore Boston Celtics t-shirts and he would fly all the way across the country just to watch them play.

Thanks cindy47452!

This one time, he was so excited about going to the game he left his keys in the ignition and the car running , needless to say the battery was dead by the end of the game. He had to wait in the cold for a tow truck for hours, but he said it was worth it. Now this was in the early 80's when the Celtics won all those championship against the Lakers, and I guess they did it again recently and my Dad still loves them, but yeah, that's what I think my Dad's motivation was for naming me Shannon. Now before I got married I had an Asian last name, so there was no confusion about who you were meeting when I walked into a room, but now my last name is McConagle, I'm Shannon McConagle, can't get anymore Irish than that. Anyways, now when I walk into a room, there is only a moment of confusion because people are probably expecting a white, Irish girl and instead they meet me. Well, maybe it's more than a moment of confusion. There was this one time I was sitting in a waiting room at a doctor's office, one of those places where you have to fill out a form with your name and birth date and your medical history. Anyways, the nurse comes out with her clipboard and walked straight to a very pale woman with red hair, and said "Excuse me, Mrs. McConagle, you forgot to write down your last menstrual cycle."

Thanks hawaii!

The pale woman was actually Mrs. McMonawell, so maybe it was an honest mistake, but the nurse opened her eyes really wide when I cleared my throat and said that I was in fact Mrs. McConagle. Now when people see me, they see...well, actually I don't know what they see, because people do ask me what I am all the time and maybe I should be offended, but I'm not, sometimes I am, because I never ask people what they are because I think it's rude. But I've heard it all my life and it happened to my mom too, so I guess I'm just used to it. I used to ask, 'what do you think I am,' and I got a wide variety of answers which were always amusing to me because no one could ever guess. I mean sure they could name one or two, but not all. Anyways, by now I think I've heard it all so when someone asks me, I just say I'm mixed. Sometimes I think that in the future, everyone will be mixed and people will slowly morph into a species that all look kind of the same, like they'll be no distinction between races. I think that's what John Lennon was singing about when he said imagine all the people living life in peace.

Thanks funkybug!

And he wasn't the only one, because sometimes I think the only way the world can be as one is if we all have a little bit of each other inside of us, then we'll understand what it's like to be every different culture in the world. That would be neat. But sometimes I wonder if mixing too many things will produce something that looks a little off. I guess I'll find out if I ever have children. I think my grandmother thought that too, I remember overhearing her say that she thought my brother and I were going to turn out weird looking because my mom and dad are mixed, although I don't think I was supposed to hear that, but I think my brother and I look just fine. But, yeah, like I said, I guess I'll find out if I ever have children. I'm still on the fence about that one by the way. I used to think that by the time I was almost thirty, my biological clock would start ticking, but I'm 28 and I haven't heard anything yet because I still have a very adolescent view on children, I mean when you really think about it, having something grow inside of you is really sci-fi, don't you think? So maybe I'll never want children, beside, there's too many people on the planet anyways. Sometimes I think it's because I'm afraid of all the responsibility and I'm afraid that I'm too selfish and I wouldn't be a good mother, which by the way is one of my biggest fears. I think it's because I don't want to mess up someone else's life because I think I already do that to the people in my life sometimes, so why add one more. I wonder if my mom had doubts about being a good mother, but she wanted children so maybe that makes a difference. Anyways, my mom was a great mother and so was my dad, I mean he was a great father. Yeah, my parents are great even if they gave me an Irish name.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Flight 1023

Thanks adyyflickr!

"Ladies and Gentleman, this is your purser speaking; the captain has just informed us that the conditions of Hurricane Nikki are not conducive for a safe landing at Houghtailing International Airport. We have been rerouted to Middleton Airport instead. For your safety, please stay seated with your seat belts fastened and we will update you on our estimated time of arrival. Thank you for your patience."

Peter clutched his arm rests firmly with both hands as his legs nervously twitched, hitting the seat in front of him. Peter was going to miss his wedding. He had an emergency situation that needed his immediate attention, so three days ago Peter caught a red eye flight to Japan to do some damage control. Kate was reluctant for him to leave considering they still had some final preparations for the wedding including the rehearsal dinner that ultimately had to be cancelled. Peter convinced Kate that the business trip was absolutely necessary and that everything was going to work out fine. He even joked that it was bad luck to see the bride three days before the wedding.

Now as the reality of the situation sunk in, Peter's mind raced with all the different ways he could have handled his work crisis. He should have had is partner, Barry go to Japan instead. Barry was just as competent as he was to deal with the Tanaka case, in fact, he was the one that had done all the research on the strategy, so why did Peter insist to be the one to go. Now Peter was kicking himself for always having to be the one in control, only trusting his own abilities to smooth out difficulties, and instead of sharing in the excitement of his upcoming wedding; he was being taken miles and miles away from Kate.

Peter had to call her and let her know. She would be waiting at the airport for him. He unbuckled his seat belt and stood up. He opened the overheard compartment to look for his briefcase. Peter needed his credit card so he could call Kate.

"Sir! Excuse me, Sir!" A flight attendant with bouncing red hair tied into a ponytail high on her head was rushing down the aisle waving at Peter.

"Excuse me sir, I'm afraid I'm going to have to ask you to take your seat. The captain has turned on the fasten seat belt sign."

"I understand ma'am, but I need to call my wife, she'll be so worried," Peter frantically said as he reached in the overhead compartment pushing away a bulky backpack to get his briefcase.

"Sir, you're just going to have to wait. Once we get out of this turbulence and the captain turns off the fasten seat belt sign, then you can move about the cabin, but until then, I'm going to have to ask you to please stay seated."

Then, as if right on cue, the plane jolted and Peter lost his footing and was thrown into the flight attendant who fell backwards and landed in the aisle with Peter on top of her. Two other flight attendants rushed towards them from either side. A passenger in the aisle seat reached out to help them.

"I'm so sorry, so, so sorry. Ma'am are you okay," Peter quickly tried to get himself up, but had difficulty since the plane was dipping up and down. Peter tried to grab onto the back of one of the chairs but couldn't get a good grip so he kept on falling back onto the flight attendant.

"Here, take my hand," said a Good Samaritan passenger who was standing up and reaching down towards Peter.

Peter grabbed the hand and was able to pull himself up while the flight attendant was helped by her colleagues.

"Are you okay? I must apologize for this-"

"Sir, now do you see how important it is for you to comply with the fasten seat belt sign," the flight attendant interjected.

"I understand, it's just, I'm getting married tomorrow and." Peter was interrupted again.

"Ladies and Gentleman, this is your captain speaking. I just received word from the ground crew at Houghtailing informing us the conditions of Hurricane Nikki are decreasing enough for us to have a safe landing. We are being rerouted to our intended destination."

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Hurricane.
Part One.

Thanks smiteme!

"As winds pick up, reaching almost 80 mph, it seems inevitable that the eye of the hurricane is fast approaching. Residents are advised to stay indoors and take every precaution they can including taping up big picture windows, securing loose items you may have in the yard, and having rations of food and water; ultimately we should all be preparing for the worst.

"Meteorologists are predicting record highs in wind speed and rain that could possibly hit within the next day or two. We'll provide breaking news on Hurricane Nikki as it happens, until then be ready and stay safe."

Kate pointed the remote towards the TV and clicked the power button. The news report sent a shiver down Kate's back as she walked to her window. She reached for a roll of masking tape and began reinforcing the glass as shooting drops of rain beat furiously against the window pane. Kate's wedding was in two days. The guest list and menu and location and bridesmaid dresses were excruciating thorough decisions. Kate wanted this day to be perfect and she imagined every worst possible scenario so she could prepare for it, but a hurricane had never crossed her mind. Rain would have been bad, even a thunderstorm would have been an inconvenient hassle, but a hurricane, a hurricane was a disaster; and naturally it had to happen to Kate.

The rain was coming down so hard and the wind was blowing so strong that Kate barely heard the phone ringing,

"Hello?" Kate heaved while breathing heavily after she dashed to the phone.

"Kate! Oh Kate, it's terrible, absolutely terrible. Oh Kate, what will we do," the woman's voice on the other end of the phone was panicked and frazzled. "Why is this happening, oh this is really bad."

"Penny! Calm down. Just calm down and tell me what's going on." Kate could hear deep breaths as Penny tried to regain her composure. However, instead of calming down, Penny burst into tears, pleading with Kate to forgive Mother Nature for the unfortunate events.

"Penny, look, these things happen, well not really, but never mind, we'll work through this."

"Oh Kate, I don't know. The caterer called and he said they won't be able to set up tomorrow if this continues. With the winds picking up, they'll never be able to get the tent up. What are we going to do," Penny spoke heavily as the last of her tears poured out.

Kate felt like crying and just accepting the fact that her wedding was ruined. But she knew she had to stay positive with her maid of honor already having a meltdown she was the one who had to stay strong if they were going to make it through this.

"Penny, look, the news predicted the eye hitting us soon, so this situation is only going to get worse. I think we just need to sit tight and wait this hurricane out and then assess the damages and plan from there. It's no use worrying about things now, tomorrow may present us with a whole new set of problems, so just hang in there. Please, I need you to be strong for me. Can I count on you for that Penny?" Kate spoke these words slowly and steadily because she knew that at any moment, her voice might crack and her real feelings would come pouring out. At least she could try to convince Penny that things would get better, even if she didn't believe it herself.

"Of course Kate. You're so strong, all things considering, yes we just need to stay positive and hope for the best. OK, I'm with you. I need to get myself together and prepare for this storm. Take care and call me if you need anything."

The Hurricane.
Part Two.

Penny hung up the phone and wiped her tears away. Almost immediately her worry about the hurricane was gone and a mischievous smiled took over her face. Penny sat back and watched the sky get darker and darker as the winds howled and whipped the tree branches violently back and forth. The was perfect. Penny couldn't have planned it better. All the schemes to sabotage the wedding from telling the florist to use Calla Lilies that Kate was allergic to and sending out 600 invitations with the time an hour later paled in comparison to Hurricane Nikki. Unfortunately for Penny, Kate had to stick her nose in every detail and caught all of Penny's "accidental mistakes" so none of her evil conniving panned out. Of course Kate didn't know that Penny did it intentionally, she just assumed it was her absentminded nature. Yet, Penny's meticulous attention to detail always seemed to go unnoticed by others. It was no matter to Penny, in fact she preferred it that way so people never thought she was the mastermind behind unfortunate events. She was always the innocent bystander caught in devastating aftermath of her plotting. But now two days before the wedding, the Gods were shinning down on Penny and this beautiful storm that was an absolute blessing.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Thanks trying2!

Penny sat at her dining table with her head in her hands. She sat there breathing heavily and thinking sad thoughts hoping it would make her cry. But nothing happened. Penny sat for twenty minutes trying to make herself cry, but she couldn't do it. She had not shed one tear since Kate's death. Even at the funeral when there was sadness and pain all around her, she didn't feel anything, she was completely numb. She thought it was because she was still in shook at Lucy's tragic and untimely death and with time the tears would come. Three weeks had past and still nothing.

She walked to her kitchen and opened the large stainless steel refrigerator. Her eyes moved past the condiments lining the inside of the door until she saw what she was looking for. A bottle of pinot grigio . Penny opened the bottle and poured herself a glass. She stood at the window and watched as the clouds moved to the east blocking the sun as she sipped her wine. Then she took another sip and another sip and another, then tipped her head back and finished the rest of the wine. By the time her glass was empty the clouds cast a dark shadow in her backyard. She poured another glass and drank it as quickly as the first. Then instead of pouring a third glass, she took the bottle and went outside.

The two black Labradors lounging in the yard were immediately alert when they saw Penny approaching. Their ears perked up and their bodies stiffened as Penny came closer and closer. Then, as if sensing something they both stood up and ran, howling as they went. Penny noticed this, but thought nothing of it. Lately, her pups, were very cold to her, they would always run to Cameron, her husband, instead of her, but Penny didn't care. She walked across the yard and down the grassy hill and stopped at the stream below. Penny sat at the edge and dipped her toes in as the water seamlessly flowed between the rocks and cooled the top of her feet.

The bottle of pinot was almost gone and Penny still felt nothing, no sadness, no tears, no emotion, no grief. She didn't even feel the wine. She gazed beyond the stream towards the street below. Penny saw two people walking, completely unaware of her. She thought they looked happy and in a way, she envied them. Then, almost as if they could hear her thoughts, the couple looked up in her direction. Although, they couldn't see her, Penny swore the woman made eye contact with her and this made Penny nervous. She quickly ran back up the hill.

When Penny reached the top, she scanned the street, searching for the couple, but they were long gone. It was the first time in weeks that Penny felt any kind of emotion and this disturbed her. Who were those people? And why was that woman staring at her?

Sunday, March 8, 2009

An Untimely Death.
Part One.

Thanks jskoole!

"It was at the age of 40 that her life really took a turn. She was, in a way moving along a heavenly path toward everything she ever dreamed about and this path led her to a fabulous and fulfilling life. She recovered from an existence that forced her to numb herself to life and when she finally met Him and accepted Him into her life, she began living again, even if it was in her final hours.

"I believe she lived everyday to her fullest in her last seven years and did everything she wanted to do before she reached the castle in the sky. She was finally able to cross over with His help. She had everything she wanted and she definitely deserved it all. So now that she's in her final resting place, may she enjoy it with peace and love, may her goodness shine down on all of us as say goodbye to my sister Kate today.

"And may we never forget and may she be with us always."

The last words were choked out as Deborah finished the eulogy. She sobbed heavily before looking into the pews. Through blurry eyes she saw that everyone in the church had the same look on their faces. But in the back row sat a woman with light brown ringlets tied in a long ponytail that fell down her back. Her face was purposely hidden behind over sized sunglasses, an unusual choice for this funeral. And next to her sat a man. He put his hand on the small of her back and his fingers tingled when he felt her hair. He sat with his knees tilted towards her knees so it formed a triangular shape between their legs. Their faces were stoic, but not sad, there were no tears, no emotion, no grief.

They sat in the last row of the church where the setting suns rays cast a shadow over them, covering their guilt and jealousy so no one else could sense the evil in them. No one knew that just the presence of this man and this woman in the church was almost sacrilegious because they believed that it was essential to give into temptation in order to be fulfilled in life. They let this kind of thinking lead them through their entire lives, yet they would never admit this to anyone, except each other. They admired the fall of the very first Man and Woman, their decent from the Garden allowed people to tap into a darker place, it gave truth and love competition. And Albert and Penny accepted the challenge so they could use their dark side to deceive the ones closest to them in order to get what they wanted. They wanted people to talk, they wanted to stir things up to keep everyone else distracted. Kate's untimely death provided them with the perfect diversion. They knew the family would be preoccupied with Kate's passing and no one would be paying any attention to them.

An Untimely Death.
Part Two.

Throughout the service, a woman sat rocking back and forth in the front pew with her hands crossed in her lap. She twiddled her thumbs looking at something a mother should never see: she was burying her first daughter. At times when the sun rotated, she fell into the shadows but when she emerged, she knew that Kate's death was inevitable because she couldn't take being alive anymore. Every chance he got he would make it known that she wasn't one of "Daddy's little girls," and actually she never really was. As much as she tried to get his attention, he reminded her that there was only one girl for him and anyone who wasn't "His Penny" didn't deserve him. Because it was Penny who he always loved the most; the others just weren't good enough.

As the woman in the front pew remembered this, a tear fell down her cheek, followed by another tear and another tear and another. If only he didn't have to treat her so small and so insignificant then maybe Kate would still be here today. She knew it wasn't her own fault, that he was the one to blame, yet she thought that maybe if she did something, Kate would still be alive.

Part One.

Thanks jim o'connell!

Two women sat outside against a tile wall. The wall loomed high over their heads to provide a protective enclosure around the yard where they sat. The street lights illuminated their shadows and even outlined a thin line against the tiles that swayed back and forth behind Kate, the woman on the right. Between drags, she finally spoke,

"Who the hell does that witch think she is?! She doesn't even know what he put us through, God, she thinks this is all a game. I swear, Deborah, one day I'm going to get out of here. I'll be long gone living the fabulous life, I'll show her. She'll get distracted by all the shiny things I'm flashing in her face and she'll blink and start kissing my ass because I will be the one that has it all."

Kate violently puffed on her cigarette and bounced her crossed legs up and down. She looked over at Deborah who nodded in agreement. A cat walked up to them and slowly weaved his way in and out between Kate's legs. Kate automatically dropped her free hand to stroke the long, soft body of the cat. The cat purred loudly and pushed his nose into the back of Kate's leg, then jumped up into her lap. Kate continued to rhythmically pet the cat and felt a calm wash over her. She wanted to vent more, to get into one of those bitch-fest she and Deborah were famous for, after which, she would feel infinitely better, but with Cotton in her lap, she didn't need to. Kate looked over toward Deborah and gave a slight nod, as if to say it was enough.

"I guess it's getting late," Deborah said, catching on. "I better get going. Mark and the kids should be coming home from practice soon."
"Right. It is late," Kate agreed. "I'll call you later in the week, maybe we can grab lunch?"
"Sure. We'll be in touch," Deborah said standing up. Kate stood up, cradled Cotton in her arms and started walking Deborah to her car. "Oh, and Kate?"
"Hang in there, okay. I know it's easier said then done, but it won't be this way forever. Things are bound to change. Fate has a funny way of giving everybody what they deserve."
"Fate?! Ha! Since when do you believe in fate, Deb," Kate retorted. "This crap with Penny must really be getting to you too, if you're leaving this up to fate. Destiny! Give me a break!" Kate gently dropped Cotton to the ground and started laughing.
"See. Fate got you to laugh, didn't it," Deborah kidded.

Part Two.

Thanks b, k & g!

Kate look a deep breath as she walked up the steps to the back entrance of the house. She reluctantly put her hand on the knob and pushed the door open to the kitchen where she lingered for just a brief minute before deciding to have a glass of wine. Kate found a long stem wine glass and opened the refrigerator where a box of Franzia lay on it's side on the second shelf. Kate placed the glass under the spout and watched expectantly as the red liquid splashed against the sides before filling to just below the rim. Kate put the glass to her lips and took a long sip as she bumped the refrigerator door closed with her hip.

Kate walked out of the kitchen, through the dining room towards her room. Before going down the hallway, she noticed the woman on the rocker had fallen asleep. She went to the woman, her feet meeting cold wooden floor boards as she walked. Kate grabbed a throw from the couch and gently tucked the blanket under the woman's chin and around her shoulder. She bent over and her lips met the soft, wrinkled forehead of the woman. Kate began to smile, but from the corner of her eye, she saw Penny in the other room engaged in a very private conversation. Kate glared her eyes at the the couple sharing a secret corner, but it went unnoticed, so she continued down the hall to her room.

The wooden floor boards ended where Kate's room began. Plush, dark olive carpet blanketed the floor and enveloped Kate's feet as she stepped into her sanctuary and closed the door. Kate leaned against the door and took another sip of her wine before walking to her art corner where a water color canvas she was working on rested on an easel. Kate examined the painting as she tilted her head to one side and leaned closer and inspected every detail before she took a few steps back and shook her head. She grabbed a brush and dipped it into a bowl she used to wash off her brushes and mixed the stale, murky water, then whipped the brush over the painting to form a big X that slowly dribbled, and drooled, then finally dried, ruining a piece she had worked on for a week.

Kate felt irrational and frustrated and she didn't want to admit that it was Penny who was getting to her. Out of all her brother's and sister's Penny was her least favorite. Not because of what she was doing now, but because Penny could never be counted on. She was always finding some excuse to not step up when she was needed. On top of that, she was always trying to benefit from others misfortunes and thought of only herself, even her own husband and daughter took a backseat to her own needs. Kate didn't exactly know what Penny was conspiring at the moment, but it made her feel very uneasy in the pit of her stomach. She sat on her bed and placed her almost empty wine glass on the nightstand next to a box of cigarettes. Kate picked up the box and shook it, then flipped the lid and lit a cigarette. She sucked hard on the end of her cigarette and blew out smoke in the shape of Os. Kate fell back onto her bed and stared up at the ceiling and without wanting to, started thinking about her father and wondering if she even had a happy memory about him.

A gust of wind blew through Kate's open window and the curtains billowed in the breeze. The curtains brushed against a tall glass cabinet that rattled with the force of the wind. The contents in the cabinets shook and one by one by they started falling until the last one fell on top of a music box that popped open with a clown who started singing. Startled, Kate jump up and whipped her head around. And then she smiled. A sly, haunting smile danced across Kate's face. She sprang into action and was on her feet in no time repositioning her clown collection. Kate giggled and smiled and blissfully played with her clowns, then sat on her bed and rocked back and forth, back and forth. She did have happy memories after all. To Kate these clowns were a reminder that there was always happiness and something to laugh about in the world and so she laughed a loud guffaw that crescendoed and fell then rose again as Kate laughed and laughed and remembered all the happy things.

What Kate didn't remember was the raggedy stuffed clown on the bottom shelf was the first clown in her collection; it was also the first gift her father had given her.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

A Dimly Lit Table.
Part One.

Thanks dhammza!

They sat at a dimly lit table. He sat with his chin in the palm of his hands, resting his elbows on the plastic flower tablecloth; it was a poignant attempt at giving the place a homey feeling. He gazed at Penny with his head tilted to one side.

Penny strategically sat so the dim light just missed her face. He could only see the faint outline of her nose and chin. She wanted him to think she was happy, so she smiled, but her smile wasn't happy. It was, in a way disturbing - but he didn't know that. Penny was giving him exactly what he wanted because she was a very giving person and she knew that you only get as much as you give; so she gave and gave and gave all of herself to this man. She knew that would get her exactly what she wanted. Penny shuddered a little as he gently placed his hand on hers and slowly started fingering her gold bracelets, bracelet after bracelet, until he got to the sixth and final bracelet. When he moved his hand up her arm and started rubbing her back, Penny stiffened ever so slightly - but he couldn't feel that. She knew what he wanted so she obliged. Penny released a shrill and shook her hair back and forth so her light brown ringlets bounced and tickled the back of his hand, between his fingers.

"Do you want your Daddy to get you more soup?'
Penny softened her features as she leaned into the light, "Yes. Please. Daddy."

A Dimly Lit Table.
Part Two.

Across the room, while this was going on, three women sat - one on a rocker, one on the love seat, and one on the sofa. The TV was turned to a low volume, the sounds muffled by static as the box crackled and the picture blinked in and out; but the voices from the table in the dimly lit corner floated in between and drowned out the TV. And each syllable she articulated screeched in these women's ears - "Yes. Please. Daddy."

Then, from the table, a chair moved back, scratching against the wooden boards making the floor creak and groan. The sound of slow, mechanical footsteps mimicked the scraping of the rocker as the woman rocked back and forth. She closed her eyes, crossed her hands in her lap and began twiddling her thumbs as she heard the movements in the kitchen. Daddy was making more soup, he ladled big heaping spoonfuls into the bowl. She didn't know why, but the liquid splashing into the bowl pierced her ears so loud and the footsteps back to the table were deafening. Her body noticeably stiffened, her thumbs stopped in mid rotation as she heard - "Daddy made this especially for you."

When she opened her eyes, she saw a movement to her left. The woman on the love seat lowered her newspaper just slightly so the top half of her eyes were visible. This woman's line of sight was focused on the dimly lit table in the corner. Behind the newspaper, her eyes narrowed and squinted through the dark and made contact with the eyes at the table. It was a quick look of recognition and they both knew the other saw. In a split second one was looking down at her soup and other was looking down at her paper; a paper she immediately found uninteresting, so she turned her attention towards the TV.

The TV screen flipped through channels, channel after channel, after channel. It was being controlled by the woman on the sofa who robotically pushed the buttons on the remote. She finally paused when she heard - "I'll clean that up, you go relax on the couch, I'll be right there." The remote controller's body slightly shifted as she involuntarily whipped her head around to witness a disgusting scene; he stood over her while he held her bowl in one hand and stroked her hair with his other. Fuming, the woman on the couch snapped her head back towards the TV. Her arm shot up to the wall unit on her right and her hand expertly found a pack of cigarettes.

The woman on the love seat saw the woman on the couch reach for her smokes and slowly stood up and left the room. She passed the woman on the rocker who was still gently moving back and forth, back and forth. The conversation at the table was hushed and obviously private or the woman on the rocker might have heard the man speak with such love and admiration for the woman in the shadows. Then as she rocked herself to sleep, she had a haunting thought; he was never that way to me.

Once outside, the two women sat side by side . The street lights illuminated identical shadows on the wall. Crawling up the wall behind the woman on the right was a tin line that swayed back and forth. Between drags, she finally spoke,

"Who the hell does that witch think she is?! She doesn't even know what he put us through, God, she thinks this is all a game. I swear, one day I'm going to get out of here. I'll be long gone living the fabulous life, I'll show her. She'll get distracted by all the shiny things I'm flashing in her face and she'll blink and start kissing my ass because I will be the one that has it all."