Mr. DJ #MassTransit

Hey y’all. Today’s post is another poem from the book Mass Transit. So interesting, because I wrote this one six years before I became an actual event DJ! Check it out and buy Mass Transit on Amazon!

Mr. DJ

 

Spin. Scratch. Mix

Make their songs your own

You sit atop the nightclub

A king on his throne

 

 

Scribble. Crab. Slide

Your hand caresses the deck

Bring it back. Push it forward

We dance to the beat. A groove for every step

 

You are king of the night

A vampire scratching on his coffin

Presiding over the dance floor

Once a week if not more often

 

Drink up. Drink up.

This round is for you.

Whatever keeps you spinning

On the ones and twos

Poem: Parque Central

Here’s a poem that originally appeared in my short story and poetry collection, “By The Ounce.”

 

Parque Central

 

Forever crowded

In the immense heat

Vendors and tourists

Share the grounds

 

School children in uniform

Taxistas looking for fares

The poor, the destitute

All in the mix

 

The smell of roasted nuts

Fresh fruit and candy

Hang in the humid air

Before the rains come

 

The home to history

A central meeting place

Is all the same

Parque Central

Writing Sample: Mystic

This is a poem that originally appeared in my short story collection, “By The Ounce.” The second edition of that collection is available on Amazon. Pick up a copy, will ya?

 

Mystic

 

Miles beyond the lush forest

Lies a lake enchanted

It has been written that those who wade

Will be granted eternal youth

 

Miles beneath the earth

Sits a cave forgotten

It has been written that those who venture

Will encounter good fortune

 

Miles beyond the furthest star

Stands another world empowered

It has been written that those who survive

Will have the power to see the truth

 

Miles into the great desert

Is an even greater oasis

It has been written that those who arrive

Will be gifted the passion of a thousand suns.

 

Inches from the valley

Sleeps a mystic elderly

It has been said those who brave his stories

Will be eager to share their own

Holiday Short Story 2016!

Hello!

Every year I like to do a creative thingamabob for the holidays. It started with short stories and now it’s kind of going in the direction of an open mic. (It’s a mix you see?) It’s one of the few traditions I have here at Flobito.com. Check out some of the past entries.

2011   2012    2013    2014   2015

This is a short story I call “With Prejudice”

 

With Prejudice

 

   The wind was especially harsh this evening.

I glanced at my watch and realized I had been waiting at this park bench for almost two hours. What started off as a fun diversion turned ghastly, as the temperature felt as if it were falling by the minute.

   New York’s Central Park truly is an oasis in the concrete jungle. Even though the majestic scenery by day gives way to the unknown by nightfall, there was still a magic about literally sitting in history. Surrounded by steel and glass on three sides, I peered into the unknown on the far side of the park. It would be only a matter of time now.

   I used to be the kind of guy who loved Christmastime. As I got older, I was more likely to equate the bitter cold and long lines at shops to the holiday more than gingerbread men and Santa Claus, but I was more or less the cynical sort. Still, I waited on this park bench for someone I hadn’t met before. I suppose optimism wasn’t completely lost on me yet.

   About six months ago, my law firm corralled all of us in the room to say that we were having our best year ever. Truthfully, a lot of that had to do with me. Intellectual property wasn’t our firm’s forte, but it was mine and I was damn good at it. I took on (and won ) a whole string of cases while creating a whole new revenue stream for the firm. I was riding high, to say the least. Anyway, back to that meeting in the summer. My boss says that due to our tremendous growth, they’ll be promoting one person to partner.

   Let me tell you, had they promoted me this story would be over.

   Instead, the promoted Jensen. A cool guy surely, but I had a deep feeling in the pit of my stomach that the upgrade should have gone to me. When I pressed my boss he made an excuse that since we were a firm that “gave back” and I had no community involvement to speak of, this promotion wasn’t mine to take. Did you get all that?

   Devoting myself to nothing but my job cost me a promotion. Seriously.

   I spent the next couple of weeks looking at ways I could plug that hole. Sure I could throw money at a bunch of charities and call it a day, I instantly fell in love in an organization called the Pepper House. Named after my neighborhood in Pepper Hill Brooklyn, the charity paired “successful professionals” with at-risk youths for mentorships. I figured, how hard could it be? An hour a week for six months and boom, objectives met right?

   I was paired with a six-year-old boy named Henry. Besides the fact he reminded me of myself, I admit I quickly took a shine to him. Maybe it was because he was honest, or younger than the other kids in the program, or–like me– didn’t have his father in his life, Henry definitely turned the chore of community service into something I looked forward to doing every Saturday afternoon at 1 P.M.

   It was just this past Saturday when I took Henry shopping in on Liberty Avenue  just two days after Thanksgiving. On a day devoted to patronizing small businesses and shops, I wanted to give Henry a bit of a watered down, belated Black Friday experience, especially since his mom avoided that catastrophe like the plague. On an abnormally balmy November afternoon, we were just a couple of guys walking the strip with ice cream. It would be incredibly manly had it not been completely adorable. Anyway, after taking a bite out of my cookie dough cone, I asked him:

   “So, are you excited for Christmas?” I tried at the sort of veneered smiled single people tend to throw at children.

   “Yeah,” Henry said. “Christmas is my favorite holiday. Well, usually.”

“Oh?” I said. “Usually?”

He frowned. “This morning I told mom what I wanted for Christmas. She said she’ll try but…”

   “But?”

   “I think I made her sad.”

   I had known Henry’s mom was going through a lot, but I never quite knew what exactly. While I wasn’t one to get involved in other people’s personal matters, I can tell you this afternoon felt different. Maybe it was the holiday spirit or maybe it was the manly ice cream coursing through my veins, but I got myself involved.

   “I’m sure your mom wasn’t sad,” I said to Henry. “What did you want for Christmas, anyway?”

   His eyes lit up.

   “Oh my gosh,” he said. “There’s the brand new Silverstreek action figure with the actual working Skygear and alternative ‘Nightfall’ armor and…”

   “Hold on, hold on,” I said. “Silver what?”

   “Silverstreek!” Henry smiled. “He’s the best comic book superhero ever! And he flies, too! Skygear makes him soar!”

   It started coming together. “So you want an action figure of a superhero that actually flies?”

   He nodded enthusiastically

   “That actually sounds pretty cool,” I said. “I can get you one of those for Christmas, no problem!”

   I zipped up my jacket as I sat on that bench in the park. A peeked at my cellphone, looking for a text message or an email. Nothing. Rubbing my hands together, I silently wished I took the extra moment brought a pair of gloves. I shook the idea from my head. Being out here was my penance for keeping a promise I almost couldn’t keep. The Silverstreek action figure was apparently the “hot toy” this year. Stores have been sold out of the figure for months and I had a sinking suspicion Henry’s mother knew that. Not that it mattered now, it was my problem now. I found one online on auction site earlier tonight. Rather than risk the guy shipping the figure through the mail and hoping it arrives on time, I requested a local pick up. Central Park seemed like the best idea at the time. Hindsight is 20/20 they say, because now if I had the chance I would’ve opted for a coffee shop. Yet here I sit. Waiting for my chance to be a hero.

   I must’ve gotten lost in my thoughts because after what felt like seconds after my last memory, a burly, bearded man stood over me holding an opaque plastic shopping bag.

   “You BigKnicksFan82?” He snarled.

   I nodded as I stood. This is my guy. My version of Santa Claus looked like he would be more at home at an antique bookstore more than the North Pole, but there were more appropriate times to be judgmental, surely.

   “Yup,” I said. “CrossBronxToys?”

   He nodded.

   I dug into my pocket and pulled out a wad of cash. It was $150, our negotiated–and 500% marked up–price for the figure. Wrapped in a rubber band, I handed the wad over to him.

   “Here you go,” I said. “Let’s see it.”

   Instead, the bearded merchant stepped away.

   “On second thought,” he said. “No deal!”

   I grabbed his shoulder as soon as he decided to turn away.

   “What do you mean ‘no dead’?” I fumed. “You had me waiting for you out here for over two hours. I got a kid that’s been counting on me to score that doll for him. Man, count the money, it’s all there!”

   He smiled. “You know, I wasn’t quite sure when I arranged the meet when I saw your profile picture, but I know you.”

   Uh oh. The last thing I wanted to hear at night in Central Park is a complete stranger saying that they ‘knew’ me.

   “I had my toy shop for a couple of years,” he said. “Even taught myself how to run the business. I made a mistake and got tangled up with a bad supplier that put unlicensed merch on the shelves. Didn’t matter that it wasn’t my fault because the copyright owners hired YOU to find me guilty! Spent so much on penalties and legal fees that I had to move my whole operation online!”

   “Hey look,” I stammered. “I’m sor–”

   “Save it,” he said with a sigh. “Look, I guess I should be glad you’re not some obsessive collector and that you were getting it for a kid. So here, take the Silverstreek. Keep the money too, you probably earned it by ripping another shop like mine.”

   He handed me the shopping bag. Taking it out, it was the bona fide edition of the action figure I had been looking for. A superhero encased in plastic, smiling in all his glory.

   “Merry Christmas asshole,” he huffed as I watched him disappear into the night.

Holiday Haiku (2015 Holiday Story)

Hello!

Every year I like to do a creative thingamabob for the holidays. It started with short stories and now it’s kind of going in the direction of an open mic. (It’s a mix you see?) It’s one of the few traditions I have here at Flobito.com. Check out some of the past entries.

2011   2012    2013    2014  

Like a Hess truck, this year I’m morphing the format and trying Holiday Haiku! Take a read…

[Thanksgiving Haiku]

Celebrate Excess

Overeat. Over indulge.

Like no tomorrow.

[Christmas Haiku]

Christmastime Is Here

Bundled up and ready

Snow angels and Gifts

[New Year’s Haiku]

Few resolutions

The sun always shines brighter

When you have big dreams

Thanks for reading and check back here next year!

True Story: ‘Stretch’ Was Amazing!

This article originally appeared on Moviepilot.com.

 

true-story-stretch-was-amazing-sobig-316497

A film that seems to be forgotten when discussing director Joe Carnahan’s catalog, “Stretch” is something that I find myself defending more often than not.

true-story-stretch-was-amazing-sobig-316502

“Stretch” is about a guy (the titular character) who works in the city of Los Angeles as both a failed actor and as a limousine driver to the stars. While anyone who is an Uber driver can relate to that, “Stretch” takes a turn from the pedestrian to the insane.

With cameos by Hollywood stars like Ray Liotta and David Hasselhoff, you’re lulled into a false sense of security as to the kind of movie Stretch is supposed to be. Personally, I had seen enough “trying to make it in Hollywood” and “sarcastic main character deals with quirky people” flicks to last a lifetime, but like a sporty automobile, “Stretch” switches gears.

true-story-stretch-was-amazing-sobig-316516

At its core, the “Stretch” is really about earnestness. Whether it is about following your dreams, making sure you try your hardest with a fare to earn a massive tip or being honest in your dating life, being true to yourself is almost always the best course of action.

I raved about “Stretch” so much already, you’ll probably wonder why it is in the So Bad, Its Good (#SoBIG). category Well, let’s take a look at some of Joe Carnahan’s other films and how they were marketed:

  • NARC: Psychological cop/crime drama (and one of this author’s favorite films of all time)
  • Smokin’ Aces: Teams of assassins descend on a single target with a casino theme? Sign me up!
  • The A Team: It’s the The Freakin’-A Team!
  • The Grey: The guy from “Taken” plus WOLVES!

With “Stretch”, you’ll have a harder time explaining what it is exactly.

  • Is it an action movie? Not really but there are awesome action scenes.
  • A Mystery? Not officially, but things do raise some questions.
  • A Romantic Comedy? Not totally, but it is an important subplot and through-line.

true-story-stretch-was-amazing-sobig-316530

“Stretch” is a mash of everything, but is also none of these things. It’s a fresh idea (which could be seen as a satire of Hollywood in of itself) but it takes so long to get to its point, that it squarely puts it in a “you have to watch the whole thing to get it” territory.

true-story-stretch-was-amazing-sobig-316533

That may work for horror movies and serial dramas on TV shows but that may have been too much to ask of an audience at the time.

But to heck with “audiences,” it’s great!

Holiday Short Story 2014

It’s that time of year! Where I give a story in time for the holiday season. Check out past editions:

2011

2012

2013

This year, I’d like to try poetry. It’s still be a yuletide tale, matey… #ChristmasPirate

Courtesy http://www.france-and-beyond-photoblog.com/2010/12/paris-at-christmas-time-shopping-mall.html
Courtesy http://www.france-and-beyond-photoblog.com/2010/12/paris-at-christmas-time-shopping-mall.html

A Special Gift

Through the canyon

The canyon of people

Clusters of families

All around the promenade

Sits the jolly man himself

King of the North pole

He’s the one

The one that rules with a candied fist

Red and green lives with

Blue and White

Black and Green

Black and Green can come too

For the man with the beard

He sits between

Flanked by menorah and kinara

Alone on the throne.

For the masses believe

Believe in something else

Their eyes are locked

Locked into rectangle screens

Halloween Short Story 2014! #amwriting

Hey everyone!

It’s that time of the year! Halloween! You know, the best candy…the best costumes…the best sales the day after! I mean, how could you NOT like it? Of course, if trick or treats aren’t your thing, you can have pumpkin everything. But what’s All Hallow’s Eve without a little bit of fun? Check out a little flash fiction/short story bit I did to celebrate the holiday for 2014.

Hate Potion Number Nine

 

“I don’t think you heard me,” Marci said as she slammed her fist on the oak counter. “Do what you can to make it happen.”

Marci had taken her lunch break to head downtown on a mission. Entering a small, hole-in-the-wall watch repair shop, she sprinted towards the main counter. On the other side stood a graying, spry man in his fifties wearing a blue baseball cap with yellow stars on it. On the counter between them sat a wooden nameplate that read “Hon. Harvey Tratch, Wizard.”

“I don’t think you understand the kind of establishment I run,” Harvey said, fiddling with his cap. “I specialize in home remedies. Everything else you’ve heard is just that. Hearsay.”

“Don’t waste my time,” Marci said. “I know what goes on in here and before you ask, no I am not a cop. I need one of your potions to get me out of a jam. Am I understanding what you do, now?”

Harvey sighed. There was no used to fighting the bespectacled woman in front of him. He surmised by her dress that she worked in a conservative business field. He determined her forward nature was a product of her personality, mixed with a foolhardy adherence to regimented daily schedule. In short, time was money and he was wasting hers.

“Okay,” Harvey relented. “What do you want?”

“My assistant and I had a…well, you know,” she said. “I need to break it off with him, but he’s completely attached. If I break his heart, he’s one water-cooler conversation away from ousting me at my job. If I play along, someone will find out and I’ll still be in trouble. I need something to erase his memory.”

Harvey shook his head. “Oh, I’m sorry I can’t do that. Memories are something you just cannot alter. Anyone who says that is absolutely lying to you.”

“Well,” Marci said, tapping her heels impatiently. “What can you do for me?”

Harvey stepped away from the counter and opened a cabinet that was on the far side of the shop. The walls were littered with antiques, and he used this to pass off his business as a watch repair shop, but today he once again was dealing in the dark arts. He knew better than to still toil about in his side job, but passion always finds a way of pulling you back in to what you love. He took out a small jar about the size of a saltshaker filled with a blue liquid and returned to the counter.

“This is the best I can do,” he said. “It’s a split up spell. For it to work you have to splash it on both you and your target. I got you the blue one because the split will be amicable. The red one makes the other person hate you.”

“Great,” Marci said. “How much?”

“I’ll give it to you for free if you forget where you got it from,” Harvey said. “I’m not in that business anymore.”

 

Marci drove as fast as she could back to her office. She had about ten minutes to spare until her lunch break was over. She had to act fast. Looking out into the area populated by cubicles, she waved her assistant over. Soon her forbidden lover, tall, lanky, and sporting a gap tooth smile walked through the door.

“I need help with something,” Marci said. “Can you come over here?”

He obliged. When he got close, Marci sprinkled half of the blue potion on his shirt. She then just as quickly doused herself with the rest of the bottle. Marci instantly felt warm, as both she and he fell to their knees, quivering.

Pools of blood instantly formed around them, as patches of their skin, burst open. Their clothes were instantly soaked through, unable to dam the constant blood flow. Marci eyed the dozens of gashes all over her body, each of them getting larger by the second. As her assistant yelled for help, she tried dialing the police from the smart phone that was in her pocket. The screen, now drenched with the deep vermillion of her essence, did not recognize her touch.

“Split up spell,” Marci said, before blacking out.

 

Boooooooooooo! *takes off bed sheet* Happy Halloween everyone!

Cutting Room Floor: The Heat

Hey y’all!

Sometimes I shelve projects when I don’t feel they are where I want them to be. I usually come back to it in some form, but I have been known to cast away a project or two.

This is a poem I created for my “Mass Transit” collection called “The Heat.” It didn’t make the final cut (but so many great poems did!) so I posted it here.

 

“The Heat”

The race is on

Some call it pressure, others the game

For when the sun goes down

There can only be one

 

Millions of eyes

All looking forward

The events of the day

Fade from memory

 

The lights caresses the skin

It’s warm, unforgiving

A trial with no judge

But millions on the jury

 

A lifelong dream

Being front and center

The word on the lips

Or the lash of the tongue.

 

 

–Flobo

Free Sample: Showtime

Available in “By The Ounce And Other Tales

“Showtime”

The routine has been rehearsed

The attitude is positive

Because the ego is in check

A mile a minute

Your work is their leisure

Remember that

Success is in your mind’s eye

Failure is too

They battle for dominance

Time speeds to a crawl

The microphone is in hand

It’s show time!

Just like that it’s over

Nothing but a memory

Nothing but a dream

Free Sample: Shipwrecked

Heyoooooooo!

This entry comes from the Mass Transit Collection. Enjoy!

“Shipwrecked”

She was told the expedition was foolhardy

That could not deter

The desire to escape from her village

She set off a course

With no exact return date

To see the world

And everything in it

She wasn’t alone for long

Meeting many with a similar drive

Some sort of treasure

Some sort of prize

It was their common ground

They ventured west

A new life beyond the horizon

The days became months

As confidence started to falter

Most yearned to return home

Only some had to courage to do so

She could not retreat

Her home was an enclave to the rest of the world

She pressed on

She lives now in a land far away

The cause temporary

Her life is not the one she pictured

But it is better than some

It is better than none

The sense of adventure will return again

Though harder to extract in old age.

Lazy Saturdays: A Poem

Lazy Saturdays

The sun shines brighter

Through the blinds

Time to rise, at your pace of course.

For work today is domestic

Casual Dress required

All day. On your time and dime.

Friends or Family. It’s a choice

Perhaps both if you’re lucky

Unwind. Recharge.

Quicker than the rest it’s gone

To return twice a fortnight

Remember to savor. Enjoy.

Free Sample: Manhattanhenge

Hey everyone, Flobo here!

Today I want to share with you an excerpt from one of favorite short stories that I’ve ever wrote entitled “Manhattanhenge.” Named after the actual phenomenon, Manhattanhenge or  Manhattan Solstice occurs four times a year (twice at dawn, twice at dusk) when the sun sets directly in the center of the East-West NYC streets.

This past week I’ve been exceptionally homesick (it returns to me like an old football injury), and seeing pictures of Manhattanhenge doesn’t really help the situation. Observe:

From http://cestlavieannie.wordpress.com/
From cestlavieannie.wordpress.com/

Ooooh, so cosmopolitan.

Anyway, “Manhattanhenge” is the story about a disturbed man who plans to commit suicide on the same day of the event. Originally two separate stories (with laughable titles “NYC” and “Suicide Day”), “Manhattanhenge was more or less a modern retelling of the O. Henry story “The Cop And The Anthem.”  This, and many other stories appear in my second collection, “Mass Transit.” Enjoy.

Manhattanhenge

Detective Christine Knight was glad she skipped her morning coffee when she arrived to the small boat that was docked in the East River. The smell of rotting flesh always seemed to turn her stomach, even though as a homicide detective she encountered the smell of death on a near daily basis.

The surrounding police cruisers, parked a few hundred feet from the dock, were lighting up the early morning skies with a coating of red and blue lights. Ducking underneath the crime scene tape, she took out her notepad and scribbled down some notes of the general location of the crime scene and the victim: A man in his mid fifties.

Knight walked closer to the boat, a small vessel just big enough to carry two—maybe three individuals, and looked over to the man. He was still, his body was bloated and his skin was pale. Even though the decomposition, Knighted noted that he lay in the boat in an unorthodox position. His body was contorted in the prone position, a sign of a struggle perhaps. Shaking her head, she jotted down her findings in her notebook. Knight was never fond of paperwork, but good paperwork builds airtight cases, and the families of  victims definitely deserved that.

Knight stopped writing when she felt the presence of Miguel Nieves, her partner, walk up beside her.

“You’re late. Again,” Knight said, not looking up from her notepad.

“Damn,” Nieves said. “That guy has seen better days. Jesus. But never mind that, how’d you know it was me?”

Knight looked up Nieves to shoot him a dirty look, but when she did she saw that he was holding a small gift box, wrapped with ribbon an in a bow.

“Call it magic,” she said standing up. “What you got there?”

“Ah,” Nieves said. “It’s the reason I’m late.  I was going to give it to you when we got back to the station, but I figure if I didn’t show you know, you would chew me out for being late. It’s a gift for you.”

“What’s the occasion?”

“Well, It’s our three year anniversary for one, but I don’t expect you to remember that. You forget every year,” he said opening the box. “It’s a pair of tinted binoculars.  Happy Manhattanhenge.”

“I don’t follow,” Knight said.

“It’s only twice a year that the sun in the sky sets parallel along the city streets that run east to west. They call it Manhattanhenge, and tonight is of those nights. With these binoculars, you won’t have to go blind looking at the sunset. It is your favorite time of day, no?”

“Thanks,” Knight said. “You can put that in the cruiser. I got a body here that I’m going to need help rolling over to check for identification.”

“And I take it by help, you want me to do it?” Nieves asked.

“See, I don’t care what anyone else says about you,” Knight smiled. “I think you’re a hell of a guy.”

“What do we got?” Nieves asked.

“Let’s see,” Knight said. “Male mid-fifties possibly in average health. Judging about how he’s bloated, I would say he was here for least a couple of days. Puncture wounds by his neck suggest he was stabbed.”

After donning a pair of gloves, Nieves helped Knighted turn the body over, keeping careful not to make any sudden movements. A jerk in the wrong direction, could cause the victim’s flesh to burst, it debris compromising every bit of the crime scene. When Nieves saw the face of the victim, he stopped, his mouth agape.

“Check this out,” he said.

Knight looked over to see that the man’s cheeks had been slit, parallel to the lips, traveling from ear to ear. Coagulated blood lined the scar, and flaked off when the scar open wide, revealing the dead man’s jawbone.

“Jesus,” Knight said. “This guy must have had one hell of an enemy.”

“You bet,” Nieves said. “Some folks call it a Glasgow Smile, and others the Cheshire Grin.  I heard work like this was making a comeback, but usually the victims are half this guy’s age.”

“You’re thinking gangland hit?” Knight asked.

“Doubt it,” Nieves said.  “The docks are usually organized crime territory, not hoodlums vying for turf.

Knight pulled out a wallet from the victim’s pant leg and began rummaging around the various compartments. Tossing a few credit cards aside, she stopped when she came across the man’s driver’s license.

“Calvin Gerrard,” Knight said handing it over to Nieves. “Age fifty-three, Washington D.C.”

“Oh man,” Nieves said. “You know this guy has had a hard life.”

“What makes you say that?”

“He’s from Washington D.C. The nation’s capital. Everybody knows from London, to France, to Tokyo that living in the capital city is usually the most inhospitable part of the country.”

“You got anything to back that up?” Knight asked.

“Personal research,” Nieves said.

“Speaking of,” Knight said.  “You can run his address with D.C. Police to see if he’s in their records. Maybe they’ll have some insight as to why a man dies two hundred and fifty miles from where he lives.”

[To Be Continued]

Thanks for reading!

–Flobo

Rejected Contest Entry: Colors Of My Soul

“To write is to rewrite.” Or is it, “to write is to get rejected.”

Hey everyone, Flobo here! This week, I would like to share with you a flash fiction story (500 words or less) that I entered into the “Colors Of My Soul” contest. The rules of the contest were simple: They would give you an image (in this case, fireworks) and you write something that is inspired by the image. The deadline was the beginning of July, so I assume it was by design to coincide with the July 4th holiday. My entry didn’t win (hell, it didn’t even place) but I’m taking my “defeat” n stride by posting it here. Rejection is part of the game, dear fellow creator.

NOTE: Not actual prompt.
NOTE: Not actual prompt.

“Open Road”

I told my parents that I would never see them again, and for the first three days I believed it. Indeed, I had always planned on venturing out on my own for a while but even I couldn’t foresee how abrupt the severance between the two of them and I would be.

I moved the belongings from my small bedroom into an old El Camino my grandfather willed to me and hit the road. I had no idea where I was going to go, but since I lived just a few short miles from the Atlantic it was only right that I head out west. The asphalt arteries of the country were long, lonely, and at sometimes dangerous but I pressed on unsure of my next meal, let alone my future.

I found myself on a lonely highway in the American Southwest one day around sundown. I pulled over to the first motel I saw after reading a sign saying that the next rest stop was about two hundred miles further out. After checking in and dumping a change of clothes in the room, I went looking for something to eat in an area that was a few people short of a ghost town.  My irreverent search for tumbleweeds proved futile.

I came across a diner on the other side of the highway that was still open.  I got within an arm’s reach of the front door when I heard a loud bang come from behind the modest-sized greasy spoon establishment. Rounding a corner I saw a girl about my age lighting an assortment of bottle rockets into the newly christened night sky.

“Hey” I cried out. “What are you doing?”

“What does it look like I’m doing?” she snapped back with a tone that matched her tomboyish appearance.

“Can I try?”

“I only share with family,” she said. “And you ain’t family.”

I should have turned around and feed my already rumbling stomach. Against my better judgment, I walked over to her realizing that this had already become the longest conversation I’ve had with anyone in days.

“Are you new in town?” She said, putting a lighter towards a large roman candle firecracker.

“Maybe,” I said. “I’m kind of drifting these days.”

“Here hold this.”

She put the lit candle in my hand. Without so much as a second to react, wave after wave of colors shot of its cylindrical tube. It was a fountain of light; showering the dusty desert floor with sparks.

“Whoa,” I said, failing to hold in my amazement.

“If you’re a drifter,” she said. “I take it you don’t have a family. And if you ain’t got one of those, then I volunteer. One drifter to another.”

The next morning I checked out of the hotel and filled up the El Camino at a nearby service station. Before checking my things to see everything was in order, I made sure to make some room on the passenger’s seat.

THE END

 

What would YOU do with 500 words?

Free Sample: High Desert Run

Hey there!

 

It’s time for another Free Sample. This is where I shamelessly offer a piece of my work in the hopes you buy it….er…enjoy it enough to share it with friends!

 

This entry comes from my novel “High Desert Run: A Neo Western” and it’s a good one (Read more about it HERE).

 

High Desert Run
Get the debut novel from Yours Truly

 

High Desert Run

 

I got to the tavern a little after ten in the evening. The only one like it as far as I can see, it seemed as if the tavern was the nightlife in the town. Stepping through the doors, I tried taking in the entire room at once. About two-dozen townspeople were congregating over bottles of beer and games of pool. Televisions that hung over the wooden bar had the local game on; its volume competing with the sounds of alternative country music pulsating out of the jukebox. I took a seat at an empty stool at the bar, trying to blend in. The others in my vicinity, blue-collared men and women over the age of thirty, most likely gave me a once over, before ultimately realizing I wasn’t a threat. Before long, everyone went back to minding their beers and conversations.

Assimilation complete.

An attractive woman in her mid-twenties sporting an apron emerged from the small dance floor area with a server platter. She slid behind the bar and freshened up a couple of drinks before calling for new orders. She was friendly, but no more than necessary. She would occasionally flash a smile to a patron, perhaps for no other reason than to secure her gratuity for the evening, but as soon as the smirk was on her face it would fade away, like a shooting star in the sky.

By now she must have noticed me looking at her, as she walked over to my side of the bar, without the smile. I suppose it was for the regulars only.

“What can I get you?”

“A beer and a menu,” I said suffering from another hunger cramp.

“What kind of beer?”

“Whatever is your most popular.”

“Got it,” she said.  “We don’t got menus so what do you want?”

“What do you have?”

“Whatever you want.”

“Burger and fries,” I said, fighting back the urge to say something that wasn’t too peculiar.

“Got it,” and just like that she disappeared from the bar and went into the kitchen.

The game on the television seemed to have ended, as a big portion of the crowd closed their tabs and started to file out of the door. The televisions turned off, and an ambient light that was hung from the ceiling was turned on. A couple of the dozen or so people that were left took their conversations to the dance floor. Part sports bar and part nightclub. Classy. The place was more a public utility than a bar. I wouldn’t be surprised if town hall meetings were held here over drinks. From my experience, drinks almost make any meeting smoother.

The waitress returned with a rather large plate that held my mountain of fries and a landmass of a cheeseburger. I wondered how many cows died for my culinary sins, but I was so hungry I tore into it without any hesitation. Out of the corner of my eye I could tell that the waitress was still hovering over me, no doubt disgusted I was eating my cheeseburger like some sort of a savage.

“Hey,” she said. “I said, hey. Do you need anything else?”

“Uh,” I said, swallowing my kill. “Your next drink is on me.”

“Why?”

“Because I don’t accept things from strangers,” I said, watching her crack a smile.

So that’s what a genuine smile from her looks like.

“Right,” I said with a nod. “Jethro Nabers, but everyone calls me Jett.”

“Everyone calls you Jett, huh?”

“Yup.”

“What does your mother call you?”

“Jethro,” I said defeated.

“Figured,” she said. “The name is Daisy. I would shake your hand but they look busy at the moment.”

“Right,” I said, looking at my ketchup stained fingers. “Accept that drink as my handshake.”

“I take it that you’re not from around here,” she said.

“Is it that obvious?” I said. “It’s a long story.”

“Well, I’ll tell you what,” she said. “I got to handle something in the back real quick and when I come back, you can tell me all about your long story.”

“Sounds like a plan,” I said stuffing another French fry into my gullet. I watched her sway her hips as she walked to the back room with gusto. I have to admit that ordering her a drink was pretty smooth. Unprecedented smooth. Well, as smooth as I can be with food bits hanging off the side of my mouth. Baby steps Jett, baby steps.

 

 

“So what brings you to Silverside?” Daisy asked while she sat on a free barstool next to mine.

By this time I noticed two other men, clad with aprons around their waist, appearing from behind the bar. I speculated she was now off the clock and ready for that drink I promised her. She called for a pint of beer, and took a cautious sip of the glass when it arrived, making sure not to spill a drop. There is a great piece in my heart reserved for a woman that can enjoy a beer; they are quite the dying breed.

“I didn’t know this place existed up until a couple of hours ago,” I said.

“Let me take a wild guess then,” she said. “You were heading to Vegas?”

“Well, yeah…”

“Everyone who isn’t from here is usually on their way to Vegas when they end up in Silverside, even the transplants,” she said while taking another sip of her beer. “But something tells me you don’t have any plans of moving here.”

“Right,” I said, deciding against being rude and agreeing with her. “So I’m on my way to Vegas…”

“To gamble?”

“No, not exactly.”

“To relax at an overpriced spa?”

“I wish, but no.”

“To rendezvous with one of the thousands of women of the night?”

“Oh God no,” I said. “How could I have just one?”

“I can drink to that,” she said raising her glass.

“Well you see,” I started. “I’m in marketing. A special kind of marketing, it’s called ‘Brand Integrity’”.

“Brand Integrity?” she asked wide-eyed.

“Yeah sure,” I said. “You know how in high school there are the cool kids and the not so cool kids? Well, every industry is like a high school and my team and I give advice to the not so cool kids so they could be the cool kids.”

I could tell that I was boring her to tears so I decided to take the conversation in another direction. Some call it a gift and others a curse, but I have this uncanny ability to tell when a woman is losing interest in me.

“Long story short,” I said. “I was meeting with a client that actually operates out of Vegas. My car hit a rough patch in the road and blew out a couple of tires and here I am.”

“Why didn’t you fly?”

“My boss is a cheap ass, and planes aren’t really my thing,” I said.

She let another smile rise to the surface as she took another swig of her beer. Her lips were soft, delicate, even.

“So you’re stuck here until tomorrow,” she said.

“Well that’s just it,” I said. “The mechanic in town said he can’t get new tires until Monday, so I’m stuck here until then.”

“Was it the older guy with a gut?”

“Yeah,” I said. “What, is he a jerk?”

“He’s my dad,” she said, batting her eyelashes.

Of course, everyone is related here. I’ve should have known.

“Oh,” I said. “I didn’t know.”

“Think nothing of it,” she said. “My dad isn’t really the most liked guy in town.”

“He seems to be doing well for himself, what with running the shop and the inn in town.”

“He used to run the tavern too,” she said. “I just bought the place from him a couple of months ago. Turned it around myself.”

“It most certainly looks like it’s the place to be,” I said.

“Yeah,” she said. “Something like that.”

The ambient music changed to a very warm Latin rock number. Some of the more bashful couples returned to their seats from the dance floor. My beer was as good as done and Daisy’s was almost finished as well.

“Hey,” I said. “Do you dance? More like, do you want to dance? You know, with me?”

“I don’t think that’s such a good idea,” she said eyeing an empty patch on the dance floor. “I don’t know how to dance.”

“Neither do I.”

“In that case, “she said. “I guess I’ll lead.”

She stood up from her seat and headed for the hardwood floor that was in the center of the tavern with me just a couple of steps behind. Admittedly, I spent the majority of the trek admiring her figure. The way she moved, the way carried herself, the way she was so beautiful but didn’t go out of her way to rub it in my face was a bit intriguing. Before long we were in the center of the dance floor and sure to her status as the bartender and proprietor, we were the center of attention.

As the upbeat sounds of the electric guitar seeped out from the speakers, she grabbed my hands and placed them on her waist. I did my best to show some restraint, but when she took a step towards me, there wasn’t much restraint left.

She rocked her hips back and forth, her feet and arms swaying in time to the beat. I came to realize that she was being coy earlier, as her dancing was a work of art. I did my best to keep up, and after a few shaky moves, I kept in time with her. We were in rhythm, our bodies moving as one as our eyes locked on to each other.