Don't Think, Just Write

A Man's Journey

Archive for the month “April, 2014”

Spring

The sun is down and the sky to the West is awash in hues of pink, cobalt, vibrant blue, and four shades of gray. The warmth of the day is pushed aside by cool air.

“Two more, dad.”

“Two more. It’s getting cold.”

I throw him two more pop-ups and he catches both, basket style. It’s not how you’re supposed to catch pop-ups but I let it go. He’ll learn. Time. Catching a baseball will become instinctive for him this summer. Which way to hold the glove when the ball approaches above the waist, or below. It clicked for his older sister two years ago and I was filled with joy, joy that only a baseball lover would appreciate.

“One more.” He’d play all night if I let him.

The street lights are on. I hear the distant laugh of kids. The hum of yard equipment. Someone is getting a jump on summer.

It’s the simplest of things. Playing catch, or riding bikes, or pulling them in a wagon, the wheels clicking on the joints of the sidewalk.

It’s the cumulation of simple things that make a life. 

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Candy

It started like any other. Usually the timing isn’t perfect but this time it was. In hindsight, it was all a mistake.

We made love on a cold March morning, after coffee. The grainy television in my room ran the stock ticker below the perfect head of a jabbering expert. He knew the economy. Money. His hair was dark and well kept. Below me was perfection.

She was a friend’s wife until he found the the wrong brand of cigarette in her car ashtray and the wrong scent on her body. He put a shine on her left eye, then she called me.

We talked for hours on end about her marriage. Me sipping the whiskey that she brought. This went on almost nightly for weeks. She told me she had an account at Maxwell’s Liquor but I suspected she was doing more for Jake Maxwell than buying booze. He’d earned it. He was young and lean and talked the talk to the young wives that walked through the front door of the store that he inherited from his father. His father was a noted cock hound so it stands to reason a bottle of booze could be had from Jake for the right back room services.

Her name was Candy. Her birth name was Georgeann but that was a mouthful for her father and he never said it again after signing the birth certificate. Her mother followed his lead. She wasn’t hugged, or loved, and her decisions in early on were like bandaids on that huge scar. It did little to hide the pain. She had Gracie at 16, Max Jr. at 18, and miscarried two more before a doctor suggested her tubes be tied.

The night she called me that first time, the night Max Sr. dotted her eye with 16 year old Gracie watching from the couch, barely looking up from an incoming text, she came to my apartment. Her eye was swollen and already turning black, but you could still see the beauty. That was the thing about Candy, she was striking. She ballooned to 220 pounds after Max was born but got a grip on her emotions, and a handle on her drinking and pretty soon, she was 145 with the curve in her hips we expect of a woman her age.

She could have been a model. Her father took her to an agency when she was 15 and signed a contract with a man in a fancy suit and a lot of gold on his fingers. The man tried to fuck her in his basement a week later. Her father didn’t believe her until, from her coat pocket, she produced her torn panties.

She was pretty, no, beautiful. But badly broken inside. The kids were fine. Gracie, despite her eyes and thumbs glued to her phone, did good in school and to the best of Candy’s knowledge, still resisted the advances of boys. Max Jr. did his thing. He was 14 and had an eye toward the military. He wanted to learn a trade. Maybe become a cop or a mechanic, either way, he had a focus that surprised both is mom and dad.

On that first night, after a teary apology for calling me and along with the black eye, Candy brought a bottle. We sat on my sunken couch and poured the whiskey into water glasses.

“I can’t go back there, Ted.”

“You can stay here.” I poured another inch into her glass.

“We can’t do anything you know.”

“Of course not.” I never did well with having females as friends. Sex always got in the way. Candy knew this. She’d heard, through Max, about many of the failed relationships.

“I’ll sleep out here.” Candy looked around my dark apartment.

It was the third one I’d rented since the 2500 square foot home I owned was taken by the bank. I rented a room above a Chinese take out place for 6 months until I couldn’t take the mice anymore. Then there was the one bedroom apartment I sub-leased from a friend after he met his “soulmate”. He took the place back 3 months later when his soulmate found a new soulmate and needed him to leave. Then I came here. Two bedrooms, a small deck overlooking a pond with a fountain that a flock of geese now called home. Each move was a move up and I was proud it. I found a new job, paid my back child support, and recently got a letter from the 4th district court infoming me that the last of 3 warrants had been lifted. Things were looking up.

“Are you tired?” I moved her hair away from the eye for a closer look.

“I’ve been tired for 18 years.” She lowered her eyes and turned her head away from me. She had on jeans and a tight t-shirt that her boobs looked great in.

“Tell me more.” I got up and twisted the cubes an ice tray I took from the freezer. I dropped two cubes in my glass and carried two more back to the living room. As I approached, she drained her glass and held it out to me. I dropped the cubes in, she filled mine, then her’s, and then told me what happened.

“He’s tired of me. It’s really that simple. I don’t excite him anymore. Did I tell you about that whore I saw him talking to?”

“You did.”

“I don’t know if he was fucking her but it sure looked cozy.” She had told me the story a few month previous. After a day of work, Max’s car wouldn’t start and Candy was summoned to pick him up. That’s when she saw him smiling like she hadn’t seen in years. The girl was young and wore a skirt two sizes too small for her thick thighs. Max said she was a friend. Candy asked if he treated his female friends like I treated mine.

“He told me she was just a friend.”  I shrugged, then sipped more whiskey. The bottle was close to empty now.

“He’s a fucking liar. One night after working overtime he turned down a blowjob, and you know Max, he never turns down a blowjob. I know he fucked her that day. I could see it  in his lying eyes.” She looked me in the eye then, reading my expression. I knew all about Amber. Max had a weakness for legs which Amber had plenty of and liked to show. He never told me fucked her, but he said enough to make me believe he was trying.

“He never said anything about her.” I sipped again.

“Ahh, fuck. It doesn’t matter anyway. She was just one of the many. Who cares. These sluts.” The whiskey was working on Candy now.

“Why did he hit you?”

“I had a drink with my girl friend. She smokes reds and Max thinks only guys smoke reds. Then he accused me of smelling like a different man. Such an asshole.”

“Do you want to lie down?” I asked.

“Yeah,” she paused and traced her finger tips around her eye. “Will you lay with me for a minute?”

“Of course.” I filled my glass then got comfortable against a matted pillow. Candy drained her drink and put her head on my chest. I held my drink in one hand and ran the fingers of my other hand through her hair.

“No funny business.” She said. I could tell she was teasing me.

The ice had melted in my glass.

My First Flash Fiction Challenge. Please Vote.

Last week I stumbled upon Indies Unlimited Flash Fiction Challenge and decided it would be a good exercise for me. For a long time I’ve maintained that my writing is for me. I share a little bit here but I’ve never challenged myself like this before. Put my writing out there. But I need to, even if it is only 250 words. It’s a start.

On Saturday Indies Unlimited released a picture and a writing prompt that is to inspire your 250 word flash fiction. When I saw the picture of Winter Ghost I had no idea what I would write.

image

Almost all of my writing is about relationships, not about nature, but after thinking about Winter Ghost, and sipping 3-4 glasses of bourbon, ok, make that 5-7 glasses, I came up with an idea.

My entry is in the comments section below the writing prompt along with six other entries. Give them a read, and then vote here The Flash Fiction Vote Is On.

Then come back here and leave a comment. I love hearing what worked and what didn’t.

Photo credit to K.S. Brooks of Indies Unlimited.

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