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Ssssmokin’ (flash fiction/short story)

[THIS was originally written as a flash fiction piece. However, I liked it so much, I kept writing. It is now Chapter 1 of “The Book of Carver.” I’ll be editing and adding to “The Book of Carver” along the way. Feel free to check back for developments.]

Carver woke up with his nose crunched down on the cold damp sidewalk. He turned his head, and pried open his swollen, blood-crusted eyes that tried to focus on the partially dissolved cigar next to his face. It never did come into view very well. As he began to tense his body, hoping he had the strength to get up, he felt a stream of hot, wet liquid splashing onto the back of his head, stinging the many cuts and abrasions on his face that he didn’t know he had until now. Each one stinging sharply, and the waft of a putrid stench began filling his nose. Someone was pissing on his head, he realized. He threw his hands beneath him, to thrust his body upwards in one herculean push-up, but just as quickly, the sound of metal cracking on bone reverberated in his head, followed by a ferocious pain that almost made him vomit, and the force of a large booted foot came down on his head and squashed his nose back into the sidewalk like a bug, breaking it with a loud crunch. The taste of blood seeped into his mouth, and he coughed a bit before he could angle his head into a position where he could catch steady breaths, gasping through his mouth.

Just as suddenly, he heard the footsteps of the booted man walking off into the distance. Carver pried his eyes open once more, and tilted his head forward. There he saw a pair of sexy 3-inch black and white Patton leather heels, arranged in a ballet stance of third position, topped with long slender creamy legs that seemed to go on forever. He didn’t have the strength to look up any farther before a pack of smokes and a book of slightly used
matches were tossed in front of him. Then, those shiny heels and dreamy legs clicked away, completely out of view.

Again, Carver, placed his hands beneath him, and he curled his legs to the side. He sat up and took in the view. He was right below the front steps of his own apartment building. He tapped his pocket to see if he still had his wallet, and it was there. He opened it to find everything in place, including $400 in cash.

Carver snorted in a repulsive mess of piss, mucus and blood, attempting to breathe from his cracked nose, but that didn’t work. He reached over for the cigarettes and match book, and slid a cigarette into his mouth, sitting up a little straighter. He examined the matchbook—it was from a local tango club that he frequents. And, suddenly, he remembered those shoes, and the legs that went on forever. He remembers asking this exotic Argentinian lady for a smoke, and her eyes fluttering at him through her sultry smile. He tried to remember more, but it all came up blank. Like he had his head caved in by a falling concrete wall, and he wasn’t too certain that didn’t actually happen.

Carver flicked open the matchbook, and saw black letters inscribed that read, “Smoking can be hazardous to your health.” A smile drew across his face as he lifted his brutalized body inside to his apartment. “Not nearly as hazardous as long-legged Argentinian women,” he thought to himself.

steps

 

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The Muse: a Florida winter at the beach

In the dead of a Florida winter springs the slightest crisp breeze wafting in off the calm rolling shoreline. The air horn-like blasts of the seagulls’ cries linger in the air as tourists and their ever-present snacks have abandoned them to huddle a little more inland to escape the chilled climate waiting for the dew to evaporate along with the sun’s good morning welcome. Like a drying ice bucket, the environment warms gently by noon.  And the seagulls commence with glee to their hoodlum activity, accosting and mugging their seashore victims as if it were summer. Protect those roasted hot dogs with your life! And the three-year-old in the flowered bonnet has been violated at once by the white and gray feather creature she once thought of as a friend. He bullied her out of her lunch, and tears have begun staining her cheeks. Soon after, she plops to the ground, to the damp sand beneath her feet, pouring her new-found loss and disappointment into her work—a remedy for heartbreak she will find solace in throughout her lifetime, I suspect—and constructs a majestic castle, complete with sand-dripped towers and a deep saline filled mote. Her parents beam at the perfection in the symmetry of her construct. Little do they know of the recent betrayal and the pain of a lost friend that served as her muse.

The Muse

 

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Tick Tock

And so the sparrow
follows a zephyr
supporting her
feathered wings
and landing on a
stone in the midst
of a rolling stream
where grassy banks
color the world green
and effortless is this
time that she knows
only as limitless

 
 

How the hell do I find stuff here?

Hi! Please look to the top and on the right sidebar for categories that might interest you. This is the very best way to read this blog. Click on any category, and read anything you like and please comment on everything! I love to interact. You don’t need to be nice, profound, eloquent or anything in particular. Just be you. Come on in barefoot, even naked or wrapped in a towel if you are so inclined. I don’t mind. It’s a friendly come as you are kinda place!

If you would like to add some of your own work on this site, just contact me, and we’ll see what we can work out if it’s a good fit. You can find me at: dts.streetmedia@gmail.com

Meanwhile, happy trails to you!  –Daphne

I’m just merely obsessed with words–the strange alignment of symbols that string together serving as a magic oracle communicating enlightened, humorous, banal, dreadful and depraved thoughts. And all combinations therein. –Daphne Taylor Street

Just 1 Monkey

 
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Posted by on November 9, 2011 in PROSE: Be that as it may

 

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(NaNoWriMo) About the process

Hi! So earlier I posted the prologue and Chapter 1 to this creation, which are mostly complete. But, as is my writing process, I write in “mindwanderings” to help keep things flowing. So, the following few chapters I just posted are incomplete (with funky formatting). And they may stay that way for some time. Meanwhile, I tried to provide some content to help me (and you) figure out where I was headed with the chapters. This keeps me on track with the story in my head, and it might help you if you chose to read these incomplete writings. Edits will be made along the way, and it will be difficult to track if you are so inclined. I guess, just look for the removal of “[incomplete]” notations to see final versions of chapters in the future.  Thanks for following along on my journey and meeting my imaginary friends. We are all going out to lunch now, but we’ll return to continue the adventure! I always appreciate the company and the comments…  Happy trails  –Daphne

 
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Posted by on November 9, 2011 in FICTION: Novel (NaNoWriMo)

 

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(NaNoWriMo) Chapter 4 [incomplete]

St. Petersburg,
Florida 2008

 

[Veronica returns home, returning to the warmth of her best friend Jimmy’s side. She tells him what has happened. He wants to help, and he arranges for her to meet a very peculiar fellow—a treasure hunter with an even more peculiar collection of skulls. He gives her some insight on the problem she’s trying to solve and an added complication more dangerous and mysterious than he’s able to explain. She must experience it.]

 

After landing, Veronica makes her way through Tampa
International Airport floating on some surreal reckless cloud, surrounded by
ethereal insects scurrying about. All of magnificent unimportance, she brushes them
away, ensuring all possibilities of unsolicited human interaction are squashed.
From vendors and hustlers to self-absorbed families and business mates
traveling in pods, clogging up pedestrian traffic flow, she aggressively stomps
through the mindless piles of ants. She crashes down from high above at baggage
claim, acquiring a single garment bag and bounces out the front doors with a single
goal: to commission a cab and head back home. Once through the airport doors,
the humid Florida summer night air fills her lungs with thick steam and clings
to her skin as a hot, wet blanket. She takes in the familiar deep, liquid
breaths and begins to feel her native Floridian gills reanimate. Searching the
scene before her for a cab, nothing, not one to be found. She approaches a
baggage check attendant appearing as a mime—animated and silent. All at once,
she erupts into voluminous speech. Spending the past 12 hours in self-imposed
muted silence, she finds she can’t shut up. Words just start billowing with no
particular order or purpose, out beyond her lips. She can even see the medley
of letters spilling in front of her—bursting consonants mixed haphazardly with
flowing vowels, but she can’t stop them from coming. She’s talking so much and
so fast, such nonsense, she’s frightened.
The circuitry in her brain has surely shorted out, and her sanity is
compromised. The baggage check attendant stares at her, horrified by the
oddity, fearing she might suddenly turn crazed and dangerous. The attendant’s
sweaty hand is gripping the black desk phone. She’s about to alert security.

 

Suddenly, Veronica feels a hand at her back and
simultaneously feels a rage boil in her gut. A violation of personal space, a
rape of her darkened aura, hyper-sensitive and desperately vulnerable, her
fingers grow to talons ready to attack. Veronica swung around and froze.
Melting just as suddenly at the sight before her, her best friend with a
leather overnight bag flung over his shoulder, right at her side. He pecks her
on the cheek and smiles warmly.

 

“Hi, Love. I heard you from inside. You want a ride?”
Jimmy said.

 

She melts into his arms, silenced again, at peace with a
quiet mind. She smiles up at him, while he slides her to one side of his
shoulder, holding her close, he brings her back inside the airport, then up to
the parking garage and into his Honda Element, still smelling faintly of moldy
SCUBA gear. Unpleasant but familiar, the scent sooths her further, and she
settles inside. No words were spoken between them. None were needed. Best
friends. They know what the other is thinking whether together or continents
apart. They know. Everything is finally okay. Tonight, it is all okay.

 

About 15 minutes into the 40 minute drive, Jimmy, a
little uncomfortable breaks the comfortable silence saying, “You want to bunk
with me tonight or stay at the Surf’s Inn?” She didn’t answer right away, but the
timing was actually crucial. He needed to know which exit to take off of the
interstate.

 

“You have gin?” she asks.

 

“Tanqueray 10 with tonic, ice and a few fresh limes,” he
replies.

 

“Your place,” she says, and then snuggles into her seat
resting her eyes. She has no intention of drinking tonight, and he knows it
too. It was a trick question, she already knew the answer—he always keeps a
bottle around just for her, in case one day she’ll be in town, and he can serve
her favorite drink. They both smile, though not facing each other, just glad
that they’ll be spending time together, sharing the same roof, waking to each
other’s smile. No matter if they’re spending time silent, battling over some
inconsequential disagreement or laughing uncontrollably and sharing intimate
thoughts. Together they’re happy. Together, they are reminded what love looks
like. And its face looks like them.

 
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Posted by on November 9, 2011 in FICTION: Novel (NaNoWriMo)

 

(NaNoWriMo) Chapter 3 [incomplete]

Argentina, 2008

 

[Veronica flies to Argentina to attend her father’s memorial service only to learn that her father is very much alive and is in hiding due to discovering lost pirate treasure that he claims truly belongs to their family as evidenced by the full provenance of the treasure being traced back through the family’s lineage.

 Intrigue conjured by American and Spanish governments, a powerful family attempting to recover a
priceless painting once stolen from their family by the Nazis and Wikileaks bringing attention to the whole sordid mess to the press and therefore the people.

Veronica meets her father in an exclusive restaurant in Argentina after more than 6 years of silence induced by both of them followed by him faking his death and leaving her in grave danger upon the reading of his original will. As for the will he wrote prior to faking his death that would have protected Veronica, his attorney actually did die, and that new will has gone missing.]

 

Thomas Cervantes takes a slow sip of rum and sets down
his icy glass, turning it slowly in his hands, hearing the ice cubes clink
together. He leans into Veronica, saying in a heavy Spanish accent, “I am a
liar, Veronica. You know that about me. I am also a loyalist. You know that,
too. My loyalty and love for you is immeasurable and permanent. Therefore,
logic dictates that I am far more likely to lie for you than to lie to you.” He
pauses, examining her, then continues, “Doing anything that would harm you, such
as lying to you pains me,” he says, clutching his neatly pressed, blue and
white striped shirt. “Of course I have lied to you many, many times. Remember,
I am a liar. But, lying to you, it hurt me while lying to others, this is very easy.
And for you to have any type of relationship with me, you are forced to accept this
about me.”

 

Thomas pauses again, studying her face. He is feeling
uneasy, much like wearing someone else’s clothes. He’s staring right at her,
but he’s still unsure of how Veronica is accepting his words. He prides himself
on reading people well and instantly, but she has always been his greatest
enigma. An enigma that draws him in—a complex puzzle he so desperately wishes
to solve. He steadies his gaze upon her as her eyes cast downward. He continues,
“Your head is down. You are disappointed or worse by my words? Call me weak of
character or any other insults as you choose. However, what you will eventually
come to realize—maybe over the course of a long life—is that I am no weaker than
any other. I am just more self-aware of my motivations and operate by a set of
simple rules that benefit me and tend to benefit those I love. I know every lie
and every deception I’ve cast, and I am responsible for each. Most others
operate blind to their true character and motivations and therefore excuse
themselves from responsibility. Their logic is fuzzy and fueled by arbitrary emotions
ebbing with moods, fears, experiences and desires.”

 

A waiter appears and silently serves their meals, which
go untouched. Thomas pushes his plate aside and says, “You know, Veronica, they
lie too, all those self-riteous fools who look down on others. The difference
is that they all wrap their lies around convenient rationalizations to avoid
self-blame, to avoid having to look at themselves clearly in the mirror and
seeing something ugly. They say their lies are merely contradictions or a
change in direction—still lies. And in some dark part of themselves, they know
it, and they hide from it. I’ll tell you something, Veronica, something they do
not even know: they are not ugly. If they were to face their shame and
transgressions openly to themselves, they would see that. They just haven’t
become accustomed to seeing their real face—a face that knows their character is
made up of truths along with their lies and deceptions, because they are human.
And all humans lie. What they don’t realize is that their most crippling lie is
to themselves, in believing they are purely honorable. Until they let go of
that lie, that one lie, their actions will remain ugly to them. You see, a face
of self-acceptance is always beautiful. And a strong character bears the full burden
and responsibility of all the good created with all the harm, and in doing this
there is beauty, and there is no room for a lie to self in beauty. And there is
nothing ugly in self-awareness.”

 

He ended. There was nothing more he could think of to say
to her. At first she was motionless and silent. The only sounds were the usual
gentle clamoring of restaurant china and glass with the muted whispers of surrounding
private conversations. Then, “Bullshit,” Veronica whispered calmly, lifting her
head, eyes dry and emotionless. She winks her eye in her father’s direction and
begins snickering, which rolls into a slow belly-laugh. “Wait, come on. You
really believe this? You think you’re absolved from causing harm because you
are aware you caused harm, intentionally, and openly accept responsibility for
it? And that makes you superior, wait, no, beautiful. Right? That’s what you
said?” Veronica chuckled with an unflattering snort as she pushed playfully
against his arm. “Bullshit,” she repeated.

 

Thomas smiled uncomfortably, the sophisticated lines
drawn on his face formed deep crevices around his eyes, and he glanced at her saying,
“You are too smart for me. I’m very proud of you, Veronica. Your talent, grace
and soul are mesmerizing. With all of my bullshit, I hope your brilliance has
some way of detecting when I’m being truthful through my bullshit.”

 

“Yes, Dad. I know the difference. And thank you. It means
a lot to hear, especially after all of these years.”

 

[Veronica has learned that someone attempted to assassinate her father over the treasure he found. Though it’s of significant monetary value—the assassination appeared to be about much more than mere thievery. To protect himself and Veronica, her father, Thomas, faked his own death and changed his will—donating the entire lot of the treasure to an Argentinean museum and none of it to Veronica. In an earlier draft of Thomas’s
will, Veronica was the sole heir of all of it. But Thomas realized that this would only shift the assassination order from him to his beloved daughter. Thomas hired an Argentinean attorney to change his will. If all of the loot
were bequeathed to the museum, there would be no reason to harm Veronica, Thomas thought. There was a horrible problem, just after Thomas faked his death, his attorney died of a heart attack, and the new will is missing, leaving the old will very active, ensuring that Veronica will soon be in grave danger. Veronica attends the reading of her father’s will in Argentina, and indeed, she is his sole heir. With nothing more to be gained in Argentina, for now, Veronica returns to the U.S. in terror.
]

 
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Posted by on November 9, 2011 in FICTION: Novel (NaNoWriMo)