Bunny & Crackerberry

This is all true.

When I was young, I got a stuffed rabbit from a relative. For Christmas, I think, but I was too young to remember exactly when. I named it Bunny, since children have a very straightforward way of naming things.

It started out pink, but eventually was just pink-ish, since I carried it around everywhere. Through a thousand hugs and a thousand nights being gripped by a young kid as he slept, the pink all left, leaving only the –ish and Bunny has been –ish colored ever since.

Some animals come with a smile permanently pasted on their face. I have this little black bear that my sister gave me called Andre. He looks like he’s scowling if you see him straight on, but if you tip him up a little, you can see that he’s really grinning. Bunny, however, doesn’t have a smile. He may have at one time, but most of his mouth got worn off. Now it is more a look of longsuffering. He looks at you with his big eyes and small, worn out mouth, not smiling exactly, but always being there for you.

Those aren’t his original eyes, by the way. I chewed off his plastic eyes when I was young, so my mom sewed on new ones. I’m not sure how many sets he’s had, actually. I think he might have that expression for a reason.

Bunny also wears a little shirt made out of an old sock. It’s got little holes for his stubby arms but since it’s a sock, it’s always rolling up, revealing his belly. I spend half my childhood rolling it down and straightening it out. But, like that one cowlick in the back which is impervious to hairspray, gel, curses, and tearful invocations, it only takes a minute each time for that shirt to pop back up.

Bunny’s most distinctive feature is his neck. Originally, he had a normal neck, but the neck is the perfect place for a young child to hug a stuffed animal, and eventually his neck got all thin and stretched out, so it wouldn’t support his head any longer. He spends his days with his head permanently flopped over at a 30-degree angle, a longsuffering look on his –ish colored face.

You might think that Bunny has had a pretty rough life, and on some levels, you might be right, but he’s also had a pretty charmed life. After all, he has two lucky rabbit’s feet. I used to bring Bunny everywhere and we used to travel thousands of miles every summer to go visit family. Several times I left Bunny at hotels and relatives’ houses, but he always got shipped back to me, much to my relief.

Somewhere along the way, I got a stuffed dog named Crackerberry, which was good because that gave Bunny a friend. He was much more robust than Bunny and since he missed the terrors of toddlerdom that Bunny endured, Crackerberry has stood up much better over time. I used to sleep with the two of them pushed together, which was pretty much all that saved Bunny from totally disintegrating over the years.

For the last few decades, Bunny and Crackerberry have enjoyed a quiet retirement together at my parents’ house. Who knows if another generation will eventually play with them and love them, although Bunny might have gotten all the love he can handle for one lifetime and should probably sit the next generation out. Sometimes I think they might be lonely and sometimes I even wish I were young again and back in my little attic room with the two of them. But that’s life, and at least they have each other.


My Life’s Dream

dreams

(This is true.)

Not to sound too much like Donald Trump, but I have the best dreams. They’re fantastic, really. No one has dreams like me. Absolutely no one. Sad, really.

The problem is, I can rarely remember them when I wake up. I wake up knowing that I just had a fantastic dream, no idea what it was about.

However, there is one dream that I have had over and over again. For decades. It is one of the defining features of my life, although almost no one knows about it. Until now, of course. You are really privileged, dear reader. I just hope you realize that.

It’s more of a location than a specific dream, but I keep coming back to it and referencing it in dreams so often that it’s as real to me as, say, New York City. Actually, I’ve been to this place more often than I’ve been to New York City.

It’s a large warehouse or industrial complex, up on a hill with trees around it and reached by a long winding road. Sometimes it’s abandoned, sometimes not, but there are almost never any people there.

I first dreamed of this place when I was a teenager, I think. It was abandoned then, and I sneaked in and started digging in the floor. What I found was a large open space and then more space under that. There were man-made tunnels going out in all directions and further down and further down, it went, maybe forever.

Every dream is slightly different, but it’s always the same kind of place with empty tunnels and dark spaces going down and down out of knowledge. Just a few weeks ago, I dreamed that I was camping with my family and we drove past that place. I saw it up on the hill and knew it was the same place I’d been dreaming about for half my life. I wanted to bring them all up to show them the place, but we didn’t because dreams frustrate you just as much as they enthrall you.

Anyone who has read my (still unpublished) novels will be able to see this love of vast, dark spaces pretty easily. It is a theme that excites and fascinates me and make me feel that heartache longing, redolent of nostalgia and homesickness for a home I’ve never seen. I’m not sure why, but that’s me.

It’s why I love the work of H.P. Lovecraft or House of Leaves or Empire of the Ants. It’s why one of my favorite parts of Lord of the Rings is when they are in the mines of Moria. I am at home in huge, dark spaces. It’s what I dream about when my conscious mind takes a break and I let my subconscious out of its box, to play and plot. To dream.

The-House-house-of-leaves-692472_800_600

The House, from House of Leaves (Source)


Prodigal

FF181 Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

copyright Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Night sleet timpanied against the café windows. Jenny sipped her last two dollars in coffee form.

“He’ll come, hon,” the barista said. “He’ll get your message.”

“He wouldn’t want me back. It was a stupid thought.”

“Just wait.”

Jenny stood. “Thanks anyway for using your phone.”

The door banged. A man in soaked clothes hurried in and spotted Jenny.

“Listen, I’m sorry I ran away, Dad. I’m so sorry I took the money—” Her words were cut off by the man’s crushing hug. Cold tears like night sleet ran down his cheek onto hers.

“Thanks for calling,” he said.

 


Onion Gum: A Thank-you Note

Dear Gus,

Thank you for the onion-flavored chewing gum you gave me. What a great gift to get for your best friend for his birthday. It really helped my life out a lot. I’m not being sarcastic, by the way.

You see, I didn’t notice the little clues on the package that would have indicated it was a gag gift. I just put it in my pocket before I went to my girlfriend Jessica’s house for dinner. I knew her father liked gum so I gave him the pack. This is my girlfriend’s father who doesn’t really like me since he thinks I joke around too much and don’t have any purpose in my life.

Well, I found this out later, but he just left it in his pocket until the next day when he was going to work. He takes the ferry across the bay to get to work and he was standing by the railing on the side and struck up a conversation with a woman and pulled out the pack to have some gum. He offered the woman the first piece.

She took one bite and started to gag and cough and was flailing around so much that she fell overboard. They stopped the boat and since there weren’t any life preservers nearby, Jessica’s father held his camera out for her to grab the strap. He is an amateur photographer and that camera is his pride and joy. He named it Desiree, I’ve heard.

Anyway, the woman grabbed hold and pulled herself aboard, but she ended up breaking the camera strap. Jessica told me that he got that camera strap from her grandfather just before he died.

There was a coast guard cutter nearby, and it came over to see what had happened. All in all, the ferry got in 40 minutes late, which means Jessica’s father was late for work. That might not have been a big deal normally, but he had a huge presentation and totally missed it. Turns out that the CEO of the company showed up unexpectedly too. They fired Jessica’s father on the spot.

Well, he blamed everything on the gum, which means he blamed everything on me. He’d never liked me much anyway, but now he was furious at me and forbade Jessica from seeing me. I was thinking of marrying her, but after that, things looked pretty grim. Actually she was pretty pissed at me too, so when he got home and said he’d been fired and it was my fault, she suggested we take a break apart for a bit.

I swear I wasn’t being sarcastic when I thanked you for the gum. Just bear with me.

It turns out that Jessica’s father was looking at the pictures on the camera that night and noticed one he didn’t take. Apparently, when he was reaching over to let the woman grab the camera strap, buttons got pushed and he ended up taking a picture of her. It was unplanned but it was perfectly framed and showed the angst of human existence as we struggle to stay afloat in a boundless sea of existential toil. Or whatever. That’s apparently what Time magazine said when they bought it from him for a ton of money. He said the word Pulitzer was mentioned a few times. Also, his portfolio is getting more attention now. He’s actually going to start a freelance photography career, like he’s always dreamed of.

Jessica’s mother really believes in signs so she convinced him that all this happened because of me and the gum. He called me himself to apologize and to thank me. Then Jessica called and so we’re back together again. I’m thinking of proposing, since her whole family loves me now.

So again, thank you for the gum. It really changed my life.

By the way, if you ever give me anything like that again, I’ll kill you.

Your friend,

Andy


My Terrible, Horrible, Heroic Summer

Writing Prompt #1: Write about going back to school after summer vacation.

Writing Prompt #5: Write out the best or the worst day of your life.

I dreaded going back to school after such a summer, dreaded seeing the breathless looks of admiration and hearing the praise from teachers and students alike. I didn’t want to endure the fame when all I felt inside was agony. Finally though, the day came, and I went.

“There he is!” I heard a girl whisper to her friend as I walked down the hall.

“Are you sure?”

“Of course. I saw him on TV.”

Everyone had seen me on TV. I must have given a hundred interviews in the last two months, but the worst was the one they played over and over, the one right after it had happened, when I was dirty and out of breath and wearing that blood-stained T-shirt that I couldn’t bear to wear again, but couldn’t bear to throw out.

My first class was English with Mrs. Robins. “I want everyone to write about what they did this summer, okay?” She giggled slightly and glanced over at me. “When you’re finished, maybe I’ll get a few of you to read yours out.” She glanced over again. Other kids were looking too now. We all knew who would be the first person “randomly” chosen to read.

I played baseball with my friend Terry, I wrote. There, I was done. I’d done that.

Mrs. Robins walked by, looked down, and frowned. “Write about the most important thing that happened to you. You know.” She gave me a meaningful look and walked away.

I closed my eyes and for the first time in more than a month, I let myself go back to that overcast Saturday morning when it had all happened, when I had become a national hero. The worst day of my life.

*        *        *

It had rained the night before, on that day, and when I left my house before dawn and walked the mile and a half to the bus stop, the air smelled clean and freshly showered. It took the bus forty minutes to get to the city and then fifteen minutes for me to walk to Precious Angels Orphanage. Lily was waiting for me outside. She took my hand, almost shyly, then leaned over and kissed me softly on the lips.

“Was it hard to sneak out this time?” I asked as we walked down the street, heading downtown.

“Nah, Frances was fast asleep. Easy.”

“Will you get in trouble?” I asked. She shrugged and squeezed my hand.

We walked all the way down to the harbor and had ice cream at a small parlor. My ice cream melted as I watched Lily savor every bite, letting her eyes close in silent pleasure.

“Do you ever get ice cream in there?”

“Of course.” She snorted. “It’s not Oliver Twist.” Then, grasping her bowl in both hands, she crossed her eyes and in a terrible British accent said, “Please sir, may I have some more Rocky Road.” I laughed so hard I almost fell out of my chair. It was then, when I was gasping for breath and trying not to pee myself, that I realized how much I loved this girl. It made me glow inside, like I was Ironman with an untouchable arc reactor, powered by Lily.

“So what do your parents think of me?” Lily asked, as we walked along the beach, watching the waves roll in. There was an odd smell of rot in the air coming from somewhere out to sea.

“They’re dying to meet you,” I said.

“What did you tell them?”

I shrugged. “The truth.” I looked out to sea, not looking at her. Lily coughed and wrinkled her nose at the smell but I felt like it was at me, as if the stench of my lies were rolling off me.

No one knew about me and Lily. It wasn’t that she was an orphan. It wasn’t that her mother had died of a drug overdose when she was five and she had never had any other family. I knew that wouldn’t matter to my parents, that they would love her like a daughter. They would love her so much they might even try to adopt her and then . . .

And then she would have parents who loved her and everything she’s ever dreamed of and I would have lost her forever because you can’t date your sister even your adopted sister, ran the frantic undercurrent of thought I would never allow to be voiced, not even in the lonely sub-basements of my mind. If no one knew, no one could ever call me petty or selfish, or accuse me of maybe, just maybe taking everything away from Lily because boyfriends might come and go, but parents are a strictly limited commodity.

The smell was getting worse and I was just about to suggest we get back to the city when the ocean started to recede, like watching the tide go out in fast forward. The word tsunami bolted through my mind, and I looked out to sea, dreading to see that mountain of briny death rushing towards us. What I saw was even worse.

It was some sort of thing rising from the water, taller than any known animal, crawling on four legs out of the sea until its vast barnacle-encrusted bulk was swinging free of the water. It was not heading directly for us, but towards the city.

Lily was smarter than me. She was already pulling at my hand, trying to run not towards the city but away from it down the beach. I ran with her, but turned back to take one last look. A tail whipped out of the water and sliced towards us, four feet above the ground. I dropped and pulled Lilly with me, but she stumbled and fought to stay upright. I screamed at her, “Get down, Lily!” but as I said her name, I heard the sickening crunch as the tail hit her and threw her across the beach.

The next moment, I was kneeling beside her, praying with all my might, although I could see it was hopeless. She had just enough life left to squeeze my hand before she died.

No cameras caught the next five minutes and so no one knows how I did it. They’ve even tried to hypnotize me to find out. Here is all I remember: wet, foul-smelling scales that went up and up like a mountain. It was like a dream, just climbing that mountain of horror, fueled by rage, hoping to find Lily at the top, knowing it was all in vain, climbing anyway.

They tell me that I must have climbed up the creature’s back and stabbed it in the eye with a piece of driftwood. I have to take their word for it. They found me lying on the dead creature’s head, my arm up to the elbow in its eye socket, still clutching a three-foot piece of driftwood like some poor man’s Excalibur. I’ve seen video of that, so it must be true.

Four people died that day on the beach in the space of five minutes, including Lily, but they were practically forgotten as people breathlessly calculated and exclaimed on how many lives I had saved. No one connected me with Lily. No one questioned the blood on my shirt; they didn’t know it was hers, and I didn’t tell them. It was like I still wanted to keep her all to myself, even the bloody shirt and the pain that ate away at me like cancer. I couldn’t go to her funeral. I held one for her by myself, the night after my appearance on the Late Show. I thought about joining her, decided against it.

*        *        *

I opened my eyes. Everyone else in the class were still writing, describing in detail that one camping trip they took, the girl they met at the movies, the swimming party they went to. Mrs. Robins was still glancing my way every few seconds, silently urging me to write the glorious hero story they were all expecting.

I took out a clean piece of paper, took a deep breath and began to write:

This summer I lost someone I loved. Her name was Lily.


It starts with stealing Donald Trump’s jet

FF Rich Voza

copyright Rich Voza

“We’re gonna get murdered.” I unlocked Donald Trump’s private jet with stolen keys.

“It was your choice,” Jack said. “You wanna switch?”

“No.” I climbed into the cockpit and consulted the WikiTheft page on flying a stolen jet.

Somehow we took off. Somehow we flew to Mexico City and crash-landed in the busiest airport in Central America.

Somehow we spray-painted “To Mexico, love Donny” on the side and escaped the authorities.

“It’s your turn,” I said as we sat on a sidewalk, trying to think how to get home.

Jack looked thoughtful. “I think I’d better pick Truth this time.”

 

*FYI*


Summer Writing Project – 170 prompts

Hello, are you still out there? You might be wondering the same thing about me. I’m still alive, although I’ve had less time for blogging recently. I’m still writing, just in other areas.

Businessman Buried in Paperwork --- Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

This is why I love computers (Source)

However, I thought I’d try something different for the summer to get back into blogging and try some different kinds of writing. I’m a writing teacher, teaching students for whom English is a second language. Part of what I get them to do is create blogs and write about various things every week. At the moment, I have two students, and here are their blogs:

https://japaneseninjablog.wordpress.com/

https://writingclass2016.wordpress.com/

Sometimes I give them a specific prompt to write about, but sometimes I let them write about whatever they want. One thing I use is a list of 170 Journal Writing prompts I got from Daily Teaching Tools. So I decided to try it myself. For my class, I picked out 170, so I’m going to go through the list and see how far I can get.

Of course, I have to be me, so I’m going to do them my way. Most I will write as fiction, but some I will write from my point of view. If it is non-fiction, I will make that very clear.

Coming soon:

Prompt #1 “Write about going back to school after summer vacation.”


Eve In Korea

My Adventures As An ESL Teacher In South Korea

Luna's Writing Journal

A Place for my Fiction

Bikurgurl

I'm just a gurl in the world

Here's To Being Human

Living life as a human

The Moving Quill

Writing & Blogging by Shailaja V

jenacidebybibliophile

Book Reviewer and Blogger

yuxianadventure

kitten loves the world

Strolling South America

10 countries, 675 days, 38,540km

It's All in Finding the Right Words

The Eternal Search to Find One's Self: Flash Fiction and Beyond

Reflections Of Life's Journey

Lessons, Joys, Blessings, Friendships, Heartaches, Hardships , Special Moments

A Writer's Path

Sharing writing tips, information, and advice.

Chris Green

Tales of Mystery and Imagination

Finding Myself Through Writing

Writing Habits of Elle Knowles - Author

Commendable Soap

"...the manufacture of stories... a business safe and commendable as making soap..." Willa Cather, 1920

BEAUTIFUL WORDS

Inspiring mental health through creative arts and friendly interactions. (Award free blog)

Total Time Waste

A Humor Blog!

Claire Fuller

Writing and art

TALES FROM THE MOTHERLAND

Straight up with a twist– Because life is too short to be subtle!

Unmapped Country within Us

Emily Livingstone, Author

The Found Girl's Bookblog

A lost girl found by good books

Silkpurseproductions's Blog

Learning how to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.

BJ Writes

My online repository for works in progress

wordsandotherthings.wordpress.com/

she is confidence in shadows.

Musings on Life & Experience

Poetry, Fiction, & Non-Fiction Writings

Outside The Lines

Fun readings about Color, Art and Segmation!

obBLOGato

a Photo Blog, from swerve of shore to bend of bay, brings us by a commodius vicus of recirculation back to dear dirty New York

Björn Rudbergs writings

Poetry and fiction by a physicist from the dark side

SightsnBytes

A.K.A. Ted White

WordDreams...

Jacqui Murray's

Life in Kawagoe

Japanese daily sight

The Day After

Musings of a Wannabe Photographer

Mondays Finish the Story

This is a flash fiction site where you finish the story!

Sketches By Boze

An ongoing exploration of faith, culture, myth, life, art. An advocate for all who are trapped in nightmares.

Tiffys World

A diary type blog following the life of a Forensic Science Student

San Diego Professional Writer's Group

A San Diego based critique group for professional and aspiring writers

Five Years to Mediocrity

chasing kitties, crashing scooters, and learning spanish, one anxiety attack at a time

athingirldotcom

never judge a girl by her weight

The Discerning Christian

Philosophy, Christianity, Social Justice

€merald Wake ©

❤ The art marked by the Pain ❤

Fiction et al

Navigating the modern business of book publishing

Yarnspinnerr

Just Fiction and other things that seem fictitious.

The Chicago Files

A CANADIAN EXPAT'S EXPERIENCES AND OBSERVATIONS LIVING IN THE WINDY CITY!

marina kanavaki

Art Towards a Happy Day [painting - illustration - design]

%d bloggers like this: