Posted in BlogABook, Fiction, Imagination, Uncategorized

Tim in Oz…an excerpt from Fairly Oz.

“What are you doing?”

Dorothy’s voice sang out over the giant stalks of the bustling red plants.  Everywhere, she saw munchkins, with their tiny little bodies sprawled all over the ground. On one another, covered in the pollen of the dangerous flowers, reeking of poppy seeds and the guilt of succumbing to an aching addiction.

Tim smiled. “Self medicating”.

Dorothy cocked her head to the side as she looked down at him. His tin face shining in the sun, she had to smile. Even covered in pollen, surrounded by the giant, frightening poppies and the addicted and loopy munchkins, something about him drew her in.

“Get up Tim.  Nothing good ever came from this.”

Dorothy reached her hand down to grab her Tin Man friend. He snickered as he grabbed her hand and pulled her in. She squawked as she fell into him, to the ground, bumping one of the prickly stalks of the giant poppies as she hit the earth. The golden dusted pollen sparkled, as deadly as the edge of a glittering sword, as it fell to the ground and on top of them.

Tim chuckled as Dorothy coughed from the deadly glitter entering her lungs. She sat up, trying to regain some composure. Tim wrapped an arm snug around her hips as he helped her sit up straight. Dorothy felt his cold tin hand on the edge of her skirt. That was Tim, always so close, yet always held back.

Dorothy began to feel heady as she leaned against Tim. Her head resting against his, she felt his head turn gently and press his hardened lips against her forehead. She snuggled in closer, thankful for the coolness, and suddenly aware that she was feeling very warm.

“Tim?”

“Yes, my dear?”

“What do you want from the Wizard? Like, what do you really want? I know you have family somewhere else. I know you have a happy life here in Oz…and really, the poppies are less frightening when you get used to them.”

She felt his body, hard as steel, shift slightly under her.  She turned to look up and over at him.

” I want what you want Dorothy.  I have a feeling I know exactly what a woman like you wants from someone like me.”

Dorothy felt confused…and a little defensive.  What the Hell does he mean? she thought.

” Oh really? What could we both possibly want?”

Tim grinned down at her.  God she loved that smile, even when it was surrounded by sin, addiction, and wit.

“My heart, DeeDee.  We both want me to have a heart.”

Dorothy shifted to turn sideways.  She wanted to see this man with no heart for herself.  “I believe you have one, Tim.  I really do.”

Tim shook his head, an ironic smile playing at the edges of his silvery complexion.  “You just said it Dorothy.  I have a family somewhere else, and here I am sitting on the ground with you, still soaring from this ridiculous dust.  How can you possibly believe I have a heart still?”

Dorothy had to give that a moment’s thought.  She looked around to see some of the munchkins stumbling about, when they caught her eye.  There were two of them, young munchkins, who seemed to be trying desperately to crawl towards the fields next to them.  Dorothy wasn’t sure if this was the time to be concerned or not, so she chose to inhale again to clear her mind of thought.  She wanted to focus on Tim’s question.  Why was she so sure?

Looking over at him again, she saw the dark, brooding tears of a man not quite made of steel building up in his eyes.  It came to her immediately.  “Your guilt!”

He looked stunned for a moment but seemed to recover quickly.  “My guilt?”

“Yes, your guilt! That’s how I know you have a heart!” That is also, she realized, how she knew it belonged somewhere else. “Your guilt! If you didn’t have a heart, you wouldn’t feel bad about the people and things you left behind!  You would just, float into the future, not caring at all.  Like the poppies!”

His hinged jaw fell open, and Dorothy heard the subtle squeak of the metal.  He was stunned.  Never before had he thought of it that way.  He knew somehow that she was right.  If he had no heart, he would not ever miss them.  He would never miss her, the queen that he had adored for so long.  He would never consider giving it all up and going back.

“I have to talk to the Wizard!” Dorothy suddenly knew again that

Posted in Fiction, Imagination, Uncategorized

The Scarecrow…a series piece from Fairly Oz

For an ever brief moment, he looked at her, standing there in the walls of the castle.  “I just took off the shoes.” Dorothy said.  “Thank God” said the Scarecrow as he grabbed her around the waist.  She couldn’t say for sure when it had started, but their relationship had gotten wildly out of hand in her own mind somewhere between their friendship, her longing for the Tin Man and her desperate need to be good enough for the Cowardly Lion.  She often quietly acknowledged to herself that although she wasn’t in love with his looks, he had enjoyed hers enough to look past her shortcomings.

“No one else is here. Liam and The Tin Man are gone. It’ll just be you and me tonight.” Caton couldn’t help smile.  The straw in his hat sticking out, his shirt untucked, he looked as unkempt as the night he met Dorothy, but without Liam and The Tin Man to moderate, he felt unbridled with passion for her.  “I love the way you think,” she said, as he gingerly kissed her neck, the soft scrape of his weather worn, untrimmed face on her cheek. He startled for a moment at her statement.  He’d wanted to be smarter, to be faster, to be as smooth as the Tin Man for as long as he could remember, but always felt like it was an exaggerated, unlikely wish. The Tin Man was so good at remaining composed, so able to know exactly what to say next, and Caton struggled with the moment.

“I know you’re not alone, but I can’t help it.  It’s uncomfortable how I feel about you.  Uncomfortable and amazing and hot and painful and perfect.  I want to remember the conversations we have; I want to know that we’re alike in this.”

Dorothy couldn’t say for sure what to expect, but she had known one thing for certain. With the Tin Man, she felt compelled to follow him and convinced that she knew his heart.  With the Cowardly Lion, she felt ashamed of her past but so willing to do whatever was necessary to be good enough, brave enough, for him.  With The Wizard, Dorothy felt as though she had been deceived in more ways than one; as though his stories and his actions were disconnected, and as though all of the good about her was often frustrating to him.

But here, with Caton, the Scarecrow in desperate need for acceptance of his brain, Dorothy was able to see how far she’d come.  With Caton, Dorothy could accept where she’d been, and to him and his wonderful brain, she was the person she’d always meant to be.  Caton was simply here, in the moment, and wholly accepting of her in a way that few people had been before.  In his quiet, sarcastic friendship, she had fallen for him, and although she knew he was not the lifetime accomplice she craved, he was every bit as important as that character in her story.  Caton frustrated her, refusing to give her the answer even when she asked, but the frustration was a slow itch in her skin.  Unyielding, craving for the scratch, his very words, with his deep voice and the resonate questioning of a scholar made her very skin crawl, both with desire and frustration.

Now, in this moment, she would try to be brave enough to satisfy that itch as much as possible.  Despite her concerns that acting on her deep rooted impulse would end the friendship she needed, Dorothy grabbed his face.  “You are smart”, she whispered, looking deeply into the deep blue eyes surrounded by husk colored lashes. “You are exactly what I can’t get out of my head.  I dream about you all the time. I hear your voice; your staggering one liners, and I know that I have to satisfy this.  And I know this won’t work for long, but I cannot let this go.  I just…want it. I need it. Is that okay?” Her voice faltered at the end as her courage got the better of her and her concerns for the Tin Man, the lion and wizard stormed out.

“It has to be.” He said.  “You’re you, and I’m me, and this has to be enough.”

 

Posted in Fiction, Imagination, Life, Uncategorized

Pinterest Prompt-1-1-17

“She added a charm to her bracelet for every life that she took.”

(Prompt inspiration from Promptuarium on Pinterest)

Today’s charm was a small, white and black spotted circle.  It reminded her of this morning’s charge.

It never got easier.  The look of life leaving the eyes of a soul that had a family.  Had a purpose; had loved and lost and shared and existed.

She stood washing her hands, looking down at the bracelet.  Some times of the year seemed more challenging than others.  This beautiful first week of May, she hadn’t had any others. It was just the one.

The worst part had been the young woman, sobbing as she’d explained the process. Sobbing as she’d put the needle under the skin.  She hadn’t seen anyone cry like that from her services in a while.  It was evident that the young woman wanted to hate her and didn’t want to be here.

She cleaned under her fingernails with a brush as she thought of how the young woman had held the beautiful soul she’d removed from this Earth. How she buried her face in the black and white spotted fur and told her that it would be okay; that she loved her and it wouldn’t hurt anymore.  That in her thirteen years, she’d been the best friend a human could ask for. That she was so sorry, and it wasn’t supposed to be this way but she never wanted her to suffer. That no matter what else happened in her life, she’d remember her, and this moment, for the rest of her life.

The young woman’s parents had brought them here, to the office, to relieve the old dog’s suffering.  Consequently, they left with a young woman whose heart would forever miss her friend, creating a different type of suffering entirely.

The charm was chosen as a reminder for the life she took.  For the power that her services had to relieve suffering.  For the beautiful soul that loved and left.

Posted in BlogABook, Fiction, Imagination

In the hospital…fiction, rough draft from The Many Men of Maggie James

“I’m okay Dad.  Don’t worry.  Couple days I’ll be back home and feeling fine.” Said Maggie.  She tried to force a small smile, but her mouth and throat hurt badly.

“Okay, Mag.  Okay.  Your mom is on her way and Jack let your brothers know you were here.  It’s gonna be okay.” He turned to Maisey.  “Dr. Kahn will be here soon, right? Do we need to wait for Martha?”

“Martha is Maggie’s mom?”

“Yes, Martha is Maggie’s mom.  My ex-wife.”

“Ideally, yes, we’ll wait. Can I offer either of you gentleman anything?  Maggie, can I get you anything?”

Both Jack and Dad turned to look at her. “Ice water. Please.” Maggie stated.

“Can she have that?” Dad asked.

“Yes, of course.  Water in all forms is good for you.” Maisy said.  “Boys?”

“I’m good for the moment.  Jack?”

“Do you have any coffee?”

Maisy smiled.  “Yes sir.  Why don’t you walk with me and you can make it just the way you like it.”

Jack nodded. “I’ll be right back Mag.  Hang out with Dad.”

Maggie closed her eyes, smiled a little and nodded.  Jack walked out with Maisy.

Dad looked up at her from the foot of her bed.  He reached down and patted her foot held under the yellow blanket.  “What happened Mag? Did you fall?”

Maggie breathed in through her nose and released the breath through her mouth.  When she was a kid, Mom had put her in counseling with a child counselor when she started crying randomly, all the time.  She’d be at school, at home, at soccer practice and would burst into tears.  The thoughts and anxious ideas would race through her mind.  Eventually the counselor figured it out and helped Maggie learn to control the feelings of anxiety through breathing and mantras and self-soothing thought processes.

“I don’t remember falling Dad.  I was trying to get over some things.” Her eyes welled up as she said it.  She was still feeling the dizziness but some of the nauseous was starting to subside. “What day is it?”

Dad looked at her, the concern was clear on his face.  “It’s Thursday, Mag.  What’s the last day you remember?”

“It was Tuesday afternoon.”

He shook his head and looked away.  He didn’t want to see her cry, and didn’t want her to see him cry either. He patted her foot again, “Okay. Rest.”

He walked into the hallway and left her in the room alone.  She started breathing through her nose again.  The dizziness was making her feel like she had motion sickness, but the bed wasn’t sailing.

She could hear Jack chattering away with the nurse and she smiled a little again.  He could talk to anyone.  He wasn’t quite as loquacious as she was, but as she listened to him talk with Maisey as he walked in the room, she was filled with pride and love.  If she’d really died, he would’ve  been okay.

Posted in Fiction, Imagination, Professional Experiences

The Grand’s Voice

Published under M.A.Cole in the Sibyll Literary Magazine, Elmira College, 2011.

As the swell of my feelings began to rage, the murmur of the voice of my true love came sliding towards me.  It was an echo of the voice I longed for, and as I stood surrounded by the sound, I forgot the others that inhabited that room with me.  For this moment, this brief glimmer of time, they were unimportant.

I found myself shaken as the murmur became a louder, more distinct calling.  Like a lost soul searching for eternal piece, I closed my eyes and searched for the internal light that the echoing voice promised.  I bravely held my own against the sound, recognizing that the others in the room could not possibly empathize with what I was feeling.  There were no words to describe the way my emotions flowed right through my soul and uplifted my spirit into a new, more beautiful place.

The voice suddenly grew louder, and louder still as my heart began to pound.  The dull beat that my heart felt prior to this meeting was a long forgotten memory as my heart began to race.  I could not find what it was racing from: was it to keep up with the volume of the voice? My feelings of passion and love and heart ache? Or, was it the continuity of a lifetime, this same burning ache that seemed to radiate from my bones and through my flesh into something so much more important than me?

Then, something amazing happened: a chord was struck within me. I felt it hit my ears and my heart at the same precise moment.  It was the voice, “I have to go. But I’ll always be with you…”  Silently, suddenly aware of the others, I begged, Please, don’t stop! I need you. I’ve always needed you. Who will keep me safe?  No one else understands…  But the voice doesn’t listen. It continues on, and the audiences of people surrounding me seem to notice the shift in moods.  The people around me are sitting up straighter, leaning forward on the balls of their feet, waiting and watching to see what will happen next.  They don’t understand, but they can sense the change.

Finally, in a last cadential whisper, the voice draws its song to a close.  Like children, the people around me are thrilled by the intensity, even if they don’t understand.  They clap and jeer, and seem all too excited to stop hearing the voice.  My eyes water as I bid it farewell.

The pianist bows and leaves the stage.  The grand’s voice is silent for now.

Posted in BlogABook, Fiction, Imagination

The Floor

The bathroom floor was ice cold, and in that moment she had never felt anything more comforting.

With her face pressed against the floor and the sweat rolling off her shoulders, it was the cold, cream colored tile with the gray shining grout her mother had chosen when she lived here. That was fifteen years ago, and her mother hadn’t spent much time here since.

Right now, Maggie was glad that her mother wasn’t around. She’d be disgusted.

Let’s face it, Maggie was disgusted.  This was the worst moment she’d had in a long time.  Maybe ever.  But you can’t stay high forever, and this last time was really the last.

She had to get away from Him. To get away, she’d need to be sober.

Being sober meant getting clean, and coming off of opioids was no joke.

He had been giving her meds since a few weeks after they’d met.  When she’d starting hanging out with him regularly; right after she moved home from college and got bored with her obnoxious, pot smoking father and the prying, extensively condescending interactions with her mother.

She lived with her Dad now, and Alex, Jeff and Jack. Not really what she’d hoped for when she graduated, but at least this tile was nice.  It was cool, and right now it was the difference between her actually overheating and dying and just feeling like she was going too.

Wrapped in a fluffy, gray and white patterned towel, laying on the floor of the upstairs bathroom, Maggie was sweating.  The house was always a climate controlled seventy-two degrees, but in that moment, the heat almost felt like too much.

Sweat poured off of her,and though she tried to sit up to readjust her towel, the light headed feeling that accompanied it was just too much.  The world swayed around her and the light coming through the window and hitting the vanity mirror felt like too much.

She loathed this sensation, and everything else in the room that reminded her of Him.

Looking down at her arms and legs, she could see the bruises she’d earned in her last high with him.  He didn’t usually get physical with her, other than to get some, but this time he’d squeezed her arms and legs so hard she’d bruised to keep her from leaving. Even with the other girl hanging out there, waiting for Maggie to leave so she could screw him, even then, he’d tried to keep her there.  Even high, she could feel it.

When she’d asked him why; why the other girls, why he was trying to keep her, why he always treated her this way, his response was almost too much to hear. “You’re stupid,” he’d said, “And you’re getting fat. You’re worthless, and I need more.”

Was she? She’d come home, earlier this morning from that scolding and stripped down for the shower.  By then, it was wearing off.  She always needed a shower once it started to wear off; before she could start again.

Looking in the mirror, she couldn’t help but wonder if he was right.  Was she getting fat.  She turned sideways to look at her naked body in the mirror.  As the high wore off, she began to get disgusted.  She wasn’t fat; she was puffy and had bones sticking out in all the wrong places.

In a moment of clarity, she could see what he’d done.  She could see the damage she’d been doing by staying. The bruises encased her arms and legs, and a single moment stuck out in her mind.  He’d said she was stupid.

Drugged out, yes.  Fat, maybe.  Unattractive, possibly.  Worthless, occasionally.  But stupid? No.  Not stupid.  She’d done some stupid things lately, but she wasn’t stupid.

It really started to wear off once she got into the shower.  Ten minutes in, her hand started shaking and she dropped the bottle of shampoo on her foot.  Another bruise to add to her most recent collection.

Twenty minutes in, she was swaying.  The world was moving and the lights were too bright.  The nausea started shortly thereafter, and she’d relegated herself to the floor in an effort to save herself.

Alex and Jeff wouldn’t be home at all for a while.  Alex was in grad school and Jeff worked two jobs.  Jack was in his freshman year at college and wasn’t supposed to be home until the weekend.  Dad was at work, closing cases and proving that the “Old Boys’ Club” still had plenty of dedicated members who only hired pretty interns.

Seemed like perfect timing to go through withdrawal.

Some addicts make excuses, some addicts stay practicing their addiction, and some go through the correct treatment methods to get away from the drugs that keep them bound.

As the vomiting started, it occurred to Maggie:  She wasn’t stupid, but she wasn’t any of those people.

 

 

 

 

Posted in BlogABook, Fiction, Imagination

And there he was…Fictional rough draft writing of A.C.Macx

“Who is that?”

She knew before she even turned around that it was him.  After an entire night of him staring at her, their short clipped conversations during the sales pitch placed by her and her boss and his boss and him, she just had a feeling he’d be here.  Whether or not she’d admit it to herself, she’d been deliberate when she said exactly where she was going after dinner.

She always met this group of people out on Thursdays.  This place was on their regular rotation, with their table for eight in the middle of the lounge.

She spun around, careful to hold her double whiskey steady as she turned on the heels of her stillettos.  She’d specifically worn them tonight with her  little black dress, the high collar and open backed one that showed off the curves she worked hard on.  She was going to make this statement whether he was listening or not.

He smiled, nervously when she turned around.  She smiled at him, being sure to be as genuine about it as she could be.  He made her nervous and it infuriated her.  Something about him made her want to be somewhere different, with him.

“I’m sorry to bother you,” he said, smiling, “but you left this behind.” He held her black wristlet, the chain wrapped around it, keeping it closed and looking like some sort of weapon.

Was this a Freudian slip? How had she walked out of the restaurant without realizing she didn’t have it? Her phone sat idle on the table behind her, her keys next to it.  The contract for the sale and a black ballpoint pen were in the wristlet.  When his boss had told them that he wanted to wait to sign, she’d never picked her wristlet back up from the table.

“Thank you,” she murmured, stepping closer to him.  Just then, she caught sight of a familiar face strolling towards her, his golden tupee a long standing point of amusement.

“Margaret. There you are!”  Jameson’s voice.  His boss. “Mark! What are you doing here?”

Mark stared back at her for only a moment. “Just returning Margaret’s wristlet.”

She turned, squaring her shoulders towards Jameson. This was the moment; it was sell it now or lose it forever, and she wanted to be the hero. She wanted him to see her in her zone, making the kill.

“Jameson! What brings you to this end of the street?”

“I was thinking about what you said.  And I have a counter offer.”

She smiled  at him, acutely aware of Mark’s eyes boring into her.  He was close enough to reach out and grab. In this moment, she was closing a deal and creating a need for another.

“I’d like to offer you a job. Come on board, be our full time marketing person. I’d rather have you on my staff than on some third party’s where I can’t be sure you’re looking out for my interest first.” Jameson beamed as he said it, sure that the young sales woman wouldn’t possibly say no.

But of course, he was wrong.

“Jameson, let’s be honest.  You don’t want to pay me.  I’m an expert; that was not an exaggeration.  Experts are expensive, and I’m used to a level of flexibility you’re not going to be able to give me. But let me be clear.  Even if I worked just for you, I’d tell you to take this deal. Because it’s an amazing one, one that will make you a lot of money and build you a reputation here that you need.  Plus, it helps build the reputation of Mark and Hannah, and let’s face it; you’re not getting any younger. Mark and Hannah will take over your Firm, and you want them to have a reputation for excellence.  That’s what I’m offering you.  A shitload of money and a reputation for excellence.”

He just stood there for a moment then began to laugh. “A shitload of money and a reputation for excellence? Tell me how you really feel Margaret.”

Margaret swirled her drink, looking down at the dark amber color.  She squared off again, making eye contact with Jameson as she did, watching Mark through the eyelashes of her peripheral vision. “Take it or leave it Jameson. But if I were you, I’d take the opportunity to grab what you want.”

She heard Mark inhale, but kept her eye contact on Jameson.

“You have yourself a deal, Margaret. I’m in. I’ll stop in Monday to your office to sign the papers.”

“Sign them now.” Margaret twisted open the wristlet and clicked the ball point pen. “Sign here.”

“Have you had this in here the whole time? I’m feeling a little like I gave in too easily.”

Margaret smiled.  “You just recognized an opportunity when you saw it.  It’s my job to make sure you get to take advantage of it.”

Jameson signed, then shook her hand. “Margaret. It’s been a pleasure. I’ll see you Monday.”

She smiled. “Thank you. See you Monday.”

As he walked away, she touched the sleeve of Mark’s jacket. “Wait here a moment please.”

He stopped, stilling immediately when she touched him.

She picked up her phone, hitting the buttons silently, smiling at the table of people congratulating her. “Yeah, Vick?  Mike? Aiden? I got him. I got it. Celebratory drinks on me! Come to the Second Badger.”

She hung up the phone, and turned back towards him. “You.”

She walked up, standing close, still holding the wristlet in her hand. “You.”

He looked down at her, suddenly aware again of the way the stilettos made her legs look.  She was suddenly nearly eye level, and as he maintained eye contact with her he had to look away. He nervously ran his hand through his hair. “I just…”

She stepped closer. “I know.”

His head snapped up. “You know?”

She stepped closer. “I know.  It’s something you can’t figure out and you hate it.  But you can’t leave it alone. There’s something about it that makes you want it, but you don’t.  You don’t want it because you know you can’t go back once you’ve had it. But something about it… it leaves you feeling bothered, hot…and if you can admit it to yourself, it’s where your mind goes when it wanders.”

She stepped even closer, so close he could see the lines of dark grey and brown in her green eyes.  She heard his sharp intake of breath as she leaned forward.

“Thank you for this,” she said, tapping the side of her wristlet against him. ”Good night Mark.”

As she tried to pull away he grabbed her wrist. She stopped and looked directly into his eyes. “What do I do about it?” he growled at her.

“Nothing. You go home. This would wreck my life, but I’d rebuild because I always do. That’s who I am.  But you,” she looked down and then back up at him through her eyelashes, “this would burn your life to the ground.”

He let go of her. “What if I want it to burn?”

She leaned in so close he could feel her breath on his face. “This will destroy you, Mark.  Go home to your life.”  She turned away, her long hair whipping around her.

She turned over her shoulder, smiling at him in a way that made him want to melt.  She was the heat; like looking at the sun, and in that moment, he couldn’t imagine not staring until he burnt up.

“Good night.”