Surrender [Repost]

Promtp: Guilty

thomsons-gazelle-2

Leep couldn’t believe it.

He was sitting in his lounger, the comfortable one, with a pad of art paper in his lap, sketching ideas for his latest book, The Fog Monster. It was challenging, trying to illustrate fog, especially since he was not a trained artist. Did he give the fog a face? Did he give it a form? In his head the Fog Monster was unseeable, but children might need a monster they could recognize, a human-style monster that they could understand and relate to. After all, the Fog Monster wasn’t all bad. Leep didn’t want to scare his potential readers to death. But kids should know that life wasn’t all a bed of roses. That wouldn’t help them in later life.

He had the evening news on the television. He liked the news readers: Hal and Denise, and the pretty weather person, and the sports reporter who made all the jokes. He felt almost like he would be comfortable with them, you know, going out to dinner or something. They seemed like they would be easy to talk to.

He only half-paid attention to the broadcast as he contemplated his drawings, his mechanical pencil in hand. But he heard something that made him stop cold, as he was erasing the Fog Monster’s eyebrows, on the grounds that they were a bit too much.

Something terrible had happened. Denise was announcing that a man had been arrested for the murder of Vincent Demarco.

Leep could not feel his heartbeat, nor that he was breathing, nor his toes. He only felt a cold finger of sweat creep up his his spine, as he watched the police spokesperson speak in front of a gathering of news reporters.

He tried to concentrate, to really listen, but it was hard.

We have a suspect in custody, said the spokesperson. He has confessed to the crime. His name is Anthony Gizmodo, of no fixed address.

They showed a picture of him they’d taken after he was arrested. He was unshaven and unkempt, his eyes open a little too wide. Leep leaned in a little closer to the screen. Oh no. It was Tony, the homeless guy he passed every morning on the way to work.

Leep used to drop change, a few coins, in Tony’s hand or his hat as he passed, but he had to admit, Tony wasn’t the friendliest homeless man on the block. But, Leep guessed, he had no reason to be friendly. He was homeless, and neither Leep nor any other person with a home understood what his life was like. He regarded the passers-by, with their homes and lives, with a palpable resentment.

Tony was angry and sad, but he was no killer.

Why had he confessed? Was he coerced? Did he need attention? Was he hungry? Was he crazy? Leep knew only one thing: Tony was innocent of the crime.

He spent the rest of that Friday night, and all of Saturday, trying to figure it out. He was frustrated and confused. But he really knew what he had to do all along, the second he heard about Tony’s arrest.

On Sunday night, after dark, Leep put on his black ski jacket. He got the gun out from its hiding place. He felt numb. Once he’d seen a film of a gazelle, on the National Geographic channel, stare down a leopard. They’d locked eyes, and, Leep thought, reached a cosmic truth. The gazelle had no escape. It surrendered, and was chased down easily by the leopard.

Leep knew he was not the leopard. He was the gazelle.

He pulled up the collar of his jacket, opened the front door, and headed out into the night. There was a light mist, a fog, that lay as light as a baby’s breath on the streets and homes and businesses and pedestrians. By the end of the night, they would know that Tony was innocent.


  • Original Prompt: Fog, April 20, 2016.
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No Monster

Prompt: Assumption


Hello Wednesday,

Don’t you hate it when people make assumptions about you based on your gender? As if your dangly or not bits define you as an individual? I know as a woman that many of us are frustrated about it all the time– are you gentlemen also uncomfortable when you are called shallow or unmanly because you don’t live up or down to sexual stereotypes?

We are all a little sexist, but doesn’t take a lot of effort to challenge yourself. Just pause when you make an assumption about whether the doctor or author defaults to being male. Think twice before assuming that all women are natural nurturing caregivers and men are not. Take a breath.

In the spirit of assumptions, may I present a few of my favourite cartoons, the first of which only is connected to today’s prompt?

cartoon out for lunch

cartoon professor bouncy

cartoon skulls in corner


Just a pile of old skulls. It would comfort me for sure.

~~FP

Thin Pants

Prompt: Thin


Hello Wednesday,

Tonight my sister and I watched a few old “The Launch” episodes. This is a low key but very high quality talent-search kind of program, Canada style. One of the contestants in the seven part series was Amy Bishop, who is not thin.

I am culturally naive; I don’t truly understand the discrimination that so many people experience, including friends, because of skin colour, conventional attractiveness, ethnicity, religion, height, weight or whatever. Amy Bishop feels held back because of her appearance. If she feels it, of course it is true.

As a white, fairly conformist white woman I understand that I know nothing about what others experience in these areas. I need to listen.

On the topic of “thin”, today’s Daily Prompt, may I present a few of my favourite cartoons, of which only the first one relates to the theme?

cartoon thin pants

cartoon wine snobcartoon math


~~FP 

The Forest

Prompt: Forest

forest mushroom

Our mother said, don’t touch the walls of the tent. So we all touched the walls of the tent. It was canvas, so water started saturating the little finger spots, droplets formed, and the inside of the tent became wet and cold.

So our mother gave us each a plastic bucket, which we hadn’t been able to use on the sandy beach all week because of the rain, and sent us out to the forest across the road to forage for dinner. No mushrooms though, she said. And: “If you don’t find food, you don’t eat.”

She tied on makeshift rain bonnets though gave up on the boots and we wore rubber thongs and our feet got wet.

The rain in the forest sounded like a waterfall; a continuous ruuuussssh of drips and drops, and the forest floor was muddy and our flip-flops kept sucking into the ground and we walked with great effort, looking for berries. Or maybe a dead rabbit? We weren’t certain what edibles were to be found in the forest.

We came across a man, sleeping on his side under a plastic sheet attached to branches secured into the ground. His hands joined in a fist and nestled between his thighs. He wore dark clothes and sunglasses and had a straggly beard. It occurred to us that he might be dead.

We saw a battered wallet peeking out from under a damp grey pillow, and pulled that out. There was ten dollars in it; we took five and put the wallet back.

Drops fell on our faces and stuck to our eyelashes.

We found some deer scat, which we’d learned about in science class. It didn’t gross us out. We didn’t see any deer, though. Perhaps they were taking shelter from the rain, or perhaps the hunters had taken them all down. My mother once fed us venison pretending it was beef, but we knew it wasn’t beef, and wouldn’t eat it.

There was a clearing ahead where the road curved around the woods, and a small grey stucco building stood in a level gravel lot dotted with tufts of grass and moss. The windows were opaque with condensation, rivulets running down and pooling on the soggy ground beneath the eaves. Letters hammered to the frame over the door said “Store”, so we went in to forage for dinner.

There was a wooden bucket of worms, and a glass jar of brass bullets, and a stack of felt cowboy hats, and a counter behind glass with tubs of ice cream underneath it, and we all had a single scoop cone. We all had chocolate. After we ate the ice cream we examined each others’ faces for traces of chocolate, and cleaned off any smears with damp kleenex.

We had enough money left from the five dollars we stole from the sleeping man to buy two boxes of macaroni and cheese, a bag of liquorice whips, which our mother liked, and a coke.

We put the macaroni and cheese, liquorice whips, and pop into the buckets along with one shiny brass bullet which the store owner gave us for free, because he said he was proud of us for not staying inside just because it was raining.

We started to head back to the tent through the forest, but we saw the sleeping man in the distance through some dripping white spruce. He was awake and packing up the shelter, folding the plastic sheeting into an irregular square and stuffing it into a nylon bag.

The rain had subsided to a drizzle, the spit of god.

So instead of going through the forest, we traced the road skirting around it back to the tent, and mother didn’t ask us where we got the money for the macaroni and cheese. She was pleased with the liquorice and said she would share it with us later.

But she didn’t.

Shape-Shifting [Repost]

Prompt: Rebel

Classic-Cuban-scene.-Image-by-Jaume-Escofet-CC-BY-2.0

I am a living hologram. I’m not sure why, since I don’t remember being hit by a bolt of natural or alien energy, or sustaining any particularly odd insect bites, or hanging around nuclear power plants as a child. I am more commonly called a shape-shifter.

When I went to the mall early this morning, for example, I was Cameron Diaz. Not exactly, since I didn’t want to attract autograph seekers. But malling is unpleasant for me. I don’t like shopping and trying on clothes. I don’t like changing room mirrors. Not as myself. But I like them plenty as Cameron Diaz. Plus, the freckled guy at the smoothie kiosk gets all tongue-tied, which I find endearing and sure, even a little flattering.

Sometimes I like to be invisible, blend into the crowd, if I’m indulging in a guilty pleasure like attending a Wayne Newton concert, or maybe visiting that lesbian porn film house. Then, I am my mother. Not exactly my mother, because I don’t want anyone to think my mother is curious about lesbian porn. But when my mother grew older, and a little bit rounder, and her skin a little bit looser, and her hair a little bit grayer, she became invisible. I wouldn’t have believed her if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes. Clerks ignoring her queries. People at parties ignoring her because she was no longer young and pretty. Sometimes I go to shops and parties as Cameron Diaz again (because she is a common transformation for me now, it only takes about ten minutes), and repay these people for their unkindnesses. I can’t teach them, so I take revenge. Nothing major, just contempt and rejection.

Job hunting, I am usually Bradley Cooper. Not exactly Bradley Cooper, because sometimes I want to be a little younger, sometimes a little taller, but he seems to have a non-threatening yet competent air about him, which works very reliably. I don’t need to job-hunt very often. I like challenges, and when I am a white man, I do very, very well.

When I find myself turning away from the human race, because the human race isn’t perfect, one of my favourite holograms is Maxine, the golden retriever. I go out prowling, covering five or more miles in a night, sniffing and peeing and visiting nocturnal friends. It is more fun than working out at the gym, that’s for sure. Once in awhile I’ll go to the farm where the family that thinks they own me live, and spend time soaking up their devotion, and rolling in muck.

Occasionally, I forget who I am. That’s when I take a trip to Cuba. I can always find myself again in Cuba.


Strategic Nudity

Prompt: Laughter


Dear Wednesday, and dear Mama,

Today’s birthday girl and the Daily Prompt, Laughter, couldn’t have been been more brilliantly matched.

Happy Birthday, Mum. I love you. I miss you every day. You had a difficult life, a struggle, that culminated, I hope, in a wonderfully happy marriage and four non-criminal children. You certainly deserved all the happiness that came to you, finally.

One of of my favourite memories of you is your laughter jiggles. You kept many emotions to yourself, but oh, how you loved to laugh. So when you laughed, your whole body vibrated, and your laughter was entirely silent but contagious and irresistible. You taught me that laughter was valuable and important, and that has been a positive and hugely meaningful influence my entire life. It’s impossible to overestimate the importance of finding joy in all the hidden corners of a life, especially during the hopeless, difficult times.

I’ll post a few of my favourite cartoons, as it is Wednesday, then withdraw to think about my mother and the joy she brought!

cartoon stratigic nudity

cartoon trump scandal

cartoon too late roger


~~FP

Alarm [Repost]

Prompt: Observe

 

diamond cross 2

“You have to know I would never harm you,” Marcus said.

“Setting fire to the house with me in it kind of belies that statement,” said Envy.

Twice he had tried to reach across the table to take her hand, and twice had been rebuffed, once by the guard, and once by Envy herself.

He didn’t look like a prisoner waiting for a trial date. He looked like he had just turned up from a round of golf: a little tanned, a little tired, wondering what was for lunch. In fact, an outsider who observed just the two of them, seated at a small, pine-veneered table, would have pegged Envy for the convict; her hair was tangled, she was pale and nervous, and there were dark circles under her eyes. She was still a little battered from the fall from the balcony. Never a famous beauty to begin with, Envy was not at her best.

“The smoke alarms should have warned you,” said Marcus. “Why didn’t they?”

“That will remain a mystery for the ages,” said Envy, “since they were destroyed in the conflagration.” She wore a white gold chain with a diamond-encrusted cross pendant. She was thinking of returning to the church.

“You saw how upset I was,” said Marcus.

“That I survived,” Envy said.

For the third time, Marcus tried to take her hand. This time she slapped it. She was surprised to see his face contort in something that looked like pain. Existential or physical? she wondered.

“When did you stop loving me?” Envy said at last.

Marcus fiddled with the little sign in its plastic casing, propped up on the table. No touching. it said. No item exchange. No food. No shouting. Visitors and/or residents can and will be removed at any time at the guards’ discretion. No smoking.

Marcus looked out the window to an empty field, then back to Envy. “I never stopped loving you,” he said. “That’s why I asked you to come. I need your help.”

“Carmen got the police to describe you only as a ‘person of interest’,” Envy said.

“Carmen?”

“Your lawyer.”

“Ah.”

“That is the help I am giving you,” said Envy. “Take her advice. Tell the truth for once in your fucking life.” She stood up and leaned on her crutches. “And I’ll pray for you.”

“Jesus Christ,” said Marcus.

“Exactly,” said Envy.


  • Original Prompt: Burn, July 2, 2016

smoke-detector-monitoring-system