Tuesday, September 11, 2007

~Buff by Diane~

Stan was never sure which was the more bothersome problem with time travel—the shaky, dizzy, nauseated feeling he experienced upon arrival, or the fact that despite his best efforts to focus his mind on his destination he sometimes did not end up where he planned to go.

The bigger problem with his misplaced arrivals was that he attempted to dress in period costume for wherever…or whenever…he hoped to land. Stan was a bit of a history buff, to put it mildly.

Abandoning his youthful desire to become a history professor one day, he followed in his father’s footsteps and pursued a career in medicine instead. But his true passion, along with an unbelievable collection of historical artifacts his surgeon’s salary had helped him obtain, kept him well equipped for his travels around the world and through time.
Anyway, on this particular day, he knew he was not going to last long in 2005 New York City wearing a particularly ridiculous wig he had donned in the hopes of visiting the French Revolution.

***Anything with revolutionary wigs is alright in our book!***

~Laughing Water by Cynthia~

As the boat carrying tourists cut a smooth path through the ocean's waters, its quake extended to the local's small craft.

On the tour boat, the waves were slight, and the party was going full force. The bartender hustled to keep up with the umbrella drink orders, trays of food filled with island delicacies, as well as lemon chicken, were brought out, and the vacation laughter bounced off the water.

No one noticed the man fighting to regain control of his simple vessel.

***What happens next?***

~Excerpt from Three Fallen Women by Amy Guth~

"As legend goes, Sedna, an Eskimo goddess, selective in her men, refused to marry any local suitors, or at all, until a Fulmar bird offered to take her across the sea to his home. Once she arrived, she became miserable and was poorly-treated and begged her father to come take her home. As she and her father were crossing the water, a flock of birds caused a violent storm, and to save his own ass, Sedna's father threw her into the water. Struggling to live, she clung to the edges of the boat, only to have her father chop off her fingers. As Sedna ascended into Eskimo heaven, the severed extremities became the wales, seals an other mammals tht now live i the ocean.

Helen wondered what her own crumbled empire would become as it washed away into the same ocean. She tried on the possibility of a few worthless images, but none of them fit just right. She snuck a few tears once in a laundromat, once in a cab, but stopped both times, as she found herself too confused to voice any of it even to herself."

***We plan to read this book. You caught us.***

~Requiem for Hope by Ann Walters~

Sadly sighs the wind and in his arms a butterfly still wrapped in its silvery cocoon. He wouldn’t cry for any other lost particle but this. This was his lover and her wings should have unfolded in kisses. Her brilliant bands of gold and green were to have been the gems upon his fingers but now the scales fall from her body like fragments of rainbow. He holds her close, tosses her high among the trees until she snags and catches there, held forever in her crib, her crypt.

***We are overwhelmed by the choice of this contest. So many different directions, interesting, moving themes, all.***

~Frayed Quilt by FranIAm~

Harold never meant it to get this bad. He didn't mean to kill anyone.

When he thought of returning to the place where he was from, he thought of green hills, trees, fresh air. He thought of food that tasted fresh and clear. The snap of the pea pod, like a small firecracker. The color of the tomato like a red badge of courage.

Harold thought of his mama and his papa; of his sister Nancy. The life they led in the country. It was as if they were in a cocoon and that cocoon provided all they needed.

The warmth of love felt there was beyond words. The fraying edge of the quilt made by his grandmother like a feather rustling against his nose. The sag in the bed, like the valleys in which he hiked, only smaller and more comforting.

Knowing that once he walked in the door, no matter how tattered the house, he was safe.

And the house was tattered. The windows, even closed, allowed a breeze at all times. The stairs creaked as if to say "stop walking on me, I am tired." The furniture threadbare, hard to sit on.

Nancy lived there now with her man George. She never escaped. Harold went to college, went to the city. Shed his old life like a snake sheds its skin.

Not so for his sister. George was cruel man; Harold couldn't quite sort out why Nancy... Nevermind, it wasn't his business, he thought.

Pushing thoughts away, like he would push the ragged curtain that acted as a door to his childhood room. Enter. Exit.

When he returned and saw what George had done, Harold entered into a place he had never been.

Darkness closed his heart like a great coal-covered hand clasping his chest. In his mind, images of warmth and comfort dissolved in the flood of black ink that some might call rage.

When he took the torch to it, he had no idea. Nancy was inside.

***Very nice, Fran. Again, what a wonderful collection. Please read this, then continue to the comments.***

~Bastards and Diners by Xegbp~

She threw the car into gear and roared out of the parking lot leaving him stranded at the god foresaken hole in the wall diner. She smiled to herself, lit a cigarette and turned up the volume on the radio. As the miles passed you would expect her to feel the beginnings of guilt, but she felt no guilt for leaving the bastard at the diner.
***Amen, sister.***

~Graced by Good Fashion by Comrade Kevin~

I can't say that my childhood was graced by the presence of good fashion. Case in point, when I was fourth grade, we visited the science museum. I took the opportunity to waste my entire allowance on the purchase of two articles of clothing, a t-shirt and sweatshirt.
Both bore the same identical design, which prominently featured the surface of the world. It looked like the surface of a globe that had been shaved off and then awkwardly glued to the cloth.
I wore both articles of clothing, one underneath the other, quite deliberately. Even if I spilled something on the top layer, I could take it off and in effect could still show how enamored I was with the image itself.
Naturally, I took every opportunity to show everyone. Adults feigned interest and other children were less than impressed. It didn't matter. It made me happy.
***This really brings us back.***

~History Lesson by Comrade Kevin~

While cleaning out my attic, I found some long-forgotten snapshots taken on one of my trips abroad.

The neo-hippie craze of the late 80's had finally crashed ashore in Beijing. Tye-die was the fashion craze of the moment, and every child proudly wore his or her own tribute to it. I knew that, had they observed it, the aging hippies of San Francisco, circa 1967, would have cringed.

Never in their wildest fantasies could they have anticipated that what was once a form of rebellion had become mainstream. Nor could they have ever dreamed that it would adorn the bodies of a younger generation of kids who spoke no English and had no conception of the Love generation.

Back in the days of flower power, Chinese citizens were forced to wear drab Mao suits, which were designed neither for comfort nor style. These bulky contraptions looked good on no one and gave its wearer the appearance of Frankenstein on the prowl.

The government had recently relaxed its standard of dress, which meant that Chinese citizen were free to adopt Western styles of dress. Massive shoulder pads and the lumpy squarish suits rapidly gave way to t-shirts and jeans.