I was barely 20 years of age and newly married when on August 1st, 1966, Charles Whitman, after killing his mother and wife, packed three rifles, three pistols, a shotgun, 700 rounds of ammunition, food, coffee, vitamins, medicine, earplugs, water, matches, lighter fluid, rope, binoculars, a machete, three knives, a radio, toilet paper, a razor, and deodorant. He went to the observation deck of the Main Building Tower at the University of Texas at Austin.
Whitman killed 14 people and injured 31. He was shot dead. For 18 years, it was the deadliest mass lone gunman shooting in U.S. history. It was unthinkable.
Whitman had sought professional help for “overwhelming, violent impulses;” fantasies about shooting people from the tower. He told them what and where. These are the things they don’t tell us.
“I wish I didn’t know now what I didn’t know then.”
Look both ways. To the beginning and to the end (if there is one).
Mind the gaps as you live in this moment of grave concern with sadness or anger.
Happy June, y’all. Today our friend, Lisa Fox, purveyor of dao and Daoism, productive blogger extraordinaire, unafraid of flair and finer hints of purple, partners up with Mistress Rochelle to present an interesting photo to stimulate our story telling senses and to help us with a one-hundred-word escape plan.
Click on Lisa’s pic to escape on over to Rochelle’s page to see how it’s done.
Title: Boys in the Belfry
Word count: 100
After the Army, we snagged this great side-hustle with awesome pay and bennies.
I remember telling Jimmy.
“Wait until he’s halfway down the ladder. Empty your clip up his ass. Get the picture and ear. We meet Warren in the belfry at eight.”
Jimmy said, “No problemo, Mister Sunshine. You be careful chasing him. He’s a bad one.”
I walked to the front, checked the address, banged on the door, and yelled, “State Police. We have a warrant!”
A lovely lady opened the door. I heard muffled shots. “I’m sorry, Ma’am. Wrong address.”
I turned and walked to the church.
Look both ways for an entry and exit.
Mind the gaps in the escape.
And remember, cops never knock.
Today is Friday Fictioneers’ photo prompt release day, posted two days prior to Friday the thirteenth, an inauspicious Gregorian calendar arrangement in the superstitious minds of many.
Central to Mistress Rochelle’s well-chosen pic from the artistic eye of our friend to the north, Dale Rogerson, is a red rose. “O my Luve’s like a red, red rose/That’s newly sprung in” May; is partly from the famous Robert Burns poem.
What can one do with the flower of love on the most traditional day of western bad luck? My go is below Dale’s photo. My gratitude to both wonderful, bonnie lasses for giving direction to this week’s micro-fiction collection.
Genre: Padded Journalism
Title: Guns and Roses
Word Count: 100
The blonde was his beauty. He was her beloved beast. They struck out for freedom armed with guns and motivated by love.
“We’ll never blend in, Casey. You’re too tall.”
“Vicky, look! It’s them laws. Let’s die like Bonnie and Clyde. We’ll be famous.”
“But dead as hell. Drive fast, Babe. If they get close, they’ll flip us.”
There was a loud bump. Casey’s driving skills failed to keep them from the grassy Indiana ditch.
Her last words were, “I love you, Babe. See you in hell. They could have at least waited until Friday.”
A gunshot, then cops everywhere.
Look both ways when on the run in the Alabama sun.
Mind the gaps and ditches.
Keep in mind that at six-foot-nine, you’re not that hard to find.
Na’ama Yehuda’s lovely flower garden picture posted by the incomparable Rochelle, mistress of pools of water and writers was both inspirational and challenging. A rose by any other name is a tulip, even on Friday Fictioneers, right?
Genre: Murderous Fiction
Title: I never promised you a rose tulip garden
We were so much in love, hotly in lust, blindly infatuated—the perfect couple. I decided I could trust him with my biggest secrets. We just clicked.
“Hey Babe, I need to tell you one more thing.”
“Oh, Sweetheart, you can tell me anything. Without trust, there’s no us.”
“I worked as a hooker when I lived in Reno.”
“Okay, Love…that’s over now.”
“I also shot a man there just to watch him die.
“You did what? You’re a murderer? We need to get that mess cleaned up.”
“I’ll be packing tonight. Don’t worry about me leaving. I’m already gone.”
Look both ways to see that no one is perfect, everyone makes mistakes, we can only be who we are. Mind those gaps so you don’t forget that your truth may be none of my business.
My story was musically inspired by: (I Never Promised You A) Rose Garden by Lynn Anderson, Folsom Prison Blues by Johnny Cash, and Already Gone (also maybe the line, And there’s some rumors going round, someone’s underground from Witchy Woman) by Eagles (sic).
Yesterday, Fictioneers Mistress Rochelle dealt us an urban photo by Ted Strutz from which we were prompted to contrive, via inspiration, a micro-fiction story. May my tardiness be forgiven. Three more NaPoWriMo poems and my life returns to whatever my normal may be.
Genre: urban fiction
Title: Tony Loves Rosie
Word count: 100
The slow walking old man stopped. He remembered this corner with ambivalence, but that day with dread.
The ironic sign was near where he’d shot and killed Ted Coffey during the gang rumble. Hearing the Third Avenue elevated pass brought a tear. The bike lay were he almost bled to death. Behind him the spot where Rosie died. Then, her loud voice.
“Tony fucking Del Toro. Is that you? Remember me? It’s Rosie Reyes. I heard you died in Viet Nam. Marines, right? Hey, let’s get a cup a joe and talk old times. Good memories.”
Seeing her changed everything.
Look both ways, even on one-way streets.
Mind the gaps hidden in the crevasses of your mind.
For my twenty-sixth daily, prompted, voluntary assignment, today I was challenged to write a poem that contains at least one epic simile. These (Homeric) similes extend and develop over multiple lines with decorative elements that emphasize the dramatic nature of the subject. As suggested, I chose to write a complete poem as one long epic simile theme (salted with some metaphor) to carry the poem.
Flying Like Dragons
Like unleashed frightening awesomeness,
like giant thundering flying dragons with
massive wings lifting us skyward, roaring, breathing fire;
my brain blends with this pestilent machine, as if I’m guiding
an iron plague with deafening noise to wreak death,
to pour vengeance down upon their wrongs, a bane
to my enemies, a scourge of fire-for-fire. Flying
at invisible heights, with a sharp stinging tail, breathing
radiation into electrons, as my stealthy flying monster
seeks annihilation of the unjust.
Like a beast, it sees over great distances,
it smells its enemies in total darkness; then skillfully, silently
we approach as offensive defenders with hidden talons;
without emotion or fear, as if by kismet we destroy our prey
with automatic, irreversible, unmerciful curses.
Look both ways to see what is nearby but accept the limits of sensory perception.
Mind the gaps and trust your dragon’s instruments.