They called him Tom—not his real name.
This guy was no head-hanging Tom Dooley.
Tom liked to watch. A voyeur. A peeking peeper.
A people watcher of the lowest and riskiest form.
Yet, old Tom was submissive. Not dangerous. But who knew?
Night was his time—windows framed his fantasies.
One day Tom saw something that made him
stop peeping—almost. “Now I’ve seen everything.
My life is complete. And I need to go to confession,
but not with that priest.” Tom, confided in himself.
Then, late one warm summer night, there was a scream.
Someone else yelled.
He heard a gunshot.
Maybe Tom had seen everything. But he never made it
to confession. He died doing what he loved.
What he needed.
And he died running,
just not fast enough. Peeping Tom was no more.
“And another one gone” and
“Another one bites the dust.”
Look both ways.
Exhibitionists and watchers can work together,
each according to his, her, or their wants and needs.
Kicking off the twelfth month of twenty-twenty-two, artist, businesswoman, swimmer, writer, mother, wife, sister, (I could go on), and our friend and fictioneer leader, Rochelle, has provided us with a peek out from Roger Bultot’s window with his inspiring photo as a bridge to creativity.
It goes like this. We look at the picture and write whatever story (beginning, middle, & end) we want. Easy, right? It’s doesn’t even have to be pure fiction. But we must prove our micro (or flash) – (non-)fiction bone fides by trimming our stories to any number of words under 101. Try it!
The directions are simple and available on Rochelle’s blog page, reachable with a simple tap, click, or press on Roger’s picture, like it was a detonator.
Genre: Espionage Fiction
Title: Truncated Bridge
Word Count: 100
Looking out the window, I felt stress. Ignorance fed by fear. After this job, I’d comfortably retire. To what? Sad.
The morning sunrise lacked hope. It was threatening. A foreboding bloody sky in a randomly meaningless universe. I didn’t care. It was time.
I lit what I promised myself was my last cigarette and sat by the window as I’d done hundreds of times before. When I saw the target on the bridge, I pressed the detonator button and watched the explosion. I always hated all the collateral damage. The news would blame the old bridge. Everyone lies. Everyone dies.
Look both ways to find happy endings.
Mind the gaps because that’s where the bridges collapse.
And for the music lovers among us, I present the Eagles singing “Seven Bridges Road.” If it works. I suppose I took the bridges thing a bit too far.
It was unthinkable, back when
my without-resumé or bona fide
job was Dad: our father,
leader, wizard, fixer of all
things and people broken,
savior of my tribe; shaman,
vet, and driver out of all demons.
Despite my foibles,
hidden as many were—
we managed to cope.
Burdened with adversity and misguided history
we owned our piece of the world,
we held the keys that controlled the universe,
wherein I was (am?) suddenly
no longer the center to which they would turn.
Call it what is, that’s life, dismissing
whenever shit happens, when I’m forced
to admit I don’t know why. To say
I was wrong about so much.
I think and think again about it all,
the ultimatum. It wasn’t you. It’s me.
Look both ways when seeking the mysterious purpose of life,
or finding of the true self, or taking on the vocation mantle of service.
Mind the gaps for the distractions of relief are dear.
To begin the second week of the NaPoWriMo challenge, I was to give a name to my alter ego. Then I was to provide you with a detailed description of him or her (in my case, his). Finally, I was s’pposed to write in my alter ego’s voice, presumably a poetic piece of some kind. I looked up alter ego because I wasn’t certain what that was. I’m still not sure.
I’ve provided you with two video clips. One to clarify my alter ego’s behavior and attitude (Gus McCrae from the Lonesome Dove miniseries, played by Robert Duvall). It’s close, but not exactly right. So, I added another clip from a Bloomberg interview with Sam Elliot to help with the look, facial hair, and voice. I also added a photo for the uniform and a bushier mustache.
Meet Scratch McGillicuddy, my alter ego. Scratch got his first name playing pool (poorly). His last name was bestowed by his father, but it’s not his real family name. He never uses that. Scratch’s motto is do no harm but take no shit. He has a soft heart that he wants no one to see, and a hard head that everyone sees. Like Gus McCrae, Scratch has an appreciation for the arts, the intelligence of others, all kinds of learning, and he talks and drinks too much.
While McGillicuddy has seen better days and his best is in the past, he is seriously in denial about that and thinks he can do it all as well as always. Scratch is older than he looks, is more physically fit than many think, and admits to selling himself for a bit more than his worth. In many ways, except for his cowboy image, Scratch is an average sized man who hits hard and shoots straight, metaphorically and literally.
He sees things others miss. While his hearing is waning, he loves music. Secretly, he is proud of his physical and emotional scars. Yet, he doesn’t show them off or talk much about what price he paid for them.
We’re all gone now, but we ain’t
And we ain’t them Louis L’Amour pokes,
but we are too, in many a memory.
Now, we’re the Larry McMurtry truth.
We’re not the western movie,
but we’re the western hero
and the Liberty Valance, sorry to say.
We don’t drive pickup trucks,
but we ride, smack dab in the middle with you.
We love horses, snakes, and cows,
but we ain’t no farmers nor them
drugstore cowboy goat ropers.
We drink rank coffee and cheap rye whiskey,
and we cause tons a trouble on the double.
We’re on your saddles, in yer picture shows,
and we be a permanent part of yer art.
In Oklahoma we’re gussied up in a dad burn museum.
We’re who y’all pine to be, but you can’t be no more
b’cuz they done bob-warred the dang prairie.
We all been throwed, and some of us been rode.
Don’t be messin’ with our women folk,
now, ya been nicely told.
Hang on to the myth, the cowboy stories,
because it’ll be nowhere on earth, ever again.
Never like it was way back then. Like I said,
We just ain’t here abouts no more. But you are.
Look both ways for the stories of history: the truth, myths, and mysteries.
Mind the gaps, the hats, the spurs, and the boots.
It isn’t what it was, but it was what it is. Make the best of it.
Each Wednesday, the wonderful and majestic Rochelle sends a photo to inspire us to write one-hundred or fewer words that tell a story. Friday Fictioneers is fun. Click on the prompt photo for the access to her special page.
Here is the prompting picture and my fib.
Title: It Is What Was
Word Count: 100
“This SUV is a time machine that transports mentally, not physically. You can only go back during your lifetime, not forward.
“That mirror shows exact time and place holographically. You go from now to then for about five minutes, then you are back here. You may change any past decision of yours, but rules disallow affecting life or death—kind of a prime directive. Your life will change based on the new decision. Any questions?”
What if I change my mind afterwards?
“We allow one free return trip to reset things. So far, everyone has done that. Ready?”
Look both ways, regret little, love much, and be yourself.
Mind the gaps and SUV, time machine sales staff.
“Finish each day and be done with it.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson)