Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Wayne Status (3 word Wednesday - abuse, cramp, hatred)

“Day 100. Can you believe it’s been 100 days Dustin?”

Ugh, Wayne. Not Wayne. It’s too early in the morning for Wayne’s psychobabble. Dustin gazed at his computer monitor, attempting to check his Email, and hoping that Wayne would stop talking to the back of his head. Wayne looked over Dustin at a distant wall mounted monitor displaying close captioned CNN headlines. Dustin wished he were deaf, at least he could watch CNN in peace.

Every office had a Wayne. A Wayne was someone that loved to hear himself talk endlessly about nothing; someone people avoided eye contact with. A Wayne had such a reputation that would encourage subtle assistance from co-workers to save one another from the misfortunes of being cornered. Here was the office celebrity, the “Wayne of all Waynes” in all his glory, an unwelcome visitor in Dustin’s cubicle, reciting CNN as if Dustin were illiterate and not thoroughly exhausted of hearing about the Gulf oil spill.

“Did you know Tony Hayward is getting replaced? I think it’s about time, don’t you?” His nasal voice spiked hatred in Dustin, but he withheld enough to reply with rigid politeness, “I can read Wayne.”

The muted news anchor had moved on to an Iowa dam break, and Wayne followed suit. “Did they explain what caused the dam to...”

“’Scuse me Dustin can you look at this ticket for me please?” It was Crystal, right on cue, sparing Dustin from further abuse. She maneuvered her stout torso around Wayne and pointed at a blank piece of paper until Wayne departed.

“Thanks,” Dustin smirked and returned to his monitor. Crystal spoke in a gossipy mumble, “Geez he’s wound up today ain’t he? There’s a full moon out can’t you tell?”

“Yeah I saw it last night.”

“I think it’s really making people extra wacky because Venus is in retrograde which is odd for the early phase of Leo…”

Oh God. Don’t go into the zodiac stuff again Crystal. Don’t do it.

“...if you saw the moon last night, you could also see Mars if you had a clear sky, it was just off to the…"

“Shucks, missed it,” Dustin spoke with deflating enthusiasm. It was too late. Crystal had claimed Dustin’s only pencil and was sketching the planetary locations on the blank paper. He put his hand to his temples, perhaps she’d understand he really wasn’t following her, nor cared to. His distant expression only provoked Crystal further. Blah, blah, blah…

“Pardon me sir but did you see Jeopardy last night,” a deep male voice broadcasted over Crystal. Dustin knew what Guy was doing. Crystal had reached Wayne status, and Dustin was offered another life preserver. The bubbly Sage of the Zodiac retreated, leaving Guy in her place. The short man folded his arms; Dustin nodded in gratitude, faced his screen, and began to type. Finally, some peace and quiet.

“No I’m serious, did you see it?”

Oh come on, still here? “No Guy I did not see it, but I’m sure you’re going to tell me all about it…”

Guy explained with the energy of a sports commentator, “This one contestant was unbelievable! Shakespearian Characters, nailed it. Canadian Provinces, nailed it. African capitals, a personal favorite… nailed! Then he gets Periodic Table and meets his match! Who knows the capital of Burkina Faso but cannot get the obvious hint of Argon? I mean, come on…”

Dustin hoped Guy’s diaphragm would cramp from not stopping for oxygen. He patiently rubbed his temples, wondering whatever part of him that was emanating ‘Come babble to me’ could be located and maimed.

Guy ceased his animated rant when a woman with bloodshot eyes stepped alongside him.

“I need to talk… I’m sorry…” the woman welled up, fighting tears. Not one for drama, Guy placed his hand to his ear, “Is that my phone? Sorry I’ll let you two…” He didn’t finish. He didn’t need to.

Dustin grimaced at Tabitha, his latest train wreck of a visitor. “Ohmigod what happened,” he made his strongest effort to not sound monotone.

“He (sniffle) hasn’t returned my text yet,” Tabitha whined as a tear rolled down her cheek.

“When did you text him?”

“Two hours ago. He doesn’t normally take that long,” she wiped her eyes, embarrassed. “I’m sorry, I don’t mean to come over and start (sob)…” She crumpled her face and pointed at her eyes. Dustin would have gouged out his eyes and eardrums right then and there if Crystal hadn't made away with the pencil.

Dustin frowned. Yes you do. You know you meant to come over here and cry. You always do. And you cry to me because I am the only one that will look like I’m listening. Dustin offered a tissue, as was the normal routine with Tabitha. “Look Tab I don’t mean to be insensitive, but you’ll have to excuse me. I need to use the restroom.”

Tabitha leaned on his desk, clearing her eyes. Dustin really did not need to go, but sought an excuse to leave. All he wanted was a little peace and quiet; simply check his Email and do some work, uninterrupted. He walked across the office, ignoring two other counts of people trying to bleed their woes to him, before arriving at the mens room. He splashed his face with cold water and fidgeted with his hair. The furthest stall produced a flush, and the door unhinged.

The nasal voice pierced his soul, “Can you really believe it’s been 100 days?”

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Unemployment Rate (three word Wednesday - bait, jump, victim; and Flash Friday)

Hank had no reason to expect company at nine-thirty in the morning. Date and time had not meant much to him in over three months. He threw a plaid robe over his boxers, made a feeble attempt to push his hair back, and answered the knocking at the front door. A clean cut man in a grey business suit nodded and extended his hand.

“Mister Hank Rowan, I presume?”

Hank scanned the younger man quizzically through sagging eyes. Hank knew he looked like shit; his face was scruffy, his hair awry, his teeth not brushed, he had not been graced with a shower in two days. Still the suited man did not look phased by Hank’s unkempt presentation. He leaned on his door and croaked, “What do you want?”

“My name is Walter, I am from Domestic Services.”

“What can I do for you Walter?”

“I understand you’ve been unemployed for awhile now,” Walter claimed the briefcase resting against his ankle and maneuvered his way around Hank. The living room was as maintained as its occupant. Taken aback by Walter’s aggressive jump indoors, Hank spoke slowly, “I was victim of a layoff in March.”

“Sorry to hear that. How has your search for re-employment gone?”

“It’s a tough market out there. I’ve sent resumes, I’ve looked online. Temp agencies. Nothing. Been collecting for about seven weeks.”

“Maybe I should discuss my reason for the visit. I believe I can help you, Hank. The Presidency has been very concerned about the nation’s unemployment rate being so high. A small group of individuals like myself were hired by the government to see what we can do to remedy the situation. Think of my visit as a job interview brought to you.”

Hank rubbed his chin. He had never heard of such a thing. Still he was willing to hear Walter state his case. Almost anything Walter proposed could be better than eating Ramen noodles two meals a day, and still facing a foreclosure. Walter interpreted his doubt, “Our organization has succeeded over the second quarter in bringing the rate from 9.9 to 9.7. It may not seem like much, but it’s thousands of individuals we are talking about…”

Your group is taking the credit for the improvement?”

“You said it yourself Hank, it’s a tough market out there.”

“Alright then,” Hank took the bait, “What does your group do exactly?”

“Hank,” Walter pointed quickly and smirked, “I’m glad you asked. We look for unemployed and financially desperate individuals, such as yourself, no offense... and place them where they are no longer dependent on government funded support. This is creating a turnaround in national profit because we have reduced those relying on welfare.”

“Sounds like you’ve definitely done your part against the recession.”

Walter placed his briefcase on the filthy coffee table and unhinged the braces, “In fact, I guarantee I can get you to work by the end of the day!”

“That would be great! What kind of work? Do you need my resume?” Hank scanned the room, failing to locate his resume folder.

“No resume necessary Hank,” Walter revealed a .38 Magnum from the briefcase.

Hank froze in his footsteps, “You’re not really from the government, are you?”

Walter grinned, “I promised you some work. How are you with a shovel?"

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

To whom it may concern (three word Wednesday - gentle, praise, vulgar)

Dear writers,

I am writing this in good conscience that I need to make my voice heard on a subject that has been of great concern for awhile now. I am deeply worried that the subject of vampires has been overused in today’s movies and literature. Look, I know there’s a dark, mysterious danger that the vampire character offers to your fiction. Hollywood has cast us as a cold and savage species. It’s not like that at all. We are not so vulgar as to hunt down you humans for blood. Quite frankly, it’s far too messy. Everyone seems to have some sort of GPS these days. Next thing you know, the cops are all over you. Then it’s all this explaining, all this paperwork, possible arrest or even getting shot at. And what vampire likes to get shot at? Not yours truly, my friends.

Hollywood has recently made us an anti-hero. This has worsened our lifestyle truthfully. I feel it has impinged on our anonymity. Everywhere I go, humans want autographs. It has also become an unbearable nuisance with the paparazzi. Don’t they realize I will not show up in photos? I am no role model and certainly no anti-hero. I feel the praise and attention we receive is simply not justified.

I would furthermore like to set the record straight for bats. Bats have really got a bad reputation through the whole vampire infatuation you humans have going on. Bats are not after your blood, they hone in by sonar. If you don’t want them to bother you, then stop making noises! They are a pretty gentle animal overall and should be considered for domestication. If you were the first in your neighborhood with a pet bat, I am certain you’d be the talk of the neighborhood. Untapped potential here, people. It’s no more difficult than owning a ferret. Less odorous, too. Think of them as small, blind ferrets with wings. What’s not to love?

I go to the blood bank and pay for my meals like every honest hard working vampire. I sleep the sunlight hours away, so please stop knocking on my door during the daytime hours. I am not interested in your life insurance or your girl scout cookies. Just let me sleep people. A little privacy is all I ask. If you are awake in the wee hours of the morning, you can text or Email me, even follow me on Twitter. I’d rather you not visit in person though, I’m a bear if you interrupt my DVR’d Oprah.



Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Twisted Experiment (three word Wednesday - acrid, bane, tepid)

I went with a continuation of The Cortez Case, characters in this installment were last seen in 3ww stories "Hostage" and "El Moco."

Blinding light protruded around the silhouette of the large man in the doorway. “Get up kid.”

Ryan planted a hand on the floor. His arm wobbled and strained. How long had it been? He had lost weight at an unhealthy rate, feverishly devouring whatever poor excuses for meals that were brought to him. Slices of bread, half eaten sandwiches, tepid leftovers, and an occasional bowl of oatmeal had been the cause of noticeable reduction in his arms and waist. He had not complained, for his adjustment to the high seas had not been a smooth one, and he feared a normal portion of food would not stay down. He knew they would not let him starve to death, as much as he thought that may be favorable. They would not let him, and he would not let himself. He was determined to get out. Alive.

The hair that fell around his face as he lifted his head reminded him that starvation was minor on his priorities. They had been drugging him. Not the good drugs. Not heroin. Ryan would take every one of them to hell for a fix of heroin. He had gone without for far too long. He dreamed of it. He hungered for it… more than a full meal... more than the need to shake the seasickness... more than life itself. He needed a fix. And he needed it now. The drugs he had been receiving failed at giving him a high. The only trippy effect was dizziness and a loss of balance. It was not even a loss, more of a shift. And body changes were a bane to his pride and his manhood. His facial hair had stopped growing. His skin was softer. His chest had become itchy with small pectoral growths. And, most horrific of all, his crotch had painfully shriveled to a fragile feeling of a rotten tomato. He dared not touch for fear of breaking anything. His voice had become less gruff and monotone, more pitchy and melodic. He found himself crying frequently, and mad at himself for not keeping it together. He had not seen himself since these changes began and was sure he didn’t want to.

A size 12 black shoe appeared alongside Ryan.

“I said get up,” a painful tug at Ryan’s hair weave hoisted him to his feet. Ryan stood level to Brick’s chest, which due to his girth was still larger than Ryan’s hormonally altered chest. Ryan thought about kicking his heel straight into Brick’s nuts, but feared a reciprocated strike would destroy him.

“It’s time to go,” Brick patted down Ryan’s faux hair as if patting a dog. Brick revealed a washcloth and commenced toweling the sweat from Ryan’s face. Ryan wished Carlos had come to get him. Carlos would have let him get up on his own, and thrown the washcloth at him. Not Brick. Brick was a creepy man. Ryan’s hormonal alterations were Brick’s fault, Brick’s twisted experiment. Ryan was not sure where they were going, but Brick’s efforts to make him presentable made him want to crawl out of his skin. They departed the cargo room, climbed stairs while the ocean fought his skewed balance, and finally arrived in the sunlight. The acrid odor of low tide rushed in, the sea breeze pushing his long hair across his nose repetitively. The boat was smaller than he anticipated. He envisioned a large cargo rig, but the deck was merely a rundown mid-sized tug boat. The coastline before them was lush and rural. Carlos roped the boat to a dock and faced the coast, little Chloe at his side. The blond kindergartener was preoccupied with a Barbie doll. At least their captors had a heart enough to keep Chloe happy.

Chloe nudged Carlos, “Are we going to see my Daddy now?”

“Not yet. But your friend Ryan is here,” Carlos motioned to Brick and Ryan approaching. Ryan walked up to her, “Hi Chloe, how are you?”

“You’re not Ryan! Ryan’s a boy!”

Her innocent observation rattled Ryan worse than any pain he’d ever endured. Brick smiled to Carlos, “See. Told you. Believable enough.”

“We’ll see. If Moco doesn’t buy it, I swear Brick, I’ll kill you…” Carlos blurted.

The knocking of several footsteps along the wooden dock grew louder. A greasy overweight Brazilian man lumbered amongst three bodyguards. Three onboard nervously watched the approach of Moco and his entourage; the fourth watched her Barbie doll.