There is – I wouldn’t call it a hole, rather a hollow – in the ground outside my house. When it rains it fills up to form a puddle and when the sun shines it evaporates, back to a hollow. The last few summers the puddle hasn’t dried away. Perhaps the sun shone less or perhaps the branches of the tree just above it grew a little thicker, but the puddle remained throughout the season. I can see the puddle from my bedroom window. The puddle, the tree and the green area around it, the little playground outside a kindergarten and a convenience store.
What do you get if you combine a sagacious Swede with a wayfaring Welshman then add a mercurial Massachusettian to a canny Croat and for good measure finish by blending in a bold Brit?
Week 39 at Literally Stories of course!
‘A judge tells a condemned man he’s going to hang next week, but he won’t know when until the hangman comes a-knockin’. The judge only says one thing, that it’ll be a surprise.’ The man with dark rimmed spectacles pauses to smoke, his hair is black and slick with Brylcreem.
‘So, when he’s locked up and waiting to be hung, this guy thinks to himself: “This shit ain’t fair, they have to tell me when I’m going to die. I’ve got rights.” So he decides to work it out. He figures if hasn’t been hung by Thursday, he can’t be killed on Friday because it wouldn’t be a surprise, he’d know it was coming.
I walk down the three steps, step out onto the sidewalk outside her house and lean my head back to the sky. Raindrops land on my face, neither warm nor cold. No breezes, but I hear the wind in the leaves on the trees along the avenue. Few people are up, light from maybe one or two windows. The street lamps light my way down the avenue. The asphalt is wet, which gives the city a fresh smell of concrete and cars. I like the smell of both; cars and concrete. It must have rained harder an hour ago. Streams run along the sidewalk picking up dirt in a slow pace and pouring it down the sewer.
(Une tranche de vie, inbound)
This morning D’Espirito “Dez” Carmine knew that one of his passengers was in trouble.
Dez shifted gears of the twelve-seat bus as he came out of Revere onto the highway north, his eyes, as ever, studying the dozen passengers on their way to work, determining a snarl, a scowl or grimace, as a straight-out give-away. Oh, they were splendid facial characters, make-up aficionados, the mostly imperturbable cast for his play-going. Each one of them he knew almost intimately, their habits, likes and dislikes, their temperaments; how they showed impatience or worry. The lip biters were evident and the knee tappers, the finger squeezers and the puckered, silent whistlers. Who slept around, who was prone to wander come of an evening after work, he knew. Evidence of it came from eye flight or hair disarrangement, an early exhaustion showing itself off or a head yet rolling in a kind of rhythm. The morning body electric, he heard a voice say in the back of his head.
The thin penetrating whine dragged him from the warm recesses of sleep. He pawed at the air as he sank back into slumber but his swipe was ineffectual and the incessant drone continued. He turned on to his side. The insect followed. He sat up in bed, groaned and shook his head.
The bedside globe reacted to his command painting the room a dusky yellow.
Where are you, you little…
He rubbed his eyes and scanned the ceiling. No sign of the intruder and no sound to track it by. Resigned to have to start hunting he stretched a lazy arm across his body to pull back the covers.
Ahh…there you are.
Laughing out loud.
Rolling on the floor with laughter.
This last one was from Barb and Trevor’s heart-felt like supernova.
The night was going well. He was being charming, funny and confident. His body language advertised a great catch and a man who should be forgiven one honest mistake.
Right! The story is done. A long stand in the pissing rain waiting for that bird. Fecking camera in the fecking phone pish. What twat thought of that? I bet it was some weirdo with an ear fetish!
OK now the easy bit…Oh fuck I do make myself laugh.
When I visited the back door portal to Literally Stories Friday morning charged with the task of ordering random words into something a little less random my first thought on typing Week 38 was; Is there any significance to the number 38?
In short. No significance.
The best ‘fact’ I came up with was it is the probable year of the marriage of Claudius and Messalina.
However if you add ‘th’ to 38 and then parallel, too, the plot thickens into something almost but not quite significant, as you now have the 38th parallel. The demarcation between North and South Korea. An imaginary line that also passes just north of Ashgabat in Turkmenistan, all of which makes one wonder how newspaper columnists survived before the advent of the internet search engine? None of which leads me to this week’s litany of literary marvels that began with The Aviator.
“I blame that Lord Longford muppet. All he did was encourage you do- gooder visitor pricks! You have sprouted up like a cancer since that old fuck died.”
James stopped, “Now this was an agreement! People know that I am here!”