July 2014 Story Postings

Here is a new page for your July S3P stories. There are no topics or prompts for this page. Feel free to draft, explore ideas, get creative as you want with your writing here. Stories posted are subject to comment by other readers. Take advantage of the suggestions they have to offer. Please use the FlashChat page for personal comments between you and other writers.

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14 thoughts on “July 2014 Story Postings”

  1. I wrote this in January for no other reason than a seed of an idea and a desire to write some description.

    Nature Ride Out West

    Oiled saddle leather creaks in the chill of the morning air. Shod hooves step high above the snow, breaking through knee-high powder, setting the shoe calks in the frozen earth below. The sun rising at our backs casts a blue rippling shadow across the wind-blown drifts which lay like waves across the inhospitable sloping terrain. I ponder the pleasure of a smoke as my breath billows before me.

    I nudge my mare with my spurs and she balks. I encourage her with soft clicking sounds and mutter, “Sorry, girl,” knowing the actual words mean nothing to her, hoping their tone gives her confidence. I rein her to the right, downhill, as we follow the snow-filled tracks of a straying cow and her calf, tracks nearly obliterated by last night’s snowfall. We approach a rise topped with a snowy mound streaked ugly crimson and I dismount. It’s the calf, dead and dismembered. Timber wolf tracks trace the disturbed snow wake of a larger animal moving in haste toward a thicket of bean mesquite. I hear the bellow of a cow, mournful and scared, fearful and pained.

    I remount. My mare’s gait is slow and deliberate in the deepening snow. We follow the tracks to the site of the cow’s agony – two famished wolves, one attacking her udder; one with its jaw locked on her fleshy nose. She shakes her head to no avail. Her eyes are glazed in shock; her nostrils sling snot and blood as she tries in vain to spin clockwise, knees buckling. I pull my Winchester and lever a round. I aim and finger the trigger. The two wolves look toward me as the cow drops. I return my Winchester to its sheath, tap a smoke, and light it. The wolves turn to their dead prey and begin to rip its soft fleshy parts. My spent cigarette hisses as it hits the snow, and we turn into the sun.

    • This is a nice scene, Jeff, but the piece doesn’t pass the “So what” test. Nothing really happens. What if the rider goes for a ride to take a break from sitting next to his dying wife? What if he comes across the cow, shoots it, and realizes this is part of nature’s (or God’s, if you prefer) plan. What if this event gives him a new perspective on his wife’s condition and his part in her “plan?” Just a thought.

      • As I wrote in my disclaimer, it was an exercise to write some description that ended up in three paras. Posted elsewhere at one time, readers expressed surprise at the MC killing the cow and not the wolves. So, for me, that is what happens. No, it’s not edge-of-your-seat drama. But it wasn’t written with that intent either. It is what it is.

  2. Square Cat

    Cigarette smoke holds thick as bass from a sax. It’s poetry night at The Cellar with pseudo-intellectuals in berets with cigarette holders spewing crap that doesn’t rhyme. Candles glowing yellow in cheap chianti bottles, reflected in darkness of eyes hidden behind darker shades. A clustering of fools muttering pointless words. “Hip.” “Cool.” A herd of cats, fingers snapping, as silly as trained seals clapping. Those little cups of espresso. In a corner booth a phosphor match flares, someone toking a joint.

    Skinny legs in leotards ask me for my order. I tell her to take a hike. She tries to shred me with disdain. I flip her off as she turns away to the bar and take a pull from my flask. Bruno behind the bar scowls. He comes my way, a muscle beach wannabe. “Buy or fly,” he tells me.

    I snap my fingers. Twice. “Nice poem, Daddy O,” I tell him. He reaches for me and never sees the knife. What lousy three last words I think. I show myself to the door. I don’t leave a tip.

    • The scene is vivid, but I don’t understand why the narrator pulls a knife.

    • You had me at “a herd of cats, fingers snapping”
      I lived those days of Kerouac and the boys. Coffee houses with black walls, and Beat Poets. It always seemed so hip and fake at the same time.
      You captured that period perfectly in your opening.
      Have to agree that the ending needs work.. A tad abrupt, and miles from the mood of the setting.

  3. Good piece, Jeff. I think I’d leave the three out of the last words sentence tho’.

  4. Bruno, the muscle beach wannabe was stupid to threaten an unstable, and probably high, narrator. I could see the storyline.

  5. The Journey

    Reaching my goal will be a long and arduous journey, one that I may not survive. Many perils await as I travel this barren landscape, and my very life is in imminent danger. I’ve learned to ignore these threats and concentrate on the ultimate prize, a new life of freedom and beauty. No thoughts must interfere.

    Sustenance is all that’s on my mind now, no longer the dangers that await me. I am parched for water, and will soon grow weak for lack of food. I’ve been traveling for so long, and I’m growing very tired. I move slower and slower, stopping now and then to rest.

    Finally I see it ahead, my salvation. If I can just reach it before the creatures get to me. I am close, so very close. Suddenly, I see a very large shadow looming over me, and I know I won’t reach my destination. That bird is hungry and I’ll never become a butterfly, but will end my life as a lowly caterpillar crawling across the patio.

  6. Sorry Jeff, just had to do that. I experienced this horrific drama this afternoon, and just had to write about it.

  7. Alan picked the pattern and the colors for this last afghan. Crocheting it was going to be a challenge, but also a labor of love, no matter how long it took. We both knew there were going to be many hours spent in waiting rooms after we heard his cancer diagnosis. This was going to help me pass the time, at least keeping my hands busy. I think Alan picked the most complex pattern he could find, hoping to keep my mind busy, too.

    Fifteen months crochet work was nearing completion, and his life was nearing the end, almost as if they were planned to coincide. The afghan was beautiful, wide blue and white stripes in a complex American Indian pattern with touches of black and red inserted at intervals. I was finally ready for the last bit of work, a heavy black band that would border the colorful center.

    The border was about half finished and Alan, deeply sedated from painkillers, was in a hospital bed in our family room. Friends and family members came to say their goodbyes, but for the most part I was alone with him. We had never been apart in the nineteen years of our marriage, and these last days were all I had left to share with him. Covering the sheet with his afghan, I asked a friend to take a photo of our joined hands atop it. The afghan went with us to the hospice hospital, where his life mercifully ended less than a week later. The unfinished afghan is packed away with the rest of my memories of those last months, along with a very touching photograph.

    • Hi Jeri: that’s a sweet story. Only read it once sofar. I think you were referring to the sheet covering Alan as he lay in bed. If so it could be clearer you think?

      And one other thing, Where you wrote:

      The afghan was beautiful

      how about using beautiful as an adjective and giving a noun following. Get what I mean?

      I am contacting the photo story writers for a short bio to be included with the winning story.

      Send me 25 words or so por favor.

      Hear there was a big dust storm there a couple days ago. Abuelo or something like that?

      Sounds horrid.

      Juggling email and cooking dinner,

      ❤ Jeff

      On Mon, Jul 28, 2014 at 3:54 PM, A Story in Three Paragraphs wrote:

      > meegiemom commented: “Alan picked the pattern and the colors for this > last afghan. Crocheting it was going to be a challenge, but also a labor of > love, no matter how long it took. We both knew there were going to be many > hours spent in waiting rooms after we heard his cancer” >

  8. California has just experienced the driest year ever recorded. According to Governor Jerry Brown’s office we may be subject to mandatory conservation measures if this persists. Is there anything that can be done about this situation, other than wait for rain? Yes there is, and Carlsbad, California is doing it. This coastal city is poised to become the home of the largest desalination plant in the western hemisphere. On December 28, 2012, Poseidon Water began construction on this project, and plans to begin delivering water to the businesses and residents in San Diego County by 2016.

    If this small city can accomplish something of this magnitude, certainly other municipalities can do the same thing. With over six thousand miles of coastline, not including tidal and freshwater shorelines, the United States has the resources. It will take billions of dollars, considering the bureaucratic hoops to be jumped through, and many years, but time is not on our side. Funding for projects of this sort deems it necessary here to address the terrible amount of governmental waste we see every day. Pork barrel spending, from both parties, starts right at the head of the line. In researching this article, I found it impossible to find any two estimates of the total cost of these projects for any given year in the recent past. Needless to say, it’s many billions.

    Considering that water is our life’s blood, and without it whole civilizations could perish, it would seem that Washington policy makers might take a good look at this new technology. If we are to survive, we must have water. We need to rethink our priorities. Take a good, close look at what Carlsbad, California has done. Might it be wise to follow their lead?

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