The Gruber

A Gruber is a fell and foul creature, covered in boils that explode into puffs of yellow farts when popped.

A Gruber’s eyes are covered in scales so it to see only what it wants to see, and its ears are stuffed full of nettles so it does’t have to be bothered with what others have to say.

A Gruber has hot coals attached to its feet so its always hopping about impatiently.

Gruber’s have fierce claws and thick arms covered in spikes, which makes them  ill suited to warm hugs.

Gruber’s are always complaining but their hoarse voices come out in clouds of mumbles.

Which is for the best as Grubers never have anything nice to say. Nor are their words in response to anything you may have said, but rather, they are dead retorts to arguments hatched long ago.

A Gruber is not without hope, there is a magic kiss for every toad.

A Gruber has one too, of sorts. Though you needn’t brush your lips against its slimy, disgusting skin.

That magic kiss as it were, that can wash away the Gruber’s ugliness to reveal something beautiful is a simple incantation. Two words that dull the edge of broken glass.

I’m sorry.

This simple spell can undo so much. The magic of these small words is more powerful still when fault is not so clearly defined.

Grubers are everywhere.

Mirrors are their favorite places to hide.

Jimmie G.


An “I’m sorry” to my daughters for sometimes being a big a-hole.

WordPress Weekly Writing Challenge: Flash Fiction

 

Fairy on pointe

My lady was hippie cool when I first saw her.

Clad in splayed bell bottom jeans she made herself.

Baggy, wild print shirts, and and bells dangling from hemp ropes woven into her her hair.

A beautiful fairy princess.

She shed the hippie attire to stand in arabesque on pink pointe. One leg weighted to the ground, while the rest of her floated to a heaven she desperately wanted me to believe in.

My lady wore hot red pants one night and was the fist to say “I love you” because she has more courage than I.

My lady followed me to white sand shores to become my wife.

Encouraged me to the soar amongst the monoliths of the greatest city in the world and then carried our roots on a pilgrimage to the emerald soil of the Northwest.

My lady, my wife, my friend.

Why do I love you so?

Because I love to breathe. I love the sun on my skin. I love common sense, and truth and beauty, and smiles.

You are the missing rungs on my ladder that allow me to climb higher.

You are…my beautiful.

Jimmie G.

Daily Prompt: She’s So Fine. 

The New International

There were a few amusing typos — or what I took as typos — (the repeated use of ‘wrap’ for knocking at the closet door, when wraps live in a closet but do not exist as knocks

Snuzcook- Writer’s Digest Contributor

Snuzcook has a story called Revelations you can find under the Writer’s Digest prompt The Discovery.

The Student Union never looked this cool when Jacob went here. In the early nineties it looked like a Fisher Price college, My First University. Back then the Union’s cafe looked like a bunch of fast-food style picnic tables had gotten lost in the lobby. Now the Union was as enticing as an experimenting freshman. And the football team was now worth watching sober, but Jacob wouldn’t do that. Tradition must be honored.

His lecture on Wormhole Displacement Theory wouldn’t start for another hour so he wandered the campus like a tourist. The stadium sized parking lot that once rented the space between the Union and the classroom buildings had been evicted and given back to nature. It was now a grassy pasture, crisscrossed with paths of crushed red rock

What a beautiful annoyance. Where the hell are you supposed to park now?

Jacob’s thoughts were interrupted by a familiar muttering that took him back fifteen years to the lab of Professor Donna Jahner. He wasn’t a student then. Jacob was her lead research assistant, he was there the day it happened. But what the hell was ‘it’? Again his thoughts were interrupted by the excited muttering. Jacob had not turned around. He was afraid to see what fifteen years had done to the Professor.

“Syrup, of course it should be that. 47 years. Should have seen it before. No matter. Time is neither here or there, but everywhere, and all that. Yes. Yes. Finally. Now to find the last piece. I know I left it here somewhere. ” She careened into Jacob and so there was nothing left but to have a look.

“There you are Jacob. I knew I left you here somewhere. I do hope you’re one of the good ones. The last several have been simply useless.”, she said as she shuffled past a startled Jacob.

“You really mustn’t dawdle anymore, not when we are so close dear.”

Her skin hung on her cheeks like a draped curtain. She craned her neck in close to Jacob’s face as though to look inside his head.

“How long has it been since ‘it’ happened dear boy?”

“Fifteen years”

“Aha” she said as she whirled about, her finger beckoning Jacob to follow.

“Fifteen years! Further proof we are neither here nor there. So delicious, the syrup, it tells it true.

Professor Jahner walked past the Neil Degrasse Tyson Building and straight into the Arts and Sciences Auditorium. The only building it seemed untouched by the University’s make over. It stood as it always had, ugly and utilitarian, like a river rock for whom the water had made way. Was it reverence or neglect? 

Jacob was hard on the Professor’s heels as she wound her way up the circling stairs, moving impossibly fast for a woman her age. She came to a stop at a narrow door simply marked, ‘Closet’.

Her three raps were answered by three raps. Then two, then one. The final rap was chased by a question riding on the accent of a cockney pirate.

“Arrr. How do I know ye to be true of this time and not some other from here or there?”

The Professor turned back to Jacob, beaming with the pride of a mother whose child had properly showed off for company.

Turning back to the door she answered the cockney pirate’s question. “Because  syrup should make pancakes soggy”.

The narrow door open to reveal exactly what it’s sign said it would be. A closet. Nothing more.

Jacob’s disappointment was mixed with confusion as the cockney pirate turned out to be an Asian man some seven feet tall.

The seven-foot Asian cockney pirate swung sideways to let them in, and there, at the other end of the narrow closet, sitting atop the wringer of a mop bucket, ‘it’ sat.

A ‘New International’ Double Keyboard typewriter.

On the top keyboard resided the usual numbers and letters. The bottom keyboard however, was home to a vast array of mathematical symbols.

“What the fuck is this?” is all Jacob could think to say.

“Even when balancing on the fulcrum of a Universal Time Shift Paradox, one needn’t be vulgar Jacob”.

“Arrr”

Jacob shook his head in acknowledgment, glassy-eyed from an understanding he couldn’t understand.

“Do you remember the formula matey?”

“I know hundreds of formulas”

“Do you remember ‘it’, Jacob dear. Try to feel your back to ‘it’.”

Right. ‘It’ wasn’t a thing. The odd keyboard is not what had stirred an understanding in Jacob. ‘It’ was a formula. He couldn’t remember it, but somehow he knew his fingers did.

He looked to the seven-foot Asian cockney pirate, who offered Jacob an encouraging “Arrrrr”.

Then to his Professor that had aged so many years in the span of decade and a half. “The formula was always right Jacob, dear. We were just in the wrong place. Go on. Bring us back to right.”

Jacob typed out the formula and hit enter after a brief pause. It was all so silly. What did he think would happen? He was after all in a small closet typing out a complex formula on a typewriter more than a hundred years old.

“What the fuck are we doing in here Professor?”

“Really, Jacob. The vulgarity dulls your brightness. Though I too would like to know what the fuck we are doing in this closet”

The small Asian man staring at them both, seemed also to be wondering what the fuck they were doing in his broom closet.

Jacob collected the New International Double Keyboard typewriter and offered an awkward “thank you”.

He and the Professor hurried out the broom closet. Lab was starting in less than an hour and they had a radical new formula to try out.

Jimmie G

 

Stacking Tomorrows

William Patterson had been stacking his tomorrows for as long as he could remember. He had composed letters, stories, thank you’s and rebuttals, in his head. There they sat undelivered. William stacked high boxes of chores,  left honey do lists to yellow and curl on clip boards. The clip boards hung on the walls like in perfect columns like soldiers. And dreams, thousands of dreams stored away upon row after row of in an Amazon sized warehouse of “I’ll do it laters”. 

William traveled through his warehouse always distracted by tomorrow, and therefore tripping over his todays.  Being present seemed such an annoyance, a catch phrase getting in the way of his better tomorrow.

So William clung to words and phrases like when, I just, if I could, to help him ignore where he was. That allowed him to forget that just, is an action that begins with a single step, and If, is a fulcrum on which pivots doing and not-doing. Action and inaction. Hope and fear.

And so William stacks his tomorrows, unable to remember his today because he never looks at it. But one day a present moment will arrive that will deny William any possibility of a tomorrow,  and then he will weep at all the todays he stacked away.

Jimmie G

 

Fashioning the whip.

I’m not dying, I’ll do that later. What I am is a 43 year old and I have to tell you that time seems much different to me now, than even five or seven years ago. I remember the younger me with a disbelief that the memory I have of that younger me is so distant. I feel him inside of me, struggling to break free of this old man that has done so little of the things he wanted done.

That makes this list hard, cathartic, and dangerous. ‘Putting it out there’ is the first step in getting done what you want to get done. It can also be a measuring stick with which to beat yourself. Un-accomplishment is the whip of my flagellation. I only know that word because I saw Da Vinci Code.

But what the hell. Lets fashion another whip.

I want to, to be, to earn, to see, to…

  • To be Featured on Freshly Pressed
  • To sell a movie script
  • To earn the Certified Meeting Professional designation
  • To see my daughters go to college
  • Run a half marathon in every state
  • Publish a book of short stories
  • To finish the fantasy novel that had plagued my mind for years
  • Teach acting
  • Make a living writing
  • Eat at every restaurant in West Seattle
  • Have a beer from every brewery in the Pacific Northwest
  • Take my podcast, the lazy muses, to syndication
  • Be invited to Comic Con as a speaker
  • Retire with enough money to travel
  • Love my wife the way I did when we were kids
  • Raise strong, independent women, that will demand equality
  • Do something worth remembering
  • Perform Shakespeare in front of a paying audience again.
  • Have one of my plays performed simultaneously in multiple theatres.
  • Run Hood to Coast Relay
  • Visit my beloved New York City again
  • Be a home owner
  • Fashion a bucket list rather than a whip

Jimmie G

written in response to the Daily Prompt, Dust in the Wind. 

 

IV. The Great Table

IV. STEWARDS

Seven…no…ten. No matter. He stared through a thick blur that sat on his eyes. His head was heavy with Ficasa, the dark molasses-like nectar, usually consumed from thimble sized cups. He drank his Ficasa from a horn attached to a thong about his neck. Sinking. Through mud. Foul. Stink…flying?  First came the sound of his back crashing against the stone wall, then came the sound of a familiar “You smell like shit, drunkard”, said Creighton. “Do you sleep in pig shit? Let me hear you snort!”, Creighton demanded in his whiny voice. Get on…fucker. “What are you on about?”, asked Creighton.  “I think under his mumbles he called you a fucker, Ole Crey”, teased the Pretty. Not pretty… Pretty’s dainty foot landed on the side of his mouth. He swallowed some blood and a tooth. So few left. “You going to say something else?” asked Pretty in a threatening voice. The Pretty brought himself low and grabbed hold of his mouth and squeezed. The Pretty had milky, lazy eyes. A face scarred from too many fights and diseased from too many whores. Pretty popped one of the sores that crowded around his lips and rubbed the puss on his victims mouth. “We should be friends really. Neither one of us is made for the looking glass”, said Pretty. Indignant, Creighton said, “at least you don’t bugger little boys like this one”. The taunting never satisfied Creighton or Pretty for long. It was only in the reprieve that Creighton and Pretty heard in a faint whisper, “lie…er.”  It was then that the clubs came out. Yes. Heard. Yes. Maybe this time they will finally kill me.

The clubs landed haphazardly all over his body. Each painful blow the promise of release. He could finally say goodbye to a world he hated. His body lay limp on the cobblestones. It would be so easy to snap his neck, but Creighton and Pretty wanted his pain to linger. It won’t be long now. This body can’t take much more…crying? The Ficasa dulled his wit. The sound of a crying babe confounded him and for some reason stirred in him a sense of dread. He hated that sound. But why?

Creighton’s body was the first to fall into view, headless. He was tied to the cobble stones by broken ribs and bent legs to watch Creighton’s blood rush out of his open neck. He could hear Pretty begging for his life, and then his body lifted up. Pretty was gently propping him against the tavern wall. Someone was given Pretty commands but he couldn’t see through his swollen eyes. Then he heard the sound of hooves. Creighton was the Constable so it couldn’t be the law. Wheels creaking over cobblestone? A wayne? Yes. He was laying in the comfort of soft, clean hey. The sway of the wayne was lolling him to sleep. I was so close.

His death would not come today, and he had lost at least one tormentor. He could only hope Pretty had survived. Then to his absolute horror he saw the grey shield badge upon his savior’s baldric. His eyes dilated from the despair. The grey shield badge was empty of other heraldry which meant he had not been bonded to a house, an acolyte. The words “You can have no more of me”, clawed at his throat and pounded against his skull, but no more than a grunt escaped his lips.

“My name is Jin, I am an Acolyte of the House of Stewards. I have brought  your Skene back to you, Alric the Stripped,”, the young man said. A boy really. He could furious rattling, but couldn’t see the box. The Skene wanted him back. His heart cracked open that it may soon have its wish.  He heard another cry of the babe. No. It was a different cry, a second babe. And was that a Mahikee at the acolytes shoulder? Then the world went to black.

He couldn’t fight, at another time he could have easily taken the acolyte, but he was too weak now, too much like everyone else, frail, frightened and at the whim of the Stewards. “I have paid for my sins”, bubbled through the blood in his mouth, . Jin’s response was predictably cold and direct, “Not enough it would seem”. The diminutive Steward, lifted his huge half dead body easily from the ground and brought him near the wailing babe. He couldn’t move, half stilled from pain, but mainly from fear. He knew what agony awaited him, the infant could sense it too. Jin removed a battered black box from his cloak and set it on the table near Alric’s head. The box danced wildly on the table, the Skene inside desperate for freedom. Alric witnessed the tempest through thick tears. I pay my debt everyday, with blood in my mouth and broken bones I pay my debt. In the anger of this injustice he purchased a bit of strength, “No slave”. It was a much strength as his voice had exercised in years. That was it. All he had. In a whisper closer to thought than speech he said “I will kill you for this”. At this Jin showed the first sign of emotion, fondness even. “I know” he said, satisfied that his last task would be accomplished.

Jin swaddled the infant, shushing the babe rhythmically like wind through a tree. After a moment the babe begin to settle and Jin propped her on his chest, bouncing her up and up down. Jin gazed into the babes azure eyes and thought, she will be dangerous in so many ways. He then lay the babe to the other side of the box, which was now furious with anticipation, and cut the infant’s throat.

Jin drew the blade away, careful not to lose the infants blood, then drew the hungry edge across Alric’s throat. The box was now a million suns exploding in space. But to open it too soon would only weaken the dying couple. The tension was exquisite. It must be timed perfectly. The two must be brought to the brink of death. A subtle dance whose rhythm was hard to follow. The mistake was to look to the dying for clues. The Skene knows this, it can sense this as clearly as a mother can feel a child in her womb. Just as the fury of the box crescendoed into an army of clanging swords Jin struck the latch and the Skene exploded forth, wrapping itself around the couples throats and drinking their blood like a drought starved animal, and spreading over the rest of their bodies like ink on parchment.

Alric and the babe were covered head to foot in a crimson shroud, which muffled the gurgling sound of their choking.  The babe went silent first, Alric moments later. They were two monuments of beauty carved in scarlet alabaster. The hardness of the Skene shimmered into a silkiness that rippled across Alric’s body as he fought to take a breath. With each strain of his lungs the Skene lightened in color and thinned. Within five breaths the Skene had been absorbed.

Within the moment of a sigh Jin’s dagger had been torn from his hand and planted in his skull. There was no malice in Alric, no satisfaction at how swiftly his threat had been delivered. There was only the all consuming desperation to care for the child.

 

Terminal Green

Gabe checked the clock again. Only fifteen seconds had past. Work days usually flew by for Gabe. He loved the mundane normalcy of 9-5, Monday-Friday. Today was quieter than most, like Christmas on a weekday. Everyone but Gabe had gone to the memorial. That would be a change to his routine, and he didn’t handle change well. Gabe liked the cozy blanket of predictability. But today Gabe had a chill he couldn’t shake.

The blue pills will chase away the chill of anxiety. But those would have to wait until he got home. Blue home, pink work. The pink would have to do for now.

Five o’clock finally arrived like an old man using a walker. Gabe popped another pinkie and started his sign out. Don’t sign out properly and get a call from Charles. Gabe had never received a call from Charles, and never wanted to.

As the screen went black Gabe swiveled his chair around to exit his cubicle.

Beep. The computer was powering back up. Gabe swiveled around. The terminal screen was up. In the middle of the screen blinked a green, pixilated cursor. Gabe saw his perplexed expression mirrored in the screen.

Gabe was about to execute the three key Force Quit combo when the cursor blinked out five characters.

HELP!

Gabe hit the Force Quit combo several times. Gently at first, then more forcibly. The cursor blinked out another cry for HELP Gabe struck the keys. Frustrated, he held the power button down. Charles may well be calling me tonight. The cursor refused to go away. It stubbornly blinked out H-E-L-P-!

Gabe popped a few more pinkies and bent under his desk, searching through the coiled, slithering cables, for the beasts head. Charles will definitely be calling. Fuck it. He choked the cable before ripping it out of the socket. H-E-L-P-! was sucked into a flash of light, screaming, then disappeared. Gabe had heard that scream before.

A couple more pinkies. 

Gabe stood from his chair to look over the empty cubicles. His eyes landed on Shelley’s chair and stayed there a while. Then he heard a beep. Then another, and another, and another, until every computer in the office had joined in a chorus of deafening beeps.

The glow of a hundred green, blinking cursors, combed through every hair on his body. Over and over, every computer blinked out the word HELP!  Racing toward the end of each line until every screen was full of the word. The word then began scrolling an pulsing. Beating on his heart until it cracked open. Picking at the scabs of his guilt so his confession ran like blood from his fingertips.

When Gabe’s office mates came in Monday morning it was not the word HELP they found looping on every screen. What they did find were two empty bottles of pinks and blue. Fifteen messages from his parole officer, and a single sentence looping over and over.

Please forgive me Shelley.