Dirty

I have a friend that I trade writing prompts with and I really enjoyed this take on a poem about getting dirty. With permission, I am sharing it with all of you:

 

Jack walked along the country road

Humming along the way

He tripped and fell

And said, “oh hell.”

As he landed

To his dismay

 

In a pile of mud

Filthy mud

Oozing, wet, and sticky

All over his hands

All over his clothes

Now soggy, mired and drippy

 

Jack sighed

Wanted to cry

But got back up instead

And continued down the country road

Squishing the mud as he tread

 

by JN Quigley

The Incident

She fumbled for the light switch. It had to be here somewhere she thought as she stumbled along the wall in the darkness, feeling for it. This level of darkness was impossible, was there not a window anywhere? A bit of moonlight or a street lamp shining through a curtain? Seriously.

She felt the primeval panic rising in her throat. She tried to calm herself, to think logically. But every primitive instinct in her body was screaming that the darkness was evil, bad, to be feared. She had to get out of here.

She felt hot tears come unbidden to her eyes and start to spill down her cheeks. Mucous clogged up her throat and her breath came out in ragged gulps. Just as she was about to lose it completely, she mercifully found a doorknob. Turning it, she threw herself through the door and out onto the fair grounds.

All around her sirens blared and the sounds of the shouting filled her ears. Stumbling away from the doorway she suddenly found herself struck by the glare of a spotlight. She froze like a deer, and for the same reason. Going from complete darkness to the blindingly bright spotlight, she was momentarily stunned and blinded.

“Ma’am! Ma’ma!” a voice was demanding.

She looked up, blinking, shielding her eyes, trying to make sense of the words that were being said to her. The words were unclear, muffled, coming from a distance. As she struggled to focus, things began to sharpen, the words became decipherable, clearer, closer, and she was able to make out shapes around her. Police cars, an ambulance, cameras, were those reporters?

“Ma’am, I need you to focus!” the voice was more insistent now. She looked up into the face of a firefighter that stared back at her with a mixture of fear, amazement and concern, “I said, did you just come out of that building?”

She glanced back at the door she had exited through and nodded, numbly.

“My God! How is that possible?” He took her arm and guided her toward the ambulance, a uniformed officer holding the reports at bay.

“Ma’am! Ma’am! What’s your name?”

“Who are you?”

“What were you doing in there?”

“Did you have anything to do with the attack?”

“What’s your association with the victims?”

Victims, what were they talking about?

As she sat in the back of the ambulance she glanced down to notice she was covered in blood, she looked up in horror as the spotlight hit her again, a reporter she realized this time. She tried to remember what had happened, but her memory started with her frantic search for the light switch. Any existence she had prior to that was gone, wiped from her memory.

“We’re going to need to question her,” a police detective was saying to the paramedic that the firefighter had handed her over to, “we don’t know if she’s the only survivor or the perpetrator.”

“After she receives medical treatment.” The handsome young paramedic replied, loading her into the back of the ambulance and closing the door.

“I’m sorry,” she finally managed to speak, “I don’t remember anything.”

As the ambulance pulled away from the crime scene, he smiled at her with red glowing eyes, “It’s ok, all that is behind you, you’re one of us now.”

 

 

Mirror, Mirror

“Mirror, Mirror on the wall” she joked.

“Yes Mistress?” Came the reply.

She froze. Did that really just happen? She turned back toward the mirror, its surface shimmering now in a way it hadn’t before.

“Umm…………” she was at a loss as to how to proceed.

“Did you have a question mistress?” the mirror asked.

“Yeah, why do you call me mistress?” as soon as the words left her mouth she realized there were at least a dozen more relevant questions she could have asked. Starting with, how on earth the mirror was talking.

“Because you are my mistress,” it answered, “you have fulfilled all three requirements, you have physical possession of the mirror itself, through which we can communicate, you have the power to summon me and the ability to scry.”

“Scry?”

Did she hear the mirror sigh?

“Yes, mistress, scry, the ability to see visions in reflective surfaces such as water, glass or obsidian.”

Well she had to admit that her interest was piqued now. This overly large and ornate mirror had been left to her by her grandmother. It had arrived on her doorstep, with a simple note attached.

“For Esmerelda, who holds the power.” She hadn’t understood it then but it was starting to make a bit more sense.

Ok, so scrying is one thing, but this mirror is talking to me, she thought to herself. Out loud she asked, “Who and what are you?” Yes, that was definitely a more sensible question. She had about a million questions about her grandmother now, but one thing at a time.

“Let’s just say that I exist in another dimension and this mirror serves as a portal for the purposes of communication for those who have the eyes to see and the ears to hear.”

She wasn’t sure if the mirror was being overly simplistic or outright cryptic, she was sure the mirror didn’t mean physical eyes or ears. She was equally sure that she wasn’t living in a fairy tale; this was rural Texas for the love of Pete! Well, she might as well play along. What could it hurt? Maybe she was on a hidden camera show!

She leaned forward and reached out to swipe her hand across the mirrors surface. It responded, the surface shimmering as if she had disturbed a pool of tranquil water. Through the shimmering surface she could just glimpse the other side, just glimpse her future.

 

 

 

My Daughter is Gay and I’m Not Going to Stop Talking About it.

I have had more than one person say to me, about the fact that I talk about my daughter being LGBT publicly, that they don’t see why people need to “come out” or why it needs to be discussed publicly as sexuality is a private thing. They say that they never feel the need to tell anyone “Hey, I’m heterosexual.” Well, of course they don’t, because that is assumed. Unless told otherwise, you assume everyone you meet is straight, don’t you? It’s the default.

Another friend told me that they never discuss the fact that one of her nieces is gay any more than they discuss the fact that the other is straight. And I get what she’s saying.

In a perfect world, your child should be able to show up with a date of either gender and no one would bat an eye. Ok, so Susie brought a boy to dinner and Sally brought a girl. Pass the gravy please.

That would happen in a perfect world of acceptance. In perfect world, no one has to come out and mention their sexuality and no one has to discuss it. Sadly, this isn’t a perfect world.

The reality is that if I, as a perceived cisgendered straight woman, never mentioned my orientation to others then they meet my partner, a cisgendered straight man, there is no problem. It fits into everyone’s world view, no one bats an eye and we all go merrily on our way.

However, if I, as a perceived cisgendered straight women, never mentioned my orientation to others then they meet my partner, another woman, all kinds of drama and chaos might ensue. I could lose my job, lose friends, lose family, be kicked out of my church, be kicked out of my home, be beaten, raped (“corrective rape” that is a thing some people actually believe in) or even murdered. So it seems reasonable to feel people out a little.

It seems reasonable to say on Face book, in email, over the phone or even in person with a friend or family member brought for backup (just in case) “Hey, I’m gay.” And see how folks react before showing up at the family reunion with a significant other than might provoke, yelling, crying, ejection from said reunion, ejection from said family, even violence.

Now this is where you tell me that those are extreme reactions and you’re right. Sadly, coming out often elicits extreme reactions.

While it makes me very happy to hear that there are families where it’s a non issue, that’s not always the case. That’s not even usually the case. At best, many family members struggle in the beginning for acceptance even when they are trying. At worst you have to worry about the extreme reactions that happen to LGBT people every day. You can google the statistics on homelessness, suicide, assault and murder if you want. They are staggering.

So if you don’t feel the need to discuss it because you are open and accepting and love everyone, that is great and I am happy that you and others like you exist. However, I need you to understand why I HAVE to talk about it.

I don’t have the luxury to ignore the very real discrimination and hatred that still exists in this world just because there are folks who don’t feel that way. I do believe that the number of folks who are accepting and loving is growing, that the number of families that accept all their members just as they are, is growing. That makes me happy and it gives me hope. I know when you say you don’t know why anyone needs to discuss it, or to come out, I know what you mean is that it shouldn’t matter if someone is gay or straight. And you’re right, it shouldn’t. But it does.

Until LGBT people can’t be legally discriminated against, I have to talk about it. Until LGBT people have the same rights as others, I have to talk about it. Until my daughter can walk down the street holding her girlfriends hand as freely as my son can, without fear of being called names or even assaulted in public for it, I have to talk about it. Until LGBT people are no longer assaulted and murdered at higher rates than the general public, until they are no longer targets of hate crime, I have to talk about it. I can’t NOT talk about it.

 

Warehouse

The warehouse was dusty, dimly lit, abandoned. She had made it her temporary home. At least, she hoped it was temporary! It was echo-y too, she tried not to be too loud or to stir up too much dust. In the far back corner, she had made a room by arranging some large, stacked boxes. Behind these boxes was the pallet she slept on, her few meager belongings and her sketch book.

That sketch book was the reason she was living in abandoned warehouses. She drew everything she saw. Everything. Drawing has been her passion since she was old enough to hold a crayon.

How was it her fault that she had sketched the face of murderer? She hadn’t known he was a murder at the time. She had seen him leaving her neighbors house, he hadn’t seen her at first. He froze when he saw her, caught her eye. They just stared at each other for a long moment then he started across the street toward her, glanced to his left when he heard sirens, then gave her one last look before turning and fleeing down the street.

Of course she had told the police everything when they had questioned her. She gave them the sketch but the officers who questioned her had never returned to the police station that day. When she got the call from the police searching for the missing officers, she knew she was in trouble so she threw a few items into a duffle bag and took off. She had watched enough crime shows to know not to use her debit or credit cards and she wasn’t sure who she could trust now.

She lay on the pallet now, gazing up at the cobweb coated ceiling. There were windows lining the top of the room, all the way around. It let in just enough moonlight through the dust coated panes that she wasn’t in pitch blackness.

She was almost asleep when a noise startled her. She sat up quickly, then held her breath, listening. There was a rustling sound, like someone moving through the darkness toward her. She calmly pulled out her gun and readied herself. She was not going to be taken out, not tonight, not any night!

A flashlight shone in her face, she brought the gun up and aimed, “Who’s there?” she demanded.

The next thing she knew she had been disarmed and the face of the killer was staring down at her. “Thought you could hide from me?” He smirked at her.

This is it, she thought, as she scooted back away from him. A surge of anxiety and white hot anger boiled up inside her. As she thought about how much she wanted to hurt him for what he had done to her neighbor and what he was about to do to her, he reached out toward her and she flung her arms forward in a defensive position.

Inexplicably, she held a glowing orb in her hands. It was so bright it hurt her eyes, it was white and it felt burning hot. She flung it away from her and it shot with deadly precision straight at her attacker. Then suddenly, he was lying on the floor, a gaping, smoking hold in the middle of his chest. The orb was gone and she was safe.

She stared in disbelief at her hands. Well that had been interesting. Suddenly she remembered her great aunt, the one who claimed to be a witch, the one the whole family thought was crazy. She quickly gathered her things and headed out of the warehouse. It was time to pay her aunt a visit and find out what was going on.

 

VROOM!

Throwing the car into gear and putting her foot into the pedal, Sophia sailed out of the parking lot and launched the Shelby Mustang down the road.

“Whoo Hoo!” She shouted as she opened up the throttle, threw her head back and felt the air rush through her hair. Top down, blue with white racing stripes, she loved this car! She felt free and exhilarated! What could be better than this?

Flying up the road, the wheels came off the ground as she went up and over a hill. She flew through an intersection then slowed down to take a turn, but not quite enough, the car started to spin, she was able to regain control as it fishtailed around the corner.

She was sad when she reached her destination. She pulled back into the parking lot, gravel spraying from behind the wheels as she slid to stop in front of the building. Turing to her passenger, she asked, “So, do I get my license now?”

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