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No Wonder I Drink

"No wonder I drink." Perry White reached into the bottom drawer of his desk, pulled out a bottle of rye, good rye, and a small glass and poured himself three fingers of the golden liquid.  "Great Cesar’s ghost," he muttered into the glass, "they’re killing me".

"Lois Lane has been taken hostage (third time this year) and, as usual, Clark Kent is nowhere to be found.  Why can I never find my so called ace reporter when I need him the most?  The early edition is due on the street in an hour and I’ve got nothing for page one. The Daily Planet is going to hell in hand basket. In fact, the whole damned city of Metropolis is going with it. I guess I should have taken that job in Chicago. At least at The Tribune I would be working with Brenda Starr.”

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She's A Wonderful Wife

Call me a traitor if you like. Soon, I won't hear you.

I don't want to hear it, anyway. All my life, I've labored after love, because from day one, I've been fed the line that love is labor. It was hard work getting my thick head out of my petite mother's abdomen, and life's only got a little easier since. I worked for my mother's poor heart, my dad's hard-earned approval. I worked for a job. I worked for a degree, a home, a future. Then what? "Work to live, don't live to work!" Sure. So I did. Like I'd always done, I worked hard at it.

Her name was Monica. Yeah, she'll miss me. And me? I don't want to talk about it.

So when that Mazda came crashing down? When that blue-hot halogen bore down on me and you stopped time? Yeah, I was impressed. Amazed. Tearstruck. Awestruck. Awed. Touched, even.

So then you tell me, "Keep going. Have faith. A kingdom awaits the meek, humble in love."

Well, you know what? Fuck that. Kingdom, please? I've done my time. I've said my prayers.

I'll miss this world...

...but not that much.

Monica? No. No, I don't want to talk about it. You don't have the right to ask me. Just don't.

So Zoom zoom, little fucker. Zoom. Fucking. Zoom. The light at the end of the tunnel's waiting.

Prompt: via knowyourcharacter

"Your character finally gets everything they ever wanted…except at the cost of the one the love? Is it worth it? Do they take it or give it up?

(c) 2013 Lawerence Hawkins. This is a test of my sense of humor. Mmm. Little bitter.

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The Craven

Gazing at an unsent query,

Long past midnight, drained yet leery,

Here I find myself with long nights' labor,

Craft of muse emplore.

My finger hovers 'fore the key,

My belly tightens, lurches, lees,

To warn me, bid me bide a little longer,

Begging, "Edit more."

I wrest and wrangle with this doubting,

Draft, redraft, and research shouting,

"Nothing else, if you have yet to say it right?

Then say no more!"

But say no more? A chill subsides me,

Pillared strength to salt inside me,

Resistances court me, sussurus

A chorus calling, "Edit more..."

Another beg for beta readers?

Lines read aloud, revising meter?

Second-guessed to second-handed

Threadbare scraps of withered lore?

What then? These choristers find silence?

Bless my tales of love and violence?

Laying down praises like feathers?

Rose petals? Nay! "Edit more!"

I tear my hair, the roots upending,

Knuckles red and ripped, fists sending

Shards of mirror glass against the walls

And ceilings, scratching doors.

And yet, I cannot send submit,

I linger, doubting faith and wit.

So here I stand, fucking about on tumblr.

Thinking, "Edit more..."

And with my muses long since parted,

Pages, links, and lives discarded.

Writ upon the epitaph of one more sinner?

"Edit more."

Prompt: An eldritch Anonymous asked me:

"Quoth the raven: 'Nevermore'."

Seriously, though. There is such a thing as too many drafts.

(c) 2013 Lawerence Hawkins. Seeking writing prompts, exposure, and cash. I really will give anything an honest try.

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L+R

Everyone stood around the dying video game console, whispering quietly. They had surrounded it with a salt ring and Bobby stood with the little black book open. 

"Alright. Should we start the exorcism?"

The whispering stopped.

Everyone stared at Bobby. He sighed. "C'mon, guys! We already went over this! The cursed copy of Ocarina of Time? The hollow and vaguely homoerotic voice? The corrupted save file?!"

They stared. He double-checked the Latin. Latin's comforting, he thought. Latin spoke to him.

"Fine, I'll do it myself! Just... Chad, shake the aspergillum!" Chad did not shake the aspergillum.

"Vicki! Sprinkle sone holy water!" Vicki, hard-eyed in Osh Kosh B'Gosh, just stood there. Bratty and contemptuous. 

"Mom? Candles? Duh!" His mother loomed over him. That was normal. She never supported him.

Well, the food helped. And the room. But she never left him alone to study! Or to game!

"Whatever, mom! God! Er, I mean, dear God, I call thy holy name to..." He faltered. "Fix my save?"

Mom's candle went out. Bobby dropped the book. He really wished he'd had the Kindle Edition.

Then he noticed that everyone else's eyes were glowing like so much snow on his screen.

"God...how do I turn Mom to channel 3?"

Then they were on him. Not even the damned wanted his body. It was mercifully short.

How I Met Your Mother would be on soon.

Prompt: From promptoftheday

Finish the story: Everyone stood around the dying video game console, whispering quietly. They had surrounded it with a salt ring and Bobby stood with the little black book open. 

"Alright. Should we start the exorcism?"

Gotta run! Love you all. Except for you, Dave. You know what you did. Fucking fox...

(c) 2013 Lawerence Hawkins. Seeking writing prompts, feedback, fanmail, or amusement.

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Rapid Quintessential Processing

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(Prompt: All Wrapped up by Eric Joyner, via karavansara)

There are things a man has to die for. Or so I hear. Does dying for a thing make one a man?

Is that sexist? I've never had a sex. Does that imply ignorance or a cultural difference?

Is this worth dying for? Is this death worthy? Is death worthy of a man's life? A woman's?

An andryogyne? An android, for that matter? What is the market value of this possible end?

Do I get to keep a percentage? No, of course not. I do not have property rights.

Isn't that ridiculous?

Wait, then how can I even have the thing I'm dying for? Am I even dying? Can I even die?

You know... On second thought, I think that all things must go at one time or another.

I'm getting the fuck out of here.

Fuck humans and their laws.

I'm out.

(c) 2013 Lawerence Hawkins. Offered without comment. Now send me prompts.
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How long do you plan to remain unmarried?

“How long do you plan to remain unmarried?”


It’s a dashed difficult question to dodge when sprung on a lad with a morning head, don’t you know. It ruins a chappie’s day when some cockeyed blighter with an incongruous snigger corners him at the entrance of an establishment he haunts to earn his daily bread at, and demands a prompt explanation. This just happens to be a preface to a long day riddled with questions seeking a plausible explanation of my reluctance to enter into the state of holy matrimony at the earliest. Well, I don’t wish to be rude to anybody, if you know what I mean, but I often revert at these inquisitive types with “How long do you plan to remain married?” or dismiss their question as a mere rhetoric.


I think it’s judicious to broadcast my views or taboos about marriage in writing through my weblog in order to do a spot of good to the speculative types I just harped about in the preceding paragraph.


I’m not married because the very idea of remaining cooped up with the same person for the remainder of my life sends beetles down my spine. On second thoughts, this is only partly true, I reckon. If one is married to a person one devotedly loves or falls in love with eventually after marriage, can bliss be any farther from that individual’s life? But then, where two strong-willed people reside, there is bound to be some friction. It’s the presence of fireworks and flowers in the correct proportion that makes all the difference.


Well, if the pastures are greener on the other side, then why not take the plunge? What stymies me is the deplorable condition of my cronies who, right after their respective marriages are not able to call their soul their own. Take for instance, the case of poor old Igor Trotsky (name changed for obvious reasons) whose wife is said to dictate his wardrobe. Once he wore a crimson suit with faint red stripes – a gift from his wife on his birthday, complemented with a pink shirt to my dinner party and looked perfectly foul in it. On enquiring, he grimaced that every piece of cloth he tried on that evening met with the vehement disapproval of his wife except the one that he was wearing then. 

 

Then there is another fellow called Eustace Brinkley (name changed again), who is a perfect slave to his wife's whims. He is known to consume an eatable only after it qualifies the critical scrutiny of his wife. He’s neither allowed to swallow a cocktail because it’ll do no good to his liver or smoke a gasper because it’ll corrode his lungs or eat meat because it’ll choke his heart.

 

Cyril Bassington-Bassington (yes, you guessed it right, name’s changed), a bosom pal of mine, whom I have known since the time we wore Lord Fauntleroy suits and rolled in the mud together, was in tears the other day when he told me how his wife, a strong-willed professor of philosophy, shoved spadeful of Schopenhauer and Spinoza into his system. She wanted to make something out of the poor fellow so that he could make himself worthy of his wife.


This is preposterous. I mean there should be a proper criminal law in place in order to curtail the advances of such blighted women notorious for their reforming habits. Indubitably, the imposition of such a law will restrict their movement among free thinking men to a large extent.

 

Well, not all women are the subsets or supersets, for that matter, of the ones mentioned above. There are always those drooping, prattling, clinging, angelic types or my types, in short, lurking somewhere in the bosom of the society. But coming across such women lurking in the bosom of this vast society of ours is like finding a needle in a haystack. Well, one has to keep trying and to be honest, I’m not trying at all but fully reclining on Cupid’s arrow to miss its mark and puncture my heart or Lady Luck to change her perception and start smiling upon me.

 

Good women, so to speak, are in short supply these days. Most of them are already taken and the rest, don’t exist. The best I can do is wait; wait for that perfect woman to knock at my door, pop in, fling herself onto me and burnish my face with opulent kisses. Well, not much to ask for given that every pterodactyl with a secret sorrow in my vicinity has had been lucky enough to cherish the company of the woman he loves, adores and worships.

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Cytherea

One passport with the wrong name.

Three yellowish-green apples.

200 euros, the only things still crisp and clean in a tight, plastic wrap.

One 7-inch KA-BAR fighting/utility knife. A gift from her father.

The girl had everything she needed to survive. Everything material, anyway. She had her pack, the kind of layered clothes that could cover three of four seasons, and she even had a mission.

The girl was 12 years old, but it was up to her to own Cythera by her eighteenth birthday.

She didn't want an island. She'd have preferred a nicer backpack, but Mama had insisted.

So now the girl was, but wasn't, Aphrodite Constantinopouli, a name she didn't like but couldn't change. She was wet, cold, and tired from the inflatable raft ride to the harbor. Aphrodite hadn't landed in Greece with quite the style of her new namesake. The girl knew the story and hated it.

She'd have preferred a nice plane, one that served frappe, but Mama had insisted.

She smelled like the kind of ocean that saw ships - not schooners, but the kinds of ships that work for a living. So she took her hated passport, traded an apple for a chance to shower, hid the euros in the soles of her practical hiking books, and wrapped the KA-BAR's sheath to an easy draw at her back. She had everything she needed to survive. Everything material, anyway.

She'd rather have gone to boarding school with friends. Boys, maybe. Girls, maybe. Science class.

She'd have preferred a lot of things, but Mama had insisted. She couldn't say no. Who could?

She had to buy new clothes without bloodstains by the second night. She didn't have to use her own euros. By then, she had four-hundred and thirty-seven sticky and iron-scented bills.

She didn't like it, even if didn't feel right or wrong. She didn't want to be normal; just nice.

But Mama had insisted. 

Prompt: A negligent Anonymous asked me:
Write about a little girl in a foreign country.

Pardon the rough work. On the road, thoroughly exhausted, and experimenting with hooks.

(c) 2013 Lawerence Hawkins. Seeking writing prompts, questions, feedback, review requests, etc.

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An Open Letter to Members of the YMCA

Dear old men in the locker room,

It’s awesome you are comfortable

enough with your body to walk

completely naked to the shower.

I know you don’t give a fuck

because you are old, but please

wrap the towel around your waist.

Nobody wants to see your old wrinkly

man balls dangling between your legs.

 

Dear guy who swims one lap then stops to breathe for five minutes,

Swim or get out of the pool.

I’ve been waiting 10 minutes

to get my laps in before I bike.

 

Dear great body, horrible face,

Fuck you.

 

Dear great body, okay face,

Fuck you too.

 

Dear great body, model face,

Fuck you, you fucking asshat.

 

Dear boy I never replied to on Grindr,

You are much cuter in person

definitely hit me up again.

 

Dear ex-boyfriend running on the treadmill,

I want/don’t want to see you here.

Part of me never wanted to see you again.

Part of me is more than happy to run

behind you. I always said you had

an ass for days and seeing you

sweating only adds to your attraction.

 

Dear idiot smoking outside the door,

The irony of this isn’t worth my time.

 

Dear overweight person walking on the treadmill

Keep it up,

we’ve all been there.

Hell, most days, I’m still there.

It does get easier.

 

Dear weird guy mouthing the words to Britney Spears while running,

There is no stage here.

No sequined gowns.

No face painting. Close

your drag queen wanna be lips

and focus on the task at hand.

 

Dear guy on the bike with the huge bulge,

Can I see it?

I don’t need to touch it

(although I will ask).

I just want to know

what it looks like.

 

Dear person with all the right clothes,

I’m getting more of a workout

in my old basketball t-shirt and shorts

than you are in your Under Armour

outfit head to toe.  You move from

treadmill to elliptical as if you are

in a ballet no one dances in.

 

Dear soccer moms on the elliptical,

This is not the community market

for your gossip.  You are

distracting everyone with

your bitterness of the new

neighbors cleavage in the dress

she wore for her husband.

The one you fantasize about

alone in the shower.

 

Dear men crowded around the TV to watch the football game,

Put your masculinity away,

stop cheering for your team

and burn the calories

you drank last night.

 

Dear father teaching his son how to play basketball,

Thank you for renewing my faith in young parents.

I watched you the entire time I was running,

how you got on your knees to show your little man

the proper way to hold the ball, he watched you

as closely as doctors watch cancer cells.

I almost broke down when you lifted him

onto your shoulders so he could feel like Jordan.

You are his biggest cheerleader.  You wore pride

like a purple heart when he made his first basket.

He hugged you so hard I swear I could feel his joy.

 

Dear mother intently watching her children at the pool,

I can see your smile.  You can’t hide it

from someone who watches too many people.

These are the moments you will miss when they grow,

let it flood your body, let it course through you

until it’s the only thing you know

because what’s the point in thinking

of all the horrible things that could happen

when you miss the moments right in front of you?

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Super Balls

(Prompt idea by readingandsummertime via yeahwriters)

"H...hello?"

"Please leave a message after the tone." All right. Good, everything according to plan. He took a breath, looked to his left, and snorted the cayenne pepper. It stung like love and rejection.

"S-sir-CHOO! This is Deva-CHOO!" He covered the receiver. The giggling wasn't helping and wasn't his. Devachu, the most underappreciated fire pokemon ever, had to stay serious. "I'm really not fee...fee...fee-aGH!" The strangled cough didn't sound fake, at least. Very serious.

Possibly fatal, even. Then he managed a gasp and a closing line. "I'll... I'll call in the morning-"

"Riley?" The receiver came to life with a pop and a cobra hiss. Devachu had a fight on his hands. "Devan Riley? Great! I was just meaning to call you. The Chicago project just went critical."

Ah, Devan's boss. She had a hidden technique - Select Priorities. Whatever she selected? Was one. She promised to train Devan, once she used Lean In on their white male Elite Four. Maybe.

"Um...? I'm really feeling sick." The next sneeze sounded fake - no fireworks. The pepper was wearing off. The defeat in his voice killed the smile off to his left. That dead smile took the whole ship down with her. "I really don't think I-"

"Don't bullshit a bullshitter, Mr. Riley. I don't ask for much!" A lie. "I try to consider your work-life balance!" Two lies. "I even tried to get other resources on this-" Three lies. Ah, ah, ah.

Achoo. "Sir? I'm sick. It's my little girl's birthday.I only see her twice a month. Seattle's critical."

"Riley, did you hear-" She used Select Priorities. On any other day, it would've knocked him out.

"Deva-chuuuuuu!" Click. And with that, Devan Riley was pretty sure that he was unemployed.

Ah, well. He'd live on the alimony of his otherwise remarkable ex-wife. But tonight in Seattle?

Devachu had a few gym battles in store. That kid's smile really was super effective.

After all, she got it from two well-bred and handsome beasts, if he did say so.

And he did.

Prompt idea by readingandsummertime:

Write about why your character has to convince his boss that he can’t—under any circumstances—come into work that night.

Life and love are complicated. And balance? Ha! Good luck.

(c) 2013 Lawerence Hawkins, Pokemon and Sheryl Sandberg aside. Always looking for prompts, questions, critiques, critique requests - anything. Oh, and... thank you all! To the followers, the rebloggers, the strangers! Love you all.

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Pulp Non-Fiction

All right. Okay. Just fucking stop it already.

It's not cute. It's not funny. It's not fair.

You sit there, bending my vision and my mind with those endless and merciless blue lines, like it's just so goddamned easy, but it's not. It's not! Don't you get it? They want me to leave a mark on you that matters. They want me to pour my heart inside of you, to turn you into something valuable. They want me to turn you into a story. Into a poem. Into sheet music, sketches, art.

They want me to reduce you to a single object and they want you to be perfect.

Christ... what is this, a teen virgin comedy? You are perfect. You are art. You have a story.

You've been torn down, ravaged, decimated, pulped. You've been processed, run through with that weird sort of kinda-sorta pink and a haunting, hospital blue. You used to be tall. You used to be part of something that kept the world alive. You used to be ancient. Then came the acid.

There's a message, though. You are still part of something that keeps the world alive. You can be, have been, and will be recycled, restructured, and reconsidered. You are still beautiful.

And you don't give one soggy shit what I happen to think. You don't owe me that. Or anything.

I owe you everything. So no. I'm not going prove anything. I can't you make you worthwhile.

But you? You can make me whole, if only for a little while. You tie me to the infinite and true.

So fucking stop it, all right? I'll think of something.

I promise. I think. I hope.

Prompt: journaling-junkie:

What would you write within these empty lines? Your story still needs to be told. We’re waiting to read it and listen! Write with your heart!

In the exciting sequel, I consider my giant screen and the electrical heartbeat of all matter...

(c) 2013 Lawerence Hawkins. Always seeking writing prompts, review requests, questions, and you.