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Great Basin Highway

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On A White Horse

Chalk Dust Torture by Phish on Grooveshark

Dillon sold his soul for a sweet leather jacket and a baton that went Snap! loud.

He didn't much mind, if he was being honest, but when did he ever have that rare and indecent occasion? He'd lied his way through family dinners, lied his way through college, lied in and out of love, and lied right out of the bed that he was supposed to lie in.

Hell. It wasn't even his bed. It wasn't even really hell. He'd kind of liked it.

But he'd made it out and to the top, after a fashion. Now he lied for a living and if he were being honest?

He loved the corporate lifestyle. 

He never hurt anyone, at least in his mind. Ever since the glass went smash, the world had come unhinged. People started changing. They started seeing little shadows in the corners of their eyes. Fevered with imagination, they'd become contagious. Now? Nothing was certain. That little fantasy, that fear, that hope, that little something strange you wish might sneak into the world?

Well, now it heard you. When the glass went smash, something sticky hit the minds of men.

Wishing hell on a person gets a little personal at that point.

In a world like that, there's a place for men like Dillon with their slick hair and their comfortable image. Places like safe churches and shopping malls. Places full of sanity and skepticism. Men like Dillon say, with a straight face and a smile, liars with lies you can believe in. That the instability is outside. That here is an 'inside'. That there is a difference. That there even is a 'safe'.

Men like Dillon, in their way, had become indispensable.

He rode the borders with the blessing of the Board. He sold snake oil to poison the snakes.

Dillon was a junior executive, a weekend warrior, and he loved to hurt people.

It's the only time he'd found where his honesty had the appropriate impact.

He made the bad guys nice and obvious.

(Prompt: via writeworld:

Chalk Dust Torture by Phish on Grooveshark

Writer’s Block

Music is love in search of a word. Find the words.

Mission: Write a story, a description, a poem, a metaphor, a commentary, or a critique about this song. Write something about this song .

Be sure to tag writeworld in your block!

I'll be your villain, baby, if you promise to hurt good all the way down...

{c} 2013 Lawerence Hawkins

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Suddenly your stream of thoughts gets interrupted, BANG! A bullet crashes straight into your heart, overwhelming you with power. It feels like the first thunderclap that heralds the beginning of a violent storm, the first train to rush by when you were a little kid, almost blowing you away with its tremendous gusts of wind. It makes your ears ring, it gives you shivers down your spine and it only lasts for a couple of seconds, but this time is different. This time it hurts. This time everything turns black. This time is the last.

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I told you stories. I told you about tree-lined streets, shady in the summer, drooping with wet, plush snow in the winter. I told you about beige houses, tan roofs, white garage doors and driveways with SUVs and the occasional pickup truck. The steady whir of bicycle wheels on gray concrete, the quiet rustle of leaves in trees, the sky so blue, without a streak of cloud, in the summertime that it seemed like a mirage, like nothing could possibly be so unmarred. The air there smelled like budding trees or blooming flowers or crisp foliage or clean snow. The houses looked comfortingly similar. There was a peaceful routine with each summer morning spent on the front or side porch, smiling at neighbors walking dogs and pushing strollers in the pale early sunlight. There was an aching sentimentality with each summer night, when we would ride our bikes to the neighborhood playground, pump our legs on the swings. Climb the jungle gym. Kiss softly under the slide, reclaiming our childhoods, making adolescent memories under the thoughtful watch of the moon. I told you stories about my other boyfriends, high school ones, the ones who took me to Dairy Queen and bought me Blizzards and held my hand and made out with me in the chilly vacant lot beneath the bridge. I told you stories about my friends, about going to the mall on Saturdays and spending sleepless nights in brightly lit bedrooms plastered with posters of teen singers and handsome actors. I told you about my mother, her hands reddened by the housewife’s labor of washing dishes and scrubbing the kitchen linoleum. My mother, soft-faced and so comforted by her role as Marcus Seeder’s husband, as Giselle and Zoë Seeder’s mother. And my father, who taught history at the high school, who came home at four-thirty and spent late nights leafing through scholarly journals and was so proud when I made National Honor Society. His hair was sandy and streaked with gray, his cornflower blue eyes were crinkly and hidden by thick lensed glasses, and he smelled like peppermint and musk. I told you how, on nights where I felt timid and small no matter how old I got, when my ambitions and dreams seemed to tower intimidatingly over me, I would sit cross-legged and barefoot in my pajama bottoms in my parents’ bedroom, and how it would smell like my mother’s Michael Kors perfume and linen fabric softener and my father’s musky aftershave, and I would thumb through their photo albums. Our house, beige and unassuming and similar to every other house in our neighborhood, was in the photos from the beginning: my mother, 27 years old and obviously pregnant, wearing overalls and dark curls wrapped in a bandana, was smiling and holding a paintbrush. My father, his face unlined and his tawny hair without even a hint of gray, had his arm wrapped around her. I showed you the pictures: me, a baby, an only child until six years old. Zoë, a toddler, and myself, holding her. Our first days of school: first and seventh grade; sixth and twelfth grade. Our parents and us, tanned and sandy down at Myrtle Beach, grinning in front of a sunset over the Atlantic with my maternal grandmother, her skin leathery and wrinkled, a pink baseball cap perched on her platinum blonde perm, smiling over us. My high school graduation, Zoë’s National Junior Honor Society induction, my father, graying and solemn and proud, at both of these. I showed you the world that had shaped me, the grainy photographs that captured a glimpse into the American dream I had been living. The dream was green lawns whizzing by kids on their bikes, exploring the same benevolent streets they had known all their lives, waving to the kind-faced neighbor women standing on their front porches, watering flowers, watching the skies change from pale to vibrant to dusky. The dream was refuge, escapees from the tired, dirty cities, escapees from confusion and complication to a place where kids could roam unharmed and everyone knew everyone and summers were sunny and warm and winters were white and cold. The dream was a place for everything and everything in its place, or rather, everyone. The dream was a pretty wife and mom to mop your kitchen floors, bake chocolate chip cookies and brownies every Sunday, grocery shop on Saturday, cook tasty meals in a gleaming paradise, and happily host the neighbors for dinner parties on Fridays. The dream was two or three pretty children, athletic and intelligent and musical and charitable, always outside in the fragrant summer air until dinnertime, respectful to their elders, kind to one another, conventionally attractive and healthy except for the occasional flu. The dream was a working dad, home by dinner, faithful to his wife and playful to his kids, friendly to the neighbors, can grill a steak or a burger, talks sports and beer and manly-man stuff. The dream was distinctly American, the beginning of a suburban culture where cookie-cutter was good and desirable, and outside the box was seen as scary, dangerous, risky, unknown. The dream was all of this, and my parents had it, and my sister bought it, and I wanted to buy it but I couldn’t, so I left as soon as I could. Instead of going to a small Roman Catholic college in a scenic, rural area of the state, located conveniently ten minutes from the highway, I went to New York City, the very same grimy, scary, dirty, tremendous, bursting, vital, lively, perfect city my grandparents had hustled the hell out of in the 1950s, the same city my parents had taken us to visit, tentatively, some long weekends, where we would take pictures in Times Square and ice-skate in Rockefeller Center and stay in a pretty hotel and then jump on the Peter Pan bus back home. I chose New York University for its location, because it had a presence in the city, and I wanted to have a presence in the city, I wanted to be in a place where people stuck out like ridged knobs, where they took pride in their talents and their flaws and in anything that made them different from everyone else. Where I was from, people were smoothed over, flush with the pattern of the town, afraid to branch out, afraid to stick out, even if it meant they were bent and twisted and broken beneath their perfectly flat surface. And we all were, we had to be, we wouldn’t have fit. I was ready for city therapy, to unroll my differences and flaunt them, proud, for the world to see, because the suburbs were a world, but they were never the world, and I needed the world. The whole world. New York and beyond. Whatever I could grasp between my fingers, and hold onto, and whatever could carry my newfound burden, my startling disconnection from all I had been told was right, was what I wanted, and needed. So I left.

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After heroes save the day, overworked and overweight folk like me save the weeks after.

Sure, you’ve maybe seen a hero or two with a hammer, sure, but how about a ruddy spade? Sure! You’ve seen them throw fire and shake the whole earth with their might and ruddy mysticism. Ever seen one of them put a fire out?

I did, once. The flooding left a sick mold in the wood. Whole block had to be rebuilt.

But hey - I’m no grump. The ruddy stupid spell looked rather dash and all flash. Feggin' idiot.

Now, I can’t call lightning, but I can sing wood down to planks in half an hour. Sure, I can’t swing a sword through an anvil, but I can craft a ruddy anvil up from ore and sweat and just a little magic in a pinch. Sure, my Eera has a bit too much sag for those kind of outfits, and her religion forbids healing warriors (ruddy idiots'll just get all a mess again, and god hates that kind of waste), but she’s set more legs and birthed more would-be heroes than their ruddy lot is worth.

She also makes a tart that cures jaundice. I'm serious! Tastes pretty dandy, too, at that.

My Eera and me. We’re no heroes. Nah! We just save the world they ruddy flood.

Feggin' idiots... 

Prompt: hourlywritingprompts:

Writing prompt of the hour: rebuild

Because the only thing cooler than the cool guys are the 'help'. Need to read that comic...

(c) 2013 Lawerence Hawkins. Seeking writing prompts. I'll also review your work!

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Big Medicine

            It was an early Saturday morning, still dark out, a little cold. I pumped my gas, cigarette in my mouth, unlit since the sign said no smoking. I leaned back on my black Chevy. It was an old pickup, nothing special, but it had a little weight to it. I was on the pump closest to the street, furthest from the store. I’d paid inside with cash and I started pumping when another car pulled into the pump closest to the store. A girl got out. I should say a woman. She was young, maybe two or three years younger than me, which would put her in her early twenties; a real head-turner.

            Couldn’t tell you what she was, but it wasn’t white. I’d grown up around a few of them, so I pegged her for Filipino. She had the tanned skin and black hair and dark eyes. She was something and I couldn’t help but notice it. She had a sweatshirt that had a wide neck on it, so it hung off of one shoulder. She had smooth skin and a slender neck and I liked the way her hair fell over that bare shoulder. She reached up and brushed some of it aside with her small hand, and I wondered what it would feel like to hold that hand. But she looked like a nice girl, not the kind who’d take a second look at me. Me? I was built like my pickup and twice as ugly. I figured her for a college girl. College girls don’t take construction workers home to meet mom and dad.

It wasn’t something I got real bent out of shape about. I’d never been book-smart and I never figured on making any living off of my head, and that was okay. I made honest money and truthfully, I liked construction. But it bit a little sometimes, knowing that a girl like her would never look at a guy like me. Still, I got on.

My gas pump clicked just then. It brought me out of my thoughts and I heard what the guy on the other side of my pump was saying to her. I’d be damned if he wasn’t a college boy himself. They looked as if they’d been up since yesterday morning, wired on energy drinks and maybe something else. He had two buddies in the car with him. The one up front rolled down his window and said something I didn’t catch, but I didn’t like the way he said it. She gave a fake smile and said no to whatever he said. I don’t know much about women, but I know when someone’s scared. She looked scared.

The buddy got out of the car and I closed up my gas tank and pocketed my keys, making sure my hands were free. Out of sight of everyone, I took one look at my hands. The kid pumping the gas said something else I really didn’t like. By then I knew I was going to put my hands to use. They were both on the passenger side of their car now, standing two or three steps away from her. A third guy got out of the backseat, a nasty smile on his face.

“I’m gonna fuck the shit…” he started saying. He closed the door and turned right into my fist. Like I said, I’m built like my truck and he fell right back against the car and slid down it to the pavement. The other two turned and I saw one go pale.


            “Get in your fuckin’ car and get out of here,” I said. The passenger, the one who didn’t go pale, told me to fuck off. “I’mma tell you one more time,” I said, “leave her alone and get the hell out of here.”

            “Hey man, we don’t want trouble,” the driver said. I threw a foot back and kicked the guy on the ground behind me. He groaned.

            “Well he did. And look what it got him.” I gave them five seconds in my head, and if they hadn’t budged by then, they weren’t going to and I’d have to make them. The driver was a small guy and he looked ready to piss himself, so I looked at his buddy. He stood there with his chin and chest out like he thought he was big medicine. So I gave him some. I put my steel-toed boot right between his legs. That took the air out of him and his buddy backed up, hands raised.


            “Hey man chill the fuck out,” he said and I squared up with him.

            “Get in your goddamn car,” I said, pointing to it.

            “Okay, okay, okay. I’m going, man.” I opened the passenger-side doors, grabbed his whining friends one at a time and threw them in.


            “I see any of you again and it’ll be your turn next, got it?”

            “I’m going man, Jesus fuckin’ Christ, I’m going.” He tore out of there, gas tank still open and pulled into traffic. I turned back to the girl, standing there, staring at me. She looked at me the same way she had looked at the others, like I was halfway to getting at her right there at the station.


            “Sorry about all that,” I said. She tried to say something, looking around now. The gas pump clicked off. She hurried to put it back, screwed the gas cap back on and closed it up. She looked at me once more and tried to say three words at once, smiling weakly. A thanks was in there someplace, not that it mattered. “No problem,” I said and I turned back to my truck before she felt like she owed me anything else.


            Driving away, I was glad I was on my way to a demolition job. I’d be swinging a sledgehammer in twenty minutes. I needed to destroy something. I’d held back a lot on those guys. It was days like this I just wanted to wreck something. I wanted to ruin those boys. I wanted to break their jaws and noses, their cheek bones, make them ugly and deformed so that everyone would know they were that way inside too. It made me sad, driving to work alone, thinking about that girl and how she’d never wear that shirt again, or do her hair that way. Maybe she’d go an extra ten minutes out of her way to get gas now, so she wouldn’t see those guys again. It made me sad that she’d have to change her life because of men like that, even more at what they might have done to her. I wondered about those boys, and what their mothers would think and feel if they knew what their sons had become.    

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A Glimpse Under the Shadows

(Prompt: Monolith Canyonby *TitusLunter, via writeworld)

The steam parts like my own, personal cloudburst. I spread my arms like jet wings as I break past the gloom. The glow that beams down on my face might as well be sunlight. To me, it's better.

I range and run and leap and lever myself over fallen communications hubs. I mount dragons of concrete and abandoned armor, thirty feet high. I have a hangar of forgotten treasure ships. I have a whole wide world of dark corners and secrets to explore. I'm not afraid. How could I be?

I'm home. I'm here. So I just breathe deep whatever chemicals I get and hope they're beneficial.

I mean, they haven't killed me yet. That means I'm special.

I'm a survivor. Soon, I won't be the only one. I'm gonna be...

A hero.

(c) 2013 Lawerence Hawkins. Seeking writing prompts, feedback, follows, love, and a hero.

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I hate it when the message tone pings behind my eyeballs, after too long floating in the black.

Those words always carry gravity across the weary beams of light. Worse? Sometimes, they miss.

For days and weeks and years, I'll hurtle on under some grand illusion of weightlessness, motionlessness, or lacking all direction. It's easier that way, after the hard part's over. Exit's a struggle, sure, but once you're past the blue? It's not even all that cold. It really just is.

But isn't any job? That is, until you get a heavy taste of home to remind you otherwise. 

You make it look so easy, you know. Peeling off a human skin, then putting it back on like it should fit. You slide out of the oily ugliness of casual labor and into something drier than a memory of vermouth. You reinvent yourself at least twice a day. You metamorphose.

I've been wearing the same thing every time you've pinged me. Synthetic, hairless skin. Wires.

We should have been born wearing snakeskins. I mean, you slither out of what you've worn so very well.I never could. I'm always cold at home and burning hot out in the black. I hate it when you tell me that changing's easy, because I know it is. I know it is. It has to be. It's the staying changed that's something out of hell for me. I always wake up floating at a staggering velocity.

That's never bothered you, though. You've never been one thing long enough to stick.

Or if you have, you regret it more than I'll ever know.

I like to pretend you're happier than me, though.

At least you remember which way is up.

Prompt: thebuonanno posted...

"I hate it when you…"

Still on the road. Still writing. What's your excuse?

(c) 2013 Lawerence Hawkins. Seeking writing prompts, questions, feedback, and exposure!

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Words aren’t pretty, but that’s okay too. I think they’re clunky, ugly. Bent and folded like crumpled pieces of paper. Littering the earth and everyone in it and leaving them with pockmarks and indentations too deep for fingers and too shallow for mouths to drink from. I find lies in things like glass bottles and cranes and whale bones, and say things like I Don’t Care, when I do. When caring is all that’s left and Not Caring isn’t so much a choice as it is the state of doing Nothing. I find beauty in Nothing too. There are no words for it, but it fills the cracks of all things, flows and drips into this reality and whatever reality there is, or could ever be. I cup my hands to catch it and its cold like metal and smooth and polished and pale. Because that’s something they’ll never tell you, no matter how hard you beg. Nothing feels like Something. I know don’t make sense and I guess I’ve stopped trying to. I’m worried about finding footing, and saying exactly the right thing at exactly the right time, and I’ve given up on that too. I want endless rain and cold, and I want it feel like everything there ever was. Like when you’re moving through a parking lot in the rain and look up at the lights to see tiny drops of water flying into your face like little lines of white. I want words like that. But all I can say is clunky and unfettered and slow, and nothing that’s polished even knows my name.

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The lesson of Anatomy

I am not going to write about the famous painting by Rembrandt, although the Anatomy Lesson that I am going to talk about has a lot to do with the Art World.

“Mommy how do the children get in the tummy before they delivery”

Oops, I said to myself, and all of sudden I was concentrating on the driving, with the ears wide open to hear the answer to this one... Mommy, my wife, always had answers for our little daughter about six then. We have always been very open about the facts of live with our child. The way we figured it out, was that we do the teaching ahead of time, before she might find it on her own, and get herself pregnant. Although at that time she already saw “Miracle of Life” the famous Swedish documentary about all the stages of the creation of a baby since the little sperm breaks into the wall of the egg, all the way to the moment the baby is delivered.

Produced sometimes in the eighty, the Public Broadcasting presented it every now and then and they even made it available on the tape. Of course I had my own tape recorded from one of the shows, however when it came out clean, I bought it. Since then a lot of documentaries on the subject where done, these days is not even a serious technical challenge with the technology available, but at that time, “Miracle of life” was the first to present the penetration of the egg wall and the division of the first cell in two, four and so forth... Even today I get goose bumps thinking about the movie. Hey “Advocates for the Unborn”, you want to support your cause, send copies of that movie to everyone for free.... Jesus will be much happier than you blowing up clinics and killing people, the argument for life can't be better explained and in a more convincing way by Jesus himself!!!

Anyway, the film did not get into too many details about how the sperm got to the egg inside the womb. After all the movie was not porno... So our daughter was very well versed on the embryo's developed in the womb, however she did not know all the technicalities of its journey, and fair enough, she wanted to find out more...

I looked at my wife from the corner of my eye and not surprisingly she smiled replying “God blesses mommy's tummy, and after the blessing you know how the sperm gets to the egg and how the cell starts to divide and the body develops” “So it is not painful to get the sperm there”... the little one, “if God blesses the tummy can't hurt”. I would have like to interject, I know cases when the blessing is really painful and loud, but I did not think that it was a good idea to mud the waters.

The discussion stopped there, our daughter was really happy with the answer and she moved to the next question.

Later, she must have been in the first or second grade, we visited the Art Institute in Chicago. We were on the upper floor in the main lobby and we were looking at Rodin's Balzac. Every time I was watching the masterpiece, I could not figure out how was that such a brain in literature could come in such a poor wrapping. Not only was he short and bold, but he had a beer tummy that would put any football die heart to shame... I was explaining our daughter, and I did it every time we went there, Rodin was a revolutionary in art, and was the father or modern sculpture. I told her that without him we would not have Brancusi, or Moore, which were both present at the Art Institute, always part of our pilgrimage there.

After doing my fatherly duty, I went by myself around into a shooting frenzy. I have so many slides from the Art Institute, that if the building would ever go up in flames and nothing survives, I can present sources of inspiration for the reconstruction. They did not have anything new on display, however every time the light was falling from another angle with different intensity on the known items, I discovered something new worth taking a picture of. OK, OK, my new digital camera might have something to do with it...

By the time I went back to look for the two of them, my wife and daughter, I noticed they were behind Balzac's statue watching a different display. It was also a Rodin, was just a standing man, in the nude showing off all his private parts, besides the rest of the body. I would have not thought twice about that particular statue, but I notice my daughter getting close to it, and picking at the private parts from under it. She was small-built to begin with, and the statue was not only over sized but raised on a high stand. A little girl looking at a statue from a strange angle, should not be such a big deal. I noticed a group of Japanese tourists, all smiling and having fun, lined up behind her, and trying to see what picked her curiosity. She did not think for a second her actions would get a bunch of serious people curious, she was having a conversation with my wife, totally unaware of the audience. I was not close enough to get the dialogue, but I noticed the tourists were moving their heads from my daughter asking to my wife answering. All of a sudden they burst into a noisy laughter...

I am not the cowardly type of person, but I figured out that once in a while, it is better if only one member of the family is stuck into a difficult situation. I decided to wait pretending not knowing them until the crowd went away. With my luck, when she saw me, my daughter called very eager to share what she just found out about male reproductive system....

A couple from the Japanese group very amused told me they had the most wonderful male anatomy lesson, my wife is a smart woman and our daughter was an angel...