Sex, Lies and Streaming Video

“Happy 32nd birthday!”

It was 12:01 am. She was naked, except for icing covering her nipples and crotch and the red ribbon bow at her throat. The little cake she held in her hands had two candles, one the number 3 and the other the number 2. It looked like a black forest. Some of the chocolate icing had stuck to her blonde hair.

I sat up in bed and blew out the two candles with one breath. “Do I get to unwrap my present now?”

“You get to eat your present,” she corrected, giggling. God, I love teenage girls, especially these Aussies. They’re usually up for anything. I took the cake from her and set it on the nightstand. One sweep of my finger produced a nice fat gob of icing, which I placed on her lips. My own lips followed, my tongue pushing the chocolate into her already-open mouth. Our tongues wrestled for the chocolate, each winning a portion of the prize. I traced down, past the red bow, to her breasts. One suck of each nipple melted away the icing, revealing the prize beneath, already hard. I could hear her breathing harder as I made my way down to the last remaining confection on her body. Tongue and fingers moved swiftly, filling both her openings deep and decisively. She sighed.


“Good morning Agent Seven. Happy birthday.”

“Thank you Miss Chatsworth. It feels good to have lived to old age in this job.”

“You’re 42. That’s not old.”

“It’s older than everyone from Thirteen onwards.”

“That’s what you think.”

“I defer to your superior information. Nonetheless, thank you for remembering. Now where is our guest?”

“You’re welcome, and your guest is in Tahiti B.”

“A magical place.”


“Good morning. I hope I didn’t keep you waiting.” The door closed behind me.

The woman was naked. She was bound in the form of an X, her wrists and ankles secured to the ceiling and floor respectively. Her red hair had been sheared short. She was blindfolded.

“You’re making a mistake. Please, I don’t know anything.”

“You wouldn’t be much of a guest if you claimed to know anything.”

“But I DON’T know anything!”

I walked over to the table in the corner, where my tools were. The tools for this job anyway. I chose the wireless probes, to begin with. They gleamed in the dim light. I walked back to my guest.

I pulled off her blindfold. The woman was attractive, despite shorn hair and dishabille. She was in her early thirties. Green eyes, red hair, Irish accent. Perspiration dotted her face. “You know I need three names,” I said.

“I already told you, I have no idea what you’re talking about!”

“Okay.” I slid one probe into her vagina. She jerked from the cold metal entering her as she protested. “Why are you doing this?” I pushed to probe in as far as it would go.

“I already told you. I need three names.” The other probe went up her anus. Blood trickled onto my gloves. I wasn’t trying to be gentle. She screamed as the probe went in to the hilt.

I pulled my phone from my pocket. “If you think having those probes in you is unpleasant, you’re about to have a greater appreciation for what three names can do for you.”

She was sobbing. “I don’t know anything,” she repeated in gasps.

“Okay.” I tapped on my phone’s screen. This got so much easier when they made an app for it.



A streamer with HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD on it was hung in the living room. My daughter ran into my arms. “You’re late,” she scolded.

“Happy 50th honey,” said my wife as she hugged me, smooshing our daughter between us. “I’m gonna grab your present!” The little one ran off in search of her quarry.

“How was the business trip?”

“It was good. I got three new leads that I’ll need to hit up for business.”


“Not tonight.”


Our daughter reappeared, a gift-wrapped box in her hands. “It’s a new phone,” she said excitedly. “Open it up dad!”

I hoped all my apps would run on the thing.


After dinner with the wife and tyke, I took my evening walk, as was my custom, around the park near our house. It was almost midnight on a cold day. I sat on the bench facing the playground. It was deserted. A woman was sitting on the bench to my back, dressed in an overcoat, hat and scarf.

“Seven,” she said in greeting.

“Password,” I replied.


“Nine,” I acknowledged.

“Password,” she countered.


“Happy birthday.”

“It’s not my fucking birthday.”

This post was written in response to The Daily Post’s Writing Challenge “Ice, Water, Steam“.

“For this week’s writing challenge, take on the theme of H2O. What does it mean to be the same thing, in different forms?”


Two Girls



Two bar girls walk a short distance away from the front of a karaoke dive, across the street from the observer. They are dressed in skimpy come-hither attire. RED wears a tight red cutoff blouse, white hot pants and demi boots. WHITE is in a tight white tank top, sheer black leggings under faux leather short shorts, and stilettos. They sit at a curbside, smoking. Occasionally, a vehicle drives past. They are speaking in normal tones, not whispering.

Red has her head down. She doesn’t look at White. White puffs smoke into the air, away from Red, then looks back at her.


I sent money home yesterday. Mom just texted me. She needs more.

White puffs on her cigarette. She’s looking at Red, listening.


Maybe I should go home?


You’re crazy. Go home and spend even more money? When you get there, all you’ll do is pay for stuff. What happens when you run out of cash? What’re you gonna do?

(Silence.) The girls continue to smoke for a few beats.

Red starts to sob. She’s trying to hold the tears back. She fails.


Don’t cry. We’re closing up tonight.

White puts her hand on Red’s shoulder. The cigarette in her other hand continues to burn down. Red looks at White.


How much do I still owe you?



Red looks down, the cigarette in her hand forgotten.


Thank you.

White reaches into the back pocket of her shorts and pulls out a battered envelope. She hands it to Red. Red takes it with her free hand and realizes what’s inside.




Take it. If I get knocked up, you’re the godmother.

Red looks at White, pauses, then nods gratefully. She shoves the envelope into the front pocket of her shorts.

Red looks back down, remembers the cigarette and resumes puffing. White looks out across the street, continuing to smoke in silence. When their cigarettes burn out, they stub the butts out on the pavement, get up and walk back to the karaoke bar.


 “Listen in on a conversation, and get blogging.

The tab formatting is off, because my WP-fu isn’t strong enough to figure out how to transfer formatting from Final Draft. Sorry about that.

Thanks to Alexandrea.

Revolving Doors

“You know I’m divorced. I’ve been in a similar situation.”

“I know. I’m not saying that you don’t understand.”

There was a pause at the other end of the line. He knew she was being careful.

“You know you can speak freely. You know you can’t hurt me.


“I haven’t been alone in twenty years.” It was his turn to pause. “Ok, that’s not true. I’ve been alone for the last ten. Even with a bunch of people around me all the time, I was alone. I’ve told you this, I think.”

“You have, indirectly.”

“Yeah. I tell you things I tell no one else. I still don’t know why.”

“I tell you things I don’t tell anyone else either. I’m just as clueless.”

“We’ve been talking for six years. If we didn’t talk about these things, we would have run out of things to say to each other a long time ago I guess.”

He knew she was still on the other end, quiet.

“You still have apprehensions?”

“Yes. Maybe. I don’t know.”

He tossed the contradictions in her accent around in his mind. This has always been a completely irrational thing for him. And yet, here he was.

“I need to ask again. Would you meet me?”

“I don’t know.”

“So there’s only one way to find out. I’ll show up at the airport, and wait for you.”

“Are you serious?”

“For the first time in twenty years, I can do this. So yes, I am serious.”

“What if I told you to not come?”

He paused for a beat. “I would anyway. I need to find out if this is real or a mirage. What we have right now is an illusion.”

“I really don’t know.”

“I’m sorry if this feels like I’m forcing you to decide. There’s been enough time. Everything that we can say without being face-to-face has been said. Let’s find out if this relationship can survive, well, us.”

“You’ll come here?”

“I’ll be at your airport the afternoon of Friday. I will email you a picture of me when I land. If you’re there, you can decide if you want to approach me or not.”

He waited for a response. More silence.

“In the end the decision will be yours. The cost of travelling to your city is worth knowing if you can overcome your fear. I’m not afraid anymore. I have nothing left to lose. All I ask is if you decide to not meet me, email me goodbye. You’ll not hear from me again.”

Her voice was soft, but steady. “Please understand… I can’t promise you anything.

“I know you can’t. See you soon.”


J’ai déjà vu la mort.

Image by Cheri Lucas Rowlands of The Daily Post. Used with thanks.

I had been here before, a long time ago. I was here.

The memory is foggy, like a waking dream. I don’t remember exact details – no faces, no signs. The place feels the same. I feel the bite of the cold through my shirt and leather jacket. I was wearing a jacket that first time. Was it this one? I can’t remember.

The sounds… the engines of the cars and bikes, the buzzing of the people, the distant yet loud jet engine of a plane overhead. I smell the frigid air. I expect my breath to form a fog when I exhale. It does not, but the icy breeze slices into my lungs, while the odors of gasoline smog, street asphalt and a hundred people assault my brain. This is all very familiar. Shouldn’t there be a scent of strawberries somewhere…?

Is it all a dream? That’s my first thought. At any moment I expect harpstrings and wavy lines. I’ll open my eyes and see that I’m in my bed, still dressed and wasted from a night of debauchery. Or I’ll hear fingers snap. I’ll be greeted by a bespectacled man waving a pocket watch in my face, telling me that I won’t remember a thing. Only I do remember.

The alternative is that I’m wide awake. I want to be here. I am here for a reason. If that’s true, then I must be high. This was the kind of feeling that I got after being in a marijuana cloud for a while. When you’re high and you look over a dance floor, all you see are streaks of colour and music pulsing directly into your brain. Everything is loud and colourful and dreamlike. Nothing seems important.

Except that something is important. I am supposed to be here.

I see the coloured lights streaking and converging. I should remember this, but I misremember. Or I forget, it’s one or the other. The wind shrieks by, taking all manner of skirts and body heat with it. I wonder how cold it is. It must be sub-zero. It was this cold that first time. Maybe even colder, if that’s possible.

My feet follow the flow of the crowd, unconsciously. The cacophony is unintelligible, but urgent. I can feel the dozens of heartbeats as they swarm and swirl and eventually spin away, to be replaced by a new pulse. The city itself beats beneath its stony skin and granite face. Perhaps the reason I feel that I had been here is that everywhere is here.

I arrive. Here.

The tints and hues coalesce in a tangled mass of sharp melted candy-coloured metal. I see the crumpled bodies of what must be people, but I cannot see their faces. I see them all as flames. All but one flicker and sputter. They go out one after another, candles extinguished by the chill winds that swirl around me. Only one endures, bravely.

I am drawn to that one light, brightest of all lights tonight.

I was here once before. I was here for this.

I am here again.

I reach through and snuff the light out.

Total Recall Indy

I remember it being cold. Very cold. My lips chapped, and I didn’t have the experience in that climate to grab some lip balm at the corner store.

I remember packing for the trip. Finding thermal underwear is a challenge when you live in a city where 24 degrees Celsius is considered wear-a-thick-jacket weather. I’d bought a couple of sweatshirts at the Purdue college store. Drew Brees, before the Saints Superbowl days, was the quarterback of the Boilermakers at the time. So I had a tank top, a dress shirt, a sweatshirt over that, and a not-heavy-enough coat on. I had the thermal underwear on under my dress pants. I was still freezing.

I spent the morning at corporate headquarters. It was a sterile, almost cheerless place. Many of the people were warm and welcoming though, and every conceivable amenity was available. The day’s sessions ended early, so I had a few hours free before the evening activities. After dumping the heavy laptop and binders at the hotel, I set off to explore the city.

Conseco Fieldhouse was a beacon for me. Home of Reggie Miller and the Indiana Pacers. It was All-Star Weekend, so there was no game. In the Team Shop, there was this absolutely cool Pacers bomber jacket. I remember the price tag. I remember the pang of regret as I put it back.

I had a burger at the nearby Hooter’s. I do remember the servers, and I remember not regretting having that burger.

I visited the RCA Dome, home of Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts. There was no game either. The stuff in the team shop was just as expensive as the Pacers stuff. I left empty-handed.

I didn’t bother going into the malls. They didn’t interest me. Too bad GenCon wasn’t going on. That I would have definitely allocated time and money to attend.

So I remember then walking past street after street and not finding anything else remarkable or interesting. Regrettably in those pre-digital days I didn’t have a camera with me, so I didn’t stop and take photos as I would today. I must have looked like a fish out of water, walking aimlessly.

I remember thinking that I was literally freezing my ears off, so I had best head back.

I remember realizing that I was lost.

I usually have a pretty good sense of direction. In this case it was probably malfunctioning due to the cold with the rest of me. I looked for the highest building that I could recognize and reoriented. I think it was city hall that became my reference point. I made my way back to the row of government offices, and from there got back to familiar street names with a bit of trial and error.

I remember that I had been walking the city streets for almost three hours when I finally had the hotel back in view.

I remember the sense of relief as I staggered into my heated room and collapsed onto the bed.

That’s a lot more “I remembers” than I thought I’d remember.

Damned unreliable memory.


Waiting for Godot

Waiting for….?

A woman sitting at a restaurant. She is waiting for her husband. He dropped her off here at the outdoor strip mall and asked her to wait for him, as he had to swing by the office to grab some papers he had left. She happily agreed. Over the last hour, she had visited a few of the shops. Her prize for the day is a pair of dark brown flats that will go nicely with the new pair of pants she had made. She’s also found a copy of the book that their daughter had been asking for, the one about fifty shades of some drab colour. She heard that it was racy, but it was in the teens’ section of the book shoppe so it should be okay.

She checks the time. Her husband wasn’t back yet. He’d been gone over three hours now. His office was just a half hour away. She checks her phone. No messages. She tries calling him. Her phone says his phone is ringing, but no one picks up. She tries again. She tries a third time. No response.

Maybe he’s still in the office? He always said his carrier’s signal was weak where his cubicle was. Maybe he left his phone in the car. His battery could have died. She decides to order an appetizer and a drink while waiting. The waitress takes the order – spinach and artichoke formaggio on toasted bread, and an iced tea. Complimentary warm rolls with olive oil and balsamic vinegar are provided. The air is cool in the al fresco dining area. A light breeze rustles the leaves of the trees.

Her phone beeps. It’s his message tone. He’ll be back soon. She signaled to the waitress, thinking to order his favourite pasta so it would be waiting when he arrived. Entrees noted, the girl swept back into the restaurant.

She clicked on the keys and called up his message.

“Honey, this is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to write. I’m a coward for texting it, but I can’t say it to your face. I’m so sorry. I’m leaving you. I met someone else. We are on a plane right now, and the door has just closed so I’m turning my phone off. It’s not you, it’s me. I need space. I want to start over. All the money in our account, keep it. Everything I leave to you. Please take care of Kathryn. I will miss both of you, but I need to do this. I am so sorry. I hope that one day you will both forgive me. Goodbye.”

A few meters away, a stranger’s camera clicks.

Love Conquers All

Dear Skyler,

I sit here tonight, at my tombstone, writing this confession and apology to you. My only witness tonight was this squirrel sitting in the tree by my grave. He listened to my regret for a half-hour, before I tired of him. I wanted to be alone.

I know you believe I am a liar at best, a murderer beyond redemption at worst, but please never doubt that I love you. That is all that matters. Love conquers all.

From the moment we first met, I knew that you were the person I would spend the rest of my life with. I remember sitting beside you in the cold, dark airplane, your hand tightly clutched around mine as the thunderstorm tossed us like toys. We went from strangers to close friends in seconds. We thought we were going to die. We did not. Trial by fire, or in this case, lightning. We were meant to be together.

We were married six months later. It was a wedding to remember, with all of our favorite things. Clam chowder and pink balloons. French pastries and white doves. Beethoven and Peking duck. Your seven brothers pouring out of that lemon yellow Volkswagen Beetle like it was a clown car. Family and friends. In the end, only one thing mattered to me. You. My North Star. My Red Rose. My One True Joy.

I am so sorry. Your face when you saw me handcuffed and on the ground, our camper van ruined, tires ripped to shreds by police caltrops on that dusty, hot New Mexico roadside will never leave me. We had so many happy memories in that camper van. We made love in every nook and cranny. I knew you were horrified. I hope you understand, just as I told you the last time I spoke to you. I regret killing your lover, not because she deserved to live, but because it caused you pain. I forgave your mistake. I know you forgave mine. Let us never speak of her again.

It was nineteen years. It was long enough. I more than paid for my crime, even if the justice system did not agree. Judges and lawyers, they will destroy the world. God knows I paid. The greatest price was knowing that you had divorced me while I was in prison, and you are now married again. Loving you has cost me you.

The man they found at the river, disfigured by bee stings, his face and extremities eaten away by rats and mice, wearing the remnants of my clothes – he was not me. I escaped that prison, digging my way through the prison walls with a soapstone pick and blood and sweat and tears over the last fifteen years. I crawled through an eternity of sewage and excrement because I believe I deserve to reclaim my life and my freedom and my Red Rose.

It was a strange thing watching my own funeral from afar. I felt that the person I had been was laid to rest, his burdens set down and done with. I sit here tonight in his memory. I have poured a pint for Walter and said my goodbyes.

I am reborn. My sins are forgiven by God. I know that in your heart, you have forgiven me for everything. I know you want to be happy again.

I will see you soon Skyler. Everything will be all right. Love conquers all.




This post was written in response to this Writing Challenge from The Daily Post. I selected the third source, the noun list of The Daily Post. The nouns are highlighted in bold in the piece. “Our nouns. Choose at least five nouns from the following list and integrate them into your new piece: The balloon. The squirrel. The river. The clown car. The thunderstorm. The Peking duck. The airplane. The mouse. The red rose. The French pastry. The wedding. The tombstone. The camper van. The bee. The caltrops.”