Beast, River, Turbulent

by Marcus Jonathan Chapman

It’s a gorgeous creature. I can see it from the burbling banks. I’m sitting behind a tree. The low leaves and uncut foliage provide enough cover for me, but not for… whatever I’m looking at.

The silky white skin pops out from the greens and browns of the forest. It approaches the water one step at a time, looking around with every gentle paw print.

Then the thunder clapped. Out of the corner of my eye I caught a flash of lightening. I didn’t flinch, my gaze fixed on the creature. I forgot about my hunger. I forgot I about my thirst. Maybe I just ignored my basic needs. The creature moved so elegantly on the other side of Sacramento. In between us the sound of rushing water. I was able to ignore that too.

I stubbed out my cigarette. The smoke would be a signal. The burning cherry a red eye in the middle of the forest. Looking through the scope, the creature looked around one more time before bending over to lap up the river water.

The creatures pause gave me a chance to look at it through the cross hairs of the scope. An elegant white skin with bright orange dots all over. Something I’ve never seen before.

Long arms that bent like a bulldogs. Legs that rippled with muscle. Hair that ran from it’s head down to where I imagined some sort of sexual organ. I was attracted but not sure what sort of creature I was looking at.

My knees shook from sitting for so long. The rifle dipped and I gripped it with a “Click.” The creature looked up, seemingly straight at me, through the scope and into whatever part of me people call the soul.

I was terrified to breathe. What I had considered a burbling brook a few minutes ago seemed now like a turbulent vortex. It started to rain.

The creature looked up to the sky and roared.

I watched, now with my rifle lowered. Across the banks, I realized it was twice as big as me. It pawed at the dirt, backing up a few paces and began to charge the river bank. Just before touching the water, it leapt.

It seemed to hang in the air for an hour. I stayed in my position with the rifle’s barrel digging into the dirt. I was too enamored with the creature.

Just before it landed in front of me and roared I thought how I would do everything to make sure the creature would exist, forever.

Right in front of me, the creature opened it’s mouth, revealing yellow piles of teeth. Sharp and dripping with saliva.

Before the beast took its bite, I wiped away a bit of saliva so I could watch. It grabbed my throat and shook. I didn’t put up a fight.

If I could nourish such a magnificent creature, then I was doing the lord’s work, as grandpa would say.

Chauvinist, Television, Attention

by Marcus Jonathan Chapman

Little Johnny stacked his potato chips on the TV tray. His eyes were glued to the salted yellow starch disks while Wally and the Beaver “gee whizzed” and “golly’d” all around their picket fence neighborhood. So concentrated on balancing his Lay’s, Johnny didn’t hear his daddy come home.

Daddy walked past little Johnny, into the kitchen where Johnny’s sister was. Little Suzy was drying the dishes.

“Where is your mother, Suzy?” Johnny heard his father ask.

“She’s outside.”

Johnny heard the sliding glass door leading to their backyard open and shut. Though the sound was muffled, he could hear the familiar conversation.

“Madge, you’re out here smoking reefer again while the kids are inside taking care of everything. Johnny can help with the house stuff. Instead you have him stacking potato chips on his tray like a retard in front of the God Damn Television. Suzy’s working her ass off in the kitchen. What the fuck are you doing? Practicing for a Coca-Cola commercial that no one will ever see?”

Johnny heard the clatter of a ceramic pot breaking. It was the sound of his mother’s favorite response. He knew that later, Suzy would be the one to pick up the broken pieces. Once, she had cut herself and her mother had screamed at her to be more careful because she was getting blood on the white shag carpet.

“Raymond, go fuck yourself. You’re not a man. You can’t talk to me that way. As a matter of fact no man can talk to me that way.” Johnny’s mother lisped.

“Madge, I’m talking to you as the father of my children. I go to work so we can have a lot of these things. You’re welcome to get a job. Or do some of the housework. But you can’t have the kids be doing the work. They need to be kids.” Johnny’s father pleaded.

“Gee Whiz Wally, do you think mom will let us keep the dog?” Johnny looked up to see how Wallie would respond to the Beav.

“Golly Beaver, I just don’t know. We’ll–“

“–Fuck the mailman or even the milkman. I was this close to sending the kids down to the liquor store for some groceries so I would have 20 minutes of fooling around.” Johnny’s mom pulled his attention away from the show and into a realm of adulthood that made Johnny quiet and still.

“Is that what you want Madge?” Johnny’s father was barely audible, but Johnny recognized the pattern and now knew the words by heart. This time, however, there was genuine fear coming from his father.

“Madge, what are you doing? Hey, be careful, you’ll cut yourself. Ouch! hey. Stop! Fuck! Ow–”

“Gee whiz mom, can we keep him, huh, please, can we keep him?” Johnny turned his attention back to the TV.

The sliding glass door opened and Johnny’s mother through heavy breaths called his sister. “Suzy, bring me those rags and shut your eyes. Johnny, leave your tray on the sofa and go down to the corner store for some bubblegum, there’s a nickel on your father’s dresser.”

Johnny blew a big, fat bubble as he walked back up his driveway. POP! Wiping the gum from his face, he saw a rag soaked red hanging from the trashcan outside. Suzy must have cut herself again. Gee whiz.

Puzzle, Painting, Sinister

3 things to inspire 1 story written in 20 minutes. #story320
words/phrase provided by @ninajo47

1,000 pieces of a painting scattered around on the floor. With my stunted attention span, there may as well be 50,000 pieces of this puzzle.

I’m not amused but my girlfriend and her family love puzzles, so for tonight, I love puzzles.

Fast forward to hour 3 and we’ve got a border, a frame with nothing in the middle but 5 pieces stuck together making up the only red splotch of paint that we can see on the box.

Did I mention that this mystery-in-a-million pieces laid out before us is already on the fucking box?

I’m going crazy!

Time is standing still. A nightmare is emerging before my eyes. Each piece taking on exactly the same size and shape. Nothing fits.

Her dad keeps humming and sighing every ten seconds, like some sort of machine that runs on hums and sighs.

Her mom, at every attempt to connect a piece, says, “What about this one? Nope. We’ll try another I guess.” Every. fucking. time. She says that.

My girlfriends brother, barely able to wipe his ass because of the barrier of muscles like thick ropes all around his body. This walking bell pepper pinches each piece in between his frankfurter-sapien thumb and forefingers. Then he stares at each piece attempting to understand. Koko the sign language monkey was more intelligent.

Then my girlfriend. My sweet girl, bless her heart. Clapping her hands, scrunching her shoulders and giggling every few minutes, saying, “It’s coming together!”

Never had I wanted to pull off my skin, pop out my eyeballs, pry off my toenails–

–Wait a minute, that’s it. The ultimate puzzle. Some one needs to teach these people that it’s not okay to create forgeries made from the pieces of someone else’s masterpiece. The underwhelming feeling of having completed a puzzle, to look at the image you’ve spent days to possibly years creating and compare it to the box.

“Yep, look at that.”

Well, I shall have my revenge tonight.

“Excuse me, I need to use the restroom.” I stand up and walk to the hallway. My pocket knife, usually used for opening boxes or prying or scraping, now has a new purpose.

I shall make of myself an impossible puzzle.

I start slowly with my arm, cutting just a small square, then prying off the skin and dropping it, with a wet slap, onto the tile.

This will take me a while but I’ll never need to worry about them doing a puzzle again. It will be unspeakable.

Success! You're on the list.

Rabbit, Puppet, Death

3 things to inspire 1 story written in 20 minutes. #story320

Have I shown you my bunny rabbit? He’s cute and fluffy and smells so good. Want to pet him?

Oh the smell? That’s just Bugs, except he doesn’t like carrots. Actually he doesn’t keep much down anymore, not since I went on vacation.

Where did I go for vacation? It was beautiful, there were women and men all dressed in white, they took care of everything. I had a bed and even a friend for the first time ever.

My friend was cool. He would save his meatloafs under his pillow and play with them late at night. He didn’t ever let me see but it sounded fun. My friend also showed me how to make forever friends.

We had recess two times a day and sometimes there would be a dead bird and one time a dying squirrel. The hotel cat must have started eating its legs.

My friend showed me how to make them my forever friends. They would live with me, the bird did. Until one of the women in white found it and scolded me, I guess because the bird hadn’t paid for the room.

I understand. Sometimes rules make me angry but I understand.

My friend showed me how to make forever friends talk, so that we could share secrets and tell jokes. He took the squirrel even though it looked like the squirrel was trying to leave. Its legs, tail and hindquarters looked a little like meatloaf.

My friend said that sometimes the animals don’t know they want to be forever friends until you show them how.

He poked two fingers into the meatloaf part of the squirrel until I couldn’t see his fingers. Then he wiggled his fingers and the squirrel bulged its eyes and moved its mouth. It was a miracle. The squirrel was trying to talk! He had made a forever friend. I guess my roommate did that because he knew I was leaving.

Anyway, so now I’m here and I made my little Bugs into a forever friend. He stinks and sometimes his fur comes off but he never likes to leave my left hand. We do everything together.

Are you sure you don’t want to pet him?

Success! You're on the list.