Tag Archives: prose

Drop the Net

Under a moon-less night, illuminated by one under-achieving street lamp, the net of the basketball hoop shone like a neon pink sign.

Hello and welcome, all who venture into this four-sided rectangular space.

The man with the bag of discarded fish heads pushed upon the gate surrounded the basketball court.  His eyes darted around, searching for surveillance cameras, other night-dwellers, and general signs that he should take his burden elsewhere.  But, he was alone, so he sat down on one of the moss-covered benches just outside of the street lamp’s light.  The bag hit the ground faster than his thighs reached the bench.

He wished he could throw it in the river or in a dumpster or anywhere that would swallow it up and let him forget he was being paid the price of a princess’s frivolous weekend to relocate a dozen fish heads.  Salmon, trout, sword, shark — he didn’t know and didn’t care.  He’d hauled worse smelling and heavier things before, but something about this particular delivery made him feel unexpectedly uneasy.

The man looked up at the basketball net and wondered what would be the worst that could happen if he hoisted the bag into the hoop.  He knew it wouldn’t fall through.  Was it worth it, though?  To risk being seen or leaving innocent day-dwellers to deal with a sack of steadily putrefying scales, eyes, and teeth.  The man remained on that bench and considered his illusory options.  He didn’t really have but one, which was to continue through the city until cement gave way to dirt and chuck the bag into a well.  He made a mental note to be more discerning with his next assignment.  No more transporting materials that can decompose and emit unpleasant aromas.


I have no idea what inspired this piece of writing… the mental image of an outdoor basketball court at night and a bag of fisheads manifested, and out came the rest of the words.

Apologies, Incomplete Pass

He rubbed his chin with the fingertips of his right hand, then he bit his lip.  I looked at the blue laces of my black ankle boots and exhaled loudly enough for her to tell me to answer the question he’d asked a moment ago.

“Well,” I began. “You don’t just make your way up and down the line of scrimmage, make one complete pass, and run straight for the end zone.”

“Why not?” he asked.

“Because you have three more opportunities to move the ball down the field to be in a better position to run it in or make a complete pass in the end zone.”

“I just really wanted to get into that end zone, I mean, you said you wanted to see what I could do with the ball.”

“I did…by making a field goal, by making several complete passes before going for a touchdown,” I elaborated, trying not to sound exasperated or condescending.

“I just, uh, wanted to get straight to it, though,” he said as he glanced at her.  “There’s nothing wrong with that, is there?”

She parted her mouth but instead of answering him, she looked at me and cleared her throat.

“Don’t look at her,” I said. “She’s just here to be a witness to my thought process.”

“Are you saying you didn’t want to play?”

“I permitted you entrance onto the field of play, didn’t I?  But, just because you’re granted access, just because you started and I didn’t whip out the playbook to make sure we were using the same one, doesn’t mean you can fast-forward to the two-minute warning.  I mean, good lourdes, I didn’t want a haiku.”

He may have chuckled right then.

“I don’t play haikus with other people; there are only Three-Act Plays, and if you can’t begin Act 1 satisfactorily enough to make it to Act 2, why would you think you can jump right to Act 3?”

He may have laughed and then shaken his head.

She looked at him and then at me and asked, “Wait, are you really talking about football… or poetry or theatre?”


Et puis.  Bon anniversaire à moi.  Je ne crois pas que j’ai quarante-et-un.  Je suis allée au café au’jourd-hui et le barista m’a donné deux traches de gâteau.  C‘était très gentil.

Midnight’s Monologue Obsession

The goalie’s glove fit tighter than tights on a ballerina.

Sweat lined her proud cheekbones like royal guards on patrol.
He swept the puck away from the net without promising to do better than the previous attempts to swallow the other players slicing across the ice.

Too fast for his eyes to fully process, but not so quick that his hands and knees couldn’t react in time to avoid a facial collision with a hockey stick.

And then he woke up to the sound of a golden retriever’s paws tapping on the floorboards of his deceased aunt’s guest bedroom.

And he wondered where the ballerina went, the one who pirouetted and arabesqued until his mind lost count of how many times she defied the demands of gravity.



Bonne Année, tout le monde!

Fringe Benevolence

In a swift, diagonal upward thrust of the arm, Michaela dislodged the velvety teal shawl that her step-mother draped around her shoulders at the start of the diving meet.  Water droplets slid down her arms and puddled around her feet.  Michaela tightened her swimming cap and stared at her toes.  The springboard reminded her of a reluctant lover, sprawled out in supplication but betraying no facial expressions that communicated a yearning for gestures of passion.

Michaela noticed the shawl dangle on the edge of the diving board to the right of where she was standing.  She took a deep breath, looked up around the empty stands, and imagined a crowd of impatient, bored spectators.  There would be no official competition until she could make this dive, the one that fractured the skulls of the best swimmers the school had seen in the last ten years.  It didn’t make sense to her why such a difficult and fatally dangerous routine should be required of an aspiring diver if the whole point was to win and the odds were high that the university would lose athletes to it.

But Michaela buzzed with the right amount of pride and delusion to believe that the worst that could happen would be death and not paralysis.  She repositioned herself on the board, went through the requisite arm motions to prepare for a take-off, and as she leaped forward, twisting her body like a projectile pencil, she saw the water in the pool steam and turn the color of fruit punch.  It tasted much worse than it looked.  Exuberant, bright red appears as though it should taste of luxurious strawberries, but its flavor was much more like the sweet and sour inconvenience of apple cider vinegar and cranberries.

Michaela was still falling through the water, though.  She didn’t understand how she could taste it if she was still in it.  The bottom of the pool kept getting farther away the further she fell.  And there was no slowing her momentum.  She wondered if the shawl had fallen into the pool, and if so, where it had gone.



I don’t know why this fall jazz music mix inspired this piece of flash fiction.

Original pic cred: Adrien Ledoux @adrienl, unsplash

In the Graying Blues

Or greying blues.

I don’t know which vowel looks better.  I doubt, though, that Dorian would agree to being a Grey instead of a Gray.

The old street hockey team uniforms were once blue, but they’ve been turning greyer, no, grayer — neither of them look good — for many seasons.  Yes, my school has a street hockey team, just a dozen-years-old.

It doesn’t seem like a long time for a sport at a school, but when there are no balls to be thrown, kicked, struck with wood or passed around with hands, then it does seem odd.

My teammates and I believe the principal gets pleasure out of watching teenagers enclosed by protective gear (helmets, knee pads, wrist guards, elbow pads, and mouth guards) trying to play regular hockey without ice.  We don’t get into fights for random reasons, but a slide across the asphalt and our skin starts dripping.

It is not cold enough for ice.

And even if it were, I don’t think the principal would prefer to see his body-conscious male students fully covered by protective gear and needing a lot more dental insurance than the local orthodontists and insurance agents would care to negotiate prices for services categorized as for the teeth or for the body.

The last I checked, the teeth are part of the body.

Now, our uniforms are blue again. And I still don’t know if gray or grey is better.

Earl gray.
Earl grey.

What do you say?


This piece of flash faction came to me while listening to this mix.