Bar-A-Thon: Caught in the Wind (Conclusion)

Continued from Sunset Motel

I still want a baby.

As we lie in bed, day three of our weekend romp, I think to ask for his sperm, for both our sakes, but my voice is caught in the wind blowing through the open window.

He rolls to his side. “I think I love you.”

We both know it’s a lie, but it feels right for the moment.

I lean in, kiss him, and he inserts himself inside me one last time.

word count: 77

—Nortina


The challenge is to blog every other day June 17 through June 30, using the theme or prompts as inspiration.

The theme is seven, so I’m posting a series of seven stories at seventy-seven words each. Each day also has a prompt based on a famous book title, and while I’ve unfortunately never read any of the books listed, I think I can work with the funny play on words.

Today’s prompt is: The Call of the Wind

I hope you enjoyed this series of short-shorts! I truly had fun writing and sharing them with you. While this ending doesn’t feel final, when it comes to fiction, is there ever truly and “ending” anyway? I just might bring these characters back one day, maybe even for the next Bar-A-Thon challenge. 😉

If you’re just coming in at the end, read all seven shorts from the beginning here.

Bar-A-Thon: Sunset Motel (Part 6)

Continued from Marriage Counseling

It was never my house; I suppose I don’t miss it. But to be locked out with only the clothes on my back, the change in my purse, seems cruel.

Group therapy at one; I tell them my husband and I have separated. They promise me reconciliation, but across the refreshments table, I meet his gaze.

Sunset Motel, where lovers rendezvous in secret, is a block away from the church basement.

I’m already naked when he arrives.

 

word count: 77
Up Next: Part 7 (Conclusion) – Caught in the Wind

—Nortina


The challenge is to blog every other day June 17 through June 30, using the theme or prompts as inspiration.

The theme is seven, so I’m posting a series of seven stories at seventy-seven words each. Each day also has a prompt based on a famous book title, and while I’ve unfortunately never read any of the books listed, I think I can work with the funny play on words.

Today’s prompt is: Suns and Lovers

I hope you enjoyed this quick short-short, and be sure to come back on Friday for the final chapter!

Bar-A-Thon: Marriage Counseling (Part 5)

Continued from Testing the Waters

“Before . . . this— Would you call your marriage a happy one?”

“Yes–”

“No–”

We speak in unison.

Overcrowded bookshelves line the walls on either side of me. The mahogany of Dr. Liam’s s desk, the wood floor, make the office appear dim. Mood lighting to fix our broken vows.

Behind me, my husband paces back and forth. He wants to file for divorce. He doesn’t have the right.

“We live like brother and sister, but I have needs.”

word count: 77
Up Next: Part 6 – Sunset Motel

—Nortina


The challenge is to blog every other day June 17 through June 30, using the theme or prompts as inspiration.

The theme is seven, so I’m posting a series of seven stories at seventy-seven words each. Each day also has a prompt based on a famous book title, and while I’ve unfortunately never read any of the books listed, I think I can work with the funny play on words.

Today’s prompt is: Lord of the Files

I hope you enjoyed this quick short-short, and be sure to come back on Wednesday for the continuation!

Bar-A-Thon: Testing the Waters (Part 4)

Continued from Empty Mansion

I’m over eager. I want too much. My body is not yet emptied of him inside me before I’m crouched over the toilet, balancing the rod underneath my stream.

I wait one agonizing minute for the absence of parallel lines to tell me not so.

I don’t notice my husband watching at the door, home from business.

Too late I drop the test between my legs, and with a splash, my fruitless efforts splatter my naked bottom.

word count: 77
Up Next: Part 5 — Marriage Counseling 

—Nortina


The challenge is to blog every other day June 17 through June 30, using the theme or prompts as inspiration.

The theme is seven, so I’m posting a series of seven stories at seventy-seven words each. Each day also has a prompt based on a famous book title, and while I’ve unfortunately never read any of the books listed, I think I can work with the funny play on words.

Today’s prompt is: War and Pieces

I hope you enjoyed this quick short-short, and be sure to come back on Monday for the continuation!

Bar-A-Thon: Empty Mansion (Part 3)

Continued from Sweet Shop

He’s intimidated by the size of my house. Seventeen rooms and not a single child to tuck in at night, to chase down the hollow halls echoing with laughter.

He pauses at the entrance to the gardens, caresses vines wrapped around the wrought-iron gate. “I guess I’m your overworked, sexy Latin landscaper.”

“But not underpaid.”

We don’t make it inside. On the wooden bench, surrounded by azalea blossoms, he pricks me within, and my frozen interior bursts.

word count: 77
Up Next: Part 4 – Testing the Waters

—Nortina


The challenge is to blog every other day June 17 through June 30, using the theme or prompts as inspiration.

The theme is seven, so I’m posting a series of seven stories at seventy-seven words each. Each day also has a prompt based on a famous book title, and while I’ve unfortunately never read any of the books listed, I think I can work with the funny play on words.

Today’s prompt is: Of Ice and Men

I hope you enjoyed this quick short-short, and be sure to come back on Friday for the continuation!

Bar-A-Thon: Sweet Shop (Part 2)

Continued from Group Therapy

We meet in the café on the riverfront. He devours his slice of apple pie, and I am tempted to lick the crumbs from the corner of his mouth.

“I was driving,” he recounts, “left without a scratch.”

“Do you ever want another?” I think about my husband, away on business. We’ve been married ten years and I still know not what he does.

He stares, then nods.

“Come home with me.”

My bed is so cold.

word count: 77
Up Next: Part 3 – Empty Mansion

—Nortina


The challenge is to blog every other day June 17 through June 30, using the theme or prompts as inspiration.

The theme is seven, so I’m posting a series of seven stories at seventy-seven words each. Each day also has a prompt based on a famous book title, and while I’ve unfortunately never read any of the books listed, I think I can work with the funny play on words.

Today’s prompt is: Life of Pie

So I hope you enjoyed this quick short-short, and be sure to come back on Wednesday for the continuation!

Bar-A-Thon: Group Therapy (Part 1)

“I’m 37 years old, and I want to have a baby.”

And my husband hasn’t touched me in seven months, but I fear appearing selfish in front of these underprivileged, who’ve lost children to leukemia, car seats not strapped in.

“My wife and daughter died in a crash with a semi,” says the widower, whose fingers I brushed at the refreshments table, we both going for the same blueberry scone.

I’m not uncaring, but his eyes are tantalizing.

word count: 77
Up Next: Part 2 – Sweet Shop

—Nortina


As if I haven’t had enough with challenges these past few months, here’s another one…

The challenge is to blog every other day June 17 through June 30, using the theme or prompts given for each post day as inspiration.

The theme is seven and the prompts are based on famous book titles, and would you believe I’ve never read a single one of those books? (Don’t shoot me!) Needless to say, I’ll be focusing on seven. Seven stories at seventy-seven words each.

But for those of you who are curious, today’s prompt is: The Fault in Our Stares

…get it?

Sometimes I end up following the prompt even when I don’t mean to. 😀

By the way, this is Part 1 of a quick interlude series (while you wait on my next serial story, which you can still vote for). So be sure to come back on Monday to see what happens next!

31 Days of Holiday Hooligans: Rendezvous

We ride together in silence. Mitchell glances at me but says nothing. I wish he would speak to me. Open his mouth and say something, anything, even if it’s to curse me for relapsing back into the binge drinking habit I’d promised to give up for him, for God.

Nothing good ever happens when you drink, he always says. Noah cursed his own son for not looking away from his father’s naked drunkenness, and the brothers have been warring ever since. According to the New Testament, drinking only leads to wild orgies. Hell, Lot slept with both his daughters! I wonder how that conversation played out—his daughters pregnant after both his sons-in-law were already dead—when he learned that his grandchildren were also his sons.

The way Mitchell explains biblical stories to me is the way I want for him to talk to me now. I know one day he’ll become a minister. He has that calling over his life. I sensed it the day he recounted his own salvation to me, with such vigor and enthusiasm, remembering ever detail, despite his youthful age of seven years old at the time. Reverend Murphy has already taken him under his wing, inviting him to the bi-weekly ministers classes he holds at the church on Thursday nights. He practices his sermons on me, speaking with boldness, his speech seasoned with salt. I love that part of him, but is it selfish of me to, every now and again, remove his cloth and ask him to just be Mitchell, my fiancé, my husband, the man I fell in love with?

He stops the car, and the glare from the red light illuminate’s his face. Every feature enhanced, from the natural arch in his eyebrows I’ve often envied, to the downward curve of his eyes and the puffiness of his skin around them that often causes people to mistake him for Pacific Islander. I look down at his nose, his tiny little rabbit’s nose. While mine curls up, the tip of his nose dips down toward the center of his upper lip, his nostrils slanting inward. His nose quivers when he breathes, like a little bunny sniffing the freshly cut grass in the Spring air, and I remember how I nibbled on his nose last night as I lay on top of him, joking that a wet nose meant you were happy and that all my slobber signified he was the happiest man in the world.

And when I said that, as if in confirmation, I felt him rise and harden inside of me after momentarily going limp, and it was so gratifying that I dropped my jaw and released a slow and steady exhale as I rocked my hips back and forth in a rotational push and pull like rowing a boat, as we drew nearer to the both of us letting all our liquids flow.

The light turns green, and I grab the steering wheel. “Do you love me?” I ask.

“Of course I do.”

“I want to hear you say it.”

“I love you.”

I shake my head. “That’s not good enough.” A car behind us honks the horn, and he presses his foot down on the gas lurching us forward as the light turns yellow and then red again. “Pull over,” I tell him, and I am surprised when he does so, without question or complaint, just stops the car on the curb, shifts the gear into park, and rests all his attention on me, staring deeply into my eyes. If he were searching my soul, he would find himself, my mate, my second half, I the very rib missing from his side.

“I want to hear you say it, and mean it.” I close my eyes and bite my bottom lip as I prepare for his words.

He sighs, and I’m so deflated that he sighs. Was our night of lovemaking so disgraceful, so scandalous, that he can’t bring himself to say the one thing that keeps me breathing? But just as I am about to lose hope, he opens his mouth, and I am pulled in by his words.

“I love you, Natasha. You know that. I’ve love you for so long. I want to spend the rest of my life with you. That’s why I want to fix this wedge between us, bring us back to where we were, before we— I want to start fresh.”

While he speaks, I’m drawn to his lips. Full, glistening like a moist brick of melting fudge in the night light of the Christmas street decorations. I long to feel them pressed against my neck as they were the night before. How intoxicating they were, caressing my weakest points, until my knees gave way, and I collapsed into his arms and allowed him to lay me on the bed and continue with his kisses, his smooches, his wet pecks of love, marking his territory down my spine, and on my thighs, and when he flipped me over, both breasts, and on my stomach, and around my navel, and below my navel, and oh, how my gut did a somersaulting dance to have his face in such close proximity to where my legs parted.

“Kiss me,” I say.

“What?”

“Don’t think, do.”

And he swoops in and kisses me, the urgency in his lips pressed firmly against mine, and I graciously accept him, open my mouth and let his tongue flood in. He briefly tries to break away, I assume, because he tastes the liquor lingering on my breath, but I take him by the neck and pull him closer, and he doesn’t relent. We stay like that for what feels like an eternity, until I can contain myself no longer, and I climb over the armrest and straddle his lap. We separate for air, breathing heavily, and I watch him for hesitation, wait for him to protest that we can’t do this again, that this is how it started last night, that we’ll hate ourselves after—I wouldn’t; I could never hate him.

But he surprises me by initiating contact. Our lips meet again and he wraps his arms around my waist, pulls me deeper into his lap, my bent knees hanging off the edges of his seat awkwardly. We sit like that, kissing, lapping up the taste of each other, and I savor every moment, not wanting him to break away and come to his senses that everything we’re doing is wrong, when everything feels so right. I slip my hand underneath his coat and pull it off over his shoulders. He follows suit, yanking his arms out and lifting my sweater over my head. We continue to undress each other until we are both naked from the waist up, and the chill inside the car draws us closer together like magnets. Without the barriers of clothing our movements become more animated, generating heat. We cling to each other, as if to let go meant to lose the other forever. The sweat on his chest moistens my breasts against it, and out hearts beat in synchronization.

I run my hand along his belt buckled and wonder if he will stop me, but he beats me to the top button of my own jeans, and before I know it his hand is inside and his fingers inside of me. And I let out a breathy moan, dig my nails into his shoulders, lean back against the steering wheel, and I wish I was wearing anything but pants because it would be so much easier just to hike up a skirt, give him less time to change his mind. But when I open my eyes and look at his face, he’s considering options too, and finally he tells me to lean over the armrest. So I do as I’m told, even more aroused at the sound of his commands, no hesitation or fear in his voice, only brash determination.

I sit up, pull my leg closest to the door in, and bend over the armrest, my elbows planted firmly in the passenger seat, my stomach pressed against the cushioned hump in the middle, my knees sunken in the space between the cup holders and the driver’s seat, and my behind arched in the air. He positions himself between my legs behind me and slowly pulls my jeans and panties down together over my hips. Again his fingers slip between my most delicate places. They’re cool to the touch, refreshing like quenching one’s thirst on a hot summer day. It makes me crave for him even more.

“I love you,” I whisper, but with my face down in the seat, I don’t think he can hear me. And it doesn’t matter because soon after, there is a tap on the window, and my pants are being forcibly dragged up over my hips, my sweater shoved in my face. I inadvertently kick the steering wheel and honk the horn trying to climb back over to my side of the car, and when he rolls down the window, we are both greeted by a blinding light.

“Is there a reason why you’re pulled over to the side of the road?”

“No problem, officer.”

“I’ll say. Looks like y’all are havin’ a jolly ol’ time in here.” I can’t see him for the bright flashlight he shines in our eyes, but I suspect there’s a mischievous smirk on his face. He sticks his hand inside, curls his arm around the driver’s side door and slides his index finger down the glass of the back window.

“She’s my fiancé,” Mitchell says.

“For the night, right.” There’s a chuckle in his voice, and Mitchell and I exchange worried glances at how this may look, especially on South Tatum, where there’s a hooker on ever corner.

“Can I see your license, please?”

“It’s in my back pocket.” Mitchell leans to the side toward me to retrieve his wallet from his left back pocket. He holds it open to slide his license from the clear sleeve, but the officer reaches in, snatches the entire wallet and bolts behind the car, down a darkened side street and into the trees.

“Hey!” Mitchell screams. He opens the door and sprints after him. He is halfway down the street before I can call him back.

“Just let it go, baby. They could jump you. You don’t know who is with him.”

He hesitates, as if considering his options—to risk our lives chasing after the cop impersonator for an ID and a couple bucks, or to get back in the car? I sit anxiously as he stands balling and unballing his fists. The street lamp and the snowflake decoration attached to it hang over him, casting a blue spotlight, as if he were about to perform a solo in an urban musical. As if the fake police officer and his posse would soon emerge from the woods snapping their fingers and beatboxing.

Finally logic wins out and he reluctantly returns to the car, slamming the door.

“I hate South Tatum,” he growls.

I reach up and squeeze his arm. “At least you have your life. We’ll go home, call the real police, and cancel your card before they can take anything.” Thankfully, Mitchell doesn’t believe in credit cards—what’s appealing about going into debt with money you never had, his reasoning—so there’s only the one debit card to worry about.

He nods and merges back onto the road. I keep my hands on his arm, curling one under his armpit and massaging tenderly. Selfishly my mind drifts to the night’s possibilities, what still remains of our activities interrupted. As if reading my mind, at the next light he turns to look at me, his eyelids hanging low. He dips his head down and kisses me, soft as a breeze, our lips barely touching, and I squeeze him tighter, eager to get home.

—Nortina


Written for 31 Days of Holiday Hooligans

Read the previous installments:
——
Day One: Before the Wedding
Day Two: Time to Decorate the Tree
Day Three: Alone with the Clouds
Day Four: Distractions
Day Five: Driving Down Memory Lane
Day Six: Seeking Righteousness
Day Seven: Booze Induced
Day Eight: There’s No Such Thing as Santa Claus
Day Nine: Sober Reluctance
Day Ten: Possibilities
Day Eleven: Party Crashers

31 Days of Holiday Hooligans: Party Crashers

“So where’s sloppy drunk Rita?” Mitchell raises his shoulders to his ears and digs his hands deeper into his coat pockets as a gust of cold air rushes in from the open door behind him. He turns to see a group of coeds, already drunk, stumble inside. One wears a see-through blouse and a mini skirt barely covering her rear end. Mitchell shakes his head. “I will never understand why you guys continue to come here.”

“To relax and relieve ourselves from the stress of the day,” Renee says sarcastically. “Why don’t you sit? Join us. You look a little tense.”

Mitchell rolls his tongue over his back molars and bites down. “You know I don’t drink.”

“Nobody has a drink here.” Renee motions to the table, which is a mess of chicken wings and balled up napkins smothered in sauce. He spots the clear glasses in front of Renee and Natasha and quickly snatches up Natasha’s to sniff the rim.

“Really, Mitchell?” Renee says.

He ignores her, looks directly at Natasha. “Antonio said you had three drinks.”

“It’s water,” she says.

“I can still smell it!”

“Let’s not cause a scene, please!” Renee raises her voice to a little over a squeal, and it’s as if everything around them suddenly goes silent. The clink of the balls hitting at the pool tables and of the beer bottles being tossed together in the trash no longer rings in Mitchell’s ear.

He looks over his shoulder towards the back of the bar and wonders if Rita has slipped off to the bathroom, disgustingly names “holes” for women and “poles” for men. He remembers his first encounter with Rita, rolling out of the bathroom completely wasted to open the floodgates all over his corduroy blazer. Her apology, “Who wears corduroy anymore? Trust me, I did you a favor.” That day, he resolved that Rita was the bad influence of their group, and tried everything in his power to break she and Natasha apart.

Antonio nudges Mitchell’s arm. “Why don’t we leave the ladies alone before we make ourselves look like bigger idiots.” He takes Mitchell’s wrist and tries to pull him back toward the bar, but Mitchell wrings himself out of his grasp.

“No. Natasha and I need to talk.”

“I agree.” She nods and stands, Mitchell assumes, for the first time since sitting down. He notices her wobble slightly and take a step back to regain her balance, but he says nothing. He holds her by the waist and walks, almost carrying her to the door.

“I’ll call Bryan and we’ll take care of your car, sweetie!” Renee calls to their backs. The frigid December air sweeps over them as they exit. Mitchell takes off his coat and drapes it across Natasha’s shoulders, but with the level of alcohol in her system, he suspects she doesn’t feel a thing.

—Nortina


Written for 31 Days of Holiday Hooligans

Read the previous installments:
——
Day One: Before the Wedding
Day Two: Time to Decorate the Tree
Day Three: Alone with the Clouds
Day Four: Distractions
Day Five: Driving Down Memory Lane
Day Six: Seeking Righteousness
Day Seven: Booze Induced
Day Eight: There’s No Such Thing as Santa Claus
Day Nine: Sober Reluctance
Day Ten: Possibilities

Read the next installment:
——
Day Twelve: Rendezvous

31 Days of Holiday Hooligans: Possibilities

“So what’s her name?” The bartender leans over the counter and wipes the condensation ring left behind by Antonio’s last Heineken. His name tag reads: “Joe.”

“Who?” Antonio asks absently. He hangs his head over his plate of home chips, hot out of the grease. He’s waited close to an hour for them—Mother Goose’s has never been known for its fast food service. In that time, he’s typed seven multimedia-long text messages to Elise, and deleted them all, knowing her response will be the same three words: “Fuck. You. Nigga.”

Coming here was a mistake. He’s not even drunk, but he feels the dizzying effects of a hangover coming. He’s cursed Elise out seven different times, but can’t muster up enough liquid courage to hit send. He knows he’ll lose Ryder if he does. Funny how he can lose someone he’s barely even had. He’s already missed Ryder’s first steps, his first words—or more specifically, his first babbles that could be construed into words.

Elise has stolen it all for herself, claiming title of both mother and father. A false superheroine, making feign sacrifices for the sake of the child she keeps captive. Baby mamas—they all have this I-can-do-bad-all-by-myself complex, like they deserve a trophy, a Nobel prize, for raising their own fucking kids. It’s not like you were forced to do it alone, bitch, he mumbles to himself. He’s here; he’s always been here, but she’d rather play victim than accept him back in her life, even if that means her son, her black son, will have the black father he needs to raise him right—not bitter and angry and hating him like his mother.

“Her.” Joe nods toward the booths by the pool tables, and Antonio looks over his shoulder to see that Renee has joined Tash’s one-woman pity party, which is less pity than party now. A plate piled high with at least twenty hot wings sits between them. Tash goes in on—from the looks of the stripped clean bones stacked on the napkin by her elbow—her seventh one. Her shot glass has been replaced with a glass of water—probably took some convincing from Renee, everyone’s human conscience.

Tash doesn’t seem as depressed as she had when Antonio called Mitchell. Maybe she was only waiting for Renee. Mitchell could be on his way to crash a possible bachelorette party about to begin—Rita not far behind, coming to to light shit up with some trees. A party wasn’t live until Rita’s thug ass arrived.

“You’ve been watching her since you got here. Both of y’all looking at your phones, throwing back drinks. It’s pretty obvious,” Joe continues.

Antonio shakes his head—wrong girl. “That’s my friend’s fiance.”

Joe shrugs and turns to the tap on the back wall, places a glass underneath. “She doesn’t look too thrilled to be getting married,” he yells over the television in front of him. “I say you still have a shot.” He hands the curved glass, cold brew foaming at the top, to a waitress who sits an orange slice on the rim and takes it to a table under a flat screen showing the Warriors game.

Antonio looks back toward Renee and Natasha’s table. Bartenders seem to have a sixth sense about reading people. They can tell a person’s fears, weaknesses, who they’re pining over as they take another shot. They can tell a person everything they’ve ever done from their choice of booze alone. Antonio bets, in this day, even Jesus could be a bartender. He did turn water to wine.

But the keep’s surely got this one wrong. Antonio will admit that maybe he had a thing for her back in college—she was definitely a sexy drunk—but Tash’s always been crazy about Mitchell. And if there’s anyone Mitchell could love more than Jesus Christ Himself—though Mitchell would flat deny this to ever be true—it would be Natasha. What could the bartender possibly have seen that would make him think she’d even be interested?

He thinks back to his phone call with Mitchell, how Mitchell sounded like he’d just finished a sprint when he finally answered the phone, nearly out of breath, yelling Natasha’s name like a sudden gust of wind. Still, Tash looks fine now. Maybe it was just a little lovers’ spat—cold feet before the wedding.

Joe approaches the counter, wiping his hands on the apron tied at his waist. “When’s the big day?” he asks.

“Christmas.”

“Damn,” he says, and Antonio looks at him, trying to decipher from his eyes if that comment was surprise at a holiday wedding, or an apology to him for it being so soon.

“Look man,” Joe says, “I’m not here to break up any friendships or ruin any marriages. And I know all too well what it’s like to get dumped on Christmas Eve. That ‘Last Christmas, I gave you my heart . . .’ song still gets to me this time of year.”

“Hmmm,” Antonio grunts.

“But chick is hot.” he shakes his head. “If I were you—”

A hand suddenly slams down on Antonio’s shoulder, and he jerks back. Mitchell stares at him, his coat askew—buttons fastened in the wrong holes—his eyes red, either from crying or lack of sleep. He runs his hand over the tiny balls of naps in his hair that he hasn’t brushed, then quickly shoves his hands in his pockets, as if a mental mirror has just appeared and he sees how awful he looks.

“Hey bruh, you ok?” Antonio asks shakily. He turns to Joe and discretely shifts his eyes toward Renee and Natasha’s table. Joe nods and offers a draft list to Mitchell.

He waves it off. “I don’t drink.” Then to Antonio, “Where is she?”

Antonio spins around in the stool to face the booth by the door, where Renee and Natasha are already watching, frozen in mid-feast of hot wings. Mitchell storms over.

“Mitchell, wait!” Antonio calls after him. He wrestles his wallet out of his back pocket, puts two twenties down on the counter, and slides them across to the bartender. “Uh, just keep the change.”

“Thanks, man. Aye, remember what I said.” He points to Natasha.

“You got it wrong, bruh,” Antonio says as he follows Mitchell to the booth, and then again, quietly to himself, “You got it wrong.”

—Nortina


Written for 31 Days of Holiday Hooligans

Read the previous installments:
——
Day One: Before the Wedding
Day Two: Time to Decorate the Tree
Day Three: Alone with the Clouds
Day Four: Distractions
Day Five: Driving Down Memory Lane
Day Six: Seeking Righteousness
Day Seven: Booze Induced
Day Eight: There’s No Such Thing as Santa Claus
Day Nine: Sober Reluctance

Read the next installment:
——
Day Eleven: Party Crashers