#1MinFiction: A stranger walks into a bar…

It’s been written before…

Stranger to town walks into a bar in the middle of a blizzard, shaking snow off her shoulders. She locks eyes with the man playing pool by himself.

“You look like you could use a drink.” He offers her an extra cue stick, nods over to the keep wiping glasses.

His breath smells of just what she’ll have. She leans into his neck. “Let it snow.”

—Nortina


Monday’s One-Minute Fiction challenges you to write a story in one minute, no more, no less, based on the prompt provided. Monday’s Christmas-themed prompt comes from a song we all know and love: Let it snow!

Ho, ho, ho

Love Haiku #11

Ho, ho, ho— your laugh
calls me; snow knee-deep, we make
angels on our backs

—Nortina

Monday’s One-Minute Fiction: Week of December 18

Rise and shine! Time to get out your stop watches, exercise your typing fingers, and pick your brains for some quick creativity.

Monday’s One-Minute Fiction challenges you to write a complete micro-fiction piece in, you guessed it, one minute, no more, no less, based on the prompt provided! Of course, you can come back to edit for grammar & spelling, but the story itself must be written in a minute.

Your prompt may be a photo, or a word, or a sentence—whatever inspires me, and hopefully inspires you too.

This month, I’m partnering with Marquessa at Simply Marquessa to bring you #1MinFiction and her challenge, #LyricalFictionFriday. Be sure to stop by her blog this Friday for more fun prompts (and to build an awesome playlist too! 😉 )

Christmas is just a week away! Despite this, a lot of us are feeling very “bah humbug.” Maybe a few flakes will change that? I’m always dreaming of a white Christmas, but this week’s prompt is another favorite Christmas song…

Let it snow!

Now it’s time for the rules. I don’t have many, because we all know rules are no fun, but here are the basic logistics for each challenge:

  • Write your story in one minute. (Use a stop watch to keep yourself honest. 😉 )
  • Post it to your blog and tag it #1MinFiction.
  • Link it back to this prompt post.

And that’s it! Let’s get to writing, shall we? And…

Ready . . .

Set . . .

Write!

Countdown to 31 Days of Holiday Hooligans: Not Gonna Fit

I’m fat. I’m fatter than fat. I’ve gained nine pounds since Mitchell proposed, and with the camera already fabled to add ten, I’ll be nineteen pounds heavier in all my wedding photos. Not to mention I won’t fit in my dress!

I should call Renee and tell her I’m not coming. But then, how would that look? The bride a no show to her own dress fitting. I was supposed to be there an hour ago, but Mitchell, he was so patient, attentive, smooth, gentle deliberate. He made love to me with such care, never rushing, always giving me exactly what I needed first, which satisfied him beyond a quick orgasm, just to hear me exhale and lie back, having had my fill.

God, I love that man. Who cares if I never put on the dress, as long as I’m at that altar Christmas day to say, “I do,” now and forever.

I wish he was still here as I stand naked on the scale, wet from the shower, and touch myself. As much as he wanted to stay and spend this day lost underneath the sheets, he had to get home—which in eight days will be our home, he reminded me—he needed to straighten things up for his family, who would be coming down to stay with him until the wedding, supposedly to make sure we don’t consummate too soon.

I laugh at this. If only they knew. I can already feel his seed germinating inside me. It makes me want him even more. I suck in my stomach and look down at the digital number displayed on the screen between my two big toes. Is there any way I can get this down between now and Christmas? Not with a bridal shower and rehearsal dinner still to come. Oh! And the cake tasting with the caterer! I completely forgot! They’ll definitely have to sew me into my dress after that—I can’t rely on a single bite to make my decision. Mitchell will just have to go by himself. I can trust him to choose the right cake. He remembers I’m allergic to strawberries, right?

My skin has managed to dry without a towel. I step off the scale with a sigh, conclude that it’s just lying to me. After this morning’s “workout,” I should have lost something. Sex burns calories, they say. And since I only had eggs for breakfast—the bacon burnt to a crisp—I should see some results.

But I can’t hide the fact that my stomach is looking fuller than usual, and the added girth isn’t fat that I can pinch, but solid and firm, bloated. Water weight, maybe? I pull my jeans over my hips. It’s a snug fit and my sides spill out over the top. I’ll have to stick to the stairs for the rest of this week. And avoid the carbs, which means no bread, no pasta. That’ll be hard with Renee planning the menus for all our wedding events. She doesn’t believe a meal’s balanced unless it has at least two starches— beans and rice, beans and potatoes, two kinds of potatoes, mac and cheese and potatoes. Did I mention potatoes?

But I remember that I also put on extra pounds just before my period starts. It’s close to that time, right? Though, I thought it was due to come last week. As long as it’s not next Saturday, because Mitchell and I have plans.

When I walk through the doors of Marinette’s Parisian Bridal Shop, I think Renee’s head just might literally explode. Her face as red as the quarter Cherokee blood she claims runs through her veins.

“Where the heck have you been!” As mad as she is, she still doesn’t curse. I have to admire that. I’m not always able to stay in character, but then she wouldn’t be setting a good example for Bryan if she couldn’t bite her own tongue.

“I’m sorry,” I say. “I lost track of time.”

“Doing what?” Rita asks. I’m surprised to see her here, that she actually beat me, and that she looks half-way decent before noon. Her skin is glowing, actually glowing, not dark and burnt from all the weed she smokes. This fast is doing her good. The teal blue jumpsuit she wears, accessorized with a large fuzzy white wool shawl, reminds me of freshly fallen snow. Her hair even seems to be sprinkled with a dusting of something white and sparkly. And is that makeup she’s wearing? The blue eyeshadow she repeatedly tells me is so middle school whenever I wear it? What has gotten into her? Or should I say, who?

“The next wedding party will be here in ten minutes. The coffee is cold. The macaroons are hard. Your mom and I called you twenty times. Where were you?” Renee is saying, practically shouting, almost crying.

I put my hands on her shoulders and shake her back into reality. “Renee, breathe. I’m the one getting married here. I can’t have you freaking out on me.”

“Never mind that,” Renee says, waving her arms around her head as if swatting away flies. “Now I have to find your mom. She’s trying to buy another dress last minute, and we’ve got to get you in yours before they kick us out.” She rushes off to the back of the store, disappears behind the fitting room curtains.

When we’re alone, Rita turns to me, folds her arms over her chest. Looking down on me—she has me beat by five or so inches—she says with a smirk, “So what were you really doing?”

“What do you mean?”

“Tash, you’re glowing, girl.”

“I could say the same about you.”

“Ok. You don’t want to tell me.” She shrugs, doesn’t acknowledge that I’ve noticed a difference in her too. She picks up a blue macaroon from the snack tray. It breaks apart and crumbles around her lips as she sinks her teeth into it. Chewing with her mouth full she says, “If I didn’t know any better, I’d think you were pregnant.”

My stomach drops in my gut.

“Tash, today!” I hear Renee yell. “We still have to see the caterer!”

God, I hope this dress fits.

—Nortina


Part of Countdown to 31 Days of Holiday Hooligans
——
Previous: Snowflakes Have Always Been Blue
Next: Welcome to the Club

Countdown to 31 Days of Holiday Hooligans: Snowflakes Have Always Been Blue

Snowflakes are blue. In Rita’s mind, they’ve always been blue.

Ever since she was a child, and she traded in her ice white crayons for a combination of navy, aqua, and baby blue to trace the snowflake designs on her Christmas wish lists to Santa, snowflakes have been blue. And Christmas was her favorite holiday of the year until she was eleven, when her mom banned the holiday because her deadbeat dad stopped paying child support.

“No money, no presents.” Her excuse.

But Rita still dreamt of blue snowflakes piling high in her front yard on Christmas morning—even though she grew up in southern Georgia, and the coldest temperatures she ever experienced were still in the upper 40s. When she peeked out of her bedroom window every Christmas, squeezed her eyes shut and wished for a foot or more of densely packed, blue snow—an hombre effect developing the deeper you went, from white on the top layer to an almost cobalt at the very bottom—she knew one day it would happen, all her letters to Santa would be answered. One day she would wake up to jingle bells, a front lawn covered in a blanket of blue, and her father standing on the porch, carrying a gift box, wrapped in red and gold paper, almost as big as he, with the oversized bow to match.

This was what Rita thought about as Hank’s head lay in her lap, his tongue in her flesh.

It wasn’t right. She didn’t want to take him home. Well, she did, but Renee’s voice in her head nagged her of her missed appointment with Jesus—prayer and fasting more important.

But he didn’t have  a ride when the store closed—she the last customer to leave. It was too easy. And with an unannounced visit from Jerome still a possibility, she felt safer having Hank there.

Plus she needed someone to carry all the paint she bought. She couldn’t remember what colors she picked; she just grabbed the closet can and slug it in her basket, kept it moving.

Hank’s tongue fluttered inside her, like a swimmer kicking the water as he paddled down stream. She went loose, tensed up to hold it a second longer, went loose again.

Hank looked up. “You good?”

She pressed his head back down. Less talk, more . . . mmmm . . . She twirled her hips underneath him, rolled her eyes to the back of her head as he drank her up, slurped her as if finishing off the end of an icie, and when he hit that spot, she screamed, “Oh, god,” and then, “Jesus Christ,” and then, “Stop.”

It wasn’t right. But she still waited until she came before she finally pushed him off of her.

And she didn’t want him to leave, not yet. Not while her walls were still white. She crawled over to the paint cans lined up by her door, examined the labels. Merlot red? No, that color pallet was too close to hell. She figured when she died, she’d probably end up there anyway; she didn’t need the reminder. Canary yellow? Hell no. Not even if she had a cat. It made her think of the short story she read back in high school. If white was driving her crazy, yellow just might make her kill herself.

With a sigh—she probably should have put more thought into making her selections—she spun the third can around, tilted it back and looked at it under the white moonlight coming through her window.

Cerulean. Blue. Perfect.

“Let’s paint these walls,” she said, a chipperness in her voice.

“Now?”

“Why else do you think you’re here?”

He shook his head. Maybe to get blue balls. To tease him even more, Rita jumped at him, fell on top of him back on the bed. She sat up on his lap, felt him lift through his boxers. His hand trailed down to the pocket and pulled out what she’d been craving, so she could see it, so she could go ahead and sit on it. She wanted to. She really wanted to.

And she did. But first, they painted.

Her room is brighter this morning. Brighter even than when the walls were white. It reminds her of Christmas, and she can’t remember a Christmas when the sunlight didn’t fill her whole room back home, as it does right now.

The paint still smells. They probably shouldn’t have slept in it. But when she considers how much sleep they actually got, she thinks they’ll be ok. She looks up at the walls. Horny and half-naked, they still managed to coat them evenly, and they didn’t get a single drop on the floor. But that may be because they spread and entire box of black heavy duty trash bags over every inch of the plush white carpet.

Under the suns rays shinning through her window, her walls are the perfect snowflake blue she always imagined as a kid. If the paint is still wet, she’ll straighten out a paper clip, or maybe just use the tip of her fingernail, to carve in the skeletal snowflake designs, like on her wish lists to Santa.

On the floor, one trash bag is smeared with paint from end to end like the frantic brushstrokes of an improvisational painter receiving his dose of inspiration in that very moment. This was where they collapsed, after laying the final coating, and then finished each other off in the leftover blue paint poured from the can.

She can’t remember how exactly she ended up back in her bed, however.

She hears a swishing to her right, looks over to see the blue shadow of Hank’s body printed in the sheets next to her, and Hank standing by the window, his pants already on, buttoning his shirt.

“You’re leaving.” She says it more like a statement than a question. She should be used to this. What’s to stay for? He’s gotten what he was after, even though it took all night to get it.

He spins around, surprised, almost frightened, by her voice. Who else would it be? She wonders. This is her apartment.

“Oh, I didn’t want to wake you.”

Too late.

He stands there, as if caught with his hand somewhere it shouldn’t be, not sure what to do or how to explain himself. His eyes shift from her to his shoes on the floor at the foot of her bed.

“Just go.” she closes her eyes. It would’ve been better if he’d left last night. Before the sun came in and brightened her day, filled her with a false hope that things would be different now, that she could be different. That her dreams as a child would finally come true, and it would snow on Christmas the color of the Disney castle in the opening credits of her favorite princess movies, and her prince charming would finally come, and stay forever.

“I’m sorry,” he stammers. “I just– I thought you would want–”

He rushes back to the bed, his shirt half unbuttoned, his skin hot when she touches his abdomen. It warms her through, and she leans in to kiss his navel, dip her tongue inside like it’s morning coffee and she’s testing the temperature. He sinks his hands into her hair, pulls her up, sticks his whole tongue in her mouth.

This is all she wants for this whole day. Him filling her every opening. She’s supposed to be meeting Tash and Renee for a dress fitting. How late is it? Is there enough time to slide him into her for a few minutes more? She’d promised Renee she wouldn’t be late, and she would help her set up for the rehearsal dinner afterward. But then, did Renee really expect Rita to keep her word?

Not when this man is giving her everything she thinks she needs.

—Nortina


Part of Countdown to 31 Days of Holiday Hooligans
——
Previous: Every Morning
Next: Not Gonna Fit

Feminists in the Snow

“Do you wanna build a snowman?” Georgina sang, knocking softly on her sister’s bedroom door.

“I curse the Christmas Mama bought you that stupid movie!” Regina’s muffled voice answered.

“It’s only the best movie ever!”

“I can think of ten movies that are way better.”

“Name ’em!”

The door suddenly swung open, and Georgina fell forward, meeting her chin with Regina’s big toe. Regina kicked up her foot and hobbled backward to her bed. “I swear you have the hardest head of the human race!” she said, caressing her toe.

“C’mon.” Georgina jumped in place. “I already measured six inches. That’s enough, right?” She pulled a plastic ruler from her polka dot rubber boot. The snow had since melted and all that remained on the bottom half of the ruler were droplets of water.

“You know, for that movie to be all about girl power, why is it that they still build a snowman?” Regina scratch her chin. She raised one eyebrow and smirked towards the ceiling as the idea reigned down on her head like a dusting of snow. “Why not a snow woman?”

“But how would we make it look like a girl?”

Regina threw on her boots and coat. “Mama still asleep?” she asked over her shoulder as she searched her drawer for her gloves buried under socks missing their other halves.

“Yea, why?”

“Where’s that ugly wig she’s always wearing?” She stuffed her hands into the wool gloves, turned and pushed the drawer closed with her hip.

“It’s on the knob in the shower. She washed it last night.”

“Good we’ll put the wig on it.”

“On the snowman?”

Regina bent down and put both hands on her sisters shoulders. “Snow woman.”

“Ahh!” Georgina said, mouth agape. “And we’ll name her Olfina!” Georgina gave Regina a wide, obnoxious wink.

“Sure, whatever. Go get the wig. I’ll meet you outside.” Georgina dashed for the bathroom. When she disappeared around the corner, Regina mumbled under her breath, “Still a stupid movie.”

—Nortina

Day 17 of 31 Days of Holiday Hooligans

Snowball Cider

Snowflakes trickle down window pane.
She twists bulbs tightly,
lights up tree in green, red and blue,
breaks apart earth and sky blanketed
in white. She sips hot apple cider
from mug, steps onto porch,
watches him shovel the walkway.
Ice cold ball of cotton hurls for her head,
disintegrates into powdered water droplets
when met with mug. Return fire not as friendly,
metal shovel shatters porcelain—
scalding cider splashes skin.

—Nortina

Day 16 of 31 Days of Holiday Hooligans

A Lonely Lover’s Winter Wonderland

She built a snowman
in the meadow, dressed him—wool
scarf, knitted sweater—
shivering. He offered pipe
between twig fingers
to heat numbing limbs. She kissed
coal lips. Lay naked
in hypothermic embrace
under pelting ice.

—Nortina

Day 9 of… technically not a Holiday Hooligan, but when you’re talking about having sex with a snowman…

Snow Day

The weather man only predicted a dusting overnight. The air was too dry, the ground too warm. It wouldn’t stick.

The flurries had thickened by six, and when it was time to walk the children to the bus stop, the road was covered.

“Did they close school yet?” They were anxious to remove the lids from the garbage cans, ride them down the hill behind Mrs. Grayson’s house.

“They’re still waiting. I’ll just drive you.”

The announcement came on the radio. Buses were turned around, delivering elated children to scrambling parents.

“You still have to come in,” my boss said.

word count: 100

—Nortina


Friday Fictioneers is a weekly challenge where you must write a story in 100 words or less using the provided photo prompt as inspiration. Click the froggy icon to ready other stories and add your own.

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Ninth Ward Blizzard

When the power shut off, I knew we had to go to the Dome.

“Do you remember how filthy it was during Katrina? Black people, shitting and dying on top of each other, like we never left the slave ships.” Grandpa said.

“Pop, if those levees break, it’ll be Betsy and Katrina times Day After Tomorrow. That water will flood us out and freeze on top of us.”

“You watch too much TV.”

I wrapped a scarf around his face and pushed his wheelchair into the blizzard. “Be happy it ain’t 90 degrees.”

“We black. It’s still gon be hot.”

word count: 100

—Nortina


Has anyone else seen the movie, The Day After Tomorrow? You know, the one that suggests that global warming could trigger an ice age. Why else would there be a blizzard in New Orleans, right?

Friday Fictioneers is a weekly challenge where you must write a story in 100 words or less using the provided photo prompt as inspiration. Click the froggy icon to ready other stories and add your own.

© Douglas M. MacIlroy
© Douglas M. MacIlroy