Demonstration

Bobbi sits the head in her lap, loops thread through needle. “We’ll wrap a turban around it.” She licks the needle point, begins to stitch. “Paint the face a dusty brown.”

“Wouldn’t that be a little offensive?” Tamra asks as she shifts the heavy camera onto her right shoulder. “A dead Muslim in the middle of town square?”

“What will be offensive is how people react to it.” When the cloth is securely fastened to the dummy’s crown, Bobbi folds it like a napkin.

“If I saw what I thought was a dead man in the street, I’d be scared.”

Bobbi sighs, looks up at the mute television. Four balding white men fill the screen, one pounds his fist on the table. Kill radical Islam, the subtitles read, we can talk about gun control later.

“That’s the difference between us and them.” Bobbi points. “All we see is a man.”

word count: 150

—Nortina


img_0797Written for VisDare, a weekly challenge to craft a story based on the provided photo in 150 words or less.

Phantom of the Subway

“What’s up, Doc?”

She thinks she’s so clever, smacking that gum around her tongue. If the train bounces the right way, maybe she’ll swallow it.

“I’m hunting wabbits!”

She mimics Elmer Fudd’s ear-ringing laugh, and it dances around my head inside my mask.

Shut up, shut up, shut up! This is New York. I know she’s seen stranger people on the subway — like the man lying by my feet. He looks like he hasn’t showered in weeks. He conspicuously hides a malt liquor bottle inside his faded army jacket.

“It’sss rabbit ssseassson!” she spits.

I check the running screen above the doors. Three more stops to Tremont. What are the odds she’ll get off at one of them? The train lurches forward and she slides off the edge of her seat, holding the pole in front of her to keep from falling. She’s so close to the doors; I think about kicking her off at the next stop.

“Say yer prayers, varmint!”

Maybe she should say hers. I raise my arms, grab the tips of the rabbit ears and pull the mask over my head.

She jerks back, coughs, pounding her chest. Yes, yes. She’s swallowed her gum. It sticks to her throat, preventing her from screaming at the webbed skin on one side of my face. To add fuel to the flame, I pop out my glass eye and toss it just as the doors open and she tumbles out onto the platform, my eye rolling behind her.

—Nortina


Benjamin Godard - “Catch Me If You Can”
Benjamin Godard – “Catch Me If You Can”

Written for VisDare, a weekly challenge to craft a story based on the provided photo in 150 words or less . . .

One of these days, I’m actually going to write 150 words! 😉

Dance Until We Fall in Love

I’m in love with Joey.

But on that stage, when Rick cups his hands underneath my breasts and lifts me over his head, I resist every urge in my body not to fold myself around his torso and give in to the primal sexual nature that rosin powder and ballet slippers have tried to chisel away for the last four years.

We’ll be attending Julliard in the fall—we three—and share a studio apartment in Greenwich Village.

Joey tells me he’s OK with it. He kisses me and says he loves me, too—even though he knows, some nights, I’ll want the bed alone with Rick, while he curls up in a blanket on the cold, dank floor.

Scholarship Becky calls me a whore for loving two men at the same time, but she’s just angry she has to move back to Kentucky when the year’s over. No chance Julliard would accept four students from the same school.

At our final dance recital, Rick hands me a bouquet of roses from our instructor just before the curtain falls. I inhale their sweet scent, kiss a petal, marking it with the darker shade of my red lipstick. Joey walks up from behind and drapes his arm over my shoulder.

“Ready for the future?” Rick says.

Joey nuzzles my earlobe, whispers, “As long as we’re always together. Nothing can tear us apart.”

—Nortina


a98434535f638279b569681a88d6c99bWritten for VisDare, a weekly challenge to craft a story based on the provided photo in 150 words or less—or more, as is always my case…😉

VisDare: The Perfect Home

The real estate agent knocked on the polished mahogany banister of the staircase behind him. “So, other than a couple houses getting egged on Halloween—”

“So what’s the catch?” Monica asked. “Floor to ceiling windows, a chandelier in the foyer, a marble sink in all two and a half bathrooms, great neighborhood, a couple rowdy kids, but otherwise, great school—”

“It’s too good to be true,” Kenan added, stuffing his hands into his trouser pockets. “This house’s been on the market for over a year. What aren’t you telling us?”

“Well . . .” He turned around and started down the stairs to the basement. “The previous owner might have been a collector of some peculiar objects . . . We recommend you don’t disturb anything.”

The couple followed hesitantly. “Please don’t let it be a dead body,” Monica sighed.

The real estate agent paused at the basement door. “Close. Very close.”

word count: 146

—Nortina


browingWritten for VisDare, a weekly challenge to craft a story based on the provided photo in 150 words or less.

VisDare: Captive

“Water,” she whispers harshly, her voice sounding as if someone, invisible to me, is pressing a forearm against her throat, making it hard to breathe.

I run upstairs, two at a time, get a glass from the cupboard and hold it under the faucet.

Mama and Deddy said I was only imagining things. “The end of a dream, is all,” Deddy said. “Like when you dream your alarm is ringing, and it wakes you up.”

But I knew the scratching under the floorboards weren’t tree branches hitting the side of the house. I knew those soft cries—“help, somebody”—wasn’t the wailing wind blowing through the crack in my windowsill.

There is a girl in our basement. She’s been here three months.

She drains the glass in two gulps, holds it out for me to refill it. The dirt caked around her eyes and cheekbones crack and peel as the muscles in her face revive.

“How’d you get in here?” I ask, searching for burrows between the walls and floors where she might have dug her way through, like the rats we set traps for.

She points to the top of the stairs, and I turn to find Deddy standing by the basement door left ajar.

“You just too curious, boy.” He slams it shut, locks it from the outside, leaving us in darkness.

—Nortina


12ced-5346021c4b91a1e58920693712960d2aWritten for VisDare, a weekly challenge to craft a story based on the provided photo in 150 words or less—or more, as is always my case… 😉