There was debris scattered all over the highway, shoulder to shoulder. The writer of the story had abandoned any pretense of understanding what it was about. He’d leave it for the tour guides to explain. What passed at one time for reason now just confused. Seduction and scandal at the airport. “Stringing words together is not a story,” said the editor. “Context counts for something. If you can’t tell me what it’s about, is it about anything?” The poet refused to weigh in, and let it hang in the air like a balloon animal. Likely no one would care anyway.
There was a time once in my life when I was the blue light flashing under the subway cars. Down the hill from Mosely Street, the Columbia T station waits in the frosty morning. I huddle myself around a cigarette, bluster blowing up from Carson Beach. The train comes balling in with a billow of dust, I toss my dogend onto the tracks and we race together into the city that feels a world away. Rolling home late, the train filled with drunk and rowdy Southie toughs smashing bottles and itching for a fight, I’m hoping they don’t pick me.
Lola couldn’t sleep. She’d been pacing the cheap hotel carpet for hours, arguing with herself. There’d been one too many disturbing encounters earlier, and Lola was anxious. The swarthy street preacher had finally talked himself out and was snoring on the other bed across the room. She contemplated waking him and escaping with him down the back stairs, but in the end she slipped on her robe and left him, taking his mysterious portfolio, leaving in it’s place a hand-colored photograph of herself dressed as a Mardi Gras fan dancer. He’d know where to find her when the time came.
Inspired by Jack Kerouac, I used to have a roll of teletype paper strung through my typewriter. I wrote pure stream of consciousness poems and stories without stopping to edit or even think about what I was writing. I wrote a lot. I still have most of those rolls along with reams of other writing. Every once in a great while I sift cursorily through it, rarely finding anything worth repeating. These 100 word stories are an experiment and a challenge. Whatever value they might have remains to be seen.
The preacher stumbled…
…out of the dugout and crossed the infield. It was early evening, a night of swirling mist and waxing moon. The invasion had been foiled, the insurgents disbursed. She reflected on the chaos of the previous week; she hadn’t planned for this, and still clutched the ransom note in her fist. A spotlight on the left field wall flared into life and pinned her in mid-stride halfway to the pitcher’s mound. The pact had been broken, her obligations dissolved, and she felt liberated. When the helicopter landed on second base, she had no choice but to resign.