Friday, March 27, 2015

100 Words Only

   This week's Flash Fiction Challenge, 100 Words Only, is exactly that: the story has to begin and end within 100 words.  If writing in journalism has taught me nothing else, it's keeping my shit short and concise.


   "Eeeeeeewwwww!  What's that smell!"
   The little boy ran to his puppy's playpen.  Max, a four-week-old pit bull, was his birthday gift.    
   The playpen was now filled with puddles that reeked of copper and shit.
   Max was going through hell.  His insides burned, his head hurt.  He could barely walk.  All he could do was lay in excruciating pain, waiting for the next surge of vomit or diarrhea to come.  Luckily, there was no more need to wait.
   Death's sweet embrace came as a relief for the poor puppy.  His suffering ended quickly, as his steel-grey eyes stared out into nothing.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Raspberry Punch

This entry is based on the Random Cocktail Challenge.  My random cocktail was Raspberry Punch, which I've never ordered, but I'm pretty sure tastes like diabetes. #tanmuchoasucaresnobueno

Raspberry Punch

   Shelly was not your typical 20-something in New Jersey.  She loathed the idiotic tropes from the Jersey Shore, and how everyone outside Jersey expected her to be some bimbo with skin the color of peanut butter who drooled all over muscle-bound shitheads.
   Shelly had better things to do than waste her time with these basic bitches.  She went out of her way to look different -- from her long, raspberry-colored hair with platinum blonde streaks, to her body piercings and elaborate tattoos.  There was no mistaking Shelly for any of these girls.  Ever.
   She saw them every day at the gym, posing in tiny tank tops and skimpy shorts for the guys.  For these girls, the gym wasn't a place to work out, it was a place to flirt and show off all the efforts from their strict adherence to drunkorexia.
   For Shelly, however, it wasn't just a gym.  It was her church, her sanctuary from a world full of shit.  Clad in a baggy, worn-out T-shirt and knee-length basketball shorts, she broke into a brisk jog on the treadmill.  After her run, she stepped off, barely even sweating, then headed for the free weights.
   She could feel the eyes of the ridiculous guidos on her as she started lifting.  They whispered and giggled as she counted her reps.  High school may have technically ended three years ago, but these bozos clearly would never grow past that stage.
   Under a barrage of barely audible mockery, Shelly could feel her anger starting to boil as she proceeded to her third set.  As she slowly lifted and lowered the dumbbells, Chaz, one of the asshats from the clique, came over with a stupid leer on his face.
   "Hey, Shelly, I heard you give good head.  Is that true?"
   "Back the fuck off before I smash these dumbbells into your head, fucker!"  Shelly gave him a sideways glare that would melt an iceberg.
   Defeated, Chaz went back to his friends as they guffawed at his failure to charm the resident lesbian.
   "C'mon, let's go.  It's almost happy hour," Leslie told the group.  Then, to Shelly:  "I like your hair, Shelly!  It makes you look like a Troll doll!"
   Shelly scowled as she completed her tenth bench press.  These assholes never gave up.  She had known them since elementary school, and they were the exact same assholes to her back then.
   Her childhood pretty much sucked.  She was one of the poorest kids in school, and always caught hell for it.  She also was painfully shy and socially awkward.
   The boys all mocked her constantly.  Their favorite "game" was for one of them to come up to her and sarcastically flirt.  (Of course, Shelly knew better than to buy this shit.  She was constantly reminded of her place in the pecking order, lest she ever forget.)
   Then, the perpetrator would yell "psych" and run back to his idiot friends, where they would cackle together like a chorus of mentally disturbed chimpanzees.
   Shelly felt helpless and alone.  She felt like the most disgusting creature on the planet.  She didn't think there was anyone she could talk to about the bullying, so it just continued and progressed over time.
   One day, a new guy came on the scene.  Blake obviously had no clue about Shelly's status as one of the "untouchables" in school; he sat right next to her on the bus and struck up a conversation.
   Shelly had never met anyone like him before.  He was the smartest, coolest guy she had ever known.  She was head over heels in love.
   Blake seemed to know how she felt about him; he would catch her looking at him and smile, looking right at her.
   One day, he walked right up to Shelly in the stairwell.  He pulled her behind the stairs and started kissing her.
   "I really like you, Shelly.  Do you like me?"
   Shelly was almost shocked.
   "Yes, I do."
   "Go down on me, Shelly.  Please.  I really want to be closer to you."
   Shelly had never done anything like that.  Blake gave her a few pointers, then she knelt down and performed the act.  After a few minutes and a lot of moaning, he pulled her head back and released his juices all over her face.
   "That's a good look for you, Shelly."
   Shelly just sat there in shock.
   "Shelly, I really want to go out with you.  Will you come to the Homecoming dance with me?"
   Shelly just sat in shock at the abruptness and circumstances of the question.  Before she could come up with an answer, Blake interrupted:
   "Psych!  I would never be seen with a fucking outcast like you!"
   Shelly could feel her heart breaking, hot tears streaming down her face as it blushed with anger and betrayal.  Then the laughter started.  The entire stairwell echoed with the cruel howls.  Shelly ran to the bathroom and washed her face and mouth for the next 20 minutes, then ran to the nurse to go home.
   Shelly never forgot that day.  Blake graduated and was accepted into an Ivy League school, while most of the Guido Goons stayed behind and attended junior and trade colleges.
   Shelly turned to boxing to channel her anger and depression, and fell in love with her first major opponent, Leslie.  Still, the memories never ceased to haunt her.  They taunted her from the back of her mind.  They were with her daily.
   As she finished her weight training session, Shelly was eager to move on to the punching bag  waiting to be demolished.  But there was one thing she wanted to hit even more.
   Shelly turned around and made a beeline toward the bar across the street, where Chaz and his asshole friends were having a good time, no doubt at her expense.  She rushed up to Chaz, who was facing the bar while sipping on a pint of beer.  She tapped his shoulder, and as he turned around, dealt the satisfying blow he had earned.
   In this very moment, all the laughter, all the cruel jokes, all the emotional torture had culminated into a ball of energy, exploding from her fist into Chaz's smug, obnoxious face.  She could feel the bones shattering in his face upon impact.
   After she released the punch, Shelly felt a peace like she had never known.  It was like all the mocking voices had finally been silenced.  She smiled for the first time in what seemed like years as Chaz's eyes rolled into the back of his head, and he hit the floor.