Friday Fictioneers – Flesh and Blood

Welcome to this week’s fictioneers. While you’re here, take a read over my last big story, “Solitary Man“. I will be trying to do much more regularly updates soon, but work is raking me over the coals. Stay tuned.

Flesh and Blood
by Miles Rost


I was sitting at the bar that last night. I look on it now, and I know I should never have gone. But I was so mad about work, I needed to go somewhere.

This short brunette sidled up to me while I was deep into my second Guinness.

“Hey, stranger. Why are you here?”

“Bad day at work. I’d like to be alone.”

She was empathic. She even bought me another Guinness.

That was all it took to take me home. What was supposed to be a night of passion, turned into my death.

My flesh and blood gone, stripped by a spider with sweet smelling hair.

Solitary Man

Solitary Man
a story by Miles Rost

The smell of the apartment was enough to choke the life out of a thousand hardened terrorists.

I got to this position due to my friendship with Ryan. Ryan could be considered one of my better friends from college. He’s someone who is dependable, friendly, and usually on time with just about everything. He was even at events, on the nose, as they started. The folks at the atomic laboratory could set their clocks to him, and they’d be quite accurate.

At least, that was the case until just about 3 weeks ago. That was when things went pear-shaped.

All through college, Ryan was dating a seemingly nice, yet quite meek girl named Clarissa. They came from opposing high schools in the same town, but started dating just as they ended high school. For the full four years of university, they were together. He had a bit of independence, especially with “safe” friends like me. It seemed that by the way things were going, they would be married after college.

6 months ago, Clarissa changed dramatically. The meek girl we all knew suddenly became vocal, brash, and pretty darn mean. She was also quite controlling, it appeared.

About that time was when Ryan stopped hanging out with us. Sure, he’d be able to sneak away and be able to join me at a coffee shop somewhere on campus, or he’d give an excuse about having me in class, and somehow I was in that responsible circle of friends.

3 weeks ago, the day after we all graduated, I was there when Ryan was given the shove-off. Clarissa dumped him, flat out, and proceeded to kiss her new girlfriend out in the open. As Ryan slowly turned and walked out, I rushed after him to be a friend and help him out. He told me “Thank you”, and proceeded to get into a taxi.

Now it’s 3 weeks later, and I am visiting his apartment. No one saw him, work’s been wondering where he is, and even his mom is worried. So I told her I’d go over and check up on him. As I opened the apartment door, I was hit with the overpowering stench of dirty dishes and overflowing trash.

The room was dark, all of the curtains closed. It was hard to walk around the place without seeing, so I decided to open up the living room window. The sight that greeted me upon illumination was incredibly ghastly. Pizza boxes strewn all over, half-eaten bowls of mac and cheese that had mold and other things growing on it laid haphazardly in various places. Banana peels lay rotting on the carpet, one or two even ground in a bit like they were walked on.

Through all of this, I could hear one sound coming from what I assumed was the bedroom. It was the sound of Neil Diamond’s “Solitary Man” song.

Tiptoeing around the trash, and after opening a window to let the stench out and the pleasant fall air in, I made my way to the bedroom door. I knocked once and asked if he was there. No answer. I knocked a second time, and said that I was coming in. No answer. So, I opened the door and looked inside.

I’ve seen messes of undeniable putridness. However, looking into my good friend’s room, I was knocked over by just how bad things got. For a man who was known to be quite clean, this was a level of messy that not even my sister could have achieved.

Clothes, pizza boxes and old pizza crusts, and pudding containers were strewn about the room. The windows were sealed with plastic and duct tape, and the smell of the room was atrocious. I turned on the light, and I saw Ryan, lying in his bed. His eyes were open, and his head was lolling side to side as if he was on drugs. I couldn’t think of much to say.

“Hey, Ryan. We’ve been a bit worried about you. You alright?”

“Do you think I’m alright?” he said, his voice raspy and dry.

“Nope, not at all.”

“Listen to the song. That’s how I feel.”

“Dude, I know the song. That was my theme for a long time. Now you’ve taken it on. I get that. Want to talk about it?”

I walked in, navigating around the land mines of trash that were liable to explode. I felt the edge of the bed to see if there was any trash, and feeling a safe spot, I sat down.

Ryan told me about how crushed he was by Clarissa’s explanation. She said that for the 3 months before us outsiders noticed the change, she was starting to show her true colors. And started having sex with her new friend from the women’s center. He told us about how she controlled nearly everything about life, and how she sent her “allies from the center” to spy on our conversations when we met. As he spilled his guts, the pain and hardship he felt finally came forth and he was periodically wracked with sobs. I offered him my shoulder, so he could help.

“I’ve been listening to this song for 3 weeks. I need to go my own way on things now.”

“What are you saying?”

“I’m swearing off women for a while. Clarissa’s given me a bad taste, and all the stuff she was preaching this past year is really leaving a bad taste in my mouth. Hell, I used to support their ideas at one time, until I realized that their ideas aren’t compatible with my way of life.”

“It’s a good idea. You’ve been badly hurt. What you need to have is time to process with the rest of us guys, and then slowly develop good friendships with women who aren’t going to pull a 180 on you like that.”

Ryan slowly moved, brushing aside the bedsheets and blankets.

“I guess I am going to need to clean up this place. Think you could help me out a bit?”

“Am I not your brother, Ryan? That’s what friends do. I’ll help clean up the trash, you just take a shower and get yourself cleaned up that way.”

Ryan just smiled, a smile that I hadn’t seen for nearly a year.

“After that, we’ll get the vacuuming and steam cleaning done on this place. Then, you and me, we’re gonna go out to the river landing and shoot some cans.”

As the final strains of “Solitary Man” played across the speakers, I turned off his iPod. It was time for some new music for a new life. Putting a crust of pizza into a trash bag, I realized that sometimes, just sometimes, a man needs only one friend at one time to help bring him out of an unresolved situation.

Friday Fictioneers – The Winter Long

Hello, Fictioneer readers! I had to take a break from fictioneering last week due to the holidays, and the fact that I was not in the right state of mind to write at that time. I am back, and likely to have a few new stories out soon. But first…today’s Fictioneers story:

copyright Janet Webb

The Winter Long
by Miles Rost

The winter was the longest one that was on record. Cold temperatures kept people inside, the snow sometimes sealed them in like a tomb.

“Honey, do you think we’ll ever be able to leave?”

“Well, sweetie, look out the window.”

They walked over to their window, and looked at a tree with most of it’s leaves on, brown as they may have been.

“Those leaves have stayed on that tree all winter so far. If they can do it, we can do it.”

Honey looked back at her sweetie, smiling bashfully.

“Hold onto me, and I’ll hold on to you.”

Sweetie looked back at his honey, and enclosed his arms around her.

“This winter long, I will always be with you.”

Cold outside, but very warm inside.

Widow’s Walk

Widow’s Walk
by Miles Rost

The seas were roiling with a tempest.

Tina Greene looked out from the cliffside at the ocean’s tantrum. She felt the winds as they blew sea spray into her face. The sea and the spray were very well reflective of her current situation and mood.

She was in the center of a storm in her heart, and the center of a storm in her life.

Her heart felt like it was ripped out of her chest, the crimson effluence pounding out what was left of the life she used to have with her husband, or rather, her former husband. The initial rip came from the delivery of the divorce papers at the summer cottage that they once shared, the site where Tina was currently staying. As she kept reading the papers, she noticed that he left her many things that would keep her pacified, but that the majority of what they made together would be left in his care.

Including their 12-year old daughter, Karin.

A fact that, upon reading, caused her to weep bitterly for hours.

She didn’t care about the summer cottage, or the 1.2 million in money that her husband was willing to part with. She didn’t even care about the half of the pension money her husband would have to give up after he retired. None of that mattered to her, none of it was important.

Her daughter was the most important person in her life at that moment in time, and there was no way she could fight her husband to get full custody. She would lose Karin forever.

It broke her heart.

She looked upon the seas again, seeing the swirling waves crash against the rocks below. She spotted a small dinghy as it crashed into the jetty a little ways off. The cracking and breaking of the wooden hull made a cacophonous echo that reverberated through Tina’s ears.

She looked down at the papers in her hand, the divorce papers that she long agonized over. As she sighed and shook her head, she pulled the pen out of her skirt pocket and signed the bottom. Putting them back into the envelope, she turned and walked away from the cliff, back towards the summer cottage which would now serve as her permanent home. Her new home.

She slowly walked to the back door, taking what old men called a “widow’s walk”, the walk of someone who lost someone or something very important and dear. While she didn’t lose a physical person to death, divorce was just as bad as widowhood.

And it would be something Tina would have to feel for a long long time.

- A tribute to all parents who ended up in divorce, and what they have had to go through in those times.

 

Retired – Friday Fictioneers

Here’s this week’s offering. Other stories are on the way, just dealing with a lot more stress and recover  from said stress than I wish to divulge…

 

copyright Claire Fuller

Retired

by Miles Rost

After 35 years at the gas works, I never thought that I would still be working.

I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what I wanted to do after I got done with my career. The first year was the hardest. I had no clue, especially after Millie died.

I was driving down the A34 and was stopped to get petrol. I saw the building, the shabbiness of it, and the garage. I inquired with the proprietor whether he was interested in having another worker. He grumbled, but agreed.

My first job with him was to retread older tires, or to cut them up.

So, in short, I guess I can truly say that even though I’m working, I’m…retired.

Friday Fictioneers – Manic Monday

Currently writing this on the road…in Suwon, South Korea (the capital of Gyeonggi Province). Enjoy what my mind throws up!

 

Copyright-Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Manic Monday

by Miles Rost

I never thought I knew of a place called hell. That is, until I found myself in a delivery job in Beverly Hills.

“You need to drop the first set of packages in the back alley behind the consignment store next to the Victoria’s Secret on Rodeo Drive, but not the Victoria’s Secret expansion across the alley,” my boss told me.

It was like he was speaking Korean to me. I looked at him sideways.

“What’s the name of the consignment store?” I asked.

“How am I supposed to know? I don’t do deliveries!”

So I went with my gut and looked for the Victoria’s Secret store. There were 5 of them within 2 blocks of Rodeo Drive. So I put them in the back alley, on a building that said “Rags to Riches”, next to the Victoria’s Secret.

I was fired the next day for incompetence. When my boss couldn’t even tell me the right place.

I think I’m going to go to the beach and punch a mime.

Friday Fictioneers – Far Enough

Here’s this week’s submission!

 

Copyright – Jean L. Hays

Far Enough

by Miles H. Rost

“Charlie, you have gone too far.”

Doris MacInally looked out the window and shook her head at her son, Charles.

“How, Mom?” Charlie inquired.

“I remember when you were putting snowplow machinery on old Bel Air chassis.”

“Yeah?”

“Now, you’re putting a mobile oil derrick in the bed of a Ford F-250?”

“What can I say, Mom? There’s a need for more of them up here in North Dakota, so why not make them mobile?”

“Will it actually be able to stay and hold while oil goes everywhere?”

“That’s what the plastic tarp is for.”

“What plastic tarp…no. NO YOU DID NOT…”

“No one liked that tablecloth anyways.”

Doris began to chase her son across the yard, rolling pin in hand, as he giggled all the way.