Friday Fictioneers – Let Me Go Home

(Author’s note: After having 2 and a half of the toughest weeks that I’ve ever had, including fighting off illness and dealing with a crapton of stress that just wouldn’t quit, I’m largely doing okay. Here’s Today’s fictioneers.)

dale-rogerson-pizza

©Dale Rogerson

by Miles H. Rost

The couch was the point of no return.

Harvey sat, his legs curled up underneath, exhaustion seeping from every pore of his body.

It was so bad, he couldn’t eat properly. The gourmet pizza, and bottle of expensive wine, sat barely touched on a counter. He could eat it later, but by that time, the wine might have turned to vinegar.

He sat, staring at the blank wall in front of him, the couch being his place of refuge.

He wanted out of his life, but had to return to the 9 to 5 the next morning.

In his exhaustion, he cried.

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Friday Fictioneers – Snow On The Sahara

(Author’s Note: First week of new job doing fine. Hope to be back to mini-story writing next week. Here’s tonight’s fictioneers, with a song from my own personal deep cuts collection!)

january-snowfall-nighttime

© Sarah Potter

Snow On The Sahara

by Miles H. Rost

The expedition was lost.

First, it was Mina. Then Charles. Packi, the Tunisian warlord. Finally, Julian.

The faces of the two that remained were covered in sand, fine particles of silica that stung their eyes.

“So, where do we go from here, O great navigator?” Marisa said, changing the towel on the back of her cap.

“Well, we should be heading close to the Chott al Djerid, but…”

Marisa let out a whoop as she felt cold hit her skin. She looked up, and saw dark grey clouds and white flakes falling.

“Can you believe it? Snow! We are close!”

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Friday Fictioneers – Piano In The Dark

(Author’s Note: I promise stuff is coming. I’m getting distracted by all sorts of stuff at work. The job gets in the way sometimes…But, here’s another Fictioneers post to whet your appetite!)

 

© John Nixon

Piano In The Dark

by Miles H. Rost

Shirley plopped her bag on the table.

Coming home from a hard day of learning at school, she was going to be happy when she finally could watch “Sailor Moon”. It had been a while since she had a day to herself.

The sky grew dark all day, and it was nearly pitch black outside. She turned on the TV and not even a minute in, she heard the familiar buzz of klaxons and red screens.

She buzzed into the basement and took shelter and waited.

And waited.

The lights went out.

A steady roar sounded.

Plink. Plink.

Cacophony.

Friday Fictioneers – Lonely Town

(Author’s note: Sorry for the lateness. That’s what happens when you become more social. More writing coming soon.)

© Marie Gail Stratford

Lonely Town

by Miles H. Rost

The Diary of Cliff Jenkins, competent company worker:

Not exactly sure why the company wanted to have their meeting here. It’s the Korean thanksgiving holiday called Chuseok, and they scheduled the meeting in Busan.

Looking out my hotel window, it’s barren. Very few people here. Haeundae Beach has no people. The streets have nothing.

I’m waiting here for my compadres. They were supposed to show up 4 hours ago. I wonder if they got lost. I know that it can be a bit of a run down from Incheon.

And now the text from the boss, “Meeting cancelled. See you tomorrow at work.”

Well. That confirms it. It’s a lonely town tonight.

We All Sleep Alone

(Author’s Note: If you’re interested in reading the previous five stories of Mayumi, please use the tag “Mayumi” to find her stories.)

Mayumi’s Story (part VI)
(aka “We All Sleep Alone”)
by Miles H. Rost

The months passed by, and things finally stabilized for Mayumi Shiomi. After dealing with more ups and downs at her job, things finally were able to get to some semblance of “normal”. She had just a little over 4 months left on her contract, and could not wait to leave.

The intervening months since her letter to her dad had not been too kind. She went through many relationships and one night stands, feeling the loneliness and emptiness in her heart that she was left with for such a long time. She finally got in with a counselor to talk about it, to come clean and to rebuild the shattered pieces of her heart and deal with the remnants of the old relationship that so wrecked her personal life.

As she sat in her apartment, looking out at the Sydney landscape, she couldn’t help but think about how she got where she was. She thought about the God she served, and how she was being led even in her weaknesses.

“Y’know, God. Ah’ve been such a fool,” she said, out loud, “I’ve spent so much time grousing about my job, not doing what I’m  supposed to do. Ah know I need to do better, I just don’t know why I’m so weak.”

She sighed, as she looked at the cloudy skies that unfolded over the city like a scroll. It was a day that matched her feelings, and as she got up to do a small bit of cleaning, she gave a small sigh and a weak smile.

“Sooner or later, Lord, we all sleep alone. Ahm glad it’s happening now, instead of when I’m an old maid.”

Looking at the calendar, she had the date circled. Just over 4 months, and she could finish her contract and get out. She already had prospects at a new job, and a new life in Melbourne. But, she wouldn’t be able to start for at least a month after due to non-compete clauses. She knew that this would be a perfect time to find out about places to live there.

She had life to look forward to. But she had to survive the next months. That would be a challenge, as long as she was dealing with all the anxiety issues and the health problems that came with it. Worry, anxiety, and all sorts of other things pulled at Mayumi’s neck like a gremlin on an airplane. It was not something she enjoyed, and her sleep sometimes suffered because of it.

She would pray for at least one vacation in between, just to make things go faster.

She grabbed her pillow, and proceeded to her bedroom to take a nap. Why not let time pass her by with something she wanted to do.

Sleeping was one way to get away from the everyday. And she took to it like a champion.

Diamond Girls

(With thanks to Jamie Cross for inspiration)

Chelsea Paragovian, known to the rest of the world as Chelly Price, looked out the window at the brilliant lights of New York City. The twinkle of the skyline would be incredibly mesmerizing for a first-time girl in the big city. For someone who was there, it was a fading light that reflected the fading spark in her spirit.

Chelly Price was the main attraction for the new millennial musical movement, up there with the Demi Lovatos, Victoria Justices, and others of their ilk. Her first album, made when she was just 17 and a newbie in New York City, had gone platinum within 6 months. She was a hot commodity, and the various backing bands loved having her up front to bring the numbers in. After the concerts, she would swing through the party circuit. Sleep through the day, party all the night, press the flesh at music signings and celebrity appearances on TV shows.  Her second album didn’t do as well, but did hit gold within 9 months.

As she looked at herself in the mirror, as the sun came up on that September morning, she finally caught the realization of everything she had been doing. The lines on her face, the premature worry-lines, the stress and the wear of the road was finally getting to her. She had success, she had the money, but she had nothing else.

She had one person left who could bring her back to earth.

She held onto the cell-phone, the flat phone that kept only the most important numbers. She clicked through the hundreds of contacts until she found the one that she was looking for, listed under the letter Z. It had the name “Zero Hour” on it, and she knew that when she called the number, things would never be the same. She clicked the entry, and waited.

One ring. Two rings. Three rings.  *Click*

“Hello?”

“It’s me.”

“Chelsea? Sweetie? Is that you?”

“Yeah, Daddy. It’s me. I’m sorry for calling you so early. I know that it’s probably the middle of the night over there…”

She heard a big yawn from the other side of the phone, and started to yawn as well.

“No, no, sweetie. It’s alright. I haven’t heard from you, it’s been so long. So, how is New York treating you?”

“It’s…it’s…it’s alright, I guess.”

“Is there something wrong, sweetie?”

Chelsea hesitated. She knew that if she said the wrong thing, it could doom her future. She believed that if she said something, that it could come to fruition in ways that were never meant to be.

“I looked in the mirror.”

“What did you see?”

“I saw lines. I saw myself as tired.”

“How long have you been doing this stuff that you’ve been doing?”

“2 years. I am due to go into the studios here in the next month to record the third record.”

“What do you think? Do you think you have enough for another one?”

“They keep supplying me with songs, but they’re not really that good. I really want to expand my horizons.”

“Do you remember what I told you when you first left on that midnight plane to New York?”

“You told me that diamond girls aren’t made to grow old.”

“Do you feel old?”

“I look old. I feel tired. But, I know that there’s a spark still in my heart. I just don’t think it’s here.”

She chuckled, thinking that it was silly she was having this discussion with her dad, who was a simple wood-mill worker, not a big entertainment man.

“Maybe what they’re asking of you is not what you want. Have you thought much about what you want to do?”

Chelsea paused. Have I really thought about it? she asked herself, in her mind.

“I am not sure. I am thinking about leaving the parties and the other stuff behind. Maybe refocusing my music, in a way?”

“Honey, whatever you plan to do, I’m behind you 100 percent. Did you hear about Bernie Griffin?”

“Big Bernie? The guy who slung the slats?”

“Yeah. He got drafted by the Dodgers. He’s heading to Florida, I think. He’s gonna be in the minors now.”

“How did he get into baseball?”

“When you saw him last, he was on the high school team. He was at a company baseball gathering, and some guy saw him. Put his name in with a scout, who saw him work, and signed him almost on the spot.”

“Wow. Who would have thought?”

“People thought the same thing about you, Chelsea. They didn’t realize that you were being picked up for a recording contract. A 3 record deal was a big thing for the people around here.”

Chelsea thought about that for a moment, seeing herself like Bernie, and chuckling to herself.

“What I’m trying to say to you, Chelsea, is that you need to do what you think is right. Diamond girls aren’t made to grow old, and you’re my diamond girl. If you think that going a different direction will be a good thing, then trust in what your heart is saying.”

“Daddy, I just need time away from this city. I want to come home for a while.”

“Your bed is ready when you need it. We love you and support you, and if you want to come back at any time, just give us a heads up so we can pick you up at the airport.”

Chelsea started crying right there, on the phone. She knew what she was going to do, and it may have to mean paying the price of her soul with her career.

Trying to Stop Failure (aka “Mourning Dove”)

Trying to Stop Failure
(aka “Mourning Dove”)
By Miles Rost

Part 4 of Mayumi’s story

Months had passed by since the last time Mayumi Shiomi had left her job at Shine FM and went to a competitor. She waited a month, and in that time had great development in her personal life. With one exception…

The men that she had in her life sucked.

She had gone for a good two to three months without even dealing with such an issue, and she was getting better at staying away from situations, but the last guy she met just took her by surprise and she fell, very hard, in love. And got hurt in the interim.

She just broke up with another guy who wanted to use her and abuse her. After the night of their last date, she cried herself to sleep asking for things to finally just stop. That she didn’t want a relationship anymore, and that she needed some “me-time”.

She woke up the next morning, and looked at herself in the mirror. The short sandy brown hair that she used to have had grown a little longer in the months preceding. It was now down to her shoulders, but constantly tied up in a ponytail. She looked a slight bit older than her age, but she didn’t think much of it.

“Ah feel like crap right now,” she muttered to her reflection, “I have no clue what to do, how to deal with all these problems with men. Why…why do I attract that type of man?”

She changed out of her pajamas and put herself under the hot water of a long shower. She thought about where things went wrong, and where in her past was the catalyst for the change she had to deal with constantly. She turned on the waterproof radio that hung in the shower, and tuned it to her new station, Power FM 87. She knew that her show would be on in about 3 hours, and that before that was a great smooth jazz show by her newest friend, Mitzi.

“…and later this week, Larry Carlton will be in Melbourne, playing a 5 date set at Bennets Lane. Here’s a great one from him, going back a few years. This is Mourning Dove, on the Smooth Move show, here on Power FM!”

The start of the music shot into Mayumi’s heart like a needle into a vein. The soft keyboard and the beginning strains of the artist’s guitar nailed the feelings she felt at that time. She was mourning. Mourning her own problems with men, with falling a step behind again, and feeling lower than normal. She just stood under the steady and hard stream of water, as she started drifting into memories.

As the saxophone and guitars harmonized and carried her away, she looked back to the age of 10. She remembered seeing her own father, a man who she barely ever saw in later years. She saw the memory she had of him, smacking her mom around. She remembered him grabbing her mom’s arm and muscling her towards the bedroom. She remembered hearing the sounds, and running to her hiding place in the far part of the basement.

“Is this what ah’m running from?” she asked her 10 year old self, in her mind, “Is this why ah get the men I do?”

Her 10 year old memory looked back at her, saying nothing but showing her a glimpse of what may have happened to give her the perpetual bad luck with men.

She let the music carry her to another part of her mind, the water relaxing her to the point where she could do much more with her soul, mind, and body.

“Lord, ah think we know why things are the way they are,” she said, in a prayerful tone, “Ah’m dealing with the ghosts of the past, and it’s time that we work together on this. Ah wanna be free, and ah know you love me enough to want me to be free. Ah can’t do this alone, and ah have to give it up to you everyday.”

The song’s warm yet sad tones bled across her mind, the prayers she was sending infused with the music’s energy. She had never prayed as hard as she did at that moment, with hot water hitting her tired and stressed out shoulders.

“Father, help me address this problem. The image of my father, ah need to move on from it. Father, help me as ah do what I need to do.”

She kept praying, the water pouring over her hair like a waterfall. She didn’t know what effect her prayer would be, but she realized that she would eventually need to let everything go in a way.

As the song ended and a new smooth jazz song came on, she started her ritual of cleaning, getting ready for work. She felt lighter, but she didn’t know what would happen next.