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Steel's fiction assignments

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#1 Steel Samurai

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Posted 21 January 2012 - 05:44 AM

She didn’t speak for a week. They thought it was extreme, that she was taking it far harder than was proper for something that lasted such a short time. She just sat in her room, listening to Paramore and occasionally emerging to empty her wastebasket. None of us ever saw her shed a tear, but there was nothing in the black plastic bin but aloe-scented Kleenex.

God, it is good to be free of her. No calls because I’m five minutes late to chapel. No arguments over whether I can go hang with my bros and get a beer on a Friday night. Sweet, sweet freedom. Single life is fucking awesome.

In the end, it was school that forced her out of her self-imposed monasticism. Caltech offered her an engineering scholarship. She packed up her room, sold her car, and flew halfway across the country, away from him.

There’s no question that I am enjoying life with her gone, off in Oregon or wherever it was. Me and my buds have never been closer. Drinking at Hooters every night, hitting on the cocktail waitresses at the titty bar. Sometimes though I wonder if maybe it was all that bad. The same pussy every night. Someone to rub my feet after a hard day chugging beer at the game.

She seemed to be doing well, from her letters and the occasional phone call. In an odd reversal of the cliché, she fell for the art student. Some guy she met at the coffee shop, with long hair and a guitar. They married two summers later.

Fuck, I don’t know, maybe I made a mistake. Jim and Steve turned out to be gay. Raj had some fucking arranged marriage and moved back to India. Now it’s just me in the bar . . . by myself. The cocktail waitresses aren’t interested any more.

#2 Egann


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Posted 24 January 2012 - 02:41 PM

It's really hard to comment on such a brief piece. It just doesn't have enough space to go anywhere, and this one doesn't seem to really try. It is a nice character-flash, though.

#3 Steel Samurai

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Posted 30 January 2012 - 12:06 AM

For clarification, I have two of these due every week, come rain or shine.

A joint. A shot glass. A condom. That’s what I picked, for that stupid assignment. “Pick three objects that represent you and turn them into a logo.” I had to. It’s not like I could let them know that I actually enjoyed the class, that fucking around on these programs was the most honest-to-goodness fun I’d had in a long time.

“Dude you should have seen her face when you pulled the condom out of your pocket.”

“I didn’t know it was possible for a black woman to blush, but she was BRIGHT RED MAN.”

I felt like an ass. She didn’t deserve that, soft-spoken, bookish Ms. Derendere. A Jehovah’s Witness, I think. I had to, though. People have a picture of who you are in your head and you can’t change it without losing your friends. You decide how you want them to perceive you and if you’re any good at lying that’s how they do perceive you. Then you’re stuck there. You can’t change that shit. I like getting high. I like getting drunk. I love sex. And I used to think I liked being the class clown, the jokester.

I made a lot of friends that way.

I lost a lot of potential friendships that way.

I don’t know how I’m going to make it through another four years of this. You only get so many chances to reinvent yourself.

“Dude, you should put a giant cock and pair of titties in your final product.”

#4 J-Roc


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Posted 04 February 2012 - 03:52 PM

It is brief, but I've been somewhere like that, so it resonated. The hot waitresses stopped begging for my table once I was all alone. No, I was left to my own devices, most times I gave up waiting and just went to the bar for my drinks... they drew me in closer and closer, "admit it, you're a bar rat" they must have said.

You were economical with your words, you said a lot with very little.

Thanks for sharing.

#5 Steel Samurai

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Posted 07 February 2012 - 04:42 PM

Thanks, Sharpy. Here's a couple more.

She doesn’t understand that we’re trying to help her. She just sits in the corner, her eyes dead and her mouth shut. I look through the window into the room, the superintendent standing next to me.

“Is there any progress?”

“Some. She’s not responding well to traditional therapy.”

“What does she do?”

“Most days she sits there, eats a little of the food we give her. Sometimes she asks for a book. We’ve found drugs in the book several times. Three of our orderlies have been fired.”

I put my head in my hands for a moment. When I look up, my palms are wet.

“Is there anything I can do?”

“Keep her here. It seems bleak, but I still have hope. She’s made friends with some of the other residents, and that’s an important first step.”

“Can I see her?”

“It should be alright, for just a couple minutes.”

He unlocks the door and I step into the room. She looks up. “Dad?” I bend down and she reaches up and wraps her arms around my neck. “Are you going to take me home?”

“I can’t, honey. You need to get better, first.” She turns violent, shoving me away.

“There’s nothing wrong with me!”


Pencils – that would never do. Can’t have her thinking I like drawing after all. Best to get rid of the paper as well. Plop. Into the wastebasket. Calculator – too nerdy. Books the same. I should go dig out my baseball cards. That should give the right impression.

Take down the movie posters, leave up the one with a barely-clothed Scarlett Johansson. She can’t be thinking I like much else other than sports and sex, otherwise this will never work. Oh! The perfect, final, touch. The giant, phallic statue from A Clockwork Orange.

Quick carry the stack of textbooks on my desk; put them in my closet. Open a couple condoms from the drawer. They expired several months ago, anyway. Unroll them, and put them in the rubbish bin. Leave a couple unopened out on the desk. That will give the right impression.

Last touch. Guns n Roses tee is way too cultured. Replace it with the Jenna Jameson one. Who even knew they made t-shirts of her? Ebay did. Voices from below. “I’m sure he’ll be excited to meet you. It’s right this way.” The clump of my father’s boots begin to ascend the stairs. A second, more dainty pair of steps follows. The door opens. For a moment I feel a pang of regret. She looks nice.

“Nice tits.”

My father’s face contorts into a mask of pain as she slaps me, turns, and leaves. Sorry, Dad. I’m not going to let mum go away so easily.


They underestimated him. His right hand twitched as he slowly reached towards the grey revolver in his pocket. They would die, all of them, by his hand. Soon. Very soon. He was the best, the best there was. No one had outshot him. No one ever would. He was sure of this.

A noise behind him. Padding slowly, stalking him. He was sure of this.

He whirled, drawing his weapon and pointing it at the source of the noise. It was a monster, great and hairy, with saggy jowls and a menacing mauve tongue.

Bang. The noise rang out through the valley, surrounded by flat grey trees on every side. It was not enough. The monster kept on coming. They had done this, he was sure. They had created this foul beast, who alone could resist his inexorable bullets. He was sure of this.

“Whoof.” The air was knocked out of him as he fell to the ground. The monster was attacking him, its slimy tongue caressing his face and burning it with its acid. He scrambled backwards, reaching for his gun. He wouldn’t forgive them. No matter how good the acid scars looked. They had betrayed him. Set this monster upon him. But he would triumph, in the end. That was the kind of man he was. The kind that triumphed over monsters. He was sure of this.

Escape. He was free of the monster’s clutches. He tipped back his hat and smiled. The warm plastic in his hand felt good. He sniffed the air. Sandwiches. Ham sandwiches. He dropped the gun and ran towards the porch. They weren’t so bad after all. He was sure of this.

#6 deep



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Posted 07 February 2012 - 05:10 PM

Second piece

You've got a real knack for dialog that rings authentic, and your finger on the pulse of what's necessary to inject an implicit story with real tension into a piece of flash.

Syntactically, you've got a few sentences that run into each other in weird ways and should be separated, but it's otherwise solid.

edit: Oh sure just go ahead and post more while I'm talking :P

Edited by deep, 07 February 2012 - 05:10 PM.

#7 J-Roc


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Posted 08 February 2012 - 09:08 PM

Second one is good, the first one kind of burned my skull though, how does someone in a pysch ward influence three guards to risk (and subsequently lose) their jobs? You blew me away with that sentence, and that was it. You just walked away from it. Damn you! :rage:

#8 Steel Samurai

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Posted 10 February 2012 - 08:47 PM

EMERGENCY CRITIQUES NEEDED. Due in just under six hours. I will be your devoted servant forever [in internet time].

Hoary with winter, the dewfrost spun upon her lips like little whirling ballerinas in white tutus.

Dreamlike and pensive, he saw the way the fickle winds grasped her raven locks and played with them.

Just like he wanted to, but didn’t dare.

She was standing on the railing of the balcony, the first time I saw her, her dress making her look like no more than a bundle of sticks tossed in a burlap sack.

“Hello,” I said, “are you going to jump?”

“Maybe.” Her voice was clear and high then. Beautiful, like a bell. That was before the cigarettes took their toll.

“I do wish you wouldn’t.”

“Why not? It’s not like I have anything to live for, anyway.” I considered this for a moment. My thirteen-year-old mind had never considered the idea of living for something. There was just living, or dying, and I knew quite well that I wanted to continue doing the former.

“Well . . . I can’t say exactly, but it seems as though it would be an awful pity for someone so beautiful to die like that.” She looked at me sharply. She was around sixteen, and her freckled face and large brown eyes were by far the most beautiful things I had ever seen. She didn’t say anything, didn’t move. I stumbled on. “I mean . . . there’s not very many beautiful things left in the world.” I had discovered pessimism several weeks earlier and was convinced that the world was a dark, horrible place with no hope of redemption.

“. . . Fine.” She hopped down from the carved railing. “I’m Fiona. What’s your name?”

“Oh . . . I’m Collin.”

The farthest light of morning shone in her eyes and flashed into mighty awful beautiful fire that burned for him and only him but he didn’t, couldn’t know. She touched his face, caressing, stroking, but only in her mind, only on the wild green plains of her imagination.

The doorbell rang and I ran to it and he was there. Collin was there. He was there and his golden hair was shining in the sunlight and my heart was beating a thousand times a minute and I threw my arms around him and held him to me.

“You’re finally taller than me.”

“Yes. Finally.”

“Come inside.” I grabbed his hand and lead him towards the sitting room. He resisted, for a moment, and I stopped in my tracks, looking at him.

“Just a minute. There’s someone I want you to meet.” He stepped back out into the warm Kansas sun and waved towards the street and a car door slammed and this gorgeous blonde stepped out of his old Camaro, all hips and curves and plump lips and my heart stopped in my chest and sunk to the soles of my feet.

“Fiona, this is Callie. Callie, this is my best friend.”

She embraced me effusively, and the softness of her body gouged a wound in my heart. I moved mechanically, leading them into the parlor and pouring tea for them in the two teacups I had set out for us, for Collin and I. I went to the kitchen and got a big earthenware mug for myself.

The snow whirled around them, dancing an icy minuet with the only the wind to accompany them, but they were still. Two pairs of eyes looked down at the same patch of ground, a patch of grass, impossibly green in the midst of winter. Two pairs of eyes travelled up two bodies and met. Two souls gazed upon each other, naked and warm despite the cold of the storm around them.

He sat in the lobby of the hotel, alone, a glass of scotch the only thing dulling the bites of whatever it was that was eating him up from the inside out. It was 4 AM. In six hours she would be married, and his last chance, last shot at finding peace through all of this would be gone.

The light from the cigarette was the only thing illuminating her face. She stood just inside the doorway, bundled up like some sort of radiant Eskimo princess. It was cold, just below freezing. She almost regretted being a winter bride, now. The diamond, large and heavy on her left hand, glinted in the moonlight that fell on the street at her feet. Dark clouds churned overhead, sleeping for the moment but with every sign of waking soon. She took a long, shuddering drag on the cigarette and tossed it to the ground, grinding it into the concrete. The wind blew and she shuddered despite the thick layers of clothing.

It was her wedding day, but her face was as pale as the moon that was slowly setting behind her.

Four hours later, it was snowing. The wedding, with all of its pomp and ceremony and heartbreaking significance was about to start. But the bride could not be found. Another of the guests was missing too, but no one took notice of him. No one knew him.

“I need to go.”

“I know you do.”

The god of winds stopped blowing and puffed only, then ceased breathing entirely. The snow glistened as it fell, soundless and soft, and the dirty alley was transformed into something new by the cleansing white that covered it.

He bent down, scooping the snow from that sole patch of green in the world of white around him. He gained strength from its life, its promise of rebirth and growth and healing. He looked up at her without rising.

“I love you.”

Her heart was all pitter-patter, beating it seemed once for every flake of snow that hit the ground. Her cheeks flushed and warmed despite the cold around her. Her breath came out in little gusts of mist, faster and faster, and she felt almost as if she might burst, her mind struggling to accept that he had spoke those words, the words she had always wanted him to say ever since that day in Spain when she had almost jumped and she had no idea what she was supposed to do now, only that she wanted him to say it again and again and she wanted to say it back to him but the words, the words would not come.

So she stepped forward and kissed him, and when she broke away, the words were there.

“I love you too, Collin.”

He reached out his hand and grabbed hers and although neither of them knew what was to come, there was this solace: they had loved with all of their hearts.

#9 deep



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Posted 10 February 2012 - 09:27 PM

I like the compound flash style you've got going here, but you're waxing a little too artsy for your own good-- and you're obfuscating.

Make it clearer who's the POV character after each switch, and do a better job of establishing the conflict in this story you're trying to draw up. After one read I'm a little lost, and 99% of your readers are only going to give you one read, if that.

edit: Alright, upon second read, what you've done here is effectively remove all the conflict, the juiciest parts, in favor of all the results of said conflict. As I reader, I only want to know why Collin and Fiona aren't together, and I want to know why you're more concerned with snowflakes than with telling me.

If you're gonna play up the star-crossed lovers angle, any reader's gonna wanna know WHY they're star-crossed and not just that they're sad about it, y'know?

Edited by deep, 10 February 2012 - 09:30 PM.

#10 Steel Samurai

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Posted 11 February 2012 - 02:30 AM

You're right, of course. I ended up submitting it mostly as it because it would have taken far too long to fix properly and the due time is in half an hour.

It started out as something of a free-writing exercise, and it morphed into whatever the fuck it is now.

Not much hope of it getting accepted, really. No matter.

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Posted 11 February 2012 - 12:42 PM

I was tryina get you a response quick, so I was a little clipped.

I will say that in terms of solid art for art's sake, you're a solid writer with a good attention to imagery. Just make sure you've got something compelling occurring "on camera," and not just hinted at occurring!

#12 Steel Samurai

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 06:07 AM

A little self-indulgent, gratuitous, philosophizing tripe. Critique welcome:
Still needs a lot of work, obviously.

I do not understand. You tell yourself that you’re asking just to be nice, to give someone a hand. But I know differently. You’re really asking because you’re still a little scared to drive even those short twenty minutes alone.
I know this because I know you better than anyone. Well, except one person. It is a common saying, is it not? “Know you better than you know yourself.” You always say it with such surprise. As if the idea that someone could possibly have better insight into your behavior than you do was an unusual one. That sort of thing tends to be the rule, rather than the exception, you know. The geese that live in the pond in the park down the street leave in winter and return in summer. They themselves have no idea why; it is merely an impulse. But, by observing, you determine why they do it, when they themselves do not know. Even though I know all of this, I cannot comprehend the importance you place on these connections, these little encounters with another that seem to be the obsession of entire lives. You send her a text message, asking if she wants to come keep you company. You put an emoticon at the end, a colon followed by a capitol P, so that it looks like you’re halfway kidding, that you don’t really care what her answer is. You do. You sit there, one eye always on your phone, and I wonder how such a beautifully stupid creature could be so lonely. Though, you’re not stupid, usually. Your mind is all you think you’ve got. You’re wrong.
I’ve known you since you were a child. Stayed by your side every step of the way. We played together, sometimes. When your parents weren’t around I would sit with you and push around little toy cars and you would make little vrooming noises in the back of your throat. We haven’t done that for nearly twenty years, now. And it’s only rarely you see me, now.
I am Ananchel. I was there when you were born, and I will be there when you die. I am your companion, your protector. Some have called me spirit guide, others djinni. You have called me guardian angel, and so that is what I am. The function is the same, however the name changes.
At 12 AM your phone buzzes. She’s busy. Doesn’t have time. You let out a long sigh and sit, for a moment, just gazing out the window. Then you turn over and switch off the light, and I sit on your bedpost and marvel at the way your breath moves within you.
You were happy, once. You dashed around in the yellow-green dead grass of your back yard and pretended to be a superhero, or a spy. You didn’t judge yourself, didn’t worry about what would come tomorrow or the day after, and you never considered the events that would occur a month later. More and more, though, it seems as if your days are full of sighing and long melancholy gazes at the night sky, and more and more it seems that it is because you think you lack something. You think it is love, that because you do not have someone to hold and take care of you cannot live a life fulfilled, but I do not know why not. Were you not happy in the days before? You found fulfillment within yourself then, in simple acts of imagination no matter who was with you or what your surrounds.
It is a week later, and you are left in the library by yourself, researching the 1960s for the group project that you seem to be the only one working on. You tell yourself that it’s okay, that maybe this way they’ll see what a good guy you are and love you. You tell yourself that, but it rings hollow, full of promise that will never come to pass.
I do not know why you think they will like you for this, but then I do not really know why you care so much to begin with. There is love around you that you cannot see, but that you might hope to feel, to taste, to touch. Those around you cannot give anything close to the real thing.
Your phone buzzes, and her face pops up. Your heart skips a beat as you read the text. She wants to get coffee tomorrow. Your heart beats faster as you wait hours for a note apologizing for not coming due to previous commitments or some equally invalid excuse. None ever comes. You sleep, barely, and restlessly.
The time arrives and you arrive five minutes early and sit, waiting. You adjust the table, slightly, straightening it and adjusting the balance. Nothing. You get up and walk around, checking to make sure you haven’t missed her in some out o the way booth. Again, nothing. You sit back down and pull out your phone, about to play a game, and then she walks in.
She is beautiful. I have thought that, ever since you first saw her, ten years ago on the school bus. Then, of course, she was a girl, but now she is a woman and you . . . are not quite a man, but not quite a boy, either. Freckles dust her nose and lips, and her green eyes are matched by sea-bleached brown hair.
“Thanks for coming.”
“Of course. Anything for you.”
“That’s sweet. Look, there’s something I need to talk to you about.”
“What is it?”
“There’s this guy and . . . we just started dating.” You don’t hear any more after that until “he’s super jealous so I don’t know if we are really going to be able to hang out any more.”
You smile and say you understand and tell yourself that you do, but you don’t. Your insides are a tempest and it’s all you can do to excuse yourself and get to the bathroom before the entire contents of your lunch defile the toilet.
You go home and lay on your bed without moving for two hours. Then you get up, carefully regarding the razor on the sink, and for the first time in a long while, I’m a little worried. You lay down again in bed and close your eyes. As you sleep, I pick up the razor and move it downstairs, to your room-mate’s bathroom. You hadn’t been shaving anyway, not for several months.
For a week you do little but lie around, watching movies or television. No one comes to visit you, and you do not call anyone. You sink deeper and deeper into the pit, until finally some distance acquaintance at school forces you to go to a party. And its there that you met her.
Her name is Yasmin, and I always thought her curves were much more impressive than her face. She sidles up next to her, giving you a sidelong glance that has more than just friendly meaning to it. You sip on the cup of Bacardi in your hand and look straight ahead while she bats her dark lashes at you.
“Great party.”
“It’s not bad.”
“You live around here?”
“Yeah. You?”
“Next door.”
She drains her cup and sets it down on the end table next to her. “Come take a shot with me.” You can’t seem to think of a good reason to not go with her, so you let her take your hand and drag you over to the kitchen. She pours two double shots of Stoli, hands you one, and takes the other.
I don’t know if I’ll ever understand humanity’s attraction to alcohol. Most of you seem to have fun when you drink it, but at what cost? And then there are those who seem to take solace only in their nightly bottle of bourbon or gin.
“Let’s get out of here. Come back to my place.” She looks out at you from under those long lashes and you move closer to her, just a little. Then your name is called from the next room and you look and the only person you know at the party vomits all over the carpet. You look back Yasmin for a moment.
“I need to go help him.”
She smirks, and places one hand on her hip. “Suit yourself.” I know that it’s not the last time you’ll hear from her. I’m right.
The next day you reach into your pocket and pull out a number, signed with her name. After three days without contact with anyone outside of class, you call it.
“Well, look who it is.”
“I think you mean listen.”
“So funny. What are you doing tonight?”
“Nothing. Homework. Why?”
“You should come over. We can get to know each other better.”
“Okay.” For a half-moment you think that perhaps she is actually interested in who you are, that she will sit down and talk with you and grow to love you and you will have someone to be with you, to hold you when the blackness comes and the world is bleak and dead and the very life in your soul fades to nothing.
That is not what she wants. Not at all. She pulls you inside and sits next to you on the couch and after three minutes of small talk she pulls you close to her and your lips meet in a kiss of unchaste fire.
Kisses. The pressing together of facial flesh. To you it is the most perfect sign of romantic commitment, but I have never been able to understand why. The desire for affection that burns within every kiss you steal is stifled by the very act, stopped from being satiated by the very act of satiation. The yearning of bodies for each other overwhelms, for a moment, the emptiness of souls seeking to be filled in the gaping incompleteness of another.
You pull back from her and look into her dark eyes that are flashing with lust for you, for your body. But not for your soul. You hesitate for a moment, the smallest fraction of a second of time, but it is all the time I need. “No,” I whisper, “this is not what you want. This will not make you whole.” And somewhere deep in your soul, something answers, a part of you that you yourself are not even aware of.
“I do want it. I want it more than anything.”
“Your body wants it, but it will not satisfy your longing, in the end.”
“Maybe not. But it will let me pretend for a little while. And if I pretend long enough, maybe it will actually be true.”
And with that you are gone and closed to me and your lips are entwined with hers and her hands are roaming your body while your arms press her body to yours, as if you could push her soul into yours and fill the hollowness within it.
You switch the lights back on when it is over, and you look at her naked body next to you, glistening with her sweat and yours, covered by the thin cotton sheets. You bend over and kiss her neck, and she turns, her olive skin still glowing from the exertions undertaken a moment before. She turns to you and kisses your mouth, but it is mechanical, even the carnal desire of the last few minutes has evaporated now her lust is satiated. It seems to be more an act of politeness than one of any real feeling, lustful or otherwise. “I should go to bed,” she says, and her tone says “you aren’t invited.” You pause.
“I told you,” I whisper again, “did that accomplish anything?”
But you do not respond. You nod, put on your clothing, and walk out the door. “Call me,” she says, and despite the dull ache in the pit of your stomach you know you will.
I watch you walk the few short steps back to your car, the pitted and cracked sidewalk inching under your feet. A cold wind blows and you zip your jacket up and I wonder how such a stupid, beautiful creature could have survived for as long as you have.
In three days you call her again, and return home with a deeper hollowness in your eyes, your body satiated but your heart empty and dry as desert sand. Another two before it happens again, and then again, and I wonder why you continue to do something that only seems to make your life worse than it already is.
Three months go by, with the same pattern every weekend. You still apparently cannot understand that this will never make you happy, never give you the intimacy you want. That can only be found one place. I start to despair, hoping that you will not be trapped in this endless cycle of sex and a shattered desire for love for the rest of your life.
I can do small things, affect your world in unnoticeable but significant ways, and I do. You lose your keys when you are trying to go to Yasmin’s. You leave your lights on and run your battery down. The toilet overflows. It is the last one that makes a difference, though I have no idea that it will. As you mop up the toilet water in the bathroom, the phone rings. You pick it up and say hello and She is on the other end.
You are nervous, stuttering, and stumbling over your words, and I cannot help but notice the barest hint of disapproval in your voice, and, though I cannot read your mind, I know you are thinking How dare she, how dare she whom I love call here and awaken my feelings after I had so effectively cauterized them, who does she think she is to come and cause me more pain.
“Six o’clock? Coffee Karma? I’ll be there.”
Yasmin sits forgotten in her bedroom as you get ready, spending more time on your appearance than I have ever seen you spend. Your wrinkled plaid shirt is pressed, skinny jeans washed and dried. I warn you against using any cologne with as much volume as I can muster, but you still cannot resist squirting a little on your wrists.
Your hands are sweaty on the wheel of your car as you drive to the coffee shop. You pull into the parking lot and see her through the window, looking at her phone as she sits at a little round table for two. You park and sit in the car for just a moment, telling yourself not to screw it up, not to ruin another chance, though you know you might not even have a chance to begin with.
“Hope,” I whisper in your heart. “Hope and trust with courage, dear.” I say it, because I love you and want you to find some happiness, and though I know where it cannot come from, it has not been given to me to know where it can come from.
You open the car door and step out, your stomach tumbling around inside you somewhere around your chest. Your hands quiver as you open the door and you step shakily to the table where she sits. She doesn’t see you right away, gazing deeply into the mug of hot earl grey tea in front of her. You reach towards her and then let your hand fall by your side, then step to the other side of the table and take a seat. She looks up, a little startled.
“You came.”
I remember the day you met her, so long ago it must seem to you now. It is but the briefest flash in eternity’s gaze, and yet it is still so important to you. She wore a bright yellow ribbon, a ribbon that still lives in a drawer in your chest of drawers. That moment is indelibly burned into your mind, though nothing that happened seemed especially different from many other similar meetings that have happened in your life.
It was the second day of high school. You were looking for the school’s theater, intending to try out for the play advertised by the brightly colored poster on the bulletin board. Her back was to the wall as she sat texting. She looked up at you as you passed, and your eyes met just for a moment.
“Are you here for the play?”
“Yes. Are you?”
The laminate of the table on which you rest your elbows is smooth and cold, and the cardboard cup in your hands is warm, too warm to give your mouth something to do other than talk.
“Why are we here?”
She does not meet your eyes.
“I don’t . . . I want my friend back.”
You take a sip. It’s too hot, but you pretend that it isn’t, and shift a little on the hard wooden chair.
“He’s changed since you saw him last.”
“Has he really?”
The question hangs in the air. “Yes,” you finally say, “but he still cares about you.”
The door to the theater was closed. “I’m going in,” you said. She stayed where she was until you got right to the door. You looked back at her. She slowly got to her feet.
“If we get in trouble it’s your fault.”
She is over two, sometimes three nights a week for a movie or a board game. You are happy, I think. Happier than I have seen you, but there is still something lacking, an emptiness in your gaze that I think even she notices, and I can see in her eyes, some nights, the realization that you were right. You are not the same person you were. I watch the two of you move tokens around a cardboard square and it seems strange to me that your soul, immortal and beautiful as it is, can be so altered by such small events. Small it might seem to everyone else, but to those who know, those who can see, it is a change more astonishing than if the mountains by your home were to disappear overnight.
She loves you, but you cannot see it. The least intelligent canine can sense it, but you still remain shut off to her; the false intimacy you found in Yasmin’s arms has numbed your heart to the warmth and depth of feeling now offered you, and I am at a loss. I thought it was love that you sought, and it is now offered you and you refuse to acknowledge it, though it may be perhaps more that you cannot acknowledge it in any real sense of the word. You loved her, once. So much so that when she left a blade was plunged into your heart that has remained ever since, and has festered and I think now that it is too painful to you now for anyone to touch the sore, even the one that caused it to begin with.
I do not think even you know what you want, now. It is a Wednesday and she is home, studying for a test, when your cell-phone rings, and Yasmin is on the other end and her soft sultry voice creeps into your ear and I know you think that maybe somehow it will make you feel again. You leave, and I am silent, for I already know you will not hear me. You are so inclined to ignore advice designed to prevent your own self-destructive behavior.
You knock on her door and she opens it and lets you in, her long brown legs uncovered and her top covered only by a long white negligee. She grabs your arm and pulls you inside. You are not even to the couch before both of you are topless and her lips are wrapped around yours, and all of the old familiar sensations and desires assault you, fighting to take absolute control of your body and you want to let it, let the pleasure cover the pain in your heart.
I am here to protect you. To act as your ally, your friend and companion even if no one else is here for you. To defend you from dark urges of others and yourself, as best as I can with the power given me. But you will not let me help you, now. Unless . . . Yes, a cat is yowling outside and for a moment you are distracted and I am acting, whispering one name into your ear, over and over again. Her name. And you hear me, and you break away from Yasmin’s lips and look deep into her brown lustful eyes and understand.
You get off of her and pull your shirt back on and walk out the door without a wave goodbye or a backwards glance. You get into your car and start it and the engine sputters to life and the clink of the accelerator pedal against the metal beneath it is drowned out by the roar of the engine and even though it is raining you are at her doorstep less than five minutes from the time you stepped outside of Yasmin’s apartment.
The door is locked, and if it wasn’t I do not know if you would have knocked. She answers the persistent ringing of the bell and you step inside and press your lips to hers with more passion than I have ever seen from you. She is shocked, and pulls back to look into your eyes. And she sees. She sees the pain and the longing and the numbed love in your heart and she wraps her arms around your neck and draws you in to her and your lips meet.
And then I understand. I understand the hollowness in your eyes, I understand the self-deception and loneliness and sex and the pain of her first parting. I understand the beauty of moments.
It was not just love that you needed.

Edited by Steel Samurai, 21 February 2012 - 06:12 AM.

#13 JRPomazon


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Posted 18 March 2012 - 11:39 PM

I felt that there where some parts around the beginning and the very end that I felt I needed to reread in order to full grasp what was going on. The third person perspective for the guardian angel character was clever, I rather enjoyed viewing the situation from that point. Aside from that, I rather enjoyed the story you told here and how it ended on a pretty good note for the characters. What I might suggest would be the insistence of layman's terms for the reader to better understand the dialogue of the guardian angel but I feel that would come with the risk of making it's character unbelievable (less detached from the institutions of humanity, his technical observations).

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 01:17 AM

Hey Steel, could you attach a word doc for that? It's super hard to read using the vanilla forum formatting. I wanna read it, but MY EYES

#15 Steel Samurai

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 01:30 AM

Forrr sure.

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Edited by Steel Samurai, 19 March 2012 - 01:32 AM.

#16 Steel Samurai

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 08:19 AM

Double Post!

Just spent the last 15 hours writing this. Really, really interested to see how it plays to a non-religious reader.

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#17 Steel Samurai

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Posted 25 April 2012 - 05:52 PM

HALP PLOX. Final draft due in under 24 hours.

Attached File  Ender_The_Two_Debtors.doc   55K   3 downloads

#18 Steel Samurai

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 06:07 PM


There were dishes left in the sink, rinsed, but not cleaned. A chair stood a little misplaced at the table, rebel against the five other straight-backed wooden seats, perfectly lined up with the gaudy laminated placemats. Faces of presidents long-gone peered out from the matte, food encrusted surface of one, a map of the world emblazoned on another, bright, primary colors representing different countries.
Outside, a basketball rolled around the tiled patio, a chilly wind passing it around with all of the energy of a toddler. The lawn mower was out on the grassy, terraced garden, but it was clear that not a blade of the grass had been touched. Leaves were piled on one side of the patio, a rake leaning against the wooden fence.
Through the window below the basketball hoop several books could be seen pressing up against the glass. Kierkegaard. Nietzche. Rand. Stacked in front of them on the desk in the room were six more. George R.R. Martin. Robert Jordan. Orson Scott Card. The bed was not made, a baby blue duvet thrown hastily aside revealing white jersey sheets. It was a wooden bed, probably around thirty years old. A hand-me-down, perhaps.

On the wall were two oddly clashing posters. One, Avenged Sevenfold. A grinning skull with sunglasses had a revolver floating next to it, barrel aimed directly at the cranial cavity. The other, My Little Pony. Bright pink and blue ponies cavorting around a green, verdant landscape.
The drawers were half open, and the strap of a black lacy bra hung just over the edge of the top drawer. Jeans, folded neatly, sat beneath black t-shirts and blue school cardigans.
There was a hole in the ceiling. Something had been ripped out of it. A dangling wire was roughly severed, sawn in two by rubbing against something sharp.
A slip of paper, folded and sealed with a colorful child’s bandaid, lay untouched on the dresser beside the jeans. The top read “To Mom.”
On the ground next to the bed lay a ceiling fan, chunks of plaster on the floor around it. Wrapped around the slim pipe which once connected it to the ceiling was a length of rope. It trailed down to a noose.
The noose was empty.

#19 Goose


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Posted 09 July 2012 - 03:14 AM

Very nice. The noose was a very good hook. It leaves me asking so many questions.

I want you to answer them, but I don't want them answered, because in my head I'm plotting out the rest of the story. I'm doing the work for you.

I like it.

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