Spot 023: Looking Back

 

THE FOG OF WAR
by Bill Lapham

With all the lucidity of retrospection, it was simple to see how the proceedings of the day fashioned the outcome that they did, but when one is in the midst of the mayhem, playing a vigorous role in theatrical production that is life on Earth, participating in the associations that contribute to basic human survival from one moment to the next, it’s difficult to distinguish safe routes from hazardous ones let alone predict and comprehend the terminal state of affairs, or the consequences of them on future conditions.

In other words, things had gotten pretty screwed up over the course of the day, and though I should have see it coming—the end result, I mean—I couldn’t, because I was involved, to say the least. Had I been a fly on the wall, an observer rather than a participant, a spectator instead of a player, maybe then I could have predicted the results with some accuracy. But as it was, I couldn’t, and we would all end up paying the consequences.

Chalk it up to the fog of war, dammit.

The “if onlies” have been driving me crazy. If only I had done this, or, if only I had done that—anything but what I did do, none of this would have occurred and we could go on living the comfortable life to which we had grown accustomed. But such was not the case. Never again would we return home to relax with good friends and cold beer. Shit.

See Authors page for Bill’s bio.

 


 

NO LAUGHING MATTER
by Paul de Denus

“You want the no onion?” the man with the odd accent said and repeated, the inflection pinging through the tinny drive-thru box. Julia buried her giggling face in the sleeve of her sweater, unable to order. Jaddock leaned toward the speaker, soundlessly howling, managing ‘yes… un… yuns… pleeease.’ “Geez Dad,” Julia said, after leaving the pickup window, “you know once I start, I can’t stop.”

Looking back, it had always been like that, out of control laughter, set off by the most innocent event. Even after eighty years, Jaddock still got a kick out of it. It didn’t take much to set his daughter off and she erupted again when Jaddock blurted out a comic “O…H… D…EER!!!” Through wet eyes, Julia saw it too late. A deer stood in the curve of the road. She swerved helplessly and launched the car quietly over the edge into the ravine.

That was three days ago; there was no laughter now. Julia leaned silent in the driver’s seat, a crumpled paper doll propped against the window. A deep ugly crevice marked her once beautiful mouth. It smiled blankly back at a clicking maw… a wolf’s black mouth relentlessly snapping against the thin glass. Jaddock lay wedged between the backseats, flat palms pressed over his ears. “Wolf’s at the door,” he whispered to no one.

Thinking about it now, stopping for lunch had been a mistake. “Weren’t even hungry,” Jaddock said. “Am now.” An insane giggle escaped his throat as he stared into the wolf’s gray eyes. “Ready for my order?”

See Authors page for Paul’s bio.

 


 

LOOKING BACKWARD
by Sandra Davies

I’m looking back at Christmas 2011, family familiar, warmth and laughter. Lots of chat and conversation, sometimes light and sometimes deep. Much amusement, easy, references and asides, long-held, oft-repeated phrases, well-worn jokes.
Music, food and drink, lights in the darkness, consideration and forethought.
I’m looking back, I cannot remember specifics, just the residue of family warmth.
The previous year was shrill and squealing, granddaughters’ excitement, and a far more fractured allocation of attentions.
Further back when my children were younger we had more to do, were a little less relaxed as we entertained the grandparents, but were responsible for the creating of traditions.
Such traditions required compromise – as a child I had a stocking, homemade, which always contained an orange and a shiny penny along with several small toys. He, my children’s father, had a pillowcase with all of his presents in it.
Earlier still when I was aged about three, I recall standing in the house we shared with my paternal grandparents, my eyes somewhat below table height, the underneath space filled with wrapped presents, and a similar quantity piled on top. How true this recollection I do not know, but it is my earliest Christmas memory.

See Authors page for Sandra’s bio.

 


 

YOU DON’T KNOW THE DREAM YOU LEFT ME HOME WITH ALL ALONE
by Michael D. Brown

I was crushing some buds to roll a doobie. The little stalk of dried white flowers had me perplexed. I’d never seen flowers in the previous batches. Someone had tried stretching the grass, the way cooks use Hamburger Helper, but I continued because without the adulterant there wouldn’t have been a decent sized joint. Then Ada sidled over and asked, “Would you guys like to smoke something real?” When she pulled out a tightly packed number from her purse my first thought was to enhance what I had, getting two workers out of the combination, but Dave snatched and lit it immediately. “You see how he is, never thinks of others?” But he passed it; I inhaled deeply, and was hit. Suddenly three faces were in a close triangle and the joint went from mouth to mouth before Ada kissed him. They were sucking face for a moment or two before moving in on me. At first I felt nothing but stoned. Then, after closing my eyes, I became aroused. In the back of my mind, I thought it strange how Dave was able to clearly say, “Let’s go to the movies,” in the midst of heavy tongue action. Upon awakening, feeling my own darting from side to side in my mouth and seeing the two of them sitting back chatting, I felt foolish. My pot smoking days are way behind me, and I don’t even like these two, but know that all dreams signify in one way or another.

See Authors page for Michael’s bio.

 


 

No illustrations provided for Spot 023

 

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3 Comments to “Spot 023: Looking Back”

  1. There’s been a lot of dreams about … Paul’s perhaps ought to be more terrifying than he has reported elsewhere judging by this excellent piece, and Michael’s dislocating in a more normal fashion. Bill’s tales so often sound like nightmares resurrected.
    I didn’t get round to looking forward but I’ll do so in the next day or so if I can …

  2. Well, this collection sure punched a lot of my triggers. That’s the real beauty of prompt writing, or at least reading the results. Well done, all of you!

  3. I recall smoking some harsh something in the 70’s and freaking out in my room- no more thanks-

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