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Members' Choice Nothing like peer recognition! Nominate and vote on the work of fellow members.


Members' Choice Voting - Mar - Jun

View Poll Results: Members’ Choice Voting, vote for your favourite.
Five Smiles by Chris Dean 1 10.00%
Vd by PeteMalicki 0 0%
A Violet by Hilee Coco 1 10.00%
Song from a London High-Rise by Grace Gabriel 1 10.00%
Reflections by eez 0 0%
The Death of Rubin Hood by David Wallace 2 20.00%
The American Addictive, Stress by RabbitInTheSuit 0 0%
Nowhere to Hide by Writing Time 2 20.00%
The Atheist by TheCrookedPath 3 30.00%
Voters: 10. You may not vote on this poll

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  #1  
Old 06-16-2011, 12:20 AM
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Default Members' Choice Voting - Mar - Jun


It is time for voting on the Members' Choice Nominations! Please vote for the piece you feel deserves recognition in WBQ as our Members' Choice Winner.

Voting will end at midnight GMT on June 23rd.

Good luck, and thank you again for your nominations!

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Old 06-16-2011, 12:22 AM
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Default Five Smiles by Chris Dean

Gem. A made up name, but probably a good name for her. She had that hair. Dark with violet streaks, and she had lips and hips and pink tipped blue fingernails. Scary jade eyes that read your mind and laughed. Gem, that was a very good name for Mary.

Billy met her at a grocery store where she was throwing grapes and she threw one at him. He caught it! No, really. He caught it and then he popped it in his mouth. So she threw another. Bored, her eyes warned, when he missed that second grape. Slithering across the dull linoleum like a grape-hungry viper, he recovered the greenball before it wobbled to a stop. He turned back with a wide grin that dissipated instantly. Gem was gone. Really bored with him chasing after a dirty piece of fruit that way, she had left the vicinity.


Billy was hurt and deprided.

He met her the second time at a hidden place in the park. It was a magical spot. With fairy spider webs and tiny blue birds in the thick overhead boughs and tree stumps to sit upon left long ago. Billy was himself stumped at the sight of this woman, this violet streaked, blue-fingernailed, jade-eyed wonder, Here? In a secret place like that. Hm. He wondered about it for a while before he spoke, "Hi." He expounded, "Hello." He'd forgotten to smile and now he was wondering whether it was too late.

She wasn't smiling too. Her voice dashed any hopes he had of smiling like a cold lump of lead, BlahBlahBlah. It wasn't nice nor worth repeating. He left without a Blah. Siphoning the profanity out of her vocabulary, she ordered him to stay. He stopped and huddled outside the green pine fairy castle and considered. She dragged him back with a bright giggle. Calling him Bil-ly. He liked that.

Shuffling. More shuffling. He finally emerges. She was perched on a stump and smoking. Ignoring him now because all that shuffling was a boring thing to have to listen to. She looked very pretty beneath the hot shaft of light spearing through the trees, and so he didn't complain about being ignored at all. Wearing a shiny silver cleavage blouse like that? Yeah, he was fine.

When she did finally look at him, Billy reminded, "Hello." Then he added cleverly, "How have you been?"

She gave him her rudest eyes. Bored, they said abruptly, I have been bored.

He stumbled out with, "So, how you know about this place?"

Oh, how she laughed.

That last shred of pride was, yes. He gave a toad shrug and admitted, "I come here sometimes to read."

She laughed again, but this time it was a beautiful sound.

He tried to fall in love for a week because of that laugh. She won't let him but he loves her all the same, but this is not a love story. This is about how Mary(Gem) brought Billy home and introduced him to her wife, Olivia(me).

Two years later, today, Billy still loves Mary. She really is the most wonderful bitch in the world. She bakes and guitars and sails and raises children, you know. She won't paint, but that's okay because I do. There is a very blue painting hanging right over my head that has Billy in the middle.

It happened like this. Billy kept dropping by expected. Things like pickle recipes and fruit stealing and hearts, we all play hearts. Mary told me he's staying one day. That's all I know.

Billy is a fruit-picking whorl of brown eyes, hands that touch things, and excellent deep thoughts. He is in the middle of the painting above my head because that's where he belongs. You see, Billy is always in the middle of things these days.

Billy is often in the middle of Patrick and Annie, holding hands and swinging arms. And he is in the middle of the Mary's garden stealing her fruit. I can find him in the exact center of the house commandeering my flat screen on any given NFL Sunday. Billy is a squeaky lovable Blah that picks at your food grinning and leaves half a cross word puzzle. When it comes to the children, he's a better mother than Mary or I will ever be. He is stuck right in the middle of our life.

We have captured our Billy and we are not letting go. Just like Mary's children Pat and Annie are mine, Billy belongs to all of us. It is splendid! He brought me yellow carnations the other day, you know. He picks them by the river and brings them home for my vases. I often thank him with strawberry cakes.

Now isn't this nice: I am sitting under that blue painting with Patrick's curly red hair nearly spilling past the frame and a shy smile that only Annie could create as she hides in Mary's arms, Billy in the middle hugging me and grinning at my satisfied freckled face; I am sitting under that picture and from right outside my window I can hear Pat singing, Mary calling for her guitar, and Billy laughing. I'm sure Annie must be smiling. Now isn't that nice.
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Old 06-16-2011, 12:23 AM
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Default Vd by PeteMalicki

V.D.

©Pete Malicki 2011

Today’s the tenth of February and it’s looking very much like I’ll be getting flowers from no one but my mother for the sixteenth consecutive Valentine’s Day. Not that I’m the least bit worried about that. The day’s nothing but pure commercialism. All the taken men out there are guilt-tripped into buying long-stemmed bloody roses and taking their ladies to expensive restaurants. The kind of restaurants where you don’t have bookings, you make reservations.

The thing is, everyone is expected to do something nice. The men really have no choice but to look after their ladies. Romance by its very definition can’t be under duress. And don’t get me started on those women who claim they hate Valentine’s Day. Those are the ones who are angriest if they don’t get anything.

Hang on, does this sound bitter? I don’t want to sound bitter. I’m not like that at all. I’ll be the first to admit I want a special day on Tuesday. I don’t care if the whole thing’s an international conspiracy run by the World Society of Broke Florists; I want to be part of it. My girlfriends are all out getting diamond-studded watches and white gold necklaces while I’m sitting at home alone, eating three bowls of ice cream and watching Desperate Housewives. Depressing. It doesn’t help that those smug bitches are all married. Every year since I turned twenty-five I’ve been so lonely on Valentine’s Day I’ve gone out and bought a cat. I have ten cats.

My desperation finally overcame what little pride any thirty-four-year-old single woman could have so I joined the internet. I’d resisted the urge to social network for years but I succumbed. I don’t want eleven cats.

After only two days of searching for everybody I could possibly think of – from school and uni friends to work colleagues to people I know from TV – I already have one hundred and eighty friends! But none of the damned men are single. Most of my girlfriends from school have three toddlers and a four-wheel drive. They’ve moved on to Phase Two of adulthood and I’m stuck in the same category as all the twenty-three-year-olds. The difference is, I’m too old to be the younger woman their husbands have an affair with.

Having had no luck with this I moved on to internet dating. Jackpot! I had three messages within an hour. One said “hi how u gone,” one was from a lesbian, and one was almost certainly from a sex offender. Three hours and eighteen dirty messages later, I realised he wasn’t a sex offender, he was just one of the millions of dumb guys who’re even worse at relationships than I am. I kept the lesbian in mind as a fall-back option.

Did you ever stop to think that Valentine’s Day shares the same acronym as venereal disease? VD. I feel like that’s not a coincidence, somehow, like, there’s a close relationship between wondering why you ever let someone near your vagina without a medical certificate and feeling obliged to put out to say thank you for the diamonds.

But again, I don’t mean to sound bitter. It’s just a hard time of year for me. I’ve had a few too many gins and it’s probably best I got myself to bed before I get really maudlin. Don’t want to be a bore but tomorrow’s the Eve of Hell for any single woman.

It’s too hot for a hot water bottle, so I nestle in in between a half dozen cats.
Before I know it it’s seven a.m. It’s Monday and I’m hungover and have to get to work. Can’t blow the day off otherwise tomorrow will be ten times more depressing. I get ready in a blur of routine and suddenly I’m sitting in the office wondering if I hate my job more than my life or my life more than my job or if that’s simply a semantics issue and the self-hate is all I should be focusing on.

No, really, I’m not like this. It’s just my time of the year. A few days and it’ll all be over.

“Sophie Wong?” someone says. I look up. “These are for you.”

The “these” this person is referring to is the most exquisite bouquet of flowers ever wrapped in green and pink cellophane and courier-delivered to an Executive Assistant in her cubicle. I thank her then shake her hand then decide to up the ante and give her a hug. She backs carefully into the elevator. I don’t care that I scared her; I got a bouquet!

The boss comes past right then and says, “Who are they for?” For one sinking second I realise they could be his, but there’s a card and it says my name and nothing else. “Me,” I reply casually. “I’m sure you’ll get some tomorrow.”

My boss smiles a wry smile and walks into his office and for another sinking second I realise they’re probably from him. But no. He’s married, and gay, and it’s not his handwriting. I know his handwriting better than anyone’s – I’m paid to forge it.

I need to know who sent these to me. There’s nothing on the card bar my name so I’m guessing there’s a follow-up email or message or wall post or tweet or some ridiculous thing like that. I log on to my work email. Nothing. Try to check my private email. Blocked. Facebook. Blocked. Twitter, RSVP, AdultFriendFinder. All blocked. Thank Job for the iPhone. I check them all.

Perverts. Dozens of perverts.

But wait, no, not nothing. In between all the messages entitled “Ride me all night long” etc on the internet dating sites, I find one with “Flower girl” in the subject line. That’s no coincidence, I’m sure. It’s impossible to see on the small screen so I try the site on my computer. Glory! IT haven’t blocked this one.

I’m not immediately repulsed by his thumbnail. Usually the turkeys on PlentyOfFish dot com aren’t wearing shirts – as though any girl’d be impressed by all those rippling, beautiful muscles – but this guy is acceptably clothed and even has a cute smile. My heart is pounding. I click on the message. All it says is “From Russia, with love.”

I read through his profile. The guy is funny! Zany and nonsensical but I actually laugh twice. There are five photos of him, each cuter than the last, and each with a funny caption. I think I’m ready to have his babies. He must’ve known we’re all suckers for that sense of humour thing. There’s a sixth photo of a girl who must be a cousin or even a sister with the caption, “In 2001, when I was a chick.” I laugh for a third time and my colleagues flash me dirty looks. Oh, right, that’s my weekly office laughter allowance used up and it’s still Monday morning.

I respond. “Hi Russia. Next time don’t ship international. Dead flowers don’t impress anyone. Soph.”

I hit send and cringe at myself. This guy is funny. What I’ve said is crap. He’ll never respond. But hang on, how did he know where I worked? My profile doesn’t so much as mention my name, let alone any traceable personal details. A dozen conspiracy theories enter my head. Someone I know playing a prank? A hacker slash stalker? Did my subconscious do all this while I thought I was asleep to make me feel less pathetic and alone?

I decide it’s a work colleague who’s set up a fake account either to play with my feelings or because they genuinely like me. I have to find out who. I get up and go to Rod’s desk. I look him in the eye. He frowns a bit at me, mumbles hello and asks if I’m alright. It’s not him. I watch Lie To Me; I can read any face. I stop by every male’s desk in the office and look them each right in the eyes, one by one. No one shows me any signs. Damn it. None of these nerds are responsible. Who sent me these flowers? Is Russia a real person?

Returning to my desk, I straight away see his new message. “I’ll make it up to you. Dinner tomorrow? Pick you up at 6.”

My heart is going berserk again. “Do I know you? The fact that you know my work and home address feels a little stalky.”

“We met a long time ago,” he writes back three minutes later. “You wouldn’t remember me. Back then I was pretty unremarkable.”

“But now you’re fantastic? Who you are?”

“Find out tomorrow.”

The bastard has me curious. Normally I’d refer this straight to the police and forget about it but here was an opportunity for me to have a romantic date on Valentine’s Day with a handsome stranger. How could I say no? “Ok” is all I write back.

Russia doesn’t respond. I checked my messages at least four hundred times that day. My boss walked past at one point and I quickly put solitaire back on the screen, but I know he caught me not doing my work.

When I get home I feel the greatest ambivalence. I am hopeful and excited about my date with Russia, but the whole thing is so suspicious. Some bastard ex-boyfriend playing a cruel prank, no doubt.

You probably won’t believe this, but I’ve actually had boyfriends every year for the last six years. Problem is, they always dump me before Christmas. My birthday’s in January so they’re probably sitting there thinking, “Christmas, birthday, Valentine’s Day. That’s three gifts in three months. I can’t commit to that!” I knew the last one was going to ditch me three weeks before he’d worked it out himself. When he told me “It isn’t you honey, it’s me,” I actually punched him in the face. I wouldn’t be surprised if this was his way of getting revenge for the knuckle I broke on his forehead.

Six gins later and I’m ready to pass out on the couch, so I check my messages one last time before I pack it in. Nothing but perverts. Russia hasn’t responded. Stupid prick, I think. I decide to block him. Click on his profile and move the cursor over to the “block user” button. A second before I terminate this new relationship forever, I notice he’s uploaded a new photo. I click on it. It’s him, holding a sign next to his face saying, “It’s a date, Sophie.”
I’m so surprised and relieved and happy I almost pass out. Whoo-hoo! I drink three celebratory gins in close succession, get up to do a wee, then pass out in the bathroom with my panties around my ankles.

For the sixteenth Valentine’s Day in a row I wake up with a monumental hangover. My landline is ringing. This will be my mother. I stumble out to the hallway and pick up. “Hi mum,” I croak. “Guess what? I have a date! I met a guy… at the supermarket and he… we… well, I won’t confuse you with the details but he’s taking me out to dinner tonight!”

“It’s Michael Lee,” says my boss. “You planning on coming in to work or are you getting those Botox injections you’ve been googling all year?”

I’m embarrassed for at least three different reasons. I try to respond but nothing comes out. He’s laughing. “Listen Sophie. Have the day off. I won’t even take any leave. Enjoy yourself, okay?”

“Okay,” I manage.

He hangs up and I break out into a swearing fit. That bastard! The implications are crystal clear: he thinks I’m so pathetic that in the unlikely event of me getting a date, I need a whole day to make myself presentable. I resist the strong urge to have a gin breakfast and stagger into my bedroom to get dressed.

Two hours later I wake up feeling human. I shower, dress and eat breakfast. I check my Facebook and five email accounts and Tweets and internet dating sites and blogs and forums and the comments on my YouTube videos. There’s nothing of interest, so I check everything another eighteen times then switch off my laptop. Russia hasn’t sent any further messages or made any cryptic updates to his profile. I look at my watch. Half-past midday. What am I going to do now? The wait will be unbearable.

I ring the animal shelter. “Hello Sophie,” the receptionist answers without waiting for my name. “We have a gorgeous Russian Blue for you this year. He was left in a box on the side of the…”

“Put it down,” I interrupt. “Put them all down. I have a date tonight!”

I hang up, feeling pretty good about myself. The doorbell rings and it’s flowers from my mum. I call her and tell her I have a date. She doesn’t believe me. I don’t even care. Who cares what she thinks? I have a date.

A date who found me online and somehow knows who I am and where I live and work.

I suddenly realise how bad this looks. No, not how it looks, how it is. Who the heck is this guy? Is he going to stab or rape me? This is the stupidest thing I’ve done in my life. I’m about to have dinner with a stalker. Am I really this lonely and desperate?

Yes, yes I am. I comb the house for weapons, searching every drawer and cupboard for something I can use to protect myself. There are no guns or mace canisters anywhere to be seen and the baseball bat doesn’t fit in my handbag. I’m terrified of taking a knife, as I’m very likely to slice off one of my own fingers. The best I can manage is a salad fork, the tines of which I spend the next three hours sharpening with the knife sharpener. I wrap it in a tissue and put it underneath my purse.

I log on to my five hundred online accounts and discover nothing of any interest. Russia has not only not messaged me, he’s deleted his account. I become even more suspicious. If he murders me, how will anyone find him? I decide I have cancer and can’t go out tonight – but I have no way of contacting him to cancel!

Let’s cut a long story short here by summarising the time until six pm with one word: paranoia.

When the doorbell finally rings, my heart is racing and I’m hyperventilating and it’s a struggle to make it out of the living room. I take a deep breath, then twenty shallow breaths to keep from falling over, then open the front door feeling blindingly dizzy.

There is Russia, well-dressed and offering me a single red rose. He is my height, slim, radiating pleasantness. “Hi Sophie.” His voice is a soft murmur. “You’re probably wondering how I know so much about you.” I manage to nod. “We actually went to the same school. You were three years below me. I saw your photo online and hunted you down through a mutual friend who I swore on the Bible I would never name.”

Something about his demeanour makes me relax. “What’s your name?” I ask.

“Dan. Dan Hunsford.”

He walks me to the car and away we go.

As our date progresses, I quickly get the impression that Dan Hansford has no intention of killing, raping, abducting, scamming or religiously converting me. He is a perfect gentleman who drives at the speed limit, opens doors for me, takes me somewhere fancy and orders me lobster. Polite, charming and perfect in every way.

Naturally, this makes me suspicious. Suspicious of what Dan’s real motive is and suspicious of Murphy’s Law, which dictates I will screw him, wake up, see the photo of my grandma on his bedside table and realise we’re cousins.

After dinner, he drives me home and walks me to the door and I badly want to take him inside and shag him. The angel on my shoulder screams “Do it!” in my ear. We stop on the threshold.

“Thank you, Dan, for an amazing evening.”

He smiles warmly. “Thanks for coming. I was scared I’d scared you.”

“No. Well, a little. But luckily for you I’m desperate enough to go on dates with complete strangers.”

There is an awkward pause. A “beat,” as they’d call it at the theatre.

“So what’s wrong with you?” I ask, instantly regretting my tactlessness.

“What’s wrong with me?”

“I mean, well, you’re just so perfect. You’re handsome, charming, funny. If there was nothing wrong with you you’d be married to a supermodel already.”

Dan smiles, sadly this time. “Before I answer that, may I kiss you?”

I don’t actually say “Hell yes” out loud, but from the way I lean forwards with my tongue sticking out the comment would be fairly superfluous. We kiss passionately and I run my fingers through his hair. I’m inches away from clubbing him and dragging him to bed when he pushes me gently back.

“I was born a woman,” he says.

There it is.

There’s the “something” I knew was coming.

It takes a while to formulate, but my first coherent thought is, “At least I didn’t just snog my auntie.”

Dan looks at me with such defiant embarrassment I know he’s not making this up. It’s hard to explain, but when someone tells you such a deeply personal fact about themselves, there’s a look about them which you could never fake.

“I’m sorry,” Dan says, and he turns to leave.

Instinct makes me reach for his shoulder. His slender, feminine shoulder. “Don’t you think you should’ve told me?” I ask.

He avoids eye contact. “I put it on my profile.”

“Yeah, but you have to admit it looked very much like a joke. Not much of what you said was…”

“But why?” he suddenly snaps, making me start. “Why should I tell you? You think I should make this the first thing I tell anyone I meet? ‘Hi, I’m Dan, I used to be a chick, but I always felt like a man trapped in a woman’s body so I got my tits chopped off and take hormones regularly. And it would take me all night to tell you what they did down there.’”

I’m taken aback. After an evening of politeness and charm, this outburst – while warranted – comes like a slap in the face.

“Why did you tell me at all?” I ask, watching tears roll down his cheeks and fighting back my own.

He looks me in the eye. I can barely hold this gaze. “I wanted to sleep with you. Believe me, this would be far more awkward if the first you heard of my sex change was when I use the pump.”

Now he refuses to look away. I bite my lip, frown. Is it gay to do it with a guy who used to be a girl? Is it so bad to be gay?

No, I could never do this. This person before me is a tranny; not a he nor a she, but an it. How emotionally retarded and weak must it be to have its gender changed. I am suddenly filled with bile. It kissed me, knowing I’d like it, trying to trick me into feeling something. The bastard. The utter, utter bastard.

I unlock the front door, step inside, and slam it behind me.

Three seconds later I open the door and say, “Do you drink gin?”
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Old 06-16-2011, 12:24 AM
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Default A Violet by Hilee Coco

There was a silence as we sat on the concrete bench. I pointed to a violet growing from a crack in the sidewalk. “Isn’t that wonderful?” I said. “Something so beautiful growing amidst the trash and ugliness.” I was proud to have said something so poetic on the spot and hoped Damien would appreciate my depth.

He sighed lightly and seemed to consider something. “My aunt was a social worker,” he said. “She often worked with prostitutes. And some of these girls were treated awfully, you know. One of them told her about an incident years ago that they all remembered. So the story was, one of these girls was pregnant, like really pregnant, close to nine months. She was sick one day and couldn’t work. Her pimp flew into a rage and beat her for a while. Really badly. Bad enough to induce labor. And the miraculous thing was, the baby survived. The miracle of birth, out of a hemorrhaging, dying prostitute.”

I stared, wide-eyed. He looked at the flower. “Nice,” he said flatly.
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Old 06-16-2011, 12:25 AM
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Default Song from a London High-Rise by Grace Gabriel

Song From A London High-Rise

Life's no soaring symphony
When you're trapped in poverty
Leper paint and sweating walls
Death and bailiffs pace these halls
Got so little, want so much
Prisoner in a high-rise hutch
Need a Harry Potter wand
Flick the stick and I'd be gone

I have a dream
Gonna get my life on track
If the headcase on the staircase
Doesn't knife me in the back
All the doors have been kicked
And they're swinging on their hinges
Gotta wear heavy boots when you're treading on syringes

D'you think this is the sum of me?
That this is all I want to be?
Some just shake the bars and shout
But me? I plan to tunnel out
I could be good, I could be more
This sinner's soul's worth fighting for
I can't take another day
Feeling myself ebb away

I have a dream
Gonna get my life on track
If the headcase on the staircase
Doesn't knife me in the back
My life could be over
In a few metal inches
Gotta wear heavy boots
When you're treading on syringes

It will take more than just raw ambition
To claw my way through this condition
Was I baptised in the waters of the Devil's font?
If we were righteous would life fight us or reward with things we want?
There's no room for decency or sentiment
When drugs blew your mind and then blew your rent
No one asked this scruffy kid "Son, what d'ya wanna be?"
My Momma hugged a bottle, there was nothing left for me

I have a dream
Gonna get my life on track
If the headcase on the staircase
Doesn't knife me in the back
I'll die its clear if I stay here
Anaethetised from binges
Gotta wear heavy boots
When you're treading on syringes

Could things ever go right for someone so wrong?
Could I be rich like Simon Cowell or maybe Elton John?
I'm clinging to my dream, I'll get clean, I'll get better
Live in style, country pile, cruising in a cashmere sweater
My dream's crystal clear and I've got the guts and drive
Now I've got a destination there's a chance I could arrive
There's plenty that have made it who aren't as smart as me
Find some confidence and common sense and maybe I'll walk free

I have a dream
Gonna get my life on track
If the headcase on the staircase
Doesn't knife me in the back
I'm not some troll drawing dole
Who just sits around and whinges
Gotta wear heavy boots
When you're treading on syringes.
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Old 06-16-2011, 12:26 AM
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Default Reflections by eez

When I was a child, I thought my dad was the best dad in the world.
As I grew up, I realised he wasn’t; he was just my dad.
I now look in the mirror, and my dad looks back at me.
When I was a child, I thought my mum was the best mum in the world.
As I grew up, I realised she wasn’t; she was just my mum.
I now look in the mirror and, behind me, I see a mum.
When I was a man, I looked back and thought I had been the worst child in the world.
As I grew older, I realised I hadn’t been; I had been just a child.
I now look in the mirror and, behind me, I see my son in the arms of my wife.
I think he’s the best son in the world…
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Old 06-16-2011, 12:28 AM
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Default The Death of Rubin Hood by David Wallace

Come bring my bow of English yew and raise me from this bed
And let me look upon the wood where once I lay my head’
With fading sight and wearied limb through window rose he gazed
With summoned strength and trembling arm his mighty bow was raised

Sinews drawn to fullest test he let the arrow fly
And sinking back upon his bed he breathed a heavy sigh
‘Follow yonder willow shaft through forests darkened keep
For flighted by the angels, it will appoint where I shall sleep’

The stalwart oak tree caught the shaft, appointed by Gods grace
Beside a brook, in bluebell’d wood, there marked his resting place
In tunic Gold and Lincoln green, his sword upon his breast
Beneath the trees of Sherwood green was Robyn laid to rest

That mighty heart, its labour done, when stilled its Valliant quest
All England mourned its stalwart son who bore the Locksley crest
And through the silent forest, soft April showers wept
To wash that place from hearts and minds, a secret ever kept


One maid, one Friar, with little John, in sombre vigil stood
In silent witness mourning, the passing of the Hood

On England’s green and pleasant land was played a Hero’s part
And never more on sceptre’d isle will beat a truer heart
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Old 06-16-2011, 12:28 AM
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Default The American Addictive, Stress by RabbitInTheSuit

To the reader from the writer:
Thank you for reading.
Please do leave a comment of any kind.
And also, have a nice, stress-full day.
Signed,
The Rabbit.





Raymond sips the last drop out of his high-octane, over-caffeinated sugar shot. The thick liquid moved its way through his lips and down his throat, fizzing the whole way down. He smiles maliciously, realizing that this means he’ll be stressed the whole buzzed day at work. Work was already stressful enough as is, but now it will be stressful and energized like a cracked-up bunny rabbit on speed. Today was a good day.

He shades himself in his royal blue polo and walks towards the Camelot that is his occupational residence: Wall-to-Wall, the retail king. Joseph, his best work friend and fellow stress tweaker, jogs after Ray and slaps his shoulder amicably. “How goes it, you stressed-out mother fucker?”

Ray simply nods his head and replies, “It goes, Joey, it goes.”

Joe peers around his shoulder and then the other, just to be sure, and then leans in to where only Ray could hear him. “You stressing right now, my man?”

“You think I could make it working here,” he gestures at the tall all-blue building in front of them. “if I wasn’t stressed constantly, Joey?”

Joseph guffaws and again slaps Ray’s shoulder. “True that, true that, Ray Ray,”

“You’re quite repetitive today, Joe. What you tweaking on, homes?”

“I ain’t even stressed yet, saving it for tonight. Got some real good straight-up stressors,” he pulls out a manila folder and pours out three pink pills. “My dealer calls it Soma. It’s some old school stressor shit all supped up…all supped up.”

At the door now and nervous of getting caught with a possible Class A stressor, Ray motions for Joe to follow him into the fast food restaurant that Wall-to-Wall had installed to keep their already stress-free customers even more so unstressed. Once out of sight of anyone who could throw out pink slips, Ray picks up one of the pinkies and examines it closely. He considers himself a thorough expert on anything that could induce stress. “This mark right in the middle?” he points at a chemical formula mechanically sketched into the center.

Joe peers at the markings. “NH2? What’s that mean?”

“It means nitrogen dehydrogenate. It’s a chemical that erases parts of your cells and replaces them with new ones with less hydrogen,” he looks at his now-confused co-worker. Ray pounds the pill back into Joe’s hand. “It’s also the main ingredient of carisoprodol, also known as Soma, a very very powerful muscle relaxant. You got ripped, bud.”

Joseph looks away in shame and mutters a few expletives about his dealer. He looks back at Ray and lightly nudges his bicep. “Hey, thanks, man. Thanks a lot.”

“Don’t mention it; let’s clock in, man.”

The two boys walked step for step toward the back of the store. This is Ray’s favorite part of the day. To him, it’s like walking through a portal. You leave the stress-tweaked world and enter into a drug-free utopia where he was nothing more than a merchant of stress death trying to engage the soldiers of fortune held within in some cheap stress action.

And yet he wonders. Sometimes constantly. Why is it that the one thing he loves most feels so bad in retrospect? He could be stressed for days, weeks at a time, the whole time loving it. And then, when the stress had worn down, he was nothing more than melancholy and wishing that he could get stressed once more. Half of his paycheck went to the rent and bills. The other half? Sugar shots, coffee beans, and rides on the electric shock bar down the road. He was a junkie, a stress junkie, and what’s worse is that he knew it.

Swiping his badge through the time clock, Ray looks up at the page hanging above his forehead:

STRESS IS DEATH.

NEED HELP?

CALL YOUR LOCAL ANTI-STRESS LEAGUE REPRESENTATIVE.
Underneath the motto is a picture of a man walking toward a fork in the road. One route led to stress-free living and constant happiness; the other was colored in black and had no definite heading. Ray smirks and whispers to himself, “If only it was that easy.”
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Old 06-16-2011, 12:29 AM
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Default Nowhere to Hide by Writing Time

A simple kiss on the cheek and our hands part. I wave goodbye as she steps inside. She thinks me strange for calling such an early night but it must be done. As soon as she is out of sight, my resolve changes.

I turn and run through the darkened street. My only thought is of getting as far from here as possible. The pain is growing quickly within me, burning in my veins. I halt under the orange glow of a bus stop and search my pockets furiously, coins hitting the cement. I collect all the evidence of where I have been into a pile on the metal bench then scrunch it all into a ball and toss it in the nearby bin. A graffiti-stained bus comes to rest in front of me as the doors screech open expectantly.

I don't care where it's going, I prefer not to know. He knows where I live but I'm not about to make things easy for him. My head screams in agony as I shove a note into the driver's hand. Not bothered about change I make for a secluded corner down the back.

I drop onto the ripped foam seat and rub my temples methodically to no effect. My hasty entrance drew little interest from the few other passengers; we've all got concerns in this city. But now they are having a hard time ignoring the panting growls rolling from my lungs through clenched teeth.

I wasn't expecting him tonight. I thought I had control. "Run!" I scream as he fills my mind, an unstoppable force. People stare but nobody listens. The last thing I am aware of is my growing smile and articulate scowl "Time for a little fun.".
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Old 06-16-2011, 12:30 AM
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Default The Atheist by TheCrookedPath

Pray to the mirror for truth and for light
Pray to the Hill for wrong and for right
Pray to the crowd for love and for friends
Pray to the Net that you'll see them again

Swear by the timecard, communion from cans
Cast out the demons with fiber and bran
Penance paid weekly with trips to the gym
Sin is a Twinkie and Heaven is slim

Pray to the lawyers who pardon your speeding
Grace is upsizing the crap that you're eating
Pray to the doctors and pay your parole
Each day is one bought from the plot with the hole
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Old 06-24-2011, 01:06 AM
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Congratz Crooked Path,
The Atheist is a great poem,
as is a lot of your work.
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The Following User Says Thank You to Writing Time For This Useful Post:
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  #12  
Old 06-24-2011, 08:11 PM
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Thanks, Writing Time! I honestly didn't think that I had much of a chance with such brilliant competition. We have some truly excellent writers in this forum!
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Old 06-25-2011, 09:54 AM
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Congratulations, you deserved this.
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