Nothing means anything when eagerly anticipated phone calls never come.
All those wasted Sundays slumped beside the phone add up.
Ah, heartbreak. You've got to hate it. But you've also got to take it.
The hardest thing of all is resisting the urge to break the ice, to ring first,
to put words into your mouth as well as into hers. But she just stares.
She just stares at the phone ringing off its hook as though the act of answering
it might be construed as the first sign of weakness.
At least weakness is better than the debilitating bleakness of yet another lonely
day in which the dubious highlight is a pulse-quickening, mid-afternoon call.
Even if it is somebody selling windows on the other end: the far side of insanity.
Oh, the nature of unrequited love strikes fear and loathing into the hardest hearts.
Everybody wants to be loved; nobody wants to be overlooked. Hence, risks are taken.
Sometimes the risks are stupid yet worth taking nonetheless.
Telling somebody you like them like that isn't a crime. In some circumstances it's worse.
Believing that America would proffer a shard of emotional salvation, I skipped
over the Atlantic to San Francisco and took the Pacific Coast Highway south to LA.
Craving a modicum of decadent glitz and glamour, Broadway satisfied my lust to
unearth old Hollywood in all its decrepit glory.
The only stars to be seen on the pavement came when I was kicked to the floor by
three youths. You could say I took a beating. Likewise, you could say I asked for it,
sauntering on the dark side of the dead thoroughfare long after night had tripped and
even longer before dawn dared to materialize.
Looking for a quick fix, a hard hit, I failed to remind myself that the drugs don't work.
For a short while they mollycoddle the pain, sure, but the come-down threatens to kill
me religiously. So, a ruined friendship in my wake, the fallout of which I feared I
might never adequately recover from, I abandoned England, hoping that Bush's notion of
freedom conspired to liberate my optimistic soul from my depressed mindset.
Needless to say, it didn't. The notion didn't even exist.
It was, like so many other things, a demented figment of my work-shy imagination.
I only realized as much in the instant that my head smacked the potholed pavement.
Pain ravaged my entire body; I thought I'd cracked up.
I wasn't financially crippled by any means. I mean, I had money. I simply preferred the
thrill of living off the grid for a while so nobody could keep tabs on my whereabouts.
A low profile has always suited me, and the prospect of sleeping rough in parks filled
me less with fear and more with unbridled exhilaration.
Purposefully putting my life on the line, past concerns for personal safety weren't
awarded a second thought. I did choose a different park every night, though, so I
couldn't be seen to be encroaching on anybody else's territory.
A sucker for the warm breeze that often streams down off the Hollywood Hills, I spent
my days walking, pounding the streets of downtown LA like a native of the city.
I had nothing better to do. Time, for once, was my own, and one day I set out early
enough to walk all the way to Venice Beach.
Staring at the ocean, I wondered why any romantic entanglements I had always seemed to
end in disaster. Was it me? Was it something I said? Tallying the number of women I'd
loved and lost depressed me even more so I catapulted that train-of-thought into the
Pacific without further consideration.
Let it fester, I mused; let it mutate. Retracing my steps to Echo Park, I found a cell
phone on a sidewalk. Its screen was scratched, but it worked. I no longer had any use
for a phone, but I stooped to pick it up regardless. It was ringing; I thought I might
as well answer it. I chuckled with glee at the prospect of teasing the caller,
pretending to be whoever they aspired to speak to.
'Hello,' I drawled, dubiously disguising my English accent.
'Richard, is that you?' the woman shrieked.
'Sure is. What's up?'
The bus pulls out of the station. I check my watch - I am not too late. I close my eyes, pretend to sleep.
The witching hour is yet to come. I told you I would be home by midnight. You like to know where I am. I tell you I can protect myself and you shake your head in doubt. 'Be careful. It isn't the same world.'
I laugh at your fears and paint my lips and smile.
Fiction - The Day By Danny Swain
Ray turns the CD player off as he answers the phone. The sound of waves crashing against a beach fills his ear. Jenny wipes the plate and puts it on the draining board. A man appears at the kitchen window. Benjamin pulls the car into the drive and gets out. He hears a noise in the garage.
Mary locks her front door and buttons up her coat. Read more...
Fiction - Blood in the Bath By Leah Scarpati
It was Halloween night and the weather suitably matched the mood of the evening. Like a parody of a horror film, the wind howled at forty miles per hour, blowing the dried up autumn leaves up into mini tornadoes down the deserted and dimly lit street. The odd raindrop fell from the sky, threatening to pour down but unable to carry out the threat to its full potential.
Fiction - 100 Words Competition - A Scene In Suburban Hell By Laura Fry
Nothing unusual ever happens in Sandwalsh. People don't tend to move away to pastures new. They know their neighbours, even if they are not exactly friends.
Perhaps they cry into their IKEA pillows every night, out of boredom, depression or sheer frustration, but if they do, they most definitely hide the unfortunate fact from public view. What people think is
Fiction - Career Opportunities A Joe Geraghty story
I was sat on an amplifier in the band's rehearsal room on Wincolmlee, secreted away on Bankside, a decaying industrial area of Hull. In front of me was the city's hottest band, Witham, presumably named after the area on the edge of the city centre.
Talk about a lack of imagination. From the way they were lounging around the room, I assumed I
Fiction - 100 Words Competition - The Hand that Rocked the Cradle By Lin Whitehouse
Hearing his mother's footsteps, the boy climbed out his bedroom window. They were both angry. He wanted to run away but it was a long drop and he might hurt himself.
She shouted when she saw him, sitting on the tiled roof, suddenly scared and remembering a time she had climbed out of a similar window.
He hugged his knees not wanting to look at her; she could not look away
Fiction - 100 Words Competition - Resurrection By Leah Scarpati
The rhythmical drip-drip of condensation echoed around the cave. Kate couldn't see her hand in front of her face, were her eyes even open? The fall had shattered her torch as well as her ankle; as the pain continued to bite, panic rose. She couldn't feel her toes.
Hours of calling for help had been swallowed by the chasm of darkness,
Fiction - 100 Words Competition - The Latter-Day Luddite Saves the Day By Laura Fry
The police were on a coffee break, at a loss. Despite all the technology, the wanted man had got the better of them. They didn't notice the young woman at the opposite table with an old-fashioned tape recorder, on her way to teach a friend's child German.
She had found the man who had just left the café somewhat suspicious and pressed record.
This latter-day Luddite was able to tell
Fiction - 100 Words Competition - Lost Property By Manuro
My dreadful husband died at an elephant hospice. To this day, whenever I see a sick elephant I feel a rush of overwhelming joy! I changed my name in 1979 and never foresaw the problems this would entail - car insurance, washing machine hire purchase agreements.
Women are named through male lineage: we disappear over time, our identity the property of others.
Fiction - Two Sides of the Same Tattoo Needle. By Leah Scarpati
Well I can certainly say I've learned my lesson! Mummy had always warned me about expressing myself through body art, tattoos, piercings and such like; but the more she told me not to, the more determined I became to disobey her.
"It's just not what people like us do dahhling," she purred in-between a long drag of a cigarette and a sip of her dry martini. "Just because
Fiction - 100 Words Competition - Beginnings and Endings By Lin Whitehouse
It's a hypothetical question, what if - my father hadn't died in June - I hadn't known about my husband's girlfriend - I hadn't looked up when I did?
I was caught in a web and struggled to avoid his gaze, felt myself flush. I drowned in his smiling eyes. Could he see my outer sorrow, sense the inner excitement I concealed?
It's funny, funerals signify an end, but I felt something was
Fiction - Hangover By Leah Scarpati
The day ended as it had begun - disastrously. From the minute she opened one sticky mascara eye, then the other and the hangover woodpecker began to tap-tap-tap at her head; she knew the day was a right off. Her head hurt so much she could she feel her hair growing, her tongue was dry like an arid river bed and was fixed to the top of her mouth;
Fiction - 100 Words Competition - Say No More By Joe Hakim
I'm on my way to the shops. I don't see him until I nearly step on his head.
I look down at the man on the floor, and notice he's on a bike - crotch on seat, feet on pedals, hands on handlebar. Like he's been zapped by a super-villain's freeze ray and toppled over.
I look around to make sure it isn't some kind of prank.
"Are you okay?"
"I'm fine," he replies.
Fiction - 100 Words Competition - A Depressive and a Botched Suicide By Laura Fry
And once again boats sail down the Danube, but you; don't worry about me any more, I'm like leaves, the wind blows me away, wolves die alone...
The mourners read the translation of the deceased's beloved Croatian song. The male voice booms from the CD through Hull Crematorium, bringing additional shivers to the late autumn Yorkshire morning. The European flag
Fiction - 100 Words Competition - Fun and Games By Shep
It was easier than he thought. Several swings of the bat and his problem had disappeared like the last drag of his cigarette. He looked at the windows adjacent to where he stood; half expecting to see the neighbours looking on with horror and disgust, but there was not a face in sight.
He smiled to himself and walked down the garden path back to his front door. Read more...
Fiction - 100 Words Competition - Conversation In A Small Room By Manuro
'I went to the shops
And bought a new toffee
Hammer. The old one got
Damaged during the 'incident'
With those burglars.
You remember, waking up with
Some Burberry-capped thug in
Fiction - Beyond An Accidental Shoreline By Christopher Skolik
Dennison had covered some disturbing assignments in his time;
Neo-psychopathology and its preoccupations concerning future psychological abnormality.
Contagious mental illness and media psychosis, the way suicide or spree killing spread thru lines of communication.
Mutant-criminology and the adaptation of deviancy in our strange new psychological landscape.
Fiction - 100 Words Competition - Pain in Vain no Gain By Joan Moffat.
Sweat trickled down my face, droplets formed on my nose. Sharp pains tore at my back muscles.
Leaning over, as I struggled, constricted my breathing and squeezed my stomach into cramp.
Red flashes floated before my eyes. I was about to faint. I began to weep.
Why had I got myself into such a stupid situation? I was the victim of my own vanity.
I struggled more.
Fiction - Faster Than the Speed of Silence By Leah Scarpati
The phone's ringing again - the second time today. Its shrill chime echoes around the house, reverberating through the hall and into my warm little cocoon of a living room. It makes me nervous. It's like a foreign body, stealthily making its way through the house, looking for me- preparing to bump me off, to throw something at me when I least expect it.