Friday, February 3, 2012

Fate or Intersection? [Combatwords, February 3, 2012]

Fate or Intersection? [Combatwords, February 3, 2012]

From even before the time you were born, the means to dispose of you was being devised, revised and deployed. Am I allergic to wasp stings? I won't know until I'm in anaphylactic shock. That's an easy one. What about the little deaths? I mean those nemeses in cashmere sweaters and worsted wool suits who kill you with commands—how long have they been brewing? I know, I'm so morbid. I could have started out by asking you about your first love, except that we all die and not all of us love (some of you are real sick fucks...). Therefore, you can write all about kismet, serendipity or any other airy-fairy frippery. I don't care. Just write and fight each other if you can.

Combat Expiration: 12am PST, February 6, 2012

Critique Expiration: 12am PST, February 8, 2012 with a 24 hour rolling extension for in-depth critiques. Come on people, this side of the combat is underutilized, but is probably the most important feature of Combatwords. Don't be chicken. Critique.

Bonuses/Penalties: +2 if posted before 9pm PST, February 3, 2012; +1 if posted before 12am PST, February 4, 2012; -1 if posted by 6am PST, February 6, 2012; -2 if posted by 12pm February 6, 2012

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  1. Sins of the Father

    A new restaurant was built beside Ray’s old Texaco station. I pull into the parking lot, excited to try one of their to-go meals. I walk into the place and join the others in the corral-type line leading to the order counter.

    As I stand looking around me at the brick and stainless interior, a quote comes to me unbidden. “The sins of the fathers shall be visited upon their children.” It hits me hard, and my intake of breath must be audible to those around me. Why here? Why now? And what is the punishment promised me?

    Ray was a “looker,” blue eyed, tall, broad shouldered, slim hipped, and long legged. Women were drawn to him and he didn’t resist them, not his wife, or my mother, his mistress of twenty years, or a long line of others including Mary-Lou, Martha, Shirley, Ruby, and more whose names and faces I wouldn’t recognize.

    Along with his good looks, Ray was a kind man who rescued women in need. He had quit school when his drunken and abusive father left home and helped raise his younger siblings. He learned a mechanic’s trade from a service station owner who took pity on the young man, put a wrench into his hand and taught him how to use it.

    Ray got his siblings through school, and saved enough money to buy the old man’s station when he retired. He built a business on honest work and exceptional customer service. When people called him stranded on the roadside, he jumped into his truck and rescued them. Ladies appreciate that type of kindness from a man.

    He didn’t rescue my mother. She was fiercely independent, changed her own flat tires, put car chains on in the snow, and drove through blizzards to get to where she was going. She changed her own oil and looked just as pretty with a greasy smudge on her cheek as she did adorned with red lipstick.

    She and Ray met at the gas pump. Years ago, you didn’t pump your own. The two of them, he in his thirties and she in her twenties, flirted. She gave just as much as she got, maybe more. He didn’t wear a wedding ring because of the work he did and she never bothered to ask about a wife. At the time, she was married, but in the midst of the second in a long line of separations. She and Ray laughed and talked and joked each week when she came by to fill up her 1965 red Mustang. Neither she nor Ray had a chance. It was something they both wanted.

    I am the product of the sin of my father and mother.

    “Hi,” The man taking orders says to me, bringing me back to my purpose. I look up into his blue eyes and he smiles at me with even white teeth. “How may I help you?” He asks.

  2. I was supposed to hold the hands
    of boys with dirty knees
    But I kept cutting paper hearts
    Until you came for me

    The gifts of all your valentines
    Were empty as a brand
    And I was such a giggling girl
    Because you held my hand

    I wanted just to cheer you on,
    to kiss you on your cheek
    But when you came despite my pain
    My voice was way too meek

    I told my dad I wasn't late
    and that I played alone
    But daddy knew the truth and said
    "Just tell him on the phone"

    I couldn't understand it
    My future'd been so bright!
    But in my womb a a time bomb
    Was racing t'wards the light

    There's still a month or two to go
    Before we meet the day
    And I will nurture this mistake
    For which I'll make you pay