Monday, February 27, 2017

Short Stories & Such 32: Shut In

Back on March 4, 2014, The writer’s Digest had this prompt:
The department store elevator shuts down on the way to the fourth floor, with you and ten other people in it. You remain calm, but other people begin to panic. Write this scene and the dialogue between characters.
I have since revised the original story I wrote for 500 words. Sadly, I never got a chance to post it online until now. So, if you like the prompt, write your own short. Enjoy!

Shut In
The hallway had been remodeled. When I say remodeled, I mean it went from the hateful orange-peach to a gray-white hospital wing color. Someone must have forgotten to call in a designer because you don’t get customers at a department store by making their experience dreadful on the eyes.
My reflection on the elevator doors made me look like an antiquated milk carton ad. Pushing the elevator button, two men flanked behind me. With my eyes to the floor, I could see one man’s shoes- black, smooth and stylish. I estimated a $170 overprice. The other guy had tennis shoes with high class symbols on its anterior, but worn on the sides. Probably why he’s here. To buy shoes on the seventh floor.
Letting out an exasperated breath in time for the doors to open, we stepped onto the car. Before the doors closed, a young woman with a bag bigger than her torso, jammed her foot on the door and rushed inside. Catching her breath, she placed her hand over her chest. Her cheeks were rosy from the running. Her boyfriend joined up on the next floor. I know because they kissed hello.
By the third floor, we were ten passengers and heading to different departments in the store. I wanted to get to the eighth floor where they sold pet supplies. My job was to compare the prices with the competition. This place always lost to the others.
One tall, slender woman with gym clothes was probably heading to the gym. Why they put the gym on the tenth floor was beyond me. Sure you needed exercise and climbing stairs would have added to the day’s goal, but really? Ten floors, folks. What if the ceiling cracked and the pool’s water leaked on the merchandise from the ninth floor?
“Did someone forget to press the button?” A surly bald man in the corner asked.
“The lights are on for the fourth, seventh, eighth, and tenth floor,” the tall woman said.
“Then, why aren’t the doors opening?”
I looked up at the numbers. We had stopped on the fourth floor, but the doors remained shut.
The man in a gray suit pushed the door button repeatedly.
The young couple in the back took hold of their hands.
The elderly woman with corkscrew glasses (can’t believe they still make those) and strange flower on her hair said, “Here I am God.”
The teenage boy next to her replied, “The doors are probably jammed.” He turned to the tall woman. “Press the emergency button.”
The tall woman nodded and pressed.
The elevator doors made a sound like cats scratching on a bed post, which didn’t help the screeching shrills of the two girls when the car jumbled to the side… slightly.
“Hey! You’re going to make us deaf.” A heavy set man with stocky arms glared at the girls.
“Maybe we can force the doors open,” the bald man suggested.
“What about making an opening above us?” the heavy set man added.
The girls and the couple whispered to each other, “We’re gonna die.”
“What if this is part of a terrorist’s sick joke?” the teenage boy warned.
That got everyone riled up and the suggestions were a little overrated. This is just another technological mishap, which happens when we rely on it for everything.
“Oh. no!”
“The lights!”
Then, I felt the tall woman’s elbow and the elderly woman’s knee. My cheek hit the elevator doors like a pancake on its pan. With cheek pulsing, and shoulder squashed against the doors, I finally realized they had gone hysterical. Clawing, beating, and grazing each other.
Getting pulverized wasn’t sitting well with me and I managed to crouch low. The second I did, the doors opened and a fireman flashed a light at us. His astonished face fell on all of us. That is, until they stopped on mine.
“He’s here.”
I bit my fingers and stood.
Two orderlies came forward and took an arm each. “Say goodbye to your friends.”
The muddled crowd fell back against the elevator walls, hair tussled, clothes in disarray, and hearts beating like jackrabbits. They watched the orderlies pull me out.

“But they’re the ones insane. They’re the ones who make everything wrong with the world. Not me. Not me. I’m just going to get pet supplies.”

Monday, February 20, 2017

Writing Updates

This month, two of my poems were published.
An ekphrastic poem (a poem inspired by art) titled, “look at you…” was published on Spectrum 9. If you’re interested in purchasing this wonderful edition, click on the following link:

The other poem titled, “Word Quake” is on Skullwise Cat Issue 36, on page 61.

You can go to the following link to read the summary for the issue here:

OR go straight to the e-zine issue by clicking the Yumpu link below:


AND if you liked the issue and would like to buy it, go here:


Other than that, I’m still waiting on agent replies to my father-son novel and continue to revise a women’s fiction story.

Keep Writing!

Monday, February 13, 2017

Quote 24

“If having a soul means being able to feel love and loyalty and gratitude, then animals are better off than a lot of humans.”
-James Herriot

Each time I read this quote, I glance at my dog’s picture. He passed away some time ago. I’m still healing from his departure, but I know he’s in a better place.
I say I glance at his picture because you see the happiness in his face. Anyone who has seen a picture of him says he was photogenic and smiled. I didn’t know dogs could smile, but he did. All I had to do was say his name and he would stop, look deep into the camera, open his mouth, show some teeth (sometimes the tongue would slide out), and presto!

There was an understanding between him and I that you could see in his eyes- the soul. So, I believe animals tell a lot in their faces, especially the eyes. Take a look at any pet calendar and you will see how special you feel. If you’ve ever seen adopt-s-pet commercials, you know what I’m talking about. 

Monday, February 6, 2017

Writer’s Workshop 21: Unexpressed Action

During the April 2016 Writer’s Weekend at Mt. SAC Fiction Workshop with Christina Lynch, participants were given a prompt to write a scene that is rooted with unexpressed action.

The scene should include the pin-the-tail on the donkey and have the parents going through a divorce.
If you would like to try this prompt, the main exercise is the unexpressed action.

The following is my attempt at the prompt. I took the unexpressed action as things the parents weren’t saying in regards to their feelings with the least amount of detail. Turned out very script-like. You can go this way or completely turn it around.

“Mom! Marty pinned the tail already!”
“So, he did,” she said biting her pinky nail.
“Look at that,” Dad said with a scoff.
“At least he knows where to put it,” she muttered.
The boy pulled on the mother’s sleeve, a frown on his face, and a pronounced dimple on the right cheek.
“Must feel good.” Dad gulped the rest of his drink and crushed the red plastic cup.
The boy pulled on the mother’s sleeve again.
Mom sighed. “You’re only saying that because a donkey needs a tail.”
“Mom!” The boy let go of her sleeve and threw down the donkey’s tail still in his hand.
Dad continued to squeeze the cup. “What do you want from me?”
“Mom?” The boy crossed his arms, pouting.
“Yes, dear.” She knelt in front of him.
“I don’t want to pin the tail anymore.”
“Hey, hey.” She placed her hand on his chest, rubbing it like slathering VapoRub.
“You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to.”
“Is that what this is?” Dad rolled his eyes and picked up the tossed tail. He gave it to another little boy who kept eyeing it from the game line.
The children’s voices rose above the music as the game continued.