Dorian Gray

Playbill and a silver thimble, a spool of silk thread, and yellow tailor pins.

A 250 word flash dare asking, “When you are down to the wire on a project, how do you make it through?”


“Thank you, fourteen,” she mumbles, sniffing at yesterday’s armpits, Tuesday’s laundry, and the fresh coffee he’d left on the windowsill, still hot. Skipping the shower, makeup, and curling iron gives her enough time to hem Basil’s Act One frock-coat.

“Thank you, two,” she mutters when the text message bleats, clenching her fists around the hank of elastic, broken nails digging her palms. She’s jittering with the pulse of caffeine cruising through her veins; the fabric store clerk checks her ID twice.

Dorian loses his ascot, but her shirt is the same color as the one in his painting; she tears the bottom six inches off and loops it around his neck. “Thank you, House Open.”

“Thank you, places.” She winces at Sibyl’s panicked cry, and digs in her purse for her last tampon and chocolate bar. Lord Harry’s waistcoat pops a button. Her earring passes for a jeweled brooch.

They cluster at the mirror by the stage left door.
Her hair is a twisted disaster, snarl on one side like a bramble, and there’s her chalk pencil. The bruise over her eye (the dress-form lost the skirmish) has blossomed to a vicious plum, and her tattered shirt hangs sideways, caught on her failed bra. Her pants, stained with paint, are belted by a measuring tape charting how many meals she’s skipped this week.

She smiles, and her tooth–chipped from biting threads—catches at her starch and steam chapped lips. She might be gruesome, but the actors, they are beautiful.

Dirty Socks

Sock monkey with multicolor mohair hat.

Flash challenge: a story with three sentences. (I’m probably going to hell for this one.)

Dirty Socks:

Monkey’s brains are filled with cotton wool, the stuff that comes from yarn stores, though he once told Teddy that it came from the bra of a flat-chested stripper from Vegas, and that’s why he thinks the thoughts he does, and he’s made from socks worn by a lumberjack, too, so he could kick anybody’s ass, even the boy who sneaks out the window late, late, late at night.

He knows he’s a he-Monkey because when he wishes he could masturbate, he wants to yank, not to finger, not like the girl who isn’t little anymore, lonely quick movements under her covers, who doesn’t realize his button eyes see in the dark, sewn wide open, watching her, his tail stiff and quivering.

His red smile stretches wide, wide, wide, for he will be there long after the boy is gone, smothered up against her soft breasts as she cries; he’s not a jealous Monkey–after all, Teddy doesn’t have a penis either–and no one looks as good in a sock cap as he does.

Sidewalk Cracks

Pink metal Hello Kitty lunchbox on cracked concrete.

Flash challenge: 100 words on the subject of revenge.

Sidewalk Cracks

“So Josie,” the thick-necked boy crooned. “What did Mommy pack for us on this fine Thursday morning?”

The tall skinny one pawed her backpack. “She’s got something hidden in here.”

“Ham and cheese,” crowed Freddy James, who apologized when the others weren’t around, “With mayonnaise.”

She stared at the quiet one in back. He watched her sometimes when he was alone, and his face grew tight and angry whenever his friends took her lunch, never hungry as the others tore her food in rough thirds.

Josie counted sidewalk cracks, walking with the hot sun behind her.

Ma packed that sandwich Monday.