News at 11: Prose.
Seattle Refined did a remarkable spot on us. From a bar in West Seattle to the downtown offices of Prose., this three-minute piece came out nice and clean. Link is below.
We hope your sentences are hitting the page lean and mean, and to see more of your work across this spectrum words. Thanks for being here.
Go to minute 14:00.
Worrying with “W”
What will one worn wanderer worship? Worshipping wonders widens wealth, while worshipping wizards will wake wisdom. One wizened wanderer worries what will welcome wanderers when wandering wanes. When wanderers weaken. Will whales welcome wanderers? Will worms? Worse, will wasps welcome weary wanderers? Will worshipping worsen what will welcome?
The perfect house is not so perfect
It was the picture-perfect house. A small pink house sat at a corner surrounded by a white picket fence. In front of two perfect front windows sat rose bushes. An old lady walked though a perfect white door and was greeted by two perfect cats. Everything was perfect. Too perfect. At least that's what they thought. Under it all is something truly dark and horrifying was happening. Some call it a dungeon, but for this lady it was more of a hobby. At the ripe age of sixty-five Rose Collins began this place. Lured in people with this perfect place. Everyone wanted it and everyone came. Not everyone left. This town had over fifty missing person cases in the last five years. Lets see why.
We got invited, I tell my boyfriend, Zeke. We both moved here just a couple of weeks ago. This was the house he fell in love with and he cannot wait to see the inside. Rose, the owner of the home, has invited us to dinner.
The event is tonight and we both wanted to dress casual but formal. At six we left the house and drove off. Inside was as picture perfect as the outside. Just imagine a picture-perfect house. Everything was neatly place and not a single crumb. Behind an old wooden door was a kitchen stacked with treats. We were handed Rose's specialty cookie and we ate it. It felt like we were parting and had too much to drink. Zeke fell first and then I went.
"Where the hell are we?" I faintly hear Zeke yell. I am unable to get up. Something is wrong with my leg and my head is pounding.
Zeke: Taylor, where are you?
Taylor: Over here.
Zeke runs over to me and we find a wooden box with instructions.
So you made it. Glad. Your friend here I have injured because he would not stop fighting. Get out of here and you can keep your lives if not they are mine. Good luck, none have made it so far.
I try and stand but it is useless. My leg is broken, no chance of me walking on it.
Taylor: Go ahead. You do not need me. Save your life.
Zeke: No, I do need you and I am not leaving without you.
He ended up carrying me. During the first section, we found bodies. Many bodies. And we took pictures of all of them. At the end of this first section, there was something. A task to do. We had to crawl under barbed wire. Simple. Zeke went first and made it without a scratch. I went next and with one leg it was difficult. My head was spinning and by the end I had so many cuts. Zeke found our next box.
Wow. Your doing good. Not for long.
As we continued to walk, we found more dead bodies. At the next stop, we had to jump over a five foot gap. I went first this time and did not make it far enough. I was now hanging on for my life. Zeke quickly jumped to the opposite side and pulled me up. My leg is even more broken now. And there was box this time, so we continued to walk. Yet again, more dead bodies. The next one involved blood. Only a certain amount could open the door. I found a knife and slit my palm. The door opened. One issue though, I was still bleeding. Zeke took off his button up and wrapped it around my palm. We continued to walk and find dead bodies. In front of us was a box.
No one has made it this far. This is your last task.
We opened the door and fire engulfed us. Zeke ran, with me in his arms, as fast as possible. At the end we found a door that was attached to a park shed. Zeke looked perfect. Not a scratch on him. Only my blood was on him. I now have a severely broken leg, a badly bleeding palm, an inured shoulder from that five foot jump, and burns from the fire. He carried me out of the shed and to the nearby police department. Everyone inside was extremely worried that Zeke did this to me. They tried to arrest him and I only hugged him tighter. I said he is not going anywhere without me. They would have to arrest me too. Sorry not sorry. I got my medical attention and trust me it was a lot. This town is no longer our home. We are moving. We showed them the photos. Fifty-one in total. Fifty of them were the missing person reports. And the the fifty-first was of a fourteen year old Rose Collins. Who is that old lady then?
Laura lies in the river, and lets her hair flow free. Laura lying in the river, my mother warns me to not get so close to thee. I speak to you and you smile at me, beckoning me closer with the crook of your finger. My mother pulls me back and gives me a smack and tells me Laura lying in the river would drown me surely so. Laura lying in the river, I wish to visit you so, and it's a secret I'll keep from my mother, because she would not have me go. Laura lies in the river, her world so bleak and cold, Laura lies in the river, and one day she'll have me to hold.
Like, follow, retweet me, I'm your cyber bff. Disagree with me, I'm your internemy. #IonlywanttohearfrompeoplewhothinkthesameasIdo
My heart's deepest desire is to find something and someone that makes me happy. I wish that more people could understand the true me and not the one people assume as. I would change nothing in the past. Everything happens for a reason. Bad things just make you stronger. And I feel that even though those memories haunt me, I would never change them. They made me who I am and made me ten times stronger.
Prose Verse, part 2, “Empty” (more western stuff)
Marshal Paul “Empty” Chambers settled into his feet, choosing to stand his ground — come what may. The moniker was not of his choosing but rather, like most proper nicknames; it had been bestowed upon him by others and it rankled him a bit. The reason for it had been simple, though he carried a gun on hip as expected for a lawman; he never used it, preferring to lay into a man with his fists rather than lead. While a part of him suspected “Empty” was a reference to his head or lack of brains due to his uneducated speech rather than a play on words in regards to the chambers of his pistol, Paul knew the less people thought about his intelligence lent to a greater chance of low expectations of skill and capability. Many of folk had been surprised by the knowledge he had acquired through his extensive reading or his great skill at thoughtful talk — odd slang and accent notwithstanding.
The most commonly accepted reason for Empty as a nickname lay with the gun; since he never used said pistol. The good townsfolk of Prose just came to assumed that the pistol was for show only and therefore unloaded. Marshal “Empty” Chambers never saw any good reason to correct them; it was loaded. He just never really saw a reason to pull it and wave it about in every confrontation when words or a good beating would suffice.
Granted, many of the sobered drunks, he subdued and arrested, admitted to him they would of preferred being shot over awakening in the jail with their skulls nearly stove-in along with the accompanying hangover.
Though some were asking for it.
Being known as a lawdog willing to settle matters with fists rather than iron tended to bring forth piss proud men looking to take his measure.
There was a good reason he choose to fight. His father was a retired prizefighter and taught him the finer points of laying into a man with fist and will. He had even made it pretty high in the English circuit before one too many bare-knuckle blows took the sight from his left eye. Elder Chambers took it as a sign and packed up the family and moved across the ocean to Chicago’s west side. Paul grew up amoungst the gangs and their child lackeys. Due to his father’s instructions, he beat his way into their ranks. Paul Chambers had been well placed in a local gang, the Muckers, before his father tore him loose and moved the family again. In time Paul had shook himself free of the gang’s more nefarious ideals; but not the slang, which mixed oddly with his native born London accent.
So he stood, ready to fulfill his duties as lawman and put an end to a brawl on the doorstep of the Beowulf and Grendel. His feet were firmly planted, spread shoulder width apart. He dropped into the stance without a thought and settled into his feet. Broad shoulders above hips, hips above feet, left foot leading, right to the back. This was his foundation; from it he built his defense and powered his strikes. In protection of his throat, he dropped his bearded chin slightly. At the moment he held his hands in front, fingers spread wide in a “hold up, calm down” gesture with the left taking a bit of the lead. He could do also a bit of warding with his hands thus. A further benefit of his hands held forward allowed him to occupy the space, meaning his opponent would have to step into Marshal Chambers’ measure in order to strike. Not ideal, since the Marshal could defend from fortified ground and punch first.
Paul kept his elbows tucked in and pointed downward. His thick knobby knuckles, from which sprouted his index and middle fingers, sat in his line of sight. If need be, he would aim with the second knuckle which caused it to hit with the first knuckle of his fist when in a vertical alignment. The trick to punching a man in the face was not to strike with all one’s might. “Empty” had learned about hitting a man in the face by striking a board covered in carpet. His father had told him, “if you hit the board hard enough to hurt your own hand, then you’re punching too hard.”
Once he learned how to throw a proper fist, he found he could hit harder. In time his knuckles thickened up and calloused over, looking like white pads of leather atop his fists.
Marshal Chambers, confidant in his stance upon the wide planks of the boardwalk, and did his best to stare down two enraged men. Somehow, despite the fact the fight started in James Byers’ saloon; it moved outside —— just outside.
To Paul’s far left a group of onlookers watched from the doorway, shoving and elbowing for a good view of the fray over the batwing doors. From the look of the man laid out on the boardwalk, he was beat while being moved out of the saloon. The broken man appeared dead, and otherwise out of the fight, while the two men facing off against one another deserved Empty’s attention.
His main adversary stood to his left, wielding a pistol. That in itself warranted a beating and an arrest. The fact that he had the gun pointed at someone was going to earn him a bit more. The intended target of the aimed gun, looked to be patiently waiting in his anger whether to be shot or continue beating the man at his feet; either way, his rage looked undeterred.
Marshal Paul Empty Chambers stepped toward the gun wielder. “Wot in ‘ell yeh doin’ yeh gink? Yeh know I got ta soak yeh for dis Anthony?”
Anthony gestured with the small holdout pistol, “Tall is trying to kill Kennedy. He won’t stop hitting him.”
Tall, the city’s blacksmith, stood over the nearly dead man vibrating with wrath. Veins blistered forth from his red flush skin. Blood and coal dust splattered his clothes. Paul had braced against “Tall” the blacksmith before; and though he was sure in his victory, he knew he would pay for it. After all the last man to brawl with Tall was laid out on the boardwalk with a face looking like one big lumpy bruise.
Tall stood above the downed man, the smith’s seemingly always dirty knuckles were bloodied by what was surely from the broken nose on Kennedy. The man, moaning on the ground, sported a swollen eye, along with lips so busted and bloody that Paul was surprised to see teeth still in Kennedy’s mouth.
The blacksmith’s strikes had been true and precise, much like his hammer blows upon his anvil.
Empty took a measured step forward, moving away from the crowd that gathered to witness the fray. As the town lawman he had to arrest the three combatants and work out who was the aggressor. Seeing how Anthony had a gun and Tall was standing over Kennedy, who looked like a bloody puddle; Empty had a feeling he would be throwing the blacksmith and the gun toting idiot in jail.
But first the Marshal had to take care of Anthony before he shot someone. “Put dat iron down yeh gink.”
Anthony, both drunk on whiskey and fear shook his head. “No, no, he must stop. I got ta shoot him.”
Empty took that as permission and pushed off his right foot, propelling himself toward Antony. As he closed measure, he snapped his open hands into fists. Using the momentum, he threw two quick jabs into Anthony’s temple. The blows were aided as Empty dropped into his left foot, allowing him to put his whole body weight behind the strikes. As Anthony swung about to face Empty he tried to bring his pistol to bear.
Seeing the coming danger, Empty threw his chest back and batted the pistol onward with his right hand. Doing this also gave him the ability to direct the pistol and it attached hand into his left hand. He closed his left on the gunhand, and jerked it up and away. Empty followed this by driving his right fist into Anthony’s nose —— breaking it, and dazing him.
Anthony let go of the gun, which Empty took control of, and stumbled back toward the crowd. Anthony shook his head in effort to loosen up the blows he received, but all he managed to do was get blood on himself and some on the crowd. Seeming to feel sure of himself, he charged, despite being punch drunk on top of regular drunk.
Empty stepped into the blitz and smacked Anthony with the holdout pistol, cracking it into his teeth. Anthony reeled and Empty swung his right forearm into his throat while stepping in and placing his right hip at Antony’s left hip. With the clothesline and hip placement, Empty threw Anthony into the boardwalk.
“Stay down yeh stupid gink, I be don’ wit yeh.” Empty straightened up and tucked the gun into his belt. “Oh, by da by, yeh are under arrest.”
The Marshal turned away from Anthony only to see Tall slamming his fist into Kennedy’s face as the latter tried to get up. All pretense of calming the situation gone, Empty lifted his fists into an onguard position. “Wot in ‘ell yeh doin’ Tall? Yeh know I got ta soak yeh for dis, yeh ain’t dat slick ta shake loose from mussin up dat piker.”
Tall Broken, the Preacher’s son, stood in righteous judgement over the fallen Kennedy. “Like hell Empty, that idiot brought a gun into an honest bar fight.” Tall pointed at Kennedy. “And this stupid shit deserves this and more. Let me finish this son of bitch damn you.”
The Marshal shook his head. “Don’t be gay wit’ me Tall. Yeh just peeped me smacking this gink about, ain’t ‘fraid to do yeh the same. Look see, yeh blacked Kennedy’s lamp, broke his sniffer, stuffed his gob, wot’s mar ta do, goin’ croak him? Leave the piker be, sod off.”
“No, Empty, leave it alone. This man suggested he had relations with my wife. Within ear shot of me no less. … Had a good laugh about it. The blatherskite even made a few obscene hip movements in his moment of bragging about his feats and prowess.” Tall spat on Kenned. “Like I said,” kicking him in the ribs. “Stupid shit deserves this and more.”
Empty groaned and dropped his hands. “So, yeh deci’ ta slat his purty in, huh? Wot’s doin yeh big stiff? Quit dis monkey business, push dis further and dat gink will be biting the groun’ ’for long.”
Either due to proprietary or a true concern to settle things, a portly women stepped toward the blacksmith. “That is quite enough sir, ends this.”
Tall smiled at her. “I am trying to do so madam, but you and yours have hindered me thus far.”
Her mouth dropped open, aghast at his comment. “Why sir, how dare you. What would your father, a man of God, think of you comporting yourself such as this?”
Tall chuckled. “Lady, you don’t know my pops, if he heard what this shit said he would've shook my hand and bought me a beer. He may of even thrown a few kicks in for good measure. This asshole broke two of the Ten Commandments; he coveted my wife and bore false witness. The former is understandable seeing that my wife is a true beauty and can cook, but the latter could ruin her good name.”
The logic was sound, but the lady moved on undeterred. “Then think of your wife. What would she think of this display of flagrant brutally?”
This time it was the Marshal’s turn to chuckle. “Swell chance wit dat turn miss. If the fin’ lady Cherry heard dos tings, she stan’ nuddthing for it. She sure to charge from da Owl Lite, and wors’ yet, shoot dis piker.”
As if on cue, a brunette woman bedecked in a work women's dress, speckled in flour and grease made way for the crowd. The planks of the boardwalk shuddered under her enraged footfalls. Following her in tow were her three young sons in a tight formation: her helpers in the cookhouse and general terrors of Prose proper. Her three sons were close in age and unfortunately named Zebulon, Zephaniah, and Zedekiah. Thus known as the Z boys, they picked fights, stole apples, and raised the types of ruckus best done by boys brimming with abundant energy.
Paul Chambers took a step toward his friend and sometimes sparring partner. “Look like yeh don fur, some gink peached on yeh. She looks to twist yer ear dean off’ni yeh. Wot yeh doin now?”
Tall moved away from the object of his rage, thus allowing Kennedy’s friends a chance to help him up. One had a split lip and bloodied teeth while other favored a black eye. Tall had some damage in his rage. The blacksmith stood next to the Marshal. “Pray, and explain, but mostly pray.”
“I was afraid o dat, she goin’ cave dat boys purty in further den yeh don’.” A thought struck Empty Chambers. “She ain’t packin’ iron is she?”
“Possible, she does run a cookhouse for cowboys full of piss. With that pistol she has buffaloed a few of those boys who got a bit grabby.”
Paul shook his head and spat to the side. “Shite, I hav’ na wish ta hit and arrest yer wife if she git it in her bean ta shoot dis piker.”
Tall chuckled. “I would pay to see that.”
Empty smiled. “By da by, yeh are under arrest for puttin’ a poundin’ into dat piker.”
“Understood, but maybe we should wait a tick. Got to see what’s what. May have to talk my wife down, keep her from killing Kennedy —— and me for that matter.”
Iron: Generalized term for firearms.
Measure: In fighting, whether it be sword, knife, or fist, it refers to striking distance. To step into measure means to move in close enough to hit your target, the problem with this is you are also stepping into your opponents striking distance as well. Having a longer reach, again your own weapon, or lack thereof, and the weapon of your opponent can affect measure.
Piss proud: Reference to a morning erection. Since there was also a need to urinate with the erection, it was felt that the erection was false and full of urine. Thus piss proud, someone puffed up with a false sense of pride.
Gink: Stupid, foolish person.
Piker: Poor white man from California (So, me basically.) Probably devolved into a generalized insult.
Blatherskite: A person who engages in foolish or nonsense talk.
Don't get gay with me: At this time "Gay" meant fun, happy, or joyful, so could mean, "Don't have fun at my expense." In the context I have seen it, could also mean, era equivalent of, "Don't screw (mess) with me." or "Don't get cute (coy) with me."
Bite (biting) the ground: To die, be killed, or be dead.
Slate: A brutal beat down or fight.
Peached: To tattle, rat, or inform on someone.