Outlook Is Good

044FC830-18E9-483B-8185-79FD58A9BCDF“I will never become accustomed to this, no matter how many times I’ve gone through it,” Jen said.

“I remember when, at your last wedding, you got stung by a bee right before the ceremony,” Darlene said.

“In hindsight, I realize that I made an error by having the wedding in the rose garden,” Jen laughed. “That will never happen again.”

“Yeah, that was a bad omen, for sure,” Darlene said. “You don’t want to do anything this time that might jeopardize your future wedded bliss.”

“Well, I checked with my trusty Magic 8 Ball and it said, ‘Outlook Is Good,’ so I’m looking forward to a very positive outcome this time around,” Jen said.

“Okay then,” Darlene said. “You look beautiful and I’m sure your debut as the blushing bride for wedding number five will be magical.”

Written for these daily prompts: Your Daily Word Prompt (accustomed), Daily Addictions (bee), Ragtag Daily Prompt (error), Word of the Day Challenge (jeopardize), The Daily Spur (outcome), and Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (debut).

Twittering Tales — The Negatives

6DCF3865-3C82-4D28-9BC8-3F2D59DF3ABF“Get me those negatives, goddammit,” the senator told his fixer. “That private detective took some compromising photos of me and is threatening to sell them to the Times unless I pay up. If those pictures ever get published, my career, my marriage, and my life will be finished.”

(279 characters)

Written for this week’s Twittering Tales prompt from Kat Myrman. Photo credit: Moritz 320 at Pixabay.com.

Murder He Wrote — Part One

7EA72AEF-4548-4769-98D3-9D05EBB29BB8Brian felt defeated as he approached the door to their rather run-down, one bedroom flat in the Adams Morgan neighborhood of Washington, DC. The echoing sound of the key turning in the latch and of the tumblers slowly disengaging the lock filled the hollow hallway. Brian twisted the knob and the door slowly swung inward, revealing a long, narrow foyer.

The hot, stale air coming from inside the apartment offered no relief from the 95 degree heat wave hovering over the city. With a long, low sigh of resignation, Brian entered the hot apartment and started to walk toward the living room. He stopped in front of the small, half-table where he threw his keys.

A slight man, barely 5’ 6” and small-boned, Brian weighed in at only 120 pounds. On this day, he seemed to have an especially lean and hungry look about him. He looked frail and pale, with sunken cheeks and empty, gray eyes. His already short stature somehow appeared even shorter. His shoulders were rounded and he was slightly stooped over, giving him the look of deflated man.

Emily, Brian’s wife, spent most of her days reclining on the couch in front of the TV watching soap operas and game shows, drinking glass after glass of Pepsi and snacking on chips, nuts, and pretzels. Emily was just a bit taller than Brian, and, as a woman with a fairly large frame, even when they were first married around six years earlier, she outweighed him by maybe ten or 15 pounds. But over the years, her sedentary life style and poor eating habits had taken their toll; she ballooned up to around 180 pounds.

Emily neither loved nor respected Brian, but she enjoyed being married to him. She made all the decisions. She managed their finances, even though she contributed nothing to the pot. She was a formidable woman and Brian, having been dominated by his mother and sister when he was growing up, was used to having a dominant female in his life. He needed to have someone take care of him and Emily wanted someone to take care of. So, from that perspective, their marriage to that point had been a success.

Like any other married couple, early on they had their fair share of arguments, but Brian quickly learned that arguing with Emily was a fool’s errand. She had to win all arguments, and that was that. Probably for that reason alone, they rarely argued anymore, and when they did have an occasional parting of the ways, it was all one-sided.

Much to his chagrin, Brian proved to be impotent, and Emily never let him forget it. Why was she putting on weight? Because of her anxiety due to her husband’s inability to get it up. Why couldn’t Brian hold down a decent job? Because he was only half a man. Brian’s impotency was Emily’s scapegoat.

Emily looked up at Brian as he walked into the living room. She looked at her watch and then back at Brian, who met her gaze but quickly looked toward the floor.

“It’s only three in the afternoon. Don’t tell me,” Emily taunted. “Did the little mouse get canned today. Did they finally figure out that you’re the little man who isn’t really much of a man? Did they ask you to do some man’s work and you couldn’t hack it? Is that what….”

“For crissake, Emily, stop it!” Brian shot back. “Just knock it off.”

“Well, am I right? Did you get the ax?”

“Yeah, yeah,” Brian said. “I got the ax.”

“Why?” she demanded.

“The company is downsizing and laid off about 20 of us,” Brian said, his voice taking on the tone of a little boy confessing to his mother than he’d done something bad.

“Jesus, Brian,” Emily said. “That’s what, the third job you’ve lost in the past two years?”

“The fourth,” Brian admitted.

“When did this happen?” Emily asked.

“They told me first thing this morning.”

“Looking at her watch again, Emily asked, “So where the hell have you been all day? It’s after three. What have you been doing since you got dumped?”

“I had some thinking to do,” Brian responded, so softly that Emily could barely hear what he said.

With cruel and biting sarcasm, Emily said, “Thinking? What could such an impotent little mouse possibly spend almost the whole day thinking about?”

Brian’s spontaneous answer was almost as much of a shock to him as it was to his wife. “I was thinking about how I’m going to fucking kill you someday.”

And Here We Are

CFAA25FC-A156-4430-9217-67A373B1CA18I started blogging in 2005. I geared my blog for an audience of one — me. It was more of an online journal than anything else. I had no regular schedule. Sometimes, life interrupted and I’d go for months without posting. Ultimately, I got bored and stopped blogging.

Then I started a new blog in 2009. This time I tried to be more “regular,” posting at least weekly and occasionally a few times a week. I also aimed this restart for a broader audience. Rather than being a personal journal, I was expressing my opinions, sharing my observations, offering my perspectives.

Unfortunately, no one was listening. I accumulated almost no followers and rarely got any comments. Of course, I wasn’t on WordPress. I was using a platform called TypePad.

I told a friend that I felt like my blog was like that tree that falls in the forest and there’s no one around to hear it. It wasn’t making a sound. He said, “Maybe you should restart your blog on WordPress.”

So I did. In 2013. And suddenly there were a lot of people hearing my tree fall. One of my posts got “Freshly Pressed,” and received tons of likes and comments. And my blog started getting a lot of followers.

But something weird happened. My blog took over my life. I became obsessed by it. I became driven by the number of likes and comments each post would get. I checked every day to see how many new followers I got.

My blog was running my life. And ruining my life. Everything else — my job, my wife, my kids — took a backseat to my blog. My life was falling apart.

And when I almost lost my family, I quit blogging. Cold turkey, as they say.

That was three years ago. I rededicated myself relationship with my wife and kids. I focused on my work. I pulled my life back together.

At the end of 2016 I retired. My wife, who was not used to me hanging around during the weekdays, was desperate for me to find something to do that would get me out of her hair. “Why don’t you restart your blog?” she suggested.

So last May, the time was right to once again restart my blog.

And here we are.

Written for today’s one-word prompt, “restart.”

Alone Together

“I’ve tried,” Anna said. “I’ve really, really tried.”

“Have you?” asked her best friend, Bess. “I’ve seen you two interacting and — now don’t take this the wrong way — you can be quite a shrew.”

“Yeah, I know,” admitted Anna. “But that’s because I’m so frustrated. Nick and I just don’t relate to one another anymore. We are more like roommates who share a house than we are husband and wife. I’ve tried talking to him about it, but he says I’m being too sensitive”

“Are you?” Bess asked.

“Bess,” Anna said, somewhat annoyed with her friend, “you only see us when we’re doing something social. You know how charming Nick can be. But once we’re alone at home, we seem to go our separate ways and do our own things.”

“Are you two still having sex?”

“Yes, but it feels almost perfunctory,” Anna said. “More like a chore than a beautiful and intimate sharing.”

“So why are you staying with him? Why don’t you leave? You can stay here with Bob and me until you get your act together.”

“I don’t know,” Anna admitted. “I think it might be better for me if Nick and I are alone and together rather than being alone and apart.”

“I suppose I can relate to that,” said Bess, reflecting on her own marital relationship.

Written for today’s one-word prompt, “relate.”