Into the Storm – An excerpt from The Backside of Nowhere By Alec Clayton edited for Creative Colloquy

Author photoSheriff Randy Moss is an uninvited guest at Pop Lawrence’s hurricane party. He says, “Oh, hi. Um, Shelly asked me to come in.”

Not everyone returns his greeting. David and Mary refuse to speak to him. Melissa turns her back and walks into the kitchen, brushing right past him, pours herself a big shot of straight whiskey and swigs it down, and then pours herself another and carries it down the hallway. She goes into a bedroom and kicks the door shut behind her.

A huge crack of thunder shakes the house. Outside the sky is almost as dark as night, but floodlights aimed at the front walk and out across the bay from the deserted deck highlight sheets of sideways rain that look like shimmering mercury. Another loud thunder boom rattles the house, and the lights go out. For a moment it is pitch black inside, until their eyes gradually adjust. Pop says, “David, go crank up the generator.”

David heads out to the garage, where he starts up the generator. The lights come back on. Shelly wanders back to the bedroom, taps on the door and opens it. Melissa is sitting on the edge of the bed holding her drink in her hands. Her eyes are red. Shelly says, “Sweetie, how come you’re in here drinking all alone? You’re not going to let that Randy Moss ruin your day now, are you? You can’t let your resentment ruin you.”

“What do you mean?”

To continue reading Into the Storm click here

My Prostitute Story By William Turbyfill

521628_10153084132195624_555272240_nThis is my one and only story with a prostitute that I am aware of.

It snowed for the past few days and the city of Tacoma only saw fit to plow every other street. Back then, I worked downtown at a call center and got off work at 1am. I walked to my car parked 3 blocks away listening to the spillover of a nearby club making raucous noises in the streets. My poor car. The driver side door was forever secure and needed me to enter the passenger side so that I might crawl over the gear shift in order to drive her.

Upon entering I noticed two things. The first thing was that the front windshield was frozen over. Not unexpected considering the weather and could be easily solved.
The second thing was a real bitch. Due to the cold and the forces of evil, the passenger side door would not shut. The latches or whatever wouldn’t latch or whatever and the door insisted on staying open. On the one hand the driver door would not open and literally on the other hand the passenger door would not close.

I started the car and began attacking the first problem with the defrost button. If things went as planned, the heat would clear the windshield and melt the coldhearted heart of the frost demon who kept my door from closing.

To continue reading My Prostitute Story click here

Chuy and Friends by Daniel Rahe

authorimageIt was clear the instant they drove into the campground that this would not be the kind of camping adventure warmly recalled years later. The site itself was faultless — a shady valley divided by a creek that emptied into a mountain lake. For the two young couples crammed into a Subaru that would still smell like a new car if not for the can of beer that had spilled on the carpet, who had driven across the entirety of a state to be here, a dream was about to be dashed. And what a beautiful dream: old friends huddled beside a popping-hot fire under the stars, drinking from a small bar lovingly packed into an old Samsonite briefcase — a night of karaoke without a soundtrack, half-true stories, shit-shooting, blowing off steam. Laughing. When do we ever laugh as hard as we do when we are camping and drinking?

They’d been camping many times before. But the crowd of absolute hellions gathered at Kitt Creek Campground was something straight out of a nightmare — the kind of kids who run around mostly naked, carrying burning fire logs over their heads while screaming in horrid redneck accents about video game heroes. The kind who drop trou and piss right outside their own tent’s entrance. The kind who have been around so much second-hand smoke, they speak with a rasp before puberty. There were eight such creatures sojourning at the tent site directly beside Jake, Amy, Warren, and Tess’s reservation. Making matters far, far worse, the horde was accompanied by a Great Dane restrained only by a makeshift corral of baby-gates and chicken wire. They soon learned his name was Chuy, and when Chuy barked, the valley seemed to throb with echoes. Two apparently impotent supervisory adults slouched over a table and talked animatedly about the merits of romaine lettuce over iceberg lettuce.

To continue reading Chuy and Friends click here.

Green River Thriller (part of a memoir) By Aaron Flett

9024bwaI lived next door to the Green River Killer, and eventually befriended him, so I could turn him in for the reward. He was actually a nice guy, albeit a little strange.

As a kid growing up in the early eighties and living very near the Sea-Tac strip where most of the murders took place, I worried the Green River Killer would kill me, but my mother told me he only targeted women, and I had nothing to be afraid of.

I was safe, but I still had concerns like: what about my mom? She dropped me off at the Lewis and Clark Bowling Alley every Saturday morning for youth bowling league, he could get her there. As luck would have it my mom wasn’t a prostitute so the odds of her being a victim were low.

When I was nineteen-years old, and after the killings seemed to have stopped, my daughter Jessica was born. I moved my new family in with my mom. The Green River Killer didn’t scare her, but having a newborn in the house did. When I graduated from high school her gifts to me were things like a microwave and flat ware, so I could get out of her house permanently. My new family didn’t stay long.

To continue reading Green River Thriller click here.

Surrender by Dawn Ellis

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA“I got a DUI a year or so ago. Anyone can get one. Do you mind driving?” he asks, charmingly, hopping in the passenger seat.

“Sure,” I say, honored.

“Use those side mirrors. You don’t need to turn and look,” he coaches me along the highway.

“Oh, okay,” I answer, eager to please.

“You don’t have to turn on your blinker when you’re already in a turn lane.”

Grateful for the lesson, I say, “I never knew that.”

“Pull into that spot, right in front.”

“I’m not very good at parallel parking,” I apologize. “And the spot looks kind of small.”

“Hey, let me do this, so we can get in there and get a drink. It’s okay if I just park the car,” he reassures. He spins the steering wheel one way, then the other, deftly maneuvering into the tight space. He turns the tires to the curb, jumps out of the car, tosses my keys at me, and speed walks into the bar.

I stand at the curb looking after him, adoringly. . .

To continue reading Surrender click here.

Nuclear Strawberries by Martin Chase

chaseAs he shuffled ever-so slowly through the various avenues formed by these toxic, stinking ziggurats, his eyes swished about and mentally picked at appealing morsels of charcoal-smelling, singed rifle barrels, giant, radioactive roach talons with the look and smell of overcooked intestine, grossly-priced tablets that shot off hostile, acerbic-odored volleys of electric mercury, and the occasional, blackened skull or three, some clad in scalded, rubber masks, others laid bare and gloomily grimacing sans jaws.

But in the midst of his last-minute window-shopping, the soldier’s ears captured the dull echo of an aching moan to his left.

Turning towards the object of interest, the soldier gazed upon the thing it had originated from; a fellow soldier.

Though he was partially obscured under the oppressive, overhanging shadows of the malignant, acid-soaked clouds above, the soldier instantly recognized the muted green jumpsuit and slipshod gas mask which clad the individual – a fellow, emaciated praying mantis in the service of NATO.

To continue reading Nuclear Strawberries click here.

Silver by Christian Carvajal

Carv Author PhotoIn those days, the year of our Lord Jesus Christ one thousand seven hundred and eighty-seven, Paris was a city abuzz with death. It buzzed as a topic of conversation: in the private apartments of His Majesty King Louis XVI at Versailles; in the salons of nobles (who fretted, too, about the aroma of revolution in the air); and in taverns, soon to be called bistrots, in which lesser men shouted and sang around mouthfuls of veal. It buzzed in the clouds of pernicious insects thickening the air over churchyard cemeteries. And it buzzed in the streets, as soldiers, executioners, and laborers made use of what few livres they earned, some by killing, others by handling the remains.

For it was in that year that millions of erstwhile Parisians, some nestled safely in the arms of their Father above, some wailing and roasting beneath our feet, saw their mortal remains transported from the overflowing Cemetery of the Holy Innocents and many other places into quarries nearby. These tunnels, first mined by our Roman forebears, were to be employed as an Empire of the Dead, an ossuary that stretched on for leagues. Thus, the noxious smells and gruesome remains of our ancestors from centuries past were to be relocated between earth and Hell. I, like many others who lived in the shadow of Montparnasse, had been hired by the Council of State to assist in the exhumation and transportation of bodies. It was grim, malodorous, pestilent work, the kind that draws men together even as it enflames their weary spines. Yet I suppose even the most burdensome labor may grow routine after a time; and so it was that I struck up a friendship with a fellow I was proud to call Henri. A large man, broad-shouldered and strong as a wall, he seemed to have been made for such work. Never once did I observe him so much as scowling or flinching, though the spectacles of Hades affronted us daily.

To continue reading Silver click here.

Coming Down The Mountain, Excerpt from the forthcoming book, THE HERMIT by Gabriel Roberts

The HermitMy poor bike was covered in ice for days on end and it took some time for it to warm up.  I had moved it before the first snow into a shelter that was being used to dry out the weed.  Before I could even get to the road, I would have to travel three quarters of a mile through foot deep untouched snow up a hill.  Trying to do this with my motorcycle alone, packed with a fully loaded bike and 50 lb backpack was simply impossible.  My boss pulled their quad up to my bike and wrapped a car towing strap around the front forks of my bike.  In what I can only characterize as the most brilliant and dangerous backwoods towing job I’ve ever come across, we inched up the hill, essentially being dragged and sledded by my boss riding in reverse.  Miraculously, I had made it to the top and said goodbye to my kind employer.

To continue reading Coming Down The Moutain click here.

Riviera Jet Lag Party by Joshua Swainston

Nice Beach ChairThe story takes place on July 2nd 2000

“Why do you want to sleep? You slept on the train,” Claire said, exiting the Sephora boutique.

“I’m tired. What do you want me to do?” Adam tailed behind. They had been shopping their way through Nice, France since they arrived that morning.

“I want you to come with me. We’re going to meet up with Alice and Sonia for dinner.”

“I’m sure you would have a much more fun without me sleeping through the meal.”

“We’re only in Nice two days and you want to sleep. When we were planning this trip, you insisted we see the French Riviera. You said you didn’t want to just go from Venice to Paris. You aren’t going to see anything from the hotel bed.”

To continue reading Riviera Jet Lag Party click here.

The Music Lesson by Alec Clayton

Author photoAs first dates go, this one was outstanding. She had the biggest eyes he had ever seen, and deep dimples. He loved dimples. The meal was enjoyable and not too heavy. He was confident that he came across as witty and sincere.  When he took her home she invited him up for a drink. They sat side-by-side on the couch, she with her feet tucked yoga style. At last he worked up the nerve to kiss her and she responded, if not passionately at least firmly. Deciding not to pussyfoot around, he reached between her legs.

”No,” she said, pulling his hand away.

“No? Not gonna happen?”

“Nope. Sorry. Not gonna happen.”

To continue reading Music Lesson click here.