2013 in Review


My stats (and just about everything about this blog) were unfortunately very lackluster in 2013, but with some very specific goals in mind (perhaps by not using “very” twice in the same sentence) 2014 will be bangin’ for “F*ck You.”  Expect some big things if I have anything to say about it.

Cheers to a great 2014!

~A.R. Schultz

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 7,200 times in 2013. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 6 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

 

Sonia G Medeiros’ “March Writing Challenge: Make a Wish”


The past two months I have partaken in Sonia’s writing challenge, and March’s challenge is no exception.  I have never taken the leap and written a Western tale of any kind, so on this particular go I decided to run with the genre.  I was influenced by Bill Willingham’s “Fables” and its newest spinoff “Fairest” making my “Make a Wish” attempt one-part Aladdin and one-part wild west.

Overall, I had fun with the piece, but I did over shoot my word count mark by almost fifty-words but like King’s novels sometimes it is what is and it’s done when it’s done.

Abacus

Gunslinger by Kevin Jackson

Abacus gracefully rippled past the wind as she picked up momentum across the dusty badlands.  Dry shrubbery and various cacti dotted the landscape, but to William “Bat” Matterson they were barely discernible blurs as he hung low on his steed—just a small misshapen shadow upon the back of a valiant beast.  His left hand clutched a single burlap sack–it contained a small brass lamp with splotches of sand and deep engravings that spiraled ad infinitum around the curvature of its spout.

Bill had scavenged and piecemealed his way into surviving over the years, but his existence had not been an easy one.  If it hadn’t been for Abacus he would have surely thrown himself into the nearest quarry, but as irony would have it he had found a powerful disembodied voice buried in a quarry out by Rock Cliff.

His heart pounded as he made his first wish–it was the one thing Bill dreamed about as he slumbered beneath the desert lights. Bat wished to go home.  He remembered his wish vividly, because the mystical voice had chuckled first and then calmly replied, “Ride home.  You will be welcomed.”

He had immediately snatched up his newly acquired bobble and hopped upon his only saving grace, Abacus, to finally begin his venture homeward.

What Bill had not realized was that through it all–through the bungled poker games, through the liquor, through the leeches who called themselves friends, through thick and thin Abacus had always been there for him.  Abacus had saved his life on more than one occasion, and had become his best friend and by extension his home.

William “Bat” Matterson would ride Abacus for eternity as his graceful companion sped along the desert’s highway to a destination that would never come.  Bill was home at last, whether he knew it or not.  The genie chuckled.

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Sonia G Medeiros’ “February Writing Challenge: Of Love and Leap Years”


Last month I participated in Sonia Medeiros’ writing challenge, which consisted of creating a fifty-word blip using a specific word from a predetermined list.  It was the first challenge of Sonia’s that I had the pleasure of partaking in and all-in-all I had a terrific time.  I loved throwing my hat in, but what I really enjoyed was reading everyone else’s take on the task.

This month she is holding a new challenge that asks readers to compose a 250-word short about ‘Love’ and/or ‘Leap Years.’  Within the confines of the piece the writer needs to include five-words from a new predetermined list and upon completing the challenge the writer is then required to add their own word to the list in order to mix it up a bit and vary the posts.

I completed a rough draft of my entry yesterday and this morning I polished it off.  Hopefully everyone like it!  My word to be added to the challenge will be ‘idiosyncratic’ and here is my take on Sonia’s February writing challenge:

A Defective Year

Today was his sixth birthday—technically he was twenty-four, but who was counting?  After all, Leap Year was a variance—an aberration; it didn’t need to exist; yet it did.

In his book lethargy was top priority for the day.  He showered, threw on some clothes, popped open a Guinness, but just as he was about to take sip—he let out a slight cough.  It was minute, but he could feel another building.  Suddenly, he dropped his Guinness and before the can could strike the white-checkered linoleum and the second cough had commenced–he was gone.

Vanished.  Poof.  Non-existent.

For a nanosecond he felt as if he were underwater, but when he opened his eyes he was kissing a beautiful woman.  Blonde-hair, fair skinned, blue eyes, and his heart skipped forward and proceeded directly past ‘Go!’  He blushed, but the kiss was so tender and intense he fell into it like Skywalker tumbling into the Sarlacc.

As the two parted, he smiled and, in return, a smile escaped her lips.  He didn’t know where he was or how he had gotten here, but he knew he wanted to stay.  Love at first sight had never been in his paradigm, but in his heart he—poof.

He was gone.

He was back in his apartment with a Guinness bubbling at his feet.  He immediately grabbed his coat and was out the door before the can could stop spinning.  He would find the girl—that was the magic of Leap Year.

The Elephant Killer


"Awakening" by Cedar Lee

I looked to the right—and, then I looked to the left.

“Nothing there,” I whispered to Ollie the stuffed elephant.

He wore attire akin to Babar, but I christened him Ollie after watching Orlando slay an Oliphant in “Lord of the Rings.”  I crept out from behind my bed.  I had pushed it away from the wall—leaving just a large enough gap for me to slither behind–with Ollie in hand.

“Ssshhhh, Ollie it’s ok.  It’s almost over.”

Mommy and daddy were fighting in the living room, and it was making Ollie upset.  I could hear daddy cursing.  He was saying words I had never heard before, but I could barely hear them over mommy’s crying.  I was brave, so I didn’t cry, but Ollie was scared and he wouldn’t stop.

“Ssshhhh,” I said again.

He stopped fussing for a bit, but I could still hear him whimpering.  I heard a loud crash from the kitchen and suddenly mommy stopped crying.  Everything was silent—even Ollie stopped.  I scuttled under my bed and hid.  The door slowly opened and the light from beneath the door spread throughout my room.  I cupped my hands over Ollie’s mouth to keep him quiet.

“Bud…where you at?” my father said softly, “I know you’re here.”

This time I was scared.  I slid further beneath the frame of my bed.  The last time he talked like that I got hurt and now everything’s fuzzy if I think too hard and I don’t remember things too well anymore.  My closet door groaned open.

“Bud, you in there?”

My pajama pants snagged on a loose nail in the floorboard and ripped.  Normally the sound would have been minute, but with the tension in the room it sounded deafening.  I automatically clasped Ollie’s ears.  Suddenly my dad’s face appeared.

“There you are bud.”

He clumsily groped for me but he couldn’t see very well because of the blood on his face.  I kicked in him in the face—hard.  He groaned like the closet door and then cursed again.

“You little bastard.  Get the fuck over here before I break your fucking legs.”

I screamed and lunged for the other side of the bed.  I scuttled out like a crab, but scraped my back on the metal frame.  I screamed again.  I start running for the door with Ollie in hand.  I made it out the door and stumbled into the living room.  I looked over my shoulder and saw pure hatred.  I tripped over mommy and fell into the kitchen.  He smiled.

I flipped over and said, “Sorry Ollie,” and swung him out in front of me.

The little buttons on his vest raked across daddy’s face and he stumbled over mommy just like I had.  At that same moment there was a loud ‘BOOM!’ and the dishes shook.  Suddenly daddy’s chest started to turn red and he slumped to his knees and fell beside mommy.

I started crying.  I couldn’t find Ollie.  And, then everything turned black.

When I awoke all I could hear were people murmuring and the soft tone of a television.  I was in an all white bed.  My vision was blurry, but I sat up and began frantically searching.

“Ollie…where’s Ollie!?”

And, then a nice man in a uniform handed me something soft.

“Ollie!” I squealed with glee.

“He was a bit of a mess, but we cleaned him up real nice for you,” said the nice man.

Everybody in the room was staring at us.

“Thank you—,“ I began to stammer out,  “—but, where’s mommy.”

“She’s alright,” said the nurse that I hadn’t even noticed, “she’s in the next room.  She just had a little bump on her head.  Officer Ackles here made sure to take care of her while you were asleep.”

“Thank you Mr. Ackles.”

“Just call me James, son”

“Okay,” I said, drawing out the ‘a’ as I clutched Ollie.

I don’t remember much after that.  I remember Ollie, I remember seeing the nice man again, and I remember seeing mommy, but everything was a haze as I fell in and out of sleep.

I was seventeen at the time.  I’m forty-nine now.  What I do remember is—is Ollie.  That was the night Ollie the elephant killed my father.

Sin City


It was quick like a knife.  Slick, and coated in precision.  It was meant to be greater than God, but not even the dealers could give it a nod.  It was fierce, so much so that it was feared.  Like a devil wrapped it bacon it was acidic and greasy.

The lights shone straight until the left one wobbled and winked out.  The radio was loud, the driver was drunk, but he drove straight.  He hit the curve at a cool ninety and let the bottle slide over to his awaiting hand.  He took a swig and hit the next gear.  The car lurched forward and topped out.

There was a flash as the lightning highlighted the nearly hidden cop car.  It whirled and flipped on its lights.  It shrieked and chased.  It was in a grove of trees that the two drivers finally came together.  The officer sloppily hopped out of his car and sprinted over to the old one ahead.  He used his steno as cover in the rain.  As soon he rapped upon the window there was a burst.  At the same time another bolt hit the tree in front of the winked out headlight.  The greasy devil held an old earthly revolver in one hand and his bottle in the other.  The officer slumped and fell as the grove caught aflame amidst the rain.  The last words the cop ever heard were the ones that bled through the static and rain, “he was lookin’ for a soul to steal.”

The driver drove– more crookedly than before, but still straight enough to find the road back to hell.  The road to hell is always straight, but the driver is always crooked.  The left headlight winked back into existence and the two marched along to the town that always needs two working lights.  One red and one black.

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