Thursday, August 13, 2009

Great Hites # 65


This week have stories by:
Norval Joe <--------- This week's WinnerWinner
Eldon KR
Jeff Hite

Download Great Hites 65 m4a format

A Dog With Dry Skin
By: Eldon KR

I don't know why I didn't see it coming. In all honesty I should have, and I normally would have. But I had been with her for so long that I really didn't expect any of this. I had an addon for Firefox that would always reload the tabs that were last viewed when the browser was launched again. Occasionally I'd see things like price checks on plane tickets, rental cars, things like that. I never really thought anything of it. She told me she was leaving me in November. I was blindsided. Everything seemed like we were doing great. She didn't actually end up leaving to go back to Texas until the second week of December.

Our last goodbye and everything leading up to it was fueled by nothing more than pity on her part. I mean, when two years of your life is getting back on a plane for home because she didn't know what she wanted out of her life, you're not exactly doing backflips are you? But I knew that she was leaving for a month before she actually did, so there was plenty of time for the “I'm never going to see you again” weirdness. Except for the fact that for most of this time she led me to believe that I could fix whatever was wrong and that she'd be back. There was also the “I can't believe you've done this to me I wish you were dead” screaming after I found out that she'd been using everything I owned to cheat on me with some guy I knew down the road for that month she was getting ready to leave. The guy that I'd known since the first day I move up here, the guy I went on odd jobs with in the summer.

Every time I was out in Indy to see my friend, or in class, or somewhere around town they were together. Every time I was at home, she had to go get cigarettes. Or she just felt like going for a drive, or to Walmart. There was even one time when he was at the house and she said she had to take him over to Eric's house to do some work. At ten o'clock at night. Yeah, the guy how had me spend most of the summer painting his garage and doing work on his house, let the kid use his spare bedroom as a bachelor pad because I was at the house. And she didn't feel the need to tell me any of this was going on until she thought that she caught something.

I'd like to take this time to reiterate that I should have been able to put all the pieces together. And I know what you're thinking, if we were already broken up with me why did it matter? Well, it mattered to me because I was led to believe that she'd come back, and that she needed a break, and her sister was about to have a baby and she needed to be there. Oh shut up, it was a really hard time for me and I was going to hold onto any small glimmer of hope that I could like a drowning man to an inner tube. Anyway, it mattered to me because this whole time this was going on, she was being sneaky about it. We were still sharing a room, and a bed. We were still sleeping together. Sometimes she still told me she loved me. I felt wronged.

I played Celldweller on the way to the airport in Indianapolis. It was a band I'd discovered that she actually liked. And the soundtrack would provide no awkward small talk, and no awkward silences. I dropped her off at the airport. She kissed me and told me she loved me. She said if I could find work and get the money that I could fly to Texas to kidnap her and bring her back to Indiana. All I could do was hold back my tears and tell her that I loved her too. It wasn't until I got back on the highway that I started crying, and screaming, and punching my steering wheel.

My friend in Indy knew t his would be a tough time for me and said I could hang out with him and his wife for a few days and we could get drunk, talk about zombies, and play video games. I've never been too terribly good with directions in a place I'm not at often. I find one easy to memorize route to get to some place and I stick to that route. If there was another place I needed to learn how to get to in Indianapolis it was usually just a different variation on that one route that I'd have to memorize. So it didn't take me long to get lost trying to get to his house on the way back from the airport. That and it's really easy to miss an exit on the highway at night when you're crying. I'm not down with all the macho manly man crap. If I'm hurting on an emotional level then dammit, I'm going to cry.

Moving on, I called my friend told him I was lost. He gave me directions to get to his work from where I was because it was easy to get to his house from where he worked. Well, yet again I made a wrong turn and got all turned around and lost again. So he told me to pull off the road and wait for him in the parking lot of a near by White Castle until he got off work. I was sitting in this parking lot for about four maybe five hours. To keep myself awake to decrease my chances of being robbed I spent that time listening to the first book of the Archangel podcast. The sun was starting to come up and I see my friends car enter the parking lot and he engaged in an impromptu game of bumper tag to make sure I was awake before he parked his car. We sat in the restaurant and he ate while I talked. I followed him back to his house, got some sleep, and we spent the next few days pickling our livers and playing Gears of War, good therapy in my book.

The next week of December rolled by and I still wasn't used to being alone. It was the week of Christmas, my grandmother got me a membership to The Smithsonian, still not sure what privileges that entitles me to, but the magazine is pretty good. Christmas day came around, I day day and not morning because nobody wakes up before noon at this house without a legitimate need to. I walked into the living room and there was a cardboard box on the floor. I asked my mom what was in it, she tells me to lift up the box and see what was under it.

As I approached the box I heard a muffled bark from beneath the cardboard. Excited I lifted up the box and was shocked at what I saw. My mother had gotten me one of those robot dogs that you'd find in the toy aisle at Walmart. I was slightly annoyed by this, as it appeared to be a gag. I'd gotten a robot dog, instead of an actual puppy. I'd wanted one since I moved up here and I was finally living in a place that had a yard, instead of an apartment, or a dorm, or in a car. I went along with it anyway seeing as it was Christmas, and a gag gift was better than no gift at all. I didn't get used to sleeping alone, and having a whole bed to myself until recently. Yeah, I had to brave through the cold winter nights alone. But now I had a dog with dry skin to keep me company.

Creative Commons License
A Dog With Dry Skin by Eldon KR is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

"Once in a life time"
By: Norval Joe

He started his car, looked in the side view mirror out of habit, and remembered that it had been gone for weeks. He had many opportunities to replace it since the day the screws had loosened enough for the mirror to drop off. He hadn't replaced it. He just didn't want to make the effort; take the time.
He took a cursory glance over his shoulder at the oncoming traffic and gunned his engine. He shot into traffic, ignored the honks and hand gestures of the other drivers and headed for home.
"Mark. I'm amazed you're not dead yet; or at least had your car totaled. That guy in the Jaguar only missed you buy inches. You must have been born under a lucky star, or have a guardian angel following you around," a man said from the passenger seat.
Mark took off his red ball cap and smoothed his thinning blonde hair and wondered if it was time to start using a scalp treatment, or if he should just get a wig. I'd probably look like that dipstick, Donald Trump. What a moron, he thought.
"I'm smarter than that Colby. I'm smarter than all of them and faster, too. I stand on the road side for eight hours every day with as sign, telling these idiots when to stop and when to go. I know them all. See these jerks?" Mark motioned at the cars in the traffic around them with a wave of his arm. "I know which exactly ones are going to get out of my way, and which won't. I can tell in an instant."
"What ever. I think you must be too mean to hit. You give off some kind of negative energy that pushes people away, like a force field. These cars couldn't hit you if they tried. They would just bounce off your protective buffer." Colby laughed.
Mark looked at his passenger, observed his sheepish grin and red face, and asked, "if you're so smart why aren't you being blown out the window by my evil hate ray? You're no different than the rest of these pathetic losers. I'm even concentrating on you, focusing my energy. Can you feel my hate? You're still sitting there," he said, acid dripping from his lips along with the words.
Colby laughed again and settled down in his seat. He made a show of holding onto the hand rests. "I need the ride, of course. And from what I've seen these last two years, the safest place on this road, is right here where I'm sitting. Besides, you may hate me, but you love it when I give you money for gas."
"You know what?" Colby continued. "I think there is more to it. It's like a cosmic yin and yang thing. I'm a nice guy. I thrive on being nice to people, even to people who are mean or rude to me. And you need me too. You need someone to be condescending and abusive too, because you're mean."
Colby turned in his seat and looked closely at the driver. "Some times I wonder if you are really as hateful as you seem, or if it is just an act you put on. How old were you when you became so hateful? Were you like, a bully, in grammar school? Steal kids lunch money? Kick the dog?" Colby shook his head and looked around to see how close they were to home.
Mark got a half grin on his face and said, "not really. I didn't need to kick that flea ridden mutt. I could beat him up just by looking at him. Maybe you are right about the force field. I could just walk into a room where he was sleeping and he would wake up with a jerk and be on his feet in an instant, ready to bolt. He wouldn't run at first, just stare at me, poised to flee. I would glare back and squint. It wouldn't take long and his nerve would break. He would be off in a shot, a cloud of flakey skin following him in his wake."
He let Colby out in front of a suburban house, the manicured lawn neatly edged, pansies and anemones in the planters that lined the walkway to front door. Mark raced off almost before Colby could shut the door completely.
He mulled over the things his passenger had said. It wasn't the first time that co-workers on the road crew had joked about what a miserable cuss Mark was. "You don't really need personality to hold a stop sign," one guy had said as he stood right next to Mark. It had never bothered him before, in fact he had taken some great pride in his ability to offend. Something about the conversation this afternoon had unsettled him. It left him with an uneasy flutter behind his heart, like there was a moth in there, trapped between old shirts squeezed into a dusty, dark, closet.
He walked into his apartment and collapsed into a recliner, pulled the lever back that lifted the foot rest, and began to look for the TV remote. "Have you seen the remote?" He shouted at the hallway to the bedroom. "Maggie, have you seen the remote for the TV?"
"You're probably sitting on it," a slender, middle aged woman in pink surgical scrubs said as she walked through the sitting room to the kitchen. "Did you think to look before you sat down?"
A moment later Maggie walked back out of the kitchen with two glasses of coke and handed one to Mark.
"What's wrong with you?" She sneered. "No insult or sarcasm?"
He sat, staring at the TV, though it remained off. He said nothing.
"Mark, what is it? Are you sick? Is it your heart?" She sounded concerned.
"No. I'm not sick. I don't know what it is. Colby and I were talking on the way home today. And it made me think. I'm still thinking, and it hurts my head," he said to Maggie, finally looking at her. "I've been mean and hateful most of my life. He asked my when I became that way."
Maggie sat on the arm of the recliner, leaned on Mikes shoulder and kissed him on his temple. She said soothingly, "you're not so mean. I know how you really are, inside."
"Do you? I mean, you think you do, but, how do you know? Maggie, I hate everybody. People piss me off all day long. Everyone I meet is stupid. Colby reminded me of a dog we had when I was a kid. That dog was scared to death of me. But, why?" He moved to the edge of the recliner and turned to look at Maggie. "I was eight years old. I'd never hit the dog. I never even shouted at the pitiful creature. It knew, though, when I looked at it; it knew that I hated it."
Mark stood up and leaned forward, his arms held out to his sides, emphatically. "I was eight years old and I hated a dog! What happened to me that made me such a cold, spiteful, condescending and mean child?"
He sat back down. He didn't look for the remote. Though Maggie tried to engage him in conversation he didn't speak. He only sat, staring blankly at the dark screen of the TV.
She finally said, "well, Sunshine, I'm going to bed. If you come to some earth shattering conclusion, don't wake me up."

In the morning Maggie awoke to find that she was still alone in the bed. She walked into the sitting room and said, "so, you never came in last night, did you solve any of the worlds problems?" She looked around, but Mark wasn't in the apartment.
It was past noon, when Mark finally returned. Maggie was speechless. Under one arm he carried an overweight black dachshund. It was so old that its entire muzzle was grey. In the other hand he carried a sack with dog food, a bowl, and a bottle of moisturizing shampoo for dogs.

The World as We Know it?
By: Jeff Hite

It was not long after we started having the large cooking fires that the started coming. They came in ones and twos but they came for the smells of meat, the cooked and uncooked alike. It was not for companionship or the scratches behind the ears that they came. They came for the food, and stayed because we didn't drive them away. We didn't drive them away because we discovered that if they slept near the fire, the would hear the bigger and more dangerous animals long before we did. They would not bite us so long as we fed them and did not abuse them and so they stayed.
And so the story goes, but that is not the whole story or even the most important one. I am here to tell you that there are more important parts of that story that most people don't know, but that they should. So sit like the good dog that I know you are and listen as I tell you.
In the beginning there was water. Water and nothing else, but water was not enough. With nothing else water was not happy, because water is only happy when it has something to crash against, some thing to slosh around in or being lapped up by a long warm tongue. So God created the land. The land was good, it made the water happier, now it had something to slosh around in and something to crash in waves against. So for a very long time that was all their was, water and land, and the two of them were very happy together.
But water was happy because it had the land, and it had creatures to swim through it as only can happen in water. Land could not have these creatures because the needed something to swim in and land was too hard. The creatures lived in and on and through water, and this made the water very happy. Almost as happy as it could be.
Land, however, was lonely in the middle where the water did not touch, it longed to be touched by paws that would trot along its surfaces warmed by the sun above. It wanted creatures that could scratch those places near water, but that water could not get to. It wanted to be home for those creatures at night. But it could not have the creatures of the sea, because they did not have paws to run on, or fur to keep them warm at night when the sun went and hid. They did not have claws that would scratch those places that needed to be scratched. So the land was lonely. Finally the land asked God for creatures of it's own. God decided that this was a good idea and so He put great monstrous beast on the land, and this made the land happy.
But the creatures that God had put on the land, were huge, and they tore into the lands back, were land only wanted to be scratched. Their feet fell with great pounding that cause the land great pain. They were all together too big, and made too much noise for the lands liking. So that when the great ball of fire fell from the sky and landed in the water, he was sorry to see his friends hurt so, and was pained first by the great heat and then by the great cold that followed, but he was happy to see the great creatures go.
God then put smaller creatures on the land, at first they were too small, and then he made some larger ones again, but none of them had what the land was looking for. Land needed creatures that could roam it's middle parts, scratching it where it needed to be scratched, digging small holes to get out those annoyingly shaped things buried in it, tickle it with shaggy fur as they rolled around on their backs, and most of all eat those things that no one else would even look at. And so God created dogs.
Dogs were perfect for what land needed. They Roamed the middle parts, dug and scratched and, rolled and ate. And did just want the land needed to make it happy. And Land for it's part did what it could to make the dogs happy. It provided food, and shelter in the little hollowed out places. It didn't let the Rabbit dig too deep, just deep enough that a good dog could flush them out and chase after them as they ran. Land gave them places to romp and play as much as it could, and as many smells as any dog could manage. And land and the dogs where happy.
God had of course created other creatures that land liked as well, but none that it liked as well as dogs. One of those was man. Man was good to the land, it hunted the too large beasts that still stomped on and dug at the land. They collected berries and tilled soil that needed to be turned like a shirt that sticks to your back. They harvested trees that had grown with their roots too deep in the land. They were not perfect of course not like dogs, because the lit fires that if not attended would burn and to hot or in large areas and this hurt the land. But, for the most part land did not mind the humans.
As much as dogs love land, for all that it gave him, them they were curious about these new creatures. And they had developed a problem that land could not help them with. So as man hunted, they followed them and ate things that they dropped, some good and some bad. But as man learned the secrets of fire, that no other creature on land or in the water had mastered, dogs were even more curious. These creatures could make the darkness of night disappear, and it was warm. Dogs loved to b e warm, especially when they slept. So they crept closer.
Man then learned to cook the food that they took in their kill. And dogs loved the smell of the roasting meat. Meat that was raw as good, but nothing beat the flavor for meat that was fat and dripping, even if it was cooled by the time dogs would get to it. So the dogs crept closer.
Dogs other problem was the skin on their backs. It was hard to scratch, and it always itched. Because land loved them it offered rough patches of ground and rocks for the dog to rub against. This was good for both of them, since it also tickled the land that made it happy. But dogs were lazy, and when they were not chasing rabbits or following humans for their food they wanted to be sleeping, or lying with their tongues hanging out just resting. They did not want to be bothered with rolling around on the ground to scratch their backs.
So when one night a dog snuck into a mans firelight to steal a bit of food that one of the children had dropped, it happened. The dog crept to the edge of the fire light and waited. Waited until there was no one around. Then moved in for the bit of meat. It started to pick it up and run when it saw a bone, also left on the ground. Now any good dog could not resist a good bone to chew on, but this one still had meat on it and so the temptation was double. The dog gobbled the meat and moved to the bone. It was too big for it to carry back in the darkness and so he almost ran away, but the meat on the bone was too much for him. He sat down and gnawed on it, only a little at first making as little noise as possible. The Meat was delicious, and still warm from the fire, but not too hot. He could not help himself so he lay down and chewed in earnest now.
He was so taken by the taste of the meat that he did not hear or see the child as it snuck up behind him. At first he was so surprised by the touch that he jumped to his feet and growled. But the child backed away. They watched each other for a long time. The whole time the smell of the meat on the bone tempted the dog. So after what felt like a very long time the dog began to chew on the bone again, and again the child touched his back. He stood this time but did not growl, and the child continued to rub it's hands over the dogs back. And it was glorious. The bone was wonderful but the child was scratching the dry skin on the dogs back. He could eat and be scratched.
And that is how it started. So I guess it was the scratch that drew the dog to us after all, and why it stayed. But if you ever see a dog rolling around outside, it is not because a human won't scratch it's back, but because dogs remember their first master the land, and how it liked to be tickled.


Eldon said...

Just realized that my name for the last prompt I submitted a story for my name is spelled "Elkton" or something along those lines. Could this type-o possibly be rectified please?