Friday, September 28, 2012

It Started in an Airplane

Prompt: Write about infidelity.

Time: 10 minutes


Quite honestly, when he first sat down, I was pissed. Here I was, settling in for a ten-hour transatlantic flight, and who had to squeeze into the seat beside me but the six-foot muscly guy with a buzz cut. There were two skinny Asian women across the aisle and a fourteen-year-old in the seat behind me, but I got stuck with the giant.

Hunkering down, I settled in until the flight took off, trying my best to stay as far from the left armrest as I could. Inevitably, however, as I almost always do, I began to do the head nod . . . .

The next thing I knew, the ground was shifting beneath my . . . cheek! Jerking upright, I looked in horror at what I had been using for a pillow: my giant seatmate's shoulder. And that wasn't the worst of it. Right there, squarely atop the sleeve of his clean white T-shirt was a large, dark drool stain.

"I'm . . . I'm so sorry." I looked at the armrest, my lap, anywhere but his face. "I . . . this is so embarrassing."

"Don't worry about it." He grinned and waved away my apology. "Wasn't using that shoulder for anything else."

I laughed awkwardly, wishing I could have wiped the crust out of the corner of my mouth before he started looking at me.

"No really," he assured me, sensing my discomfort. "I kind of . . . liked it."

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Boat on a Beach

(Not this exactly picture, but something similar.)

Time: 10 minutes


"You promised. You promised!" I raced after him, kicking up sand behind me. With his long strides, he reached the boat well before I could catch up. His big callused hands scooped up the thick ropes and began to untangle them.

When I finally reached him on the dock, I stood there, panting and shaking hair out of my eyes.

"Dad . . . no . . . you . . . you promised . . .we could . . . we could take Charley . . . out."

We were supposed to go on our first fishing trip today. Today. My birthday.

"Son, I know I promised, but sometimes things get in the way of promises." He had finished untangling the ropes and was methodically wrapping them around his knuckles.

"But it's nice outside, look!" I waved my arms around. "See? It's not raining. It's not!"

"Not yet." My dad stared out at the bay, at the clouds gathering over the choppy gray water.

"See? See dad? We can still go. Real quick!" I slipped around him and stuck one leg into the boat. Into Charley.

"No." My dad stopped winding the ropes and stood silently staring at me. "Paul, get out."

"But Dad--"


I yanked my foot out of the boat so hard I nearly fell over in the sand and stomped off down the dock. When you're seven, he had said. Seven's the magic age. I took my first fishing trip with my dad when I turned seven.

Magic age, huh. I kicked at a splintered plank of wood until a piece broke off and flew out over the end of dock. Yeah sure.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

No Broken Records at Newport Liberty Waterfront Half Marathon

Having dropped my race times from 1:45 to 1:35: to 1:33 in my last several half marathons, I suppose I have been getting luck and spoiled. In reality, no one can PR ("personal record") every race, and this race was the one that brought home that hard truth for me. A final time of 1:36:12 (averaging 7:21/mile) ranks this time squarely in the middle of all the half marathons I have ever run. Four have been faster, and four have been slower. The downside is even back in 2010, when I was still a running neophyte, I raced a time faster than 1:36.

On the bright side, it was a beautiful sunny day, with the temperature hovering around 65 degrees--nearly perfect running conditions, at least for me. Plus, the race began a 20-minute walk from my apartment, which meant that I didn't have to get up until the luxurious hour of 7am. (Unlike most races, where I oftentimes have to be out the door by 5am.)

The field size was pretty perfect, as well: about 2,500 runners ran, and while the course narrowed severely in several places, I was able to chalk those instances up to training for the NYC Marathon in November, where the field size is 45,000, and I'll be running toe-to-heel in a mass of runners for the entire race.

Between miles 2 and 4, I paced off of a girl with long red hair wearing teal shorts. I thought she was going to take off ahead of me . . . but then I passed her. Around mile 5, a tall, sweaty, overly tan old man wearing a white sweatband and a yellow singlet elbowed past me. He was running at a pretty fast clip, so I ran on his heels for about three miles, until I passed him, as well.

Near mile 8 I got to high-five two little girls, at mile 11 I high-fived R___ (who very sweetly came out to cheer me on), and when I finished the race, I stood by a spectator wielding a megaphone and cheered my head off when I saw my friend T___ charging toward the finish line.

All in all, not a bad morning. Not a bad way to check off one more training run, either. Only six weeks left until the final goal: the NYC Marathon.

Results from this race:

Race LengthFinishing TimeAverage PaceOverall PlaceGender PlaceAge Group Place (F25-29)
13.1 miles1:36:127:21/mile272/2,63936/1,14312/290

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Snapshot Book Review: Game of Thrones #1

A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, #1)A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I generally don't read or enjoy reading fantasy or anything set in medieval times. Game of Thrones, however, is the exception to that rule. Martin makes up for the length and detail of the book by alternating points of view and threads of his story in each chapter. This keeps things interesting and the reader compelled, especially when they favor a certain character. From what I hear, that character will probably eventually be killed . . . but it's nice to enjoy their voice for at least one book.

What's even more refreshing is how closely the first season of the television series follows this first book. I made the unusual decision to watch the television series first, and when I sat down to read the book, it was almost like re-watching the show! Even much of the dialogue was the same.

I look forward to reading the second book . . . and watching the second season.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Envelop Challenge

Prompt: Write using the randomly chosen following items:
  • 2 Characters: a used car salesman and a garbage collector
  • 1 Setting: hell
  • 1 Object: a Chanel handbag
  • 1 Genre: obituary

Time: 10 minutes


Bob Tarley, 1955-2008. Son of Penelope and Michael Tarley. Brother to Katie Tarley. Died on 29 December 2008 of manslaughter.

He was on his route through Hell's Kitchen, collecting garbage behind a falafel shop, when Lenny Freedman, a used car salesman who works part time as a cross-dresser, approached him and asked for a ride to Long Island. Bob refused, and as he turned to board his truck, Lenny embedded one of his 
Louboutin  heels into Bob's thigh and proceeded to strangle Bob with the leather strap of his Chanel handbag. 

Bob leaves behind two children, Mary and Gary, and his wife Susan, who mourns him even as she celebrates her newly acquired Chanel handbag.

May he rest in peace.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

President: Past, Present, or Future

Welcome to the product of my first writing prompt, written with the Jersey City Writers Group!

Prompt: Write about a president: past, present, or future.
Time: 10 minutes

Amy had been standing in line for forty minutes already when she remembered.

"Oh shit."

She reached into her purse, rooted around, and came up empty.


The mother behind her glared as she pulled her son closer. Sighing to herself, Amy darted out of line. How could she have forgotten it?

Gritting her teeth, she raced back across the parking lot, toward her Mazda. If only Ron was still at home, she could call him. But no, he had to be all punctual and go this morning. Now, she knew, he was out drinking with his friends, celebrating what he was sure would be a forgone conclusion.

Actually, on second thought, it was probably a good thing he wasn't home. He would probably have had something condescending to say about women when he saw her rushing in. Women, and women candidates.

Careening onto the highway, she thought about what Ron had said that morning at breakfast.

"Babe, no one's going to vote for HIllary. All the blacks think she's butch, all the spics think she's Republican, the women are too busy wiping spit off their kids' mouths to vote, and the men know better. Why don't you just stay home from the polls this afternoon and save yourself some frustration?"

Well, she was going to make her vote count.