December 2017 - LM - He's Way Too Young For Me

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  1. #1

    December 2017 - LM - He's Way Too Young For Me


    He's Way Too Young For Me

    The winner will receive a badge pinned to their profile and given a month’s access to FoWF where you’ll have access to hidden forums and use of the chat room.

    This is a Fiction writing competition, and the prompt for this month in 'He's Way Too Young For Me' Pick your own title, write about whatever you want, as long as it's related in some way to the prompt.

    The Judges for this LM are: TBA
    If you want to judge and I left you out, send me your scores by the deadline. If you're listed here and don't wish to judge, let me know at once (please).

    All entries that wish to retain their first rights should post in the LM Workshop Thread.

    All Judges scores will be PMed to kilroy214.

    All anonymous entries will be PMed to kilroy214.


    • All forum rules apply. The LM competition is considered a creative area of the forum. If your story contains inappropriate language or content, do not forget add a disclaimer or it could result in disciplinary actions taken. Click here for the full list of rules and guidelines of the forum.
    • No Poetry! Nothing against you poets out there, but this isn’t a place for your poems. Head on over to the poetry challenges for good competition over there. Some of us fiction people wouldn’t be able to understand your work! Click here for the poetry challenges. Play the prose-poem game at your own risk.
    • No posts that are not entries into the competition are allowed. If you have any questions, concerns, or wish to take part in discussion please head over to the LM Coffee Shop. We’ll be glad to take care of your needs over there.
    • Editing your entry after posting isn’t allowed. You’ll be given a ten minute grace period, but after that your story may not be scored.
    • Only one entry per member.
    • The word limit is 650 words not including the title. If you go over - Your story will not be counted. Microsoft Word is the standard for checking this. If you are unsure of the word count and don't have Word, please send your story to me and I'll check it for you.

    There are a few ways to post your entry:

    1. If you aren't too concerned about your first rights, then you can simply post your entry here in this thread.
    2. You can opt to have your entry posted in the Workshop which is a special thread just for LM entries. You would put your story there if you wish to protect your first rights, in case you wish to have the story published one day. Note: If you do post it in the workshop thread, you must post a link to it here in this thread otherwise your story may not be counted.
    3. You may post your story anonymously. To do so, send your story to the host of the competition. If you wish to have us post it in the workshop thread then say so. Your name will be revealed upon the release of the score.

    Everyone is welcome to participate. A judge's entry will receive a review by their fellow judges, but it will not receive a score. Please refrain from 'like'-ing or 'lol'-ing an entry until the scores are posted.

    Judges: In the tradition of LM competitions of yore, if you could send the scores one week after deadline it will ensure a timely release of scores and minimize the overall implementation of porkforking. Please see the Judging Guidelines if you have questions. Following the suggested formatting will be much appreciated, too.

    This competition will close on:
    Friday, the 15th of December at 11:59 PM, GMT time.

    Scores would be appreciated by Saturday, the 30th of December, at the latest.

    Click here for the current time.
    “On the chest of a barmaid in Sale, were tattooed all the prices of ale. And on her behind, for the sake of the blind, was the same only written in braille"

    "Ambiguity is one of the greatest faults in a craft. It comes from vague ambitions. One may inspired by good ambitions, but the immediate concern of the craftsman is to know what he is capable of doing at present; and to do it."
    - Edward Johnston

  2. #2
    Becoming An Invisible Shrew
    (650 wds)

    Maman told me to make myself small. She stared deep into my eyes to be sure I understood. I nodded. Looking up at Gulloo, tall now like our father, I wondered if he had ever been small like me. I wanted to remind Maman that I was the youngest of all her children, so the smallest. Tiny and wee, she would say; unseen by predators.

    "Like the falcon and the shrew?," I would ask.

    "Yes, but you are an invisible shrew."

    She always tried to hide me in her skirts as we walked; she kept one hand on my shoulder and another on her market basket, each close enough to grab and run.

    We had not been out of our small home for a long time and were going to market to get badly needed supplies. A small troupe, moving among others, trying to be invisible while remaining the same as everyone else. We all touched one another in some way. Galloo walked in front of me; I hooked my fingers into folds of his twab. Maman's hand was on my shoulder as my middle sister, Badia, walked at her side, keeping her eyes down, hooded by her hijab.

    I heard the gunshots before I knew what was happening. Zing! Zip! I didn't know where they came from or where they were going, but I knew instinctively I was not safe. We were at the Kabul market, and I had strayed away from the family for just a moment, eyeing some colorful trinket of a vendor across the way. I didn't even realize I had left Maman behind as I could still hear her haggling over a lamb. Suddenly everyone around me was running, yelling, making me feel dizzy. I stopped in my tracks and just stood with my eyes closed and my arms at my side as the chaos around me seemed to grow.

    The market became quiet as suddenly as it had become chaotic just moments before. I opened my eyes and was surprised to find I was completely alone, standing in the middle of an open area. The wind was blowing up eddies of sand and I rubbed my eyes with my fists. When my vision cleared, I saw a group of angry-looking men, carrying guns, in black twabs. I was hoping they hadn't noticed me and thought am I small enough to be invisible?

    In the sudden stillness, I heard a noise. I looked down and saw a tiny pebble roll and touch the toe of my sandal. I glanced in the direction the pebble had come from, afraid to even move my head, and saw three uniformed men down a short alley between two buildings. They were gesturing to me to come to them. But I looked back at the dark group in front of me; I couldn't move.

    One lone figure stepped away from the group. I could only see his eyes, which looked dark and cruel. A falcon, I thought. I felt paralyzed and could hardly breathe.

    "What have we here?," he said. He sounded arrogant and bold. He came closer and I tried not to tremble. "Who are you?"

    "Aman," I said in the small voice of a shrew.

    The tall man said nothing more as he straightened. He turned back to his comrades, laughing. I didn't know why and then he turned back to me and bent down again.

    "You are too young for me," he said in a tone softer than I would have imagined. Turning back to his comrades, he yelled "He is too young for me!" and then they all laughed as he moved back toward them.

    As soon as his back was turned, I raced to the soldiers. Maman was there, and Gulloo and Badia.

    "I made myself small, Maman, just as you told me. I fooled the falcon and became the shrew that was invisible."
    When the night has come
    And the land is dark
    And the moon is the only light we'll see
    No, I won't be afraid, no I won't be afraid
    Just as long as you stand by me.

  3. #3

    Too Soon
    541 words

    Humans are inclined to remember the worst of everything rather than the good. I had heard that several times before everything, but I never really understood it. Sure, if there was a tragic car accident I would recall it for awhile, but not for all that long, not enough to truly remember.

    Of course, that’s all different now. I remember every detail, I remember the click of hard soled shoes tapping on the pavement and the dim, city stars that hung sadly in the sky. I remember the ringtone, the classic one that everybody refuses to change in their phones. Worst of all, I can recall the dull, emotionless voice of the doctor on the phone, and the words that he said. The sickening “Your brother…” and Finally, the sound of a soul makes when it shatters.

    My brother has always been sickly. He was born with a weakened immune system. The doctors even said that patients with AIDS had higher WBC counts. My entire childhood was protecting him, as he was often sick and could barely walk himself. I helped him up and down the stairs, I carried him when he was sick. Doing that for someone, having to care for them in every way does something to you. It’s no wonder why parents love their children so much.

    Needless to say, hospitals have been my second home. Always I would miss school to be with him, riding in the back of our car and comforting him on his worst days. When I was old enough to drive I was the one who brought him in, having to carry him to the passenger door and place him gently in, just so he would be next to me.

    I rushed into the hospital, the muted feeling of panic that always accompanies stuck in my throat. Every time that my brother got sick it got worse. Closer and closer to being stolen away from me by some cruel twist of fate. I checked in, the nurses all knew my name, and went down to my brother’s room, room 504 (they saved that room for him) I could see the clusters of doctors around it. My pace quickened along with my heart, that was never good…

    I burst into the room to hear the familiar beep of the heart monitor, the doctors buzzing around him in an air of confusion. One of them approached me.
    “He was really sick, honestly I’m surprised he’s still alive...Not to mention how quickly he recovered…” He went on, but I tuned him out. I could only stare at my brother with tears dripping down my cheeks. It was a mix of sadness and overwhelming relief. I was so happy he was alive, more than anything, but all the while I couldn’t shake the undeniable thought: He won’t last for much longer. Staring at the pale, broken shadow of my brother on that hospital bed, I knew that in the end Death would come for him, just because he was that cruel. I could almost see him leaned over my brother’s bed gently stroking his hair.
    “No, he’s too young for me yet” He whispered. “I’ll have wait until he’s older...until he means more.”

    You know, if you think about it, there are 7-8 billion people in the world. Think of the odds. The fact that we're all here with each other kinda makes you believe in that whole destiny thing.

  4. #4

    The Rain, the Moon, and Forever and Ever

    (648 words)

    The umbrella glowed a jellyfish green as it bobbed along the dark street, and the woman beneath it, sheltered from the rain, pointed her chin towards the moon. The other woman, walking beside her, was already drenched; the ruffles in her pink dress were flat, and her long, black hair clung to her shoulders.

    “You know, that Sheflon fellow,” she said. “He and I used to walk in the rain.”

    The other dismissed her with a wave of her hand. “Chris is way too young. Besides, you don’t know anything about him.” She tilted her umbrella so that she could see the moon better as it peeked out from between the clouds. “The green spots are getting bigger. Haven’t you noticed? The terraforming must be going well.”

    The woman in the pink dress closed her eyes, letting the rain run in rivulets down her body.

    “I’m going to live on the moon someday,” the other woman continued. “Once they’re done with it, there won’t ever be weather like this, there. A drizzle now and then, but nothing that could flood the streets.”

    “I like driving through puddles,” the first said absently. Then she opened her eyes. “You know, it’s really strange, but Chris always seems older than he is. Sometimes. . .he says things.”

    “Oh, some people talk smart--”

    “No, I mean, really strange things. One time I was complaining about how fast the spacetrains filled up—you know how far ahead you have to schedule if you want to do any vacationing—and he said. . .” She stopped walking and examined the white globe in the sky, spotted as if with moss. “He said, ‘I never dreamed we’d even get to the moon.’ As if. . .as if. . .”

    The woman with the umbrella stopped suddenly, covering her mouth. Then, quickly, she caught herself, recomposed, and forced an eye roll. “As if he’s trying to seem more mysterious than he really is?”

    “No, it always seems like a slip of the tongue, when he says those kind of things. Almost as if. . .I don’t know. . .he really was there, so long ago. As if he wasn’t too young for me, but too old.” She splashed her toe in the stream than ran along the curb. “Oh, I really sound like I’m going crazy, don’t I?”

    “Yes. You do.”

    Eventually, the alley where they walked formed a T-intersection with a busier street. Glowing dreambells hung in mid-air, above the road, marking out the lanes for air traffic. The women in the pink dress noticed a car parked across the street—a small, old car, the kind that still would rust if you left it out in the rain.

    “Isn’t that Chris’?” she said, pointing.

    The other followed her finger, squinting. “Hmm. Maybe.”

    “Go on home without me.” The first broke off from her companion and ran forward to wait for the stoplight.

    The woman with the umbrella shook her head. “Chris Sheflon, old charmer,” she murmured to herself. “Every decade or so it’s the same. When will you learn?”

    She watched as the woman in the pink dress dashed across the neon crosswalk. Chris stepped out of the car, and caught her up in his arms. She laughed, welcoming the embrace.

    “I admit, though, that I never dreamed we’d make it to the moon, either.” The woman ran her hand along her neck, feeling each metal divot that rested under the skin. “Even after. . .”

    “Well.” She curtsied to an imaginary Chris. “You kiss your girls. I’m going to do something with my endless years.”

    Her eyes went back to the laughing, pink-clad woman, and a tinge of jealousy crept up on her. But she shook it off.

    “I’m going to the moon, the moon we thought no man could set foot on.” The rain pattered on her luminous umbrella, and she turned, walking the other direction down the street. “And it will always be summer there.”

    "So long is the way to the unknown, long is the way we have come. . ." ~ Turisas, Five Hundred and One

    "[An artist is] an idiot babbling through town. . .crying, 'Dreams, dreams for sale! Two for a kopek, two for a song; if you won't buy them, just take them for free!'" ~ Michael O' Brien,
    Sophia House

    Christ is risen from the dead,
    trampling on Death by death,
    And on those in the tombs,
    lavishing light.

  5. #5
    The Audition
    (647 words)
    (Mild language)

    Beneath a crisp blue sky, the new ‘77 Buick Electra crawled along 35th Street. In the backseat, I sat and attempted to keep my nerves in check. It was time to prove I had what it took.

    The guys with me were legendary - Charlie, the best driver in the business; Eddie, the quiet, efficient muscle and Vinnie, the leader who demanded perfection. I was lucky to be with this crew; but was I really part of this crew? I was just a neighborhood kid. This job was my audition.

    From the passenger seat, Vinnie turned and fixed his dark eyes on me. “So,” he bellowed,“does everyone know the plan?” His voice echoed throughout the car but clearly the question was directed at me. “It’s a straightforward job, there shouldn’t be any issues. Right, kid?”

    “Sure Vinnie, I got this. No problem,” I replied, my voice strong despite my anxiety.

    To my right, Eddie coughed to conceal a chuckle. Charlie took his eyes off the road and gave me a look in the rear-view mirror.

    Do these guys trust me?

    Vinnie continued to stare, like he was trying to see into my soul. “Good,” he finally said before facing front. “Now everyone get ready. We’re almost there.”

    When the car pulled up outside a local mom-and-pop confectionery, Vinnie, Eddie and I climbed out, shotguns in hand. Charlie stayed behind with the motor running, his pistol ready.

    The store was devoid of customers, only a bored clerk lounged behind the counter. Upon seeing us, he froze. With a slight wave of his barrel, Vinnie motioned for the clerk to get down. He didn’t have to ask twice. Eddie took his assigned position at the front door, creating an impenetrable wall to keep anyone from getting in or out. Vinnie and I carried on towards the side door which stood slightly ajar.

    Using the barrel of his shotgun to open the door, I followed Vinnie as he pressed into the room. The smell of cigar smoke and stale sweat hung in the air. A meek,bald-headed bookkeeper sat at a desk, writing furiously in a ledger. At the intrusion, he looked at us over his bifocals. His eyes filled with fear and strayed to the corner of the room. Off to the side, sitting on a leather couch reading a newspaper, sat a burly man completely unprepared for the impromptu visit.

    The boss had said the bookkeeper was skimming the fat off the books...and the boss liked his fat. Something had to give.

    “What the hell’s going on?” demanded the panicked bodyguard as he jumped to his feet and reached into his holster.

    With Vinnie’s gaze focused on the bodyguard, the bookkeeper slipped his hand below the table. The ensuing noise was deafening. The bookkeeper was hurled from his chair and slid unceremoniously down the wall, leaving a trail of blood. His unused revolver clanked on the floor beside his outstretched hand. The barest wisp of smoke, like the final curl from a stubbed cigarette, rose from the muzzle of my shotgun.In turn,Vinnie unloaded into the bodyguard, creating a red Jackson Pollock painting on the wall. In an instant, it was over - our actions irrevocable.

    With a nod, Vinnie indicated that it was time to go. We made our way to the waiting Electra, passing the whimpering clerk along the way.

    As we sped off, Vinnie released a boisterous laugh. “Perfect job, boys!”he proclaimed and turned towards me. “And you kid?How you doing?”

    “I’m good, Vinnie. Don’t worry about me,” I said confidently.

    “You know kid, when the boss told me to show you the ropes, I said outright ‘he’s way too young for me to teach to kill.’ But you did good kid, real good!”

    I relaxed into the seat with a smug smile. My audition was over.

    Yeah, I did good.

  6. #6


    I don’t normally go for older men. When I say older, I mean by ten years or so, but despite the age difference, his boyish good looks and innocent charm instantly attracted me.

    Our first meeting occurred when he attended one of my relaxation classes at the Buddhist Centre. No chanting, cymbals, bells or whistles, just simple techniques for people from all walks of life.

    Wearing a garish tracksuit and a baseball cap, thankfully peak-forward, that matched his pale blue eyes and partially covered his silvering hair, he approached my table where I kept the ghetto-blaster and money box.

    ‘Hello, I’m John. And I’d like to do some…um…relaxation.’ He smiled and quickly quipped. ‘Or should that be omm relaxation?’

    I weakly smiled back. ‘Hi, I’m Virginia, each session costs five pounds.’
    He reached into his pocket and slapped a fiver on the table.

    ‘Thank you.’ I sang and gestured toward the class of about a dozen. ‘Please join the others.’

    He found a space and, like the rest of the class, sat cross-legged awaiting the start.

    ‘John.’ I suggested. ‘Wouldn’t you be more comfortable with a mat?’ He looked around, only just noticing that everyone else was sat on a mat. ‘They’re in the alcove behind you.’

    Once he had got a mat, he laid it in his space. Then turned it over. Then scratched his chin and turned it over again. In frustration, I had to interject. ‘It doesn’t matter which side you use.’ And he finally settled.

    Unfortunately, during the session, John was a constant fidget, not able to hold a position for more than five seconds and heavily sighing at every stretch.

    On my ghetto-blaster, when bird-song gave way to the sound of a babbling brook, he was up to my desk within moments, whispering with exaggerated pronunciation. ’I need to go to the toilet.’

    I responded in kind. ‘Out the door and to the left.’ In his absence, the class visibly relaxed.

    After class, when John queued to replace his mat, I approached him. ’Do you mind me asking why you wish to take up relaxation? It might help in structuring your progress.’

    ‘After my recent divorce, I found it difficult to relax and my doctor suggested joining a class.’

    Was he fishing? Dropping hints? ’And how did it go for you?’

    ‘Oh yes, I feel completely relaxed - in your company.’

    Definitely fishing, but I wasn’t biting. ‘Coming back next week?’

    ‘Sure.’ He said, with a glint in those bedroom eyes and like a bashful teenager, I felt myself flush.

    John continued attending and improved markedly, but I was playing it cool, strictly maintaining the tutor student relationship. Being a Buddhist, I realised that was John spiritually inept. Probably in his first human cycle with much to learn. And in terms of karma, far too young for me.
    Last edited by ned; December 16th, 2017 at 12:54 AM. Reason: spaces!!!

  7. #7

  8. #8
    Member MacDub's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    How a Christmas Tradition Began

    There's a peculiar quiet in the air after it snows, noticable even that far out in the country. Everything looked soft and bright. Even the breeze seemed to hold it's breath as fluffy flakes lazily floated down from the chilling sky above.

    Low mountains rolled up the coastline. Branches of evergreen trees drooped under the fresh snow fall. Fronds of fern poked up through snowy mounds around bare alder and maple trees.

    His sister had built her house in the mountains near the town where they'd grown up, miles from a paved road. John knew the area well enough to recognize subtle changes in the landscape each time came over for a visit. He would notice if a creek changed it's path or if some trees had blown over in a heavy storm.

    Even though she knew he didn't like the holiday, his sister invited him to her house every Christmas. Her version of an invitation was more akin to persistent insistence, so every year John would make the journey back to their home town. He would drive down the old streets, remembering shenanigans of long gone days.

    His first kiss in the park. The first time he snuck out to get drunk with the guys at the football field. Puking his guts out behind the bleachers. Without fail, the flood of memories filled his head while slowly driving through town before heading out to his sister's house.

    In his youth, he would take every opportunity to spend time in the mountains. Sometimes for days on end, sometimes just long enough to get out of his truck and pee on a tree. He would take whatever he could get and be happy about it.

    "Why don't you take Steven with you this time," his sister insisted. "It'll be good for you both." Steven was her son, his nephew.

    "He's way too young for me to take on a hike," John had attempted to resist.

    Now, John and Steven walked together among the evergreens. The squeaky crunching of their footsteps was the only thing disturbing their otherwise tranquil surroundings.

    Slightly annoyed at being coerced into bringing Steven along, John looked longingly ahead. There were a few choice locations he liked to visit. Just sit relaxing and let all cares and worries of life disappear.

    Instead, it seemed he'd have to be mindful and keep an eye on young Steven. He wouldn't dare take the kid to his secret places, thinking Steven would blab about it to his friends, ruining it's sacredness.

    "So, my dad's dead," Steven said out of nowhere. John stopped in his tracks.

    Steven's father had lost a long battle against cancer that summer. His passing didn't come as a sudden surprise, but that didn't make it any easier.

    "I know Steven," John turned to look at him and put a hand on his shoulder.

    Steven looked back, straining to blink back tears. Thin snot trickled down the back of his throat. He swallowed hard and it felt like an apple was painfully lodged in his throat.

    "I know what that means," he said with astonishing composure. "No more Christmas, or birthdays, or camping at the lake."

    John knelt down to look Steven in the eye. "My dad died when I was about your age, too. I'm not gonna bullshit you. It's not gonna be easy, but it looks like you can handle it. You're doing good, buddy."

    A faint smile broke on Stevens face. John stood up and said, "Let's keep going, we're almost there."

    After some more hiking they pushed through some heavy brush. There they found a serene pool with a waterfall pouring out from the mountain side.

    They sat together on a log for some time before Steven spoke. "I think I understand why you like it out here."

    "Maybe I was wrong," John said. "Maybe you are old enough to come hiking with me."

  9. #9
    Time - anonymous
    610 words

    He entered the dark room with only the faint glow of lightbeing emitted from the heart machine. The eerie white glows made her pale faceseem ghostly thin, like her skin had been worn out through the years and nowjust a trace remained. The beep, beep, beep of the machine counting down to herlast breathes and the faint rise and fall of her chest the only indication thatlife still remained.

    Her eyes fluttered as if a bad dream had captured her, heronly escape being able to open her eyes. She tried to open them but maybe itwas because she was out of practice or she didn’t have the energy and gave upfor a time. But then her eyelids fluttered open and close, getting used to thelight, her dry throat made her hand reach out but dropped back down not beingable to carry the weight. Her eyes finally opened, she squinted due to the exposureto light, slowly she looked over the room, clinically clean, no sign of anycards or flowers like no one was expecting her to come back home. Home. Shehadn’t been home for so long, who was looking after her plants? Tibbles must bemissing her at least? She thought she saw a faint outline of a person near herbed, but after looking again there was no-one. She must have imagined it.
    He was standing over her bed, the faint acknowledgment inher eyes had taken him by surprise, no one ever sees him. She would put it downto a figment of her imagination; he was safe to do his job. She looked like shewas ready, but hearing her thoughts he could see she still wished to live,young at heart eh. He had a few batches like this, he felt bad for them, forthey would never be ready. He ran his finger down his list, number 2561578214he checked again to make sure it was correct, he didn’t want a re-run of whathappened in Japan 2011. He looked again but the numbers were not matching, thisnever happened in routine pick ups, he didn’t know what to do. Getting ready towrite incorrect number he got the system ready – when he saw him.
    In the corner of the room, in the crook of the couch therehe was number 2561578214; he must have been eight, sleeping soundly. He stoodover him, looking down at his small body; he could hear his heartbeat, fast andstrong. He didn’t understand, then he heard it – his heart skipped a beat,arrhythmia. It would happen in less than 5 seconds. Why? She had lived her life,had seen everything but his nascent life hadn’t celebrated his ninth birthday. He could see the images of horses and animals,his dreams which would never materialize, he saw her she was there with him onthe horse. Maybe his grandmother, his bond was so pure and rare.
    He couldn’t do this; he is too young for me. He didsomething he never understood before this moment, how some Reapers would risktheir lives for a human, he altered the system and gave him more time. He woulddeal with the consequences later, the citadel could do they wanted, he finallyunderstood the pull of your previous life. Many Reapers had spoken about thisuntouchable, completely irrational feeling you will have towards a human, manyhave theorised but no concrete proof has ever been provided, you can onlyunderstand and believe once you have felt it. And he had; now there was no wayhe could take his life.
    “On the chest of a barmaid in Sale, were tattooed all the prices of ale. And on her behind, for the sake of the blind, was the same only written in braille"

    "Ambiguity is one of the greatest faults in a craft. It comes from vague ambitions. One may inspired by good ambitions, but the immediate concern of the craftsman is to know what he is capable of doing at present; and to do it."
    - Edward Johnston

  10. #10
    The Boys - anonymous
    649w [violence, language]

    Thursday evening in the dirty old bar, Troy and Seri sat together for an emergency campaign planning session, Leadville-style, with beers.

    “Well, you know how I worry, so don’t sugarcoat it. Just be straight up with me. What have you been hearing?” Troy finished the last of his brew and slammed the can down on the table.

    “They are saying you messed around with little kids, Troy. You’re totally fucked. They’re calling you a drunk, too.”

    “Well, for starters,” Troy said, “all those lies they’re telling about me, they’re completely false. I know morals, see. I know how to treat people. Especially kids. That Carl Pitkin is as crooked as a cat’s leg.”

    She took another swill of her drink, ran her fingers through her crazy black mane. “I think you’re full of it. What they said you did, it’s bad, Troy. Real bad.”

    The regulars piled in Friday about four, and by five thirty there wasn’t a free barstool. Tourists hung about, mostly standing around awkwardly, swilling some trendy IPA, adorned in brand new coats and Colorado state flag logos on their hats.

    Greg Barrett plopped down at the bar and waved two fingers. Troy poured him a mule and slid it over to him on a napkin. “Greg,” he said with a cordial smile.

    “You must not have heard.” Greg said, wide-eyed, taking a sip from his drink. A bit of foam lingered on Greg’s orange mustache.

    “Heard it. And it’s bullshit,” said Troy. “You must believe me, right? We’ve known each other forever. And I’ve been part of this town for almost three decades. Would I really throw my life away like that?”

    Greg shook his head. “All I know Troy, is that they said you been doing inappropriate stuff with boys, and ten of ‘em came forward saying so.”

    “I’m running for mayor! Don’t you think that has something to do with these ridiculous allegations? I mean, come on, don’t you see the conspiracy?” Troy reached back and grabbed a bottle, poured himself three fingers and slammed it. “I love this town, Greg. And I am definitely not the type of guy to touch a kid. Surely you can vouch for that?”

    Greg stood up. “Love you man, but I am gonna wait to see what comes of this before I say anything. It’s too fucked up.”

    Troy’s adversary in the race, Carl Pitkin, huddled in his trailer out on the edge of town, morning wind whipping through the drafty can like fingers through an open robe. He unrolled the newspaper and smiled. Carl put a few glugs of whisky in his coffee and sipped at it until eight, then went in to wake the boy. He stood at the door and admired the sleeping kid’s taut muscles and smooth skin. The boy sat up and blinked, realized where he was and began to weep again.

    Carl scratched his ass through leopard-skin bikini briefs. “Up,” he belched. He untied the boy’s hands and ran a hand gently across his head. “Like I told you, it’s almost over. Now get up. We have work to do.”

    Seri stomped in with a newspaper and dropped it at Troy’s feet. The headline said, MOLESTER FOR MAYOR? Below that was a photo of Troy standing behind the bar, middle finger up, chugging a beer. He had gone from minor celebrity to the town’s most hated man in the course of a few days.

    Troy had to steady himself against the wall. Seri left without saying a word, and Troy paced, fuming. He called Greg but no answer, so put his coat on and went outside into the cold white morning. Coming his way was a mob, chanting and carrying signs. He whirled back toward the locked door, but they were upon him. They devoured him, hurtling rocks and stomping his head into the concrete, as Leadville chose its mayor.
    “On the chest of a barmaid in Sale, were tattooed all the prices of ale. And on her behind, for the sake of the blind, was the same only written in braille"

    "Ambiguity is one of the greatest faults in a craft. It comes from vague ambitions. One may inspired by good ambitions, but the immediate concern of the craftsman is to know what he is capable of doing at present; and to do it."
    - Edward Johnston

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