Thursday, December 13, 2012

Writing Prompt: The Undelivered Letter


 Dr. Morton,

If you have received this letter, then our efforts to introduce Compound X-352 into the general population has proved successful.  Please take a brief moment to congratulate yourself. This operation would not have happened without your diligence and your dedication.  The monetary reward agreed upon in your contract will be deposited in your bank account no  later than this evening. Please allow 2 business days for the funds  to clear.  The funds are yours to keep but we urge you to make a donation  no less than 15% to The Collection.

The concealment phase will commence as scheduled.  At this time, gather any documents, recordings, and images associated  Compound X-352 or The Collection. Place these items in an approved document container (see attached  memo for list of approved document containers). Once this is done, leave behind your credentials and exit the building immediately. An unmarked car will pick you up and escort you to the rendezvous point.  You will be fully debriefed and informed of your next project.

During your debriefing, do not mention the true nature of The Collection or the properties of Compound X-352. Any attempt to reveal the true nature of The Collection or the properties of Compound X-352 will result in immediate occupational and physical termination.  Any attempt to contact individuals outside of The Collection will result in immediate occupational and physical termination. Any attempts to withhold any documents, recordings, or images containing information regarding The Collection or Compound X-352 will result in immediate occupational and physical termination.  If you are ever captured, MedTechs will disavow any knowledge of your affiliation. Any individual deemed a known associate will be terminated as well.  If at any point you are compromised, inject yourself with the syringe that was placed on your desk. If you have mistakenly disposed of or misplaced the syringe, please see Hugo prior to exiting the building for immediate occupational and physical termination.

Regards,

Dr. Willam F Harmond
Chief Biological Engineer

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Writing Prompt: Mexican Standoff


A single black briefcase sat  between the three of us.  On the surface, the case didn’t t seem too important. If you didn’t know any better you’d probably glance over it.  Unassuming. Uninteresting . It was  just  an average ordinary briefcase. It reminded me of one I saw on the clearance rack of a local department store or  one I saw in the lost and found at the  airport. The case itself  wasn’t special nor did it hold any significance. It’s contents, however, was a different story.

The contents of the briefcase meant different things to each of us.  For Johnny, it was power. If he had the case, he would have leverage over every single high ranking official in the city of Chicago. Darrell reasons were more honorable. Well, about as honorable as any hired gun’s intentions could get.   He sought a way out. A crooked cop had promised him witness protection in exchange for the contents of the briefcase. In the back of his mind, he knew the promise was empty and a bit far fetched. Hell, I even told him it was but he wasn’t given much of a choice. Not many options for a guy facing hard time. I was the only wild card in the bunch. I didn‘t have much of a reason nor any real stake in the matter.  Shits and giggles. Shake things up.  Just in it for the sport.

Three men. One briefcase. Zero room for error.  We skipped the dull pleasantries. We all knew why we were here. In hindsight, we were all probably tipped off by the same person.  We each stared at each other, then at the case, then back at each other.  All three of us frozen. It wasn’t fear. It was a pride thing.  A mental test of wills. We all  wanted to  make a mad dash for the case but we knew the first person to make a run for it would end up dead. I was packing and it was plain as day that that the others were too. I got rather bored  with all of the  tedious build up and decided to make a play. I drew my weapon. Darrell and Johnny immediately followed suit. Great minds think alike. That night, ours did too.

“What the fuck are you guys doing here?” Darrell shouted  “You know what this means to me?!?”

“Can it, Darrell! Your life is pretty much over.” Johnny said. “I’m taking the briefcase and making this city mine!”

I didn’t say a thing.  Words were trivial.

“ Oh, so this is the thanks I get for doing all your dirty work?” Darrell  said

“The family appreciates what you’ve done for us and we’re going to take care of you. We promise but now it’s time to step aside.”

“Bullshit. How are you going to take care of me while I’m locked up, Johnny?”

At this point, we were alternating our firearms between each other.  . It’s funny, a month ago, before shit hit the fan,  we were knocking back boilermakers at Charley’s pub. Hoods like us were never meant to be friends for ever. .   There’s no honor among thieves. Loyalties change, people die, and life goes on. This is the hand we chose.

“He has a point, Johnny boy. What are you going to do for him?” I asks. I couldn’t resist adding in my two cents.

“Stop fucking instigating, Samson!” Darrell says before Johnny could even speak.

“How did you even hear about this?” Johnny asks.
.
“That’s not important.” I said.

“Was it Lou?”`Darrell asked

I smiled and shrugged.  I could feel the patience of both men thinning out.

“You smug, fuck. . .” Johnny said under his breath


Darrell focuses his gun on me “Fucking Lou.” he mumbles under his breath. “Sammy, I like you but if you ain’t outta here in two seconds, I’m gonna fuckin’ kill you.” He cocked the hammer of his gun and aimed it between my eyes.  Darrell wasn’t a stranger to violence. He built up a pretty reputable body count in his early days but he hasn‘t done any wet work in years.  I wasn’t afraid of him.  A myth was built around this man and it was all a charade. He relied on fear of others. Guys would kill themselves if they even heard a slight rumor Darrel was after them. Blow their fucking brains out. He had that power over people. Darrell was the boogey man in this city but not for me. I saw him for what he was. An overblown ghost story perpetuated by the family and the chicken shit low-lifes in Chicago.

I decided to call to call his bluff.

“ If you‘re going to shoot me you better fuc--- . . . .”

Darrell’s eye twitched but he didn‘t blink. A loud bang. A flash of light. A sharp piecing sensation in  the middle of my forehead.

That’s all I remember from that night.  I wonder what happened to that briefcase. . . .


Sunday, August 5, 2012

Excerpt from Right of Way: Beginning Chapter

What you are about to read is a short and very rough excerpt from a project I worked on a couple of years ago. It's the beginning of what is suppose to be home-invasion story. I ended up abandoning this project after I couldn't figure out how it would end. I always loved the dialogue in this story and really enjoyed building the relationship of the two main characters. I previously posted an excerpt from the same story in an earlier post. If you read that you may sort of be able to see how dynamic the characters become over the course of the plot. Hope you enjoy - BD




I

“Seriously?.”


“You can’t have a sip of my drink yet.”


“And why is that?”


“Because I haven’t had a sip of it yet.”


“Do you just enjoy being an asshole?”


“I will be more than happy to share my beverage with you once I’ve broken the seal and establish ownership.”


“Establish ownership? Who the hell do you think you are right now?


“Honey, we’ve been over this.”


“And you will have to continue to explain this to me because I still don’t understand.”


.:sigh:. “This lovely beverage belongs to me.  If I let take the first sip, I am no longer the owner,  you are.  So, anytime I take a sip, in the back of my mind it will belong to you, and I will feel weird about finishing the whole thing.  It would just be rude.”


“So why don’t you just open it and take a sip and then I can take a sip.  Problem solved.”


“In a perfect world, that would solve the problem. Unfortunately we don’t live in a perfect world and  I’m not thirsty right now. If I open it now with no intention on drinking it, all of the carbonation will leak out and it won’t taste as good.  This will force me to throw it out and that’s just plain wasteful.  For god’s sake, Layla, there are children in Somalia that are dying of hunger everyday. .  “


“You’re unbelievable.”


“Maybe so but you still love me.”


.:laughs:. “That’s debatable.”


“Is it? I mean if it were up for debate you wouldn’t have accepted my marriage proposal.”


“. . .”


“You’re no fun.”


.:whispers:. “That’s not what you said last night.”


“What was that? I couldn’t hear you because you were talking under your breath.”


“I said ‘That’s not what you said last night!’”


“Did you just make a sex joke?”


“So, what if I did?”


“I’m shocked right now.”


“I’ve made sex jokes before.”
“You have but this is the first time I‘ve legitimately been impressed by.”


“Is it your personal mission to piss me off everyday?”


“No. My personal mission is to have sex with you everyday.”


.: shakes head:. “I can’t believe I agreed to marry you!  You are an infant. If you keep this up I‘m not sure how long I can take this”


.:silence:. From both parties. 


“And your last “witty” comment was fucking stupid. You seriously need to learn to turn it off sometimes. You’re not as clever as you think you are.”


“Ouch.”


“Don’t talk to me! I’m fucking pissed.”


“Come on, Lay. Don’t be like that. You know I wouldn’t do this if I didn’t love you.”


“. . .”


“I’m going to tickle you. If you don’t talk to me.”


“Don’t you dare fucking touch to me.  If you touch me, I’m going to punch you square in the balls. Fucking try me! I swear to god.”


“ Layla, I’m driving. If you punched me in the balls, we would both die in a horrific car accident. Also, I’ve seen you punch.  We probably wouldn’t be able to procreate if it landed.”


“Don‘t try me”


“You’re so sexy when you’re mad.”


“Patrick, don’t start.”


“I may just pull this car over and ravish you.”


“You‘re un-fucking believable.”


“And  you’re bluffing.”


“Only one way to find out.”


.:Pat reaches over:.

.:Layla punches him in the crotch. . .hard:.


“Yeah. . .You weren’t bluffing.”


“. . giggles. . “


“Are you laughing right now?”


“You should have seen your face.”


“Well, you punched me in my fucking balls. .  I hope you’re proud of yourself.  You have successfully made me upset me and now I don’t want to talk to you.”


“You’re not talking to me?!? If anything, we’re even.”


“Explain to me how we are even.”


“You were being an ass and I punched you in the balls. Tit for tat.”


“No. Even would be you saying something about my hairline or making a disparaging remark about my penis size or sexual prowess.  Even is not preventing the birth of our future children. In fact, to be even at this point, I would have to punch you in your ovaries.”


“We can have make-up sex. You can punch my ovaries that way”


“That sounds awfully tempting but no.  I’m mad at you right now. Kudos for that innuendo, by the way. You‘re on fire today.  ”


“I think  I can change your mind.”


.:Layla unbuckles her seatbelt and advances towards Patrick:.


“What are you about to do.”


“I’m not exactly sure. I was going  to nibble on your neck and then see where it went from there.”


“You do realize I’m driving right now?”


“I’m a smart girl. I’ll figure it out.”


“You know it’s really hard to stay mad at you when you talk that way.”


“Do you think I’m bluffing this time?”


“There’s a slight chance.”


.:rolls her eyes:.


.:Layla starts to kiss Patrick’s neck:.


“Do you remember how this argument even started?”


“Patrick, shut up.”


.:Layla moves from his next to his lips:.


“Holy shit! Layla get down!”


Car crash.

Friday, July 6, 2012

3 AM


3 AM
by 
Brandon Dues 

The club was a sea full of elbows and backsides
My eyes were bloody crimson like the shore during red tide
Drunk and kind of broke
Pockets getting thinner
My face was feeling numb
As a result from all the liquor

Five Jack and Cokes
I started with a cider 
I boisterously shouted at the bar keep 
“Make me a St. Elmo’s fire!”


The slags on the wall were such a dreadful bore
The theme for that night must have  been “Dress and act like you’re a whore”
As the speakers melodically  vibrated
Their nether regions jiggled
“How do they keep their balance?”
My mind is boggled by the riddle 

Returned to the bar and I think I ordered shots
The exact number escapes me so there’s a whole in this plot 
It was 12:35
A dangerously beautiful lass entered into the picture
“I’ve got to keep my cool.
Nobody likes a filthy Richard”

I settled by her side 
Now this is where the plot thickens
I let her know my name in between the haze of remixes

She smiles and we talk
I forgot to catch her name
She suggests a hasty exit
“This place is hot and kind of lame”

We continued the Oxford pleasantries as we made our way out the door
While outside, it began to rain
It quickly progressed into a heavy downpour

We ran across the street
And ducked between an alley
The Shipyard pub’s door was ajar
I can see into their galley

I apologize in advance 
But this next part is a bit fuzzy 
I was still considerably drunk 
And felt a little stuffy
I was pushed against a wall 
Her tongue was down my throat
A rain drop fell upon my head
And my phone was fucking soaked 


The next couple scenes have somehow gone missing
I vaguely remember sex
And the ferocity of our kissing 

Her body laid near
Expressionless and blank
I tapped  her on the shoulder
It would be rude not to extend thanks

To my surprise there is no response
“Is she the type that wants distance”
I pulled her body close and notice her pulse was non existent

As of now I‘m standing frozen
My mind unable to comprehend
Last night I fell in love
Now she‘s dead at 3 AM. . .

Monday, January 30, 2012

I'm Still Here

I'm Still Here
by
Brandon Dues


Darling, I can hear you breathing
Hard
Tearing at the wall until the lights come
On
Everything you ever cherished
Gone

I just don’t know what to say. . .

Your apartment is so bare and
Clear
Distant memories always stay so
Near
It took every strength to fight those
Tears
As you paid out all our credit
Arrears

I still don’t know what to say. . .

Startled at the ever slightest
Sound
It rings like a very thunderous
Pound
Everything has mad e you tightly
Wound

You just can’t get past that day. . .

I remember when the dead bolt
Popped
Strangers entered with guns drawn
“Stop!”
The tears flowing from your eyelids
Dropped

To the floor that fateful day. . .

You caught my body when it fell right
Down
The shock and horror as the blood turned
Brown
Weeping as you held my lifeless
Crown

As I left the world that day. . .

I wish you could feel my tight
Embrace
You shiver as try to touch your
Face
A ghost. I will never leave this
Place

I just wish you could hear the words I say. . .

Thursday, January 12, 2012

One Night Stand?

One Night Stand?
by
Brandon Dues


You just wake up in a room. It’s never the your own. Always someone else’s. You look around for clues to sort of piece together the last 12 hours. It’s all a mystery to you. You try to get up at your normal speed but you forget to account for the alcohol in your system and end up stumbling over. What you previously thought were bed sheets are actually fibers from the shag rug that you thought would be a good idea to sleep on. As you (slowly) bring yourself up to an upright position, you notice a woman. Unlike you the mystery woman you most likely had sex with decided to fall asleep on a more comfortable structure. She starts to come to. You vaguely remember her from the night before. She was a lot more attractive then. You contemplate faking that your asleep but you’re reaction time is still a bit off. You lock eyes and keep them there for what seems like an eternity as you try to remember her name. The awkwardness of the whole situation becomes too much and you smile and wave as if you were doing some sort of meet and greet. She ask you “What are you doing on the floor”. Unable to come up with a valid excuse or anecdote you tell her the truth. “What do you mean you don’t know” she replies. You now have a witty response. You tell her. She laughs but you feel it was only to humor you. You are now faced with a very long and almost deafening silence. You try to come up with another witty retort to break the silence but by the time this happens she lays back down. Before she falls back asleep she beckons you to come back to bed. The funny things about this is you don’t remember being in bed in the first place. As you look around, the evidence proves otherwise. It’s only now you realize you’re completely naked and the only thing separating your dangling participle from the outside world is a woman’s tank top. You sit there for minutes contemplating your next move. In your current state, relocating your clothes will take more effort than taking the mystery woman up on her offer. It seems a bit rude to you to use this stranger’s tank top as a loin cloth, so, you use every ounce of strength to remember where you placed your undergarments. By some miracle, you actually remember. You cast the tank top aside and make your way towards the bathroom. You cove up by cupping your genitals in your hands. You laugh at yourself for being a walking cliché. As you retrieve your underwear from the bathroom sink you catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirror. Your eyes are bloodshot and your breath smells like the inside of a ashtray. . .soaked in gin. There is an outside chance that you may revisit a sexual encounter with the mystery woman sometime in the next hour. The idea of morning sex intrigues you, so, you decide to freshen up. You notice that there is a bottle of mouth wash on the bathroom counter. You uncap the mouthwash as discreetly as possible and take a couple of swigs. During this time, you remember that you have to urinate. You try kill two birds with one stone by taking the longest piss of your life and somewhat freshening your breath but the mouth wash is a bit too strong for you and spit it out all over her mirror. You make your way back to the strange woman’s bed. On your way, you stumble on something you assume is a high heel boot. As you pull her comforter over and settle in, you notice two things. 1) This woman is completely naked and 2) Something seems a bit off about this whole situation. You don’t remember her hair being that color. When you initially woke up her hair was blonde. Now, her hair looks as if it has a reddish tint. You brush it aside and blame it on the alcohol. As you lay down and ponder the best way to inquire about another round of sex, something else seems a bit off. The shape of the blanket has changed. . . When you pulled it over a moment ago it had rounded edges. Now, the edges are squared. For some reason this doesn’t disturb you as it should. You tell yourself that this will all make sense when you wake up. You abandon the idea of mid-morning coitus in favor of a couple more hours of sleep. You move closer to the naked mystery woman and embrace in a standard spooning position. It’s only when you finally fall asleep that you realize why everything was a bit off. . . Why her hair changed color. Why the edges of the comforter were different. You open your eyes and notice that the mystery woman has disappeared. Her belongings have disappeared as well and are replaced by your own. You slowly put together the pieces. The reason you couldn’t remember anything from the night before wasn’t because of the alcohol, even though you had plenty, it was because it never happened. The last twelve hours are a mystery because all of your days seem to run together at this point. The mystery woman that you most likely slept with wasn’t a mystery at all. In fact, you knew her. Well, you did at one point but now she’s changed more than you can keep up with. You slept on the floor because you couldn’t stand sleeping alone. You even tried to make it different by purchasing a new comforter. It never worked. Hence, why you continually decide to sleep on the floor. Your eyes were red because you spent the better part of the evening weeping into the only thing she left behind, her tank top. Everything that “occurred” last night wasn’t real. It was all just a fantasy scenario that you cooked up in your drunken, depressed, and heartbroken state of mind. The truth is that she left because you tried to kill to birds with one stone but ended up just pissing your life away. The truth is she’s gone and she’s never coming back. It’s never someone else’s room. It’s always your room. It’s always going to be your room. . .until you decide to move on.

Monday, January 9, 2012

The Conversation

The Conversation
By
Brandon Dues


“I finally realized what truly upsets me about our whole situation. You just don’t care. You never care. . . .about anything. It’s kind of sad when you think about it. I mean, here I am putting absolutely everything I can give into this relationship and it doesn’t matter. It’s a moot point. You react to ‘I Love You’ the same way you react to your morning alarm going off. So, why even say it at this point, you know?”

“I’m sorry. Did you say something just now?”

“I could tell you that I‘ve been cheating on you with your best friend and you wouldn‘t even bat an eye. I could tell you that I met someone at the gym and you‘d just shrug it off.”

“What do you think we should eat for dinner?”

“You didn’t hear anything I said, did you? This must be some sort of defense mechanism you’ve built up over the years, which is strange considering I’m your first real long term relationship. It seems to me like you’re completely inept in dealing with any sort of problems that arise between us.”

“What do you think about Chinese?”

“I’m unhappy with this arrangement. This isn’t working for me anymore. I need to be with a person that is emotionally responsive to my needs. You’re a shell of a person and I hate it. I hate you.”

“You’re right we did have Chinese last night.”

“I’m leaving. . .”

“That’s fine but can you grab some milk on your way home.”

“I just bought that milk three days ago.”

“I know but I used most of it to make you dinner the other night. Remember?”

“That’s right. You did make me dinner?”

“So, will you?”

“Will I what?”

“Pick up some milk? I know how much you like cereal in the morning.”

“Yeah. . . .sure.”

“If you come home too late just sleep on the couch. You wake me up when you come to bed.”

“Fine. . . Hey?”

“Yes, dear?”

“I love you”

“.We need Eggs, too. We’re out of eggs.”