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ExtractionI don't think of him in terms of then-and-now.
Some days he slips past tense altogether
& I wonder where he's gone - out to catch
some air, take a walk around my mental block?
Our intervals are slowly growing wider,
the way teeth spread out when one is pulled.
Sure, I can floss like the dickens now,
but there's always that blank, fleshy space
my tongue can't help but want to slide across.
Half the time, I don't know I'm doing it.
Hookey at the AbbatoirPart of it was the boys, rugged in bloodied aprons, muscled
arms brown where their sleeves rolled to. Tattooed,
most of them, sun blond almost-men, close enough to my age
for flirting. I itched, in the end of year heat, for anything
but that thousand-yard stare, the backs of my legs
glued to plastic seats, history, math, lunch hour grass rash.
Brain death. I wanted thrills. I wanted more to be the thrill,
their slaughterhouse Lolita. Eye candy, where none
had any right to be. The whole place stank of shit and death.
They hid me from the boss. Offered cigarettes, asked me out.
I said no, and I said yes.
The AmmoniteI follow its inward curl - not with eyes, for the vertigo, but half-
imagining a path from here to... where? Its spiral reaches vanishing
point in the bowels of a long-extinct squid, in atoms of sea-silt
which replaced its flesh, gaining perhaps one degree of hardness
every hundred thousand years.
In my hand, I cradle its mineral echo.
This squid reached its vanishing point while the first fish gawped
at the second fish, and unhinged its bony jaw. Once,these creatures
numbered in their billions. A Devonian master species, the kings
of liquid displacement.
This stone is a testament to biological success.
Saw a man on the train this morning, one of a hundred thousand
commuters. He stood out for his lack of standing out. I don't know
why he drew my eye; he looked like everybody, nobody, the way
things tend to appear identical when reckoned as a unit, en masse.
The numbers, and the weight of us
Rehab for Roleplayers - Part 6Welcome to Rehab for Roleplayers, a series of articles aimed at helping roleplayers more successfully make the transition into writing fiction.
Part 6 "Where's Ruth?" Tom Cried, Ruthlessly
Throughout the rest of this series I've explored various 'roleplay-isms' which are fine in the RP environment but don't automatically translate well into fiction. This article deals specifically with 'attributions', which are the 'he said' / 'she said' part of dialogue.
It's a generally accepted practise in fiction writing to keep attributions in dialogue simple and to not overdo it with synonyms for the word 'said', like 'shouted', 'whined' and 'snarled'. This includes, for the purposes of this article, the addition of adverbs and other modifiers (words and phrases which 'flavour' a noun or verb) to 'said' - like 'he said wistfully', 'she said with a bitter tone'.
Among editors, the overuse of modifiers in attribution is known as "S.S." or "Synonym Syndrome" and is the cause of
The Boogeyman"We have to go home, Shelley. Or the boogeyman'll get us." Ben spoke in an urgent whisper.
"Pft. Don't believe that stuff." Shelley was twelve, and wise in the ways of the world. Unlike Ben, who was seven and still thought bugs were cool.
"Mum says it's true and that's why we're not allowed "
"Look," she spoke loudly and quite slowly, because he was so obviously stupid. "It's just a story. They make up stories like that so kids do what they're told."
"But Mum says "
"Mum says Santa is real, too."
" he isn't?"
Shelley rolled her eyes and pushed off the ground with one foot, sending the swing into motion again. "Okay, Santa is real. Really real. Happy now?"
Ben didn't look happy, but he nodded. "The boogeyman's real, too. I seen him. Over there." He pointed to the other end of the park, where they weren't allowed to go because of all the bushes.
"You did not."
"I did too!"
"Did not! Infinity!"
Ben knew from hard experience that there was n
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