Yes, this is filled with whisky

Yes, this is filled with whisky

Friday, August 23, 2013

The Gone Fishin' Writing Contest

Yes indeed it's time to hang up the Gone Fishin' sign and retire to reading books instead of manuscripts, turn off the phone, and put a padlock on the email inbox!

To celebrate the start of a week off, let's have a writing contest!

Usual rules:

1. Write a story using 100 or fewer words.

2. Use the following words in the story


You must use the exact letters of the word in order, but the word can be part of a larger one:

Catch but not cart
rentals but not detrimental

3. Contest prize: to be determined.

4. Entries outside the US are ok (but if you're outside the US it may affect what I can
send you as a prize)

5. Contest opens Saturday August 24 at 10am. Closes Sunday August 25 at 10am.

6. Post your entry in the comment section of this blog post.  Comments are closed
until the contest opens.

7. Judging is entirely subjective and subject to sharkly whim and whimsy.

Questions? Tweet to me @Janet_Reid  (I'm not on twitter a lot right now so try to figure
out the answer to your question from the directions first)

Not yet!


Too late! Contest now closed.


Ali Trotta said...

Welcome to OZ.

“When’s the last time you were in Queens, Jimmy?”

“There was still a guy on the corner selling ‘Bananos!’ But it ain’t beautiful no more. That used’ta be a peach orchard.”

Jimmy pointed to a building that read: RENTAL APARTMENTS.

“Think Johnny knows you’re here?”

“Wasn’t gonna miss my sista’s funeral. Even goin’…downtown wasn’t gonna stop me.”

Jimmy stood outside funeral home. As far as the neighborhood was concerned, Cat died of natural causes: she smoked herself to death. Jimmy hadn’t seen her in 40 years. Didn’t matter. Respects must be paid.

That’s always the way.

Steve Forti said...

The staging looked great. Very pricey, but the rented furniture gave the house a beautiful upscale look. Lots of natural light, manicured lawn, just blocks from downtown. This place should sell no problem.

Lucy paced a final walkthrough. Oriental rugs, plush black leather couch. Antique cherry desk dominating the office. California king in the master, queens in the other two bedrooms. Hardwood floors downstairs. Tasteful paintings arranged on the walls. Hell, even the rental cat purred softly on the window sill.

Yes, this place looked great. Now if only she could get rid of all the blood.

And the poltergeist.

S.C. Kirk said...

I’d cast my beautiful Catherine over the Queensboro if someone wouldn’t stop me from jumping too. Instead, I appear a common old man gone fishin’, driving through downtown in a rental. No one notices her corpse in the backseat. I think of the Devil’s Paintbrush she wove in her auburn hair on our wedding day. “I want you to remember me wild, always,” she said. And so, I do, fifty-three years later. At the lake, I release the parking brake and crawl beside my forever bride. The bruises where the medicines failed her are the targets for my quivering lips. 

richardh said...

Sitting in "beautiful" downtown Queens, I considered my rental cat.
She was tawny-skinned, green-eyed and all sorts of other things that made my heart wobble.
But at this precise moment, she had me trapped in a homocidal stare.
"You paid for me to be here? Looking like a tiger?" She shook the silken tail of her costume.
"A bet." I winced at her reaction.
"I didn't expect you'd be so gorgeous," I added. She breathed out slowly.
"Would dinner make it up?" Her eyes rolled up.
"By St Marks in Venice?"

jwillett said...

I crouch and wait. Steady and confident. A dry breeze pokes the stony landscape, awakening its roaming game and tempestuous nature.

From my lofty perch, I sharply observe my target, with her beautiful mane, lithe body and predatory grace. Queens of the past don't compare to this wildcat.

“Hello downtown Denver,” she purrs into the microphone. The rallying crowd roars.

A bundle of red, white and blue balloons is released.

That's my cue.

I edge closer to the rental's window ledge. Ignoring the yapping pomp and circumstance below me, I close one eye and aim.

And breathe.

And fire.

JD Paradise said...

Maria had parental aspirations. Downtown hipster single mommy swaddling her lovie in a strictly-ironic Queensrÿche tee. Two against the world, no-one else admitted.

Beautiful dream, right? Beautiful fucking dream.

Reality was a hideous hairy bundle of caterwauling outrage spewing shit six times a day. Barely stopped screaming long enough to suck her boobs flat. Forget work. Dating. Life. Everything was Oscar.

Maria tried ignoring him. Starving him. Beating him.

One day she just walked. Dumped him in the trash. He's lived there ever since.

Scratch that.

I've lived there. Me.

And you wonder why I'm grouchy?

You fucking Muppet.

Kate Higgins said...

A Queensland cane toad, the last ingredient, was a commodity in short supply. Austral desperately searched through her reticule and dug out her new iSpell. Fumbling with an unfamiliar app, she searched. Searching… searching…ah...

“A new Potions-R-Us just opened in downtown Edinburgh!” she called to Sister.

“Go! And get a fresh one,” Hecate replied, “We have to get this right, this kettle’s a rental and due back tomorrow.”

“Will do!” In a blink she was there and back.

Tossing the beautiful toad into the roiling pot they began the chant;
“Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and caldron bubble...”

* * * * * * * * *

(FYI: The Poison Apple iSpell 3 will be available in the spring 1606)

Christine Lindahl said...

“Hurry, Catherine! We mustn’t be late.”

“Truly, all the Queens will be there this year?”

“Yes, m’lady. Please hurry.”

“And why am I to drive the rental truck?”

“We’ve been over this. No one will recognize Your Highness driving a U-Haul.”

“Oh, quite right.”

“We are to be downtown for the handoff at 11:00. Please make haste.”

“Yes, yes.”

“You need to be in position at the King's resort before the others arrive.”

“Should I wear the diamonds or the pearls?”

“You look beautiful in either. Come, we must leave now if you are to dethrone the seven Monarchs.”

Patrick DiOrio said...

“Suck air, my children,” Grental says. “For Downtown has no more air. Our world dies. Ravaged by war, the air poisoned.”

Checking her tank’s register. Minutes left, no more.

“Suck air, my children,” murmurs the last of a storied lineage of queens. Her beautiful face flows tears.

Children’s tanks ether-filled. One by one by one they succumb to endless dreams.

A mother’s keening, caterwauling dirge rents the air for what could have been and what is lost.

Her air now as used up as her soul.
She claws for a child’s tank, its hose.

Sucks air.

Enters the abyss.


shtrum said...

You take a subway downtown, shoulder past the losers, the homeless, the addicts, pimps and queens, past the beautiful brownstones turned to rentals turned to abandoned hulks filled with every form of human flotsam, littered with rotting mattress, silicone hose and needle, only to trade one letter of hepatitis with another from a mosquito failing to suck on a dead cat. And it’s not even light yet. Welcome to my typical day.

R L Raymond said...


[Two men. One with slicked back hair. The other bald, with goatee. Both wear jeans, mid-grade dress shoes. They smoke, occasionally spitting on the sidewalk.]
With all these queens and cat lovers taking over downtown, I can't move a single goddamn rental unit on Main.
Tell me 'bout it. Even the beautiful broads that smoke behind the strip club aren't drawing any interest.
Maybe we oughta tear the thing down a make a parking lot.
Shit yeah. With plug-ins for all the granola mobiles. said...

They packed up, ready to move out of the rental in Queens. With barely a glance, they put him out, shut the door.
“He’ll be fine,” they said.
He waited patiently by the door, day after day. Eventually he left to patrol downtown, hoping to see a glimpse of them. He returned to the door and waited. Weeks passed. Hope faded, hunger grew. Nothing seemed familiar, nothing was left of them.
One day, someone said, “Catch him!”
Trapped, bewildered, forgotten, he sat in the cage.
Would they come?
They did not.
Seven days later, the beautiful cat was no more.

Michael Seese said...

I love the city. I love walking the downtown streets, at night. Seeing parents, out for a stroll, child between them, holding their hands. Laughing at (or with) the beat cops as they ignore the queens blowing mocking kisses at them. The love song of cats mating in an alley. Even the broken neon sign which now proclaims “RENT           AL.” It’s wondrous, glorious, mysterious.

Later, I will sit comfortably on a hill, high above and to the west. The bombs I planted at the refinery will detonate. And that whole stinking cesspool will be consumed by a beautiful crimson glow.

Michael Pogach said...

I’m promised love in downtown San Diego. Okay: lust. It is, after all, Southern California’s version of Mardi Gras meets Woodstock. But lust will do.
A BMW rental (my Chevy sure isn't going to catch much) and off I roll.
Night 1 – slapped below the left eye.
Night 2 – beer dumped on my crotch.
Night 3 – the festival’s terminus. There she is. Beautiful. There she goes. Lost in a parade of Cher drag queens.

Midnight. Techs strike the stages. BMW expires. I share a cab with one of the queens. She whispers and winks…why not?

sadistic love said...

Blackened tendrils rolled across the sky as queens of the night catcalled, their raspy voices begging for rental of dishevelled bodies. Downtown lights cast harsh glows over their sunken faces when one with soulless eyes caught my attention. I led her into a grimy alley, a poisoned promise on my lips. She hiked her skirt with a toothless grin just as my blade buried itself into her throat. The beautiful liquid flowed from the wound, coating my fingers with its sticky warmth as her eyes widened in alarm. I smiled sadistically at her, for who would ever miss a whore?

french sojourn said...

NASA projected the point of impact to be downtown Cairns in Queensland, Australia. Unfortunately the asteroid flattened its trajectory and lit up the atmosphere like aurora borealis on crack… one last beautiful sunset for humanity.

When the asteroid broke into thousands of guided meteorites, the results were catastrophic…all the major cities were razed. Then… they attacked...hell bent from above.

Mortally wounded, Mother Nature capitulated… giving up her parental obligations to a godforsaken planet.

Eve and I escaped to Red Rock One and watched, on the lone satellite feed, as they harvested everyone, except us.

Then they left…so we’re starting over…again.

Fida Islaih said...

I arrive to this beautiful village
vintage and everyone
knows each other

Where I stand is downtown
the center of everything
it leads your eyes
to a beautiful, large building
and as you look closely
you notice it's a castle

The kings and queens
nobles and knights
live there
and unlike most
they are sweet and kind

I wish to visit
and I get a rental car and driver
walking on the path
when I arrive
I notice beautiful gardens
and beautiful cats laying around
or playing with butterflies

I try to remember it
to paint later
and maybe even gift it to the Queen.

Colin Smith said...

Here's the problem: Pet-less in New York meets a gorgeous animal lover at a party, and invites her over for drinks the next evening. I need a pet for tonight to impress the lovely Laura.

Then I see the ad: "Beautiful rental cat. Downtown Queens"—followed by the address.

Twenty bucks seems reasonable for a one-night cat, but when you include accessories—food, litter, toys—it gets expensive. This had better be one helluva kitty.

I walk to the apartment door and ring the bell. The door opens.

It's Laura.

"Rental cat?"

"Meow," Laura says, grinning.

Just me said...

Where in hell am I supposed to find a rental cat? Jimmy wants it pronto, and he sends me to this place in Queens. I ain't from around here and wind up downtown somewhere else. Whatever. So I knock on doors till this little old lady says sure, she's got extra. She must'a had fifty of the things in an apartment the size of a bathtub. I pick out a beautiful calico, a sweet little thing, and buzz on back. "What the hell is this?" Jimmy says. "I needed a bulldozer you idiot!"

Sarah said...

Two teenage queens—the kind whose limbs were still kittens and trunks were all cat—made their thrones on the slag pile. “Let’s get this over with,” one girl said, studying the abandoned coal breaker and amber lights of a downtown shoved deep into a holler. Her castle and kingdom. It boxed a tight, little ache inside her throat.
The other stayed quiet.
“I don’t want to rule this shithole forever.” She patted the other’s stiff thigh, the rental chains she used to drag her up the slag jingling as if agreeing. She’d done a bang-up job. Beautiful even.

Brian Wethington said...

“It’s just a vacation,” said Stan as he flopped into a chair across from his brother’s beautiful, modern desk. “What’s the problem?”

The Prince of Darkness stopped typing and peered over his glasses at Stan. “Why in blue heaven do you need a vacation? You work at a Starbucks in downtown Queens. Part time.”

Satan sighed. “I’m Lucifer: I can’t have my siblings whining about needing a vacation from frothing lattes for coked-up hipsters.”

“Whatever,” said Stan through a frown. “Maybe I should take that rental in Soho if you’re going to be this way.”

“Fine. Don’t forget your cat.”

Kel Heinen said...

“She’s beautiful.”

I placed my hand over my daughter’s isolet, the pain of her sudden arrival still fresh. A little grey stuffed cat sat nearby, a queen’s crown on its head. My mom and husband were downtown for lunch. He hasn’t left my side in three days.

“The cats are sleeping in her crib,” dad continued, as I stroked my daughter’s arm. “They think it’s their rental condo.”

I laughed even though it hurt. “She gained a pound over night.”

Dad smiled. “That’s good. People are praying for her.”

I nodded, though I don’t believe. Maybe prayers would help.

Lonnie Jones said...

It always bothered me when they gave hurricanes beautiful names of queens. There’s nothing regal about them. Unless you are looking down at one from space, looking down at the towering vacant eye surrounded by clouds spiraling into the elegant golden ratio found in seashells, sunflowers, and our galaxy. Then maybe the names fit.

But not if you are downtown, two streets off Main, and the only thing you can hear over the constant noise of rental generators is the crying ladies in the living room who have lost their town and their friend to a Category four named Kate.

Elissa Hunter said...

It took Derek a few weeks before he realized that the beautiful women swanning around downtown NYC weren't women at all. It was even longer before he realized he was one of them.

Now he was sitting backstage at the Electric Cuckoo, avoiding the other amateur drag queens and trying not to hork. His sequined rental dress itched, and his wig was causing him to sweat. When he heard his stage name (Sharkey van der Chomp), he stood up on his platform heels and tottered onto the stage. It was cathartic, even when they booed him.

Heather Lin said...

"That brownie is beautiful."

"How the fuck can a brownie be beautiful?" Jay asked, wrinkling his nose as he drank chai tea in a downtown coffee shop.

"I've been on this diet for a week. A jar of mayonnaise would be beautiful right now."

"That's disgusting. I'll give up whatever the fuck I have to in order to keep this fabulous figure."

"You queens are all the same--bitches with an unnatural love for the word 'fuck'."

"Stems from a lack of parental guidance."

"I was a good Catholic girl. Always did what I was told. But I envy you."

k.kellie edwards said...

Six years old and man was I tired. We been lookin’ for a cheap place to rent downtown. Sign said “Rental,” Pa knocked, she answered. Never seen nothin’ like that before.

Queens I seen, them jaws was always stubble. Hers was smooth as a baby’s behind. Six foot four and wrapped in white satin, shouldered that cat like a damn mink stole. Begged the old man but he said we couldn’t swing it and the love of my life was shutting the door.

The love of my life, no shit.

She was beautiful.

Kitty said...


We sat on a bench -- me, Mom and Catherine -- near the downtown bus station, clutching our possessions. Cath watched a couple of queens plying their trade while I counted our money for food, shelter and transportation

Mom's acting odd. "Did you remember your Lithium?"

"I don't need that."

Beautiful. Add that to the list; scratch transportation.

Cath starts second grade next week, and I've got to find us a place to live -- again. And food. Shoes for Cath. Mom's meds. I remember going fishing once. Maybe I will again. Maybe I'll start fifth grade, too.

SiSi said...

Queensland Protectorate, 2127

I lumber across the Pedway in my new body, a cheap rental with legs like tree stumps and eyes flecked with rust. Next time I see that lying rep from Beautiful Bodies, I’m going to kill him.

But first things first. She slinks around the corner of Downtown Dollies with the feral grace of a howlercat, and I grab her as I fall.

Others help us up. She doesn’t recognize me, but I recognize the arrogant dismissal smoldering in her eyes. I apologize. She leaves.

I drop the empty syringe through the metal grates and stagger home.

Manda Zim said...

The agent stepped into the hall, leaving me alone in the dingy downtown Queenston rental. Fingers trailing across the wall, I wandered into what barely qualified as a bedroom. Sitting on the bed, I winced at the faint scent of cat urine.

Leaning forward, hands heavy between my knees, I felt it before it finished materializing. Its cool hand pressed against my shoulder, demanding acknowledgement.

"Yes, I know what you want," I whispered, lips barely moving.

It made a pleased sound, beautiful and grating against my soul.

Standing, I called to the agent.

"Ms. Morgan? I'll take it."

Parasail Poet said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brad said...

The Cat Queens had gathered in conclave once more. They huddled around the beautiful corpse of their fallen leader in their downtown alley, tails twitching in the last bit of moonlight. The one that would rule them next, a white long-hair with three black spots across her back, crouched, panting over her mother’s body. She hissed through the smear of maternal blood. The salt-copper taste on her tongue was all that remained of the parental bond she had chewed through to claim her birth rite. The other Queens arched and howled. She answered them. Her grief would have to wait.

Megan Butler said...

“It’s a beautiful day for a ride, isn’t it?” she drawled, tilting back to bask in the faint rays of sunlight.

“Yeah. Next time we hit downtown, remind me of the dudes looking for points.” I pumped my brakes, held my breath.

Seriously. I could nudge her wheels next time she swerved, claim ignorance. She’ll catapult off her bike and I’ll feign concern. The fallen queens of history would gain a promising recruit.

She let go of the handlebars and curved into a leaf pile.

My pulse soared. “Is that a rental?”


The conniving grin couldn’t be contained. Perfect.

Artie Beltza said...

“I don’t watch much on the tv, you know? Life’s short, know what I mean? I go more for the PBS. You know, like the Downtown Abbey.”

“Downton,” she said, finally looking at him instead of the line for the ladies’ room or her own finger tracing the rim of her highball.


“It’s Downton.”

“Beautiful,” he exhaled. “Fuck.”

This was going about as well as a catamite interviewing to be a queen’s consort. He wondered if the tux place would give him some sort of partial discount on an early return of his rental.

Craig said...

The sun had made its bid for dominance. It had chased the clouds from last night’s rain away and burned off the dew. Now its beautiful brilliance was challenged. The Queens had emerged for their morning stroll.

The stroll sauntered down Duval as the already drunk locals in the bar doorways pounded out a beat. The beat turned it into a parade. The parade then went to the docks and past the hung-over touristas in their rental boats. Preening for the good natured cat calls and wolf whistles they turned toward downtown, fishing for compliments all along the way.

Jared X said...

Stay behind me. Walk where I walk. Downtown is treacherous after dark. It’s also strangely beautiful with the right guide.

Say nothing.

See that calico near the hydrant? Ever seen a stray so clean? See how she watches us, not the rats feasting in the street like kings and queens? That’s no cat. They know you’re here. Let me guess: you charged your rental car. Nobody listens. We need to get inside. I have a loft here, upstairs. Wait outside while I scout the lobby.

Okay, this is where we part ways. Retrace our steps. I’m sure you’ll be fine.

Lenny Liang said...

They told us we were beautiful. They treated us like queens. They told us we were special. They offered us our dreams.

They took us downtown to an upscale rental, fed us with extravagance, and vowed to make us "extremely famous." They set up a camera and told us to relax.

Then they joined us. Then they touched us. Then they hooked us. Then they hit us. And then they told us that they owned us.

They did fulfill their promise though. We became extremely famous.

Millions of people witnessed our catastrophe. They approved with hands in their pants.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Downtown, shopkeepers prop open doors. Tourists buy souvenirs with beautiful crumpled wads of suntan lotion scented bills.

The bookstore cat weaves between ankles, licks vanilla ice cream puddles.

Boys in muscle shirts, all sweat and sinew, strut, while girls in short shorts, showing miles of taut glowing skin, giggle, their lips shimmering with tangerine gloss.

Parents smile across strollers, hold hands again. These kings and queens of old cast benevolent but wistful glances at their past selves sauntering by.

The houses, the cars are rentals, as are the carefree, relaxed attitudes. It will all be returned by week’s end.

Steven said...

Gambling debts pile on me like jagged boulders. I suppose that’s an advantage now.

After barricading the maintenance door, I mount the squat parapet ringing the skyscraper’s roof. Downtown Charlotte’s eerily beautiful from this vantage point, but suspending the image of my brain matter bescattering the square is difficult.

Fifteen minutes ago, the parade rounded the corner where Queens Road intersects with itself. Below, police direct soulless photographers to cordon off my splat zone.

It’s time.

My son pushes through photog ghouls to witness my lowest parental moment. For $715.00, I make the BASE jump with a Viagra emblazoned canopy.

CHLamb said...

Temper, Temper
Looking back, Garcia wondered how they missed the warning signs.

‘That’s it! I’m fucking done!’

She hammered the brakes of the cheap Rent-A-Tent camper, stopping dead on I-90 before giving them a taste of her beautiful wrath.

She’d become Vesuvius in American Eagle weekend-wear.

‘All you prissy urban queens have done since leaving downtown Manhattan is bitch! Jason died! I want closure by scattering his ashes in Yellowstone!’ Garcia’s eyes narrowed to ferocious cat-like slits. ‘Make the choice – my mental health or your manicures!’

Ten minutes later only Jason’s ashes remained in the camper, safely buckled in the passenger seat.

Calorie Bombshell said...

“I didn’t get the job.”

“At BBQ Paradise? You’re a pig and cattle connoisseur, for Christ’s sake.”

“I applied at a vegetarian restaurant instead.”

“You mean carrots and green leafy things?” She howled with laughter. “How about one of the Dairy Queens downtown?”

“They’ll make me wear a hair net. Very uncool.”

“Ever thought of working at the zoo?”

“At least there I won’t scare the customers.”

“Don’t ever say that.” She nuzzled me close. “Beautiful blue eyes, your father’s muscular legs. Anyway, enough of my parental interference.” She flashed her sharpened canines. “I’m hungry. Let’s go hunt some dinner.”

Fiercely Yours said...

Speed Dater #7: Jerry


“You’re a handsome woman. People say I would make a beautiful woman, so I guess we’d make a good-looking pair, but then we might get mistaken for a lesbian couple. I could probably live with that if you could. My hobby? I steal chess pieces, well only the queens. One day I’m going to use them to decorate my cat rental business, Queen Kitty. I figure there’s a lot of lonely people who don’t want the full responsibility of a cat. Sometimes I get that Petula Clark song Downtown stuck in my head…”


Gammelor said...

Before leaving beautiful downtown Queens, I picked up the cat I had leased from Schrodinger's Rental and stuffed it into its traveling box to take with me on the Physicists' Gambling Cruise. My rival, Ernst, will be impressed I've gone to such expense, but the real impression will be the claw marks all over his face when he opens the box--the cat's a clockwork assassin. And as for alive or dead, well that's a philosophical question.

Scott Henderson said...

Thall Shalt Not Covet

The catechism lay beneath Father Kincaid’s hanging body. My priest.
I found car rental reservations and cruise tickets, Queen’s Line, very fancy. I called the captain. “Suicides don’t plan vacations.”
“The other ticket is for Samantha Ashton, Jake Ashton’s wife.”
“The lawyer?”
“And a parishioner. I think Kincaid and Samantha were sleeping together.”
In short order, we had a warrant and plenty of physical evidence. The captain said, “Arrest Ashton, bring him downtown. And find the wife.”
Sorry, I thought. That beautiful body will never be found.
Here’s a lesson: if you sleep around, avoid homicide detectives.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

I found a beautiful black cat downtown, near Reid’s Auto Rental on Queens Street. When I posted a notice about the cat on Craig’s list, a guy called, said the cat was his and he’d meet me behind the rental place downtown and pay a reward. Yeah right. Queens, downtown, is kind of sketchy so I didn’t go alone I took Beretta, my beautiful best friend with me. So I’m behind the rental place on Queens, I’m getting nervous. The big ugly bastard shows up, gets nasty, Beretta goes off, bastard goes down. Beautiful. I keep the cat.

Lance said...

“Dan, I have four queens, and you’re down to your last sock.”

An argyle sock slumped around the beige, plastic ankle.

“I know, Rachael. You’re good at poker. And beautiful, too.”

“Show me your cards, and let’s take this thing downtown.”

“How do you like my new leg? It’s a rental until I make up my mind.”

“It’s great. Are those cat scratches on it?”

“Well, Bugsy likes it, but those are knife scratches.”

“Knife scratches?”

“Yeah. The side here has a neat little slot for a knife. It blends right in.”

“Can I see?”

“I thought you’d never ask.”

Kathryn Leonard-Peck said...

In the Valley of the Queens, Bastet ruled.

She rose from temple prostitute with a rental booth outside the main shrine in downtown Thebes, to the beautiful and feared chief concubine to Pharaoh himself.

She was the official palace mourner. If someone you cared about died and you wanted a proper show, you called her.

If someone you didn’t love refused to die, well, Bastet could fix that too.

Every day she fed her clowder of cats on human blood. Every night she pleased Pharaoh and stirred her potions.

She was carved into eternity with trembling hands, reborn a goddess.

Tanisha Payne said...

I reluctantly say goodbye to the gorgeous man beside me and get off the plane.

I get my rental, trying to erase that luscious being from mind and psych myself for my first trip to Queens and Trisha’s wedding.

I follow the directions downtown and arrive at the most beautiful cathedral I’ve ever seen.

I turn to see the man from the plane getting out of a cab.

As he winks at me and goes inside, I notice his clothes are different and all my breath escapes from me.

Holy crap, I’ve been salivating after a priest. God help me.

Terri Lynn Coop said...

I love my phone company job. At five, I shut down the switchboard and watch the entire on-hold queue blink out. It’s a beautiful thing.

The noose catapulted me out of my chair. I clawed at the knot, but that cinched it tighter.

“All I wanted was to move the Internet to my rental in downtown Queens. That shouldn’t take ten hours on the phone. However, since the hold time on this line could be up to fifteen minutes, you may want to use our self-service option,” she said, putting the gun in my hand before she closed the door.

Myra King said...

I live downtown next door to an extreme cleaner. OCD, not commercial. Sadie Badenoch. Sadbad
we called her at school but she wasn't bad. And before the gunman came she was cat sleek beautiful.

My rental-room looks into her kitchen. Six a.m. I see her cleaning to Queen's music. Mercury rising. Her house gleams like the stars.

Ten a.m., safe behind my impenetrable screen, I watch her prepare for outside. Living in the real world.

Keys jangle. Her hands dart round, up and down her front door's frame. Her ritual protection. Takes two hours before she leaves.

Wish I could.

Debra Giuffrida said...

I was downtown Manhattan when it happened, near enough to watch ash flutter all around me like some sort of wicked perverted snow.

At home in my safe rental brownstone in Queens I watched the horror unfold on TV, hugging my cat to my chest, burying my nose in its neutral scented fur.

I had blown off the appointment. Required counseling after my beautiful sister commited suicide.

The appointment card lay discarded on the hall table. Dr. Tadasu Tokumaru, M.D. 21st Floor, Suite 520. Date: 9/11/2001, Time: 9:00 a.m. 1 World Trade Center, New York City, NY.

ashland said...

Catherine once ruled my double wide trailer.

Now her skinny ass floats around downtown, sipping wine with all them other trophy wife beauty queens. That scarlet whore traded stained sheets and dirty dishes for two o'clock chardonnays on Wednesdays, pinkies held regally in the air, with only their new, plastic noses reaching higher.

I could see in her eyes a great catharsis when I came to her and asked—no, begged—for the handyman job her husband placed in the paper. Nine months and she'd gone from renting to owning rentals.

Coyly she smiled and told me, “Go fuck yourself.”

Beautiful irony.

BP said...

NEWS, NEWS, Read all about it! Servants, downtowners and humble nobodies, alike, may freely wander the halls of Middleton High again!

Lorenna Alverston is in the hospital, albeit award-winning Bath and Body sanitizer collection and teen royalty-only socializing habits.

Will life go on without her? Can it? What will we do without HER MAJESTY LORENNA, groveling in self-pity, expecting people to cater to her every need or bow in reverential homage to her?

Seriously, don’t worry about it. Nobody misses her, least of all ME.

I’m the one who sleeps alone, tonight, and for a twin, alone is beautifully silent.

Chris Barnes said...

Cats are evil. Don't ever trust them. How was I to guess at the dilapidated state of this place? His description was beautifully haunting, irresistibly inviting. I bought it.

My imaginings of kings lording and queens curtseying were dashed upon the rocky reality of this irreparable rental. I can pictures that cat's smiling facade, grinning his way through a falsified admonition that turned this squalid box into a soaring manor in my mind.
I guess it's time to make my way downtown and admit defeat.

"Never trust cats," I sigh, easing back on Dr. Adler's couch. "They're evil."

CJKeats said...

I love living downtown. The aroma of concrete after the rain blasts it clean of human detritus invigorates me. The sounds, night and day, form the white noise of my life. Tonight I prowl like a cat through the alleys, choosing playmates like kings and queens select beheadings. I don’t need so-called beautiful cabins-by-the-lake-in-the-mountains. I don’t desire vacations. I only work. But I require a workmate.
And … there. She outshines all the other rentals slinking the streets.
I catch her eye. She knows.
“Wanna play?” She smiles.
“No, I only work.” I take her arm and lead her away.

Jenny said...

The Queens hotel was grand and beautiful when it was new, back before the apocalypse turned it into a crumbling building that served as a shelter for anyone brave or stupid enough to venture into the downtown area of a city whose name had been forgotten. It was big enough that even after scavengers claimed rooms that hadn’t collapsed or been chewed up by rodents, there were enough left to be converted into rentals for privileged schoolboys who wanted to camp out in the remains of a catastrophic event. Boys too rich to understand the tragedy of a city destroyed.

Annee Brizo said...

Edith Queens dreamed of a lovely little rental in downtown Castine with a beautiful towering elm outside the bedroom dormer. Of a friendly cat weaving figure eights within her strides on sunrise treks along the harbor and raucous gulls and boatmen’s banter. Of salty tang settling on her tongue, seeping into her cardigan and weighting her swinging braid.
Instead her nightmare world reeked of moldering bedding and sweaty unwashed flesh in soundless, perpetual night.
Footsteps broke monotony. Two sets.

Sue Doerfler said...

I parked my rental car – it was a late model Chevy Impala – outside her apartment on Queens Street. She’d left a cryptic message on my cell phone, saying to come by.
I was later than I wanted. Downtown traffic was brutal, and I kept having to stop for red lights.
Her cat, a tabby, was sitting on the front window ledge. It moved when I rang the doorbell.
The door opened.
“Hey beautiful,” I said, tipping my hat.
“Hey yourself, handsome. I knew you would come.”
I stepped inside. That’s when I noticed she had a gun in her hand.

Shaunna said...

You don’t stop being schizophrenic just cause you’re medicated. You do stop feeling the poetry, though; or, rather, it stops feeling you.

Before, Charla and I were real queens, jumping subway turnstiles at the downtown stations, exorcising the masses, two voices in a choir of angels (or demons, who knows?)

Now Charla’s no longer beautiful.

Now I sit in my brother’s rental car all day, reading the paper and luring stray cats in with a can of tuna on the dash, just to have something to touch that isn’t me.

Now I don’t think I’ll ever fall in love again.

Joanne said...

I expected him at seven. By ten past nine, my shoes were off, tossed aside like I hadn't left work early to pick them up in downtown Queens.

"Metallic silver. Just out" the salesman said "Any man will go mad for these", he told me with a wink.
I thought of this as I picked up the cat and moved to the window. I saw them running for a cab, his hand on her back. She was beautiful. She was his. Suddenly, I knew the truth of it. I wasn't his "Just out" any more. I was just a rental.

BPatterson said...

“Oh sweetie, you’d be so beautiful if you just learn to put your make-up on.”

The regular queens exchanged long-suffering looks as Lady Chocolate Thunder tore into the new ‘girl’ cowering before Thunder’s super-sequined double-E breast plate.

“And is that dress a rental? The fit is awful! Two words. Corset. Padding. You look like a boy!”
Majestica Mellons spun around on her stool despite warning gestures.

“Don’t be catty, Choc, honey. Just because it was too long ago for YOU to remember learning how to tuck your downtown into the brown.”

The policeman wrote “Death by Chocolate” on Majestica’s toe-tag.

Claire Gregory said...

The patient rocked, stroking his pyjama-clad knee, muttering.

Certifiable. Dr. Jones sighed. “The start.”


He’d walked in after work and tossed his keys on the counter. Heard only the distant honks of downtown Queens traffic- too quiet inside.


She was in the den, a tabby on her lap.

“This weird old lady came by. Offered a… rental cat. Just temporary.”

It stretched one striped leg, and sank its claws into her knee. She yelped.

It purred.

She’d always wanted one. He hadn’t. Temporary, right? Like, today only. “Hell, why not.”

Beautiful green eyes stared back at him, unblinking.

Carla Quevedo said...

First and last time all at once --A Short Story

So, I met this HotTallJackReacherLookAlike guy, at a bar downtown called Happy Ending -Seriously, though, 302 Broome- He invited me a Jack over some YouAreBeautifulKindaStuff. I accepted, his drunken sweat had already turned me on. We talked for 3 hours. We had 3 more Jacks I had to pay for. He said he was homeless. He said he was staying in Jackson Heights at a friend's house.

“You could meet my cat if we drive back there...”

I’m allergic to cats... and to Queens... and to rental cars.


Shana Raphaeli said...

There is nothing beautiful about death. No heartbeat, no breath. Queens succumb to rigor mortis the same as old ladies in grimy downtown rentals.

The medical examiner concluded she had broken her hip. Yet she had dragged herself across the kitchen floor to the bag of kibble near the cat’s bowl. Granny had refilled kitty’s coffer.

Luxuriating on the windowsill, the cat had found the lone source of sunlight in the dingy place. It was probably drowsy from a meal eaten inches away from its owner’s dead hand.

The creature’s willingness to come with me was a sign, I thought.

Geni P said...

The beautiful cat queens cruised downtown in their rental stroller. The little girl sang as she pushed them. The queens loved their city. Plenty of mice. Lots of pigeons. They would be fat cats soon.

The little girl darted into her house. She returned with a puppy.
"Puppy, meet your new friends," the little girl said.
"Queens don't need new friends," the cat queens scoffed.
"Meow, Meow," heard the little girl.

The beautiful cat queens climbed from the stroller. They flipped their royal tails and left.

"Goodbye little girl," the cat queens said.
"Meow, Meow," the little girl heard.

LynnRodz said...

The crisp autumn day in Paris was beautiful. I walked into the Notre-Dame Cathedral and lit a candle. No lines, no waiting. The tourists had all gone home and the city belonged to us once more.

I hated Paris in the summertime. Apartment rentals went for astronomical prices that stupid people paid and cafés were crowded with pseudo-Parisians drinking expensive cheap wine. Each arrondissement (no downtown or uptown here) had its share of camera-toting, sneaker-wearing, gum-chewing foreigners.

I knelt and prayed to Our Lady, the Queen of Queens, and asked her to never let any of them return.

CED said...

Jason plummeted into the pelagic deep, air leaving him, until he came upon a catafalque, his catafalque, ensconced in the rocky sea floor, intricately carved and gilded, surrounded by sculptures: a beautiful siren, tall and proud, and Poseidon himself. The lair of the sea god. Where the ocean had swallowed entire civilizations down, towns, villages, ships, remade by the currents and salt; a city formerly of alabaster and gold, all spires and cupolas topped with delicate finials, with Jason as its newest resident. Had he not supplicated good fortune from Poseidon? Perhaps he had misunderstood.

Amara Royce said...

"Beautiful service, wasn't it, Janey? Grand as the Queen's."

"Eh, pretty on the face of it, if you like that sort of thing."

"What about all the crepe and flowers? The procession downtown?"

"Money buys a lot, Anne. It's not love." Jane knew that much.

"What about that mystery man? His weeping near broke my heart. I wonder what Liza was to him."

"Just a rental. Saw him caterwauling at Mrs. Bennett's send-off three months ago. Herbert wants me to reserve him for when he goes."

They'd argued for hours about the weeper. Liza won. She always had.

Madseasongirl said...

From sunup to down, she owns downtown, lords over all like the queens of old. They scurry at her feet, in their beautiful garments and shine. Some pay homage, tossing riches at her feet. Most are too afraid, too humbled. She is more than royalty. She is a god. The deification of defecation and deprecation. The incarnation of parental advisory.

The sun's almost up. She climbs from between the walls and takes her throne of tattered blankets, sets out her cup to collect her tithe. Yes, she owns downtown, if nothing more. Her home? The heart of us all.

Rich Barton said...

The beautiful Geisha who graced the neon alcoves of this seedy section of downtown Tokyo all dressed like queens from an era long past. Their silken gowns adorned with giant bows, combined with the accoutrements that protruded from their elaborate hair-dos, gave them all an air of elegance; a sense of natural beauty.

Sadly though, they were all rentals. The lovely creature in front of me named Catalina could actually be Catalino. A firm crotch-check was always necessary.

Kelly Hannon said...

Jeff checked the time on his phone. He still had three more hours with the rental cat. He'd panicked last night and told Olivia that he'd rescued a stray, now she wasn't even here to see the proof. Jeff couldn't believe he had spent his last $40 to spend the afternoon with a cat belonging to one of the drag queens living in the apartment below him.

Beautiful women always made him do stupid things. Maybe she was working downtown. Jeff lifted the mewling bundle and headed for the subway. Maybe the cat'd earn him a little something for free.

Scott G said...

“Full House,” I said.” Aces over Queens.”

Sly the Cat looked at his hand, and threw it down on the table.

“Beautiful,” said Rex the Dog.

“You played that like a downtown pro,” said Abe the Fish.

“I’ll be back to collect my winnings.” I winked, smiled and headed for the john in my rat-trap rental.

Finishing my business, the door behind me opened, then closed.

I turned.

“I ain’t payin,” said Sly the Cat.

“Fuck you,” I said.

His claws popped out.

I shuddered.

He grinned, just like his name, and stepped toward me. “Fuck you, Ted the Mouse.”

Just Jan said...

Ode to Cats

From my downtown rental
Night after night,
I see you stroll by
Itching for a fight.

Your beautiful fur,
Your glowing eyes--
I savor them all
Like a winner’s prize.

Toms and queens alike
Drink the milk I leave out.
The treats are devoured
Without a doubt.

You leave me presents
Of birds and mice.
You kill them with glee--
It’s your only vice.

And when the moon sets
You slink back home,
Tuck into your beds,
And sleep all alone.