Fiction Online

Don't miss my on-going webserial Perfect.

Below are some pieces of flash fiction I wrote (as Hillsboro Writer) either independently or in response to a writing challenge.

☀ ☁ ☂

“Welcome to Portland”

After driving a thousand miles, I pulled into the driveway of rental house in about the only neighborhood I could afford: SE 67th off Flavel. I was beat; grabbed my sleeping bag, found the key under the mat, and sacked out in the back bedroom.

Next morning I got up with the sun since the place had no curtains. After splashing some water on my face, and something else on the toilet bowl, I headed out to start unloading my Subaru station wagon.

On one side was painted “Go Ducks;” the other, “Go Beavs.” The car was empty. On the windshield was a computer-printed note: “Welcome to Portland. Thank you for your donation. The Felony Flats Unemployment Committee.”

Free of earthy possessions – hey, at least they didn’t take the car! I knew I was going to like it here.

☀ ☁ ☂

Addiction: The Writers' Campaign Challenge

Cheryl, from Beaverton Evening Writers, wrote about a challenge to write a piece of 200 word flash fiction on her blog. The original post is on Rachael Harrie's blog. And here's my attempt:

The door swung open.

“Come to Mama,” she moaned. “I need more of your sweet, creamy satisfaction. Melt in my mouth, lover.”

He was silent, but I heard, “I’ve got what you need. Don’t I always take care of you?” So smooth.

When would I ever learn? She told me she would stop: yesterday, last week, for my birthday. But it was always the same. A day went by and she’d have to have it. Problems at work and she couldn’t get enough. A long commute and she’d stop on the corner to score.

Twain said giving up smoking was the easiest thing he ever did: he did it a thousand of times. She made him out to be an amateur.

I’ve tried to get her help: twelve step programs, rehab clinics, even threatened and cajoled. It’s been useless: useless as a critic without an audience.

“It’s me or him.” My voice was strong, but my eyes were weak. “Choose. Now.”

“What’s your problem? I can handle it.” She laughed. At me. “It’s not like I’ve got a real problem!”

He said nothing. What a cad; bury him I will. Someday.

I turned and walked away.

The door swung shut.

☀ ☁ ☂

Westside Writers Fall 2011 Challenge Entry

Here is my response to the challenge made by Westside Writers:

I wailed seeing Benny’s body hanging from a tree. His arms and legs stuck out at right angles, his clothes hung off his frame: a grotesque fuchsia and the General’s message.

She smothered my screams, pulled me into the shadows, and pressed something in my palm. “Quiet message. Seven d son, set frankly dead swan.” Pointing at a sedan, she pushed me forward. “Fast go.”

I stumbled across the deserted street and looked at my hand: my lover’s passcard and a key. Can’t go home, they know where we live. The key worked. Why’d he have to come out?

In gear, the car lurched north. At a red light I shook myself. Not seven d – seventy! It was code. Take Highway 70, but which way? Seventy sunset… West!

City lights fading in the rearview mirror, it was a long way to anywhere. Frankly dead swan? Frank lead Aswan?

Another car entered the road behind me. The lights flicked high and low. Was I paranoid or being followed? I sped up but they followed through the curves. On the floodplain, the horn wailed and they overtook me. I slowed and tried not to think about Benny. Frankly deads won?

Low fuel! Where’ll I find gas? Twenty to forty miles and the car’s dead. Rounding a bend a faint light glowed. A gas station and someone stood inside the door. I alighted, he was gone, but left a note: “Half mile turn left, follow gravel road to inn.”

What choice did I have? Was it a trap? All manner of places are tucked away in coastal coves screened from the road by a ridge.

A sign flickered, “Lily and Swan.” I parked, entered, and was greeted, “Sorry about Benny. I’m Frank. You’re safe here until we can smuggle you over the border.”

☀ ☁ ☂

Westside Writers 2011 Happy Holiday Challenge Entry


“Knock, knock.” The grey-haired woman said, unsure if her mother was sleeping. “Ma, it’s Lizzie.”

“Come in.” The old woman turned from the window and examined the unfamiliar face with eyes clouded by so many decades. “Are you new here, dear?”

“No, Ma, it’s Elizabeth. Your daughter.”

“Yes, my daughter’s name is Elizabeth, but we call her Lizzie. Is she coming to visit?”

Lizzie let out a gentle sigh and looked at the plastic box in her hands. “I’ve brought your favorite Christmas cookies.” She approached her mother’s wheelchair and popped open the red lid. The heady smell of spices spilled out of the green container transporting the women to a warm kitchen.

“It’s just me, Ma.”

“How was school, dear?”

“I got a B+ on my history paper. Yum. That gingerbread smells super! When are you going to teach me the recipe?”

“We can mix up another batch of dough for Christmas Eve. Change out of your school clothes.”

Lizzie shot out of the kitchen and returned wearing jeans and an old sweatshirt before her mother had set out everything they needed. “Wash your hands; then, an orange.” Lizzie complied. “Next we put some sugar in a saucepan. I use this old, chipped cup to measure. Fill it to just below the chip.”

Lizzie carefully spooned sugar in the cup, unsure of exactly how much was needed.

“A little more, dear,” her mother coaxed. “Then you do the same with molasses; only remember to coat the cup with a bit of oil so the molasses won’t stick.”

“Then what, Mama?”

“Then remember to use a bit more molasses than sugar. I fill the cup to where it just starts to flow over the chip. Now we add the spices – never use powdered.”

First they noticed the spark of orange peel, then the bite of ginger, followed by the warmth of cinnamon being grated. Lizzie’s mother helped her gauge how much was needed as the girl dumped each into the pot. Next they crushed the cloves and cardamom. The aroma was exotic but even as the mixture came to a boil on the stove, it was nothing like what seeped out of the oven as the gingerbread baked.

After boiling the sugars and spices, they added butter and allowed the mix to cool before adding some whipping cream. Finally, sifted flour and baking soda and eggs were added to form dough.

“Then we have to let it sit in a cold place,” Mom instructed. “Overnight if you can’t wait, but a week is much better.”

Lizzie’s mother leaned forward slowly inhaling the exotic, pungent aroma. She returned to her normal posture allowing the memories to wash over her. Her lips drew back in a contented smile. “It’s good to see you, Lizzie.” She reached out to kiss her daughter.

“Merry Christmas, Mama.”