SNOW!
posted @ 9:48 am in [ SPASMS ]

Our back yard when we woke up this morning.

Our back yard when we woke up this morning.

Peeking into the woods behind our house.

Peeking into the woods behind our house.





Protected: Chapter 15: MAGIC PIXIE DUST & THE CULT OF PHYSICS
posted @ 5:18 am in [ Snake & Freaky John Novel ]

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:





UPDATE
posted @ 7:02 pm in [ On Writing and Creativity ]

Did some work on a spanking new project today. As in December, SPASMS will be a little spotty while I get this longer work under control. I think you’re gonna like it.

xo, Amy





TELL ME SOMETHING
posted @ 8:23 pm in [ SPASMS ]

 

I’m not a serial killer. I know you didn’t ask, but I’ll tell you right off the bat I’m no serial killer. Or a rapist. Nosiree, those are two things I am not. I’m giving you the facts now so things don’t get awkward later. I promise you it will not get awkward.

            Because I believe in honesty in a relationship. I truly do. And although this is only our first date, our first meeting really, I want you to know that, should you invite me back to your place tonight, I will probably not steal anything when I creep out in the middle of the night. And if I do, I can guarantee it will be something really small that you most likely wouldn’t notice was missing for a while, like a can opener. I’m telling you this because I’m a straightforward kind of guy. I wouldn’t want you to think I was something I’m not.

            Like an astronaut. I am most definitely not an astronaut, and I wouldn’t want you to think I was. So if you were looking at me, thinking, “Wow, I bet this guy is an astronaut,” I’ll clear that up right now. Am not, never was. I hope you appreciate that I’m being up-front about this. Most guys wouldn’t, you know?

            Another thing. If we end up back at my place, you can rest assured that I have no miniature cameras set up in my bedroom or my bathroom. Or anywhere in my house. But if you have your own little camera and want to take pictures of us naked, I won’t embarrass you by asking you not to. That would be rude. And I’m not rude.

            Here’s something you won’t have to worry about. Although I live with my sister, I do not have sex with her. You may look at her and think, “She’s gorgeous, why not?” But she’s my sister, and that would be gross. If you swing that way and you want to hit on her, that’s up to you. Leave me out of it.

            Oops, I almost forgot – I also do not like wearing a diaper. I know there are some grown men out there who enjoy being diapered and treated like a baby by their lady friends, but I am not one of those men. Don’t even ask. I’m setting the boundary now.

            So. That about sums me up. Tell me about you.

  

Copyright 2006 Amy Frushour Kelly. All rights reserved.

Reproduction by any means prohibited without prior written consent.





THE INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF FLUTEMASTERS, PAN-PIPERS AND PICCOLO PLAYERS
posted @ 5:26 pm in [ SPASMS ]

(or: Never Mess With a Flautist)

Like most coalitions of its kind, the Union was started in 1922 with the best of intentions—to serve its members, ensure that the best jobs go to the best workers, encourage fairness in the workplace, and set a standard for aspiring flautists. And it did, for many years. But inevitably, corruption and foul play transpired.

The downward spiral did not begin until the late 1930s, when FOCATS (Fraternity of Clarinetists and Tenor Saxophonists) interfered with an IBFP strike, sending in third-rate clarinet players as scabs to do a Flutemaster’s job. Several times, the brethren of the IBFP implored their fellow musicians to cease, to no avail. Shortly afterward, a mysterious fire destroyed the FOCATS headquarters in Cleveland. The implications were obvious.

Thus began a long decade of rivalry between the IBFP and FOCATS, ending only when the clarinetists’ union merged with UBOP (United Bassoonists and Oboe Players) to become FOCATS-UBOP, tripling their ranks and conspiring to take even more flute jobs.

IBFP engaged in back-door discussions with the Drummer-Percussionist Guild, Brethren of the Brass, and the Keyboard Coalition Front, but nothing significant resulted[1].
The woodwind rivalry was ended in 1952, with the inauguration of IBFP president Dom Panzir. Panzir, a shrewd businessman as well as a flautist, used the bulk of the IBFP pension fund to quietly buy up manufacturers and distributors of reeds. Soon, every time a woodwind player bought a new reed for his instrument, he unwittingly padded the coffers of the IBFP. The Flutemasters’ treasury swelled. In 1954, Panzir and his brethren approached the Union of Sheet Metal Workers with a lucrative merger deal. The non-musical sheet metal workers leaped at the opportunity, and IBFP ranks swelled with tough, strong men unafraid of physical aggression.

Needless to say, the next time FOCATS-UBOP scab musicians attempted to cross an IBFP&SMW picket line, they were quite violently surprised. In fact, it was these picket lines, combined with Panzir’s aforementioned business savvy, that firmly established the Flutemasters as a force to be reckoned with. By the 1960s, a rumored (but never proven) Flutemasters-Mafia connection surprised no one.

The following decades brought more of the same. In the present day, mothers place protective hands on their children when they see a Flutemaster on the street. Flautists are portrayed as the “heavies” in such mainstream programs as “The Sopranos.” And the flute remains an instrument trapped in the balance of heavenly music and devilish greed and power.




[1] At the time, the otherwise unaffiliated League of Harpists made several attempts to be incorporated into the IBFP, but everyone knows what sissies harp players are. It was only in the 1960s, when “mouth harp” became synonymous with harmonicas, that there was a massive influx of hardier members and the League of Harpists became the internationally recognized organization it is today.

Copyright 2004-2006 Amy Frushour Kelly. All rights reserved. Reproduction by any means prohibited without prior written consent.





SUGGESTIONS, PLEASE
posted @ 6:20 am in [ reader participation -SPASMS -two word ]

I’ll be writing today’s SPASM tonight, and I’d like your help! Please leave a comment of just two words (no more than two, please!) at the end of this post. When I get home, I’ll pick a comment, use that as my title, and write a story to go with it. The old “Two Word Stories” rules apply (here, in case you’re not familiar with the concept). 

Don’t worry about your words not being good enough, or whether they go together or whatever. Just try to avoid profanity and obscenity. I provide plenty of that as it is.

This’ll be fun!

xo, Amy





HEY, FOLKS!
posted @ 6:36 am in [ book -buy stuff -SPASMS -update ]

Hey, folks! Things have been happening at Castle SPASMS. Obviously, I’m writing them again, but there’s more:

1) I’m planning to self-publish a collection of about 200 stories. The stories are already written, of course, but there’s an actual designer designing the book, and I’m not sure how long it’s going to take. Even if it takes months, it will be worth it, because this lady is GOOD. I’ll keep ya posted.

2) I have a CafePress shop. I don’t think I ever mentioned that on LJ, because the shop is small and kind of sucky, but you can check out what’s there if you like: http://www.cafepress.com/spasmsproject.  If I get my act together, I’ll be updating the products to reflect www.spasmsproject.com instead of the URL for my LJ.  Anyway, if you’d like to buy a SPASMS mug or t-shirt, go for it. I’m thinking of buying a mug for my desk at work.

3) You might’ve noticed that some of the new SPASMS are a tad longer than before. I’ve always tried to stick with 500 words or less, but writing novels will tend to make you verbose. They’ll shrink to 500 as we go, probably. Think of it this way: More SPASMS for your money! Oh, wait. You don’t pay for these, I give them to you out of the kindness of my own heart! Well, just be grateful, then. 

Thanks to all who’ve been with me for the long haul (since 2004!) and thanks to my new readers. You guys rock. Go forth in triumph.

xo, Amy





OLGA’S GARDEN
posted @ 7:24 am in [ flower -garden -SPASMS ]

 

It snowed, but only in the front yard.

The back was a lush paradise of verdant grass and foliage. Cool, tropical-scented breezes tickled the leaves. Exotic orchids bloomed around the patio. A puddle near the back of the yard that had never dried from the previous year deepened, clearing and becoming home to koi and miniature frogs. A single lotus blossomed among the lily pads.

It had been a typical suburban garden until the new housekeeper came. Olga was Hungarian or Ukrainian or something. She barely spoke English, just like anybody else from the agency. Olga wasn’t a spectacular housecleaner. There were dust bunnies under the couches and trails of dirt below the cupboards. But the very day she started, a vase of flowers that Mrs. Belleci was going to throw away came back to life. Mrs. Belleci didn’t immediately connect the two events. She was more concerned with Olga’s substandard vacuuming.

Mrs. Belleci’s children were the first to notice the changes in the back. Her son brought an orchid in from the yard and gave it to her. Where did you get this, Mrs. Belleci demanded. From the yard, he said. Mrs. Belleci didn’t believe him, so he insisted she look. It hadn’t come together yet, and there were no signs of actual work—no shovel, no plant containers—but somehow, the yard was being transformed into a botanical garden.

Mrs. Belleci went to confront Olga. Clearly, this was why the housekeeper did such a poor job. Well, gardening was all well and fine, but Olga was being paid to work, not play with flowers. Olga said she didn’t go in the yard. She stayed in the house all day. To prove it, Olga showed Mrs. Belleci the soles of her shoes. They were clean.

Olga continued to work for the Bellecis, and the garden continued to grow. Autumn had arrived, but the trees hadn’t changed their colors. Leaves littered the street in front of the house, but it was still summer in the back. Olga went on a week’s vacation in November. The garden languished. Within minutes of the housekeeper’s return, the grass was green again. The neighbors’ yards were bare and frigid. It was January, after all. Mrs. Belleci’s yard was sunny and warm.

One day, Mrs. Belleci asked Olga to come sit with her on the patio. Mrs. Belleci gave Olga a glass of iced tea. When Olga entered the yard, the flowers opened.

You have a great gift, said Mrs. Belleci. You should not be working as a lowly maid.

I have nothing to do with this, said Olga.

I am going to remove the walls around my yard, so that our neighbors can see your work and appreciate your beauty.

I have nothing to do with this, said Olga. Do not tear down your walls because of me.

I must, said Mrs. Belleci. It is a crime not to share this.

The next day, a team of men came to take down the fences. By the end of the day, the snow had melted from the surrounding neighbors’ yards. By morning, the neighbors’ trees were budding.

Olga was suddenly very tired.

Mrs. Belleci made Olga lay on the couch. She rubbed Olga’s feet. The Belleci children brought Olga tea and chicken soup for strength.

By nightfall, Olga could barely find the strength to speak. I must leave, she whispered.

No, Olga. Please don’t leave. You make our home so beautiful.

I must.

The next morning, Olga’s room was bare. Mrs. Belleci and her children searched the house. Olga had gone.

The flowers by the patio were already dead.

Mrs. Belleci cried.

 

Copyright 2008 Amy Frushour Kelly. All rights reserved.

Reproduction by any means prohibited without prior written consent.

 





THE PERDIFEROUS GUEST (Explanation!)
posted @ 8:09 pm in [ perdiferous -SPASMS ]

Thanks to all who commented and e-mailed me reagrding this post. I was really tired when I posted it, and I neglected to mention that it was a standalone piece. We did two separate stories with the same title, which is why I captioned it “Take 2.” Here is the first. We didn’t post the second one because we weren’t sure whether to develop it further.

Anyway, glad people liked it! Sorry there isn’t a conclusion. Maybe there will be, someday.

xo, Amy





THE PERDIFEROUS GUEST (Take 2)
posted @ 8:27 pm in [ jam -SPASMS -tim_x ]

 This is a jam, written about two years ago, by [info]tim_xand myself. Enjoy!

From the journals of Dr. Henry Wilkes Tonnage III

 

My dear friend Howard,

 

I am delighted to hear that my latest missive finds you well, too many of our friends have dropped out of contact, the reasons for which run the gamut from mortality to geography. All that are left now, old friend, are you, Wesley Barr & I. Wesley, that old adventurer, is planning a trip back to the dark continent; a journey which you can be certain I warned him against making. Especially considering what happened when last we were there. Do you recall that night, Howard? That dark night of screams in the jungle? Of the things we saw, and of our damnable guest?

 

 

Henry, old friend,

 

It has been many years since that fateful venture, yet I recall it every day. I thank you for warning Wesley against repeating the journey; you may rest assured that I have just penned a missive cautioning him against the same.  I am not ashamed to tell you, Henry, that I have relived that horrifying night many times in my dreams. I remember the screams, old friend, but the memory that haunts me most is the recollection of hiding in the tangled foliage in ebon night, daring not to move, lest our guest perceive my labored breathing…

 

 

Howard,

I got a deuced chill when I read your words pertaining to that night.  I sometimes think, perhaps wish, that I had imagined it all, but holding your letter in my hands dashed me back into reality.  I paid a visit to Wesley’s estate, in one last attempt to persuade him from folly, but I’m afraid he has already boarded the Tramp Steamer “Obeisance” to Africa.  All is lost, I fear, for Lord Barr will go once more into that jungle seeking to claim what he believes is his by right…but it is that which will claim him, for it belongs only to our guest of that dark night of long ago.

 

 

DEAR HENRY STOP – HAVE OBTAINED TWO TICKETS FOR THE STEAMER HMS VICTORIA DEPARTING BLAKESHEAD TOMORROW MORNING STOP – MEET ON DOCK BEFORE BOARDING STOP – BRING YOUR RIFLE STOP – I SHALL BRING THE OBJECT WE TOOK FROM THE JUNGLE STOP

 

 

My dearest Mary,

 

When you read this letter, darling, I shall be on board the H.M.S. Victoria, headed east. You may contact me via the ship’s wire if needs must. Henry and I are returning to the jungle to save your brother, Wesley. My love to you and the children. There is a possibility I may not return…

 

My dear Howard,

It pains me to hear that, once again, my brother places your life in jeopardy.  I am not even certain that you will receive this letter before you leave.  Know that my heart goes with you and, should you fail to return dies with you in that forsaken jungle.

To: Quartermaster Jervis, Fort Britannia- Africa
From Dr. Howard Phillips

Mr. Jervis,

I am forwarding this request to alert you of my arrival, and request that you ready the necessities for my compatriot and me.  When I was last in your care I left a particular locked trunk in your storeroom.  Please have it cleaned and ready for me.  That is all.

 

 

Copyright 2008 Amy Frushour Kelly and Tim Mucci. All rights reserved.

Reproduction by any means prohibited without prior written consent.

 





GAHHHH!!!
posted @ 7:25 am in [ infection -rob -SPASMS ]

Rob has an infection and is on massive anti-biotics. The upshot? He’ll be okay, but I got no sleep whatsoever last night, and now I gotta get ready for work.

Hopefully tonight, after work, drum lessons and whatnot, I’ll write a SPASM.  Fingers crossed that I don’t fall asleep first!

xo, Amy





SON OF A GUN
posted @ 6:12 am in [ SPASMS ]

Thanks to Sue for the first sentence.

 

“The son of a gun is a bullet,” he says, cradling the revolver.

I don’t know what to say, so I don’t say anything.

He squints up at me, looking for a response.

“Okay,” I say. Lamely.

“In films, how many times have you seen the villain talk to his victim before killing him? Explaining what they’re about, giving some long spiel about the Bible or some such thing?”

“Like in Pulp Fiction?”

“Right.”

I swallow. It isn’t hard to see where he’s going with this. “A lot, I guess.”

He nods. “That never made sense to me. A hit man is hired to perform a task without calling attention to himself or his client. Why prolong the event? Why waste time on chat?”

What am I supposed to say? “Right.”

“I know now, of course. It’s a power trip. He’s not talking to the victim, he’s talking to himself. It’s a way to keep yourself from going crazy. That’s my theory, anyway. For the moment.”

I look down at my shoes.

“Then again, there’s the times when a hit man is a sadist, too. Some of us like to torture our victims. The rationale, I believe, is that the target’s not going to live, anyway. He’s dead the minute we lay eyes on him. He’s a toy now.”

I can’t look at him. And yet, I can’t not look. He’s still watching me, cradling the revolver. “You said the son of a gun is a bullet,” I remember. “What did you mean?”

“The gun is supposed to be phallic. The barrel. But think about it the other way. It’s a birth canal.”

“Oh.”

“Or put it another way. A gun is an intention.”

An intention. I shift; my body is itching with anxiety.

He checks the chambers to be sure the gun is loaded. “Don’t look,” he advises.

I blink. How can I not look?

“Please,” he whispers.

In the moment it takes to blink again, blood is spattered all over me. He’s on the floor. The right side of his head is missing. My ears are ringing. The gun is still in his hand.

Great. Now how am I supposed to get out of these ropes?

 

Copyright 2008 Amy Frushour Kelly. All rights reserved.

Reproduction by any means prohibited without prior written consent.

 





VERY WELL
posted @ 6:57 am in [ killer -middle ages -SPASMS ]

 

He had murdered two women already. It was difficult now to weigh his compulsion to kill against the widening police investigation. The urge to kill was mitigated by his instinct to stay alive and free.

Fortunately, the murderer was an intelligent man, a reader. He enjoyed books on history and science. He was also good with his hands. This all came into play when he hit upon his most brilliant idea: to build a time machine.

Feudal England—or, rather, Angleland— was the perfect place for him. No police force, no forensic science, fingerprinting, technology. Additionally, late Middle English was close enough to what people spoke in modern-day England that he believed he could get by. The possibility of killing an ancestor was remote, as his family hailed from Russia. The schematics for the time machine were downloaded from the internet. He gauged that he might be able to travel to the Middle Ages, but probably not back. That meant no toilets. No baths. No modern medicine, were he to be injured or fall ill. Very well, he would take precautions, get any applicable immunizations. True serial killers had to be perfect planners. His own case required a special kind of care.

It took years to build the time machine. During that time, the murderer schooled himself in the technology, trying desperately to engineer a method of return. He was growing older, and the thought of being stuck in feudal England at an advanced age with no medical care did not appeal much to him. Still, he held up his dream of finally being able to satiate his urges. That would have to suffice until the machine could be built and he could travel back and forth safely.

Finally, he discovered that while it was impossible to return from the past, it was possible to return from the future. This was because the future hadn’t happened yet, he reasoned, and this discovery agreed with current scientific theory. He was disappointed, but realized that he was, after all, in possession of a working time machine. He decided to write a paper and hold a press conference. Soon, he was a very rich, if somewhat old, man.

Years later, in his seventies, he decided there was nothing holding him back now. He was old, and he would die soon. Why not go back and satisfy his compulsion? He wrote a note, vaguely explaining that he was going back in time to fulfill a lifelong dream, and entered the time machine.

Instantaneously, he appeared in the middle of a street, crowded with serfs who immediately recognized him as a witch and stoned him to death.

 

Copyright 2008 Amy Frushour Kelly. All rights reserved.

Reproduction by any means prohibited without prior written consent.

 

 





LICENSE
posted @ 4:16 pm in [ SPASMS ]

Of the two sisters, Karen was the nice one. Marilyn was the one most likely to do something stupid. Which was exactly what she did, one too many times. When Marilyn was caught driving drunk, she already had a suspended license for exactly that reason.

Easy enough to solve, she thought. “Sorry, officer, I forgot my license. My name’s Karen Cauldwell, and I live at—” she was slurring, but sober enough to give her sister’s address.

The officer checked, and sure enough, a Karen Cauldwell matching the drunk’s description lived at that address. The face that came up on the computer screen was similar enough to that of the drunk, and the physical description—five foot six, brown hair, green eyes—fit. Marilyn was booked and fingerprinted under Karen’s name, and Karen’s license was suspended.

The first thing Marilyn did when she was released on bail the next day was go online to the Department of Motor vehicles site and change Karen’s address to her own. That way, the suspension notice would be mailed to Marilyn’s own home, Marilyn would pay the fine, switch Karen’s address back, and nobody would be the wiser. Karen wouldn’t get mad, and Marilyn wouldn’t get in trouble.

Except that the very day after her address was changed without her permission, Karen went to the DMV to renew her license, and found it was suspended. Angry, Karen paid the fine—she had to have a license, after all—and determined to confront her sister.

But a couple of bad checks Marilyn had written caught up with her, and she left town, pronto. Karen arrived at Marilyn’s apartment, only to find her sister gone.

Well. Time to play a little identity theft herself, Karen mused. Her husband had ruined her credit before their divorce. Marilyn had just been given a credit card by some credit company who wasn’t paying attention. Karen went through the unopened mail, found the card, and decided the American Express card with the $5,000 limit was payback for the fine.

But Karen was basically a decent person. She could never let a bill go without paying it. In no time at all, Marilyn’s credit rating had skyrocketed.

A year later and several states away, Marilyn developed a drug habit. Inevitably, she hit upon the idea of calling up for a credit card. She was astonished to be awarded a $14,000 card with no questions asked.

Karen was disappointed, but not surprised, to find the credit rating she’d worked so hard to establish dropping before her very eyes. It wasn’t difficult to track her sister down in Nevada. Karen didn’t bother contacting Marilyn to let her know she was in town; she simply waited in the dark alley behind the diner where Marilyn worked, with the engine running. When Marilyn came out from her shift, Karen floored it.

Afterwards, Karen took the new credit card and ID card from Marilyn’s wallet. She put her own driver’s license in its place and drove away.

A crackhead came upon Marilyn’s body a short time later. The woman wasn’t too strung out to take Karen’s driver’s license and the cash.

That license sure would come in handy.

 

Copyright 2008 Amy Frushour Kelly. All rights reserved.

Reproduction by any means prohibited without prior written consent.

 

 





THE GREAT MESMERO
posted @ 8:14 am in [ hypnotism -SPASMS ]

 

The Great Mesmero entered the room and spoke to the young woman sitting at the computer. “You have not vacuumed, I perceive.”

She turned in her chair. “No. I was over at the next-door neighbor’s all morning. Lucky for you, she’s not going to press charges.”

The Great Mesmero smiled and made a small gesture, as though he were wiping something away. “But of course. That is to be expected, my dear.”

“Not forever. Post-hypnotic suggestion doesn’t last too long. I had to promise her you’d fix the broken tread on her front steps before she agreed not to make a fuss.”

The Great Mesmero turned to look at Gail. “I didn’t break her steps. I never even entered her yard.”

“I know, I know, all you did was work in the garden naked and convince her that you were really wearing clothes. I get it. Kinky, but you didn’t hurt anybody. The thing is, she remembered after a while. She was in the house, doing some dishes, and suddenly realized you were out there in your birthday suit, and that’s when she started screaming. But she’s okay now, and like I said, she’s not pressing charges.”

The Great Mesmero stroked his goatee thoughtfully. “Perhaps I should pay her a call.”

“Perhaps you should wear pants when you go outside! Geez!”

The Great Mesmero patted her shoulder. “I shall endeavor to remember. The mere fact that I did such a thing really does, in your parlance, suck. But I shall make a clean sweep. You do not need to—”

“I don’t vacuum, Frank. Administrative assistants don’t clean. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to finish answering your fan mail. Oh, and we might have a gig in Finland. Hopefully we’ll hammer out the details this afternoon.” She glanced down at her desktop and saw the envelope. “And another thing. The blank pieces of paper won’t work on me. I want a real paycheck by the end of the day, or I walk.”

The Great Mesmero nodded, embarrassed. It was rather unfortunate that his new assistant wasn’t susceptible to suggestion.

 

Copyright 2008 Amy Frushour Kelly. All rights reserved.

Reproduction by any means prohibited without prior written consent.