YOUR TWO WORD SUGGESTIONS
posted @ 8:00 pm in [ SPASMS -two word ]

 Wow! You guys sure are creative. And insane. Your suggestions are all so good, it’s hard to pick.

Then again, I feel badly if anybody gets left out (Hi, Mishey! You’re not too late!), so I’m extending this two-word thing until I get up tomorrow morning. I’ll pick the title and write the SPASM then.

Until tomorrow.

xo, Amy





THE SCIENTIST’S CONFESSION
posted @ 5:17 am in [ SPASMS ]

This has been kicking around for a long time.  Since right after college.  I think I finally got it right.  – Amy 

I tried.  You have no idea.  Every romantic swirl of an idea that came into my head, I assaulted with sharp, angular logic, arguing the notion into submission, and burying myself within my texts until the errant thought was gone. 

I read of the stars, their scorching heat, and the vast distances between them.  These truths defied the fluttering tide of whimsy.  The calculations of Newton, Kepler, Galileo and Brahe were divine, the poetry of the heavens.  The universe keeps a rhythm, the movements of the stars an elaborate waltz.  Through mathematics and diligent observation, I hoped to understand it.

Transfixed by the clarity of science, I lingered in the library until closing time.  Finally, I gathered my books and walked back toward my dormitory.

I strode purposefully – until I chanced to look up.  But confronted by the modest majesty of the universe, the light of a thousand galaxies displayed across the evening sky, and the soft pearl moon, I dropped my texts to run through the fields, heart in the heavens, marvelling at their humble magnificence.

On those nights, the books were wrong!  The stars were not unruly infernos light years away.  They were dancing, merry winks of warmth, hovering playfully just out of reach.  If I jumped high enough, perhaps I could catch one in my hands, like a firefly, and caress its soft warmth to my face.  Those nights galloping in the grass were my happiest moments.

In the morning, however, I wallowed in the facts which by night I found ludicrous.  I balked at my behavior.  Of course I couldn’t catch a star.  Preposterous.  And what was I doing gallivanting around like that, anyway?  The only solution was to knuckle down and get back to facts.  Provables.  Truth.

Eventually, this part of me dominated the other so boldly that I forgot it myself.  After winning my position at this observatory, my nocturnal indiscretions gradually ceased.  Ultimately, I went from rejoicing in the heavens’ wonder to rejoicing in my own recognition for quantifying them. 

Today I observed a newly-discovered star with a shrug.  The technology was exciting.  The process.  Another star?  No.  Just one of billions.  But tonight, at home, something deep within me awoke.

I went to my porch and strained to see the sky.  I gazed up toward where the new star would be if one could see it with the naked eye – and it winked at me!  Just a brief tingle of light, but I saw it, and once again felt that familiar instinct which long ago told me that the stars were close enough to reach, if I only leaped high enough.

My nostrils flared; my knees creaked.  I leaped over the railing into the yard, feet flying over the grass.  Stars flashed and dazzled over the trees.  The heavens were abuzz with light.  I ran to the night-time sky, felt her warm embrace envelop my prodigal soul, and, with the ecstasy of youth, leaped upward.

 

Copyright 1992, 2004, 2006 Amy Frushour Kelly. All rights reserved. Reproduction verboten unless you ask first.





HELP SPASMS WITH SOME ANSWERS
posted @ 5:37 am in [ On Writing and Creativity ]

I’m doing research on things people hate for an upcoming story. Please click on this link (the whole paragraph is a link), which will direct you to my five-question research poll.

Thanks!

xo, Amy





CINEMA VERITE
posted @ 2:42 pm in [ Snake & Freaky John ]

Snake and Freaky John strike back…

“So I finally saw Clerks last night,” Snake declared.

Freaky John rolled his head back and blew a smoke ring.  “Where?”

“On my couch, moron.”

Freak passed the bud over, squinting into the smoke.  “Unbelievable.”

Snake took a nice hit and held it in for a moment.  “It’s about these fucking idiots.”

Freak knocked back about half his beer and lit a cigarette.  “Huh.”

“This asshole Dante is the stupidest motherfucker I ever seen.  Bitches and complains the entire movie.  By the end, I wished he’d get blown the fuck away.  And this other guy, Jay?  He’s this fuckin’ whiny little cunt who literally does nothing but curse.” Snake tossed his hair back for emphasis.

“Huh.”

“Every fucking word is a swear word, man.  And I don’t know, he’s just, like, stupid and shit.  He talks but nothing he says means a goddamn thing, you know what I’m saying?”

Freaky John nodded sagely.

“And this Silent Bob guy, he doesn’t say anything at all, just stands there and kind of reacts to whatever Jay is saying.”

“Huh.”

“Exactly.  And then at the end of the movie, he comes up with all this long speech and shit, so he’s not really silent at all.”

“Unbelievable.”

“Right.  And this movie’s in fuckin’ black and white.  Like it’s trying to be, I don’t know, art or some kinda shit.  Or like a documentary.  Fuck, I don’t know!”

“Cinema verite?”

Snake looked annoyed.  “Dude.  How many times do I have to tell you, don’t use words that you don’t know what the fuck they mean.”

“Fuckin’ unbelievable.”

“My point exactly.  I give Clerks three thumbs down.”

Freak shrugged and finished his cigarette.  “Kevin Smith’s okay.”

Snake stroked his goatee.  “Was he the video store guy?”

Freak finished his beer.  “I gotta pee.”

Copyright 2005 Amy Frushour Kelly. All rights reserved. Reproduction by any means prohibited without prior written consent.





UPDATE
posted @ 4:06 pm in [ SPASMS ]

Sorry for the lack of postings… I’ve been ill the last couple of weeks and will be having some (minor!) surgery next week. There will be intermittent stories, particularly more of the Snake and Freaky John novel, but no dailies for a while. Thanks for understanding, and be assured that I’ll be fine.

xo, Amy 





STANDARDS OF MEASURE
posted @ 10:15 am in [ Snake & Freaky John ]

“The first ever VCR was the size of a piano,” Snake declared.

“No fuckin’ way,” contended Freaky John.

“It’s a fact.  I saw it on a Snapple bottle.”

Freaky John shook his head.  “Since when do you drink iced tea?  Fuckin’unbelievable.”

Snake did another line and wiped his nose.  “I’m telling ya, it’s true.  Size of a fucking piano.”

“What kind of piano?”

“What do you mean, what kind of piano?  A piano with keys on it, dickhead.”

Freaky John nodded.  “I’m saying, is it one of those little upright pianos like they have in school, or a motherfucking Liberace piano?”

Thoughtful now, Snake stroked his goatee.  “Oh, I see what you’re saying.  Yeah.  No, I don’t know what kind of piano.”

“Huh.”  The Freakster finished his beer, rolled his head back and let out an enormous belch.

“Kind of makes you wonder, though.”

Freaky John rolled his head back toward Snake.  “What?”

“Since when did pianos become a standard unit of measurement?”

“Hell, I don’t know.”

“Well, you should know, man.”

Freaky John started a giggle fit.  “Why should I know?”

“Well, you’re the one in law school.”

Suddenly serious, The Freakster nodded sagely.  “Oh, yeah.  Fuckin’ unbelievable.”

Copyright 2004 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.

 

 




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