Strike

He held a knife to her stomach. Suddenly she knew she wanted it – that 3 month old inside her she couldn’t decide what to do about. She clutched a broken beer bottle and held it to his throat, ready to strike. They stared into each others eyes, daring, testing, judging.

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The Pitch

Over and over throughout the day, she rode the ski lift with potential investors. She made her pitch each time, to someone with money dressed in ski boots and a down jacket. As the day went by, her pitch grew better, more practiced. Over lunch, she found a taker.

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Beyond

She always went to far. Beyond the boundary. Over the limit. She made sense at first, gathered her arguments and points. Then she slipped past that into realms where no one could follow. How could she be reined in?

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I’m Looking

I’m looking forward to tonight. I’ve been waiting a whole year for this to happen and tonight it’s finally going to happen!

I’m not the kind of person who gets excited. I have a very calm aura, you know. I’m sure you’ve noticed.

But I’m excited about tonight. Excited.

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Move

Marge had to move to think. Walking, pacing, playing catch with the dog, planting tomatoes. All those activities were her way of thinking. If she had to sit still to read, check email, or watch TV she went blank. Somehow the muscles fired the synapses for her. How do you keep moving constantly in the modern world?

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I Thought

I thought I wanted to be “happy.” I had no idea what happy was or what it looked like, but that’s what I wanted. Maybe I thought it meant being in love. Or going out and having fun. Or getting the material things I wanted. In the years since then, I’ve learned that happiness has nothing to do with any of those things, but . . .

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Bye

Mime waving bye bye

Gerri never says, “Bye.” She says, “Ciao.” Pretentious, don’t you think? Maggie says, “Bye Bye,” several times – isn’t once enough? Allison waves and says, “Laterz,” like she was still a teenager. Really, why can’t any of my friends just say, “Bye,” like a normal person – like me?

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Hi

The knee-high robot rolled up. It stopped beside me and said, “Hi, I noticed you’ve been standing in front of the laundry detergent for quite a while. Is there anything I can help you with?”

“I found what I need. I’m just standing still for a minute. I don’t need anything.”

“Okay. If you change your mind, I’m always here to help. Have a nice day.” The robot rotated and rolled away. It made little musical sounds as it moved so people would see it coming and not trip over it.

Now I felt silly standing still. Shamed by a machine, I moved toward the automop section.

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This Time

Just this once, just this time, I promised myself. I made myself the same promise each time I dialed the escort service. I both dialed and pleaded with God to help me stop dialing. It was destroying my life, my savings were gone, I lied to my family all the time. Make me stop.

Please use the open space below to share your first 50 words on the topic “this time.”