The Portrait of the Artist as a Never Ending Series of Name-puns (a poem) | {story#16}


This is an original fiction piece written for StoryADay September. Read more & follow here.
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I
She stands alone,
lost in a process she only knows;
the reflection staring back in silent contemplation
of a piece going “God knows where”.

The streets lie lifeless in her eyes;
those eyes hidden by a façade of powder and colour,
yet somehow come through.

The mousy bed face wins again.

It wins the hearts of those around her,
a victory bitter in her mouth as unintentioned
as the betrayal of a love

far less worthy than she.
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Communion | {story#15}


This is an original fiction piece written for StoryADay September. Read more & follow here.
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You ever tried to get your cry on, only to move your mouth and stretch you lips and squint your eyes, and squeeze your body, only to have nothing come out? Ever feel the cold concrete ground against your still head, only to imagine how it would feel to come against it with force? To watch the gray grow increasingly red with your own blood? The blood just came out of her in spurts. She wouldn’t die. She wouldn’t die. Possessed by Beelzebub, she worships the wheel, the wheel she worships. She’s a witch, I tell you–a witch. She gave the boy a poisoned orange and snatched it away from him. She wants him to die. I did it for him. I did it for him. I love him. The boy, I love. She says she loves me. She loves me not. She loves me. She loves me not. She loves me. How did she keep walking? Like Jesus on water, except the water was red and all over her she walked and walked. We worship the pig, not the wheel, so Jesus loves us. He loves me. He loves me not. He loves me. He loves me not. The boy, he loves me. He stared at me with wide eyes. I thought he would cry in joy, cry in surprise, cry in freedom, but he just sat. Still. Silent. Mouth-opened. Tears building and building, never breaking the ridge to fall down his cheek. He began shaking. I was trying to cut her mother-fucking head off, but it just wouldn’t go! I told him, I’m doing this for you, buddy! I’m doing this for you! His shaking body told me thank you in response. They kept telling me She wants to kill the boy! She wants to kill the boy! You need to kill her kill her kill her! But the witch inside her kept her alive. Even when I walked to her sister’s house, she followed me–still walking!–like a monster and followed me, the blood falling out of her in sheets–laughing at me, staring at me, touching me and punching me. My hands were slippery and then became sticky, like honey. Sweet honey. I saw a deer outside my window last night. It was beautiful. Through the cut concrete I stared, and stared, for years and years. The deer moved so slowly around the fence. It’s eyes were green. Envy. Jealousy. It wanted to be me, to be inside of me. I won’t let it. It can’t be inside me and fuck me. As I laid on her back bringing down the judgment, I remembered all the times she was on top of me, touching me, breathing in my ear. Killing me. She loves me. She loves me not. She loves me? When I was older I’d punch her. She’d punch back. We’d wrestle and wrestle and I knew she liked it. To feel a touch. To feel something. My cousin was shot last week and is now with Jesus. Jesus loves me, this I know. I worship the pig. She worships the wheel. The boy, I love him. I saved him. I’ll beat this, I will. I’ll go to the Judge and tell him and he will let me free, and give me the boy. And he will be mine. But no, they are corrupt. They know I will conquer them and so they will keep me in here. But I will be freed as on angel’s wings. Jesus wouldn’t do it. I will. I’ve seen the kingdoms of the world, and I can have them all. They’ll give me the boy. And he will be free. He will live. He will prosper. He will love. He will be loved. I love him. I love him not. I love him. I love him not. I love.

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Creative Commons License
This work by Paul Burkhart is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Slay the Dragon, Save the Princess | {story#14}


This is an original fiction piece written for StoryADay September. Read more & follow here.
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She turned from our star, cutting short the conversation. I tried to reconnect several times, but she wouldn’t return to my frequency.

Is it really over? Did she really just break up with me?

I just stood there in my backyard, in silence, still sweaty from the pacing I had done for the past two hours on this most-stressful of phone calls. The long distance had been tough, to be sure, but surely she didn’t think that this one year we’d have to spend apart was worth ending things over, did she? I know this year had been hard with her Master’s program, but I generally found Jules to be so calm, steady, and at ease. I didn’t think anything could get to her. It seems I was wrong.
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Story Fail (a limerick) | {story#13}


This is an original fiction piece written for StoryADay September. Read more & follow here.
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There once was a writer named Paul
who took on an order so tall:
___to write a story each day,
___and neglect work and play.
But today, he must rest from it all.

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Creative Commons License
This work by Paul Burkhart is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Propriety is the Spice of Life, pt. 1 | {story#12}


This is an original fiction piece written for StoryADay September. Read more & follow here.
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“I tell you what, I never could see what drew you to a boy like that!” She brought the fly swatter down as if upon the head of Tom.

“Mom! He’s a good man!” Clinching her fists, Sarah noticed that she gave a little stomp with her right foot to punctuate this statement. She felt like a caricature, but she didn’t care. This was important–important enough for dramatics.

“I should hope so! He thinks he can just waltz right in here and sweep my daughter away? I’ll let him know he’s got another thing comin’!” Another fly bit the dust.
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I had a conversation with you yesterday | {story#11}


This is an original fiction piece written for StoryADay September. Read more & follow here.
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I had a conversation with you yesterday. I know, I know, it’s not fair to hold you to something you don’t remember–but I did. I promise. You were sitting in your chair, and I in mine. You looked up at me from your magazine (or newspaper, was it?) and said, “I do declare!”

“What is it that you might declare?”, I declared back in your direction.
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Awash | {story10}


This is an original fiction piece written for StoryADay September. Read more & follow here.
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The plates shift in the sink, startling her out of her daydream. Her thoughts had lingered away into thoughts of autumns gone by. She resumes her circular repetition, her hands enjoying the warmth of the water as a cold body enjoys the comfort of bed. The suds feel like velvet across her skin, and as she scratches an itch on her face, it leaves a little tuft of bubbles on her cheek. She feels the pops and tingles, causing her to leave them there for a moment longer than she normally would.

The tomato sauce wipes cleanly from the plate, making this an act of leisure and not a chore. The morning stresses of dressing kids follow the tomato sauce down the drain, leaving only a porcelain plate in porcelain hands. She imagines her heart as porcelain as well.

Porcelain? Yes. Broken? No.
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Travis the Traveling Tree (a children’s story) | {story9}


This is an original fiction piece written for StoryADay September. Read more & follow here.
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Travis woke up. The world was sideways. He wasn’t used to seeing things this way, and it startled him greatly. He eventually realized that he was lying on his side–a position he was not used to. Struggling under his massive weight, he eventually stood himself up (but not without some damage).

Looking around, he saw his brothers and sister and mother and father all on the ground as well. The wind must have knocked them all down at once. He thought to himself, “This might be my chance to finally get away; to see the world and do what I want. I’ll find a new home for my roots” So he set off.
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Art Collector | {story#8}


This is an original fiction piece written for StoryADay September. Read more & follow here.
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         As usual, I wake up three minutes before my alarm goes off. I just lay there, staring at the ceiling, noticing for the first time a crack in the paint above our bed. I wonder how long it would take for the crack to grow enough that a chip of paint would fall in my mouth as I slept. I recall that vague idea we all hear growing up about the average human eating such-and-such number of spiders in their lifetime, and the only conclusions us laypersons ever arrived at to explain this is that they must crawl into our mouths while we slept. This is disconcerting to some, but I’ve never really found much of a problem with it. We let so many other things inside of us, “spiders” is perhaps the least illogical of them all. Hot water strained through the ground, dried, and roasted seeds of an otherwise tasty berry? Omelets made with what are more or less the products of daily chicken periods? The squashed and processed remains of a peanut and a grape spread on dry-heated, germ-infused, ground-up wheat plants? Gummi Bears? Wives?
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Domestic Tranquility (in memoriam of 9/11) | {story#7}


This is an original fiction piece written for StoryADay September. Read more & follow here.
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I come from a long and distinguished line of men committed to defending this great nation from whatever attacks may befall it. This has been an honor and privilege for my family’s name for many years, even though it has brought it’s fair share of heartbreak to us.

For several generations now, my family has heralded from New York City and it’s surrounding areas. Nearly a hundred years ago now, my great-grandfather, Frank Crawford, fought in the Wars both in Korea and Vietnam: two of the greatest military victories our undefeated nation has ever seen. In both conflicts, my great-grandfather witnessed the violence and atrocities that were perpetrated against our forces with such cavalier brutality that it threatened to break our will. But, as is true of the American Spirit, we persevered to victory. And this was in spite of all of the proto-terrorist uprisings happening all over the nation on college campuses.
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The Gentleman with the Little Lady | {story#6}


This is an original fiction piece written for StoryADay September. Read more & follow hereToday’s story is based on the first part of my favorite short story, Anton Chekhov‘s “The Lady with the Little Dog“. It’s a retelling from the woman’s perspective, trying to capture Chekhov’s tone and style.
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I

Anna Sergeevna knew not whether to wear the beret again this day, as the dust and sun of Yalta were beginning to change its color.  She looked at herself in the mirror that so many had peered in before and would thereafter.  It had been hers for the past five days.  What all had this mirror seen?  What lovers had found themselves stealing a glance at the Other in this room; not at a person, but a reflection mediated by polished glass, preventing them from seeing the truest contours of human flesh.  Anna scolded herself.  Now was not the time for such sentimentalities.  She decided to wear the beret.  Putting it on reminded her of her husband’s feeblest attempts to cover his own shiny zenith that burned so easily.  He was so self-conscious about it.  But why?  Not for what she may think about it–that much was certain.  It was for all of them–all those that could provide medals, accolades, and honor.  She realized then that this was the purpose behind his fortuitous side-whiskers: compensation.  She believed his lack of hair made him distinguished-looking in certain lights; at certain, ephemeral moments where he may have said the right thing or noticed a different shade of rouge she had picked up on a whim.  He was a lackey.  These moments were few.
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Chance Encounter (an Ode & Lament to Beauty) | {story#4}


This is an original fiction piece written for StoryADay September. Read more & follow here.
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As I was walking down the crowded downtown street, I noticed a woman walking the opposite way, walking toward me. She was stunning. Long black-brown hair framed a clear face with a touch of rouge; the face contained two deep and dark eyes, ornamented with the perfect accents of eyeliner and shadow. Tall and slender, she walked with a poise and confidence that could do nothing but draw one’s eye. The cool of the coming Fall brought forth her seasonally-appropriate dark colors, layered clothes, and charming violet shawl.

My gaze was immediately arrested and mercilessly held without bond, tortured for the information I had no words to say. I had only thoughts. Only sensations. Only slight, but deep, sensual perceptions rising to an unfulfilling place of fleeting desire and longing. I felt the invitation to come, tempered only by the canyon of anonymity between us.
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A Kaleidoscope & Mirror, Both Darkened | {story#3}


This is an original fiction piece written for StoryADay September. Read more & follow here.
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Yes, I am.

What?

I am.

Who?

Karen. From the office.

How long?

To what degree?

To what degree?” What the hell is that supposed to mean?

I mean, “How long since what?” Since it became physical? Since we started talking? Since the idea popped in my head? Since I contemplated opening myself up to the possibility in the first place? To what degree are you referring when you ask me “how long”?

Why are you talking so calmly about this?

Because we’re adults.

No, “we” are not.
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Tomorrow | {story#2}


This is an original fiction piece written for StoryADay September. Read more & follow here.
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It’s not until you’re laying there that you realize how different reality is from the movies–especially in this case.

That moment exposes the assumptions you had about how this sort of thing would happen, and the various details and nuances of those assumptions are really affected by the cultural influences you take in.

The biggest difference? For me, at least, it was the sound. Or rather, to be more specific, the lack of it.

Music. Squeal. Cursing. Bending of metal. Breaking of glass. Breaking of branches. Landing of body.

And then, silence.
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