Photo Challenge: Fiction – “A Better Life” #fiction #amwriting #writing #vegas


This past week’s photo challenge was hosted by MindLoveMisery’s Menagerie

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Credit: Nekneeraj

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The lights assault my eyes, as they blur past me. Vegas is a beautiful city at night. I had had a table with my friends at the club with bottle service. Slowly, I remember us drinking the vodka shot by shot until the girls had enough.  

 “Were done, I’m already too drunk. I want to be able to shop tomorrow afternoon,” Megan said and her friend Kelly nodded in agreement. 

The other guys and I laughed and jeered, egging the girls on to do one more shot. They refused and went off to dance. After an hour or so passed, I saw them leave the club, removing their heels on the way. 

I noticed my good friend Ryan had passed-out on the cushioned bench around the table, parallel to me. I continued drinking, sipping my vodka shots, determined to finish the little vodka left in the bottom of the bottle. It was expensive after all to get bottle service. 

A concerned bouncer who had been watching me with deep dark eyes, set two glasses of water down in front of me. “Sir, you need to drink both these glasses,” he said. 

“Umm, no. I want more vodka. I’ll pay for another bottle,” I slurred. 

The bouncer shook his head, “You need to drink these glasses now sir. I don’t want you to get alcohol poisoning and die in my club.” 

I sighed grabbing both glasses, I downed them one at a time.”Gees, I was thirsty,” I told the bouncer.

 “I’m calling you and your friend a cab at the back door entrance,” he said nodding at Ryan. ” I don’t have to, I could just throw you out. But, I get this feeling you’re running from something, trying to drink it away. So tonight, I’ll be nice,” the bouncer said. “I get it man, but you’re a grown-up and even in Vegas, you have to have limits.” 

Another bouncer came to aid the first bouncer, guide us out to the cab. I leaned on the first bouncer’s shoulder and the other guy half-carried Ryan out the door. 

The cab driver looked nervous, “I don’t want anyone throwing-up in here,” he announced. But the bouncers ignored him. 

“Where is your hotel?” The first bouncer asked me.

I had to think a moment, everything was such a blur and it was difficult to think. I was so tired and mad at her. Why’d she cheat on me after ten-years marriage? Why’d she leave me for him?

“Um, we’re at Caesars,” I stammered, then reached into my pocket, pulling out a wad of bills; I tried my best to count out $100.00 exactly. I gave it the cab driver. He nodded, “okay where too?” The bouncers shut the cab doors and the driver took off down the Las Vegas strip.

The lights of Las Vegas were beautiful, brilliant, and blurred. But they also made me nauseous. I closed my heavy lids, and opened them as I tried not to sleep. But I couldn’t stop myself and I fell asleep quickly. 

——

Ryan was shaking me. “Come on Blaine, wake up. You’re 6’4″ and two-hundred-some pounds, I can’t lift you alone. You need to help me.” 

I blinked in the bright lights at the entrance to Caesars guest reception. It would take us forever to find our rooms because the hotel was so huge and neither of us were well enough to remember where our room was specifically. 

Ryan’s hands shook and his face was pale white. He ran and threw-up in a garbage can. He apologized five-minutes later to a man near by helping guests at the front entrance and gave him a twenty, and thinking this man would have to clean the garbage can up. 

I was slowly, stepping out of the car, but my legs nearly collapsed and I groaned in frustration. I reached into my wallet and pulled out eighty-dollars. I could count money now at least, though my head felt like someone was hammering my temples. 

“Here,” I said to a couple of men upfront working for Caesars. I gave them my cash and asked,”Help us back to my room, please.” 

Two silent men grabbed the cash splitting it and they smiled at me now. “Of course sir, do you have your keycard?” I nodded, pulling it out of my pocket. I gave it to the men and they called for two other men, one whom I leaned heavily against as we made an endless journey to my room. Sometime in there, I fell asleep. 

——

It was 3:00 pm when I awoke in my hotel room. Immediately, I went and threw-up in the bathroom several times before I felt better. I took a shower and washed away the smoke and putrid smell of vodka and vomit. I called room service to put some food in my stomach and help me recover. I ordered some French toast, coffee, and orange juice –two orders –one for Ryan as well, when he awoke. 

I saw him lying on the bed and I tried to shake him awake. I thought he only needed more sleep. He wasn’t a big guy, so perhaps the vodka hit him harder than me. 

A day later, Ryan still wasn’t up and I asked my friends what we should do.

“Well, sometimes you really need to sleep it off. We’re not so young anymore, hangovers can last two-days. He’s breathing so he must be fine,” Kyle reasoned and my other friend Maison seemed to agree. We went down to the casino to play poker. 

 On the third day we asked reception to call a doctor for us. It was expensive but my friends and I were worried about Ryan. He was cold and his chest barely moved, his breathing was so shallow. 

The Doctor was tense upon inspecting Ryan three-hours later. “I’m sorry gentlemen, your friend died earlier this morning, about the time I was called to your room. If only you’d called sooner and emphasized how badly he was doing,” the Doctor chided. 

“Ryan had alcohol poisoning so badly he went into a coma. He has no heart beat and isn’t breathing as you indicated earlier. It’s tragic but I guess you’ll understand me now when I say, watch your alcoholic intake; in Vegas especially.” 

I started to cry in front of the Doctor and my friends. I didn’t know how I could tell Ryan’s family he’d passed on. He’d been the one who said we needed a boys trip to help me get out the funk of my wife cheating and divorcing me. 

I remember him saying, “Blaine you need to get out and have some fun. Come to Las Vegas with me and the guys. Forget about your problems for a while. I’ll forget about mine too,” he said. He never told me what his problems were and I never asked, I thought regretfully. 

Now my good friend Ryan was gone. I closed my eyes imagining lights blurring past me. It wasn’t only how I felt when I was drunk. It was how I felt all the time these days. As if I had no control as all the pretty lights rushed by. 

When I did have time, I made the wrong choices. The lights were my escape, but I needed to pay attention now, to move on in my life as Ryan would have wanted. I couldn’t drink the pain away. 

I vowed for Ryan, I would live my life better. 

——-

©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved. 

 

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Picture (Card) Prompt: Fiction – Don’t Judge #fiction #amwriting #disrespect #namecalling 


Thanks to MindLoveMisery’s Menagerie for this week’s card prompt, “judgement.” 

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“The Judgement card calls for a period of reflection and self-evaluation. Through meditation or quiet reflection, you may come to a point of deep understanding about the common themes throughout your life and what you can do or change to avoid these situations in the future. Judgement tells you that you are close to reaching a significant stage in your own journey. . .” 

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MindLoveMisery’s Menagerie

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“I’m sorry. I never meant to hurt you,” Jared told his girlfriend Ashlen. The words tasted bitter in his mouth. He hated having to apologize to her; it made him panic. 

“Are you really? I’ve heard that so many times before from you, Jared. Are you sorry because I caught you or sorry for flirting with Sara and leading her on?” 

Jared stared at his feet and scrunched his eyes. He didn’t mean to flirt with Sara. She was one of those girls, the kind who put out easily and hit on every guy she thought attractive. 

“I’m sorry Ashlen. I don’t like Sara that way, she’s just like that you know –a whore; she hits on every guy and probably sleeps with many of them too,” Jared said. 

“Well, why didn’t you brush her off right away?” 

He shrugged, sighing.”She doesn’t mean anything to me. I love you Ashlen and I’ve been with you two-years; I’ve told you — I want to be with you forever.” 

Ashlen blushed, Jared had said exactly the right words. But something he said about Sara earlier, bothered her. 

 “Okay, I forgive you for flirting with Sara, but don’t let it happen again,” she said. “If Sara bothers you too much when we see her, wave to me or text me in the bar — I’ll get rid of her fast. I don’t flirt with random guys, Jared. So, don’t flirt with girls like Sara, is what I’m trying to tell you.” 

“But I will say this:  I think when you and your guy friends pay attention to Sara –her sexually explicit behaviour, her ittybitty clothes, and when you guys all let her touch you —-you’re all leading her on. She thinks she has a chance with one of you –but you all have girlfriends or fiancées.” 

Jared started to get mad. “It is what it is, Ashlen. I can’t control how Sara acts. If you forgive me, let’s not talk about her. I don’t want to spend our night talking about some girl who doesn’t matter to me. I’m grabbing another beer.” 

(10 minutes later)

“Jared, you know you not wanting to talk about Sara, it’s kind of a problem for me at the moment,” Ashlen said. 

“What? Why?” 

“Listen, you and your buddies call Sara a slut and you’re really just being disrespectful to her as a woman. When you openly call her names, especially to her face, you’re encouraging her to act exactly like the names you guys call her.” 

“If you ignored Sara and acted uninterested and normal around her, she’d stop acting how she does.You guys flirt with her and call her names, instead of finding a way to politely tell her to get lost,” Ashlen explained. 

“She’s a skank and isn’t going to change her ways because of how my friends or I treat her,” Jared reasoned. 

Ashley punched him in the shoulder, not too hard, but hard enough. 

“What was that for?” Jared asked. 

“You’re not paying attention to what I’m saying,” Ashlen remarked. “How you treat Sara, your judgement of her, directly correlates to how she acts. Understand ‘College Boy?'”

Jared started to speak and Ashlen cut him off, “She’s not a slut. No woman is, even if she chooses to sleep around. I mean presumably if she is doing it as a career, it’s different. But what I’m saying is, don’t call women degrading names, especially, when you don’t know anything about Sara forsure.” 

“She may talk and flirt a good game, but it doesn’t mean she’s slept with all these guys you think she has. I think most of her bad reputation is nasty rumours. She thinks acting how she does will get her friends and guys –what she believes is the right kind of attention.” 

Ashley studied her nails before continuing to talk: “I don’t like Sara because she hits on guys she knows have girlfriends, namely you. But on the other hand, I can’t judge her entire character because I don’t know her. I wouldn’t want to be a called a whore over rumours about me. And I don’t want to put-down other women just because,” Ashlen said hands on her hips.

Jared listened to Ashlen, he knew she’d be mad if he didn’t. Plus, what she said made sense strangely. He wouldn’t want anyone to judge him, when they didn’t know what circumstances he came from. He probably wouldn’t care, but he knew from having a younger sister, judgement of a girl’s reputation was exceptionally tearful and mean

“Okay fine. I’ll be nicer to Sara and I won’t flirt with her again,” he said carefully, hoping he’d chosen the right phrase for Ashlen. 

She smiled and hugged him around the waist, her head resting on his chest. “Yeah, in fact, if she tries again, lets tell her she doesn’t have to act how she does to have friends or a boyfriend –in a nice way.”

“Sara may not care, but then again, it might help her and us.” Ashlen mused. “She can actually find a guy who’s single and likes her, and leave my and my friends’ boyfriend’s and fiancé’s alone.” 

Jared nodded subtly, taking a swig of his second beer.”We could try. Maybe it’s better coming from you, than me?” he said.

“I think those words coming from a guy might be more effective actually. We’ll see how it goes.” 

“Okay babe. Sounds like a good plan for next time we run into Sara. Do you want to go home now?” Jared asked, draining his beer. 

“Yeah,” Ashlen said. “2:00 am is a long night with work in the afternoon tomorrow. I’ll drive don’t worry.” 

The couple headed home, satisfied with how they would handle Sara in the future. 

—–

©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved.

Sunday Photo Fiction: Three Stars Go Out?


Thanks to Alistair Forbes for hosting SPF.

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A Mixed Bag

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“What do you remember, anything?” 

“I was dancing with this guy at the club. He was so hot. He went to buy me a drink and then he fell. There was such a look of shock on his face as he held his chest. He’d been shot, and the blood was running down his chest through his hands. . . He was staring at me and well, he never closed his green-green eyes. His body slid down the bar, half-slumped against a barstool. There was no more light in his eyes. . .  ” One star went out.

——-

“What happened to you?” 

“Well, I was walking through my school. It was like any other day. The bell rang for fourth period, and I heard screaming and shouting. Kids were running, hiding in classrooms and hitting the floor. There were two shooters who had appeared, they were randomly shooting at anyone. But I was sure they had some targets. 

“They walked up to me and asked me if I was a Christian. I wanted to lie, but in the moment I couldn’t. I said yes, and the one shooter shot me several times. I felt the bullets, the agonizing pain, the blood flowing out of me. . . Then I was here.” Two stars went out.

——-

“Why are you here?” 

“I was told it hasn’t happened yet, that I could still change the future. This guy told me I could help end many incidents of gun violence. He showed me this tiny infant girl named Tula, my great-granddaughter. My granddaughter Alison’s, future daughter. Alison was beautiful and all grown-up, walking in the mall with precious Tula in her stroller. Then, there were loud gun shots, mayhem, screaming. I watched helpless as Alison cried and wailed. Tula was shot fatally, they couldn’t help her in time; she bled out.”

“It made me think about gun control legislation. It made me think if Tula could live, and this didn’t happen to other people’s grandchildren and great-grandchildren, I could give up my right to bear arms. If I could stop my great-granddaughter from dying, I would give up those rights.” 

Three stars go out? 

——–

©Mandibelle16.(2016) All Rights Reserved.

Letting Him Get Away.


It was along time before I had my first ‘real’ relationship. I went on Plenty Of a Fish, because my friend had met her husband on that site. My ex-boyfriend,  was not like the other men I talked to. He didn’t ask me what my job was or about sex. He asked me about my religion. He was Muslim and wanted to date a nice girl with morals, ethics, and who was close to her family. I was reluctant to date him because my ex’s religion is Islam and I grew up with Christianity. But I had never dated anyone longterm before. My ex-boyfriend was attractive and fun so I began dating him. 

My ex worked up North, where all the people who worked in the oil field, lived in camps. My ex worked three weeks on and one week off. I saw him once a week when he was home My ex was accepting of my condition. He didn’t mind that I lived with a mental illness which caused me fatigue and limited how long I could be out with him. He was quiet to begin with but later he opened up to me.

Our relationship functioned for awhile. My health improved so we were going out three times a week when he was here. Often, my ex would take an extra week off. My ex was gentle and he listened well. He gave good advice. But there were some issues in our relationship that became apparent.

The biggest issue was my ex staying in contact while working up North. Eventually, we were texting once or twice a day and I would call him every couple of weeks. It took three years to get to this point and a lot of hardwork on my end. When my ex was home we were together a lot. But I had to be diligent about making ‘talking’ and ‘getting to know each other better’ happen. 

My ex would also come back from work and go on a trip without telling me where he was going. Suddenly, there was no way for me to talk to him, sometimes for two-weeks. I learned he was seeing friends or had gone off on a road trip for awhile with his cousin. At first, I worried a great deal when all communication was cut-off. I often thought early on, he had decided not see me anymore. He accused me of seeing other guys in the beginning.

Ramadan was an extremely difficult time for our relationship. For the first couple of years we were together, my ex went to Saskatchewan to do his fasting with friends. Almost the entirety of June and July would pass and I barely was able talk or contact my ex because the cell reception wasn’t good. He was scarcely able to use Internet and he never tried to phone me. Although, I attempted to phone him. 

It was along time before my ex talked to me during Ramadan and an even longer time before he would go out with me in the daytime. Males can’t touch a woman they’re not married to during Ramadan before sunset. Muslims also spend a great deal of time reading the Quran in the day. I had no problem with my ex practising his faith during Ramadan, it was the fact he barely paid attention to me. Later, when my health became worse it was a challenge to see him at night anytime before 11:00 pm. It also took my ex an eternity to meet my family. He was scared of my Dad. He met my Mom a couple of times but not my Dad until the fourth year we were dating. 

The issue that finished us was me. I didn’t find the relationship to be fulfilling, I never felt secure. When I didn’t hear from him for awhile or he wouldn’t listen to me, I would break up with him because I couldn’t handle it. I broke up four more times with my ex because I felt he was ignoring me and he wasn’t giving time to our relationship. I didn’t hear anything from him for a month one time. He wanted to get married but he valued all the activities he wanted to do above his time with me. My family is also special to me and so was my ex becoming apart of my family, which he never attempted.

I went the last nine months without breaking up with him. He wanted to get married. I went to a friend’s wedding at her church. She was walked down the aisle by her Dad and her husband and she made their vows before God. 

At this point, I knew something was wrong with my ex’s and my relationship big time. I wanted to be like my friend and walk down the church aisle when I married. I believed in a Jesus who wasn’t merely a prophet but God’s Son. If I ever had kids, I wanted them brought up with The Bible and Jesus’ promise of salvation.

My ex hadn’t even told his Muslim family back home about me, even though Muslims are allowed to marry Christian girls. I knew his cousin because he lived with him and had been introduced to the odd friend of my ex’s at the bar. But after four years, I had no idea who most of his good friends were. Some of our problems were due to my health. I became worse for awhile and it became too much to date him often because he usually wanted to get together at night. 

Mostly, I needed a fresh start. I needed to develop myself as a person on my own. I needed freedom. It was hard letting go of my ex but the religion issue finally pushed me over the edge. My family is extremely Christian and I couldn’t deal with relatives who didn’t think our relationship was right, when I wasn’t into my ex anymore. I wanted a guy who involved himself in my family, friends, and life — who could relate to my lifestyle.

I’m busy in my single life. My ex was a good boyfriend but he was not the guy for me. In a relationship, when it is the right relationship, you want to be with the other person exceedingly. You want to be with the other person so much because you love them and can work together to build a life sharing similar values. I wanted freedom and a chance to see what the world outside of “us” offered; for this reason my ex is my ex.

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©Mandibelle16. All Rights Reserved. 

Writing 101 – White Wedding


www.weddingvenice.com
http://www.weddingvenice.com

Many people don’t like weddings, they think they are tedious and a waste of time and money. But not me. I love weddings. The events leading up to weddings are exciting and I adore seeing how happy all of my friends have been as they walked down the aisle in beautiful,lacy,beaded, silky, and tailored wedding gowns.

The second event for Korinda’s wedding and by far the funnest  (we thought) was the stagette at Northland’s Race Track. I arrived about 3:00 pm in my new navy and white striped and fitted dress and patent navy pumps to see the girls who had arrived before me betting on the horse races at the race track. More girls arrived and everyone was wearing a fascinator and lovely dress to go with the racetrack theme of the stagette.

There was a wonderful dinner of delicious food and toonie drinks at the bar. We were all tipsy and having fun playing games and as 6:00 pm chimed, we all got onto a school bus stopped at a liquor store and drank as we drove to the Legislature grounds for stagette pictures. There were many wonderful water features as we took pictures, often our feet were bare in the water as we held up our dresses so they wouldn’t get wet. We giggled and all climbed into a giant pool where we took a group picture of all of us holding up our dresses half way up our thighs and smiling. It was a picture that captured a wonderfully fun and lovely moment for all of us invited and for Korinda.

I think it was because we were having such a good time that we didn’t notice the men in suits and sunglasses as we were all tipsy and giggling like fools. We started to notice them when they closed in around us and it seemed a bit weird to us that there were so many of them. They looked corporate and Korinda was extremely upset that they were imposing on her wedding event. Her mother Annette and some of the other Moms who had come along went to talk to some the suits to see what their enclosure around us meant.

” The young women and yourselves aren’t allowed in the fountains,” said a dark-haired man in a pinstripe black suit. His tie was dark purple and his shirt a dark purple too. To anyone else, he and his colleagues would’ve looked like members of our wedding party, but they weren’t.

Annette got angry at  the suit in the purple tie and shirt, ” Listen, you, this is my daughter’s wedding, and there is no law against going in those fountains and even if there were I’m sure no one would mind for stagette or wedding pictures. It’s a special time, people aren’t going to care.”

The suit shook his head and grabbed Annette’s arm and held it hard. ” Listen lady, this is corporate and government property now and your trespassing. Not to mention your daughter needs our permission to get married and to have wedding events, something she and her husband haven’t done.” Annette looked confused. The purple shirted suit spoke on, ” We are the law now, we are in control, and we say what you can and cannot do. We’re the government, and this is no longer a democracy. This is a corporate military state, and in a military state, people who are smart fall in line.”

We all heard what the man articulated to Korinda’s Mom and both Korinda, her Mom, and her bridesmaids were angry and ready to take the lying *ssholes in suites on. But a wisp of fear also passed through those of gathered at the stagette on the Legislature grounds. Where was the military this man talked about and who was the man in the purple shirt who addressed us?

As if to answer our questions, another man wearing a purple shirt and tie asked one of the bridesmaids named April, where we were going next, ” to a club, downtown,” April mentioned scathingly. The man nodded and took a fuming April by the wrist. He pulled out a handgun, as did the rest of the corporate men in suits, and lead each of us onto the bus. They took away all our liquor, dumped it all in the grass, and sat on the bus with us as us girls silently looked at each other and bit our lips in fear. The men accompanied us to the club Korinda had chosen. They stepped outside the bus and watched as we all entered the club. We could not quite comprehend these men as they put their guns away and told us have a safe time.

The first man in the purple shirt, wrote Korinda a ticket for taking her stagette pictures on Legislature fountains. No one was allowed on government property without permission or proper identification, apparently. The ticket was a warning and he advised Korinda to apply to one of the newly appointed judges for her marriage license as her wedding was coming up in a month and bit. He told her a bit of cash would get the license through on time on top of the regular fee.Her old license was null and void.

The men holstered their guns and got into black Sedans that had suddenly appeared out of nowhere in front of the club. We all watched in awe as the men in suits drove away and we were left standing in front of the club not sure what had happened. Apparently, overnight their had been coup and Alberta was now an independent state-run by a corporate militia. How strange and terrifying was that realization and poor Korinda, her stagette had started off so well.