Monday, October 6, 2014

Raif and Me: Part 1 — a Pass-Around Writing Experiment

Just for fun, two of my friends (Kelly Martin and Wendy Knight) and I have decided to do a pass-around story. I'm starting it off with the section below, and each of them will take a turn picking up where the person before them left off and just take the story where it leads them.

Without further ado, I offer you the first installment of Raif and Me a Pass-Around Writing Experiment.

Raif Michaelson's routine never changed. On Mondays, he left the house at 8:07 and walked three blocks to the bus stop on the corner of Elm and 17th. He sat with his backpack hugged tightly to his chest and waited exactly six minutes for Bus #12 to arrive. When he boarded the bus, he sat close to the window in the third seat back on the left hand side. Then he read twelve pages in Plato's Republic.

The same twelve pages every Monday.

At the bust stop at 35th and Longfellow, Raif disembarked and walked 132 steps to the Walker Building, entered through the middle doors, stopped and sanitized his hands at Sanitizing Station 4, then disappeared around the corner to the right.

He reappeared at precisely 4:12 in the afternoon, repeated his hand sanitization at Station 4, opened Plato's Republic, and left the building through the single door on the left, walked 137 steps to the bus stop at 35th and Longfellow without looking up from his book once.

Bus #71 arrived nine minutes later. He read fifteen pages in his book — the same fifteen pages every Monday — and was dropped off three blocks from his house at 5:03 P.M.

That's just Monday, but I can tell you that the only thing that changed from day to day, Mondays through Fridays was the pages that Raif Michaelson read in Plato's Republic.

On Saturdays and Sundays he never emerges from his house.

How do I know? That's your next question.

I'm Tabitha Charles. Some might call me a stalker. I prefer to think  of myself as a Raif-ologist.

For the last six years, I have lived and breathed Raif Michaelson. Call it an obsession if you'd like. I've studied him intently. Every move he makes. And what I've found is unwavering predictability.

That's why when Raif Michaelson, dressed all in black, emerged from his house at 7:07 P.M. on Friday, October 31st, I was completely taken by surprise.

I can't wait to see what the next installment holds!

Some time in the next week, Wendy Knight will add her part, continuing the saga. Please look for it on her blog at

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

WonHundred Word Wednesday: The Trap

THE PINK GLOVE LAY ON THE GROUND, ALMOST COVERED by mud. But Darwin saw where she had dropped it and the sly glance over her shoulder as she crossed the road, tugging her skirts to avoid the muck. She had meant for him to see — as close to an invitation as he would get.

Darwin didn’t wait to be told twice. He bounded into the busy street, narrowly missing the dairy wagon. He scooped up the glove and shook it, spattering mud all over his clean shirt.


She looked at him through dewy lashes.

“I believe you dropped this.”


Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Mythology Files: Aphrodite

I am Aphrodite.
I see you staring. Go ahead. Stare. You’ll never see anything this hot again as long as you live. That’s a fact. Carve it into stone, baby.
Oh wait! Been done.
Venus de Milo ring any bells?
Speaking of ringing bells… Alexandros of Antioch, the sculptor… well, I’m not really a girl who kisses and tells… What am I saying? I totally posed for that statue. He was never very good at carving hands.
You wonder why I can do that. Don’t you? Be unfaithful to the husband I was given to? Hephaestus. The god of fire and metalcraft. One of the strongest of the gods, if you ask me. He is also the kindest. I don’t deserve him.
And he doesn’t deserve me.
I have a reputation to maintain. Love and beauty.
You think I’m vain.
It’s okay. I know what the other goddesses say about me. That I’m vain and I have a one track mind. The gods, on the other hand, say… other things.
The truth is I’m lost.
I don’t know where I came from or how I got here.
The others — they all have a history, a lineage. They can trace their ancestry back to Gaea, the Great Mother.
What’s my story?
I floated up on the shores of Olympus on the foam of the sea. That’s it.
No mother or father. Nothing.
So why did they accept me as one of them?
Because I’m beautiful.
It’s all I’ve got. It’s all they see. I lose that one thing, and I will shrink back into oblivion, return to wherever it was that I came from.
Hephaestus doesn’t deserve the kind of baggage I bring. He is a gentle, sweet, giving soul. All I know how to do is take. I know it sounds heartless, but if I stop now, I will lose everything.

So to concede the apple to any other goddess? Yes, even to the queen… I can’t risk it.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

WonHundred Word Wednesday: That's Love

PROMPT: The truth about love.

He raised a calloused hand, weathered by age and hard work, to shield his eyes from the sun and cast a weary glance far into the distance.

Though the days had stretched into years, he knew that some day he would see the figure moving toward him — that familiar gait, though perhaps a little slower for the passage of time — but there he would be… coming home at long last.

Every day the old man stood at the end of his driveway and watched the dusty road with that one hope.

Some day… perhaps today… the prodigal son would return.

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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

WonHundred Word Wednesday: Curiosity

PROMPT: You find a box in the attic that isn’t yours.

It was hand-carved, overlaid in hammered gold. I blew dust from the top and set it on the floor before me. What could be inside? So many possibilities. The runes encircling an engraved eagle spelled out a warning. I smiled. Curses were a myth. Weren’t they?

Whatever was in that box… I had to know.

I slid the ivory pin from the latch and raised the lid. The hinges creaked their objection.

Then the rushing wind, like a thousand bats taking flight with a screech. I gasped and slammed it closed, but t’was too late.

“Pandora! What have you done?”

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