Compass- Friday Fictioneers

FF 08.06.15

“I am really glad we decided to go camping.”

He recognized the sarcasm but still nodded as they lay together under the stars gazing up towards the heavens.

She continued,“There is something about living off the land. Not having a clue about what could happen and how you will handle roughing it. That is how you described this right?”

“I did prepare though. I brought food, water filtration, and a few tools.”

“Yes, but you forgot one thing.”

He sighed, “They will find us… Eventually.”


This is my flash fiction submission for this Weeks Friday Fictioneers presented by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.  The idea is to write a story at or under 100 words based of of the photo prompt.  Photo courtesy of © Madison Woods.

This story is 90 words.  I always welcome constructive criticism.

You can find this and other stories this week Here.

As Always,

Woman on Pause

Baby’s in Reno with the Vitamin D

The title of this post is from Beck’s “Loser.”  A song I can sing by heart with no music prompt.  But it also has absolutely nothing to do with this post.

It does oddly represent the scatterbrainedness of which I find myself chest deep in.  <—That may be the worst sentence I have ever written.  But who am I to mess with these things?

Confused yet?

Yeah me too.  I have been so neglectful of my wonderful little corner of the internet (this blog).  And it has been on my mind quite a bit.  So now that we are done with Thanksgiving and my house is back to a normal roar instead of the roar that comes from 4 more kids and 2 more adults, I am getting back into the swing of things.

So much so, that I downloaded a text book for a fictional writing course.  And I am already through the first chapter and (hold on to your seats folks) am half way through the first exercise.

Now, I know what you might be thinking.  Why didn’t she finish the exercise?  Well, that is because I don’t ever seem to finish anything.  It is super hard for me to finish my fiction pieces.  And I have no idea why.  So then I tend to procrastinate out of fear I won’t finish.  Which essentially  is also not finishing.  Do you all see the dilemma here?


The photo above is so full of truth….

But, the good news is, I am not getting up from this desk until I finish it.  So, if someone finds my body half eaten by cats, weeks from now, know that I had the resolve to finish just not the words.

Hope all of you are doing well and had a wonderful Thanksgiving!!

As Always,

Woman on Pause

Photo Credit:

Southern Dyscomfort Part II

Part II Enjoy!  W.O.P.

Today on NBC7 your news for Vernon Parish, tragedy for a military family as a young woman was found dead outside of the “Powell Drive Laundromat” last night.  Her name is being withheld pending notification of her family.  Few details are available at this time regarding this matter. Only that she was found outside the Laundromat by the evening Maintenance worker and Manager, Mr. Brent Washburn. 

Mr. Washburn was released after questioning and is not a suspect at this time.  It is believed that she was attacked and killed at this location and as of this hour the suspect is still at large.  More news as the story develops.  Back to you Pam.  “Taxes going up?  One Vernon Parish resident says this is enough…
Is that it? 
Is this how she is going to “go out” so to speak?  A BLURB by some local newscaster…
She opens her eyes and still hears the light thump thump of Louise making sweet dry love to her jeans. She is still sweating. 

He is still standing there. 
“I wonder how long I had my eyes shut.”  She didn’t know.  She didn’t care.  The feeling is getting stronger but she is scared to just run out.  Practically because every bit of clothing she and her husband own are in two dryers. 
Death or drawers?
“This is silly.  I am not going to die.  But wait; IS THIS what people think before they die?” 
The mental cursing was loud this time.  She was actually getting impatient with herself and had almost come to the conclusion she was just being silly and everything would be fine.
“Whoa.  What, there are no washers running.  What the fuck was that?”

She had taken her peripheral vision off of him for only a SECOND and then she heard the click. 
Time to go.
The voice inside her screamed louder than she realized her mind had ability to…
Trying to be casual, she rises.  Grabs her two green baskets and puts one empty basket into the other.  She figures if she is casual, grabs the laundry and leaves he will just keep waiting there for his “Red Truck.”
She opens Louise up and realizes that everything is still pretty soaked.  Wet denim is oddly heavy when you are scared out of your mind and just want to run away screaming.  She loads the basket in basket and it is so God Damned heavy.  How is she going to get this to her car?
“Suck it up bitch, it is now or never” she thought.  She is quite the motivator when it comes down to what she needs to do when she needs to do it.
A voice inside is nagging “Fucking hurry.  There is something wrong here and if you don’t move your fat white ass you are about to find out what it is.”
She is able to pop the basket up and prop it on her hip.  The handles dig in and hurt her side.  Badly.  This was going to bruise she could feel it. 
She heads for the door and takes one glance back.
He was walking towards her.
Panic is starting to set in.  Things are moving slow.
She turned quickly and tried to free one hand to open the door. 
He was walking quicker.  She could hear his shoes squeak on the tiled floor.
She almost dropped the basket but managed to pop her hip higher, lift her leg and catch it as she still managed to keep the door open at the same time. 
The door was so heavy with one arm awkwardly holding it as she tried to slip through. 
His hand was on hers.
He was helping her open the door.
Well of course he was.  That was the decent thing to do now wasn’t it. 
A bit of relief fell over her and she felt her cheeks begin to flush. 
Do you know when the blade of a knife penetrates your skin it burns?  And when it is then quickly removed and blood starts to pour out of you it is actually hot, almost like what hot maple syrup would feel like?
I know.
As he held open the door for her he slid a knife in between her third and fourth rib.
She actually remained up right for the longest time.  Eyes wide.  She wasn’t confused.  She wasn’t even all that scared. 
At that point she just knew.
Then finally she collapsed.  Half in the door and half out, basket upside down by her side, wet clothes on top of her and the sidewalk. 
She began to feel dizzy and out of her own head. 
Where was HE?
She laid there for what felt like an hour and then finally turned her head up to see him still standing over her. 
He still had the pocket knife in his hand and he knelt down beside her.
“You shoulda run.  I knows you wanted to.  I could smell it.”
She closed her eyes. 
She prayed.
She began to weep.  Silently.  She did not beg.  She wept for the child she would never have.  The house she would never own.  The degree she would never finish.  The pain that would never leave her mother.  And the loss that would never leave her husband. 
He leaned down bent at the knees and stroked her temple. 
“Youuuuu shoulda runnnn”  “Cain’t run now, can ya?” 
She is pretty sure he giggled but she was starting to black out and just wasn’t sure. 
He started rubbing on her.  Not sexually, but as if he was looking for something.  He found she had something in her pocket and dug for it.  All he found was a lighter, and 7 quarters.  He put that into his pocket and started looking for her keys. 
Once he found them he seemed much calmer.  He put the keys next to him on the sidewalk and then he grabbed her hair and oddly, gently pulled her head back.  It hurt, but yet he didn’t yank it back as she had prepared for.
The stretching made it feel like her ribs were being pulled apart.
He put the knife to her throat.
She wept and braced. 
The tip of the knife cut her on the right side of the throat and then he stopped.
Then came the light…
The light burned her eyes.  They were shut but she could feel the light penetrate her eyelids and into the eyes themselves.
The lights were the headlights from Mr. Washburn’s 1982 Ford F150.  He was pulling up for his 7-10 shift. 
Her head was upturned toward the light and she thought death was bright white blinding light.  All I remember was the light.  It was so bright…
From what the police told her Mr. Washburn got out of that truck, baseball bat in hand and bashed Bill Martin’s head in.  One hit. 
Billy Martin’s three day meth binge ended in his brain matter scattered all over her wet laundry.  Later, she would find this pleasingly ironic.
She woke up several hours later in the Ft. Polk Military Hospital and was told what happened. 
She just remembered the light.  The rest just hurt her head.
She eventually mended her injuries but a part of her was born and died that night.  The part of her that died was the part that trusted people.  Even a little.  In her lifetime she would be a little scared at every moment.  It would get better, but just like that scar it would never go away. 
The part that was born was her new appreciation for life.  The exact knowledge that as cliché as it is, time is perishable.  And it could be expire at any moment.  She lived her life with that knowledge and it was a good life.  Probably better than it would have been had she not encountered Billy Martin.
Only those who have tasted death appreciate the flavor of life. Especially those who have seen the bright light and lived to tell the story.

Southern Dyscomfort

A Short Story By Woman on Pause

She checked out her cuticles. “Damn, is there ONE decent place in Ft. Polk Louisiana to get my nails done?”

She started to push back her cuticles with her opposite hand. “I really really wish I hadn’t forgotten my book. I would read a fucking VD pamphlet right now if I had it.”

A quick survey of the place showed NO reading materials. The vending machines were bare. Not a soul in the place except Betty, Jeanine, Lois, Edna, and good old Louise.

She loved Louise. Louise was the best in the place. Louise was hard working, did the job, but was gentle and that was the exact combination she needed. There were others lined up but the black stenciled names had long been worn away.

Only in Louisiana did they name their dryers. They were the LARGE commercial variety in a dumpy Laundromat in Leesville. The washers were normal, the kind you would find in your house. But the dryers, oh the dryers… These were front loading, avocado green, mammoths. You could fit two loads into one and cut your time in half.

And Louise was the girl for her. Bette tended to never get hot enough. No matter how many quarters you fed her. The others were ok, but Louise was the belle of the laundry ball.

Since she picked prime time to be here, Wednesday at 7pm, church time for the locals, she was left in peace to listen and wait for the washer click letting her know that it was time to transfer the clothes and that she was only about 45 minutes from getting the hell out of here.

One day she would have a washer and dryer. They wouldn’t be fancy but they would do the trick. And she was always amazed how excited she got to do laundry now that she didn’t have to haul her and her husband’s clothes twice a week to be laundered.

I mean, she just had to walk to the back of the house and start it up. Go watch TV, or cook dinner, or practice fucking Tai Chi. Whatever she wanted!!

That day was to come soon, but for her not soon enough.


“Sweet Jesus thank you.” She got up, officially bored out of her mind, and dragged the two green plastic laundry baskets and began the chore of lifting 4 loads of wet laundry and transferring it to the dryer.

Towels, jeans, sheets, sweaters, BDU’s, cook white’s, scrubs, undies, boxers, anything she could find to gather up after work and get clean so she wouldn’t have to come back until at least Saturday.

She sat back down, crossed her legs and began to look at her toes. She needed a pedicure too. That hooker at “Curl up and Dye” cut her cuticles last time. “Not going back there, and I doubt I am welcome since I did kick her in the chin.”

She takes a quick mental inventory of what she has at home to do a quickie pedi.

Her thoughts are broken by the door opening and a man of about thirty walked in. He had dirty brown hair, a red hat, white t-shirt, and an old pair of jeans.

She thought, “Oh good the Maintenance Mr. is here.” See, normally in these places there is a guy. He wears coveralls and makes sure the lint traps are clean, sweeps, makes sure there is no hogging of the washers and most importantly he took good care of Louise. It was dusk, and this was about the time he would be in.

She didn’t see car lights behind her so he must live near by. Typical for this area. Not many folk drive. A good amount walk. Even if it is 107 degrees and it feels like you walk into a hair dryer on Hi when you walk out of the house. They still walk.

This particular place was a quite a find, open till 10pm and off the beaten path. She called it “LAUNDRY GOLD.” She had only been here about 4 times but had already decided this was it for her until they could save up enough for a W&D of their very own.

A packed Laundromat is the kiss of death. You can spend six hours doing five loads and you can kiss that day GOODBYE. She had this down to an art. If you are going to play white trash wifey-poo in “The end of the earth” Louisiana then you better have your smarts about you.

She went back to examining and criticizing her cuticles.

He walked in and went to the back corner where Bette met in the corner with what looked like “Glna” the lettering had worn off, so she hadn’t bothered using it.

And there he stood.

He didn’t go in the back and put on his coveralls. He didn’t grab the broom or check to make sure the Tide, snuggle, and spray and wash were fully stocked in the “Laundro-vend.”

She looked up and glanced at her dryer darling Louise.

He put his hands in his pockets.

And then it came.

The feeling.

She had never felt this before. It was a wave. A scream from the inside of her that said something is very fucking wrong and she didn’t know if she was being silly or just out right paranoid.

“Maybe he is waiting on the wife to lug in the laundry. Or maybe he has a load in one of the washers from earlier in the day”

He just stood.

The feeling began to overtake her stomach. Ate at it so hard she had to bend a little because it was beginning to hurt.

This was 1998 and there were no cell phones. A quick look over her right shoulder showed what she remembered, an “out of order” sign on the one pay phone outside. Her car was still secure and lonesome about 20 feet from where she sat.

He finally spoke. “You seen a red truck?”

“Nah, not since I have been here” she croaked. She all of a sudden realized the feeling that was eating at her had sucked all her saliva from her throat and mouth. It felt like trying to talk with a throat full of sand.

No response. No movement, No flicker of ANYTHING.


This is what repeated in her mind over and over. In her thoughts it was quiet. A whisper. Almost afraid if she thought it too loud he could hear her think it.
She quickly and very unconvincingly thought “He hasn’t done anything. What is wrong with me??”

He scratched his arm.

Her palms were drenched all of a sudden, and her long hair, tied in a bun started to feel like a pile of hot dry hay sitting on top of her head. And she began to sweat profusely.

He adjusted his hat and began to walk towards her.


Part II will be posted Tuesday April 26th.  Please check back.

*And yes, already written promise not to leave anyone hanging. 

As always,

Woman on Pause