Drabs the New Black

“It’s a tragedy.”

“I say the tragedy is how you’re gonna spend the rest of your nights with the light on. So shine the light on all of your friends because it all amounts to nothing in the end.”

“What the hell does that mean.”

“What do you think it means, love.”

“It means you’ve been drinking again Billy! Damn It, I told you it doesn’t look good, you home drinking by yourself.”

“I can’t worry about how things look, love. Look around you. The flat, the clothes, the friends. It’s poison to your soul. What is this tragedy anyway.”

“He is going back to her. I don’t understand it.”

“What’s to understand? He is her husband after all.”

“But she is just so, drab!”

“You cant worry your life away, love. Drabs in. Have a drink.”

“Drabs in? Where do I get it?”

“You get it, or you don’t. Stop trying so hard, embrace your beautiful mess.”

“Oh Billy. Pass the Pinot.”

— — —

www.thinkingten.com writing prompt: One Fine Line (Friday)

“I say the tragedy is how you’re gonna spend the rest of your nights with the light on. So shine the light on all of your friends because it all amounts to nothing in the end.”


— — —


Davida Dean Returns

My Short Story, Sister Warriors, was featured on Cavalcade of Stars today. Thank you Jeannette for the feature, I am in great company on your site.

Jeanette Cheezum's cavalcadeofstars

Sister Warriors
By Davida Dean

The slate sky’s dense clouds pushed her down the road. The sound of her boots crunching across the brittle weeds shattering an unwelcome silence, even the birds had flown in fear. She could feel the Battle Witch’s voice grating in her ear, “Kierlana, pick your sword up, damn you girl,” but she hadn’t the strength left.

“Treat your sword like your lover.” The blade scared voice chastised, “Care for it, keep it clean and true and it will not fail you”. Her bloody fingers slipped upon the hilt. The jarring bounce, as the blade glanced off the rocky soil, caused a moan to slip her lips. She knew she should care for the sword better, but she didn’t know why. The memory of the Battle Witch’s voice seemed alien.

The sound of hoof beats echoed down the road and her heart lept in her chest…

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Middle Child Syndrome

The Saturday morning air lay heavy with mischief and possibilities. I descended the stairs, my short pudgy fingers grasping at the railings to keep me from toppling head over diaper. The shortness of my legs in contrast to the height of each step was a source of constant frustration. Their design had to be part of the maternal wardens over all plan of oppression and control, I was sure.  Both feet safely landed on the bottom sidewalk, I relinquished my hold about the steel rod. Keeping a leery eye out for Bob, the rooster, I trotted out into the wardens private garden. 

Remembering well the terror of the Warden’s “NO!” last time I had ventured here, I kept well clear of her sweet pea vines.  Sweet though they may be, the joy of plucking each tasty morsel from its pod was short-lived, and the punishment of leaving empty pods on the vines for the Warden to find lasted often into nap time. I decided it was best to avoid an early nap all together. I eyed the mulberry bush.  It’s bright purple and red berries looked like a delightful snack, and as far as I could remember, SHE hadn’t said anything about them.

 Filled with excitement, for my tummy was yet again empty due to her neglect, I ran through the carpet of crunching walnut leaves, the rustle of my diaper keeping rhythm with my small feet.  The size of my back side and head in comparison to the horrible stubbiness of my legs and toes left me wobbling a bit as I ran, almost tumbling again to the soft green earth.  It amazed me  that “She who must be obeyed” found my stubby toes and legs edible, often pretending to nibble on them.  Had she any idea the sort of things I put my toes in, I doubted very much she would put them in her mouth, no matter how recent my bath. I would squeal with delight at the thought of her realizing where my feet and been, and the horrified face she would make, if she only knew.

 At last is arrived beneath the wide branches of the mulberry tree.  My fingers grasped at one of the bright purple gems, squashing a sticky sweet juice between each digit.  The purple juice ran down my arms, staining everything it touched.  The tartly sweet berries were consumed with a zeal that left me marked by their passage on face and arms.  I loved the way my pale skin turned a dark purple with each berry.

 Curiously, I crushed a few and rubbed them on my legs.  The juice turned my skin a rapturous shade of purple.  So caught up in the delightful painting of my flesh, I did not hear the Wardens entrance to the back porch until I was covered in the goo. She would not like this, she never liked it when I had fun.  I had best cover up the evidence.  Casting my eye around I saw the nice thick mud under the walnut tree.  Wet, from a recent watering, it would do just nicely.  Scooping up handfuls I smoothed them on my arms and legs. Realizing that my face gave the game away as assuredly as if I had not placed the camouflage at all, I rubbed into my hair and all over my face.  Now, if I just sat very still under the tree, she would never see me and I would be free.

 “Young lady, its time for lunch.” She who must be obeyed called out.

Lunch, how could I eat lunch! I was full of delicious mulberries. “You better not be eating my sweet peas young lady.” She called out.  Descending rapidly down the evil stairs she cast her eyes about the garden for me.

Shrinking back against the tree I tried very hard to think like mud. “Mud, mud, mud” I whispered over and over again. 

 “Mud?” She repeated.  Drat, she had heard me.  Leaning forward, I attempted to lift my backside from the ground.  These diapers, I was positive, where there simply to keep me from making my escape, their bulky content rendering any movement impossible.

Just has I achieved a standing position she exclaimed “Oh for PETES Sake!  What did you do!”  Holding me out from her body she took me hastily back to the wash room. “We will just have to hose you off right here.  There is no way you are going into my house covered in mud.” 

Yanking my shirt from around my over large head, she mutter, “what is this mess made from? Walnut shells…good lord this is a mess.”  Turning on the sink she dumped me into the basin, scrubbing every inch of my body. “These clothes are ruined young lady. I can’t imagine what your were thinking… just what…” Her speech failed as the purple hues I had added to my skin began to emerge. 

“Gary…you must come out here this instant.  Your eldest daughter has painted herself purple!  Yes, I know you’re holding her sister…but come her!”  Looking to the mirror in the laundry room, I grinned.  The whites of my eyes and the white of my teeth where the only thing that resembled the girl I had once been.  A dark walnut mop lay a top a purple grinning face.  At last, I had achieved success!  That would teach them for fussing over the new baby and ignoring me.  Now everyone would notice me.  I was purple!

Homage Paid

She was just a slip of a girl, with rich mahogany hair. A single tendril of hair curled across her jaw line. My hands ached to touch it.

My first thought when I saw her standing in my room was that I couldn’t be this lucky.  Her skin was creamy white and emerald eyes glowed softly in the flickering light cast by the fire place.  My opinion of the Inn and its keeper rose considerably.  If he had this sort of girl in his employ, kept for his clients, I would have to stop here more often.

Tentatively she offered me a glass of wine.  I could see she was a bit nervous.  Perhaps I was her first, the idea of a virgin pleased me greatly.  Gesturing at the wine I said, “Have some yourself my child.  It’s a very good vintage”

Moving closer to her, I ran my hand along her delicate face. Her skin was soft as silk.  “M’lord, yer aint wondering why I’m here? Who sent me?” She whispered, her head barely came to my shoulders.  Oh gods she was sweet and fresh.

My hand paused in its exploration of her ample breasts, “Not a gift from the inn keeper then? Which of my vassels has paid such a lovely homage? I would see them rewarded for so exquisite a gift. ”

The shock of pain in my gut broke through my desire and I stumbled backwards.  She was on me faster than a mountain cat, her shirt shoved in my mouth.  The short sword she had been hiding pierced my stomach again.  I slid on something slick on the floor, my own blood, landing hard on my back, my head slams into the hearth.

“Those loyal to your brother have sent their homage….m’lord” Her beautiful lips twisted with sarcasm. My eyes widen in surprise as I choked on her shirt and the blood filling my throat. “Oh yes, your brother lives. Your assassin was no where near as good as me.  Your guards wont bother you for hours m’lord. They wouldn’t want to disturb you and your gift.  Your reputation for devouring sweet young things is widely know.” Slowly the strength drains from my body.  She removes her shirt and I see her wipe my blood from her sword.

Softly I whisper, “You were just a slip of a girl….” and remember no more.


It was the same routine every night. Routine was very important. Without the proper routine, bad things happened.

I would wash my face with anti-acne make up remover. Then I needed to moisturize with the anti-wrinkle repair cream. If I didn’t wash my face and moisturize I would break out and get horrible wrinkles.

After brushing my teeth I would braid my hair to keep it from snarling into a mass of frizz and fro in the morning. All of this was very important because proper hygiene lead to clean living.  I would call Emma to the room and lay myself down in my bed. Carefully she tightened each of the restraint cuffs on my ankles and wrists.

This last step was very important. When my mind let go of the control of my body, my other self would rise. A self that dreamed of terrible things, of lustful romps and dirty thoughts. I couldn’t, no I wouldn’t, let that self have control. Not since that last time, oh no.  The last time I slept without the security of the restraints I saw the other self for what she was. A brazen hussy. No, routine was very important. Routine kept me safe.

— — — — — — — —

It was the same routine every night. She really thought these restraints would hold me. She was such a pathetic loser. Given how agile my mouth was, all I had to do was grab the wrist strap with my teeth and pull it up once and pop open the catch. Then a little twisting and I was free. I slipped out of her flannel night-gown and into something a little less. She had of course thrown the lock across the door. Like that would keep me in. Pathetic and scared, huddling in her flannel night-gown, afraid of all we are.

Throwing up the window I take a deep breath. The dark night sky is like the call of a carnival song to my soul. I leap from the window ledge, my fingers brushing the stars and laugh. My arms cushion against the air currents and I drift to the ground softly. I am hungry tonight. So very hungry.

A car screeches to a stop at my feet. Talk about being in the right place at the right time. Dinner arrives in a car full of young boys. Their loud cat call and whistle pierced the night and I worry they would wake Emma. I glance to the house and saw the lights stay off. She could sleep through a hurricane.

They offer me a ride. Pathetic, yet oh so sweet. I accept. A young firm hand slides along my thigh and I suggest a nice little hotel. It was the same routine every night. A girl like me has got to eat. And these boys were all muscle, no fat. Protein was on the menu tonight.

— — — — — — — —

My eyes feel tired and swollen, the light to bright to allow me any form of focus, visually or mentally. I went to bed early last night. I don’t understand why I never get a good nights sleep. I blink slowly and wait for the wall to focus. My morning routine is off. Where is Emma. She should be in here by now to let me up. I hear voices down the hall. Who is in my home at this hour of the morning?

“I tell you officers, you can not be right. My mistress is not the women you seek.” Emma threw up the door and said, “I have not let her up from bed yet. See! She cannot be this women you describe.”

“Emma, what is the meaning of this. I am not covered. I am in my bed robe. How dare you bring men into my bedroom. I am a lady!” I can not believe she allowed them in to my room like this. Stupid Immigrant. Next time I will hire someone from Russia. They have a proper respect for rules and routine.

“Mistress Mariam, the police say you killed some boys, that you was seen. I knew they was wrong. How could she kill them if I have not let her up?” Emma set about releasing my straps.

“Emma, show these gentlemen from my room. I will receive them downstairs in the pallor once I am decent.” What had that hussy done this time! Well at least I had an alibi. Emma was here all night, and I was tied to my bed. Alas, I would have to explain the straps. Ah well, fitful dreams and sleep walking should do it. Thank god for my routine. No one would know if the hussy was responsible. Routines keep me safe.

I could hear those awful police men walking down the hall, mocking me. “If I had a dime for each time I found a broad tied to a bed as an alibi. I’d have… well hell… a dime. That’s a new one on me sarge.”

Slipping from my sheets I notice, Emma did not shutter the windows. How many times have I told her to shutter the windows. “Emma, close the windows please. You know how sensitive I am to sunlight dear. I do wish you would remember these things.”

“But I didn’t open them Mistress. I know’d you don’t like them open” I don’t know why she has to lie about everything little thing. Really, I must look into a Russian maid. They know how to keep order.

— — — — — — — —

Original Written on T10 as a three part response to the following prompts

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On Location, Monday: The right place; the right time

Take It Away, Tuesday: It was the same routine every night.

Words, Inc, Wednesday: (1) wall, (2) dime, (3) right, and (4) me

Lucky Clover

It was late and Thompson had been nearing the end of his shift when he saw a four leaf clover just to the side of the sidewalk.  How he had seen the clover, out of so many others in the dead of night, he couldn’t explain.  It had seemed to stand out from the rest, almost as if it glowed.

Trish loved four leaf clovers, loved the idea of them.  She could spend hours looking for them at the park.  “Daddy, I know if I find one it will bring us good luck”, she would say, scampering off on her shortly chubby legs, her laughter tinkling like fairy wings on the wind.  Every yard, field and patch of green with in a mile of their house had been searched and found lacking.  Despite this, his little girl never gave up hoping she would find one.

Slowly he stooped down and plucked the clover from the grass. The thud of metal hitting wood resounded from behind him. Splinters showered down around his head and shoulders, exploding from the space his head had been moments before.  Dropping to his belly he rolled next to the car, listening.  A crack of gun fire and another shower of splinters followed. He keyed the mic on his shoulder and yelled, “Shots fired, corner of Holly and Aspen. I need back up.”

Gun drawn he looked up the street towards the house the gunfire had come from. It was the O’Rielly house.  He had arrested their son over a year ago for rape.  Each night as he walked his beat, he could feel their eyes on him. He keyed up the mic again, “O’Rielly house, the gunfire is coming from 246 Aspen Street.”

He heard Ethel in dispatch say, “Help is on the way, Code 3. O’Rielly’s boy was sentenced today. Third strike, he got life.”

“Crap Ethel, think you might of told me that when I went on duty?” He asked. He could hear the sirens in the distance.

“Was in the papers, thought you knew.” She replied.  As his back up screeched to a halt outside the O’Rielly house, Old Man O’Rielly walked out, gun held over his head. “Just don’t let that bastard Thompson arrest me.  He took my boy.” He threw the gun down and proned out on the ground.

Williams walked around the car and offered Thompson a hand up, “You okay?” He looked over at the bullet hole in the tree whistled, “Lucky he didn’t take your head off man.”

Thompson looked down at the clover pressed between his fingers and his gun, “Ya….Lucky.”

Just Deserts

“Just desert and coffee miss?” The young waitress asked.

“If you can CALL it that… how hard is it to get coffee right?” Tina’s shrill voiced sliced through the dinners breakfast din. The young waitress winced replying, “I… you said a vanilla latte. Is this not right?”

“I said nonfat… this is 2%. I said 139 degrees, this is well over 140. My GAWD you’re an idiot. This isn’t rocket science. And this custard is runny. I want my money back.” She pushed the plate away from her, which slammed into the cup, spilling the contents down the counter. The flood of tan was held back by cuff of the woman a few seats down. Slowly the now wet woman turned emerald eyes towards Tina and raised one perfectly arched eyebrow. A halo of thick dark rich curls cascaded down her shoulder as she sighed, put her book aside, and stood to face the irate customer.

“I think you should apologize young lass. You don’t want to deal with the bad energy from treating a person like that” the other customer said, her voice softly accented with a hint of Scottish brogue.

“Apologize! for what. If their counter wasn’t so crappy the drink would not have fallen and if SHE had listened, none of this would have happened. I don’t have to put up with this crap and I don’t have to apologize to uneducated idiots.” Tina continued, “If I did my business the way they do, I would be fired. Really, the level of stupidity is rather rampant in this dive”

“I warned you” She said, lifting her hand ” What you do to others, ten fold shall you reap.” Then she smiled at the waitress and turning, left the cafe.

“Screw you.” Tina responded. Picking up her Bloomingdale’s shopping bags, she exited the small cafe. As her foot touched the sidewalk she heard” Tina? What the hell are you doing here. You called in sick.”

Her heart sinking she turned to find her VP of Sales staring at her from a car on the street. “I am on my way back from the doctors and stopped for some coffee.” She lied hastily. His eyes dropped pointedly to the shopping bags at her feet. “I had to do the presentation with out you. I am tired of this. You are not a team player and now you are lying.”

“But…but I had…” Tina stammered, looking up and down the street for the woman who had cursed her. She was nowhere to be seen. “None of this is my fault Allen, there was this woman and….” Tina stopped talking, looking around her again. How the hell had that woman disappeared so fast.

“Your through, we will ship you your stuff. Don’t bother coming back to work.” The squeal of tires was drowned out by laughter from with in the cafe.

Say What?

“Nice ‘avin a man like that.” Bob was leaning over my fence as I arranged the tulips in the dirt.  “Sugar Candy that’n.” He gestured to the local man I had hired to fix my stairs.

I nodded out of politeness. An American transplant to Wootton Bassett, I was thrilled when my neighbor Bob decided to help me settle in. His helpful tips about the village and insight into the locals were invaluable.  That is, what I understood of his advice was invaluable.  Often I felt as if I had cotton in my head when he spoke.  At least he hadn’t steered me wrong yet. “He is okay looking I guess, but he is great with his hands. He can fix anything.” I said in response.

Puzzled he looked at me and said, “That’s what I said doll. Sugar Candy – Handy. Right? He’s doing a right robin ‘ood job on yer apples’n’pears.”

Confused I nodded. I was pretty sure that’s not what he said. Worse, I had no idea what apples and pears had to do with anything.

“Still might rabbit a bit.  Never know. Might be ‘is trouble’n’strife.” He grinned.

“Trouble and strife? What are you talking about Bob” I sat back on my heels as he just grinned.

“Plates’n’dishes luv, trouble’n’strife.  Get on with it.  On yer plates and rabbit’n’pork now that ya got yer song!” I just blinked a bit, thoroughly confused.

Shrugging he said, “Might put some net down luv, or you’ll ‘ave nuns nibbling at yer plants.” He turned and headed back to his cottage.  Looking up I saw the Sugar Candy William laughing and shaking his head.  He was rather attractive.  Perhaps I should get up and go talk to him a bit.  Offer him something to drink.  You never know what could happen.

— — — — — — — —

Authors Note: I have always been fascinated by Cockney Slang.  My first exposure to it was in a Dick Francis Novel.  My attempt at it’s usage may be off. If so please let me know so I can fix it.

— — — — — — — —

Sugar Candy – Handy

robin hood – good

Apples n pears – stairs

Rabbit – Rabbit and Pork – talk

Trouble and strife – wife

Plates and dishes – missus

Plates – Plates of meat – feet

Song – Song and dance – chance

Nuns – nuns and habits – rabbits

Deadly Hobby

You might think it was hard for me, my love had been so strong. But in truth, it all came as easy as breathing. I will admit that I went through a sort of ritual to prepare myself. I lined my eyes with black charcoal eye liner, thick and dark. The darkness protects me from being seen. I hate it when people look into my eyes. I know that they can see my thoughts. The dark thick lines reflect their light back on them, keeping me safe.

I counted my breaths in and out, making sure that no one stole them as I made my way  on to the subway. The crowds pressed in around me might have bothered me, if I didn’t have the fiber of my animal friends draped across my shoulder. With them wrapping me in their strength, I felt calm and safe. The silly passengers saw a withdrawn woman with too much eyeliner and knitted clothing. That is half of my power. They dismiss me, they think me just another of the city’s thousand weirdos. There is power in being underestimated.

I sat in the middle of the car, wedged between a smelly construction worker and two teenagers engaged in a primitive battle of the tongue. As the tracks clicked away beneath me, I waited. Slowly I pulled the fiber through my fingers, knit one, purl two, yarn over and knit two together. The click of my metal needles fell into rhythm of the train. The cattle swayed with the motion of the metal beast as it lurched through the dank depths of the city. With each stop, more people pressed in to the metal box and I counted my breaths, all still there.

I sensed his presence long before I saw him. He neared in the throng, habit brought him to stand in front of me. His wide shoulders flexed beneath his t-shirt as he reached up to grab the over head rail. The train slowed for my stop and standing I lurched against him, “Pardon me.” I mumbled then swiftly slammed my sharpened needle under his rib cage and into his heart.

Ten years I loved him and he never loved me back. Ten years of pain deserved some sort of justice. His hand raised in a death grip to the bar, he died, the poison on the tip of my needle paralyzing him. Carefully I cleaned my knitting needle and slid it home into my fiber ball. I wouldn’t want his blood to stain my lovely sweater. Unable to move or speak, the crowd held him upright. I slipped out into the night as he took his last trip to the end of the line. It was so very easy.