ArmandChascour
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Write a warning to your younger self
Written by ArmandChascour

Funny You Mention It

Marc and I were talking about going back in time to meet our fifteen-year-old selves and kicking our asses for being snot-nosed punks.

Then we remembered our dads would be twenty-five years younger, and we'd be old enough to hit.

We'd have ID proving who we were, but that wouldn't save us.

"Ya growed up to have a glass jaw! Get up!"

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Write a warning to your younger self
Written by ArmandChascour
Funny You Mention It
Marc and I were talking about going back in time to meet our fifteen-year-old selves and kicking our asses for being snot-nosed punks.

Then we remembered our dads would be twenty-five years younger, and we'd be old enough to hit.

We'd have ID proving who we were, but that wouldn't save us.

"Ya growed up to have a glass jaw! Get up!"
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You see an online job offer for a hired killer. Write a resume ensuring you get the job.
Written by ArmandChascour in portal Horror & Thriller

Dear Sir or Madam

I am interested in your hired killer opportunity.  I have attached my resume as a Word.doc file.

I have had twenty years experience with increasing responsibility as a manager in retail.  I believe I have given satisfaction to all my previous employers and can provide references if you request.

I would like to explore the hired killer opportunity.  I have the qualities of initiative, preparedness, and a callous disregard for the mass of humanity that I think will be of great use as a hired killer.

I understand that I am making a career shift, so I believe my salary should be negotiable.  My last salary as a manager was $45,000.00 per year but perhaps we should consider a piecework approach to compensation.

I am immediately available to start, but I do have a necessary dental surgery scheduled in June, so perhaps July 1 would be a better start date.

I am eager to travel but do not want to relocate from the metro area.  I hope that is satisfactory.  

Thank you again for your consideration,

I. P. Freely

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You see an online job offer for a hired killer. Write a resume ensuring you get the job.
Written by ArmandChascour in portal Horror & Thriller
Dear Sir or Madam
I am interested in your hired killer opportunity.  I have attached my resume as a Word.doc file.

I have had twenty years experience with increasing responsibility as a manager in retail.  I believe I have given satisfaction to all my previous employers and can provide references if you request.

I would like to explore the hired killer opportunity.  I have the qualities of initiative, preparedness, and a callous disregard for the mass of humanity that I think will be of great use as a hired killer.

I understand that I am making a career shift, so I believe my salary should be negotiable.  My last salary as a manager was $45,000.00 per year but perhaps we should consider a piecework approach to compensation.

I am immediately available to start, but I do have a necessary dental surgery scheduled in June, so perhaps July 1 would be a better start date.

I am eager to travel but do not want to relocate from the metro area.  I hope that is satisfactory.  

Thank you again for your consideration,

I. P. Freely
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Simon & Schuster is one of the world’s leading publishers and we are always looking for fresh new voices. Write a story, chapter, or essay about whatever you like. The 50 best entries will be announced by Prose and read by our editorial staff for consideration.
Written by ArmandChascour in portal Simon & Schuster

Paladin

He woke the way he liked to wake, to the call of a male quail with the sun already over the mountain, and breakfast already laid out on the kitchen table.  He had his fill of thick wheat and oat cakes with clover honey and fierce black coffee and grilled ham and scrambled eggs with Cholula hot sauce and crisp potatoes, and then he went into the den to see if any jobs were offered.

There was one email.

He read it and considered, then told his housekeeper that he'd ride some before leaving for the airport.  He went to the stable to saddle Belle.  

He disliked taking any jobs in California.  It was a bad state, and that was before you considered disarming yourself.  But as he savored the Montana air as he rode, he realized that he was pricing  himself out of the regular west.  There just weren't that many civilized places that could pay $10,000 for a job.

So he flew into San Francisco and sent the reply email from the airport.

The client was Fred Nahon, somebody in electronic security.  "You come well recommended," said Nahon, as they shook hands in his living room.  

"By whom?" he asked, looking over the professionally designed room.

"Bert Gomez, at Defense," said Nahon.  "Said you were something in CentCom during the war." 

"I was," he said.  "But you don't seem to need anything in that line."

"What is your line?" asked a male voice from the corridor behind him.

"I do odd jobs," he said.  

"Will, this is Paladin," said Nahon.  "Will is my partner."

"I'm not sure I want to shake hands with a legend," said Will.  "What do you do for $10,000, Mr. Paladin?"

"If I understood your email, you're missing your son," he said.

"Jacob's run off," said Nahon.  "He's done it before.  What I want is not just to find him, and bring him back.  I want him to stay."

"I'll need to know more about it," he said.

"Jacob is seventeen.  About two years ago he decided he wasn't going to tolerate a gay family.  That was how he put it to us. He's got some friends down near Pismo Beach.  I'm sure that's where he's run off to."

"And the problem is, getting him to be agreeable," he said.

"What's your opinion of gay marriage, Mr. Paladin?"  asked Will.

"I don't know," he said.  "I don't know you.  You're not trying to be very likeable, and I don't hardly know Fred.  If you think I'm going to offer an opinion as an abstract, you're mistaken."

"All right," said Nahon after a pause.  "What do you think of our problem?"

"I think I can wrangle it," he said.  "There'll be some expense, and I'll need payment up front."

Pismo Beach was bleak as he remembered it.   A good place to hole up and contemplate your own self-righteousness.  On the way down he tried to remember being seventeen.  It hurt.

He found the beach house with four cars in front of it, which was a good sign that they were all there.  He rang the doorbell and waited politely.  A girl answered the door.  

"Hi," he said.  "I'm here to ask Jacob to lunch."

"Jacob's not seeing anybody right now," she said.

"If it's alright I'd like to ask you all to lunch," he replied.  "Just so you're all with him while we talk."

"Wait here," she said, and shut the door on him.  He waited fifteen minutes.

She came back to the door.  "Sorry, but he doesn't want to come."

"You know Jacob's under eighteen?"

"You're not his parents."

"Yeah.  But I'm not going to leave before we've had a talk.  You might as well come have a free meal with me.  Otherwise I'll just stay here til he comes out.  Once I waited three days for a man to come out.  I doubt Jacob can last that long.  I mention his age only to let you know it's pointless you calling a cop."

She said "Wait here," again, and was gone for half an hour.  She came back to the door.  

"Where you want to meet for lunch?"

"The Blue Sea Cafe on Elder Street.  You seen it?"  She nodded.  "OK.  I'll leave now and the rest of you meet me there.  Deal?"

"Deal.  You leave alone and Jacob rides with us.  He don't get in your car."

"He won't."

Jacob was a sturdy kid with brown hair and slate-blue eyes.  The girl and two other boys were with him.  "Order what you like," he told them.

"I'm not going back," Jacob told him.

"Why not?" he asked.

"I don't approve of fornication and sins against God.  That's what my father's life is.  I won't condone it.  I won't support it."

"Do you think that will convert him?"  

"That's up to God.  I can't save him.  I can only save myself."

"I wanted to meet you Jacob," he said.  "I wanted to get to know you a bit better." 

"Why? Aren't you going to try to drag me back?"

"That's not my job.  I'm being paid to have you go back voluntarily and stay."

"Then you're going to fail," Jacob said confidently.

"What are your plans when you turn eighteen?"

"I think that's my business," said Jacob.

"It's a tricky thing, Jacob," he said.  "There are several ways I could go about this job.  One way would be to offer to put $3,000 in a 529 account.  Do you know what that is?"

"I have one."

"That's not a whole lot, but if you're enterprising enough to spend wisely, $3,000 will be a good start towards a degree."

"I'm not for sale." Jacob stared at him fixedly.

"Good of you," he said.  "I said that was one way to go about it.  Another way would be to ask if you remember your ASVAB scores?  I can get you coaching on your MOS of choice by an E5.  You'd go in that much better prepared."

"Strike two, mister." 

"That's it for me then.  I'll just earn my fee by introducing you to the Reverend." He raised his hand and beckoned to an Army chaplain sitting at a corner booth.

"Jacob, this is the Reverend Captain Elliot Sharp."

"Hello, son," said the Reverend.  "You don't mind that I know something of your troubles, do you?"

"That my father lives in sin?"

"Most of us have sinners for fathers.  But the Book says, " Honor thy father and thy mother" without limitation, you know."

"That's the gimmick?  That you Bible-thump me back home?"

"The gimmick, Jacob, is that you have ten more months of your legal minority.  You can spend it estranged from your family or you can spend it being tolerant of those who love you, letting them help you find what you want to do."

"That's my business," said Jacob.

"So it is," agreed the Reverend.  "And it's also the burden of those who call themselves your family.  You may think that doesn't amount to much, but the Bible says otherwise."

"How much are you getting to give this speech?" asked Jacob.

"I'm not getting anything.  I thought it a good opportunity to get it off my chest.  I've had it on my mind for some time now, since my son was killed."

"Captain Sharp is Stateside on bereavement leave," he said.

"My son, Ryan, wasn't as old as you are, but he was headstrong.  Unfortunately he was a libertine, and determinedly unrepentant.  I didn't approve of that.  Distantly, as I was overseas.  I've had time to think, and I think, the family tie ought to be respected.  As much as I love my service, I should have been more focused on my own son.  Have some sympathy with your father, Jacob.  I think you can be said to owe him that much."

"Was Ryan gay?" asked Jacob.

"Yes," said the Reverend.

"If you could have him back now, unrepentant, unchanged, would you?"

"No," said the Reverend.  "I don't ask God to resurrect the dead like that.  I pray that He forgives them."

"That makes no sense," said Jacob.

"How many friends have you buried?" he asked Jacob.

"None," said Jacob.

"How about you?" he asked the other teens.  The girl nodded.  "Does it make sense to you?"  She nodded again.  "See," he said.

The Reverend said, "I think I've said my piece.  I'll go now."  He left.

Jacob said, "I won't go back. I've made up my mind."

"Well then do me a favor," he said.  "Tell your dad so over the phone from that booth.  And tell him I'll return the $10,000."

"He paid you $10,000 to bring me back?  That's crazy.  All you did was talk at me."

"No.  He wants you to come home and stay home.  But personally, I think you're too much of a man to be swayed back into childhood.  You can tell him I said that too."

"You're going to let it go at that? Just give up $10,000 to let me stay here?"

"That's your business," he said.  "But as you've made your decision, I'd appreciate it as a favor if you'd make the telephone call now."

Jacob went to the phone.  "Fred Nahon.  It's Jacob Nahon.  Yes... Dad! I saw your man.  He says he'll return the $10,000...Listen, if I come back to San Francisco I want my own apartment...We can talk about that..."

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Simon & Schuster is one of the world’s leading publishers and we are always looking for fresh new voices. Write a story, chapter, or essay about whatever you like. The 50 best entries will be announced by Prose and read by our editorial staff for consideration.
Written by ArmandChascour in portal Simon & Schuster
Paladin
He woke the way he liked to wake, to the call of a male quail with the sun already over the mountain, and breakfast already laid out on the kitchen table.  He had his fill of thick wheat and oat cakes with clover honey and fierce black coffee and grilled ham and scrambled eggs with Cholula hot sauce and crisp potatoes, and then he went into the den to see if any jobs were offered.

There was one email.

He read it and considered, then told his housekeeper that he'd ride some before leaving for the airport.  He went to the stable to saddle Belle.  

He disliked taking any jobs in California.  It was a bad state, and that was before you considered disarming yourself.  But as he savored the Montana air as he rode, he realized that he was pricing  himself out of the regular west.  There just weren't that many civilized places that could pay $10,000 for a job.

So he flew into San Francisco and sent the reply email from the airport.

The client was Fred Nahon, somebody in electronic security.  "You come well recommended," said Nahon, as they shook hands in his living room.  

"By whom?" he asked, looking over the professionally designed room.

"Bert Gomez, at Defense," said Nahon.  "Said you were something in CentCom during the war." 

"I was," he said.  "But you don't seem to need anything in that line."

"What is your line?" asked a male voice from the corridor behind him.

"I do odd jobs," he said.  

"Will, this is Paladin," said Nahon.  "Will is my partner."

"I'm not sure I want to shake hands with a legend," said Will.  "What do you do for $10,000, Mr. Paladin?"

"If I understood your email, you're missing your son," he said.

"Jacob's run off," said Nahon.  "He's done it before.  What I want is not just to find him, and bring him back.  I want him to stay."

"I'll need to know more about it," he said.

"Jacob is seventeen.  About two years ago he decided he wasn't going to tolerate a gay family.  That was how he put it to us. He's got some friends down near Pismo Beach.  I'm sure that's where he's run off to."

"And the problem is, getting him to be agreeable," he said.

"What's your opinion of gay marriage, Mr. Paladin?"  asked Will.

"I don't know," he said.  "I don't know you.  You're not trying to be very likeable, and I don't hardly know Fred.  If you think I'm going to offer an opinion as an abstract, you're mistaken."

"All right," said Nahon after a pause.  "What do you think of our problem?"

"I think I can wrangle it," he said.  "There'll be some expense, and I'll need payment up front."

Pismo Beach was bleak as he remembered it.   A good place to hole up and contemplate your own self-righteousness.  On the way down he tried to remember being seventeen.  It hurt.

He found the beach house with four cars in front of it, which was a good sign that they were all there.  He rang the doorbell and waited politely.  A girl answered the door.  
"Hi," he said.  "I'm here to ask Jacob to lunch."

"Jacob's not seeing anybody right now," she said.

"If it's alright I'd like to ask you all to lunch," he replied.  "Just so you're all with him while we talk."

"Wait here," she said, and shut the door on him.  He waited fifteen minutes.

She came back to the door.  "Sorry, but he doesn't want to come."

"You know Jacob's under eighteen?"

"You're not his parents."

"Yeah.  But I'm not going to leave before we've had a talk.  You might as well come have a free meal with me.  Otherwise I'll just stay here til he comes out.  Once I waited three days for a man to come out.  I doubt Jacob can last that long.  I mention his age only to let you know it's pointless you calling a cop."

She said "Wait here," again, and was gone for half an hour.  She came back to the door.  
"Where you want to meet for lunch?"

"The Blue Sea Cafe on Elder Street.  You seen it?"  She nodded.  "OK.  I'll leave now and the rest of you meet me there.  Deal?"

"Deal.  You leave alone and Jacob rides with us.  He don't get in your car."

"He won't."

Jacob was a sturdy kid with brown hair and slate-blue eyes.  The girl and two other boys were with him.  "Order what you like," he told them.

"I'm not going back," Jacob told him.

"Why not?" he asked.

"I don't approve of fornication and sins against God.  That's what my father's life is.  I won't condone it.  I won't support it."

"Do you think that will convert him?"  

"That's up to God.  I can't save him.  I can only save myself."

"I wanted to meet you Jacob," he said.  "I wanted to get to know you a bit better." 

"Why? Aren't you going to try to drag me back?"

"That's not my job.  I'm being paid to have you go back voluntarily and stay."

"Then you're going to fail," Jacob said confidently.

"What are your plans when you turn eighteen?"

"I think that's my business," said Jacob.

"It's a tricky thing, Jacob," he said.  "There are several ways I could go about this job.  One way would be to offer to put $3,000 in a 529 account.  Do you know what that is?"

"I have one."

"That's not a whole lot, but if you're enterprising enough to spend wisely, $3,000 will be a good start towards a degree."

"I'm not for sale." Jacob stared at him fixedly.

"Good of you," he said.  "I said that was one way to go about it.  Another way would be to ask if you remember your ASVAB scores?  I can get you coaching on your MOS of choice by an E5.  You'd go in that much better prepared."

"Strike two, mister." 

"That's it for me then.  I'll just earn my fee by introducing you to the Reverend." He raised his hand and beckoned to an Army chaplain sitting at a corner booth.

"Jacob, this is the Reverend Captain Elliot Sharp."

"Hello, son," said the Reverend.  "You don't mind that I know something of your troubles, do you?"

"That my father lives in sin?"

"Most of us have sinners for fathers.  But the Book says, " Honor thy father and thy mother" without limitation, you know."

"That's the gimmick?  That you Bible-thump me back home?"

"The gimmick, Jacob, is that you have ten more months of your legal minority.  You can spend it estranged from your family or you can spend it being tolerant of those who love you, letting them help you find what you want to do."

"That's my business," said Jacob.

"So it is," agreed the Reverend.  "And it's also the burden of those who call themselves your family.  You may think that doesn't amount to much, but the Bible says otherwise."

"How much are you getting to give this speech?" asked Jacob.

"I'm not getting anything.  I thought it a good opportunity to get it off my chest.  I've had it on my mind for some time now, since my son was killed."

"Captain Sharp is Stateside on bereavement leave," he said.

"My son, Ryan, wasn't as old as you are, but he was headstrong.  Unfortunately he was a libertine, and determinedly unrepentant.  I didn't approve of that.  Distantly, as I was overseas.  I've had time to think, and I think, the family tie ought to be respected.  As much as I love my service, I should have been more focused on my own son.  Have some sympathy with your father, Jacob.  I think you can be said to owe him that much."

"Was Ryan gay?" asked Jacob.

"Yes," said the Reverend.

"If you could have him back now, unrepentant, unchanged, would you?"

"No," said the Reverend.  "I don't ask God to resurrect the dead like that.  I pray that He forgives them."

"That makes no sense," said Jacob.

"How many friends have you buried?" he asked Jacob.

"None," said Jacob.

"How about you?" he asked the other teens.  The girl nodded.  "Does it make sense to you?"  She nodded again.  "See," he said.

The Reverend said, "I think I've said my piece.  I'll go now."  He left.

Jacob said, "I won't go back. I've made up my mind."

"Well then do me a favor," he said.  "Tell your dad so over the phone from that booth.  And tell him I'll return the $10,000."

"He paid you $10,000 to bring me back?  That's crazy.  All you did was talk at me."

"No.  He wants you to come home and stay home.  But personally, I think you're too much of a man to be swayed back into childhood.  You can tell him I said that too."


"You're going to let it go at that? Just give up $10,000 to let me stay here?"

"That's your business," he said.  "But as you've made your decision, I'd appreciate it as a favor if you'd make the telephone call now."

Jacob went to the phone.  "Fred Nahon.  It's Jacob Nahon.  Yes... Dad! I saw your man.  He says he'll return the $10,000...Listen, if I come back to San Francisco I want my own apartment...We can talk about that..."
















































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Write a story in SECOND PERSON, which is using second case pronouns ( you, your) to write a story. 50 coins to the best written story!
Written by ArmandChascour

The New West

The hills behind your house reminded you of the intro to M*A*S*H, which you learned was because it was filmed forty miles to your west on the same latitude.  You were looking at bald hills of Southern California with much the same terrain as Malibu Canyon.

You saw the trails a mile away, clawed by dirt bikes through the chaparral. You saw them exercising and heard their droning engines.  Sometimes you even heard the loudspeaker of the deputies in the copter ordering them off private land.

You tried to attempt the track up the east slope of the mountain a few times, but found it so steep that you needed both hands and your feet to climb.  The graded track of the west slope was easiest and you even saw track teams from the high school using it.  Even the powdered dirt and sand of the central route up the valley was better than the east slope.

Your parents are going to sell the house and you won't have a base at the foot of the mountain anymore.  You decide to climb it for the sixth time.  You are damn fool enough to do this at 4:00 a.m. in the light of a full moon.  After you get stuck in a fifteen foot barranca with nothing but moonlight, you decide to wait for some daylight.

You suck at your canteen of water and rest on a rock.  The moon sails down into the sky.  The valley is shades of grey and black in the moonlight.  You have spent nearly an hour tramping across the fields, passing wide of some homeless people sleeping in their cars under a tree, you are at the foot of the western slope.

The hint of day comes to the eastern horizon.  The sky is now changing to a hue of blue. Time to get moving again.

You miss the pole that marks the start of the western trail but find it again by circling back.  Now begins a steep slog over very broken rock.  This was nearly a road three years ago.  What happened?  You worry about twisting your ankle up here. Your phone doesn't always work.

The valley of the south face of the mountain is like a giant figure 8.  The eastern, western, and central routes up the valley meet a third of the way up.  A single trail winds around the upper curves of the valley like an S ending in the peak.

You find the trail is badly eroded up its entire length.  At some point it was able to handle a station wagon, because there's the wreck of one high on the mountainside, but in places you have to climb on all fours to get up the trailside.  The closet pole you have taken as a stave comes in handy more than once.  Your knees regret this trip.

The peak is nothing but a sandy lot with low scrub all the way around.  You meet people climbing from the San Bernardino County slope.  It is easier, they say.  You vow to try that next.  You will find it isn't hardly possible for you, but that's in the future.

Now to return down, in blaring sunlight.  You resolve to visit the east slope.  The lines of the trails are not so sharp.  As your knees protest, you ease your way down the trail head to the junction of the three trails.  You remember twenty years ago when you ran down this trail to beat the setting sun.  You are not as young as you once were.

The east trail is not as visible as it used to be twenty years ago.  Coming down the spine of the 8 you lose it, in fact.  You have to traverse a rockfall with your stave without any sign of a trail.

Now you have reached the point on the eastern peak where you recall a very steep descent to the cliff by the old van in the barranca.  You see the barranca, you seen the eucalyptus trees where the old van was, you see the cliff below you where dozens of shooters emptied shotguns and AK-47s and AR-15s and once, at least, a .30-06 rifle into the van.  You collected the shell casings as a boy.  What you don't see anymore is the trail down.  You take your bearings on the cliff below and begin your descent through the sagebrush.  It becomes apparent, standing in what was once the trail, that the sagebrush is evenly spaced throughout the hillside.  There is no more trail down the eastern slope.  You are blazing a path down a seventy-percent grade based on twenty year old memories.

When you tell this story later, you say you got stuck and died up there.  You tell it straight and wait for people to catch on that you are fibbing.

But the Lord is good to you and there is still a grade, not a drop, and you stagger onto the sandy path back down the valley.

You hear, years afterward, that they are actually grading the slopes again to build houses twenty-six years after they gave up when the 1991 recession hit.  Your whole memory of the valley will be as forgotten as the eastern trail.  It is the Old West now.

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Write a story in SECOND PERSON, which is using second case pronouns ( you, your) to write a story. 50 coins to the best written story!
Written by ArmandChascour
The New West
The hills behind your house reminded you of the intro to M*A*S*H, which you learned was because it was filmed forty miles to your west on the same latitude.  You were looking at bald hills of Southern California with much the same terrain as Malibu Canyon.

You saw the trails a mile away, clawed by dirt bikes through the chaparral. You saw them exercising and heard their droning engines.  Sometimes you even heard the loudspeaker of the deputies in the copter ordering them off private land.

You tried to attempt the track up the east slope of the mountain a few times, but found it so steep that you needed both hands and your feet to climb.  The graded track of the west slope was easiest and you even saw track teams from the high school using it.  Even the powdered dirt and sand of the central route up the valley was better than the east slope.

Your parents are going to sell the house and you won't have a base at the foot of the mountain anymore.  You decide to climb it for the sixth time.  You are damn fool enough to do this at 4:00 a.m. in the light of a full moon.  After you get stuck in a fifteen foot barranca with nothing but moonlight, you decide to wait for some daylight.

You suck at your canteen of water and rest on a rock.  The moon sails down into the sky.  The valley is shades of grey and black in the moonlight.  You have spent nearly an hour tramping across the fields, passing wide of some homeless people sleeping in their cars under a tree, you are at the foot of the western slope.

The hint of day comes to the eastern horizon.  The sky is now changing to a hue of blue. Time to get moving again.

You miss the pole that marks the start of the western trail but find it again by circling back.  Now begins a steep slog over very broken rock.  This was nearly a road three years ago.  What happened?  You worry about twisting your ankle up here. Your phone doesn't always work.

The valley of the south face of the mountain is like a giant figure 8.  The eastern, western, and central routes up the valley meet a third of the way up.  A single trail winds around the upper curves of the valley like an S ending in the peak.

You find the trail is badly eroded up its entire length.  At some point it was able to handle a station wagon, because there's the wreck of one high on the mountainside, but in places you have to climb on all fours to get up the trailside.  The closet pole you have taken as a stave comes in handy more than once.  Your knees regret this trip.

The peak is nothing but a sandy lot with low scrub all the way around.  You meet people climbing from the San Bernardino County slope.  It is easier, they say.  You vow to try that next.  You will find it isn't hardly possible for you, but that's in the future.

Now to return down, in blaring sunlight.  You resolve to visit the east slope.  The lines of the trails are not so sharp.  As your knees protest, you ease your way down the trail head to the junction of the three trails.  You remember twenty years ago when you ran down this trail to beat the setting sun.  You are not as young as you once were.

The east trail is not as visible as it used to be twenty years ago.  Coming down the spine of the 8 you lose it, in fact.  You have to traverse a rockfall with your stave without any sign of a trail.

Now you have reached the point on the eastern peak where you recall a very steep descent to the cliff by the old van in the barranca.  You see the barranca, you seen the eucalyptus trees where the old van was, you see the cliff below you where dozens of shooters emptied shotguns and AK-47s and AR-15s and once, at least, a .30-06 rifle into the van.  You collected the shell casings as a boy.  What you don't see anymore is the trail down.  You take your bearings on the cliff below and begin your descent through the sagebrush.  It becomes apparent, standing in what was once the trail, that the sagebrush is evenly spaced throughout the hillside.  There is no more trail down the eastern slope.  You are blazing a path down a seventy-percent grade based on twenty year old memories.

When you tell this story later, you say you got stuck and died up there.  You tell it straight and wait for people to catch on that you are fibbing.

But the Lord is good to you and there is still a grade, not a drop, and you stagger onto the sandy path back down the valley.

You hear, years afterward, that they are actually grading the slopes again to build houses twenty-six years after they gave up when the 1991 recession hit.  Your whole memory of the valley will be as forgotten as the eastern trail.  It is the Old West now.

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Tell me a story: About someone who is trying to get the courage to tell someone they can't remember their name.
Written by ArmandChascour

Assist

X was getting married so M and V and J and I went to Santa Barbara to witness.  All of us were in our best suits (I wore trunks and an undershirt for the drive and changed in the bathroom) and we hung out together as we had since high school.

Somehow, and boy did J let us know it was awesome, some woman interrupted our conversation to start talking to J.  We were there early as possible -- X moved parishes a year ahead to be able to marry at the Mission itself-- so we had a good two hours for chat.

She didn't have much to say to the rest of us.

She walked off to greet her friends, and J said, "Oh yeah! I'm totally in sync with this girl and I don't even know her name!"  as if that really was a great place to be.

She came back, to talk to J, and time came for M and V to go stand with X.  J and this girl went to sit together in church.  

The ceremony lasted over an hour and they were together the whole time.

M and V and J and I met at the front of the Mission again and J said, without her there to hear, "We're gonna drive to the reception together! And I don't even know her name!"

She came back and stood next to J.  By then I'd had enough, so I said in a loud voice, "So who are you, and why are you here?"

She laughed and we introduced ourselves.  I don't remember whether I repeated her name out loud but I should have.  I guess I like to be helpful.

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Tell me a story: About someone who is trying to get the courage to tell someone they can't remember their name.
Written by ArmandChascour
Assist
X was getting married so M and V and J and I went to Santa Barbara to witness.  All of us were in our best suits (I wore trunks and an undershirt for the drive and changed in the bathroom) and we hung out together as we had since high school.

Somehow, and boy did J let us know it was awesome, some woman interrupted our conversation to start talking to J.  We were there early as possible -- X moved parishes a year ahead to be able to marry at the Mission itself-- so we had a good two hours for chat.

She didn't have much to say to the rest of us.

She walked off to greet her friends, and J said, "Oh yeah! I'm totally in sync with this girl and I don't even know her name!"  as if that really was a great place to be.

She came back, to talk to J, and time came for M and V to go stand with X.  J and this girl went to sit together in church.  

The ceremony lasted over an hour and they were together the whole time.

M and V and J and I met at the front of the Mission again and J said, without her there to hear, "We're gonna drive to the reception together! And I don't even know her name!"

She came back and stood next to J.  By then I'd had enough, so I said in a loud voice, "So who are you, and why are you here?"

She laughed and we introduced ourselves.  I don't remember whether I repeated her name out loud but I should have.  I guess I like to be helpful.
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Written by ArmandChascour in portal Comedy

Keep On Truckin

I was pushing my dad's wheelchair down Main Street opposite the Riverside County Courthouse, which is a pretty quiet street and had just been freshly paved.  I shifted my grip on the handlebars and noticed the chair kept rolling without my push.  I held my hands off the grips and it kept rolling at about 2 miles per hour.  I stepped back from the chair and it kept moving forward.

So I walked off to the side and talked with Dad as he rolled gently downhill.

It took him about three minutes to realize nobody was holding his moving wheelchair.

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Written by ArmandChascour in portal Comedy
Keep On Truckin
I was pushing my dad's wheelchair down Main Street opposite the Riverside County Courthouse, which is a pretty quiet street and had just been freshly paved.  I shifted my grip on the handlebars and noticed the chair kept rolling without my push.  I held my hands off the grips and it kept rolling at about 2 miles per hour.  I stepped back from the chair and it kept moving forward.

So I walked off to the side and talked with Dad as he rolled gently downhill.

It took him about three minutes to realize nobody was holding his moving wheelchair.

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Written by ArmandChascour in portal Stream of Consciousness

Black Coffee in a Steel Cup

I first used a steel cup in the Boy Scouts, packing it on my belt like a prospector.  That was a conical cup and I miss it.  I think I donated it to a coworker's son with much of my camping gear.

Fifteen years later, working at a call center, I had my cups stolen off my desk.  In a huff I went out and bought another steel cup.  This one is cylindrical and holds about twelve ounces.  My cup became quite famous and nobody stole it.

You drink your coffee black out of a steel cup, because coffee with cream and sugar still tastes like it came out of a steel cup.  There is something business-like about coffee from a steel cup, as hot as you can stand it.  It is not coffee drunk for the fun of coffee.  It is coffee because you need it.

A Civil War vet once wrote a book called "Coffee and Hardtack" about camp life with the Union army, and they drank their coffee the hard core way: burn beans in a skillet, beat them into dust with a rifle butt, then boil them in a pot of water.  You scoop out a tin can's worth, leaving a third of the can empty to help it cool.  That is the kind of coffee that helps you walk into rifle fire.  Our modern way of life prevents us from having this kind of coffee, unless you have a garden or something where you can easily throw aside a potful of coffee grounds.

I am having a dollar store bag of coffee, brewed strong because I killed a bag, in my steel cup.  When you drink very hot black coffee out of a steel cup, you are not going to savor the flavor difference between Somali and Nicaraguan beans.  You are going to get caffeinated.  It is the sort of coffee you refuse to small children.  It must harm them somehow.  They're not ready for this level of coffee. Sorry.

I had a writing assignment to do for a friend and I got up at 3 a.m. to do it, and had my coffee, and now I'm writing about coffee because what else is there to do?  I miss these old mornings spent writing while under the influence of too much caffeine.  In college I used to write A papers all night long and when I got them back I couldn't remember writing them.  Now that was some good coffee.

Of course this coffee takes its toll, and bitter experience hath shewn that you can't stomach enough coffee to keep you going twenty-four hours.  If you can get a couple liters of Mountain Dew, pour it between glasses rapidly to get the carbonation out, and that will hold you.  Or, if you're really gonzo, like I was when I worked graveyard shift at a hotel, you can get four venti Americanos with an add shot apiece. That's twenty shots of expresso.

I should mention I had a heart attack at thirty-seven.

I'll stop with this pot of coffee.  Maybe I'll have the last cup in a ceramic mug with half-and-half and sugar, like I was going to enjoy it.  For now I have my steel mug and black coffee and my memories.

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Written by ArmandChascour in portal Stream of Consciousness
Black Coffee in a Steel Cup
I first used a steel cup in the Boy Scouts, packing it on my belt like a prospector.  That was a conical cup and I miss it.  I think I donated it to a coworker's son with much of my camping gear.

Fifteen years later, working at a call center, I had my cups stolen off my desk.  In a huff I went out and bought another steel cup.  This one is cylindrical and holds about twelve ounces.  My cup became quite famous and nobody stole it.

You drink your coffee black out of a steel cup, because coffee with cream and sugar still tastes like it came out of a steel cup.  There is something business-like about coffee from a steel cup, as hot as you can stand it.  It is not coffee drunk for the fun of coffee.  It is coffee because you need it.

A Civil War vet once wrote a book called "Coffee and Hardtack" about camp life with the Union army, and they drank their coffee the hard core way: burn beans in a skillet, beat them into dust with a rifle butt, then boil them in a pot of water.  You scoop out a tin can's worth, leaving a third of the can empty to help it cool.  That is the kind of coffee that helps you walk into rifle fire.  Our modern way of life prevents us from having this kind of coffee, unless you have a garden or something where you can easily throw aside a potful of coffee grounds.

I am having a dollar store bag of coffee, brewed strong because I killed a bag, in my steel cup.  When you drink very hot black coffee out of a steel cup, you are not going to savor the flavor difference between Somali and Nicaraguan beans.  You are going to get caffeinated.  It is the sort of coffee you refuse to small children.  It must harm them somehow.  They're not ready for this level of coffee. Sorry.

I had a writing assignment to do for a friend and I got up at 3 a.m. to do it, and had my coffee, and now I'm writing about coffee because what else is there to do?  I miss these old mornings spent writing while under the influence of too much caffeine.  In college I used to write A papers all night long and when I got them back I couldn't remember writing them.  Now that was some good coffee.

Of course this coffee takes its toll, and bitter experience hath shewn that you can't stomach enough coffee to keep you going twenty-four hours.  If you can get a couple liters of Mountain Dew, pour it between glasses rapidly to get the carbonation out, and that will hold you.  Or, if you're really gonzo, like I was when I worked graveyard shift at a hotel, you can get four venti Americanos with an add shot apiece. That's twenty shots of expresso.

I should mention I had a heart attack at thirty-seven.

I'll stop with this pot of coffee.  Maybe I'll have the last cup in a ceramic mug with half-and-half and sugar, like I was going to enjoy it.  For now I have my steel mug and black coffee and my memories.
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To celebrate the release of my new book, I am inviting you all to participate in a contest. The concept: Explore a person's struggle to come to terms with a strange, sinister, or surreal reality. This is a broad theme to encourage you to be as creative as you choose. Flash and full length stories welcome in horror, fantasy, surreal, or any hybrid genres. The only rule: Prose fiction only. Three winners will be chosen, who will receive 2000, 1000, or 500 coins + a signed copy of my collection.
Written by ArmandChascour in portal Fiction

Reality

It is the ninth and the rent is due. I have no way of paying it.  I lie on my couch and stare at the walls.  Maybe I will be told I have been approved and the mail will confirm it.  I wait for the mail.  This is not my apartment, my mind tells me.  Apartments are for people who can pay.

There is nobody left to turn to. I have exhausted all avenues of help. I have not worked in a year.  I have used up my state disability payments.  I am going to lose my home.  It is not my home anymore, I remind myself. Apartments are for people who can pay.

Last month the church paid my rent.  It is the last time, they told me.  I said I understood.  I was sure that any day now I'd be approved for federal disability.  It never came.  Now the rent is past due and I have nothing to say to the landlord.

Months ago before the church helped I tried to sleep under a tree to see how it felt.  It wasn't that bad, I think.  Of course it hadn't rained.  I could stand to be homeless if it didn't rain.

I come to a decision.  I call my landlord.  "I have no money coming in and no source of income, I might as well come by Monday and surrender the keys," I say.  I have a plan.  I plan to be homeless.

I gather together three days of clothes in a trash bag.  I throw out all my toiletries in the bathroom and save one roll of toilet paper.  I abandon all my pins, all my ties, all my books.  The books get to me.  I leave them boxed.  I cannot throw out my books.  

For the rest, I reflect that soldiers live out of a duffel bag and think nothing much of it.  Man up, I think.  I put my electronics in a gym bag and give it to a friend with my birth certificate.  I call a friend from church.  He will help me cart my stuffs to Goodwill.

My suits, my tuxedo I put in a suitcase for donation.  The massive L desk I was given by  a boss, I leave.  It takes two truckloads by itself.  I throw away everything in the desk.   I throw away the harddrives I was saving from my old computers.  I have no way to safeguard them.

I start stacking stuff outside for my neighbors to keep.  My mountain bike that I kept since 1995 is snatched up.  Some things I thought had real value are left.  Nobody wants the executive wooden office chair my boss gave me with the desk.  I resign it to Goodwill.

My friend comes to help my pack my donations.  He is shocked to hear I have nowhere to go.  He takes me to lunch and begs me to call my folks.  I do not want to call them.  By now I want to be homeless, where I belong.

I call my parents.  They say they can take me for a week.  My friend buys me a bus ticket.  He is relieved I will not live on the street.  I say I am too.  But I am thinking it is just for a week.  I think I belong in the gutter.

That was two months ago.  My parents say I can be a help to them.  I try to keep a low profile in their complex, because it is technically age restricted.  The management says I can stay because I am disabled and helping my father.  But everyone I meet and talk to gets around to asking how long I'm going to be here.  They want it restricted.

I have no income and no car, and when I check online there are no affordable apartments in California anymore.  I have been back to follow up on my disability.  I told everyone I wanted to move back, and I did, but not at those prices.  There are very cheap trailers for rent out here within 3 miles, so maybe I'll end my days in a desert lot in a trailer.

I swim everyday at least once, and write online, and let myself forget that I don't fit in anywhere.  I guess that is coping.

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To celebrate the release of my new book, I am inviting you all to participate in a contest. The concept: Explore a person's struggle to come to terms with a strange, sinister, or surreal reality. This is a broad theme to encourage you to be as creative as you choose. Flash and full length stories welcome in horror, fantasy, surreal, or any hybrid genres. The only rule: Prose fiction only. Three winners will be chosen, who will receive 2000, 1000, or 500 coins + a signed copy of my collection.
Written by ArmandChascour in portal Fiction
Reality
It is the ninth and the rent is due. I have no way of paying it.  I lie on my couch and stare at the walls.  Maybe I will be told I have been approved and the mail will confirm it.  I wait for the mail.  This is not my apartment, my mind tells me.  Apartments are for people who can pay.

There is nobody left to turn to. I have exhausted all avenues of help. I have not worked in a year.  I have used up my state disability payments.  I am going to lose my home.  It is not my home anymore, I remind myself. Apartments are for people who can pay.

Last month the church paid my rent.  It is the last time, they told me.  I said I understood.  I was sure that any day now I'd be approved for federal disability.  It never came.  Now the rent is past due and I have nothing to say to the landlord.

Months ago before the church helped I tried to sleep under a tree to see how it felt.  It wasn't that bad, I think.  Of course it hadn't rained.  I could stand to be homeless if it didn't rain.

I come to a decision.  I call my landlord.  "I have no money coming in and no source of income, I might as well come by Monday and surrender the keys," I say.  I have a plan.  I plan to be homeless.

I gather together three days of clothes in a trash bag.  I throw out all my toiletries in the bathroom and save one roll of toilet paper.  I abandon all my pins, all my ties, all my books.  The books get to me.  I leave them boxed.  I cannot throw out my books.  

For the rest, I reflect that soldiers live out of a duffel bag and think nothing much of it.  Man up, I think.  I put my electronics in a gym bag and give it to a friend with my birth certificate.  I call a friend from church.  He will help me cart my stuffs to Goodwill.

My suits, my tuxedo I put in a suitcase for donation.  The massive L desk I was given by  a boss, I leave.  It takes two truckloads by itself.  I throw away everything in the desk.   I throw away the harddrives I was saving from my old computers.  I have no way to safeguard them.

I start stacking stuff outside for my neighbors to keep.  My mountain bike that I kept since 1995 is snatched up.  Some things I thought had real value are left.  Nobody wants the executive wooden office chair my boss gave me with the desk.  I resign it to Goodwill.

My friend comes to help my pack my donations.  He is shocked to hear I have nowhere to go.  He takes me to lunch and begs me to call my folks.  I do not want to call them.  By now I want to be homeless, where I belong.

I call my parents.  They say they can take me for a week.  My friend buys me a bus ticket.  He is relieved I will not live on the street.  I say I am too.  But I am thinking it is just for a week.  I think I belong in the gutter.

That was two months ago.  My parents say I can be a help to them.  I try to keep a low profile in their complex, because it is technically age restricted.  The management says I can stay because I am disabled and helping my father.  But everyone I meet and talk to gets around to asking how long I'm going to be here.  They want it restricted.

I have no income and no car, and when I check online there are no affordable apartments in California anymore.  I have been back to follow up on my disability.  I told everyone I wanted to move back, and I did, but not at those prices.  There are very cheap trailers for rent out here within 3 miles, so maybe I'll end my days in a desert lot in a trailer.

I swim everyday at least once, and write online, and let myself forget that I don't fit in anywhere.  I guess that is coping.
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In 15 words, describe your favorite video game (or board game for the older Prosers) without revealing what it is. See if anyone can guess it in the comments.
Written by ArmandChascour in portal Gaming

I wish this was computerized

Hexboards and square cardboard counters.

Companies and battalions simulated.

Reliving the days of Operation Overlord.

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In 15 words, describe your favorite video game (or board game for the older Prosers) without revealing what it is. See if anyone can guess it in the comments.
Written by ArmandChascour in portal Gaming
I wish this was computerized
Hexboards and square cardboard counters.
Companies and battalions simulated.
Reliving the days of Operation Overlord.
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Hey everyone. As some of you are aware not only do I post reviews on Prose, but I also have been writing a whole series for about a year now titled Sins of the Father. I kinda want to get everyone's honest opinion on how I'm doing with the series so far. Do you find it entertaining or blasphemous? Anything that needs improving? How are the characters? Which stories have you enjoyed so far? Share your thoughts. You can find complete stories on my profile page or PM me and I can send you links.
Written by ArmandChascour

Awesome

I find it very entertaining reading.  The characters are distinct and they get into inventive situations and interactions.  I don't think it's very blasphemous to show a Lucifer with faith issues.  It's less outrageous than most American sitcoms.  The family life is shown very touchingly.

One thing I have noticed writing long form on Prose is you don't get as many views as the poets.  You're doing a great job with the series and I hope you keep at it.  

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Hey everyone. As some of you are aware not only do I post reviews on Prose, but I also have been writing a whole series for about a year now titled Sins of the Father. I kinda want to get everyone's honest opinion on how I'm doing with the series so far. Do you find it entertaining or blasphemous? Anything that needs improving? How are the characters? Which stories have you enjoyed so far? Share your thoughts. You can find complete stories on my profile page or PM me and I can send you links.
Written by ArmandChascour
Awesome
I find it very entertaining reading.  The characters are distinct and they get into inventive situations and interactions.  I don't think it's very blasphemous to show a Lucifer with faith issues.  It's less outrageous than most American sitcoms.  The family life is shown very touchingly.

One thing I have noticed writing long form on Prose is you don't get as many views as the poets.  You're doing a great job with the series and I hope you keep at it.  
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Juice
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