Life as Madriga

sunlight through window

Photo provided by Pixabay on What Do You See?


Ellen’s character, Madriga, emerges through the Gates of Genachle and takes her first careful steps back on the beloved soil of her homeland. No longer the frightened child who survived the leveling of her village in the games opening scene, she has returned victorious. The IEO of Genachle’s long-sword swings from her well sinewed arm as proof she has defeated him in battle and earned the games ultimate title of….

Ellen hits pause before the game officially ends. She always does. Watching the final scenes of a game was like watching a loved one die. Of course she had never actually watched a loved one die, but she was sure it would be equally as agonizing.

She sits staring into the screen saying her silent goodbyes to life as Madriga- until her laptop’s battery saver kicks in and the screen goes black.

Peering through the window above her desk she notices it’s dark outside. Is it still dark? Or dark again? She isn’t sure at first. A bowl containing the long dried remnants of what was once a bowl of cornflakes leers at her from behind a row of empty energy drink cans, and she opts for dark again. 

She taps the power button. 3:24 AM. Madriga’s heroes stance mocks her from the frozen screen on her laptop as Ellen realizes she has to be at work in three and a half hours.

Ugh! Two days off is just not long enough.


This piece was inspired by the photo prompt provided by Sadje on her What Do You See? and the word, Cornflakes, provided by Misky on Twiglets.

Okay. So..



“You leave now and mark my words!” Momma had yelled just before the screen door slammed behind her for the last time. “You’ll end up fallin’ for a man straight outta the gutter!”

“Pfft. Right.” She had thought to herself as she swung her backpack over her shoulder and walked purposefully away from the only home she had ever known. After all, she was eighteen and had known her share of … Okay. So maybe they weren’t men. But whatever they were, they were definitely not straight outta any gutter. Ew! 

That was seven years ago. Sure, she had met up with her fair share of snakes and losers along the way, but in the end she had proved her momma wrong and gotten exactly the kind of man she had set out to get. Ruggedly attractive. Wildly successful. Okay. So maybe he partied a little too heartily and had a bit of a roving eye. But she could fix that.

That was three years ago. She’d done everything right. A spotless home. Two beautiful children. Hadn’t just kept her figure, but improved upon it by eating right every day. Three days a week at the gym. Two at Pilates. But none of that seemed to make him want to come home at night. He had become a guest in his own home. A good night kiss three nights a week to the children. Okay. So he was definitely seeing another woman. It was a phase he was going through. He’d figure it out. He’d get it out of his system. He’d come home. And she would be there waiting for him when he did..

That was last year. She did her best to look the other way. She became an expert at making excuses for his absences at the office. For the late payment of bills. For all the money he had borrowed from friends- whom he now chose to avoid, instead of paying it back. She knew he was using. She had watched the paraphernalia progress from squares of burnt tin foil to the little orange caps off a new syringe. Okay. So she’d get him in treatment. He’d get clean. They could move away. He could get a less stressful job. They’d get a smaller house. Maybe even an apartment. Start over. 

An hour ago there was a knock at the door. Two policemen. Something about a motel room on the strip. Something about prostitutes and drug use and identifying a body. As she sat in the back of a police car on her way to the county morgue, for some reason the last conversation she had with her momma flashed through her mind. She’d end up with ‘a man straight outta the gutter’ Momma had said. But she had been wrong. 

Okay. So she hadn’t fallen for a man straight outta the gutter, but she had made all the right excuses as she watched the man she loved- fall in.

This piece is my response to Nekneeraj’s photo challenge #297 on MLMM.


Peta accentuated the near perfect cupid’s bow she had been blessed with at birth with a fine line of raisin colored pencil admiring its near perfect formation before moving on to her ever lamentable lower lip which the gods had clearly chosen to overlook.

Using the same raisin pencil, she drew in a much more pleasing lower lip line well below her natural one, sweeping the color of the line up to where her natural lip left off with the flat tip of a triangular sponge.

She ‘set’ the lip liner with a daub of face powder before filling in the expanse between the lines with a muted mulberry, which she applied, blotted and applied again before adding the pièce de résistance, just a shimmer of icy lemonade colored gloss in the center of her lower lip, creating that pouty look all the boys were so wild about.

Taking a well deserved moment to feast her eyes on her most flawless creation yet, Peta drew her silken dressing gown up high around her neck, luxuriating in its petal softness as it slid up the smooth expanse of her throat and then back down again. 

With a practiced toss of her shoulders she sent the dressing gown slipping slowly, sensuously down one arm and then the other slowly revealing perfectly waxed pecs, nipples now taut and erect under the dressing gowns silken tutelage. 

As she let her lacquered nails glide feather-light over the length of her hard-wrought rigid abs, she felt fleetingly like Peter again. 

But a quick glance up at her perfectly painted lips reminded her that could never again be so..



I met her in a club down in old Soho
Where you drink champagne and it tastes just like
Cherry Cola
C-O-L-A Cola
She walked up to me and she asked me to dance
I asked her her name and in a dark brown voice she said, “Lola”
L-O-L-A Lola, lo lo lo lo Lola

Well, I’m not the world’s most physical guy
But when she squeezed me tight she nearly broke my spine
Oh my Lola, lo lo lo lo Lola
Well, I’m not dumb but I can’t understand
Why she walked like a woman but talked like a man
Oh my Lola, lo lo lo lo Lola, lo lo lo lo Lola

Well, we drank champagne and danced all night
Under electric candlelight
She picked me up and sat me on her knee
She said, “Little boy, won’t you come home with me?”
Well, I’m not the world’s most passionate guy
But when I looked in her eyes
Well, I almost fell for my Lola
Lo lo lo lo Lola, lo lo lo lo Lola
Lola, lo lo lo lo Lola, lo lo lo lo Lola

I pushed her away
I walked to the door
I fell to the floor
I got down on my knees
Then I looked at her, and she at me
Well, that’s the way that I want it to stay
And I always want it to be that way for my Lola
Lo lo lo lo Lola
Girls will be boys, and boys will be girls
It’s a mixed up, muddled up, shook up world
Except for Lola
Lo lo lo lo Lola

Well, I’d left home just a week before
And I’d never ever kissed a woman before
But Lola smiled and took me by the hand
She said, “Little boy, gonna make you a man”
Well, I’m not the world’s most masculine man
But I know what I am and I’m glad I’m a man
And so is Lola
Lo lo lo lo Lola, lo lo lo lo Lola

Lola, lo lo lo lo Lola, lo lo lo lo Lola
Lola, lo lo lo lo Lola, lo lo lo lo Lola
Lola, lo lo lo lo Lola, lo lo lo lo Lola
Lola, lo lo lo lo Lola, lo lo lo lo Lola
Lola, lo lo lo lo Lola, lo lo lo lo Lola

Lola was written by Ray Davies and performed by the band he co-founded with his brother Dave in 1963, a band they called, The Kinks. The song itself was recorded at Morgan Studios, London and released on June 12, 1970.

Lola is rumored to have been born of an experience their manager Robert Wace had with a woman in Paris, who unbeknownst to him at the time he wooed her on the dance floor, was transgender.

This is my response to Jim Adams Song Lyric Sunday call for songs that contain the word ‘La’.


Collateral Damage


The first time the police cars rolled to a stop in front of the Elmore Arms, curtains opened wide, sashes were lifted, an older resident or two even drew up a chair. Those not fortunate enough to have a window opening onto the street, gathered on front stoops. Anxious mothers called in their sons from playing kick ball in the street and lit up the local party lines setting the grist mills of gossip officially into motion. 

That was before they knew that Mrs. Birany’s son Brian had been sent back from the war because he wasn’t right in the head. That was before they found out that Brian often sat motionless for days at a time and watched the spider high in the corner, or the water drip from the kitchen faucet, not eating or sleeping or saying a word, and that Mrs. Birany only called the police when she was at her wits end and didn’t know what else to do. 

These days, when police cars pull up in the middle of the block, the little girls just go on playing dress-up on the stoops. Their mothers aren’t called away from their soap operas by buzzing  party lines. Why even the old men playing dominoes on sidewalk tables outside the cafe don’t stop to look up anymore.

After all, it’s just Mrs. Birany calling after Brian again. Nothing to worry about. Ol’ Brian wouldn’t hurt a fly.

This piece was inspired by the JusJoJan prompt, Dogs of War. It incorporates this weeks prompt, Damage, from Genre Scribes and the three phrasal prompts from the OLWG #47 were the phrases were:

  1. playing dress-up
  2. watched the spider high in the corner
  3. in the middle of the block

Unspeakable things


Horst Faas/Associated Press


He walked out when I was three. Literally went out for a pack of cigarettes and never came back. My dad. My father. He was never really my dad. How could he be? I never knew him. And now this. Why me? Why would they send his stuff to me?”

A cardboard box containing the personal effects of a man she had never known, but called himself her father, arrived out of the blue. It had been forwarded by the Veterans Administration in San Francisco. Somewhere along the line, this man, her father, had listed her as next of kin.

“Mama said the war made him crazy. It wasn’t his fault, she said. She loved him, you know. Even after what he did to us. To her. Just up and left her with two kids, no job, no money. She used to look through old pictures of him and cry.”

Poking into the packing tape with a kitchen knife, the acrid smell of alcohol laden sweat and stale cigarette smoke rose up to meet her even before she lifted the cardboard flaps. Inside she found a tattered and torn army field jacket. It bore the name Mackenzie. Her name.

“It haunted him. Some village in Vietnam. ‘He had been made to do unspeakable things in the name of war’ that’s what Mama always said. She never told us what. I don’t even know if she knew. But whatever it was, he couldn’t live with it. It made him crazy.”

Inside one of the pockets, was a picture. A picture of a man she knew from Mama’s photos to be her father, his arm around a little girl, a frightened mother with an infant in her arms by his side. He had a wild almost crazy look in his eyes.

She turned the photo over in her palm. “Tom, you got a pen?” She scribbled something almost indecipherable on the back of the photo. Tom could see her tears in her eyes as she wrote it. But he didn’t ask. There would be more than enough time for that tomorrow.

Please click through and read Susan Braithwait’s brilliant response to the Genre Scribes prompt from last week, as this piece is written in response to, not only the prompt word, Villiage, but also as a result of the emotions her piece brought to the surface when I read it.

This piece is my response to the literary prompt offered by Debbie on 50 Word Thursday this week. The quote is: “Tom could see her tears as she wrote it.” The Talented Mr Ripley by Patricia Highsmith.

In addition I was able to use the first two JusJoJan prompts, Photo and Poke even if I didn’t exactly use them in the way it was suggested.