30 or so Stories I’ve written in 2018 that have been rejected: Long Live The King

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I was stretching my hands to hit a C chord in the G position in the CAGED system. Something I’d seen a million times but never really knew what it was until then. My guitar teacher passionately waited for me to strum what would sound like failing out in guitar hero. I wanted to riff like Pat Martino in Sonny but I was a while away. He saw a red truck pull in the drive way behind me and dropped the hint for me to pack it up.

“I really think your not too far away from getting to were you want to be” He said.

I gave him look like he just shit his pants.

“I’m serious. Practice this week and we’re probably going to get into some blues next week. So it wouldn’t hurt to listen to some B.B. King either.”

I was still skeptical, but despite the sandals and socks, the man could play.

“I don’t think I’ve ever listened to B.B.King before, well at least a other than a song here or there. Got any good suggestions?”

He smiled and opened the door of his studio, signaling me to get the fuck out.

“Oh you’ll be in for a treat then. Live in Cook County Jail.”

I thanked him and walked out with my guitar case in hand.

The next day it poured outside and I was held up in the apartment. I played until I got hungry and threw on some B.B. while I prepped. The convicts boo’ed the jail staff for a few minutes and B.B. got into. The man came out swinging, literally. It was jumpy, so much so, my shoulders got into it during my carrot cutting. Almost as instantly as it began he slowed it down and whaled on one of the best, yet simplest solos I’ve ever heard.

The man screamed out every word, like a hot air balloon with a leak. It just poured out of him. I got goosebumps on “How blue can you get?”. The band stops and the man commands the room with

“I GAVE YOU SEVEN CHILDREN. AND NOW YOU WANNA GIVE THEM BACK!?!”

The crowed roared. I roared, knocking pieces of celery for my soup to the floor.

The more I listened the more I realized these weren’t just songs for B.B. I was hearing a man journey. I was hearing the pain of what it means to be alive sometimes. It wasn’t just the words or Lucille doing her thing. It was a summation of every thing. The rises, the falls, the screams, the whispers, even the pauses. He didn’t play with his head. It was all heart baby. And to this day,

I love every minute of it.

30 or so Stories I’ve written in 2018 that have been rejected: Nouns & Verbs

 

The last non-broken kitchen light flickered overhead as the fan circled around. The other two bulbs were taken out by a thrown coffee cup. Mark sat at the table below, sipping his Budweiser. He hadn’t moved much during the whole fight, only to cover his head. The once clean checkered tile was covered with broken dishes, beer bottles, and plastic bags from Target. B.B. King played over the stereo in the other room. He was surprised the record didn’t skip as she stormed off to her sister’s house.

Mark put the bottle to his lips. “Was it affect or effect?” He thought. I’m pretty sure it was affect. Affect is a noun, that’s how I remember. Effect would be more like how she effectively left that damn door open again– the thing that started the whole fight. He looked over by the edge of counter and saw it still open. The wind forced the blinds into the air. He let out a half smile as he set the beer down. They’d been together for 10 years and she still had a way of getting under his skin.

Mark adjusted his posture. The worn leather chair made a popping noise. Carrie hated that, but she hated that they still had this old kitchen furniture more. It was Mark’s job to find a new set and she liked to remind him more frequently now that the rest of the kitchen was fixed up.

“Effect is normally used as a verb. I know it. I watched a Schoolhouse rock on it back in grade school.” He thought. See, I don’t have to teach 3rd grade like you Carrie to know my nouns and verbs. He crossed his boots under the table and kicked a Campbell’s Chunky Soup can. It rolled on the floor until it got stopped by a box of spilled elbow macaroni.

A meow came from the open door behind him and a black cat slithered its way to the table. It stopped at Mark’s chair.

“What?”

The cat meowed again.

“Not you too.”

He reached down to pet his head. The cat ran towards the fridge.

“Oh great, just like Carrie. Figures. You are her cat after all.”

He grabbed the bottle and pointed the end at him.

“You know I didn’t want to start arguing. I had a long day at the factory. Michael was on my ass from the moment I punched in. I wasn’t the one who came in here yelling about some ass hole at Target and how it effected, or affected, or whatever the hell.

Who gives a shit!

She did that. She’s the one who left the damn door open. If she would’ve closed it, I wouldn’t have made the joke about how letting in the cold was effecting the heating bill. How was I to know that it would lead to a blow up about money and how I haven’t been pulling in my fair share.”

He was about to say more but B.B’s guitar made him stop. He took a giant swig of his beer. Foam poured on his stained white t-shirt but he continued on.

“B. B. gets it. You know, she always acts like this is all my fault. She didn’t seem to give a fuck when I was gone working all that overtime. We had all types of money for the kitchen then. But now? Ha, the broken dishes affected that!”

He picked up a piece of a bowl from the table and hurled it towards the wall. The black cat darted into the other room. The record skipped, interrupting “The Thrill is Gone”.

“Damn cat!”

Mark stared down at the bottle and flipped the label towards him. It said, “Mass conception of Alcohol can lead to impaired judgement and other hazardous effects.”

“Shit.”

He tipped the brown bottle back and felt the last of the warm suds hit his throat. He placed the empty bottle on the table and a half smile came over him. “ Well fuck me, effect is the stupid noun. She’s right,” he thought as he stood up. The chair kicked a piece of a plate. He stepped over fallen Fruit Loop’s boxes and walked to the closet. Mark grabbed the broom and started sweeping up the broken porcelain.