Editor’s Note: This is the sixth in a fictional series entitled “Danny Boy.” To catch up with the entire series, you can read these in chronological order:
Fiction Friday #1: Danny Boy – Promises Broken
Fiction Friday #2: Danny Boy – Moving Up the Ranks
Fiction Friday #3: Danny Boy – Redemption
Fiction Friday #4: Danny Boy – For Viv
Fiction Friday #5: Danny Boy – Outside the Lines
His pencil gingerly outlined the shape of her lips. The pencil moved faster, each stroke and curve added dimension to her full, sensuous lips. Her lips flew off the paper.
He could feel the press of her lips on his. His tongue wandered the caverns of her mouth.
He pulled away from the sketchpad, his heart racing. He paid no attention to the cell doors slamming and keys clinking. “Lights out, boys,” yelled the cell guard down the hall.
Staring down, he began to focus on her red hair. Her curls bouncing as she strutted across the casino room of the Flamingo. Using the edge of his pencil, he shaded the ringlets of her hair and breathed the enveloping wisps of peaches and sweet perfume.
He knew what was next. Her eyes. The same eyes that looked at him for the last time. They were so alive. But fear. Fear filled those green eyes that fateful night.
Did he sketch fear or life in those eyes of Millie? The beauty of the thought was a breakthrough for Danny. He could decide.
Drawing was an outlet for Danny even as a small boy. His mother had bought him a drafting table when he was 12-years-old. However, his father did not care for drawings of life. He wanted Danny to draw sketches of underground mob hideouts and mocked caricatures of Italian mafia crew enemies with oversized noses and missing teeth.
Danny felt the pressure to perform his drawings of buildings and monsters for his father, but in a rage of frustration broke the drafting table and threw his art set in the fireplace. He wanted to draw life. Not death.
He began to shape the top of the circles of Millie’s eyes. Tears filled his own. “Oh, sweet, Millie girl. How I loved you so,” he whispered.
Adding the orange and brown flecks, he remembered the first time he saw those green eyes. He saw her from across the room at the Flamingo. She stood out of the crowd. Her creamy white skin with red freckles sprinkled across the bridge of her nose. She exuded purity and innocence. She seemed different, whole. Carrying her tray of cigars, he straightened his steel gray suit and salmon-colored tie. She made her way past him as he stood at the Black Jack table, the side of her bare arm brushed his back.
Their eyes met.
“Cigar, mister?” Millie asked, as she tilted her head back. Danny pulled a high-end cigar from his coat jacket. “I guess that’s a no,” she said matter-of-factly. Danny flashed his smile. Millie’s eyes fluttered.
“Dougan, lights out!” barked the guard through the bars. Startled, Danny pleaded for five more minutes. “Five, but you owe me. Don’t worry, I’ll think of something interesting,” chuckled the guard.
Danny, relieved, continued to add life to Millie’s eyes. He thought about what he owed her. He helped take her life that night to save his own and others. He pondered good versus evil.
He began to add the light brown and red eyelashes under her eyes. This would be the only way to see Millie. His sweet Millie. The eyes eerily stared back at him.
“Good night, my love. Until we meet again.”
Okay, so I know it’s short, but the week was crazy busy. Hope you enjoyed! Thank you to our lovely Sandra Gea Guevara prompt. It was inspiring.
Writing Prompt: “The bud
stands for all things,
even for those things that don’t flower,
for everything flowers, from within, of self-blessing;
though sometimes it is necessary
to reteach a thing its loveliness,
to put a hand on its brow
of the flower
and retell it in words and in touch
it is lovely
until it flowers again from within, of self-blessing;”
Inspired by this excerpt from Galway Kinnell’s poem “San Francis and the sow”, you will describe a situation where your character is remembered of her/his own beauty/talent/gift. Let your imagination and words flow this is your blossoming time too dear co-writers!
CHECK OUT my fiction friend Molly Field who already posted her piece “Greetings With Flowers.” You will love it, guaranteed!Follow
When I launched my blog last May, my older daughter was instantly fascinated by the concept of blogging. In simple terms, she was intrigued by how I could share my words, thoughts and expressions to people around the world.
I agree that blogging is a pretty incredible tool when used with good intentions. I often write about my older daughter, Sarah. However, she has been asking to be more prominently featured on my blog. As the type of young lady who is confident and driven when she sets her mind on something, I finally agreed. A few months ago, I told her that when she reaches her next “half birthday” (you remember counting those half birthdays as a kid), I would interview her on my blog.
So, here ‘out of the mouth of babes’ is my lovely daughter, Sarah, who recently turned 8.5. The interview offers some rather insightful thoughts. We can learn so much if we listen to our children.
I love you, Sarah. I am so proud of you.
Outstretched on her hot pink comforter with black and white zebra sheets, we began Sarah’s First Q&A with Clearly Kristal (CK)…
CK: So, you are now 8.5, how does that feel?
SARAH: Um, uh, tee, hee (bangs head with palm of hand). It’s exciting that I am almost nine.
CK: Over the last years, what are the biggest pieces of advice you can offer other kids your age?
SARAH: Ignore people that are mean to you. Make sure you stay in school. Be respectful to your family and friends. (Interviewer beams.)
CK: Using the wisdom of your age, what is the biggest piece of advice you can offer parents?
SARAH: Don’t yell at your kids. (Interviewer gets fidgety.) And, don’t say bad words. (Interviewer wipes sweat from forehead.)
CK: What is the best thing about being a kid?
SARAH: Not having to do all the chores!
CK: What is the worst thing about being a kid?
SARAH: The worst thing is getting told what to do all the time. (Changes to mocking, high-pitched voice.) ‘Sarah, go fold the laundry!’ Oh, come on!
CK: What would you want to change as a kid?
SARAH: I think we should get our driver’s license at age eight. (Interviewer nervously laughs out loud.)
CK: What are you most proud of the past six months?
SARAH: That I stand up for other people being bullied. Bullying is a problem because it’s not fair to other kids. Bullying is bad because when they (bullies) grow up, they will be mean, and not get a good education, or good job. (Interviewer tears up.)
CK: Who is your biggest idol or role model, and why?
SARAH: Helen Keller…because she got through her challenges and teaches (us) to get through our challenges.
CK: If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?
SARAH: I would want everyone to love God and love people.
CK: What do you want to be when you grow up?
SARAH: I want to be a veterinarian and archaeologist. I love animals, and like to explore.
CK: What is your most awesome ‘day dream’ like?
SARAH: I would wake up in France, go to the boutiques and eat the food.
CK: If you had a magic genie who could grant you three wishes, what would they be?
SARAH: That all people would believe in God; love God; and love all people. I would like the genie to teach me to love all people. That’s hard to do sometimes. (Interviewer asks for a tissue.)
Editor’s Note: This is the fifth in a fictional series entitled “Danny Boy.” To catch up with the entire series, you can read these in chronological order:
The stories chronicle the life of Irish mafia son Danny and father/mafia boss Jimmy Dougan – the devil himself.
Gripping the red crayon in his left hand, he focused on the curves of the heart shape. Switching colors to fill the inside of the red heart, he chose white. He thought of angels when coloring with white. He envisioned an angel with giant wings and an almost blinding light surrounding her. He focused on staying within the lines of the heart as his dad had instructed.
When his father leaned over his shoulder, he could smell heavy cologne and cigarettes. “Know your limitations, Danny,” Jimmy told him. “Limeetashons…what does that mean?” asked, the puzzled, seven-year-old Danny. Jimmy, throwing his hands up, repeated impatiently: “Limitations. It’s what you can’t do. Stay within the lines, Danny!”
Sitting at the small card table set up in corner of the back room of Dougan’s Pub, Danny went about making the mother’s day card for his mom – Viv. He was oblivious to the revolving door of mafia business that transpired just feet away. Unmarked bags of blood money were dropped off at Jimmy’s desk and stored in an old floor safe. His father termed it a “drop in the hole.” Keeping both a fake and real business ledger, Danny often saw his father meticulously pouring over the cooked books.
However, Jimmy didn’t like Danny hanging around the family business too much – especially when he was a young boy. When Viv came to pick him up from her weekly beauty appointment, Danny fussed, “Why can’t I stay, mom? My friend at school goes to his dad’s TV store every day?” In her skin-tight fiery blue pencil skirt and red high heels, she gently held Danny’s shoulders. “Your father has a different type of business, Danny Boy. It can get, well, ugly here,” she said plainly.
Looking perplexed, Danny glanced at his dad who was on the phone. Strolling to the car with his mom in the back parking lot, he had forgotten the Mother’s Day card. Letting go of her hand, he rushed towards the back room of the pub. He could hear a woman giggling, and slowed his footsteps in the hallway. Peeking his head around the corner, he could see a strange woman sitting on his dad’s lap with wiry blond hair. His dad began to kiss her neck.
“Oh, Jimmy! Does big Jimmy want to come out and play?” she said, in a squeaky, high-pitched voice.
Danny popped his head back into the dimly lit hallway. The moaning calls of his father and the woman echoed in the hallway. His heart racing, he knew there was no retrieving the hand-made card for his mother.
He also knew what the word “ugly” had meant. That woman on his father’s lap was ugly. His father was ugly. His mother, she was an angel sucked into this ugly life.
“Danny, come on!” his mother called from outside.
He ran towards the door as if running from hell. The engine of his mother’s white 1959 Cadillac Convertible idly roared. He slid into the red leather front passenger seat. His mother’s wide smile and brightly painted lips greeted him. Her fiery red hair tightly tucked under a blue and white flowered headscarf.
She reached over and pinched his cheek. He could see his own reflection in her oversized white movie star sunglasses. Even though he was a child, Danny often felt like an adult. Peering back at himself, he was startled to see a small boy with light brown hair slicked over to one side and pouty lips.
“Did you forget your homework, Danny?” she asked. There was a long pause. “Nah, just wanted to say goodbye to pop,” he said. “Oh, my Danny, Boy. I love you so,” she said. “I love you too, ma. Happy mother’s day,” he said.
As his words faded under the sun, a dark shadow hovered over the car. Viv tried to drive, but the car was motionless, stuck. Gripping the wheel, she began to wildly shake and scream. “Help me, Danny! Help me!”
Just seconds later, a sheet of white light streamed over them. Danny cupped his eyes from the bright light. “Ma, ma, ma!” he cried.
Jolting from the cell cot, Danny realized this was a dream based on his many memories at the Dougan Pub. Tears streamed down his cheeks. He finally uncovered his eyes. His heart ached to see his mother – the angel.
“Oh, how I miss you, ma,” he said to himself.
The state-issued psychiatrist who had visited him last week explained the dreams were a “subconscious response due to extreme anxiety over the impending pre-trial testimony against his father.” Today, he would come face-to-face with his father – the devil himself.
Danny quickly pulled his notepad from under the mattress. Drawing an oversized heart, he carefully shaded around the curves. He folded the paper in half and wrote: “HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY, MOM…LOVE, YOUR DANNY BOY.”
He vowed to always color outside the lines.
I am loving this fiction writing. I am not quite sure I met the entire scope of the writing prompt, but boy was that fun to write! Hope you enjoyed the latest chapter in Danny’s life.
Writing Prompt from our own lovely Susanne Nelson: Use the cliche, “absence makes the heart grow fonder” in your story (when you are not with a loved one, you tend to miss them more). You decide how to use it and if your character agrees with it or not. As an added optional challenge, use the literary device, “antithesis” (used when the writer employs two sentences of contrasting meanings in close proximity to one another. Whether they are words or phrases of the same sentence, an antithesis is used to create a stark contrast using two divergent elements that come together to create one uniform whole. An antithesis plays on the complementary property of opposites to create one vivid picture. The purpose of using an antithesis in literature is to create a balance between opposite qualities and lend a greater insight into the subject.
Please be sure to check out my other Friday Fiction Friends below, who are using the same prompt in their fictional interpretation. You won’t be disappointed, promise!
We have a new member of the family. No, it’s not a new baby, dog, cat, fish – or foreign exchange student. This unwanted little guy is brown with razor sharp teeth and nails. He arrived a few weeks ago and is destroying the lawn of our modest cottage home.
We’ve got ourselves a gopher.
This guy truly encapsulates the definition of a pest…
/pest/ Noun: 1. A destructive insect or other animal that attacks crops, food, livestock, etc.
Like most people, we want to rid ourselves of this pesky creature. After doing some research, we attempted some of the recommended alternatives to poison – such as water and chili pepper pellets.
We thought “he” had left.
But then, he came back. And continues to destroy our front yard.
My eight-year-old daughter asked, “Why do you want to hurt the gopher, mom? He’s one of God’s creatures.”
Deep breath. <Ahem>
I explained that the gopher was a pest. She began to cry, “How could you kill a living creature?” Like many parents, I was caught off guard.
Placing value and comparison between human beings and living creatures is a difficult concept for children – and sometimes adults – to grasp. As she cried in her bedroom, I tried to think of a childhood life lesson between creatures (animals) and human beings.
I remember during my first year of driving at the age of 16, my mom had a rather poignant conversation about this exact topic that went something like:
My mom: “If you are driving, and a deer runs in front of your car, do you swerve to avoid hitting the deer, and possibly collide into another car, or do you hit the deer to avoid crashing into the other car?”
Me: “Oh, I would never want to hurt the deer. I would swerve to miss hitting the poor deer.”
My mom: “No, Kristal, you would have to hit that deer. Your life is not worth the life of the deer. Does that make sense? I know it’s sad, and we never would want to intentionally hurt the deer. That’s just part of life.”
Me: “I guess…but that’s so sad, mom.”
It was a difficult concept for me to grasp even at the age of 16. I shared this conversation with my daughter, but she still did not understand that life is full of difficult choices, inequalities, and sometimes “life versus death” situations.
“Two Explosions Rock Boston Marathon.”
Life is precious. Within seconds, the Boston Marathon Terrorist Attack transformed our gopher problem into an almost laughable situation. It seemed so insignificant.
When I picked up my two daughters from school yesterday, I held them longer, tighter. I decided to carefully bring up what happened in Boston. “The evil guys did something bad today. They set off some bombs in Boston that killed and hurt people. We must pray for those people who died and were hurt, girls,” I said.
We prayed for Boston. We prayed for healing and strength.
Last night, when I tucked my daughters into bed, I wrapped the blankets snuggly around their little bodies. I felt so blessed they were healthy and safe. I also thought of those fellow Americans and allies who have given and continue to sacrifice their lives so that we can live in a free country.
We must play both offense and defense. Most importantly, we must not forget.
I noticed this morning the gopher made a new mound of dirt in a completely different part of our yard. Rather than cursing the pest under my breath and angrily grabbing the water hose, I laughed to myself.
Eventually, he’ll get what is coming to him.
“The cost of freedom is always high, but Americans have always paid it. And one path we shall never choose, and that is the path of surrender, or submission.”
–John F. Kennedy
Editor’s Note: This is the fourth in a fictional series entitled “Danny Boy.” To catch up with the entire series, you can read these in chronological order:
The stories chronicle the life of Irish mafia son Danny and father/mafia boss Jimmy Dougan. Without further ado, I bring you…“Danny Boy – For Viv.” Rated “R” for language, violence. No nudity, sorry.
Blood rushed to his head as he hung headfirst over the side of the dessert cliff. Sweat poured from his forehead in the blistering sun. His ankles and shins burned. Peering down, he glanced at the barren dessert. In the distance, a lone bush sat weathered from the extreme conditions. Straining his neck, he stared at the burnt vegetation. He thought about the bush and their commonalities. Alone, trapped, beat down from life.
The goon Leonard “the Lion” Brennan held his grip tighter and began to shake him as if he were playing with a small toy. “You want me to drop em’ boss? Jimmy wuun’t like it,” he said.
He heard a sharp slap echo. Danny couldn’t see it, but he assumed Richie had given Leonard a hard smack for mouthing off. He could hear Richie scold: “Wuddya think, asshole? Remember who your boss is, Leo…or you’ll be down there with Danny.”
Danny prayed Leo would drop him. Following just burying his own mother, life seemed hopeless. After a few long minutes, he heard the sound of a car speeding and a door shut, and then the muffled voice of his father. He despised him. Just hearing his voice made him start to quietly cry.
Wrangling and twisting, he yelled in a spit of anger, “Drop me! Do it!” Seconds later, his father yelled down, “Be a man, Danny. This is your destiny. Accept it. You’ll always be a Dougan.”
Danny thought quickly. Did he want to die? He had already died inside upon seeing the dead eyes of his mother. Perhaps someday there could be a way out of this life. He could run away, change his name. His mother would not have wanted his life to end like this…over the edge of a cliff in the middle of the dessert.
He could not save her. But he could save himself. She would never want him to live the life of a violent organized criminal either. People might have to die if he turns into a rat.
“Hell, even I might have to die,” he whispered to himself as the wind picked up. But dying now would not help bring back his firecracker of a woman and mother – Viv. He would have to gain trust within his father’s inner circle, and then stab him in the back. He caught a glimpse of the vultures circling overhead. “No dinner today, boys,” he said aloud.
He began to violently shake back and forth like a magician attempting to escape from a straight jacket. He yelled at the top of his lungs, “Okay, okay, okay!” Leo pulled him up.
Thrown to the dessert ground, he could taste the sand in his mouth. “That a boy,” his dad said, firmly gripping the back of his neck. Spitting and gagging, Danny’s eyes pierced through the cold blue eyes of his father – the killer – Jimmy Dougan.
“And that’s pretty much how I got here. I set him up like he deserves, son-of-a-bitch,” said Danny, to his cellmate Marion “Donny” Donovan.
Danny had bumped into him on the Strip a few times, and the Dougan Crew collected on his action as a small-time drug dealer. He had been in and out of jail for some minor drug violations, but was now in the slammer for the murder of his girlfriend, Tessa. Re-introductions from his new Irish cellmate consisted of a large belch, and then the explanation that he was named after John Wayne – whose real name was Marion. Naturally, he claimed innocence of stabbing his girlfriend on the Strip when he spotted her walking with another man.
Coincidentally, Tessa worked with Nellie as a cigar girl at the Flamingo, which explains why Danny felt some twisted bond with Donny. They had both killed someone they cared about.
“Las Vegas is too fuckin’ small, Donny,” Danny said.
“Tell me about it. The whore was two timing me, Danny. I told her that she can expect the same thing Nellie got…a new head,” laughed Donny.
Danny felt sick to his stomach at Donny’s coldheartedness. He knew what needed to be done. Danny took this fortuitous meeting with his old associate Donny as a sign. He wanted to make it right. It’s the least he could do for Nellie and Tessa.
Danny had confessed to his crimes and implicated the entire Dougan Clan in multiple killings and illegal operations that spread across the country. But now he had to convince Donny that Tess’s family deserved closure. He had to bring Donny to the edge with him.
Out of the darkness and into the light.
This would be both a redemption and a reckoning. Viv would want it that way.
Writing Prompt: Use the quote below to tell the story of how your primary character comes to the edge (a cliché). Note: Your character may/may not fly. However, he/she encourages others to start a new beginning – i.e. to “fly.” Spring offers new beginnings to grow and soar. Tell this story in no more than 1,500 words (no less than 800) with a balance of dialogue and imagery. Now let your story fly!
“Come to the edge, He said. They said: We are afraid.
Come to the edge, He said.
They came. He pushed them,
And they flew . . .”
— Guillaume Apollinaire
BONUS CHALLENGE: How many clichés can you spot in this post? The person who guesses the number correctly will land a guest post on my blog. So, count those clichés!
Please do check out my other Fiction Friday Friends. Some participated in the prompt – while others wrote something else inspirational…