Favorite Piece of Clothing Eulogy

You favorite article of clothing has finally out-lived its life (and then some). It’s time to say goodbye, but you love it so much you feel a need to send it off properly. Write a eulogy dedicated to that piece of clothing and all the times you shared together.

Post your response (500 words or fewer) in the comments below.


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244 thoughts on “Favorite Piece of Clothing Eulogy

  1. kimcatwil

    I think it’s time. I’ve been denying it for some time now, but I don’t think I can do it anymore. It’s time to let you go.

    I was a freshman in high school when you came into my life. A strange time in any kid’s life. I felt like I was emerging from my cocoon, that middle school caterpillar that no one thought twice about becoming some sort of edgy teen butterfly. Boys were starting to like me. For all the years I’d pined over them, I was finally getting a little bit of reciprocation. I was learning how to play guitar and writing songs with the four chords I knew about the sadness of death, as if I knew anything about it. I wore heavy eyeliner and sometimes dark red lipstick. But it was all a front. I mean, I was 14, you probably figured that out already. Deep down, I was still just little good girl Kim. But that’s why you were so special.

    You weren’t mine, not at first. You were my best friend’s. One day, after a sleepover, we were getting dressed when she tossed you to me- a white t-shirt with slightly puffy sleeves covered in tiny silver skulls. “Try this on,” she said. So I did. “You look so good in that! You should keep it.” You portrayed my personality to a tee- sweet and girly with a little hint of edge. I wore you every time you came out of the laundry- you probably didn’t spend very much time clean. I wore you on awkward first dates. I wore you as I sang an excessively moody Evanescence song at my high school talent show.

    But freshman year didn’t last forever, thank god. As the years went on, I wore you less and less. Although you perfectly represented a snapshot of my life, you were no longer relevant. I tried, a few times, to wear you in the later years of high school, even the early years of college. Your armpits are yellow. Your fabric is limp and tired. It doesn’t really even fit- I may not have had the body of a child, but it certainly wasn’t that of a full grown woman.

    You are a remnant of a time gone by. A time I look back on with a bizarre mix of emotions- with laughter and friendship, with confusion and sadness, with awkwardness and embarrassment. The portrait of a girl trying to figure out just how to become a teenager; just trying to figure out how she fit in. I could keep you around, if not to wear, then to remind me of those days. But it feels like less of a reminder and more of a crutch, a safety net reminding me of times gone by. I am not who I was all those years ago. I made it through to the other side- adulthood. I will continue to grow and change for the rest of my life, but I know who I am. And I think, in some very small way, you helped me get there.

  2. Wetherdorn

    You used to be so soft and tactile, clinging to the curve of mt legs. But then you faded and tore open to show the delicate colour of my knees. I still didn’t want to let you go. So I patched you with ordinary denim instead of the fuzzy moleskin that I loved about you. I even sewed you together whilst I still wore you out. Then when even the denim became unstitched or ripped, I decided to lay you to good use. As I stroked your lovely surface, I cut you carefully into squares and rectangles from every part of you except the double stitched seams. I made a pile of you, so like an organ donor, you would become part of many others and save them from the textile bank. You would keep others in use and save me from the embarrassment of uncovered skin. I could continue to love you for years, finding that little piece of you on a jacket or jeans that I could touch and stroke as much as I did when you first touched my skin.

  3. Whoever

    It’s hard to pick apart our time together and select our best days or nights. I remember the first day I saw you. In Primark, and I thought even then that you seemed out of place amongst the rest. I saw you and I simply had to follow my heart. I was lucky to have been able to keep you for so long but I was naive to not imagine my life one day without you. You’ve been there for every birthday and occasion I’ve held dear and all you ever asked in return was to be loved and not forgotten. I hope it’s not too late to tell you now that you will always be loved, never forgotten and greatly missed. In all the years we’ve been together I’ve tried to use you well and I hope that I did you justice. You were effortlessly cool, so subtle and a bit cheeky too. Since you went, home hasn’t been the same and there’s without a doubt part of me that’s now missing and I don’t think I’m going to be able to style it out as best as I’d like. But I’ll keep your legacy for as long as I can and tell everyone, my favourite socks were some of the best I’ve had. Some of the best times spent were in them and my toes will never feel so warm again.

  4. roweti

    It’s a true honor that our paths crossed.

    It was such a delicate moment – me frantically searching the coat section 30 minutes before close, and you hanging limply on the rack at a failing department store. You looked a little ashamed under the discount sign, but I could see your potential. The first things I noticed were your beautiful silver zippers on black, furry cuffs, and that trendy, asymmetrical zipper. I was excited right away by your edgy appearance.

    I never felt tired of you over the years because you never seemed old. You injected flare into every room that you entered. Even when I stopped noticing, others would bring your style to my attention. One time while wearing you my niece even asked, “Aunt Rowe, do you have a lot of money?” I told her mother about it and she threw a scrutinizing side eye your way before telling me that I looked like money (wearing you). Your performance was unwavering and you always made me feel warm. You were the kind of anomalous accessory that gave me confidence whether you were shielding an expensive business suit or covering my braless boobs at the supermarket. Thank you for being the perfect companion for me during my career change and the turmoil of my mid-thirties.

  5. RobinY

    “Here’s to You, Pooh-Faced PJ Shirt”

    You came to us fresh and new, with bold red and gold colors splashed across your white background, smelling of new clothes. While you started out as an ordinary pajama top, you soon became a cherished household friend.

    For six years, since he was just five years old, your soft cotton snuggled Conrad and kept him warm and comfy in his bed. With a large imprint of Winnie the Pooh’s face adorning your front, we soon affectionately dubbed you, “Conrad’s Pooh Shirt.” Though presented with other new pajamas as he grew from age 5 to age 11, Conrad often continued to choose you from his drawer for his nightly attire. Pooh’s smile on your front stretched wider and wider as Conrad grew in girth. Eventually, as he grew taller and taller, you could no longer reach far enough to Conrad’s waist to cover his belly. When that time came, and approaching his manhood, Conrad finally decided it was time to put you to rest.

    We placed you in a box with your matching red PJ shorts to go to the Goodwill for another boy who might not mind a faded Pooh face on his soft pajamas. When it came time to deliver the box to the curbside for pickup, however, I could not bear to part with you. I pulled you from the box and you softly brushed my face as I held you up to it, drinking in the fond memories that you carried. You made no complaints when I decided to let you take residence in our box of soft cleaning rags, your Pooh face still smiling past your neighboring old t-shirts and worn out kitchen towels.

    For the past 12 years, you have tirelessly served as my favorite dust rag, using your softness to gently shine our dining room table and clear our dusty corners. You’ve brought back a flood of warm memories each time I’ve used you, lending a smile to an otherwise tiresome chore.

    Now, after 20 years of service, you have been through countless bedtime hugs, breakfast crumb droppings, toothpaste spills, dusting sessions, and encounters with the washer and dryer. I fear you will soon be in shreds, and I know it’s time to finally let you rest.

    So I lay you down, clean and neatly folded in the box of family memoirs, lying next to Conrad’s baby sweater and the envelope that contains his baby teeth and locks of hair. You’ll be safe from further wear here, and you can rest comfortably at last.

    Someday, I’ll be gone, and so will Conrad’s dad. Conrad and his sister will come to sort through our belongings, and they’ll find you here inside this box, your Pooh face still smiling. A flood of memories will come back to them, and you’ll no doubt then wipe away their tears.

    Here’s to you, Pooh-faced PJ shirt. Thanks for the memories.

  6. reallykenneth

    Time’s Up

    This watch was given to me, years ago, by a woman I was once in love with. One night, I told her my only goal in life was to be a real man – one who worked hard and wore watches. A few days later, an all-black, leather watch was left on the kitchen counter. It was her way of telling me she believed in me and, when the relationship ended, I continued to wear the watch like a divorced husband does his wedding ring. The stains, loose straps, and cracked face became a mascot for the relationship. It witnessed the good and the bad; Like when I found out I was going to be a father and, then, a few days weeks later finding out I wasn’t going to be a father.
    She never recovered, we never recovered, even the watch stopped working. The only thing that kept it alive was the pulse from under my wrist and, today, I pull the plug on a physical memory of what used to be love.

    Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.

    1. writer_sk

      Kenneth- the metaphors and similes in your piece were very compelling and well thought out.

      I was swept away in the sadness and depth in the main character’s life.

      Good job. Excellent editing – its short but says so much.

  7. Old Rock Candy Mountain

    There comes a time in every sweater’s life in which he or she must pass into the clearing at the end of the path. Today, we gather not in mourning, but in celebration, of a sweater that we all knew and loved quite dearly. To some, this sweater was a pillow – offering a soft place to rest one’s head during a long voyage; to some, this sweater was a litter box – a warm and inviting island in the middle of a vast sea of hardwood floors; to some, this sweater was a swaddle – a shield against the winter’s bitter cold; to me, this sweater was a friend.

    We met in the fall of 2013. I was but a starry-eyed youth in the throes of my college years and she was the answer to my prayers. Fondly do I remember walking amongst the rows of second-hand treasures on that cool September day in Amherst, MA. My senior year was just beginning and I was growing up. No longer could I rely on the oversized, hooded sweatshirts of my childhood. I needed something more. I need something that would command respect, that would keep me warm, and above all else, that would get me laid. I needed wool.

    That autumn flew by like the leaves from the trees in late-October. We forged a bond that year that brought that sweater to the forefront of my wardrobe. No longer did I see myself as a bedraggled child, wandering into class late with my Converse untied. No. I had become a man. As that tight-knit, woolen sweater warmed me that fall, my confidence grew and my expectations for a productive and life-changing college career were fulfilled.

    These early days of our relationship together set the tone for what became an everlasting friendship. If I strayed from my moral ground, my sweater would hold me steadfast. When the road became tough, as life often does, my sweater dried my tears. We traveled together for years and though it is with a heavy heart that I watch my sweater pass out of my life forever, I know that I will always cherish the times that we had. I remember fondly each and every hole – tight and loose, singed and frayed.

    Rest easy, my friend. Long days and pleasant nights.

  8. Russ

    This shirt I have owned for more than 30 years.
    It went with me when I went to school, I wore it when I when I was sick, and my dog even wore it.
    I will never find a better shirt. It was probably… the best shirt in the world.
    This shirt… yes, this shirt… meant the world to me. And I am sad to lose it.
    But if this shirt had a heart, if it had feelings, I would say that this is how it would want to go, being tossed out into the ocean… there were some good memories… me and this shirt hiking along, seeing animals, seeing all the trees…
    Anyways… this shirt, I’ll repeat, meant the world to me. It is almost like losing a close cousin, or an uncle or aunt.
    If I would have named this shirt, I have never thought of doing it, I would have named it… Henry.
    Yes… Henry is a good name. I’ll keep that name.
    So Henry was a great shirt… even with all his holes and tears. If I wore him now, I could hardly be allowed into a fine restaurant.
    This shirt here… this shirt… again, meant the world to me. Other people, other so called friends, never liked the shirt. They said Henry was too worn… too torn… my girlfriend had always said she never liked him. I’m glad I have no idea where that girlfriend is (I deleted her number from my phone).
    Ah… so this shirt, Henry, has many memories.
    I remember once I was climbing a tree with Henry, and Henry, what a rascal, got stuck on a branch, and I nearly fell out of the tree because of it.
    Ah… just thinking of it makes me laugh.
    So Henry… it was nice knowing you. I am now going to drop you off this cliff into the nice, beautiful ocean. I know it would be the one way you’d like to go. Maybe a fish will find you.
    Anyways… Goodbye, Henry!”

    *He gently tosses the shirt off the cliff into the water far below*

  9. gamingtheblues

    There are few things that rally against both the pain of loss, and the unspoken mortality that both ourselves and our loved ones share than remembrances and memorials. The Eulogy is one such. Both a song of the past and a wind that leads to our futures. This particular eulogy I write…no, in truth sing to and upon my heart. It will not appear on a tombstone or in paper, yet it is no less real and, and no less difficult.

    She stood tall as she could. Proud, glowing with a face all smiles and eyes. I still hear the laughter even to this day. Little wings of gossamer, red cap with pipe cleaner stalks. Red dress and block dots all down her back. My little lady bug, running around the kitchen, buzzes and giggles, ready to take on the night.
    Now I can hear birds trilling in the trees on the edge of the field. There is no darkness here, only the brightness and lightness of New England summer and the constant hum of cicadas in the bushes. She is in yellow, my sunshine and running around through the tall wild flowers and scrub grass almost certainly knocking down and into a thousand New England Ticks. Golden cotton trimmed with lace on her chubby arms and beautifully sewn daisies hide behind the shimmering white ending just above her knees.. I can’t see her face….but I can bury my head in the cloth and smell the dirt, the grass and her.
    Her blanket…thick and pink and soft and mine. Hers of course…but… I bought it and she loved it best, and so..in a way.. mine. There is a corner that she held when she slept. And watched tv. And read a book. And Hid. And laughed. And Cried. It turned from pink to a strange brownish/blackish pink from sweat, dirt and tears. Yet she still held and same corner, rubbed against her nose when falling asleep. She calls the blanket “Stinky.” A name. Not a condemnation. She cries when I wash it, until she can turn it back into her Stinky again. It’s disgusting, most likely not sanitary…and I don’t care. She doesn’t care. Because it is ours.

    Each little treasure I save. No one sees me do this. Old dusty boxes are pulled from the shelves of attics and sheds that have not seen the light for years. And spring cleaner demands that we upend our memories and pour them into the trash. And it is there that I find them. On top of a few apple cores, about to be covered by old pasta sauce or maybe the leavings in the bottom of the sink.

    I have each in my drawer, folded, safe. Outside I smile to all of you that I write to, and sing to. But inside I hold them to my heart, I smell and dream and cry.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        This is so beautiful and powerful, it leaves me breathless on a Monday morning. I should be crunching numbers this Monday morning but it is the least of my duties
        I yearn to write full time so I can learn to create magic like you have done here. Thanks for a Dreamland this morning if only for a short time.

  10. Critique

    Dust and cobwebs shimmered in the autumn sun streaming from the attic window. A box filled with an assortment of clothing reeking of mothballs sat beside an open trunk.

    Bella thought fondly of her granddaughter Chelsea who ran a small theatre group in the city – they were looking for vintage clothing for their upcoming production. She reached for the last garment wrapped in brown paper and sat back on some old cushions. It was a gray wool-worsted rayon suit in surprisingly good condition. Tracing the pattern with reverent fingers the memories came. Poignant. Painful.

    She was seventeen. Her two older brothers had left to serve in the war. At the train station they looked proud in their uniforms, excited to leave the farm for adventure. Mama held an apron to her face and sobbed. Papa wiped tears from sunburned cheeks with hands well acquainted with hard labor. Aunt Verda, Papa’s spinster sister who lived with them, was there too bawling her eyes out. Over the years telegrams came and were delivered to farms nearby. The community grieved for their lost boys. It was a terrible time.

    Bella remembered like it was yesterday when she’d ridden a horse drawn wagon into town to pick up supplies at the general store. The new butcher, Thomas, a man with intelligent hazel eyes and quick wit insisted on helping her carry out her purchases. He walked with a slight limp.

    “Got bucked off a horse when I was twelve. Definitely the army’s loss.” He grinned as he placed her boxes in the wagon then looked down at her and said. “Today’s my lucky day. I’ve seen an angel.”

    The next day Thomas borrowed his boss’s car and drove out to the farm. In the weeks that followed they spent as much time as they could together. They fell in love.

    Three months later she was pregnant. Aunt Verda intervened when Papa threatened to do harm to Thomas.

    Money being scarce, Aunt Verda came to the rescue and ordered the suit from Eaton’s catalogue for Bella as a wedding gift.

    The wedding was held in the farmhouse and consisted of seven people. The vicar, Papa, Mama, Aunt Verda, Bella’s best friend Thelma, and Thomas and Bella.

    Bella remembered the smell of the gardenia corsage pinned to the lapel of the suit. Mama had fixed her hair in pretty curls. Aunt Verda took pictures. Thomas looked heartstoppingly handsome in his wool suit and had whispered in her ear that she was his angel.

    Now, holding the suit up to her nose, Bella’s heart beat faster. No one in the world could boast of being happier or more in love.

    They spent their honeymoon above the general store in the room Thomas called home.

    A week later Thomas accepted a job offer in the far north. Five months later Annie was born.

    Then an evening she would never forget, Thomas mentioned he was tired, had a headache, and would lie down for a while. She called him when dinner was ready. When he didn’t respond she set Annie on her hip and went into the living room. He lay so still she knew at once that he was dead. She frightened Annie when she screamed.

    A brain tumor the doctor said.

    Thomas never saw Annie grow up. Never knew his beautiful granddaughters Chelsea and Brittany. He would have been so proud.

    She’d worn the suit twice. On her wedding day and the day of Thomas’s funeral. Bella hugged the suit one last time, folded it carefully, placed it in the box, and closed it.

    It would be perfect for Chelsea’s play.

    1. gamingtheblues

      Hello Critique.

      I was unsure of the direction of the piece at the beginning and the introduction of the two brothers, but was pleasantly swept up in the details of the memory as the story progressed. You did an excellent job with the introduction of Thomas especially and I could see him in my mind as Bella surely must have.

      The poignancy involved with the passing on of the suit for something as….trivial in the grand scheme of the world…but infinitely important to “life” as a granddaughter’s play is heartbreaking and the best part of your story. Well done.

    2. writer_sk

      Critique- wow. This was so well done. I enjoyed the journey of the suit. You hit all the marks- happiness, unexpected love, pain and the bittersweet passing along of the suit.

      Also thought the descriptions of the suit were very strong

      1. Kerry Charlton

        This was so sad and yet so well done, a slice of Life that mostly doesn’t exist anymore
        As time passes so do people . We don’t think about until we lose someone. The suit however will probably go from one generation to several more. It has it’s own.place in the master plan of life
        You did such a beautiful job on this

        1. Critique

          Thanks Kerry. The story was based partially on the life of one of my Aunts. World War II was a dreadful time(as is any war) – sons left the farms to fight in the war leaving their Dad’s and sometimes the sisters to help out with farm living. People relied on one another to bring in the harvest etc. and support each other. My grandparents are my heros.

  11. RafTriesToWrite

    Mr. Klems managed to sneak in once more another typo in the prompt. It’s bothering me but also giving me some sense of relief to know that everyone makes mistakes, more than once.

    Anyway, on to the prompt!

    It’s been a long battle my friend.
    I knew you would last, but I didn’t knew you would last this long.
    You were strong through it all, but time proved to be superior once again.
    You watched me grow over the years, from a naive girl in New York to a fully grown woman with a job of my dreams, a husband who loves me and a little baby boy to hold at home.
    You were there every day, except wash day. You helped me through life, with your silky smooth touch, your beautiful and sweet aroma whenever you’re newly washed, and especially the fashion sense that you taught me.
    I owe it all to you.
    You were there when I was down, you were there when I was in cloud nine, you were basically everywhere if I’m being honest. I felt that I can face the world with you by my side.
    But now, I don’t know how I’ll cope with things without you around me.
    I’m going to miss you. More than you can imagine.
    You were the image that made me, that made the woman who I am today.
    You were my favorite piece of clothing if you don’t know it yet.
    I sometimes thought that we would conquer the world together. Oh the happy times we shared, I enjoyed it all. Our times together. Both the happy and the sad.
    I just wanted to say, that, the thing that killed you? It’s gone now. Forever. It won’t bother any piece of my clothing ever again. No more dryers for me.
    No other green scarf can ever replace you. Ever.
    I love you so much.
    Goodbye my ol’ friend. You will be missed dearly.

    Your owner,
    The Girl in the Green Scarf

    1. Kerry Charlton

      A very soul searching description of your inner self
      Scarves are usually special to most women, from what I have observed from my wife and daughters. Living in San Antonio,it’s usually way to hot or way to cold except for three days in spring and maybe four in fall. Of course no brain people like myself and other guys say we can handle the sun without protection . Gee, how dumb can a guy get?
      The girl in a green scarf would make a great title for a murder mystery, don’t you think?

    2. ReathaThomasOakley

      Raf, creative way to approach this prompt. I’ve not seen the movie, but now I want to. Plus, the dryer as the villain explains all the missing socks. Great job.

      1. ReathaThomasOakley

        Just went back to last week’s prompt and read your comments. Wilfred appears in a number of Annie’s stories, as does Desi. In the fifties, in the South, Black children had their own schools. Older people would understand the reference. I do try to foreshadow changes in some of the stories. Thanks again for reading and commenting on all the stories each week.

    3. gamingtheblues

      From someone who has never viewed clothing as a say a living, breathing friend, I enjoyed the direction of your response to the prompt. It is interesting to think of a scarf as having had a personality.

  12. ShamelessHack

    I can’t believe its come to this.
    I knew that this day would come, but I didn’t want to believe it.
    But here it is.
    Owww, my heart. Oh, how my heart hurts.
    I feel faint. This loss is too much.
    “Wait!” I shout! “Before you bury him, I want to hold him just one more time.”
    I take him in my hands. He feels limp, lifeless, mushy.
    Where once there was life and vigor, there is now only drooping limpness.
    I hold him to my face and breathe deep of his aroma.
    Where once there was a sharp tang, there is now only rancid mold.
    I place him in the cardboard box.
    My tears fall on him, the last wetness he will ever feel.
    I put the cover on the box, hand it to the pallbearers, and watch as they place him in his grave and quickly cover it with dirt.
    Owww, my heart.
    I kneel and read his small tombstone:
    “Morty. 1993-2017. Faithful to the end. Unwavering in his support. R.I.P.”
    I cry for a few more minutes, then I slowly stand up.
    I turn to find my agent waiting patiently a few paces behind me. His eyes are understanding.
    “It was inevitable, Eddie,” I say to him.
    My agent bows his head, saying nothing.
    “I loved him, Eddie,” my voice is cracking with emotion.
    Eddie nods, “I know you did. We all did. He was a great jockstrap, Caitlyn.”

    1. pven

      Frankly, I’m surprised that a story about a 14-year old jock strap didn’t show up earlier on this list of favourite jeans and sweaters. But of course, it could only have been written by you.

      The “unwavering in his support” line was obligatory, yet thoroughly enjoyed.

      …and just realized who the narrator is. Nicely done.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Well I do understand for I kept mine from highschool football until a few years ago.. When I asked my wife if I could have him bronzed and display on the living room coffee table she gave me that look, you know the look. 45 years and he’s gone.

    2. gamingtheblues

      Heh, I feel there is a measure of projecting in this piece. Especially in the lines…”he feels limp, lifeless, Mushy. Where once there was life and vigor, there is now only drooping limpness.”

      They have something to take for that these days friend!!

      Quite an amusing take on the prompt!

  13. JayneinCentennial

    I remember you being bigger than this but time has been kind to you my dear friend. Have we been together for 30 years? It doesn’t seem possible because I remember that trip through the gift shop so well. I was full of emotion with all those possibilities life offers up ready to be burst open when you’re making that first independent stroll on the college campus. It may seem a bit dramatic to describe it this way, but who doesn’t feel this way starting college away from home?
    Dreamed-of careers, friends have come and gone, parents have been buried, houses moved and yet, I put this cozy sweatshirt on one more time with the lettering crackled and cotton fabric worn thin like a floppy beloved stuffed animal and sleeves resting just above the wrists. I stare across the room rummaging through those long ago memories, as if home movies are being played on the wall opposite me. I was wearing you, my old friend, when I met him, oh yes, him! I think his name was Kevin and I left you at his apartment hoping that his scent would nestle itself into your fibers so I could conjure him up and relish his presence, his flesh in an ethereal sort of way when I would retrieve you days later. My heart breaks all over again. I was so young and too eager to love like I was in the gift shop that day. Oh, it is time to let go my dear.

    1. RafTriesToWrite

      I don’t have that many sweatshirts. The oldest one is probably 3 years of age now.

      But I never leave them in someone else’s house though. Even if they mean something to me. If I do, then I may have just forgotten about it.

      Lovely descriptive emotions you’ve displayed here.

    2. gamingtheblues

      I really felt the poignancy in the last few lines of your story and have known girls…(women?) who did such things with similar hopes. It really is a move full of hope, love, naivete and true sweetness, like a spring morning full of honey bees.

      For more impact , let me suggest that you break up your paragraphs into smaller pieces. No necessarily changing lines or structure, especially on a prompt like this, but just adding a hit of the enter key to a few points through the piece would allow the reader more time to absorb details and not get lost in too many words gathered together.

      Thank you for sharing!

  14. JRSimmang

    CLOTHING… should stay in the closet
    -Kid’s Book

    You’ve worn it once or twice before,
    or thousands upon thousands more,
    and now it’s reeking and it’s holey,
    and there’s not a spot that it ain’t tore.

    “Throw that piece of trash away,”
    you hear your mom and daddy say.
    Your sister turns an upward nose,
    not that that’s different from some other day.

    “Bad things happen to your old clothes,”
    said granny. “Keep it, I suppose,
    and you’ll see why they warn
    bad things happen to your old clothes.”

    Grannies, right? They’re just so weird.
    You don’t know why e’ryone’s so afear’d.
    So, you tuck your sweater safely away
    like it’s a gift of God, sacred, revered.

    That night you don’t sleep so well,
    you toss and turn and what you can tell,
    there’s a sound coming from your closet door.
    You don’t know what terrors this could spell.

    A scratch, a rumple, a sound of snapping twine,
    a creak and a crack, and you know nothing’s fine.
    The door unlatches, and whines open.
    An icy cold shiver runs up and down your spine.

    A scuffle and a breath, and it’s on your bed.
    It’s there in blue and white and red.
    Your sweater you left folded with care
    has crawled up to you at night instead

    of staying with the other clothes you wear.
    Except, this sweater, once old and bare,
    bares its teeth and blood-red eyes,
    eyes and teeth that were before NOT THERE!

    Your granny’s voice echoes loudly,
    and you admit none too proudly,
    that the bad thing that happens to old clothes,
    is making you seem very cowardly.

    You scramble to your feet and shout,
    “Sweater, what’s this all about!”
    It answers by spinning a dev’lish yarn,
    the truth of which you start to doubt.

    “I just want to eat your soul,” it admits,
    “to patch these holes and tears and pits.
    I need your youth and health, my friend,
    or I’ll wither and be food for nits.”

    “But haven’t I been good to you?
    Haven’t I always been true?”
    You can reason with a shirt, you think.
    “So, why don’t we try something new?”

    “I’m listening,” it seethes. “You have been kind,
    except that experiment with the orange rind.
    I’ll listen to just one idea, no more,
    then yarn and soul will fin’ly bind.”

    “You’ll be my socks!” you exclaim.
    “So you can step on me? What shame.
    I’d rather be your underpants and catch your farts,
    than be your socks. That’s just so lame.”

    “You can be a scarf!” you offer the beast.
    And, it stops. “I’ll consider this at least.”
    “Around my neck you’ll drape all day,
    especially when the wind blows southeast.”

    If a sweater could think, this one was.
    For several minutes it’s cloth was abuzz.
    “I’ll let you turn me into a scarf, dear friend.
    I’ll let you cut me and stitch me just because

    We’ve worn on and shared so many jokes,
    so many secrets, that we’re basically folks.”
    So, that night, that very instant, you cut
    and sewed and took too many pokes.

    But the morning came, and with it chill.
    And your sister’s nose was upturned still.
    You sported a new winter scarf.
    And everyone was happy until…

    Granny said “bad things come-”
    But you interrupted her being glum.
    “Not now, Granny, I’ll have no more
    of your warning, no matter how humdrum.”

    She slapped you with her steely stare,
    and says in measured tones, “There, there.”
    Bad things come to those who wait
    to make something new, something to share.”

    -JR Simmang

        1. pven

          Perhaps we’re dealing with an overprotective parent. The spookiest we get is Frog and Toad’s “Shivers.”

          But, yeah, I can’t wait to expose mine to The Graveyard Book and have a deep and insightful conversation about its parallels with The Jungle Book.

          1. JRSimmang

            “The Graveyard Book” is on my nightstand, after I finish reading “Neverwhere” for the umpteenth time. I’ll have to be on the lookout for Mowgli and Bagheera.

    1. ReathaThomasOakley

      JR, this is great. I like so much about it, including that you kept your rhyme pattern, my husband, a poet, read this first and pointed it out, but didn’t get sing-songy. Love the image of the sweater crawling up the bed.

      Forgive me for being presumptuous, and you know I admire your poetry as well as your prose, but there are a few words I’d look at, like last line of second stanza. You might consider changing some other day to any other day. Just a few little tweaks here and there.

      I can imagine this illustrated and selling well. My sons loved Where the Wild Things Are, and that pretty frightening, but it did end with soup.

      1. JRSimmang

        No apologies necessary! I love to workshop, and I value your insight. I actually changed the last line of the second stanza from “… any other day.” Gut instinct, right? Thanks for the criticism, and for the hope!

    2. RafTriesToWrite

      Where I’m from, children here don’t get told bedtime stories at all. It’s kind of sad in a way.

      But man, this was spooky. I’m with Kat, it gave me the goosebumps vibe.

      I’m sure not all kids are gonna want to listen to this. Maybe the older ones probably.

    3. gamingtheblues

      I thought your take on the prompt was imaginative and was for the most part incredibly pleasing to sing song and rhyme with in my head. There were a couple lines that felt a little jarring but then again poetry is art and art is for the artist.

      I enjoyed the images you evoked and the story itself was very creative. I think this would be more of a piece for adult humor than actual children, not because of the content but more word choices but to me that actually adds to the piece, not detracts.

      This was excellently quirky and charming.

  15. writer_sk

         Nicole folded the multicolored throw that had been a forgotten Christmas gift, but had been used as a shelter, then a dress. Placing it in the goodwill pile, a potent tidal wave of grief and longing for her best friend washed over her. Nackay wasn’t dead she just hadn’t spoken to Nicole since they’d been rescued and returned to normalcy. 

         The day they met they both lagged behind, staying outside looking at the fall foliage during orientation on the college green. The other freshmen had clamored to view the dining hall. The women had lucked out getting one another as college roommates, a prelude to buying condos in the same complex after both securing jobs in the legal field. They were always outside. At the frat parties they’d socialize then retreat to the back deck, preferring to talk and laugh out in the air while imbibing. Outside in the yard at the condos was where Nackay told Nicole she and Jose were engaged and that she’d move in with him an hour away. They planned a large engagement party at Nicole’s parent’s lake house.

    It was there, after several drinks and attempts to escape the well-wishers, the two friends sealed their sisterly bond by deliberately setting off alone on the canoe, in the dark. Nicole, having been on the rowing team, made fast time and before long they were in a watery oasis neither recognized. The throw Nicole had brought from her car was a last thought and Nackay used it to cover her thin sundress.

    At dawn, with dead phones and headaches from the first signs of dehydration, they spotted a small island ahead and nothing else for miles. Nackay was forgiving and optimistic while Nicole’s tears came fast and without warning, her anxiety, sheer and unchecked.

    They built a fire and set up a shelter, Nackay weaving the tree branches around and through the blanket’s trim.

    Three days passed before they got rain and were able to drink it. Mornings were spent catching fish and gathering berries. Nackay had abandoned the fishing poles and was able to catch fish using an old fishing net they’d found there, right on the shore.

    At night, under the stars they were peaceful. They ate crispy grilled fish and handfuls of wild berries. They huddled together, sisters, friends, never speaking about their situation, only living in the moment.

    Each morning, Nicole opened her eyes and saw the multicolored blanket, so close to her face, letting the sun warm but not scorch them. As Nackay slept, Nicole swam in the ocean then lay on her favorite rock listening to the birds. She’d begun a large stockpile of berries and roots that seemed edible enough and she enjoyed being in nature. Nackay would join her as they’d come accustomed to drinking cold dandelion tea from the cups they’d brought in the little cooler. Every evening they went out for hours rowing further than they previously had in the same direction but to no avail.

    The day the rescue boat came, Nackay cried. She looked at Nicole in such a way that Nicole knew their time on the island was over and so was their friendship. When she saw the boat, Nicole had wanted to grab her stockpile of berries, knowing she didn’t need them but desperate for their sweet yet tart taste – nice but bitter. She instead ripped the tarp down and wrapped it around her naked body, shielding her skin, covering her as she traveled from one world to the next.

      1. writer_sk

        Hi Moirai,

        Thank you for reading and commenting.

        I almost don’t know. I think it’s because they spent too much time together and it was Nicole’s fault they were stranded from rowing too fast.

        Not sure if I’ll continue this but maybe something better researched involving folks being stranded.

  16. A. J. Kidding

    The Shemagh

    My brother brought you to me as a gift when he came back. He said you saved his life, just by being there and tightly hugging his wounds. You were shot in several places, and had the bloodstains to prove it. I loved wearing you every day, no matter where I went; you gave me comfort, and protected me from chilling winds, but this was not the best you provided me with.

    You made me feel like a warrior.

    I felt strong, calm, and ready for everything. Sometimes I had the sensation that I didn’t deserve the honor and tried to give you back to my brother, but he would always made me keep you.

    ” Even if you’re living in peace, you still fight every single day” you deserve

    I remember the last time I wore you; last day of school, I was running home and right in front of our house, a fleeting piece of you got caught in a snag on the chain link fence; I heard your first and last cry, a sound of ripping that went through all the bullet holes as my body weight hastened your demise.

    Two men in military uniforms walked out of the house, while I was trying to see how could I piece you together. Even my mother was crying on the entrance of the house because you were gone.

    Now I return whats left of you to my brother, along with a flag. Goodbye, my dear friend.

    1. pven

      Interesting. I looked up “shemagh” and came up with a site that describes it much like Douglas Adams would describe a towel.

      This is a touching tale. I’d like to know more about why it made you feel like a warrior. Why it was such an honor to wear. I THINK the answer is in the story behind the line: “Even if you’re living in peace…” but I’m not sure. That’s a great line, though. It’s worth exploring.

      1. A. J. Kidding

        I guess what made the boy feel like a warrior, was that the military scarf belonged to his brother who saw a lot of real action overseas. In regards to the “honor” part, I think the fact that his brother came back the first time makes this piece of clothing represent “victory”.

        To be honest, I didn’t put much thought behind the whole thing; after I read the prompt, the whole thing just kind-of came out on its own. But you’re right – the line does look like it is worth exploring…

    2. gamingtheblues

      This was haunting from beginning to end. I felt very distressed reading it. There was a sadness…and almost dread even when speaking of being strong and feeling like a warrior. Intentional or not, I felt this story quite strongly and so give you a lot of credit for the piece. Nicely done.

  17. Kerry Charlton


    When Lenore finished her spring cleaning some years ago or many years ago, who keeps track of time, she ran across my red bathing suit. Made or a canvas like fabric, it fit so tight in my prime, girls swore it to be painted on.

    “No,” I would tell them, “see the laces down the front.?”

    “Oh, we see them all right,’ they would say, “have they ever broken?“

    “Fortunately no but if they do should I call you?”

    One thing about that bathing suit was it brought the love of my life’s interest in me. It seems like yesterday. I was mowing my front yard Saturday morning. Mid summer in Dallas, I had worked up quite a sweat when I recognized a car slowing down at my front walk. It was Sarah from our Sunday school class.

    But it wasn’t she my eyes were glued upon. It was the petite redhead sitting next to her. We were introduced, her name was Lenore and we went inside to visit with my wife. My interest grew by the minute as Lenore discussed how long she had known Sarah and that she and her family were moving to Dallas.

    A year later, Lenore and I married right before Christmas of 1967. The bathing suit fell into non use through the years and seemed to disappear until another ten years. Lenore found it stored away at the back of a closet and brought it to me,

    “Let’s see you slip this on,” she said.

    “Which leg do you prefer?“

    “How did you ever stuff your body into that suit in the first place?“

    “Well it was a little tight, you know.”

    “Uncomfortable, when you first saw me?”

    “Definitely, any other secrets you need to know?”

    “I’m afraid to ask, but I think it’s done it’s job and now it’s time for a ceremony.”

    “A ceremony Lenore? What’d you have in mind?”

    “Well maybe a Viking funeral on White Rock Lake.”
    “You’ve lost it babe. Where’s the boat?”

    “Barbara Johnson’s husband Tom told her he wanted to get rid of his old boat tied at his pier on the lake and .didn’t want any money for it.”

    Fast forward two weeks, it was Saturday night at Tom’s house and all our friends came dressed as Vikings or something they thought resembled such. Lenore had worked most of the week decorating the boat, finding an old mannequin, put my red bathing suit on it and nothing else and tied on an old straw hat I needed to dump.

    Precisely at midnight, I pushed the boat off the dock, took a canoe paddle and managed to get two hundred feet off shore. I slipped in the water. Turned over the charcoal lighter fluid across the floor of the boat, reached for the box of kitchen matches still on the seat and lit the fire.

    The boat went up like a torch, I swam to shore cursing at the damn boat as it drifted along with me. I barely beat it to the boat dock and a few minutes later the boat now in full flames chummed to the boat dock and it caught fire. The police arrived madder than hornets and threatened to arrest Tom and myself.. I carefully explained the ceremony to then and the police sergeant spoke,

    “You two idiots ought to find something else to play with. Get you hose, put out the fire. By tomorrow night you better have all this mess cleaned up.”

    Obviously, he had never been to a Viking funeral.. .

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Thanks John, it’s hard for me to remember my self being cool. I guess we will have to let history decide that one. Now John you know it’s too personal to talk about strings on a bathing suit or whether I burned down a boat dock. Leave it to your imagination. Although at times I used to be called “Kerry Baby”

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Thanks Moiral, glad you chuckled, if you have brothers, then you know what idiots we can be. As far as that line in my story, it just popped out from my Id.

    1. JRSimmang

      Kerry, you have a gift of nostalgia. Every time I read a piece of yours, I’m transported back to a simpler time. This is such a pleasant slice of life, the relationships between the four of them truly fulfilling.

        1. Kerry Charlton

          Thanks for your thoughts and stopping by. The 60’s were an unusual time , Protests, assisinations, free love. Hippies, you name it, we had it. Wouldn’t take for going through it. As time fades that era, most won’t believe the tales we weave. So be it, let history decide.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Thanks JR, I left a lot out about my past, consider it part of Peyton Place. Only the fluff do you read. We were zany in our late twenties but probably no worse then other generations. So I remember the good, the fun, the zany and that’s what this story is all about
        I doubt if I ever will write about the rest
        Who knows?

    2. ReathaThomasOakley

      Kerry, I always enjoy how you weave parts of your past into some of your stories. As you wrote to jhowe, we must imagine what parts are true. BUT, from other pieces, I know your fondness for redheads.

        1. Kerry Charlton

          Oops, someone pushed a hidden button and it posted. …what is and what is not real? So many years ago. Well, so do I. Thank you so much for the read and your comments. Would I really burn a boat for a Viking funeral? My wife would think so and sometimes I think perhaps I did.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Thank you. If you know, do you think you might be reincarnated? I get ads in the mail from a company call Neptune wanting me to pay in advance to have myself cremated. I am thinking of writing back and asking what the warranty is. So much for death, it’s Monday morning and I need to get to work. See you next week, oh, thank you for stopping by, I really appreciate your comments and look forward each week.

    3. gamingtheblues

      Oh my goodness Kerry. Even years since I first shared on these forums, when I come back you are in top form, with some of the most intuitive and hilarious writing. I won’t mention that you went in to visit with your wife??? The pacing is perfect, the tone has your signature blend of tongue in cheek seriousness but those last lines with the police. Absolute gold my friend. Excellent writing and thank you for the imagery.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Thank you for your wonderful thoughts. We have missed you around here. It’s like a family here and I guess I am supposed to be the grandfather. Well it is certainly a privilege to do so. Since you’re one of my chicks, don’t wander off so quickly. We’ll try to keep you amused. I have never seen anything like this forum, there is so much awesome power in writing here, it’s amazing to read everyone. So on to next week and let the chips fall where they may.

  18. rlk67

    What a thriller you were.
    You were the glove of mine, as you forever took my hand.
    And then the wash ate you. oohhhh….
    Too high to get over (yeah, yeah), the pain is thunder.
    You were my PYT (Pre- Ying-Yang Time), and I was faithful,
    A child said I traded you for a mitten, but he’s just a boy who claims that I was the one (and the kid was not my son).
    I denied, but it doesn’t matter who’s wrong or right, just beat it, kid.
    Oh, I wanna rock with you again, but alas…I changed into something…bad! (you know it, you know), and that man in the mirror has made that change (made that change!)
    Since then, it’s been ABC 123, but that’s not Jermaine to what I say, and I never would Latoya with you.
    One day we’ll be together, and we’ll walk backwards on the moon, dance with the zombies, and have lunch with Weird Al. I’ll be there.

    Until then…until then.

  19. williams777

    Good bye boot cut jeans
    I loved you when I brought you home
    I remember the first time I tried you on
    You made me feel so hot
    I couldn’t wait to bring you back to the house
    And try you on with the right shirt
    You served me well
    We were together every day it seems
    For two years
    For the last six months, though,
    I’d been thinking of leaving you
    You didn’t fit so well anymore
    And you pointed out my weak spots
    I still wore you, had no choice
    I hadn’t found anything to replace you
    But I thought of it all the time
    I imagined a pair that would fit perfectly
    Hiding flaws and accenting the positives
    I found a new pair of jeans last month
    They hug all the right places
    And I can’t wait to put them on in the morning
    So I decided to end our cozy friendship
    Now you’re my bleach jeans
    I’ll see you whenever there’s a dirty job to be done

    1. pven

      And it seems to me
      You lived your life
      Like a silk scarf in the wind


      Never knowing
      When a rough branch
      Would tear and rend…

      At least, that’s how I started reading this. Clever.

    2. gamingtheblues

      Yikes…this made me wonder (and hope) that your wife (or husband or friends with benefits) of X number of years isn’t soon to be replaced by a newer model!

  20. GrahamLewis


    We met when you were past your prime. A yellowed, fraying, once-white wool knit sweater, button-front but missing two buttons.

    I don’t recall you on Uncle Chuck, but I easily picture him wearing you. A tall, thin, sardonic man with quick humor and kind heart, he and you were perfectly matched in time and temperament. When we met you reminded me of days I never knew, when a writer smoked a meerschaum pipe, wore slippers beneath an ornate desk and used a fountain pen on paper. My uncle was beyond his prime when I met him, and he died too soon, when that kind heart gave out. I was adventuring and missed his funeral.

    I never got to say goodbye.

    When Chuck died my aunt gave my parents a bundle of his good but no longer needed clothing. When I came across you something called me from beyond your frayed fringes. My writing sweater, I called you, because you bridged generations, brought back memories (some of which I never really had), and you helped me imagine places I’d never been.

    But time kept nipping at you, and holes appeared in your sleeves and on your fringes. “Ratty,” she called you, and I suppose she was right. One day, when I was out somewhere, she tossed you among the outdated debris of a consumer generation. The Goodwill truck was long gone when I came home.

    I never got to say goodbye.

    But now I understand. You may be gone from the shared world, but you remain in mine, always in your prime. As does Uncle Chuck. As I hope to be one day, for my next generation.

    I never got to say goodbye.

    But I never really needed to.

    1. jhowe

      Damn Graham, that was good. I didn’t really care for this prompt but you just did it considerable justice. It sounds like there is perhaps some true to life elements here, but maybe not.

      1. GrahamLewis

        Thanks jhowe. I’m not sure what you mean by “true to life elements.” If you mean is it true? The answer is yes, all of it. I miss that sweater, and it left over my objections and in my absence.

      1. GrahamLewis

        Thanks Pete. Being concise is an art I have practiced and learned in my years as an editor; so many authors got pissed when their “artsy” phrasing got knocked down into tighter terms, but most accepted and even grew to like it. Nothing inspires being concise like enforced word limits.

    2. JRSimmang

      I have to add my admiration for this piece as well. You were able to wind down the life of the sweater gently, letting the reader get as comfortable with your story as the MC was in the sweater. The brief and necessary interjection from “She” (whether a mother or wife figure) adds depth.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Graham, the last two sentences wrap the story perfectly. I am a big fan of straight and forward writing. Save the floss for those who struggle with stories. I remembr an exercise I had in college where we were to write a complete story using only 10 words. I thought the professor insane, but it really isn’t difficult once you get used to it.

      1. GrahamLewis

        Thanks all. Like most, my first reaction was that the prompt was too limited, But, ironically perhaps, my writing sweater called to me from wherever it resides –my uncle is probably wearing it.

  21. Pete

    Every room was cleaned, tagged, and ready for tomorrow’s estate sale. Paul had taken off earlier to catch up with old friends. Now Sarah was sitting on the kitchen floor, tying shoes and gathering toys, readying the little ones for dinner at the restaurant. She was tugging on a sock when she looked up.

    “Are you sure you won’t come, Edna?”

    It was the third time she’d asked, and while Edna understood her concern, she wanted to be alone. “I’ll be fine.”

    Once they were gone and the house had settled back into its familiar calm, Edna wandered the rooms. She stood in the doorway to Paul’s old bedroom, where the boxes were piled three high. She shuffled through her living room, once alive and loud with family but now stripped to an echo. It seemed like yesterday her and Charlie sat in their chairs, talking about tomorrow.

    Edna hadn’t planned on visiting the basement, but when she opened the door, just as she’d done so many times to call Charlie up for dinner, another memory caught her breath.

    She took a the first few timid steps down the dark stairs. How long had been what? Ten years? No, maybe five, yes, five, Edna recalled. She’d been wearing those hideous sneaker, the blindingly white things Paul had given her.

    “For your heels, Mom,” he’d said. She’d hoped he’d done better for Sarah.

    Reaching concrete, Edna stood, her hand on the rail, tethered to the safety of the stairs. She stood blind in the dark, arms out, feeling around for a light switch. This had always been Charlie’s thing, this basement, with its spiders and must. Edna never thought herself a particularly needy woman, but Charlie had always been handy.

    Ten years, she sighed, ready to give up on the light and conquer the steps again when something grazed her cheek. Edna gasped. A string.

    Presto. Lights.

    Now she was cooking with grease, as Charlie always said. More boxes and tags. Charlie’s old Toro mower. Rakes and shovels and tools on display. But in the light, Edna saw that a window was cracked. There were signs of flooding, a bookshelf had collapsed.

    No wonder they wanted to move her, she thought,

    Edna rummaged around, clutching her elbows and nudging boxes with her foot. She remembered the paint cans on the shelves, breathed their sharp twang of turpentine. Charlie never threw out, much, and he certainly would’ve scoffed at Paul and Sarah’s talk of square footage and living spaces. To Charlie, a finished basement was just that, finished.

    About halfway back Edna knocked into the storage wardrobe. It took her several tries to work the zipper but eventually, allowing breaks to shake out her arthritic hands, she had it opened. She felt her heart.

    Charlie’s clothes.

    She picked out his jacket and hugged it, swung it over her shoulders and closed her eyes. She smelled the tobacco and aftershave as he leaned close to kiss her on the bridge. She felt his hand as he caught her wrist to steady her. How many heartbeats had it been since that night?

    Edna ran a finger over the shoulders of the shirts on the rack. She placed the fedora on her head, just as he had done as they’d sat on a blanket waiting for the fireworks. She closed her eyes and warmed in the silky embrace of the jacket, heard her young children’s laughter at the sight of their mother wearing their father’s hat. She smelled the sulfur in the air, leaned into the very jacket now draped over her shoulders, and marveled at the wonder in the sky.

    Her eyes opened to the plodding footsteps upstairs. Sarah calling from the door. Edna closed her eyes once again and tried to capture the memory once again.

    Only must.

    “Edna—uh, mother, are you okay?”

    “Yes, dear. I’m…” Edna realized she was sitting on the floor and not a blanket in the grass. She heard the kids giggle.

    “Grandma’s wearing a funny hat.”

    “And jacket.”

    Edna smiled. Sarah helped her to her feet. She assured her panicked daughter-in-law that she was fine. She wanted to tell her to enjoy it with Paul. See the fireworks, but Sarah was worried about the kids being in the basement.

    Edna set the hat on her grandson’s head. She took her granddaughter’s small, sticky hand. As they started up the steps, she looked back and whispered into her daughter-in-law’s ear.

    “I’d like to be buried in this jacket.”

      1. Kerry Charlton

        I’m not so far away from Edna myself. we wander through our house looking at 50 years of collecting “stuff.” And that is the perfect word in describing it. I could have almost used first person and written this from a personal view. One thing this old geezer will tell you, you hit the mark exactly. Takes one to know one. Beautiful job on this.

    1. ReathaThomasOakley

      This was so lovely, and emotional for me. My husband and I cleared my mother’s house when she went into the nursing home, then later I chose her red jacket for her funeral. How wonderful Edna could participate in all this.

  22. jhowe

    Commando Man stood in front of the high court, his tights a little saggy in the rear, his mask showing signs of considerable decay. I watched from the press box, the only female reporter allowed in and noticed his shoulders slump when he was asked to turn in his cape. When he hesitated further, The Klump moved next to him and put a massive blue fist on Commando Man’s shoulder. The dejected hero shrugged off the fist and made to unfasten the cape but in a blur, he soared into the rafters and zigged and zagged as many tribal members flew to subdue him.

    Barf Boy was the first to reach him. With significant retching and gagging the crowd had to run for cover as the spray of vomit intensified. Blowhard, the tribal leader, quickly called off Barf Boy and took chase himself. He ordered the doors and windows sealed and soon had Commando Man cornered near the belfry.

    Undeterred, Commando Man climbed into the tower and started ringing the gigantic bells by recoiling off each one with his body, moving faster and faster, raising a deafening din. Soon, the crowd couldn’t take the noise and made for the sealed exits in a panic. We pounded with our fists and put our hands over our ears until Blowhard noticed the dilemma and ordered the doors to be opened.

    As I ran through the exit, I noticed a flurry of movement beside me and Commando Man squeezed out, took me into his arms and flew toward the setting sun.

    “Are you fertile?” he said as we gained speed. I looked behind us and saw no one in pursuit. He was very fast.

    “Yes, I suppose,” I said, feeling the heat in my cheeks.

    He looked into my eyes and nodded. “I suppose you’ll do.”

    “Do?” I said. “Do what?”

    “Perhaps we should get to know each other first. I shouldn’t have been so forward, but I need an heir badly.”

    I thought about this. I could do worse. The last man who approached me some months ago was Barf Boy and who needed that? When we got to his hideout, he was very cordial, but it didn’t take long to figure out why he was called Commando Man.

    1. A. J. Kidding

      This I imagined in a “Tank Girl” visual style and it made incredible sense to me. This short was very funny to read and I loved the dynamic! All that is missing is a “Gorillaz” soundtrack 🙂

      Thank you for a great read!

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Well John, it reminds me of the good old days at the fraternity house. We had 60 members, at least thirty would hae fit ‘Barf Boy alone . Oh, the days gone by, who can explain them? Maybe, just maybe Commando Man.

  23. pven

    I’m not very good at this. Dealing with loss.

    There’s an existential folly that surrounds our reliance upon our mates. We allow them to complete us. We cling to them too long. We ensure that one doesn’t leave without the other.

    But that’s the issue, isn’t it? Your mate is long gone, chosen by whichever god has selected it to reside in whichever realm for whatever purpose — we won’t know. One of life’s great mysteries.

    One of life’s great mysteries.

    And now, because of this one inexplicable departure, where are you?

    Certainly not without life — there’s still a spring in your instep, colour in your gusset. But without purpose. Without meaning. For without your mate, you’ve become as if lost yourself. Abandoned. One cannot exist without the other. There’s no point.

    No grace.

    But, one argues. What is grace? The conformity to a certain pattern? The proper fitting in? Or is grace stretching oneself? Is grace finding joy in the purposeful mismatch? Stepping over the lines that all others toe?

    Were that I were that brave.

    I told you I’m not very good at this. I hold on to things too long, I wait for the other shoe to drop, for the impetus to walk me to the conclusion at which many others have long ago arrived.

    You have to go.

    But as I discard you, my dear argyle, I still hold hope that wherever you go, you may find your match once again, and together you tread a golden path, free of rocks, grass, and burrs.

          1. JRSimmang

            Ah, I’m just a ham…let.
            You know, we credit O. Henry with the modern literary pun movement. While O. Henry was his pen name, I think it came from people’s reactions to reading his work.
            “Here,” he says. “Read this. I’m so excited. It’s my best work yet.”
            After a while… “Oh… Henry…”

  24. Lex Noël

    “A perfect pair of jeans who can find? They are worth far more than rubies. The owner has full confidence in them and lacks nothing of value.” Proverbs 31:10-11 (Personal Paraphrase)

    I’ll never forget the first time I saw you, hanging there on the far back wall of American Eagle, the last day of summer before my Senior year of high school. Has it really been nearly ten years since that moment? I’ll always remember how soft you felt in my hands, despite never having been worn. You were the perfect shade of indigo, and I knew I had to have you.

    We’ve been through so much together. I wore you the first time I hung out with Josh Barnes, the school heartthrob and quarter back of the football team. You and I were together the day they announced over the intercom that I had made the Royalty Court and we jumped around like fools in the library.

    Dearest wide leg flares, you were there for me when during my first experience of heartache. I denied myself nothing, and despite the copious amounts of pasta and Metropolitan Steakhouse Philly Sandwhiches, you stood by me, fitting like a glove, in the best way.

    I’m twenty-eight now. No longer the stick legged eighteen year old with the choice of any pair of jeans in the room. You’ve been so faithful, loyal and dependable all these years. I really don’t know what I’m going to do without you. What other jeans will make by butt look so good even though I’ve neglected the gym for far too long? What other jeans will make me feel like the giddy high school senior or college junior with her whole life ahead of her? You mean more to me than you’ll ever know.

    Rest in peace, my dear friend. I will never know another like you.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Lex, you never would have hung out with me in high school or college. Why? I had a secretary in Dallas who shall remain unknown to this vast group of under rated misfits. She constantly referred to me as “The buttless Wonder.” It wasn’t my fault, blame my father. He was buttless wonder senior. Love this story as you can tell.

  25. ReathaThomasOakley

    The Closet

    Layne stood with her hands on her hips, black plastic garbage bag on the floor, ready to be filled. It was time, way past time, besides she needed more closet space.

    Quickly, before she changed her mind, she pushed and pulled hangers aside until the dress, once her favorite, was visible.

    “Oh, Lord, if you could only talk,” she laughed as she buried her face in the denim and breathed in the faint scents still lingering in the fabric after twenty years, smoke, beer, sweat.

    “Can’t believe I hung you up, after so many moves, so many closets. Did I think I was gonna wear you again?” She ran her hands down the row of buttons stretching from the high collar to the hem of the ankle length skirt, remembered the silver button covers now someplace in an old jewelry box, along with the silver tipped bolo, and pairs and pairs of long silver earrings.

    “Yep,” she said as she pulled the dress from the hanger and stuffed it in the bag, “the post-divorce nineties were a darn fine decade.”

    Next she took a hanger heavy with two long denim skirts off the rod. The skirt with buttons down the front joined the dress.

    “Hmm, wonder where that belt, the one I got in Taos, went?” She traced the red, blue, and yellow embroidered flowers along the hem of the other skirt. “And, the vest, I loved that vest.” She laughed again. “So did that young Cheyenne with the Hudson Bay blanket coat.” She closed her eyes and could almost hear the music, see the band through the smoke, feel hands moving her across the dance floor, her black hair wild, whipping against her face.

    “Gotta stop this or I’ll be here all day, eulogizing.” She turned to the mirror on the back wall of the closet. Her hair was short, blonde to hide the gray, sensible. She laughed again and lifted the two boxes from the floor.

    “Wonder if the thrift shop would even want these?” She mused as she took out the first pair of boots, low heeled, brown leather, everyday wear. Then she opened the second box.

    “My goodness, I loved these.” She ran her fingers over the blue leather, touched the white inlays and the silver banded heels. Remembered how they felt, how she couldn’t help but move, or dance, when she wore them , Saturday night boots.

    Later, when her husband came home, after she asked about his day, she asked if he’d noticed the box and bag in the garage.

    “Yeah, so you got some stuff outta the closet?” He walked to the refrigerator and got a beer. “When’s supper?”

    “Thirty minutes, casserole’s in the oven.” She laughed to herself as she wiped the counter, thinking about the denim dress and embroidered skirt carefully packed around the blue boots, the box now way back in her side of the closet. It hadn’t been quite the right time to bury everything.

    1. MoiraiTQ

      Sometimes the past just needs to stay with us.

      I have a pair of black leather pants that I cannot get rid of, despite the fact that they are way too small for me. They are a goal.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        This is one wman that I would really like to meet. I have a great hunch it is you, in another phase of your life. Whatever if it is or isn’t it doesn’t matter because behind the pen you use is one heck of a woman, I’m as sure as apple pie ain’t got no faults.

    2. Critique

      Loved the ending 🙂 Sometimes its hard to get past those memories. I find the best time is when I’m fed up with the clutter and then toss stuff with a ruthless hand.

    3. RafTriesToWrite

      I don’t know about keeping clothes stuffed in the closet for too long. My closet doesn’t have that much space to begin with, yet I still have some clothes from 7? 8 years ago?

      It’s just sitting there, folded at the bottom of the stack of clothes. I probably should donate them instead. I think they don’t fit me anymore. It’s better than burying them, right?

      Lovely trip down your MC’s memory lane Reatha. Enjoyed it.

      1. ReathaThomasOakley

        Raf, thank you. From looking at your blog I probably have shoes and purses and even some clothes from before you were born. This place provides great opportunity to hear from folks of all ages. Thanks again.

  26. JRSimmang


    Thanks for speaking with me.


    As you’re aware, I am going to record this. I don’t want to miss a word.

    That is quite fine. The story should be remembered.

    [Clearing throat] So, why haven’t you shared with anyone before?

    And ruin this for you?


    Well, because I was a wanted man… and there were people who wanted -want- me dead.

    And now, I’m old and I don’t care.

    Good for me.

    Good for you. [Laughter]

    Well, if you don’t mind, I’d like to ask my first question. Have you had any regrets?

    Have I had any regrets? That’s a big question to start.

    Sorry. [Laughter]

    No not at all… No, I enjoyed watching the Reichstag burn.

    Will I ever regret burning?


    Do I regret the consequences?


    You said in an interview five years ago that you were vocal about the surge and rise to power of the Nazi party. So, how did you do it unnoticed?

    [Sigh] Germany is my home. I live in New York now, but Germany will forever be the place where I got my first skinned knees, where I fell in love with Liesel, then her sister, then got my heart broken twice -and my face bloodied- so, I had a natural inclination to protect my home.

    I taught secondary school, and I was let go during the depression. It was because Hitler wanted to consolidate all schools under Statewide control. Easier to change the history books. Most of us were dismissed. Schools sat boarded up. Afterward, unlike the rest of my brethren, I did not follow Hitler’s march.

    The state’s inspiration should not come from the man in charge. The government should not own companies. Religion should not be outlawed. I am a Catholic man, and Hitler’s Germany saw to it that Catholicism would be diminished to a mere speck.

    One by one, I saw my friends get persuaded by a man who said the best way to rebuild the Republic is blind obedience to it, that speaking out against the State is tantamount to treason. We no longer had our First Amendment.

    So, I stayed up all night Sunday, scribbling notes on my cuffs, the only pair of cuffs I had, notes on what I was going to say in Parliament the next day. I was never very good at remembering my lectures.

    On Monday, I walked in, they had me wait until near sundown, delivered three words of my address, and was shown the back door by way of my coattails.

    You left?


    What, then?

    Then, I found a bench and waited until 9, ripped out my cuffs, pulled a match from my jacket, grabbed a spare can of gasoline from an unattended motorcycle, and, using my cuffs as kindling, started the fire.

    Simple as that?

    It’s never that simple. I waltzed through there with my can of gasoline, and danced with the smoke and fire. That Dutchman was a friend of mine. He turned himself in for me.

    What was on your cuffs?


    Your cuffs, what was on them?


    On how?

    To start a revolution.

    -JR Simmang

    1. pven

      Oh, well done. I had to look up the Reichstag fire to get the Dutchman reference, and from there understood the line about regretting the consequences. But I think that good writing should spark inquisitiveness, and this piece did exactly that.

  27. MoiraiTQ

    Good bye my big red purse. You were wonderful for the five years you were in my life. I held you tight to my side when in crowds, flung you into my car at the end of my work day, loved you from the moment I saw you in the store.

    Purse, you held everything and kept it organized. You had two big pockets, a smaller zippered one between the two big ones, and little zipper section that very small items. You were My Everything.

    Your handles were cracking and pealing. The bottom corners were very worn. The fabric lining was oh so dirty. But you held everything! You were My Everything. People knew me by you. My crocheting projects fit in you.

    I hated to get rid of you. I delayed way too long. You were no longer acceptable to look at in public. My husband was embarrassed. He started giving me funny looks. He told me it was time for a new purse. But I loved you! You carried everything! You were My Everything!

    You had to go. I purchased a brand new red purse. A different shade of red. Two zippered pockets. It wasn’t like you at all. The purse sat unused for five months because I couldn’t bear to be without you. Finally I couldn’t take your scratchy handles anymore.

    I brought my new purse into work and said I would swap during my lunch. I emptied you. Sheesh you held a lot! What was I doing with nine pens in my purse? What about those 35 loose cough drops? And all that accumlated dirt? Where does all this dirt come from?

    You were a good purse. I hated to put you into my work waste basket. You tore at my heart when you landed at the bottom. All the stuff that wasn’t going into my new purse was deposited on top of you. I was bound and determined to let you stay there. I will have to learn to love my new red purse.

    May you rest in peace. You were My Everything.

    1. JRSimmang

      Dear Red Purse. So sad.
      There’s a lot of emotion here, and I can tell it’s still parody. I think the 6th paragraph really worked well for the metaphor. We hold on to all the things we collect, and sometimes we must be emptied.
      Great descriptive language.

      1. MoiraiTQ

        This actually happened last Friday. I didn’t want to lug that big red purse on an airplane.

        Thank you for your kind comments. Yes, it is a parady of what we hold onto for far too long.

    2. ReathaThomasOakley

      Oh, I can relate to this. Getting rid of a purse is painful, that’s why I have too, too many hanging on the door of my sewing closet. Great take on the prompt.

          1. MoiraiTQ

            Thank you. I had to laugh at how many cough drops there were. First came the pens and I was slightly embarrassed. Then all those cough drops. I actually chuckled out loud at work when those came out.

        1. Kerry Charlton

          I watch my wife with her purse and billfold every day. She now refers to it as her bowking ball and I carry it for her, strap slung over my shoulder. It’s black so it goes with all my outfits. Never, ever thought it wouldn’t worry me and it doesn’t. This was extremely emotional but I related to it. Good job.

          1. MoiraiTQ

            Thank you, Kerry.

            I don’t care if my purse ever goes with anything. My purse will always be my favorite color.

            I’m not liking my new one so much. It will be replaced sooner rather than later. I just have to find one.


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