Not-So-Anonymous Commenter

You’ve been writing a blog for a number of months now without issue, then suddenly you’re confronted with an anonymous commenter who posts unwarranted slams against you. A techie friend helps you use the commenter’s IP address to get the address of this rogue. You head to the house ready to pick a fight—but when you knock on the door, the person who answers is someone you know. Write this scene.

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

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136 thoughts on “Not-So-Anonymous Commenter

  1. kathleenmagner

    The driver turned the corner, and a line of blooming cherry trees and brick-faced apartments flanked the block.

    “Number 32,” said Dr. Taylor before reclining in the van’s seat.

    Sensing his attention shifting to her, Roz fumbled her purse strap over her shoulder.

    “You don’t need to do it this way, Rozaline.”

    “Ruby’s my responsibility. I have to check with her before I sign any paperwork.”

    With a resigned bob of his head, Dr. Taylor smoothed his tie and adjusted the pleats in his khakis. In the rustling, Roz heard his litany of disagreements, the points he’d gone over in his office, over the phone, in the endless threads of emails. She eyed the briefcase sitting beside his polished loafers and wondered if just signing his forms might be more prudent. Turning back to the tinted window and passing brownstones, she sought a sure path.

    Bold, bright red letters darted down the sidewalk, streaking the spring morning like they had her website. The manipulation of photographs she’d posted, the glut of raging comments waiting for deletion, the reactions of fans, of her agent Maggie, of her publisher and colleagues, bombarded her sense of calm. The letters she’d received, the messages peppering her travels, further stirred her unease.

    A flush raced across her skin when the driver pulled to a stop.

    “Rozaline?”

    Dr. Taylor placed a light hand on her forearm. His gentleness contrasted with the tension in her muscles, the tightness of her fist. Flexing her fingers, Roz put them to work collecting the extra set of key from her purse.

    “I shouldn’t be long.”

    Dr. Taylor retrieved a cell phone from his blazer’s pocket and held it out as if she’d never seen one before. “I’m calling your number if I get worried.”

    “Do what you need to do doctor.”

    Seizing the door’s latch, Roz yanked it open and hopped out. She slammed the door back into place, Dr. Taylor’s concern joining her in the fresh air.

    “He’ll have me in the room next door to yours, Rube.” Shivering at the idea, Roz marched on stiff legs to the stoop of apartment 32.

    A row of dead plants cluttered each step, plastic prongs standing rigid and empty of birthday cards, green ribbons from Christmas wrapped around the rims. A wreath of now copper-colored pine needles hung on the front door.

    In the window alongside, the edge of a heavy curtain inched aside. A shade peered out.

    Roz pretended to ignore the spy as she pressed the doorbell three times.

    The curtain dropped, and after a brief sway hung straight and still.

    Roz started counting. She reached ten without another sign of movement inside. Claws gripped her chest as she slipped her key into the lock, twisted, and put her shoulder into the paint chips. Pine needles showered her sneakers, creating a tinny patter on the threshold. The plants’ musky scent of decay blended with the stuffy interior tinged with the smell of ink and used kitty litter.

    … Click here to read the rest. Any comments are welcome.

  2. BJW

    Certifiable.

    By Anonymous Jack.

    Writing: interrupted by life, children, money & work. Where’s my discipline!? I have no time. “Start a blog Jack.” “How do I do that?” …I thought. Analytical shit puts me in a rubber room. It’s not fair.
    Bill recently moved – but thank god a cell phone goes with the person. “Bill, – It’s Jack, professors tell me to write. WHO HAS THE TIME! – will you help start a blog?” “Sure man – what’s your address – I’ll be over, it’s easy.”
    My god… I kept thinking while talking, when I write – I edit the damn thing and walk away from screaming voices. “Readers? – this stuff is beyond their comprehension.”
    Shut up – be quiet – go to your room. Think about what you just said. Damn. Ok – don’t end up like Hemingway.
    So I say to Bill, “Hey – you’re the tech man – you know this shit – how do I set up a blog?” He replied: “its easy man – gee, it’s all about simple templates, setting with HTML language or WYSIWYG.” I asked: “Hey man – you know I was the ‘stoner back then – you know – Apathy and Paranoia! What the hell is WYSIWYG? Are you messing with my head again?” Bill says: “Yeah – that fits… I’ll be over in an hour – & hey man, geesh… take your meds.” I hung up the phone. Went to the medicine cabinet, looked and closed the door.
    ONE DAY! Bill has me up and writing! I started a group following. 16 PEOPLE! No comments? No feed-back? What’s wrong with people? I chalked it up to Twitter & a propensity to write 140 characters. Fuck. DOESN’T ANYONE 300 PAGES ANY MORE?
    Well – SURPRISE!!! Some ass-hole shows up in comments and slams my writing. Saying things I couldn’t believe. I mean, I’ve dealt with rejection in the sales industry and audition games – I’m pretty calloused by it. But this was way too much. I can’t stand people like that. They’re against me. They hate me. They’re jealous.
    I called Bill, but he was too busy to do any IP address sleuthing. I didn’t tell him why – but he gave me another friend of his who could do it faster than he could, anyway. So we got the IP and real land address off the internet ‘whois’ search list after using in-depth statistics’ counter Bill set up.
    I drove to the store. I whipped out my license and credit card. Pointed to the wall and said: “That one. And, some of those, too.” Everything cleared for me and I walked out, grabbed the wheel of my car and anger-seethed the pedal.
    I walked to the door. Rang the bell. The door opened. I pointed and FIRED! BANG! Right between the eyes of…. OMG – BILL!

    “Just as well Bill, I have to hurry home now.”

    I sat down at the computer keyboard and continued my new book – over 500 pages so far – here’s some of the same text:
    All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

  3. chick-a-dee

    My eyes were burning and tears were flooding obscuring my vision. To myself I thought sentences without endings. How can it be? The IP address was leading back to my own computer! I lived alone. I’m so private that I rarely have company. Ever since my ex-beau compromised my email accounts and so on, I change every password continuously. I don’t entertain company and the landlord does not have a key to my home, though by law he is supposed to.

    Who was sending these cryptic comments to my personal blog? How were they getting on my computer to do it? Emotions of every sort swept my being. Fear predominate to all of them took hold. Then flashes pieces of my memory began to fit together like a puzzle.

    This would explain a lot. What if all those sexy underwear that came up missing weren’t stolen. What if that too sexy red dress had been shredded by me when I was in another state of mind? What if those restraints and sex toys weren’t planted in my house? I suppose it could have been me myself haunting me.

    Was I suppressing thoughts and feelings bitter hateful feelings toward the new discovery I had made of myself? My brother, God rest his soul, was mentally ill and my grandfather had diabetes. Even my mother was notably sick in her thoughts! All of this could be me!?

    I decided the healthiest way to respond to a secret me was to allow her to continue to vent on my blog and see if I couldn’t help myself without anyone ever knowing what was happening to me.

  4. phantomphan

    Miranda had been working on finding out who this jerk was. My blog had been doing great. The most popular on the website! But then, some random person decides to post wild comments against me telling me what I was posting wasn’t worth anyone’s time. Yeah, we’ll see about that.

    “I got it! Now let’s see who this guy really is,” she said, leaning closer to the screen.

    “I hope I can get this guy. Will this tracking thing give me an address to his house?” I asked perturbed.

    “Oh, yeah. I’ll come with you,” she offered.

    Miranda worked in the techie department of my office. We’d been best friends for a long time and she was just as annoyed with the blasting of my blog as I was. Who didn’t enjoy Broadway and classical music? If this guy isn’t into it, he doesn’t have to read it. I just don’t understand why he continues to slam me.

    “I thought you said you found out who this person is, what’s taking so long?” I asked, standing behind her.

    “I don’t know, your computer is acting slow,” she huffed.

    “Yeah, that’s what I get for using the company’s computer,” I commented.

    “Ah! Here it is. Oh, wait. This can’t be right. I must have done something wrong. But, I couldn’t have!” Miranda exclaimed.

    “Why, what’s wrong?” I asked, squinting at the screen. I read the same thing she did and shook my head.

    “Damn Brandon. It was him. Trust me. I believe he’d do it. I just don’t know why,” I muttered.

    “Wait, are you going alone?” she called as I walked out the door.

    “Yes, I’ll handle him all by myself,” I answered.

    Walking out of the office, I shook my head again. Leave it to a man like Brandon to mess with me. I found my car in the parking lot and got it. My work hours ended in an hours anyway. I could miss an hour, I owned the company. Slipping the key into the ignition, I headed to the address of my tormentor; my house.

    I pulled into the driveway sooner than I anticipated and turned off the car. I rushed up the steps and into the house. Throwing my keys onto the table in the hall, I called out to my husband. He should be home by now.

    “Brandon? Come out, you ass,” I hollered.

    He slowly came into view and stood still, “Yes?”

    “I know it’s you,” I said evenly.

    “Excuse me?” I saw a glint in his eye. He knew exactly what I was talking about.

    “Why would my own husband slam my blog?”

    He shoved his hands in his pockets and mumbled something. All I caught was “popular” and “stealer.”

    “I don’t understand…”

    “Your blog is the most popular! Mine used to be the most popular, but ever since I showed you the site you’ve been attracting all the attention! You stole my spotlight!”

    I pressed my lips close together to contain the laugh that was going to explode out of me. He hung his head and wouldn’t look at me. I walked over to him and slipped my arms around his waist.

    “I’m sorry. It wasn’t intentional. But those were nasty comments, Brandon.”

    “I know. I’m sorry, too. It’s more my fault than anything. I’m the one who showed you the website. It all seems kind of silly now.”

    “Eh, it’s okay. I love you, Brandon.”

    “I love you too, Allie.”

    “By the way, I’m not going to stop posting, so suck it up.”

  5. HonorAcade

    I walked into a familiar apartment complex, ready to yell and fight. When the door opened, my sister came out with a surprised face. I gaped, and looked at her for a while. She invited me in, and I walked stiffly while I entered her apartment. My sister and I weren’t very close. Once she moved away to go to her dream college, I gladly said my goodbyes. She was cocky and arrogant; she couldn’t stand it when I would get an award, or get the lead role in a play. Once I saw her face at the door, I had no doubt about her being the anonymous commenter.

    Melissa, my sister, offered me something to drink, but I kindly said no. I then had enough guts to say, “Melissa have you ever said anything anonymously on my blog?”
    “Oh ya, that little thing you call an accomplishment? Yeah of course I did!”
    “So you openly are admitting to writing insults about my blog, ANONYMOUSLY?”
    “Yeah, what’s so bad about that? I just put some constructive criticism onto your blog, it’s meant to help you.”
    “Well that’s a nice way to tell your own sister to stop with everything she cares about, and life up to YOUR expectations!” I stormed out of the room, and went back home.

    Once I got home, my mom had called me downstairs to talk to me. I knew instantly that my sister had called her and made up her own little story to get me in trouble. I walked into the room and talked to my mom, “Honey, did you storm into your sister’s apartment without any warning? You need to at least tell her if your going to pay her a visit.”
    “That’s the least of all I did, remember when I told you about the person who was slamming on my blog yesterday? Well it was Melissa!”
    “Oh, honey, I’m sure you didn’t read it the way she meant it, she was probably just trying to help you improve.”
    “Oh sure, isn’t that why she always put me down ever since I did anything good? She never wants me to succeed, it’s always about her” I stormed into my room as I slammed the door behind me.

    Why did my mom never believe me? Why is it always about me sister? It’s like I didn’t even matter! I heard footsteps coming up to my room and I yelled, “Go away, I don’t want to talk to you!” My sister walked into my room with a guilty look on her face. She said to me, “I’m sorry for writing those hurtful things to you on your blog, but you have to know that I truly wanted to help you in your writing, you may not think so but I’m really proud of you and your blog.” I ran up to Melissa and gave her a hug, she never said anything like that to me, and I was so shocked.

    The next day, I got thousands of comments on my blog talking about how great my posts were, and how I was doing a great job, I couldn’t help but wonder, did my sister really do all this, and then Melissa came in the room with a grin on her face.
    Vicky Chen

  6. cassie

    I’m expecting a drunk. Some skinny guy with a stained undershirt and five days worth of untrimmed beard. Someone I could take down if need be.
    I pull onto a residential street lined with houses that are decent-sized and well groomed, but that are packed in next to each other like schoolgirls at an assembly. The sidewalk is lined with actual picket fences. I pull to a stop next to number 72 and dial Jesse’s number.
    “You sure that address is right?” There’s a pause on the other end.
    “Completely.”
    “Well, you better be, because this is going to be really awkward if you’re wrong.”
    I park on the street and march up the path to the house. I’ll teach this guy to post comments like that on somebody’s blog. The doorbell rings, sounding ominous in this picket-fence neighborhood. A dark shape appears inside, obscured by the frosted glass design on the door. My heart pounds. The knob turns.
    Standing in front of me as an old man.
    He has both wrinkled hands curled on the top of a simple wooden cane and a grin that says he was expecting me, one that makes me feel like a high-schooler in for a scolding.
    High-schooler.
    “Mr. Jamison.” He spreads his arms slightly.
    “The one and only.”
    “You made those comments?” This isn’t right. I graduated, and I never saw the man again. That was the deal. Mr. Jamison’s knowing smile gets wider.
    “You never could stay out of a fight. And I needed to talk to you.”
    “Then send me an email! Or- or a phone call for god’s sake!” I can feel my face getting red, my fists beginning to clench. My high school chemistry teacher arcs one gray eyebrow.
    “If you’d known it was me, would you have come?”
    “Maybe! If I’d known why you wanted to talk to me so goddamn badly!” At this, his face turns to stone, the way it did when I’d made one snide comment too many. Just like then, I don’t take the hint. “God, I drove all the way to freaking Poughkipsie, and now it’s getting late. Thanks, Mr. Jamison. Thanks a freaking bunch.” I stomp down the wooden steps of his porch.
    “Kyle. Come in for some coffee. Wouldn’t want you coming out here for nothing, now would I?” I stop and sigh.
    “What do you want from me, Mr. Jamison?” He casts a glance around the silent street before answering.
    “It’s about a classmate of yours, by the name of Michael Stewart.” I almost flinch at the name. In middle school, we’d been inseparable. That was before high school came, before he was shoved against a locker and called a faggot. Before he walked into out school with a gun.
    I walk back up to the porch.
    “What about him.”
    “Come inside and I’ll tell you everything.” He shuffles away inside the house, leaving the door wide open. I take one look around the neat, clean neighborhood before following him.

  7. JRSimmang

    I’ll be up front about all this. I’m 43 years old, living in a basement, working at Whataburger, and I run a blog featuring the cutest animals on the net.
    Last month I found the jackpot. The Japanese Inokashira Park Zoo just had their “vernal birthing.” That’s a term I invented. Elephants, jaguars, and wildebeast birthed just about 6 dozen new and cute animals. And the show stopper, pandas Jumai and Wally.
    Instant web success.
    I have sources and ways to get in. So, I did. Within a cyber week my photos were cruising at 360 mghz and all that cuteness was oozing off the webpages.
    Normally, I get responses like, “ooh” and “ahh” and “O.M.G!!” Why shouldn’t I. I mean, look at them!

    Tuesday, May 14th:
    “@FUZZNGGT: You’re site blows! Get a rill job!”
    “@PRTYTHGS: Grammar!”
    Who the hell was Pretty Things? And why has he accosted me?

    Wednesday, May 15th:
    “@FUZZNGGT: Blow me, dickhed!”
    “@PRTYTHGS: Woah, man. Who is this?”

    Thursday, May 16th:
    “@FUZZYNGGT:
    Well this went on for about a week until I decided to teach Pretty Things a thing or two about web decorum. As I said before, I know how to get around the web. In twenty minutes I got his IP address. A few more keystrokes and I got his routing number, in an hour I had his name, address, and the size of shirt he wears.
    Eric McKinney, 1443 Landman Dr, Size XL. This was going to be XLlent, supersized fun.
    I pulled in to the driveway about 6:00 that evening. You know, when normal people get off work. I walked up the tailored walkway and rang the doorbell. I had my Louisville slugger tucked into my pants.
    I heard some scuffling, then a latch, then the doorknob.
    “Phil?”
    “Mitch?” I pulled my bat out and swacked him across the face. “And that’s for stealing my last girlfriend.” I hit him again. “And that is for hating cute things!”

  8. Bumblebee83959

    I’ve been writing a blog for about a month now, after my out-of-school Creative Writing teacher helped me set one up. So far, it’s been pretty good. I even got some feedback on a story I had started. Everything seemed to be golden and dandy for me. That was before I got the anonymous commenter who posted unwarranted slams against me. With the help of my best friend and probably the biggest techie our little cozy town of Golden Lake has ever seen, he used the commenter’s IP address to get the address of the rogue. I was determined to pick a fight with them.

    So, here I now stood in front of the house with the address’s name scrawled on a slip of paper clutched in my fist. “Is this it, Dante?” I whispered frantically as my techie friend extraordinaire strolled up to take the empty place beside me. “I would have thought it would be… a little bit closer to town.” I murmured, fear surging through me. He glanced over at me with his warm smile, reaching out to grasp my sweat hand.

    “It’s alright. I won’t let this rogue hurt you, Abby.” He murmured. Instantly, I felt safe in his care. With a shattering breath, I walked up to the house and rang the doorbell. My game plan was to first act civilized, then get down to the nitty gritty. Which is why Dante was here. You see, I’m not exactly… mean. I can be if I’m really heated up, but I instantly regret my words a few hours later. Dante, on the other hand, was as headstrong as a ram. He could take anything and deliver anything without even a pinch of guilt, unlike me.

    He rubbed his thumb along my sweaty palm, tracing calming circles as I waited for the door to open. Dante glanced at me every now and then, but I kept my eyes focused on the door. Slowly, the knob began to twist and I gasped as the door flew open. I had been expecting a total stranger, not her.

    My best friend Erica.

    She looked as stunned as I was to see her. The look of shock was instantly replaced with hatred as she noticed my hand linked with Dante’s. He blinked calmly back at her, while I tried to fight back to the tears. “E-Erica? You’re the anonymous commenter on my blog?” I was too stunned to say anything else. Thankfully, Dante took my place. He gingerly shoved me backwards as he took a step forwards. I sighed with relief.

    “Stop harassing Abby. Or else.” Dante warned as he jabbed a finger at Erica’s chest. She looked genuinely shocked, but I could see behind that back-stabbing friend’s eyes. She was angry. Before anything bad could happen, Dante shoved the door closed right in her face.

    “D-Dante… thank you.” I breathed, as he came up and kissed me on the lips. It was the best feeling in the whole wide world.

  9. cwool5

    “Ready?” I whisper.

    Tom nods, grabbing his camera. We swiftly exit our black Lincoln Navigator parked just outside the streetlamp’s beam on this Wisteria Lane-like suburban road. The meticulously-kept street of cookie-cutter houses is quiet tonight, and we move quickly to remain undetected.

    Tonight I will confront this stranger on a national stage. It’s not that I can’t handle conflict – I’m a journalist and can handle anything my blog readers dish. But this goes beyond First Amendment rights directly into an outright personal attack. Thanks to my tech-geek assistant, I’ve located this coward who can no longer hide behind “Anonymous.”

    He has no idea who he’s up against. I’ve grown a tough skin, an impenetrable survivor’s armor that formed over years of suffering. I’ve fought the devil himself to survive, having lost my husband and six-month-old son, Jack, both tragically murdered in our home while sleeping just five years ago. Having worked late, I’d arrived home to find the crime scene. Their bodies were dragged from our home never to be found, and I was left with nothing but recurring nightmares and a memory of what I once was.

    With no living family and in-laws who’d drifted, it took years of determination to overcome insurmountable odds and rebuild myself. I’d started this blog, using my story to give others hope, and I’m blessed to touch so many lives. I won’t allow him to desecrate that. It stops tonight. No violence – just the truth, to be told nationwide through a candid, surprise, on-camera confrontation that will unmask this offender in one great reality-TV exposé.

    My heart pounding in my ears, I stealthily move across the front lawn and peek into the front window to size up my nemesis.

    Dear. God.

    I fall to my knees, gasping for air. There, seated by the fireplace, is my mother-in-law…and my husband! Grief consumes me and time stands still as the earth spirals beneath me. Then it hits me…the reality of their fraudulent life, my son’s blood on their hands. Tom calls the authorities while I sit in profound disbelief and utter shock. Why? How?

    Moments later, the battering ram breaches the door, followed by screaming, and neighbors emerge to witness the drama unfold. Unrelenting pain consumes me, but I won’t do this again! Finding my legs, I pull myself up to confront these fiends, but I’m knocked breathless once more.

    There staring back at me are my own eyes. He has my father’s blond hair, my mother’s lips. He’s holding the blanket I’d crocheted for him in another life. I’m alive again. Sweeping his trembling body into my arms, I envelope him in the impenetrable survivor’s armor that I’d spent years building just for him. And I whisper, “Mommy’s here. You’re safe. I’ve missed you. I love you, Jack.”

    With my son cradled to me, I stand taller now, and through streaming tears, I nod to Tom. Three. Two. One.

    “Good evening.” I say into the camera, “I’m coming to you live…”

  10. laurentravian

    I hate computer class. My teacher made me do a blog to make up for all my missed homework. How stupid is that?! I told the principal so. He turned off his iPod and asked me to repeat what I said. The thing is, it was actually kind of fun. Until this guy; randomxerox4550 started badmouthing me. He/She said things I never told anyone! Lilly, my BFF helped me track him. I cornered him; 87 Walnut Street. Lilly and I drove over in my sweet sixteen cherry red Lamborghini. I thought it looked familiar, but I still rang the doorbell. And who should answer but my ex-boyfriend, Kent! “K-kent?! YOU’RE randomxerox4550?!” I stuttered. “Yes. I am. I knew Lilly would help you track me, and I wanted you back, baby. Also, I sort of wanted revenge for cheating on me with my best friend.” He shook his head ruefully. “I never cheated on you! You cheated on me with Courtney, my worst enemy, and rival cheerleader!” I practically yelled. Then Kent did something that surprised me. He kissed me, as passionately as he had when we first started dating in junior high. Which gave Lily the perfect chance to slip away. Oh no. At least our friendship had what it had, and if she’s such a bad friend that she split Kent and I up, why should we be friends anyway?

  11. majesticpark

    Of all things I consider myself cautious and foresightful. However what I think most of the people I know would label me as is absent-minded, distant and cold. A few clever folks might even have realized I am prone to inaction above all else. To find myself here standing face to face with anyone, let alone some I know over something as trivial as a blog.
    An incredible moment, this, as if the world had gone mute I could hear my slow heartbeat just behind my ears like I was lying down. My face warmed, but did not betray my surprise as like lesser men. Then all at once the noise came rushing back as though someone had got hold of it until now. I heard the leaves racing down the lane behind me and trees shaking themselves out at the suggestion of the October breeze.
    This also happened to be when they asked me what I was doing there. It struck me immediately that they did not ask me how I was, nor comment on how long it had been or any other pleasantry one associates with surprise past acquaintances. Instead they demanded an immediate account of my present state of mind, my motives and intended actions. Or so it felt.
    “Oh, well… wow, you know I haven’t seen you in… ten years? This is so incredible really, I live the suburbs and for the life of me I have no clue how to get back to the highway. I was hoping someone was home to ask for directions and I just picked this house.” A blatant, calculating lie. I scrutinized their face like NASA scientists pouring over crash data. They turned their head this way, and little that way. Eyebrows moved perceptibly and pupils merely reacted to sunlight as silent clouds peeled back a bit. Not the malcontent I was hoping to read. It dawned on me that they had either not realized who I actually was, or that they were slyer than I had considered.
    After some truly terrible and convoluted hand gestures, vague approximations of landmarks and a healthy peppering of “y’knows?” I accepted directions ‘back to the highway,’ and forced an amicable closure of catching up so as to take my leave.
    Returning to my car I was fully aware of my senses: the dirt-like smell of the season, the low moisture in the air, waning strength of sunlight, even the texture of my driving gloves as I gripped my steering wheel. I drove away without any thought to the activity, as I had determined it was best to ignore this would-be pundit, this Troll. If they proved persistent then I would acknowledge them with dismissal, not with dialogue, and especially not with action. I may be a coward, but I do enjoy a long-con.

  12. DraakusM

    “I am telling you Frank, you really should let it lie,” said John. “It’s probably just some punk kid looking for attention who happened upon your article.” John and Frank had been friends since grade school, and though they had known each other forever, they responded very differently to criticism. Frank been writing a blog for some time now and had really been enjoying it. A couple of weeks ago he started receiving some very harsh and vile comments on his articles. At first he blew it off, but then they became more and more personal. Frank couldn’t take it anymore and started commenting back, making matters worse. Now he was out for blood.

    John looked into the commenter’s IP address and traced it back to a house not far from where John and Frank grew up. Elated, Frank began plotting his revenge. “Come on, man!” Frank retorted. “You read those comments! I don’t care if this is just some punk kid who needs a hug! When someone goes that far, they need to be dealt with. If the Admin of the site and police won’t do anything about this harassment, I will!” Frank stormed out of the house and left John sitting in the family room praying that this confrontation doesn’t get violent.

    Frank drove through the afternoon and deep into the evening until he came to his childhood hometown. It was very dark when Frank pulled up to the house of the anonymous commenter. He was going to rip this guy/gal a new one. During the drive he went over all the possible scenarios he could muster so he would be prepared for anything this commenter said and be able to retort with his razor sharp tongue. Throwing on his ’emergency’ backpack, Frank approached the from door with his heart hammering in his throat. “Too late to turn back now,” Frank muttered to himself before ringing the doorbell.

    A few moments later there was a shuffling of feet and the door opened. “Hey Frank,” stated Charlie, one of his old schoolmates. Charlie ushered Frank into the kitchen where so coffee had just finished brewing. “What brings you all the way out to BFE?” Apparently Charlie had developed a drinking problem after high school and reeked of booze and stale cigarettes.

    “Actually,” Frank responded.”I am looking for some anonymous commenter who says vile things to the writer. Know anyone like that?” Charlie just about fell over with laughter. Apparently Frank had found his anonymous commenter and not be happier with the outcome. “I take it you think all this is funny, Charlie?” Charlie nodded while trying to catch his breath. “Well so do I.” Frank pressed his taser to Charlie’s chest and rendered him unconscious. Afterward, Frank opened his ’emergency’ backpack and began removing his tools. “This is gonna be a fun night after all,” exclaimed Frank as he tied Charlie to the table and gathered up his knives.

  13. smallPencil

    Smart! Carl bunched his fist till his knuckles went white. His blog was smart! It was insightful. It was clever. This fool, this thx4lulz, didn’t know jack, about anything. Carl had ignored his comments at first. There were always going to be haters, right? Everybody else knew Carl was the king of the mountain. They recognized his genius. Sure, thx4lulz had been the first to leave a comment on Carl’s blog since its inception, over two years past. But Carl knew the silence of the community bespoke their respect for his genius, enough to not mar it with their words, except for thx4lulz. Carl had been cordial at first, even nurturing. He tried to explain that thx4lulz did not have the mental capacity to tread the depths of Carl’s mind. He tried to assure him that it was OK to lack intellect. That most people did. That he could still find fulfillment, so long as he searched elsewhere and left Carl alone. Inexplicably ignorant of Carl’s brilliance, the bastard did not listen. With all other options exhausted, Carl was forced to threaten him. He still refused to relent, claiming he was exercising his freedom of speech. Carl gave him a reality check, saying he would use his freedom of fists to pound the man’s face in.
    The next day, Carl contacted his hacker friend. He used his freedom to invade thx4lulz’s privacy, breaking into his computer and retrieving his address, for Carl.
    Carl shook his bunched fist tremulously as he picked up the scrap of paper sitting on the dashboard of his car and read it again. He looked out at the small brick house, adjacent to his car. The addresses matched.
    The next thing Carl remembered was standing before the front door, as it opened. His ears were filled with a guttural sound, half scream and half growl. The oak of the door was chipped in a pattern like the knuckles on Carl’s hand, which were leaking a torrent of blood. The door swung slowly open. Carl looked inside and the blood froze in his veins.
    There, against the wall across a small foyer, stood he, himself. This person matched Carl, exactly. He had the same clothes on. He even had the same manic, toothy grin; a trickle of blood running from it, so hard were his teeth clenched. “Who the hell are you?!” Carl bellowed. His doppelganger screamed something back, but Carl couldn’t make it out. Carl charged, but was stopped short. He looked back and saw his hand wrapped around the doorknob, bloodless from the pressure. He ripped it off, turned, and ran screaming at the other Carl. A very disorienting moment followed. Pins and needles ran up and down his body. He was no longer charging. He felt as if he was floating. The floor came up to meet him just as his ears registered the sound of shattering glass.

  14. anomaly

    Now, I know I’ve never really liked what I’ve written but this is too far. Considering the effort I put to my little costume party stories, I know I don’t deserve this. But let’s see, with the information my friend gave me, I did a little backround digging, and this guy doesn’t seem half bad actually. Loves exercise, goes to anti-nuclear rallies, dreams of being a professional gardener and even has a blog. Funny, huh? It must sound a little cruel to do what I’m about to do to a character with such noble interests. Well, I wasn’t the one who didn’t respect the gentleman’s code of blog critique. Oh no, it wasn’t I.

    Still, he’s got about 30 minutes, that is if this bus is on time. If it’s not, he’s got more. Then I’ll have polished my plan even more mischievous. Of course, if this bus breaks down, he might get an extra day. Though, I could loan a bike and cycle. Yes, I’d love to do that. I’ve always felt a little bad about my carbon foot print.

    Time does fly, doesn’t it. Almost at his house. Wait, that is his house. Such a shame for these nice bushes, in 15 minutes they’ll be without a caretaker. Well, here goes, *ring ring*, *ding dong*.

    Hey there, Teddy Tiger. What a nice outfit you’ve got on. Come on in, Dolly the Parrot is already here. She’s telling the story of how her pink dress got stolen. Don’t worry, she had another one. Oh, we’re gonna have such a nice evening.

  15. Spidyman

    I slumped in the chair picking at the stuffing through the worn fabric. My heart thumped and the floor grew blurry as I sat there trying to understand. The venom I had received over the last few weeks had finally taken its toll. I just couldn’t comprehend how a person could vomit these damaging retorts. Such a barbaric attack was inappropriate.

    I could see this person was bitter and unhappy. I was the object for what they saw as a societal problem. I got the brunt of their frustration. So I decided to reach out in a different way. I felt if I could communicate with them away from the blog, perhaps, I could be of comfort. Sure there’s a part of me that would like the satisfaction of just smashing their face. But it just didn’t feel right to go that way.

    My phone buzzed and I reached over blindly flicking it open with my thumb.

    “Hey, this is weird but the person is right here in town.”

    “Really? Do you know where?” My voice crackled. But before I got an answer I decided, “Just come and get me I want to go there.”

    “What? Are you nuts? This could be some lunatic.”

    I knew it was right. I knew how it sounded. But it was instinct. I was compelled, beyond logic, beyond will, to follow.

    “I know what I’m doing.” I said snapping the phone closed.

    I eventually rose from the chair when I heard the car out front. I realized I still held the phone and slid it into my pocket as I headed out the door. The sun blazed, warming my face as I walked down the steps and across the sidewalk. The grass needs cutting, I thought.

    “Are you okay?” The voice echoed as I felt the fingers on my shoulder.

    “I’m okay,” I reassured, slipping into the seat. “It’s fine, let’s just go.”

    Traffic lights blinked us along and I started to feel anxious as we turned a corner. I looked out. It was familiar.

    Another turn. More familiar. My hands grew warm.

    Another turn. Too familiar. It can’t be.

    The car rolled to a stop. I felt a chill as the sweat trickled down my neck.

    “We’re here.”

    “I know.” I whispered.

    I got out of the car and watched myself walk over to the house. The old wooden steps creaked underfoot. The chipped, flakey paint crunching with each step. My arm raised and my finger pointed to the dirty rusted bell. The broken black button resisted my effort to press it. I pressed harder and it finally surrendered screaming out its warning.

    The door hinges moaned. A gnarled, arthritic hand clawed around and swung the door back. He stood there in faded pajamas and worn out slippers. The nails on his twisted toes were chipped and cracked and his face was worn and saggy. His grey hair uncombed and askew was peppered with singular black strands. The waters of his eyes pierced me and I felt my throat constrict. His brow wrinkled. His hand snaked out towards me and I knew I had to speak before I was unable.

    “Hi dad.” Was all I could say before the tears came.

  16. SBWriter

    I HOPE U ROT IN A GRAVE OF UR ONW STUPID WORDS!!!! UR A HACK AND A THEIF!!!!

    Okay, the typos I could take. But the caps lock key must be pried from under this person’s fingertips. For ten months, I dutifully observed the goings-on of the politicos and pundits in my town. And then I was lucky to get two messages. Usually one was from my dad, who just really got into reading things online, and took five minutes to type one sentence. He was SBWriterDad1. Very original. The other comments were usually from ANONYMOUS. But occasionally, a few other names would show up to comment on my thought pieces.

    I don’t typically like getting into internet debates, because, well, what’s to debate when you’re right? Ah, kidding, that’s a little lawyer humor for you. But seriously, I really don’t try to get into petty name calling. Especially on my own blog.

    Yet here I was. Typing to KILLURSELFDUH at one in the morning, because this person had spammed another briliant posting with his or her vitriol. And frankly, I was sick of taking the high road. I wanted this KILLURSELF off of my blog and out of my life.

    I had already figured out how to get KILLURSELF’s IP address, and now I was just waiting for Mosley to send over the actual house address he had it traced to. I know, I know…. internet trolls should not stress me this much, but the spamming had started to get personal. They started sending messages to my personal inbox, and my dad said he’d gotten some messages too. And since my dad is my number one reader, why the heck would I want him seeing me cursing back and forth with some stranger?

    The authorities would be contacted, everything would be handled and this cyberbullying would end tonight.

    My AIM chimed and I clicked to see a message:

    Mosley81: I got the addy for u
    SBWriter: Great, send it to me now.
    Mosley81: R U going to the police?
    SBWriter: Of course, I need closure.
    Mosley81: Um, call me….

    Then he logged off. Odd, I know, but I picked up the cell and waited as it rung three times. “So, I’ve gotta tell you something kind of hard,” Mosley started, without even saying hello.

    “Well, what is it?” I was already annoyed, but I tried to keep the irritation low in my throat.

    “The address is 445 Westchester St.” Pause for effect.

    “But that’s my parent’s house.” I think my brain went blank for a second.

    “Yeah, I know. But, that’s the home of your phantom troll,” he sighed.

    “Thanks…” I don’t remember hanging up, but I heard a dial tone.

    Not what I expected.

  17. Rodi13

    “I knew. I just knew he wouldn’t stop!” I mumbled as I read yet another nasty comment left on my blog.
    “How do you know? Are you a psychic… like… how do you know it’s a HE?” Jim probed calmly.
    I hated Jim when he asked open-ended questions which required thinking and long answers and effort. I much preferred yes, no, all of the above, but Jim was helping me identify the jerk who was messing up with my successful blog. Jim was a geek, a psychologist and a friend. Yeah, he deserved a good, honest answer.
    ” How did I know it’s a male? It’s a no-brainer. My blog, ‘I think for you. com,’ voices the truth about what women need from men. I am blessed with a gift… to read women’s minds; a male who could relate to women’s deep desires, needs … I give them answers before they consciously become aware of what they want. For sure the commentator is a jerk.. My only question is: who? Is it Amy’s ex-boyfriend, jelous that she found ME to understand her and guess her desires before she knows them? Or is it someone from work, envious of my success as a writer on top of being a CEO. You, my friend, will help me solve the mystery!”
    “Here you go, good luck with it,” Jim said and handed me a piece of paper on which he scribbled an address… the address of the ‘jerk.’

    Now what? I thought, as the GPS directed me to an unfamiliar neighborhood. I had to face HIM… knock at the door… perhaps there will be no answer. Yeah, he is probably at work. Everyone is at work at 2:00 PM, unless he took the day off, like me. Only if he is unemployed. He is probably unemployed, otherwise he will not have the time to waste on my blog… unless it’s meaningful for him, not just a senseless joke.
    “Arriving at destination, on right!” the GPS announced flattly.
    The golden and blue sign read:
    “Heaven on Earth,” Assisted Living Community.
    ???? I knocked at the door of Unit 13, a fateful number! I knocked again, perhaps the “person” is hard of hearing?
    The door opened at last. There she was, smiling at me, the love of my life, Amy.
    “How did you know where my grandmother lives?’ Amy asked.”Are you following me?”
    “Oh, my love, of course not. If you only knew, what a nightmare… I don’t know how to tell you. Jim helped me found the… person who ruins my blog… Sorry, love, it’s… your grandmother making the mean comments! Do you think she has dementia? That would explain! Why would she do that, she doesn’t even know me!??? Could she be upset I know you better than you do yourself and I give you your answers before you ask the questions?”
    The silence was…heavy.
    Amy’s embrace felt rigid. Then, I heard her whisper lovingly:
    “it’s not my grandmother.”

  18. Imaginalchemy

    Salutations, everyone…this is my first run at a Daily Prompt writing…and I did go a little over the word count, not by much though. Also, maybe I’m missing the idea behind how this works, but after I read the prompt, I started to wonder…what would this situation be like if it took place in the 1850s Old West? So, here’s what “blogging” would be like in that era:

    ***
    It had all started with the legendary Webb’s Log, or B-Log as the local folks call it. Webb was an old feller who would leave anonymous letters nailed to an old log outside of his sweetheart’s house for years—until her husband caught him and shot him dead. Since then, in honor of Webb, folks tack love notes, poems, gossip, and whatever they want the world to know, without the world knowin’ who’s saying it.

    Even I was leaving messages on that B-Log. A few days after I’d nailed up my latest letter—I’d written about wishin’ my pappy could walk down from heaven and spend one more day on earth— someone had hung a piece of paper from my letter’s nail. It read:
    “Your old man can’t come down from Heaven, because he’s burning in Hell.”

    My blood boiled like a jackrabbit’s in a frying pan in July. I tore that note off the log and went straight to a friend of mine, a smart feller who could figure out what nasty varmint wrote this.

    He looked over the note only for a few seconds. “This print was made by an iron-hand press, or an I.P.,” he said, “I bet the slanderer thought he was being clever by printing rather than handwriting his note, thinking someone might recognizing his handwriting. But there’s only one place in town that’s got a press. I bet you can ask the owner who might’ve come in to print that note in the past few days. I reckon he’d remember who, since most people use printing for lots of paper at once, not just one little note.”

    He gave me the address to the iron-press shop, which was right on the outskirts of town. It was the kind of store that was also somebody’s home, and I could smell food cooking inside. It occurred to me that maybe whoever lived here was the one who actually printed that note; printing was probably expensive, so it was silly to pay someone else just to print one sentence, unless you had your own press and could print whatever you pleased whenever you liked.

    I knocked hard on the door, ready to raise Cain at whoever was gonna answer. As soon as that door creaked open, my blood went from boiling to freezing.

    “What in Sam Hill do you want?” asked the man, an older but achingly recognizable version of my father.

    I stared slack-jawed at him, until I squeaked, “You died…those thieves shot you dead…”

    His eyes grew wide, but then his expression relaxed. “Figured that note on that tree was from you. All about losin’ yer daddy when you was ten, when thieves shot him on a coach bound for Sagebrush…how you moved here when you got older, hoping maybe you’d find something left behind by your old man. Well, this is all that’s left.”

    “Why didn’t you just tell me it was you, and where you were?”

    “Anyone could read what’s on that tree. Didn’t want to advertise my whereabouts, or who I really am. I like my solitude.”

    “But didn’t you think I’d come lookin’ at the only place in these parts with a press?”

    “Sure hoped so. ” He gave me a weathered, tired old smile. “You like chicken stew?”

    There were so many questions I ached to ask, but for the moment, all I said was, “Pap, you came back all the way from Heaven to fix me dinner. How can I say no?”

    ***

    1. rob akers

      Nice twist on the prompt. I always like to twist the prompt and find a different angle. I love the old west idea and wish I would have thought of that. It is tough to keep the reader in the past without writing something that reminds them of the modern world. You did it; I was with you the whole way.

      I don’t know how many words you went over, it didn’t seem long to me. I don’t know how others feel but I think the goal is to get your story across in a pithy manner. I do hold to the 500 word limit and there have been times when I am one word over, but I will not send it until it is 500 or less. Not because I am a Boy Scout but because of the challenge and according to the experts, it will make me a better author. I have a long way to go before I become a professional writer but I balance that out with big ideas and even bigger plans.

      Apparently, I don’t use the same restraint on my comments. Ha Ha.

      Great Job and looking for more from you in the future.

      1. Imaginalchemy

        Thank you, Rob. I appreciate the kind response. 🙂 I think the word count is around 600 word, so you’re right, it’s not over by much, but I tend to be a stickler for rules.

  19. DropBear

    I knew when I started this blog, it could end badly. Airing a nation’s dirty laundry was a risky business, and by “risky” I mean “this blog could leave me dead or worse”. I was so careful, I thought. I was anonymous, I was invisible.

    For a while, it worked. My source gave me the info, I published it, my fellow countrymen began to see just how much our government compromised. One of my stories went public in a huge way. Mainstream press started to listen. The UN launched a major investigation. Our Prime Minister was stood down. Four very rich businessmen were jailed. Change was happening. The Government wanted to “talk” to me. The private sector took out a price on my head. But I was safe, I told myself. The risk was worth it.

    14 months after the “Eclipse Situation”, the first of the comments appeared. It was rude, it was out of line and there was something a little creepy about it. The person made reference to an old pet of mine. To be fair, alot of girls had pet rabbits in the 80’s, and a large proportion of those rabbits were named “Bugs”. But then the comments became incredibly specific. They knew I owned a 1978 Skyline. They knew I had just returned from a holiday in New Zealand. They knew my mother’s pet name for me. Someone knew. Someone knew and they hadn’t told the authorities. “Private sector,” I muttered at the screen. But if it was the private sector, why wasn’t I dead? Why did they flaunt their knowledge of me?

    My IT guy tracked their IP address. And that is how I ended up at their door on a rainy Friday evening, with my glock in my pocket. I just wanted to know their intentions. I had people to protect and ideals to uphold. My knock sounded much bolder than I felt.

    I nearly fainted when Paul Quentin opened the door. He obviously felt the same way but recovered quickly, grabbing me by the wrist and yanking me off the street into his house. Paul was only a lowly constable when we met, 15 years prior. We had loved each other then, but the timing had been wrong. Now, he was the youngest police commissioner to ever take the reins.
    “Paul, what the hel-”
    “My god Sophie, I never thought you would be stupid enough to come here!”
    His face was genuine, he had such fear in his eyes.
    “I found out it was you just after Eclipse. I hoped the comments would scare you into shutting down the blog. You’ve got to run. Your arrest is happening Monday, and a contract has just been offered.”
    He led me through his house to the garage.
    “A contract…” I started as he thrust car keys into my hand.
    “A hit man contract, Sophie, you’ve got to run!”
    The garage door starts to open as I slide into the seat of the sedan.
    “Dump the car at an airport, train station or shopping complex. I’ve got to report it stolen tomorrow. Get out of the country. Disappear.”
    The engine roars to life, I roll down the window.
    “Wait, why are you helping me?”
    He pauses for a moment, gives that half smile. “You found out one of the biggest travesties of our generation.”
    He bends and gently kisses me on the lips.
    “Run.”

  20. elclipo

    “Again?” I yelled at the computer screen. “That’s it!”

    I punched Mike’s number into the virtual keypad and put the receiver up to my ear. Mike picked up the line on the second ring.

    “Sup?” He said.

    “The dude is at it again. That’s what’s up”

    “I’m on it. I’ll have something by the time you get here.”

    I took one last look at the nasty comment on my screen and then left the room. I walked down the hall to Mike’s room and knocked on the door. “Coming.” Mike said from the other side. He opened the door and gestured for me to come in. “What took you so long.”

    I looked at his desk to see if he made any progress. There were so many computer screens that I didn’t have a clue as to which one would contain any information useful to me. “There,” he said pointing at a monitor labeled A3. “That’s the IP address to the person who keeps trolling your blog.” He hit a couple of keys on one of the keyboards and the image changed. “And that, my friend, is the physical address.”

    “How in the world do you do that?”

    “A magician never reveals his secrets.” He said this as he picked a large bottle of Mountain Dew and sucked down what was left in it. He sat back down in his chair and turned back to his screens.

    “Come on. Let’s go!” I said impatiently.

    “I’m not one for confrontations man.” He said never taking his eyes away from whichever screen he was looking at. “Go on without me. Just yell if you need me.” He waved a hand in the general direction of the door.

    “You little girl.” I said grinning. “Thanks for the help anyway.”

    I stepped out into the hall, the door closing behind me. I looked left, then right, took one step forward and knocked on the door. I heard some giggling coming from the other side of the door but there was no movement. I closed my hands into fists so tight my nails started digging into my skin. I pounded on the door again. This time, I heard someone moving inside the room, then the door swung open.

    “Jessica?” I said relaxing my hands.

    “Who else?” She said looking at the number on her door. “I see you got my postings.”

    “That was you?” I answered. “I can’t believe you would do something like that!”

    “How else would I get you to come over?” She said smiling. “Now, just quit complaining and come on in.”

    I walked into my girlfriend’s room and she closed the door behind us.

  21. la vie en rouge

    Am I a geek? Well, yes, but that’s the great thing about the internet, isn’t it? Every geek and nerd and dork in the whole wide world (web) gets their own little soapbox for spouting about stuff that no one else cares about. So I blog about Penguin Powerhouse – because they ROCK. Yeah, I know, you haven’t heard of my them. That’s ok, you and seven billion other people. Penguin Powerhouse’s fanbase consists of me and about five other dorks. Did I mention I’m a geek?

    Anyway, I was pretty taken aback when some dude turns up and starts using my blog to say the most outrageously offensive things. “A blind kitten in a bag has more talent than Penguin Powerhouse.” I mean, just how dare you? Say what you like about me, I don’t care, but talking that kind of crap about the mighty Penguins is right bang Out. Of. Order. It is of course my solemn duty to make sure the Penguins are avenged.

    Well my friend Ben is also a geek, although more of a computery one than an Indie music one, so he knows how to find out where the offensive commenter lives. I don’t know quite how he did it, but on the other hand I’m fairly sure it’s not legal so I’m ok with being fuzzy on the details. I mean, if it ever goes to court, I can plead ignorance right? And so he emailed with the personal address of the lowlife who had had the sheer effrontery to hate on the Penguins.

    And it was going to be a three hour drive to get there, but you know, honour was at stake so I decided it was probably worth it. I could have been worse, I might have had to buy an aeroplane ticket or something. I arrived, average looking house. As I rang the doorbell I still didn’t really know what I was going to say when the scumbag opened it, only that it was going to be loud and obnoxious.

    The door swings open and then I swear I thought I was going to pass out. It’s Danny Hero, I mean like Danny HERO. As in the Penguins’ guitarist. He’s looking a bit worse for wear, but that ‘s rock and roll for you. If I didn’t know what to say before, I’m completely flummoxed now. Obviously Ben’s stuffed it up and I’m at the wrong address, but what are the chances? I manage to squawk out a few words.

    “Oh my gosh… I mean, I am like, the Penguins’ biggest fan.”

    He stares at me blearily.

    “Oh man, I hate that band. What do I have to do? I swear I’ve tried everything to kill it off. Now please get off my property before I call the police.”

    I stagger away swooning. I just met Danny Hero. The guys are going to be so jealous.

  22. Philw68

    I had been running a blog for a few months as my novels weren’t really selling all that well and blogging was an easy (and free) way of keeping my voice out there, when I started getting heckled by a commenter. They didn’t really bother me at first as my blogs were mostly fluff pieces on current events, comments on political leaders, celebrities, that sort of stuff. When I began blogging about my own life though, the comments got more vicious.
    Growing up gay in America one has to have a thick skin. I learned a long time ago to let things slide but these comments were at the point of hostility they were almost criminal, and events in my life were mentioned that I hadn’t even written about. Things were becoming unnerving. So, when I told an old tech nerd friend from college about it he explained to me how I could get the senders physical address through their computer IP address buried in the comments.
    With the address in hand I drove down to New Hampshire to confront this person. I have worked hard to get to where I am and I don’t need some loser with a low self-esteem try to destroy everything that I have worked for.
    When I pulled up to the house though my heart sank. I knew this house. I have been inside this house, granted it was a long time ago and only a few times back when I was a kid, but I knew who lived here. I went up to the door anyway and knocked.
    My grandmother opened the door.
    “Well,” Grammie said all four feet of her doing it’s best to hold the door open, “You finally figured it out. Took you long enough.”
    “Grammie, why did you say those things about me in my blog? What kind of person would do that to their own grandson?”
    “Ha! You always were a bore. You were a boring little kid and you are boring writer.” She then made this weird gargling sound in her throat, leaned out of the doorway a bit and spat a silver dollar sized wad of phlegm in her rose bushes.
    “Let’s go inside and talk about this.” I said.
    “Not on your life buddy.” she replied and pulled a eight inch hunting knife from the left pocket of the pink housecoat she wore. It matched her slippers.
    “Whoa.” I said and stepped back a few feet.
    “Don’t worry, Ramona, this one’s yours.” she tossed the knife at my feet then pulled a matching knife from the other pocket. “This one’s mine.”
    I picked the knife up from the ground and my old grandmother immediately came at me.
    Two days later when I was released from the hospital I wrote a new blog, How I Lost My Left Testicle.
    All the comments were sympathetic except one. I am not going to confront here again though.

    1. rob akers

      Grandma is a knife fighter. Cool. I know it is tough to explain in 500 words, but I have to wonder why she felt compelled to slice him up over just being a boring kid. She has some issue and it would be fun to explore that. Another issue is why he let it go instead of calling the police. There is lots of conflict and a great dynamic to this family; it has lots of potiential. Nice ending and good job over all!

      1. sprattcm

        Perhaps he made the mistake of mentioning he’d give his left nut for grandma’s respect and acceptance some time in the past 😉 Amusing premise – I would like to know where grandma found an 8 inch hunting knife that accessorized her slippers. Fun read, though, thanks.
        -Chris

  23. sprattcm

    I dug around in his freezer, found a bag of peas and tossed it to him.

    “Put this on it, and don’t be such a baby. Honestly, if you’re gonna talk that kind of smack; you’d best be prepared to walk the walk.”

    “Who the hell throws punches over foreign policy?”

    Persisting in being a baby, Dylan at least applied the frozen peas to his swelling left eye. I rummaged through the refrigerator and found a Shock Top ale. I popped it open thinking it was the least he owed me for the trouble of coming over here to kick his ass.

    “I was saving that!” Since it seemed obvious he’d lost ownership of his beer, he sighed in resignation. “How did you even find me?”

    “I have a buddy in the IT club on campus. Finding you cost me a beer, so I figure…” I took a long slow drink while I stared at him, daring him to say something. His silence was sullen and complete.

    “So, what could possibly make you think it’s okay to say stuff like that on my blog?”

    He threw his head back and scoffed, “You’re all the same! ‘Let’s go bomb Iran!’, ‘Let’s kick some Syrian ass!’…’I never met a war I didn’t like!'” Dylan leaned forward intently, stabbing the tabletop with his index finger for emphasis. “Hawks are gonna drag this country down in flames. We are citizens of a global community. We have a moral responsibility to be judicious in the application of military force. We need consensus and cooperation with our allies, not this endless unilateral plunging from one conflict to the next!”

    I took another swig and thought about what he thought he knew. Then I thought about what I knew. I knew my brother spent a year and a half at Walter Reed recovering from the loss of his left leg to an IED. I knew a Syrian student on campus who was crying herself to sleep tonight because her brother was last seen in Baba Amr and hadn’t been heard from in three weeks. I knew there would be a plane waiting to take me to San Diego for basic training in six weeks. Did it all add up? Make sense? No, not really. If there were any sanity in the world, Paul would still have both his legs and 9/11 never would have happened.

    “You can’t defeat an idea with military force,” Dylan finished quietly.

    I peeled pieces of the label from the bottle as I spoke, “Maybe, maybe not – but here’s the deal: one half of one percent of the citizens in this country serves in active duty military in a time when we’re fighting a war on two fronts. I ship out to basic in six weeks because I believe in your right to say the things you said on my blog. I believe those rights have a price – a price that you haven’t paid, I might add.” He managed to lean forward slightly and draw a sharp breath before I cut him off, “Hate the mission, loathe the policy, hell despise the country for all I care; just don’t trash the people that are willing to die to defend it.”

    I set the empty bottle on the table in front of him, “Thanks for the beer.”

    1. annefreemanimages

      Hey sprattcm – well done! Both characters were convincing. Even though they were talking about things that could have gotten high handed, you handled the dialogue so naturally. And I could emphasize with both. Great job.

      ~Anne

        1. rob akers

          Nice story. As a person who has been on both sides of that conversation I think you got it right. Without the black eye, I should add. Great job with the dialogue and nice idea starting your story from the ending and working forwards.

          Great job getting the brother’s attitude right as well. You write with confidence and self awareness. Spot on all the way around.

    2. sprattcm

      I have to apologize on behalf on Paul’s brother. I didn’t realize he was actually going to pop Dylan until he was already at his house and the deed was done. Sometimes our avatars are unruly…and awkwardly nameless…
      -Chris

  24. rob akers

    A Captain Bill Rimes Story

    Bill finished mowing the yard of a friend who was deployed over there when he turned to see an unfamiliar face.

    “Are you Mr. Rimes?”

    “Maybe.”

    “I am Hassam Abdulla. Gerry has told me much about you. I need your help.”

    Bill raised both hand up as he spoke. “Gerry says lots of things.”

    “Please sir. I am being attacked on Facebook and I am not able to defend myself. Please look at my site and if you can help; I will much appreciate it.” Hassam returned to his house leaving Bill with his information on a small piece of paper.

    Later that night, Bill did look at the website. After speaking to his wife, Bill picked up the phone. “Mr. Abdulla, I have looked at your web page and I agree that George is out of line with his comments. Does he treat others like he treats you?”

    “Yes sir, he is insufferable.”

    “Before I do anything, I need to know that you are serious. Get 5 dollars cash from everyone who has a problem with him. I will be at Gerry’s house next Friday. I will talk to you then.”

    “Just 5 dollars from each person, do you need more?”

    “No Sir, good night.”

    Friday afternoon, Hassan met Bill as he loaded the mower in his truck. “I have $205 dollars, will that be enough?”

    “Each person gave you 5 dollars?”

    “Yes, just as you asked.”

    “I will not break the law and I cannot force him to apologize. I only promise to make his life difficult.”

    “I understand.” Hassan walked away smiling.

    That night Bill sent George Rockford an instant message who immediately replied.

    “Who is this?”

    “You need to apologize to everyone you have offended.”

    “Why would I do that?”

    “Because if you don’t I will make your like much more difficult. Why are you a jerk?”

    “Freedom of speech.”

    “You have the Freedom to keep your mouth shut.”

    “Go screw yourself.”

    “Brilliant. Have you ever had an original thought?”

    “Everything I say is original. What are you; a Boy Scout?”

    “I am tired of people who run their mouth with no regard to others. You think you are right but your closed mind cannot comprehend that we all are different. You think the country is full of people like you but here is a news flash; Einstein. 20% of the country’s population is just like you; 10% on the Left and 10% on the Right. The 80% in the middle and are tired of you and your righteous indignation. All reasonable people know that is that both sides are wrong and people like you make everyone sick! Forget the apology. You have earned the right to have a miserable life. Pathetic Loser!”

    In the name of George Rockford; Bill sent 5 dollars to 41 separate Politicians, Political Action Committees, and charities on both sides of the isle. The tax deductible donations ensured that George’s mailbox and answering machine would be stuffed for years to come.

    1. sprattcm

      Still grinning about this one. I expressed written support to a Representative once and haven’t stopped hearing about it since! Justice has been done.
      -Chris

  25. annefreemanimages

    “Burn Notice”
    A Rett Bonneville Story
    By Anne M. Freeman©

    I was steamed. The address for the house I drove away from was given to me by a brilliant techie friend who tracked it down using the computer IP address he gleaned from some recent nasty-grams posted on my blog. The flamer turned out to be a twit who pitched a fit when I was given the lead spot at the Saturday night performance for a county fair recently instead of her. A poor loser, evidently.

    After driving back home, I calmed myself down with a little yoga in the garden near the water fountain. Running water always helped me to untangle knots in my head. As I breathed, the plan slowly fell into place.

    I asked my graphic artist to create some graphic badges using my avatar to post on my blog. The badges came back the next day. My avatar stood in a military stance with my feet slightly spread. I held a garden hoe with the top end planted by my right foot and my right hand clutching the neck of the hoe, holding it straight out from my body with an outstretched arm. I wore some hot-looking fatigues and a bad attitude on my face. He sent me the codes for three versions, one with a blue ribbon, one with a red ribbon, and one with a yellow ribbon. Perfect!

    With the codes in hand, I was ready. I typed the following post on my blog:

    Title: “New Contest”

    Dear Fans and Fellow Bloggers:

    You’ve seen the nasty-grams some unhappy person is posting on my blog. It’s a sorry way for a fellow singer/songwriter to behave. Yes, I do know who the flamer is. Many of you have asked what you can do to help me deal with this loser. I’ve decided that instead of getting mad, let’s have a little fun. I invite you to participate in a new contest. Here are your contest clues:

    • The flamer is a she.
    • I performed with her at the same event.
    • The event occurred within the last year.

    The first five people who send me the correct answer will win two free tickets to my upcoming concert, a signed CD, and the code for my new badge you can post on your blog called, “The Silly Hoe Award.”

    The badge features my avatar holding a garden hoe with a blue ribbon tied around it. Underneath the badge is the following statement:

    First Place Winner of the “Silly Hoe Award”
    Awarded to me for digging out the nasty weed, (flamer’s name will be here),
    That was growing in Rett Bonneville’s Music Garden Blog

    The next 10 people with the correct answer will win a signed CD and the code for the red-ribboned second place “Silly Hoe Award” badge.

    The yellow-ribboned third place “Silly Hoe Award” badge will be available to all the rest for the asking.

    Good luck!

    ~ Rett

    After clicking the “post” button, I sat back and waited. Within minutes, the responses began rolling in. I smiled.

    ###

    Hey all: I’ll be on vacation this next week, so I’ll miss the weekly prompt because it’s a “no electronics” vacation. Good writing!
    ~Anne

    1. annefreemanimages

      Hey Folks: I realized after posting this story that some of you may not be up on the latest pop culture allusions and terminology used in the story, and you won’t be able to get the joke. If you found yourself scratching your head, and want to know what was going on, below are the meanings of the pop culture allusions:

      “Burn Notice” is the title of a popular TV series about a spy who receives a burn notice from his intelligence agency because an unknown colleague fed bad information to the agency about the spy. In real life, a burn notice means the spy is no longer credible and the spy is cut off from the agency.

      Flaming, carried out by individuals known as flamers, are inflammatory posts put on someone’s website or blog. The flamer is trying to incite hostility towards the person who owns the blog or website on which the flamer has posted. In real life, if an artist gets flamed on his/her website/blog and the artist’s fans believe the flamer, it can cause real damage to the artist’s career.

      “Silly Hoe” is a play on words for “silly ho.” “Ho is slang used in hip-hop and rap pop culture for “whore,” or woman (not a paid prostitute). A silly ho would be a silly, stupid or bad behaving woman.

      “Badge” is a graphic image used on a website or blog. If you receive the HTML code for a web badge and paste the HTML code on your blog or website, the badge image will appear on your blog or website.

      “Avatar” is the graphical representation of the blog or website’s owner’s alter ego or character (not the movie).

      In this story, Rett puts a burn notice on her nemesis and discredit her by calling her a silly ho and inviting her fans to call her nemesis a silly ho, too, on their own websites. She hopes to accomplish by giving her fans the code for a web badge that includes Rett’s avatar and the flamer’s name to post on their own websites.

      ~Anne

    2. elclipo

      Wonderful story again Anne. Absorbing the whole story into the blog/internet realm was great. You figured out a wonderful way to get back at an internet bully, beating her in her own game.

  26. Frank

    The posting to my blog couldn‘t be ignored: “You are the MURDERER,“ it said. You did it in the LIVING ROOM with a REVOLVER.

    I’ve never had a pang of conscience from the killing, never lost a night’s sleep. But someone out there had the goods on me, wanted it public. And I thought it the perfect crime. The authorities bought my wife’s disappearance on her Venetian holiday: due, they said, to a probable love interest. The alibi was watertight. No one knew I shot her at home during Jeopardy, while my new girl, dressed in a wig and using my wife’s name and passport to fly to Venice, would “disappear.” How could they? I’d even taken care of the new girlfriend..

    Now to deal with this damn cyber accusation. Sure, I’d denounce attacks to my blog as unwarranted; I’d use that to get in the door. But the fix had to be permanent — I just needed the source.

    It didn’t take long to get an IP location and a street address, courtesy of a junky friend and computer genius. I gave him enough crack to keep him quiet for now. He could be overdosed later.

    I went straight to the address when it got dark. The door was opened by a friendly old lady with bottle-bottom glasses and holding a cat.. It was a shame what I had to do, but if my crimes were discovered, I’d get the big needle and a permanent sleep. It was very easy and clinical. I even remembered to grab her laptop and feed her cats before I left. The laptop ended up at the bottom of the river.

    I spent the next morning in bed with coffee and the newspapers. It was fun to read about my latest escapades: “Elderly lady murdered at her home.” “Police investigating with few leads.” “The victim was fairly reclusive.” Yeah, I’d outsmarted them again. I turned on the TV to see what the channels were saying. Neighbors were being interviewed:

    “She was lovely women, very short-sighted, but lovely.”
    “She loved computer games, you know, on a laptop. She was quite clever, really.”
    “Yeah, Miss Scarlet told me she was playing the electronic game Clue on her laptop. You know, the board game, Clue? She said she couldn’t wait to name the ‘killer’ to her network friends. Who‘d have thought she‘d end up dead herself?”

    I grabbed the remote and played the last bit over. I laughed to myself, so it was a mistake? The blind old fool had sent her answer on Clue to the wrong email and up it popped on my blog!

    I was crunching into my buttered toast still smiling, but I knew I had to get out of Dodge, till things cooled down. I phoned to book a one-way flight to Mexico.

    “Hello, I’d like to book an air ticket please. My name? Oh, it’s Plum, Professor Henry Plum.

    1. Frank

      Moderator: If this can be deleted, I’d appreciated it. The work is entirely mine, but I just discovered — to my alarm — that the previous posting mentioned “Plum Line,” and I used “Plum” as the name of one of my central characters. I only read Markfaith’s excellent story, including Plum Line, after posting my own work, but I wouldn’t wish others to think I used the name to construct the story. Thank you and my apologies.

  27. markfaith

    I appreciate any feedback. Thanks, Mark

    It was only a minute, but it felt like eternity waiting for a response to my loud knocking. The sky began to darken as storm clouds moved in and the wind blew harder. I waited patiently as anyone of my stature would. My pedigree is outstanding; Doctorate from Harvard, served as a Colonel in the U.S. Air Force flying combat missions in the Gulf War; now a distinguished Professor of Political Science at Yale University and purveyor of a new successful conservative blog called the Plum Line. It was not a coincidence that an anonymous detractor, who wrote some rather derogatory and inflammatory comments on my blog, lived in this primitive village of shanty-like trailers. I was here to confront the poster of lies and innuendos.
    The storm door had a torn screen and it’s bottom hinge was broken off which caused it to pivot widely as it swung. The wind forced it open. I felt a few droplets of rain. A bean-pole shaped young man, wearing jeans that were belted well below his buttocks stood facing me. His oblong face revealed a concerned expression.
    “Professor Hottaire, what are you doing here?” he said.
    Why did he look familiar and how did he know my name? “Do I know you?”
    “I’m Roy L. Payne. I’m auditing your Thursday evening class, Class Warfare and Other Leftist Myths. I nearly choked on my Food Stamps when you said that the government should not be involved in providing free birth control to women.”
    The rain made a tapping sound as the wind blew it against the trailer.
    “Why should I pay for your social activities?” I screamed. I already knew the answer. These ultra-liberal, Kool-Aid drinkers wanted anything that was free. The rain splattered against us both.
    Roy said, “You are an idiot for not seeing the social cost of unwanted pregnancies. Pay now or pay later, I always say!”
    “Well you’re a pinhead for asking me to pay for your irresponsible behaviors! You’re like Old Mother Hubbard, living in a government subsidized loafer. Why can’t you be more responsible?”
    The rain and wind unleashed their fury causing me to retreat to my car. I looked back at Roy’s trailer and counted eight small faces peering from the windows. I struggled to open the car door. It sounded like a train was bearing down on the space my car occupied. The windshield wipers began to lift and then snapped off. I forced my way into the car just in time to see the trailer lift off the ground and spin high above the ground.

    1. Frank

      Mark–You have a really good feel for satire: e.g., “jeans belted well below his buttocks” & “..nearly choked on my Food Stamps…” I’d encourage you to keep on writing!

    2. PamBo

      What started out to be comical, ended in tragedy. I love the play on words of the names you gave your characters. I just wish you’d have a few more words available to describe Prof. Hottaire’s reaction to seeing the trailer detsroyed.

    3. jhennigan

      I liked the “am I my brothers keeper” message in this. And you introduced the weather as an important factor right away, and it paid off. Nicely done.

  28. slayerdan

    Anal retentive bitch! How can someone have the childlike ignorance to say the same damned thing every day? I have been churning out this blog three times a week for four years and now all of a sudden some internet superhero thinks they can slam me every week in my forum?!
    ” In my damned forum!” I yelled as I pounded my wornout computer desk not once but three times. I felt my eye twitch yet again and my teeth hurt from grinding them.
    Xena, my skittish Terrier, took that as her final cue to slink into the next room. Stewing like a pot on an old womans stove for four hours was enough. This was MY cue to give this skidmark a few words.
    In person.
    So glad my girl is a net techie. That brain and those curves would make Stephen Hawking hard, although he wouldn’t know it. “I am so twisted sometimes”, I muttered to myself as I pounded the pavement, my 300 pound frame moving like Godzilla through Tokyo as I made my way to the address she found for me, about four miles away.
    I felt my rage give a bit as I walked. I truly was lucky to have a girl that was so perfect and could deal with the fact I definitely wasn’t as hot. She is eye candy.
    “I’m John Candy”, slipped out as I tried to refocus my anger as I got closer to the address she gave me. I was sweating and my calves hurt.
    Who is this ass to attack me and then I have to sweat and hurt to make it right? I felt my pulse quicken as I arrived at the address.
    This is it. Go time. Time to put this internet William Wallace on the rack and make them beg for mercy.
    It was going in that it dawned on me this was a gym.
    A gym? Who the hell has time to workout and attack me at the same time? My blog is comic books and and pop culture and I am getting slammed by some muscle head? Doing squats? Drinking gritty protein shakes? From a gym?
    Entering I wonder if this is the right address. Who here would attack me so? It smells like sweat here. Not sex sweat. Yardwork sweat. Mixed with something vanilla. I scan the room and see the mix of overweight 40 year olds and oversized muscle heads, coexisting in disgust, fear, awe, and ambivalence.
    Then I see her. My girl. My hot, curvy netwise brainiac of a specimen. An impish grin on her face.
    A lone bead of sweat stopped on my cheek as the cooler gym air halted its progress. I looked into those eyes and I knew I had been had. She loved me. She was tired of John Candy. And she knew just what it would take to get me out of the house.
    Walking to her, I wondered if Xena knew about this all along……

  29. jhennigan

    Hehehe. Kids. You’re right, we do think alike. I gotta say I like Bouche better than the name I came up with. And I love “homage to Hostess.” Nicely done. Thanks for posting.

    1. jhennigan

      Whoops. I actually meant to post my previous comment on a different story. BUT. I read yours as well and liked it a lot. The swooning narrator, the fact that she named her GPS system…it has a sort of techie romance feel. I dig.

  30. PamBo

    Am I being petty? I mean it is a free country after all; and there is that “Freedom of Speech” amendment to the Constitution.
    But! Doesn’t freedom of speech also carry responsibilities? Of course it does. I cannot infringe on your rights anymore than you can infringe on mine, which is why there are laws about slander.
    I am not slanderous in my blog. I merely state my opinion; tell humorous anecdotes of my profoundly odd, yet extremely helpful affliction. Yes, I include those of whom have been involved in those experiences, but until the last few weeks, every comment and reply to my blog has been positive.
    Then, along comes Four-on-the-Floor; a rude know-it-all.
    He actually corrects some of the anecdotes of which I write as though he was there! The nerve…. I should sue him for slander!
    After finding his address, only fifty miles away, on an angry whim, I want to give him what-for. I’m going get right in his face and say…
    A deep buttery voice interrupts me, “In half a mile, turn right. Your destination will be on your right.”
    Oh, okay. Thanks Barnabus…doesn’t everybody name their GPS?
    I pull into the driveway and roll down the window to view this beautiful home. I’m surprised my thundering heart isn’t rattling the car windows. I’m not good with people. What was I thinking coming here? I grab the gear shift to back out of the drive, when the front door opens.
    Oh crap! This guy is really good looking; what I imagine my smooth voiced Barnabus to look like. I’m frozen watching him glide towards me. God! He’s so graceful…
    “You know, you could catch flies with your mouth open like that…” a musical laugh escapes his perfect mouth. His soft finger closing my mouth doesn’t faze me.
    I hear the car door open and am jostled out of my stupor when a breeze gently raises my skirt hem.
    Remembering why I’m here, I stand up and open my mouth to ask why in the hell he’s so mean to me? (Ewww, did I just sound like a whiny teenager?)
    Suddenly, a large mutt bounds across the lawn, places his paws on my shoulders and kisses my face. Well, what else could I do? I hug him back and roll on the soft grass wrestling him for a moment. I’m great with animals!
    “I just knew it’d work! I knew if I wrote those nasty comments, you’d find me!”
    Huh? I stand, tug my skirt down, mindless of the grinning “Barnabus” watching us. “Ralph? Is that you?” I choke up. “I thought you were dead after I couldn’t find you.” I drop and hug him.
    “Nope. I was on the way to the Endless-Sleep when Gregory here rescued me. I saw your blog and figured the only way to get to you was to be mean. Although some of our adventures were incorrect…!”
    “Were not!”
    Ralph gave me a stern look. “Now, Little Lila Doolittle….”

  31. vrundell

    Am I a lunatic? I think walking up to the door. I mean, sure this guy’s stalking my blog, but now I’m stalking him.

    My phone chimes. Is it him? Again? He posted yesterday and I didn’t respond just like Jerry had counseled. He’s been less-than-enthusiastic about my mission to unmask the so-called “Bouche” who is single-handedly destroying my pet project.

    How simple. Blog my family’s response to organic alternatives of Mom’s signature dishes. See if we can’t get more folks on the healthy eating bandwagon, right? It was going great, really building into the kind of recipe-tip-sharing community I’d envisioned.

    Then Bouche appeared.

    The critiques ranged from ‘Bland’ to ‘Tastes worse than paste’. And sure, maybe all the kinks hadn’t been worked out, but they were solid recipes! Still, my pages views fell faster than a scared soufflé.

    I dig out my phone and scroll through the posts. “Your Mock Meatloaf mocks meatloaf.”

    And already there are two Likes! Two others agree with the Bouche!

    The brass numbers on the door gleam in the hallway like a beacon. I knock until my knuckles scream. The door cracks open, the chain still engaged. And my indignation lands in a heap at the bottom of my stomach.

    “Mrs. Shaw?” Kelly asks. “How, uh, how nice to see you. Are you looking for Jack?”

    I nod woodenly. The door closes and the slide of the chain competes with my deafening heartbeat.

    “He’s in the kitchen. We were just doing some, uh, homework.”

    I follow Kelly through the apartment. As promised, my son sits over a laptop at a table littered with wadded wrappers and French fries. Chocolate milk fills two tall glasses. Jack looks up. His smile dissolves seeing me.

    “Hey Mom. Is everything okay?”

    “Yeah, uh, sure,” I manage, noticing his browser suddenly disappear from the screen.

    “I called Dad. He said I could work on my homework with Kelly until dinner.”

    I flick my finger sending a charred fry across the table. Kelly scrambles to capture the debris and chuck it into the trash. The open pantry is an homage to Hostess. Frosted Cherrios wink at me from the top of the fridge.

    “Seems like you’ve already eaten, dear. Or should I call you Bouche?”

    Jack’s cheeks redden. “Mom, uh…”

    “Dinner’s at five, Jack. Maybe your girlfriend could join us. Actual food might be a novelty,” I sniff.

    I’m halfway to the door when Kelly calls out, “That sounds nice. I’ll be there!”

    1. jhennigan

      So, I posted this in the wrong spot. Sorry. But, here is what I meant to say about your piece.

      Hehehe. Kids. You’re right, we do think alike. I gotta say I like Bouche better than the name I came up with. And I love “homage to Hostess.” Nicely done. Thanks for posting.

      1. vrundell

        Thanks! It’s fun reading all the different ways people take this prompt. Really liked your story. Felt like something my own son might do… 🙂

  32. Deankut

    SEAHORSE

    “Aye Jennie? Did you see what this bugger posted on your bloggie? Aye?” Rita said blowing out a puff of smoke and twisting the laptop around.

    Jennie was putting on the finishing touches of mascara in the tiny lavy off her breakfast nook. “What’s it say Ri? Another perv wankin’ up his johhny to my pic? Maybe I oughta let Rico have a see–No? He’ll look-em up like he did the last john that thought he’d be cute and run off without settlin’!” She mused.

    “Nah. I think you need to have looksie. This one is prattin’ on about a seahorse. Real kinky mate–aye!” Rita laughed.

    “What’s that you said Ri?” She said dropping the mascara.

    “Somthin’ about how he used to take the trolly down the port and you used to get down on his sea horsey. Real comical kink, ey? Give it a read Jennie. He’s blouy. He goes on and on about how he’s longed for this day when he’d find his daisy. He says come meet ‘im for a ride! It’s a real pip!”

    “Daisy..” Jennie said trailing off, staring in the mirror at her over made up face as she groped for the fallen mascara. “Did you say daisy, Ri?”

    “That’s right.” She said getting concerned. “What of it Jenners? You know this bloke? He do something you didn’t like? You better let Rico know. Don’t do nothing foolish girlie. He can find him like the last one.”

    Jennie took one last hard look in the mirror before she turned on the tap and scrubbed her face clean until it turned pink.

    “What’s goin’ on Jenners? It just took you an hour to get ready? Rico’s sending that client over in fifteen. The one that likes all the paint.”

    “Ri, I have to go. I’m—sorry. I’m just so sorry. Tell Rico I’m sorry.” She said on her way out the door. With her hand on the door knob, she stopped to stare at a picture by the door.

    “Jennie. What gives lass? What’s going on? Why you lookin’ at that pic like that? Didn’t you get that at some yard sale?”

    The picture was of a man and little girl with a big daisy in her hair riding the merry-go-round. He was holding her by the waist as she danced on top of the carousel horse with the seashell saddle.

    “No, Rita. I didn’t.” She said just before she closed the door.

    1. jhennigan

      Nice work. The dialogue is excellent in this. You say a lot in just a few hundred words. And I also like that someone took this somewhere dark. Thanks for posting.

    2. annefreemanimages

      Really nice job. I liked this story a lot, and enjoyed the back and forth between the two women. Her decision moment was really good, the “Daisy …” and how the rest of the story played out worked nicely. As Hennigan said, great job in 500 words.

      ~Anne

    3. sprattcm

      Deft, economical yet expressive. This was a pleasure to read (even though I had to read several times to parse the dialogue – which says more about me than anything).

    4. PamBo

      Very interesting, indeedy… I actually read this in my head with the accent! Loved the ending and how you hit us square in the nose with it in the last few sentences. Now THAT’s ‘ow yew end yur tale, bloke!

  33. mariagavila

    I had resisted the temptation of starting a blog as much as I could. I told myself that I would let a literary agent do all of my marketing for me and that my writing would sell itself without the need of “connecting with others on the web.” But, finally I gave in. It must have been the night I had more than my allotted number of margaritas. I don’t know. I woke up with my head laid on my notes about this blog I had created. So I said, “What the heck, let’s see where this takes me.”
    For the first couple of weeks everything went at a snail’s pace. I posted, no one commented. I checked the status reports almost religiously, (because by now I was hooked on this blogging thing). Nothing. And then about two months into this new endeavor of mine… a post! And it was good.
    “I really found your article helpful. I had never thought about using an avocado paste to make my hair shine. Oh and by the way, your page looks wonderful.”
    And so on, and so on. I was flying high with all those comments. But like they say, “what goes up must come down,” I did. On that horrific day I logged in to check any new comments and I found the most hateful thing one could ever see. Someone was attacking me verbally! I was astonished to see that someone had directed their hatred towards me. How could someone do that? Instead of allowing my anger to simmer I let it boil and in that time I called my good friend Junipta so that she could investigate who was behind those words. Someone was going to pay. Blood was going to run.
    Two minutes after my call she sent me a text message with the address that belonged to my attacker. I double checked it because it seemed unreal that it was not far away. I drove over there on steam, because I had forgotten to fill up the gas tank again, but I managed. I walked up the walkway and knocked on the big, red door in front of me. But when that door opened, there he was my high school crush.
    “Hello, long time no see,” he said, amusement in his eyes.
    “I… I… I…,” I stammered. Gosh darnnit! What was he doing here? Or better question yet, what was I doing there? By now my purpose was forgotten.
    “Would you like to come in?”
    I looked at him, and his five feet eight of yummy, and nodded yes. When I walked past him he laughed and said, “I see you still manage to get your skirt caught in your pantyhoses…”
    Without turning back to him I realized I had been right. Blood was going to run… but it did so into my cheeks.

    1. annefreemanimages

      Hi Maria. Enjoyed the read. Pretty funny that she was again smitten. I just think that going from a horrific day of hateful statements to a blushing crush is a little bit too much of a jump. It would have been fun if the comments weren’t too hatefull, and she suddenly recalls that this guy had written something smarmy in her year book, or other pranks like. Then it would really fit that she would blow off the comments and “blood would run into her cheeks.” That was a cute connection to the earlier blood statement. Just some ideas to kick around if you’d like.

      ~Anne

      1. mariagavila

        Thanks Anne for your comment. I guess if I had included a “sample comment” from the attacker, it could’ve made more sense. I was trying to portray the impulsiveness that humans can go through, especially faced with strong emotions. One can potentially outweigh the other. But I guess I needed more words to be able to accomplish that, huh? However, with that being said, I really appreciate the feedback, and I will miss it next week. But you can catch up when you come back… Have a wonderful vacation!

        1. annefreemanimages

          that is the challenge with 500 words. It’s difficult to decide what to keep in and leave out. I tend to use these as an outline for the story, and then write a fuller version for my website. I’d enjoy reading more of yours, too.

          ~Anne

  34. DRoberts

    jhennigan,

    Wow. This was really good. Great ending. I was genuinely surprised. Urson 1989 (your son, right?) Clever! Overall, excellent writing.

  35. jhennigan

    COMMENTS WELCOME, AS ALWAYS

    “MAINFRAME MODULATOR”

    I started my blog in 2008. I’d always been a political junkie, and my brother sent me a real eye opener of an e-mail. It raised a lot of questions about Obama and where he was born. I was intrigued, and my son just happened past the room.
    “Luke, get in here,” I said. “You’ve got to see what your Uncle Dave just sent me.”
    “Is it that misspelled racist screed with all the gifs?”
    So many questions. I wasn’t sure where to begin.
    “What is a gif?”
    “Pictures.”
    “Well. I don’t know. I’m not sure if asking questions is racist.”
    “Oh, OK. You’re just trying to find the truth, Dad?”
    “This is America, isn’t it?”
    “It sure is. Maybe you should start a blog. You can connect with other truth seekers through the World Wide Web.”
    “What about hackers?”
    “Not a problem if you know what you’re doing. Here, I’ll show you.”
    The next morning I already had three followers. I knew two of them, but one, calling himself Urson1989, was a little rude.
    “Some people are afraid of the truth ,” Luke said. “Try not to think about them. Just write for your followers.”
    Before long I was posting something new every night. I had almost 20 followers, including Dave and a couple of his buddies.
    But Urson1989 was always there. He was a smug little so and so. But, I believed in Freedom of Speech, so I tried to ignore him.
    Things took a turn for the worst after I posted my views on the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. I woke up the next morning to find that someone, (probably Urson1989) posed as me posted 1,500 of the most disgusting words I’d ever read.
    “Son, I think I’ve been attacked by cyber terrorists.”
    “I was afraid this would happen,” he said.
    “Is there anyway to erase it?”
    “No, unfortunately. Once it’s on the internet, there’s no turning back.”
    “Should I email Santorum and the rest and tell them I’m sorry? You know, in case they see it?”
    “I think you absolutely should send Rick Santorum an email apologizing for the erotic fan fiction cyber terrorists posted about him on your blog. In the meantime, I’ll try to find this creep’s IP address.”
    Later that day, the emails I sent to various public figures explaining my situation found their way onto my blog. I was horrified.
    “Son! What can I do?”
    “It’s worse than I thought. The hackers scrambled their IP address. They must be using a router encryptor.”
    I thought I would cry.
    “Dad, I can install a mainframe modulator to make sure you never get hacked again. But the only way to be safe is for you to never forward another political email to anyone, ever. And you can never blog again.”
    “I’m so lucky to have you, Son. That day, back in 1989, when you were born, was the happiest day of my life.”
    “Thanks, Dad. Remember. Never blog again. Ever.”

  36. Initialle

    “I don’t understand,” I said.

    “What?” said Jourdan. “What’s wrong? Do you want to come in?”

    He stepped away from the door, clearing the way for me to step inside.

    “It was you?” My voice squeaked. I pushed my glasses up and rubbed my eyes, trying to press the tears back. I’d come here ready to fight. I should have known I wasn’t ready.

    “Are you okay?” He had the gall to sound concerned.

    “You left that comment on my blog?”

    “You have a blog?”

    He sounded so bewildered. Was he trying to play dumb? Karen had warned me about trying this, when she tracked down the address for me. In the car on the way here, she’d tried to calm me down. She’d tried to back out of the driveway the moment we pulled in. But I was here and I was going to see this through. I had snatched the keys when she wasn’t expecting it and stormed up to the porch, not recognizing the house until the door opened.

    “Of course I have a blog,” I sobbed, fumbling in my pocket for a tissue. “You commented on my post – and you were – you hurt my feelings!”

    I didn’t sound like the embodiment of justice. I sounded like a spoiled child.

    “Molly,” he said. He sounded flustered. Good! “Molly, please don’t cry.”

    “Why would you do that?” I howled.

    “I didn’t! I swear I didn’t, Molly, I’m serious. Don’t cry–”

    “You’re lying! Karen found your IP address. We know it’s you!”

    “Molly, my computer’s crashed.”

    “Wh-what?”

    “Really. And I didn’t even know you had a blog.”

    “B-b-but–” That didn’t make any sense. Karen had found the commenter’s IP address. She’d explained to me how she’d done it. She’d driven me out here herself, just because she knew I’d be crying too hard to drive…

    I turned around, trying to find the car through a watery film of tears. I blinked, took off my glasses and found Karen sitting helplessly in the car, sliding down as far in the seat as she could. She looked sick.

    “Karen?” I squeaked.

    She smiled weakly and mouthed, “April Fool?”

    1. jhennigan

      Nice. I like that you started with the confrontation and worked your way back. The only thing that could make this better would be a little more about the relationship of the person she was confronting. Nicely done, thanks for posting

    2. annefreemanimages

      Initialle – the opening was really good, and the dialogue between the narrator and the man was good, too. Seemed natural. the ending is loaded with possibilities regarding what was going on between these three people. Too bad we can’t find out in 500 words!

      ~Anne

      1. JRSimmang

        Great dialogue! The conversational tone makes this easy to read and visualize. And I especially love the spelling for ‘Jourdan.’ It’s easy to understand, though. It’s how my name is spelled.

  37. sprattcm

    A familiar litany of statistics rolled through my mind as I turned onto 23rd avenue. Some days they were soothing, reassuring. Tonight, they fueled a smoldering rage that begged for the chance to punish somebody. That somebody had been posting ignorant personal attacks on my blog for several weeks now.

    After my son was diagnosed with autism, everything in our world changed. In my eyes, I still saw the same sweet little boy who loved Thomas the Train. In my heart, I still craved those quiet moments we spent together. Most often he enjoyed lining his wooden trains up from smallest to largest, but the peace and joy I once felt was now corrupted by the uncomfortable realization that this behavior wasn’t just an adorable personality quirk – it was a symptom of a disorder nobody understood.

    My phone’s cold, synthesized voice directed me to turn left on Weyland Drive. I’d left the familiar parts of town behind twenty minutes ago, headed for an older part of town I rarely think of and never visit.

    The sudden prevalence of autism in the last few years prompted as much skepticism as alarm. Our diagnosis was devastating, but it wasn’t a surprise. My husband and I knew Charlie was a little different. We’d spent half a day at Doernbecher’s Children’s Hospital with Charlie as they put him through a battery of exams designed to screen for ASD. The 9th floor slowly emptied out as the day wore on, and by five, the lights had gone dim throughout the rest of the floor as we waited for the panel to put together their report. In a small conference room with no windows, Charlie dozed in my husband’s arms as we listened to a developmental psychologist take a wrecking ball to our dreams.

    I started my blog and learned everything I could. I joined parent support groups and signed up for newsletters. My husband Jon tried at first to do the same, but he couldn’t let go of the dreams he had for Charlie. Before the diagnosis, we we’d fantasized about Charlie earning stellar grades or his letter in baseball. Now, we dreamed of being able to shop for groceries without a meltdown.

    Jon couldn’t cope with Charlie’s needs and I felt like I suddenly had to care for two children instead of one. Our marriage ended in a storm tears and bitter recriminations. I stopped taking Jon’s calls a month ago because our battles had all been fought and I didn’t have the strength to relive them at the bottom of each of his bottles of Jack.

    I pulled up to the address Liz had given me and put the car in park. I grabbed the sheaf of supporting documents from the seat and stormed to the front door. Whoever answered the door had earned a faceful of education with their relentless attacks on my blog. I pounded on the door and reviewed my opening argument as the entry light flicked on. The door opened.

    “Jon? What the hell?”

    “You weren’t taking my calls anymore! I asked Liz to give you this address. I’ve been hitting your blog because I knew you’d get angry enough to come and talk to me. Hear me out! I want a second chance…”

  38. catbr

    Been writing that blog for 8 months and haven’t had a problem with it up until the last couple of weeks. Almost everyday there’s some sick twisted comment against me and they’re usually dripping with hatred and vengence. Why would anyone want to do this to me? I’m so sick and tired of it. I think I’ll ask Wally the computer wiz to help me out with this. He’ll know how to locate the wierdo. I’ve got to put a stop to it or this jerk could ruin everything for me.

    That night I phone Wally and explain everything to him.

    “No problem Sandra. I know exactly what to do. Should have that address for you in a couple of hours.”

    “Thanks a lot Wally. Talk to you later.”

    The next morning I’m heading out the door to hunt down my prey. Wally is a genius. I need to make up some line so the loser will open the door when I get there. I can only imagine what all the other commenters are thinking about me because of all this. The comments from the regulars are slowing down a little. It just riles me up.

    There it is, 142 Maple Street. My heart is racing. I feel like I’m going to have a heart attack. It takes everything I’ve got to restrain myself from battering down the door, but I manage 3 short raps.

    “Who is it?”

    “It’s Debbie. I work for the city. It seems you have a problem with your water meter. I’m here to check it out.” I try to contain myself.

    “Okay, be right there.”

    “Oh my god. It’s you. What is your problem?” I couldn’t believe my eyes. There she stood in the doorway, somebody I used to work with a few years back. Not too many fond memories of her either.

    “Surprised that one of your commenters didn’t like you much? When I saw how much attention you were getting I couldn’t help myself. Everybody on your blog really seems to like you alot. But that’s nothing new is it? When Joe started dating you back then it just about broke my heart. I always had a crush on him and thought he liked me but that wasn’t the case at all. Anyway this was just my little way of getting back at you.” My little way…I felt like punching her in the mouth but didn’t want to get charged for assault or catch some std from any blood that might stain my fist. Cindy was always a goof and a slut…prancing around in those tight low neck lined blouses and running everybody down in the office.

    “Thankyou for nearly ruining my good name. As far as Joe goes it only lasted a couple of months and then it just died down. Besides if I remember correctly, you were screwing everybody in the office at the time. So don’t give me that “broke my heart” bull shit. I’m going to let it go this time but if I ever get another peep from you on my blog, I’ll be back.” Sort of felt like the terminator with that last line. I slammed the door in her flabbergasted sickening looking face and walked away.

    1. annefreemanimages

      hi Catbr. It’s the old 500 words trouble. I enjoyed when the two characters started in on each other, but the transition from the door to the flamer’s first retort was a little abrupt. You might be able to fix that by eliminating the narrative between the narrator and the techie. It’s not necessary to your story to actually have the narrator and the techie speaking, and that would give you more time to spend on the confrontation between the two women. Just an idea!

      ~Anne

      1. PamBo

        I agree with Anne. I thought the exact same thing…no need for that dialogue. (And probably no need for me to repeat it…duh!!) Your story left me hanging…I wanted to hear more conflict (making up…whatever) between the women. The pictures you paint with your words are good. I’d go back and work on this to see if you can improve it and still keep it under 500 words.

    1. jhennigan

      I liked this. The frantic voice of the narrator worked well. I got a little confused by ” stayed on the fence…censorship.” also you left us wanting to know more, which I dig.

      1. penney

        The fence thing I may not have worded so great. When someone believes in something but wont take a definite stand on something like a political view, so they stay on the fence. How else could you say that and stay within 500 words?

        1. Frank

          Liked this a lot — you have a natural flair for writing, I suspect — words tumbling out and originality of voice. You need to continue writing!

  39. penney

    A few months ago I started a blog. My friends had suggested that because I wanted to get more writing practice this would be a good way my short stories and book ideas would get real feedback. It had been going pretty good until I switched to a few editorials regarding recent crap in the news. It wasn’t even important, I should have kept my mouth shut but some of the air time celebrities get, just chap my hid! So I went off.

    It was titled, “Leave Kirk Cameron and his religious beliefs alone.” Of all the things to waist time on, I mean, we really should be getting down to business on the idiot that got that Snokie chick pregnant, right? Of all the people that should have children? Screw world peace, Iran and the nuclear threat? China? Nah. Snokie! Snokie! Snokie! My point exactly. You think they’ll burn a pregnant Minnie Me effigy of that Jersey Girl in Central Park one day?

    So, I went into Word first as I always do. Writing is like diarrhea of the mouth, especially when I get a flood of thoughts. Once I had cut and pasted it into the blog post, it was done. Wow, it felt like a huge weight had been lifted. The blog was more for me, I mean, no one hardly reads my stuff anyway. Until last night, geeze, what a potty mouth.

    An anonymous person posted a response. It was almost to the point of threatening. I felt violated. This isn’t how it’s supposed to go. Honestly, I thought my post would be treated the same as most, not worth a second look. I actually stayed balanced on the political fence between “gays will burn in hell and freedom of speech and censorship.” I pretty much condemned everyone, but no one at all.

    After I thought about it I got really mad. I was on a Snokie hunt. Jack, a computer geek friend of mine, helped. How he did it, I don’t know. I don’t care. I drove across town, amazed at how close this person lived to me. Why so mean, why so personal? It’s just a blog, pointless. I ran through my head all the things I wanted to say when I met the anonymous foe.

    As I drove closer to the address, I pulled to the side of the road. Wait a minute. I pulled out the Map Quest printout. Yah, this was it. My lip inadvertently pinched upward, I had to rethink this, this couldn’t be right. I pulled in and parked in my church parking lot. I slowly walked to the rectory behind the church. Father Michael opened the door before I even reached for the handle. “We need to talk,” he said calmly. All I could do was just stair at him in disbelief. I made my feet move. I followed him in and as if nothing was wrong, he asked, “coffee or tea?”

    1. annefreemanimages

      Hi Penny – I really like how you resolved the story with the Father. Great idea. I would have enjoyed seeing some of the father’s posts and the narrator’s reactions to them. that would have been fun and interesting. That is, afterall, the heart of your story, but you didn’t really give that any space. Consider cutting down on the narrator’s long lead up to the confrontation with Father Michael, and maybe have her flashing back on his posts as he brings the coffee to her. That would really build some suspense about how the direction the conversation between them would play out. Just some suggestions. Nice idea.
      ~Anne

      1. sprattcm

        You know Anne, that’s actually great feedback (Pardon me for saying so, Penny). I mean, we’re given a scenario and a very limited number of words. It’s incredibly easy to spend the first 1/3 to 1/2 of your word count re-expressing the scenario. I know I struggled with that myself this post. Thanks for pointing that out, I’m taking notes.

        -Chris

    2. PamBo

      I love the picture you created of, “…lip inadvertently pinched upward…” I liked the ending, however; I think it would have been a bigger “surprise” if you had not told us it was your church. Tell us you pulled into the parking lot of the beautiful old building and slowly walked to the back entrance. Then in the last sentence or two, tell us he the door….and you made your feet move into the rectory of the church. Then….ta da!! reveal the guy…. (after following him as though nothing was wrong)…Father Michael asked, “coffee or tea?” IMHO, I believe holding out until the last few possible sentences makes for a more suspensful ending and keeps us reading to get there. You took all questions away when you pulled into the church lot.

        1. penney

          Okay, stayed up watching tv late and don’t know where else to put this for you to see and maybe tell me where more or less is best. Could be addition to story or different start but for your reading enjoyment:

          Act 2:
          As I drove closer to the address, I pulled to the side of the road. Wait a minute. I pulled out the Map Quest printout. Yah, this was it. My lip inadvertently pinched upward, I had to rethink this, this couldn’t be right. I turned up the dirt driveway. A castle like structure, spooky and beautiful at the same time stared back at me. I slowly walked toward the back entrance. He opened the door before I even reached for the handle.

          “We need to talk,” he said calmly. All I could do was just stair at him in disbelief. I made my feet move. I followed him into the rectory, and as if nothing was wrong, he asked, “coffee or tea?”

          I waved him off, I didn’t care.

          How could he be so nonchalant so peaceful about the whole thing? The sort of things he said. I grew up with this man.

          “Your blog is going to bury you six feet under. If you continue to live with old ideas, how will you ever live eternally in the New Kingdom,” the anonymous blogger wrote.

          “Without forgiveness, you will burn in hell, and I will pave the way,” it continued, “You are heartless and cynical. Keep your mouth shut about matters you don’t understand.”

          Sister Gertrude followed the Father into the sitting room. She set the serving tray on the table, steam rising from the teapot. I felt even more uneasy. I sat still while my mind raced. Exit points? What the Frick, all I could see in my mind was roly-poly Gertrude in a Fly Nun habit pointing, “Two exits to the front, two to the back and one out the bathroom upstairs, please watch your step.”

          The clanking of the cup and saucer brought me back, I reached for it, “thank you,” I said nervously to the sister.

          “Suck my dick, you homophobe,” she winked and for the first time, I saw it, she was a guy, a frigging guy in a dress. Worse, in a Habit, and I’m supposed to accept this?

          “Now Gurdy behave, I’m sure the girl didn’t mean any harm,” Father Michael said with a creamy smooth voice.

          All I could hear was this very definite voice in my head, “Get the Hell out of here,” God, me, I didn’t care, I just acted.

          “Listen Father, you do what you want; I ain’t going to stop you. Oh, no. But, if you ever talk to me or anyone I care about, you are through,” I was shaking and clanked the cup down so hard it chipped. I was up and walking very fast the same way I had come in.

          The voice was there again, “Don’t look back, don’t look back.” I didn’t, but I could feel it as my keys hit the ignition, two men, one in a minister’s collar and the other in a habit, teacups chinking.

          “Cheers, honey, cheers.”

  40. Icabu

    On the hunt, I built a head of irate steam driving across town. Tightening my fingers on the steering wheel as a red light delayed my vengeance, my mind raced through various scenarios of why and who. Why would anyone want to attack me through my blog? Those saying that words can’t hurt like sticks and stones had never read what this idiot commented.

    Green light. I exhaled forcefully and relaxed my fingers and shoulders, continuing on my way. Maybe I was making mountains out of mole hills, but, dammit, this was personal. With the boost of my sane commenters, I convinced my network-guru friend to monitor my blog to identify the idiot. It didn’t take long. After writing an especially heartfelt post, the idiot responded with equivalent vitriol. I had to admit to both surprise and dread when the IP address trace turned out to be a local hotspot. It was someone nearby; someone I could face, peeling away the anonymity of the internet. My friend had me change my posting time to the wee hours and I soon had a home address.

    The tree-lined street in a neatly planned neighborhood was not what I expected to find. For some reason, I had pictured a greasy, pimply geek in a dorm room that got kicks from lurking on blogs and posting their hatred and personal attacks behind the veil of the internet. I pulled to the curb a few house numbers down from my target. It was nearly my posting time and only one house had inside lights on at this hour – my vile commenter.

    Standing before the door, I clenched my trembling, sweaty hand into a fist and rapped. The light upstairs went out and my heart rate hit triple digits. A downstairs light came on; I fought the flight side of my adrenaline rush. The door opened to the length of the chain lock and a face appeared in the revealing crack.

    I stood frozen as a wild range of emotions short-circuited my brain. An arm snaked through the narrow opening and touched my arm.

    “Tag, you’re it.”

    Relief and embarrassment equally filled me as my best-ever childhood friend opened the door wide and welcoming. I entered and spent the dark hours catching up on a three year absence.

    Driving home, my mind churned. Game on!

    1. annefreemanimages

      Icabu – if I had read your story prior to posting my own, I’m not sure I would have had the guts to post one! What a terrific story! I loved it. The language is and descriptions are real and I can feel the tension building. The eningd couldn’t be cooler. Just terrific!
      ~Anne

      1. Icabu

        Anne, thank you for the incredibly positive feedback! I think it takes far more GUTS to post continuing character stories than whatever pops into your mind. I enjoy the weekly Rett adventure.

    2. PamBo

      Funny ending! Loved the build up of the anger, then the total discard of it with the one line, “tag, you’re it!”
      I can see the guy’s mind working and the grin on his face as he works out the next prank.

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