French feverishly worked with leathery gnarled tips poking out of her brown ‘hand me down’ finger-less gloves. The night air was ice chilled but this client was paying double as long as she did her work here -tonight.

Among the crumbling concrete buildings and trash cluttered streets glowing under bright flickering yellow neon lights she sat quietly. The city of Metroplex’s citizens were trained in one trade skill since birth. They would perform this one craft until the age of thirty. They were all masters by then and there wasn’t much else they could know so most just kept on doing it. It was all random. French got lucky as she was a knitter and not a sewage pipe shit scraper.

With wrinkled brow and old green eyes she stared down trained on the clacking wooden needles. Pulling this and looping that. At least she assumed they were clacking. She couldn’t hear them anymore. Here with these familiar worn grooves in the wood and plying her trade is where she found her transcendence among the youthful urbanites that plunged Metroplex into filth and chaos.

Bright and blood red was the yarn she was working with tonight and the little sweater was nearly complete. It was beautiful and fit for a toddler.  The client said they would meet her here soon.

* * *

“Give me that bottle Jorn. You always drink half of it before I even get a taste. You are a girl you aren’t supposed to drink so much.”

“You offered and it helps my artistic vibe. I am a painter after all,” she took another swig. “How many credits was thing anyway? It tastes awful.”

“Not awful enough apparently and it was as many credits as I can spare on a carpenters salary. This is as romantic as I get.”

They did this on Saturday nights. It was standard procedure to haunt the Cyberdeliah, listen to fast hard electro music and trade credits for a bagged bottle of mystery booze. From there Jorn and Chek would wander around the park kicking over trash cans and getting drunk enough to not feel the cold.

Chek zipped up a grey faux leather jacket up to his chin. A thin silver chain hung down his thigh and bounced against his black skinny jeans as he walked alongside Jorn. She shuffled closer to him and the leather straps that hung from her old biker jacket flowed in the breeze. She held out the stained brown bagged bottle toward him.

“Here. You look like you need a little antifreeze,” she winked at him as a glint of light bounced off her jet black cropped hair.

He smiled and took the bottle quickly leaning in to kiss her lips before she could pull away. A kiss from Jorn was all the antifreeze he ever needed.

* * *

Chek’s lips felt warm against hers and she felt the old familiar tingle in her belly as she pushed back. Reaching down to tangle her colorful paint stained fingers with his she felt the rough texture of callouses built from years of hard labor. They were rough and strong but gentle. Always gentle with her. Many times she felt she didn’t deserve him. He was much too good for her.

They walked quietly up a small illuminated path hand in hand their heavy booted footfalls on the concrete thudded a warning to anyone ahead of them that there would be trouble coming if they wanted it. The city was a bit off in the distance but the glow of the night life escaped no corner of this sector for miles. To them it was a beautiful anarchy. The leadership was young but still they clung to the old ways.

Chek took a pull from the brown bag and suddenly came to a halt. She looked quizzically at his eyes which had grown to the large size she had only seen when he was ready to fight. Instinctively she thumbed the front pocket of her jacket where she kept the blade. Whipping her head around to take a count of how many there were she brandished the familiar weapon flicking it open quietly.

But she only saw an old woman. She folded the blade closed and stuffed it back into her pocket.

“Chek it is just an old lady. Doing what?” she whispered and squinted to focus her eyes. “Knitting.”

The bottle exploded into a hundred pieces as Chek spiked it onto the concrete. The booze inside quickly soaked the paper and began running out onto the filthy foot path. Jorn stepped back in surprise.

“Baby?” she was confused and began to get scared. ‘Was he that drunk already?’

Chek fell to his knees and began to sob uncontrollably. She knelt beside him and put her arm around his shoulders. Mucus ran from his nose in long strands as his tear ducks poured out droplets of agony on to the ground in a torrential storm of emotion and pain.

The old woman didn’t even notice his wailing as she smiled to herself holding the small blood red sweater up to the light pleased with her craftsmanship.

Chek looked up and saw the completed sweater in full view now. This only made him wail louder and cry harder. Jorn held her body against his. The trembling of whatever torment spell he was in shook them both violently. She clung tight to him feeling every thud of his heart and pulse of his seizing muscles waiting for it to pass but something had torn her man open. This was a wound that ran deep. This was something he had clearly never shared with her.

April 16th, 2015

Posted In: Short Stories, writing101

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I try to keep things pretty much the same here.  The process is simple: write story -> edit story -> record story -> post story to website.  That is pretty much what composes dannymachal.com.  Keeps it from getting personal, and keeps me from contributing “nothing” to the blog universe; you see that so many other places.  So keeping that in mind I feel this is important.  Part of becoming a writer is respecting the people you look up to and becoming part of a team.  A team that encourages each other and helps spread the word for each other.  So let’s talk about the thrill ride that my hopefully future teammate JC Hutchins authored: Personal Effects – Dark Art.

Hutchins’s book is about a man suspected in 12 murders.  He is currently being held at Brinkvale Psychiatric Hospital and his name is Martin Grace.  Martin Grace isn’t your average killer/crazy person, for he is also, blind.  Now, Personal Effects – Dark Art is told through the eyes of hipster art therapist Zach Taylor.  Zach helps the insane by letting them express themselves through art work, painting, quilting, etc.  He gets assigned to the Grace case and has a week to determine if Grace is sane enough to go to trial.

Personal Effects – Dark Art takes you into the mind of a complete mad man.  Martin Grace claims there is a force that rules him, he talks about, the “Dark Man.”  Even Zach isn’t immune to the Dark Man’s infectious evil and finds himself slowly being sucked into his own psychosis as he unravels the dark details of not only himself, but also Mr. Grace.  Things are not what they seem with Brinkvale’s newest resident, and Zach must learn that.  He must discover it all, even dipping into his own personal darkness.

This is more than a story you just read and walk away from.  Look at these pictures I took.

See all that?  Those are the photos, birth certificates, death certificates, identification cards, scribbled notes, forgotten letters, ancient accommodations and other important documents that are all part of the Personal Effects – Dark Art universe.  Go to My Flickr! page to get the big versions.  It isn’t just a bunch of paper and plastic, no, there are websites and contact numbers.  That is MY cell phone with Zach Taylor’s phone number.  Call it, I dare you!  Zach isn’t the only number in my phone, there are other numbers I discovered as I read through the book.

When I first got the book I spread out all the stuff that comes with it (as you see) and started to take notes and organize myself.  That is the notebook you see there.  I was glad I did, there is SO much extra stuff beyond these written pages I can’t even begin to tell you.  Well I could, but Zach Taylor does a better job.  I got it on Thursday of last week and I stayed up until 3 a.m.  I finished reading all the text but then I spent two days just exploring the rest of the Personal Effects – Dark Art world.  It is truly the evolution of story telling.  No movie, no game, and no television program will ever get you as involved in a story as Hutchins’s revolutionary method.  Get yourself a copy and check it out!

Click here to get it!

If this isn’t enough – Hutchins has started releasing the prequel novella to Personal Effects – Dark Art.  It is called Sword of Blood and if you ask me, it is way more bat shit crazy than Personal Effects.  Sword of  Blood also started me on a personal quest, a secret quest.  shhhhhhhhhh

p.s. The story hasn’t ended for me, I don’t know that it ever will.  I tore out page 179 and I carry it with me now.  You were wrong Hutch, it does mean something, and I will figure out what.

June 17th, 2009

Posted In: Personal, The Craft of Writing, zEverything

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Man, it has been way to serious around here lately.  I ate about half a roll of bubble tape and turned on the flipcam just to mess around.  I ended up blowing a MASSIVE bubble gum bubble.

May 12th, 2009

Posted In: Personal, zEverything

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Download The Small Neighborhood in the Middle of Nowhere PDF

Read On –

“Billy lets go, he isn’t worth it.”

“The hell he ain’t Hank.  A kid can’t walk home from school without being scared, that’s not right.  I’m gunna teach him a lesson.”

“You should listen to your brother Billy, no sense in me kicking your ass again.”

“Jeremy that was three years ago, I’ve gotten a lot bigger since then.  Besides, what you’re doin’ ain’t right.  It ain’t right at all.  So square up you pussy, lets go.”

April 11th, 2009

Posted In: Short Stories, zEverything

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