fruits of labor & labored fruits

Flash Fiction

Wally in a Red Blouse by Egon Schiele-1913

Watch the hands wave them in, suitors and scavengers alike, waiting for their piece of American pie. They come in droves — lips coated in silver-spooned tongues raising their hands, bidding at all costs for the missing links of home. What they cannot get from the one they married, they will gladly pay the one they do not love. The wanting . . . The yearning . . . The overwhelming beasting of burly men stands at attention.

She can only be a symbol of strength — moving through the vicissitudes of life without fear, she gathers their names. She will remember them; their grunts and groans, the sounds of the room, and the premature orgasms logged in the memory bank of her mind. Three hundred seventy-five dollars will get you two hours and two positions. If you want more, add sixty dollars for an additional thirty minutes. Her time is theirs to have but at a cost.

This is a business. She is professional. Each transaction is documented. She prefers cash but will not decline plastic. Wear your words carefully and choose your tour wisely. The ins and outs of her will not be extended. Your personal escort awaits . . . Sign off and hand your ticket to Duane at the front desk.

You have been served.

The cars on the street honk their horns, their owners smile happily — satisfied . . . satiated. Their disheveled clothes are replaced by the clean items waiting in their bags. A new attitude is ordered. It arrives right before their feet meet the doors of their homes. Frequent flyers look forward to their weekend adventures — their secret life tucked neatly behind their backs. They’ll never tell. She’ll never tell.

The perfect exchange.


*Professional escorts provide their clients with undivided time and attention in return for payment. Their work can range from companionship to sexual services. — wikiHow (2019)

Young Minds of Medium

*Submissions Call (I am posting this here as well, just in case any of the young ones are interested). 

How Do You Sing The Blues?

This is a call for submissions. Young Minds of Medium — this is your challenge. I am looking for work from the young writers here on Medium, ages 15–25. Submissions will be reviewed and posted on Mondays and Fridays during the month of November. THIS IS YOUR TIME TO SHINE! I want to hear from you. I want to feel, connect with, and fall in love with the words you would like to share with the world.

Your theme: “How Do You Sing the Blues?”

What am I asking?

How do you handle moments of sadness? What do you do to ease your pain? Are there any favorite songs you listen to, any good books you read in which to escape? How do you move through the bad times that come in and try to take control of your life?

I am looking for:


•You will need to be a current user on Medium for this challenge. Request to be added as a writer by emailing me at acorneredgurl@gmail.com with “Please Add Me” as the subject line. For the young ones, ages 15–25 already contributing to ACG, please submit your work in draft-form directly to A Cornered Gurl for review, scheduling, and/or publishing. You can submit twice per week, your works will be published on Monday and Friday of that week.

Please have a suitable image for your work with notable credit to its source/artist (Please include the link!). You can find plenty of great images via UnsplashPixabay, and PexelsIf you are the source for your image, please caption that.

Please subtitle your entries “Young Minds of Medium Blues Call” and tag your pieces with the following: “Growth” & “The Blues.” CHALLENGE SUBMISSION BEGINS NOW!

The start date for publishing the YMOM pieces is Friday, November 1, 2019, and the end date is Friday, November 29, 2019. Other contributors to ACG, please, no worries. You can submit as you normally would to A Cornered Gurl and your work will be published as well, however, a total of three pieces will be published on Mondays and Fridays for all other writers, leaving the floor wide open for our young ones. I hope you will understand and accept this.


  • Please remember that A Cornered Gurl is a read-for-all community and there will be no metered paywall or locked pieces published here. Thank you.

Nod Your Head to Nas & Damian Marley|Patience


ACG Guidelines

Young people, this is the last challenge of the year for you — please, bring it!

Scream-catcher

Flash Fiction

Wallpaper Stream

Wendy agreed to join Ryan and a few of his jockey friends for a night of gallivanting through the “Haunted Forest.” Halloween was right around the corner — the last thing she wanted to hear was her boyfriend’s whiny voice if she chose not to meet them in the forest with three of her buddies from the dance squad.

“Whose brilliant idea was this anyway?” She found herself talking to the reflection in the mirror as she propped and defiled her cheery face with black makeup, red lipstick, and white eye-shadow. She gently placed the novelty fangs in her mouth and practiced a pronounced lisp while donning a witch’s wig atop her brunette waves.

The plan was to meet up at the forest, pay the $10.00 fee, and enjoy the haunting put on by a few of their classmates. Wendy was sure many of the props used were older than her parents, including Dracula who was appropriately placed in his coffin on the creaky porch of the haunted house.

Moss hung from the old oak trees, fog hovered over the grass for half-a-mile into the forest, and a rank odor filled her nostrils as she worked her way to their meet-up spot. Streaks of bloody handprints lined the outside of each shed. “They’re really playing it up this year. I bet Ryan and the boys are enjoying this.”

She reached the spot where they were to meet. Her shoes were damp from the sudden wetness of the ground beneath her. The incessant echo of a drip, drip, drip filled the forest. She felt those drips land on her shoulder. She touched the cape of her costume and rubbed her index finger and thumb together. “Raspberry sauce or ketchup.” She placed her fingers to her nose and sniffed. The smell of copper and dead skin was strong on them.


She looked up . . . Ryan, David, Josh, Sonja, Hallie, and Beth were hanging above her in the trees. Pieces of them were cut off and tied to the person to their left. Wendy felt her throat lock up. The slow roar of a scream escaped. As soon as she heard it, she covered her mouth. But that one scream was all it took. The shadow of her late boyfriend appeared before her. Its hand waving a bloody knife.

Wendy tried to run but her body began to sink into the ground. Ryan’s shadow cut off her left arm and right ear. Wendy howled before a lustful moon. One more flick of the knife to take her lower lip and she screamed with a might that could wake the dead.

Her once pretty frame had been dismembered. Her beautiful hair laid limp on her head. Her incomparable scream echoed throughout the forest. To her left was Beth, still flinching — her eyes stuck in an astonished look. Wendy screamed once more and Ryan’s shadow was there to catch it.


Jarred Screams

Dracula studied the menu for tonight’s dinner. He looked at Ryan’s Shadow and placed his order: “I’ll have your best scream of the night.” Ryan’s Shadow disappeared then reappeared with Wendy’s severed head. Her face was permanently distorted — her eyes popped out of their sockets. They opened the jar and the sound of her scream pierced their eardrums.

Dracula was satisfied. “Yes . . . Yes! I’ll take two.”


Originally published in The Weekly Knob for the Halloween Trope Challenge via Medium. The friend link is shared as this is a piece behind Medium’s paywall.

TV Trope used: Screaming woman

The Life I Gave Him

The Struggle Is Worth It

Life off Screen by JD Mason via Unsplash

What does this picture say? I have an imagination that would bring itself back to life if it died, so instantly, I drum up a story. Who is this man? What is his story? What is his struggle? He stands, contemplating his next move, deep in thought, and utterly focused. What’s his background? I study him. I plant my eyes on an amazing creature and I think . . .

“What type of life can I create for him?”

He just received the crippling news from his wife — the small business loan they applied for through his local credit union two days ago was denied. For the last three years, they have prepped, devised a gameplan, created flyers, and reached out to local residents and business owners for sponsorship and the one thing that would help launch their small business was denied.

He thinks about their credit score, although not excellent, was in overall good standing — can’t be that. He thinks about their presence in their local neighborhood and both of them are upstanding citizens, well-known at their jobs and within their community — can’t be that. He stops to think about where they want to plant their small business and why and stays there with this thought for hours. For him and his wife, to have a recreational center in their urban neighborhood that also operates as an after-school tutorial location would be essential for many of the children who are struggling with their grades in school and who also need somewhere safe to be until their parents return home from work.

He stops to think about where they want to plant their small business and why and stays there with this thought for hours.

This was their dream. How could they deny it?

He huffs out a huge sigh and decides to cut work short and drive home early enough to beat the evening traffic. When he reaches home, his wife sits staring at the letter — a look of exhaustion is slapped on her face. She looks up to him and begins to sob. He gently takes the letter from her, glances over the first few lines, and then the beginning of the “rejection” paragraph . . .

Loan Rejection Letter Sample via Google (altered)

He sits down, defeated. The word “other” never looked so incriminating, so . . . distorted. He read over the rejection letter three times before putting it back into its envelope and placing it in their important documents file cabinet. He made one phone call. His uncle mentioned three weeks ago that if, “there is anything I can do to help steer y’all in the right direction Roman, just let me know” — his memory picked up on that conversation and his pride was swiftly pushed to the side. If anyone understood the all-too-exhausting plight of entrepreneurship, it was his uncle.

One phone call, twenty-five minutes, and some joy-filled tears later, the dream that seemed as though it was crushed was instantly thrown back into manifestation. They would have their recreational center/after-school tutorial program after all. When he heard his uncle say, “Roman, that ain’t nothing, youngblood. I was rejected three times before I was approved and now, I am blessed beyond measure. You name your number and I’ll write that check.”

If anyone understood the all-too-exhausting plight of entrepreneurship, it was his uncle.

Six months later, he and his wife host twenty-two children, employ a staff of twelve and have garnered a profit instead of a loss. The rec center has provided their community with togetherness, a sense of belonging, and a positive atmosphere for the children. The work they do is fulfilling as well as substantial for not just them, but for everyone connected to them. When he looks at his wife now, her face glows — happiness lives in her eyes.

This was their dream.

It lived because it had to.


Originally published via Medium. The link shared is a friend link as this is a piece behind Medium’s paywall. Thank you for reading.


The Life I Gave Her

The Good Cry

The Great Release

Supriya Bhonsle via Mixkit.co

You have had an awful day at work. Your car wouldn’t start when you left. You finally get it going only to have the old lady on the highway merge as soon as you try to take your exit and cause you to miss it. You burn dinner. The dog’s belly rejects the food you have been feeding it for three straight years and vomit soaks your carpet. You are out of carpet and upholstery cleaner.

You forget to pay your cell phone bill.

The dishes need washing. The laundry is still waiting for you to remember it is there. Your youngest brother lost his job and you lent him your last $40.00 knowing he won’t ever be able to pay you back. Your crush knows they are your crush and is now avoiding you.

You stub your toe, break a nail, and lose your favorite earrings. There is an increase in your rent, effective immediately. You are shorted a day of pay — by mistake. The payroll department tells you, you will be “compensated on your next check.”

Your mother needs a ride to a city three hours away, however, has no gas money to give you. You do it anyway. While there, she gets hungry . . . She wants lunch . . . You buy it. You have $10.00 left to your name when you get back home.

Payday is eight days away.

There is a power outage in your area. No power for four hours, then six, then eight, then twelve. You spent $80.00 on groceries, most of the items are refrigerated or perishable. Payday is still eight days away.

Your co-worker quits, walks out the same day. That project he babysat is now yours. You take it on plus your work too. No pay increase, no new co-worker for five months. There is overtime, but there is NO overtime pay. You are asked to remember your role in the company and how influential you are.

You spruce up your résumé.

Your car battery dies. You replace it. The brakes go. You replace them too. The spark plugs no longer spark and you throw your hands up in the air — exhausted from this month from hell.

You kick off your shoes, sprawl yourself across the living room floor, and you cry. Your chest heaves. Your eyes are bloodshot red. You lose your voice. You cry until the pain seeps out of your heart, slithers down your hands, and floods your home. You cry until the tears are afraid to leave your eyes. You cry until the next-door neighbor knocks on yours and says, “Everything all right in there?”

You cry while responding. You tell her behind your stable walls, “I’m just having a bad go of it, is all.” She tells you she made lasagna and steamed broccoli. She is making you a plate. You cannot refuse. You cry because she is heaven-sent. You cry because she cares. You cry because there are still beautiful souls on this earth.

You have yourself a good cry for everything there is and everything there is not and you remember . . .

“Trouble don’t last always.”

You have yourself a good cry and get ready to endure life all over again.


Originally posted via Medium as a metered paywall piece. Shared is the “friend link” so that you’ll be able to read for free.