First Date.

©2019-2022 michael raven

Jen managed to make it to the trashcan before her lunch found its way up her throat and out of her mouth.

While she was throwing up, all she could think was that this was a terrible impression she was making on her first date with Dave. Or was it Tom?

“Shit,” she said under her breath as she spat out the bile that still coated her tongue. She couldn’t even remember his — Dave. Yes, it was Dave.

She felt a warm hand on her neck and hoped it was Dave otherwise she might scream and was relived to hear in his voice, “Are you okay? Do you want to go home?”

She shook her head as she removed it from the aluminum portal, wiping her mouth with the back of her hand.

Oh, so classy, Jen, she chastised herself. She’d have to make sure she used soap so her hand wouldn’t smell like barf when she cleaned up.

“I’m fine,” she said, “When you said we should hit the exhibit at the Institute of Art, I didn’t know it was going to be this…” She struggled for the word he used and couldn’t find it, but he came to her rescue.

“Op Art?” he finished.

She nodded.

“I can handle it in small doses, but I guess I saw too much before my stomach went wonky.”

She hoped he wouldn’t ask her why op art made her throw up. She didn’t want to have to explain that she was not allowed to talk about the event that made her so sensitive to such images.


A bit of flash I wrote on this date back in 2019 and posted on another social media site. Aside from adding line breaks and a minor formatting change, this piece appears here the same as it appeared originally. The story used the OED word of the day as a prompt, “op art”.

A Conversation with the Troll

This is a piece I submitted a decade or so ago to be considered for a writing fellowship. The fellowship didn’t pan out, but this is one of the pieces I am more proud of having written. There are flaws and areas I’d change now, of course. But for the time period, I felt it was a solid effort. Hope you enjoy it.

It was one of those late spring days in which the birds from the area joined together in chorus; from the hummingbird with the white-noise thrum of its wings to the chickadees with their “fee-bee” song sang over and over. The deer-flies had just awoken to the warmth of the late spring and hummed in the air above Julie’s hair, never quite alighting, but nipping at the skin on the back of her neck whenever they took a moment away from their buzzing about to hover and taste a bit of her flesh. Her hand absently waved the flies away.

Julie could smell the evergreens and their perfume, but her destination was in an opposite direction of the pine trees which lined the wetlands along the lake. She knew exactly where she’d find Stevie –- between the branches of the silver aspen and the parchment-pale bark of the birch on the opposite side of the road. She knew his favorite hideaway was within a makeshift tree-house just out of sight of the gravel access road leading towards the thirty or so cabins that lined Round Lake.

Continue reading “A Conversation with the Troll”