The Golden Coin

(I have recently joined a writer’s group that meets Wednesday mornings. We write in ten minute segments on various prompts. This is one of my efforts (unedited) from yesterday
Prompt: Child, lost coin, river, ancient, argument.)

It was down by the bend in the river that wound through the green vales and through the thicket and rolling hills of the valley. There the water pooled deep and made a good swimming hole. The children of the nearby village would splash about in the cold water. It was one exceptionally warm summer day when one child, while diving the depths of the swimming hole came across an ancient coin on the sandy bottom. He brought it with him to surface and pulled himself upon the bank to examine it. It was old, in fact ancient and the lettering was some obscure language. It glinted gold in the high noon sun.

Another child seeing the shine in the palm of his friend’s hand came over to feed his curiosity, as children will do. “Let me see that,” the friend said to the boy holding the coin.

“No,” said the other.

“just let me see it for a second, I’ll give it back to you”

“No,” the boy with the coin repeated and closed his hand around the coin to better protect it.

The friend grabbed for the boy’s hand which tightly held the coin and the two boys began to wrestle on the bank. During the tussle the coin fell from the boys hand and back into the river where it was swept away by the current until it came to rest and be buried in silt, arriving in much the same fashion as it had so many years before.

“Look what you’ve done,” said the boy who had found and lost the coin.

“I’ve done nothing, I only wanted to look at it a moment. It was you who would not share.”

The boys continued to argue on the bank of the river for much of the day and there were many hard feeling between them afterward. Their friendship as was the coin was lost to them never to be retrieved. Beyond salvage the two boys went home that day never to speak kindly to one another ever again all because of silly argument over a coin neither could spend.

T J Therien

An Old Tough

The night draws long and sucks wind.

Tom was back in the big city. He had moved away some time ago, but something instinctual had brought him back, like that innate characteristic of migratory birds. He hopped off the Greyhound and stretched his cramped up limbs after the long bus ride. He scratched the grey stubble on his chin and breathed in deep. He almost choked, his lungs no longer accustomed to the smog and car exhaust. He retrieved his weathered and worn duffle bag that contained his life from the storage compartment beneath the bus and dropped it between his feet. He took a long swig from the flask he wore on his hip and lit a cigarette before he slung the bag over his shoulder and made his way down the street with no particular place to go.

It was late and almost everything was closed. He had a few hours to kill until morning when he would be able to lookup a couple of old friends and find a place to crash. The neon lights hurt his eyes as he made his way down the main drag. He was about to light another cigarette when he came across a twenty-four hour coffee shop. He figured it was as good a place as any to kill a couple of hours, so he went inside. A few bums slept at a couple of the tables, but the place was otherwise empty. He ordered a coffee and sat down and planned out his next move.

There he sat and sipped on his coffee. Time dragged on infinitely slow and he found himself needing a smoke something fierce. He left his unfinished coffee and his duffle bag at the table where he would have a view of them from the window and he stepped outside.

Three youths in their early twenties had congregated just outside the coffee shop harassing the few people that walked by. Tom paid them no mind and lit his smoke. The youths spoke with bravado in raised voices. Tom continued to ignore them.

A guy on a bicycle rode up, hopped the curb and dismounted with a jerk. His clothing was worn and his dark hair greasy. Tom noticed how jittery the guy was. Probably in need of a fix, he thought to himself as he took a long haul on his cigarette.

“You holdin’?” The guy with the bicycle asked one of the three youths.

“How much you want?” The shortest youth asked back.

“How much you give me for the bike?” The guy with the greasy hair and shabby clothes asked as his eyes darted here, then there, resting a moment suspiciously on Tom, who ignored him.

“I’ll give you a forty-piece for the bike,” the short youth answered.

“Come on dude, it’s a fuckin’ Bianchi,” the greasy haired guy said as he fidgeted. “Check out how fuckin’ light it is.”

One by one the three youths proceeded to check out the bike, lifting it and examining it this way and that. The greasy haired guy grew anxious and began to fidget even more. Tom continued to ignore them and smoke his cigarette.

“Okay, I’ll give ya an eighty-piece,” the short one negotiated.

“It’s a fuckin’ Bianchi,” the greasy haired guy said obviously more aggravated.

“Fuck guy, you would sell your mother for a forty. Take the eighty-piece and shut the fuck up,” The tallest youth spoke up.

The short youth reached into his pocket and pulled out a piece of white rock and handed it to the greasy haired guy, who in turn looked it over, rubbed it against his teeth to check the quality and then thought better of it. While he did this, the tall youth didn’t like the way the greasy haired guy looked at him, so he started a beef.

“Watch how you look at me, or I’ll smack you upside the head,” the tall one threatened.

The greasy haired guy quickly thrust the piece of white rock back into the hand of the short youth and quickly snatched the handlebars of the bike back. He ran and hopped on the bike and quickly rode away before any of the three youths had time to react. Without a target for his anger, the tall youth turned his attention to Tom, who was lighting a cigarette off his previous cigarette and looking through the window of the coffee shop to keep an eye on his things.

“So what’s your deal? You a crack-head too?” The tall gangly youth asked aggressively.

Tom ignored him and continued smoking his cigarette.

“I’m fuckin’ talkin’ to ya,” the tall youth pressed on.

“Fuck off and leave me the fuck alone!” Tom said as he flicked the ash on his cigarette.

“Talk to me like that old man and I’ll smack you upside the head,” the tall youth threatened.

“I’m warning you now boy, you better have some respect and leave me the fuck alone,” Tom said asserting himself in no uncertain terms as he flicked what remained of his cigarette on the road.

The tall youth took a clumsy swing at Tom, who was ready for it. In one fluid motion Tom ducked the punch, and stepped under the swinging arm to come up behind the youth. Tom grabbed the back of the tall youth’s head and used momentum to smash the tall youth’s face into the brick wall. Blood splattered everywhere as the tall youth collapsed and held his face screaming in pain. Another of the youths rushed Tom from behind, but ran into a quick sharp elbow. The youth reeled backward from the blow as Tom turned around. Before the youth was out of reach Tom grabbed him by the back of his head. Tom pulled the youth’s head down and met it full force with his knee which caused a large cracking sound and a geyser of blood to erupt from the youths face.

Two of the youths rolled on the ground and Tom turned his attention to the last youth standing, the short one. The youth was struggling to pull something from the pocket of his hoodie. Tom caught the glint of cold steel in the youth’s hand reflecting the streetlight. Tom casually slipped out of his denim jacket and twirled it a couple of time so one sleeve wrapped around his right hand. The youth jabbed and poked and slashed with the blade while Tom calmly stepped back out of range each time. The youth overstretched and Tom slapped his jean jacket across knife and knife-hand. With the blade covered, Tom quickly stepped in, grabbed the youth and threw him to the ground. Tom then came down with his boot and stomped on the head of the youth. The heel went thunk and the skull of the youth gave way to the force.

“Fuckin’ Punks!” Tom spit.

Tom slipped his jacket back on and took a long pull from his hipflask before going back into the coffee shop to retrieve his duffle bag. He slung it over his shoulder and left. As he walked down the street he could hear sirens approaching. He turned onto a side street as an ambulance and a couple of police cars raced toward where the three youths lay.

Tom made his way across town to an old friend’s place. Later that day he was watching the news at his friend’s apartment when he heard about the drug deal gone bad that left three youths in hospital in critical condition. Tom laughed as he lit a cigarette and looked at his friend who had asked Tom what his plans were.

“Think I’m gonna be leavin’ town again soon. This city ain’t nothing but trouble.”

T J Therien


My advice to every young would be writer and every budding author would be to get a job as a cook for a few months. Why? It’s simple, everyone has different tastes and even the most accomplished Chef can’t please everyone. Readers, like Diners can be a fickle and finicky lot. The sooner you learn this the better off you will be.

T J Therien

In The Nursing Home

She bangs her leg on the nightstand
She rubs the bump and bruise
Examining it in the dim light
Deep vein thrombosis tattoo her calves
She adjusts the expensive shade
On the thrift store lamp
To get a better look
Her legs are varicose and the purple bruise
Is convincing enough for her to call the nurse
Who is only there to collect a paycheck
The nurse looks at the old woman’s leg
And assures her it’s nothing
Before helping the elderly woman into her bed

T J Therien

(I went to a writing group on Wednesday and we had a ten minute period to write on the following poetry prompt. “Use three of the five following words: Expensive, lampshade, bruise, convincing, dim,” this was my effort.)

Cover Reveal: The Compass Key by Charles Yallowitz

Coming August 8th

The Scrolls of Sion

Debuting August 8th on Amazon Kindle!

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Swords will clash and spells will fly in the newest adventure of young warrior Luke Callindor, Nyx the magic-flinging caster, and their friends.

With Sari captured by their enemies, the champions of Windemere are determined to get her back and destroy the Lich’s castle. Little do they realize, their battles in the Caster Swamp are only the beginning of this adventure. Trinity and her Chaos Elves have invaded the city of Gaia in search of a relic called the Compass Key. Rumored to be the key to rescuing Sari from a magical island, our heroes are in a race to find the mysterious relic.

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The Lie

I used to believe Poetry was Thee, Thy and Thou,
The sort of thing you find under a woman’s bonnet,
A thing of class distinguishing low rung from highbrow
In the romantic seduction of spring time sonnet,
Like the melodic undertones of the villanelle,
The haunting repetition of stoic sestina,
In the way that quatrain can weave magical spell,
Meant to woo and coo reserved Spanish senorita,
Flowing like liquid dripping in syrupy praises,
Sweet nothings whispered in a lover’s ear at bed time,
A rehearsed litany of fancy flowery phrases,
Dealing in matters without reason like love and rhyme,
But as the years passed I realized this wasn’t true
Making a lie of every poem I wrote for you

T J Therien