The One That Got Away

April 28, 2014 — 131 Comments

I’ve got a secret.

It’s about “the one that got away.”

However, because I posed the challenge question, I don’t have to answer it! Ha!

So I get to keep my secret.

Could be about a fish. Wouldn’t you like to know…


Alliance of the Damned banner

Welcome to the fifth installment of the Blogging Alliance of the Damned!

I love having everyone here. Pour yourself a glass of wine (it’s after 5:00 in Europe) or a cold beer, and hang out a bit.

Just don’t get wasted and start breaking stuff. We can only do that at The Matticus Kingdom.


I asked everyone to tell me, in under 300 words, about “The One That Got Away.”

These were so incredibly unique – it’s amazing how differently each person’s mind works. (Scary, actually. Who are these people?)

There’s some great short-short stories in here. My Alliance comrades rocked the full gamut, from toilets to death, and everything in between.

But…no fish.

Here we go:


cynk    The Empress of Earnestness, Cyn K

He stood motionless behind the lamp post until the sirens’ wails faded. Then, glancing around to make sure the coast was clear, he forced himself to walk on at a measured pace. Don’t wanna draw attention to myself, he thought.

At this time of night, the shops were closed and the occupants in the few houses that could be found on this street were in bed. He wouldn’t be able to join them in their slumber. Can’t go home now, he realized, thanks to that Two-timing broad.

What was it about her that had sucked him in? She’d sauntered into the bar dressed to the nines. If only he had looked the other way or had left six minutes earlier, he would never have met her or her lunatic friend.

That crazy Eight, he thought. I shoulda known better than to listen to him.

He knew no good would come of trying to rob the Five and Dime store, but he let Two and Eight talk him into it. “You’re skinny,” they said. “Slip on in, unlock the door, and we’ll do the rest.”

They hadn’t known about the store’s security system, Cerberus.  The mutt didn’t have the three heads of the legendary hound, but this dog was four times as vicious. The beast’s racket alerted the neighbors who called the cops. He had narrowly escaped with zero bites.

He ran for seven blocks, changing direction when he heard the police getting closer. Finally, he had hid until the ten squad cars had rushed past.

No more drinking, no more women, he swore as he ambled on his way.  This time he had been lucky. This time, he was the One who got away.


rara    Rarasaur, Official Alliance Dinosaur

His name was Ulysses and he died in a car crash, fifteen minutes after proposing to me.  I didn’t say yes or no.  I needed time to think.
He jokingly told me to make a fist, to make sure he didn’t slip through my fingers– to make sure I didn’t let him get away.
He was driving carefully, not one to be rattled.  Cautious was his style.  He was a stoic, a gentleman, a peacekeeper.
They said the man who hit him was asleep, a good man who worked too many hours to think straight.

Uly would have understood.  He often said America was cannibalizing itself.  He was a supporter of the red-blooded, blue-collar family.
He would have said something about how you can’t pay someone barely enough to afford potatoes and then expect them to think about consequences.
A man can’t thrive on potatoes alone, but he can survive.
Sometimes, surviving is the stuff of dreams.
He would have understood, hugged the widow, and forgiven the driver, but I didn’t.
I beat the windows of the car till my hands bled, shouting at the corpse who killed him until they pried me away, spitting and cursing all the while.
I didn’t pray over Uly.  He didn’t believe in prayers, or Heaven, or God.
Instead, I cried over his broken body, and made a fist.  It was a promise.
And though it took some time, I eventually kept that promise, forgave the man who killed him, and hugged his widow.
For Uly


arden   Crazy Cat Lady, Arden

I sometimes wonder where she is now. Is she happy?

It’s been a year since we first met. The bond took hold of us with such force that I swore it would never let go. Love at first sight flitted through my mind even though I don’t believe in such a thing. We spent the day together, getting to know one another and I knew we were meant to be. She needed me and I needed her.

We visited with each other often over the next few weeks and I prayed she would soon be a part of my little family. I couldn’t envision my life without her.

But some things just aren’t meant to be…

I don’t blame him for saying no. In hindsight, he was right. What if she didn’t get along with our girls? Our place was too small for another family member. The reasons were endless for no even though I wanted nothing but yes.

I don’t blame him at all but it doesn’t mean I don’t miss her.

I sometimes wonder where she is now. Is she happy? Does she ever think about me?

Does she even remember me?



cutter    Master of Analogies, Cutter

I woke up feeling confident. It was the morning of the kickball playoffs, and my team was the top seed. We had gone undefeated throughout the regular season, and it seemed certain that we could continue to roll through the playoffs.

It didn’t matter that we were missing a couple of good players. I was sure that we would be able to compensate for their absences. But when perhaps our best player called me to say that he sprained his ankle and wouldn’t be able to play? That’s when things got a bit uncertain.

Maybe the missing players were too much to overcome. Maybe I put too much pressure on my teammates. Maybe our opponents were better than I suspected. Maybe we just had a bad day. Whatever the reason, at the end of the playoffs, there was a happy team drinking out of a giant trophy, and it wasn’t us.

I’ve suffered playoff losses since then. I’ve had other teams that were good enough to win a championship. But none of them felt as predestined as that one did. It was truly the one that got away.


ek   Duppy Conquerer, End Kwote

Call me Ishmael. 

Actually, call me Pancho.

It was a calm spring evening. Warm air twisted around my ankles and up to my knees. It was the kind of night that made breathing worth it.

And then there was you. Twisting so fluid and free. Dancing right in front of me. Daring me to take you.

I wanted you so bad. It wasn’t fair. You were so close but I was powerless. Powerless to feel you. Powerless to touch you. It drove me crazy. So crazy that my stomach hurt.

Finally, I got my chance. All the people who stood between us moved away. They parted like it was meant to be. Like I was meant to come to you and you were meant to be there for me. It was perfect.

I got to you, heart pounding, and shuffled my feet with excitement. It was a beautiful moment. Me connected to you and you waiting for me to give you purpose.

This was it.

“I’m sorry, we’re not serving Shamrock Shakes anymore.”

The words pierced me like a needle through my big toe. I wanted to scream. I wanted to explode. But there was nothing I could do. Because  you, Shamrock Shake, were the one that got away.


editm   The Awe-wielding Editor, EditMoi


I was nineteen and he was tall. I was a good girl and he was a frat boy. I was interested; he was dark and good looking. I was smart enough to know better; he was funny. Our schools shared a library, we worked the same shift. Mondays he’d come in hung over and full of stories. We’d hide out in the stacks, pretending to re-shelve books, really just talking, putting the books in the wrong places. We couldn’t have cared less about the Dewey decimal system.
I had a boyfriend but I never talked about him.
Frat boy wanted to fuck me and the feeling was mutual. I can still remember the feeling of the scrap of paper in my hand, my number scrawled on it. I can still feel my heart pounding in my throat as I almost-but-didn’t shove it at him. I can still feel the disappointment as the scrap landed in the trash can.
After that I changed shifts.


grayson    The Grand Inquisitor, Grayson Queen

My body is cold and pocked with goose bumps. The adrenaline in my veins is giving me the shakes. I can hear the echo of every breath I take. All the things I knew, or thought I knew, drift away. It shrinks in the distance, and I see the queen standing at the tiny window watching me. In the same second it hits me that I’ve both won and lost; my life is over, but it’s for the best.

I wonder for a moment if it was just the nature of survival that compelled me to leave. It would be nice to believe that it was because of intelligence and nobility. At the root of it, I stepped out that door for selfish reasons. I wanted this; looking her in the eye, both us knowing our fate.

The queen alien has no way to breed. The space station will burn up in Earth’s atmosphere and so will I. But at least I get to be the one that got away.


matticus   The Jester, DJ Matticus

I found her crying in our room, sobbing face down into a pillow.  Her voice cracked and lips quivered as she showed me the bare finger and wailed that she had lost the symbol of our future together.

I comforted her, told her it didn’t matter, that it didn’t mean anything, wasn’t an omen, wasn’t bad luck, wasn’t worth being so upset over.   But, she was inconsolable.

Between offered tissues and gasps for air, she recounted the steps taken that day to see if we could pinpoint where the ring might have been lost.  There had been an incident where she had slammed her hand in the car door.  The ring had been placed in her pocket for safe keeping.  The pocket had an unknown hole.

Her mood lightened as we set a plan of action, grabbed some flashlights, and headed to search the dark parking lots, store fronts, and beach walkways she had visited after pocketing the ring.

We weren’t able to find it, but in the act of searching she recovered, and the gloom lifted.

But, she had been right, things unraveled after that.  We ended up going our separate ways, our engagement broken.

Eventually I found out the walk on the beach had been with another man, the one she moved in with when she moved out of our house.  Only then did I realize that for slamming her hand in the car door there hadn’t been much swelling and a bruise had never appeared.  I wondered for a long time if there had even been a hole in the pocket as claimed…

She may have been the one that got away, but that’s absolutely fine.  Sometimes our catches are supposed to get away.

I was free for The Queen when she stepped into my life.

Poetress   Poetress, C.K. 

I dropped to my knees, covering my face with my hands in shocked disbelief, the cost of this loss multiplying in my mind; adding in all the things I’d have to redo, all the people I’d have to contact and inform. The questions of how, the snarky comments, the embarrassment of my own stupidity.

I could have stopped it, saved it from getting away, if only my eyes would have believed what they were seeing. If only I’d been brave enough to reach out and grab it— but my brain rebelled against that course of action even as my gut screamed for it. ‘Cause, Ew.

Time slowed down as I peeked out from between my fingers, dread clutching my chest, something wet and kind of gross seeping into my jeans in the place I was kneeling; shifting my position the thought of “What the fuck is that?” drifting through my mind, answered quickly by another thought, “Dude, you probably don’t want to know” as I watched the last seconds slowly swirl away down the drain.

The outer door opened, women entered talking, laughing, their voices echoing through the room. I dropped my hands from my face not thinking as they came into contact with the floor. My brain screamed in horror as my palms felt the sticky moisture beneath them and I jerked them from the tile as I bolted to my feet, the horror of realizing where I was overcoming that of dropping my cell phone down the damn auto-flush restroom toilet.



Thanks, Alliance of the Damned, for letting me host this time!

(And for giving me a reason to start drinking early in the day).

Isn’t it wild how different everyone’s take was on “the one that got away?”

But…no fish.

Maybe next time. See ya at the next challenge!




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131 responses to The One That Got Away


    Reblogged this on The Matticus Kingdom and commented:
    Samara is hosting the Alliance of the Damned this week, so pop on over and see how we all dealt with the prompt: The one that got away…


    I have a fish story, but it didn’t get away. I’ll let you know when I post it on my blog.
    Thanks for hosting us!


    I thought about writing an actual fish story… because I have had some whoppers get away. But, I didn’t think I could do them justice in less than 300 words. 😛
    My “like” of this post is for all the other contributors! You are all awesome!
    And, Rara… is it a testament to your writing, or the life you’ve led, that I never know when you are writing fiction or fact?


      I had the exact same reaction to Rara’s.

      And I was totally confused by Arden’s until I saw the picture.

      And I was heartbroken by yours. That bitch! (Oops – can I say that)

      Anyway, I have to go to work. Can I leave you in charge for a while? A few hours?

      Just make sure no one gets so drunk that they mess up my collection of vinyl. There are some 45’s in there that must be worth ten’s of dollars.


      A little of both, I suppose. This one was nearly fact… not to be unnecessarily gruesome, but there wasn’t really a body left. It just gave me closure to imagine it so.


        My jaw just dropped…
        How? When? Who? Questions swirling, and don’t feel that you need to answer any of them. I am just continually in awe of the life you have lived. Obviously, this wasn’t one of your happier moments… but, life isn’t supposed to be all about just the happy moments.


      I was going to go with a fish story but decided not to thinking you probably had, DJ, that’ll teach me to think 😉

      Samara, this was a great challenge question and I loved everyone’s take on it!


    Nice takes on the challenge!
    I prefer thinking about the one that stayed than the one that got away.
    But then, I’m old fashioned like that.

    I have a big fish story from way back when (first written on a typewriter!) that I drag out every so often.


      Thank you!

      A big fish story written on a typewriter? Those were torture. Remember that chalky correction tape?

      You say lovely things about your wife. It’s one of your most endearing qualities.


      That’s a whale of a tale… (heh heh). I wonder how many people reading this blog even know what a typewriter is…


        Ok, now I just feel old.
        Does it help if I say it was a Smith Corona electric, with memory and a correction cartridge?
        You could white-out a whole line!


        OoO, that’s fancy. I think that’s what I learned on in Junior High when I took typing for two semesters. Though, I don’t remember them having any sort of memory…


        Yeah, the high school ones were much cheaper.
        Typing is actually the only class I took in high school that I’ve found useful on a daily basis since then.


        That’s a good point…
        Hmm, on a daily basis? I may have to agree with you. Maybe something from a math class, but I can’t say I use that every day.


        Yeah, there’s other stuff, a lot of math like exponents and division. But I work in IT, so there’s constant typing, plus all the blogging (from work).


        Oh, sheesh, how I could not think about all the grammar lessons that I completely ignore several times a day, too. I probably do use something I learned in my AP English every day, though it might be hard to pinpoint beyond faith in my writing and a general sense that I may know my way around a story.


        I think I learned that more from reading everything I could get my hands on than I do formal education.

        That’s also assuming I know my way around a story… 😉


        I would say you do… not that you were *ahem* fishing for a compliment.

        Normally I would agree that I learned more from reading books on my own than anything I learned in my high school English classes – but my AP class was different. He actually allowed his students some semblance of freedom to explore their own creativity and then build on that…


        Sounds like a good teacher!
        I took a screenplay class in college (easy credit, I thought) that was also quite good from a practical point of view.
        But he couldn’t help us transform some really bad ideas.


        Hahaha, that may not have all been on him… depending on how bad they really were.


        I remember several conversations where he tried to explain that you couldn’t have ten minutes of screen time of someone thinking, nor could you accurately project what they were thinking.
        One guy couldn’t get past that – scenes like
        “His face screwed up in thought, as he considered how to respond, and whether he should insult the man in front of him, or explain to him why he felt the way he did. All these thoughts roiled in his head, while he also wondered if he had remembered to take something out to defrost for dinner”

        Not the exact scene, but something like that. Works in written form, but not on a screen.
        (Obviously the class made enough of an impression for me to remember that 20ish years later.


        Yeah… definitely more on the writing than the teacher there. Unless it is an established bit from a well known work that you are transitioning to the screen, you can’t really get away with those kinds of scenes.


        That sounds like a scene in a movie you would be forced to watch if someone was torturing confidential government information out of you.


        I just watched Ghost Rider 2 on tv, and will be scratching my eyes out shortly so I never make that mistake again.


        I kinda want to hear a really BAD idea you had for a screenplay.


        Mine involved an ex-wife, a motorcycle, a computer, and possibly the end of the world.
        I’ve blotted it out as too traumatic.
        I think “wordy” was how the teacher described it…


        If you tweet those 4 things at Christi, (EditMoi), she’ll create a story out of them. As a challenge.

        She’s like that. Always pushing herself to the next level.


        I used to do that. Once ended up with a very dark entertaining one about a forest and a pegasus. I think it had a talking plant too.
        And I was sober at the time!


        Seriously – do you follow her on twitter?

        She’ll be thrilled. I once made a joke on twitter about pizza, hair, and supermarket –

        And she used them to write a post. She digs that stuff.


        Yep. We started following each other not too long ago.


        Cool! Tweet those 4 things at her tomorrow, I want to see what she comes up with!

        She writes some kick ass fiction!


        If be uncomfortable doing that. I haven gotten to reading her stuff yet.


        Oh, okay!
        No worries!

        She writes some strange stuff, I’ll tell ya. Looks all innocent in her gravatar, and then…wham!


        Amen to that!

        They should teach kids how to do laundry. Cook a meal.
        Change a tire.

        Maybe, do 10% in their heads, without a calculator?


    There seems to be too much talking and not enough drinking going on. Samara said we should all be drinking mass quantities, so get to it!

    Hmm, how about that… does anyone have a “one that got away” story about drinking?


      Gah, yes! I had a bottle of gazillion year old Scotch that I was going to drink on my wedding. I hid it in an old trunk in my room full of old toys, which my parents sold without looking inside. Since our wedding ended up being last minute, we did it sans-Scotch– tragedy! 🙂


        That. Is. The. Saddest!!!
        You win. Hands down. Nobody can top that tragedy!
        And, next time we get together, I’ll bring a bottle of something so we can toast to the memory of the lost Scotch.


        🙂 The worst is that Dave can’t even drink Scotch now, so we can’t even have a do-over! 🙂


    I literally have no fish stories… except one time I named a male fish Pollyanna. I loved these stories! We’re a bunch of crazies. 🙂


    WOW! You are clearly The Blogging Alliance of the DAMNED TALENTED 🙂


      Thank you so much for that kind compliment

      Glad you enjoyed my Alliance Comrades.

      As you can tell by the comment section, there was a bit of drinking and carrying on in here. But nothing too out of hand.


    I have no fish stories. The last time I went fishing, I got violently ill. I do not plan on trying again.


      Wrong kind of fishing… I think what you did was called baiting. Where you get in a boat and sit around waiting for the fish to bite. At which point it can become very exciting as you transition into what is called reeling (heh heh, no, not reeling from sickness that is what you actually did)… but, that’s only if you waited around long enough for something to find the bait.
      The fishing I do is rocking hopping along a rivers edge, casting delicate line across surging rapids and around snagging branches to land at the edge of hidden pools, whence I dance my fly across the pool enticingly to coax forth a fish. Once caught, I then have to work the real magic of bringing the fish across those rapids avoiding those branches to officially count it as caught.
      See? No worries about getting violently ill. Just worries about wet rocks, a deadly cold river, poisonous snakes and plants, bears, etc… It’s much better my way.


        So…you’re into it?


        Sort of…
        Part of it is the tradition – fishing the river that my grandpa fished, and then my dad, and now my brother and I, and one day the Little Prince.
        Part of it is the adventure of it – the rush of pitting my skill and knowledge against the terrain.
        part of it the peace – the calm of being alone with the beauty of those moments…


        Right? Who on EARTH does this sort of thing?


        WHO DOES THIS?

        Is this a Thing?


        The first version, the baiting? Or, my version, the actual fishing?
        I do it. My time on the river is one of the two things I need to be a happy person.


        The “baiting” – hahahaha

        What you describe as fishing sounds like it would require the dexterity of a gazelle.

        What’s the other of the two things?


        The other is watching fishing on TV. I don’t suggest that one as it is the worst of all three options…

        Not a gazelle. A mountain goat. It’s a slight but important difference.


      I get motion sickness on boats, if that’s any consolation.


    To up your cred, I’ll admit I’m drinking and watching Over the Top (starring Sylvester Stallone) at 2pm.


    Wonderful entries, all!


    Could be about a fish. Wouldn’t you like to know…

    You don’t strike me as the fishing type, Samara. Especially after I read your comments with Matticus.


      In my defense, what Matticus was talking about does NOT sound remotely like fishing.

      It sounds like slippery rock climbing while possibly getting tied up in string.

      Could still be a fish. I’ll never tell.


    These are fantastic!! Love ’em! Thanks for sharing.


    Hi everyone! I’m finally here. It has been one hell of a week (translation: man troubles) but this definitely made it a little better. Long Live the Damned!


    Reblogged this on Posting Tuesdays. and commented:
    What? A reblog? The Blogging Alliance of the Damned has another collaborative post challenge. As a member it wouldn’t be right to say, mine is the best, but…


    You guys ALL rock. This is g.r.e.a.t. reading. 😉


    If. If there are multiple simultaneous coexisting realities, each exploring and exploiting the infinate potentials, does anything ever truly get away? Whoa my heads floating each and every way. With my feet of clay learning is the one thing that always gets away


      Everytime you comment, I feel immense guilt that I do not read your blog regularly.

      To be fair, between my busy season at work, and writing for my own blog, I don’t read really any blogs these days.

      But I feel like I’m really missing out on some special stuff. Feel free to “poem” me in the comment section.


        Hey. No guilt necessary. Seriously.

        I was listening to a track by Joseph Arthur yesterday (don’t ask me which one…track three lol) and a line in the chorus struck me. So, here’s the lyrics to the track ( which isn’t a poem by me. And the copy right barristers will be taken me for a fool soon its a certainty)

        “Mikel K”

        I’ve been watching you
        I liked you right away
        Cause you looked like you
        Might have something to say
        That I would want to hear
        Like you looked at me
        And liked me right away

        You’re easy for me
        To bleed on
        I said you’re easy for me
        To bleed on

        Well I’ll follow you
        Anywhere you wanna go
        Cause you look like you
        Might already know
        A place we can be that feels better
        Than the hole I have inside of me

        You’re easy for me
        To bleed on
        I said you’re easy for me
        To bleed on

        You’re easy for me
        To bleed on
        I said you’re easy for me
        To bleed on

        You’re easy for me
        To bleed on
        I said you’re easy for me
        To bleed on

        You’re easy for me
        To bleed on
        I said you’re easy for me
        To bleed on


        OK. Just a short one. Let’s see where it goes.

        Context. A few years a go (4?,) with my life in yet another shitty crisis, I went solo walk-about. I wrote this poem at 4am on a beach called Kervaig in Scotland after walking 230 miles. I’d lost a lot. Its not got a title, but perhaps if it were to have one it might be ‘I’

        Of mermaids I saw none,
        But, I sat and saw I,
        In the soft light,
        Of emerald seas,
        And on I shone the sun


        LOVE that.
        you shone on the sun.

        You’re a poet, a wordsmith, and dare I say – a romantic?


        Hey thanks (smile on my face)

        Can’t say I understand post modernism, but, you have ownership of my words.

        Romantic? As much a victim of circumstance, emotion, and the passion of chemistry


        Isn’t the passion of chemisty romance?


        I’m going to jump off now and leave you with ‘Denied Definitions’

        I walk under ghost skys,

        Of dead bright star light,

        To your waking place;

        Long ago extinguished.

        Shining through an eternity,

        In to an empty house.

        Casting no shadow, you

        Oblivious to my presence,

        Unaware of time passed.

        Imbalanced denied definitions.


        I’m unsure about that. Perhaps your right.


    Wow wow wow. This was incredible, possibly my favorite one of you guys’ alliance prompts. Rara’s blew me away especially. I wanted it to be longer but somehow it is just enough.


      Thanks! I really enjoyed having then at my blog.

      Rara’s made me sad, because it’s true.

      The next set should be really intense. We’ve been given the prompt and it’s very strange…


    I have happily fallen into your vortex. Calgone! Take me away!
    –A New Fan
    Concur with Aussa:


    This was ridiculously cool!
    Nicely done, folks!


      Wait til you see the next one-
      Grayson was responsible for the prompt, and it’s – well, you’ll have to see.
      But you can imagine.


    For some reason I forgot to mention this before, but hearing about the lost Shamrock Shake almost moved me to tears. I mean, there were some other sad tales here, but I do love me some Shamrock Shakes.

Trackbacks and Pingbacks:

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