Photo: C. A. Bridges

A new site pops up.

The site gets noticed by teens because it’s wide open and freeform and they can use it however they want and talk to each other without the adults around. They start to flock there.

They produce art, and music, and conversation, and weird things. Other artists and musicians hear about it and they show up, too.

Some people even start to make money from the site in personal, homemade ways.

Site becomes awesome.

Review sites start to notice how awesome it is and they write about it. People tell their friends about it. It gets…


Photo by C. A. Bridges. Model: Nicole D. Snyder

The noises were coming from the ceiling, she was sure of it.

There was no one else in the house. It was late, and it was dark, and it was storming, disturbing an otherwise contented evening. But still, she heard distant banging.

The kids were at her mother’s. It couldn’t be her husband, Steve. They didn’t have any pets. There was no other living soul in the house.

It was probably a cat, or a squirrel, or a raccoon or something, crawling through the rafters or the attic window to get away from the rain. That was probably it, she decided.

No reason to be frightened, no reason at all.

Still, she’d better check, just in case the raccoon found where she’d put Steve.


Me and Dave, walking the dog, every night.

ME: Come ON, Hawke. Do what you need to do, it’s hot out here.

HAWKE: I wish he’d quit pulling on my leash. There’s a lot to catch up on.

ME: He does this every time.

DAVE: I know. Sometimes when I walk him we barely get two feet before he stops again. There he goes.

HAWKE: Hmm. Smells like Hunter’s been through again.

DAVE: I think he can tell whenever another dog’s been here.

HAWKE: His parainfluenza’s getting worse. I hope his owner realizes before antibiotics are ineffectual.

DAVE: Stupid dog.


Elliott discovered, very quickly, that the piano hated rock.

Well, “hated” may not have been the right word. It refused to play it, or possibly wasn’t capable of it. All he knew was that when he tried picking out “Old Time Rock and Roll” on the ancient upright piano in the hotel lobby, nothing happened. Silence.

Ditto for “Thunder Road,” “Don’t Stop Believing,” “Under Pressure” or anything from Ben Folds Five.

The piano worked. He could play any note, clear as a bell. And it wasn’t the speed of the songs that was the problem. Liszt’s “Hungarian Rhapsody” — the…


Photo by C. A. Bridges

Silence reigned when a coworker entered the bathroom and stepped up to the urinal. As unspoken custom demanded, he chose the one farthest from the one I was at, and we did not acknowledge the other’s presence in the slightest.

Moments later we both turned to the row of sinks and greeted one another, as if we had just spontaneously appeared in the room, also according to custom.

He began to walk to the door.

I bent to turn on a faucet.

He turned, nonchalantly, as if of course he was going to rinse his hands, how could I think…


Kadi Shaina Gashlin, by C. A. Bridges

The worst part about a horde of maddened warrior dwarves led by a little Earth girl wielding the Amethyst Sword bursting into your annual Winter Party to cut through your henchmen, destroy your orb of power in front of all the Hallowed Hosts you’ve kept under your thrall for a year and a day and then hurl you into the swirling mysts of oblivion just before you can cast the spell that will give you ultimate power over all of time and space isn’t the disappointment. Although that’s pretty annoying.

It’s being cast through the cosmos into the yard of a random house in the ‘burbs in Ohio in 1956.

Seriously, I’m not even sure my dress is street-legal here.


Donnie Lee, by C. A. Bridges

The only thing that matters is the music.

Not the twinges in his fingers or the constant dull ache in his arms and back that just gets worse every year. Not the argument he had with the club owner that means he probably won’t play here again.

Not the worry about his mortgage or the truck repairs or the guy who’s starting to hang around his daughter.

Not even the invading alien race that has just destroyed half of Eurasia and whose armada of ships will reach the U.S. in about thirty minutes, according to the weeping newscasters on the big flatscreen TV over the bar.

The only thing that matters, is the music.


Sabrina Silverio, by C. A. Bridges

“OK, you’re beautiful, you’re amazing, look sexy for me!”

The woman stretched across the leather couch, her thin dress slipping back and forth over her curves, and she blew a raspberry at the photographer.

“Ha!” he said, chuckling a little wearily. “Right, now look at me like you want me, like I’m your boyfriend and you haven’t seen me in weeks, OK? Come to me, baby!” He held the camera back to his eye and crouched.

She smiled a wickedly sensual smile, and then s-l-o-w-l-y let one eye drift to the middle until she finally broke and started giggling.

The…


Photo by C. A. Bridges

It’s worse, at night.

During the day it’s bright and there’s always so much to do. There are the animals to take care of and the garden to tend and always something that needs fixing or mending or chopping.

But at night…

At night the children come out.

Always the damaged ones, the unloved ones. The ones who have been abandoned or chased away or just those who weighed the options of wandering through a dark forest along at night versus staying at home and decided to go with the unknown.

They come carefully, and quietly, and softly. They knock…


Lousy childhood, check.

Did the poor thing. Oh, how I did the poor thing.

Learned guitar. Learned how to write songs. Learned how to write good songs, which took longer.

Got a boyfriend who cheated on me with my best friend and ran off with my dog in his truck. Took me three boyfriends to find one who would do it, too, and don’t think it was easy.

Wrote about him, and her. And the dog.

So where’s my record contract? I know how this works. I posted all my songs to YouTube and Facebook and Twitter and Snapchat and Instagram. Where’s my eager audience? Where are my likes? Where’s my country music award?

I’m here. Waiting.

I’m gonna go write a sad song about search engine optimization.

C. A. Bridges

I take strange pictures; sometimes they become strange stories. My opinions are my own and, frankly, I don't trust them.

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