Friday, October 31, 2014

Hope in a Dark Place

After she fell, Hope crawled across the rough floor, bumping into unseen objects and getting splinters in her hands and knees. Pain mingled with fear. She stopped, sat up, and began to sob.
It was dark, extremely dark. Shaking her head, she thought, “I have to hold myself together and not panic.” She held back her tears. Her breathing sounded loud in her ears. A soft whistling sound, barely audible, came from the direction she was headed.
She pushed herself to a standing position and with hands extended, she took a few shuffling steps toward the sound, paused, and adjusted her path. Step by faltering step, she inched across the room. “Oomph,” she cried. Hope rubbed her thigh when she struck her leg against a hard corner. “I’ll have a bruise there tomorrow.”
Using her hands, she felt her way around the object, then stood quietly until she heard the sighing whistle again. She eased forward. It seemed like an eternity until she felt a solid wall before her.
The surface was irregular. By sliding her hands over the surface, she ascertained that it was a door, a double door, portals of escape, a way out of this darkness. She felt the crack where the two doors met. The faint whistle emanated there. A faint breeze and a thin shaft of diffused light squeezed through the crevice. A vestige of hope flickered in her soul.
She allowed her hands to slide downward, seeking the doors’ knobs. A cold, metal protuberance greeted her searching fingers. “It’s a handle. All I need to do is to pull it open and I’ll be free.”
Sliding her hand farther down, she felt more cold metal. She palpated it to determine what it was that she was feeling. There were thick, cold metal, interlinking ovals.
The doors were chained tightly shut. sliding to the floor, she began to sob. Hope was dashed.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Another of my short stories. I am rewriting for my editor, another story for my second Tommy Two Shoes mysteries. I will share this instead of writing an entry for my blog.

Matchless Grace

Grace decided to create a matchmaking business for the sole purpose of finding men for herself. The interviews for women were short and much less intense than the questions for the men. The men answered an impressively long list of probing and intimate details. Most of what she gathered was for her own use.
She created a profile for each applicant as well as one of her own. Her intuitive skills worked quite well. Many of her subscribers were dating exclusively or already wed. It wasn’t the best of the applicants she kept, but men who were desperately lonely and alone. She sought men who were small cogs, men who would be scarcely missed when they disappeared. Not overly impressed with their looks or prestige; she was decidedly not finicky. She took her time and chose her men with extreme care.
Grace could have created a thriving business with her intuitive matchmaking, but she ignored it, concentrating on her own desires.
She found new applications in her site’s email and began to rifle through them. One application caught her attention. She was attracted by the stats of Alex Walters. He was 34, a writer, his parents deceased, and no close relatives. Few other items mattered. After running a background check and finding no arrests and no outstanding bills, she was satisfied with her selection. His address was located in a moderately high scale building.
Immediately she began to memorize his likes and dislikes before sending him a “like” message. He accepted and soon began to date. At their first meeting, something was vaguely familiar, but she thrust it aside. Three dates later, she enticed him to visit her home. She slowly enticed him to come into her bedroom. He was shy and reluctant, but she finally convinced him.
Inside her boudoir, things changed and he became aggressive. She was willing to follow his lead, as long as it allowed her to gain access to his assets.
After she was firmly bound, hands and feet, Alex said, “I had a twin brother, Alan.”

It clicked. She remembered Alan. He was her first victim.

“We were separated at birth and had just found each other when he disappeared. I decided to find out what happened to him.” After removing a Tazer from his jacket pocket, he leaned over Grace and smiled.


Monday, October 27, 2014

Her Mother’s Child   

There are certain traits that I am glad that my children inherited from their mother and not from me. They are more adventurous than I was and that is good in many ways. I can be intimidated with many aps and programs on a computer. I am always concerned that I will do something that will cause the system to crash. My wife always was good with finances and my children have gotten the good part of that.
            The one thing that I am not happy that my one daughter has inherited is that she can use five pots and six utensils to boil water. A simple recipe can involve so many dishes to make it and the kitchen sink is filled afterwards.
I, on the other hand is proud that I can make a six course meal and dirty a pot, a serving dish, and one spoon to create a relatively tasty meal. If you use the measuring cup to measure the dry ingredients first then the wet, there is no need for two cups. Sometimes I actually use measuring spoons to follow a recipe instead of the pour on the palm of the hand for measuring.
There are times that I allow the creative juices to flow and start tossing things into a pot. Usually, it comes out edible if not tasty. I wipe off the spoon that I used to stir and mix to use as the serving spoon. Why not? It has all of the ingredients already on it.
One pot meals are my favorites and if I serve them on a paper or Styrofoam plate, fantastic. I do still like actual metal utensils with which to eat. Plastic just doesn’t cut it unless it is absolutely necessary. We have a dishwasher, but I think my daughter only uses it when the kitchen sink gets full. She can carry a dirty plate and place it on the counter above the dishwasher, when it takes about another three seconds to open the door and place it on the rack. That drives me insane and maybe that is her plan. She wants me locked away where I can’t share family secrets.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Only Yesterday         

It seems like only yesterday that I removed the flannel sheets from my bed and put on the summer garb of percale. In reality, it has been about two months ago. The summer wasn’t warm enough to shed the flannel snake skins. The nights have been cool enough to warrant a warmer covering.
This summer has been another wet and cool one. My lawn has enjoyed it, stretching heavenward and needing mowed twice a week, but I resisted, only completing that chore once each week. The only good thing about the cool autumn weather has been the beauty found in the multihued leaves and for some reason, the wonderful cloud formations. Many of the clouds have seen wispy, in a feather or fern frond way. They have been remarkable.
The coolness of the October weather has compelled me to pull of the short-lived percale sheets and replace them with the flannels. I did have only one set of flannels, but I found a set of barely used ones at our school’s yard sale and I bought them. Now, I don’t have to pull the flannels off when they get dirty, wash, dry and put them back on the same day. I can just replace them with another set and wash the others at my leisure.
I like the feel of flannels when I crawl into bed at night. The percale sheets would greet me with icy fingers while the flannels welcome me with warm and wide open arms. It is almost as though they know what kind of day that I’ve had and want to cuddle and make me feel as though they care.

I like my bedroom to be cool. It helps me sleep through the night, but the flannels keep me toasty and I like that, too. I have on my bed one of two knotted quilts that my mother-in-law, Retha Morrison, helped me to make. The top is made with various colors of double knit squares that are place onto a fleece backing, then knotted with yarn at the alternating corners of the squares. The fleece backing may wear out, but anyone who has used double-knit knows that it wears like iron. The fleece can be replaced and the quilt lives on, reincarnated like the Phoenix.
Retha started to make these quilts on a small scale. I mean that she would make baby quilts for people that she knew who were having a baby. She would use pale colors and white double-knit and knot it to a large bath towel. It made a personal gift for the parents and the newborn child.
Retha passed away, nearly eleven years ago, but I carry on the tradition and make baby quilts for relatives.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014


In the past, I have been invited to an annual masquerade party and my intense imagination has been released. For the most part, I have devised my own costumes. The most formidable was a crow. I made the beak and feet out of thin sheets of foam plastic/ rubber. I attached the beak to a plain mask that I spray painted black. I bought a black derby to which I glued a black feather boa in loops to cover my neck and hair. Black slacks, shoes and a sweater. I glued some black feathers on the cuffs of a pair of black gloves. I was magically transformed into a crow. I stapled some plastic bubble wrap onto a broom handle and painted it to look like an ear of corn, with brown yarn “silk” and green crepe paper leaves. It was hot inside.

Almost as hot was the time that I dressed as a Steeler, Troy Polamalu. I wore white knit pants, and a Polamalu jersey. In one hand was a football and in the other a bottle of dandruff shampoo. What made the outfit hot was that I had to wear three wigs to get the volume that neared his. I almost smothered in that.
I wised up to the point that I knew less was better, if I was to be cooler. Last year, I used my natural attributes as the center of my outfit. I wear dark rimmed glasses and have white chin whiskers and hair. I bought a white Fedora. I already had white pants, while lab coat, and shirt. I made a string bow tie to wear. All that I needed were a few other things. I stopped at a local KFC restaurant and asked for help. I needed something with the KFC logo on it to convert into a name tag. I already had a chicken bucket. They gave me a disposable cup.

At home, I cut out the logo with room to write, Col. Harlan Sanders. I ironed it flat and attached it to a safety pin. Carrying the KFC bucket in one hand and a rubber chicken in the other, I was the founder of KFC, Col. Sanders.

This year, I might be even more minimal. No, I am not going to streak. That would be wrong on so many levels. My body hasn’t been seen naked by anyone but myself, there will be children at the party, and it would be too cold. The most extravagant and warm will be the wig and the black moustache.

Monday, October 20, 2014

State of Undress

“I want to break out of my shell. I am tired of my life as a secretary. It’s so boring. I want to be free, even if it’s only for a week. I want to do something completely out of line for me. Do something unusual. For years, it’s been on my mind.”
As I sat in my gynecologist’s office, a travel advertisement for a cruise caught my attention. It read, “Feel free again. Shed your inhibitions. Join our cruise to a remote island paradise.”
More information followed in smaller lettering. “This cruise is for the young at heart. Clothing is optional.” I glanced around the waiting area. No one was paying any attention to me. I quietly tore the page from the magazine and tucked it into my pocket. “I’ll do it,” I vowed.
I jumped when the nurse called my name.
As soon I got home, I called to make reservations. I got my passport, made sure my inoculations were to date, and selected the clothing I wanted, just in case I couldn’t bare it all. By the day of departure, I had my toiletries and sun screen in a small bag and a slightly larger one for my clothing, “Just the bare essentials,” I thought smiling at my own pun.
I was growing more excited as the day drew near. Normally shy, I decided to pay for a single occupancy cabin.
“The cabin is beautiful,” I glanced out the porthole before unpacking, then changed into a pair of shorts and a halter top. A slight vibration in the ship and the creaking of the metal told her that the boat was underway.
“I’ll walk on deck. I’ll get to learn where things are and get some sun at the same time.”
Just having left the dock, the passengers on deck were still fully clothed and they were older. As the cruise progressed, most walked the promenade deck, nude and bare skins turned rosy. I became comfortable seeing the others sky clad and finally decided, “Tonight for the evening meal, I’m going to do it. I’m going to set myself free from the burden of my clothing.”
I felt a bit embarrassed as I slid my clothing off and tossed them onto the bed. I took a deep breath and thought, “This is it,” and boldly stepped into the passageway. I strode quickly and purposefully toward the dining rooms before I could change my mind.
I sauntered into the dining salon with my head held high. My chest was thrust out. My nipples were perky and erect.
Diners turned as I entered. Everyone was wearing formal attire. It was the Captain’s dinner.



Friday, October 17, 2014


“It’s almost midnight and my parents are still not home. Where can they be?”
“I can’t understand why I’m so nervous. I’ve been home alone before, but never for this long or so late. I jumped at noise in the kitchen. Spinning around at the sound, wide eyed I stared into the room. “It’s only the refrigerator,” I thought,” but in the quiet of the house it sounded ominous.
Moving from room to room, I turned on every light in the house. “My dad will throw a fit when about the cost of electricity when he gets home, but at this point, “I don’t care.” I picked up and loaded my dad’s 12 gauge and locked myself in my bedroom. I sat down on the bottom of my bed. I was afraid. My nerves were on edge.
The lights flickered once. Then they went out. The house plunged into darkness. I spun toward the loud tapping on the window. Pale moonlight eased through the glass. Seeing the silhouette of a moving hand, I lifted the gun and fired.
The loud blast in the small room nearly deafened me. I barely heard the crash of shattering glass.
My ears were still ringing when my parents came home. My dad reset the thrown breakers and lights came back on.
I was sitting and sobbing on my bed when my dad forced the door open. Thankfully the gun was empty. My mom gasped and my dad shook his head as he strode across the room to survey the damage.
He said, “You took care of the maple branch that I was planning to trim.” He turned to see my mom cradling me. He took two steps toward us and gently pried his shotgun from my hands. 

Several hours later, a man reported to a nearby hospital to seek treatment for wounds from a gun cleaning accident to his hand and forearm.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

From Bad to Worse

It wasn’t the evening that he planned. He brought her a small bouquet of flowers and took her to a moderately expensive restaurant for dinner. They walked along holding hands as the window shopped.  She wanted to stroll through the downtown and relax after the meal.
It wasn’t his fault that the heel of her shoe snapped off. No stores were still open to buy another pair. He couldn’t hail a taxi and her limping walk slowed them even more; shoe foot, bare foot, shoe foot.
He managed not to laugh when she stepped in some dog feces that an uncaring dog owner hadn’t collected. A nearby puddle of water on the walk beneath an air conditioner gave her some relief, then he gave her his handkerchief to wipe the worst of it away.
A sprinkle of rain began to intrude on their evening. He found shelter for them in a doorway with a sagging canvas awning, as the rain became a downpour. The awning filled, sagging more. A tearing sound, then a cascade of water as the awning gave way. His date was drenched. Water dripped from her hair and the hem of her dress.
He didn’t think his comment of “It may help to get rid of the doggie doo” made her feel any better. She gave me one of those “How dare you” looks. Her icy stare told me that the evening wasn’t going to end well.
Unable to hail a taxi, we caught a bus as it rolled by. We climbed aboard. Because of the rain, the bus was packed, with standing room only. All of the passengers stared at her as though she was an Apocalypse Zombie and moved to give her room. He had to admit that she didn’t look her best, but the crowd parted and gave them room. A puddle formed where we stood.
We exited the bus and it was still pouring. We were a block from her home. Silence reigned. I escorted her to her porch. She unlocked the door and went inside. There was no kiss, no hug, and not even a thank you. I said “Good night.” The bang of the door was my only answer.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Another short story of the flash fiction category. It will be a busy week and my posts may not be as long, which might make some readers happy, but I do hope that you enjoy what I've shared with you. If you desire to make comments you can always note me Thanks.
In the Spirit

Blood, a puddle, a pool of it, spreading from beneath the body; I could see it, smell it, watch it grow. The knife, a silent witness, said so much. I reached out. The body was still warm, sprawled, face down on the floor. The oak boards tried to resist the probing fingers of blood, but the worn spots sucked at the plasma hungrily.
Who was this victim? What was the name of this lifeless form? I recognized the shape of this being and the clothing, but how did it get here? Nothing was making sense. I had no memory, no recollection, and no understanding of what went on. I was confused, upset, angry, and didn’t know why.
On the table was a folded paper, a letter, a goodbye note. The signature was mine.
My spirit stiff was depressed. I still felt that there was no hope. I still wanted it to all end, but it hadn’t ended. Ife still goes on, but on another plane.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Her Beauty

She stepped onto the bus, her tresses cascaded over her shoulders in shimmering chestnut waves. Her smile immediately filled the bus with sunshine. That smile seemed directed at me. With amazing grace, she dropped her money into the change box and sauntered down the aisle. She stopped and turned to me.
“Is this seat taken?” she asked.
I glanced around. The bus was nearly empty and yet she chose the spot beside me.
“N-n-n-o-o,” I managed to stammer.
She slid into the seat. Her delicate scent filled my nostrils.
 “I’m on my way home,” she shared, glancing over at me.
I felt a lump in my throat and couldn’t speak. She was so beautiful.
“My husband isn’t home at present,” She murmured and placed a slender hand on my thigh.
My breath caught in my throat. My brain began to spin as her heady perfume captivated me and her suggestion sank in.
She slid her hand up and down my thigh, stirring a feeling in my loins.
The bus hissed to a stop. Taking my hand, she led me down the aisle and off the bus. I had to hold my newspaper in front of me to avoid embarrassment.
She closed and locked the apartment door behind her. Pulling me close,  she whispered in my ear, “What do you want for supper, dear?”
“Whatever you want, love, but it’s my turn to pick you up on the bus tomorrow.”


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Because of my increasing number of senility episodes, I posted yesterday and it should have been posted today. I was so upset about the Walmart placing the star and crescent moon tree toppers with the Christmas decorations that I posted yesterday.
So, instead, I thought I'd post a flash fiction story. We were challenged to write a short story, one that is 00 words or less. mine is 245. I hope that you like it.
Long and Short

They walked into a bank close to downtown. Sam leaned close and said, “Gimme a bag, Dana.” Dana pulled a cloth bag from a larger one she carried. Each moved to stand in front of a teller. Sam pulled out a revolver and said, “Hand over the money. Put it on the counter. Empty your drawers, now. This is a robbery.”
Rifling through the bills, they made sure there were no dye packs, then shoved the cash into their sacks. Turning, the couple exited the bank. Slowly, they strolled away, mingling with the lunchtime crowd on the street.
The police swarmed the bank. They surveyed the banks recordings and began to search for the couple: a white male dressed in jeans, blue hoodie, and a ball cap pulled over his eyes and a white female wearing tight black spandex pants, a gray hoodie, and a pulled down ball cap. The descriptions matched several other local heists.
An APB was sent out. An intense search started.
An hour later, a couple checked out of a hotel, three blocks from the bank. The tall woman and her slender boyfriend walked to the bus station, right by the bank where the activity still swirled.
The large woman approached a policeman. Sitting her suitcase on the sidewalk, she asked, “What’s happening, officer?”
“A bank robbery, ma’am.”
“Goodness!” her reply.
Dana picked up his heavy suitcase and said, “We need to go, Samantha. We’ll miss our bus.”

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Must Christians Really?

I was shopping at our local Walmart store last week. I wanted to buy some green Christmas lights for a tree outside of my house before they all were sold like last year. I thought that I would look at the other Christmas ornaments and the tree toppers at the same time.
I found the lights. There were only a few left. Most of them were already gone. I felt good that I was able to get them before they were all gone. I looked at other items, seeing what was new. There were the usual gaudy, cheap ornaments, reels for storing Christmas light, and garland. As I pushed my shopping cart down the tree topper aisle, I was stopped in my tracks. I couldn’t believe what I saw. They had the normal stars, snowflakes, starbursts, and even an owl to perch on the top of a tree, but what hit me like a fist was the topper that seemed totally out of place. I felt sick to my stomach.
The topper was the crescent moon and star, one of the symbols of Islam.
We are being deluged with stories of ISIS, a radical group of Islamists, beheading Christians in Iraq and Syria and here it was nestled with the decorations of the Christmas season. Christmas is a Christian holiday, not one to be shared with a religion that calls Christians infidels and dogs. It shouldn’t be shared with a religion who wants to convert Christians or kill them. It was offensive and disgusting to me as a Christian.
I was so surprised I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I wanted to rip them off the peg they were hanging on and stomp them there in the middle of Walmart, but I thought, “This isn’t a local store problem, this is companywide”  at all of their store locations. Smashing them would be of little use. I paid for my purchases and left the store. I shared my experience on Facebook and got a few responses, but I wanted the offensive symbols removed from all Walmart stores or at least removed from the Christmas section of the stores.
I called the company offices and a young lady took my information, saying that a local manager would be calling me back n regard to my complaint. They woman seemed sympathetic to my call and did say, “Have a blessed weekend, sir.”
I felt that this was another blatant assault on Christianity by a corporation that makes millions of dollars during the Christmas season, but doesn’t allow their employees to say, “Merry Christmas” and must reply “Happy Holidays.” Why are they now seemingly endorsing another religion while refusing to honor the reason for the holiday in the first place? If Christ hadn’t been born, there would be no reason to celebrate December 25th.
Yesterday, I got a call from the manager at our local Walmart. She had no idea that the item was even on display in her store. She also seemed sympathetic to my concerns and reason for my upset. I described the item and its location. She said that she would check it out and try to handle my concern. I suggested that she place it with the Halloween items or the pork products as appropriate display areas.
I shop the Walmart frequently and said, “If it’s not removed, I will do my shopping elsewhere.” I will check it out later today and see if it is resolved.
When I sent an e-mail to the corporate headquarters, I asked, “What executive allowed a buyer to select such an item for a Christmas tree topper?” I think the buyer and the executive should be discharged and they should be beheaded from their positions.
I finished with my will this morning and told my attorney about the Walmart issue. He couldn't believe that Walmart would put such things out with the Christmas items. I told him, "When I stop at Walmart's today and if they haven't removed it, I would get back to him if he wasn't afraid to take on Walmart.
He chuckled and said, "I've gotten money from Walmart before."
At Walmart, one of the first places I visited was the tree toppers. The spot that held the crescent and star was vacant. I immediately went to the back of the store and asked for a manager. The manager who came out was the same one that I spoke to on the phone. I thanked her very much for her prompt response. She shared that she hadn't been aware of this product and that she notified the personnel above her.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Burdened Hearts

For the past few months, my heart and mind has been burdened with the heartbreak of my friends, my family members, and those as close as family members. Sharing these burdens has become so frequent that they seem to rush at me, one after another. I think about each individual incident as I go about my daily tasks and each person affected, sharing prayers.
Today, as I was mowing, I decided to share these thoughts with my readers, not the particulars, I have no desire to embarrass people that I have held in confidence. I will address things in a general manner and limited details.
I have mentioned before about the loss of my cousin, Charlene, and much of that burden is for her family and friends, especially her mom who has endured so much.
It seems like so many of my friends and Face Book friends have been hit with illnesses the most common disease has been cancer. Each one pricks my heart. My wife and mother-in-law died with this malignant disease hidden inside of them.
Some of my friends are struggling with financial problems; making their money stretch, trying to find a place to live, or difficulties with heath care. Sometimes one problem bleeds into another.
I am not even sure how to approach my last concern. I’m not sure that it is the most demanding, but it is the most recent. It hit me like a fist. When children stray, it’s like a dagger to the heart of the parent. It is a hard burden to bear, both for the child and to the parent. The incident has ruined the trust between the parents and child and it has ruined the bright future of this child.
It has to be devastating for the family. The parents are close friends and it has hit me hard. I try to help bear the emotional weight by thinking of them and praying frequently. There is not much else for me to do. I am not sure that the parents even know that I understand what is happening in their lives, so what do I do, but wait and pray.
Don’t think I have an Eeyore attitude or am a gloomy Gus, I’m not. I try to make others smile. I try to help in any way that I can. I don’t know if I would be able to help carry this load if it weren’t for the frequent release occasions. I like the time I spend talking and laughing with others. Unknowingly, they provide mental health for me. They divert my thoughts from the secrets inside and allow me to escape, even for a few minutes.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

It Seems to Get…

My life seems to get busier and busier as I get older and since I have retired. With my writing and the daily chores, I am always looking ahead with some dread and anxiousness. I have four writers meetings that I attend, every other week.
Today, I have a book signing all afternoon at the Demo Depot parking lot. It is for my first book of Tommy Two Shoes and for the story I have in the anthology of Moon Shadows. Moon Shadows is a collection of spooky or ghost stories. The one that I wrote is a ghost story, but it definitely not a scary one.
Sci-fi and horror stories are something that I have not been interested in writing. I do have a creative mind, but it doesn’t flow in that direction. I have tried and it feels unnatural to me. The one I wrote is almost a Casper-The-Ghost like and cuddly. It is titled, Afraid.
Tomorrow, I am going to an appointment to sign my will. I wanted to take care of it and funeral preparations for my wife and I over twelve years ago, but she would get a look of panic on her face and say no. When she died, I had to handle it all for myself, except doing my will. Now, at least that part will be over and done.
Next Friday and Saturday will be a true fry-day. I will be at the Ohiopyle Fire Department frying sausage for their Buckwheat Festival: all-you-can-eat pancakes or buckwheat cakes with sausage, fried potatoes, applesauce, and pickles. The dates for it is always the second full Friday and Saturday in October. This year it is October 10th and 11th, 2014.
The next week is the preparation and set up for the Mt. Zion Christian School. The items donated are sold at very low prices to support the activities of the students. Most clothing is sold as a dollar-a-bag. It is an outreach to the community and makes clothing available at reasonable costs.
The following week is filled with meetings and a writing seminar as well as a masquerade party. Almost as soon as that’s over; hunting season, Thanksgiving, and Christmas preparations start. I’m already tired just looking ahead.