Sunday, October 20, 2019

Cookie Monster

The woman had been watching.  After all, it takes a village, right?  The boy was alone too much.  She often saw him sitting by himself on the large wrap-around porch. He never had play dates. She had never heard him laugh nor had she seen him with friends and at his age, he should have been racing down the street on his bike for a pick up game of basketball or kickball or something.  She should have had to chase him from her back yard when he cut through or had to call his mother because he was saying words too grown up and sinister for his young mouth.  Sinister. Well maybe that was over the top. She decided to take action in a neighborly way.  She began to go outside when he was out.  She would wave.  He smiled and waved back almost hungry for, no, STARVING for attention.She went the next step; cookies.

"That poor boy." she clucked to herself smudging flour on her cheek as she baked. 

"Mother, stay out of it." warned her son on his weekly visit.  "You don't have any idea what goes on over there.  He may just be taking a break from a wild day of Yatzee and coloring books.  He might be exhausted from cookie-baking, sing-a-longs and home schooling. Maybe he has a "smother" ..." he allowed the last sentence to sink in and smiled when she attempted to rat-tail him with her dish towel.  She grimaced at her failure. 

"One day, I'm going to get it right and you won't sit for a week!" she chuckled and pulled out the tray of  golden, delicious disks.  Her son was immediately at her side, reaching over and around.  It quickly became a cat and mouse game as she twirled and warned against the hot tray.  He snatched his prize and juggled it.  She stopped and glared with a twinkle.

 "You.  Deserve.  That. I hope you burned your mouth and ruined your taste buds for the rest of the day.  I am taking these over to the family." she said proudly, slipping them into a little basket crammed with other baked goods and little toys.

"Stah ow uh eet." he said wiggling his hand in front of his mouth.

"I'm not getting into anything.  Just being neighborly." and she headed out the door.  Just before the screen door swished shut, she turned and stuck her tongue out, making a resoundingly wet raspberry. It was drizzling.  She was glad because then she would be invited in and she could better survey the scene.  She found him in his usual spot with some trucks and little wooden people (Fisher Price?  Weebles? It had been so long ago that she had had to trip on those toys)  scattered around.

"Hi Sweetie." she said from the base of the steps.  "Is anybody home?"

He nodded, his attention immediately drawn to the basket. 

"May I come up?" She asked from the little path at the base of the steps.  It's always best to ask and not frighten such a delicate boy. He shrugged but sat back and crossed his legs, folding his hands in his lap.

"I baked these.  Would you like one?"

"Yes, please." he said quietly.

Chock one up for manners she thought and gave him two.  He leaned forward and gently took them immediately whispering thank you and popping the entire first cookie into his little mouth.

"Whoa. Be careful Doll.  You might want some milk ..."

The heavy door swung open and a woman appeared.  She looked tired.  Moms are always tired. 

"Hi.  I don't mean to bother you but I just thought I'd bring some..."

The woman quickly glanced at the boy then to Lilly.  Silently, he gathered his things with incredible speed and rushed passed her disappearing into the house.  Lilly craned her neck to see what was behind the woman, the door was quickly shut and the woman motioned for Lilly to sit in one of the two chairs on the porch.  Lilly was crushed.

"That was sweet of you.  You'll excuse me, I was doing some work in the house and it's a bit too cluttered for company.  We can enjoy your lovely gift together.  Here."

"In the rain?"

"We won't get wet." The woman offered a small decisive smile. 

"Of course. Well, I just wanted to pop over.  I wave to your son when he's out and I thought it best not to be such a stranger.  Neighbors should get to know each other. I'm Lilly." 

The woman hesitated and then forced a tight grin.  "I'm Tabitha.  The boy you see is Levi." she tossed her head toward the house.

"Your son?  What a unique na..."

"Not my son." she rushed. Lilly waited but there was no further conversation. 

"He seems to keep to himself." Lilly blurted. Tabitha stopped chewing and contemplated.

"It's better that way." she said and began to chew again, thinking this was the end all beat all answer.

"Better?" Lilly asked.

Tabitha nodded thoughtfully.  "Better..." her voice trailed off.

"Is he a foster?"

"No."

"Oh. You've adopted him?  So lovely.  I think it's great..."

"No." Tabitha interrupted.  She took another bite.

Lilly sat back and crossed her feet under her waiting.

There was silence.  "Cookies are great.  Levi will certainly eat them all before supper." she said flatly.
"I don't mean to cut you off or seem rude but I must get back to things inside.  A boy like Levi can stir things up pretty quick." and she stood, brushing crumbs from her shirt.  "Thank you for stopping by Lilly and for being so... thoughtful." She met Lilly's eyes with such intensity that Lilly pulled her sweater around her as a chill swept under her skin.  With that, she slipped back inside leaving Lilly alone.  Levi peeked through the drapes and waved with a cookie in his hand.  She could do nothing but go home.

She and her son ate dinner.  She pushed her food around on her plate and sighed a lot.  He quietly waited until she was ready.

"It just doesn't make sense."

"To you.  Stay out of it. He's a healthy little boy.  He's clean. He's smart-"

"Polite..." she added with a cock of her head and a poke of her meatloaf.

"Polite." he smiled. "So please stop trying to find something wrong.  Let them be. Families are different now then when you were so lucky." he chided.

"Lucky..." She rolled her eyes and smiled but her gaze drifted back to the porch across the street.

It was her son's turn to sigh.  He cleaned up.  Kissed his mother and told her to stay out of it.  She puffed him with her dishtowel.  He caught it and pulled it close, giving her a long "hard" look. 

"I mean it."

She watched him go and leaned across the doorway with her coffee.  She scowled at it.  "Too late for you, my little buzz factor ..." and she left the door open allowing the autumnal breeze to swirl gently behind her to the kitchen, where she finished up for the night. 

"He's right." she smiled to herself.  Bedtime.

Her dreams were sour.  She woke once drenched in sweat.  "Haven't had a personal summer in years." she grumped kicking off the blankets.  "I'm too old for hot flashes.  Hot nights... hot ANYTHINGS. " she giggled to herself and settled back.  Sleep quickly pounced but pushed her into a nightmare.  There was fog, a damp wind and a panic.

 She knew the place where she was but could see nothing which caused her to walk cautiously and sweep with her hands to find something to ground her; touch something to give her an image of where she was.  Her house?  It had to be. Then why was she afraid?  She heard the scurry of the leaves across the road.  They were in a rush to get away.  She just knew it.  And she felt she should be hustling along herself.  Her mind was pushing her. "Move on Lilly.  Let's get going now Girl.  Don't dawdle."

And a voice quietly cooed "Do you want to know? Do you want to see? Come a little closer Lilly.  I'll show you..."

She jarred awake; a gasp exploding from her lips. Her eyes darted through the dark, screaming for focus.  The silence seemed too thick.  She rubbed her face and brushed back her hair, tugging on her earlobes as if that would somehow clear her head. Slowly she began to recognize....

The porch of her neighbor's house.

The lights were out.

"Of course you old fart.  It's the middle of the damn night."

She looked around to make sure.  Yep.  She had walked across the street in her nightie to stand at the door of her neighbor.  She rolled her eyes and shook her head.  "Idiot."  She turned to go.  A gentle movement stopped her. 

"Don't you dare look!" her mind shouted.  "Just go home. Lilia.  Don't look. That's when the monsters get you." and she began to creep back along the porch toward her own home.

"You crazy old bat. " she scolded under her breath. But she thought she heard little Levi whisper her name so she began to turn; if only to give him a tiny wave of reassurance then a tightness pinched in her chest; warning her.  A soft tapping began at the window.  She wanted to look but took another step away from the door. She was at the edge of the porch.  The tap was louder, sharper.  "Look at me" it demanded.  Lilly went down, one, two, three and stopped at the base of the walkway.  The tap was now a scratch or a streak, like wet fingers.  Her brain screamed that she should run ~ like a child with a Halloween prank gone wrong.  But the old woman would not be bullied.  She kept her pace.  She walked slowly and smartly home.  She went up the stairs and purposefully smoothed out blankets and got back into bed having locked each door behind her.  A tiny fortress.  She approved and plumped her pillows, opened her Agatha Christie and read until the sun turned on the sky with flashes of red....

and blue

and white

The police cars and the barking of walkie-talkies told her she actually had gone back to sleep.  She stood and pulled the drapes away from the glass.

Ambulances, police, paramedics... the whole county of first responders seemed to be in the road.  It looked like a disco ant hill with all the flashing and people crawling in and out.  She saw her other neighbors craning their necks from the perimeter set by yellow tape.  She had that pinchy feeling again.

She saw the ME and the coroner pull up.  She watched gurneys going out. 

She saw Levi sitting on the porch. Alone.

She didn't realize her hands were clenched and cold.  She willed them open and rubbed them together.
"java." she muttered to herself and went to the kitchen.  Most of the day was busy across the street.  But Levi seemed invisible.  He just sat on the porch.  He played with toys and wandered around.  Once she thought he even started across to her house.  But he hesitated and slowly waved instead.  Lilly did not.  She pulled away from the window as if scalded and went to polish something or make a bed or wash some vegetables; anything.  As much of a busy body as she could be, she did not pull up a chair to watch the show unfold.  She busied herself.  She vacuumed three times and washed the floor register covers.  She drank coffee and paced a lot.

The sun chickened out and dipped below the trees to hide.  She became nervous and "prickly" inside as the shadows grew longer.  She told herself she wasn't looking out the window for the boy.  She muttered to herself she was one crazy old bitch and needed to talk to her doctor about upping her dose.  She locked the door three times.  Not even Zane Grey and his sassy western novel could keep her occupied.

It was a surprise when she was startled awake.

By tapping at her window. Lilly rolled over and pulled the blankets up.  Everyone knew that was the best defense against monsters; but not tapping.  She stuck her finger in her ear to block the noise.

"Don't look" she said to herself.

"C'mon out Lilly.  You just had to know.  You wanted to help?  You wanted to see what was going on?  C'mon out.  I'll show you.  And bring cookies...."  The voice was cold and mocking.  It sounded watery and thick.

Dead.

"No.  Go away." she whispered and squinched her eyes shut.  She dug her finger in a little deeper to her ear.  "Leave me be.  Take the cookies but leave me alone.  I'll never look.  I'll never ask.  I'll... I'll

 "Never tell" finished the voice and there was one final tap.  Loud and crisp.  Lilly thought for sure the window was going to break.  Then the smearing sound like someone one writing something.

Lilia stayed locked in her room, safe with her blankie and curled in a ball.  The deal had been made.
Dreams did not visit her.

When she woke, she was oddly refreshed. She pulled back the curtain and saw the smear, little finger marks spelling out a word. She studied it, then cleaned it with Windex.  She never asked.  She had promised.  Then she headed down to her kitchen where she made coffee and eggs and bacon, baked a banana bread and started a stew since she was a bit chilled with the weather.  "Autumnal weather means a hearty stew." she told herself, tugging at her sweater. 

On the counter sat the cookie jar.  She replaced the lid and never thought twice.  She swept the crumbs and refused to dwell on the trail they made down the hall, across the parlor to the door. She thought of the word on her window and began baking oatmeal cookies.

Fall came, died and turned to winter.  Snow fell, melted and morphed into a muddy spring. Lilly continued to putter, read and be nosy about most of the neighborhood.  She baked cookies and sprayed Windex. Not once did she join in the gossip about the horrible crime that took place.  The young couple who had been killed.  No one was ever arrested.  "At least they didn't have children..." was the usual comment.  Lilly shuddered but never said a word.

When the moving truck pulled up and a family appeared, she whipped up a double batch of snicker doodles without hesitation.  She put them in the jar on her counter and looked across the road.  A little girl was swinging on a new swing on the porch.  Her mom and dad worked in the yard.  She sighed heavily and with wobbly old knees, Lilly made her way over.  She stood at the curb curb and called to them, introducing herself.  They came and returned the favor.  A conversation struck up.  Lilly felt an instant connection and warmth.  She liked them and their little girl.  She laughed and enjoyed the new life.  They invited her several times to come up and sit on the porch, she politely declined.  She held out her gift and told them to keep the jar.  In fact, she asked them to keep it on the porch.  When asked why, she laughed softly and waved her hand. 

"It's a good neighbor thing.  Leave it there and always have cookies in it.  You'll be blessed and safe."

The old woman hurried back home leaving the new couple a little confused.  But Lilly didn't want to tell them what she knew.  She scurried off after the drapes moved and a small hand waved with a cookie in it. Levi stood watching.  Grinning. The little girl smiled and waved back at her new friend.




Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Family

I remember that day. It was hot and we slept heavily during the sunny hours.  When the big ball began to dip, Mama woke us.  We were lazy and she had to prod us to get up.  Much needed to be done as always.

"It's time to go" she whispered.  We were still young and understood only a little.  We were more in tune with grabbing each other and playing. My brother and sister were just babies but I was a little older and had responsibilities. Sometimes though, we forgot about our situation.  We laughed until our lungs burned and were carefree. Mama pretended to be stony, impenetrable, but I saw a small smile creep across her guarded, sharp features. Most of the time she let us go occasionally whirling around and hissing for us to stop or pay attention.  This was not one of those times.  And we all seemed invigorated by the sweet, damp autumnal night.  The shadows were as crisp as the air but we weren't cold.  Not today at least.  It was tough living like we did.  Moving a lot; never really wanted or accepted.  I was too young then to see it for what it was. At some level it was always an adventure.  That was how Mama saw it.  Some days were easy. Then there were the others.

It had to be so hard on her; sad and yet she made sure we laughed much more often than we cried.  She could take the good and make it great.  Bath time became a water war where we were left gasping in joy.  A long time without a meal always ended in a feast. She saved us.  Daily. And she taught us important things: caution, strength and the one I recognize painfully even now - protect those you love.

It had been so harsh for so long.  We had been traveling for what seemed like weeks; not finding shelter or food.  We were hungry and afraid.  And oh so cold.  Mama hugged us against the changing wind and soothed us with stories of better days.  She cried in her dreams; wishing better things for us.  At last she had to make the second hardest decision in her life; she left us alone to find something- some place safe.  I remember the surge of bravery and love and telling her I would be fine. I would protect us.  I could barely encircle my brother and sister but I huddled them against the cruel world and I soothed them with stories and dreams.  I knew now why she cried in the dark. At last she woke us. I was overjoyed to see her and hear her voice.  Her eyes were sharp and clear as she told us she'd found food and we could follow her.  

There was no telling twice.  We all jumped up and trailed after her.  Our weak bodies finding speed in hope and the promise of nourishment.  We had to sneak and be silent.  We knew that by watching Mama creep around.  I could smell something amazing and my shrunken belly shouted in anticipation.  I doubled over and tried to hide it.

"Patience baby" she whispered.  We got closer to the garage and saw where someone had cast aside barbecue leftovers.  My mouth was a waterfall.  My baby brother actually moaned as it tickled his nose with the promise of a full tummy.  My sister dropped to the ground whimpering. 

"Hang on Darlings.  Please just wait.  I ..." and she turned to huddle us again giving very specific and fierce instructions. Her grip was tighter than normal.  I should have known but I was too young and eager; selfishly fantasizing about sandwiches and meat.  Then she kissed each of us and like a football team she nodded and we broke, scurrying to gather all that we could.  We knew where to meet so that we could share at last in a feast for our tiny, loving family.

I didn't know what the glare was at first; the flashlight  Then the shouts roared inside my ears.  I heard her screaming at me.  It tore through my hunger and struck my soul as she made the hardest decision ever:

"Move Baby! Get your sister's hand. Your brother is close.  Run.  Get away.  I love..." 

There was a clap of thunder and smoke. I smelled hot metal.  More angry voices came at us and we were rushing with what we could carry into the bush.

"Got one of em! Hurry 'fore they git away... THERE THERE..." more thunder and whooshing around our heads.  My heart was throbbing and my mouth was dry.  I kept running until my lets gave out, all but dragging my sister and screeching at my brother to keep up.  We ducked and crawled under a large stump of a tree that had fallen.  It wasn't ideal but we had stayed in worse places.  I let them eat. Then they slept as they should. I listened to the night.  I thought I heard the men stomping around congratulating themselves on the murder of my mother.   I felt the tears rushing down my face. The food tasted of salt and misery but I had to do it, needing the energy.  After an eternity, I dreamt she came back to us in the morning.

" Mama."  I called to no one.

I shrugged those childish thoughts off and gathered my brother and sister.  The sun would be rising soon and we needed to move on.  I looked back and whispered "I love you" into the morning light.  We began to lumber across the road when I heard a car rumbling upon us.  I hustled them into the long grass thinking the men were coming.  We ducked and sat silently at the side of the road.  Peering out, I glimpsed a small boy craning his neck to gawk and point at us

 "Mama! Look! a family of raccoons!"

I looked at him jealous of his precious, happy family.


This one brought on some tears.  I saw while driving to work, a dead family of raccoons in the road one day and it really struck me.  I'm a sap that way... so this is my little homage to that lost family.  

Hug your babies. Love.

Cheers. 

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Terror in the hearts

Gather around my little, innocent chickies.  Gather and I will show you something.  Something horrible; so come closer only if you dare.

The night was long and my drive made it longer.  I found myself shouting my favorite songs to the steering wheel and serenading the road signs as they stared at me; hypnotized by my oncoming headlights and melodic voice.  I too felt the road zombie-virus taking its hold.  I sang louder and rolled down my window.  I sound just like Abba when the volume is that high and J-Lo? She got NUTHIN on me.  We be from the same damn block. heeheehee.  Those are the thoughts that sauntered through my exhausted brain.  I had been defeated and beat up at work for far too many days in a row.  I had tried to be the Christopher Robin and acknowledge that I was brave enough, strong enough... you know how it goes; but my peers felt differently.  They were definitely in Eeyore's camp: "It doesn't matter.  It will just fall off anyway...."

But there was a tiny ember glowing.  One of hope, one of optimism.  I was headed to my lake and I was going to stay there for a week.  I was going to wake up, sip coffee in my jammies and watch the world rush off to work and busy life.  I was not going to join them and was looking forward to actually doing a little giggling and pointing.  (You know how I love that.) This was my driving force; my goal.  So I hugged Gizmo's wheel lovingly and pushed the gas with just a tiny bit more to go.  I could do this; reach my Nirvana.

The street lights one by one disappeared.  I arrived at my oasis at midnight with eyes burning, fingers numb from gripping the wheel and a sore throat.  Who knew Elton John's "I'm Still Standing" could do that?  Not me. But with the volume up?  We are both Queens with soul.

I pulled in the drive, relishing the soft, crunching welcome the gravel was giving me.  It was so very late after all...shhhhhh.  I opened the door and was greeted by the toddlers and one sexy husband.  "Welcome to vacation"  This was where he presented me with fresh bruschetta and wine.  What's not to love?  My exhaustion was turning to satisfaction.  I was dreaming of a wonderful sleep; deep and comforting.

I trudged up the last set of stairs- no small task if you've been to the lake house. I stopped and got my first full breath in weeks.  I dropped my bags and I stripped off my clothes, my worries and woes...oh and my bra.  That right there should give you all a collective sigh; am I right?  Of course.  I slipped into one of the world's oldest and most decadent tee shirts, brushed my teeth (for those of you who care about dental hygiene- I dedicate that moment to you) and slathered on my favorite wrinkle warrior in a jar.  Sandman cometh.  Taketh me to your castle where I will rule with a soft fist and gentle breath.

The darkness soothed me, the dogs snuggled and I was gone. Thankfully gone.

That my chickies is where the sidewalk ends and the broken, jagged journey begins.  I opened my eyes and smiled.  I heard the dogs sighing and my husband mumbling in blissful slumber.  I rolled over to see the marvel that is my life.

WRONG-I was confronted with an evil so dark and demonic that I covered my mouth to stifle the screeches billowing from my stomach like rotting bile.  Tears instantly sprang to my eyes and spilled over onto what could have been a pillow; a stone, a cluster of thumb tacks.  My first vision of the morning?  A soccer ball dangling at the corner of the eaves.  My mind stuttered and tried to understand what I was focusing on and then it clicked.  I was gazing upon a writhing mess of fucking BEES.  I slid from under the blankets, dropping to the floor (so they couldn't see me of course) I crawled on my hands and knees toward the bathroom where I thought I could close the door and cry.  Oh no.  I found not one but two dead centuries on the carpet.  They were waiting for me.  They knew I would come.  I felt the trembling begin in my elbows and shimmy down to my knees.  I thought I was going to poop on the carpet.  I begged God to save me.  Turning to stare at the tiny Death Star I saw the devils zooming in and out.  Three at a time.  Oh a forth- One just went out, hauled a u-ie and went back in to be counted twice.  Bastards.  All of them.  I crumpled myself between the shower and the tub, rocking back and forth, trying to devise an escape plan.  Standing tall and smoothing my hair I chose adulthood.  I brushed my teeth (hygiene reference) and opened the door.  " I got this.  I will not be harmed.  I will..." run like a Olympic sprinter at qualifying time.  There was a whoosh and curtain movement as I zipped down the stairs and into the kitchen.  But the toddlers didn't understand so they came rushing after me collecting at my feet.  My tribe was safe.  But not Cheech.  What would I do without my beloved?  How could I save him from the seething collection of teensy angry needles just begging for a place to poke? Certain death awaited him if he remained in that Satan's Sanctuary.  The Pit of venomous pricks... hey that sounds like a bar I went to once. While I was pondering risking my life or collecting insurance, he emerged; groggy and coffee deprived.  I fixed his wagon and let him join the living.  I reached over and lovingly caressed his shoulder.

"Whatcha got planned for today?" I cooed innocently. 

"Eh.  Nothing..." he looked over the rim of his mug. "S'up?"

"oh well... nothing really... " I thought I was playing so cool.

"Where are the bees?" he asked flatly.

"Wha???? What do you mean? Bees.  Ha... Where are there be... They are right above our fucking bed and if you don't kill them with fire, I will never let you play with my boobies again."

Yes. Subtlety is my gift. I teach a class on Wednesdays.

He snorted into his coffee and leaned over to kiss me.  My warrior.  My Lancelot.  My vacation and dreams would be rescued.  Nothing could stop him.  I collected seventeen cans of wasp spray and prayed it would be enough. We have no paint left on that side of the house and there is a Stephen King type cloud still hovering over the porch.  But I felt safe.  I noticed the smile returning to my face.  I went upstairs to reclaim my boudoir.

I heard a soft melody and realized I was humming.  Damn I sound just like Adelle. I brushed my teeth and began to get ready for my beautiful day by getting out of my amazing jammies and picking out an outfit that made me feel stunning (it WAS vacation after all) So I made the bed-nekkid.  I flipped up the covers, spying a tiny fleck jumping in the middle of the bed... I leaned over to see ... a hornet.  I began to sweat.  I coaxed myself to get my shoe.  Death comes to those so unholy. as I turned it over to take on the form of death hammer, another fell out.  I gasped and began to beat, pummel, pound and smack until spittle dribbled from my mouth and I had actually made bee-butter.  Each crunch brought me into the fold of a maniacal frenzy.  Panting and covered in perspiration I dumped the blanket right into the washer.  Venom is easily remove with laundry soap and a little fabric fresh.  Did you remember I was nekkid?  I was my own peep show for sure.  I gathered my wits because I had tossed them all over the floor while abusing the comforter and began to dress.  As I picked up my shorts, one last hornet fell to the floor. I felt the sneer slide across my mouth; crooked and hateful.  My teeth, although sparkling, gnashed together and without thought or care, I snatched a rag from the counter, scooped up the winged demon and began pinching. My pulse thundered in my ears, my brow furrowed.  There could never be enough death to bees.

I looked around.  All was silent. I nodded slowly understanding my test was complete.  The universe was done pushing me and I had succeeded. The villains were gone.

I trotted down the stairs singing... what else? The Go-Go's "Vacation"... I sound just like Belinda.  One day she should thank me for all I taught her.....

Laugh with me.  I know it's foolish but those little turds are my end to sanity. I'm glad you're here.  Have a wonderful day.

Cheers.




Monday, May 27, 2019

The Holy War


If you looked at her, you'd call her tiny; a wisp of a woman. She was trim and neat, soft spoken and pleasant. She worked hard and did what was right. By all accounts she would be considered successful. She loved to laugh at work and tried hard to help people. She always had a kind word and time to listen. She was liked by many if not all who crossed her path. Hell, even I liked her.


Yet there was something about her. I can smell it a mile away. Desperation. This woman was covered in it like thick spiritual tar. And it came from one source: the man she'd married. He had introduced her to the worst of herself; been sure to point out the flaws and the mistakes (usually in front of his friends, business partners and drinking pals). He'd notice the weight gain or the stress acne. He'd bark that she purchased too many clothes and not enough beer. How she had been selfish and arrogant by understanding her bank statements, watching her balances and questioning him about his use of her credit cards. He worked tirelessly to make her understand that not everyone could have it as easily as she did. She was fed life on a silver spoon as he so nobly pointed out. He, on the other hand, had always been on the cusp. What SHOULD have been his was usually taken ~ not because it was hard to achieve and he gave up to blame someone with more drive or initiative. No, there were saboteurs. People who took. People who stole and THOSE people got ahead of him so he had to resort to their methods; take from others; a " When in Rome..." kind of thing. So he did indeed take. He took from her; her money, her happiness, her love, her self confidence and esteem. Then when he finally struck her, it came as no shock. He had conditioned her to be ready for it. She knew she had earned it by having it easy. He felt good about that. She needed to comprehend that she wasn't such hot shit and that he deserved more ~ more than her so that is why he cheated. More than her money, and that is why he stole from her and anyone else who gave him a foolish benefit of the doubt. More than her looks which was an instant fury for him causing repeated blows. But sometimes, it was just sport. He needed an outlet for those inklings of short comings, moments of self doubt but had lost his membership to the gym after he failed to pay for some drugs he got from the manager. It wasn't too bad since he sold them to get the bookies off his ass. He considered himself clever.

How do I know this? I have seen it all. You people: You pray to God and ask forgiveness. You pray to God to save your soul and give you strength. But when you have had enough, you come to me. You seek me out. And, I unlike your God, always come, always answer and always achieve the common goal. So when she realized that God wasn't coming to save her, she asked for me.
I came to her gently at first; giving her an idea so preposterous that it made her laugh in spite of her tears. I soothed her and comforted her, even let her push me aside when she finally thought about what she found so fucking funny. It didn't hurt my feelings because I knew she would come back especially since I had made her feel good about something. His end. I gave it humor. She reached into her mind for me again after he dislocated her elbow during one of her countless rapes. She couldn't believe she smiled ever so softly when I showed her a picture of what we could do together. This time it was a little more serious, holding more merit. I loved that her heart raced at the vision of him dying by her hand. It was a combination of shock and pleasure. That always gets you guys and I thank "Fifty shades of Grey" at some level. She covered her mouth and made her chuckle a short cough to hide it from the nurse who wasn't paying attention. I nudged her a little bit this time though. I let her see herself being just the tiniest bit involved. This is the most important step. If they cry and turn from me, I walk. I don't ever bother them again. But if they respond with hope or desire then I know I have myself a warrior. She was a warrior and that little skipped heartbeat spoke volumes.

We began our affair quickly and with such heat that she wore me out. Spiritually of course. I never EVER touch a warrior. Not until it's over. She beckoned my visions and thoughts hungrily and devoured them with such passion that it almost brought me to tears. One because she was so ready and capable to do this and two, she didn't belong with me. She should never have been mine. But, since she was, I enjoyed every moment.

The planning. Oh we began to watch him and study his lying, cheating habits. We followed him and then we followed his loser cohorts. I never get tired of seeing how willing people are to hurt each other. This makes my job so much easier. She was smart too. She needed so little from me. A few simple suggestions in the form of dreams or whispers in the wind combined with a couple of nervous butterflies and she was off. She devised a plan that made me so proud of her. By all counts, I was getting so much more than just their souls.  She began to gather everything she needed. It wasn't much; time, patience and a good camera. She made herself available and visible to the loan shark. She met him at school and was herself; pleasant, kind and thoughtful. He was instantly drawn to her. He had a strong sense of family since his parents were gone and he took care of his little sister. She laughed easily with him and lured him in. She was also getting some fabulous National Geographic worthy photos that would be very valuable to her. As my soldier had discovered, her honey muffin had a thing for young school girls and had set his sights on this ripe, tender, under-aged fruit also known as the bookie's sister whom he'd seen one day during a transaction. Not one to miss an opportunity to spread his magnificent manhood around, he was also screwing the dealer's best hooker...for free or dope as the scamming goes. It served our purpose since the school girl thing took time and effort. He had to impress her, get booze for her, get her all worked up and then not push too hard or he'd scare her. But then he'd be so worked up he'd need an outlet so he'd go get the whore, the dope and go home to beat his wife.He belonged here in Hell with me.

We got some great shots; award winning doozies. I personally loved the one in the park near the school (told you she was a youngin), and then there was the one with the.. oh wait~ you'll have to see it in my private library. Membership has its privileges. So she had to tip the dominoes she so patiently stacked up. She looked beautiful that night. Truly. She had been working the bookie since his temper was hotter than the pimp dope dealer. She knew that everyone would go down if she lit THAT fuse. See? I TOLD you she was great. She met him not so innocently at the place where her husband liked to take his youngest girls. Her thug sat quietly as she held his hand and tearfully told him she wanted to show him something; awful. She slid the envelope across and excused herself. The timing was impeccable and I never thought I could know love until that moment her husband came in and saw his date's brother; holding the photos. My little warrior had sneaked out the back much too distraught to say another word. Warrior indeed. The pedophile's face was priceless. The fury was palpable and smelled delicious. I sat right up front as a beating so savage took place that even I had to cover my eyes (but I peeked through my claws and giggled) So for the first time, the filthy romeo ended up in the ER with everything broken, smashed, bruised and bloody. He was brain dead and wasn't coming back leaving my beloved mercenary to pull the plug and no one thought anything of it. She was free. 

The only thing I didn't see coming was the stupid whore from the pimp daddy dealer who "loved" that piece of shit. The bitch recognized his wife from photos during the brief time in the news this story held. She also had moments of lucidity where she understood my warrior to have money: money that her lover had said was his and expo facto... hers. She blind sided us. She told her big boy who had the money and that was it: a robbery, an execution and my warrior was gone. 

She stood before Us, this saint and beautiful sinner at the altar (maybe you'll find this out and maybe you won't. Keep praying to your God and we'll see) where she was forced to confess her sins and everything became clear. She was mad at me for giving her the thoughts. She was ashamed that she had been so weak to follow them, want them to be true and damned herself for the role she played. She begged forgiveness. 

And I granted it. I said I didn't want her. I spoke to Your Savior and showed him the whole story. (We have some wicked technology these days) I went to bat for her and God said nothing. I gave up my best and favorite warrior so she could have wings. She looked over her shoulder, through tears of joy as she ascended and nodded to me. I felt a pang as she left. Knowing what it was, I angrily pushed it off, soothing myself with the excitement of punishment I would inflict on her husband who had yet to meet me.  

Yes. I am always here for you. And the Holy War will go on.  

Amen

Hello and welcome
Sorry for the issues but maybe this will help.  This isn't the piece I intended to write but here it is and I have to say I love it.  Saints and sinners ~ the good in evil... I love to ponder these things.  Thank you visiting me and I hope we get to do this again soon. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Timeless

"Get rid of it" 

"Nope."

"It's ugly."

"Not to me."

"It smells"

"I'll wash it"

"It's ancient"

"It's timeless"

"It's laughable"

"It will come back in style.  You wait."

"Please."

"No."

"Please?"

Silence.  Argument lost.  He turned, smiled and kissed her.  Yep, it was over.  Again.  
"It's just a jacket...." she prodded hopefully.

"MY jacket." he laughed into her hair while hugging her.  He rocked back and forth knowing she hated this.  

She sighed and hugged him back gently patting his back knowing HE hated this.  They laughed at each other and he went out.

In his jacket.

"Be safe.  Love you." she added over her shoulder as always.

"Love you back"  he returned just before the back door clanked shut.

And so went this not-so-big argument every so often and she always lost -good naturedly.  She jokingly told him he'd die under a mound of his own stuff- a true hoarder to which he always claimed a happy sentimentality.  She would put up her hands and surrender, leaving him to be with his memories.  Once in a great while, she sewed a patch or button on the thing; even getting to sneak in a good scrubbing here and there but she kept it.  She had even tried to surprise him with new versions, updated colors or styles, similar fabrics and he had dutifully worn each one once.  He was always faithful to the "one".  She smiled at his devotion in more ways than one.  It truly didn't bother her that much.  She'd simply preferred him to look as amazing as she knew he was. He'd worked so hard all his life.  He deserved only the best.  But he was a simple up-front man.  Liked what he liked.  Did what was right and worked for what he wanted.  In the thirty-four years of marriage they had done their share and now at last they could slow, take it easy and enjoy things and she just guessed that he enjoyed that damn jacket.

So really there was no fight.  He deserved what he wanted - not just what she wanted for him.  

She heard the car door and stepped out on the porch, drying her hands on a towel.

"Where to?" she hollered.

"Hardware!" and he raised the latest sale mailer giving her a childish thumbs up and cheesy grin. He sat in the seat and started up his truck knowing he would return with something silly.

She laughed and waved the towel.  "In time for supper?"

"What're we havin?"

"Grilled ham, corn and beans- and cobbler."

"Oooo with crumblies?" his eyebrows went up.

"You know it big daddy."

He revved the engine and gripped the wheel as if he were driving 90 miles an hour.

She laughed at him and waved the towel like a street car race.  Turning, she headed back in and began to cook for the next couple of days since they would be busy with visits and friends and their meetings and … how were they just as busy or busier than when they worked every day?  This caused her to stop and think about it while watching the birds at the feeder.  After what felt like a few seconds she redirected herself to her chores and cooking.  She didn't realize how late it was until the sun dipped down into the trees and shone in her eyes through the kitchen.  Dinner was done.  It had been done.  He was late.  She walked to the doorway and flipped on the porch light.  She screamed realizing two men were standing on the porch about to ring the bell.  She quickly reached to lock the screen.

"Now we don't want to buy anything and you better git before my husband..."

"Ma'am. Mrs. McKinney?"

"May I help you?" her voice was icy and tight.  She didn't realize she had wound the towel in her hand like she intended to rat tail them.

"Mrs. McKinney?"

"yes." she was going numb. Her voice was barely audible.

"Your husband...
accident....
come with us…
hospital.."

so many details she missed in that instant because her heart flooded, her knees buckled as she gasped for air.

"Is he..." she choked through her fingers that tried to keep those awful words from seeping out.

"Please come." 

And she was suddenly there.  Like a dream.  A nightmare actually.

He was wired for sound.  He was bruised and bloody.  There were bandages and blankets and just so many...things and people around him she wondered how she would reach him.  She thought of those scary movies where the hallway gets longer as you try to reach the end.  She was afraid to go to him for that very reason.  He might go away from her.  There were beeping machines and strangers in comfy scrubs all around and everywhere.  Words were spoken but they sounded like they were coming through cotton.  She couldn't hear or understand.  She needed to sit near him.  She needed to talk with him and get a game plan.  That is what they did.  That is what they always did.

"No."

She turned slowly as if the word were foreign.

"Get better?" 


"No."


"Can't come home?"

"We don't think he's strong enough for the trip."

Each word was a punch to her chest.  She closed her eyes and chewed her lip.

"You will need to call family..."

And they came.  She gave them all time to say goodbye.  Privately.  There were jokes and stories remembered of their lives that were marvelous because he touched their hearts.  She fought the screaming in her head.  She struggled not to punch everyone who got to walk out of that room and return to their loves, their families and friends.  

At last, she approached his bed and slipped her hand in his.  She called the tubes that tried to wrap around her finger a bunch of fuckers and wanted to rip them all out, cut them to shreds and  light them afire.  She hated this place.

"It's not time." she said softly and she stayed asking him for help he couldn't give.  She scolded him for this.  For missing cobbler with crumblies.  She told him she was very angry that he was leaving this way and that she thought he was being cowardly.  She fell asleep leaning into his bed, her head against his.  She pretended the soft wheeze of the machines that were breathing for him was his adorable snore she slept with every night.  At first, she thought it was a dream.  His hand jerked a bit and he groaned.  She sat bolt upright and looked into his handsome but battered face.

"Home." he whispered.

And she got up, went to the desk and demanded they unplug everything.  She informed them he was going home.  They huffed and puffed, shoved waivers and papers and AMAs up her nose until she thought she was going to have to judo chop each and every one of them.  But she took him home.  He DID make the trip.  In her hopeful heart, she thought he'd get better.  No one ever said yes.  

But she got him a bed and each day she sat next to him.  She talked and went about her chores.  She read to him and held his hand.  She went through the sale mailers and talked about the good and bad deals and found herself finding things he would buy that they didn't need.  He didn't leave her but he wouldn't come back.

One night she ordered pizza and went to him.

Scootch. she grumped, crawling in next to him.  She watched their favorite shows on the DVR and fell asleep curled around him.  Some time later, she thought she felt him shift in bed.  But that wasn't possible.  She told herself she was dreaming.

"Hon?" She thought she heard.

"How ya feelin? " she asked sleepily.  It was dark and she couldn't see him but knew where he was of course.

"Tired.  So very tired."

"Well, you look awful"

"Thanks."

"Why won't you get better?"

"Can't.  I just can't."

"But I want you here with me."

"I'm so tired Babe."

"Stay?" her tears were steady and hot. She was trembling in this dream. "I just want to love you a little longer.  This hurts too much.  Too deep." she explained.  Her body protectively shifted to hold him in the night.  She whispered all her love and greatest joys to him.  Her chest ached and her head pulsed from trying to cover up her breaking heart.  "I'm cold...hang on..." and she reached for her sweater.  Funny. She always kept it close to the bed.  After a little more groping, she finally found it, wrapping around herself and snuggling next to him.

"Can you wait for me at least?  Don't go shackin up with the first beautiful young angel you find up there..." This was accompanied by a scornful "hmph"

Silence.

The pain in her chest told her everything.  She had lost her better half. "ohhhh honey..." she cried.  It was too much to think about.  Too painful.  She winced against the headache.  A long sigh escaped her; one that was filled with a lifetime of love and laughter.  The aneurysm was massive and devastating.

At last she slept.

They were discovered the next morning when the comfort care nurse arrived. She was wearing his jacket.  His arms were around her. They were still together ~ their love was truly timeless.


And hello my friends.  This one was a real tear jerker for me.  I let it sit for a couple of days before I was happy enough to let it go.  I hope you like it.  Not for the sadness but more for the great love.  I'm all about them.  Great loves.  Hope you have one and hug them.  Until next time.  Thanks for stopping by.  It was a nice visit.



Saturday, March 2, 2019

Feathers in the wind

She toddled and got lost in the crispness, newness that was spring.  Cottonwood trees bloomed and fluttered as the wind pushed them through the sky like snow.  She laughed and tried to catch them calling them feathers.  She said it looked like Mother Nature and Old Man Winter had had a pillow fight over what season was really ending or beginning.    It also meant more time at the lake.  Her favorite place where she could play in the creek, chase frogs and newts or float in the sun as the water softly clapped against the shore for her arrival or cried tiny white caps when she left.  Crawdads were safe and turtles could rest on their logs undisturbed.  Her young years were spent laughing, squealing and loving everything shown to her. "But where do you go?" she asked the billowing cottonwood ~ there was a breezy laugh and that was all..

When her teen years arrived, feelings were very different.  Dread.  Boredom. There was no internet and she felt alone.  She missed her friends and hated getting muddy or hauling wood for the bonfires with a family that didn't know anything about her.  She jealously despised that her friends were out partying or dating or sneaking out and she was stuck on this porch while the cottonwood trees bloomed and blew all over, getting in her hair or coating the table and chairs, giving her ANOTHER thing to have to wipe down.  It was Hell on Earth. The lake retreated and sat quietly not understanding why her heart was so closed to it.  It wanted to play as before.  "How can I get out of here?" she begged the tiny feathers.  The lake sighed in the night, waiting and hoping for better days

And they came as she returned a young woman bringing a daughter of her own to share the "spring snow" and marvel over how things had changed yet remained the same.  She once again rolled up her jeans and caught frogs and newts, chased minnows or laid quietly while the feathers drifted lazily by, welcoming her back in more than one sense. Her daughter slept peacefully in the sun. She remembered how good life was ~ simply.

Slowly she moved, her old bones complaining for the car ride and the age that she couldn't outrun.  She no longer got in the lake but stayed on the porch and watched as her children and grandchildren swam, floated along in the boats or stirred the bonfire.  She laughed to hear the squealing after actually capturing a frog or a turtle that nipped a toe and had gotten away.  She blinked up into the sun as the cottonwood tickled her wrinkled face and whispered to her to come along.

Grey clouds.  Wet and raw.  The trees sagged sadly and the cottonwood seemed only to drop in messy globs.  The lake was like glass as if it were in shock.  She would no longer come.

Her soul had become like the cottonwood she loved ~ a feather in the wind.



Hello my friends.  This is a quickie but one I loved dashing out.  Growing up we had cottonwood trees on our property and I loved it when they bloomed and littered the grass.  Combined with my favorite place ~ Promises? ahhhh how could I not.... I hope you enjoyed our time, no matter how brief.  Come back again and sit a spell.  We get along so nicely.

until next time... 

Friday, February 8, 2019

Love's Religion

He looked at me.  I went weak.  He was beautiful to me; an Adonis  When his eyes bore into mine with that flash of mischief and he touched me, my skin ached; felt smothered by my clothes.  My throat burned to whisper his name.  I wanted to constantly find him in the dark, kiss his body and feel his heartbeat under the velvet of night.  When daylight came, I wanted only to watch him do... anything;  hang on every word he said. When he criticized my clothes, I changed them.  When he laughed at my stupidity or naivety (something he loved to point out in front of his pals) I educated myself to avoid that shame for him. When my butt took up too much room in his house of worship, I dieted. I wanted nothing more than to be his perfect angel.

Amen

For more than three years, his ideas and plans were gospel and I was the most devout.  I prayed he would always watch over me; the beautiful shepherd.  As quickly as he converted me he dispelled me; cast me aside for a newer, prettier apostle.  Hell hath no fury they say.  Scorned? Ohhh you bet.  I was angryshockedembarrassed ~ and they deserve to be written that way for they all came on that quickly. I cried ~ and not pretty, cherubic tears but the red-eyed, stuffy nose, leave-you-heaving sobs which made me look like love's heretic.  I moped, refused to wear make-up, swished with Listerine instead of truly brushing my teeth, didn't eat or sleep and repeated my new Novena. I ate food that made me feel worse than the hideous clothes I wore.  Nothing declared heartache (the cross I had to bear) like three bags worth of Frito grease(and hello, NOT the fun size because I didn't give a shit about fun) and stale bean dip boogers smeared across my fitness pants that had a hole up the thigh  (from over-stretching or moths rather than the wearing out of the workout- faithful - a different church altogether) covered over by the largest sweatshirt I could find that had old cookie dough and iced tea stains striped across it. Who's beautiful NOW? Yeah, I dared ANYONE to look twice.  I punished myself for failing; being less than perfect for him.  I was frozen by the sadness that my Adonis had rejected me. I felt worthless and pondered whether I should actually take up space on this earth.  My friends worried, called and tried to soothe me.  I didn't want to hear it.  I didn't want to feel better.  I wanted him to love me and call me back.  I wanted another chance to be  flawless and prove myself... 

It took another year before I could make it through the day without tears though I had to stop looking in the mirror and remarking all the flaws he must have seen; the mistakes that drove him away.  I ignored my over dry cow licked hair with roots that resembled an over zealous banyan tree root system.  I chose not to powder my nose, an ugly knob that resembled a car antennae with one of those ridiculous Mickey Mouse heads on it.  I cared not if my shoes matched ( I did actually go to work with a black one and a navy one) simply telling my coworkers that, like the kids nowadays who wore mis-matched socks...I was a trend setter. I got suspicious nods on that one.

Then one day I heard something; something I had refused to believe would ever be uttered in my company again: the words "You look nice"

I whirled around with a venomous retort perched on my lips "How DARE you ~ notice me. Find anything nice about me! Who the HELL are you to …" 
And I saw a wry smile.  I froze.  "Do I?" I asked smoothing my dingy white work shirt with a marinara stain on it … right above my boob. I felt classy ~ NOT.

He laughed a little. "Yes.  You do." but kept my gaze. 

"You're a liar" I declared.  Best to fight the demon when you call him out. I licked my lips and found a sandwich crumb on them.  I nibbled at it with my front teeth wondering if he would see it like a tribal declaration of war ~ Come at me bro.  I'll eat you.

"No.  I think you look nice." He said again and drank his coffee from a cheap Styrofoam cup that actually smelled like Styrofoam more than coffee.

I smiled back at him and he disarmed me with: "Now you look even nicer.  I'd ask you out for that smile alone."

My head screamed at me "And that is what you should be.  ALONE" but I felt a warmth in my cheeks and I looked down at the rug.  I noticed I had different shoes on and tucked one behind the other sheepishly.  "Well... I... think I would go...if asked...." I heard myself say.  

And so began a friendship and a soft romance.  It was kind and loving and I treasured every minute we shared.  He laughed with me; not at me.  He encouraged me and made light of himself.  We learned new things together and I felt amazing, strong and independent. I told him everything and cried, certain he would balk and leave me but he pulled me closer, held me; whispering how sorry he was that anyone could have ever hurt such a beautiful angel. His angel. I gulped at the healthy love which made me feel better ~ no it made me feel best.   We showed each other every day that we were good together and how we appreciated each other.  In fact, we didn't realize it was Valentine's Day when we made reservations at our favorite nook.  It simply didn't matter.  I was finished with work early, texted him to meet me at the bar when he was finished where we'd have a dinner and go to the museum to see the artist I loved whose exhibit was opening.  I had been smiling all day just thinking of it.

I stood there flicking one of my new, sexy heels on an off, sipping my favorite wine imagining the night; missing my best friend and favorite playmate.  I was wondering about his day. I couldn't wait to see...

"My oh my" I heard too close to my skin.  It went cold.  

I turned to see my Adonis.  He grinned at me and swooped in too close almost engulfing me in a waft of cologne that stung my nose.  He cocked his best and most devilish smile across his lips.  I noticed a cold sore starting at the corner of his mouth.  "You look delicious." he growled against my shoulder and gently kissed it.  I noticed a tiny bubble of spit on my skin, and wiped it off with the napkin from my wine, quickly trying to hide the look on my face as if he had just cut one.  I backed up and turned to face him. My brain was scurrying to find the words I had practiced when I was hating myself for him. I wanted to gouge out his eyes, vomit all the Frito's and bean dip consumed in his name.  I wanted to return the hurt he so easily served up to me.   He rushed on about how amazing I looked and how he had thought of me so often over these couple of years.  He tried several times to wrap his arm around my waist to whisper to me.  He asked me why we ever split up because we were so good together.  He said he missed my body and the way I was in bed.  He asked if I had panties on under my dress.  He told me he was dying to know.

My mouth went dry. My wine backed up into my throat.  My knees were weak but that was because a surge of energy was building in my chest and racing through my arm to my hand that was balling up into a fist. I was going to knock out a couple of cigar stained teeth when I felt my savior sail up behind me.  Michael rowed his boat ashore HaaaaalleLUUUUUUUUUjah!!! Kumbaya and all that.  I sighed deeply, turned and smiled with relief.  My back up had arrived.  For a moment, I fantasized we would take my ex lover outside and after a sound flogging, leave him in a dumpster where no one would care if they found him.  They might be able to tell he was a complete asshole and write that on his forehead.  Or maybe we'd buy him some drinks, get him loaded and haul him to a tattoo place and just have it put on there forever and save everyone the trouble of having to figure it out. I'm all about paying it forward.

"Hi Honey.  Our table is almost ready."  my sexy warrior kissed my other shoulder and nuzzled my ear "Is this him?" he whispered.

I stepped back and smiled.  My heart was about to fly down to my stomach, devour the butterflies that were bashing their heads against its walls then zoom out of my body to explode over us like a wired piƱata . I made intros and took the opportunity to snuggle under the protective arm of my Greatest Love who stood stiffly and listened while Adonis attempted to brag about our long-ago life. He poignantly yawned and blinked his eye as if dust was bombarding them.  I had never loved so much.  I felt his touch tighten and turn me slightly, signaling we were going to go.  He grinned devilishly and began to excuse us. I was mildly disappointed at the lack of bloodshed and permanent ink across Adonis' forehead.

Until my man tossed over his shoulder in the loudest voice I'd heard him use:

"Gotta go Sport.  But you might want to zip your pants..."

Love. It's amazing.