Enter the Key Man…

The woman frantically flings things around on her dresser and paces back and forth from room to room…”Where are the damned keys?!” she hisses as she continues along her reckless path during what seems to be this never-ending”Columbus” mission.  She pulled open every drawer, tossing and throwing bras, panties and even her pajamas on the bed convinced that Brutus her pet ferret, probably stashed them somewhere.

“I swear every friggin’ time Brutus is let out something disappears.” she groans as she flops back onto the bed, tossing her head sideways to get her lengthy black bangs out of her eyes.

The rain begins to pound on the windows as she looks at the blackened sky. “It’s a damned good thing I’m off today.” she mused.

She then heard a faint jingle.  She moved slowly as it repeated.  The jingle began to get a bit louder when she heard the back door open and shut.

“Hey babe!,” her hubby said, “I had to borrow your car this morning because mine is in the shop.”

“Really?” she asked as she folded her arms across her chest.

“Yeah,” he began as he saw her expression, “It’s Tuesday and I knew you would be off. I told you about this on Saturday. Remember? You were sleeping late so I didn’t want to bug you.” he said as he handed the keys back to her.

“Oh…Whatever. I thought Brutus stashed ’em again.” she said.

“No but he did stash this. I found it in his favorite corner.” he grinned as he handed her a bracelet.

“That little bas-”

“Now now…Calm down.  You know he likes to stash stuff. It’s almost noon. Let’s go to lunch. You’ll feel better.”

“Okay. Let me go clean my mess.” she said.

“Threw all your stuff around again, didn’t you?” he grinned.

“Yeah. I’ll be ready in a few.”  she said as she began the drudgery of cleaning up the bedroom–for the 5th time in three days!”

Just out of sheer curiosity, how many of you have days similar to that?

This Will Be an Interesting July 4th Week! “Monumental”, I’m Sure!

Once in a while a film comes along that makes one think about life before it is even released.  One such film being made is ‘Monumental’ which stars Gary Cairns II, Luke Albright, Agnes Olech, and Bill Oberst Jr.   It is being directed by Scott Hansen.

In this story, which is written by Gary Cairns and Luke Albright, two men embark on a cross-country journey to spread the ashes of Clayne’s mother (played by Gary) at various historical monuments she had dreams of visiting, but never got a chance to go to. Along the way, they encounter dangerous situations that lead them down an unexpected path.  This trip will be ANYTHING but normal.

Coming face to face with the possibility of losing my mother someday, this is one film that I am waiting to see. I am going to put two links here so that readers can check this out.  The first is to the Facebook page for the movie.  The 2nd will be to the indiegogo.com page.  The fund-raising part is over, but you can still see the interview clips there.  This movie is going to be good. It is going to be an open road journey where each character has to come face-to-face whatever they are dealing with inside.

I feel that it also falls in line with the spirit of July 4th being that Clayne’s mother had a passion for those monuments to which the cast and crew are traveling during the filming of this adventure.

Aside from that it is turning into a real adventure for these guys. They make videos and take photos of almost every place they visit and pay thanks to those who’ve been a part of their journey along the way.  In the process of filming, not only are these guys filming a fictional adventure of great value, but they are discovering that the American Spirit is alive and well in every place they visit–and have videos on the Facebook page of those places along the way! Be on the lookout for these guys! They may come to your town next! I’m surprised the Today Show or Ellen DeGeneres hasn’t caught up with them yet! This is a story worth sharing! Here is a pic of these guys for you so you all can watch for them!

Gary and Luke

Left: Gary Cairns II         Right: Luke Albright

 

In the meantime here is link 1 and if on FB, please click like and share:

https://www.facebook.com/monumentalmoviepage?fref=ts

And for the interview clips, go here:

http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/monumental

 

Empty Hollows

The Diamond Fleece

The Diamond Fleece (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Oh my God! She’s at it again! Call her sister quick!”  the woman said to her husband as he came to look out of their window.

There she was…Amy Holloway, firing up the barbecue grill.  It was sprinkling outside. The man shook his head and told his wife, “Just leave that girl be. She has suffered enough with that ex husband to be of hers screwing around two days after her kid’s funeral. I don’t blame her for acting out a bit!”

“You aren’t the least bit concerned that she’s lighting a grill during what is about to be a severe storm?” she snapped.

“Absolutely not.  She did stranger things when she was younger. So did you as I recall.” he countered.

“But–”

“I said LEAVE her alone!” and with that he went into the den to watch television.

What Amy did next caused Mrs. Madsen to  be even more concerned, although she fully understood why this was going on…

She came out with a long white box that held the wedding gown she wore…The same gown that she had hoped to see her now dead daughter Hailey wear.  She put the veil in first then tore the dress to shreds.  She also put it in there.  After that she took the unframed wedding portrait and tore it into five pieces and put it on top.

After that she doused her miniature pyre with lighter fluid and waited for it to soak in a couple of minutes…She then struck a long match and tossed it on top of the contents of the grill as her eyes welled up.

“It is finished. Goodbye Hailey.” she whispered as a single tear rolled down her cheek.

Once the task was complete and the last bit of smoke came up from the grill, she closed it and went inside. She then laid the keys down on the kitchen counter and sat in her recliner.  She looked out the window as the rain began to fall.

“Maybe I should give this house to the church.  That way something can actually LIVE in this place.” she mused as she  reached for the remote control.  Just as she was getting into a movie called “The Diamond Fleece” the telephone rang…

“Hello.” she said…Paused…”Oh it’s you.”…”Yes that’s right! You got the cars so you got the f**king bills now leave me be–” Paused…

“Share the house? You heard the judge. I worked two jobs to pay for this house and bought it well before I met you. Screw you and your girlfriend!” Paused…”How many times are you going to lie and say there is nothing between you now that we–Hold it! I wouldn’t take you back after knowing you’d been with her. I thought divorcing you proved that!”…Paused…”Look, you got one shot. Screwing her after Hailey’s funeral is rather unforgivable so stop calling me up drunk! Your tears aren’t for her or for me. They are for the fact that you got caught and f***ed yourself!” Paused…”Oh…That…I burned the dress. I guess your sister has to buy her own…” Paused…”IF you don’t effin’ believe me then come to the back and check the grill, A**hole!”  she yelled as she slammed down the phone.

“You are far too angry.” the voice inside the front bedroom said to her.  She just sighed and mixed herself a drink.

“You know you shouldn’t have dumped him like that. He’s hurting too.” the voice said.

“He doesn’t feel half of the pain I do.  Now please leave me be for a while.” she said as she went back to the blue recliner with her drink in hand.

“Honey, I think divorcing him without trying counseling is a mistake. He does love you–”

“And you hate divorce, Mother. However if he loved me he wouldn’t have looked at her twice. It made our vows a lie! I would never trust him again after that anyway. We must not have had much of a marriage to begin with for him to do that with her 2 days after the funeral and God only knows how many times prior.  It’s over.” Amy said as she tightly clutched the glass.

“You are wrong. In time you will see that. I know it.” her mother told her.

“Whatever Mom.  Call Tish if you like because that’s all that ever happens when I get angry anymore.  No one can let me vent it and get it over-with! I’m supposed to be the little silent church mouse like the two of you–”

“That is so untrue!  It may be what you feel, but I never wanted you to be anything less than what you want to be. I am proud of you for getting a career and moving up in the world.  I couldn’t give much but I did  give you that.” she said.

Amy turned to face the older grey haired woman.   A tear rolled down her cheek.  “You never told me you were proud  of me before. Especially when Dad was around.”

“Well I am and he would be too–”

“He wanted me to go to a freaking convent!” she said.

“No he didn’t.  He only wanted for  you to learn to control yourself more.  I know you have  a short fuse like  he did, but he always bragged to the boys at the pub  when you succeeded in anything. I only wish you heard it then. All that stuff he said when you were younger–he was just being an ass.  Read his journal and it will prove  that.” her mother told her.

“I honestly think he wanted a boy.” she said.

“Well he certainly didn’t do you any favors taking you to the docks did he?” her mother asked.

Amy smiled, “No he didn’t.  But I’m glad he did. I liked the boats and the guys showed me how to prepare the fish properly.”

“As you got older he made you stay here because the dock hands kept eyeballing you and it pissed him off.” her mother grinned.

“Yeah…Tish told me he hated that!” she laughed.

“Well he was glad when the counselor told him you could be in advanced classes. He signed the papers.” she said.

“Wha-”

“That’s right. He signed them.  He said if it keeps you out of the bars and off the docks, he’s happy.  I know he’d be proud now, Amy.” she said.

“Wish he said it to me.” Amy said.

“He did in a way, Amy.  He gave you the business. That and with your law practice, you’ve done well and I know he’d love that.” her mother said as she walked over to her and hugged her.

“Well, he’s with Hailey now and I’m sure he’s showing her constellations and how the ships know where to go and such.” she mused.

“Amy–”

“But it’s a good thing he didn’t live to see this because he would have killed Michael and we both know it.” she said.

“Amy,  this is all killing Michael. He loves you. He did not want the divorce.” her mother said.

“Doesn’t matter now.”Amy said as the rain began to pour against the windows. She glanced at the remnants of smoke from the grill and the empty swing Hailey so loved.

“And I don’t think you wanted one either. I’m going to lie down.  If you want Michael to be a knight in shining armor, then you had better give him a reason to come out of the bottom of that bottle before he kills himself. He thinks he lost you long before Hailey died. He told Tish that. He’s been lost ever since she fell ill the last time. ”  her mother warned.

“Well Mother,” Amy began, “Maybe if he came to me instead of his whore secretary we might have had a chance in hell of actually making it work.   He should have thought of it. I won’t forgive him and nobody has any right to expect me to.”

“All I am saying is that you are probably going to always wonder what may have been if you don’t at least talk to him. Try talking about Hailey. You’re both grieving–”

“He’s only grieving the fact that I caught him and he couldn’t get the house.” Amy hissed.

“You are wrong. It takes two to make a marriage work and two to break it. I’ll talk to you later dear.” her mother said as she went back into her room.

“And I’ll get over it.” Amy said to herself as she continued to take in the blurred view through the window while the rain fell and her eyes once again blurred as they became misty at the site of the swing…

The monument to her lost child…

The Great White Alligator of Baines Parish Louisiana (Part 2)

It was quiet for the rest of the afternoon around the house.  Felicia went into the front yard and sat on a bench outside by the front sidewalk.  The sun was peeking out from behind a few clouds that were beginning to disperse.  She then  pulled out  a book and began to read it when a young man was walking by. He was a sandy-haired young man in his late 20’s.  To Felicia he was gigantic, however he did stand at around 6’2″.

” ‘Ello!,” he said smiling, “And how is that little girl named Felicia who teased my father?”

“Daddy isn’t coming home.” she told him.

“Oh love…I’m sorry.  I’ve come at a bad time and I was going to invite your family to our housewarming–”

“I don’t know what a housewarming is.  It can’t be cold in there.” she said.

“Well,” he said as he smiled slightly at her response, ” it is actually a get together neighbors have when a new person moves into the area–it’s like a party.”

“I don’t know if a party is a good idea now.” she told him.

“But why Felicia?” he asked.

A  tear escaped her eyes.

“Everyone is really sad right now. Daddy died in the war and I don’t remember him.  He went away when I was a baby.” she told him.

“Oh my.  I am so sorry.  I’ll come back at another time, alright.,” he said to her as he came inside the gate and knelt to be at eye level with her, “But my father did say to give you this book. If your family needs anything, please let me know.”

“Thank you. I forgot your name, I’m sorry–”

“It is Stephan. I’ll see you later, okay?” he said.

“Okay.  Thank you for the book. I’ll read it.” she said.

Stephan stood back up and Ida appeared at the door.  “Is there something I can help you with, young man?” she asked.

He went to the door and introduced himself.  When Ida realized that he was their new neighbor–along with this father, whom Felicia had already met, she invited him in.

They talked for a few minutes and he did take her up on her offer of muffins and coffee.  Annie did not come downstairs.  Ida then explained that although Michael had been missing since Felicia was a baby, she was concerned at the impact that knowing he was never going to return would have on the child.

“I’ve worked with a lot of children, and I think she will surprise you.  She is very bright and resilient.” he told her.

“Why thank you,” Ida said, “You’ll also find that she has a very large imagination when things get back to normal.”

“Oh yes! She already told me of the white alligator! It is actually a fascinating folk tale.  There is an old Indian in town that told me of it two days ago. I tend to think that he actually believes it!” he grinned.

“Big Bear.  He’s a full-blooded Lakota Sioux Indian and he always looks out for Felicia when we go into town.  He tells her all kinds of stories and tales, but she loves the one about that alligator! Big Bear can see things sometimes. He told me when Felicia turned one that her father would not be found alive. I didn’t want to believe him either–for my daughter’s sake.” Ida told him.

“Well, I thank you for your hospitality but I must really be running along now.  I am truly sorry for your loss. If you need anything let us know. I’d like to know when the service is if that is alright. My father and I will be there for your family.” he said.

“Why thank you. I’ll let you know Mr.–”

“Just call me Stephan.” he said as they went to the door.   Felicia thanked him again for the book and went quickly upstairs.  She laid the book on her bed and looked at Michael’s picture.

Grandma was right. You really aren’t coming back. I’m sorry, Daddy.  I’ll see if I can find the alligator another day so Mommy will be happy again. I’ll still talk to you though. I promise.” she said as yet a few more tears welled up in her eyes. It was becoming real to her now.  She took his picture to the bed and set it next to her pillow. She then fell asleep.

Meanwhile, Stephan went back to his house.  The painters were painting the outside a very pale bluish-grey color.  It was at that point his father, Jack, stepped outside.  He then went to the mailbox as Stephen approached.

“Well where have you been off to? I got three phone calls from different schools already.” Jack said.

“Then I’ll call them back, Dad. It’s not a big deal.” Stephan smiled.

“Was that little girl home today? She hasn’t been by and she usually comes by just to see what your old man is tearing apart!” he grinned.

“Dad, Felicia may not be around for a bit.” Stephan told him solemnly.

“What on Earth do you mean? She didn’t get into some kind of trouble or anything–”

“No, Dad…Her father was killed in the war. Her grandmother told me that he had been missing since she was a baby but this has to be devastating for her.” he said.

“I am sure that it is. Just let me know when the services are.  Does Felicia have a mother? Jack asked.

“Yes but I have not met her. I only know because her grandmother, Ida, explained that she hasn’t left her room.” Stephan said.

“Damned dreadful.” Jack said as he went back to the house.   Stephan could see Felicia’s house from the curb.

“Poor kid.” he said to himself.  He then got into his own car and headed into town.  He remembered how distant he felt from Jack after his own mother died when he was 8.  He thought it was totally heartless to not shed tears, but then one night a month later, he got up to go to the bathroom and saw Jack talking to her picture as rain was pounding the roof.

“God I miss you, Kate.,” he began as a tear did escape his eyes, “I cannot let him see me like this. He’ll think I am weak.  The truth is, I don’t know how to do anything the way that you did.  I was always a man’s man, but you had a way with kids that I just do not have.  Your mother suggested that I read him stories and such and I will try that, but I can never be you. I love that boy with my life and I’m so afraid to let him see what I feel. I want him to be strong–and I am not.”

“Dad, you’re a lot stronger than you think.  I found that out when I broke my leg that summer playing football.” Stephan thought to himself as he pulled into the store.  Big Bear, who stood at 6′ 4″ was sitting on a stump beside the door.  Stephan got out of his car, a brand new Chevy Volt and was about to enter when Big Bear uttered:

“Felicia will unite this place.  You are good with her. That will bring you great reward.” he said.

“Okay.  Thank you–”

“No need. You do it, not me. You see things that she sees. You understand her. Other grown ups do not, but they will.  Through her eyes, this town will be strong again.”  he said.

“I’ll be right back, Big Bear.” Stephan said, still unsure of what to think of this.

“I know.  You will by eggs, milk, bread, meat and more candy for Felicia.” he said.

“How did you–”

“Dropped your list. Felicia likes those home-made lemon drops.  She’s allergic to nutmeg though so steer clear of Emma’s grab bag. Makes the girl break out in hives.”  Big Bear said as he picked it up off of the ground and handed it to him.

“Thank you.” Stephan grinned.

“You are welcome. You and your father will both learn much from her.” he said.

Stephan really wasn’t sure how to handle what Big Bear told him, but several of his neighbors told him that they always go to him when they need advice.

Meanwhile, his father, Jack sat at the kitchen table scratching his head.  He was grateful that he and Stephan were close, but was even more grateful that he learned that tears were not a weakness before it was too late.  He opened up his brown leather wallet and looked at a picture inside.  It was one of himself, his wife Kate,  and of Stephan when he was a baby.   His eyes got misty as he talked to it…

“You would be proud of him Kate.  He has grown into a strong man with a big heart–just as you had hoped.  He still has to put up with the old man being himself though.  We  still have that piano and the drum set.  I still have the jewelry. I couldn’t part with it.  Maybe one day our son will have a daughter but who knows? I often wonder how things might have been had you been here today. No one could ever begin to understand me as you did…”   he mused as the phone rang. His brother from Surrey was calling…

Jack talked to his brother Ike for a long time.  45 minutes had passed when he looked up at the clock…”Just like his mother…Shops until he’s broke or talks until his tongue falls out!” he laughed.

Stephan picked up the items on his list and then walked back over to Big Bear.

“You think I’m crazy but I’m not. I see things. Felicia needs a real hero. You’re it.” he said.

“I hardly know her–”

“The spirits say you will save her. They don’t lie.  They say your father will learn to dream again too.” he said.

“Well I appreciate your thoughts.” Stephan said as he went for the car.

“And she’ll love the book.” he replied.   This really threw Stephan off. Only he and his father knew of it.

Stephan’s thoughts were on Felicia all the way back to his house.  He felt her emptiness. He felt her pain.  He was determined to speak with Jack about it as well.

As he pulled into the drive, the sun was still shining down on the neighborhood since it had cleared up.  Since Jack insisted on having the painters out, he was grateful that it didn’t mist or rain.   When he walked in, he noticed Jack had fallen asleep while in his recliner so he quietly carried in the groceries and put them away.  He then went outside and called the numbers to the three schools Jack had written for him. He then looked over at the stove and noticed that his mother’s favorite tea kettle was on the counter beside it.  He then looked over to the left and saw her favorite biscuit jar too–one she picked up when they went to Japan one year for a visit…She loved cranes and it had pictures of cranes on it.

He smiled and looked back at his father. “Dad you always strive to keep her alive around here.  I suppose that’s good, but I’m grown now so should you decide to put out those beer steins out she didn’t like, I’ll think you want her to come back to haunt you!” he said softly as he remembered how mad his mother got at Jack for gambling to win them.  She found out that they were worth a lot of money later and decided maybe she should leave him be over it.  These spats always gave Stephan a laugh or two as a child.

 

You Just Had to Ask Me…

Note: While I am on my “hiatus” of sorts from discussing certain things  on the blog, I hope you enjoy this interlude of a different story while I keep working on part 6 of “Centuries Under the Moon”–Kadja

The older man came to her and sat next to her…’Wanna dance?”  he asked, brushing back his salt and pepper hair from his face, which had just enough lines to reveal that he was a hard-working man with some determination.

“No. I don’t dance.” she said as she was trying to listen to the band, brushing her black bangs from her eyes.

“You don’t dance? Seriously?” he asked her.

“No. I don’t.  What part don’t you get?” she said firmly as smoke continued to fill the air–and he continued to invade her space…

“Wanna take a walk outside?” he asked.

“No.” she said again.

She had seen the wedding band and knew this guy’s drill.  She already knew there was no common ground with him, so she put her barrier between them quickly.  He was one of many that she had no use for–let alone a desire to get acquainted with.  She kept to herself–until she walked onto stage. Then she let it out.  All that angst–and the power to release it ignited her defiant soul more than ever as she shook her head to one side, her black hair moving away from her green eyes as she took that microphone into her hand.

She then went back to her booth, where a reporter she was expecting had been waiting.  He was a young man, close to her age.  Very good-looking, and he knew she was a tough one to interview. His editor had warned him about how she can be. Yet there she was–all 5’5″ of her.  He stood 6’1″.  When his brown eyes locked on her, he knew this woman was different from the others he’d had dealt with before and he knew that he’d better tread lightly.  Her bottle of Patron and a lit candle were waiting for her, along with two glasses.  She offered him a drink, which he accepted.  She noticed that the sandy colored locks this reporter had were a sharp contrast to Michael Redding’s well-kept black hair. She also liked it that he showed up in jeans and a T-shirt, and appeared to have not shaven in two days as opposed to Michael’s “everything has to be perfect” look.

“You have no one in your life?” he asked after they conversed for some time, talking about her upbringing in Oregon and her family–which she didn’t say much about–YET.

What difference does it make? I have plenty of people who support what I do and I don’t have time to limit myself in any way.  No man has ever loved me for the creature that I am so I fly solo and I sleep solo.” she responded.

“Even though Michael Redding is telling all who will hear him that he wants a relationship beyond friendship?” the reporter asked.

“As I said, what difference does it make?” she asked.

“He seems like a nice enough guy–”

“Which is why I’m doing him a favor by avoiding him this week since that is the public perception.” she mused.

“He’s heir to the Biotechna fortune.” the reporter said, puzzled that she would say such a thing when they seemed to be so close.

“And?”

“But you two seem to go very well together in public–”

“That’s what he tells me.”  she said.

“You’re not going to tell me if you two are in a relationship, are you?” he asked.

“IF we were, I wouldn’t be interviewing with you alone in a darkened booth in a friggin’ bar.” she grinned, as shafts of light flashing into the booth revealed her dark red lips and pale skin.

“Do you have a hard time in relationships?” he asked out of curiosity.

“No because I never enter into arrangements with anyone. I don’t believe in it. If I want to play house, I’ll hire a gigolo.” she said sarcastically as a sheepish grin came across her face.

“What do you mean?” he asked.

“People in this town hook up to find convenient arrangements for combining resources and such.  You will find that many couples in this business aren’t in love but they only stay together because they can tolerate each other.  In other words, they play house.  I know four couples right now who cannot say “I love you” to each other, which sucks because two of those couples brought kids into this bitch we refer to as our world.  Their teen children are screwed up because they know why their parents are together–just like mine were back in the heyday of this town.  No thank you.  Men who want that do not interest me. I’m not an investment or a breeding mare.”  she said.

“So you plan to avoid romance altogether? That seems rather sad.”  the reporter said.

“There is no such thing as romance–especially here. It’s all about appearances.  I don’t believe in romantic love anymore. Everyone in this town is about getting into an arrangement.  If they weren’t, you wouldn’t find so many of them screwing around on each other like my own parents did.” she said.

“You have been at odds with your parents for years.  Do you speak to them now?” he asked.

“Not very often.” she said.

“Why?  They seem like nice people–”

“My stepfather is one of the coolest people on the planet.  So is my dad. I cannot say the same about my mother or that bitch my father sleeps with and calls a wife.  I don’t care if you print that or not Mr. Jacobson.  I talk to neither of my parents since I had to go to court to get their hands off of my bank accounts.” she said.

“This is what the feud is over?  Money?” he asked.

“That’s what they WANT to think.  It’s not. It’s about their inability to live their own sick lives through their daughter and son.  They did the same to my younger brother.” she said.

“He committed suicide.” the man said.

“Yes.  AFTER dear old MOM cleared out his funds.  Then she sent part of it to dad via the stepmom and he says he never saw a dime of it although she admits she had it.”  she mused.

“Will you ever make amends with them? They seem to be reaching out to you now–”

“For more money. Here! I’ll prove it.” she grinned as she turned on her speaker phone.

“What’s up Ce Ce?” she asked her stepmother.

“Is this for another one of your business schemes–like the one that broke dad’s company?” she asked.

“No! It’s for your father’s eye surgery and I have no time for–”

“Well, if it weren’t for the lasik I’d send it but I know how you operate. You’d use it elsewhere.”  she said flatly.

“Come on! Reese, what is $15,000 to you?  We are your family–”

“Dad is my family. You are nothing.  He told me he was scrapping the lasik thing last week. Nice try, CeCe.” she said as she hung up.

“Mr. Whatever your name is–THAT is how my family is. Always with a hand out. Always a new lie.  She’s not half as bad as my mother is.  I’m surprised my step dad hasn’t left her ass.   She’s still paying back money she robbed from me.”  she said to him.

“So you’ve been robbed of your childhood, robbed of part of your fortune and robbed of what good in life you can have out of fear of being used?”  the reporter asked.

‘I am a corporation, am I not? I am used every day. Even Mr. Redding will tell  you that much.  I’m not marrying or moving in with him either–and you can print that in the papers, the book, I don’t care…  I like my space.  He asked me to marry him four times in three months, but when he sees my prenup he tries to skirt it so I don’t see him any longer.” she said.

“I just think it is sad that you can trust no one.  Off the record.  Why did you let me interview you?” he asked her.

“You just had to ask me.” she mused.

“I really want to know.” he said.

“Your name is Stephen Robinson and you work for the Herald, correct?” she asked.

“Yes.”

“Then I chose you because you don’t bullshit. I like that.  I like that article you did on Tibet too.” she said.

“Why do I get the sense that this may head elsewhere?” he asked.

“I’m hiring you to write my biography.  Didn’t your boss tell you that?  IF you decide to do it, you’ll have the exclusive.  You’ll be traveling with me and my band mates–IF I decide to regroup.  You’ll see the good, the bad and the ugly–and the fugly too. ” she grinned.

“Is there anything about the “fugly” I need to know about?”  he asked.

“I have maybe a year to live and I want the truth out.  I’m making my will tomorrow.  I refuse medical treatment as my younger sister died of this particular blood disorder I have.  Here is the reality.  I will never have a normal life. I will never get married or be a mother…In short, you get to write about how f**ked up my life and my family really is.  I know you can bring it out the way it needs to be brought out.  You’ll also be there at the end.  My band knows nothing and neither does my family, my agent or my manager.  I don’t fear dying either. It is the only release I’ll have from the ongoing bullshit in my family anyway.” she said.

“This is a joke, right?” he asked.  Then he noticed as a faint shaft of light came across her face.  A tear had rolled down her cheek.

“I wish it were one of my f***ing jokes.  I would be laughing hysterically if it were.  However, I will leave them nothing. Absolutely nothing.  At the same time, I want to learn how to really live.  Does that make sense?”  she asked as her tone became more resolute and she wiped the tear from her cheek with the sleeve of her blouse.

“What do you mean?” he asked.

“I want to do what I have always been afraid to do–starting with bungee jumping. Go with me.” she said.

“Bungee jumping?” he asked.

“Bungee Jumping…Right after I get my will signed.  By the way, you are getting a hefty check for all of this shit.” she told him.

“What if you chicken out of the jump?” he asked.

“That’s what YOU’RE there for…To make sure I don’t, dammit.” she said.

“Oh so I’m a personal assistant to you now?  I am sorry but I don’t know how to–”

“Just bring whatever you need to write.  Don’t be anything less than honest either.  That is all I ask of you.” she said as she downed a shot of tequila.

“Look, Miss Harrison–”

“Look at it this way.  Either you write it or nobody else will.” she said flatly.

“I need to think this over and talk with my editor–”

“You’re getting exclusive rights to the story.  I’m paying you $150,000 to write it, plus 50% royalties in any film rights and such,  with a $50,000 advance  for your time.  He knows that.  Besides, you free-lance anyway. IF you want it in writing–”

“Miss Harrison, this is a huge assignment for me.  I need to think about it.  I was going to go to Nepal–”

“Which you’ll have plenty of time to do later because if it’s about the orphanage, I am part of that benefit taking place there.  All I am asking for is part of your time–not 24/7–unless you want to get the whole deal.” she said.

He didn’t have to think beyond 48 hours.  $150K for a year…Not bad and it’s not exactly chump change given the fact that other writers, at least in his mind, were superior to him.  Stephen Robinson knew this assignment would be life changing–but he had no idea how much.  He went to her house in Beverly Hills 2 days later.  When her maid answered the door, Reese was pouting on the stair case.

“TWO days…It took you two days to make up your mind?  I didn’t go bungee jumping either. Thanks for nothing.” she pouted.

“You didn’t need to do that right away anyhow.  Besides, I had loose ends to tie up.” he said.

“Whatever.” she mused as she stood up and went into her conservatory.  While the maid, Abigail, showed him to his room, she told him, “Mr.  Robinson, she is really mad about you taking two days.  She only goes in the conservatory and composes like this when she is angry. Just let her be for a couple of hours and she’ll be fine.  She’s furious with Mr. Redding too.” she warned him.

He was amazed by her choice of decor.  She stayed true to the history of the house, which was built during the early 1900’s.  There was an ornate fireplace in her den, another living area with a smaller one and huge bay windows that had a view of the pool. He noticed the bar and made particular note that everything in the rooms had solid colors–no patterns.  Abigail explained that she did the main rooms of the house in this fashion due to her sister’s epilepsy when she came to visit.  According to Abigail, almost any extreme pattern or something as simple as a flashing light could cause a seizure, so Reese was taking extra precautions.  She did have hanging crystals in her conservatory though and there was some pattern to that.

He loved the deep blue and silver accents and the  fabric adorned it.  There was no straying from the color scheme except to add grey throws to the chairs.  He was also keen to the scent of enchiladas cooking.

“Why? He’s crazy about her–”

“That’s what he wants her to think but she caught him two timing her a few months back when they was together.  He hit her when she refused to take him back. Now he wants her back again and she said very nasty things to him and told him to get out of her life–only she used more curse words.  She really fears him, Sir.” she said.

“Well, thanks for the heads up.” he told her.

“You seem like a nicer guy than he was.  I hope she takes a likin’ to ya!  She deserves some happiness after her mother pulled that stunt last week on her.”  she said.

“What stunt was that?” he asked.

“She tried to get control of her money again but the judge threw it out.  She’s 28 now and she can do what she wants and it just ticks her mama off.  She seems so sad lately though.  She doesn’t joke around much any more.  I’ve known her since she was 12.  Something is not right about her.”  Abigail said.

“Well I’ll see what I can do.” he said as he scratched his head.

When he unpacked, showered and shaved, Abigail was knocking at his door frantically…”Mr. Robinson please come!”

“What’s the matter, Abigail?” he asked as he opened his door after hastily putting on jeans and a T-Shirt. Then he heard the sound of crashing glass.

“She’s in a bad way again, Mr. Robinson–Mr. Redding made her mad again! They are down there arguing and I’m afraid he will slug her like he did before when they were together!”

As he entered the den she threw another vase at Michael yelling, “I told you to get the f**k out of my life and stay out! I meant it then and I damned well mean it now!”

“Look, Reese…I’m sorry you got hurt.  She means nothing to me,” he told her as he tried to get close to her.  She then pulled a letter opener out, “Don’t you dare come near me!” she yelled.

“Reese, you know you aren’t going to do that.  Put it down–”

“Back off dammit!” she yelled.

“I’m not going to hurt you again, Reese–”

“I think you’d better get the hell out of here.” Stephen said firmly to him.

“Oh…And who might you be? I think you’re the one who had better learn your place around me–”

“Anytime you feel lucky, bring it.,” Stephen told him, “But you will not bother her again.  I mean it.”  He saw that Reese still had the letter opener in her hand and she was shaking.

“You work for her?  Gee…Wait until you see how idiotic she is!  She thinks anyone who is with her has to be f***ing perfect! I screwed around on her one time and she  acts like she’s holier than thou! Maybe if she f***ing knew how to put out to a man, she’d be able to keep one–”

“Maybe if you were a man, I’d have stayed with your ass.” she mused.

“Don’t you talk to me like that! You’re the one who goes on tour after tour–”

“And bailed your ass out of a $7 million dollar debt.  We are done now get out!” she hissed.

He stormed toward the front door, “Reese, I’ll be back when you calm down.  We need to talk about this more–”

“I’m getting a restraining order. Abigail, call the police.” she said.

“Yes ma’am!” Abigail said as she went into another room and called them.

“So that’s the way you want it?” Michael asked her.

“For a long time now. Leave me alone!” she said.

“Fine! Don’t come crying to me when you can’t handle the pressure and shit!” he said.

“Oh I won’t. Believe me.” she said icily.

When Michael left, she sat down shaking as Abigail rushed over to her…

“Are you alright–”

“I am now that he’s gone.  I’ll get the restraining order. I’ve had it.” she said.

“I never would have thought him to be violent.” Stephen said.

“Welcome to just one aspect of my fugly world.” Reese said as she looked up into his eyes. It was then he saw the red mark on her cheek.

“Well, it shouldn’t be like that.” he said as he waited for the police to arrive in the foyer.  When they arrived, they wrote out a criminal trespass for Michael and took her statement.  She filed harassment and assault charges since Abigail saw Redding strike her.

“Well, it’s a good thing the media is already here because those reporters he has in his camp are going to make out like he’s just a friggin’ love-sick victim.”  Reese said.

“Good thing I am here, then. I’ll save it for the book though.”  Stephen said.

“Thank you. I appreciate that more than you know.  It’ll die down in a few days.” she said.

Within a few weeks, Stephen saw how she went about her daily routine.  Her songwriting habits and the various chew out sessions with her management and various band members often perplexed him but at times he laughed.  He found some of it to be rather amusing, and was becoming more drawn to her as she undertook charitable work.  They traveled to Nepal and to Costa Rica together where she saw the wildlife refuge and went bungee jumping with Stephen.

As the sunlight shone upon them and the warm tropical breeze embraced their beings, they were having a bit of a heated debate…

“You can’t be serious about doing this! There is plenty of other things to do in Costa Rica than risk our lives!” Stephen said.

“You’re kidding me, right? If the cord breaks and I die, at least I have nothing to lose.” she mused.

“Don’t talk like that! It isn’t funny!” he said to her.

“It is absurd and that is why I said it. I am merely trying to point out to you that there is nothing to be afraid of.  We’re not that high up and the water is 100 ft. deep.” she said.

“Not that high up? Look do—” she pushed him and jumped afterward.

“Shiiiiiiiiiiiiitttttt!” he screamed all the way down as she laughed.

They bounced a bit and he shot her a dirty look once they calmed down.

“Why the hell did you push me?! It’s not funny–” he protested.

“I didn’t have all day to wait on you to make your mind up.  I’ve got other things to cross off my list anyway! Why can’t you just admit that it was kind of fun?  You had to have felt a rush–”

“Oh yeah! The rush of DEATH!” he snapped.

“Exactly,” she beamed, “But if it makes you feel any better, my friend, I’ll never push you off  like that again. I promise!”

Something in her smile was rather infectious.  Something in her assertiveness was addicting.  HE finally cracked a smile at her again.

“Do you MEAN that?” he asked her.

“Not really.” she smiled as she winked at him.

“Oh shit…Whatever.” he said.

The Great White Alligator of Baines Parrish, Louisiana… (Part 1)

You’re right…There is no such place in your world, but in the world of a little girl named Felicia Mitchell, it is very real.  And to her, it is where she lives with her mother, Annie and her Grandmother Ida.   As the smell of freshly baked blueberry muffins permeates through the walls at 6 a.m. one morning, six-year-old Felicia goes across her room to her dresser where she looks at a picture of the father she never knew, right after tossing aside the Winnie the Pooh comforter.

“Daddy, I know you can’t come back, so I wished for a new daddy for Christmas. If it makes you cry I’m sorry, but Mama is lonely and I want to know what it is like to have a daddy of my own.  Grandma says you will never come back and that you’re in Heaven and Mama gets all upset over that, but I think she’s right. Maybe someday I’ll get to meet you, but I think for now, I’m going to go look for the white gator…Big Bear says if I see the white gator, my wish will come true, so I’m gonna go by the pond to see if I just catch a glimpse of him.  Big Bear says sometimes I might see him in a dream and he’s not a bad gator either.  He doesn’t eat people and he has no teeth! He just shows up to let people know things are going to be okay. I hope you are okay where you are. Later, Daddy! Oh and by the way, Mama got me Winnie the Pooh stuff for my room and my walls are now white instead of that dark blue you liked. I hope you don’t mind but it was just too dark in here for me!”

Her father, Michael has been missing in action since Felicia was six months old.  Although Ida felt that Annie should divorce, she refused.  Annie felt that somehow, someway, he was alive somewhere.  However today, she was about to have all hopes shattered.

With that being said, Felicia hastily put on her clean jeans and a sweater and went into the kitchen where her grandmother was sitting in the breakfast nook, enjoying a cup of coffee and her cigarette.  Her salt and pepper hair was tied back and no one would guess that she is already almost 60.  She looks as though she’s 40.  Like her daughter, Annie, men fawn over her too.  She spilled a little coffee on her brand new pink robe and looked up to see Felicia’s blonde curls headed right past her–so she refrained from uttering her usual vernacular.

“Child, where are you going at this hour?” she asked Felicia.

“Just to the edge of the pond to see if the white alligator is there.” she said as she looked into her grandmother’s green eyes.

“Alright but stay on this side of the yard where I can see ‘ya.” she said.

“Yes ma’am.” Felicia said as she went out the back door and walked to the edge of the pond.  When she looked at the ground, Ida could tell how disappointed she was.

“Are you going to tell her that there is no alligator?” Annie asked as she entered the kitchen in a mini robe and a pink teddy.

“No. I won’t hurt that child by shattering any hope she has.  She never tells what she wishes for, either.  Just let it be Anna. And don’t tell her Santa don’t exist either or I’ll go postal on your ass!” Ida said.

“I wouldn’t do that to her, Mother.” Annie assured her as she tied back her blonde hair and sat across from her in the booth.

Felicia slowly re-entered the kitchen and went to the booth and sat down quietly.

“No gator?” Ida asked.

Felicia shook her head, “I won’t give up though!”

“Good! That’s the spirit! Now what are we gonna do today?” Ida asked.

“Mama said we are all going to the park for a picnic!” Felicia beamed.

“That’s right!” Ida said.

“And we are having a special picnic! Remember why?” Annie asked.

“Today would be Daddy’s birthday?” Felicia said.

“That’s right and we are going to tell some stories about him so you’ll know more about him!” Ida told her.

“Mama,” Felicia began, “Who is that guy that moved into Billie’s old house?”

“I didn’t know anyone moved in there Felicia!” Annie told her.

“He did! He’s an older guy and he talks funny! I asked him where he’s from and he said Birmingham but he don’t talk like no one I ever saw before. I told him he talks funny and he laughed at me! That’s when he said he’s from England.” she said.

“You shouldn’t say things about how people talk. It’s not polite.” Ida said firmly.

“But he does talk funny!,” Felicia protested, “And he doesn’t know anything about cars like Grandpa did either!”

“What on Earth do you mean?” Annie asked.

“HE keeps calling a hood a “bonnet”! I may be only six but a bonnet is what some girls wear on their heads at Easter! I let him know it too and he laughed at me again!” Felicia said.

Both women laughed then Ida told Felicia, “Well just be nice. They just use different words for different things, that’s all.  You have a cousin who is going to school there.  Go wash your hands and get ready for breakfast.”

“Yes Ma’am.”  she said as she left the table.

“Looks like we have a new neighbor you should go meet, Mama!” Annie said as she raised an eyebrow.

“Don’t even think about it Annie!,” Ida warned, “I KNOW that look!”

The rest of the day was going normally until about 10 a.m.   Then there was a knock at the door.  Felicia answered it.  There were two men at the door. One was a priest and one was in an Army uniform.  “Hello, little girl.  Is your mommy home?” the man in the uniform asked.

“Yeah…Somewhere…MAMA!” she yelled.

“What is your name Little Girl?” the priest asked.

“Felicia Mitchell.” she said.  The two men then looked at each other but said nothing.

Annie entered wearing jeans and a sweater.  The minute she saw them she put her arms around Felicia and then knelt to eye level. “Felicia, go get Mama, now. Please.” she said.

“What’s wrong, Mama?”  Felicia asked.

“Just go get Mama. Go now.” she directed calmly.

“Yes Ma’am.”  Felicia said as she went upstairs to Ida’s room.  Ida’s door was open and she was brushing her hair.  She too  was already in a sweater and jeans.

“Grandma. Mama needs you downstairs.  There are two guys down there who–”

Then Annie screamed “Noooooooo! It’s not true! It’s not true!”

As Ida entered Annie collapsed from the Chaplain’s arms into her arms.  As Felicia watched–not fully understanding what was going on, she knew that it was something really, really bad for her mother to break down like that.

The men stayed for a while and Felicia went to her room.  She didn’t want to be down there at that point.  A bit later Annie entered her room and directed her to sit next to her on the bed.

“Felicia,” she began tearfully, “I have some news to share and it isn’t good.”

“What mama?” Felicia asked.

“Your daddy is not coming home.  He was killed in Iraq.  They didn’t find this out until a few weeks ago and he is being brought back here so that we can say goodbye to him.  I will be making funeral arrangements tomorrow.”  she told her.

“Grandma told me a long time ago that she thought he was in Heaven.  I’m sorry Mama. I wish I could remember him.” Felicia told her.

“You don’t remember him but when we look at you–we know he is still around.  He lives right there.” she said as she pointed to Felicia’s chest.  She then took the child into her arms and softly wept as she held her.  Felicia didn’t really understand death, but she wanted her mother to feel better so she simply hugged her back and sat in her lap quietly as Annie rocked her back and forth.

Later, after the two men left with some paperwork Annie signed, the three sat in the kitchen and ate quietly.

“Felicia,” Ida asked, “How are you feeling? You do understand what happened don’t you?”

“I think so Grandma.  Daddy’s never coming home.  It’s sad, but I don’t remember him, Grandma.” she said.

“It’s alright, Felicia. We know.,” her mother began, “Over the next few days a lot of family members will be here.  Your grandparents from Hawaii will be here too, and they’ll be so glad to see you.  They came last year, remember?”

“Yes Mama. I remember.  They gave me that picture of Daddy and his trinket box.” she said.

“That’s right–the one with your daddy’s baseball card collection is in the attic too.  He loved baseball just like you do.” Annie said.

“And that little necklace you have that he sent you from Iraq is in the trinket box.  You should  wear that to the service, okay?” Ida said.

“I’ll wear it but it won’t break will it?” Felicia asked worried that the chain would break.

“No. I had it fixed a month ago. It will be fine.” Ida said.

End of Part One

All I Really Need is NOW…

I have my heroine standing atop a cliff, the salt air filling her senses as she stares up at the moon–downing a bottle of gin.  She cannot escape the damned voices she hears. No amount of alcohol will enable her to break free.  She has no choice but to come to the realization that her life really has a purpose–NOW.  Besides that the one she is sent to help isn’t going to let her get away with this pity party she is on for very long.

And NOW he has the arduous task of convincing her that the voices she is hearing in her head are real and that he is also. Only he has to be careful with when and how he reveals the latter.  She already fears so many things, he knows that she would not know how to handle hearing the voice of a dead being who has a physical body that she can see and touch when some of these others leave her sleepless at night.  At least NOW he can step in somewhat to silence them so she doesn’t become ill.  Her emotions are fragile and he is fully aware that he must be careful at this point.

Psychologists were a regular part of her childhood, given that he didn’t have a clue as to block her from seeing his memories then, she saw what he had done and drew pictures of it.  The psychologists all thought she was blaming her father for not being there for her and made him the villain–rather than her mother–and that is why she drew the violent pictures from the time she was five.  Now it was up to the person who was following her and watching over her to change her perceptions of what was and what now is.

Their relationship began long before she was sent to boarding school.  It began the day she was born.  She could see and hear him even though he could not leave his crypt. But he cared for her  in her dream realm–where sunlight didn’t hurt him.  He taught her about History, Greek Mythology, numbers and languages, but she liked watching the birds.  By the age of 10 she was called a prodigy and her musical skills developed immensely. He thought he had gone mad from being unable to feed–but no…He would find out twenty-three years later that not only was she real, but she thought she imagined him all those years also.  She never remembers a face–only his shoes and she keeps looking at shoes. Another thing that puzzles him is that the closer they become,  the less he is affected by his curse.  However, she seems to become more frail as time progresses and they both get sucked into another realm at various points in this story.

And that’s just for starters…

My life is definitely changing.  I know I’m headed in a new direction as I evolve over time–then again, it’s a constant process, right?  I’m glad that I don’t have to worry over what happened before or what will happen tomorrow.  Just as change enters into my life, so it enters into the lives of my characters.  To say that a person can totally disassociate from their characters doesn’t seem to ring true with me.  I put my sons in a few characters.  I’ll see where the ride takes me.  It is as I said in my title, all I need is NOW.  This moment is what defines my day–not yesterday and certainly not  tomorrow.

The person I once was is dead so I had to have a bit of a “memorial” for her.   I know now that I can survive anything–and have for the most part. It is for that reason, I do not look for my validation from others.   I find that when I am up on my mountain, taking in the air and looking for miles into the horizon to figure out where I should go next.  However, I don’t worry about it.  I know things will fall into place.  What I need comes to me.  Just like with people I know, what they need comes to them–and if I can help them along a bit–I do so gladly.  That is one part of me that never changes…I am always trying to be “there” for those that need me and I have come across many, many good people in the past two and a half years that I am truly grateful for.

However there is one thing that never changes about me.  I stay behind and follow tracks.  I never run ahead.  I just feel safer that way so it is all fine.  I think it is better to finish the course and feel comfortable than to make a race of it and wipe out. I take the time to see, smell, hear and touch…I also try new food once in a while now.

And when I stress, I meditate upon things and get centered.  If still uneasy, I change my latitude and it miraculously changes my attitude into one of total gratitude–especially when by a body of water or a river. I love the sound of water lapping on shore or the sounds of a river, spring or creek flowing!  I also love watching and listening to birds.  Combine that with a good breeze blowing through the trees and I’m in heaven.

Sometimes I play in the rain, too.  You can think I’m crazy if you like, but I will not let the kid in me die. I am of the  opinion that once a person lets the kid inside of himself/herself die, then there is absolutely no joy in life.  With no joy, there is no life and anyone who has a problem with someone who is enjoying their life and constantly tries to change that person has a mental problem.  That is my take on that matter. Anyway, if there is no thunder, that means there is no lightning.  I haven’t been stricken dead yet either so I guess I know what I am doing to some extent.

Nothing beats being outside-even in the rain.  Becoming one with that water and breathing that fresh, clean smell afterward is more invigorating than a lot of things to me.  The rainbows that sometimes show up are the icing on the cake.   I always have a dream about someone with a paint horse inside of a rainbow.  He keeps talking and motioning for me to come his way and then it is  almost as if I am running a race to get there. I get close but he moves just far enough back to keep me curious–and trying to catch up. I wrote about that on another part of the blog here…

Other than that, I’m getting ready to get other stuff.  I really feel that it’s time to put in a jewelry order and a mind is a horrible thing to make up!  Have a great weekend!