#MWBB Week 47 : I’m Not From Here

The door opened, revealing Mary, stomping her feet on the porch, trying to dislodge the snow packed into the nooks and crannies of the soles of her boots. “Oh, frack!” I thought. “You watch. She’ll keep the damn boots on, and walk all the way to the kitchen.

Yep. She did. Tracking snow, and whatever else clung to the bottom of her boots clean through the house. If I could speak, I’d have screamed insults at her. “Bitch! Do you know how cold that shit is? That’s right! Let me absorb all the guck on your boots. Had a bad day? Make sure the carpet knows!”

Homeowners. Geeze. If only they knew what lives in their carpet.

Like Buffy’s fleas. Dang dog. She comes in from the back yard, hauling in another load of them little beasties, sits down in the middle of the family room floor, and scratches. Then, rolls around, on me, ‘cause I’m able to scratch her whole dang back at one time.

God, but I miss the days back home. When I was all rolled, wrapped in plastic. And clean. Oh, to be clean again!

Wait! Wait! Little Debbie’s coming downstairs to watch TV with Mary! Aww. Little Debbie’s so cute. The way she sits right down on me, where Buffy just drug her ass, leaving God knows what, ‘cause it itched. Hey, kid! You do know the dog just wiped her butt there, don’t you?

And the cat, oh God, the cat. Mary, you can call Stanley Steemer all you want. They ain’t ever gonna get all the cat litter out of the carpet in the hall. And your priceless living room? The one you never let anyone into, except for Christmas Dinner? That’s the room Princess always pees in when you do something that pisses her off. That corner, between the china cabinet, and the wall.

Lord. You do not wanna smell that corner. And you sure as hell don’t wanna know what’s growing in that.

Gods, but I miss the days I was on that roll in the warehouse. That’s where I’m from, you know. That roll in the warehouse. I’m not from here. I just live here. Wondering how humans stay alive with all the stuff they fill me with.

I still have a stain that’ll never come out, from when Little Debbie lost her cookies one night, and I inherited them. Mary thinks she got it all cleaned up. Ha! They ever pull me up, and put some poor sap of a new guy down here, and they’ll learn! Gods, will they ever learn! They’re gonna be like, “Ewww! What the fuck is that?”

I really love how Mary lets Princess have her hair balls. Then waits a few hours for them to dry up before she cleans them up. Yeah. Smart idea that. Let me soak up all that liquid. That came from kitty’s tummy. With all that acid, and bacteria. Make sure you let that stuff soak into me really well, so you don’t have to get your fingers in it. Oh, yeah. Then let’s let Little Debbie sit down where Princess made her deposit.

Humans. Geeze. It’s amazing they’re still alive.

Damn fleas. If I had hands, I could at least scratch myself where it itches.

God, I miss the days back home, in the warehouse, sealed in plastic.

561 Words

This is my entry for week 47 of Jeff Tsuruoka‘s Mid-Week Blues-Buster flash fiction challenge. Please, go read the other stories in the challenge.


#55WordChallenge – 2014, Week 1

Bobby was warm, but stiff in his snow gear. Dad walked with him to the holly bushes jutting from the snow along the back fence. Red berries were all over them. All kinds of birds ate the berries. “Any closer and we’ll scare the birds.”

“We care for nature, son, and she’ll care for us.”

55 Words

I’m slowly staggering back to the world of Flash Fiction after the holidays. Here’s what I came up with for Lisa McCourt Hollar‘s #55WordChallenge this week. It feels good to be getting back to writing. Go read all the entries in this week’s challenge. If you find one you like, leave a comment.

#FTT 22 : There Was Only One Thing Left To Do

There was only one thing left to do. That was laugh. So laugh I did. I’m sure the neighbors thought I’d gone insane. And I probably had. At least for a little while.

It was frickin’ cold. Snowing, too. The day before Christmas. December 24th. And I was standing outside my house, in my pajamas, my fuzzy house shoes, and my bathrobe. Watching the house burn to the ground.

Stupid cats. It was all their fault. I’d been watching the NORAD Santa Claus report. You know. The radar tracking of Santa NORAD does every year. I know. I’m all grown up. I know there’s not really a Santa. But I started watching the NORAD feed on the ‘Net when I was a kid. Dad was so proud of it. “See, Son! We can track Santa! You can get an idea of when he’ll reach our neighborhood!” He patiently explained how Santa never came when children were awake, so we could use the NORAD radar tracking system to figure out when we all needed to go to bed, so Santa could visit us.

Yeah. I fell for it. Hell, I was only 5. Santa was God back then. “Dear Santa, I want a new table computer. And a smart phone. And a Playstation 4.” And it was like God heard, and granted wishes.

Took me several years to figure out it was Mom and Dad, and not Santa. But I still watched the NORAD feed every year. And I still felt that same tingle of excitement I felt when I was five.

Of course, the cats watched the lights on the tree. I don’t know which one of them found the cord and managed to short it out, causing the spark that set the tree on fire. I just heard a crashing noise, and smelled smoke. “Jesus, what have you idiots done now!” I got up to find out what they’d done, expecting to see the tree pulled over, and lots of the glass ornaments on it broken, booby trapping the carpet.

I sure didn’t expect to see the tree glowing orange, red, yellow. But it was. I remember my words when I saw it. “Holy shit!” Yeah. I know. Original.

I grabbed my phone, dialed 911, and screamed, “Fire! The damn tree’s on fire!”

Have you ever tried to speak rationally about where you are, and what’s going on, when you’re watching your Living Room go up in smoke? “Get everyone out of the house. The fire department is on its way.”

Everyone was me, and my three cats. They were waiting patiently by the front door. We all made it outside, and stood there, in the snow, waiting for the fire department.

Like I said. There was only one thing left to do. Decide if I wanted to laugh, or cry. So, I laughed. Like an insane maniac. As I watched my home go up in smoke.

Damn cats.

490 Words

I wrote this for Week 22 of Alissa Leonard‘s Finish That Thought. Please, go read all the creatively shared stories in this week’s challenge.

Remember The Magic

I wrote these words last night, after I got home. I wrote them for a friend. The math told me I needed to share these words with her. And being who I am, I did. She wrote back, a brief little note, and said I should share these words with everyone.

Well, this afternoon, I just got home. And the math told me second friend could use a note from me. So, I’m sharing what I wrote last night. I’ve modified it as little as possible to keep names out of it. Otherwise, this is what I shared with a wounded friend last night.

Just because that’s what’s friends do in the world that ought to be.


IMG_2796Oh, dear.

My friend. You make me wish I could give you a big hug, and take you on a long outing at the Botanical Garden. I’d do it. In a heartbeat.

I am not “physically” disabled. I have a 100% functional body. I can walk most people into the ground. Even at my age. I can hold a camera still long enough to take pictures at 35X optical zoom without a tripod. I can mow my own lawn. I can stand on my feet all day at Geek Squad.

I am, however, “disabled.” There are parts of life I simply don’t understand. I’ve told my doc, it’s like I’m deaf. It’s like I can’t hear that part of life that is “social”. I’ve explained to people, “It’s not that I do anything special. It’s not that I’m caring. Or tender. Or any of that stuff. It’s that I don’t have the social constraints most people have. So, for me, it’s all “math”. It’s all observation, and appropriate response. If I’m hurting, don’t I want attention, and help? Or at least someone to say, “I know.” So if someone I see is hurting, what’s the appropriate thing for me to do?”

And somehow, this gets people to call me, “caring, kind, and tender-hearted.”

I’ve told my Doc, “Isn’t this how things are supposed to be?”

So, when I see you write about how you are still getting used to your disabilities, and the reality that you can’t do certain things, my heart tells me I should take time, and say, “Hi!” and make sure you’re OK.

I have never, in this life, been understood. I’m married to a wonderful lady. I’ll never change that. I love her too much. But there are many “features” of me she does not understand. In her words, “I’ve grown used to them.”

One thing I’ve learned in the past 3 years. One truth that’s been hammered into me over, and over, and over.

People are blind to life. They are. Every morning, driving to work, they don’t see the flowers growing by the side of the road. They don’t see the clouds in the sky, or the way the sun reflects off of them. They don’t see the rays of sunlight shining through the clouds. They don’t see the birds flying just above the trees. They don’t see that occasional deer in the field.

They are blind. They don’t see the gifts we are all given, every day. Every day.

They never stop, walking across the parking lot at work, to feel the breeze flowing through their fingers. To feel the sun on their faces. To hear the birds singing, or the leaves of the trees rustling as the breeze passes through them.

They are blind.

They never walk through the flowers of the Botanical Garden. Without time constraints. Taking however long it takes. They don’t stop, and watch the butterflies. They never watch the bees moving from one flower to the next, pollinating the trees. They never watch the ducks, or geese, as they lazily swim around on the lakes.

They are blind.

Did you know, if you really try, if you sit quietly, close your eyes, and just listen, and you keep listening long enough, you can hear yourself breathe. I do that all the time. Did you know, if you practice, and you learn to listen to the things your body tells you, you can feel your own pulse. Your own heartbeat.

I know these things. I see them every day. I know the magic that is life. The magic of watching a 5-year-old cat sleep on your lap. Of watching the clouds as they slowly move, and change, in the sky. Of watching the neighbors dog chase a butterfly, not wanting to catch it, or kill it. Just wanting to chase it, and play with it. Of watching a wild rabbit carefully pick the best weeds growing in the yard, and eat them. Of watching a baby bunny grow through summer, becoming a rabbit able to survive on its own. Of watching a momma duck lead her tiny little ducklings to a lake.

I know the magic of seeing Camellia trees in full bloom in January, in the snow. When people tell me, “It’s cold. And there’s nothing out there to see.”

I know the magic of stretching out on my sofa, with the window curtains pulled aside, and the sun shining through them, on to me. Of taking a nap in that sunshine.

The magic is there. Every day. All I have to do is stop. And look. I don’t have to look for it. All I have to do is look around. It’s there. Everywhere.

People are blind. They can’t see that. They don’t know the magic’s there. They think I’m crazy. Or strange. Or broken in some way.

I’m not.

If I were there, I’d give you a great big hug. Then, even if I had to sit you in a wheelchair, and carry a 2 liter bottle of water with me, I’d take you on a long walk through the roses, the butterflies, and the flower gardens at the botanical garden. I’d stop any time you wanted. I’d let you look all you wanted. I’d let you feel the sun. The breeze.

I’d just appreciate the gift you are, my friend.

We are all different. We are all unique.

Smile, you. That’s the greatest gift of all. The gift of a smile.

#MWBB 18 : Tinta

“There is magic in this forest.”

I laughed at the old man, sitting on an old wooden stool on the stone porch of his small cabin. “Yeah, right. Magic.”

The old man smiled. “You are young, with the brashness, and arrogance of youth.” He looked pas me, to the forest surrounding his home. “You will see.” His eyes gleamed a brilliant blue, “You will see.”

I thanked him for the water, and the meal, and took my leave of him, heading north, into the forest. I was following someone. A girl. I’d seen her in the village, south of the forest, two days ago. I’d called out to her, tried to get her attention, but she didn’t hear me. When she left the village, she headed north. Into the forest. I followed her.

I don’t know why. I’d asked why I was following her for the past two days. Was it because she was pretty? Was it because I was curious? Perhaps I wanted to make sure her journey through the forest went well, and she arrived wherever she was going safely.

The old man at the cabin had just smiled. “She went north,” he’d said.


“Tinta.” He watched my reaction, saw my hesitation to answer him, to ask him questions. “She knows you’re following her.” He’d smiled again, “Why don’t you stop for a bit, have lunch, and a drink. Then continue your journey.”

“I don’t want to be a bother.”

“Oh, son. You are no bother. I get few visitors here. Let me practice my hospitality.”

He’d fixed sandwiches, more than we’d eaten. He’d put the rest in a bag, and handed it to me. “For Tinta.”

Tinta kept going north. I kept following her trail. It wasn’t hard. Her footprints were easy to spot in the snow. It was easy to see the tree branches she’d brushed against.

“There is magic in the forest.” I kept hearing the words of the old man, as the sun set on the second day, and I found a small alcove in the trees to camp for the night. I was glad the old man had given me the sandwiches, as I ate one that night.

Some say I never woke up. And I do remember looking at myself, sleeping on the ground under the trees. But it wasn’t really me. It was must an image. A mirage. As I looked down on myself, she walked into the alcove and stood next to me. She took my hand. She kissed me.

“I’m Tinta.”

“I’m Raven.”

“I know.” She led me into the forest, heading north. As we walked, the snow faded, and the forest filled with colors, the sounds of birds, the music of leaves being played by soft breezes, and the magic of the sun’s beams painting patterns of light as it shined through the forests canopy.

It was beautiful. So was Tinta.

“There is one thing,” she said to me. “Now that you’re here, you know, don’t you.”

“I can never leave.”

I have never missed the world I left behind.

There was indeed magic in the forest. The old man had been right. It was the magic of dreams. I’d always dreamed of finding her. I’d always known when I did, she’d bring color to my world. I’d always known I’d never return to the world I’d always known. That I’d stay with my true love. Walking hand-in-hand, through the trees. In a world where winter never came.

581 Words

My entry, in all its unedited glory, for week 18 of Jeff Tsuruoka‘s Mid-Week Blues-Buster flash fiction challenge. Please, go read the other entries in the challenge.

#ThursThreads Week 60 : We Should Fix That

It was 10:15 Monday night. It was also cold, and snowing. “Welcome to Buffalo,” I muttered as I sat at my computer, reading Slashdot.

My doorbell rang. I sat there a moment, not sure I’d heard it. It happened again. I looked at the time on my computer. “Someone better have a good reason for this.”

I got up, and headed to my front door. As I did, I heard Lilly’s voice, “Tommy! Let me in!” I quickly turned on the porch light, unlocked the dead bolt, and the lock, and pulled the door chain, and let her in.

He had on a hat, and big faux fur coat and high heels. “It’s a nasty night out there!” she shivered and stomped her feet.

“What are you doing here?”

“I came to visit you.” She turned her back to me, pulled off her hat, and started to unbutton her coat. I stared at my feet. “Here. Put these up.” Without looking up, I took her had ,and coat, and hung them on the coat rack. Then I looked back at her to ask what she was doing visiting that late at night.

Lilly was standing there, in my foyer, wearing nothing but high heels. My jaw bounced off the floor. “You’re…”

“Naked,” she finished my sentence for me. “And you’re not.” She stepped forward, and started unbuttoning my shirt. “We should fix that.”

I’ll never forget that night, even after I’m dead.

250 Words

I wrote this for Siobhan Muir‘s #ThursThreads, Week 60. Hope you enjoy it. Please go read all the entries in this week’s #ThursThreads. They are good reading.

#12DaysBop : Snow

Seems Stacy Hoyt and the gang over at Sweet Banana Ink have started a new blog hop today. This one’s called the 12 Days Of Christmas Blog Hop. While I can’t guarantee I’ll get something written for all 12 days, I’ve decided to play along. So, here’s my entry for the first day of the hop.

“I hate snow,” Tommy lamented, looking out the window. Everything outside was white. He shook his head. “So much for Christmas vacation this year.” He turned from the window, sighed, and walked toward the living room, his shoulders sagging.

“Why do you hate snow?” I was curious. “Snow’s great!”

He gave me that look that said, “You’re nuts!” and he whined, “Snow’s just too damn cold! We’ll be trapped inside all holiday long!”

“You’ve never heard of snowball fights? Snow angels? Snow fortresses? Snow men? Snow tunnels? Icicles? Snow cream?”

Tommy shook his head. I kept forgetting he was from Hawaii, where it never, ever snowed.

I headed toward the front door. “Mom! Tommy and I are going out!”

“Bundle up, dear!”

“Yes, Ma’am!”

We piled on stuff until we looked like Eskimos. Tommy just shook his head. Lots.

A bunch of kids were on the basketball courts behind the building, playing follow the leader, trying to leave only one trail of steps across the snow. We joined right in.

We made snowballs, and threw them at the fence, trying to get them stuck in the links. You have to pack the snow down really good or your snowball explodes when it hits the fence.

We made snowmen too. A whole row of ‘em. Everybody said Tommy and mine was the best. We had a blast.

Tommy wound up taking a walk around the building with Tanya, the cute girl from the third floor he’d always been too scared to talk too.

It took forever for feeling to come back to our feet and hands. When it did, it was like zillions of little needles were being stuck in them. I asked Tommy, “Do you still hate snow?”

He just smiled.

Please go enjoy the rest of the stories in the blog hop. There are some really gifted writers out there. It’s well worth reading their work. You can find the other entries here:

The 12 Days Of Christmas Blog Hop

A Clip From Chapter 24 Of JuNoWriMo 2012.

The first night, they reached the Gray Hills. They stopped in a little clearing that Mystica spotted from the air. It was next to a little stream. With trees all around. They spent the night there, sleeping on the ground. They drank fresh water from the stream. And they ate berries, and cheese that Mystica had carried with her. It wasn’t anything special. But it meant so much to Sunshine. To do something so simple. So normal. So quiet. To just be able to spend time with her mother.

They told stories that night. Sunshine told stories of playing with Musica in the castle. And Mystica told stories of the birds, and rabbits by the lake. How they played games with each other.

Sunshine fell asleep that night, with a smile on her face, and her head in Mystica’s lap.

The second day of the trip, they crossed the Gray Hills, to the foothills of the Black Mountains. Sunshine saw so many things she’d never seen before. She saw wild animals roaming through the hills, in groups. Like deer, wild turkeys, rabbits, and even wolves. But what she liked most of all were the birds, and the butterflies. She’d seen birds in the kingdom. But she’d never seen such flocks of birds before. And never knew that butterflies flew in such large groups.

Sunshine also saw lakes, between the hills. Where streams, and creeks, and rivers came together. And next to some of them there were villages. The way the surface of the lakes reflected sunlight was so amazing to her. How the lake sometimes looked like liquid silver in the sunlight.

That second night, in the foothills of the mountains, They had another simple meal. And they settled in a small clearing that overlooked the Gray Hills. Sunshine had stood there for a couple of hours, just looking at the hills. “They’re beautiful, Mommy! They’re so beautiful!” She watched as fog began to form around the lakes, the rivers, and the creeks. And then slowly spread. Covering the Gray Hills as far as she could see. “I know why they call them the Gray Hills, Mommy! I know! The fog at night turns everything gray!”

The third day of the journey home was through the Black Mountains. The heights of the mountains were so high that nothing grew on them. they were bare rock. Many of them were covered in ice and snow. On that day, Sunshine saw her first waterfalls. She’d never seen anything like them. Water flowing over a big cliff, and falling to the ground below, where it returned to being water in a river once again.

She saw her first snow. She’d never seen snow. It never snowed in the Southern Plains. Sunshine had no idea what it was at first. Mystica had stopped, and let her explore the snow for a time. Sunshine learned it was cold. And if you picked up a handful of it, that it would met in your hand, and turn to water. “It’s frozen water!” She looked at the snow some more, and realized the water froze in little flakes. As they were on the ground, it actually started to snow. And Sunshine learned that snow was a lot like frozen rain.

Sunshine also saw her first iceberg. A river made of ice. Flowing between two mountains. As icebergs go, it was a small one. The big icebergs were all in the land of ice and snow to the north. But at the tops of the Black Mountains, it was cold enough for a few icebergs to form. Sunshine.

The two of them had spent the night in the northern foothills of the Black Mountains. They had their usual berries and cheese. And they drank water from a mountain stream. They slept beneath the stars that night. And listened to the animals sing. The sounds of crickets chirping. The sound of frogs croaking. The sound of birds singing their songs. It was a veritable orchestra of wildlife. And Sunshine spent hours listening to the music of the animals before she fell asleep.

I Hate Snow

Here I sit.
On the carpet
Of the Family Room.
Right in front
Of the heater.
That says it’s 58 degrees
In here.

That’s up from 56.

It’s days like these
When I find it fun
To work through
All the laundry.
When I shut the door
To the utility room.
And turn the dryer on.

Perhaps I should just hide in there
For an hour or two.
Soaking up the heat
That the dryer makes.
While I read a book.
Or maybe write something.

Two years ago,
We had central heat.
Heat throughout the house.
But then the damn thing
Just burned out.

We haven’t had it looked at,
To see if it should be repaired.
Or if it should be replaced.
Our heating system’s
Getting very old.
And we know that.
In October,
It’ll be 20 years old.

Two years ago,
We’d have replaced it.
No questions asked.

But then I ran headlong into
My conflict with the world.
And wound up

And we don’t make enough
To have the heat replaced
Any more.

But that’s OK.
We cope, you know.
It’s not like we’re going to freeze.
We’ve learned ways
To say warm
Even on the coldest days.

Like sitting here
Next to the heater
In this big,

I sometimes try to remember
When I could walk around the house
With no socks on.
That was back in November,
You know.

My feet sometimes talk to me.
Sometimes they complain.
About having to stay encased
In socks.
For days,
And days,
And days.

It’s OK
That we don’t have central heat.
We’ve learned to use
Heat zones.
And the work just fine.

We heat up a few rooms
In the house
With electric heaters
Of two kinds.
And oil.

It has a major benefit.
That makes is worth the effort.
But it ticks off
The power companies
Big time.

We’re saving better than
$200 a month
By not heating the house.

We’ll get the heat fixed
But we’re not in a rush.
For the truth is
That we’ve learned
That we won’t freeze to death
If we don’t turn
The heater on.

You should know
Something else I’ve learned.
In the past 2 winters.
I know a lot of people
That claim they like the snow.
And that they like the winter.

But those same people
Would sure change their tune
If they were to try
Living with no heat
In their great big house
For just one solid week.

People are just wimps
Grown used to so many things
That people lived without
For generations
Before ours.

Take a look at history.
How did people heat their homes
100 years ago?

Turn that thermostat down.
And grab a jacket.
Or a sweater.
And shut up
About the snow.

I hate snow,
Don’t you know.