Dirty Deeds

There Is Nothing There


Summer evening, late. The road traveled lies within city limits, moonlight over a pastured landscape, blackened shadows of barns line a ridge while cattle bed down within a barbed wire fence.  Along the road moves a car, sporty red, fairly new, the driver, a young woman.  She’s tired, her fatigue earned by a previous late night and then an all day job, followed by another late night.

She drives with windows down, a sultry breeze skims in and out, occasionally scented with mowed grass and wild lavender.  A pop station plays a top forty list, barely audible.  The road is as familiar as the rest of her routines.  It is the route home.

Her mind wanders over the day, and the evening.  She’s just left the home of a friend.  She should have been in bed hours before.  An internal thought floats, I’m too tired to be out driving, followed by a vague movement in her peripheral vision.  She automatically turns her head to see-only it’s not possible anything could be there, just outside a car going forty-five m.p.h.  She’s right.

There is nothing there.

Another thought blooms, I’m so tired I’m seeing things.  Seconds later, a row of mailboxes snagged by the car’s high beams also captures the surprising view of an old man.  He is bent over, as if to pick up something on the ground, while glancing back at her over his shoulder.  She swerves to avoid him, and looks at her rear view mirror.

There is nothing there.

Inexplicably, she is filled with a sense of dread.  As she passes an old abandoned house, she senses something, a presence, a nightmare quality awareness entering the car.  The passenger seat, she feels she shouldn’t look there.  She can’t explain why.  Heart rate elevates, hands get sticky on the wheel as she tells herself, act normal.  Act like nothing is wrong.  Turn up the radio.  Sing, if you can.  At the old grist mill, even if the light is red, go through it, DON’T STOP.  You can’t stop.

She can’t explain why she’s having these thoughts, yet, her hand goes to the radio and music fills the car.  She hums because she can’t form words.  She thinks of the word evilUninvited evil.  The stop light is at the bottom of a long hill.  It’s RED.  She swallows and her heart bumps erratically.  Foot on the gas, her driving is somehow steady.  She keeps humming.  The grist mill is to her right. The old wheel is turning, and frothy water spills in a cascade.  She hasn’t slowed down.  The light is still red.

Twenty feet from the light.  She is going too fast.  She plans to run it.

It flips to green.

Ascending the hill beyond the light, she is suddenly at peace.  The past minute or so dissolves into night air.  There is no explanation for what she just experienced, only relief she no longer feels that strange sense of foreboding.

If I wrote horror stories, I’d use this material in some way, as a beginning for someone’s world falling apart, where they can’t tell what’s real, what’s not, are they crazy, or are they really experiencing events which get more bizarre and scary.  But I don’t write horror, and in some ways I’m glad, I almost scared myself writing this.  🙂

And here’s the thing,  this is a true story.  This happened to me about twenty-five years ago, and I’ve never forgotten it.  So why make a blog post about it now?  Because…about a month ago, I watched Abigail for the day.  I took her to my Mom’s for a visit, and the drive to take Abigail back home took me down this road for the first time in many years.  I thought about it for the first time in a long while.  My question has always been, what the heck happened?  What WAS that?

What do you think it was?

Dark Hwy

 

 

 

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Out In Public


Recently, fellow writer Carolynn (in some circles we call her 2N’s) Pianta talked in a three part series about special “messages” on her blog.  Granted I’ve had similar “messages” throughout my life, but today I’m here to talk about three separate “events” over the course of this past week which are downright…odd.  Not oooooo, ghostly odd.  Or even freak out odd.  More like distasteful odd?

Because of what it involves, maybe it’s simply ridiculous or just weirdly coincidental.  Actually, if it weren’t for the fact of what it was about, I wouldn’t have even noticed.

This is likely considered in poor taste, but I was never one to dwell for long on things like that.  🙂

FIRST TIME:  In a too close to home incident, I caught someone urinating – out in public. In my head, I was like, ho boy, um, is that necessary?  Yeah, yeah, when you need to go…BUT.  I called up Blaine and said, “So, uh, I just saw someone [insert details].  I’m not sure what to make of it.”

He chuckled and said, “You know, men can do that.”

I said, “Ha ha, very funny.  But then again.  Not really.”

I mean, honestly?  I was all kinds of grossed out because it was, if you get my drift, “too close to home.”  I’m not inclined to want to encounter the remnants of THAT – no matter how much rain falls to distill it, disperse it or whatever.

SECOND TIME:  While out on my run, I entered Greenwood Cemetery to make my usual out and back loop.  I spoke to someone walking, and on my way out, they were ahead of me.  I was about one hundred feet from them when they suddenly veered off to the edge of the woods and what do they do?  Begin to relieve themselves in the doggone creek.  I immediately reversed course, killed some time doing an extra loop, and when I came back out, he was gone.

THIRD TIME:  Today I was on my way to meet a fellow author for lunch and what do I hear on the radio?  Evidently NYC is making public urination and drinking LEGAL.  Why?  Because the court system is overloaded with offenders and it’s clogging up the system for the more serious offenses.  I think that’s what I heard.  I came home and looked it up just to be sure and holy hell, it must be true because I found this, and this, and a whole host of other reads on this urgent gotta go topic.

They (the collective, the group, the other folks?) say three’s a charm.  Or, we all know the saying, it comes in threes.  There’s something about the number three which is, I guess, mystical?  And there, right there were three instances on my radar regarding public urination.  I can see this as being necessary when you’re stuck on the interstate in an ice storm for going on fifteen bazillion hours and no access to toilets.  But even many of those poor people tried to twaddle off to the woods to take care of business.

I am perplexed, make that STUMPED as to what the message is I’m supposed to get from this?  The strangeness of it, with only a couple days in between each “event,” of course brought it front and center.  However, if there is something there for me to discern, I’ll be darned if I know what it’s supposed to be, but hey, as a writer, I’ll have to figure out if there’s a way I can use this.  Maybe in a flash fiction story down the road.

Now, tell me this isn’t the strangest post you’ve read all day. 

 

 

 

 

Sweet, Blissful Sleep


An update.

Remember this post?

It got worse before it got better.  Obviously we’d been hearing “noises” for a while.  After the last rant about this issue, we went right out and bought one of those Hav-A-Hart traps – only, we didn’t use it right away.  Maybe it was the holiday crush, or maybe the thought that because it was warm outside – it would stay outside.  Ha.

And then?  Worse arrived.  Not only did the activity pick up, it moved about, migrating from the upstairs doorways and the hardwood floors directly below our feet to…the kitchen area and the ceiling over our very heads.  It also began to act as if it had an alarm clock.  Promptly at 6:00 p.m. every night it would get started.  There it was!  In the wall by the buffet.  The wall behind the cabinets.  The cabinet with the double oven.  We’d be listening to the news, enjoying our end of the day wind down, and here would come the interloper, the unwanted guest.

We went from non-action to all out war.  I called a pest control company.  Great guys.  They gave us advice.  Squirrels, they said.

“But…(said I) squirrels are diurnal, not nocturnal.  We are hearing this thing starting at 6:00 every night – the squirrels are in bed.”

“Not if they have an attic to play in.”

“Oh.  Great.  So, it’s true, we have squirrel squatters.”

Smile.  “Yes ma’am.”

So, they sprayed for bugs.  Set off some bombs.  For bugs.  And threw out some rodent plugs (for mice, not squirrels).  Once that was done (yay, at least there would be no more creepy pine beetles as big as a surfboard) a suggestion was made by one of the guys.

“I saw you have one of those traps?”

“Yeah.  We haven’t used it yet.”

“Maybe put it in the attic and see what you get.”

Hm.  Our plans exactly except we hadn’t done it.  It was like we wanted it to disappear by…magic?

So, late afternoon that same day we got out the trap, loaded it up with peanut butter, and put it in the smaller section of attic that is directly over the kitchen.

We shut the little attic door, went downstairs and waited for the antics to commence.  Promptly at 6:05 p.m. scritch scratch, scurry, scurry.  It was hard not to get out the broom and bang on the ceiling like I’d been doing.  I tuned it out – sort of.

Next day, I checked the trap.  Doors still up, nothing.  Second night, 6:02 p.m., (I swear this thing had a wrist watch) the noises began again.  I ignored what sounded like a full blown race being conducted above my head best as I could.  Later on, around 8:30 or so, I realized there was no noise.  I figured it’s moved to another wall – it’s done this before, this little, wily “whatever.”

Next day.  I was cleaning house, and remembered, oh, I need to check the trap.  Might as well do it now.   I opened the little crawl space door, (screeeee) stuck the flashlight in, and felt a little ba-bump of my heart when I saw the trap doors were DOWN!  I’ll admit, I was a little scared – for some reason.  WHAT IS IT?  What’s in THERE?  WHAT IF IT’S A SNAKE! It was soooo quiet.  Too quiet.  Even when I had opened up that noisy door and panned the light over the cage.  Silence.

What was it, you ask?  Well, let me show you.

THIS.  And, it had been quiet because it had pulled in all the insulation it could grab with it’s ever so cute little paws, made a nest and was SLEEPING.

DSCF1831

Tell me that’s not the sweetest, most adorable face?!?!  Look….at it.  I just wanted to hold it and pet it.

All of my aggravation?  Pffft.  This was not what I expected.  A Southern Flying Squirrel.

I’ll admit, I had no idea we had them here because I’ve never seen one.  Ever.  I used to when we lived in Michigan, back when I was in 3rd and 4th grade.

Here?  Nope.

So, I got the cage out carefully.  Put it in the back of my vehicle and took him (her?) off to the Rail Trail, where I opened the hatch and out it flew – well not literally, I mean it ran fast.  Because they ARE very fast.

Freedom!  S/he’s a little hard to see, but there’s the backside with the tail draped over a branch.  It was the flat tail that gave it away to Blaine.  Soon as I described it and showed him these pics, he said, “look up flying squirrel.”

DSCF1836

So far, so good.  No new noises.  Yay!  No more worries about the house burning down due to chewed wires.  Yippeee!

Instead, now I’m worried about the cold snap and how this little one will fare.

I got “the look” from hubby on that one.

He knows I’m tenderhearted through and through, a real pushover – until something keeps me awake.  Grrrr.

 

 

 

 

 

 

An Open Letter To Nestle Purina PetCare Co. and Waggin’ Train LLC


Dear Purina and Waggin’ Train,

You don’t know me.  You don’t know that you forced me to do the unthinkable.  The sort of decision I prayed I would never have to make.

On August 2, 2012 after monumental efforts to save her through fluid therapy, and after much suffering, we “let” Bella go.

On August 23, 2012, after days of aggressive fluid therapy treatments and ultimately significant, rapid decline, we “let” Kiwi go.

Let is such a polite word.  What we actually did was make the decision to euthanize them.  I still get sick thinking about it.  I still cry.  All these years later.

Bella & Kiwi

I realize I’m only one of hundreds of thousands of consumers who bought pet treat products made by each of you.   Great sounding treats like Duck and Venison jerky, and Yam Good.  I was so excited about these products because both of the girls tended to have skin issues, and my vet recommended a diet excluding chicken and beef.  They ate a prescription dog food by Innovative Veterinary Diets, Royal Canin Hypoallergenic, and to find a treat they could have meant so much.  I will readily admit, they loved them.  They begged for them. And I enjoyed seeing their excitement, tumbling one over the other at having a “TREAT!” as I used to squeal at them while rattling the bag.

And that’s part of what made all this seem unbelievable.  After reading article after article of other dogs becoming sick, I thought, “Oh no, what have I been giving them?”  I immediately stopped, only, by then, unbeknownst to me, it was too late.   They’d eaten them for 18 months, and then, just like that, they were gone.

Imagine that.

Think about it.

I sure have.

And, there’s this to consider too.  Bella and Kiwi came from completely different litters.  They began eating the treats at the same time.  They began consuming more water at the same time.  They developed incontinence issues at the same time.  They became lethargic at the same time.  Lost weight at the same time with no change to their regular food.  They developed renal failure at the same time.

Bella was only 12, and Kiwi, was only 11.  Both young by Yorkie standards.

I’m sure by now you’re probably sick and tired of the whole jerky treat saga, considering the latest Class Action lawsuit regarding Beneful, but I’m here and I’m writing this now because the Class Action suit involving jerky treats has recently been settled.  And because, like a strange, twisted reminder, August of 2015 is the possible timeframe for the payout.  How very odd it will be three years to the month since “the unthinkable” happened, isn’t it?  Maybe that’s just how I view it.

They are now, sadly, counted along with statistical numbers tracked by updates written and printed by various news media.  Statistics that seem way off by the numbers in the Class Action suit.  All along the reports said 1,000 dogs killed and 4,800 sickened.  If that’s true, what about the other 5,200 who made a claim within the Class Action suit?  Yeah, 11,000 claims.  250,000 separate views of it.  A quarter of a million people who went out and looked at it.  Not 250,000 combined or collective views – individual or unique views.  Why do I believe that some of these folks (perhaps many?) didn’t file because they figured what difference would it make?  If they lost a pet, it sure wouldn’t bring them back.

I suppose I circle back to the “girls” again and again every now and then because I still feel them with me.  Filing my claim was hell.  Re-reading all of the vet reports which discussed their bloodwork and the BUN, creatnine levels, as well as personal notes like “she’s not feeling so good today,” and, “still not eating.”  Remembering all over again how I felt they’d been cheated of time with us, and that we’d been cheated of time with them.

Some who read this might think I ought to just get over it already.  Some might wonder why I would participate – since it IS true, participating doesn’t bring them back.  It doesn’t matter, and I don’t owe anyone explanations.  Maybe I’m trying to feel “settled” myself somehow.  It hasn’t worked yet, despite the fact after it happened, I wrote to EVERYONE, like my congresswoman.  My senator.  The FDA. The Veterinary Medicine branch of the FDA, CVM.

This was simply one more avenue where I could be heard. To tell the “girls” story once more, no matter how it resurrected the heartbreak all over again.  I still dream about them.

And so, this was my voice, amongst and with the other 10,999 heartsick pet parents.

Can you hear us?

037

The Hunter

 

What If?


Recently, I had something so unexpected happen, I was in a state of sheer panic for a couple of hours.

Last Tuesday I was in front of my laptop doing what I do.  The phone rang, and as usual, when I didn’t recognize the number, I ignored the call.  A couple hours later, I happened to look down at the small cordless handset beside me, and saw the tiny amber light blinking, meaning I had a voice mail.

I dialed in, and heard this, “This message is for Donna Everhart.  Ms. Everhart, this is Lieutenant Terrell with the Harnett County Sheriff’s Department, Warrants and Records Division.  This is related to a court matter.  Please call me at your earliest convenience.” 

A court matter?  I couldn’t imagine what this was about.  I’d not had any speeding tickets in decades.  It had to be some sort of mistake, so, I called the number thinking I’d fix this pronto.  Ha.

“This is Lt. Terrell.”

“This is Donna Everhart, returning your call.”

“Donna Everhart?”

“Yes.”

“At…”

“Yes.”

“Ms. Everhart, I’m contacting you regarding grand jury selection.  And regarding the two warrants I have for your arrest.”

“What?  Warrants for my arrest?  For what?!?!”

“Ms. Everhart, on March 17th, a letter was sent to you from the Harnett County Superior Court in regards to grand jury selection.  It was expected that you would appear in court on April 14th.  You did not appear in court, and Judge Faircloth has cited you with failure to appear, and these warrants have been issued, and are about to be activated.”

“Wait a minute, that’s impossible!  I never received any letter!”

“Ma’am, okay, you can dispute it, but, I have right here, a copy of the letter which was sent.  And now, Judge Faircloth has approved the activation of the warrants.”

(Needless to say, hyperventilating and freaking out begins.  While I try to wrap my head around this, I demand clarification and answers – as if I have any control.)

“Wait a minute, wait a minute.  This is crazy! This is insane!  I never received any letter!  Are you telling me the courts can just send a letter, and if people don’t appear they can be arrested???”

“Yes ma’am.  If they’ve indicated they are going to show up.”

“What do you mean, ‘indicated they are going to show up?’  I never got any letter, how can I have said that?”

“I have your response here.”

“No, no, you don’t.  There’s been some sort of mistake.”

“Well, ma’am, that’s possible, but right now, I’ve got these warrants and this all needs to get resolved today.  I’m trying to give you an opportunity to complete a ‘conditional attachment’ to take care of this, to avoid, if possible your arrest.”

“Wait.  What?  A what?”

“A conditional attachment.”

“What is that?”

“If you’ll calm down, I’ll explain what you need to do.  But, Ms. Everhart, please be aware, these warrants are in the system for activation, and this may or may not prevent that from happening.”

Needless to say, more hyperventilating and freaking out, and NOW, I’m getting emotional.

Sobs, “Oh God.  I can’t believe this.  There’s a big mistake. This is all a big mistake.”

“Ma’am, I need you to calm down.  I  need to be able to tell you what you need to do.”

More sobbing, “Oh God.  Oh God.”

“Ma’am?”

“What!”

“Are you able to write this down?  The instructions for what you need to do to rectify this?”
Sobbing,  “Yes.  I’ve got a pen.  What do I do.”

“I need you to get an envelope, and address it to Harnett County Superior Court House.  Address is….  Did you get that?”

Still sobbing, “Yes.  But, what’s this for?”

“The receipt that will be issued to you, and what you will send once you pay these fines. Bring cash or check, no credit cards, to the Harnett County Sheriffs department at…ma’am, are you all right?”

“No!  I’m not.  I’m upset!

“Ma’am I need for you to calm down.  I’m just doing my job.”

Still crying, “Okay, all right, but I need to talk to my lawyer.  Something’s wrong.  This doesn’t seem right.”

“Ma’am, you can call your lawyer if you want.  That’s not a problem.  If you do that, I can’t guarantee I can stop the activations.”

“Can’t you give me five minutes?  I’ll call you back in five minutes.”

“Okay.  Five minutes.”

***********************************************

I call my next door neighbor – who just so happens to be the city attorney.  I explain to him as best as I can without having a major meltdown what’s going on.  He asks if the guy wants a credit card number.  Which is what I was on high alert for during the entire conversation.  If he had wanted my credit card, I’d have been all like, “Uh, hell no, and hell no.”

I tell City Attorney he said cash or check only.  I tell CA the address he’s given me of where I need to take it.

CA said, “Well, that IS the sheriff’s department address.  I guess you better go and see what’s going on.”

OH GOD.

***********************************************
I call Lt. Terrell back.
“This is Lt. Terrell.”
“Okay, I can be on my way to the sheriff’s department in 30 minutes.  (as usual, I’m still in my running clothes.  No shower.  I want to take a shower before I go out in public)
“Ms. Everhart, these warrants are about to be activated.  I’m afraid any more delays, and I won’t be able to prevent this.”
“Okay, okay, fine.  I’ll leave now.  Wait, what will paying the fines do?”

“That will allow Judge Faircloth to set a court date.  The matter will not be held in open court, but in chambers, where you’ll be able to dispute the matter.”

“And how much are they?”

“One if $1,498.00 and the other is $998.00 both for the failure to appear.”

I swallow hard, and tell him, “Okay.  I’m on my way.”

“Ma’am, before you come, I need your cell phone number to establish a link with GPS.”

“Uh, okay, why?”

“Like I’ve been saying, these warrants are about to be activated, and I’ll need to have an open line to you in case, between your house and here you’re stopped.  You don’t have to talk to me.  It’s just an open connection, where I can prevent an arrest if they see your vehicle and initiate the arrest.”

“I don’t have a cell phone.  I have OnStar.”

“That’ll work.”

“I’m on my way now.”

“I’ll see you in twenty minutes.”

In the meantime during the last five minutes, my husband has come in, seen the state I’m in.  He only understands the basics which I scribbled down on piece of paper and flipped up for him to see.  *FAILURE TO APPEAR*

He and I go to his truck in silence.

I call Lt. Terrell’s number and it goes to voice mail, which states, “This is the Harnett County Sheriff’s Department Warrants and Records Division.  Leave your name, number and message and someone will call you back.”

I give him my husband’s cell phone, and tell him my husband is bringing me.  I call the number a couple more times while on the way and get vm.

We arrive at the Sheriff’s Department, I go in and up to the glass window where a young woman is sitting.

“I need to see a Lt. Terrell.”

She shakes her head, “There is no Lt. Terrell.  It’s a scam.”

Guess what I do? Yeah.  Boo hoo.  This time in relief.  I have a lily white reputation to maintain, don’t you know.

And…, that’s when my husband starts cussing.  And that’s when we are taken into a REAL Lt.’s office where we file a report.  Turns out I was the third victim in Harnett County, while Wake County (my home county) has something like 400 cases similar to this.

After it was all said and done, I began to play the what if game.  What if he wanted to know where I was (via GPS) so buddies of his could back a truck up and clean us out?  What if he was watching the house?  Saw me leave?  What if he fell in behind me and all along I’m “linked” to his cell phone, and on some stretch of Hwy 421, a car with a blue light in the dash pulls me over?

What if I said, “Oh no, they’re pulling me over, what do I do?  Can’t you stop this?”

What if he played the part and said “Sorry.  I tried to prevent this.  Just go with them, and it will be straightened out.”

What if the call then disconnected and I’m under the impression I AM being arrested.

What if the “sheriff,” came to my window and said, “Ma’am, please step out of the car.  You’re under arrest.”

What if I did as he said, and he put me in the back of his “squad” car and took off?

What if…? 

Thinking beyond that…, well, it’s too scary, too real, it hits too close to home.

What’s the strangest thing to happen to you lately?

One Small Mourning Dove


I love watching the neighborhood kids play because they go about it like my brother and I used to, riding their bikes like the hounds of hell are on their heels, tearing up the alleys, ducking in and out of yards, or streaking down sidewalks.  Animated voices arrive well in advance of their actual bodies, and lingers in the air after they’ve disappeared.

Sometimes they jump on the trampoline, or into their pool.  Sometimes they play fetch with their dog, or tag football in their front yard. Sometimes they shoot baskets, and…, sometimes they bring out their air rifle b.b. guns and target practice.  That’s when I get a little nervous.  The other day as we sat on the porch, we could hear their voices rising in pitch, excitement boiling over.  A long dark gun was held by the eldest and it was obvious something in the trees had been spotted.

I heard someone say, “shoot it, shoot it.”

Quietly, I said, “Oh no,”  while my husband remained silent, watchful, probably hoping like me their aim hadn’t improved.

There was a sort of pop.  I saw a dove launch itself out of a pecan tree, heading straight for our yard.

Then a chorus of:   “You got it!  You got it!”  “Where did it go?”  “I don’t know!”

Me, again, more distressed:  “They’re shooting at the birds!”

I thought they’d missed.  Thank God.

You see, I feed the birds every day, and it’s as if they’ve come to recognize me.  I can hear them in the trees when I go outside in the mornings, and it’s not only the dove, it’s purple finches, goldfinches, sparrows, wrens, redheaded woodpeckers, a pair of cardinals, a couple of catbirds, and a few thrushes.  Their calls and whistles, and chirps and cheeps grow louder as I strew the seed about.  They seem to know why I’m there and as soon as I’m done, and before I can get back inside, they swoop down to eat.

The kids came out of the backyard to investigate.  They saw us, and grew quieter, but kept searching, declaring amongst themselves they’d seen feathers fly.

I spoke to them from where we sat, “It’s not dove season, right?”

The eldest, a great kid whom I’ve known since he was born, replied in a quiet voice, “No ma’am.”

They returned to their backyard and shut the gate.  It was then I looked to my right, and there, on the pine straw, below a bush was the dove.  Not even five feet from me.  And of course, it was dead.

To say I’m tenderhearted over such things is an understatement.  As I gathered it up, ignoring the blood and the lolling head, all I could focus on was the warmth still there, the plush feathers, and the soft gray and browns inherent to a mourning dove.  They are often called Carolina turtle dove, or rain dove as well, and amazingly, they are monogamous.  Funny, delicate seeming birds, with a head much smaller than their body, they can fly up to 55 m.p.h.  They are breeding now, which is why they aren’t in season.  It’s possible a nest has been compromised.  I can’t help myself, but I’m half crying, and feeling a bit silly for doing so.

Like I said, tenderhearted.  What can I say?

I took the bird to the back gate, and as I expected, the eldest when he opened it and saw what was in my hand was more than sorry.  His face expressed genuine concern and real worry, yet, I too am worried because this is one of those awkward situations where, as an adult, I have to handle it appropriately yet make my point.

I shook my head, and said, “I just can’t handle seeing anything get shot.”

He replied, “I’m sorry.  I’m really sorry.  I won’t do it again.”

I said, “Well.  Now you have it, what are you going to do with it?”

He said, “eat it.”

Which is, of course, the right answer.

I handed it to him and he took it from my hands carefully.  I came back over to our porch, up the steps and inside to wash my hands.  When I went back out, within seconds, he came out of their back gate, across the alley, up our steps to stand before us, to apologize again.  At that point, still sort of teary eyed, I began to feel like a real jerk.  His parents are stellar.  They’ve taught all their children to respect adults, mind their manners, and I would bet money, he’s the most considerate thirteen year old I know.

He said it again, “I’m really sorry, Miss Donna.  I won’t do it again.”

I said, “I know, and I know you hunt, and your dad takes you, and you know about responsibility.  For me, it’s just that…, I feed them, you know?  And, I’m such a rule follower.”

He stood there, hands folded in front of his shirt, so contrite and clearly disturbed.

I wish it hadn’t happened.  I don’t want him to think he can’t play, run or ride in that free and spirited way like before.  I want him to know I trust his word, and that even though one small mourning dove is gone, he IS a really good kid.

And that we all make mistakes.

220px-Mourning_Dove_2006

Big Rig


Five thousand words.  Ninety thousand to go, but who’s counting?

It seems I’m finally settling into the beginning of this new story.  Months ago, I decided on a setting and a working title.  Now, with the other project waiting in the wings, this is a welcome distraction.  The last book was doggone hard to write.  I’ve been trying to take the ole “lessons learned,” with that one so I can prevent any future, “I’m freaking out!” comments made at random to those who asked.  And by that I mean I’d like to have some idea of where the heck this new thing is headed.  My previous work, (A BLACK WATER SEASON) was sort of like driving an eighteen wheeler in a blizzard at times.  There were days on end I just couldn’t see where to go.  So there I sat with the big rig, engine rumbling,  mashing on the gas and grinding the gears.  That is, if I even thought it safe to yank out of park.  Many days, I saw nothing ahead but whiteout conditions and can I tell you, that storm came and went on a regular basis.

I’d prefer not to take that route again.  Despite that, I can’t, I repeat, can’t bring myself to complete an outline – at least not a full outline.  I’ve done that and for me, it was a waste of time.  Oh, sure, while I’m working on my beginning chapter I’ll sit and think about what scenes should happen next, like how I should get from A to B, but, beyond that? A, B, C, D –> Z?  No.  Even the thought makes me hyperventilate.  I wasted a lot of time doing this before and by the time I got to what I’d outlined for chapter six, I’d already changed stuff so much, the big rig was plowing a new road across the snow drifts and had landed onto Route something or other.

Anyway.  I’ve been spawning ideas for the new story, only to toss them out the next day.  After several false starts since the holidays ended, yesterday my brain suddenly caught fire and I was able to lay down 1,500 new words. The collective five thousand words I have are not a cohesive start to finish beginning.  Actually, after about page seven, it’s sketchy at best.  Still, I won’t delete them just yet because you know how we writers like to hoard our little darlings until we have to axe them.  I’m excited about the possibilities and where the ideas might take me with this particular story.  I have a lot of fodder for future use already, a more organic growth than what seemed to happen in the previous project.

For now, the main character’s backstory is coming together.  I know what she does for a living (something unique!), where her mother is in her life , where her father isn’t, and same with her brother.  I’ve yet to introduce any other characters, or the antagonist.  Some part of me hopes this will ultimately be a surprise.  I’m aiming for the reader thinking it’s this person, and it’s really that person.

I’m also aiming for dark and creepy.  Like this:

Bad Moon RisingAnd this:

Dark_corridor

Courtesy blog.libero.it

And this:

After a day of writing this story, must remember to watch comedy at night.

How are you doing with your latest project?

When Words Fail


This would be one of those times.

IMG_8273

Up To No Good


They can be found walking down the street as if they have all the time in the world.  If she’s outside, their eyes will find her and linger just a little too long.  They continue staring, and when they get closer, she’ll kneel as if in prayer, head down, busying herself with an errant weed.  She pretends this was intentional, this sudden focus on a dandelion while hoping they won’t yell out as they’re want to do if drunk or high on crack.  She’ll feel compelled to acknowledge their presence.  She doesn’t want to, not really.  She doesn’t want the usual awkward exchange.  The way they look at her, at what she has, and what they don’t.  They always say things like, “Hey, I got me a bad cold.  I just need two dollars to get some medicine.  You got two dollars you can spare me?”  She’s always torn.  She wants to help, but, then what?  Won’t she be targeted in some way?

She just doesn’t want any trouble.

It happened while he was out on a walk with his dog.  Out of nowhere came an old Ford Expedition with a sorry looking camouflage paint job.  It circled around the block, passing him not once, but twice.  He picked up his pace a little, looking over his shoulder.  He wished he’d brought his gun.  Unbelievably, he hears the vehicle again, the distinct knocking engine.  His dog growls and on this third pass, he gives the driver a dirty look.  Semi-obscured by dark tinted windows, he sees a mop of tangled blond hair and a glimpse of a pock marked red face.  The stranger flicks a lit cigarette at his feet and guns it, an obvious attempt at intimidation.  He’s left breathing in the exhaust, like the the sulfurous fumes of hell.

He just doesn’t want any trouble.

At the grocery story, a group of individuals hang out by the corner.  Their laughter drifts across the parking lot, as if captured and carried by the strong, cold breeze.  A woman parks her car, and double checks her list for things she needs to pick up.  She half runs, half walks towards the entrance.  As she gets closer, the group, only seconds ago a raucous rowdy bunch, falls silent.  Someone snickers.  Another mumbles something she can’t quite make out.  And yet another yells, “What’cha gonna buy?  Hey, get me a double deuce, while you’re in there, baby.”  She ignores them, and the burst of laughter that trails her into the store.

She just wants to get her few things and go home.  She doesn’t want any trouble.

At the post office a young teenage girl stands at one of the convenience counters, placing stamps on a stack of envelopes.  The post office is closed.  It’s Sunday morning.  She’s alone in there, until a cool draft blows her hair and a whooshing sound from the automatic door signals someone else has entered the building.  She places the last stamp and just as she’s about to walk over to the drop box, someone steps in close behind her, reaches an arm over her right shoulder and gets a shipping label.  They’ve invaded her personal space by almost, but not quite, placing their body so close to hers, and she freezes.  From over her shoulder comes a muffled, “‘scuse me,” but there is no excuse.  She understands this person was looking to do just this.  She smells smoke, like from a wood fire, and the woodsy odor of whiskey.  She refuses to make eye contact as she hurriedly drops her mail into the overnight bin and turns to leave.  He grabs her arm.

I like to write about regular, every day people who come face to face with those who are up to no good.  The miscreants and the unwanted, the outcasts, people on the fringe.  Those desperate, dangerous, creepy, crazy people out there.

What do you like write about?

2014 Is About To Be In The Rear View Mirror


I almost didn’t post this nifty little annual report, courtesy of WordPress.  Admittedly, blogging is not my strong suit.  I write differently here than in my projects.  (less f-bombs.  No.  No need to thank me.)  Here, I tend to keep things lighthearted, and not too thought provoking.  Maybe that’ll change.  Or not.  I have no clue.  When I did the overhaul of the site a couple months back, that was a good start, but I feel like I’ve kept the writing here more like the previous site.  Green, fresh, apple pie’ish.

Anywho, without any more beleaguered babbling, beware my beautiful stats.  Read’em and weep.  Or laugh.  Eye rolling accepted, but if I see you, I’m poking my finger into those glassy orbs.  You’ve been warned.

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 5,100 times in 2014. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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