An Un-titled Short

I started writing this yet-to-be-named short story about a week and a half ago. The first few hundred words came quickly, then I stalled out. I’ve added a few things since then, but right now I just don’t know where it is headed.

The good news is that I’m posting it for you to enjoy! Have fun…

“Who died and left you queen of the world,” he growled as menacingly as he could while still staying doubled over beside the truck.

“Yeah, yeah I heard you the first time,” she sighed and gingerly stepped around the soggy grass to neatly nip the keys to his ’78 El Camino from his back pocket. “You know, real men may only bow down to their queens, but sometimes a sick boy must bow to his nursemaid.”

“Oh you think sooo…rah,” straightening up had been a bad idea apparently and whatever the rest of his retort would have been was lost behind the lurid, almost comical upheaval wreaking havoc of Carson’s typically well-groomed lumberjack appearance.

“I know so,” Paula sighed again, louder and longer this time, awkwardly patting his back and holding the adorably Neanderthal curls while Carson finished giving it all back (not that he had much left to give this time around). “And I could be a queen! I am a queen! How would know the difference, caveman?”

“uhhhn,” With no strength left to argue, Carson meekly nodded at his friend and allowed himself to be helped into the passenger side of his own souped-up ride.

“If you need to spew, warn me,” Paula trilled, slamming the door just to watch him cringe and shrink against the soft seat. “Homeward bound!”

The ride was blissful silence and heavy metal, though Carson enjoyed one much more than he enjoyed the other. Paula parked him, and his car, safely at his little house and jogged her way two blocks over to plop down on her own slightly smashy couch.  Turning on the television to what was, happily, a romcom marathon, the woman drifted in and out of a sleep riddled with ridiculously real dreams.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Stumbling up the steps and into his bachelor pad, slamming a little harder that the door than typically necessary, Carson flattened himself against the wall and peered out of the curtained window that would allow him to watch Paula’s perky backside sass its way down the block without risk of being spotted if she turned to check on him. How in the world a woman could walk with that much attitude showing without heels and dance music was a mystery, but the dark pony tail and faded jeans were doing a good job all on their own. Shaking his head in frustration as Paula disappeared around the corner that would take her home, Carson dragged himself to the kitchen, snagged some water, and went back to flop on the couch. Shoes off and a blanket thrown across his legs Carson flipped channels until he found his guilty pleasure…a romcom marathon. Smiling sarcastically at himself, the muscular bearded and tattooed tough settled in to watch a lineup of his favorite little secrets, and daydream.

“Who? What?” the annoying chirp of the cell phone in his pocket woke Carson a few hours later. Long shadows across the floor and a new movie halfway finished on the screen told the sick man that he had been out for at least 2 hours. Batobato binbinbing his phone was at it again. Thankfully though, it was a text message. “Dead?” he snorted, “Nope, if I were you I’d hold of planning the party until you know for sure I kicked the bucket.”

“Well do me a favor and either die now or wait,” she quickly responded, “I have appointments all day Thursday and Friday and just cannot possibly fit in a funeral then.”

“Bitch,” he mumbled, “Sometimes I hate that she makes me smile so much. Damn snarky wench.”

Thumbs careening over the screen, his scathing remark took a turn he didn’t expect so that Paula’s phone buzzed with, “I guess I’ll just have to live a little while longer for you then. Too bad no one is here to take care of me.”

“What a whiny little turd nugget,” Paula griped to the cat staring down at her from atop a nearby bookshelf, “Like he can’t take care of his own grown ass self.”

“You’ll be fine. Need anything?” “Need anything?” She wailed into a couch pillow, “Need anything? Jeez woman, keep it up! If he doesn’t know yet, he will soon. AAAAAAKKKK!”

“Need anything, hmmm,” Carson mused, “I wonder if…naw! She’s just being nice. I couldn’t get that lucky after all I’ve done…”

“I’m just tired and lonely. Like you said, I’ll be fine. Thanks though.”

“Awww, Maybe I should…NO PAULA!” She smacked her hand and threw herself back down on the groaning couch, “He said he’d be fine. Leave him alone!”

“But maybe…”

“Maybe??? Did you think of something you need?”

“Maybe…You…nevermind”

“Me?”

“Well, maybe you could bring some soup or something? I don’t think I can handle steak right now.”

YOU COWARD!” He growled at himself. “Her company would have been the answer…not Soup! I don’t even like soup!”

“I got you Gatorade and chicken noodle,” A hesitant voice called through his front door not even five minutes later, causing Carson to fall on the floor in a pile of tousled blankets and startled chagrin. He had been staring at his phone, wondering whether or not to text again when Paula showed up at the door.

“What kind?”

“Yellow.”

The Gatorade in questions was tossed unceremoniously into the pile on top of him as she headed to his kitchen, just as comfortable there as in her own. “How do you like the broth…searing pain, pretty hot, warm, or cool?”

Pretty Hot indeed,” he muttered, struggling to get up and follow her, “Umm…Pretty hot.”

“What are you doing up?” Paula suddenly appeared in front of him, hands on hips and a concerned frown marring her face. “Get back on the couch and wallow.”

“Yes ma’am.”

Summer Sundays

My short story compilation, Summer Sundays, is FREE for ebook download for the next 3 days. You can find it HERE. Tomorrow the other 2 short story compilation books will be free as well. You can find them Here and Here.

These books are full of stories that span genres, but they are all meant to be a quick, fun read for the audience. As such, my short stories are all short shorts, most only taking up a page or two in the book. I hope you find something (or many things) to enjoy!

FREE KINDLE BOOK!

Highland Park Presents is FREE from RIGHT NOW until Midnight Friday night.

This book is a compilation of short stories written by my Fifth Graders in Oklahoma and I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to be able to show them that their book is traveling across the world.

I cannot promise perfect literature, but I can promise interesting and surprising stories that were created by hard working and talented 10-13 yr olds.

Give it a look and make a Fifth Grader’s day!

First Day Jitters

The professor stood in front of his class, nervously adjusting his lucky bow tie as he surveyed the new crop of creative wanna-be’s that were taking up space in the drafty room. The mixed races and species were all making themselves as comfortable as possible, pulling out their quills, paper, chisels, and whatever other supplies they had brought with them in anticipation of the first day.

Each and everyone one of them had one thing in common, they were expecting him to teach them something. Taking a deep breath and gripping a large piece of chalky limestone in his claw, opened his mouth to call role.

“Welcome to day one of Myths, Legends, and Beliefs of the ‘so-calle’ human world! I am Dr. Delonious D. Dragonsfire, you may refer to me as Professor Dragon. I recognize some of you from my Creative Barding course. This is where you’ll discover the basis of our barding. Now, can someone tell me what they know about the mortal world?”

Calling on a random centaur student from the back of the class, Professor Dragon turned to make notes on the large, smooth stone board, letting out the last of the breath he’d been holding on a sigh of relief. He had done it, there was no turning back now. Class was going, students were making notes, there was discussion, and he hadn’t burped any acid balls onto the furniture. All in all, the choice to stop teaching younger school children and move up into the continuing education arena was looking like a smart one. After all, the creatures were paying to learn from him!

Projects

I don’t know why we do this to ourselves. Pile up projects, due dates, and D.I.Y.s until we just turn in confused circles, trying to decide which way to go first or, possibly worse, which paint color matches the worksheet our boss assigned today that’s due yesterday. Maybe some of us, myself included, thrive on such craziness. Perhaps the organized and zen approach to life would make us insane, crazy with boredom and aching for stress within a week (probably sooner). I wouldn’t know, I’ve never gotten to point where I could find out! As soon as one thing is finished, three more jump up to take its place, waving like an elementary student who thinks they know the answer.

In fact, I am currently smack dab in the middle of at least 5 different projects:

Dragons in the Deep: Book 4 in the Stone Dragon Saga. A centuries old pirate ship is discovered and could hold the key to finding Aliphonsore’s parents. In fact, it could hold the key to ending the Fairy Queen’s insidious plans. With new friends, both human and otherwise, the return of Passiona and her pet sorcerer on the loose, and ancient obscure texts you never know what could be waiting around the corner!

Fifth Grade Dragons: A spin off of the main Stone Dragon Saga. This book finds Aliphonsore and King Ferdinand as professors at an academy in Realta, having made their way back home after the final battle with Passiona. Anna, who is now a writing teacher for a local fifth grade, is asked to help Aliphonsore and Ferdinand teach some students the basics of ‘human’ story telling/writing…to (hopefully) hilarious results.

Highland Park Presents: A short story compilation written by my fifth graders. They each worked hard on providing a short story that shows their abilities, their interests, and their weird senses of humor. Tyree Tomes is transcribing and editing the stories, turning them into one impressive book with a forward written by none other than the proud teacher…ME!

Plants and Ecology: A unit in science that teach students about things the food chain, energy consumption/output, and the ways communities are coming together and using Science to help save their local environments.

Organizing My Rooms: I have 4 rooms that ‘belong’ to me in this house. My bedroom, my sitting room, my closet, and the writer’s loft. We (meaning Dad) are building shelves for the back of my bedroom and will be getting those put in (hopefully!) soon. After that it is my sincere belief that I might be able to get my rooms organized and things up off of my floors! I KNOW that it HAS to be possible! I JUST KNOW IT!

Crocheting/DIY: I almost forgot…I promised a crocheted ear flappy hat to a friend a few months ago…he reminded me about that the other day so maybe I should hop on that! And don’t get me started on the DIY play house and cutesy painting I was hoping to get done this week cus…that ain’t gonna happen!

YOWZA! Putting them all in a row like that is a bit shocking to the system. Quick…somebody line out their to-do list for me! What are you getting done right now? Are you one of ‘us’, with the mile long constant list or are you one of those people who have it all lined out and finish one project before starting another one? If you’re the second type…HOW DOES THAT WORK???

I can’t wait to hear from you! Good luck with all your projects!

Bedtime Story

“Once upon a time there was a little girl, whose mother made her a cape. Because of the cape’s color, everyone began to call the girl Red Riding Hood. One day Little Red Riding Hood was walking through the forest, carrying a basket of food for her Grandma…”

“Wait, she’s in the forest? ALONE?” Jessa squealed, hands over her gaping mouth.

“Yes, dear,” Mother sighed, “She’s walking alone in the forest, making her way down the path to Grandmother’s house.”

“But Grandma lives in the Glades.” Billy, Jessa’s twin, pointed out. “There’s no forest there. Just sand and old people doing water aerobics.”

“That’s where your Grandma lives Billy,” Mother spoke slowly and patiently, “But Red Riding Hood’s Grandma lived in a small cabin in a clearing. Red Riding Hood had to walk across the worn path and deep into the forest to visit her Grandmother. On this particular day, the little girl was skipping along with a basketful of breads and cakes, excited to visit her favorite person. Along the way she met a wolf, who very politely moved off of the path to allow her to pass by without stepping in brambles. ‘Where are you going, Little Red Riding Hood?’ he asked.”

“Wait, wait, wait,” Jessa sighed, “You must be skipping a part Mom. Wolves don’t speak English.”

“Sure they do,” Mother countered, “Maybe you just can’t understand them.”

“No Mom,” Billy reached over to take the book, as if he could read it to her, “They don’t speak at all. They just howl at stuff. Remember? We watched that Animal Planet special.”

“Oh that’s right,” Mother gave in and passed the book over, “My little 4 year olds are so smart! I can’t get anything by you two!”

“That’s right.” Jessa humphed and grinned, “Night Mommy.”

“Good night darlings.” Mother exchanged kisses and hugs, tucking in baby dolls and stuffed animals along with the valiantly struggling twins. “Enjoy the book.”

“How did it go?” Dad asked from his cozy spot on the couch.

“They didn’t accept Red as one of their own.” Mother flopped down, curling up against her husband. “But I didn’t have to read the llama book tonight.”

“Thats a plus,” Dad grinned down at Mother, their smiles turning to grimaces as a concerned shout came wafting down the hallway. “MOMMY MOMMY, WHAT IS GRANDMA DOING TO RED?”

“Oh my,” Mother slowly stood up and made her way back down the hall, “Full colored artwork and a classic storyline may not make for the perfect bedtime story after all.”

“Lesson Learned,” Dad muttered, returning to his channel surfing.

My Block = Your Detour

I began this story on Thursday and have added approximately one word since then. So here is my challenge to you, my dear friends…finish it. Or at least find a little inspiration to hand over to me. I’m stuck….YOUR TURN! 😀

The Baker’s Dozen:

Reginald was running errands for his mum.

The Baker had a sale going and Reginald was able to purchase a baker’s dozen of rolls for the same price as their usual 3.

Instead if being pleased, Reginald’s mother (who had always been poor and rarely experienced kindness without strings) did not believe his story of the sale and marched him to the Baker’s to sort it all out.

Habits

Habits, even the habit of forgetting something, can be difficult to break. Today is our first day back from Christmas break and my students and I have spent a significant portion of our time discussing goals. Our goals for ourselves, our goals for our class, and our goals for our school/grade. We have discussed making S.M.A.R.T. (specific, measurable, agreed upon, realistic, and timely) goals. We have even discussed the difference between detailed and too detailed or not detailed at all. And as soon as those students left for lunch, I sat down to eat my salad and had a miniature panic attack because I didn’t write a short story for last Sunday.

You see, I had made a habit of writing and forgetting to post, or writing a day late. Even now, that I completed the goal of posting a story for every week, my habit of remembering that I forgot is holding strong. For the record, I did write on Sunday. I even wrote the first two lines of a short story, though nothing else for that story has been written.

The point here, at least for me, is that even forgotten things become habit if you’re not careful My compunction to write is coupled with a habit of forgetting to write when I’m supposed to. My goal to exercise can swiftly become a panic attack at midnight, as a lay in bed remembering that I didn’t do my reps for the day. Even alarms and reminders sometimes only serve as something else to moan about when I realize I’ve forgotten something. I’m afraid that I can be rather a lot like Neville Longbottom on occasion, “The trouble is, I can’t remember what it is I’ve forgotten.”

So be careful my friends, especially during this time of re-acclimating to normal patterns and time tables for your days. I hope that you are all able to slide easily into the new habits that you want to build, and that none of you are languishing through the habit of forgetting.

To misquote Fiddler on the Roof: May the good Lord bless and Keep forgetfulness….far away from Me!

Finding Her History

This is the last full week of December and, as such, the last of my scheduled short stories.

I will continue writing them, and posting them, but with the ‘regularity’ (HA!) of this schedule. I hope you will enjoy them all the same, or more so, in their new randomness.

Here is my big finale – a little look at a slice of a very important day in one girl’s life.

The year was 1943, the man was a fedora sporting dark eyed, people watcher, and the car was a coupe. That was all the picture had to offer for the thirsty eyes of the young lady who had found it buried in a dusty box. One memento, carefully packed away using the old ‘box in a box wrapped in a blanket, under junk in another box’ trick. Good thing she was tenacious (or stubborn as her Mother always asserted), otherwise she would have given up hours ago. But the only thing Corinna ever gave up on was cleaning the house!

Giggling to herself, Corinna grabbed the photo and the box it had been so lovingly packed in, careful to keep the few other mementos intact, and scurried back down to her room (where she was supposed to be napping away a headache). Too late! Grandma was sitting on the patchwork bedspread with a smirk on her face, “Did you really think you were light enough on your feet to get away with that little girl?”

“Oh Grandma!” Corinna only pouted for a minute, her grandma was the most likely person to help her with this conundrum. “Since I wasn’t, and since you’re here…”

“You found the box.” It wasn’t a question, just a statement wafting by on a sigh. At Corinna’s nod, Grandma patted the mattress and motioned the girl over. “I suppose it is time to tell you about this. You are, after all, becoming quite the young lady. Maybe you should know where you get it from.”

Corinna danced across the room excitedly, twirling delicately into a bow that proffered the box of goodies in front of Grandma’s outstretched hands. “Grandma, this looks just like the car for sale down the street. Is that why Mom won’t help me try to buy it for my birthday?”

Grandma sighed, “You WOULD want that car girl! Your mother doesn’t want you buying the car because it doesn’t just LOOK like the one in the photo…” her shoulders slumped, “It IS the one in the photo. The car for sale down the street in your father’s, and your mother is so scared that she’s ready to pack up and move. There is no way that she’ll allow you deal with him and buy the car.”

“My…father…” Corinna whispered. “WOW! Scared?” She had known this picture was important, had known she had to find something, anything, from the past when she had overheard Mom and Grandma whispering about it earlier, but she had only thought about herself and her upcoming birthday. Now though, her FATHER. “wow” she whispered again. “Father. Why would she be scared of my father? She’s always said how much in love they were before he had to go off to the war. And how much she hoped to someday see him again.”

“She never said what war dear,” Grandma gently set the box aside and took her granddaughter’s hands. “Your parents met eighteen years ago and were soon inseparable…”

And so began the telling of Corinna’s family history, of love and duty, of loyalty and disruption, and of running from a war that had nothing to do with external forces.

Through it all Corinna’s mother, who had gone by the Bea for the past sixteen years, leaned against her daughter’s closed bedroom door and listened as silent tears poured from her eyes. Maybe it was time to stop running and finally turn to face their swiftly approaching past.

“Amber,” The deep voice had not changed in all their time apart, “I’ve missed you.”

“Hello Sal.”

Commute

Swerve

*Names Have Been Changed to Protect the Mischievous*

Sitting in a long line of traffic, going 10 miles below the posted speed regulations, with drooping eyelids and blasting stereos, no one expected any variation from this daily trek into work.

George Edward Allan, an 81 year old man with a grouchy sense of humor and an out of date driver’s license, was returning home from his own daily outing to the local diner and found himself staring at a golden opportunity. Clutching his ‘to-go’ coffee tightly in an arthritic old hand and waiting for a slight break in the line (he wouldn’t want anyone hurt after all), Mr. Allan swerved into oncoming traffic.

Chuckling to himself as the poor little girl in the ‘smart car’ (SMART CAR, HUMPH!) scrambled to avoid the 1953 steel frame Chevy that had barreled toward her.

Twice more George carefully chose his spot and swerved to the opposite lane. Twice more he laughed at the reactions of his hapless victims. Twice more he crowed, “That oughta wake ‘em up!”

After his third swerve, George Edward Allan decided that he’d made the point and toodled on home to his bright kitchen and happy coffee making wife, never knowing the impact his actions had on those driving that day.

For the few young drivers, the wrinkled joy on his face read as malice and murderous intent so they drove more cautiously and complained about old ‘coots’ being allowed to drive at all.

The few older adults in that line of cars tensed up, took an extra blood pressure pill, and began to seriously consider bus tickets and carpools with those young kids that were always trying to take their jobs.

And then there was one middle aged and who witnessed every action, every reaction, and the light of real joy emanating from Mr. Allan’s cackling face and thought, “I want to BE that guy when I grow up!”