Monday, September 25, 2017

35 Is The Loneliest Number


Warning: there are nasty bits ahead, dealing with both humans and animals.
You have been warned.
Greetings, WYMOP readers.
One week ago today I was at work, zipping along from door to door delivering the mail, when something happened that brought me up short. I opened a storm door—we’d been through a cool spell, and four or five flies buzzed out, the suction of the opening door jerking them rudely from where they’d been huddled into that sun-warmed space—and thrust the bundle of letters and catalogues through the slot. The spring-loaded cover snapped shut, but not before the entering bundle had displaced some of the air from inside the apartment, forcing it out in a puff directly in my face, and I smelled—
A few years ago, after striper fishing on a trestle bridge across a 4 a.m. tide, I was walking back out to my car as the sun was coming up, and found a deer on the tracks. It had either A) been hit by a train passing in the night (which I chose to believe, though I hadn’t seen the deer on the way in, and no trains had passed while I’d been there), or B) something large enough to take down a deer had been at work in the dark, maybe a hundred yards from where I’d been cutting my bait and casting my line by the bright light of a propane lantern (do you blame me for choosing to believe the phantom train option?). I was saddened at the sight (after choosing option A), but what could I do? I walked on, and the next night the deer was gone, removed by, I assume, MBTA employees.
A week later, walking in to the same spot by daylight to fish a late-night tide, I was met by a smell on the tracks. Faint at first, it grew rapidly as I walked. By the time I reached the spot where I’d found the deer the previous week, it was an eye-watering, throat-closing, stomach-churning stink, the like of which I’d never experienced, and I’d known some world-class gas-passers as a kid. I’d smelled stink bombs, hand-tossed buckets of chum out while fishing, and cleaned up after a dog getting sick from eating garbage, but I’d never encountered a stench like this. Following my nose—because I’m just as susceptible to “Hey, look at this, it’s gross!” as anyone—I moved to the side of the tracks to peer down the embankment into the bushes.
The deer lay where the MBTA people had tossed it (or, if you believe option B above, where it had been dragged to be eaten in peace), and it didn’t look good. I won’t go into the details of how the corpse had burst due to gas expansion (or, option B, something had been eating it), or how the first things to decompose were the softest bits (or, as always, option B—the more I go on, the harder it is for me to stick with option A); luckily, most of those details were obscured by the thick surrounding brush. But one thing the brush could not obscure was the odor, and that is a memory that just won’t fade. I’ll never forget the smell of—
—death.
I backed away from the door in  hurry, then went to the truck for my phone.
“Hello?”
“Hi. This is the mailman out here at [one of the senior housing areas I deliver to]. I’m not sure what to call it, other than a wellness check, so I guess I’m calling in a wellness check on Mr. F out here at number thirty-five.”
“A wellness check at thirty-five?”
“Yes,” I said. “But it’s not a hopeful one. I, uh, I think we lost him about a week ago.”
“Excuse me?”
“There’s a smell.”
“Oh! I’m sending someone right away.”
And she was gone. I didn’t even mind that she’d hung up on me, as I’d realized by then that I could smell the hand holding the phone. I forget where I read it, but I’ve had a phrase stuck in my head for years: all smells are particulate in nature. This means if you can smell a thing, then microscopic bits of that thing are floating through the air into your nose, and if there are enough of those tiny bits, they register on your schnozz’s scent receptors—and humans, as a species, have shit for scent receptors. This told me that not only had I sucked in a good double-lungful of old Mr. F, that puff of air had coated my hand with a nice thick invisible Mr. F glove.
I walked, in a manly fashion but with speed, to the washroom by the facility’s laundry.
The soap dispenser was empty.
I stood there with the hot water running over my hand for about a minute, parboiling my flesh and wishing someone out there would do me a favor and turn up the water heater to a higher temperature. Something appropriate for cooking lobsters would have been nice. By the time I’d stopped scalding myself and delivered my way around the complex and back to my truck, the man from the Housing Authority had arrived.
“What unit?”
“Thirty-five.”
“Okay, and there’s a lot of mail built up or something?”
“Dunno, it’s all inside. But there’s a smell . . .”
“Oh, no.”
“Yeah. And it’s strong . . .”
Mr. Housing Authority went to the door, but didn’t open it; he called 911 and let the responding officer do it. While the officer was there the fire department showed up. While the fire department was there, a pair of detectives arrived. The detectives pulled me aside from the crowd to talk to me, trying to find out the last time anyone had seen Mr. F. From my answer (“Had to be last Monday, I think,”) and the state of Mr. F himself, they agreed with my first assessment: he’d been in there roughly seven days. Now there was a crowd, but he’d been alone in there for about a week.
I mentioned it to a couple of people that day, and one of them responded with a single sentence that summed up exactly how I felt about it:
Such a lonely way to go.
That’s just what I was thinking while trying to sterilize my hand: what a lonely way to go. And the odd thing was, I’d recently come to the conclusion that the whole little community that was that senior housing facility was a terrific thing, that though many of them had outlived their spouses (some even their kids), they weren’t alone in the world; they were living their own lives with other folks like themselves, all of them keeping an eye on one another.
But right in the middle of all this community, Mr. F managed to disappear for a week, slowly turning into something no parent wants their child to see, to know, to have as a memory to carry with them once that parent is gone. And I remembered my son had been worried about me recently, having heard me say I have no friends. Some people reading this may become a little incensed at that, demanding that they are my friends, and I’d have to agree with them. I would also explain, as I did with my son, that I’d misspoken.
What I meant was that I don’t have anyone I hang out with, no one I see on a regular basis. I’m part of a daily work community, and an even larger writing community, but I don’t see them socially. I like some people I work with, love some of the writers I know, but if I’m not actually at work, or at a writers’ event, no one expects to see me. I understand that, and it’s just the way I am, and it doesn’t really bother me.
Until now.
I have a story coming out soon about someone afraid of growing old; the young man looks at his decrepit grandfather and asks Is that Father’s future? Is it mine? I find myself, a relatively young man from a fairly long-lived family who isolates himself within the community, looking at Mr. F, an old man dying alone, isolated within his community, and I can’t help but ask . . . is that my future?
Usually I write some kind of wrap-up, or attempt a snappy ending on these things, but not today. I can’t put an ending on it because I’m not done thinking. I liked Mr. F, and I’m glad I never actually saw him Monday, so I can simply remember him the way he always was. I’ve spoken with young Mr. F, old Mr. F’s son, and I’m glad I found his father so he didn’t have to, for exactly the same reason. Very glad. And I wonder if, someday, my own son will have a similar talk with a mailman, or meter reader, or, God forbid, a pair of Jehovah's Witnesses.
I just wonder.

Talk to you later.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Inner Strength


Greetings, WYMOP readers!
Ever have a craving? I did. I was driving around this afternoon running a couple of errands, doing a little food shopping, and it was while I was at the grocery store, surrounded by shelves of food, that the craving hit. But was it for anything I’d find on those shelves? Of course not!
Have you ever heard of Brothers Deli? If you live around here you have. Family-run establishments, incredible home-style food, and portions large enough to make an NFL linebacker look at the plate and say Damn! You want me to eat all that? What I was craving was their chicken pie. Brothers’ chicken pie with mashed potatoes and corn, the whole thing slathered with gravy. Would it be a lot of food? Yes. Did I plan to eat the whole thing? Hell yes!
So on my way back to the house, I stopped in at Brothers in Danvers, got in line, glanced up at the menu board—and froze.
Yankee Pot Roast.
It was right there on the board, and it looked so good. I mean, the words were right there, and the image they conjured in my mind looked fabulous. I’d had it before, of course, and it sure gave the chicken pie a run for its money. It was so good, if I hadn’t come there specifically for the chicken pie, I might have been tempted to get the pot roast. But there was the chicken pie, higher up on the board, and . . . and . . .
And I was tempted to get the pot roast instead. Dammit!
No, I’d come there for the chicken pie, and I’d stick to my guns . . . just like that delicious pot roast would stick to my ribs if I’d change my mind. Just change my mind a little. Because it wasn’t like Brothers was out of my way or anything; there was nothing stopping me from coming back tomorrow to get the chicken pie. Of course, there was nothing stopping me from coming back tomorrow and getting the pot roast either.
No, no, I’d come there specifically to get the pot roast, so if I was going to—no, wait, I meant the chicken pie. Right? The pot roast was my second choice, so if I just went with my gut and got the Yankee Chicken Pot Pie Roast I could come back for . . . no, wait a minute—
“Next!”
Shit.
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Yup, that’s right. I got both. But not to worry, there’s no way I could eat both. Not in the same sitting. I brought these bad boys in and sat them down, just as you see here. I looked them over carefully. I smelled them, felt the weight of them, and pondered. Then, showing an inner strength I’d not exhibited at the restaurant, I slapped the cover back on the chicken pie (shown in all its chickeny deliciousness on the left) and went with the pot roast (depicted in all its carroty-corny-beefy glory on the right), saving the wonders of the chicken pie for tomorrow. I manfully pushed the closed container aside, digging into the pot roast with gusto (translation: with a big pile of napkins at hand, for I am sometimes a slob) while calling up the document I was currently editing on my tablet.
I worked and ate, masticated and cogitated, dined and edited . . . and then the pot roast was gone.
I had a sad.
I pushed the empty plate to the side, opposite the full, weighty, fantastic-smelling chicken pie. With the perfect, poultry-filled pastry on my left, and the once glorious plate of now empty sadness to my right, I pulled the tablet closer in the middle and got back to work on that chicken pie. Excuse me, on the document. My inner strength had failed me while standing in line, under pressure to make a decision, but it had made a serious comeback when I’d pushed that covered plate to my left, and it wasn’t going to fail me now.
I focused on the task at hand, working on the document, scrolling almost non-stop all the way to the end.
 . . .Then I scrolled back to where I’d started when I realized I’d not read a word, so busy had I been not thinking about the chicken p—
No! No, I wouldn’t even think the name. I’d just scroll more slowly this time, focusing hard on the words on the tablet. I leaned closer—so close nothing existed for me for a time but the small screen that had become my world, my everything, my . . . my . . . hey, was it just me, or did my tablet smell like chicken pie?
Dammit!”
Perhaps I should move the pie away from me? Put it in the fridge, where I could no longer see or smell it? But no, that would be admitting weakness. What about my vaunted inner strength? What about my vow that it wouldn’t fail me again, as it had in Brothers? That wonderful scent wouldn’t be enough to break my will. Hell, with my strength of character, the sight of the thing wouldn’t be enough to weaken me!
To prove my point, I pulled the chicken pie over in front of me and tore off the lid. See? I thought. Oh, sure, it looks fantastic, and I know it tastes out of this world, but just the sight of it isn’t enough to make me weaken, is it? Of course not! Although . . . with the lid off like this I can really smell it now . . . and it’s, like, right in my face. Wow, I guess it’s a good thing I hadn’t put any utensils with the pie. Of course, my pot roast dish is right there . . . and there’s a spoon . . .


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Shit.
Well, if my inner strength isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, at least I know it’s not weak from hunger, right?
Incidentally, this blog post has turned into a request for aid. I’m currently trapped at the table, unable to move. I’ve tried calling out for help, but I’m so goddamned stuffed I can’t draw a full breath, and the only noise I can make is a wheezy sort of moan that sounds just a touch like Stephen Hawking being kicked in the nuts. If there’s anyone with a tow truck, or a winch, or, hell, even just a strong back, who could drag my incredibly overfull ass off to the bathroom before things get desperate, I sure would appreciate it.

Talk to you later!

Monday, July 31, 2017

Narf

Greetings, WYMOP readers!

Recently, Handsome (my son) and Miss D (his girlfriend) had their first anniversary. If you’ve read my post about the break-in we performed last Christmas morning, you may have some idea what lengths Handsome will go to to surprise and impress the girl. He plans in advance, gathers his materials, makes sure of his timing, and executes. I sometimes help out in these little ventures: with regard to Miss D, I am the Robin to his Batman, the Watson to his Holmes.
narf.jpeg

So it was no real surprise to me when, for their anniversary, he had a plan. Since it was summertime they could spend the whole day together, followed by dinner at a local place they both like. After dinner the day would culminate in a romantic little picnic dessert at a nearby park with a public rose garden—dessert he would bake himself.
Most of the women reading this just made a little Aww sound, didn’t you?
The big day was on a Saturday, so the baking happened on Friday. It was my weekend off, and his mom was away, so it fell to me to make sure he didn’t burn the house down. Actually, all I did was sit at the dining room table and work on some editing while he destroyed the kitchen. Ingredients we had purchased and packed neatly away days earlier (none of that boxed shit for Miss D, no sir) came out and spread themselves around—sometimes way around. There were pans and pots and bowls and spoons—no two spoons used twice, apparently, just grab a fresh one—and, of course, food.
I did help out in the middle, when he needed an extra pair of hands. Hard to make three different desserts, pretty much at the same time, when you’ve barely ever baked before, in a small kitchen, all while thumbing rapidly back and forth between three recipes downloaded to a phone. He was doing it, though, so I helped out where I was asked, tried to get the pots and pans he claimed he was finished with into the dishwasher and out of his way, and went back to my editing.
I’m a pretty good sidekick. Narf.
By the time he was done, even with my efforts to tidy a bit mid-process, the kitchen looked like food had just had a frat party. The chocolate chips lay passed out on the counter with the baker’s chocolate, looking like one or both of them had a walk of shame in their future. The flour had thrown up on the floor. Twice. What was left of the eggs huddled, cartonless, in the corner like high-schoolers who’d crashed the party, realized they were in over their heads, and never made it out. The measuring spoons were assaulting the measuring cups, the tsp raised and waving in the air as the whole set let out a drunken “Whooo! Whooo! Whooo!”
In the midst of this chaos, however, on the counter beside the (nearly unrecognizable) stove, lay two pans and an egg carton. The pans contained two kinds of brownies (blueberry and frosted zucchini—and yes, the frosting was made from scratch), while the egg carton—aside from explaining why the eggs lay exposed on the counter—contained chocolate-filled strawberries, each nestled into its own little cup. The boy looked happy. The boy looked tired. The boy looked about the frat-party kitchen and his expression went a little less happy.
“Sorry, kid,” I said with a grin. “The cleanup is part of the process.”
I helped clean up some, right at the end. I’m still a good sidekick. Narf.
The next morning was the big day. I was writing in the dining room while Handsome played video games. Time passed. Handsome appeared at my elbow.
“D just texted,” he said. “Her mom should be dropping her off in about a half an hour.”
“Roger that.”
The boy jumped in the shower, got dressed . . . and then broke out a bunch of tupperware, a knife, some brownie pans, and the picnic basket. He’d done all the baking, then all (okay, most) of the cleanup the previous day, but neglected to cut up and pack away his homemade treats in preparation for the surprise picnic—something that might be hard to do once Miss D was actually in the house. He made two cuts, and popped out a single brownie.
“They’re here,” I said.
You know that thing you see in cartoons, when someone is surprised, and their eyes get so big they actually pop off their face? I had no idea that was a real thing.
“What?”
“They’re here,” I repeated, pointing through the window to the SUV parked in the driveway, Miss D already slamming her door and waving goodbye to her mother.
Those huge eyes shot down to the knife, picnic basket, two brownie pans, and four tupperware containers scattered across the counter, then back through the window to where Miss D was running up the front stairs.
“Crap!”
Panicked hilarity ensued. There was grabbing, there was tossing, there was desperate whisper-shouting. There was the juggling of tupperware and a quick sprint to his old bedroom, right off the kitchen, where everything wound up sprawled on his old bed and the door slammed. I stalled Miss D in the kitchen while Handsome washed brownie off his fingers in the bathroom. There was barely controlled breathing and Oscar-caliber acting while Miss D was greeted and escorted downstairs to watch a movie before they actually went anywhere.
I breathed a sigh of relief and got to work.
Ten minutes later the boy came bounding up the stairs. “I told D I had to use the bathroom,” he whispered as he passed me washing my hands in the kitchen. “Can you help? I have to get everything done before she comes looking for me.” He dashed into his old room. He came out a second later, looking confused.
“Where is it?”
“TV room,” I said.
He dashed into the TV room, then came out, still confused. “Where?”
I walked to the doorway and pointed in. “There.”
He looked over my shoulder, starting to sound a little panicked. “Where?”
I walked across the TV room to the corner where the couch and loveseat butt together, leaving a void. I pointed down. “There.”
Nestled into the void, invisible unless you were looking almost straight down at it, was a neatly-packed picnic basket full of tupperwared brownies. He looked down at it, then up at me. “I guess fourteen years of being the Easter Bunny paid off,” he said, and then he hugged me—and he’s a big kid, and an excellent hugger. “Thanks, Dad.”
And he went back downstairs to watch the movie, take his lady-love to dinner, and surprise her with a sunset picnic in a rose garden, said lady-love none the wiser.
Narf.


Talk to you later!

Monday, July 3, 2017

Ding-Ding Punching The Heat Miser


Greetings, WYMOP fans!
Okay, it’s July. It's been hot. And humid. And hot. And gross. And did I mention hot?
To kind of get our minds off all that hot humid grossness, I’d like to share an excerpt from one of my stories in the recently released anthology, Insanity Tales III: Seasons of Shadow. We were writing about seasons (hence the subtitle, duh Rob), and I happened to pen a winter tale, called “Tracks in the Snow.”
Snow, get it? No gross, humid, or hot.
So, to place you in this story, some schoolchildren have noticed a set of mysterious sled tracks on the snow-covered hill outside their classroom window, just two days before Christmas. They’ve brought them to the attention of their teacher, Mr. Garabedian—the oldest teacher in their school—and he’s settled in to tell them the story of the tracks in the snow.
~ ~ * * ~ ~
“Back in 1965—yes, ancient history, I know—before the hill even had a name, there was a little boy named Willie. He was eight years old, as I recall, and curious, as are most boys of that age. In his snooping about the house in the week prior to Christmas, he discovered a cache of presents his parents planned to give him on the morning of the holiday, and in among the other toys was a sled: a brand new Flexible Flyer.”
He shook his head at us. “You probably wouldn’t understand, with your sleds of today—flat sheets of soulless plastic—but the sleds of my boyhood were things of beauty, with bright red runners and the wood polished to a high sheen, a red arrow running the length of the deck and the words Flexible Flyer emblazoned across the steering stick in vivid blue. They were the kind of thing to catch the eye and capture the imagination, and for young Willie it certainly did both. Though he didn’t let on to his parents that he knew about his coming prize, it seems to have preyed upon his mind, and lured him into foolishness.”
He gestured toward Bobby. “Just like today, Mr. Urabus, it was two days before Christmas, and snow was expected in the night. I don’t know what’s going to happen this evening, but back in 1965, we got snow.”
“Wait,” I said. “You mean you’re from Willowdale, Mr. Garabedian?”
“Yes, Mr. Acadia,” he confirmed, mildly annoyed at my interruption. “I am. The snow started before Willie would’ve gone to bed, and it is presumed he lay there, awake, watching the world outside disappear beneath its own wintry blanket. The snowfall, combined with the draw of the beautiful sled, proved too much for the boy. One imagines him listening to the house fall silent as first his older brother, and then his parents, went to bed. He gave them enough time to fall soundly asleep, and then he was up and dressing, pulling on snow pants and winter boots, donning his parka, hat, and mittens, and sneaking into the basement to fetch his new sled and take it for a ride.
“He came to the hill you see right outside—it was one he knew, the children all went sledding here, even then—and it was far enough from his house he may have thought not to get caught. And right out there, in the dark of night, little Willie took his new sled for a test drive. And it was dark. I want you to understand that. The school did not look as you see it today: in 1965 there were no floodlights mounted on the building, illuminating the schoolyard and its environs through the night. And the neighborhoods to the far side of the hill, where many of you now live, did not exist. This school stood on the edge of town back then, and where now there are streets and houses, fifty years ago there was nothing but forest for miles. Willowdale has grown in the past five decades, and the forest has shrunk, but there was still quite a wilderness about in my youth.
“There was a great deal of discussion about it afterward, and a great deal of conjecture, but it’s assumed little Willie thought he’d be all right as long as he could see the school; he’d still be able to orient himself and find his way home.
“It was also assumed that, though Willie was aware of the snow, he was thinking of it in the same terms as our Mr. Urabus, here”—he pointed to Bobby—“as nothing more than a day off from school. He was not, we think, paying attention to the actual weather reports. What began as enough snow to sled in rapidly became what would eventually be called ‘The Blizzard of ’65.’”
He paused, staring out at the thin parallel tracks in the snow, and his blue eyes looked unfocused. “It was the worst snowstorm in Willowdale’s history,” he said, almost speaking to himself. Then he looked at the class, as if remembering we were there, and raised his voice again. “Whiteout conditions, the kind of weather where you can’t see your hand before your face. By the time he realized it, Willie must’ve lost the school. Rather than going home, he struck out in the wrong direction, found himself instead in the woods, and then became completely lost. When his family woke on the morning of the twenty-fourth, it was to find Willie’s bed empty and his play clothes and new sled gone.”
Mr. Garabedian paused, eyeballing us.
“He never made it home.”
~ ~ * * ~ ~
And things go downhill from there (ba-dum bum).
Sorry. I couldn’t resist.
But you see? Cold, wintry, snowy thoughts. Did it work? Did you feel the chill? Or do you still feel like punching the Heat Miser in the ding-ding?

Personally, I’d kind of like to ding-ding punch the Heat Miser. But that’s me.

Keep cool! Talk to you later.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Shopping Happy, Driving Crappy, New Book's Snappy!

Greetings, WYMOP readers!

I have two things to mention this week: a little fun, and then a little business.
First, the fun:
*********
I was having a good day, and I was grocery shopping.
If you’ve ever been grocery shopping with me when I was having a good day, you probably understand what that means, but for the less shopped-with, I’ll elaborate: there was singing and whistling along with the music from the overhead speakers, plus the occasional surreptitious dance move when I thought no one was looking.
Yeah, I’m one of those guys.
I’d whistled my way through check-out (yes, the people around me were most likely wishing death upon me, or maybe an aneurysm, or at least that one of my goddamn lips would fall off), told my cashier to have a good day, told my bagger to have a good day, told the grumpy-looking woman who blocked my exit for a couple of minutes while she reorganized her coupons to be ready for next week’s shopping trip to have a good day (I think she was one of the lip-falling-off-wish people), and was strolling out to my car behind a half-loaded shopping cart. I’d consciously decided to stroll, rather than get a running start and jump on the back of the cart, riding it across the lot yelling “Weeeee!” and making vroom-vroom race car noises; it was a fine, sunny day, and I wasn’t in a rush, and besides, there was a big old car coasting down the aisle toward me.
The big old car stopped, and its directional started flashing. I saw a little old woman behind the wheel of the big old car—she was more than mere knuckles on the steering wheel, but not by much—and noticed she was waiting to turn into one of the three vacant spots to the left of my car. I wouldn’t have been in her way even if I were loading up my trunk at the time, but she had no way of knowing that, and she was being nice enough to wait for me to pass (unlike the sour-faced coupon woman). I pulled my cart to a halt and waved her on, letting the sweet little lady get on with taking her space and getting in the store.
Now we enter a very subjective part of my day, a sort of slowtime, where one second seems like ten, and ten seconds can last forever. Fans of The Matrix know what I’m talking about—if someone had fired a gun at me right then, I’d have had plenty of time to watch the bullet soar slowly past because my mind was cranking along at roughly the speed of light on crack.
All in the space of an actual second, though it seemed more like a minute, I noticed four things.
  1. She wasn’t going for the spot to the far left of me, or even the middle space available; she was trying to snug her battleship right up beside my defenseless little Mini—a Mini that’s already been hit twice by other drivers, both times right in front of me.
  2. Either she’d not pulled the wheel quite enough, or the gunboat she was piloting was designed to have a turning radius a third again as wide as every other car in existence.
  3. The right front bumper of her car, the point even now lumbering toward my innocent, unsuspecting little vehicle, bore a dent wide and deep enough that you could have shoved a football helmet all the way into it and wiggled it around a bit and with no risk of even scratching the paint job on the brain bucket. Either she’d been the victim of a howitzer attack (that building she was driving could have been mistaken for an M1 Abrams), or she’d missed this kind of turn before. Maybe lots of times.
  4. And I believed in Jesus, because I started talking to him right away.
“Oh, Christ!”
That was as far as I got, because I burst into a case of fear-sweat so profound it sucked all the spit from my tongue as fuel. “No!” I rasped, but no real sound came out, and because of the slowtime effect, it seemed to come out as a wheezy “Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo . . .
I watched, frozen, as the monstrous machine swung closer . . . closer . . . and the bumper of my little car passed right through the void left by the howitzer attack, actually passing into, and then out of, the enemy car.
If I hadn’t already fear-sweated myself into a state of extreme dehydration, I might have wet my pants. She exited her car and tottered past on her way into the store, and I returned her friendly wave with a short chop of my own shaky hand. I filled up my trunk and drove home in silence; even hours later, when I tried to whistle along with a song my son played on his sound system, I lacked the saliva to produce a single note.
Damn those lip-falling-off-wish people. Those curses work.
***************
That was the fun part; now on to a little  bit of business . . . which is also fun.
Insanity Tales III.jpgI’m all kinds of happy to announce The Storyside (the writers’ collaborative I belong to) has a new anthology coming out tomorrow, June 6, 2017. It’s called Insanity Tales III: Seasons of Shadow, and if you read my Writer in Progress post two weeks ago, you know I have a couple of stories in there. “A Bee,” and “Tracks in the Snow.”

What you may not know (because I have yet to mention it anywhere) is that my two favorite stories in this book aren’t my own, and that may tell you something about the terrific stories in this book. My favorite stories in Insanity Tales III—and it was a two-way tie for favorite—are “Eat Your Vegetables,” by Stacey Longo, and “Over the Gulfs of Dream,” by David Daniel. If you like dark fiction that hangs around on the suspenseful side of things, give Insanity Tales a look-see. You won’t be disappointed.


I'll talk to you later!