Random Scribbles · writing

A Change of Circumstances


Davis walked in the door, straight to the kitchen and opened the refrigerator. He pointed at the couple seated at the table across the room.

“Don’t get up,” he said, “stay put and nobody gets hurt.” They sat, but put their forks down on the table, apparently their appetites were gone. They watched him.

Davis scoured the refrigerator, clearly looking for something specific. He reached in and pushed some yogurts around looking behind them. “Don’t you have any juice?” he asked and picked up a carton of 2% milk. He shook the carton, sniffed it, shook his head, and put it back.

“What are you doing here?” the man at the table asked. “I’m going to call the police.” He picked up his i-phone and did something to the face of it, to wake it up.

“If you know what’s good for you, you’ll put that back down.” Davis said, without looking at him, still searching the fridge.

He set it gently back down and then the lady spoke up, “There’s cranberry juice on the door,” she said. “I just bought it yesterday.”

“Where do you keep the glasses?” Davis asked.

She pointed. He got a tumbler and filled it to the rim, then came over and joined them at the small table.

“Thanks,” he said, “I’m really thirsty.” He downed about half the glass. “Damn, that’s good. Not too sweet. I like that. Where do you get it?”

“I got it at the farmer’s market,” she said, “its organic.” She paused and everyone looked at one another. “It is good, isn’t it? I think it has a hint of some kind of ‘earthy’ flavor. Just a hint, though.” She smiled and Davis took another drink, just a sip this time.

“I think you’re right, uhm… I don’t know your name.”

Her man stood up next to the table. “You don’t need to know our names.” He blustered.

“I’m Iris,” she said, “and this is Foster.”

“Goddamnit Iris,” Foster said. His face was beginning to turn a bit red.

Davis raised his arm, palm down, and lowered it gently, motioning the man down, he said, “Sit back down Foster, you’re making me nervous. Foster lowered himself back in the seat and Davis turned his attention back to Iris.

“Iris, my name is Davis, and I’m not going to hurt anyone but I need to spend a few hours with you guys. All the commuters are on the road, and there’s a tremendous traffic jam on the parkway. There always is this time of day. I want to get out of town but I have to wait for the roads to clear up. I can’t afford to be stuck in traffic, you know?” He suddenly realized that he had interrupted their meal, “Oh sorry, you guys keep eating or your food’ll get cold. You don’t have to go on a diet just because I stopped by. What are you having there?”

“It’s a spinach frittata,” Foster said and he picked up a ketchup bottle and poured it generously on his eggs, “My favourite.”

“It’s not really a frittata,” explained Iris. “It’s a quiche. I tell Foster it’s a frittata because he thinks he doesn’t like quiche. You know, ever since that book came out.”

“Goddamnit Iris,” Foster said again, he was beginning to sound a bit like a broken record.

“Calm down Foster,” said Davis, “Iris is making you food that you love, and she cares enough about you to give it another name so that you’ll enjoy it and not have to sacrifice your machismo. You ought be nice to this lady and thank your luck stars that she puts up with you. Tell her you’re sorry, go on.”

“Sorry, Iris. I love you, you know, even if I don’t tell you that enough.” He went back to his breakfast and Davis smiled.

“There’s plenty left, if you want some, Davis.” Iris said.

“That sounds great. But you keep eating; I’ll get it. Is it in the oven?” she nodded.


“Next to the glasses; silverware’s in the top drawer on the right.”

Davis got his food and poured himself more cranberry juice.

“Damn, this is a good quiche, really creamy. What time do you guys have to leave for work?”

Foster looked at the digital clock on the range, “I should be leaving in about 30 minutes if I’m to be there on time.”

Drumming his fingers on the table top, Davis studied Foster, “What about you Iris?”

“It’s my day off.” She responded.

“If I let you go to work, Foster, you won’t tell anyone that I’m here will you?”

“Hell no, Davis! Your secret’s safe with me. If anybody asks I’ll just tell them that an old friend stopped by at breakfast. If they press for details I can say that you startled me when you came in but that’s only because I didn’t realize you were going to stop by. It’s been great to see you and I wish I didn’t have to go to work, but I have that Dithers presentation due. Is that OK with you Iris? You’re OK staying here with Davis?”

“I’m fine.”

Random Scribbles · writing

Meeting Mama

We had parked the car at the curb and run across the neatly trimmed lawn, “Are you sure this is OK?” I asked Emma.

She grabbed my hand and dragged me across the stoop to the front door of the pink suburban bungalow where her mother lived. “Of course it’s OK,” she said, “We’re expected.” She turned the knob and pushed the door open. “Hey Mom, it’s me. I mean it’s us. We’re here.”

There was no reply. In fact there was no noise at all in the house. The phrase silent as a tomb ran through my mind and I tried to dismiss it right away.

I squeezed Emma’s hand, “Maybe we have the wrong day,” I whispered. “Maybe she has a new boyfriend. We wouldn’t want to interrupt her. Maybe she’s shopping, or out of town. We should come back later. I’m not sure it’s a good time for me to meet your mother anyway.”

Emma stopped and gave me that look, the one that could freeze a dog to a fire hydrant. It got cold in there.

“Listen, David,” she said. “We’ve been dating for over a year. We’ve been engaged for three months and the wedding is less than two months away. You’re gonna have to meet her sometime, might as well be tonight. Besides, I think you’ll like her.” She turned her head back to the silent house and said, “Mama; es ist Emma. Wo du bist?“

Nothing, no response, we walked deeper into the silence. As we walked Emma continued her lecture, “Besides this is a good night to meet her. She’s Swiss remember, and tonight she’s serving raclette, which is like one of the three national dishes of Switzerland. She loves raclette and she’ll be in a great mood.”

“What’s raclette?” I asked.

“Basically, it’s melted cheese and you serve it with bread, gherkins, pickled onions, olives, new potatoes and pretty much anything else you like. I like small red potatoes the best with mine.”

“Like a fondue?” I ask. “That’s Swiss too, isn’t it?”

She considered my question and then said, “Yeah, I guess it’s a little like a fondue but you don’t have a pot of melted cheese. You put the edge of a half wheel of cheese near a fire or a heating element until it gets soft, or even toasty, then you use a knife to scrape it onto your plate or your bread. It’s really good – Orgasmically good. You have to drink white wine or tea with your meal to keep the cheese soft and then, if you want, you can finish it off with a taste of Kirsch.”

“What’s that?” I asked as we stepped through the door into a large eat-in kitchen where six people were sitting around the table staring at us. A middle aged blonde woman was holding a large chunk of cheese and wielding a knife. She set the knife on the table and handed the cheese to a red faced man sitting next to her. She came around the table and hugged Emma, “so, Ihr Freund hat kommen?” she asked.

“English Mama, please.” Emma replied.

“My name is Katerine,” she said to me and she smiled as she shook my hand. “Welcome.”

Everyone at the table started moving their chairs closer together and Emma left the room. “I’m David,” I said.

“We know,” the red faced man with the cheese interjected. Sporadic chuckling from the others punctuated his statement.

Emma returned with two folding chairs and set them in the newly opened space at the table. Plates and glasses appeared from nowhere.

“These other people are my family,” Emma said, “Mostly aunts and uncles but that young girl over there is my cousin, Anna.” We all nodded at one another and tucked into our food. I was eating one of the finest meals I’d ever eaten and in my reverie, with the molten cheese, I spoke up and asked of no one in particular, “Emma tells me that this is one of three national Swiss dishes. What are the other two?”

Everyone said in unison, “Geschnetzeltes mit rösti, and chocolate.”

Thanks to the Pinot gris the rest of the evening is mostly a blur. I learned that Kirsh is a kind of Schnapps made from cherries and I let Emma drive home. When we pulled into the drive Emma pushed my elbow to wake me up, “You passed the test,” she said, “they like you.”

Random Scribbles · writing

Et tu, Kate and Petruchio?

Le Blog Propulseur

“Hey guys, come on in. Sorry that the house is such a mess. Kate’s been too tired lately to keep up on her share of the cleaning; but I scoured the barbecue and mowed the lawn so we’ll eat with paper plates on the patio tonight, hope that’s OK with you.”

“Did you eat the last roll, Peter? One of our guests might have liked it.”

“Dinner was delicious tonight Kate, who made it?”

“Where are the cookies? Where are the cookies? Damnit Pete, I told you that those were for our party. Did you have to eat them all?”

“And here’s a photo of our wedding…
“It proves that Peter once had hair.”
“And that Kate knew how to smile.”
“And that he wasn’t born with a beer belly.”
“Whatever happened to that wisp of a girl I married?”

“I hope you didn’t go to work like that, you look like a ragamuffin.”
“Of course I did.”
“Oh my goodness, what will people think of you?”
“It’s OK dear, they know I’m married. They’ll blame you.”

“I think I need a husband with a job rather than a hobby.”

“Of course dear, you’re right dear, you’re always right.”

“Someday, I hope to be able to park my car in the garage again. Pete keeps saying he’s going to clean it out.”

“I should have listened to my mother.”

“I should have listened to your mother too.”

Random Scribbles · writing

A Bump in the Road to Fame and Fortune


Photo courtesy of Barbara W. Beacham
Photo courtesy of Barbara W. Beacham

The A&B Building was made entirely from driftwood. At least that was what they said, but I was skeptical. I questioned the structural integrity of driftwood.

Now, I don’t want to brag, or anything, but you usually gotta get up pretty early in the morning to pull one over on me so, I stationed myself across the street from the A&B and studied the building. I wanted to expose the lie. I wanted to rocket to fame, and cement my place in the halls of investigative journalism. This A&B scam was going to be my launching pad.

The first thing I noticed was glass in the windows. Then I saw the electrical drop. That clinched it.

But I was wrong. The A&B spokeswoman responded to my tell-all article in “The Tattler”.


I had never heard of transparent trees. Trees that folks seldom notice because, well, they’re transparent.

I had never heard of  the rare copperwood tree?

Who knew?



Tattoos Live


This Post is probably not suitable for young children or readers who are easily offended. If that sounds like you then please move on – this is not the post you seek. Perhaps you should try this one instead.

Smitty was a sailor. He was a Boatswains Mate and he had learned when he first got to the USS Puddlefish that it’s pronounced bō’sun not boat-swain. He was assigned to the Seaman’s Division and spent his days swabbing decks, chipping paint off the hull and repainting, where he had chipped earlier. The Puddlefish spent most of her time at sea, pulling in only for stores and diesel fuel. That suited Smitty just fine. He liked life at sea. For the most part it was peaceful. He would lash up a Boatswain’s chair and lower himself over the side to work on the hull. He was also fond of the “Battleship Grey” colour of paint that was all he ever worked with.

When he was hanging halfway between the scuppers and the waterline people tended to leave him alone and let him continue with what he was doing. As long as he looked busy, he seldom had to deal with LPO’s, Division Officers, or Department Heads. The Captain had no idea what he looked like and that suited him just fine. He could daydream and sing to himself. He was almost anonymous. He was happy.

Another benefit of a seafaring life was foreign ports. There was a lot to do and see in a foreign port. He was fond of beer, topless bars, and bordellos. Those things were always close to the waterfront. That’s why when they tied up at the Navy Pier in the small South Pacific Island Nation of Boga Barbonata he knew he wouldn’t have to go far to find things that would make him happy. He had drawn his pay so he was flush with cash. He was whistling as he walked through the gates that separated the sailors from the locals.

He met a girl, with a name he couldn’t remember, in a topless bar. She was beautiful and he took her to a tattoo parlor where she served as a model and he had her likeness inked on his left pec, right above his heart. The artist portrayed her topless, leaning forward, with her lips pursed and her empty hands spread wide to the sides. She wore a grass skirt and a garland of plumeria around her head. It was uncanny how much the tattoo looked like her. That night she took Smitty home with her, to a trailer parked beneath a coconut palm. The Formica was worn, the carpets threadbare, and the upholstery torn and tattered.

The next morning when he woke in his bunk; mid rack, bow compartment, frame 14, starboard side, he could barely remember the girl. He thought it might have been a dream. He looked down at his chest and peeled off the napkin that was taped there. He knew then, that he had not imagined her. In fact he thought that he may have said things and made promises that he never should have. He figured he should avoid that girl for the next two days while they were in port. He knew she could not get past the gates. She could not come to him.

Smitty spent the day nursing a hangover and sitting as still as he possibly could on his Boatswain’s chair, close to the waterline. At the end of the workday he went out again but steered clear of the topless bar where he had met the girl the night before. He met some of his mates, Digs and Boomer. They had a couple of beers and enjoyed the company of some bar girls but never left the bar and Smitty was back on board and tucked into his rack before 2200. He didn’t want to meet that girl again.

The next morning after quarters Boomer found Smitty, “Hey Boats,” he began, “You know those girls we were with last night?”

“Yeah, what about them.”

“They’re dead. All three of them were hacked to pieces right outside the gates. The guard says he never saw anything. They found what was left of them at first light.”

Smitty shuddered as he thought about the close call but didn’t worry about it too much. What could those girls have been involved in that earned them such a gruesome death? Chances were that he would never know.

He dropped below to change into the coveralls he would wear that day and looked at his new tattoo. The grass skirted Polynesian beauty was still there, still topless and crowned with plumeria blossoms. Her hands were still spread out to the sides as she leaned in towards the viewer, but in her right hand she was now clutching a sword. Her lips were no longer pursed, she was smiling.

Smitty stayed on board that night. No bars, no girls, just a dumb movie shown on the projector in the crews mess. He was scared.

The next morning they got underway. It was an eight day transit to their next port o’ call and during that time the sword faded from the hand of the tattoo girl. When they made land he figured he was safe. There was no way that girl could have followed him here. He was shed of her. They were only in port for one night so he and Digs decided to make the best of it. They went to a strip club and he tucked a lot of bills into the g-string of one of the girls there. He had a great time.

The next morning when he showered Smitty saw that his new tattoo girl had nunchucks dangling from her hand. He knew that the stripper was dead.

So, Smitty spent the rest of his enlistment on board the Puddlefish, never setting foot on dry land. When his rotation came up he took an honorable discharge. His Chief and Division Officer tried to talk him into re-upping but wouldn’t do it. He walked off the ship, took a cab to the airport and bought a one way ticket to Boga Barbonata. It took him almost two weeks to get there and when he did, he made his way to that titty bar where he had met her the first time. When he walked through the door he paused to let his eyes adjust to the low lights, she was on stage. She was topless, wearing a grass skirt and plumeria blossoms in her hair. She was beautiful. When she saw Smitty standing just inside the door she stopped her dance, spread her arms wide, palms up showing him that her hands were empty. She pursed her lips and then she smiled. Jumping off the stage, she ran across the bar laughing and jumped into his arms. He held her tight. He never wanted to let her go but finally she whispered in his ear.

“Hang on a minute; I have to go quit my job.”

He let her go; she went over to the bar and had some words with the bartender before she ducked through a door to the back that Smitty hadn’t noticed before. Seconds later she ran back out wearing shorts and a tee shirt. She gave him a peck on the cheek, put her arm around his waist and led him out the door.

“Let’s go baby,” she said, “What took you so long? By the way, my name’s Kinipela, it means ‘wave’. Try to remember it this time.”

Random Scribbles · Uncategorized · writing

A Ghoulish Celebration

“Really, only one candle? That’s all you got? Jeez, I got more legs than that!”

“That can be remedied. What are you, a spider? We’ll yank some off.”

“Now that I think about it, one candle’s appropriate. I mean, we are only one year old!
“Yeah, one candle is just about right.”

Courtesy of Jen Brunett
Courtesy of Jen Brunett and Grammar Ghoul Press
Random Scribbles · writing

Picture Prompt #30

The Blog Propellant

Image Courtesy of The Blog Propellant
Image Courtesy of The Blog Propellant


Bob Winston was an awkward boy. ‘Specially around the girls – ‘specially one on one. He was a good student but he tended towards the quiet, seldom speaking out or engaging in conversation. He liked Regina Applegate though; he sensed a kindred spirit in her. They had been in the same class since third grade and had probably not spoken a dozen words to one another in all that time. Bob was pretty shy.

At home, in his room, Bob used to pretend that he and Regina were friends. She was the only girl in school with such a regal name. He had looked it up when he was in the fifth grade and found out it meant ‘Queen’ in Latin. He thought it was fitting for her. She had long jet black hair, straight teeth, and a crooked smile. Her eyes were as deep and as blue as the sea. He loved her eyes and longed to speak with her but every time he tried his tongue would knot up, his stomach would knot up and he often had to run for the bathroom.


It was the Autumn of her Junior year at Madison High when Regina made up her mind. She decided that she needed to start living and stop merely existing. She wanted to make more friends. She wanted a social life. She wanted a boyfriend. She knew she wouldn’t have trouble finding a boyfriend. She just had to find one who was available and that she liked. Boys were weird and they found the oddest things to be funny. Last year she had been walking home from school when the bus with the football team drove past. All the players were whooping and cheering and every window of the bus was filled with the bare naked ass of a football player. She could hear them laughing and cheering all the way to the traffic light on Edgemere Avenue. That wasn’t the kind of boyfriend she wanted.

Regina wanted a serious boyfriend. Of course he should have a sense of humor but he needn’t be a dolt like the entire football team. She made a list. She listed every boy she had ever known and could remember. Then she began evaluating the names on her list. Quite a few of them were either too old or too young and she crossed their names out straight away. The football players were the next ones to go. In fact most of the jocks were eliminated in short order except for one of the tennis players named Ralph Cortina. He was somehow different than the other lettermen. She realized that this process would take some time.


As it was his Junior year, Bob was eligible for the Chess Team. When he applied he was selected because he already knew and played with a bunch of the Seniors who were on the team. Usually, he could beat them. He was active with the FFA and a member of the Honor Society. He recognized that he lacked the social skills to run for Student Council so he never tried. He thought about it once and immediately considered that possibility of having to wear T shirts that said “Vote for Bob” instead of “Vote for Pedro” and that pretty much killed off that idea.

Mostly though he thought about Regina and what it would be like to stare into her eyes for all eternity.


It took almost a week to narrow her list down to three boys. She had:

  1. Ralph Cortina, the tennis player.
  2. Bob Winston, a boy she had known since second or third grade but never spoke to, much. He was pretty shy.
  3. Russell Spires, a really dreamy boy who was in her Algebra class, but he was going steady with Linda Bustamante.


Bob asked his mom what kind of medicine he should take for nausea and a stomach ache. He had made up his mind that he was going to talk to Regina. He figured he could be proactive with the right medicine and stave of any urge to vomit that he knew would come when he made a fool of himself in front of her. His mom, of course, thought he was sick and wanted to dose him with Immodium and keep him home from school. He told her no, it was more like car sickness. He and Jimmy were going to go to a chess tournament in Watsonville and the road was pretty twisty and mountainous. Jimmy would be driving and he was just curious. Mom recommended Dramamine.

Bob went to the pharmacy and bought a box of Dramamine in preparation for his approach to Regina. He planned to try and talk to her on Tuesday and if he didn’t puke he was going to invite her to the dance on Friday night.


Sunday night and Regina studied the three remaining names on her list. She crossed off Russell Spires because Linda had never done anything to her. It would be pretty shallow to just steal her boyfriend. Besides, she wasn’t sure if she could lure him away from Linda anyway. There were rumors going around school that those two were already sleeping together.

That left Bob Winston and Ralph Cortina. She chewed on the pencil eraser and thought about these two boys. They were both polite. They were both cute enough. What if she fell in love with one of them and they got married? Her eyes widened and she immediately scratched the tennis player off her list. If they got married she would be Regina Cortina and that would never do.

Bob Winston it was then. She needed to make some preparations tomorrow after school and be ready by Tuesday.


It was Monday and Bob had his box of Dramamine but hadn’t taken any yet. He was getting really nervous about approaching Regina. At lunch, she actually smiled at him in the cafeteria. He barely made it out of the room to barf in a trash can in the hall.

He wasn’t sure he could do this and thought he might just call the whole thing off. That evening he suffered with terrible stomach cramps and explosive diarrhea. He decided he couldn’t do this and finally fell asleep about 4:30 am.


It was Tuesday morning and Regina had gotten everything ready the evening before. When she got to school she looked for Bob. He wasn’t in any of his usual places but she eventually found him sitting on a bench outside the gym. He looked tired.

Taking a deep breath, she steeled herself, threw her shoulders back, determinedly walked over to where he was sitting, and sat down next to him. Not too close, she didn’t want to scare him.

Bob and Regina

When he looked at her he turned pale and began to squirm in his seat. Fumbling in his shirt pocket he pulled out a small pill and swallowed it.

“What’re you taking,” she asked.

“Just a vitamin,” he said.

“Oh,” she extended her hand and offered him the pink balloon she had bought the night before.

Reflexively he took it, “What’s this?”

“It’s a balloon,” she told him. “I got it for you last night and, I got you a pink one because pink is my favorite colour.”

Bob thought he might throw up again; this wasn’t what he had planned even before he had decided he wasn’t brave enough and had cancelled his plans.

“Thanks, I guess,” he said. Then he continued, “I don’t have anything for you.”

“That’s OK.”

“Would you like to go to the dance with me on Friday night? I mean, if you don’t already have a date. I can probably get my mom’s car.  I mean if you’re not busy that night, huh?”

“I’d love to,” she said. “But it’s customary to give a girl a little token when you ask her out on a first date.”

“I have a balloon,” Bob said. “A pink balloon; I, uhm, I heard that pink is your favorite colour.”

She smiled broadly and took the proffered token. She told him that she would see him Friday night at 7:30. Then she stood up and skipped off to homeroom.


Random Scribbles · writing

The Walkers

The Walker boys were twins, fraternal twins, they didn’t look much alike. When they were born; their daddy, John Walker, accused their mama, Miriam Walker, of infidelity because one of the boys was pudgy and fair skinned with thick curly red hair. The other was seriously underweight with a thatch of thin dark hair. John took his suspicions to the doctor, and the doctor set him straight, but to make sure no one else in town got the wrong idea he named both boys John Walker Jr. Difficulties in delivery prompted the doctor to also inform the Walkers that Miriam was unlikely to ever bear more children.

John Walker Sr. was a brewer, a beer maker but not a very good one. When his boys were born, he delivered a free beer to everyone in town. He even pulled his truck in front of the school and was handing out free beers to the third graders until Mr. Dancer, the headmaster, put a stop to it. Most of the beers that he handed out that week were poured down the sinks; but the bottles, all but one, were taken back to the brewery for the two cent bounty Walker Beers paid for return of the glass. It was assumed that the lost bottle found its way onto the train and was probably tossed from a window somewhere between here and Lordsburg.

Walker Beers really had only one good customer, The Bucket. The Bucket had been operated for as long as anyone could remember by Miss Terry. It was a rundown place not far from the train station. She had a couple of working girls there who, when they weren’t entertaining customers, would serve bad beer and watered down whiskey in the bar. The clientele was mostly travelers who would come in when the train stopped and order a beer. Nothing could knock the dust down in a traveler’s throat better than a nice cold beer. They wouldn’t find nice beer at The Bucket though, Miss Terry would always serve them a Walker Beer first. Most of her customers would then order a whiskey to wash the taste of the Walker Beer out of their mouths. So she sold two drinks, instead of just one.

Meanwhile the boys grew up. Birthdays came and went, presents were opened and cakes were consumed. Nicknames developed and one was called Ginger; his brother went by John.

About the time when the boys started school, Miss Terry passed and The Bucket went out of business which sent the brewery into a spiral of decline; coincidentally, at that same time Miriam found herself with child again. John Sr. and Miriam were ecstatic and looked forward to having another boy toddling around the house. That never happened. On the day before Christmas, that year, Miriam gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. This possibility had never occurred to the Walkers and they were stumped for a name to give their new daughter. When John Sr. had to fill in the birth certificate he simply wrote Miriam Walker Junior in the space for her name. This approach had, after all, worked when his boys were born.

He told his wife that he had named the baby Olivia and no one checked the birth certificate till she started school. The school administrators insisted she go by her proper name and tried to call her Miriam but her mother objected. A compromise was reached and everyone called her Junior.

Years passed and the boys announced a desire to go into the family business, but not the business of beer. The Walker name could never be associated with good beer so the boys decided to learn the whiskey business. They worked their way east, to the coast, and then signed onto a freighter as able bodied seamen. When they reached land in Scotland they managed to be taken on as apprentices with a whiskey maker in the highlands. They learned the trade and after seven years, each with his own recipe, John and Ginger made their way back to the states to find that their parents had passed on and Junior had run off with a traveling salesman that she met on the train.

They set up shop in the old brewery that their father had used. Each brother refused to compromise, or merge, his recipe so they both distilled their own, two separate batches, in the same building. Together, yet separate – black and red.

Random Scribbles · writing

Storm Damage


Winona Lockerbie clucked her tongue as she watched through the front window, watched the storm approach. She knew from the weather reports what was going to happen so when the first drops of rain began to patter on the window glass she fell back deeper into the house for shelter. This house was new. There was no cellar but Winona took her old Tom cat, Mr. Stitches, and went into her linen closet. She knew that was her best chance. She removed the lower shelf, tucked sheets and towels around herself, got comfortable, and listened to the storm. She was worried about her car, parked on the street in front of the house.

It felt as though an eternity passed while she was cocooned in the dark closet. Miraculously, she even slept off and on, when she woke it was with a start. She hugged Mr. Stitches and listened to the ominous silence. The cat purred softly against her breast and she thought that if he was this calm then the storm must be over so she reached up and slowly turned the knob to open the closet door. Just an inch, at first, and she peered through the crack. Her hall stretched back towards the bedroom and seemed to be intact with no visible damage.

Encouraged, Winona pushed the door open a bit further and stuck her head out into the hall. Mr. Stitches leaped from her arms and scampered down the hallway, in the direction of the kitchen, no doubt looking for his food bowl. Winona noted the sunlight and crawled from the closet. She stood slowly in the middle of the hall and began making her way towards the front room. She heard a thump from outside and hurried to the window just in time to see the paper boy pedal his bicycle around the corner. On her porch sat her morning paper, just like always. She scanned the street; her neighbor’s houses were all intact, the trees still stood where they had been before the storm. Everything seemed normal until she looked at her car, parked next to the curb. At least it was still there but she could see, even from the porch, the damage that had been done. It looked horrible.

The beautiful deep burgundy paint job was mottled and streaked. The rain had done its damage. She would have to fix it and there was no time like the present. Back in the house she got a bucket and mixed detergent with warm water. She got a large sponge a soft washing mitt and a chamois. Back outside she pulled the hose from where it was coiled beneath the faucet and squirted down her beautiful car. She hoped it could be saved. Surprisingly, it cleaned up well and relatively easy, as there had been only enough wind to deposit a thin layer of dust followed by enough rain to make her car look dirty and nasty.

As she was polishing the last of the chrome she saw Mr. Peterson, from next door step out onto his porch to collect the paper. He wore light blue pajamas with darker blue piping and brown slippers. A steaming mug of coffee was clutched in his hand. She waved to him and he smiled.

“Hi, Mr. Peterson, pretty rough storm last night huh? I can help you with your clean up, if you’d like.” She said and pointed at his blue Thunderbird parked in front of his house. “Looks like your car got pretty dirty too. I hope your family’s OK.”

Mr. Peterson looked at her and shook his head ever so slightly, “Yes, yes – my family is fine; and thank you very much, Ms Lockerbie but I don’t think you need to clean my car. I’ll just take it to the car wash later this week.”

“OK, Mr. Peterson, I’ll put this equipment away then. I’m going to rake the leaves that came down in my yard next. I’ll be happy to rake your lawn at the same time.” She looked at him expectantly and waited.

“That would be wonderful Ms Lockerbie. I would appreciate that.”

“My pleasure, neighbors need to pull together after a rough storm like that one. I’m happy to help out. All for one and one for all you know.”



Random Scribbles · writing

Ramiro and Mandy – Sitting in a Tree


Photo courtesy of Barbara W. Beacham
Photo courtesy of Barbara W. Beacham

She lived in a mango tree. Ramiro had helped her build their new home after they had left Bridgid’s loft on C Street. Mandy spent her days bringing him herbal teas and hasenpfeffer. She would entertain him by reading stories from books checked out of the library while he sat on her shoulder gazing out the window; watching the world go by. He particularly enjoyed stories of Pendle Hill, Salem, and North Berwick. They reminded him of the old days.

Life was good until Mandy brought home a young man, named ‘Dude’. She begged Ramiro to let her keep him. He was scraggly and skinny, with long dirty hair. He wore only board shorts and flip flops.

“But of course, you may keep him, dear. If he makes you happy, he is welcome to stay. Let me first turn him into a centipede.”

Mandy watched in horror, as Ramiro waved his wing and it was done.