Sunday, December 28, 2014

Waiting (a different time)

During the hours that I sat in the waiting room for Oncology, I studied dream interpretation. I bought several books on the subject, and while the doctors radiated my mother, I read about symbolism. The waiting room was large, so large that I could sit alone and never worry that anyone would need to sit next to me. I always sat in the section away from the TV and close to the refreshment center. I kept to myself and spoke to no one. I just read until the nurse called me to go out and pull the car around for my mother.
One Thursday, a woman sat next to me, which forced me stop reading and acknowledge her. She smiled and pointed to my book.  “Dream interpretation,” she said. “Sounds neat.”
“It can be,” I said.
We introduced ourselves and began a lengthy conversation on the symbolism of colors and numbers. 
After talking for about ten minutes, she told me that she moved her father in with her family so she could take care of him, her husband, and her three kids. Bone cancer. Even now, I still wince at the thought of it. Not as bad as pancreatic, liver, or colon cancers but bad, very hard to treat, usually fatal. He was to the point where he had to wear a neck brace all the time. It was the first time that I was ever thankful for the type of cancer my mother had.
For the next week, she brought her father at the same time I brought my mother, and we talked about dreams and cancer. I feel a bit ashamed that I can’t remember her name, especially since I remember her dreams. They were normal dreams about every day sorts of things with the exception that she was always dragging a heavy black garbage bag. About the time he reached the point where he could no longer care for himself, her father began throwing all his trash down the ravine behind his house. The hillside was strewn with black garbage bags of trash, and this woman and her husband had to clean it all up before they could sell the house. She was angry and burdened, and those feelings made her feel guilty. After talking about it, she felt better and joked that I ought to charge her for my time. 
Near the end of that week, her father’s white count was too low for him to receive more treatments. After that, I never saw her again, but one of the nurses, who overheard our conversations, commented to me that I was a sweet girl for talking to her.  Her father’s prognosis was poor, and I had likely eased her guilt about the situation. 
Of the meeting, my mother said, “God works in mysterious ways.”
I replied, “Of course He does. If He didn’t, we would all understand everything, and there would be no cancer.”
“You know I believe that everything happens for a reason,” she said.
“Yeah, well, why do you think you got cancer?”
She shrugged. “Maybe to bring you and your father closer together.”
“That’s fucked up,” I said, to which she snapped at me for cursing. “I think you got cancer because you grew up in a city before there was any regulation on what toxins industries to pump into the air, and you went to college in a town where the morning air was so filled with chemicals it was yellow.”
“And I didn’t wear sunscreen like I should,” she added. “Maybe, maybe not. Sometimes things just break.”
So I thought, Even God answers his children's questions with, "Because." It's not an answer at all, so why bother asking? 

Monday, December 8, 2014


I sat in Endoscopy, my nose shoved in a book, while I waited for the ass doctor to look in Fluffy's ass. I heard the door open, close, open, close. Couples murmured as the patient filled out forms and the driver commented on how neat it was that the doctor uses those restaurant pagers to let you know he's done shoving a camera in whichever orifice is questionable.

"You sign here."
"I'll fill that out for you."
"Here's a check for the co-pay."
"My friend went back three hours ago. They have to laser cysts out of his stomach. I hope he's okay."
"Is that coffee any good?"

Stupid idiot, asking a stupid question. I never drank anything out of a Bunn coffee maker that didn't taste like a waterlogged ashtray. Asstray.

"Pardon me."

Large man - in the tall, muscly meaning of the word - sat down next to me. Carhartt head-to-toe. He wore a class ring. I couldn't tell what school. He laughed at a bit on whatever gig Kathie Lee has now. Seth Rogan was naked. Later, something about an anaconda not eating someone and how everyone was bummed out about it.

I shifted and then sprawled my knees apart, crossed my ankles. I can take up space, too. Although, I'd like to take up less space, honestly.

I get back into the book. I was buying a red Fiero with Miriam Black when the smell hit me. I reacted. I tried not to, but I couldn't help the watering eyes, the burning nostrils. I thought the woman across from me was wearing enough perfume to cover the scent of a rotting corpse but apparently not.

She waddled down the aisle, sat down catty-cornered to me. It came in waves - the piss and shit smell of someone who is dying. I don't know how else to describe it. This is the smell of nursing homes. No matter what they do, they can never cover the smell of old people who piss and shit themselves. Her name is Candy. She can't be any less than 60, and her name is Candy, and I can smell what they will find when they stick the camera up her ass. 

And hours later, I can't get it out of my nose.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Work comes in asteroid belts.

The semester is winding down, which means its's time for the last tests, last assignments, last ditch efforts before final exams.

I am also editing like crazy. I received the ARC for the first book of the Camellia series, Wild Rosegarten. I finished going over that while also trying to get through a first round edit on the second book in the series.

Editing books and editing tests. If 24 of Ms. Birdwell's students like reading and 6 do not, what is the ratio of the number of vampires Camellia has killed to the number of men she has slept with? Makes the head spin.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Type of Fool


If we had been lovers, I would’ve been a cliché alone, lonely, the dinner I cooked for us cooling on the table. When you said you would come, I picked flowers from my garden. My heirloom and confederate roses, the tiny purple blooms on the monkey grass, Gerber daisies, and day lilies I arranged in a Mason jar. Aphids on the rose petals. You didn’t show. You didn’t call, but I didn’t worry. You have always been flaky, flighty. I knew better than to trust, than to depend on you, but I let myself hope. That’s what I get for loving you.


I wrote to you, many times offering help when it wasn’t requested or welcomed. Me being me, I couldn’t help but do it, and you, being you, couldn’t help but spew bile at me. I cried for you, wasted tears. You love your sadness too much, your protection from others. I want you to experience joy, and you refuse. My heart breaks, over and over, for you, and you’ll never give a damn.


It began as friendly arguing, batting bad philosophy back-and-forth. What is real? What is love? What are we but a man and a woman, matter, anything that has mass and takes up space? Elementary. I had dreams of silver eagles that gutted and devoured nations. You liked that. You liked me until you didn’t. You told me you’d heard enough from me for a while, to run along and play with someone else. A true verbal slap and I hit back until whatever we were was irreparable. Are you still a zombie, little bird? Did you finally find someone to breathe life into you?


I wanted the best for you, and I wanted you. For years, more than anything. You told me that I was the type of woman a man falls in love with, and that was not the type of woman for you. I used that in a story I wrote. I could kiss you for hours and did a few times, always swallowed whole by your eyes. Because of you, I keep my eyes open. After, I used to catch you watching me, your eyes darting away from mine, like two north poles, repellant. There were times I would’ve done anything for you. I would’ve strayed for you, away from what I knew, from a life and a man that were comfortable. You knew that, and that you didn’t take advantage showed me you were a good man. So many times, I wished that you weren’t.


I would trade with you if I could, but I wouldn’t do this for you. It’s too hard, too painful. Maybe you would change your mind if you knew, but you don’t talk to me. We’re strangers now. It was just too much, I guess. I should try harder, but I’m just so damned tired. So tired.  

Sunday, November 2, 2014


The summer before I turned 17, my family flew to Vegas.  I glued my face to the window of our rental car all the way from the airport to Bally’s.  I had never seen anything so marvelous and gaudy and utterly sinful.  I fell instantly in love.
I followed my parents from casino to casino, jaw dropped, eyes popped.  I had never been crammed in amongst so many people.  This trip occurred before Vegas tried to make anything family-friendly, so there was nothing much for a sixteen year old to do, legally.  Yet, I was never bored.  I was in awe, stupefied, entranced.  The day was one long adrenaline rush, and I shivered from it.
That night, I stood at the picture window of the room I shared with my brother.  I watched the traffic, both foot and vehicular.  Synchronized floods of people in the scorching heat of July. 
I wrote poetry about the city, about how the air was so dry that all tires squealed, how someone was always at my father’s elbow with a drink, how the lights of the Flamingo flashed in my brother’s dark, stoned eyes.  I hadn’t felt so alone and yet not alone since New Years in New Orleans, but this was different.  It felt good.
We left Vegas the next morning.
Five nights later, I stood outside a cabin at Grand Canyon Village, stared into the sky, and beheld a near-record meteor shower.  The lights in all the cabins and buildings were off, so it was utterly dark.  I stood there, holding my mother’s hand like the child I no longer believed I was, and I made wishes because that’s what you do when you see shooting stars. 
I felt so completely connected with everything around me, even more so than looking over the rim of the canyon and feeling like I could catch a warm updraft in my over-sized T-shirt and hover like the eagles and condors.  I felt like I could fall forever, into the canyon or into the sky.  I felt like I belonged, that even though I was a tiny nothing on a tiny nothing planet, I existed and was loved.  I stood there for over an hour, with my finger pointed at the sky, and cried, and I don’t cry. It wasn't until I met Fluffy that I felt so utterly alive again.

Monday, October 27, 2014

After the three nightmares I had last night, I deserved the rom-com dream I had this morning.

            I stood in a parking lot with four friends.  We were waiting on a van to take us to a wedding.  One of the four of us was a six-foot-tall Viking goddess with flowing blond hair and piercing blue eyes.  I was short in this dream, about five two. She towered over me.  While we waited, a guy who looked like a male version of her drove up, parked, got out of his car, and started talking to her.  She told us she was going out with the guy.  The other two women began arguing with her, saying they would much rather go out with this hunk than go to a wedding.  I didn’t bother giving them my opinion, as it was obvious my tall goddess friend belonged with this guy.
            The wedding was over, and we were filing into a ballroom for a sit-down dinner. The friend who looked like Elaine from Seinfeld (and whom we called Elaine in the dream) was already hammered.  She passed out, and the other friend and I laid her out under one of the many white Christmas trees that were used as part of the reception decorations. (I guess it was around Christmas. The trees were scrappy and tacky.)
            A guy stood up and started giving a toast to the bride and groom.  I wasn’t paying attention to him.  There was a chef nearby who was carefully arranging food on plates before the staff delivered them to various guests, and I was fascinated by how serious he looked arranging the food.  Then my not drunk friend said, “Oh my God, [name of the guy giving the speech], you and [my name in the dream] are like the only two people on earth who read that book!”  I looked up and the guy was staring at me like he couldn’t believe it either. 
After his speech, he came over to our table and introduced himself.  He was the brother of the bride, which surprised me since she and I had been friends since college and I had spent some time during the summers at their river house.  He said he would have remembered me, so I must have come during the times he was off visiting his friends.
“Yes, I must have been," he repeated.  "I would remember you.”
“Oh no.”  I waved the thought away.  “You’d remember our other friend though.  Tall, blond, gorgeous.”
“Sure, I’d remember that, but I think you’d stick with me.  I mean, nobody has read that book but me, until you.”  (And it was something stupid, like a tell-all by Regis and Kathy Lee.)  He was giving me the cutest smile and tickling the back of my hand with his fingers.  “So, why didn’t your friend come?”
“She got a date.  Guy pulls up to the curb in front of the four of us and just asks her.”
“He didn’t ask you?”
I blinked at him.  “Well, no.  Why would he ask me when he could ask her, and she said yes?”
He shook his head and sat back so my meal could be served.  As I cut into my steak, he said, “What do you have planned after this?”
I furrowed my brow and laughed at him.  “Nothing.  Why do you ask?”
“I’d like to see you.”  Someone from the wedding party hailed him, and he had to go.  “Here.”  He took a pen from his pocket and flipped over my place card.  “Give me your number, will you?”  When I did, he slipped the pen and the card back in his pocket, stared at me for a few more seconds and then went back to the wedding party table.
“I think that guy just hit on me,” I said to my friend.
“No shit,” she said.  “When you’re done eating, we should drag Elaine’s ass home.”

We ate and drank some wine, had a little cake.  Then, I left, feeling fulfilled.     

Sunday, October 26, 2014


He considered himself no different from any other animal that finds joy in toying with its prey before delivering it unto Death. He used only the weapons nature gave him, and he didn’t always eat what he killed. He considered most of it practice, a honing of skills and body.  
He watched an episode of Blue Planet that showed a pod of killer whales stalking a blue whale and its pup, taunting the mother, nipping at the babe. When the pup was exhausted, they toyed with the mother until she could no longer defend her offspring. The orcas circled and jabbed, like a pack of boxers, and when they finally separated mother and child, they killed the pup but ate only its cheek meat – the choicest cut, so to speak. After the orcas left, the mother whale swam around the pup for hours, nudging it.  
The unspoken questions were obvious. Were the orcas evil? Did the blue whale love her pup?  He knew that such questions had no meaning in nature. He wondered where humans got off thinking they were evil or just or loving. Just because they believed they had souls, because they thought themselves civilized with advanced language skills, they were somehow better and accountable to someone’s notion of moral standards. Ants were civilized, and they sure as hell didn’t have ethics. Mounds often went to war with one another. Yes, he knew it was bullshit.  
When he killed, it was because it was in his nature because he was of nature and not bound by a fabricated sense of right and wrong. When he killed his own kind, it was no different than the male dolphin, orangutan, or lion that slaughtered his competitors’ offspring and mated with as many females as possible to increase the odds of leaving a significant genetic footprint amongst the species.  What he did was normal, and those who said differently were kidding themselves. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Bride

Picture her, a mixture of Vivian Leigh and Lynda Carter, with skin like cream, large, thickly lashed eyes, and full lips.  Sculpted into a spiraling and curling work of art, her hair rivals the most intricate of powdered wigs, but it is dark, the color of richly brewed coffee.  In the dream, I am living inside her skin.
Her gown is white, tier upon tier of antique lace, which rises high, encircling her delicate throat.  At the center, she has pinned a cameo featuring the three muses.  The sleeves, bodice, and skirt overlay are a pale blue silk with a faint sheen, and it all drapes over a hoop skirt and tulle petticoats.  Under all the fabric, her body is bare.  She wears three-inch, black button-closed boots. 
She sweats in the Caribbean summer heat, irritated that her fiancé wanted to have a Victorian themed wedding in a tropical setting.  The ceremony and reception are over, and she waits in the shade of a building awning, waving a lace fan at her painted face, and praying her new husband hurries so they can adjourn to the honeymoon suite.  She glances down at her ring, a fat hunk of emerald that matches her eyes.  She likes the ring, diamonds being overrated and over-priced.  The groom arrives, but she pays him little mind other than to take his offered arm.
She looks out across the lagoon.  There stands the collection of bamboo and grass huts that make up the honeymoon suite.  To get to it from the shore, she must cross a plank and rope bridge.  Her feet hurt.  Tired and hot, all she can think is to get in the shade and cool of the hut and get out of the dress. 
When her husband turns back to speak with straggling well-wishers, she releases him and starts across the bridge.  She makes it halfway.  A strong wind sweeps across the lagoon, and she stumbles.  Her ankle twists, and she falls against the rope railing.  In a comical way, she flips feet-over-head over the railing and takes a nosedive into the lagoon.
Here, the lagoon is already twenty or so feet deep.  She stares up at the surface of the water as she sinks.  She tugs at the dress, tries to wrench off the boots, but still sinks until she finally touches the bottom.  The bottom is smooth, almost like a concrete swimming pool but made of sugar-white sand.  She tries to push off the bottom and digs her fingers into the water as if it could be used as a rope to pull herself to the surface, to blessed air.
When her lungs fail and her blinding vision of the surface above goes dim, I pop out of her body and shoot into the sky.  My spirit spreads until I am the sky.  I am the clouds, the birds, the very sun.  I watch as the people scream, and the young husband, realizing what has happened, dives into the water.  I smile down at them, happy to be free of the dress.     


Round 2

I'm starting the second round of edits on Wild Rosegarten. It's getting closer, y'all. I"m hoping the book will be out just after the first of the year.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Quickie: Stir Constantly

            She sang, “‘Get back, honky cat.  Better get back to the woods.  Well, I quit those days, and my redneck ways, and I—’”
            “What are you singing?” he asked, coming into the kitchen and refilling his glass at the tap.
            “Honky Cat by Elton John.”
            “Never heard it.”
            Her jaw dropped, then remembering she had a custard on medium-high, she returned her attention to the pot.  “Well, I think you’re deprived if you don’t know 70’s Elton John.”  She swirled the whisk around the pot to prevent the mixture from sticking.
            Standing behind her now, he looked over her shoulder.  “What are you making?”
            “Chocolate pudding.”
            “You’re making pudding.  It’s not from a box?”
            “Deprived I tell you,” she murmured.  “Not from a box, and it tastes much better.”  He slid his arms around her waist and kissed the back of her neck through her hair.  “Quit it, you.  I have to stir this constantly until it boils, or it’ll burn.”
            “I can smell it, but you smell better,” he said into her ear and then nipped the lobe before running the tip of his nose down the side of her neck. 
            “I’m not kidding,” she warned and tried to shrug him away from her shoulder. 
            “Me either.”  One hand skimmed under her shirt and under her bra while the other wiggled down the front of her jeans.  Slow, teasing revolutions, perfect tempo, perfect combo.
            Her breath hitched, her legs tensed.  She could feel him, as aroused as she was and pressing against her lower back.  She traded her grip on the handle of the pot for a grip on the back of his neck.  Drawing him forward as she twisted her head to the side, she took his mouth with hers.  Rough, devouring kisses left her panting as she let her head fall back to rest on his shoulder while he drove her with his fingers. 
            She heard the cat meowing, its claws clicking on the floor as he followed the scent of butter and chocolate into the kitchen.  “Shut up, kitty,” she growled. 
            He laughed in her ear, and at the sound, her body broke out in chill bumps.  She arched, tilting her head back even further until their lips could meet again.  He feasted on her – on her heat, her wetness, her moans, the way her body vibrated and pumped, the way it responded to him.  What more could a man want from a mate?  She could make pudding, not from a box, and so he smiled just before his tongue parted her lips. 
            She came hard, with what started as a low guttural cry and ended as a shriek.  “Did you see the cat?” he asked.  “He took one look at us and scampered away.”
            Breathless and dizzy, she opened her eyes.  “No.  I didn’t see him.”  So lost in the sense of touch, she had seen nothing, not even the burgundy of her own closed eyelids.
            He kissed the side of her head.  “I think the pudding is ruined.”
            “Forget the pudding.” 
            She snapped off the burner, set aside the pot, and turned to him.  Grabbing the front of his jeans, she jerked open the button and pushed him backward into the sink.  “Now, it’s your turn.”   


Thursday, October 9, 2014


The Laptop

            Jerrick scrubbed his hands over his slick scalp then over his face.  He looked at the glowing screen of the laptop, the spreadsheet with its neat rows and columns.  Numbers.  Jerrick knew numbers.  Numbers were his livelihood and his love, but if he didn’t fix this…this huge screw-up, they wouldn’t be for much longer.
This is what he got for buying a second-hand laptop.  This is what he got for thinking for one second he was smarter than a djinn.  Tricky bastard, he thought. 
Now, he understood the look in that girl’s eye, that skinny white girl who came charging into Happy Pawn, babbling about a microwave and wriggling anchovies.  He’d eavesdropped on that conversation enough to decide the girl was half out of her mind.  He knew better now, just like he knew that if he went back and complained to the old man that there was something not right with his laptop, the old man would give him the same speech.  Besides, he’d taken his chances on other purchases that had turned out to be not so great, although a different kind of not so great.  The old man stuck to his policies: no returns, no refunds.  You buy it; it’s yours.
The calculator was his first purchase.  The plus sign was broken.  Jerrick didn’t have the skills to repair it, and it would’ve been almost cheaper to just buy a new one rather than pay someone to fix it.  He worked around it by subtracting negatives.  Annoying, but it worked.
The laptop…that was a completely other type of broken.
Ctrl+Shift+G. A simple typo was all it was.  Jerrick intended to use his shortcut for inserting the clip art of the company logo, but hit “G” instead of “F.”  He couldn’t even remember what he’d been working on when the smoke spewed from the innards of the laptop.  He remembered thinking the thing was melting itself and all his data, and then suddenly he was pushing up from his desk chair, staggering back as the smoke coalesced into a heavily muscled, bluish man with small golden horns and a long black ponytail.  The man stretched out his arms and tipped his head to Jerrick.
“How may I be of service?”
A simple question really, and one that Jerrick had answered in various ways.  The first was to ask for infinite wishes.  The djinn had reassured Jerrick that there was no need for this wish.  “As long as you hold the vessel,” the djinn pointed at the laptop, “I am yours to command.”
Jerrick scrolled down on the spreadsheet, seeing red, red, red.  He fallen into the trap, hadn’t he?  He watched those damn Wishmaster movies.  He’d read “The Monkey’s Paw.”  He knew there would be a catch, but he also assumed he could be smarter.  He could be careful.
Now, his superior’s secretary was dead, and he owed his accounting firm 2.6 million dollars.  He’d considered going to the CEO, trying to explain where the money went and promising to pay it back, but Jerrick knew he could work overtime every day for the rest of his life and not pay off that debt.  Not at his salary. 
It wouldn’t have been so bad if he’d realized where the money came from before he’d spent so much of it.  He hadn’t expected the djinn to be able to transfer money from one bank account to another.  What had he been expecting?  That some long-lost rich relative would die and leave him a boatload of money?  Sort of.  Okay, yes.  But that didn’t happen.  And then there was Leisha.
All Jerrick wanted was for her to notice him, to notice him as a woman notices a man and not just someone she saw every day at the office and spoke to because it was polite and expected.  What she’d become…Jerrick blinked back tears as he remembered those first few nights together.  Those nights turned into weekends, and then suddenly Leisha wouldn’t leave.  She didn’t want Jerrick to leave, not even to go to work.  He had taken a few vacation days, a sort of dating honeymoon, and by the end of it, his entire body hurt from bites, bruises, and overuse.
Jerrick wiped away the tear that slipped down his cheek.  Until he made his stupid wish, she had been a lovely woman.  Now, she was six feet under, after having thrown herself off the top of his condo building.    
Jerrick knew better than to try to fix dead.  He couldn’t take back what happened to Leisha, and he would bear that mark on his soul for the rest of his life.  Which wouldn’t be much longer if he didn’t figure out what to do about the missing money.  He couldn’t hide that much longer, and he didn’t think he’d survive long in a federal penitentiary.
He’d already tried bargaining with the djinn.  “Put the money back!”  He screamed that sentence again and again, but what was spent could not be unspent.  Besides, didn’t his mother love her new house?  She deserved it, after raising five kids on her own.  Even so, Jerrick had proven, once again, that you can’t get something for nothing. 
He ran his damp fingers over the keys of the laptop.  With a deep frown on his face, he typed Ctrl+Shift+G.  The scent of the inferno filled his nostrils.  The smoke stung his eyes for a moment before it swirled into a column and produced the djinn.
“How may I be of service?” it asked.
“I don’t know.”  Jerrick looked into its strange black-on-black eyes.  “How do I fix this?”  He gestured at the screen then spread his arms wide.
“It is not my place to advise, only to grant what your heart desires.”
“Yeah, and how many lives have you ruined granting wishes?”
The djinn tilted its head in consideration.  “None.  No life is beyond repair.” 
Jerrick laughed bitterly at that.  “Right.  I brought all this on myself.  I suppose you’re going to tell me that you have no control over how the wishes are granted.  Like there’s some sick, twisted god in control of it all, and you’re just the messenger.”  When the djinn gave no reply, Jerrick squared his shoulders.  “Well, you can tell whoever is in charge that my heart’s desire if for someone to fix this!  Fix the money.  Fix Leisha!”  Jerrick’s face crumpled, and he pressed his hands to his eyes.  “She didn’t have to die.”
“No, she didn’t,” the djinn said.  “Very well.”
            Jerrick jerked.  The movement dragged his steering wheel sharply to the left and sent his car swerving into oncoming traffic.  Belching curses, he yanked hard the other direction, overcorrecting, but managing to get the car going straight and in the proper lane.
How…what?  He couldn’t think.  Hadn’t he just been in his empty living room, arguing with a djinn?  He wasn’t anymore.  From the looks of things, he was on the expressway, somewhere between the exit for work and the exit for home.
He let out a breath, eased back into the seat.  Something dark in the passenger seat caught his attention, and he glanced that way.  Then, he took a longer look.  There it was: the laptop.  It sat there, the receipt taped to the case.  But that meant…that meant it was August, three months before he’d been sitting in his condo and demanding the djinn make things right.
Well, things are right now, Jerrick thought.  I can’t return it, but I won’t use it.  I won’t even turn it on.  “Yeah,” he said aloud.  He nodded in agreement with himself.  He took the exit for home with a renewed sense of hope.  He drove past the corner gas station, the old falling down houses.  Sure, he’d be back in his crappy apartment in one of the worst parts of town, but he would have his old life back.  “Yeah, you sneaky sonofabitch.  Won’t get me this time.”  He grinned down at the laptop, and the laptop was the last thing he saw.
When the cops interviewed Muriel Shipp, she told them it was the oddest thing.  She hadn’t heard a whistle blow.  The lights hadn’t flashed, and the guardrails hadn’t come down.  But sure as there was wreckage all over her lawn, the train had blown through and smashed that poor man and his car to nothing.
Long after everyone – police, media, nosy neighbors – had gone, Muriel went out into the yard.  There was debris everywhere, and she wondered who she was going to get to come clean up the mess.  Couldn’t count on her no-good grandkids to do it.  Well, she was old, but she could do a few things.  She went around with a garbage bag, praying to God that she didn’t find any parts of the man.  She was pretty sure the police had gotten all they could of him.  What a way to go. 
Muriel was at the edge of the yard when her foot rapped against something.  Begrudging her hip, she bent down and picked up a flat, black object.  She lifted a pair of half-moon readers to peer at it.  Why, it was one of those computer things.  Muriel knew this one must have come from the man’s car, but there wasn’t a scratch on it.  She had no use for it, but the things were worth a pretty penny. 
Muriel made her way back inside her house and slipped the laptop into a plastic grocery bag.  She’d take the bus into the city tomorrow.  She knew just the place to take it to get the best price with no questions asked.         


Sunday, October 5, 2014


            Sitting on the concrete bench in front of the building, I smoked between classes.  I liked the spot, a kind of perch atop the wide stairs that overlooked sidewalks, flowerbeds, oaks planted after the campus burned during the Civil War, and the crosswalk.  Despite a flashing neon yellow sign that read, “Stop for pedestrians,” someone got hit there every semester.  Stupid kids, driving like stupid kids, and hitting other stupid kids like they were squirrels.
            I hogged the bench.  I had my feet up, my knees tucked up to my chest.  I liked sitting that way – the way they made us hunker during tornado drills or actual tornados when I was in elementary school.  With my right arm wrapped around my knees, I clasped my left arm just above the elbow.  With methodical timing, I bent my elbow, took a drag, and straightened my arm.  Then, I watched as the smoke wafted out of my gaping mouth or streamed from my nostrils.  I’m a dragon, I thought childishly and smiled at myself.
            “Hey,” someone called to me. 
            Like a Viewmaster, I blinked to switch from what I thought to the real world.  I looked two steps down to find the guy-in-the-Pantera-T-shirt.  He always wore one with faded, black jeans, black Chuck Taylor’s, and three wallet chains.  This day, he wasn’t wearing his dog collar bracelet or armor ring.
            “What’s up?” I asked. 
            He tossed his backpack at the base of the bench and took out his pack of cigarettes.  Since he meant to sit, and I felt polite, I swiveled, letting my feet drop, and sat on the bench normally.  He patted himself, and knowing what he sought, I offered him my lighter, keeping my hand out as a reminder for him to return it.  He did and sat beside me.
            “How’re you doing in this class?”  He waved his cigarette at the building.
            Simultaneously, we turned our heads and blew smoke over the azaleas instead of in each other’s faces while never breaking eye contact.  I rubbed my cigarette under the bench to put it out, not minding when bits of hot tobacco stung my hand, and set the butt on the bench between us. 
            “Good,” I said in answer to his question.
            “I thought so.  Could you maybe help me?  I mean, I can pay you, some.”
            “Yeah, I’m real busy.”  After a glance at my watch, I knew I had time for one more, so I bent sideways to fish out a smoke from the front pocket of my backpack.  Pantera bumped my arm and offered me one of his.
            When I took it, he said, “Yeah, I figured, but look, I’m serious.  I have to pass this class.”
            I lit the cigarette and took a drag, exhaled and took another, making him stew just a bit.  “How about Saturday?  There isn’t a game.”          
            He winced.  “I can’t do it then.  My friends and I…we build rockets.” 
            My eyebrows darted up at that.  “Really?  Like fifth grade science class?”
            “Well, not dinky ones.”
            “You build rockets,” I mused and thought of the little engines that looked like rolls of coins with tampon strings.  “Do they have parachutes?”    
            He laughed and looked off into the bushes.  “Yeah, and one weekend, a buddy of mine had his dad down and he helped us make napalm.”
            I choked.  “That’s just…not normal.”  Then, I laughed because anyone who spoke to me for more than five minutes knew I wasn’t normal.  “Yeah, okay Pantera-Napalm-Guy.  When are you free?”
            We made plans to meet at the library on Thursday afternoon, and when he finished his smoke, I said I’d meet him in class.  I sat a bit longer, wondering how much money the University spent on grounds upkeep.  The azaleas were quite beautiful, cotton candy pink.
            When I stood, my bottom was numb from sitting for so long on that hard, concrete bench.  Nintendo butt, my brother called it, like Nintendo thumb.  Except now, there was Sega thumb, X-Box thumb, and Playstation thumb.  I wondered if anyone had ever used a Playstation dual-shock controller as a vibrator. 
            I pinched my cigarette just above the filter and rolled it between my fingers.  When the hot rock fell out, I scrubbed it across the concrete with my boot and flicked the unburned tobacco free.  I always left that little bit because I hated the taste of burnt filter. 

            After buying a coffee from the street vendor, I pitched my butts into the trash and headed back in the building to class.     

Sunday, September 28, 2014

On the Corner of Main Street

            The edge of the gray tub dug into my thigh as I pressed it against the ice machine.  The magnet that held the flap up had broken off, so I had to use one hand to hold the flap while I used the other to paw around in search of the scoop.  The lip around the edge of the tub had crumbled away on all but one side, so I used that side to hold up the tub while the opposite side threatened to saw its way through my jeans.  Finding the scoop, I winced and began chucking ice into the bucket.
            “When you get both of them filled, get out the salads and then cut the fruit.  Damn!  I forgot to get tomatoes,” Jean said.
            She’d been there since six, baking the bread, and she’d almost forgotten to make more chicken salad.  She absolutely refused to let anyone make it from start to finish – her secret recipe and all that. 
            “Start the soup in the crock pot, uh, shrimp bisque today, and get the Dutch oven going for the chicken,” she barked as she stomped off into the prep area.
            “Yes, ma’am,” I muttered and let the flap fall closed with a snap.
            The tubs were a nuisance, all because she didn’t have enough money to buy one of the refrigerated worktables like at Subway or in school lunchrooms.  The restaurant across the street offered to sell her one of theirs cheap, but she her competitive streak wouldn’t allow for that.  No, I had to fill two Rubbermaid tubs with ice and wiggle Rubbermaid containers of chicken, rice, and egg salads, Dijon mustard, mayo, pimento cheese, and four or five other spreadables down into the ice.  I took off the lids and slid serving spoons into each container. 
            There was no proper kitchen.  The place started out as a wine store, and when it became clear that she couldn’t make do on selling just wine, Jean expanded into a high-end deli/café.  There was an enormous work sink with no hot water (tisk, tisk), and one industrial oven she used for baking bread and cookies.  Instead of a proper range, she had a two-burner portable cook top, which she was now giving the evil eye. 
            “Why isn’t my pot ready?  You need to get faster at cutting the fruit.”  She set her travel cup down and pried off the lid.  As I dumped a handful of sliced honeydew into a plastic bowl, I looked into her cup.  I gave a smirk.  I liked to imagine that Jan’s travel cup contained something like the “Mother” used to make vinegar only hers was used to make a never-ending Bloody Mary.  If I asked, she would insist it was just tomato juice even as the stinging scent of vodka puffed out and she stuffed a celery stalk and wedge of lemon into the cup, followed by a few grinds of black pepper.  “I have to go get tomatoes.”  She threw her hands in the air.  “It’s always something.” 
            “It’ll be fine,” I assured her.  “I’ll get the chicken going.”
            “You don’t know how much white wine to put in the water,” she reminded me, and bumped me out of her way.  “Go start some cookies.”
            “I haven’t finished the fruit.”
            “Well after then.  Jesus!”  She loved to say Jesus as a curse word. 
            The fruit was a touchy subject.  One morning, she’d thrown a fit when she found me tossing out moldy strawberries with a dead fly in the container.  She told me I should’ve cut off the mold and re-washed the berries.  I think if she’d told me to dig them out of the garbage, I would’ve jerked off my apron and quit on the spot.  From then on, I made sure to hide whatever food I threw away under a layer of paper towels. 
            “And you need to start studying up on wine so you can make informed sales when I’m not here.”
            By this point, it was an hour to opening at eleven, and she was crashing.  It was best to just nod and do the other ten billion things she’d asked.  I would get it all done because the situation was never quite as dire as she made it out to be.  I could focus when she wasn’t scurrying around and sniping. 
            I knew that at 10:30, she would go out for whatever vegetable she conveniently forgot to buy.  Then, she would return with the energy only cocaine can provide and run herd on me and the other two girls working for her off the books. 
            While the chicken boiled, I retrieved the salad greens and baklava from the cooler.  I got the cookies out of the freezer, put them on pans, and slid them into the oven.  I wrote the special on the chalkboard and swept the black and white tile floor one more time before unlocking the antique doors and flipping the sign around to announce we were open.
            I started out on the cash register, but once I showed I had a knack in the “kitchen,” I never worked the register again unless someone bought beer or wine.  I rarely waited tables, even though I wiped them every evening before closing.  I spent my time making sandwiches and salads, chopping more fruit, and keeping the soup from forming an icky skim.  I developed a flare for plating lunches that was both efficient and aesthetically pleasing.  Most of all, I learned that I never, ever wanted to own a café. 
            When the rush ended at two, Jean would disappear into the bathroom for ten minutes.  Every day, she came out high and ready to head to the gym, and every day, Hannah said, “She’s going to give herself a heart attack.”
            The other girls went home at three, leaving me to the deal with the few stragglers that came in for a late lunch or early dinner.  It never failed that just about the time I put everything back in the cooler and mopped the floor, the town sculptor came in for dinner.  He was in his mid-twenties, a gilded prince of a man-boy with a smile to set girls' hearts a-flutter, and he knew it.  
            “I’ll try not to get any crumbs on the floor so you don’t have to sweep,” he’d say.  “How is your roommate?”  He always asked.  “Is she still dating that older guy?”
            “Yes, although I don’t think you can call it dating,” I said. 
            He always waited until fifteen minutes to closing to ask for a Red Stripe, and then he’s say, “I guess I’ll have to drink it fast.  Come over to The Pottager sometime.”
            I mumbled curses under my breath as I locked the front door behind him and went to get the broom.  I made myself a go-box, grilled chicken with Swiss and a side salad with black olive feta dressing.  After double-checking the lights and the alarm, I locked the back door and walked two blocks to my apartment.  All in all, it wasn’t too bad for $4 an hour, tax-free, plus tips.


Sunday, September 7, 2014

Drowning isn't such a bad way to go.

            I was ten, back when I spent enough time in the sun to turn a deep, golden brown.  That summer I had a Minnie Mouse swimsuit.  It was red with white polka dots that the sun’s rays could penetrate, so I had a silver dollar-sized polka dot tan under my suit.
            My parents borrowed my uncle’s boat and took my brother and me to visit our neighbors, who were also borrowing a boat and a house from a relative.  My mother pulled my hair back in a ponytail to keep my scalp from getting sunburned, snapped my American Lifeguard Association certified foam rubber life vest into place, and tugged tight the adjustable straps around my rib cage.  I despised the thing, but if I wanted to swim without adult supervision, I had to wear it.
            My neighbor’s daughter, an only child, is three years younger than I am.  As children, I took it upon myself to act as a big sister to her.  So it was that, while I was teaching her how to do tricks off the boat dock, I nearly drowned.
            I did a pencil – into the water pointed feet first, arms overhead, and hands overlapped as if to dive.  I went deep, and the water forced the vest up so that my arms were pinned against the sides of my head.  When the vest did its job of bringing me to the surface, my eyes weren’t even above water.  I think I managed to rock enough to scream once before I swallowed as much lake water as my stomach could hold.  I kicked and wiggled until I made it to the dock ladder only to realize that my legs were too deep to get a foot on a rung, and my hands were useless, as they were still sticking straight up.  Then, I ran out of air.
            I felt hands grab my wrists and pull me out of the water so that I floated through the air and land nimbly on my feet.  The vest was off, and my neighbor’s father pounded me on the back as I heaved and vomited lake water all over the dock.  I shook violently and then burst into tears as my terrified mother came sprinting down the gangway for me.
            “Don’t ever make me wear that again!” I screamed at her.
            For eight months after that, I suffered through expelling all the parasites I swallowed and their cysts.  The funny thing is, the lake in Gonzoland is one of the ten cleanest lakes in the whole country.           
            Two years later, we were back on the lake, in a pontoon boat this time, and my brother was kneeboarding.  Like any competitive sibling, I wanted to as well, but my puny little girly arms weren’t strong enough for me to haul my disproportionately long legs out of the water, adjust the strap, and Velcro it while holding the rope.  I was also terrified of losing the rope and being unable to get my knees unstrapped. 
            In an attempt to be sweet and dig himself out of whatever hole he’d dug to get grounded, my brother devised a way to affix me to the board.  Wearing the life vest of doom, I hunkered down, leapfrog style, and he strapped my knees to the board.  “Stay like this.  Hold on to the rope.  See this?”  I looked down to see where he slipped the end of the strap under my left foot.  “When you get tired, just move your foot.  The strap will come free and loose on your knees.  Then, you can let go of the rope and ride the board on your belly till we pick you up.”  Sounded like the perfect idea, and it worked, except that first time.
            I took off fine, but when my father slowed the boat to haul my brother out of the water, the board flattened out and the nose dipped.  Flippity-dippity, y’all.  I went face-first into the water, and the buoyancy of the board popped it up so that I did a seal.  (A gymnastics stretch where you lie on your stomach, push up with your hands, bend your legs at the knee, and touch your toes to the top of your head…and yes, I was a gymnast until I got too tall.)  My knees did not come free of the board, and it smacked me in the back of the head.  I arched my back and dog-paddled, taking gulps of air when I could. 
            Someone yelled my name, and my brother came back in for me.  I threw up water as he swam me to the boat where I crumpled into a ball on the Astroturf-clad decking and wept that my brother tried to kill me.  I had a sore back for a week. 
            A summer later, I got back on the kneeboard.  My brother decided that, if I rode too far back on the board, the nose would stay in the air when my father slowed to get him.  Every few years or so, in a birthday card, he’ll write, “I love you, Sis, and I’m really sorry that I almost killed you at the lake.”  I wish he’d apologize for convincing me to stick a radio adapter to my tongue while it was plugged into the wall. 
            At age fourteen, I accompanied my church youth group on a mission trip to Myrtle Beach.  It was the first year my mother let me wear a two-piece swimsuit, and I had this adorable number in black and white seersucker. 
            For most of the teens on the trip, it was the first time they had visited a hard sand beach.  They were used to the sugar-white beaches of the Gulf Coast.  I’d visited before, so I wasn’t wowed by the fact that people rode bicycles or pushed wheeled carts full of frozen lemonade or Dippin’ Dots on the beach.  (Why the hell are those things so good?)  What does wow me about the Atlantic are the remarkable contrasts in low versus high tide, wave crest versus wave trough.
            I spent the better part of one afternoon, while in my awesome swimsuit, wave hopping with a group of about ten girls.  When I tired, I decided to head ashore for a frozen lemonade.  I timed my exit, so that I could hop with the waves, but I miscalculated.  One caught me in the side of the face, ramming water into my ear and shoving me to the sea floor. 
            Hard sand, hard sand, nothing to dig into so I could pull myself.  Every time I tried to stand, another wave knocked me back down, pinned me, sucked at my thighs, and dragged me away from the shore.  Try, try, try, I heard it in my head.  [That cute boy you like] hugged you yesterday.  That’s worth fighting for, right?  My cursing gene hadn’t blossomed yet, or I would've been thinking, Don’t you fucking die!
            Then I thought, God, I’m going to drown out here.  I’ve nearly drowned twice, and it’s going to happen again.  The black fingers of unconsciousness crept into my vision, and then, I washed ashore.  I had a wedgie from Hell and sand burns on my knees, toes, and palms, but as I coughed and retched and crawled away from the water, I thought I must be part cat.
            No one saw me, and I didn’t tell anyone.  I just wrapped myself in my towel and prayed and thanked God that the blood from my wicked abrasions hadn’t drawn Jaws.
            Sweet sixteen and back at the lake at a friend’s parents’ lakehouse for some debauchery.  I wore my blue and white polka dot two-piece. (I have a thing for polka-dots.)  My hair was long, down to the bottom of my shoulder blades, and A.C., the boyfriend of a friend who christened me with the nickname Shelley, kept tugging on it and then looking away innocently when I would turn to confront him. 
            Several of us floated on life vests, and I threatened to burn A.C. with my lighter if he didn’t stop pulling my hair.  Then, he shoved me off the life vest, sinking my drink.    
            “Damnit, A.C.,” I shouted and swept my arm toward him so that I sent a wave of a splash into his open, laughing mouth.
            Before I could re-situate myself on the vest, he grabbed me by the shoulders.  I began to yell at him, but he shoved me underwater – no air in my lungs and mouth open.  He put his feet on my shoulders and used all the power he could generated with his six feet, six inches to jettison me down…deep, deep where the water is still fffrrreeezing even in August.
            Crawl up, I thought, remembering some lifeguard training about paddling up to the surface.  I could see it, dim in the green water.  I thought about all the corpses at the bottom of the lake, and how they never ever found anyone who drowned in it, and how it was the perfect place to dump bodies for that very reason.  So I crawled, but I since I had no air, I didn’t make it far.  
            “Fuck, Shelley!” A.C. screamed as someone hauled me bodily out of the water.  More coughing, more warfing (if I may borrow from Ren and Stimpy).  “Nice tits.”
            When Abe had jerked me up by the arm, the water rolled my top down around my waist.  Hooray!  Add embarrassment to the list.  “Somebody, give me a beer,” I croaked and slipped myself back into my top.              
            No lights.  Maybe I didn’t get close enough to the barrier between life and death to see them, if they exist.  I remember the water, the panic, the futility of fighting, and an absence of pain, until after the fact.
            As a sophomore in college, I read Black Water by Joyce Carol Oates, and I wrote a journal entry on those experiences.  I collected them together for the first time, and for the first time, I connected with a dead girl.  That made more of an impression on me than any of the four near-drownings.  

Monday, August 25, 2014

Where to buy my books:

For Fairest, 

1) iTunes (eBook)

2) Amazon (Kindle version or paperback) 
3) Barnes & Noble (Nook Book, paperback) or in-store paperback print-on-demand
4) Eternal Press (all eBook formats, pdf, paperback)

Skye Daniels knows it isn’t wise to wander alone in the Big Easy, but she hopes the trip will give her a break from the teasing she endures at school and time to sort her feelings for playboy Whit Hastings and his best friend Linc Moore. When a stranger tries to grab her outside the House of Blues, Skye runs for her life and finds refuge with a group of orphans. She can’t reach her father, and not knowing where else to turn, Skye calls on Linc to help her find out who wants her dead and why.

          Thank you so much for your patronage of my novel. If you enjoyed the book, please consider leaving a review of it on the site where you purchased it or on Good Reads. Reviews matter to me, and I appreciate your time and your opinion.

Coming Soon: information on where to get Wild Rosegarten, the first book in my vampire slayer series!

Sunday, August 17, 2014


            The golems – stone, steel, and fire – came for him, and he met them. 
            He swept over the plains, his toes hovering just above the dry landscape.  Arms pinwheeling, slashing, jabbing.  With one swing of his silvery gray arm, he bashed a rocky head to dust.  At the contact, veins, inset in all his visible flesh, glowed and absorbed the released spirit of his enemy.    
            His eyes narrowed, and he flung himself toward a flaming foe.  Arms grabbing fire, singeing for a moment, then a hiss of steam.  The golem was no more, and he throbbed with light.
            Pulses of blue burst from him, and steel, wrenched and mangled, fell empty and lifeless.  With a bellow, he pumped the energy he collected into a ball around himself and, with a final shout, sent it out so that it razed the very earth and the evil that walked it. 

            I felt his arms as they encircled my waist from behind.  I heard him smell my hair.  I closed my eyes and a tear slid down my cheek.  He survived.  He returned.
            “I want to give you something,” he said as he turned me in his arms and kissed me softly. 
            His eyes, the same deep greenish-blue as an angry sea, looked serious for a moment before he turned them on his left forearm.  As he ran a finger down a vein, it lit softly.  He dug his finger under it and tugged until it broke. 
            At my sharp intake of breath, he only smiled and snapped off a small section of the vein.  From it, he formed a ring, which shone blindingly for a moment and then dulled to a soft, fuzzy glow.
            As he slid the ring onto my finger, he said, “I challenge anyone who says an Elemental cannot love.”  He kissed the ring and then me.  “This ring of icy pure good will protect you and can be wielded like any weapon.”
            “Then have a symbol of my love for you,” I said and hurriedly yanked out a lock of hair. 
            From the hair, I wove an intricate braid.  Once I connected the ends, the ring shrieked and formed a colorful whorl that I slid onto his finger.  “Wear my ring of chaos and use it to smite those who would do you harm.”       
            Cheeks wet and lips trembling, we held onto all we had left in our world – each other.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Quickie: Whiskey Kiss

            I stood before the floor to ceiling bookshelves, running my fingers over leather-bound editions and watching the gold letters flash with the passage of ceiling fan blades.  He had quite a collection, especially for a man his age.  Especial and in my heart, set apart and above, by my love for him and his mind. 
            “What are you doing in here?” he asked.
            I turned to find him gesturing to me with the fifth of Beam gripped in his left hand, his eyes heavy from having drunk half its contents.  I grinned.  “Looking at your books, of course.”
            “I read them all, but you would know that.  Have you read them?”
            “I do know and most,” I said.
            Something bluesy, sweet, and over-played hung in the air, Wonderful Tonight by Clapton.  I listened for a moment, swaying in my own vodka-induced tipsy.  No one plays guitar like Clapton.  Not that he’s the best, just, he’s a master of that style.  So it seemed as the notes slipped in my ears and curled up to nest in my heart.
            “Dance with me, Shelley.”
            His request, no demand, sped my pulse.  We met at the end of the bed, arms coming around eager bodies to hold and mold until the zippers of our blue jeans scraped.  Eyes so dark, the keepers of depths and universes, held mine, challenged mine.
            “Kiss me,” I whispered as I gripped his sleeves and pulled until his chest flattened my breasts.
            I watched his lashes lace to conceal his eyes as his lips met mine.  Simple pressure, lips to lips.  Tentative, seeking, but I nipped his lower lip.  His eyes flashed open as he tilted his head.  Mouths open, now, tongues bumping then slipping past one another, oh, excuse me, pardon me, yes, see, there’s room for both of us to venture here.  My vodka mixed with his whiskey.  The longing for exploration, the longing to be wanted as much as I wanted made themselves known in the urgency of my sighs and the strength with which I dug my fingers into his arms.  The remnants of alcohol burned my eyes and nose as needs burned much, much lower.
            Interruption, as quick and brutal as a needle across a record.  The kiss ended, but he still held me for a moment.  A mistake – I could see the thought in his eyes and hated it.  Then, he left me, under the ceiling fan, with nothing but the lingering warmth from where his body touched mine. 
            For two weeks, a bruise on my lower back reminded me of how he pressed the bottle against me while he held me.  After it faded, the bruise on my heart took over the job.     


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Dressing Down

          In the barn, the deer hung on something that resembled a sadistic coat hanger.  The ends were sharpened spikes that pierced through the skin between the small bones in the deer's lower hind legs.  The hook was a loop of metal hung on a fat tack, resembling a small railroad spike, in a beam of the barn.  The deer dangled, spread-eagle, over the vegetable tray from the beer fridge.
          He'd killed it only two hours before and field dressed it, so it only smelled of blood and wild animal.  Gamey.  He'd let the dogs in to sniff around, and when he set the body to swinging, the lab licked up the dribbled blood while the rat terrier went berserk.  It leapt at the deer's face, snapping until it latched onto the tongue.  The dog jerked its head from side-to-side, wrenching the deer's neck in a blur of motion.
          "That's enough now," he said to the terrier and herded both dogs outside so he could butcher the deer.  "We start with the saw."
          He lifted a rusted wood saw and put the blade against the silvery-brown fur of the deer.  "Right here, just above what we'll call his elbow," he explained as the saw slid through fur and skin, through tendons and ligaments and the joint.  For a moment, he held the lower right front leg by its ankle.  With a casual flick of the wrist, he flung it outside the barn, with the result of excited, shrill barks from the dogs.  He repeated the process on the other front leg.
          When he'd made all the use he needed of the saw, he set it aside and picked up the fillet knife.  After poking a small hole in the skin above the shoulder, he slid the knife between meat and skin, being careful to cut off the silver skin as well.  "You gotta get it all.  It's awful eatin'," he said.  "Chewy as hell."
          The butchering went in stages - separating skin from meat and meat from bone.  All the while, the steady drip, drip, drip of blood and juices giving rhythm to his work and the twitching of the body as friction countered the knife blade.  When he finished, he had filled a large Tupperware tub with meat, and the deer was now a stripped skeleton with only its head intact.
          "It's not pretty enough to mount," he complained, grabbing the antlers and staring the deer in its filmy eyes.  "Here," he gestured to the tub, "take that on up to the house and let the dogs back in for just a minute.  I'll let 'em play."
          "Yes, sir," I said, picking up the tub.
          I heard the yips of the terrier and deep-chested growls of the lab mix in with his laughter as I crossed the yard to the back door of the house.  In my hands, the meat was still slightly warm.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Quickie: Herbal Essence

Note: When I'm not writing novels, I am usually writing erotic shorts. This post begins a new collection on this blog that I'm entitling "Quickies." I plan to post some of the old ones and write some new ones. Here is the first. Enjoy!

          In the bathroom of the restaurant, she crossed from the row of stalls to the row of sinks.  She pressed the pump on the dispenser, and the scent of the soap drifted up to her.  Lavender.  As the warm water ran over her sudsy hands, her eyes glazed.  She no longer saw the reflection of her hands or the faucet.
When he entered the kitchen, he stopped at the table.  Overnight, the lavender had dried on the paper towels.  Along with rosemary, mint, and basil, a friend had given him the lavender.  He didn’t know why he accepted it.  No, that wasn’t exactly true.  He picked up a sprig and, after crushing it between his thumb and forefinger, rolled the dried flowers, leaves, and stems, in his hands, fully releasing their aroma.  He dipped his nose into his cupped hands and inhaled.  Closing his eyes, he remembered her. 
She was in the shower, her right foot wedged between the thin rim of the tub and the wall.  She used the poof to soap up her upper thigh and knee.  She heard the curtain open, felt the cool outside air displace the cocoon of steam so that the temperature difference sent chill bumps up her back and even to her scalp. 
“You’re letting the cold air in,” she said, smiling to herself.  She knew that stating the obvious amused him.  She heard the curtain shift closed, heard him hum before his hands, his always-warm hands, glided up her back.  “I’m almost done.  Then, the water’s all yours.”
His fingers, now wet, slid over her bottom and then between her legs.  With the simple stroke, she was ready, but he liked to take things slow.  He liked to savor her building pleasure, hear her, smell her, taste her.  Only when he did these things did he receive complete fulfillment.      
He reached forward and cupped her breast, urging her to stand up straight.  Her back pressed against his chest, and the top of her head slid neatly under his chin.  He skimmed his fingers over the top of her thigh and all the way up and between her legs.  He watched as her arm shot out – the one holding the poof – and he smiled as she tried to steady herself with one soapy hand.  He nipped at her earlobe and trailed kisses down the side of her neck as his fingers danced in and out, back and forth, round and round in a rhythm just for her and with just enough pressure to bring her to a quick climax.  He would have liked to prolong the foreplay, repeatedly bringing her up and backing off, until she quivered all over and could hardly breathe.  It teased them both, and made him hard to the point of pain, but this afternoon, he wanted to take her while the water was still hot.
In his left hand, he held her breast, felt her heart thudding against her ribs along the side of his hand and up his pinky finger.  He squeezed gently and rubbed his thumb over her nipple.  Her head slipped to the side and rolled back against his shoulder.  Her mouth open as she panted, as she gripped his finger as it slid inside her.  Tilting her hips, she spread her legs as far apart as the width of the shower.  She bucked and jerked as she grew closer and closer. 
When she made the sound, somewhere between a squeal and a sigh, he knew she hit the top, and he twisted to he could capture her mouth with his.  His finger still moved in quick circles over the small knot of nerves, and she tore her mouth free of his.     
“Now.”  She gave the primal demand that loosed his inner animal.
She bent forward and, reaching back between her legs, found his cock.  With one simple tug, he came forward and slid home.  She moaned with it and, dropping the poof, planted her palms against the front of the shower. 
She had given, and now, gripping her hips, he took.  She could hear him, sucking air between his teeth and letting out gasps as her rump slapped wetly against him.  When she felt the hair of his legs brush against the backs of her thighs, she arched her back and lifted her chin so he could go deeper and deeper.
Water poured over her face, making her soaked hair slick over her eyes.  She smiled, but when his fingers found her swollen clit again, she cried out and moaned until he found release. 
Movement…slowing…stopping.  He pulled her back up to standing.  Still inside her, he kissed her neck, wiped her hair from her face, massaged her creased wrists.  As their breathing returned to normal, he wrapped his arms around her and held her until the water ran cold.
Her hands were red from the heat of the water.  She slapped off the faucet and though still in a fog of sorts, she moved over to the hand dryer.  Lavender.  She half-smiled and left the restroom.
He lowered his hands and let the crushed blooms drop back onto the paper towel.  Then, he turned to the fridge to make breakfast.