Saturday, November 28, 2015

The monster in the garage!

It is a dark and stormy, albeit tranquil night. The poorly installed ruby red metal roof on a Dutch cape cod in the fictional town of Lancaster rattles worse than a snake slithering across the Taklamakan desert searching for any signs of life, human or alien, and quite possibly, lizards, scorpions, rats, dung mice etc….

A woman(me) looks out her large bay window at the new neighbors: a mother, father, and their two teenage daughters. They are standing in their driveway, illuminated by a funnel-shaped spotlight so huge every gigantic crack in the asphalt appears as if the driveway has recently been visited by the razor sharp fingers of Freddy Kreuger. There this family stands, staring at each other with fierce-like intensity, as if they are Zulu Warriors debating exactly how best to drive the spear into the bodies of their mortal enemies with ruthless efficiency!

The woman at the window sighs, sensing in her heart of hearts that the new neighbors are relocating from a Hell she/I has yet to experience in the previously peaceful neighborhood of Witcherton By The Forest. Her tense fingers stroke her cell-phone keys like Freddie stroking the tin can walls of a furnace, as the wind picks up, the velocity matching the voices beginning to shout at each other; first, the daughter to the father, then the mother to the daughter, then daughter to her sister. Suddenly, like a bad turn into the deepest, bleakest blackest bowels of Lancaster, the parents turn on each other!: arms raised, fingers jabbing, heads shaking, bodies swaying. The daughters merely look at each other in disbelief before they slice through the parental arguing like Freddie through the poor unfortunate girl in the bedroom; words, words, and more words, starting with the letter F and ending with the letter U!

I, er the woman at the window pulls out her cellphone…..

OMG, too late! Too late. At the exact same moment, I, er the woman holding the cellphone punches the number nine, the neighbor's garage door opens and literally swallows the whole family of four!

Ah, the woman sighs knowingly.  

Moving day!

Is there such a thing as moving back day? Can you abandon ship and expect it not to sink? I don't know. These are the kinds of questions I think are unanswerable. And kinda stupid tbh. Sometimes, I move through this world as if I am already a ghost: the now you see me, now you don't kind, you know vs the ones that stay and haunt you forever. Ok, that's just profoundly ridiculous! lol

Here's the naked truth. I actually have a time comprehension problem. What's a year and a half to most people might only be a week for me. Mental illness can be problematic like that. You literally get so lost in the empty moments of time, you can't distinguish between one hour from one minute, from one year to a week, from one second to an hour, etc… I live so moment to moment that the moments add up to a year in a half, for instance, before I realize how much time has passed. Stress does me in too. You will not believe what happened to me in that year and a half:

I went on FaceBook. Yep, that's right, me the dissociative/schizophrenic writer who can't socialize straight. I have at last count 81 family and friends. I know almost 100% of the friends. But sometimes, you end up with a stranger who just suddenly appears one day on your friend's list, and you're scratching your head wondering how that happened. Other times, friends and family disappear for no reason only to come back two weeks later. It's a crazy FB world out there. I guess that's where most of my posts on daily life went. Sucked the blog right out of me, because I don't post often there, although I'm doing better, as in getting a little more comfortable speaking my mind, acknowledging family and friends etc….

Stressful, but I am slowly navigating that world and my boat is floating, even if the motor doesn't run. lol

I have been adding on to Bath Follies, and to Mamie and her ditzy family. And I'm writing a screenplay. But that's about it. Because I decided to take my house apart to see how it works. Maybe, I'll have some pics for you. Soooo, one novel in 10 years you say. Seems like only yesterday, doesn't it? That book still sells though. Don't ask me how. Outside of one FB post to my family a few months ago, and then only because I wanted certain family members to know that I had dedicated it to my precious cousin around her anniversary, that's been it. Occasionally, I get emails saying how much someone loved it, and that's nice, but I'm just thrilled I finally accomplished something in my life. So, I really think I wrote it for me, and I'm real happy with that.

Toodles! Till next year. Or not. I may, just may have another episode of Bath Follies for ya. My Christmas present to the loyal readers of my blog who never abandoned me like I abandoned them, unintentional though it was, so help me Mamie!      


Tuesday, July 08, 2014

In Sickness and Health

Gosh another month has gone by, and my life has gone from mud to more mud. I can handle mud. I can't handle mud and write though.

But I took the time today, because in the end, we are all on this journey together, and whatever I go through and can share with my readers brings a great hope that my experiences will be a shining example of what not to do!

In the last month or so, it has become apparent to me that a close loved one of mine is probably not going to recognize me this time next year. So, whatever writing I've been able to do since that time has been dwarfed by the time it's taken to stay in touch with this loved one as best I can. Sometimes, it's been like groundhog day as I answer the same questions over and over. Some days the questions come at me like bullets, and somedays . . . they don't. I never know what kind of day she's going to have. If it's good, we'll have normal communication. If it's not, here comes the freight train of questions. Even if she wants to know why the sun is yellow, I answer each and every one with the patience of Job. Because that is exactly what's needed when loved ones begin to lose their grasp on reality. And that reality sneaks up on you and goes BOO! It seems like only a month ago, that my daughter had put her Mission papers in, and we were all excited. That's where my focus was, but before too many more days had passed, I was hit with the reality that my loved one was in the early stages of vascular dementia.

So, looking for a spot of comfort I came across this video. I've watched it practically every day since then. It hasn't left me in the mood to share my daughter's good news . . . until now. Are you all ready to find out where UteroKid will labor for the next 18 months starting August 13th?

Clue: The sky is blue, blue, blue. Almost all the time. A very deep blue, the kind of blue you read about in romance novels. In other words, BLUE.

Clue:  If I had a palm tree for every penny in my purse I'd be poor. The problem is I don't carry pennies anymore. But, even living on the East Coast of sublime green I know a palm tree when I see one!  My daughter will become well-acquainted with them. I remember as a child I wanted to be like Tarzan and swing from a palm tree. I really thought that was the coolest thing Tarzan did.

Clue: I love this area. It holds a special place in my heart. So much so, you will have already read about it in my blogtours.

Clue: It is one of 50 States. There, that should do it. If not, this will:

Dear Sister So and So:

You have been called to serve as a missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints.  You are assigned to labor in the Arizona, Phoenix Mission. It is expected that you will serve for a period of 18 months . . . yada yada Provo MTC Aug 13th, … yada, yada, English language …

ARIZONA HERE SHE COMES! Now, I'd be lying if I said she and I weren't just a wee bit disappointed she wasn't called to New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Europe, Latin America or Russia.  But it didn't take long for us to shout, "YEA, WE DON'T HAVE TO BUY COATS! Or, yea, no more 100 degree heat accompanied by a 130 degree heat index! No, we'll take a straight 115 degrees. Yea! Hallelujah!

Oh, and btw, Phoenix is gorgeous.  So my daughter is now doing the happy dance. When her friend found out, she said, "No, way. Are you serious? There's no way I could deal with that heat." Well, her friend put in her papers the same day my daughter did. Guess where she's going? I'll give you a hint. It rhymes with Hot Begas. How is she doing with that? Suddenly, heat is not a problem.

So I guess you could say this last month for me has been bittersweet. I never liked that word before. Now I know why.

Saturday, June 07, 2014

Bath Follies, Episode 6

The Assembly Ball. An event of the season whereby the wildest dreams of almost every hopeful young lady and young gentleman do come true, whilst the older couples, married and forever in their dotage, dance far into the evening—until, with an eventuality as common as retiring to bed each night, the women, seemingly much fatigued, take themselves off to sit with their female companions on benches or high back chairs so as to better observe the scene before them; and, the men do retire to the card-room to perhaps cheat, bluster or tell the most frightful Banbury tales about their days exploits! As to the former, the older contented women sit quietly, gazing serenely and with singular admiration at the majesty of the room: the numerous chandeliers, the ornate walls, the exquisite marquetry of wooden trim framing high back windows, before their keen eyes settle over the room and over all manner of persons strolling about. With their lorgnette's glued to one eye, these very same women do also gaze with a critical eye upon the most admirable of the Comparable Woman, even the titled and the gentry, to perhaps speak upon their remarkable, or unremarkable fashion sense as the case may be, before dwelling upon the next best thing: speaking civil whiskers of the most common type—some of it yet being roundly mean-spirited, some of it yet being practical and pragmatic to the core, and some of it yet stemming from a keen eye toward matchmaking in the interest of their young cubs! 
         However, the men, having no interest in the promulgation of idle gossip—and this is to be expected, for the male’s absorption in all things pertaining to manly pursuits, naturally reflects a tendency toward a conceit that is, at its worst, most selfish in nature, and, at its best, frivolous in the ways of light-hearted banter, which make it nigh on impossible to talk about the lives of others, or even about their peers, or other family members! Instead, male talk as to the usual centered around these important pursuits: the latest in male fashion for those Dandies who followed the exploits of Beau Brummell, horse flesh of the quality that might make even the most ascetic man wish his wife were so well equipped!, the latest boxing matches, and, for a few licentious males—how they do brag about their latest Bird of Paradise, and how they do pull the wool over their wives’s eye! Perhaps it is all a bag of moonshine, but of assurity the male tendency to exaggerate their position, their wealth, their sporting acumen, and their gallant successes with the ladies is ever an eternal one in the grand scheme of Life! 
          What was most certainly not to be expected at this particular Assembly Ball, was an action so shocking, so bosom-beating bad, so indescribably horrific, that it did cause vapors of the sort that fell three and quarter women, all of whom took with some immediacy to swooning in their chairs!; and, whereupon all of the sporting males did come running out of the card-room; and oh! even the Master of Ceremonies fell like a mighty tree in a forest of giant oak by the entrance to the Assembly room! It was a scandal of such prodigious proportions, with such a breech of manners, and with such a display of character deficiencies numbering into the hundreds that had ever been witnessed in the most decidedly dignified pump rooms of Bath! And it did most certainly leave one with a bitter taste in one’s mouth, like as to alfalfa added most injudiciously to a plump piece of apple pie, as people were for days upon days talking about the Scandal of the Century! People travelled from far and wide, from London, from Brighton, even Northumberland and Cornwall! and by whatever means necessary to view with their own eyes the infamous place where disaster had befallen the beleaguered and yet still beloved city of Bath! What would be the causation of such egregious manners and wanton conduct, which culminated in a devil-may-kill attack on the mores of society? It ‘were’ the ill-bred, barn-yard behavior between younger members of the aristocratic female set—two to be precise—!! But, yet is the author ever getting a wee bit ahead of herself! We must needs go back a fortnight or so prior to the Societal Scandal of the Season. 
           It had all begun innocently enough and within several days of Lady Angela’s complete humiliation on that infamous Sunday—days that our dear Lady Angela, in a fit of the blue-devils, had spent in bed sulking and eating to the excess food and sweet cakes snuck in by her dear brother Roger, and on his aunt’s most expensive sterling silver platter mind you!—as the cherished boy tried to lift the poorly spirits of his sister, only to be boxed in the ears and thrown out of the room upon the delivery of said platter! For it was at that precise moment, that is to say, the moment immediately following the delivery of the goods that Lady Angela required the calmness and quietness as a piece of lint falling gently to the floor, so as to hatch the first step of her plan to revenge the humiliation brought on by Lady Lucretia’s poaching of her heart’s desire, the villainous Lord Devilyn—the consequences of which would lead to the aforementioned most unfortunate, calamitous societal event ever. You see, Lady Angela’s patience having been sorely tried by the overly-solicitous concerns of her brother and aunt, with their constant fussy commiseration's and urgings to leave her sickbed, on the which it did leave her in such a foul-tempered state, that it was poor dear sweet Roger who would receive a box on the ears more often than not as his reward for attempting to lighten her spirits. 
         Lying prostrate in her bedchamber day after day, Lady Angela did chew cakes and candies, and plot, though taking time now and again to sally forth from her boudoir to embark on a nature walk with the only friend she had yet acquired in Bath, a Lady Cassandra Rumpling, a woman, who, though having the most bounteous generosity of nature which to her great misfortune quite matched her overly disproportionate figger; and, a figger which could thus be likened to an hourglass whereby the sand has sunk far to the bottom, and a woman, who, rather lacking in the prerequisites of fair wit and sharp wisdom, of which such qualities are a rarity in even the most well-endowed beauty of the day, but is of absolute necessity to snare a swell of the first stare, had a singular fondness for chattling on and on about mundane matters such that might even bore even the most talkative matron ever! Still, Lady Angela, despite these character deficiencies in her friend, had, in the main come to enjoy the woman’s companionship, for Lady Charlotte did have a most sensitive ear and a singular gift for listening, when she wasn’t talking that is to say! But to what decidedly and most intriguing purpose was behind the lovely ladies eagerly awaited walks, save for Lady Angela’s superficial desire for communion with nature? Was it the faint hope—and, a hope which lay so deeply seeded within the narrow and confined chambers of her heart much like the narrow-leafed campion did lie frozen in the Siberian perma-frost ever since the Ice Age, where, upon its discovery, it did flower some 30,000 years later?—that she might pray be witness to another sighting of His Lordship? 
         That remains to be seen, for though it has been said that hope springs eternal, what is not said is that in order to spring eternal, hope must ever be a constant, without the raging ebb and flow of a river turned to rapids! In our heroine’s case, hope was tres certainement not a constant; it sprang forth with consulting expediency. Therefore, regarding the whole of it, when the Lady Charlotte and the Lady Angela set out on their communal walks, each day our heroine would wonder to the crazy if she would run into the most exasperating, yet strangely quite fascinating man she had ever met. But, as is somewhat common when one’s expectations quite exceed the actuality, the ill-timed meeting never re-occurred as Lord Byron was acquitted elsewhere—to settle a debt perhaps?—so that, owing to Lady Angela’s very great mortification and disappointment at this reality, it did cast her spirits into a well of complete and utter darkness! to such an extent as to cause our heroine to sally forth back to her bed where the cycle of self-pity would begin again as she pondered more seriously this question:  how best to beat her formidable rival with a knock out punch so severe, it would secure for her the permanent affections of such a highborn gentleman as we know Lord Devilyn to be. Well, in regards to one possible answer; might it be by using the most normal, albeit with hints of trickery, method at her disposal—a method used by women of the ages to outdo their rivals—women who are to the usual on the cusp of decidedly questionable virtue, though, it is also to be admitted that in love and war where epic battles are fought over the kingly mane of the male lion, resorting to whatever means as necessary to gain the advantage is indeed fair play in all classes of society!—at least in the mind of Lady Angela, and perhaps Lady Lucretia as well.
         Suffice to say it was our heroine’s brother, Roger, who broke that cycle of morbidity of self-imposed misery that Lady Angela had decided to indulge in. There happened to commence one fine day in the which Lady Angela, accompanied by her aunt, Roger, and her bosom buddy friend, Lady Rumpling, all set about on a shopping expedition to find for Lady Angela the most exquisite gown for the ball, and with it, the most exquisite accessories to enrich the soon-to-be lavender muslin ballgown, with a rather daring cut of the bosom—most exceedingly low by any decent standards, and most decidedly unseemly for a girl of Lady Angela’s marital state, not to mention her good breeding! As the quartet ventured from shop to shop, Roger begged to be allowed to attend the Parade of the finest Arabian stallions ever, set to begin in the Sunday’s Park for the Aristocratic at precisely 2:00 pm. His Aunt Joan murmured acquiescence but with stern instructions, of which I can assure you that Roger did fail to heed on account of he was halfway to the Park before the last murmurings did leave his aunt’s lip! It is, therefore, no wonder that Roger became an urgent object of concern when he did not reappear at his aunt’s side by that prearranged agreement.
        “I do declare I shall box his ears so completely, he shall not be able to hear for days and days,” proclaimed our Lady Angela in a most frightful hint of tone, such as one might use to scare away a pestiferous rat. “Where oh where can he be, Auntie Joan?” Up and down the walk way did she pace and fume, her bonnet a tour de force for her anger as it did slip precariously from the crown of her head with each step.
       “Now, now, my dear,” Lady Brumbly murmured reassuringly, whilst glancing about to see if any of her society friends were, pray as naught, witness to the scene, “doubtless your brother will appear shortly with some grotesque ground-bobble creature in his hand. Still, had I my wits about me I would have set his fob to the half-hour short of when he was to meet us.”As if not to be left out of this singularly important conversation, Lady Rumpling did her best to reassure her dear friend as well, preferring to stave off a fit of the blue-devils, or heaven forbid, should her fair Lady Angela raise a breeze such as could lead to social embarrassment. “Pray where in the name of heaven can he have gone, my dearest Angela? Oh! we must think very hard. Perhaps a solution will present itself.”
       A solution did indeed shortly present itself, but not in an ordinary way; nay, only in such a way as to take a gel’s mind off her immediate troubles in the which the object of concern or reproach is no longer the subject of the problem. And what would cause our Lady Angela to completely erase from her mind the immediacy of worry over Roger’s whereabouts? Only one person alone could do such a thing!—Lord Byron Devilyn. Indeed, it was the sudden appearance of His Lordship on that most blackest of horses, Lucifer, a beautiful stepper whose hooves routinely dance the streets of Bath with the superb grace and the supreme lightness of a prima ballerina, and whose nose does blow with the splendor of Aithan, the fire-snorting, haughty and most divine steed of Ares, the son of Boreas the Wind-God of the North!; and, upon whose back is now seated not only the most splendid and handsomest of men on the finest saddle Lady Angela has ever seen, but upon a saddle which seem to meld straight away into Lucifer’s magnificently curved back as like marmalade on a scone! Of course, and not to put too fine a point upon it at the risk of redundancy, dear reader, it is to be remembered that these same magnificent hooves of which I write, were verily instrumental in the completest destruction of Lady Angela’s most beautiful bonnet! a fact, for which I can assure you, our ladyship has forgiven the fiery horse most completely.
        “Oh!” exclaimed Cassandra with caricatural awe as the magnificent rider drew near, his eyes put forth straight ahead as if he were nescient of all the admiring glances of every female on every block! “I do believe he is looking your way, dearest Angela!” Or, he was not for Cassandra could not see the straightforwardness of Lord Devilyn’s gaze from whence she was standing; therefore, it is to be suspicioned that it was merely wishful thinking on her part.
          No matter, as Lady Angela had scarcely lent an ear to her friend’s comment so wrapped up was she in her own thoughts in regard as to how she would speak to His Lordship when—and make no mistake upon the matter, Lady Angela was confident to the utmost extreme that our Villainous Lord would, at the very least, politely countenance her presence because to believe otherwise would simply not do—he reined in his horse beside her; like, as to whether she should speak first or curtsy, and if she thus spake first, what would she say, or, horror upon horror! supposing she lost all manner of speech and could utter infantile sounds only her dearly departed mother would understand? Would that not be the most humiliating thing ever? No, it would not, though this question also must be asked: how much more humiliation could our Lady Angela endure without suffering a complete loss of her spirited nature? We would know almost immediately, for Lord Byron Devilyn trotted on by without so much as a glance at our heroine, without so much as a by-your-leave, and with not one scintilla of recognition, for he did not even deign to turn his head to the right, nor to the left, but continued only to look straightforward, as if his quarry—as in the way of a fox teasing a hound—was fashioned in the direct line of his vision!

Finally! Hopefully it won't take another six months to get an episode out. I been kinda busy this last month. And it's not 'cos I been sick. That's ovah, praise to every living creature on this here earth. Nope, my daughter, UteroKid, is about to embark on probably the most important 18 months of her life. I'm so excited I haven't been able to write much. Not to mention getting her ready for this momentous occasion. She's heading out to serve a mission for the Mormons. Now, I'm not a church goer myself, as I've indicated before, but she and her father are pretty devoted. Shame on me, huh?  Fortunately, I'm told God loves sinners such as myself. And that's pretty much the extent of my religious knowledge other than me trying to live by the Golden Rule. Sometimes, I succeed. Sometimes, I've been known to curse like a sailor on dry land, and beat the hell out of carpets on a clothesline! But I do see great value in dedicating one's life to a cause one believes in, even if it's only for a short amount of time. And that's why I'm so excited for her. Not only that, I also have a new perspective/patience with Mormon Missionaries, Jehovah's Witnesses, as well as missionaries from other religious organizations. 

So that's been my life the last month or so. There were health, dental and insurance forms to be filled out, interviews to be had, and meetings to go to before she finally sent her papers into SLC last week. And now, we wait…FOR THE CALL. It will come in a large white envelope with a booklet and letter which will say(in part):

Dear Sister SoAndSo,

You have been called to serve as a Missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints. You are assigned to labor in the ???? (DD's first choice is the England, London, or Scotland/Ireland Mission.)

BUT, there is an almost no chance it will read:

Dear Sister SoAndSo,

You have been called to serve as a missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints. You are assigned to labor in the Lost City of Atlantis. You will be prepared to preach the gospel in Ancient Greek. (daughter faints dead away, Mother shouts hooray)

Now you have to understand that for a lot of young Mormon prospective missionaries, serving a mission in the US of A is not usually the preferred choice. Most want to go international to exotic places like Madagascar. 

For one Elder this is what actually happened:

Dear Elder SoAndSo,

You have been called to serve as a missionary of the COJCOLDS. You are assigned to labor in the Greenville, SC mission. (Elder is from California. He has bewildered look on his face. "Greenville SC. Where's that?  You mean all the way over there? ... It's hot there, isn't it?  They speak English, right?"  Funnily enough, it turns out he'll be preaching the gospel in the Spanish Language. So he's happy.

Anyway, my daughter's MISSION CALL will be in by next Friday. And for the devoted readers of my blog, (all 200 of you every month with the understanding that probably 195 of you are drive by), you will be the first to know where she is going, outside of the immediate family. Hokay?? I'll also have funny video up on this subject next week before the call comes.

Have a great weekend! I know I will. 

Monday, May 12, 2014

Hercule Poirot, Episode 5

“Come in, come in, Japp old man. I must regretfully tell you that Miss Lemon has now disappeared! She was not here when I arrived at Poirot’s very tidy apartment. I have tried to call her seven times this morning, but she has not answered any of my calls. I am at a loss as to what to do next.” Captain Hastings leads Inspector Japp into the front room where the two men slump onto the couch.

“It was a right nasty night and now you bring me more bad news.” Inspector Japp takes the letter out of his pocket. “Maybe we’ve missed a clue in the letter, eh Mr. Hastings?” He reads the letter out loud.Meet me at the gardens of St. Mary Metfelon in Whitechapel at midnight. Come alone. Do not bring the police. Do not bring your assistants. If you do, all will be lost. Heed this letter well, Mr. Poirot. If you do not, the entire fate of our government, of our country, rest on your response to my urgent request!”  The inspector stares at the letter as if he thinks there is a secret code embedded in it.

Captain Hastings stands up and begins to pace. “I read that demme bloody letter until I practically went blind, Inspector. I have it memorized. It is melodramatic to the extreme and makes no real sense on the face of it.” 

“Well, now, Mr. Hastings, I think we can be sure of two things: one, that it was written by a hysterical, or, and what is more likely, a desperate woman; two, she is quite familiar with our Mr. Poirot and his living habits.”

“And just how do you arrive at those two conclusions, Inspector Japp?”

“Simple . . . first, the lavendar perfume clinging to the letter tells me the author of this missive is female. Second, it is obvious this woman knows the great Poirot has assistants; you and Miss Lemon to be precise. Which means she has made a mistake, however small.” Inspector Japp stands.  “In that vein, I will need a list of all his clients, friends and acquaintances, past and present.”

Hastings stops his pacing. “Of course, Inspector. In the meantime, what shall I do?”

You will wait. There will doubtless be a ransom demand. Either through postal or the phone.” The detective taps a forefinger on his nose. “A word of caution if I may, Mr. Hastings. You will do well to stay clear-headed, and not leap to dire conclusions. I am sure we will see Mr. Poirot through this alright.”

“But what about Miss Lemon, Inspector Japp? Something surely has happened to her!”

Inspector Japp shakes his head ruefully, “Now, now, that’s just the sort of thing I’ve been talking about, Mr. Hastings. I imagine Miss Lemon is running a wee bit late. Doubtless she will walk through the door not five minutes after I have left.” He heads for the door, then turns around, and says sternly,  “Keep your wits about you, man! We are in a pickle of a situation here to be sure. And remember, you are to call me the very instant a ransom demand comes in. No matter what the kidnapper says. Do you understand? Any delay, Hastings, could mean the difference between . . . well, I don’t think I need spell it out, do you?” Inspector Japp stares hard at Hastings. The former soldier rings his collar and bobs his head up and down with the energy of a woodpecker carving a masterpiece.

“Good.” Japp leaves. Hastings heads to the phone and tries to call Miss Lemon again. There is no reply. Torn between a strong desire to check up on her, or stay by the phone to wait for the ransom demand, the conflicted man decides to do the former.  After all, Miss Lemon has never ever been late to work he tells himself. There has to be a connection, he thinks.  Off he goes. Five minutes later, the phone rings.


“‘Ere now, wot you on about then? Ge’ off wit’ you! Don’ take kindly to strangers ‘round ‘ere. This is a roight respectable place it is.” A portly pint-sized woman stares hard at Hastings with hands on hips, the lines on her face scrunched together. Hastings stands in front of Miss Lemon’s apartment door looking sheepish having pounded on it for a bit. 

“Oh, I’m very sorry Madam. But, I’m looking for Miss Lemon. She didn’t show up for work this morning. Concerned for her welfare you see.”

“Well, I don’ know nuvvin about that. I ain’ seen ‘er Ladyship(snicker, snicker) since yest’day.”

(Affronted) “I say, no need to be rude is there?”

(Snort) ‘ave you seen ‘er nose lately?”

“I beg your pardon?”

“It were up in the clouds, it were, wit’ those hoity-toity airs of ‘ers. Someone roightly needs to bring ‘er down a peg or two. Or mebbe . . . they already ‘ave, eh?”  She cackles and stumps off. 

“There’s a right nasty woman,” Hastings mumbles. He heads back to Poirot’s apartment. Once inside he takes a seat beside the phone on Poirot’s desk and opens the newspaper. Occasionally, he glances at the phone willing it to ring. It finally does.

Hastings jumps. He grabs, then briefly fumbles the receiver.  . . . “Hello, Hello, Hello! . . . I say, is anyone there? . . . What’s that you say? Speak up, man . . . A battery what? . . . NO, we don’t have need of a battery eliminator. Good day.”  Hangs up with sufficient force, shakes his head in frustration, then mumbles . . . “Battery eliminator indeed.”  The phone immediately rings again. Hastings snatches it up. “Hello, who is this, and it better be demmed important!” The color drains from his face. “Oh, it’s you Japp ol’ man. WHAT’S THAT YOU SAY? . . . A woman’s body? It couldn’t be . . . I see . . . yes, I’ve got it . . . in Whitechapel near St. Mary Metfelon. Of course, I’ll meet you there.” He slams down the phone and flies out of the apartment, a feeling of dread overtaking him!

Meanwhile, a shadowy figure in black, watches Hastings from across the street as the harried man jumps into his roadster and blasts down the road. The figure slips into the apartment building Hastings has just vacated.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Mamie Barlowe, Episode 8


“Sit down, Mr. COB III. And when I say sit, I mean sit: don’t move, don’t talk, don’t look at me, capiche?” I’m impressed by the man’s fluid moves as he reaches the chair in record time, the kind of moves that tell me he spends most of his time on the dance floor. A white-gloved hand dusts the seat of the chair, the back, the legs, and underneath the seat. He sits his tookus down and slowly crosses one expertly creased pant leg over the other. After that, he reaches down and brushes pixie dust off the ivory spats covering his shoes. I wanna cry with happiness when he straightens up and sits still. At least the man’s respectful. 
Ok, my turn buster. I open my desk drawer. But I’m not looking for anything, see. Still, I reach in and scramble the pens and bullets lying around. I do this for a few seconds making sure I have Mr. COB III’s attention. I do. His face twitches with aggravation. I quickly plan my next move. SLAM! The drawer shuts with such force Mr. COB III practically jumps out of the chair. Good. I want him on the edge, see. He’s got major explaining to do. “Empty your pockets, Mr. COB III. I hope you included your birth certificate, or this appointment is over.” 
His eyes are a pale mixture of yellow and green slime. Not attractive. Worse, he’s staring at me bug-eyed. “What? Is that really n-n-necessary, Miss B-B-Barlowe.” He sniffs, and the tilt of his nose rises up high, so high it wouldn’t take much to shoot it down. 
           I reach into my shoulder holster. He tenses. The man’s eyes widen like he suspects he’s about to become a victim. The laugh’s on him. I pull out my wallet. “Look, Mr. COB III, I’m only gonna tell you this one more time: empty your pockets! NOW!” The dangerous glare of my eyes finally reaches the control center of his brain. He empties his pockets in record time. Then makes like he’s gone stiff, you know, the kind of stiff that says, I’m dead, send for the coroner.  “That’s better.” I rifle through the following items: birth certificate, monogrammed hanky with the initials, CB, embroidered in what looks like 18 carat gold thread, a pair of diamond-studded cufflinks, a fine leather black wallet, designer eye-glasses, car keys, matches, cigarettes and a button, smooth, the color of melt-in-my-mouth cocoa. I hold up the matches. “Not a lighter man I take it?”
“N-n-no. Hate the things. I-I kept b-b-burning the t-tip of my nose. I’m far-sighted, you see.”
“Maybe wearing your glasses would help.”
“No. I have m-more control lighting a muh-muh-muh-muh-muh-muh-match.”
I can’t explain what happens next. A dollop of empathy touches my heart. Ouch. Might as well dip my finger in acid. I mentally shake the feeling off. But what I can’t shake is the thought that Mr. COB III must be the tookus of all jokes with that speech impediment. Can’t buy his way out of that humiliation. I do something I rarely do with clients. I smile briefly. To help him relax. Then I look over his things. But in the back of my mind, I’m wondering why he had such an awful time saying “match.” The hanky has a spot of red in the upper right hand corner. I sniff at it. Lipstick. I know the brand. When I look at the man, he’s busy staring at the crease in his pant leg. “So, why did you call me last night, Mr. COB III?”
“As I t-t-told you on the phone, I simply would like to know why my wife h-h-hired you.”
“Why don’t you ask her?”

“She’s . . . she’s out of t-t-town.”
“Call her.”
“I tried. She d-d-doesn’t pick up.”
“You mean she won’t take your calls. So, where is she?”
“Um . . . well I-I’m n-n-not sure to t-t-tell you the truth. We’ve b-b-been having a few troubles lately. N-n-nothing serious, of course.”
“Of course.” I stare hard at him. He stares hard at me. Interesting. Time to hit a nerve.     Mr. COB III, what makes you think she hired me?” 
“Well, again, as I said b-b-before on the phone, I f-f-found your card in m-my wife’s wastebasket.” He taps his foot impatiently.
I pull out my wastebasket. “Mr. COB III, what’s the first thing you see in this metal trash receptacle?”
“Uh . . . a small p-p-pizza b-b-box.”
“Who do you suppose ate the pizza that was in the box?” A long silence. He’s thinking this is a trick question.
“Uh . . . you d-d-did?”
“No. My secretary did, capiche?”
“Oh. I g-g-guess when I saw your c-c-card I automatically assumed—”
“You’re lying, Mr. COB III. You know what I think?”
His eyes widen in fear, as if I’m a dentist holding a chainsaw in front of his mouth. Then he shakes his head.
“Do you wanna know what I think?”
He has that trapped-in-a-steamer-trunk look now. He hesitantly nods his head. “B-b-but I can assure you, I’m n-not lying.”
“Did you happen to bring the card with you?”
A furrow knots his forehead, you know the kind, the kind that says no-I-didn’t-bring-the-card-with-me, but-I’ll-stall-a-little-and-make-her-think-I-had, followed closely by the checking of all pockets. I wait patiently as he goes through the standard progression of the search. First, there’s inside the coat pocket. Next, there’s the shirt pocket. Then, there’s the two back pants pockets, and finally, the coup de grace, the two front pants pockets. Confused? Take a pill. As for me, I’m more than bored by this time. I struggle to suppress a yawn. “No card, Mr. COB III?”
“I’m sorry. I thought I had brought it w-with me, b-b-but . . .”
Patience is a virtue they say. In my case, a just-this-very-minute acquired one. “Ok, Mr. COB III. Let’s lay our ‘cards’ on the table, shall we? You didn’t call me to find out why your wife hired me. How do I know that? Because you already knew she’d hired me. In my business, it’s almost a given, and let me repeat, ALMOST a given that a spouse knows when their significant other has hired a private dick, see. It starts like this: one spouse, let’s call her, Fabel Schmoe, thinks hubby, let’s call him Joe, is cheating. That starts Fabel on the road to investigation. She checks hubby’s pockets, cellphone, credit cards, cars, whatever. When that doesn’t pan out, the simple questions start, like, “Sweetie, what did you do today?” Maybe Fabel likes the answer, maybe she doesn’t. If she’s smart, she doesn’t. Then the questions become more probing, like, “Honey, I tried to call you all day yesterday. You never picked up. Where were you?” I guarantee she won’t like the answer, but, she might pretend to. Why? Simple. She’s already decided to call me. But what Fabel doesn’t know, is that Joe is a pretty smart cookie himself. He figures out ahead of time wifey won’t like his answer. So, Joe can go two ways with this: he can drop Ms. Hot Potato like a hockey puck, or, he can continue to mash her and keep a close eye on wifey’s comings and goings. That means he checks her cellphone, credit cards, etc . . . capische? So, why did you really call me? And I want a straight answer this time.” 
The man’s face has the look of somebody who opens a present and finds it empty. “I d-d-don’t understand the point you’re trying to m-m-make here. I’m not ch-cheating on Roxy! And she’s not ch-cheating on m-m-me . . . is she?”
“The point I was trying to make, badly as it turns out Mr. COB III, is that when it comes to marital relationships, it’s very rare that one spouse doesn’t know what the other is doing. So, you didn’t find my card in the trash. You searched her things.”
He slumps back in his chair, and starts to feverishly rub his forehead. That’s the look Custer might have had if he’d survived the massacre. Time for Mr. COB III to hoist the white flag. He does. “Ok, yes. B-b-by coming here, I was hoping you would eventually t-t-tell me, or, if you wouldn’t t-t-ell me, that I might then be able to p-p-ersuade you, if the price was right, of course, to t-t-tell me if m-m-my wife is cheating on me with Reggie.”
“Reggie?” For just a second there, I’m afraid there’s a triplet lurking behind door number 3.
“Reginald Othello Binghorton II. My identical twin brother. He’s younger. By ten minutes.”
“Last time I saw your twin, his body looked like a war zone.” Mr. COB III is flabbergasted. I don’t see many clients react that way in my line of work. Mostly because they tend to be manipulators. 
           “You met Reggie? How? Why?” The “why” ended on a whine.
Put his questions on ignore. I hate whiners. “So, how did your brother sustain his injuries, Mr. COB III?” 
He clears his throat trying to get back on the train. “He was sideswiped b-b-b-y an automobile. But why—”
“A car.”
“Yes. At least that’s w-what he t-t-t-told me. What did he t-tell you?”
“A lot, and you won’t like any of it. But I can’t talk about it. Client confidentiality.” 
“Client confid—you m-m-mean, Reggie h-h-h-ired you? Why? That doesn’t make any sense.”
For the first time since he sat down, Mr. COB III looks visibly upset.
“It does if you want protection, see.”
Mr. COB III becomes indignant. I see a lot of clients react that way in my line of work. Mostly because they have an inflated sense of self. 
          “Protection from whom? That’s utterly ridiculous.”
No stutter. Hmm . . . I eye him with growing suspicion. I’m not sure why. “Mr. COB III, when’s the last time you saw Roxy?”
He frowns like he just discovered the moon is not made out of cheese. “N-n-not too long ago.”
“A day, a week, a month . . . more than that?”
“A couple of weeks, maybe. I’ve lost track of time. Been away on b-b-business. When I returned home, she was guh-guh-gone.”
“I see. So, a few days ago you didn’t parachute out of a plane with your wife in tow?”
“What utter nonsense is that? I d-d-don’t even like to fly, Miss B-B-Barlowe. I travel by ship or trains.”  He stares at me like I just landed a plane in the middle of his forehead. Don’t blame him. None of this is making any sense to me, either.
“When’s the last time you saw Mr. ROB III?”
“My brother? About the t-t-time I got back. Reggie always needs a hand out. Smart he isn’t.”
“And you haven’t heard from him since then?”
“N-no. Why?”

“One last thing. Do you have a picture of Roxy with you?”
“Yes. I b-b-buh-lieve I do.” He brings out the wallet and opens it up to a pic of a dame I recognize from our brief acquaintance. She’s lost in a time warp judging by her fashion sense. “B-b-b-beautiful, isn’t she?”
I sniff the air. Something smells rotten and it isn’t coming from Vera’s portable cooking apparatus she keeps in a desk drawer. The scent of lies, lies and more darn lies permeates my breathing space. It’s time to move on from this case. I got other birds to kill. I shove the contents from his pockets to his side of the desk. “You can leave now, Mr COB III. We’re done here. Stop by my secretary’s desk and leave a $1000 consultation fee.”
“B-b-but you haven’t t-t-told me what I want to know.” 
“Ok. How about this? If I see you, or your brother, or Roxy walk into this office again, I’m going to take out my Glock and fire a warning shot into the floor. I will then count to three. That means you need to be out the door before I reach three. If you aren’t, the next shot will find tookus skin . . . yours, capiche?”
The formerly stuttering, mild-mannered gentleman slams out of his chair shouting, “WHAT? HOW DARE YOU SPEAK TO ME LIKE THAT?” He’s blowing enough steam to power a boat up and down the Mississippi for weeks. “HOW DARE YOU! I WILL NOT STAND FOR THIS KIND OF SHODDY TREATMENT. I INTEND TO LEAVE THIS OFFICE AND HEAD STRAIGHT TO THE POLICE STATION TO INFORM THEM OF YOUR THREATS! YOU, MADAM, ARE A PSYCHO.”
            Sometime during his grand speech, I’ve taken out my new glock. Time to fire. I do. Straight into the floor. Before I start counting, he dashes out of my office like a mug whose tookus is on fire. Graceful though. Those dance lessons paid off pretty good!

Well, I don't know about you but I'm all confused! Identical twins + one cheating spouse + more lies than I can keep track of + Mamie suddenly dropping the entire case = wtf am I reading here?  What is this author trying to do to me? Is it worse than shingles which continues to linger on and on to the point I can't write? Will Mamie solve her cases faster than I'm recovering from shingles? Will I hire Mamie to excise my shingles with a platinum bullet and a golden smile? And will it be as painless as shooting bullets into a floor?  

Stay tuned.  In the next episode of Mamie Barlowe, we meet Mamie's Aunt Flo. What part does this fuddly duddly spicy adorable character play in this whatchmacallit piece of fiction funsy? And just where is Mother Barlowe? Up to no good if you ask me! And will Mamie ever have a come to papa meeting with Chill Tornado? And what deviously, fiendishly but not very clever plans does an impulse control challenged freak like Sable Mink have for Mamie Barlowe? (FYI, The answer to the last three questions will not be in the next episode) 

Monday, January 13, 2014

TMPC, Episode 3, part 2

New chat started

Lil’Con has logged on.

Lil’Con: Hello?
*1 Minute passes*

Lil’Con: Is anyone logging on?
*1 Minute passes*

Lil’Con: Am I all alone?
. . .
Lil’Con: It’s 4:03 and we’re supposed to start at 4:00.
*2 Minutes pass*

Lil’Con: You guys where are you? Did you all die?
. . .
Lil’Con: Did the universe do something to you?
*1 minute passes*

Lil’Con: I don’t like being alone. Sometimes I think things I shouldn’t when I’m alone.

CorpusOrgan1 has logged on.

CorpusOrgan1: Confucius what are you talking about?

Lil’Con: Aristotle! Hey! I was talking about. . .nothing where have you been?

CorpusOrgan1: School bus was late. Apparently, our regular driver was “sick,” so they had to get a substitute.

Lil’Con: Why do you say it like that?

CorpusOrgan1: It’s well known that the only kind of illness he contracts is the same one my mother gets when she’s had one too many at the pub.

Lil’Con: Oh, my, was he fired?

CorpusOrgan1: No, it’s also well known that he is having relations with the principal, so she always covers for him.

Lil’Con: That’s dangerous, what if he drinks while driving next time?

CorpusOrgan1: We should be alright, he normally stays under the legal limit.

Lil’Con: Have you heard at all from Plato?

CorpusOrgan1: No, he’s sent me nothing.

Lil’Con: What’s keeping him? Why doesn’t he just make another account?

CorpusOrgan1: I believe he’s tried. I’ve been keeping record of new users for the past week, and I’ve seen PlatoTheGreat, WonderPlato, PlatoNumber1, PlatoOneRepublic, and others to that nature make an account, but they are almost immediately banned afterwords.

Lil’Con: How is Socrates doing this?

CorpusOrgan1: I honestly have no idea. I’ve notified administrators of Socrates’ behavior, but I’ve heard nothing back.

Lil’Con: I guess there’s not much we can do than.

CorpusOrgan1: No, I guess not.
. . .
Lil’Con: So...what should we talk about then?

CorpusOrgan1: We could discuss the morality of ObamaCare.

Lil’Con: I haven’t kept up with it. My parents haven’t been very affected by it.

CorpusOrgan1: It’s helped my mother. Her new medical insurance allows her to take the pills she needs without worrying about the cost of getting her stomach pumped when she takes too many. 

Lil’Con: When she takes too many? I apologize if this comes off poorly but how is your mother still alive?

CorpusOrgan1: She has one of those Medical alert wrist things you activate when you’re in trouble and can’t get to a phone. The people at the hospital don’t even confirm it anymore they just send over the ambulance.

Lil’Con: I think your mother is in great need of reevaluating her needs for self-satisfaction, or at least a good rehab.

TheGreatPlato has logged on.

TheGreatPlato: Hello all.

Lil’Con: Plato! How did you get your account back?

CorpusOrgan1: Confucius, don’t get excited. I doubt this is Plato.

TheGreatPlato: It is I, Aristotle. I was given the most recent password for this account-Platolovesdembigbootyhoes. Which is not true, by the way.

CorpusOrgan1: Who gave it to you?

TheGreatPlato: My mother. She called his mother who forced him to give it up.

Lil’Con: Wow, so is he not going to bother us anymore?

TheGreatPlato: I have no idea, but I am dubious. He tends not to give up, as you have seen.

Lil’Con: Well, at least for now we can continue with our discussions. What should be the topic for today?

CorpusOrgan1: How about the morality of deceivers?

Lil’Con: We talked about that a few months ago, remember? 

CorpusOrgan1: We did, but I believe we need a refresher course.

TheGreatPlato: Or, how about we discuss Aristotle and his current need to make unsubtle digs at me instead of speaking plainly of his feelings?

CorpusOrgan1: That’s fine with me. Socrates, you are a lying, immature, egomaniacal asshat and should take that Plato-sized bug up your butt and shove it up your nose, into the primary motor cortex of your brain, and let it eat all the neurons that control your hands so that the only way they will be useful is if you surgically amputate them and donate them to someone who will use the power of these hands to do non-destructive, half-way morally decent things!

Lil’Con: My goodness, Aristotle!

TheGreatPlato: As brutal, crass, and incorrect as Aristotle’s little tantrum was, I think there is some truth there. Socrates has some issues he needs to work on.

CorpusOrgan1: You would know, Socrates!

Lil’Con: Would you come off that? It is very apparent that this is not Socrates. He would have flown off the handle by now, if he were.

CorpusOrgan1: He’s keeping himself in line on purpose, he is trying to troll us!

TheGreatPlato: Trolling is such an uncouth word. Are we sure you are not Socrates, Aristotle?

CorpusOrgan1: How can I be Socrates when you are Socrates?

Lil’Con: Maybe we are all Socrates.

CorpusOrgan1: Don’t get in to that “we are the world” bull, Confucius.

Lil’Con: I just mean, maybe we all have the ability to be a Socrates at one time or another.

TheGreatPlato: Or is it possible, Aristotle, that you’ve been taking secret swigs from the bottles in your mother’s vast alcoholic beverage collection?
. . .
CorpusOrgan1: I’m going to say this once, and only once you son of a bitch. Do not. Speak ill. Of my mother.

TheGreatPlato: I didn’t say anything about her, I was only mentioning her admirably large interest in alcohol. I think its wonderful that she has something she obviously cares so much about.

CorpusOrgan1: Do you see this, Confucius?! He is riling me up on purpose! That is a very Socrates thing to do!

SocRocks9 has logged on.

. . .
Lil’Con: Oh, dear.

TheGreatPlato: What are you doing here?!

SocRocks9: YOUR MOM

CorpusOrgan1: Plato? Is that you?


TheGreatPlato: You shouldn’t talk about yourself like that, Socrates! You have no idea the damage it will do!



CorpusOrgan1: What is happening?

Lil’Con: Plato and Socrates are showing a gross amount of hatred for themselves. Boys, you are none of the things you are saying! You each have your. . .good. . .qualities. 

TheGreatPlato: Thank you, Confucius.

Lil’Con: I mean, you are, at least, somewhat better than what you’re saying. . .I mean, you’ve done some pretty awful things Socrates, like insulting us, threatening us, hacking into our accounts, trying to get us in trouble with our moms. . .You know what, I take it back Socrates, you’re a piece of [censored].

TheGreatPlato: HEY



SocRocks9: And pop goes the incredibly moronic weasel. 

CorpusOrgan1: I knew it!

Lil’Con: So wait, Socrates is now TheGreatPlato, and Plato is now SocRocks9?

SocRocks9: Not for long. Socrates is about to give me my screenname back, and quit blocking any new ones I make.


SocRocks9: Yes, you will. You see, I’m currently in the backroom of a computer store, where someone who is very good at computers has helped me to hack into not only your account, but your IP address. And before you go deleting your browser history, you should know that I have already made copies of it and will be mailing it to your mother.


SocRocks9: That will not work. You see, I’m having this specially mailed so that it will be required for her to sign for it.
. . .
TheGreatPlato: DAMNIT

SocRocks9: That’s right, turn to expletives. It’s what you’re best at. Now give me my screenname back!


SocRocks9: I expected nothing less.

SocRocks9 and TheGreatPlato have logged out.

Lil’Con: My head hurts.

CorpusOrgan1: Take a mixture of Ibuprofen, Advil and Aspirin my mother says it works for her all the time.

SocRocks9 and TheGreatPlato have logged in.

Lil’Con: Please tell me you are both who you should be.

TheGreatPlato: People are never and always who they should be, Confucius.





SocRocks9 has logged out.

SocRocks9 has been banned from the chatroom.

TheGreatPlato: Not until next time, Socrates.

CorpusOrgan1: And Socrates has just sent me another pleasant message.



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TheGreatPlato: That’s just wonderful.