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Friday, November 25, 2016

The Quilt



"In reality, the woman belonged to sometime else as she was just here at this time by accident. A slip of the cosmic order had caused her to be born out of sequence, under the wrong stars. She had been overlooked by the universe. In the book of all names and beings, she was unlisted, with no past nor future written down for her. She was invisible to the gods, the passage of time and the protection of the stars."

Saturday, November 19, 2016

escaping into fiction

In the late 50's I spent most after school hours in the public library waiting for my father to pick me up on his way home from work. I wore out the children's library in short order and haunted the upstairs, adult stacks where there many places to hide with whatever books I could reach.

I was in third grade when I read John Hershey's “Hiroshima”. I remember taking it to the desk and asking the librarian if it was a true story. Alarmed, she asked, “Have you read it yet?” I knew I was probably in trouble, but I had to answer true. She looked at me sadly and said, “Yes, I'm sorry to say it really happened.”

Not long after,  I was sent home from school for refusing to participate in the duck and cover exercises that were supposed to save us in the event of an atomic bomb attack. I told anyone who would listen that the wall of windows and bricks in our classroom would bury and burn us alive and we'd all be dead of radioactive rain and we'd never see our families again because they would all be burned and buried in our houses. My mother was called to school. I would not be budged. Thenceforth, if drills were planned, I would spend the time in the principal's office, filled with dread for my friends who were buying into this sham.

That knot of dread flared in me again after the election results became clear.


I came to WUUCON with 220 thousand words worth of bread and circuses, which I will finish. Thanks to Donald Maass, I left with the hard kernel of another book that will be one of the one hundred that could make a difference.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

the real post WUUCON

For those of you who don't know, this is WUUCON. It was grand, but now we are back and the task it to apply all that we learned to whatever we are working on.

Picture trying to swallow a Whopper whole, no chewing permitted.

I feel for the people who came to the conference with what they thought were completed manuscripts. There  were more than a few people with that pie-eyed, deer- in-the-headlights look on their faces as Lisa Cron crossed her forearms to make one of her many points or Donald Maass' eerie silences hovered over us as he studied the distance and waited for you to really absorb what he just said.

All I have is a raggedy first draft. I don't think you call it an autopsy when the patient is still alive, but that's my task at hand. There will be screaming. Tears.

To that end, I made a fresh start yesterday by relocating my workspace. The studio is still all about the textiles, stitching and visual art in a big way and mess. In one corner is the small desk and computer where I do the heinous day job. Until I have the heart to repurpose the room Jim so lovingly made perfect for me, no writing in here.

 I used to haul the laptop onto my bed for anticipated long stretches of writing. Those stretches never lasted as long as they should have because it was physically uncomfortable after an hour or so no matter how many pillows I propped around me. Being bedridden is not conducive to clear thinking, much less creative writing.

While I was away, Colin kept his promise and cleared 75% of his crap from the living room. To where I don't want to know. There is now an actual couch and a coffee table and a chair. I found an old folding tray table and have the laptop perched on it now. The chair is acceptable. So last night, I got to it and immediately fell back into the trap of tweaking scenes already written. Pearl polishing. But I worked on one with an eye to the notes that I took from both DM and LC. and there was progress.
"yeah. that's killer. use it."

Some who know them might argue that their respective takes on the writing process are at odds. Don't care.  I'm taking what I need from all like a thief in the night. I had to work at stifling my cackles while I was taking notes during the seminars.

So while I fiddled around with one scene, deep in my heart I know there are at least three (that were gnawing at my hindbrain all week) that have to be petted and calmed, walked out of the shed and have their furry throats slit while their hearts still beat. I may be able to salvage some skin or bone but there will be blood.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Post WUUCON

I posted the following to the group FB page.

I'm late to this dance too. My first two hours off the plane were spent explaining my absence to a two-year-old who acquired language while I was gone and he wasn't buying my story. His watchword, the one all writers should quiver in front of, was “Why?” quickly followed by, “Hello, Nana.” simultaneously comforting himself with my return and scolding me for going in the first place.
Maybe it's because I'm reaching old. Maybe my heart is just too scarred over, but I felt myself unwilling or unable to lean into to the sweet gravity of camaraderie that flashed all around me like groundling firecrackers. It was all wonderful to behold, felt like backing your butt up to a bonfire, not too close, thanks. I knew I wasn't alone in my reticence. The ghosts were not on the sixth floor at all.
None of this to say I'm sad or sorry. On the contrary, I feel like I've been on a successful raiding party and have come home weighed down with pirated booty. Nope, not one single washcloth found it's way into my bag. It is the knowledge, the learning, the hints and warnings, the mysteries revealed and secrets shared. I'm rich, I tell you, rich! Do pirates say Thank you?
So now, I'm setting my wayback machine to the late 60's (Scootch closer, children. Let me tell you tales of love and rebellion.) Time to take stock of these treasures, go deep and get this job done and the next one begun. I'll come out to give blood every month or so - it's a special blend - and I'll keep tending the babies until I get them right too. Until 2018 my friends.


Sunday, September 25, 2016

revision hell. pt. 1, section b. (ad infinitum)



The trouble with bad guys is, there's no trouble. You just don't get their perspective on the situation.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

retreat

It's not my blue heaven, but it will surely do. A good friend lives a short drive away and the complex is keeping the pool opened and maintained as long as the warm weather holds.

We seem to be the only ones who know about it!


For a while now I've been struggling with Scrivener, trying to make it print out only the synopsis. Even in the windows version, I can see the MAC mind of the designer everywhere. This PC brain finally solved the problem and I was able to bring a list of scenes with me, poolside.

Reading and thinking my way through them and it dawned on me. You really can't kill the main protag three-fourths of the way through the book. Nope. Other less significant things were revealed, but this one's a biggie.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Her First Magic

    Annabea and Tam had been secretly teaching each other to read and write since the little girl could sit up and hold a crayon. Tam had never learned and was reluctant to subject herself to scorn so she made do as many unlettered adults did. Each morning when chores were done, Tam would take off her apron, smack her broad palms together and say to Bea, “Time for school,” something she had no firsthand experience with.

    The two-year-old laboriously stacked three county phone books on the kitchen chair, climbed to her perch and waited with her grubby little fists clutching air while Tam got out the pad of lined newsprint and the cigar box full of pencils and crayons. Tam warned her, “Now don’t be letting other people know about our business here,” as the two of them drew copies of the bold letters from the front page of yesterday's newspaper.

    The truth was that Bea had figured out reading and writing on her own while she sat on an apple box in a booth at the airport bar with Murph who was often waiting on a guy. He brought her along with him for breakfast when there was time to kill and to give Tam a break from the child’s incessant energy.

    She knew that the marks on the paper packed some kind of charm because Murph looked at them with a fierceness and he often spoke out loud words that were obviously not his own. The marks changed every day and that day it was MOBSTER SLAIN!

    The print filled the top half of the page and below it was a black and white photo of a man lying in the gutter, his head oddly misshapen and his juices flowing away from him on the pavement like the oil that leaked out of Murph’s old Ford pickup. He looked over the picture and pronounced,“Sumbitch probably needed killing,” and moved on to more important pages.

    Bea still had the view of that picture on the front page while Murph was deep into the box scores and race results. You couldn’t see the man's face, but his left arm was thrown up in a gesture that seemed to say “Surprise!” It looked like fun.

    She stood on the booth and leaned across the table and tapped on the paper and said “Zat?” one of her three words, the others being 'No' and 'Why'. Bea was an easy child if you weren’t expecting much and Tam and Murph had no expectations at all when her grandmother dropped her into their lives part time after her parents died. Nell said that Bea didn’t talk because of Hera’s habit of sniffing gasoline when she was pregnant. Murph privately wondered if they dropped her on her head once or twice. None of this mattered. Annabea was his niece.

    He peeled off the front page and laid it out on the table like a place mat. He spelled the letters out to Bea, took a pencil stub from behind his ear and gave it to her. This would be good for a quiet hour while she scribbled an endless string of gibberish all over any white space on the newsprint. The marks weren’t quite letters or numbers yet but she was creeping up on it, her nose two inches away from her fist as the markings danced and unfurled along the avenues between print and picture.

    Goldy appeared with their food and watched Bea scribble for a moment. She reached out and flicked the back of the newspaper to get Murph’s attention.
           “What?” He looked at her over the tops of his little round reading glasses.

            “You take this baby to church?” Murph looked at her like she was crazy.

            “What the hell for?

            “Cause she writing in tongues is what for. The priest needs to see this. She could be taking messages from Jesus.”

    He looked across the table at Bea. “Bullshit, woman. More likely she’s taking longhand from the Devil himself.” He laughed, she crossed herself and scowled at him as she clattered their dishes onto the table covering the photo of the dead man with a plate of scrambled eggs. Bea’s nose was chasing her fist and she didn’t stop to pick up her fork. She must have been hot on the trail of some mystery because she broke the pencil point and started to squawk.“Don’t get excited,” said Murph. “Give it here.”

    She gave him the pencil and started eating eggs with her left hand, her right opening and closing anxiously as Murph used a pocket knife to bring a clear section of lead out of the greasy, flat carpenter’s pencil. She hopped from one foot to the other until Murph handed the pencil back to her and said, “Now sit down before you fall on your ass again."

    Bea put the new point of the pencil down in the exact place where it had broken and resumed her transcription from beyond, but when she got to the right edge of the white space she stopped, turned the paper and began reproducing the bold headline in the last unfilled margin, copying the shapes of the letters precisely, but smaller, to fit the space that was left.

    Goldy came back to the table with a pot of coffee and a stack of toast spread with grape jam. “Put that up now Missy and finish your breakfast.” She lifted the page of newsprint like she was holding a rat by the tail and lowered it down in front of Murph’s face. “See what she’s up to now?”

    He took the page from her and examined it closely and then looked across the table at Bea. She had a piece of toast in each hand and grape jam all over her face; cheeks full like a chipmunk, her hair sticking out all over her head in ornery curls. Her eyes were as round and gray as quarters today.  He said, “Nice work kiddo.” 

    Bea grinned, stuck out her tongue at Goldy and went back to the business of seeing just how much toast she could put in her mouth before she choked.

         “This time next week we’ll have her copying five dollar bills. What say, Queen of the Amazons, wanna be a counterfeiter?” The little girl nodded and laughed spewing chunks of toast over the table. If Murph was laughing it had to be a good thing. 



Monday, July 4, 2016

small writer's dilemmas

I'm seriously considering relocating my laptop, or maybe even a basic, used desktop to the kitchen. It seems like all new ideas come while I'm either doing dishes while listening to the radio or while I am driving. The notes I take on legal pads or junk mail envelopes don't carry the spirit with them when I bring them upstairs to transcribe.

On the happy note, I've discovered a living artist who I plan to commission for my book cover. Up to now, I haven't spent a moment of thought on it. Now I've found someone who has the style and vision. Odd that it's compelled me away from procrastinating away from finishing the first draft.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

momentarily derailed

I've been spending most of my free time writing, but I'm at that place I'll call “Dithering Heights”. Where writers go to fart around, waste time and not get needful shit done. Where we fool with stuff that's already written rather than address things like, “Was THAT necessary?” or “That scene suffers from pointless suckage!” Also the ever popular “Who the hell wrote that tripe?” and "WTF?"

My characters have begun having conversations about getting the oil changed in the car, reciting shopping lists and disagreements about what brand of ravioli is the best. 

Time for a break. An excellent weekend included the best.....
Friends, family and baseball.  

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

perfect timing


I'm just starting to look at my first draft with revision in mind; the Frankenstein kind of revision and it's terrifying. Is there life in all this shit??

Comes this.           Salvation.  At least a signpost.

Monday, May 23, 2016

TMI

For whatever reason, the universe, or more particularly, the internet, has been coughing up so much (mostly) good information about writing that I'm feeling a little overwhelmed. Fearful that I might miss something important.

I have several craft-related books going on at the same time and a handful of novels and short story collections and I have not grown or found any additional time in my day.

Meanwhile, my manuscript needs a scene by scene analysis. Shaping and pruning to follow. The hard work is ahead, So what do I do? I keep hearing conversations between various characters.
           

               "Have you ever made a mistake?"
               "What d'you mean?" He rolled over onto his back. "I'm fuckin' perfect."
               "You know what I'm talking about." She sat up dragging the sheets with her and looked out the window.
               "Nope." He folded his hands behind his head. "Every one of them deserved to die."

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Trick or Tool


I have been idly dreaming about having a small, vintage manual typewriter, as if that would help. I don't even know if I can still type on a manual machine and if I started using one would it wind up crippling me and what about that day job? I still spend eight hours a day on the computer and get paid for it. No matter how I lust after the sleek, shiny black vintage machines for sale all over the web, I'm not going to get one until I actually put my fingers on the keyboard and whack away for a while; see how it feels.

 Although I had an ancient manual typewriter as a kid, I never learned to touch type until the late eighties on a computer keyboard. The whole notion is probably a pipe dream fueled by watching a couple of episodes of Band of Brothers last weekend. There were several scenes of a soldier pecking away at a portable typewriter, so incongruous yet so ubiquitous during World War II.

I spent a lot of time over the weekend looking for an archive of the music that used to be on my Ipod. Last week I accidentally gave the poor little thing a lobotomy and thought that restoring it would be a click or two away. Hah! That restoration took the better part of the weekend but mission accomplished. I'm finding that sleeping with earbuds in and the volume turned way, way down on the playlist sinisterly entitled “sleepingpod” is has a canceling effect on my increasingly aggravating tinnitus. Some interesting dream trains have left the station as well.

In the middle of that file search I came across a long lost short story that I started back in the early '90s. To my surprise it still had legs, crookedly and wobbling, but legs. What started out as a harmless and common fantasy tale rolled quickly into Twilight Zone/Stephen King territory, no surprise to anyone who knows me. This file was created and saved in an ancient program called Lotus Word Pro (I still have the floppy discs somewhere) and had been clumsily converted to a more universal file type. There were many errors in that conversion; formatting was lost and a myriad of crazed hieroglyphs were randomly inserted in the text. It was also obvious that there was no spell checker in the house and/or the writer was somehow impaired.

Dropping this file into OpenOffice and starting to edit it just for typos and formatting was good for most of yesterday morning. What with the side trips and diversions that are all too available when working on a laptop with a great internet connection, the morning evaporated with little to show for it and now, Tuesday morning is well on it's way to history too. All this brought me back to thinking about what it would be like to use an old typewriter with just enough interference between the brain and the paper to check my pace and keep my thoughts in order, without the distractions.

My first typewriter was a behemoth from the thirties or forties that my mother dragged home from a yard sale. I really can't recall the make, something common like Remington or Underwood, but due to it's advanced age, ribbons for it were impossible to find. I bought fresh, replacement ribbons for whatever brand I could get cheap and then wind them by hand onto the large metal spools of my machine – messy but effective. It had trapdoors on the side for access to the ribbons and at some point, I allowed my pet rat to hide out inside the machine. We won't talk about the day that I idly tapped a key and snipped off the tip of his tail.

I typed my homework for fun which probably bothered my teachers. I don't know what they were expecting when they came across my typed papers in a stack of hand scrawled assignments but I rarely delivered if my grades were any measure of success. When I figured out that a C or B would keep me out of jail or the doghouse with my parents, that was good enough for me. Grading should be kept secret from kids as long as possible.

I also wrote letters, specifically, begging letters to all the missions to the United Nations for every flyspeck country that belonged to the UN and a few that didn't. I'm sure my name got on some government lists when I was eight or nine. 

What I was begging for was canceled postage stamps from their home countries and, man, where they happy to oblige. I think I must have created at least a handful of jobs for people working at carefully tearing off the colorful, beautiful stamps from letters sent from all over the world. I didn't really even have a collection РI had a hoard! I started out with the best intentions, like all those skipping down the road to hell, but the response to my letters was so overwhelming that I quickly became blas̩ about the stack of fat, brown envelopes that would be waiting for me when I got home from school. After a quick perusal for anything new or different, everything got tossed in the desk drawer but I kept pounding out letters and spending my allowance on postage.

Once I got tired of getting duplicates of stamps that I already had too many of, I turned to typing papers for classmates who would dictate to me over the phone or give me chicken scratch notes on legal pads. Bigger brains than mine who didn't have access to a typewriter abounded. Then again there were the papers that I corrected and finally, rewrote,  until a couple of teachers twigged and recognized my style scattered throughout the three fifth grade history and English classes. My career as a copywriter/editor was squashed by a short meeting with the principal where I promised to stop giving it away and promised myself to charge more and work more carefully.

All these years later and I'm still giving it away and someplace in a second-hand store or, more likely, a landfill, there is a hulking, golden typewriter with the mummified remains of a rat's tail tip deep in its bowels.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

what is this feeling?

High as a kite with no string. Sometime during the transit of the Pink Moon I wrote the meat and bones of the finale. Hit print and passed out.

I know it looks kind of like this now, but I can make it across and back and I'm not afraid of heights or alligators. I can fly and I taste bad.


Wednesday, April 20, 2016

back at it

A week is too long to think about something before putting it on paper. Spent the morning slipping back into all the characters skins. Even managed to kill one, but it might not have been the right one - I felt no sorrow or loss - so that will have to be revisited. Still lotsa words today.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Serial treatment


In the writers group the other night, one of my friends pointed out that my winning contest entry worked out to be worth about three dollars a word. I reckoned that it might be the most money I ever earn as a writer. I think I'm going to remember that statement.

Then, this morning, this popped up in the feed making me wonder how the serial format will work out. I remember how much I looked forward to each new issue if SK's "The Green Mile" when it was put out in the grocery stores alongside the weekly TV Guide. People were lined up to buy that one.

                "Thursday brings the launch of Julian Fellowes’s new novel. It’s called Belgravia, and it reads, from its description, as extremely Downton Abbey-esque: “Set in the 1840s when the upper echelons of society began to rub shoulders with the emerging industrial nouveau riche,” the announcement goes, “Belgravia is peopled by a rich cast of characters.” There will be secrets and intrigue and, if Downton is any guide, much Drama.


The most notable thing about the novel, though—apologies to its rich cast of characters—is the fact that it is only very loosely a “novel.” Though the book version of Belgravia will be available for purchase in June, the project being released this week is an app—which tells Fellowes’s latest story of upper-crusty intrigue via both via and audio. (There will also be videos and “other bonus features” that will be “hidden within each episode.”) The 11-week series is available via subscription for $13.99 (this includes both text and audio versions of each episode), or for $1.99 an episode. An installment will land (“air,” in the book’s parlance) on its purchaser’s device of choice every Friday until the end of June.

read the whole thing here:  feed: http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2016/04/the-triump-of-the-serial/478272/

Monday, April 11, 2016

The sign read “THE MONKEY BITES”

     Ace sat with his back to the room and appeared to be reading a small prayer book. Actually, he was tearing out the pages one by one and eating them, chewing slowly and looking up at the ceiling of his cage as if he was memorizing the text. Billy, the bar's owner and bartender, said he only ate one or two pages a day – it was not as if he was hungry. Billy fed Ace every time he fed himself. In fact, he fed Ace first like he was worried about being poisoned; a fair concern because he treated the cook like dirt.

     It bothered Bea to see Ace locked up like that. It was obvious that he was constantly pissed-off, unlike most captive monkeys who sank into apathy after a while. If anyone but Billy approached the cage Ace screamed and flung himself around inside. If you put your hands anywhere near his reach or grasp there would be blood. He once ate a drunk's left little finger.

     The day he escaped she helped him by not saying anything as she watched him slip out the unfastened wire door. He scrambled soundlessly up the cage and across a shelf full of stemmed glasses that never even shuddered. From there, he reached the open transom over the door that led to the alley. He paused a moment as if mentally packing, and fixed Bea with his hooded golden eyes,  vanishing before she could blink. He was gone an hour before Billy missed him.

     Goldy dropped her tray the last two inches onto their table to wake up the drunks and impress people just how hard her job was. Billy startled from his newspaper spread out on the bar, looked around and gave a little shriek seeing the open cage door. He had no one to blame or lash out at because he was the only one who could deal with the brute without losing a digit or a pint of blood. He was livid not because of any fondness for the animal. Ace had been collateral for a bar tab run up by a guy who used to be a regular, but had to leave on short notice due to some complication with the sheriff. It had been five years and Billy still hoped to collect having some notion that monkeys lived at least as long as people did.

     He cursed and took the cage, which needed cleaning, down from the bar and took it out the door to the alley as if he thought the deadbeat might be waiting there with Ace. When he came back inside he was carrying the scalped prayer book and handed it over when Bea reached out for it, as if by prior agreement. The first third of the pages were gone and the cover was dark with hamburger grease and redolent of monkey piss. Murph made her put it on the floor while they ate their grill cheese and tomato soup lunch hoping she would forget it but confident that she wouldn't. She didn't.

     Bea was not quite three when Ace made his break for freedom. She thought she saw him from time to time high in the trees around Wampus pond. He stole food all over town and some folks made a point of leaving leftovers out on the porch to see if it would disappear overnight. “Leaving bite for Ace” and reporting on whether it was taken became a common point of gossip. It was bigger news when someone said Ace made off with a whole pie left cooling on a windowsill. This was nonsense because she didn’t think Ace could lift whole pie and make off with it clean. Jump in, splash around and eat a third maybe, but not the whole pie. Ace wasn't much bigger than your average apple pie at least by weight. The vet said he was a Barbary Ape and not a monkey at all but the distinction was lost on Ace and the patrons of the Airport Bar. The pie thief was definitely a person and some years later Maryann Phelps was found dead of a heart attack, lying flat on her back in the McCarthy's kitchen garden, a smug look on her face and one of Ginny McCarthy's prize-winning cherry pies upside down in the dirt beside her.

     All summer after the escape Billy would go down to the park with a bag of stale popcorn and a six pack of beer and sit and smoke and drink. He never brought a net or a bag with him. Did he think Ace would listen to reason and accompany him back to the bar and his cage? Billy would kill the six pack and lie back on the bench and nod, the bag of popcorn spilling out for the pigeons and squirrels to make bold with as he snored. He would wake up as darkness fell and one of the bands started tuning up in the hall across the street and he would see that the popcorn was all gone and swear to folks that Ace had paid him a visit.
        Then came the day that Bea found Ace dead .



from the Monkeytown Murders c. Deborah Lacativa 2016


Friday, April 8, 2016

the Hanged Man

Despite spring being still raw, she opened all the windows, letting the cold air sweep through the apartment. Barefooted, she stood swaddled in a ragged quilt in front of the stove watching the coffee trickle down inside the glass percolator. The cold didn't matter. It was the fresh air that she needed to clear her head. The nightly sleeping pills were starting to linger until lunch and she knew she'd have to quit cold turkey soon. There was no tapering off.

She filled a mug and breathed in the smell, doctored it with half and half and honey and swilled half the cup as hot as she could stand it. She had a suspicion that this was how alcoholics felt about their first sip of the day. 

From a basket on the table she took a worn tarot deck, snapped off the rubber band and drew just one card, putting it face down on the table by her cup. Another deep sip and she flipped the card over. The Hanged Man.

"Hmmff. Tell me something I didn't already know," she said, her tone more wistful than sarcastic. This card and others with a similar message had been coming out all too often for her to ignore them. "Wait," it said. "Give up trying to control everything." 

What everything? Her life?  "Thanks for nothing today," she said, as she tucked the card back into the deck and finished her coffee. Other people paid for her advice through the cards, but she rarely took any for herself. She shook off the introspection - she was due in court by nine and being late was not smart when you were trying to keep a low profile.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Next!

...and that is entirely enough about that. Back to work.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Fuckin' A!

I'm still frittering with adrenaline. Hunting for my humbles and knowing I should be outside making a sacrifice to a slew of deities. Later babes, just feeling this for the moment.


"Dear Deborah,

CONGRATULATIONS! You have won the Writer Unboxed UnConference Scholarship package..."


Friday, April 1, 2016

one way or another

"Thank you for your interest in the Writer Unboxed UnConference scholarship.

If this is an application for consideration, thank you for your submission. Please  note that we don't have the available staff to respond to every submission personally, however, each submission will be considered by a 'blind' panel, and the scholarship winner chosen based upon merit and without prejudice."

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

from the road

Too near death today...

I rolled up to the red light at Rt.29 and Killian/Indian Trail today, heading back from the park in Lilburn. It's a broad, busy intersection. I was first in line in the left northbound lane, the lane to my right was empty. Some kind of police activity going in the gas station on the corner there. Two cars, blue lights. First responders.

There were no cars passing through the intersection. A pedestrian crossed in front of me. He had the light, he was in the crosswalk.

I saw this: a man, sixty-ish, silver-haired, tan, fit and smiling. Taking a pull from a soft drink. Crisp, striped short sleeved shirt, pressed khakis, a gold watch on his wrist, he was close enough that he might have gotten crud on his pants from my bumper. He was watching the cop show too, head up, eyes front, not stuck to some damn gadget.

He was in line with the passenger seat of my car ready to take a step into eternity when a flatbed truck - the big kind that can carry two wrecks - blew by us at forty or fifty miles an hour right through the red light. He never touched his brakes.

The man staggered back, steadied himself with a hand on my Honda's hood. We were both shocked, but he checked for further traffic and crossed, the light turned green and I rolled, but not before I looked up and saw that there was a camera on the intersection. There might still be some justice.

All the rest of the way home I couldn't stop thinking about how a few seconds of life, one way or the other and this man would have been killed gruesomely right in front of me and many other witnesses. How it might have been me, first off the line, tires squealing in my imagination as my decrepit Honda rolled out across the intersection to be t-boned by the behemoth. Either of us deader than shit.

Take the pause that was forced on me today. I will. And if the guy behind me honks his horn I may toss him a wave, a peace sign or the NY bird depending on my mood.

So, my darlings behind the wheel everywhere. You, with the lightning reflexes of a race car driver who will nail that gas pedal the micro-second the light turns green. Please wait. Don't take that light on faith. Feel your heart beat three or four times and look around before you proceed. These seconds are yours. Cherish them.
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Monday, January 11, 2016

Friday, January 1, 2016

the pitch

A drug dealing ladies man and part-time assassin with psychic skills meets the woman he'll mend most of his ways for. A new age con artist herself, she's got her own brand of psychic ability, and a troubling history of being on hand for untimely deaths. 

When they meet, he’s on the lam from the life and she's married to a gangster wannabe who's blackmailing her to keep her in line. Cosmic lust comes before trust, but they must learn to work together if they hope to thwart her husband's plans to sell her and her secrets to settle a deadly debt.

       
         “So, just how do we turn this darkness into light?" she said and shuffled the cards. The deck was old and soft and made a purring sound in her hands. He picked up her thick braid, squeezed it gently and whispered in her ear,  
         "One well-deserving motherfucker at a time.” Then he wrapped the braid around her neck, tilted her head back and kissed her between the eyes.