Welcome to my blog

Welcome to my website. I hope you will enjoy the eclectic collection of short stories and essays. They are all very close to my heart, in whichever genre. I always welcome comments and feedback. Once again, I hope you enjoy my site. Thank you.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

A Moment of Inspiration

* previously published on Foliate Oak Magazine

The evening news played on the television in the midst of his drunken fog.  He had gotten off work at 5 o’clock from a dead-end job flipping hamburgers at the local grill.  Just like any other night he stopped by the liquor store on the way home and bought a 12-pack of cold beer.

“Doesn’t really matter what I watch,” he thought to himself when he got home to his apartment.  

“All the same anyway.”  The news featured a story on the Libyan conflict as it was called now.  

Apparently Kaddafi operatives were planning a terrorist attack on Times Square in New York City coinciding with Super Bowl Sunday.  He took another gulp of beer. 

In an inebriated haze he lit up a cigarette.   “Not much on TV,” he thought so he changed the channel.  It was a remarkable invention cable TV.  He had a host of 15 movie channels to choose from for a movie, or he could watch a sit-com on one of the network channels.  What he really wanted to find was a new action-adventure movie that he hadn't seen yet.  It was hard to mix self-pity, a 12-pack of beer, and an action-adventure movie, but he would try.

“Here it is,” he thought to himself.  

It was an old Clint Eastwood movie that he had never seen.  He could remember his friends talking about it way back in high school when he still had friends.  

“It was one of those, what do you call it, spaghetti westerns.”  He had always preferred Clint Eastwood’s cop movies but between a 12-pack of beer and himself this would be good enough.
It had been a typical day at work.  He had woken up around eight in the morning with an unenviable hangover.  He drove to the local mini-mart and picked up an egg and bacon sandwich.  Along with a couple of cups of coffee it got him out of bed and ready for a new day.

He had been drinking all night the night before, but it hadn’t been an action-adventure movie night.  Instead, he had chosen a deep and suspenseful drama in an attempt to spur his interest.  He was remembering back to high school; it didn’t seem like too long ago.  He had a seemingly limitless number of friends.  Every night of the week back then he was drinking with his friends.  Now it was an endless stream of an alcoholic solace shared with nobody but himself.  He didn’t do too well in high school but that didn’t matter because he was having fun and he had a lot of friends.

Here he was.  He was a 32 year-old unmarried bum with no kids.  He kept thinking he might try again at submitting an application to a bank teller jobs.  He had tried a couple years back but they had insisted that he would need at least a high school degree and most likely a college degree.  So now, he was a 32 year-old man flipping burgers all day at the local grill without any other prospects.

Yesterday wasn’t special either.  He got to work at about 9 a.m. in the morning.  He preferred the breakfast shift to the lunch and early dinner shifts. Working the breakfast shift he didn’t have to sweat over hot, greasy cheeseburgers in the sweltering summer heat.  Instead he was able to hang around all day supervising as he was the head cook in charge of the breakfast help.  He had somebody else cutting the potatoes for the hash browns and he was able to serve more as a manager than a cook.  It certainly paid a lot more than cutting up potatoes.  When he had started here more than ten years ago he had been an unemployed high school drop-out in dire need of an income.  His father and his mother had insisted that he find work.  Soon after securing the job at the grille he was able to move out on his own and get his own car and his own apartment.  His parents always told him throughout high school that he would not be able to live with them forever so he had guessed that it was time to start living his life on his own.  Besides, he had just broken up with his girlfriend at the time and he had once heard somebody say that such a situation called for a fresh start.  He had been working at the grille since.  Incidentally, he thought to himself, he had not had a girlfriend since.
He had arrived at work the day before at about 9 o’clock.  The waitresses from the night shift were just going home and the waitresses from the day shift were just showing up.  They didn’t pay him much notice, but it beat staying at home all day alone in front of the television. 

He usually was not in the smiley mood and this morning was not an exception.   He hated getting up early every day hung over and ill-prepared for a new day but he knew nothing else.  They greeted each other like they did every morning, but to him it was just going through the motions.  One of the waitresses who worked the early morning shift gave him a half-hearted smile that was more like a grimace. 

He got home earlier today.  Yesterday’s obsession with a crime drama on TV was replaced by the comfort and solace of beer for some other venue of entertainment.   It was a small one-room, studio apartment but it was in the neighborhood where he had grown up.  The Clint Eastwood movie was on television.  He took another chug of beer.
The desert-feel of the movie did not agree with his now inebriated haze so he decided to change the channel.  

"Remote controls were cool," he thought to himself.  

He couldn’t find anything that he wanted to watch but he kept trying.  He finally settled on a station.  It was the music channel.  He never really considered himself a music-lover.  There had been dance parties when he was in high school but other than that he never paid much attention to music.  He had always figured that a good beat and a party atmosphere were the only purpose that it served.

He listened and watched anyway.  No reason in particular, it just caught his attention.  It was a singer that he had noticed people talking about lately.  That is not what made him stop and see what it was.  Instead it was only a vague feeling that it merited his attention.
The lyrics were striking, not that he had ever listened closely to the lyrics of songs.  The singer sang a line about the hope that can be found from leaving the bottle and searching for a fulfilling life.  For a second he almost threw the remote control across the room in protest of a sort of vindictiveness that he almost felt was directed specifically in his direction. 

The song played on.  

“What was the worth of a song,” he thought to himself.  

Yet, it engaged him.  

The chorus played on, “Just when it’s at its worst, then is when you open your eyes.  Just when it’s at its worst, then is when you know they’re right.”  

It had a mellow sounding melody playing along with the lyrics and guitar riffs that soothed his soul.
He changed the channel and the news was on again.  There had been a recall of all the ground beef produced in the central valley of California.  He switched the channel.  A loud laugh track highlighted the puns and trite misunderstandings of an old Three’s Company episode.  He changed the channel.  

The song on the music channel was just ending.  “Just when it’s at its worst, all you have is to start trying.” 

He did not know why, but he had to fight off tears from entering his eyes.  One trickled down his cheek.  He finished his beer and passed out devoid of hope and inspiration for the day to come.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Spirituality in Country Music


“Religion is for people who are afraid to go to hell.  Spirituality is for people who have already been there.”  Unknown

The concept of spirituality pertains to personal growth and the ability to better one’s self.  Contrary to The Bible, the mass of spirituality to be found in country music is staggering.   The Bible primary settles upon Jewish folklore and history.  Moreover, other than the trite aphorisms that can be found in psalms and proverbs, The Bible is lacking any discourse for personal growth.  Moreover, what can be found in psalms and proverbs is lacking in terms of deep, thought provoking material.  The abundance of writing in The Bible does not touch on subjects neither compelling nor a basis for any sort of spirituality.  The spirituality that can be found in pop culture, and specifically in country music for the sake of this essay, is far more plentiful.  The copious amount of thought-provoking material that can be found in country music stimulates personal reflection which can lead to personal growth.

Through a basic, rudimentary reading of The Bible the most striking introductory finding is that the book, which is the center of the religions of western culture, lacks any real invocation of personal reflection.  The first few sections of The Bible center on Jewish history and folklore.  A literary source such as The Bible would be thought to stimulate emotions of peace and to serve as a model by which its readers should lead their life.  Rather than serving this purpose, The Bible simply is a collection of stories embellished from Jewish history.

Psalms and proverbs, as the name would indicate, should therefore serve as a guideline by which to live your life.  However, even these two sections of The Bible are lacking in that respect.  The psalms and proverbs do little in explaining or giving a blueprint on how to lead your life.  Rather, they are generally trite sayings and antidotes reflected without merit upon their own substance without any reflection or attachment to the concept of spirituality or living a fuller life.

The New testament of The Bible is the adjunct from the old testament of The Bible.  The New Testament is simply an explication of the death and resurrection of Jesus without a complex analysis or rundown of the life of Jesus which is commonly believed to be inspirational.  Throughout the New Testament as well as the Old Testament and the psalms and proverbs, the axioms that were said to be preached by Jesus do not appear.  The adage, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone” as well as others that are said to be contained in The Bible are not.  The Bible itself is lacking as a source for spiritual growth.

Country music, rather, as well as segments of other pop culture, should be viewed as sources for personal growth. 

Lyrics that can be found in country music, such as the lyrics, “I went sky diving.  I went rocky mountain climbing … I hope someday you get the chance to live like you were dying”  that can be found in a popular song by Tim McGraw aid in personal growth and spiritual growth far better than do the pages of The Bible. 

The lyrics, rather self-explanatory, state that the feelings associated with living ones’ life to the fullest regardless of where you stand in life aid in the sort of spiritual growth that can make possible the creation of one’s self the person they always wanted to be.  

Moreover, the song buy Garth Brooks, Unanswered Prayers speaks of a loving God who always has everybody’s best interest in mind.  The lyric, “Sometimes I thank God for unanswered prayers, remember when you’re talking to the man upstairs, and just because he don’t answer doesn’t mean he don’t’ care.  Some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers.” 

When listening to country music there are countless other examples that invoke the same sort of spirituality.

The concept of spirituality in The Bible does not hold true to the ideals that those who preach The Bible espouse.  Although it serves as a symbol for all that is good in mankind, it's shallow pages leave much that is lacking.  The concept of spirituality is almost untouched within the pages of The Bible.  While the lyrics of country music cannot be said to be divinely inspired in terms of the history of the Christian religion, they can be said to be in the tradition of what is the best of mankind. 

To sum up the song by George Strait, Love without End Amen, best reflects on the goodness of God and the goodness of mankind.  The lyric, “Let me tell you a secret about a Father’s love.  A secret that my daddy said was just between us.  Daddies don’t just love their children every now and then; it’s a love without end Amen”.  These lyrics serve as a striking example of a pursuit of personal growth and intriguing thoughts that can be found in country music.
Although I do not particularly believe in The Bible or established religion, it should be said that I believe in God.  I don’t believe in God because what preachers say, or what religion says, or out of faith.  I believe in God because of all that is good in mankind.  To borrow another adage from pop culture, “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.  He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy.”  Similarly as long as hope, faith, and love exist the merits of a loving God must be recognized.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Who Ever Heard of Fortune Cookies at a Thai Restaurant?

I sat at the restaurant awaiting my date.  A friend of ours had shown me her picture.  Alison, like me, had just gotten out a difficult breakup.  Our friend, in our brief conversation on the phone, said that Allison didn’t particularly like Chinese.  So it was a Thai restaurant on the other side of the valley that we chose.  I didn’t know what to expect.  I did not even know if I would recognize her from the obscure photograph that our friend had shown to me.

I had been waiting at the table for almost 20 minutes.  I was beginning to worry that although our friend had said that Alison was both very polite and punctual that she would not show up.  The waiter once again asked me if I would like something while I was waiting.  From a brief conversation 5 minutes ago I told him that I was expecting somebody and that I would be content to wait.  However, my hunger over took me and I asked the waiter what sort of samplers might be available.

He graciously said, “If you would like I could bring you some mint tea and a few fortune cookies.”

I responded by saying that would be alright while I was waiting.  I had been looking forward to a meal of fried rice and spicy chicken with curry peppers, but I knew that it would be best not to order before my date got here.

The waiter returned very hospitably a few moments later and brought me my appetizers.

I did not know if I would recognize my date and I did not know if she would recognize me.  From the photograph that I saw she looked to be a very attractive blonde.  Our friend told me that Alison was in her late twenties and a paralegal working for a reputable law firm in the valley.

I began sampling my entrees.  The mystery of the fortune cookie had long invoked hopes and aspirations of good luck in my mind and I eagerly cracked the first cookie open to share with my mint tea.  The mint tea was somewhat spicy and it served as wonderful complement to the sweet fortune cookie.  I read my fortune hoping for blessings of riches and glory.

“You will find what you do not seek,” is all that was written on the fortune cookie.
“Interesting enough” I thought to myself.  I disposed of the small piece of paper and eagerly awaiting my second fortune.  
“The winds and the rains and the storms of the past can be overcome with persistence and diligence.”  I could not figure out what to make from the fortune, but I still zealously awaited the third and final fortune.
“With hope the trials of the past will be replaced by the glory of the future.”
A breathtaking blonde walked into the restaurant.  I was sitting near the door so I was quick to notice her.  Her beauty was that of youthful exuberance blended with maturity and grace.
From the first glance Alison recognized me from the picture that our friend had shown to her.  “I‘m sorry that I am late,” was the first thing she said to me with a shy but conquering smile.
The conversation turned quickly from introductions to light-hearted familiarity.  We had much in common.  More importantly we felt at ease with each other from the first moments of our meeting.    We discussed our recent break-ups but without much remorse.
Neither of us expected much from such on innocuous meeting.  We had agreed to meet with one another mostly out of respect and politeness to our mutual friend, but there was a feeling in the air that our brief meeting might evolve into something significant.
We discussed how we both were good at line dancing and devoted Karaoke singers as well a brief summation of our life stories. 
After the meal we agreed to meet again next Friday night at the Old Town Rodeo.
“What were those fortune cookies about?” was the last thing I asked myself as we walked out of the restaurant.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

I Don't Want to be No Damn Celebrity!

In our contemporary society it is a common goal to have fame, money, and the beauty from a woman that can only be found in the bright lights of the city.  Be it as a movie star, singer, or sports figure, dreams of stardom consume our fantasy lives from a very young age.  However, along with distinction in our society, comes complications with which most of us would be better to do without.  Fame becomes a nuisance, money becomes a responsibility, and of course, the goal of men of all ages, dating supermodels, becomes an aggravation not worth having.  It would better serve our lives by pursuing other goals such as personal enrichment or spiritual awakenings.

Fame is a problem not worth pursuing.  Take famous actors, for example, how would you like a seat reserved every basketball game of the year?  That sort of notoriety would consume the interest of your fans, but it would be a dreadful intrusion on your personal life.  Moreover, how would you like to go to an art’s exhibit and worrying about being mobbed by a contingent of adoring fans?  These sorts of complications would make associating with the public an ominous task.  Basically, with fame, comes the micro-management of every aspect of life so it meets with public approval.   In addition, even star-gazers, with the best of intentions would cause a hassle in everyday life.  Going to the supermarket to buy a lean cut of steak would become a major undertaking; even in the clerk’s wish to assist you, they would explain for fifteen minutes to you which is the best cut of steak.  That sort of annoyance would be more than anybody would like to live with in their daily life.

It is everybody’s cravings to be rich, and with fame, usually comes money.  But, how much money do you really need?  What can it really get you that you can’t already get with a more modest income?  Usually we have enough food, adequate shelter, and items such as a high-definition television that would have been considered luxuries only five or ten years ago.  How much Starbuck’s coffee can anyone actually drink? If any of us have too much money, we would probably stay up all night on drugs ordering quaint products from the fascinating infomercials that can only be found on late night television.

The goal of all men, from a very young age, is to surround themselves with supermodels and beautiful movie actresses.  Is this really a good idea?  In the world of supermodels, the drug problem is systematic of fame itself.  The beautiful women that we see on television every day, and pine for every night, are often heroin sheik and have similar problems associated with fame.   Is it a good idea to get involved with anyone on heroin, even if they’re heroin sheik?  In addition, when birthdays, Christmas, and Valentine’s Day come along, a piece of jewelry priced at $1.2 million would be obligatory so they could compare it with all the other useless ornaments of their friends.  The worst part of dating a supermodel would be, late in the night at a Hollywood night club, their ex-boyfriend rock star would have too much to drink and kick the hell out of you in a jealous rage.

Nobody needs fame; it would better to live in obscurity.   A nice quiet life in the suburbs where only your close friends know you is under-rated.  A tranquil evening at a good restaurant while enjoying complete anonymity is all the luxury anybody really needs.   Anyway, who needs that much money?  A good honest job working construction can get you everything that you really need to live a very fulfilling life.  Riches of a Hollywood mogul would be spent on pointless paintings by Picasso.  Nobody really needs that extravagance.  A stunning supermodel would look good on anybody’s arm, but the simplicity of an adequately attractive nobody would be much more fulfilling.  The ostentatious extravagances of fame are luxuries that would be better to be done without.

Monday, August 1, 2011

A Mystifying Discovery

Their arrival to the Big Island of Hawaii had an auspicious beginning.  The plane trip from NYU began with luxurious service from an investment in first class tickets that they had agreed were worth the price.  The 5 college students’ 2 week vacation to Hawaii had been planned for months and the pre-graduation trip hopefully would be well-worth the wait.

Upon arrival they exited the plane, checked into their hotel room and hit the beach immediately.  The splendor of the black volcanic sand of the beach contrasted brilliantly with the clear ocean water. 

They enjoyed frozen Bacardi daiquiris on the beach and soaked up the atmosphere.  The beach was crowded with a collection of locals which were easily distinguishable from the tourists.  There were suffers and body-boarders enjoying the waves while the tourists mostly enjoyed the free-flowing alcoholic beverages and the warm sunshine.

A mysteriously stranger appeared intrigued in his mind concerning a seemingly cryptic misdeed that had occurred on the island weeks earlier.  The self-consumed stranger did not bother to introduce himself; rather he walked up to the group of tourists from N.Y.U. and began speaking.

With no direct conversational engagement, he said, “Apparently it vanished.  Nobody could figure out where it went.  It was their and then it was gone.  Ten minutes before the exhibition; it was gone.  They checked the vault and it was gone.”

Later that day they discovered that what was missing was a precious jewel, a 15 pound diamond had vanished.   Since it was none of their business they dismissed it and continued their vacation.  However, a week later hiking in the distant hills they made a fascinating discovery.  They came across a small cave.  On the wall they found archaic writings.  Later they ascertained that the writings were almost 1000 years old and from the natives of Hawaii. 
The writings discussed an ancient jewel which had served as an idol of worship.  From the writings, which were later to be translated by an expert in archeology, it was discerned that the jewel had mysteriously appeared to the ancient civilization some time before the writings on the cave wall.   The jewel had served as an idol of worship for the ancient tribe of the island and had inspired their entire basis of the mythology and religion.  The jewel inspired ancient epics that mirrored the Greek writings of The Iliad and The Odyssey although the island, which was distant from the shores of the mainland, had no direct contact with those civilizations. 
Just as mysteriously as the jewel was originally discovered it mysteriously vanished from the island nearly 500 years later.  The idol of worship also had prophesized the conquest of their people from distant explorers from a far-off land as well as other events in the history of this ancient people.

The college students later came across the mysterious stranger to share their discovery.  As students from N.Y.U. nearly ready for graduation they could not discern the meanings of the writings on the wall of the cave.  However, they had been able to make some sense of the paintings and drawings on the wall.  They were aware of the mystery of the missing jewel that the stranger had shared with them and the expertly crafted paintings on the wall of the large diamond were easily referenced to be similar to jewel which had vanished weeks earlier.

Upon this later meeting with the stranger, who they discovered to be an investigative archeologist, they referred him to the cave.  Apparently, the cave, which was no secret to the residents of the island, had never had such writings or drawings on the walls.  However, the investigative archeologist, well-versed in the ancient language of the natives of the island was able to translate the writings on the wall.  All that was able to be discovered was that the diamond apparently appeared mysteriously on the island more than 1000 years earlier and just as mysteriously vanished. 

Although they had never been seen in the cave before, the writings could be dated back to the time of the ancient natives of the island.  No further clues were discovered discerning the enigmatic mystery other than that the mysterious jewel seemed to appear, disappear, and reappear from past ages up to the modern times.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Krispy-Kreme Doughnuts

A purple turtle meandered his way along Venice boardwalk.  Nobody paid much attention to him.  The Jamaicans, the weightlifters, and the marijuana dispensaries grabbed most of the attention.  He could remember a father’s day far in the past in which he and his son between the two of them were able to defeat an angry rabbit in a marathon swim around the pier after they had spiritedly shared a joint of Humboldt’s finest between the 3 of them .  Of course that was a long time passed and now he and his son mostly smoked marijuana in the privacy of their own home.  It was o.k. because as it is widely known, purple turtles usually suffer from glaucoma.
This father’s day was different.  Instead of a phat euro-joint he and his son enjoyed beers in one of the boardwalk beach bars.  It may seem overly sentimental to most, but he and his son often enjoyed the scenery that can be found on the boardwalk including the large host of sea-turtle waitresses.  His son especially enjoyed having the sea-turtle waitresses bring them pitcher after pitcher of beer, but he was a little old-fashioned in that his attention could not be drawn away from the much more innocuous and friendly mermaids. 

Poseidon could not touch them from this placid enclave on the beach and neither could the alligators that had tormented him in his youth in the swamp-lands of Florida

“How many fathers’ day do you think we can keep celebrating like this?”  His son asked. 
It was a very perplexing question which spent much time plaguing his mind.  Usually purple turtles lived long lives especially if they lived in the zoo, however it was wise to stay out of France. 

He answered his son assuredly with the knowledge that forsaking the turtles who make the unwise move to France most lived to be over a 100.  He responded to his son by saying, “We can expect to be meeting like this for years to come despite your mother’s insistence that I stop ogling the mermaids.”
From their view on the ocean side they could see the crowd passing.  The father noticed a majestically collared blue crab with his claw around a bikini clad seahorse.  His son seeing the same thing offered a question as to when the last time his father had seen a crab like that.  His father replied by saying, “It’s been a while but I can remember seeing one like that in way back in my first tour of duty in Saigon.  I remember wondering why it had been so far away from the ocean.”

They continued watching the crowd as it passed.  The son noticed a one-eyed, one-horned, yellow-purple people eater.  The son inched back with a degree of fear.  “That things safe, isn't it?”  He said to his father. 
His father, in his many years, learned not to be afraid of such things.  He said to his son, “As long as their domesticated they won’t hurt anyone, but it’s important to make sure that you keep them fed.”

The day at the beach was nearing an end.  Although purple turtles have a remarkable tolerance for alcohol, a day at the beach sitting at the bar was starting to catch up with them.  Father’s Day was not quite over though.  The celebration would continue into the night.  The rest of the family was planning to join the party and the festivities shortly before sun down.  They had outlawed bar-b-q’s on the beach in recent years.  Rather than smore’s with graham crackers, marshmallows, and chocolate, their family was bringing Krispy-Kreme doughnuts full of glucose and carbs to revitalize father and son after a long day at the beach.

The rest of their family arrived shortly after 7 p.m.  His wife was a beautiful mermaid from the depths of the ocean of the south pacific.  Upon her arrival he could not help but thinking what a lucky purple turtle he was in his slightly drunken state.  Father, son, mother, and the rest of their family enjoyed Krispy Kreme glazed twist doughnuts while watching the sunset into the pacific.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

A Red Scarf and 50 Parking Tickets

“Have you ever noticed a red scarf like that one before?” Michael asked a cousin he had not seen for a while.  A strange slightly unkempt guest wearing a red poke-a-dotted scarf across the room had caught his attention.  His cousin did not share his interest but Michael was intrigued in the midst of his mild state of inebriation.

“Who is it anyway?” he asked his acquaintance.  “I can’t remember where I saw that scarf before.”  The oddity was even more strikingly bizarre from the mystery guest’s appearance.   He was wearing the red scarf with a complete three-piece suite.  It contrasted starkly from the tuxedos and more conservative attires worn by the other men at the wedding reception.

The guest got up from his chair and walked across the room toward the wedding cake.  The reception had been going on for a couple of hours now and the ceremonial cutting of the cake had occurred earlier with much splendor.   Walking in the direction of the cake, he stopped at the champagne flowing fountain.  As if it were a shot of whiskey from the days of the old west, he poured himself a glass and he drank it in one gulp. 
The red scarf was worn around his neck resembling the flowing hair of the bride.

“This way no one will recognize me,” he thought to himself.  “Cheap champagne for a wedding,” he commented to a female guest near the champagne fountain.

“I know now,” Michael said to his acquaintance.  “Doesn’t that look familiar to you?”
His companion mentioned back in his own state of slight intoxication that it didn’t look familiar and thought to himself how Michael’s fascination with the red scarf was beginning to annoy him.
“It couldn’t be,” Michael continued, “but doesn’t that look like the scarf that the guy who robbed the credit union last month wore?”  The reason he remembered such an obscure fact was that the robber on the news was shown wearing a white dress shirt with a strange poke-a-dotted scarf and a nylon covering his face.  Although the appearance of the mystery guest was different than that the shadowy figured portrayed on the news last month the scarf seemed to be identical.
The sinister figure slowly roamed about the room to associate with others at the ceremony.  In a wedding party of 450 plus nobody could possibly remember all their distant friends and family.  That’s why he enjoyed these celebrations.  The food was always good, the alcohol flowed freely, and the upscale grouping at events such as these mirrored his appreciation of the good life which he could not afford on his own.
“So what are we supposed to do anyway?”  Mike’s companion asked.  “Should we call the police because a guy at a wedding reception is wearing a red scarf that looks familiar?”
“You’re right,” Mike confessed.  “That wouldn’t be a good idea.  But, I wish there could be some way that I could know for sure.”
Mike consumed in fascination decided to investigate further.  He approached the mystery guest and asked as if he were an old friend, “How long has it been?  It must have been more than five years now.”
The mystery guest wasn’t at all surprised by an onlooker questioning his attendance at a family affair.  He did this sort of thing all the time.  He responded the way he always did in such occasions.  He politely shook the other party’s hand and found a quick excuse to extricate himself from the conversation.
The anonymous guest was getting a little drunk on the free-flowing champagne.  He decided it was time for him to leave the social occasion without giving so as much as a thank you for the free food and drink.

While the guests were exiting an hour later Michael noticed a police car in the parking lot.  Apparently the man with the red scarf had dozens of overdue parking tickets.  More amazing than that the parking enforcement officer noticed the red scarf and quickly called for backup. 

As Michael drove away he thought how a red scarf, a wedding reception, and 50 parking tickets were an interesting avenue into spending twenty years in prison.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Her Majesty

  • 3rd Place in Aspiring Writer's March 2011 Writer's Competition

The brisk, frigid morning chapped against my skin.  I breathed slowly and deeply while enjoying the taste of the air.  I could still see smoke bellowing towards the sky deep in the horizon.  The tensions of my muscles still ached from the battle the night before.  I stood idly from the military encampment a few hundred yards away.

The battle the day before tested the endurance of my army.  It had been perilously victorious, but costly.  It had been a test to see if the brawn of my men could defeat the majesty of the sorceress.  The heavily guarded castle was defended with stone and by the sorceress though the supernatural and magical monstrosities of her beckoning.

The war had raged for decades.  The country-side which had once been the domain of the sorceress and her army had been liberated years before.  Battle led to battle and victory led to victory.  The cusp of the final battle was upon us.  We had fought our way to the castle gates. 
Yesterday, the inventive creations of the sorceress tested my battle worn men.  Her army had nearly been annihilated but lightening, thunder, and storm became our adversaries.  The wild beasts of the forest had embattled us for years.  From every direction our enemy took on different incarnations.
The closer we neared victory the more horrific the battle became.  Hurricanes and tornadoes and locusts and firestorms took the place of her army to fiercely combat the will of my soldiers.  Upon entering the gates of the castle, the sorceress’s horrifying countenance turned to snakes and fire.  As our impending victory became evident it was her final intention to break the will of my men through pain and fear.  My men would not back down.  It was a war that had been fought hard and we were on the verge of victory.  The freedom of our wives and children were at stake.  Moreover, the costs of victory would be well rewarded.  Peace and harmony would follow. 
Fire met us at the gate.  The winds of hurricane and firestorm were the last obstacle between us and our freedom.  The vindictive ruler would be defeated.  The first arrow pierced the sorceress.  With it came a hollering scream with a high-pitched and magnified sound coming from the demons of hell.  Fire came from her mouth and instantly turned a dozen of my men to ashes.  Another arrow pierced her skin.  This time is was through her neck.  Lightening flashed down from the sky and it hit the ground with a thunderous crash.   At last in a crusade which had lasted decades we would achieve victory.  I ran to the sorceress, shield and sword in hand.  As I ran towards her, the weakened sorceress, with lightening streaming from her finger tips, heinously fought to her last breath.  My shield of iron blocked this final offensive, I lifted my sword, swung it through the air, and sliced her head off in one motion. 
The winds subsisted.  As the lifeless body of the sorceress fell to the ground the storm and the thunder were silenced.  A crevice in the earth opened and fire glowed up through it.  One last deafening roar from the depths of the earth was let out.  From it, a swirling white-hot wind surrounded the lifeless body of the sorceress and dragged her to the depths of the earth.  The crevice in the earth closed. As the sun crested between the clouds a light rain came down from the sky cooling our skin.