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.

Friday, March 29, 2013

If I Could Take it All Back

  • ·        Inspired by the song “River of Time” by The Judds

“It’s over, he said.” 

Taylor had loved him.  He had been the only man that she had ever loved.  If she had known, she would have taken a different path.

It seemed like an innocuous meeting at a near-empty bar.  She had not planned on anything happening, yet things tossed and turned and spun in such a way that she spent the night in the apartment of a strange man.

Alfredo would not know. 

“It was an accident,” she said to herself.  She wasn’t going to let it happen again.  Yet one harmless affair led to the next.  It was not a lifestyle that she chose; it just manifested itself from events that she kept insisting were beyond her control.

She loved Alfredo, she really did.  He was not just some transient affair like the rest of them.  He was more important to her than she cared to imagine; the last thing that she wanted in life was to hurt him.

Yet time passed and her excuses wore thin. 

“How did he find out?” was her first thought when he discovered her cheating. 

She thought that she had been careful.  Yet, here he stood before her as she professed her undying love.  He didn’t seem to care.    She thought that she had been careful.  Yet, he stood before her without hesitation for the mitigating circumstances which she insisted were many.  He didn’t seem to care. 

“It’s over,” he said.  A philanderous wife was more than he could accept.  “It wasn’t one man … how many were there?”  He asked.

“You’re the only one I have ever loved,” she pleaded.

However, the hurt she had caused him left no recourse.

“It’s over,” he said.

Five years is a long time, but the memories still plagued her consciousness.  Funny, now that she was divorced, the endless stream of men that she had been involved with while she was married now dwindled to none.  A solitary life is what she now chose.

Alone in a small diner, she lit up a cigarette to enjoy with her coffee.  It was a bad habit she had begun after the divorce.  Alone in the diner, she drank her coffee while she read a book.  Not very many patrons were there and her solitude seemed quite natural.

Time had not buried the memories and it had taken time for her to realize that the break-up had been her fault.

“I am the only one to blame,” she said to herself. 

This recognition, however, did not alleviate her pain. 

Music played in the background.  It was soft-rock typical for such a setting. 

“Not quite sure?” she thought.  “Probably REO Speed Wagon?”  She knew it was an older song, but she could not place it.   The poignant lyrics brought a thinly disguised tear to her eye.

Another year passed.  She again sat in that same diner.  She had become a regular and the workers as well as the other patrons had become accustomed to her presence, alone, smoking her cigarettes, drinking her coffee, and reading her book.

She had carefully chosen a book by Saint Francis of Assisi.  She was not after a religious awakening; however, the philosophy in the book espoused personal recovery and enrichment.  The years had passed, but not the pain. 

In the past few months, she had begun rebuilding her life.  After the recognition that she was to blame, came the realization that she could mend her life and start again.  From nowhere in particular, she began to feel love in her heart.  She was not in a place in her life where she was ready for a relationship, but she knew now the path to follow when she was ready. 

The slight twinge of warmth that she felt in her heart manifested for an appreciation for life.  The mundane and sometimes painful path of life had caused hardships.  Every morning, waking before work, she dreaded the routine of office life.  However, after some time, she began to enjoy the simple tasks as the path to individual freedom.  Although monotonous, she arrived each morning with a smile on her face.  She was learning that love encompasses all things.

She sat alone in a restaurant; not the same diner where she had sat a year before.  A friend of Taylor’s from work had set her up on a blind date.  It was much too soon to consider where it might lead; however, it was prominent in the occasion of resurrecting her life.

His name was Mark and her friend had assured her that they would have much in common.  It was hardly a basis for a relationship, but they were both avid readers with an encyclopedia of knowledge available from both of them concerning the subject.  As it turned out, this simply offered a basis for mild conversation on a somewhat awkward first date.

The conversation began tritely after Mark arrived at the restaurant.  Old fashioned as he was, he insisted that he pay the bill rather than splitting it; which would have been expected from such a casual meeting. 

The conversation began.  They continued discussing the work of classic authors such as Shakespeare, Hemingway, and Steinbeck.  Taylor was pleased that the man that represented a new prospective relationship was obviously educated.  Rather than a mundane conversation about the many books by Steven King, it allowed for a much more substantive conversation.

They shared a few cigarettes and few more cups of coffee after the dinner ended.   She walked out of the restaurant with no hopes for a budding relationship.  Alfredo had truly been the best life had to offer; she was to blame for the relationship’s demise.  Reckless and haphazard behaviors were trifles of youth.  She had hurt the man she had loved and promised herself not to repeat that mistake in the future.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Country Music Artist of the Month ... Mary Chapin-Carpenter

“Country Music Artist of the Month … Mary Chapin-Carpenter”

Mary Chapin-Carpenter
 Mary Chapin-Carpenter was born February 21, 1958.  She released her first album, Hometown Girl, in 1987.  Although it wasn’t commercially successful, it was praised by critics.   

In her hay-day Mary Chapin-Carpenter was a very successful country singer, both critically acclaimed and commercially successful.  She received five Grammy Awards, including four straight Grammy Awards for Best Female Country Performance between 1992 and 1995. 

With her country-folk style which was rarely mirrored, Mary Chapin-Carpenter has sold over twelve million albums in her career.  Her 1992 album Come on, Come On was her biggest selling album going quadruple platinum.

Songs such as the Grammy Award winning “Down at the Twist and Shout” made her an icon in the country-folk genre carving a niche as a standout artist in the style.  Other songs, such as “I take my chances” and “I feel lucky” fared well on the country music charts with a unique mix of humor and irreverence.  Later in her career, Mary Chapin-Carpenter switched to a less popular focus that bordered on political activism.

Mary Chapin-Carpenter success followed the path of more traditional country music.  Her music in the latter part of her career, although not as commercially successful, echoes the style of the music that made her a successful singer-songwriter on the country stage.  Many of her contemporaries chose a route that included a more pop orientated style.  However, Mary-Chapin Carpenter stayed true to her country roots.  As a country music artist, she will always remain a cult favorite with her many fans.

I chose to highlight five of her songs.  Take a look at these videos which epitomize the best work she has to offer.   Although she has more music which may have been overlooked, these five songs are a sample of the artist’s bests.

This song epitomizes the feminist perspective that accented much of her career.  The lyrics poignantly propose the end of a marriage of suffrage.

One of her later hits, this joyful song of aspiring love brings smiles to its audience’s hearts.

This song reflects life in a small town and is a favorite among her contemporaries.

Close your eyes and dream, the message of this energy-filled upbeat melody.

Humorous, edgy, and celebrating the joy of love, this song remains 
an all-time classic.

Keep an eye open for next month's "Country Music Artist of the Month ..."

Friday, March 22, 2013

The Inspiration of a New Life

  •   Inspired by the song “Come from the Heart” by Kathy Mattea

It was a new job; it was a new life.  After a devastating loss that had been inflicted upon his family, he would start from the beginning.  Jonathan’s wife and two small children had been killed in a car accident over three years ago.  As Penelope and their two children were on a short road-trip, they were stuck by a bus. 

His life and his love had been taken with his family.  He now immersed himself into a great depression that embodied his life.    Morning upon morning, he awoke past noon to an endless cup of coffee and a barrage of cigarettes.  The process of awaking was tortuous and plagued with fear.  Showing up late to work time after time, he lost his job.  Soon after he lost his job, he lost his house and was left living in a halfway house wallowing in his own self-pity with no solace to be found.  The depression left him cold and aloof of senses.

In the halfway house, he did not have to worry about work or food being put on the table.  His welfare check supplied the money he would need for coffee and cigarettes.  His complete lack of ambition was pronounced by the pain that had turned to numbness. 

Awakening every afternoon, he would shave, brush his teeth, shower, and eat breakfast.  Although the routine marked the bare minimum of existence, he painstakingly managed it not to succumb completely to self-degeneration. 

Each afternoon he slowly arose to his breakfast, he could manage little more than an endless stream of coffee and cigarettes.  He would oftentimes go back to sleep after a few hours to escape from the terrible pain the accident had inflicted.  In the shadow of a life, he was now living completely bereft of hope.  The normal chores of life represented to him an insurmountable burden.

After three years, he decided it was time to leave his misery behind him.  He had graduated from college and had been working in the professional world for many years before the death of his family and the onslaught of his inescapable depression.  A spark of ambition remained in his consciousness; now it was time to return to the world of the living.

One morning he awoke before noon.  He looked outside and noticed the blue sky decorated with a collection of puffy white clouds.  The grass was green and the music on the radio created in him a glimmer of courage.  The next morning he awoke and enjoyed the miracle of the world around him.  A third morning he awoke in hopeful ambition for what the new day would bring.  There was something within the depths of his soul that demanded that he find something that would bring substance once again to his life.

Jonathan was able to rediscover the miracle of life.

It became habitual.  He awoke every morning with a cup coffee which he enjoyed with a few cigarettes.  It was the early spring; still two cool for the embattlement of the summer heat, but warm enough to bask in the warm chill.  The sun came over the horizon very slowly.  The clouds sporadically placed about the sky echoed the love he felt in his heart.  He looked upon the grass and the trees admiring the distinct dark shades of green shared by both.  The sky which lay above him was a pristine shade of blue.  The love in his heart brought with it the zest for a miracle of a new day.  It was his cheerful labor to discover what he may, and to re-create for himself, his life of yesterday.

A year had past; he now sat in an office at an accounting firm awaiting an interview where he would offer himself as an intern.  He knew his three years of absence from work would not be looked upon favorably; however, he would not to be overwhelmed by the prospect.  Closing his eyes with a silent prayer, he beckoned the beauty of life to embrace him as he faced this new venture with confidence.

The interview was short.  Although he had been out of work for more than three years, his résumé would allow him for a trial run as an intern before he would become completely submerged into the professional world.

“This interview is basically a formality,” his employer began.  “However, it was a decorum I chose not to overlook.  First of all, I can see by your résumé that you graduated from San Diego State University with honors.  As an intern, you are more than qualified.  However, may I ask why you have been out of work for the past three years?”

Jonathan did not indicate the tragedy that had been inflicted upon his family in the recent past to his prospective employer.  It was not the kind of information that he would put on his résumé.  However, it was now the time and place to share the news in an attempt to explain his hiatus.

Jonathan began “I hate to bring this up.  I am not looking to share with you my misery and I am not trying to appeal to your sympathy, but a horrible accident occurred in my family.  Over three years ago, my wife and two children were killed in a car accident.  After that, I faced a terrible depression that took control of my life.  I was slow to recover, but I decided it was now time to continue living my life.”

Jonathan’s new employer, Michael, chose not to comment any further about the absence from work.  He did feel sympathy for Jonathan, but decided not to rehash the painful memories. 

After a few more questions, the interview ended.  His employer was very much impressed with Jonathan, his résumé, and his credentials.  He stated to Jonathan, “Considering your qualifications and the horrible ordeal you faced with the accident that happened to your family, I would be glad to have you come work for us.  I know you only applied for a volunteer position; however, I can guarantee you now that you will be a full-time, fully-paid employee after a short two week trial period.”

His new employer reached across the table to shake Jonathan’s hand.  “Can you start next Monday?”

Jonathan left the building with the happy knowledge of a successful job interview.  He returned back to the halfway house before starting work the following Monday.

The cool spring breeze invigorated his senses.  He drove home in his Toyota Cressida; the only possession remaining after his plague of depression stole from him everything else.

The smile on his face reflected his sheer enjoyment and love for life as he faced the excitement that tomorrow might bring. 

“I will close my eyes and let life bring to me what it does,” he said to himself in a self-affirming manner.

That following Monday he showed up at work.  The warmth in his heart was reflected upon everyone that he met.  A blonde woman, one not typically considered beautiful, flashed a smile in his direction.  Without fear or trepidation he smiled back.  They introduced each other and he, in a manner of shear contentment, had no further concern about where or where it may not lead.  After the brief encounter he was introduced to the rest of office.  He would tackle a pile of balance sheets, income statements, and other documents of company record.  With the education he had received in college and his years of work history, it was an endeavor beneath his level of expertise.  Yet, he underwent the hard day of labor with the love of life that brought joy to everything.  He returned back to his halfway house at the end of the day.

As the sun set the moon crept over the horizon.  The disillusionment and disenchantment for life had led him, now, to marvel for all that life could bring.

Life is a thing of wonder.  It is not a barrage of obstacles that we must repeatedly face hindering our senses.  Challenges are mere adventures.  The excitement for each new day brings with it hope.  The miracles of life should not be overlooked, rather they should be embraced.  A smile upon living brings with it happiness.  Love encompasses itself into joy and brings passion for all that life brings.

With this knowledge, Jonathan smiled as the sun rose over the horizon the next morning.  The pain was a thing of the past and love, peace, and joy were all that that could now be found.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Top 10 Country Songs ... You Might Not Know

“Top 10 Country Songs … You Might Not Know”

Take a look at this list of songs from country singers.  They are all among my personal favorites and they all have one thing in common: they are quite older and they do not receive much air-play.
I have been a fan of country music for more than twenty years and I would like to share these songs with you.

With the plethora of music of excellence on country music radio today, many of us may have overlooked or forgotten many of these songs.  Songs from older artists such as Randy Travis and The Charlie Daniels Band may have slipped from our memory or have passed our attention with the rich tradition of country music.

Artists, such as Confederate Railroad and Travis Tritt may have been eclipsed from country music by more mainstream artists.  Although their time on country music radio may be behind us, their music lives on.

The vastness of quality country music cannot be captured with any one list of greats; however, it will hopefully open all of your ears to music which you may have neglected.  As your music library expands, it should include older music as well as music from contemporary artists.

Number 10:        Change of Heart by The Judds
                                Wynonna Official Fan Page Link
                                Change of Heart Video Link

Wynonna Judd’s powerful voice captures the essence of the emotional lyrics in this song.  This country classic represents one of the best of song selections from the duet from the 80s with Wynonna singing at lead.  She also had a very successful solo career.  The emotive strength of her voice accentuates all of the music she recorded.

Number 9:          Jesus and Mama by Confederate Railroad
                                Confederate Railroad Fan Page Link
                                Jesus and Mama Video Link

This song from the early 90s is written and performed in a very traditional style.  The group reached its brief hay-day on country radio around this time, but they released and made the charts with many memorable songs including this one.  With many contemporary singers opting for country that crosses over onto the pop spectrum, the music by this group holds up with impressive distinction.

Number 8:          The Legend of Wooly Swamp by The Charlie Daniels Band
                                The Charlie Daniel’s Band Fan Page Link
                                The Legend of Wooley Swamp Video Link

When the group “The Charlie Daniels Band” is mentioned the song “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” automatically comes to mind to both country fans and pop fans alike.  However, they also released many other songs of substance.  This song by “The Charlie Daniels Band” is indicative of the outlaw movement of the 70s and represents some of their best work with a masterful musical orchestration.

Number 7:          In a Different Light by Doug Stone
                                Doug Stone Fan Page Link
                                In a Different Light Video Link

Doug Stone was a country music singer who surfaced around the same time as Garth Brooks and Alan Jackson.  Although, his career was not nearly as momentous, he released many songs which fans of the time considered to be among their favorites.  He is among the most under-rated country singers with vocal talents which cross from ballads to honky-tonk. 

Number 6:          If I Know Me by George Strait
                                George Strait Fan Page Link
                                If I Know Me Video Link

When compiling any list of top country lists, George Strait should never be neglected.  His has released a string of hits from the early 80s to today.  His strong voice and emotive style coupled with a prime selection of material is what has made him the everlasting icon to country music that he will always be.  The selected song highlights his strong voice and is a strong lyrical ballad which strikes passions in the hearts of his listeners.

Number 5:          It’s Just a Matter of Time by Randy Travis
                                Randy Travis Fan Page Link
                                It’s Just a Matter of Time Video Link

Long before there was a Garth Brooks, Randy Travis was the singer who dominated the country music scene.  Beginning In the early 80s before the emergence of country music as a force on the American music stage, Randy Travis was releasing material that brought pop listeners to country music radio.  His career includes a number of ballads which feature his strong vocal talents.

Number 4:          Hotel Whiskey by Hank Williams Jr.
                                Hank Williams Jr. Fan Page Link
                                Hotel Whiskey Video Link

Hank Williams Jr. dominated the country music scene with a nearly endless collection of honky-tonk classics.  He exemplified the outlaw movement in country shared by Merle Haggard and Waylon Jennings.  His time on the country music stage may have been cut short by the rise of stars such as Garth Brooks and Clint Black, however, his legacy lives on.  This song was briefly released in the early 90s without significant air-play on country music radio.  However, it epitomizes his honkytonk; whiskey-drinking, blues inspired sense of country music and remains a little-known great.

Number 3:          The Highwayman by The Highwaymen
                                The Highwaymen Fan Page Link
                                The Highwayman Video Link

Jonny Cash, Kris Kristofferson, Waylon Jennings, and Willie Nelson collaborated to form the group “The Highwaymen.”  All of them had well-established careers and a rich history of music on country music radio.  This song is mentioned frequently, by those who know it, to be one of their favorite country music songs.  The song stands as a creation of iconic excellence from these legends of the genre.

Number 2:          Dixie Chicken by Garth Brooks
                                Garth Brooks Fan Page Link
                                Dixie Chicken Video Link

The stature of Garth Brooks in American music is almost unsurpassed by his contemporaries in country as well as pop music.  With nearly all of his albums listed among the best sellers of all-time in any genre of music, he is renowned in the music world like few others.  Most of the songs that he released reached number one on the country music charts.  However, one song in particular which was never released as a single is among my favorites from Garth Brooks or by any other country music artist.   The song captures the best of the bar-room greatness that made him a star with originality of lyrics which has made it a classic among its listeners.

Number 1:          Anymore by Travis Tritt
                                Travis Tritt Fan Page Link

Travis Tritt had a very successful career in the early 90s with a brief resurrection at the beginning of the millennium.   He has a strong collection of hits that not only fared well on the charts, but remain epic classics unequalled by most other artists.  He mixes a sound of southern rock and country with blues and bluegrass which help to make him standout as a genius in the world of country music.  While many other artists have many commercially successful hits on the radio, much of his work is also epic in scope and brilliance.  His ballads are lyrically brilliant as well as strongly orchestrated and his honkytonk inspired songs are a shining example of country mixed with blues and southern rock.  His strong, powerful vocals also enhance his music to make his music stand the test of time.

Travis Tritt emerged onto the country scene in the early nineties where he left a legacy of hits of classic stature.  His powerful voice with its impassioned appeal has earned popular success, respect from peers, and critical acclaim.

The song I have chosen to head up this list of country music classics represents the best of ballads by the singer.  Its appeal rings true emotionally in a way that all of us can identify.  It is sung with the singer’s vocal strength and integrity that makes it a favorite of those of us who enjoy the artist.  The feeling with which it is sung is highlighted with blues guitar riffs and drum beats enhancing the emotional appeal of the song.

I hope you have enjoyed this list of my personal favorite “Top 10 Country Songs … You May Not Know.”   Feel free to leave comments and to share songs which are favorites in your collection.  Keep an eye open for future “Top 10 Country Song …” collections.

Thank you.

Friday, March 8, 2013

A Night of Respite

As I gazed out the window, I noticed the cold days of winter were here.   I could see snowdrifts more than five feet high.

I sipped my hot cocoa.

Susan was checking in on me right about now.  “What is it?” I asked.

“I don’t want to trouble you,” she responded, “But, it is my job to make sure you are taken care of.”

I responded all was well and asked, “Could you please hand me my picture?”

Graciously, she handed it to me.  “Why do you look at this picture every night?” she asked with honest curiosity.

She had never asked before, so I had never told her.  I simply stated, “I don’t want to bother you about a boring story from an old man.”

Yet she pleaded, “No, it’s no bother.  I would like to know.”

I took another sip of hot cocoa and began sharing the story with her.

“I was barely in my twenties,” I began.  It seemed like a trite exercise, yet I continued.  “It was during the war.  My battalion was stationed in Italy to keep the peace.”

Susan listened attentively as I continued to share with her the story.

“It must have been in early 1943.  I had met a girl; a girl from the USO.  It was a gathering meant to boost the morale of the soldiers.”

The story continued.  I mentioned to her the music of the day and the party.  “Me and my friends enjoyed the peace that could be found at such an event.”

“The USO girl that I met at the dance was named Harmony,” I continued. 

Susan listened.

“It was the first night I had met her, but the warmth that I felt as we danced touched me deep.  Our battalion, after a brief respite from heavy combat, would be back on the front lines in less than two weeks.  I danced with her slowly while we listened to a selection of the most moving lyrical ballads of my day.”

The story and the memories also caused my own affectations to surface.  “My friends and I were going to be sent to the German front in less than two weeks.  Harmony promised to write me letters so I would have somebody to talk to.  At least, it would help me overcome the emptiness of heart also accompanied by the war.”

“We held each other closely as we danced.  The pain and the loneliness of the war almost vanished as I was struck by a feeling close to love.  She was a beautiful blonde in her early twenties.  At the time, I had no wife or kids.  Her letters would be all I had to accompany me on the long, lonely nights.  Before the evening was over, as was customary, the photographer took a picture of her and I standing close.”

Susan continued to listen to the story, captivated by the sentimentality.  “Here it is.  It was almost seventy years ago.”  I showed her the picture.  She, with sympathy, gave it back to me.”

“Me and my battalion moved to the front lines of battle in Germany.  I never saw her again,” I told Susan, awkward about sharing such a personal memory.   

“I got one letter from her.  I was in Germany fighting during the bloody last days of the war in Europe.  In the letter she said that she had to go home to America.  I sent her letter after letter, but never got a response.”

Susan looked upon the photo with new-found interest.

“When the war ended and I got back to the states I got married.  I had kept that memory hidden for more than fifty years.  If I were to be asked ‘What is the one thing you could change in your life?’ My answer would be to wish the night would not have ended.  Now, that memory is the only thing, looking back, that makes my life feel incomplete.”

I handed the photo back to Susan and she placed it on my night table.  I took another sip of hot cocoa as I prepared myself for a night of sleep.  The snowdrifts were over five feet high and I faced the prospect of a cold night.  I once again, buried the memory along with the picture deep within my soul.

Friday, March 1, 2013

A Desolate End by Hairbrush

  •   Aspiring Writer’s January 2013 Short Story Contest 2nd Place Winner

Walking through the suburbs on this New Year’s Eve, there were no celebrations to be had for Joseph.  Single, and without any close family, he spent the occasion alone.

As he walked, he felt the freedom unexpected for a man in his situation.  He looked up into the sky and began to sing a song which had recently caught his attention.

“Merriments are over, for this is the end.  The time on Earth is finished, once you find what is around the bend.”

With no knowledge of the band who sang it, it appealed to his optimistic morbidity.

As he walked through the neighborhood, completely untouched by his position of solitude, he took the long way home to savor his journey.

As he walked, he came across a homeless man; an event extremely out of place in his city of relative luxury.  To compound the perplexity, he noticed the man brushing his long locks of blonde hair with what appeared to be a dog’s hairbrush.

The obscurity turned into irrelevance until the homeless man asked Joseph, “Top pins for the poor, for I need a new hairbrush.”

Joseph looked at the man, dug into his pocket, and pulled out pocket change and went on his way.

He continued his journey through the small suburban town until he made his way back to his apartment.  As he walked he began to sing.

“Without remorse, it comes your time to go.  Without a word, it reaches a bitter close.”

He got back to his apartment, unlocked the door, and went in.  It was late, but there would be a few more hours before it was time to usher in the New Year.  He planned to stay awake for the festivities; where all he could do was watch.

It was 9:00 p.m. and he would spend the last hours of the New Year as it had begun, alone. 

A few minutes after he got back to his apartment, he heard rustling around the door.  Without the thought of caution, he opened the door to see who it might be.  No one was there.  He didn’t see any reason to be preoccupied with the thought.  He went out the door, looking around to see who it might be.  Still, nobody was apparent.  He looked deep into the night to see who he might see.  A shadowy figure loomed far off into the darkness.  He noticed, on the ground, what appeared to be a dog’s hairbrush accompanied by long locks of blond hair.

He closed the door and thought nothing of it.  He left the hairbrush where it lay.

As he turned on the television he viewed the merriment the world was enjoying.   He made himself a ham and cheese sandwich.  As he enjoyed the sandwich complete with lettuce and tomato, the song that had been rolling around his mind earlier came on the television and he sat to enjoy it as he ate.

“The working, the playing will all be gone.  Nothing left but slumber for all.”

Trivial as it was, the song had been prominent in his thoughts for weeks. 

He finished his sandwich; excellent with the tomatoes.  He even put avocado slices on it and garnished it with gourmet potato chips.

He heard rustling near the door again.  He opened the door, but it was over.  To no avail, the same homeless man that he had seen brushing his long, blonde hair with what appeared to be a dog’s brush hit him once with the hairbrush with such velocity that Joseph fell to the ground.  He kept hitting him with that same brush until, it truly was, over.

The next morning, the police arrived.  Bludgeoned to death, Joseph’s body lay on the floor next to what appeared to be a dog’s hairbrush.

The police searched his apartment to find only one anomaly.  There appeared to be no hairbrush in Joseph’s bathroom.

Late the next night, the homeless man sat in a park and brushed his long, blonde hair.