Friday, December 28, 2012

One Down...A Few to Go!

Children shielded
From blog stories about divorce and subsequent relationships

Upon hearing son’s great news,
I gushed, “I’ll post that on my blog.”

“What…” he said, “…you have a blog?!!!”
One demon exorcised.


I wrote this for the Trifextra Week 48 Writing Challenge where we are to write about exorcising a demon.

This was a tough story to get across in 33 words.  Even though my three kids are adults, I did not want them to see these particular stories until I thought it was an appropriate time, which probably would have been never, except for my exuberant slip of the tongue. So, of course, they all wanted to read my blog and, with an appropriate setup, they seem to be ok with the stuff I’ve put out there.  At least, they are still speaking to me.  I even got a couple of compliments, though no comments on the touchy stories!

Oh! I should mention my son’s great news. His and his girlfriend’s short film, “All You Can Eat”, was accepted by the Slamdance Film Festival. I am very proud of him!

Your comments are appreciated.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

No Answers Here!

I wonder why some people hug
And others shake hands

I wonder why some people talk
And others are silent

I wonder why some people are horrified
And others are complacent

I wonder why some people help
And others hurt

I wonder why some people give
And others take

I wonder why some people love
And others are indifferent

I wrote this for the Week 57 Trifecta Writing Challenge where we are supposed to write 33-333 words using the word "wonder" in the contexts of either, rapt attention or astonishment about something new or mysterious; or, an expression of doubt or uncertainty. 

I went with the latter of these two, very different, contexts.  I was hesitant about this prompt.  At first, I wasn't motivated, since I felt the responses would be predictable (and, maybe, mine is), but I realized that I wonder about these things, just about every day. So I decided it was worth putting my "wonderings" out there, obvious or not.

Your comments are appreciated.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Managing Expectations

The key to having happy holidays is to manage expectations. Do not cling to fond memories of your childhood. Instead, focus on your blessings:  The relatives, overeating, hangover remedies, bills, etc. Happy holidays!

I wrote this for the Trifextra Writing Challenge Week 47 where we are to write exactly 33 words about our feelings about the holidays.  We were given a quote by Dave Barry, one of my favorite writers, to use as inspiration:

“In the old days, it was not called the Holiday Season; the Christians called it 'Christmas' and went to church; the Jews called it 'Hanukkah' and went to synagogue; the atheists went to parties and drank. People passing each other on the street would say 'Merry Christmas!' or 'Happy Hanukkah!' or (to the atheists) 'Look out for the wall!”

― Dave Barry

I appreciate your comments.


Monday, December 17, 2012

What About U.S.?

Of course,
the answer is that we must heal
But the "why" of these killings confounds us

We don't need CNN talking heads
to tell us that he was a disturbed individual
or interviews from school-mates to gain insight

But we need to know why
killings take place,
not just by "disturbed" people

What about Russia?
What about Germany?
What about Rwanda?

What about U.S.?
What about Wounded Knee?
What about Kent State?

I am writing this post for the Week 56 Writing Challenge, where we are required to write 33-333 words using the word "heal" in the context of restoring purity or integrity.

I don't usually like to justfiy or explain my posts, but in this case, I feel the need to make two points.  We should do everything we can to deal with crazy people and gun control is one of the things which can help.  But my second point is that I don't understand why we are more focused on random acts of violence, when governments have committed acts of violence and we rarely speak up in horror, the way we did this past weekend. 

Your comments are appreciated.

Friday, December 14, 2012

The Law is the Law

Henry Elfman, having done this gig for 180 years, wasn’t pulling his weight anymore. The Boss demoted him. Pride got the better of him and Henry filed an EEOC injunction. Christmas was cancelled.

I wrote this for the Week 46 Trifextra Writing Challenge, where we are supposed to write a “humorous” 33 words.

Your comments are appreciated.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Play

My daughter, Grace, is a junior at a university in New York City, majoring in Theater. She invited me to see a play which the students had written and in which they would perform.  She felt the need to prepare me for what I would see, so she said:  “Just so you know, the play’s got some porn in it.” She quickly added, “The porn is in film clips.”

I was a surprised by my reaction to this bit of news; I was actually relieved that that the porn would be on film and not performed live, especially, not by my daughter. So, with great anticipation about what I might be seeing, I walked to the theater, having been fortified by two Manhattans.

The play opened with a young man, about twenty years old, speaking a monologue.  He was describing historic events over the last thirty years or so.

After the narrator set the scene, two students appeared as Ronald and Nancy Reagan.  (I’ve already confessed to my daughter that I didn’t entirely follow the plot, especially after the Manhattans, and she, graciously, acknowledged that the script was still a work in progress).

At this point in the play, while Ron and Nancy were chatting, a young woman began simulating masturbation and licking her fingers and slapping herself in the face. Of course, this was unusual, but not entirely unexpected. But that was because I was already knew about the porn.

And, yes, the porn was explicit.  Thankfully, it was the typical, one on one stuff, with no major kinky action. I was, sort of, proud of myself for being cool about this. 

After the play, Grace was a little apprehensive about my reaction.  So, I guessed she wanted some assurances. And being the dad that I am, trying to be cool, with my lame jokes, I offered:  “Yeah, I was cool with the porn.  It seemed a little tame to me!” Grace gave a nervous laugh and we changed the subject.


I wrote this for the the Trifecta Week 55 Writing Challenge where we are required to write a 33-333 word composition using the word "anticipation" in the context of a visualization of a future event.

Your comments are appreciated.

Friday, November 30, 2012

The Emperor's Pursuits

Emperor Nicholas, having crushed the revolt, was on the prowl.  The Empress could not have sex, due to frequent heart attacks. Word of his prowess spread and he had no trouble getting chicks.


I wrote this for the Trifextra Week 44 Writing Challenge where we are to write a 33 word composition about the Decemberist Revolt, triggered by Emperor Nicholas I assumption of the throne in Russia in 1825. 

I admit, I went a tad beyond writing about the revolt, but I couldn't resist when I learned about this historical tid bit. 

Your comments are appreciated.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Photo Essay

"Please stop yammering at me.  I guess it would help if I covered the other ear!"

"The Grand Trunk Highway carries many industrious commuters on any given work day."

"Here is the 'art work' I'm making for you in shop class.  If I could only figure out how to fill in the blank.  Insane?"

I wrote these captions for the Trifextra Week 42 Writing Challenge.  We are required to write a 33-333 word piece using all of these photographs. 

Your comments are appreciated.          

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Ride

Gina and I are participating in the Trifecta Week 51 Anniversary Challenge, where we are each supposed to write a 33-100 word composition which completes the story provided in italics below. Here is the first installment.

Charts and optimal dates and preferential temperatures. One line or two. As if she could summon whatever it is that makes up the human soul as easily as she could a cab on a busy New York avenue.

To Matt, all that scientific stuff sounded like bullshit; he just missed her too much! He hired a limo to pick up Becky at La Guardia and planned a romantic night in Manhattan.  They kissed as she got in the limo.  But he couldn’t keep his hands off her; he ran his hand up her thigh, past the hem of her short, black skirt. He kissed her neck and breasts and progressed until his lips met his fingers, her skirt now being up around her waist. As Becky slid down in the seat, he placed his weight on her body.

Your comments are appreciated.

Friday, November 9, 2012

The Rule of Asses

If you think you are right 100% of the time, then, it is more likely than not (50%+1) you are an arrogant ass or an ignorant ass, or, worst scenario of all, both!

I wrote this for Trifextra Week 41 where we are to write a 33 word composition that contains a probability equation.

Your comments are appreciated.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Senator

Dick Garcia called and said, “We’re going to Tallahassee.” Not entirely surprised, I said, “Sure, Dick, are we going to hire a lobbyist?”  “Fuck no”, Dick said, “We’re going to be the lobbyists!” 

Dick worked for one of the largest mall developers in the country and the zoning approval for its next regional mall had expired. As the attorney for the mall developer, I advised Dick that we needed to amend the zoning law so that we could get an extension.

I protested, “Dick, we’re not professional lobbyists and you know that’s a good ole’ boy system up there…they’ll have us for lunch.”  Dick, in his usual no nonsense way of talking, said, “Bullshit!  You forget Dave, I still have some juice around the state…for God’s sake, I was mayor for 8 years! I know everybody.” 

And true to his word, everyone was happy to see Dick as we made the rounds with dozens of senators and representatives; they all promised to support our bill. But we hit a road block with Senator Buddy Williams (pronounced “Bud-ah” in southern drawl). The Senator had been elected from the Panhandle for the past thirty years and he ruled the roost.  Nothing happened in Tallahassee without Senator Buddy approving it.

But Dick and I couldn’t even get an appointment with him. Ever confident, Dick said, “We’ll just go down to his office and wait for him.  I’m sure he’ll see us.” So we sat in the plush leather chairs in the waiting area of the Senator’s office.  After an hour or so, staring at the mahogany paneling, the Senator walked in with his aides. 

The Senator was a tall, imposing figure.  He walked toward Dick and stopped about six inches away, towering over him. He did not offer his hand:  “Hello ‘Mistah’ Mayor, I heard you were in town. As I recall, ‘ya’ll’ didn’t make a contribution to my last campaign!” The Senator, spun around, walked into his office and shut the door, without saying another word.

A surprised Dick said, “Well…screw him; we still have plenty people to support our bill.”  But, we knew we were in trouble, since the Senator had the power to keep our bill from getting to the floor of the Senate, it would never come up for a vote. Sure enough, as the legislative session progressed, our bill was never brought up.  Even the powerful senator who sponsored our bill couldn’t get it heard.

Since we weren't professional lobbyists, we got some advice from friends who knew how the game was played and we quickly learned that there was more than one way to deal with the Senator. So, in the last hours of the last day of the session, a helpful senator added a “rider” to another bill that was about to “sail through”, an expression used by legislative insiders to refer to a bill which is popular and will likely pass.  That rider was our little bill, which was approved unanimously!


I wrote this for the Yeah Write #82 Weekly Writing Challenge.

For those readers who are familiar with the legislative process, you will note that I omitted references to the identical process which must be followed in the House of Representatives; however, since we encountered no significant obstacles there, referring to this process would not have added interest value to the story.

Your comments are appreciated.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Cluttered Head

I write because my head is cluttered with random thoughts and ideas; I’d go crazy trying to remember them and so I write a blog for peace of mind (and for cool feedback). 


I wrote this for Trifextra Week 40 where are are required to write about why we write in 33 words.

Your comments are appreciated.

Friday, October 26, 2012

CEO Zombie

CEO Emiline Boyd finally broke through the glass ceiling.  Now, this bullshit press conference.
“Is your mother the Haiti Zombie?”
“Do you eat human flesh?”
“No, except my lazy-ass employees. Next question?”

I wrote this for the Trifextra Week 39 Writing Challenge where we are required to write a 33 word composition about a zombie who was discovered in Haiti in 1937.

Your comments are appreciated.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Prom Night

For the past month, Alexa had  a hard time falling asleep.  She would lay in bed every night and listen to the sounds: the sirens, the howling dogs and the chorus of crickets, which endlessly chirpped a simulataneous shrill chord; sounding like a plea for help. The sleepless nights wore her down.

Alexa was not superstitious, and she was not a particularly fearful person. She never had the first thought that anything sinister would ever happen. Maybe her sleeplessness was the ADD that they didn't diagnose until her senior year, or maybe, it was the stress of having two angry parents. To make matters worse, she was shy and had no real friends. 

Not that she expected otherwise, but when it was clear that no one was going to ask her to the prom, she felt empty and alone. That night, she was especially restless, but oddly, there were no sounds.  She was almost waiting for them; for the familiar comfort they would bring, but they never came.

As she finally drifted off, she heard the sound of her bedroom door closing.  She thought, "Did I leave the door open? Did mom just close it?" But, no, Alexa thought, "It's the middle of the night and mom would have been in bed hours ago."

As she looked up, she saw the unmistakable silhouette of a large man, leaning over her. The looming figure did not utter a word.  The weight on her was opressive. For several moments, she could not breathe. 

She awoke to the sound of chirping birds and the sun shining though the crack in the drapes that never quite closed all the way.  

She found the note on her pillow, written in beautiful script: "Good night my Darling, I will see you very soon."

I wrote this for Trifecta Week 48 Writing Challenge, where we are required to write a 33-333 word composition using the word "sinister" in the context of something evil. 

Your comments are welcome.

Friday, October 19, 2012

The Hard Truth About Wishes

Sometimes, when wishes come true,
we don’t accept the challenges
that go with our good fortune

Love must be nurtured to survive
Happiness is hard to recognize  
Wealth breeds envy, but fuck ‘em

I wrote this for Trifextra Week 38 where we are required to write a 33 word composition about the high cost of some wishes when they come true.

Your comments are appreciated.

Friday, October 12, 2012

The Pythons

On the count of have seven minutes to tell us why you deserve to rule the Universe by solving our final problem: pythons, which, due to the extinction of their predators, have been suffocating our children.

I wrote this for the Trifexra Week 37 Writing Challenge, where we were required to write a 33 word composition which builds on the phrase, "on the count of three".

Ironically, elements of this story are true.

Your comments are welcome.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Conference

After splitting with his wife of 30 years, Mike became seriously involved with Michele, a woman whom he had known professionally, over the previous 20 years. He thought they were in a permanent relationship, but she called a “break”. He had no idea what that meant, but after several months without hearing from her, he realized that their relationship was probably over. 

He signed up for one of those conferences where you go to keep up your professional certifications and attended the evening cocktail reception.  The usual crowd was there, but he noticed a woman whom he had never seen before. He was taken with her dark hair and large, green eyes.

She was talking to Vince Fernandez, a County planner. He said hello to the both of them and, Vince, realizing that Mike was looking for an introduction said, “I can’t believe you two don’t know each other.  Marcia, this is Mike.  Mike, this is Marcia.”  After all the hellos were exchanged, Vince excused himself.

Mike wasn’t great with cocktail party talk, but he knew enough to start by asking a question.  Noticing that Marcia had a slight Hispanic accent, he asked her where where she was from.  She said that she was from Zacatecas, a city in central Mexico.  Not having a clue how big Mexico was, Mike offered a non sequitur: "I've heard the beaches in Mexico are beautiful."  She agreed, but pointed out that her home town is, "...about a seven hour drive from both the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific."  

They talked for quite a while, mostly about Mexico.  Marcia told Mike about the beautiful colonial cities and the Mayan and Aztec ruins. After exchanging business cards, they said good night. Even though Mike had not gotten over Michele, he kept thinking about Marcia. He called her a couple of days later and asked her to lunch. In his mind, this was nothing more than making a new friend, or so he thought.

They made plans to meet at a well known Spanish restaurant, a hang out for politicos.  He and Marcia were about to be seated, when he saw the Mayor, Dick Garcia, who was holding court at his usual table. Mike had been Dick’s attorney for years and they were close friends. And because of their age difference, Dick was also like a father to Mike.  

Mike, thinking he would impress Marcia, said, “Let’s go say hi to the Mayor” and the two walked over to the Mayor’s table.  Mike started to introduce Marcia to Dick, but Dick was already giving her a big hug and a kiss.  They already knew each other, since Marcia had worked at the City.

Mike and Marcia talked a little about their work during lunch and he discovered that they had crossed paths before.  Marcia had attended a seminar which Mike gave on new state land development regulations and she told Mike that she was very impressed with his presentation.

Mike also connected the dots and realized that he had read a newspaper article about Marcia. She was a well known urban planner in Mexico and the article was about her education and career in Mexico and her position in the County Planning Department.

Mike enjoyed hearing the story about how she came to live in the United States.  But, more than that, he realized that he loved Marcia’s enthusiasm and upbeat way of talking.  As they talked, Mike felt that there was a real connection between them. 

Marcia, probably sensing this and not wanting to mislead Mike, showed him her wedding ring.  Mike thought, "Am I an idiot?  I know better than to miss the ring."  Mike was surprised, but he reminded himself that when he called Marcia, he was thinking of her as a new "friend". 

After this revelation, their conversation suddenly turned to personal matters. Marcia asked Mike if he was in a relationship and Mike talked a little about his situation with Michele. And without Mike asking, Marcia started to talk about her problems with her husband.  Since they had only met, Mike was puzzled that they were having such an intimate conversation, but it was clear that Marcia was interested in telling Mike about these things.

After lunch, as they walked through the restaurant, they stopped to say goodbye to the Mayor. Dick was his usual self, giving Mike a hug and Marcia another hug and kiss. As they left, Mike looked back at Dick to wave goodbye and Dick, assuming Mike’s lunch date was more than just business, gave him a big "thumbs up". Mike cringed, hoping that Marcia didn’t see that.

As he and Marcia walked out of the restaurant, Mike knew that there was a big attraction between them, but, between his lingering feelings for Michele and the fact that Marcia was married, he knew that he would not call her again.

Later that afternoon, Dick called Mike and was raving about Marcia.  In his usual old school manner, Dick said, “Marcia is gorgeous; you’ve got a winner with her.  Mike, you have no idea, but Latinas are the best.  If they love you, you are their ‘king’. And I remember her from the City; she’s a smart, terrific person.”

Mike protested, “Dick, I hear what you’re saying, but she’s married.  I had no idea when I asked her to go out to lunch. Besides, I still have feelings for Michele. In fact, the whole situation was weird; Marcia was telling me about all her problems with her husband.  Why would she do that?” 

Dick, being a lot more experienced than Mike with women, became a little exasperated, “Mike, she wasn’t telling you that stuff to get your advice; she was sending you a message.”  Mike thought about what Dick said and responded, “Yeah, you may be right, but I’m not chasing after a married woman.” Dick said, “You just wait, I know I’m right.” 

© Lumdog 2012

I originally wrote this for Yeah Write Challenge Grid #78, however, it was rejected.  According to the Yeah Write editor, the post "reads like fiction." For the record, this is a true story.

Your comments are appreciated.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Waiting for Death

The air in the room was thick and damp. It enveloped her like a pall.
At first, Sarah was listless and then she could not move.

Her fear was palpable. No one could understand it. She was so beautiful.
And so full of life.

The doctor puzzled; the priest prayed the rosary; and the shaman quaked.

The anticipation was overwhelming.
And finally, they all understood they were powerless.
The future was inevitable.

A shadowy figure appeared in the room.
With a black cloak and scythe.

He handed them to Sarah and said, “I'm sorry I took so long to make your costume. But it had to be perfect!  Tonight, you will personify Death when you go out trick or treating.”

And Sarah’s friends, dressed as a doctor, a priest and a shaman were so relieved, now that they knew that she would be able to join them.

I wrote this for Trifecta Week 46 Writing Challenge where are to write a 33-333 word composition using the word death in the context of a destroyer of life.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

The Cluttered Room

Cluttered mind in turmoil
Scattered thoughts and fears
And regrets over love,
Lost and gained
And, like a room,
Full, with relics and memories
It must give way
To love, compassion and peace

I wrote this for the Trifextra Week 36 Writing Challenge where we were required to write a composition using a metaphor or simile inspired by one of several photographs. 

Your comments are appreciated.

Friday, September 28, 2012

The End? Part II

She turned and saw his cold stare.  How could it end like this, when they had so much together?  Could this really be happening?  She was mystified, but he never said a word. 

As she thought what she might have done, she was dazed at the possibilities, but none seemed the reason for his reaction: "Maybe it’s just him. I wonder if he will realize this."

I wrote this for Trifextra Week 35 Writing Challenge where are to to write a 33 word composition which builds on a previous Trifextra entry. For this week's entry, I used my entry for Week 32. The words in italics are my earlier entry.

Your comments are appreciated.

Monday, September 24, 2012

The Bunnies!

Jones was born and raised in Hopwell and was well liked, even though the townfolk thought that he was a little slow. He had a cabbage patch next to his cabin in the woods. Every night, the rabbits would feast on his cabbage and he woke up every morning and saw his ravaged garden.

He was mystified. Indeed, he was naive and utterly blind to the events unfolding while he was asleep!  He wasn't even suspicious when he heard the rabbits talking and making chortling sounds. Despite this obvious truth, he loved the little bunnies and would feed them from whatever was left in his garden.

Mirna, who lived about a half mile down the road from Jones, brought him biscuits and gravy every morning. Jones had no idea, but Mirna had a crush on him.  And every day, Mirna would ask him to dinner.  But Jones would always say, "No, thank you ma'am." He was not exactly sure why he said no, but he was afraid.  Maybe it was the rumors, where it was said that she did some bad things and was sent to a "home".  The newspaper stories were confusing too, but he understood when he read that the judge said:  "You are criminally insane!"

But Mirna, now having been released for some six months, was ready to resume her life.  And so, when she brought the biscuits and gravy to Jones, she wanted to be helpful. She tried to warn him that the rabbits were the ones destroying his cabbage patch.  She suggested a low fence that might keep them away. But Jones would hear none of it; he loved his bunnies.

After his umteenth replanting, one morning, Jones woke up to see his cabbage patch thriving.  He thought, I must have found my green thumb.  As Mirna served the biscuits and gravy, Jones bragged: "I've finally mastered the art of gardening!"...Mirna smiled.

And the bunnies were never seen or heard from again.

I wrote this for the Trifecta Week 44 Writing Challenge where we are supposed to write a 33-333 word composition using the third definition of the word "blind".

Your comments are appreciated.

Friday, September 21, 2012


A friend talks about everything and anything; pure joy.
A lover takes you places you never thought you'd go.
And a friend and lover gives this joy and love and is there...forever.

I wrote this for Trifextra Week 34 Writing Challenge where we are supposed to write about something (or someone) that (who) does three things at the same time.

Your comments are appreciated.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


I move the hair off your neck
And I slowly run my hand down your back
All the way down to the soles of your feet

I work my way back up your ample body
with my kisses,
stopping at each special place

I never tire of this ritual
and the lovely dance we perform
and the little noises you make


I wrote this for the Trifecta Week 43 Writing Challenge where we are supposed to write a compositon using the word, "ample", in the context of a person's figure.

Your comments are appreciated.

Friday, September 14, 2012

The Triplets

The triplets, Manfred, Milton and Sue were identical, except that Manfred had a cowlick that swept to the left, whereas, Milton’s swept right. Oh yea, Sue wasn’t identical either; she had no cowlick.

I wrote this for Trifextra Week 33 where we are supposed to write a 33 word composition using the Rule of Three.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Pastor: Beyond the Incipit

The pastor had it all:

The church, a mid-rise Tower of Babel
A mansion on the lake
A private jet
A trophy wife
Exotic cars

He had amassed this great fortune through his evangelical teachings. He had imbued his followers with the, once, radical notion that God rewards “believers” with wealth, which he called “prosperity gospel”.

And so, the fall from grace was that much the harder.

Church collections were massive;
the money seemed endless.
But the church had a large mortgage.
Finances were murky.
Questions were asked:
What happened to the money?

The fall was sudden:

DUI charges

The pastor had his critics.
But his flock was loyal.
He was once high among them and now he was mortal.
And this endeared him to them.

After rehab, the pastor returned to the church.
He announced his sermon:  The Redemption, Restoration and Resurrection.

The sermon was planned as a testament to hope.
His flock was gleeful, their prayers were answered.
There was great anticipation.
There would be inspiration.
Thousands would come to listen.

True to his word, the pastor preached about the path to Redemption:

We all know of the sins of pride, envy and greed.
We must cleanse ourselves of these sins.
We must bury the past.
And look to the future.
We can do this together.
We can succeed.

The Pastor then spoke of the way to Restoration:

Now… we all know the church is just a symbol.
But the church is our foundation.
It is our home.
It is our sanctuary.
We must not allow ourselves and our church to, once again, fall from grace.

And, the Pastor ended with an admonition for the Resurrection:

I need you look deep into your hearts.
We must do this for the church.
Reach down deep into your pockets, as we pass the plate.  
After all, we have the mortgage to pay.

And they gave; and his Resurrection was complete.

Author’s note: This story was based on newspaper accounts.

I wrote this for the Trifecta Writing Challenge Week 42, where we are to write a 33-333 word composition using the word, “radical”, in the context of an extreme point of view.

Your comments are appreciated.

Friday, September 7, 2012

The End?

The last strains of sunlight lingered in the corners, grasping every available point of refraction.  She slid her fingertips along the glass wondering if this was all there ever was. Or could be.

She turned and saw his cold stare.  How could it end like this, when they had so much together?  Could this really be happening?  She was mystified, but he never said a word. 

I wrote this for Trifextra Week 32, where are to write a 33 word follow up to the first 33 words provided above.

As always, comments are appreciated. 

Monday, September 3, 2012

Birthday Declaration!

Today is my &#?/%*th birthday! My wish is to be able to say the number without cringing. I know I'm being silly and this is a phobia I've gotten in my head. It's just that, when I'm not thinking about my age and I hear some story about a &#?/%* something person, I automatically think of this person as being old.

When I think about this logically, I remind myself that I'm only one day older than yesterday and that I have the mental outlook of someone who is, at least, 20 years younger.  And people tell me that I look 10 years younger than I am.  I'm in very good health and have some pretty good old-age genes.  My mother is 89 and my father is 94 and neither of them have any life threatening illnesses.

The irony is that I probably "inherited" this mindset from my father, who, in his younger days, complained about old people: they drive too slow, they're penny pinchers and complain all the time. 

Not that my father needed to drive the point home, but, about 4 years ago, he and my mother moved into an assisted living home. After a month, my father told me, "This place isn't working out for me."  I asked him why, and he said, "I don't like it; there are all old people here!"

As I think about my hang up with age, it's not the absence of youth that bothers me, it's that I'm afraid that people will think I'm old when I tell them my age. So, I guess I should just get over it and come clean. 

So, goes:  I'm 60 years old today!  Yeah, that wasn't so bad!  "60 is the new 40", right? Ha, I spit in your face Mr. 60! My age doesn't define me!  I'm still cool.

Yes, I feel better now that I've unloaded my fears about getting old.  In fact, it's liberating!

But, hey, if anybody asks, can you just tell them I'm in my fifties? Thanks.

Author's note:  Marie Nicole doesn't know it, but she gave me my first birthday present yesterday in her post entitled:  "Roller Derby: A 3-Word Story, her entry in Trifecta, where she said that you're "never too old" to learn new things.

I wrote this for the Trifecta Week 41 Writing Challenge, where we are to write a 33-333 word story using the word, "absence", in the context of something which is wanting or lacking.

Saturday, September 1, 2012


In three words, I can sum up everything I've learned about writing:  inspiration-aggravation-manipulation.

I wrote this for Trifextra Week 31 Writing Challenge.

Your comments are appreciated.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Brooklyn: A Big Family Dinner


I am participating for the first time in the Yeah Write Speakeasy Challenge Grid.  I don’t usually like to provide a set up for my stories, but it is worth noting that the story takes place in 1971 and while I could not take notes (for reasons which will become apparent), the dialogue is almost verbatim, as the memory of this day is seared in my brain.

Your comments are appreciated.

I fell in love with a second generation Italian girl from Brooklyn. I met Vicky during our freshman year in college and she invited me to spend the summer with her family in Brooklyn. To the old-timers in her family, my staying at Vicky’s house, without our being married, was an “infamnia”; not allowed. But we were inseparable so, we made up this story about how I needed a job to pay for school, and jobs were scarce in Indiana. Vicky’s dad said I could stay there, so long as I slept in her brother’s room.

I take a taxi from the airport to a neighborhood known as “Red Hook”, in south Brooklyn.  I meet Vicky and her Aunt Mary on the corner of Court Street and Second Place.

We start walking toward Vicky’s brownstone and a man from the corner candy store runs outside and anxiously says, "Mary, are you ok?" Mary responds, “Yea, it's ok, he’s Vicky's boyfriend. He's an ‘American’.” I ask Vicky what this was all about and she explains, "In this neighborhood, the Italians watch out for each other and you are a stranger". "Ok, I say, "...but what's this about me being an American?” “Well…” she says, “...anybody who is not Italian is an ‘American’, especially a blond guy like you."

That night, the family was having a big dinner at Aunt Mary’s to celebrate Vicky being home from school.  I was nervous about meeting the family, especially Vicky’s Uncle Salvatore, Aunt Mary’s husband. Uncle Sal was Sicilian, a tough guy who worked on the docks.  He was a big shot in the Longshoremen’s union and the dock workers called him “Mack”, because he was built like a Mack Truck. I was particularly nervous because my hair was almost down to my shoulders and I was an outsider, especially now that I learned that I was an “American”.

We open the door to Aunt Mary and Uncle Sal’s apartment and say hello to about half a dozen cousins, aunts and uncles and we hear a lot of commotion coming from the kitchen. As I later learned was the custom, the women did all the cooking, serving and cleaning up. They were making lasagna, veal cutlets, eggplant and spaghetti with clam sauce and yelling about what needed to be done next. And Aunt Mary was the loudest, as she barked orders.

Uncle Sal was standing in the dining room, impatiently waiting for dinner. After we were introduced, Uncle Sal stares at me for a minute and then looks toward Aunt Mary and says: "My wife...she's a fuckin' ball breaker, ain’t she?” My mind was racing, how do I respond? I say, “Yeah.”, not wanting to contradict him.

As the women were starting to put the food on the table, Uncle Sal insists that he and I sit down and eat. I politely suggest we wait for the others. But, he commands: "Eat.", and we start in on the lasagna.  Aunt Grace sits down and glares at Uncle Sal and me, “Men are gavones” she declares. Vicky laughs and whispers in my ear: “That means ‘people with no manners’”. Uncle Sal doesn’t care what Aunt Grace has to say, but I’m worried about the impression I am making. I had already managed to call Aunt Mary a ball breaker; I don’t need any more screw ups!

By this time, almost everybody is sitting at the table. Vicky's cousin, Joe, breaks the ice: “I got a new Caddy. It's a beauty. It even has ‘climax control’.” I choked down a laugh, not quite hiding my reaction.

To recover, I suggest Joe might take us for a ride in the Caddy.  Joe looks at me incredulously, “What?  Are you fuckin’ crazy? I have a parkin’ space on the street, which is good ‘til ‘Tursday’, when the garbage men come!”

I’m completely confused! I look over at Vicky and she explains that Joe has to move the car when the garbage men come on Thursday, so he doesn’t want to lose the space before then.  I lean toward Vicky and whisper, “What’s the point of having a car, if you can’t use it.”, and Vicky just rolls her eyes.

Vicky's cousin, Jimmy Boy, comes in late. He gives Vicky a big hug and a kiss and shakes my hand. “Hey, how yous doon?” I respond “Good to meet you Jimmy”, not wanting to call someone, “Boy”, who looks to be about 20 years my senior.

Everyone laughs.  Aunt Grace scoffs at me: “No! He's Jimmy Boy. JIMMY IS HIS FATHER!” I look at Vicky, puzzled again, and she explains that “Boy” is the Brooklyn version of “Junior”.

Aunt Grace, after mocking me about Jimmy Boy, asks me if I want ice cream:  “We have vanilla or ‘chawklat’.”  I respond, “I’d like some ‘chocolate’, please.”, using, what I am about to learn, is an “American” accent.  Aunt Grace snorts, “Oh, listen to high falootin’ he is!”

As the women start to clear the table, I get up to help to help pick up the dishes. Uncle Sal scowls at Vicky, “What, is your boyfriend a fag?” Vicky offers an off-handed defense: “No, Uncle know that American men help with the dishes!” Jeez, I thought, “I can’t catch a break!”

After dinner, we say our goodbyes and walk back to Vicky’s house. I said to Vicky:  “Man, I’m so embarrassed: I came across as the 'American gavone'. Especially with Aunt Grace, who took more than her share of shots at me.  And I’m still cringing over Uncle Sal’s "fag" comment.”  Vicky snickers and says, “You did fine, the family likes you. Even Aunt Grace. That’s their way of saying you’re part of the family.  And Uncle Sal was just having some fun with you.”

© Lumdog 2012