Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Coffee Shop (Blogophilia 41.9)

"A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.” 
 
The man pondered the quote over his coffee. So many of his friends had stumbled into this trap and he had spent most of his life trying to get away from it. But not with success. Alternating between spreadsheets and political discussions online, he felt he was at a crossroads. The world looked like it was ready to crash. More than half of his associates online were cheering it as if it were a show that wouldn’t affect them. He knew better.
 
Waddling up to the counter for a refill, he steps aside for a person of uncertain gender. This was a good example. In the old days, you never saw people that couldn’t make up their mind about it. They either were, or faked being a man or a woman. A certain comfort came from knowing men from women. Now, it seems, people want to play all the roles at the same time. But can’t do that, really. You only can occupy one space physically and mentally at a time. Oh, sure, you can try to change it. And maybe you’ll have some success, but not without major scars.
 
His mind began to race again. Thoughts of imaginary friends he could rescue from imaginary terrors. Fighting imaginary enemies for a few Shillings from an imaginary King, A reward of nights with the imaginary Princess, with a strong mind and even stronger passion, it causes real arousal in front of his real spouse, who can’t understand why he is squirming desperately.
 
The images have been strong. They keep him from sleeping well. What if I lose? My real person might end up in an imaginary prison of my own making. When he comes back to reality, the world still looks the same. He has not grown. The Uncertain Person still disturbs him, even though it is true they are just as much a Child of God as he. And the world still looks like it is going to crash.
 
 
He takes a final sip and realizes, yes, he was the man in the quote. He was another life wasted.

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Pic Guesses: One Bourbon, One Scotch and One Beer. Brandy, One More From the Road, Uneasy Rider, It’s a Party, It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere, Let’s Get Drunk and Screw.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Giving Thanks (Blogophilia 40.9)

Roof over our head
Food on the board
On the right side of the ground
And breathing 
We are blessed.
 
 
After he finished the Grace, the couple sat next to each other at the small table. Martha leaned over and kissed him, city lights glistening though the raven curls. 
 
"That was lovely, Jerry" 
 
"Thank you , my Love."
 
Slicing the breast, he placed one on her plate, followed with the cornbread-apple dressing. Then he served himself. Silently, they ate with their eyes closed. Yves had outdone himself, getting the meal together before he went to Paris to see his family. He might be annoying, but he did know how to manage a house.
 
Plates cleaned of the last morsels, Martha refilled their glasses. Meditatively, she looked at the wine and softly said.
 
"It's been quite a year."
 
"Several years." Came the smiling reply. 
 
"It was nice of Rabbi Kunkel to come down to marry us."
 
"He said at my Bar Mitzvah he should live long enough to do it." 
 
"I almost didn't."
 
Jerry took a sip and was silent for a moment. 
 
"Yeah. That was started me back. I had taken everything for granted,money, fast cars, work, even you."
 
Martha put down her glass. 
 
"I can't say I was much better. My mind was only on patents and client meetings. Nothing really mattered, though."
 
"Kunkel used to tell me: 'Jerry, you are a wanderer. But the path always comes home.' I thought he was nuts. The tradition was stupid and I wanted to be as far away from it as possible."
 
"So, you chased money."
 
"I chased money. Along the way, I met you, though."
 
"Well, you did come home?"
 
"You are my home."
 
"And you are mine, Silly Boy. And I give thanks for that every day."

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Topic-Giving Thanks
Hard Prompt-Bring back old characters (Jerry Goldstein, Martha Halpern-Goldstein, and a shout to Yves Milleux)
Easy prompt mention a wedding.
Pic Guesses:
Centerfold
Closer to Fine
Love Stinks
(Baby, what a) Big Surprise
Love is a Battlefield
Runaway


Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Clean Out

It was another beautiful morning. Yeah, right. Even after all the of coffee, I was annoyed at being up. How did I get talked into it? I let someone else buy the drinks and I needed the bread. It had been a while since I got fired off my last gig and I still needed to make rent. But cleaning out some dead dame's house? It's creepy, you know? What if she...uh...didn't leave? Jerry said it was easy work and in a nice neighborhood and they would be expecting me. It took two more beers before I said yes.I left the bar with a real uneasy feeling.

I check the address on my phone. Yeah, nice enough neighborhood.I take my time driving over. I even stopped to have breakfast. I almost bailed drinking my third cup of coffee, but it was a hundred bucks. Dragging myself back out to the truck, I went on.

The subdivision was frozen in time. Ticky-tacky starter boxes in various states of disrepair. There was nobody to fix them after the kids went to University, I suppose. The dead lady's house was about halfway down the main street. It was nice enough, a white ranch with pink trim. A dusty Lincoln in the garage hadn't moved in years, but the lawn was neat as a pin. Probably used a yard service. I asked for Nancy like I was told and was pointed to this black girl in the dining room who was surrounded with boxes. She told me their company, Precious Estates, had been contracted to clean out and auction the contents of the home and this woman had been seriously into glass.

She wasn't kidding. I've done a bit of trading, both legal and illegal, in collectibles over the years. But the amount and variety of material amazed me. There was crystal goblet sets, colored cut glass, blown figurines, and other stuff I had never seen before. Some of it had to be valuable, and could be fenced for a quick buck. I tucked the thought away for later. This was supposed to be a one day gig, but if it went further, a little five fingered discount might well be worth looking into. I mean, the lady is dead, right? It's not like anybody is going to miss something.

One by one, I fed her assembly line to her as while she gave me the rundown on the job. The owner was a Mrs. Jennie Lou Mabry, a widow. She and her late husband had bought the house new in early 1960's, and lived happily together until he died about ten years ago. They raised four children: William, who was an lawyer and executor of the estate; Paul, a recently divorced engineer who was drunk for their meeting; Jason, who looked homeless; and Amelia, who looked like some kind of butch musician.

Nancy seemed relieved to have someone to listen to her complaints. In ten years of being in the estate liquidation business, she hadn't dealt with a group quite like this one. Each of the kids would interrupt each other constantly. t was obvious there was no love or trust for William and they felt he was trying to milk the estate. It was all she could do to get through the initial meeting and get the group out of the house so she could work.

According to William, Miz Jennie (as they called her) had been collecting glass since she was a kid in the Depression.William, Sr., the father, would just shrug off each purchase as a quirk. If she was happy, he was happy. After the father's  death, the kids made a few attempts to convince Miz Jennie to sell, but she would pitch fits. Apparently a more than a few pieces were thrown at William's head over the years, since he was the one who wanted it gone the most.

Yeah, I thought. Get it sold and pocket the money. Maybe I shouldn't be judging, since I haven't met the guy. But I've seen my share of greedy kids before. I would have been one, too, if my mom had had any money. But there ain't any money in being a maid, so I had to scrap for my own.

The conversation made the work light and in about an hour, we had packed up all the boxes in the living room. I was sweeping up the debris whebn Nancy mentioned there were a few more boxes left in the attic. If I got them, I could take the rest of the day off with the full pay. That sounded good to me. The ceiling door was half way down the hall toward the bedrooms. With a tug, the door opened and I climbed up.

The blast of heat about knocked me off the ladder when I reached the top.The area was empty except for a stack of three boxes tucked in an eave. I had to stoop  keep from hitting my head on a rafter, But they slid easy enough on the plywood floor. Before going back down, I decided to see if there was anything in them worth my while.

The first box was plain white, but the contents weren't. Inside was a matched set of six Tiffany Christmas tree ornaments, made from high grade crystal. The family names had been engraved with what looked like a diamond tool. They must have cost a fortune new. Mom and Dad's were probably a wedding present and the kid's acquired as each came into the world. A very traditional act for families with aspirations. They would be more valuable were unmarked, though. Too easy to trace.

In the next box was a pretty copper green cut vase, probably from the 1940's. It looked mass produced, but it was clear with no chips. There was  market, but it was slow and steady. Might bring me fifty, but it was too big to move comfortably with Nancy here.

The last one was a mix of Hummel and Swarovski pieces. Much better for what I want. At least two of visible ones were worth $500 retail, my take would be about a quarter. I'll stash it downstairs somewhere, there should be a way to sneak it out. I make my way back down to Nancy. On impulse, I leave the Tiffany with the Hummel in the hall next to the front door, a back up plan if the box upstairs doesn't work out.

Just as I set the boxes down, a short woman with buzz cut black hair and blood in her eyes blows through the front door. Kind of short, she smelled like vodka and wore a nondescript flowered dress. Seeing me holding one of the boxes, she turned to Nancy.

"Why are you people still here? I told you my brother fired you." Then pointing at me  "And who is this...scuzzball?"

Without missing a beat, Nancy sighed.

"Miss Mabry, your brother as Executor to Miz Jennie's estate personally hired us. As I told you before, the contract is with him. If he wants to let us go, he will need to do it personally."

That put gas to the fire. The crazed woman picked up one of the Tiffany balls out of the box.

"Are you calling me a liar, Witch?"

Before either one of could say anything, the ball starts flying toward my head. I reached for it, but it bounced off my hand and shattered on the mahogany sideboard behind me. Buzz Cut then grabbed the copper vase and reared back like the starting pitcher for the Yankee's.

"Get out, all of you! I'm calling the Police."

Just then, two men ran in, one tall and gaunt and the other kind of disheveled. The smell of Bloddy Marys became prominent. Mr.Gauant caught the woman's upraised arm and Mr. Disheveled plucked the endangered vase from her and put it gently on the sideboard. Together they guided Buzz Cut to a chair.

"Jason, go get some water."

Disheveled disappeared stage left to the kitchen.

" Amy! What are you doing? We talked about this at lunch and agreed to wait for Will."

"I don't care, Paul! These...thieves are carting away Mommy's treasures."

"No, they are not. This is only a packing and inventory. We gave you several chances to pick out the ones you wanted and you never would do it. It is time to finish this up."

Coming back in the room with a plastic cup somehow got missed it the packing process, Disheveled spoke up.

"And besides, Sis, The museum was going to pay a lot of money for those christmas ornaments."

Nancy and I stared back is shock, while Amy slumped dejectedly in the chair. I couldn't stop myself.

"You mean the like the one that just flew past my head?"

Paul and Jason looked down at Amy. The question came out in stereo.

"Which one?"

The enormity of hit her. Her eyes grew wide.

"I don't know. I just grabbed one."

"Oh, crap. Mom always said..."

The three crazed kids went to the box and began to dig. Old Gaunt brought out his phone and hit a button. Fidgeting as he waited, the speaker got turned on and soon a soothing low voice said.

"You have reached the office of William J Mabry, attorney at Law. No one is available to take your call right now, please leave your name, phone and case number and I will get back to you shortly...beeep."

"Will, where are you? Get over to the house as soon as you can."

He clicked off, looking terrified, he turned to Nancy.

"That set of crystal ornaments were not from Tiffany's, even though they look like it. The story Mom told us she had them made in some Gypsy shop in New York after Amy was born as kind of a Thanksgiving. She was premature, but came out without a lot of complications. They were expensive and we had plenty of Christmas stuff, but like always Dad just shrugged. All he cared about was Mom being happy."

"There was dispute over the price when they got picked up. Mom stuck to her guns and got them for the price she wanted. But before she left, the owner, a Gypsy Woman that put a curse on the ornaments where if a one of them broke, the person named would die."

Tears began to well up in Buzz Cut's eyes.

"I didn't mean to break WIll. You know I didn't."

"Oh, calm down, Sis. That was some tale Mom concocted to keep us from killing each other. I'm sure Will is alright. He's just away from his phone."

Nancy and I looked at each other. I wasn't taking anything home from this gig. This family was nuts and they probably would find some way to move that so called curse to me.

Mr. Gaunt's phone chirped.

"Hello? Yes, this is Paul Mabry... Is he all right?" His eyes became glassy." Yes. Yes. We'll be right down."

"That was St. Joseph's Hospital. Will was just brought in. The lady wouldn't say much, but said we need to get there right away."

The three siblings blew out the door with the same speed they had blown in. The house was silent for a full minute. I picked up the green vase and handed to her and she mechanically put it in its waiting box and taped it. Then we walked out the door, locking it behind us. Anything else could be done by someone else.


Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Fiesta (Blogophilia 39.9)

It wass the best time to be in Santa Fe, not too hot or cold. It had been a beautiful wedding, he had to say. The bride was radiant, the groom nervous and the church charming. The Mariachi Band at the reception had been a nice touch. The sister stealing the disposable cameras meant to supplement the wedding pictures could have been skipped. The-off the-cuff testimonial to the couple had gone better than he expected. And he wasn't even that hungover at 5AM when he started the trip back to Albuquerque to catch the 8:30 plane to go home.
At the last minute, a bridesmaid from Los Angeles asked if she could hitch to catch her flight home. Sure, why not. She was kind of cute and it would make the trip little less boring. It didn't work out that way, she slept all the way through the Bernalilo Pass. Oh, well.
Traversing the southern end of the Los Cerillos valley wasn’t much. Dry scrub punctuated with windblown cottonwoods posed as shadows along either side. Probably a good thing it was dark the coming up. Cruise control set a eighty and soft classical music made the quiet snoring in the passenger seat almost pleasant.
A bank of Aspens lit up with golden fire as the sky went from indigo to lavender to blue as the rental car climbed Sandia Mountain. The scenery was incredible. If you had to drive I-25, this is the section and October is time of the year to do it. His mind was split on whether to miss the plane and hike up Spirit Mountain north of town, or just go on back home. The Boss wouldn't like that much. She was expecting him at 5 and he didn't want to deal with the explanation.
Topping the bald at the Pueblo, the long descent into town started. Interesting rock cuts in places where they had to blast the road into place became visible. It was somewhere around he almost hit the guy walking in the middle of the road, wasn't it? The sky had turned an interesting shade of orange tinged with pink. He guessed it was about twenty minutes until full sunrise and his mood lightened. Could he live out here? He'd miss his trees too much, but it was always fun to visit.
The girl in the passenger seat stirred, then jumped and pointed to a winking sunflower that had appeared in the sky.


It seem to float like a dream across the mountain on the zephyr. It was one of those sights when you realize everything's going to be alright, now. Marley was right, as usual. As the car made the next bend, the sky exploded into balloons bobbing across the valley in the annual hound and hare race.


With a jolt, he swerved to miss a slack jawed idiot stopped dead in its tracks. Jesus! Haven't these people seen a mass balloon launch before? I mean Fiesta is quite a sight, but you don't have to cause a twenty car wreck. He'd stop himself, but the plane was still waiting. He judicially slalomed and went on.
He'd have to smell the roses another time.

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Topic-Dave Coon
Pic-Dahlia Ramone
Pic-Dream (in blog), Balloon (in blog), dream (in blog), future, wish, trip (in blog) in the air, around the world, adventure, hopes, rainbow.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Alphabet City (Blogophilia 38.9)

Alley off Avenue A
Taking a break
As the El-Train slides toward Harlem

Apron is sagging
Blouse is dripping
Offal stench mixing with cigarettes

Whiff of the fish market
Clogged sewer in the river
Product of the wealth of our labor.

Cuts bound for the restaurant, the shops
Where patrons take elevators
Unknowing of the struggles of the butcher, the waiter.

This is life
In Alphabet City


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Pic Guesses: Alley (in blog), El-Train (in blog), left behind, underground, abandoned, divan, lonely,

Friday, November 4, 2016

Email

Discreet Hookup Search!

18 yr old girls!

See my pics!

Yeah, right. Plasticized thirty year olds with no original parts.

I rather see a normal 40 yr old, slightly saggy woman that just doesn't care.

I already have a 50 something one here that does. Just need to go a little younger. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Board Meeting (Blogophilia 37.9)

In the Board Room of Devil’s Quill Corporation outside Arlington VA, A special Board of Directors meeting has been called. Lucifer J Beezlebub, CEO, resplendent in a new red suit, approaches the podium.
 
“Good Morning, Ladies and Gentlemen. I’m glad all of you were able to take the time for this meeting on such a short notice. Things are progressing quickly and it is important to bring you up to date on our latest initiative “Nixon Two, Electric Boogaloo.” 
 
As you are aware, I brought Richard on board from Seraph’s Ice Fields because of his unique technical ability in the field of political subterfuge. Well, the sands of time are just about up and I want Richard to detail out where we have been and where we are now.” 
 
Smatters of applause come from around the table as the ashen faced skeletor walks up. Wiping his brow as he adjusts his blue tie, he clears his throat. 
 
“Thank you, Mr. Beezelbub. Nice tie. Thor’s hammer over Prometheus’ fire becomes the suit.”
 
Beezelbub smiles and nods at the flattery. Without missing a beat, Nixon continues.
 
“Anyway, if you haven’t met me yet, my name is Richard Milhous Nixon. When I was on the other side, I built a reputation for political manipulation and character assassination. From the House Un-American Activities Committee, through the tangles with the Kennedy’s and the swindle with the Chinese, I became the man everyone loved to hate. I made and broke many politician’s careers, even mine twice. If it weren’t for those meddling kid reporters picking up on my little burglary, the second one wouldn’t have happened and I would have completed the consolidation of my empire. But things happen and is fire under the bridge.”
 
“Devil’s Quill was tasked by Maker Industries sometime back with subverting the US political system to allow for an opportunity to make some changes in the overall structure of the world. Maker was also very concerned certain elements in the political class had forgotten who really was in charge.”
 
“As previously mentioned, I was actively involved with the project when I was on the other side. During this time quite a bit of progress was made. The last phase we completed started out wonderfully with the collapse of the Soviet Empire and the end of the Berlin Wall, which brought about some interesting population migrations. But Ronnie Raygun made a few mistakes that weren’t caught and by the time we realized what happened, they had festered to the point where no sane man wanted to take the till of the project.” 
 
“A few years before I came on board, a raw recruit suggested some of Esau’s descendants could be riled up with a promise of returning to the old days where men were men and women were property. It took a few tries, but a combination of Ronnie’s mistakes and a couple of rogue rich kids allowed Devil’s Quill to make the most of this opportunity. A couple of well placed diversions were designed. They were so good it almost got the first Bush to take the bait, but he backed out. Bill Clinton was a little bit smarter, but we finally goaded him into wasting some time in Bosnia, but not with the result desired.” 
 
“It was at this time I was given the opportunity to transfer from Cocytus. Frankly I was happy to be away from my supervisors, Hitler and Stalin. They bickered all day over who was more evil. They both felt they deserved more than this, while I did the work keeping politicians buried at the right height for their sins. It got quite tiresome. But again, it was more ice under the bridge.”
 
“I started by giving one of the Rich Kids, Osama Bin Laden, an opportunity to work in the Amway system. As you are aware, this is one of our most effective disinformation distribution channels. It allows for evil thoughts to be disseminated through a chain without the people, who we refer to as links, having access to the whole story. Bin Laden took what he learned home and built one of the finest multi-lines ever, spanning multiple countries and several competing sects of Islam. His organization skills were outstanding and I expect to see him called again for projects in the future. With Bin Laden’s work, we were able to lay some irresistible bait for the second Bush, who I knew from working with the family on the other side, was a gullible sap. As predicted, he jumped higher than a trained monkey when the planes hit. There was collateral damage to our agents, but the acidic aftermath set the stage for what we’ve accomplished.” 
 
“The whole purpose of this exercise was to remove all traces of faith in anything the world offers. Whatever the image a man has of something, it will be wrong. If someone is powerful, they are one of us. It has been that way since the sands of time began and most thinking men know it. But for the distracted sheep of all generations, the curtain must be lifted just enough to them to know.”
 
“Over the last two years, my team has engineered one of the largest diversionary attacks ever attempted on the humans. Pablo Picasso, the Denizen of Third Rings, stated it ‘Everything you can imagine is real’ Using their own communications systems, we have foisted two unsuitable candidates while completely obscuring their real backgrounds. Maker Industries has used this technique themselves over the years, most notably at Babel, when it was though humans were thinking too highly of themselves. At this point, no individual can tell whether the man or the woman is a spy for the enemy. Confusion of the masses leads to fear, then to subjugation. We expect over the next few years, our human sorting capabilities are going to be stressed as events play out. But our teams are more than ready to accept the challenge.”
 
“I know our small effort is only a piece in a much larger puzzle that even we, as Demons and Quality Assurance agents, are not privy to. But I can say with confidence, Devil’s Quill will prove itself worthy of anything asked of it, and I am both humbled and flattered that your confidence is still with me.”
 
“Thank you.” 
 
As Nixon steps down, two dancers in Hula garb places leis around his neck. The group dances and swirls down the aisle to the PiƱa Colada song as the brimstone rain begins to fall.
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Pic Guesses: Dancers (in blog), Lei (in blog) Hula (in blog), Tropical, Swirling, Souvenir, Kitsch, Tacky.