Timothy’s Magic Kite

Once upon a time, a boy endured a fulfilling Friday both in April and in the third grade. During recess, he noticed how windy it was, as children played joyfully, some swaying to and fro on swings. During the bus ride home, he thought to himself, “Man, if I would have had a kite I could have flown it a hundred feet in the air on the first try.”

At the dinner table that evening, young Tim kept cautious with his manners, as if it were no common phenomenon. Upon a what seemed like a four-year wait to speak, he said, “It would have been a nice afternoon to fly a kite, today.” “Maybe if you promise to do some yard work tomorrow your father will take you to the store and buy you a kite to fly on Sunday,” proposed his mother. “I have no problem with doing some yard work,” knew Tim to refrain from objecting to, “I have always wanted to build a kite, though.”

“If you want,” said his father, “And I do plan on sleeping in tomorrow morning, you can try to build one with the slim dowels I have in the garage I usually use for cooking barbecue. Those and some left-over fabric from your mother should get you going.” Tim’s father glanced to his loving wife, and she said, “Oh sure, Honey, I have a sack of extra fabric for quilting in the side closet you are welcome to.”

Tim thought about it; he almost did not want to make the kite, simply because they said he could, wondered of his own mind. He noticed they did not again mention yard duty. “Okay if I try to make the kite tonight and sweep up the leaves in the morning?” “Sure,” said his father, “And, as the weather will probably permit, we can go to the park and fly your new kite tomorrow afternoon.” Young Tim was so excited he nearly left before eating the hamburger steak and mashed potatoes before him, as he had made sure to eat the lemon-butter broccoli first. There would have been no getting away with skipping out on that. Even if vegetables were not his usual first choice, the broccoli was not so bad, after all.

The meal was great and Tim politely relayed this information to his mom and thanked her and proceeded to the garage. He found the yard-long barbies and broke and tied them into a rectangular box-like structure just like he saw on a TV show one time that involved Japanese origami kites. He went and found some scissors and the fabric and went back into the garage. Young Timothy selected the most beautiful fabric, two separate partial sheets. One was dark orange with small green and yellow flowers; the other sheet was bright orange-yellow with purple and blue flowers resembling birds of paradise.

Fully constructed, Tim brought the magnificent kite to his bedside, as it was nearing 10 pm. His brother and his sister were already asleep; Tim went and checked on his parents before saying his prayers and turning in with his amazing new kite by his bedside. In the middle of the night, Tim awoke and could have sworn he saw his kite floating a foot above the ground, as if it were dreaming of being in the sky. The boy discounted the notion. Surely he was dreaming; he went back to sleep until just before daybreak.

Upon dawn, Tim marveled over the kite as if he had never seen it before, totally impressed with its construction, durability, and overall aesthetics. He left it there; showered and changed; brushed his teeth; ate a biscuit and drank some juice; and proceeded to go sweep the leaves.

A chore it was, for the wind was strong and nearly constant. Timothy swept the entire yard, five sacks full of leaves in total. It was noon and his mother called him in for a bologna sandwich and glass of milk. She thanked him for sweeping up the yard, commending his efforts. His father woke up, showered and changed, ate, and inspected Tim’s kite. “Impressive construction,” said Walter, Tim’s father. “Thank you,” said Tim, and they drove with the kite to the park, telling Mrs. Wellington “Goodbye, I love you, and we’ll be back soon.” She waved and blew them kisses as they departed.

The park was gently lit by the afternoon sun and puffy scattered clouds of its sky blue atmosphere. Adults and children played about. Some played catch, others tag, and the rest other games or picnicked. There were sunbathers and card players, nonchalant people existing in a happy joy. Tim and his father made a lengthy walk to a large field in the back of the park. They did not know if the thick string they brought would suffice to fly the kite, yet they planned to take their chances.

Tim and Walter stood about thirty-five yards apart from each other, the wonderful kite in Walter’s hands, his eyes on Tim. Tim assessed the flow of wind, deemed it an adequate constant for their endeavors. “Do you have a good hold on the string?” asked Tim’s father. “I think I have it.” “I will count to three and throw it into a rising gust.” “Okay.”

Walter counted slowly aloud to three and, while allowing the kite to catch the drag of the wind, slowly let it go to float into the air. An astonishing amusement to young Tim, the kite (possibly magical) rose from ground level and climbed in the wind with semi-chaotic grace. Tim pulled left then right, carefully, and guided the kite into the air, higher and higher, until it was about twenty yards above the ground. “Let out some string,” called Walter, and Tim carefully let string from his hands, about six inches at a time. The flying kite amazed Walter. “We got it up there,” he exclaimed. Tim was happy and impressed, too, and saw to it that he got the kite to about fifty yards above the ground before keeping it there in close to the same position.

Many could see the kite swaying gently far above the field, and Walter began walking back to Tim. “The wind is getting stronger,” said Tim, using his strength to hold the string; “The string may break.” “Keep hold of it,” said Walter, as he was walking back to Tim, eyes on the kite. Tim wrapped the string around his hands to hold it well; his father would be there any second to take hold of the line. Just as Tim felt confident he could keep the kite in the air and the line from breaking, his feet left the ground.

Walter saw Tim lifting into the air and dove to catch him. Walter hit the ground belly first, and Tim floated higher into the air. “Let go of the string,” said Walter, but Tim held on to it. By the time he could have unwound his hands, he would be over twenty feet above the ground. The kite rose into the wind, as did Tim. Walter panicked and ran to his car, only to notice he locked the keys inside.

“Hey mister,” said a young woman with a pink Volkswagen Beetle, “Hop in and we’ll follow him if we can.” Walter ran over and got into her car, as Tim soared high above them in a direction away from the park, towards the city.

Tim looked down; the breeze up there was nice. “It might kill me to see it,” thought Tim, “But this is a wonderful view of our city.” Tim could see entire residential neighborhoods, city blocks, industrial buildings, and the cars looked thumb-sized. The wind carried him on.

The young woman happened to be an excellent driver; she and Walter followed Timothy right out of the city, who was beginning to appreciate the beauty of the outskirts of town. Mostly under-developed farmland with the occasional brook, small cabin, or herd of cows, Tim tried to appreciate the view and his many blessings in life the best he could. “Dear Lord,” prayed Tim, “Please, help me land safely.”

At that very instant, as Tim was looking down into a puffy white cloud and barely able to see a field of trees below, he began to slowly descend. The driver’s name was Molly. She and Walter watched in relief, as Tim was appearing to descend and the string and kite seemed to still be intact. Tim was headed for what looked like a hundred-year-old oak tree. He descended gracefully and landed in the lower bushy limbs of the tree. Safely.

Within moments, Walter ran to his son, picked him up and embraced him, thanking the Lord above for his son’s well-being. Tim hugged his father who placed him on the ground. He shook Molly’s hand and thanked her, too. “You are one lucky child,” remarked Molly, “And that is an impressive kite.” “Thank you,” said Tim, “Cool car,” and Walter gave Molly some gas money, as they went with the kite to the pink Beetle.

They put the kite in the back seat for a relaxing ride back into the sunset falling behind their town. After some while, Molly pulled over to the side of the road and stopped. “What now?” wondered both Walter and Tim. “Is it just me or is the kite in the back seat floating in the air?” asked Molly. “It’s magic,” said Tim, and Walter kept his eyes on the road. “Oh,” said Molly, “Okay,” and she proceeded to drive on down the farm road to the park.

Once back, Walter thanked Molly and called his wife for car keys, and he and Tim drove home with the kite. Tim secretly thanked the Lord above for answering his prayers, and everyone lived happily ever after. Tim would never forget his times with his wonderful, magical kite.

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A More Healthy Beat

The night was cool and crisp and the weather was nasty. A tunneling mist blew leaves in front of the two officers, in front of an eighty-year-old street lamp in front of them. The night was also very dark in the woods across the way, except from part of the light of the street lamp. Noting the nostalgia of the old street light, the female officer looked up to its salmon glow to see its metal curls turned green from mild surface corrosion.

“Nice street lamp,” said Officer Lilac, the female, with a sniffle.

“Nice, indeed,” said Officer Attens, a large male police officer who was also her partner, “I am going into the small shop behind us to get us a coffee.”

“Okay.”

Officer Attens entered the small store, as Officer Lilac endured the scenery. They were used to policing various areas of town on foot, usually bringing in criminals during nocturnal hours.

Within moments, Officer Attens returned with a small package in his pocket and two cups of steaming coffee with sugar and creamer added.

“Thank you,” said Officer Lilac.

“No problem,” said Officer Attens, handing her her cup of coffee. He then proceeded to pull out the small package.

“What’s in the package?” asked Officer Lilac.

“The cashier said the coffee was complementary. I thought it was the uniform. He said it was complementary so long as I made a purchase. So, I killed to birds with one stone.”

“How so?”

“Well, I got us both a coffee, and I got you this.”

Officer Attens handed Officer Lilac a package of allergy lozenges.

“Why thank you,” said Officer Lilac, “I was starting to get a sniffle. What possessed you to get these for us?”

Officer Attens chuckled and said, “I am of the mind that we should be catching criminals, not colds.”

Secret Garden

“I happen to have a solution for you and Hannah,” said Dr. Voist, “I want to mention a few things before you consider the notion, however. As a neurosurgeon, I look at peoples’ brains all the time. Hannah has a very rare chemical imbalance. It is similar to many imbalances which are easily cured completely with non-addictive medications which usually have minimal to no side effects. These medications, be them hundreds in their number, are not what will help Hannah’s imbalance. There exists only one medication which will, and it still has a 5% chance of not working. I think it will. Our only drawback is that the medication is a new experimental one. It has only been prescribed in the US a few times this last year and is manufactured in Mexico. It will be legal here in the States for a six month time frame and will either be manufactured here or will be unavailable in this country. I think it will work for her, yet it is a tentative solution at best. If you want to try this option, I have a dosage recommendation, one pill a day with breakfast. I would like to see Hannah in seven days, and if everything is okay, within twenty, and then we will consider our options.”

“What are the chances of addiction or side effects?” asked Mr. Goldbeck. “I do not think there will be any side effects, and the medicine is a non-addictive chemical which acts very minimally on the balance of brain chemicals -just enough to make things right. Hannah will not notice if she has taken anything, and the twitch in her left eye should no longer occur.” Mr. Goldbeck looked over to Hannah who was listening to every word. “The medicine is experimental?” asked Mr. Goldbeck. “It is a new medicine, however I am surprised it has not been manufactured, before. It is a very simple extraction from an herb a doctor in South America isolated. Once it solves the problems it can and will in a healthy way here in the US, which I think and hope it will, pharmaceutical companies will make it here. It may cost a little more then, however it will no longer be experimental.”

“Will her imbalance change over time?” asked Mr. Goldbeck. “I am sorry, sir. No. The medication should make her okay, perfectly normal even in adulthood, but she will, in all likelihood, need to take it indefinitely.” “Is the medication expensive?” asked Mr. Goldbeck. “No,” said Dr. Voist, “I can get enough free samples of it to last six months. I can even report the success of our story in order to help get the medicine made here in America, so long as it works properly.” “And the new medicine is safe?” asked Hannah. “Safer than Aspirin” said Dr. Voist.

Mr. Goldbeck and Hannah agreed to try out the medicine. Since her birth, she had a twitch in her left eye. Being eleven, she was having trouble reading in school and her fellow classmates were tempted to make fun of her eye. An intelligent, beautiful, and honest girl, the new medication, Zyphan, would hopefully work safely.

The next day Hannah took her medicine and ate an over-easy egg with a piece of toast with jam and a large glass of milk. Her normal eye twitch was still there all day. You get what you pay for, thought Mr. Goldbeck. The next day she took the medicine again, as prescribed, and ate another decent breakfast. Her twitch was still there, yet she could not tell if it had gotten better. At least it did not worsen. The next few days she stayed true to her practices and the twitch bothered her much less. It was if she never had one.

The week flew by and Mr. Goldbeck and his daughter, Hannah, went to see Dr. Voist. The doctor checked her out and asked her a few questions. She said the twitch went away gradually. The doctor kept a close eye on Hannah for about twenty minutes while having a conversation with Mr. Goldbeck. During their previous visit, Hannah’s eye would have twitched at least one time during ten minutes. The doctor was sure the medication worked.

“Have you experienced any health issues such as having to go potty too often or rashes?” asked the doctor. “Not that I know of,” said Hannah, remaining as honest as possible. Mr. Goldbeck had is concerns, yet he thanked the doctor. “I think you will be fine,” said Dr. Voist. “Be sure not to miss our next appointment. It is important to make sure that their exist no side effects and that the medication is still performing properly.” Mr. Goldbeck and Hannah thanked the doctor once more and promised to return as requested.

The twenty days flew by. Hannah did better in school with her reading and her twitch was a thing of the past, did not even occur. She went with her father to the doctor who said he planned to write a good report to help facilitate the new medication’s manufacture in the United States.

During the next five months Dr. Voist did what he could to send information to the right people and entities. The medication did not work for other children and adults throughout the country. Whether it was because people did not take the medicine properly or practiced improper dieting was unknown to him. To his and Mr. Goldbeck’s disdain, the medicine was not able to be made in the United States. The medicine was also unable to be obtained in the US, and Dr. Voist spoke with Mr. Goldbeck about possibilities.

“The twitch in Hannah’s eye is minimal,” said Dr. Voist, “However I understand your dilemma. She does better in school and the children don’t make fun of her eye anymore. From my perspective, I wanted the medicine available to keep her brain chemicals in balance in a healthy way. The imbalance does cause her eye to twitch, however it can also effect both cognitive development and overall thought process. I do not have an alternative medication. If you do not want Hannah’s imbalance to return, you are going to have to go to Mexico for the medicine. I have an address of a pharmacy down there. It is cheap in comparison to other medicine. Your only problem is having to leave and come back with it. It won’t be illegal to bring it back, as you will have a prescription. One trip and you should have enough to last her for three years. The medicine won’t stay ‘viable’ after that, however by then there is the chance Zyphan can be manufactured here. It’s our only hope, for now.”

This news was no problem for Mr. Goldbeck. He was happy he was going to be able to get the medicine, after all. A trip to Mexico would not be too hard, he had vacation time stacked up from his corporate job from three years back. Hannah would be okay, and within three years the medicine was sure to be available in the US.

Mr. Goldbeck spoke with those whom he worked with and planned to take a trip down to Mexico. What fun. All went well. His boss did not mind and things were sure to be okay at work. His SUV was less than two years old and running well, as he always kept it maintained properly. He even had a spare gas tank installed up in the back of the vehicle from when he went to Canada the year before hunting elk with some of his co-employees. The trip was sure to be a success.

The first day of Mr. Goldbeck’s vacation came and he kissed his daughter on the forehead, as well as his wife, as he had his SUV packed and ready to go before daylight, thanks to a double java mocha he drank at 5AM. He gave Hannah’s younger brother, Willy, a mild noogie, and departed.

The open road was great, as was Mr. Goldbeck’s GPS navigation system and cruise control. Whoever said the interstate highway system showed no signs of beautiful country? Mr. Goldbeck begged to differ, as the scenery was far more impressive than the routine life he had been living.

Mr. Goldbeck crossed the border with no problem and made his way south. The GPS worked perfectly. Nine hours into Mexico, he found the Dr.’s office on the map Dr. Voist gave him and went inside.

Mr. Goldbeck knew at least sixty words in Spanish, yet was still happy to find that the doctor he was speaking with was fluent in many languages. Having a long conversation, the Mexican doctor explained how simple the medication was and why it was rare. The plant, common even further south of them, contained a rare chemical which acts very minimally on humans’ brains with a very specific chemical imbalance. Mr. Goldbeck, the curious and intelligent man he was, asked the doctor how difficult it would be to extract the chemical from the plant by hand. “Totally easy,” said the doctor, and drew a diagram on paper showing how to do such a thing with water and a few simple forms of glass ‘apparati.’

“Would it be hard for me to find a plant of this nature?” asked Mr. Goldbeck. “No,” said the doctor, and he drew Mr. Goldbeck a map to a small city further south. Mr. Goldbeck thanked the doctor and departed with 1,000 pills of Zyphran. Mr. Goldbeck decided to travel south, surely it would be no problem to find this plant. After all, it was common.

Mr. Goldbeck, who often went by Ron, drove for a while in the night down a dirt road. He pulled over tired and slept ’till sun up and continued to drive. He drove and drove and drove, only occasionally seeing an old sign on the dirt road indicating he was on the right path to the village he was headed to.

Ron found the village. He spoke with people and found a medicine woman, who said she would happily give him his choice of five of one the plants for some dinero. Ron handed her a hundred and said the plant was important. The medicine woman nearly fainted and brought him to her small backyard. She had all kinds of small plants and fruit bushes growing in pots and flower beds on top of old malnourished and dry soil. “I would give you all five of them,” she said, “But I need to keep four to save seeds.” Mr. Goldbeck nodded as he understood. “I keep them here even though they grow wild and are not too hard to find,” she explained, “I keep them to keep the seeds.” She brought him back inside and showed him a large preservative jar half full of seeds of the rare plant. “Though I cannot give you but one plant, I can give you a sack of seeds,” she said. Mr. Goldbeck thanked her happily and gladly accepted a sack of seeds and the mid-sized plant of the five he saw. She thanked him, too, and he headed north.

Crossing the border with a plant and a sack of seeds was all Mr. Goldbeck had ever dreamt of, not to mention the pills with a prescription which looked like he could have written it himself, short a little blue stamp on the left side of the document. I might as well be smuggling contraband. Again, Mr. Goldbeck was no fool. He knew the customs at the border would at least inquire of his reason for travel. His medication would be on the front seat with the prescription.

The rear seat of his SUV contained an under-seat compartment with a key-hole lock for storing hunting rifles. Only a few hours from the border, Mr. Goldbeck slowed to a stop beside the road and carefully locked up the plant and the seeds under the back seat. It should be fine for three hours. He drove to the customs and they asked him to step out of his SUV. Ron did so and noticed some mud on the bottom of his vehicle, it was not much, however it was there. The officers brought a drug dog who scoped out the vehicle and did not find anything, and the officers inquired of the pills on the front seat. “Asthma medicine for my daughter,” said Mr. Goldbeck. Two officers looked at the prescription and let Mr. Goldbeck depart.

Ron drove his SUV up the interstate, relieved. He did not forget about the plant under the back seat and pulled over after driving for half an hour or so.  He pulled the plant and the seeds out. He put the seeds and the pills and the prescription in the center console, and secured the plant in a middle seat with a seat built. The A/C was fine, so he left the windows up. Ron drove all the way home, safely, only stopping once for gasoline.

Ron’s wife was happy he made it back and he still had five days left before returning to his job he loved and endured. His wife thought the plant was illegal and he assured her that it was not. Hannah was happy that she would not have a twitching eye for the next three years, at least, and they all went to sleep.

The next day was Saturday morning and Ron’s wife, Spring, woke up early to analyze the medicine plant. “Do you think it makes flowers?” asked Spring. “It has to,” said Ron, “Because it makes seeds. It is probably an annual.” She was amazed with these notions. “We have to hide it,” said Spring, “It’s pretty but we cannot risk it being taken. It’s not against the law if they don’t know.” “Honey, it is not illegal; no one will know we have it.” “Our friends and neighbors come here, will they not see it? We have to keep it secret; I am telling you.” “What do you suggest we do spring? Put it in a cabinet with a fan and a light?” Spring went deep into thought. Ron watched as she continued to process ideas.

“The bookshelf,” said Spring. “What?” said Ron. “Our bookshelf in front of Auntie’s room.” Auntie was Spring’s sister who stayed with them a while when sick and moved to work in another city once well. “The bookshelf is in front of one of two large walk-ins of the room. Let’s knock off a door knob, paint a hole, and install a weight-pulley.” “A what?” asked Ron. “It will be like in the movies,” said Spring, “You pull a specific book from the shelf and it opens to reveal the space behind it. You can grow the seeds and keep the plant alive in there. I am sure you can ventilate it somehow.” “We have a windowsill,” said Ron. Spring looked into his eyes with a pleading puppy-dog expression. “It’s for Hannah,” said Spring, and Ron decided construction was fun.

Spring and Ron analyzed the bookshelf and the closet and took measurements and went to the hardware store. They came back with all the supplies they found deals on and a two foot-long receipt. They worked together over the weekend and turned the bookshelf into a revolving door, the kind like in the movies, complete with a weight pulley. They re-painted the entire wall on the other side with matched paint, and it was perfect. The completed project included a vented flush closet and an ambient light system, controlled with a timer and misting mechanism. The plant from Mexico was sure to flourish, and the few seeds Ron and Spring planted would surely grow fine. Already able to grow well, they were confident the plants would sprout and survive, and they did.

Throughout the next year Hannah took her medicine and ate breakfast every morning. Dr. Voist was always happy to see her and happy that her eye was fine. He promised he would continue his efforts in getting Zyphran manufactured in the US. Zyphran was never made in the US, yet Ron and Spring kept their secret garden healthy for years and years, learning to pollinate the plants with a live bee once a year and also how to make the medicine to the proper dosage for Hannah.

Hannah went to college to become a professor and did so. She stayed on her medication and married a colleague she fell in love with, and they all lived happily ever after.

Shawn Before Dawn, A Story

I rolled over and looked at the alarm clock – it was 4:58 AM. “Today is an important day,” I remembered. I turned off the alarm before it sounded and slammed the four fluid ounces of coffee I sat by it the night before. I went to the restroom, shaved, showered, got ready as quickly as possible making sure I did not forget anything I considered the previous day. Today is important. My boss is buying me lunch and may even further explain why his daughter left me.

The sun was not yet up and the traffic still sparse. I pulled into the gravel drive, as always, and parked in a familiar place. In only fourteen short months I had moved up in the construction company my boss owns and runs from Laborman to Crew Leader Assistant to Crew Leader. My crews always operated in an efficient and timely manner. They ate my egg burritos like Pavlovian study dogs. Recently I was given the responsibility of an entire project and am currently over three crews in the process of demolition and reconstruction of an entire wing of a colossal warehouse facility.

I am minutes early and I know it. I make a habit of it and no one complains or is ever surprised. For this reason I have the key to the trailer office, our companies temporary onsite headquarters. Today would not be so bad. My crew knows how to do what they do well, and we have our goals to meet by the end of the day. I turn the key to open the trailer and it breaks off inside the keyhole. Just what I need. Closed to half an hour until I see a living human and I am stranded with a sack of egg burritos.

I sat on the wooden steps and watched the dark blueish purple misty sky fade into the orange of dawn behind scattered clouds of thin fog. I thought back. Not too long ago I decided to give college a rest for a while and move back in with parents until I found work. I found work and met Mallen. She and I worked for a small restaurant which sold pizza and tacos; she mentioned her dad owned a construction company.

“Damn,” I thought, “Just when there was no chance of moving out.” I enquired of the difficulty or chances of my working for her father and she said I could probably hire in as labor with no experience, that he was hiring about a dozen workers during the next four weeks.

I am not the kind of guy that ignores the chance of love. This time it did not work out, yet I at least gave the woman no cold shoulder. Mallen mentioned she was in nearly my same situation as she was living with her parents and wanted to find a place. She would starve and die before working for her dad, even though he was probably the single most powerful contractor in our city of over 4,000,000 people.

I got a newspaper and road around with Mallen a few afternoons in a row and we found an inexpensive flat and signed a 3-month form. I went to work for her dad and ‘kicked as much ass as possible,’ so to speak, always being on time and getting as much physical labor accomplished as humanly conceivable. I thought she and I got along fine. I never really noticed how intelligent Mallen really was, nor did I notice that she did not speak her thoughts very often.

Our place was fine and included two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a study room, four closets, and a small television room with two couches. She moved plenty of stuff in there including kitchenware and plenty of personal belongings. I kept my work clothes, an old radio, an alarm clock, and a few changes of clothes, only. We were never more than companions, if that.

Still on the wooden steps, I cannot help but remember the night Mallen changed the locks. After work I went to a local bookstore and got a coffee and a best seller. Gotta love that John Grisham. It was late in the evening and I went to a bar. I don’t drink, but the sandwiches there are great and only cost a few dollars a piece. The bartender had no problem telling me of his life’s career, and I had no problem eating five sandwiches and enjoying four complimentary iced apple sodas.

It was 1Am by the time I headed back to the flat. I knew Mallen had been looking for a new job and was interviewing with the airport. When I got back, the locks were changed and there was a note on the door: “Got the job – Mallen.” I was confused.

Sleeping in my truck that night to go to work on Saturday morning was no big deal for me. It was the surprise. Was she okay? Did we not even have a chance at this thing called love? Surely there could have been a spark. If nothing else, I could have grown to like her more.

It did not take me but a few days to find a new place. My crew leader at the time helped me find a one-bedroom flat and I signed another form. Then I had no distractions. I could work, work, work, then sleep, eat, and work some more. As happy as I was, I was still confused with Mallen. Again, I just thought we may have been able to grow closer together, somehow.

Only seconds had gone by and I saw my boss pulling up in the glowing dawn of the morning. Before, he simply said, “Like she said, Shawn, she got the job.” Knowing that is all he would probably say again, today, at least I’ll get a nice lunch and a chance to thank the man.

“Good morning Shawn!” hollered Mr. Bruno, “Sleeping on the job?” “I am sorry, sir. I broke my key in the lock.” I stood and removed the broken piece from the lock and he unlocked it. “Just there for a second I bet you thought my daughter got another job,” chuckled Mr. Bruno, and it was hard not to laugh.

We went about our normal routine and my crew got a great deal of work done that day. Noon was approaching. I gave them the burritos and went to find Mr. Bruno. We made our way to a Deli and he got us both a couple of roast beef sandwiches with smoked parmesan and sautéed peppers. Good stuff.

“My apologies for my confusion, Mr. Bruno. Thank you for buying me lunch and, as always, I know you know I am grateful to be able to work for you.”

“I understand your confusion. Mallen wrote a letter for me to read to you when I mentioned you showed concern.”

Mr. Bruno read the letter to me and it was mostly about being career oriented, human dominance and all. She said I was a nice, hard-working fellow and was sure I would find the right woman, eventually. She would be working two jobs for a few weeks and then for the airport on a longterm basis if all went well, that plenty of people seek leaders in the world, and we both are surely ‘doyens of our herds.’

“So she did not think I was moving to fast or not fast enough or that I was cheating on her or anything. This abrupt separation was solely career oriented and had mostly to do with us both being headstrong.”

“I think that about sums it up,” said Mr. Bruno, “And I see you shaking in your boots there, fearless ‘doyen.'”

“How so?”

“Are you not concerned of your performance at work?”

“I planned to enquire nonchalantly.”

“Well, I want you to know that you are one of my best. Keep up the good work and you will have less and less to worry of. I gave you the promotion because of your good work and ability to lead others, to get the job done right and make our customers happy when the situation presented itself. Three weeks from now we are signing a new contract. You will be a part of it, just below the head foreman. As for Mallen I think she will be fine and appreciate your understanding. Everything okay?”

“Yes sir, Mr. Bruno and thank you.”

“No problem.”

We went back to work and all went well. A few weeks flew by and I was on the new jobsite in no time and we all did great. Two years went by and I moved up to foreman, and was responsible for over two hundred workers. I had put Mallen out of mind, completely, bought a small house not too far from the city, and all was well.

Then, I happened to see Mr. Bruno and his wife at the grocery store one evening when I went to get a frozen pizza. A world of words could have come from my mouth… the weather, work, anything, and I heard myself say, “So, how is Mallen?” I felt about as brilliant as a broken lightbulb at midnight. Mr. Bruno’s wife grinned and looked to Mr. Bruno. He said, “She worked six and seven days a week for 22 months for the airport and started her own business in our neighboring state. She would not even let me introduce her to anyone.”

Somehow relieved, I asked, “What kind of business did she start?”

Mr. Bruno said, “A construction firm.”

··· Post Story Relations ···

The story above is one I enjoyed writing. When reading about writing, we always hear, “Write what you know.” For me, I like to consider what I do not really know much about, research the topic, and go from there with character, setting, and plot development. This time, though, I went with something I am more familiar with. I may not have included very much fancy description and totally refrained from the absence of the passive voice and broke plenty of grammatical rules (hidden verbs included), however I thought the story was fun and hope you enjoyed reading it. I have always found it a difficult thing to write a story in the present while speaking about the past without the infamous passive voice. At least, I hope, it was fun.

I must mention, though, that I wrote this story from an idea from a writing prompt. The real story I submitted to here, was for the Your Story competition held every eight weeks or so by Writer’s Digest. I always check out the contest and read the winners, yet hardly ever make the time to enter. After all, I am working on another book. It is my first full-blown novel. It has been exciting so far, and I hope it will be fun to read for all ages, fantasy. The Your Story prompt this time really sent my thoughts into other universes. It was almost hard to believe that so few words could inspire so much possibility.

My first thought was to go with a discussion between lawyers, then a receptionist speaking with a disgruntled man, then many others. In the story I submitted, which was to be under 700 words, I stuck with dialogue only. After about 550 words I was done, even though I figured I would really have to trim down a first draft to enter. Surprise surprise. I probably could have been more eloquent with the use of our wonderful language – at least I sent them something. In case you have never heard of the word ‘doyen,’ I found it with a thesaurus. I knew it was a rare word for some, the next best thing to a neologism (like jobsite or colloquialisuhm).

As I am not as refined with dialogue stories as many and surely am not the leading master of this planet’s prose, I wanted to write out the story in a fun and rewarding way for my readers and myself as well. I like to use ‘he said’ and ‘she said;’ call me a third grader, but I dislike nothing more than dialogue which confuses the speakers only seven lines into a thirty some-odd line script we commonly see in best-selling novels.

So, I hope you read and enjoyed “Shawn Before Dawn”, and I also hope you take part in Writer’s Digest competitions such as their annual writing competitions and Your Story, no matter your skill level. I plan to become more involved in the world of literary appreciation/presentation, eventually, will die trying if I never meet my goals. I do appreciate you for reading and please, let me know if you entered the Your Story Competition or others. I love feedback and am always happy to hear of others’ attempts in regards to their efforts. 🙂

Specs of Time

Specs of Time

She sat on her porch watching birds and the wind blow the trees.  They swayed to and fro in the early morning, the spring breeze was nice.  Amy awaited the arrival of her grandmother; her wait surely would not take too much time.  At the age of ten, she was always interested in various curiosities.  Of course she had “grown-up” things on her mind; she was dressed and headed for church.  Her new white shoes shined like porcelain; Amy’s Sunday dress was pale in hues and fitting for spring.  She was thinking of the afterlife.  Amy considered the every sermon she heard, each Sunday.

“What are we all, anyway?” thought Amy, “And what will we be if we make it to heaven?”  She thought and pondered for some time, almost fell asleep.  Suddenly a little brown finch dove from its normal flight in the wind and landed on the railing in front of her.  The finch seemed to look right at Amy and then to the porch’s wooden planks.  There was a small bug there.  The bird acknowledged Amy and flew down, snatching up the bug and flying away.

“Surely the small bird could think,” thought Amy, “It looked right at me.  I imagine most other forms of life can, too.”  She thought about it a while longer and decided.  For one, her grandmother was taking forever, and two, we must all be mere specs in time, able to come and go as any form of life as some form of a gift.  We live; we die; and we most probably can be anything or anyone, depending on certain circumstances.

Amy continued to wait, there with her small Bible.  Eventually, her grandmother drove up.  The huge black car probably weighed 8 tons.   It pulled up and Amy got inside.  “Good morning, grandma.”  “Good morning young girl; buckle up properly.  Did you remember to bring your Bible?”  “Yes ma’am.”  Amy secured herself snugly with her seat-belt, and they drove off to church.  Amy’s parents attended a different congregation.  Amy had been to church with them, before, yet she sometimes went with her grandmother, too.

The day was sunny and bright, the breeze gentle and nice.  Amy’s grandmother drove down the dirty old farm road, and Amy took in the scenery as they traveled.  The vast pastures were mostly the same every time Amy got to see them.  Some of them had cows.  One was used for farming wheat, and others were fenced yet not necessarily maintained too often for farming.  This Sunday would certainly be one that Amy would remember for years and years.

Joy in the Night

Joy in the Night

One time their was a young girl and her name was Joy and she was of pale skin and dark black hair; her room was draped with the simple efficiency of common-wealth and clean and mostly white with its pale blue hues from the vast moonlit night.  The night breathed in terror as young Joy could not sleep and opened her sash to let in the cool damp breeze of the night.  In her gown she lay in fright wondering why she felt so alone. Continue reading

Cecilia, Part 5

Cecilia, Part 5

Cecilia enjoyed coaching woman’s basketball almost as much as she enjoyed teaching.  She kept her lesbianism to herself for obvious professional reasons.  Ms. Evans possessed a sincere desire for the furthering of the study of the English language.  She also was a devout thinker in the world of Math.  She kept up with the study of Math and English as a hobby.  She was also able to contribute to the world of art history and its expansion.

Things were going well.  Cecilia and Muria kept the physical side of their relationship completely secret.  They went to the nicest restaurants, as before, and the two lovers only pleased each other sexually on rare occasion.  Cecilia could not complain and Muria did not mind; it worked out.  Muria got along with her husband better, even though they got along fine, anyway.

Cecilia still maintained her contributions to the city.   As a person dedicated to many ideals, one being education, Cecilia made sure to take at least one day off a month to check on her small private school.  One of the school secretaries was not the brightest woman.  Her name was Jena, and everyone loved her.  “There is something I want you to see,” said Jena, one day.  Cecilia was  not really planning on speaking with her, needed to return to the 2A school by noon.  Cecilia had plenty of time.

“What can I do for you?” asked Cecilia.  “We have a lost and found box; it has various things in it that the students or other people leave or find.  I found something in it with your full name on it – a camera,”  said Jena.  “What kind of camera?” asked Cecilia – she possessed a high-end Canon for all of her photography and blogging needs.  As someone who could afford such a toy, she was sure to have the best and use it properly.  “I think it is a metallic, burgundy Nikkon, and it looks like a cheap one,” said Jena.  “I will take a look at it,” said Cecilia, “Thank you, Jena.”

Cecilia brought the camera with her to school and then home.  She chopped up some ingredients from her fridge and tossed them into a big salad.  Cecilia poured salad dressing onto the “thing” and decided to check out the foreign object, or Nikkon.  It had a memory chip in it; she removed it and put it into her computer.  Without too much difficulty, Cecilia was able to pull up four pictures.  Each photograph was of someone burning something late in the night; it was Muria.  The photos were clear enough to tell where she was, as she was in the vicinity of the back of her property.

Cecilia did not really know what to think of it.  She thought about it though.  Thinking – what could it do for her?  The photos were taken the night of Christian’s disappearance.  The next morning was a Saturday; Cecilia woke up and called Muria.  Muria did not mind sharing an early morning coffee with Cecilia; Cecilia enjoyed bringing her favorite coffees to Muria’s house.  This morning it would be the Tropical Maui blend Cecilia had just recently purchased.  It was sure to be a gourmet espresso that would them both well-wired.

They shared coffee and Cecilia showed Muria the pictures.  The coffee was great.  The photos almost freaked Muria out, however she thought about it and realized that she probably did not have too much to consider in the world of worry.  She figured someone had definitely taken pictures of her; that the individual was sure to get the photos to Cecilia, somehow; and that there would not be too much to worry about.

 Someone may have known of the foul play, may have even seen Muria’s actions.  Whoever it was gave up the whole camera – not just copies of their photos.  The person was a probable wealthy neighbor, unwilling to say too much about one thing or another.  Cecilia decided that she was not in too much direct danger, though she was still a little unsettled.

“What were you burning that night?” asked Cecilia.  Muria was far too cunning to be naive or anything other than logically diabolical.  “I remember that night,” said Muria, “I was cleaning out a bunch of old stuff to throw out, and I came upon a painting from my husband’s college art class.  It was of a nude woman; he kept it all these years, though I thought he had thrown it away.  I skipped the book club to burn the old painting.  I did not really know what I was doing; I burned it on the ground with charcoal lighter fluid.”

“Maybe he took the pictures?” asked Cecilia.  “I doubt it,” said Muria, “I think he fell asleep watching television that night; he did not get off the couch until the next morning.”  Cecilia left the small cartridge with the photos on it with Muria and went home.  The two both found it to be odd, however nobody contacted them ever again.  Someone knew Muria started a sizable fire, that was all.

α   β   γ  δ

The Airport Lady

The Airport Lady

Ned was a twelve-year-old novelist.  He spent most of his time reading and writing, was going to fly on a plane to a conference on writing.  Ned had about 40 minutes to board his plane, so he went to check with the flight attendant near the entrance to the big tube that would connect to the flying jumbo-monster.

“Hello,” said Ned, “I have my boarding pass, here.  Do I give it to you now?”  “Keep that with you and we will announce boarding in 32 minutes,” said Wanda, the flight attendant.  Ned felt better, he then knew he was in the right place.  He left the entrance stand to find a place to sit.  Dressed in blue jeans, a tucked-in white t-shirt, and tennis shoes, Ned was dressed casually enough to have a bit of confidence.  He was flying alone; his mother was not too worried.  Airports to them were like shopping malls.

“Where should I sit?” wondered Ned, then he saw her.  The lady he saw was very pretty.  She was wearing an orange dress with navy-blue lines – the dress would have been impossible for other women to sport.  She was reading a magazine; Ned had to sit by her.  Even he did not really know why.  “Is this seat taken?” asked Ned.  “No sir,” said Ms. Flowers.  It seemed as though she was losing interest in her magazine.

“I see I am not the only person waiting to board this plane,” said Ms. Flowers, “Did you find the flight attendant to be somewhat uptight?”  “I think she could crack a glass marble in her… you know,” said Ned; the attendant might as well been a talking pair of starched pants.  Ms. Flowers nodded to agree as she glanced towards the attendant.  The woman in the orange dress looked to the ground.  She was sad about something.

“Is there something you would like to talk about?” asked Ned.  Ms. Flowers looked to Ned and said, “I would love to, you would not understand, though.  How old are you, 12?”  “I happen to be exactly 12!” said Ned, “You are quite the intelligible woman guessing.  Why are you sad?”

“Once a year, for four years in a row, I was able to see an ex-boss.  I currently work in consulting for another firm, however I was using my paid vacations to come and see this man.  He paid me.  I did not need the money; it was nice to see him, though.”

“This arrangement was professional?”

“You seem smart for a 12-year-old.”

“I am a prodigy; I study all sciences.  I write; I publish.”

“Wow, maybe you could give me advice.”

“I always think, ‘Let it go.’  I remember not to dwell on anything that may bring me to an unhealthy frame of mind.  As for you; I am no doctor.  I can relate a few things, albeit.  Do you want to hear these possibilities?” Continue reading

A Nice Arrangement

A Nice Arrangement

Once upon a time, there were two people who worked a late night shift.  One of their names was Lucy Thrall.  The other person’s name was Charlie Crown.

The two coincidentally were without work and found work during the holiday season.  A large merchandising store placed an ad in a popular newspaper that said, “Now Hiring Seasonal Workers.”  Lucy and Charlie both worked in shipping, loaded boxes into large trucks for six hours a night.  They worked six days a week.

The two had worked together for three weeks.  Charlie loved Lucy; her husband had left her about a year ago.  Charlie thought, “What happens when this job is over?  How will I still speak with Lucy?”  She still had a lot to talk about; she was not quite through telling Charlie about her personal problems, in Charlie’s guesses.

“What would you think if I bought you dinner sometime?” asked Charlie, one night.  “Are you asking me to go on a date?” asked Lucy.  “No,” said Charlie, “I just thought it might be nice to share dinner with someone – I have not gone out to eat in a nice restaurant in months.”  “Where would we go?” asked Lucy.  “What do you have in mind?” asked Charlie.  “The nice restaurant on 7th and Elk seems interesting.  I hear the food is phenomenal, though it is kind-of expensive,” said Lucy.

“It sounds like a good idea,” said Charlie, “When would be a convenient time to go?”  “I can meet you there on Friday at 6:30 PM,” said Ms. Thrall; “I will be there,” said Mr. Crown.  The two ended their conversation and went back to work.  Their normal hour-long lunch break was over.  They worked through the night.  Charlie was happy that he would see Lucy outside of work.  He wanted what she did; he wanted to make her happy.

Friday came and Charlie dressed to kill.  He shaved his entire body; put on his nicest slacks and a casual business dress shirt; and a minimal splash of cologne and his nicest watch.  With his best shoes on, Mr. Crown walked out of his door in good time.  He got to the restaurant early.  He had made reservations for a table of two, Mr. Crown and Ms. Thrall.  Charlie made it to the restaurant by 6:12 PM.  The host checked his listing and found Charlie and Lucy’s name written down for 6:30 PM.  “Right this way,” said the nicely dressed host.  Charlie followed the host, tried to absorb the atmosphere normally only known of by common aristocrats in the surrounding area.

Charlie was sat down at a nice table towards the back of the restaurant.  The lighting was romantic and the place was clean.  “I hope Lucy enjoys this,” thought Charlie, “It sure is a nice place.”  A server named, Jonah came over to see Charlie.  Jonah was a highly presentable individual – he did not make mistakes.  Jonah was dressed to perfection.  “Hi, my name is Jonah, and I will be your server, tonight,” said Jonah.  “It is nice to meet you,” said Charlie.  Charlie’s eyes were already on the host-stand.  It was not even 6:30 PM, and he was watching for Lucy.

“I am waiting for an acquaintance of mine,” said Charlie, “She should be here any minute.”  “Okay,” said Jonah, “Can I bring you anything?”  “May I have a glass of ice water?” asked Charlie.  “Sure,” said Jonah.  Jonah left and returned with a glass of ice water, tended to his other patrons while keeping Charlie’s presence known.  Charlie watched his watch.  6:30 PM passed and Lucy was not there.  Charlie noticed the nice arrangement of flowers on the table and thought to himself, “That is a lovely arrangement of flowers, there.”  He watched the host’s stand.  There was no Lucy to be seen.

Jonah checked on Charlie at 6:35.  “Do you think she is coming?” asked Jonah, trying to be as nice as possible.  “She may be running late,” said Charlie.  “We both work at night; she may be tired or sleeping,” he thought aloud.  “May I bring you an appetizer while you wait?” asked Jonah.  It was clear that Charlie was not leaving just yet.  “What do you have available?” asked Charlie.  Jonah handed him a menu sheet with the word “Appetizers” on the top of it.  Jonah saw many different treats and good ideas.  He saw one line that advertised a fried escargot basket for 7$.  “What do you think of the fried snails?” asked Charlie.

“I eat them all the time and I think they are great,” said Jonah, “They come with a dipping sauce that is similar to marinara.”  “I guess I will try some of those,” said Charlie, “I hope Lucy is on the way.  This arrangement of flowers is very nice.”  “Thank you,” said Jonah, “One of the cooks and I chose those.  They are combinations of pink, white, and violet orchids.”  “I am impressed,” said Charlie Crown.  Jonah left and returned in 6 minutes with a basket of fried snails and dipping sauce.  “Still no sign of Lucy?” asked Jonah.  “No,” said Charlie, “Thank you for the snails.”

Charlie ate the snails, one by one; the flowers reminded him of florists – they were without flaw.  Half of an hour had gone by, and Lucy had not come into the restaurant.  Jonah came and checked on Charlie a couple of times; they both decided that she might not be coming.  7:30 PM passed by, and Jonah came over to Charlie.  “Would you like to order a meal?” asked Jonah.  “Do you have anything to go?” asked Charlie.  “We have some toasted lunch sandwiches that are pretty good,” said Jonah, “Would you  like to try one of those?”

“How much are they?” asked Charlie, he had planned to pay for two luxurious dinners.  He was not too concerned about the cost of a lunch sandwich.  “My favorite one is a Philly cheese-steak sandwich with mozzarella and little yellow chili peppers,” said Jonah, “It is 7$.”  “That sounds splendid,” said Mr. Crown.  Jonah brought him the sandwich in a Styrofoam to-go container; it was nearing 8 PM.  The server also brought Charlie his check.  “Thank you,” said Charlie, as he looked at the check.  The check had an automatic gratuity on it for 2$.  It totaled 17$, due to 1$ for the cost of the glass of water.  “Can I pay you here?” asked Charlie.  “Sure,” said Jonah.

Mr. Crown handed Jonah 25$ in cash and enjoyed one last gaze upon the pretty orchids.  Ms. Thrall must not have been able to make it, somehow.  He shook Jonah’s hand.  Both said, “Thank you,” and Charlie left to go get ready for work.

A Sitter Named Irene

A Sitter Named Irene

One time, there was a baby-sitter named Irene.  She was also a substitute teacher; Irene lived alone.  Once or twice a month, Irene went and babysat a young girl named Leah.  Leah was a handful of fun; Leah was hyperactive.  Irene was fun, too; she at times saw Leah as possibly the hardest child to keep out of the rest of the children she babysat.

Leah’s parents kept her spoiled in a ten bedroom house with many large rooms.  The young girl knew every small facet of her domain, ran fast like a mouse to get away.  Leah did not tire; she was allowed as many deserts as she wanted.  Her parents kept a philosophy of giving, especially to their only little girl.  Because Irene was paid well, it was easy for her not to get too jealous of Leah.  This would be a night to remember.

Irene was 24, had light brunette hair.  She made it to the large house in her 4-cylinder car on time; Leah’s parents departed.  Leah, being in the second grade, had homework.  Irene asked Leah politely to finish her school work, so she could tell Leah’s parents that she was well-behaved that evening.  To Irene’s surprise, Leah promised to do all of her homework for a slice of lemon meringue pie. The two sat together and Irene helped Leah learn a great deal. The two went over the school work; mostly Math and English, their final work was without flaw.

“So,” asked Leah as she was eating her snack, “An adverb describes the action of a verb?”  “That is correct,” said Irene, “What are your plans once you finish your pie?  Your bedtime is not for a few hours.”  Irene was full of surprises.  “I do not know what I want to do,” said Leah, “I might watch a movie, however I am not very interested.”  “What about your doll house?” asked Irene.  “I got a new one,” said Leah.  “Really?” asked Irene.  “I did not want it,” said Leah, “I thought ‘they’ wanted to get it for me, though, so I begged for it.”

Irene was running out of ideas, getting closer to finding a new project to work on in the world of art.  Irene waited for Leah to finish her pie.  The babysitter was not hungry at the time.  “Have you ever played ’20 Questions’?” asked Irene.  “What kind of a game is that?” asked Leah, “Are you going to make me do chores?”  “No,” said Irene, “I try to be a fun person, remember?”  “I have seen you upset before, and I got in trouble,” said Leah, honestly.  She was trying to think of something fun to do.

“I am sorry about that,” said Irene.  “How do you play the game?” asked Leah.  “You pick a person, place, or thing, and I have 20 attempts to guess what it is,” said Irene.  “I am thinking of a place,” said Leah.  “Have you ever played this game before?” asked Irene.  “Do you think I am a liar?” asked Leah.  Irene decided to try to play along.  “Is the place on this continent?” asked Irene.  “Yes,” said Leah.  “Is it London?” asked Irene; she wanted to test Leah’s honesty.  “London is in Europe,” said Leah, “The place is in the United States.”

“Is the place closer to the Atlantic or the Pacific Ocean?” asked Irene.  “Atlantic,” said Leah, “In fact, it is kind-of in the ocean.  It is also kind of a thing.”  “Is it a nuclear submarine?”  “No, silly,” said Leah giggling.  “Is it a kind of business or government building?” asked Irene.  “Not really,” said Leah, “People go to see it, though.  It is like a symbol of freedom for our nation.”  “Is it a monument?” asked Irene.  “I do not think so,” said Leah thinking, “But I thought you were about to guess it.  It is a sculpture.”  “The Statue of Liberty?” asked Irene.  “That is right,” said Leah.

The two played the game all afternoon without even turning on the television.  Irene tucked in Leah after she bathed and said her bedtime prayers with her.  Leah was asleep before her parents’ return.  Leah was finding maturity, and Irene looked forward to seeing the young girl grow up to be a nice person.  They all lived happily ever after.