“I blame YOU! You are always eating my blueberries and making my garden a mess.”
Emily Jeller shut her kitchen window with a slam that echoed across the field and near the gravel entrance to the family farm. Walking to her pantry, she grabbed a container of flour.
“I wanted to make a blueberry pie but now that will be impossible, I cannot believe all my blueberries are gone.”
Opening the large container, she held a small glass cup to measure the ingredient. Plopping the white powdery substance in a bowl, she paused while she looked out her window again. Suddenly her voice yelped, a sound that rattled the curtains.
“Quit messing up my garden, I told you to leave my stuff alone.”
Banging against the kitchen window, Emily’s angry face could burn a hole in the ocean.
“My blueberries are gone, my yard is getting destroyed and now I am so upset, I can’t make anything right now!”
Emily picked up her pace and scurried into the living room. She turned on the tv to settle her nerves. She adjusted the volume when the picture instantly went black. Her head lunged toward the set as if the stare would revive the image. Sitting in frustration, she lifted herself out of her favorite chair and realized that the tv still was on. The power button was still lit on the set. Confusion overwhelmed the agitated lady. Her instincts told her to look outside.
“URGGGGGG, I will kill you!”
Emily grabbed her broom and rushed outside. Her overhand swinging motion made her look like a helicopter crashing across a landing strip. She picked up speed as she ran violently toward her menace.
“I HATE EWE! And that stupid man that owns you!”
Emily’s farm is next to Jimmy Barksdale’s Sheep Store. Occasionally one of his critters will run rampant on Emily’s land. The blame is always on ewe according Emily.
“It’s my last cigarette.” A tall, dark dressed man passes the almost empty pack across the small table. Grabbing to get the favor, Camille turns the container upside down. Her long fingernails pulls the unfiltered item out of its box. “You’re a wonderful soul, I will brag on you the next time I see Ma.” Snickering about the remark, the gentleman gave a half mouthed grin. “Here’s a light for you.” A wooden match stick gets stroked against the side of the table. Reaching out to Camille with the small globe of flame, she puts the cigarette in her mouth and leans into the heat. Deeply inhaling the energy through the tobacco-filled cylinder, smoke crackles in the air as Camille leans back in her seat.
Exhaling forcibly, she gently places the smoky object on a clean, white saucer plate the staff left out because they knew her tendencies from previous visits. A long, faded yellow cloth napkin was the only other object on the heavy wooden card table. Camille glares at her companion and he casually allows his eyes to study hers. She softly asks, “Why are you here now? I wasn’t expecting you to arrive so soon. I thought it would be a few more weeks before we would meet up.” The lady picks the cigarette back up and embraces it with her lips as she sucks more heat through the long round tube.
She breathes more smoke in the air but this time she spews the vapor toward the one sitting across from her. “You know why I am here and you know what I have to do, let’s make this simple.” These words dripped off the calm man’s mouth like dew off a leaf in early autumn. Throughout the whole conversation he never blinked one time while peering deep into her mind. “When did you know?” Camille was calm in requesting knowledge. She understood the importance of this meeting.
The stony-faced man spoke, “Camille, you have been meeting me here for many years and I enjoyed the time. Sadly, it has run its course.” Reacting to the words, she slammed the cigarette on the table and crushed the fire from it. It was the perfect ending for Camille and the man she worked for, the one she simple called Boss. He pointed toward the door, “I will consider the money you snagged as a going away bonus.”
An angry scowl appeared as she pushed herself away from the table. The Boss sat in silence. Her pace quickened as she went out the door. A barely lit sign reading Boss’ Burger Barn was over the exit door. Fumbling for her keys, she found a picture in her purse. She tossed it on the parking lot then got into her small two-door car and drove away. The picture was of her, Boss and their parents when the place first opened over twenty years ago.
Pounding away in the distance a sound that shook the ground. Leon Channy rose up from his bed. Stumbling through the sleepy darkness, he wondered what could generate noise that shook him from his slumber. Opening his curtains he saw across the field a glow that shimmered golden with the dark sky as its backdrop. Curiosity had brought him to a fully waken state. Wrapping himself in a blanket while slipping on his shoes, Leon walked out on the porch.
Smells of tar mixed with wood filled his nostrils. Eyes itching because of the smoke, Leon ducked back inside the house. Dropping the blanket, he put on some old jeans and zipped up a hoodie so he could go investigate the cause of fire. Picking up his truck keys, the middle-aged man jogged out to his vehicle. Cranking up the rust-covered ride, he slowly drove over the field to examine the scene. Slowly churning through the high grassed covered land, Leon was cautious to approach the pending disaster.
Sparks were popping over 300 acres away from his front door. Heat grabbed his face while exiting the cab. The glow of the fire blinded him as his dog jumped up on Leon’s thigh. A large mutt that chased away small pests clung to the owner of the field. Petting the dog’s head, it jumped off the man to run to the old truck. Jumping into the truck bed, he laid down to escape the flames. Staring at the rage Leon grits his teeth. Sirens fill his ears as the local fire department is appearing on the outer edge of the property.
Backing up with a sense of defeat, Leon plops back into his truck. The old mutt raises his head as the land owner drives away from the small inferno. Parking back in its usual place, the dog jumps out the truck and lays down on the porch. Leon climbs out of the vehicle and sits down on the steps leading up to his home. Seeing the blaze decrease for the efforts of the fireman the tired man ponders what made the explosion. Staring up in the black sky his house phone rings.
Walking into the house he picks up the phone. A look of anger sweeps over his face as he recognizes the sound on the other end. “I told you I would make my mark one day!” were the words blaring into Leon’s ear. Slamming the phone down, he darts out the door and back into the truck. Calamity makes the dog bark as the old truck spins out of the yard. Gripping the steering wheel he pounds on the gas. As he drives off one fireman looks around and says. “I guess his brother is back in town. It will be a hot summer.”
The Grand Chef Makes Macaroni and Cheese
“I know I can do it; it is my favorite side dish!” These words were proclaimed by Chester Reginald Motsinger. He was known for having a sharp memory, classic culinary skills and being resourceful in all situations, normally in an aggressive manner. “I make the best macaroni and cheese, it is simple, cheesy, creamy and delicious!” Chester was chattering away to his wife, Ella, who was known for being creative, charming and calm in any environment. She was exactly the partner Chester needed and they had been married for over 30 years.
“I have my melting pot and it is warming up”, Chester kept talking away as he would go step by step into making this scrumptious concoction. Ella was casually flipping through a home designer magazine to help her deal with the over eager chef and his constant comments. “I have the pot hot enough for the stick of butter and 2 cups of whole milk” as if Chester had never made this item before. Ella quickly stated, “It has been two weeks since your accident, be careful, please” 15 days earlier Chester fell down the basement stairs and had a small wrap of bandages still on his head due to the massive concussion and 17 stitches that were required to remedy his wound. Unfortunately, there was one minor side effect, his memory would dissolve occasionally, which was a well spring of dark humor at times for Ella, who had seen her mate be more than braggadocios about his cooking accomplishments. The past few days Chester would become speechless with a consequential gaze over his eyes as he would lose all remembrance of the current situation. These moments were treasures for Ella since she was told that it was only a temporary condition.
“It is getting silky so it is now time for the grated cheese.” He would be very secretive to most on what he would use but today it was a combination of cheddar, fontina and gouda. He added some salt and pepper to the melted milk and butter liquid. Slowly he would portion a bit of all the cheeses at one time and then fold the gooey goodness until it was a smooth mixture then go back to add more cheese, a little at a time until he ran out of his cheese.
Chester turned the burner off and got his favorite casserole dish. Glaring at the well-used vessel he amusingly rambled on, “the spinach parm bake, Thai chicken with peanuts and cilantro, southwest black bean delight, oh how I love them all but my macaroni and cheese is always the best, there is none better!” Ella was staring into a cabinet make over, trying to ignore his bragging while hearing, “I simply amaze myself, Ella, you need to be very, very thankful to be married to a brilliant commander of all things cookery!” She just held her tongue, which occurred more often than not and let him keep on patting himself on the back.
The chef decided the cheese sauce was now ready to be poured into the cherished casserole dish. An aroma of cheese, butter, milk and love was gently poured into the dish. Chester was giddy as he plowed away from the oven and set the dish in front of his word weary wife. “Taste it my dear and tell me how incredible my macaroni and cheese is. Please be generous with your words, I cherish hearing you brag on me!” Ella took a small spoon and tasted it, she had only one reply, “Where is the pasta?” The loudest sound of the whole night was the groaning ugh that bellowed from the embarrassed cook.
Running up the steps, I struggle to put the keys in the door, which comes from a long life of feeling like I am always late. My day at work was stressful but productive. I stumble through the door as I put my coat and things on the couch. I open the fridge to get some tea but I need affirmation. Every time I need something confirmed, I know where to look to and as usual all she said was yes.
Later on I am watching baseball as the evening creeps along like a three legged basset hound. I had a decent meal for a single man. Bonnie Breadbasket’s Frozen Entrée consisting of meatloaf, mash potatoes, carrots and an almost delicious dessert that had a berry filling underneath the brown, sugary crust. This game is going into extra innings and I want to eat some potato chips. I wonder if I should? I look over to her and all she said was yes.
Morning arrives and I am feeling sleepy due to staying up late watching sports. It is Wednesday, which is a longer day for me due to a recent shift change. I would rather go to the park than to be at work. I have about three weeks of sick time saved up. There is nothing urgent going on at the office and that later shift can basically do itself. I wonder if it would be ok if I called out of work today. I glance over to her and all she said was yes.
I went to the park after I finally got up. I tossed on some well-worn sweatpants and a ratty old concert tee shirt. I have been to many rock shows and I used the music in my mind to get me motivated. I arrive near the open track. I like to stroll, walk, jog and run just to mix the routine up. As I finish the loop for the third time, I find myself staring at a beautiful lady with a friendly smile. I think I will go talk to her. In my mind I see my source of confirmation, in my mind, all she said was yes.
The girl from the park and I begin to talk. We smile, laugh and chat about familiar ordinary things. I ponder in my mind that I have a freezer full of heat and eat meals. I ask her if she would want to go back to my place to eat and she curiously agreed. My new found friend, Linda, drove her car and followed me back to my place. We climb up the steps, I jingle the keys through the lock and we stroll into the scattered apartment. I am feeling confident about this day. I wonder if I should feel this bold and I look over and all she said was yes.
Linda walks through the room, glancing and observing my everyday world. She sees a portrait of a dark brown haired lady with a smile on her face. Linda asked me who that was and I said that is my Mom. I went on to tell her that she was the only true connection I ever really had due to she raised me by herself and I did not have any other siblings. Linda stares deeper in the picture and asked where was this picture taken. I replied that my Mom was a big fan of concerts and would take me to every show so we could share in the same experience, sound and atmosphere. I told Linda that was the last concert that I attended with my Mom. It was an 80’s band collection of several groups, one of them was a British band named Yes. She bought a tee shirt at that show and I took a picture of her wearing it with a cheap camera that she gave me when I turned 19. I told Linda I keep that picture up in clear view and anything time I need advice; I can look at it. I told Linda I am the man I am today because all she said was yes.
Sitting on the park bench, which was well worn from use, Alfred adjusts himself for the next hour of viewing. Retirement was a slow jog mentally for the former psychiatrist. This particular spot was located at Coldstone Park, which was nestled between the community college and the public library. Every day between the hours of 1 PM to 2 PM he would open a small bag of salty peanuts to nibble on during his examination of the local scenery. It was his attempt to keep his diagnosis senses sharp since he no longer had a practice.
This day was the continuation of an ongoing study for Alfred. His subject was a woman who he calculated was in her early 20’s. She had dark hair which reminded him of his favorite binder when he was working full time. If anything made a connection with the old therapist, it had to remind him of his working days, the thing in his opinion that would be his dying legacy. Glaring at a distance of approximately 93 feet away, she would always sit on the grass or occasionally have a blanket or jacket to lay down on the park surface. He was not attracted to her physically but emotionally the connection could not be ignored.
Alfred had been coming to this park at 1 PM for the last 7 weeks and 4 days. He knew that his main subject of observation had only missed every Saturday, Sunday, three Tuesdays and 1 Friday during his time on the bench. A tear suddenly filled his eye on this warm day. He felt a stirring in his heart that had been missing for several years. His breath became a challenge to muster due to his mind was telling him that today this process would have to change. Science either succeeds or fails but it rarely stands still because that either caused stagnation or death, neither was never an option for Alfred.
He slowly stands up and decides to make the journey to the lady with the raven colored mane. An empty peanut bag shuffles off in the light breeze as the resigned professional shuffles toward his subject. His walk becomes forced but steady due to this contact will definitely change the direction of how he spends his time at 1 PM. As he walked over half the way there he described her look as dove with broken wings, beautiful from a distance but appearing sadder the closer he got to where she was collapsed on the ground.
As he made the final few steps his diagnoses was not pleasant. She sat up and just gazed at the former counselor. Her voice stabbed the atmosphere, “I don’t care what you have to say, I am not interested in you anymore!” She pushed herself up off the ground in a huff and dashed away from the place where the silent doctor stood numb. It would be the last time he would come to that park, the last time he would eat peanuts on a bench and the last time he would ever see his daughter.
Sunrises through the office window as Bradley staggers through his door on this blossoming April morning. Pulling off his jacket, he sits down to realize that another season has arrived. “Here we go!”, he says to himself as he tries to energize his thoughts, emotions and actions. There was a big task to be accomplished, it would forever change the landscape of his current world. “I see we have a larger crop of females”, he mumbles as he looks at a couple of charts that are hanging on his wall. “For every three females we only have two males, that might be an issue” and he grabs his cup of sweet grass tea with a small twist of lemon. “This day will call for a stronger drink” and he opens his cabinet to grab a concoction with a faded label in bold black letters, SPRING TONIC.
He opens the decanter and slowly gulps three times…one, taking a deep breath, two, his eyes become glassy from the odor and three, the subtle burn he can feel cascading his gullet slowly igniting his whole being from his middle all through every limb and pore of his body. “WOO WEE, that will wake you up in the mornin’” he shouts knowing that he is the only one in the building. He pulls out a handkerchief to wipe a small outpouring of sweat as well as some soft tears that trickled out due to the pungent potation that produced a profound increase of energy.
Sniffing as he picked up the phone, his massive duty was to make the order for the release of the captive cult due to it was time. Spring was 27 days old and the nights were becoming warmer. Celebrating the yearly festival would start tonight. “Clarence, yeah this is Bradley, the temperatures were in the upper 50’s last night and there is no sign of frost for the rest of the season” The conversation continues, “Yes I know Clarence, I know there are more gals than guys but we cannot hold back, I got the memo this morning from Old Man River, he makes the call, if you want to talk to him, I am sure…oh..you say that won’t be necessary…great, then get them ready, tonight is the night!” Bradley abruptly ends the conversation knowing he will be making that same call to over a hundred other care takers before his day is over.
Several hours later at sunset, the final call was just made by the exhausted manager. His SPRING TONIC tumbler was bone dry, as was any energy or zest that had been generated on this long, hard day. He opens his binder to the day April 17th. He checks it off knowing by May 1st he would be in charge of following up on the production of the season. Being in charge of the earth’s peep frogs was something Bradley managed for over 38 years. On the way home, he begins to listen as the peeping begins, the mating season for the frogs is on course. “I hope those ladies don’t wear those boys out!” as he chuckles while snickering in his car as he drives home on this warm Spring evening.
(Sometimes when you are writing you have to put yourself in a place you have never been and imagine what your thoughts would be…I started thinking what it would be like if I was a surfer and I wrote this poem about it….)
Today is here, the time is now
I will not break, I will not bow
Rocky is the hill, the banks are so steep
Refusing to wade but will journey into the deep
Timing and rhythm barking orders to me
Conquering the roar and riding on the sea
Blood rushing through my heart as I begin to drive
Mastering morning peaks is how I thrive
Daily is the challenge that whispers my name
I go out a warrior, victory will I claim
My board is the chariot, the water is my steed
Brilliant rides at dawn will always meet my need
(I have a small fascination with Jane Austin films. In the film “Pride and Prejudice”, there was an image where Kiera Knightley was way off in the distance and you could barely see her but she was walking in a field that was grassy, muddy and looked like a big pasture. That image sparked the poem below, I hope you enjoy it!)
Lady In The Field
Dark and hazy clouds were all across the sky
Sticky air covered everything that breathed
Trees opened their skin in hopes of a wash
All I can see is the lady in the field
Tall, fading grass begging the heavens for rain
Smells of dry earth rise to my face
Birds seeking shelter from the soon coming storm
All I can see is the lady the field
Gray, long and cheap would best describe her dress
Her overcoat was brown and in need of repair
Mud caked her shoes as she tarried on
All I can see is the lady in the field
Her eyes were deep brown in a snow covered pool
Her hair, dark and radiant and drawing me toward
I had to take a chance and introduce myself
All I can see is the lady in the field
Gasp of chance as I said my name
Feeling like the begging grass and hungry tree
Eternal silence was screaming in my ears
All I can see is the lady in the field
Suddenly a glance that tilted the balance of life
Sweet whispers from her lips simply said, “Hello”
Twenty years later seems like yesterday
All I can see is the lady in the field