Blog, fiction

Peaches – An Unlikely Love Story #Top40Love

Peaches is a mutt. I did not buy him from a breeder or the animal shelter or even worse from a puppy mill. He showed up on my doorstep one day, hair matted and soaking wet. His eyes were a crusty mess and I did not want to touch him.

“Get over here, please! I need your help. There’s a sick stray dog and I can’t get it off my porch.” My brother always rescued me from my predicaments. It had been so since grade school.

As Bobby exited his VW bug, he started laughing. “This is the mean and frightening dog?” The little dog was curled up on the braided rug in front of the swing, shivering. “Let’s get you inside”.

“Inside? Are you crazy?”

A bath and a few vet visits later, the half-cocker half-mutt dog became my constant companion. I named him Peaches before I realized he was a he. Bobby said it was terribly emasculating but the name stuck.

Peaches was not feral, but he was a wanderer. He managed to get out of the fenced yard without fail. Every time Mrs. Harper’s Cockapoo was in heat, Peaches managed to make his way to her yard. “You need to tie this dog up. He’s always runnin’ away and chasing my precious girl.”

Tonight had been no exception. I found Peaches’ collar still attached to the generous lead and a fresh hole tunneled under the fence. The rain was picking up and I had driven around the entire neighborhood looking for him. Not even Mrs. Harper had seen him. “I tried to warn you!”

Bobby was out of town, but I called him anyway. He tried to calm my nerves but I was frantic. “He knows his way home. Try to get some sleep.” It was 3:00 AM when I quit pacing the floor and finally drifted off to sleep on the couch.

A loud crash at the back door startled me awake. I peeked out the back door and saw wind had blown the old metal trash can off the stoop. As I reached for the handle of the coffee pot I heard a faint whine. I opened the back door to see Peaches, soaking wet and covered in mud crouched up against the door. I scooped him up in an old towel and started drying him off. I noticed a patch of hair missing from his ear. “You’re a mess, Peaches. I was so worried about you. I don’t know what I would do without you. Now let’s get you in the bath”.

On our evening walk a week later, Peaches slipped from his collar and made a bee line for old Mr. Watkins’ house. Peaches had a thing for his French Poodle. I managed to capture him before he dug a hole under the fence. I could not take much more. I loved this mutt but he was killing me!

~~~~~~

Two days later I sat in the lobby at the vet. I had been foolish to think I could watch after a dog as independent as Peaches and keep him safe. Bobby had warned me knowing this would be a challenge he was not sure I could handle. I should have taken his advice but I thought I knew best. The anticipation was killing me. As much as it hurt me, I knew what I needed to do. I was sobbing when I handed him over to Marcie, the vet’s assistant.

“He will be fine now, don’t cry. We neuter dogs all the time.”


Written for my #Top40Love story challenge.

Song Titles Used:

Runnin’ Away by Sly and the Family Stone

Without You by Nilsson

Anticipation by Carly Simon

 

Blog, fiction, SoCS

SoCS – A Fictional Story for a Saturday

Linda is back with a new challenge for us this week. Pop over to Linda’s place to join in: Life in Progress – check out the rules and the contribution of other bloggers.

This week, the prompt is:

Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is “boo.” Find a word with the letters “boo” in it or use “boo” as is and base your post on it. Enjoy!


This story could be true, but alas, it mostly and utterly completely 100% false. As a matter of fact, it is a lie of epic proportions. It is a made up story of a little boy who had but one dream – to become a star.

Little Boo Ridley grew up deep in the heart of Texas. They were neither rich nor poor nor even middle class for that matter. His parents, Loula Mae Ridley (a bookkeeper) and Clarence Ridley ( a boom operator) encouraged little Boo to pursue his dream of being in a band. They tried to support him in any way they could.

He first became a roadie working for Booker T and the MG’s, but he tired of all the instrumental music. He thought if he heard “Green Onions” one more time he might go insane. He had a brief stint as a songwriter. His most successful gig was writing for Sly and the Family Stone. He was disheartened when he was not credited as co-writer on “I Want to Take You Higher”. After all his penning of the phrase “boom laka laka laka” was what made that song!

He moved through the circuit only to get hired for one boondoggle after another. He finally took to the bottle and started boozing it up. Before long, he found himself living down in the boondocks far from the right side of town. He fell in love with a girl that lived up on the hill and wrote a song about her. 

Sadly, he had only scribbled the words down on the back of a paper bag. One night, down on his luck, looking for money for a bus ticket home, he sold his song to a guy named Joe. Sure, it needed some tweaking, but he thought it was catchy. 

After scraping together enough money for a bus ticket, he heard a song. The words were familiar. I took him a minute to realize it was his song made famous by someone else and he had squandered away another chance for success. it was yet another loss for the books.

How could he go home now? Failure was a taboo subject in his household. He dragged himself off the bus at the next station. He  needed a drink but all he could afford now was some Boone’s Farm. He asked around until he found a local bootlegger. 

He knew when he took that first sip it would only be a matter of time before he was playing peekaboo with the boogey man.


Many thanks to the artists of my youth for providing inspiration for my story. I love them all!

Blog, fiction

The Message – A Fiction Piece

Arnie pushed her auburn hair behind her ears. She found her hair annoying at this length but there was no need to worry about a haircut now. The message was clear, perhaps the clearest she had ever received.

She scooted her stool close to the window and pushed aside the blue and yellow flowered curtains her grandmother said would be perfect for her room. “You will always have a breath of spring in your room!” The sky was baby blue with cotton-ball clouds In the distance. Other than her curtains, spring had faded away. Summer arrived with warm days and cool nights. Everyone seemed anxious to get outside and enjoy the warmth of the sun but Arnie was conflicted.

Jack Rose, Arnie’s father, paused by her door. “Gorgeous day, isn’t it?” The question was rhetorical of course as her father continued toward the stairs that would lead him to his morning coffee. Grandmother Rose moved in with them when Arnie’s mother passed away. Three years had passed but it still felt like it happened yesterday. People had been kind, but Arnie never wanted to see flowers again. She could no longer tolerate their syrupy sweet smell.

Of course Arnie knew of her mother’s looming fate before anyone else. The message was the first one that frightened her and she clung to her mother hoping it would sway the imminent message. All she could do was wait until others learned what she already knew. Sadly, there was no changing the result. The drunk driver was never caught, but Arnie knew that would be the case.

Arnie quit trying to talk about the messages long ago. Everything was conveniently whisked in the category of coincidence. Arnie was not mature enough to articulate what she knew so she just quit talking about them. Over the last few years the frequency of the messages had decreased. She knew as soon as her mother died she would lose her playroom so Grandma Rose could have a nice room of her own. She packed up her most important books and the stuffed bunny with the floppy ears her mother gave her long before her father explained the need to consolidate her belongings.

She smiled at the squirrels jumping precariously through the oak tree out front. She slipped on her sandals and went downstairs to join her family.

“Your pancakes are ready, my dear.” She loved the way her grandmother smiled with her eyes. “I even warmed the syrup just the way you like it.” Her grandmother kissed Arnie on the forehead as she handed her a plate with three large pancakes. “I hope you’re hungry.”

As she ate her pancakes, Arnie listened to her father and her grandmother talk about the weather. It was a perfect day to just relax with no errands to run and no work to be done. Arnie tried to compartmentalize her thoughts. Should she tell them? What purpose would it serve other than turn a perfectly glorious day into a catastrophe?

After breakfast, Arnie went outside and climbed into the curve of the oak tree. It was a perfect place to give into her thoughts. She thought about her mother and wondered if this was what she felt? Did she know on that day she would breathe her last breath or did it come as a complete surprise?

Who does one tell, when the entire world faces the same fate? Who would believe a thirteen year-old child if she told them today would be the last sunset for the entire planet? Who would believe the sun would lose its grip on this beautiful earth forcing it to be flung into space?

From the tree she watched her father practice on his makeshift putting green. Her grandmother clipped the rose bushes, cutting off the dying blooms. She closed her eyes and wondered if today she might see her mother again.

A hawk appeared out of nowhere and scooped up a small squirrel scampering across the yard. Sunset had come a little early for that little guy.

Blog, fiction

Meredith – A Fiction Piece

This piece was inspired by the following photograph. It is outside of my normal style of writing and stretches me out of my comfort zone as it is a little otherworldly. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea.


Photo by Suzy Hazelwood from Pexels

Meredith’s mother did not approve of her afternoon walk to the forest. None of her mothers had approved of most things Meredith did, but they never argued. They were wary of her, their feelings bordering on fear. She knew the time was approaching. These human bodies wore out quickly, and each time the process started over. The first had lasted only six months. The second almost two years. She had lost count. Each time she shed the human shell, she observed the look of relief on her mothers’ faces. Her new mothers were elated, but the elation soon turned to sadness. As the new body grew and stretched, the mother’s anguish increased.

This time she made it 12 human years. This body had nothing left for her to take. The transition time was near. She always wished it could happen here, alone at the edge of the forest, but she knew the process. Luckily, this time, the neighbor’s wife was with child, and that child would be relinquished and the process would begin again. All her prior transitions had been within hours after the human birth. This time, she wanted to be there from the start. She had the power to transition before the birth now, but it required more time preparation, as the sun relaxed its hold on the energy she needed to survive.

**********

”Thank you for coming, Simone. This child has been a difficult one.”

”She has such a high fever. Have you sent for the doctor?” Simone thought Meredith was such a beautiful child – she hoped her child would be as lovely.

”No, not yet. I hoped she would come around. It’s such a long trip for the doctor and she might recover on her own.”  Constance was tired. 12 years she had tried to love this distant child, but something about Meredith was foreboding. Even as a young child, mothering her was torturous. Maybe it was best to release her, but these were words she would never utter out loud. No one could understand. She decided it was best to let nature take its course and hope this would be the end.

“Let’s let her rest. How about a cup of tea?” As they walked toward the kitchen, the house grew dark and a bitter chill fell over them.

Simone stumbled as she made her way to the table.

“Oh, honey! Are you okay?” Constance held her arm and helped her into the chair.

Simone tried to gather herself. The baby moved so suddenly it caused a sharp pain to rip through her abdomen.

“Could I have some water?”

After a few minutes, Simone seemed to regain her composure.

“You scared me. It’s too soon for labor. You have another six weeks to go.” Constance rested her hand on her neighbor’s shoulder.

“I think I should get back to the house. Sam will be home soon and I’d like to lie down for a bit.” Simone stood slowly. “I hope your angel gets better soon.”

**********

The next morning, the sun broke through the window early. Constance rose to check on Meredith. She had not moved since the prior afternoon. She entered the room and glanced at her daughter. Her eyes were open, but her body cold and white. Constance sat down on the side of the bed and gently closed her eyes, putting a penny on each one. She breathed a sigh of relief as she felt the release of 12 long years of frustration and fear.

“I don’t think you were ever my child, really. I’m not sure where you have gone, but I’m relieved you are no longer here.”

She closed the bedroom door and waited for the doctor to arrive.

Blog, fiction

33 – A Short Fiction Piece

cottage
Image by Stanly8853 from Pixabay

The walk to the mailbox was never a pleasure for Carrie. There were no letters from friends or a note from home. Not even an invitation to one of those dinners where they gave you free food in exchange for a too-long marketing presentation about a timeshare she could never afford. She wondered if anyone had invented a combination mailbox/trash-can since most of her mail ended up there anyway.

There it was, the long white envelope of death. Carrie knew what it said before she ever opened it. Even so, she still held her breath like a little girl waiting to see Santa. She slid her pinkie under the flap and tore it open. Her eyes skimmed the page dimming as she read the all too familiar words.

“Thirty-three ‘we regret to inform you’ in less than 60 days. This could be some sort of record.” As painful as it was, this was the only mail she kept.

The breeze picked up speed and shifted directions. It would be raining soon. Carrie sat on the porch swing and watched the thunderstorm building in the distance.

Darren was right. Darren was always right. He was older and smarter and had a good head on his shoulders. She had listened to these accolades most of her life, but especially since her father died her senior year in college. Darren swooped in and carted their Mom off to his place in the city. He saved the day. Again.

It was no wonder he was successful in business. He was cutthroat and a bully. Dad always saw it but Mom never could. When she died only a year later, Darren was named executor and in charge of Carrie’s distribution from the estate.

Luckily, Dad’s sister – Aunt Irene – could see the handwriting on the wall. She deeded her small cottage and it’s adjoining two acres to Carrie and moved into a small condo in Florida insisting she never liked the place anyway. Otherwise, Carrie would have been 25, on her own with no place to live.

There was no mortgage and the sales from her small organic garden kept her afloat. She often felt like giving up, but her father’s words always kept her going. “You’re going to be a great writer someday”.

Someday? After 33 reject letters from 33 different sources, she was beginning to doubt it. She had completed a book she loved but finding an agent and a publisher these days was tough. She thought about self-publishing but Darren made sure that would not happen.

”I cannot let you spend your inheritance on such frivolous pursuits, Carrie. This is why Mom left me in charge. It’s time for you to grow up and get a real job.” She could not manage her share of the estate until she turned 30. That seemed so far away.

Carrie filed her new reject in the filing cabinet, the folder already bulging. Why was she keeping those stupid things? As she closed the drawer, another folder caught her eye. It was simply labeled “Dad”. She pulled it out and opened it, seeing the letters her father wrote her when she was away at school. He challenged her, asked the rhetorical questions designed to inspire her. As she read them, they made her think deeply about her life and her opportunities  – even if they had not done so before.

“Damn, I miss you. Your positive outlook. Your reassurance. Your inspiration.” She stared at the folder. “Why did you have to leave me?”

Over the next few months, Carrie buried herself penning a response to each of the 60 letters. It was therapeutic and made her feel less alone.

*****

As the autumn leaves reached their full color, Carrie walked to the mailbox as she had done almost every day since she moved in. Another letter from a publisher, but this one felt different. Thicker somehow. Her palms were sweating as she tore the envelope open.

The publisher loved the proposal she sent them. The samples of the letters and the responses she had written to her father were compelling. They wanted to see more. They wanted her to work with an editor.

No matter what happened from here, she knew she had found her voice and her way. She now understood why she had received 33 reject letters. For the first time, she had been brave enough to leave her heart beating on the page.

She smiled pressing the letter to her chest. “Daddy, everything is going to be okay.”