Grandpa’s Advice

My grandfather tucked me into bed one day.  The big fuchsia comforter matched the rest of the fuchsia walls.  To this day I still shudder when I see that color.  There was way too much of it at my grandparent’s house.

I asked my grandfather for a bedtime story.  In reality I was just trying to eke out a few more minutes of consciousness, but what he left me with is this:

“I don’t have a story to tell you, but I have a three pieces of advice.  First, always eat your vegetables.  It will impress your future wife that you are more than a carnivore.  It will probably be the first time she meets such a man, and that will keep her interested.  Second, always finish whatever you are drinking.  If you do you will impress your future wife even more.  She will know intuitively that you will get things done, and you won’t put off things just because you were happy with how they are now.  You made a commitment and you followed through till the end.  Lastly, always volunteer to do the dishes.  If you do, your future wife will know you will be a partner in everything you do together.  She will know you are a strong believer in sharing all burdens, to make them lighter for you both.”

Once grandpa was finished he looked at me, waiting for me to say something.  Being only seven at the time, I tried to figure out what he was talking about.  Finally I just agreed.  “Okay Grandpa.  I will begin tomorrow.”

The old man smiled a broad smile and rubbed his hands together in anticipation.  “Don’t let me down, boy.”  He patted me on my head.  “You make sure you do that.”


Many years later, while getting ready for my wedding, my grandfather came in to see how I was doing.  I gave him a huge hug.  “Grandpa,” I said.  “That advice you gave me so many years ago, you were right.”

My grandfather looked at me weirdly.  “What advice was that?” he asked.

“You told me when I was seven that I should always eat my vegetables.  It will impress my future wife, and keep her interested.  Second, always finish whatever I’m drinking.  She will know intuitively that I’ll get things done and won’t put off things.  I will follow through till the end.  Lastly, I always volunteer to do the dishes, letting her know you will be a partner in everything we do together.  She knows I believe in sharing all burdens, to make them lighter for both of us.  That last part really sealed the deal.  Without your advice, Amanda and I wouldn’t be getting married today.”

My grandfather looked off into space, trying to remember when he had given such sage advice.  He then started laughing so hard I thought he was going to pass out.  When I finally steered him to a chair and got him a drink of water to help him catch his breath, Grandpa had me kneel down next to his chair.  He leaned over and patted me on my head, just like that night twenty years earlier.

“Do you remember now?” I asked him.

“Yes my boy, I do,” Grandpa said.  “And that advice is the reason why you’re getting married?”

“Yes Grandpa,” I said.  He threatened to begin laughing, but I stopped him with my stare.  “What’s so funny?”

“I told you to eat your vegetables,” Grandpa said through a toothy grin.

“Yes, Grandpa,” I replied.

“I told you to drink all of your drink,” Grandpa said as the grin got larger.

“Yes, Grandpa,” I replied getting more annoyed.

“I told you to do the dishes,” Grandpa said, slapping his knee.

“Yes, Grandpa!” I exclaimed.  “I just told you that.”

“Well, I’m going to let you in on a little secret.  Your grandmother was getting flustered at your eating habits.  She bet me I couldn’t make you eat all your vegetables and drink all your drink.  If I lost I had to paint the barn that ugly fuchsia color she loved.”

“This was part of a bet?” I asked, the color draining from my face.  “Wait, what did you win?”

My grandfather blushed a little and made an almost impossibly large grin.

“Grandpa!  No way!” I said, sinking the rest of the way to the floor.

“Best damn week in a long time,” he said with a little bit of longing in his voice.

“All this time,” I said, shaking my head, smooshing my wedding haircut into the thick pile carpet behind it.  Then I had another thought.  I sat back up and looked at the man who used my naiveté to get lucky with my grandmother.  “You also made me promise to do the dishes.  I’m almost afraid to ask this, but what did you win from Grandma for getting me to do that?”

Grandpa waved me off.  “Grandma never bet me anything about doing the dishes.”  I was relieved, but confused.  Grandpa then continued. “It was always my chore to do the dishes after dinner.  I just wanted a break.”

Consent! (a 100 word diatribe)

I am at war with nature.  I have had to watch numerous videos about how sex is only allowed with sober consent, and yet Mother Nature is jumping my immune system with her reproductive junk without even taking me out for dinner and a movie.  I am so abused in this relationship I want her to be locked up, or at least go to counseling.  When I say no, it should mean no.  Even when I sleep she is up to her nefarious tricks.  Don’t you ever get enough, Mother Nature?  I can’t wait till you take a cold shower!

Seeing Red

Gail was completely flustered.  She had been writing crap, without an idea where her next novel was going to come from, so she decided to give up and go to the grocery store.  That ended up being an unmitigated disaster.  On the way over three appointments popped up that she had forgotten and consequently missed.    Also her agent had called wanting to know where his next pay check was coming from.  Okay, that wasn’t fair, but she really didn’t need to have him riding her so hard.  She did that just fine on her own.  Besides, didn’t three best sellers give her a little bit of wiggle room?

Of course just walking into the store reminded her of a couple of other things she needed to do.  “Death By Checklist is going to be the title of my next novel,” Gail muttered as she checked her phone.

A petite skinny man dressed in all black, but sporting a red beret, looked up from the amazing selection of canned beans.  “Did you say something to me?” he asked in a much deeper voice than should have been physically possible.

Gail felt a quiver in her stomach.  Okay, maybe it was a bit lower than her stomach.  “Just hate it when my checklist is longer than one page on my phone,” she replied.

“Your grocery list?” the man asked.

Gail smiled despite the topic.  That voice was magical.  “Oh no, my to do list.  I had to add a couple of things I remembered on the drive over here.  It’s the only way I can get all of it done.”

The man looked at her in thought.  Suddenly a smile bloomed on his face.  “May I see your list?” he asked.

Without even thinking Gail handed over her phone.  “See, so much to do and no time to get it done,” she quipped.

The man scrolled down a bit, smiled, and made a few more gestures before handing back the phone.  “You are right, so much to do, but now it’s all done,” he said.

Gail was confused.  Her list was now empty.  Voice or no voice, this man had just destroyed her only repository of what she needed to do.  “You deleted them all?”

“I completed them,” he replied.  “A gift to you.”

“But but,” she stammered.

“You’re welcome,” he said and began to walk down the aisle.

Gail was practically in tears.  She began to stab frantically what she could remember into the phone, but after only four entries her mind was blank.  “Maybe my next novel should be Death By Base.” She muttered.  She typed that into her checklist.  This trip was productive after all.

She was going to enjoy taking that red beret off that man, along with his head, voice be damned.

A Math Home Run (a 100 word story)

Facts and figures spun and danced in front of Maryann’s eyes.  She was great at math, but she hated it.

Her father tried to convince her that math could be beautiful.  She wouldn’t believe him.  After all, why would someone like math who worked on making sure the grass in left field was trimmed to the perfect height.  He showed her the analytical side of baseball, how she could use her ability to simulate games, just like this one.

As the ump called strike three Maryann smiled and settled back in her seat.  Okay, maybe hate was a strong word.

An Ugly Affair

The twin stacks of paper weighed the table down under thousands of g’s of emotional weight.  Gary looked at the left one.  That one was the last will and testament of Charles Davis the senior, the recently deceased sausage king of Trenton, New Jersey.  The second was the divorce papers for Charles Davis the junior and his wife of twenty-four years Gwen Davis, soon to be Gwen Paris.  Gary had crafted hundreds of both types of documents during his time as a family practice lawyer, but never had to deliver both in the same day.

The door to his office opened up and his secretary, Janice, poked her silver haired head in.  “Ms. Davis is here,” Janice said.  “Where would you like me to seat her?”

Gary looked at those two stacks of paper and shook his head.  “Might as well bring her in here,” he replied.  “Make sure to let Charley in as soon as he gets here.”

Janice nodded.  “Will do,” she said as she pulled her head back outside his door.

A moment later Gwen marched through the door.  The black dress she wore might have been something one would wear to a nightclub, but on Gwen it took on aspects of a suit of armor.  She cowered behind it as she took the seat Gary pointed out for her.

Gary looked at those piles of papers again.  “Look, Gwen.  I should recues myself from this.  I…”

“That will not be a problem,” Gwen said, cutting Gary off at the verbal legs.  “After these past few weeks I would like to keep this amongst us.  I trust I will not have to worry about your professional integrity, or will I?”

Gary shook his head and stared at those documents.  “No,” he said.

The room was silent for what seemed like thirty minutes, but was really closer to three until Charles came through the door.  Charles was in his usual suit and tie, but he was disheveled and the smell of whiskey softly permeated the room.  He gave Gary a weak smile and shrug of the shoulders.  “Sorry about that,” Charles said.  He took off the suit coat and hung it on the coat rack.  “I was toasting Dad with the guys from the plant.  I got a bit too into it and almost forgot.”

Gwen folded her arms and looked down her nose at Charles as she looked up at him.  “Memory problems?” she asked.  “Sounds typical.”

Charles looked at Gwen at turned red.  “Yeah, well I got here, so let’s get this crap over with,” Charles said.  He then looked back to Gary.  “I don’t mean you do crap.  It’s just this'” he gestured at Gwen, “is never going to go well.”

Gwen gave a short staccato laugh.  “You should have thought about that before picking your grave.  Now you get to lay in it,” she said.

Charles flinched, and his eyes began to water.  “That’s the Gwen I know.  Full of finesse and tact,” Charles sneered.  “Want to go spit on the old man’s grave stone?”

“No, only yours,” Gwen replied as the temperature of the conversation dropped by fifty degrees.  “Your father was a gentleman, unlike his pathetic two timing son.  What about you Gary?”

“Look guys, I think this is a bad idea,” Gary said.  “I really need to recues myself.  I could lose my license to practice over this.”

Gwen snapped her eyes to Gary’s and he felt them boring into his soul.  “We already discussed this.  I am not going to talk to some stranger about my personal business.  You owe me at least that much dignity.”

Charles took the other seat in the office.  “You’re Dad’s executor.  You need to at least do the will.”

Gary pointed at the pile of papers representing the last will and testament of Charles senior.  Without that damn thing Gary wouldn’t be in the trouble he was in.  Of course that wasn’t true, it was his own foolishness.  Still he had to figure out a way to get out of this.  “I can ask a different partner to adjudicate the will,” Gary said.  He turned to Gwen.  “They can use the documents I’ve drafted.  You won’t have to talk to anyone except the judge when it gets to court.  Your dignity will be intact.”

Gwen shook her head no.  “We do both here.  Now get started.  You are wasting my time,” Gwen said.  Gary looked over to Charles from some help, but Gwen cut in, “Unless the two of you need a moment alone.”

Charles was about to explode, but Gary cut him off with a look.  Charles went from pissed to bemused in less time it took Gary’s heart to skip a beat when he realized saw he had lost more than he had expected.

Gary pointed at the pile on the left.   “Okay, first the will,” Gary said.




Two hours of hell later, Gwen walked to the door.  She paused before opening it.  “I expect my copies of the documents by the end of the week, and I want my part of the trust to be available in a month.  I have some travel planned.”

Gary put his hand up.  “I can’t get things through that quickly,” he said.  “I can’t promise that.”

“You moved pretty fast when you had the proper motivation,” Gwen said.  “Make it happen.”  She then left the room, the door slamming closed the final punctuation mark to end the conversation.

“Btich!” Charles exclaimed.  “Now you see why I did it.  She is such an ice queen.”

“That’s the reason you did it?” asked Gary.  “Really?”

“What, wait what’s wrong with you?” Charles asked.

Gary shook his head.  Too bad he didn’t use that part of his body more often lately.  “It was all about getting back at her, wasn’t it?” Gary asked.

“Don’t you go all girly on me,” Charles said.  “Not you too.”  Charles got up and swept the papers and books off of Gary’s desk.  “Not you too.”

Gary looked at the contents of his desk on the floor.  “One dumb move after another.  He got up from his desk and headed to the coat rack.  “What are you doing?” asked Charles.

Gary took Charles’ coat off the rack and held it out to him.  “It’s time for you to go.  I’ll send a courier over with your copies,” Gary said.

Charles took the coat from Gary.  “Look, I didn’t say it right.  I’m sorry.  Please come over.”

Gary opened the door.  “You are sorry, but not about us,” Gary said.  “I was stupid for falling for you in the first place.”

Charles flipped Gary the bird.  “We could have been something,” Charles said as he stormed out of the office.

Gary closed the door slowly.  “Yeah, but I would have been Gwen.”

Circle of My Writing Life

The words, they usually roll off my brain, down my arms, to find transformation, letter by letter on the keyboard.  The words then spring to life in digital form, photons of light streaming back into my eyes.  This encourages others to take the plunge and soon a story is formed from those brain words who took the journey.  This is the circle of my writing life, except right now the words do not want to come.  They are trying to stay behind locked doors in my mind.  They seem to be worried that the world is not ready for them, or that they will be deemed not worthy.  No matter how I entice them, their stage fright has made them inaccessible.  No words want to be in that first sentence, and as such, I have nothing to write, so I leave you my tale of woe until tomorrow.  Good night.