Post for 6/26/2014

“Stay thirsty my friends,” says the most interesting man in the world as he tries to sell me beer to drink.  “Stay hungry” is a catch phrase for Cooking Channel, a station devoted to the creation and consumption of food.  You know what?  One of the greatest joys you can have on this planet is being satisfied.  You disagree?  Go have sex and then stop in the middle.  What is that you feel my friend?  Frustration?  Anger?  Desire to find completion?  Yeah, nothing good I can guarantee you, unless you are trying to be 100% sure you will not get pregnant.

So why tell me to be hungry and thirsty?  How is that a good message to me.  If you were crawling through a desert with an empty canteen would you want to be told, “Stay thirsty my friend.”  I think you would take your canteen and smash it into the most interesting man in the world’s face and tell him to show off how interesting it is to breathe through a flat nose.  Breathe deeply my friend.  And if someone who was showing me food, helping me with how to prepare food, and then describing how great it is tells me to stay hungry, I would never want to go out with that person ever again.

We human beings desire to find fulfilment.  Why climb Everest?  Not to stay climbing my friends.  It is because it is there.  It is because it is an accomplishment.  It SATISFIES a need, a desire, or even something as trivial as a whim.  We want completion.  Why do you have to catch them all, to make it complete.

Now I know there are a lot of people who don’t need to make things complete, or climb Mount Everest, or desire to break the most interesting man in the world’s nose.  I don’t think there a lot of people who don’t drink when they are thirsty, or eat when they are hungry if they have the ability, or are not sick due to alcoholism or an eating disorder or another debilitating condition.  Human beings want to know what it means to feel sated.  They want to be not thirsty.

These tag lines then become a curse.  They are produced by a culture that is focused on the accumulation of stuff and prestige.  We are taught if you are not hungry enough we will not do well, but I counter with you should know when enough is enough.  You want to accomplish a goal, and set a new one, but savor the accomplishment.  It is a powerful feeling, a great drug.  Be proud of what you have done.  Pat that tummy.  Whistle through those wet lips.  And most of all…

“Find satisfaction my friends.”

Post for 6/25/2014

I sit here on my porch at least a couple of hours a day.  My mom won’t buy an Xbox or PlayStation.  She tells me it’ll rot my brain.  She keeps telling me that if I want to be a writer I have to be able to capture life.  So I watch people come and go, laugh and cry, kiss and fight.  My friends, what few of them I have, call me a peeping Fred.  I tell them when I get published I’ll mention them in my forward as the chumps who played Xbox and PlayStation instead of learning about life.  I still would rather play, but I want to be able to sit for a week, so I listen to mom.

She is right you know, my mom.  I think most of the time my neighbors should be on TV they can be so entertaining.  Not many of us have cars, so there is always people outside.  Of course that could be the cockroach problem as well, but hey, my sister wants to be an entomologist, so she is getting job training as well.

Old John Marley comes wandering down the street and I know things are about to get good.  He owns most of the block, but you would never know it.  The only time he visits his little slum is when it’s time to put someone to the curb.  My mom was barely able to keep us in our place last time he came calling.  She had been a little short on money since her habit kicked in.  Don’t ask, she says she is over it.  She took him inside and kicked me out of the house.  By the time the cops got there Marley had said they had settled the differences.  He took a bit of hell from the cops, but Marley had left happy, and my mom didn’t seem too bad off afterward.  She told me she gave up her habit to get rid of him.  I don’t know any better, after all I’m only twelve.

So old John Marley stops across the street, right in front of Mrs. Pauley’s house.  She is the resident crazy lady minus the cats.  She had lived there for like forever, at least forty years.  She had like six kids, all boys who used to try to hang with my mom.  She told me they had a bit of the crazy like their mom.  Mr. Pauley used to keep her mostly in line, but he passed away about three months ago.  I had to go to the calling hours dressed in a tie.  I think ties were created by the devil.  Put on something for church or a funeral that you can get killed with easy if someone wanted to.  I mean, come on people.

After Mr. Pauley’s death, Mrs. Pauley pretty much lost reality.  She would come out on her steps and yell to me how one day she was just going to make this whole place disappear.  She would tell me in her loud six-pack a day voice that no one gave a damn about her anymore, so she might as well disappear.  She was going to show us all a trick or two then.

I would laugh at her and ask her if she had a habit too.  Mrs. Pauley would wave her finger at me and tell me just wait, one day I’ll give you something to write about.  I stopped laughing at that.  I didn’t tell anyone that I wanted to be a writer.  I mean, I would get harassed even more than I did now.  Then I figured my mom must have told her as she walked the street.  But still.  Mrs. Pauley would then wink at me and pick up an ‘elixir’ that smelled of cheap beer my friends tried to make me drink, but even stinker.

Marley waves at me.  I could see him look past me to see if my mom was home.  I just keep on my blank stare since that keeps me out of the most trouble.  I just hope he doesn’t try to talk to me.  Especially if he wants to ask me about my mom, that still creeps me out.  He opens his mouth as if to help the devil answer my fear when God sends a police car to save me from sinning more than I usually do.  I will have to remember to say a prayer someday about that.

Before the police even get out of their car, the front door opens up and Mrs. Pauley is right there, dressed to the nines with a suitcase next to her.  I am surprised at how good she looks, without the crazy in her eyes.

“Good morning, John,” says Mrs. Pauley.  “I see you are prompt today.  I just need one more minute and you can have everything that sits on this piece of land.”  With that she waved at me.  “Remember how I said I would disappear.  You just watch.”

I can’t help myself.  “You said no one gave a damn about you,” I say. I point at Marley.  “He seems to care about you right now.”

Marley gives me a death stare, but Mrs. Pauley lights up like those Christmas trees I see in some people’s windows.  “Oh, just wait.  Everyone will be talking about me when I am gone.  I promise you that one.”  With that she turns and walks back into the house, closing the door.

As the police got out of the car the wind begins to rise up, stronger and stronger.  The sky gets dark and the rumble of thunder seems to surround everything.  I put my hands to my ears, trying to keep some hearing.  Marley tries to say something to the cops, but one of the cop’s hat flies off and he goes after it down the street.  The other guy has both hands on his hat and keeps shaking his head no to every hand gesture Marley is using.  Suddenly I swear a tornado pounds down, surrounding Mrs. Pauley’s house.  I swear to God it just drops out of the sky and stands there.  The train sound is so loud I am sure someone has punched my ticket and I’m about to go on a one way trip.  The cop who still has his hat ducks behind the cop car, and Marley is just flat on the ground making good with his savior just in case, you know.

I am just about to do the same as Marley when the tornado just rises straight up and bam, nothing is there except spurting water from where the house had been still attached to the water lines.  Good thing she had them turn her gas off a week before.  Marley lifts his head and says so many swear words I think he was trying for a world record, or at least score himself a rap deal.  The cop who had lost his hat comes back and assumes the “what the hell just happened here” pose, while the cop who had ducked behind the car looks like he needs to change his pants.  I take a mental picture and just began to laugh.

I hate living here, but the stories I will be able to write.

Post for 6/24/2014

The fear of not being enough of ‘x’,

Be it dad, husband, professor, or man,

Can leave me blinded in a hex,

Unable to follow God’s master plan.

 

There is always more I could have done,

Always more that could have been said.

Battles lost that could have been won,

More blood inside me that could have been bled,

 

A voice in the wilderness no one hears,

Trying to do right but instead do wrong,

This personifies all my fears,

My desire to show that I do belong.

 

But I recognize I am just one soul,

And to do my best needs be my goal.

Post for 6/23/2014

The concept of the lost and found is a funny one.  When it is a physical location in a store or school it really is a place of the lost.  The objects contained within have been discarded, either by accident or on purpose.  It is the accumulation of the debris of the place.  There is little emotionally invested in depositing objects into the lost pile.  One can think of it as the last gasp before being lost completely to history.

The found part is something the seeker brings to the equation.  In this space, finding the lost takes effort.  It is not passive and usually there is an emotional attachment, even if that emotion is the desire not to pay for a replacement.  The finder is on a quest and if successful will result in the joy of reconnection with something thought lost.  If the object of the search is not there, then the feeling of loss deepens.  Thus the found is really defined by the person seeking.

The act of seeking opens you up to finding not only the object sought, but the possibility of finding something else you had lost, but either forgot or missed losing it.  I find this true when just cleaning my house, which seems a place of perpetual loss.  (Having four kids under the age of eight will enable your house to swallow up objects as big as a small pony.  I consider my house one big lost and found.)  You go searching for a screwdriver and you find the book you had set down a month ago and never found again.  That discovery could make the original search worth the effort, even if you did not find the original object of desire.

How does this pertain to my posts about my daughter Angela you might ask?  The first post about her loss is here, and the second post about finding about how she changed the lives around her is here.

In terms of the lost box, it is a case of opposites.  There is a huge emotional investment in your children.  Their loss is devastating and can leave emotional scares that last a lifetime.  They are an accumulation of love, patience, and nurturing.  They are an investment that we hope pays off in the future.  We are hoping they make history instead of being a last gasp.  Putting my daughter in the “lost box” meant leaving a large part of me there as well.

Yet in that lost box I did find something that was there that I could take home.  I learned how Angela had impacted so many people’s lives.  That was the treasure I didn’t know I had lost.  I didn’t even know I had had it in the beginning. I had hints of it, but the magnitude was hidden behind her smile and laughter as she would fly in the air as we played.  I was able to use what I had found to mitigate some of the pain of the loss.  While it will never completely even the equation, it is what I found I had lost in the lost pile that I will treasure the rest of my life.

Post for 6/20/2014

I have attended many weddings.  I’ve been told I even attended my own, but I leave that for the conspiracy junkies out there.  I just deal in facts.  That and satire, but mostly satirical facts.  Weddings are life changing events since I get to eat free for just bringing a condolence card for the bride or the groom, or their pet.  That being said, have you ever wondered what a wedding would be like if they allowed corporate sponsorships?    No?  Me neither until I had this prompt about thinking what would happen to an event if an evil corporate force took it over.  Why only one evil corporate force?  I give you value my dear reader and expand your evil corporate forces to at least five to ten.  So I propose to you this is how weddings will be paid for in somewhere between ten years to fifteen thousand years

Let me set the scene.  One of my daughters comes to me excitedly waving a letter.  Which daughter is up to you, or it could be your daughter or son.  I collect daughters, having successfully appropriated five of them over the past eleven years or so.  What can I say, I am a ladies man.  Anyway, we will say her name is Sariah since I haven’t collected one of those yet (but I am writing a story about a Sariah that you can find in a first draft in progress here).


 

Sariah comes in waving a letter.  “Dad, it’s official.  I’m getting married.”

I look up from my diorama devoted to mashed potatoes through the ages.  “That’s nice dear, but I have some bad news for you.”

“What is it, Dad?”

“I can’t afford for you to get married,” I say.  “These dioramas are not selling like hotcakes as I had hoped.”  I smash both hands through the middle ages moldy potato and Spam gothic chapel.  “That’s it.  I should make the mashed potato dioramas out of hotcakes.”  I smile broadly at her as I begin to talk with my hands, flinging moldy mashed potatoes and Spam at her.  “There is hope for you yet Deidre.”

Sariah looks at the moldy potato and Spam on her blouse and shakes her head.  “Dad, I’m Sariah.”

“I just said you have hope.  You don’t need to be sad,” I reply.  I worry about this generation.  They always seem depressed.

“I’m not sad,” Sariah continues, but I don’t believe her.  “I’m happy,” she says.  “We found enough corporate sponsors to cover the whole thing.”

“Corporate sponsors?” I ask.  “I’m surprised they picked you since you can’t seem to keep your food off your shirt.”  Sariah gives me the ‘Look of Dead Dad’.  I decide to play along before it becomes the action of ‘Dead Dad’ or ‘Screaming, Crying Dad’ which means my wife evokes the ‘No Fun in the Sack, Dad’.  “Who is covering what, Deidre?”

Sariah places the letter close by, but shielded from any potato Spam fallout from the pieces still decorating the ceiling.  “First off we have the ushers who get to wear sausage suits with the Oscar Meyer logo.  Next we have the mother’s march by Ugg boots.  We just need to get the mom’s to pick out what colors and wear short enough dresses to show them off. “

I decide to interject, because that is what dads do. “Your mother-in-law in a short dress?  That could cause an international incident.”

That brings Sariah up short.  “Oh, well maybe we can find a pant suit that will fit inside the boot.  Yeah that might work.”  I smile encouragingly.  No need to have me be the bearer of bad news on how horrible that idea was.  That’s why she has her mother.  Sariah continues.  “We will have the giving away of the bride by K-Mart.”

I get excited.  “Do I get to wear a blue light special hat?” I ask.  “That would be awesome!”

Sariah stamps her foot.  Some Spam and potatoes fall off her shirt.  “Dad, I am not a blue light special!” she screeches.

I smile and pat her cheek with my potato and Spam encrusted hand.  “You will always be my blue light special, Deirdre, because I love you.”

Sariah steps back and shakes her head.  More potatoes and Spam drop off.  It is amazing how much was getting around my workspace.  I need to remember to not work in quantities over twenty five pounds in the future.  Of course hotcakes should be less dense and therefore lighter by default.”

“Are you listening to me?” Sariah asks.

I look at my daughter and nod.  Yep, she is definitely moving toward the ‘Screaming, Crying Dad’.  “Of course Deidre, please continue.”

Sariah picks up the letter wiping away even more potatoes and Spam.  “Budweiser is sponsoring the “I do of the day”™.  They just want a thirty second ad played on a large screen behind us.  I got to pick the Clydesdale ad where the horses cry beer when the duck flies to the guy who trained it since it hatched.  I’m always moved when the trainer says ‘You had me at quack’.”

My daughter actually tears up.  I try to give her a tissue, but since, well you know by now, she refuses it.

“So then we move to the Citibank Ring Exchange as long as we include the phrase, ‘What is in your wallet, and on your finger?’.  Lastly we have the recessional sponsored by Mylanta.”

At this I burst out laughing.  “Let me guess, your honeymoon is sponsored by Viagra?” I ask.

This earns me another stomp.  “Dad, get serious.  Gavin doesn’t need Viagra.”

“And how do you know that?” I ask.  See, I am paying attention.

“Dad!”

“It is a legitimate question, Deidre,” I say.  “I am your father.”

Sariah ignores me.  “The honeymoon is sponsored by Baby R Us,” she says.

I shake my head.  “I’m going to contact Trojan or Bayer to see if they can make a counter offer.”

“Bayer?” she asks.  “Do they make birth control?”

“They might,” I reply, “but I was thinking for the aspirin I am going to need when you bring a baby over.”

Sariah stomps her foot again.  I can see this is not going well.  I decide to ask a different question.  “What about the reception afterward?”

“We don’t have anyone yet,” she said.  “Do you have any ideas?”  Sariah looks at me with those big pale blue eyes.  I would do anything for those eyes.

“I have an idea, but it is a bit unorthodox,” I say.  She nods her head in encouragement.  I take a deep breath and continue.  “We can serve hotcakes.”

Post for 6/18/2014

In a previous post I was challenged to write about the time I lost something.  I ended up writing a post about when I lost my first daughter at the age of three.  I realize that it was quite personal, and a lot of people might have been put off by such a difficult thing.

Today I was challenged to write about something I had found.  I was happy to see this since it allows me to talk about how Angela, my special needs daughter, impacted the lives around her in ways I hope to achieve in my much longer lifetime.  I hope that while this post might still be challenging, it can inspire you as well.

We always knew we had a special child, and everyone who ever met her fell in love with her.  We would have aides or therapists who had to stop working with her for various reasons still stop by to visit Angela.  Her smiles ware infectious, and if you were having a bad day all she had to do was smile and laugh and you would forget about what had you down.  She inspired hope and a strength in people.  She was a fighter, beating the odds, and it inspired those around her to do the same.

I know I sound like a typical gushing parent.  I might sound like someone trying to justify what is a tragedy by saying she had such a large influence on whomever she interacted with.  What evidence can I provide to back up such a claim?

When we set up her funeral arrangements we tried to limit the number of calling hours.  We were already in a fog and we wanted to begin to pick the pieces sooner rather than later.  We went to those first set of hours and people began to wander in.  And more came by.  And then more.  Pretty soon we needed to expand into a second room to handle the over flow.  Each and every person made sure to tell us how our daughter had touched their lives in ways they had never imagined.  They wanted us to know how lucky we were to have such an amazing girl.

It was then when we truly discovered that Angela’s time with us wasn’t cut tragically short.  She had been placed in our care to do her work, and when it was time to go home she left this place, but never left the hearts and minds of the people who needed to see her.  We found out we had hosted an angel for three years before she took up her wings again, and I will be ever changed by that.

Post for 6/17/2014

Christopher looked at the two pocket cards, making sure to have his poker face in place.  He had king and queen of diamonds.  Chris looked at his four other competitors and threw in a red chip.  “I call,” he said.

Freddy threw in a red chip as well.  “I’m in as well,” Freddy said.  “Glad you could make our little game here tonight.”

“Thanks for letting me sit in.  I haven’t played in a long time,” Christopher said.

Jack checked his cards a second time and chucked them into the center.  “Newbies have it hard, man.  That’s why I invited you tonight.  I wanted a chance at some of that money you doctors make.  I figure you’d make easy pickings since you don’t know anyone’s tells.”

Christopher laughed.  “Can’t get my money by folding before the flop,” he replied.

Jack shook his head.  “Can’t get any money with the crap I had,” Jack said.  “Besides, I needed a ride.  What about you Liam?”

Liam grunted and threw in two red chips.  Jack laughed.  “Liam doesn’t like to talk while playing,” said Jack.  “He’s afraid if he says anything it will give away his hand.”

Myles threw in two red chips.  “I call,” Myles said.  “I think it’s because he’s said ‘Anything you say can, and will, be used against you in a court of law.’

Christopher tossed in his second red chip as well as Freddy.  Jack tapped the table indicating he was calling as well.

Myles paused with the cards in his hand.  “Of course it does give him an advantage since he can usually sniff out a punk from a mile away.”

Freddy tapped the table.  “Are you going to deal or bore me to death so you can win?” Freddy asked.  He then turned to Christopher.  “He can find the perps because the kind of people he picks up don’t bathe.

Myles dealt out the three cards of the flop.  Christopher had a hard time keeping a straight face.  The flop had ace of spades, king of hearts, and jack of diamonds.  Looking at the other three that stayed in the hand he could see almost no reaction from any of them.  Christopher decided to play it slow.   “Well, I do play a psychiatrist on TV, so I have a few tricks up my sleeve.  I am an expert at people lying to me, as well as themselves,” Christopher said as he knocked on the table to call.

Freddy laughed.  “Oh yeah?  Okay, what can you tell about me?” he asked.

The game paused for a minute as everyone turned their attention to Christopher and Freddy.  Christopher stroked his chin and stared Freddy in the eyes.  Christopher slowly smiled and said, “You touched your cards with your left hand, but you are right handed.  That means you are nervous about how this is going.  You are in it until the bid goes up a bit fast, then you will fold.  Since I called you decided that it didn’t cost you anything yet to ride it out hoping the turn has better news.”

“You are dead wrong.  I raise you,” Freddy said.  He threw in a white and a red chip.  He turned to Liam and poked his thumb at Christopher, “Watch out for mister psychobabble.  He might read your mind.”

Liam grunted and put in two white chips.  Myles threw in his cards.  “Yeah, that pushed me over the edge.”

Christopher put in three white chips of his own.  “I raise you.  Myles plays it safe pretty much all the time, unless he has too many beers, but you guys probably don’t let him get too far since this is his house and that would be disrespectful.”

That brought a surprised and hurt look to Myles.  “Is that why you guys decided to go dry tonight?” he asked.

Freddy gave Christopher a hard look.  He turned back to Jack.  “No man, we just wanted everyone to bring their A game,” Freddy said.

Myles laughed.  “I guess my drunk game must be a D then,” he said.

“More like an F-,” said Jack.  “Who wants to play with a guy like that?”

Freddy jerked his thumb in Christopher’s direction.  “Who wants to play with a guy like this?” he asked Jack.  “Where did you dig this guy up?”

“I brought in fresh meat,” Jack replied.  “If you can’t beat him don’t come crying to me.”

Christopher cleared his throat.  “I am right here guys,” Christopher said.  Freddy and Jack shrugged.  Christopher continued, “And Freddy, it is your turn.  Are you in?”

Freddy reached for his cards with his left hand, then realized what he was doing and switched to his right.  Everyone except Freddy and Liam broke out in laughter.  “Oh hells bells,” Freddy said as he threw his cards into the middle.

Liam put in one whited chip and tapped the table to call.  Myles picked up the cards and dealt the king of clubs on the turn.  Christopher stared at Liam.  “A man that won’t talk is not very interesting.  I call.”

Liam picked up two blue chips and tossed them into the pot.  This gave Christopher pause.  He turned to Myles.  “What is interesting is I learned that if you have lost your license you can still get in trouble for driving,” Christopher said.  He picked up two blue chips and one red and tossed them into the pot.

“Of course you can.  You don’t have a license,” Freddy said.  Liam immediately put two more blue chips into the pot.

“But did you know you get five points added to the license that you no longer have?” asked Christopher.  Christopher checked his pocket cards again.  Three kings was a damn good hand.  “Of course I should have known better, but I was late to a client meeting.”

Myles laughed.  “That must have been interesting explaining as to why you were late.”

“How long ago was this?” asked Jacked with a small grin.

“Oh, just yesterday,” replied Christopher.  He reached for a large stack of chips.

“What the hell, they told you I’m a cop right?” asked Liam in exasperation.  “And you drove again tonight.  Are you a moron?  After this hand we are going to have a talk.”

Christopher moved away from his chips and threw his cards into the center of the table.  “You win.”

Liam shook his head.  “We could have finished the hand at least,” he said.

“Yeah, Liam wouldn’t have arrested you right now,” Freddy said.

Myles began to laugh.  “Oh, I see what you did there.”  He then turned to Jack.  “And you were in on it to I presume good sir.”

Jack laughed and Christopher gave Liam a wink.  “You have pocket aces I presume,” Christopher said.

Liam flipped two aces over.  “How did you?” he began to ask.  “Oh, I talked.  Very  funny.”

“When you wanted to finish the hand that meant you weren’t bluffing, and with two kings out there you either had a king yourself, or a nice little pair of aces,” said Christopher.

“So did you really drive over here without a license?” asked Myles.

Christopher smiled.  “We have a police officer over there.  I’m not telling.”  Christopher held out his hand.  “My deal next?”

Myles handed over the cards.  Liam pulled in the pot.  “I’m going to call this in after we are done,” Liam said.

Jack laughed.  “Doesn’t matter, I drove.”

Liam turned red, but then joined the rest of the group in a round of laughter.

Post for 6/16/2014

You know that place on the wrong side of the tracks?  You know, the one no one wants to live in, or even admit that it exists?  Well I lived there, but in a two block oasis in the middle of that place.  For those two blocks my friends and I were kings.  Outside those two blocks?  No chance.  Seriously, I was mugged coming home from school for a crummy watch.  I had my car stolen from my driveway at a latter point than twelve.  I used to have to duck down in the back seat so no one else would see all of us leave the house at the same time so thieves might think twice about breaking in, again.  This might be mild in some parts of the country, but one would not think that in such a small place as Utica, New York.

My house was almost at the center of those two blocks.  It was a white Victorian that in its heyday would have been quite the looker.  By the time I was twelve she wouldn’t have made change if she stood at the corner turning tricks. Actually that is not true.  It was just the time and effort needed to keep it up was hard for my dad, especially since he worked nights.  While the exterior white paint seemed to always need another couple of coats to finish the job, and the roof had about fifty layers of paper and tar smothered on it and still leaked, my parents kept it neat and finished on the inside.  Maybe the outside was because of the neighborhood.  You didn’t want to show that there were nice things on the inside.  The camouflage of peeling paint didn’t always work, but it did probably cut down on the number of times we were selected for the five finger discount derby.

At the time I shared a room with my younger brother.  We are almost seven years apart, so most of the time it was great.  We didn’t have many “special” possessions to speak of, but then again we were young boys.  We didn’t need special.  We needed fun.  We needed a place to mess up, lose toys, and chuck stuffed animals at each other.  We had two twin beads, two dressers, and a toy box that almost always had more toys out of it than in it.  I think kids live on clutter.  It shapes the way we think.  My mother would always try to get us to clean it up, and we would, but as I tell my students, entropy wins.  Entropy would be a twelve year old boy if it was personified.

As to where I lived in my head at age twelve?  Who knows.  Between hormones, discovering why there were girls, and trying to create a me that was separate from my family I am sure I was a mess.  Luckily that is all like a drug induced haze that I catch glimpses of, but never a complete sentence.

The other side of the tracks can be fun, as long as you have a safe and nurturing place you can escape to, and I was lucky enough to have that and so much more.  So look up Cornhill next time you drive through Utica, New York, and drive way around it.  You’ll be glad you did, but you will miss out on a two block oasis that I used to call home.

Free write for 6/15/2014

A continuation of Sariah’s Story.  Look here for the whole story so far if you missed anything.

 

Chapter 2

Tomais ruffled the teen aged boy’s hair as they walked out of the woods, each carrying a three rabbits.  He smiled broadly and lifted patted the rabbits on the boy’s shoulder.  “That was a good harvest my son,” Tomais said.  “We will have a good meal tonight.”

“Am I invited for dinner?” asked Sariah as she walked into view.

Tomais reached for the bow he carried on his back, but then decided against it.  He looked at his son.  “Go tell your mother we might be having another for dinner and that she should put out the good pepper pot.”  The boy looked at Tomais with a question in his eyes, but then nodded.  Tomais gave the boy the rabbits he had been carrying.  “Now go.  We will be up to the house in a minute.”

Tomais and Sariah waited, not moving or speaking till the boy went around the bend.  Tomais broke the silence when he could see his son no longer.  “So what I heard was true,” he said.  “You have come out of retirement.”

Sariah looked at the man who was her fixer for all those years.  She had once thought of him as her uncle, a man that she could trust, a man whom she had loved like family.  “Your son has grown up well.  I also saw your daughter, Lianna isn’t it?  She was the one who told me you were down here hunting.  I thought it would be a great idea to hunt as well.”

Tomais looked back at the path his son had taken.  “You did not do anything to her, did you?” he asked.

Sariah shook her head.  “Why would I do that Tomais?” she asked.  “Why?”

Tomais  began to slowly walk towards Sariah, but made sure to keep his hands out where she could see them.  “They said the job would be an easy one.  I did not think you would mind making extra money.”

“Making extra money.  That is your excuse?”  Her anger flared up into her voice.  “You put everything in jeopardy just because you needed some extra money?”

Tomais stopped immediately.  “What happened?” he asked.  “Did you not finish the job?”

Sariah pulled her sword out of the sheath slowly, relishing in how silently it came out.  “I always finish the job.  That’s why you became rich Tomais.  What happened to the fortune I killed to help you make?”

Tomais took a couple steps back and looked to where his son left once again. Sariah laughed.  “Pepper pot, really?” she asked.  “You used to be much more creative.  That wasn’t natural at all.”  Tomais gave her his full attention.  “It might take him a while,” she continued.  “I made sure that he would be busy once he got back to your place.”

Tomais face grew pale.  “What did you do?” he asked.

Sariah replied, “Don’t worry.  They will be fine and have a story to tell.  That is if you give me two things as ransom.”

Now it was Tomais’ turn to be indignant.  “You want to be a common thug?  A pitiful burglar?  A con artist?” Tomais asked.

Sariah looked at him, her sword brought to the ready.  “I will be what you made me to be.  I am giving you this chance because of what you used to be.”

Tomais let his anger evaporate.  “You want your mark,” Tomais said, “but what else?”

“You know that as well,” Sariah replied.

“I suppose I do,” Tomais said.  “I want your word that my family will not come to harm.”

Sariah nodded.  “They will be better off than my family.”

“Sariah,” he said.

“I promise to leave them alive,” Sariah said.  “Where is the mark?”

Tomais kneeled down in the grass.  “It is behind the fourth stone from the left just under the mantle.  I have there your mark and the copy of the retirement.  You probably want both.”

Sariah pulled a small irregularly shaped wooden placard with a glowing glyph along with a rolled up parchment from where they had been tucked behind her back.  “I do.”

Tomais laughed and honest laugh.  “Then why did you ask me where the mark was?”

“To see if you would hold up your end of the deal,” Sariah said.  “I vow your family will be taken care of Uncle.”

“Tell the king I said hi,” said Tomais as he leaned forward.

The last thing Tomais heard was Sariah saying, “I will.”