Passed/Past

Excerpt for my book. It’s on sale right now for 99 cents. Thanks for reading.


Passed

The days pass, there is a garden, there is a kiddie pool, there is a tall metal slide, there are bikes. There are parties and Old Maid. There are faked deaths on the living room rug. There are forts made of blankets, boxes and overturned furniture. There is art on the steps to the basement. There is our neighbor, Mrs. Thomas. There are bees in her yard that she keeps.

Mrs. Thomas invites us over for drinks and play while she chats with my mother. Sometimes I imagine the more-than-average number of bees are falling into my glass of soda. They land on the edge of my glass and claim my sticky beverage. I wait until they fly away again before I take another drink. I become anxious as I see puckers in the dark liquid. It’s a drowning bee, struggling, trapped by the sugary fluid prison. Its wings weighted down by the tempting sweet and now dying a horrible, humiliating death. My mother assures me it’s just ice.

I’m not convinced.

I try to avoid the puckers as they lunge toward my lips. I wait for the stings. For the mouthful of barbs and flesh-engorging pinch of the bee or bees. Between sips, I watch the air.

The sun is white, bright and soft. There are thousands of particles bumbling and floating in the trees. There are dandelion puffs, grass clippings, pollen, bees, insects, dust, fairies and little bits of earth-bound angel breath, each humming in a small sphere of light. The light catchers and carriers; the light that carries each element on the warm, swirling wind.

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Free!!

I have 3 publications on Amazon.

Present Tense is 99 cents today. Check it out. I can’t always offer these on sale, but it is right now, so go grab it.

My game play manual is FREE!!! right now, so check that out! Updo Salon & Spa It’s cheap at $2.99, otherwise. It’s a whole night of fun with your galfriends! Fun to just read, you don’t even have to throw the party, but you’ll want to.

Then I have my newest pub, House Full of Hope, a play. 99 cents today as well! Thanks for checking me out OR just joining me in celebrating my New Addition. LOL Bad joke, I know.

Writing a book or blog article or play is very much like giving birth. There is immediate joy after the delivery and you forget how bad you felt in labor. But even in the tears, even in the pain, there is joy to be found and pleasure to be experienced.

Forgive me if I’m the mom who is making you look at all the cute pictures of my new spawn! LOL I’m just so excited to offer low prices (or FREE) on my babies!

Mystery

It’s a mystery as to why I can’t find a job. Why I would start my own business. What the name of my new party planning pop-up is going to be called.

Any suggestions???

Premise:

I wrote this murder mystery and published on Amazon: Updo! Now, I’m going to start hosting this adult role-playing game in my own local community. I’ve already done this with my friends, back in KC. It’s the most fun I’ve ever had at a party. And totally original. I also threw a similar party for my daughter, but age appropriate. They seemed to really like it. It was more of a junior high adventure with clues. I could even write new, customized mysteries for any theme: Western saloon, 50s diner, 40s detective noir.

The mystery for this one is: someone is murdered at a salon and all of the party guests are a character from the story. While relaxing with spa-like activities, the guests participate in clue-revealing sketches. Everyone takes a “stab” (LOL) at guessing who the killer is at the end. There are stations, silliness and a very funny makeup and hair makeover contest for all the ladies.

What should I call my new business?

Martha’s Murder Mysteries?
Pop-up Party Mysteries?

What would you call it? I would love your suggestions!

Do something stupid.

Okay, I’m about to do something stupid!

I’ve said this way too many times in my short adult life. But I’m going to try and start my own business.

I haven’t been able to find a job down here in Florida. Nothing. So I’m going to try and start a small event planning company and throw murder mystery salon/spa parties for rich retirees (I wrote an adult role-playing game for ladies that takes place in a spa. It’s a murder mystery, The Updo Salon and Spa!) And try to drum up business for my graphic design as well.

I’m going to a women’s business and professional dinner next Tuesday. I’m scared to death.

I think I’m good enough and smart enough to do this. I just don’t know if I have the energy. I was sick for so long. I’ve been sick for 5 years. Where did my moxie go?

At 44, I don’t know if I have the stamina to keep up with a growing business. Can I throw a party? Can I handle the emotional toll it will take? I’ve tried to start my own endeavors before, but not something this big and not something this important. This would be my income. But what do I have to lose, right?

Wish me luck! Mainly with the women I will be leading. It will be like trying to herd drunk cats through an adult costumed role-playing game. Lord, help me!

’66 Chevelle

More from Vol. 2 of Present Tense.


I am 14 or 15 years old. Saturday morning. I’m lying down, but awake. I am in my bedroom with the door closed. There is one loud voice and one scared voice in the next room.
“Where is she?”
He is choking my sister. He is pulling her hair. He is threatening her. He is hurting my sister because my mother isn’t there to hurt.
He leaves her bedroom. I stop moving, thinking, inhaling in the hope that I will not be next. Not quickly enough, I hear the back door bang.
I hear my sister stir. I hear her muffled, wet breaths. She is crying.
I hear my father opening the hood of my sister’s car, the car that she shares with my mother.


’66 Chevelle Malibu. The one with the rusted-out hole in the floor board. The one with white paint and blue vinyl seats. The one with jagged rear window posts that cut your hand when you’re not careful. The one that an old lady drove to church and the store and only had several thousand miles when we bought it almost 20 years after it was made. The classic. The sweet-ass sportster. The muscle car from Malibu. The one that will take a beating.


I look out the window of my bedroom and see my father ripping wires out of the engine. He slams the hood closed and now takes a hammer he must have grabbed on the way out. He pounds the metal repeatedly with quick, powerful blasts and leaves at least two dozen or more marks.
These are not dings. These are not dimples. These are deep, hate-filled holes.
“Get out of here.”
My sister calls my brother and we leave. We wait at the end of our driveway for my brother to pick us up. We don’t speak to one another. I am powerless to change what is happening. I can only follow, obey and relinquish any hope of being normal.


Every time I tell this story, it makes me afraid all over again. But. I lived. So I am thankful for this story. It reminds me that I can survive. And that I never have to live that way again.

Let’s All Go To the Movies.

More from Vol. 2 of Present Tense


My mother and father have lost the will to parent. I am sitting in a dark movie theatre with Mom, Dad and my sister. I am five, almost six.
Alien.
Oh, God. That man’s face has just been attacked by an octopus egg.
Oh, God. The android’s head is decapitated from his body and milky fluid is shooting out from his neck.
I am screaming. I am crying. I am being ushered quickly to the lobby by my mother.

We lounge for about a minute.
“Ready to go back?”
Okay, there are no more bodiless robots. Popcorn.
I have to have my legs in my seat. I am sitting cross-legged. No aliens can possibly eat my dangling legs if they are safely tucked up, away from their snotty teeth.
Oh, God. There’s spaghetti exploding from that guy’s open stomach.
Oh, God. It’s a baby alien. I am screaming. I am crying. I am being ushered.
A minute.
“Ready to go back?”
My parents also let me watch Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Deliverance (ABC Presentation of the Week). Also, A Thief in the Night.
This 1972 (made before I was even born) Christian classic talks about end times. Christians are taken to heaven in the rapture and non-believers are left behind. Everyone has to take the 666-Mark of the Beast tattoo or they can’t buy eggs and butter. People who just want a little breakfast are arrested for trying to buy groceries, and a girl with a balloon gets beheaded on a guillotine. There’s a fun song at the end, too.
I wish we’d all been ready…

The synopsis of this movie may be slightly inaccurate. It’s what I remember and the impression that remains.


I lived through what seemed like a very real threat of nuclear annihilation during the height of the Cold War and was constantly worried about being microwaved to oblivion by a nuke. These movie nights and paranoid world destruction fantasies could be considered the bright, sunny moments of my childhood with an abusive father. My prayer, as I got older, became this:

If I have to die–God, just don’t let me die a virgin.

Vol. 2 (continued)

More from my second volume of Present Tense. These excerpts have not been published or seen. This is from the time I visited my dad in the hospital, just before he passed. He was very sick. End-stage cancer.


Smoke ‘Em If You Got ‘Em


Lung cancer. He smoked for over 45 years. Sometimes 3 packs a day. Sometimes a pipe. Rarely marijuana.
He is laying in bed in a hospital room. I walk into the room with my mother and sister. He’s in a gown, head shaved and Sharpie marks on his scalp. That’s where they focus the radiation. That’s where the brain tumors are. There are several marks. There are other places in his body that have cancer. Leg. Stomach. Chest.
He’s uncomfortable. He starts to squirm. He rolls onto his stomach, props himself up on his elbows and knees. My mother rubs his back. She whispers softly in his ear. She looks scared. So does he. This is the most vulnerable, tender moment I have ever seen them share. The pain passes.
He looks at me and asks me to buy him a pack of cigarettes. He hands me several dollar bills. I agree.
Our philosophies were in agreement on this day and many to follow. The world is a brief, harsh place and you find pleasure where you can.
I was not going to deny a dying man his last want or need.
We are on our way to my grandmother’s funeral.

Present Tense

Here is a link to the video on Youtube. My daughter made the video when she was 10 yo. Thanks, Lil.


I am four years old.  They are fighting.  I don’t remember the words now, but they are yelling.  Fuzzy scenes, like cloudy dreams, blurring in and out of focus.  Down in the basement, in the laundry room, I hear hot voices and cold words.  I peek around the corner.  He pushes her down on the concrete floor.  She’s weak, flailing, grabbing with desperate hands.  She can’t resist.  She scrambles up when she sees that I’m there.  She stutters a lie through tears, “I’m okay.”  She says it certainly.  Forcefully almost.  But I see the truth in her eyes.  She’s scared and we both think she’s going to die.

My mother has long, dark hair.  She would look like a Native American mother warrior with her tan, lined face and downward-turned eyes/mouth except for her bangs.  She won’t wear her hair without bangs.  She fell out of a moving car when she was just five years old.

Her forehead is scarred from the accident.  It is a terrible mark.  It’s dull purple with blue and yellow streaks, permanently bruised somehow.  It has deep white ridges where the flesh comes together to hold back brains, blood and skull.  It looks as if the bone just under the skin is broken and could spill its contents from the slightest pressure.

I touch it as if it could bite me.  It is tough though, surprisingly and sufficiently.  It’s troubling, remarkable and totally unbelievable that someone could have such a scar and be walking around performing everyday tasks.

I’m staring up at her from the front seat of the car.  She’s seatbeltless.  Hair full of wind and eyes on the road.  Her fingers are wrapped around the thin metallic wheel.  Her forehead is rough, but her cheeks are feathery and thin, soft under my tiny hand.  When I trace her lips, she playfully snarls, bares her teeth and chomps at my fingers.  She has beautiful, somber eyes, full of pain and pensiveness.  She doesn’t often have a smile, but when she does, you know it’s for you and you know it’s for real.

She is five years old.  She is riding quietly in the backseat of the sedan.  She falls asleep.  Her hand, arm or knee gently releases the door latch.  Within a breath, she is inches from the road, ground rushing under her.  My grandmother, from the front seat, is holding her hand or arm so she won’t fall.  My grandfather is braking.  My mother will be crushed by the turning back tire unless Grandma lets go.

Grandma lets go.

Li’l Lil is taken to the hospital and that sickening cut at the top of her sadly-sweet baby face is her rippling flag of salvation.  Her never-ending experiment of bangs begins.  On some level, consciously or not, this must make her feel like a little girl for the rest of her life.  A scared, torn-up little girl who hides her secrets behind those bangs.  I know how she feels.

Dear Reader,

This is an excerpt from my book Present Tense.  It’s a very short, vignette-style memoir. Quick read with lots of imagery.  You can find the rest of my book Present Tense at amazon.com.  Here’s the link: Present Tense.  You can read for free with Kindle Unlimited.

Thanks for reading!


This was from Vol. 1. More of Vol. 2 later today!

Vol. 2

The plan was always to release a Vol. 2 of my book Present Tense. But, as with most things, I was unable to complete the final version. I have many stories to publish and I thought, “Life is too short to leave them unread.” So I’m publishing them here. One by one. They are just little snippets of childhood. Sometimes, difficult to read. But all real, all precious. Mainly because they show my heart and where it’s been.


This new house is where I will spend the rest of my adolescence and teenage years. This is the house of sunken tubs and cigarette stains. This is the house of deep divides and dark, fake paneling. This is the house where I decide to kill myself.
I am lying in bed, shaking. I can’t stop shaking. I am some age between 5 and 15. I am scared. For mom and me. My parents are only 10 feet from my bedroom door. The door is shut, but it is cheap and he is screaming.
She is crying. She begs him to leave her alone. He keeps verbally attacking her, calling her a pig, threatening to kill her. I can hear him pushing her down. I can hear her land hard on the sofa. I can hear him hitting her. Spitting words through teeth. Seething, growling, possessed and angry.
I can hear every agonizing detail and only until I am shaking violently do I realize I’m shaking at all. I can’t stand it. I resolve to defend my mother and end the encounter. I walk quickly into the room and I scream at my father to stop. I can’t remember anything that happens after that.

Trade?

Anyone willing to read my play and review on Amazon, House Full of Hope, can have a reblog on my WordPress of your favorite article or publishing of a new piece. The copy is free right now, you can download with no charge. The app to read is always free. You can download on your PC, you don’t need a Kindle.

Or I can create an article graphic for you, free of charge. I will use original graphics or my own photos with permission to use and text for whatever article you have planned and whatever graphic you want to see. I usually create all of my own article graphics from scratch. When you’re a graphic designer, it just makes sense. 🙂

Anyone down for the challenge? Thanks for doing me a favor!

If you’ve already read it, please go online and leave a review! I can still reblog you or design something for ya! ‘Cuz I’m cool like dat.