His Name started with K

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Tumble down the memory hole…

Funny thing, how memory works.  One minute, I’m reading a blog post about a Dad ruminating over his daughter’s first crush, and the next minute I’m back in my own youth – when everything was sharp and important and fresh and new and – well, you get the drift.  We tend to run on higher emotions when we’re younger.  Things impact deeper, are felt more keenly, and are much more dramatic when the hormones of a rapidly-growing body and psyche are raging through your system.

I’m finding that age brings about a certain mellowing of mood.  Yes, I still get emotional punches to the gut – but somehow, they don’t hurt quite as long…

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESThe particular, memorable male from my younger days who recently danced about my memories was gangly – all arms and legs and elbows.  Come to think of it – the avocado plant in my room kind of reminds me him…tall, thin, angular – a shock of hair on top – a lot of promise in that stretched-out form.  He was still growing up, and hadn’t gotten around to the filling out part yet.

He was all brown – brown hair, brown eyes, brown frames to his glasses, and an overabundance of brown clothing – including an old brown fedora he wore once or twice when we were playing cards.  He did have a beautiful smile, but it was difficult to coax one out of him.  Once we got really comfortable with each other – I liked to think that smile was all for me.

And speaking of me:  as a teen I was short (OK…so that never changed), way too curvy (neither did this), hiding behind a pair of thick glasses and a thicker curtain of black hair (HA!  Didn’t!  Grey?  dammit…)  – far more interested in the book pressed firmly against my nose (I AM a product of my upbringing…) than the rest of the population inhabiting the school.

We met through a mutual friend D – who REALLY deserves her own post, now that I come to think of it…

We started to hang out, as kids do, downtown at the park after school, on Sundays when we were all on the same bowling team, in the school halls after class let out, waiting for a parental ride home.  At sporting events and other school-sponsored after-class activities.

Just hanging out, like kids do.  Our trio gradually scaled back to a pair, as D’s passions focused more on competing with the popular kids and all the frustrations that come with dating, while K and I really didn’t have much interest in either of these lofty ideals.

We just wanted to talk, which was an oddity in the complex dynamics of hormonally-charged teenagers.  Boys and girls didn’t just hang out – treating each other like fellow human beings.  Somewhere, somehow, in some shadowy corner or some poorly-lit parking lot, opportunities existed for the removal of some pants.  SOMEone protect the chieeeldren!

Oh, wait – that’s today’s mantra of thinking about teens….

The two of us, K and I, were perfectly happy to just hang out – exploring, and learning from, each others imperfectly-forged viewpoints of parents, dreams, education, music, the popular kids – you know…life stuff.

wind farm countryWe had a lot in common – both of us lived isolated in the country, with miles of cornfields between us and anything even attempting to masquerade as a cultural center.  Both of us had a parent in the household we despised (although I have since grown up, and now love my step-mother dearly!) and both of us had no interest in all the ‘trendy’-stuff (ya know – all the ‘dick measuring’ things the popular kids were convinced were ‘life & death’).

Both of us had bigger things to deal with than who was wearing THAT??? and dating whom and driving what this week.

But the subject of us actually getting into the romantic side of hanging out never really came up.

RocksThis beautiful friendship came to a sudden end in the spring of my Junior year.  He vanished from school, from our bowling team, and from my entire life.  Abruptly.  Here one minute, and gone the next with no warnings or cryptic messages alluding to the coming failed attempt to end it all rather than continue to exist under the abrasive thumb of his father.  His parents promptly shipped him off to a psychiatric hospital in Minnesota after he failed to end his life.

There are few times I can remember crying so hard, so long, and having this huge pit of blackness threatening to swallow me whole.  Out of the length and breadth of our endless conversations – suicide was something that simply never came up.

I never got to say good-bye, as my parents and I moved back to Wisconsin at the end of the school year.

I never got to ask him why he felt he couldn’t confide in me on this – when we’d shared everything else.

I never got the chance to tell him what an irreplaceable gift he had given me in his quiet, steadfast companionship.

I did get the address to the hospital they’d sent him to, and I started writing about a hundred letters, but I could never finish them – never dredge up the right combination of letters, words, and sentences that could accurately convey the depths of my feelings, and the devastation I felt at his absence.  You never miss something quite as painfully as you do after its gone…but it was probably best this way, as I’d have spread a fresh layer of guilt on top of what he was already going through.

I still think of K when a particular song plays on my iPod, when I quip that my poetry skills come to the fore whenever I’m feeling depressed or overwhelmed by life – or when I see a particularly desolate shot to take.  The one poem I still remember crafting is one I wrote for K – called (was there any doubt?) suicide.

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Flash Friday – Red Handed

Rose lineup Flash Fiction

Flash Friday came – as it always does – and once again I tickled the fleshy folds of brain material to come up with a little something.  This one was fun – the image was a black&white of an older movie – for some reason, the Honeymooner’s started yelling in my head – so – what the hey – I had to write in those 2 voices.

Of course, after the fact, I came up with an alternate final line that REALLY works, so I’ve included it in this run.  Enjoy!

Red Handed

200 words

“Norman! Norman? Norman – whaddaya think you’re doing, Norman?”

Norman was, in fact, and at this very moment, in a rather compromising position with a woman who’s ring finger held a token decidedly NOT Norman’s…and it was very clear what Norman was, exactly, doing…

Equally clear was just how much the woman of the moment was enjoying this singular moment in time.

“Hey there, Alphie-boy, I’m just doing my bit to promote public transportation…”

It wasn’t the words, so much as the huge, shit-eating grin plastered across Norman’s narrow face, which instilled the purple-y/red tinge now crawling across Alphonso’s normally florid countenance – that caused the tendons in Alphonso’s neck to stand at stiff attention as his teeth creaked alarmingly against each other.

“Norman – this isn’t your wife, Norman. You wanna know how I know this, Norman? You ain’t married, Norman – that’s how I know this ain’t your wife, Norman. And whaddaya mean; ‘public transportation???’”

How Alphonso could get these words out between stiff lips and a clenched jaw remains a mystery to this day.

“She wants more than the moon, Alphie-boy – I’m taking her on a tour of all the stars in the night sky…”

Today was ‘One of these days…’

Scene from the Hungarian film “Márciusi mese,” released in 1934.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Draft-Dodger

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Sheesh – I looked through my Drafts folder again.

 

More to the point – I looked at the number of drafts I have waiting for my attention.  As of today, and not counting this one – I have 25.

There are some good titles here, too – His Name Started with K, Thinking of Lard, a Few final words on Cars, Tempest…Meet Teapot, and a couple of Dragon Memoir titles.

All in various stages of completion. Most just waiting for me to dig out the camera and get clicking.

Then there are the two awards I’ve recently been tagged for.  The Liebster is only awaiting my special touch at ‘shop to create a new badge, and the Versatile is in beginning construction mode.  I WILL get them done, guys…I PWOMICE!

And 3 or 4 finished flash fiction pieces – also waiting those final touches (links to the Flash site, pictures, etc…)

So – what exactly have I been doing with my time, as I’m obviously NOT finalizing blog posts?

Not much.  I can’t attest to having a project or an obsession or even a mad-attempt to cure cancer.  I’ve been quiet. I sleep.  I go to work.  I come home. The kids and I make a little dinner, we watch a bit of something we’ve streamed off Amazon or Netflix, I spend a bit of time on the phone with the SQO.

Lather, rinse, and repeat…

In short – I’ve been doing nothing more then vegging out at night.  Guess my personal batteries need a recharge.

But – there is HOPE!  Tonight, I get to drag the camera out of its exile – the SQO’s band has found a new drummer (again) a new practice space (again, again…) and they want some new pictures.

I can only hope there’s enough power in the camera’s battery – as I’ve discovered I mislaid the charger.

Death and Taxes

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Yup – it’s April 15th.  In the US, this is the deadline to declare to the Gov’t that you’ve earned this much money last year, and through various loopholes, deductions, and laundering schemes, this is how much you have to give to the Gov’t to keep the country moving.

Somehow – I think the country would move a lot better if we didn’t have to spend so much time and effort trying to avoid paying taxes.  The list of deductions is impressive, indeed, and gets longer each year.

Are taxes necessary?  Unfortunately, I think they are.  They pay for schools, streets, sewers, police and fire protection, etc…

But what the US tax system has evolved into is taxes and spending of said monies without any accountability whatsoever.

Time to change out the system.

Flash Fiction – New Recruit

Rose lineup Flash Fiction

The competition on Flash! Friday is fierce, challenging.  The writers who offer up flash pieces week after week are fantastic authors – extremely well honed at putting together a brilliant story with both a tight deadline and a tight word count.  I’m very happy to number amongst them.

I’ve learned so much on how to tighten up my own writing since I started regularly posting my own pieces.  And, although I’ve yet to win the weekly challenge – this week’s entry got me one step closer.  I made 3rd runner-up – which is the highest I’ve been in the weekly ranks.

You might recognize where the opening phrase came from if you regularly join me left of reality.  I recently described Delores Umbridge in almost the same way.  I loved the phrasing so much on the Potter’s Field piece that I had to use it again.

New Recruit

205 words

 

Were the world a great disco-ball, she would be the shattered panels of mirrored glass – broken, beautifully reflective chaos very dangerous to handle. Known only as Bug, she was – street. Savvy, cold, hard, and merciless at protecting her own against all comers. She’d had her fill of life’s lemons and was ready to grind them into someone’s eyeballs for that elusive opportunity: escape from the rough alleyways she called home.

Street children such as Bug were perfect candidates for espionage. They learned to manufacture personae on demand at an early age, were dismissed and ignored by the rich and powerful, and considered disposable by those who would recreate them into a mosaic of unrealized destruction.

She needed her target to show. The cold winds of Autumn were dancing through the alley behind the Embassy parking lot, flirting aggressively with Old Man Winter. Soon, Bug knew, the weather would chase away her dreams of relocation. Of money. Of a new life far removed from the gutters of childhood.

Dreams that could only be realized by the successful completion of the task the man in the wool coat had equipped her for.

The gun concealed in her ragged clothing, and her instructions, were her ticket to freedom.

A brief and completely random thought

I took a second look at the title of the blog post I dropped this morning:

 

Potter’s Field of Dreams.  No Building…Just Come on Down.

 

Is it just me, or is anyone else wondering how I could get from the burial place of unknown, completely forgotten corpses to the Price is Right in less than a dozen words?

I either need meds, or a tournament on six degrees of separation.

 

Potter’s Field of Dreams. No building…just come on down!

harry-potter

Yet another random Facebook Meme

It’s rare that I start a post with a photograph I didn’t take…and rarer still to not include ANY photographs of mine…but I had to offer my tu-pence on this gem.

I am a Harry Potter fan.  I found the series mid-way between the 3rd and the 4th book – which is when book one was was finally starting to show up in the discount book outlets.  I figured a couple of bucks for this slender teen-aimed fantasy was money well gambled.

I liked the original book well enough to go hunt up the 2nd – also in trade paperback.  On finding out that the 3rd was only available in hardcover – I dithered over the purchase for a grand total of 4 days.

I’m so proud of my self-restraint!

I was hooked, and bought each successive novel in hardcover as soon as it was released…culminating in purchasing the ‘limited-edition, special box-and-artwork’ copy of the Deathly Hallows for an insane amount on opening day.

If you hadn’t guessed – I’m a fantasy-story whore.  If there’s a magical or supernatural angle to your story – yup…I’ll read it.

as soon as it finds me…

Anyway – back to the Potter-verse.  Let’s take the villains in the above meme one at a time, shall we?

First in my opinion-box is Lord Voldemort.  For all the marketing on him being the big, bad, evil dude, ultimately, he turned out to be nothing more than a terrified little git with vague dreams of self-importance.  He spent his life – both of them – behaving like the worst bully on the playground – even going as far as ripping his soul to shreds just to prove he was the biggest badass on the Tee-ball diamond.  This big bully gets dropped at the end the way all bullies get owned – the 90 pound weakling stands up to him.

Bellatrix Lestrange is our next contestant.  Demented?  Yup.  Bat-shit insane?  Bingo!  Trotting around Voldemort’s heels like an animal in heat?  Affirmamente!  But evil?  Not a chance.  She’s the battered hanger-on to the bully on the playground – the poor spineless little twit who sucks up her boyfriend’s semen on his demand, services his buddies on command, and apologizes to him later for the black eye and busted jaw she “made” him give her.  Bellatrix made me feel alternately disgusted with her simpering, pathetic, please-let-me-worship-you begging at Voldemort’s feet; and saddened that she hadn’t the brain cells to realize there were options that didn’t involve being the Dark Lord’s bitch.

Draco Malfoy waves from the sidelines.  He’s the spoiled little rich-kid who spends most of the series with this huge, gold-plated chip firmly lodged on his shoulder, and an uncanny knack for squeaking out of mortal danger with the power of his father’s wallet.  That chip does eventually get flicked off, he learns that money can’t buy you everything, and that talking the talk only gets you as far as the bigger guy demanding you put all that money where your mouth is before he plants his fist there.  Next time, Draco – use some of daddy’s money to buy yourself a clue.

Aaaaand, now proudly introducing – Severous Snape.  (pause for applause)

Emo.  Goth.  Gryffindor’s whipping boy.  I mean – he got blamed for EVERYTHING!  I’m surprised that Hermione didn’t blame Snape for the pimple that sprouted on her ass overnight because they blamed him for everything else.

The best part of Snape was he didn’t give one Weasley’s Wildfire Whiz-bang about all the finger-pointing in his direction.  He was cool like that – extremely comfortable in his own skin.  If you didn’t like Snape’s skin, he’d be happy to extend the hatred right back-at-cha, with a side of deep-fried cheese curds and a burger with all the good toppings if he was in the right mood.  Just don’t ask where the meat came from…

Can you tell I liked Snape? 

Lucious Malfoy.  Draco’s wallet.  He pretty much learned Draco’s lesson at the same time as his son – if you’re going to swim with the sharks, prepare to get bit in the ass.  Lucious got what he deserved…and it wasn’t lunch.  Just dessert.

Narcissa Malfoy.  The third member of the Malfoy household, and the only one I really sympathized with, probably because she was an ornament for the bulk of the series.  In the end, maternal instincts won out, and she hustled her barely-intact family away from the courtyard at her first opportunity.  I suspect she began wearing the pants in that family soon after their final departure from the series.

And finally…Delores Umbridge.

If evil were distilled, concentrated, and poured into a pretty container, you’d get Delores Umbridge.  I’m envisioning luminescent green toxic sludge poured into an expensive, hand-crafted, Waterford Crystal Decanter.  WITH the ornate topper (yours for an additional $499.99 – order today!)  That pretty much sums up Delores Umbridge.

Every pore of this character oozed pure, undiluted evil.  There were no good sides to Delores Umbridge, there was no gold under the tarnish, no silver lining on her cloud.  She took life’s lemons, and ground them into babies eyes.  In the disco ball of life, she was all pointy corners.

She was evil attempting to disguise itself as everything cutsie, innocent and naive.  She wore nothing but soft pink suits.  She had the wall of overly-cute kitten plates which mewled incessantly, and covered every horizontal surface with lace doilies.  She had that annoyingly high-pitched and childish voice; and the ‘hemmm…hemmmmp’ half-whine, half fake-throat clear chirp to get attention?  Evil.  Pure evil.

I’ll bet she had razor-sharp teeth in her girly bits.

I hated Umbridge – both in the print version and the movie version.  I yelled at her as I read the books, and, to my surprise, seeing her on screen made me hate her even more.

So kudos out there to Rowling – for creating such a memorable evil bitch.  The centaurs carrying her off was really too good of an ending for her – I would have preferred something more satisfyingly violent – but then again, I’m a 29+++ hobby-writer stuck in Wisconsin – so what do I know???

I can only hope someday to create a character half as loathsome.