Just My Luck #Fiction #Tuesday Tidbit

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

The weekend after I was laid off from my job as a guidance counselor at the local high school, my husband and I went skiing. I took a flying leap off a small hill and landed spread-eagled in the snow, my skis pointing in one direction, my poles in another. My right knee was badly twisted.

On Monday, my birthday, my husband announced that he had out of town business that just couldn’t wait. After promising to return late Friday night and kissing me on the cheek, he was out the door. Here I was, with no job, no husband, and no one to take care of me. I lay on the living room couch and wallowed in self-pity, as I watched a mindless game show on television.

When the doorbell rang, I struggled to my feet, picked up my crutches, and hobbled to answer it. Reaching for the doorknob, I heard a thud, then two men yelling and punching each other. When I opened the door, I gasped at the sight in front of me. A box of fruit lay torn open on the porch. Planters were broken, and pears had rolled everywhere. Two guys were fighting, yelling obscenities at each other. A UPS truck was parked in my driveway, and a sport utility vehicle stood on the street directly in front of my house.

“What’s going on?” I yelled.

The two men stopped and looked at me with sheepish expressions. One of them handed me a business card that read “Doug Ross, Certified Massage Therapist.”

“Happy birthday. Your husband arranged for me to give you a massage today.”

The UPS driver said, “I also have a delivery for you. Looks like it’s a subscription to a fruit of the month club.” His gaze shifted to the smashed pears on the porch.

“And you guys were fighting over who would make the first delivery?” They looked at each other and shrugged.

“Oh, for heaven’s sake,” I said. “Come in out of the cold.”

They followed me inside. I hobbled into the kitchen and started making coffee. The massage therapist put a hand on my shoulder. “Sit down. I’ll do that.”

“I’ll clean up the mess on the porch,” said the UPS driver. “You’ll be reimbursed for what was broken. I’m really sorry.”

A few minutes later, we were drinking coffee and eating pears that weren’t too badly damaged. “Would you like to tell me what’s on your mind?” I asked.

The UPS driver said, “Doug and I have been friends for years. A couple of months ago, I met the most incredible woman. I made the mistake of introducing her to him. Now, she’s seeing him and wants to break up with me. But you know what, Doug? You can have her. I found someone better.”

“Glad we got past that one, Brent,” Doug said. “Still friends?”

“Still friends,” Brent said, and they shook hands.

For the price my husband paid for one massage, Doug gave me daily treatments, paying special attention to my injured knee. Brent also came every day and brought fresh fruit he’d salvaged from other customers who weren’t home to receive their deliveries.

On Monday afternoon when the mail came, I opened my husband’s credit card statement. He usually took care of the bills, but I was bored to tears and sick of game shows, news programs, and soap operas. I was shocked when I saw charges for restaurants where we’d never eaten together, a flower shop, a jewelry store, and a hotel in a different city. I couldn’t remember the last time my husband gave me flowers or jewelry. His work often took him out of town, so the hotel charges probably weren’t anything to suspect, or were they?

On Monday night, I called my husband’s cell and a woman answered, “Hello?”

“Oh, who’s this?” I asked.

“I’m Melanie,” she answered with a giggle.

“I’m sorry,” I said, not surprised. “I was trying to reach Charles Redford. I must have the wrong number.”

After that, Doug and Brent took turns spending the night. They gave me more than massages and fresh fruit. Charles never called, and I didn’t try to reach him again.

On Friday night, when the two of them showed up at the same time, I said, “Both of you can have me tonight. Let’s get a pizza and watch a movie.”

When Charles walked in late that night, he found the three of us snuggled on the living room  couch, watching Casablanca. Doug was rubbing my injured knee, and Brent’s arm was around my shoulder. An open box of oranges stood on the coffee table.

As Charles gaped at us open-mouthed, I placed an arm around each of them and said, “Hi, honey. Did you have a nice time with Melanie? Thank you for the lovely birthday presents.” I kissed Doug, then Brent.

In divorce court, Charles told the judge, “If only I’d picked either the massage or the fruit.”

***

The above appears in the January issue of The Writer’s Grapevine. To subscribe, send a blank email to: writersgv+subscribe@groups.io  It was also published years ago in Emerging Voices, a journal produced by Northwestern Nebraska Community College in Scottsbluff. This story was inspired by something I heard on National Public Radio’s Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me.

***

By the way, for those of you who use the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled, The Red Dress is available for download from their site here. No matter how you read it, please be sure to review it wherever you can. That goes for all my books. Thank you for stopping by. Stay safe, happy, and healthy.

New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.

***

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Visitation #Friday Fun Reads #Fiction

Carrie was fourteen years old and lived in an apartment with her mother in New York City. A year earlier, her father wandered into traffic one night while drunk and was killed by an oncoming bus.

He hadn’t always been drunk. Carrie remembered many times as a child when he picked her up after school while between jobs and took her to the park where they flew homemade kites, and he pushed her on the swings and waited for her at the bottom of the slide. When she joined a softball league at school, he bought her a used glove, ball, and bat and showed her how to pitch, catch and throw. He occasionally took her for ice cream.

As she grew older, his drinking bouts increased in frequency. He rarely took her places after school and was hardly ever home when she went to bed. She often found him sleeping on the couch in the morning.

Her mother, Dianna, constantly berated him. He kept saying he was sorry, that he would stop drinking and get a job and keep it. He never quit drinking, and he never kept a job for long.

Dianna worked as a secretary at a Baptist church. Carrie was used to getting by on the meager salary her mother received. Most of the time, it was their only source of income, barely enough to pay the rent on their small, shabby apartment, let alone buy food.

On the night Carrie’s father died, when he didn’t come home for supper, her mother packed his clothes and other items in a box that she left outside the apartment door with a note. He never claimed his belongings.

During the following year, Carrie and her mother were forced to move to an even smaller, shabbier apartment, and Carrie had to switch schools. Dianna threw herself into the many projects at the church to help those in need. These took up a lot of her time, and Carrie was often left to fend for herself when she wasn’t in school. She didn’t attempt to make friends because the squalor where she lived embarrassed her, and she never kept in touch with kids she knew from her previous school.

One day after school, she boarded the bus, resigned to yet another evening alone with the cockroaches and leaking roof. She hated riding buses, since her father was killed by one, but on this cold Halloween evening, it was getting dark, and she didn’t want to walk alone at night. As she’d done many times, she’d stayed after classes to study in the library where it was warm. Now, as the sky gradually darkened, she found a seat in the back of the crowded bus and stared out the window at people and buildings, as it bumped along, stopping every so often to pick up and drop off passengers.

Someone sat next to her. A hand fell on her knee, and a familiar voice said, “Hey sweet pea.”

She jumped and turned to see a man who looked just like her father, wearing baggy blue jeans and his favorite plaid shirt, the clothes he wore the day he died. She detected no acrid stench of booze but a whiff of the cologne he wore when he was sober. Thinking he was just another pervert who happened to look, smell, and sound like her father, she turned back toward the window. “I know you don’t believe it’s me, princess, but it is,” he said, taking her hand.

Princess, that was one of the many names he called her. “Leave me alone,” she said, jerking her hand away and moving closer to the window. People turned and stared, and she wondered why.

“Honey, nobody can see me. I’m a ghost.”

“You’re nuts,” she said, turning back to him.

“So are you,” said a man across the aisle.

This couldn’t be real, she thought, as her face grew hot, and she stared at the man sitting next to her. She shook her head and blinked several times. “Carrie, you’re not going to get rid of me that easily.”

She turned back toward the window. She was nowhere near her stop, but she had to get off this bus now. Without a word, she reached for the bell to signal the driver to stop. The man’s hand shot up and grabbed hers. “You’ll have a long walk home if you get off now, bug-a-boo.”

How did he know where her new home was? This was ridiculous. “Besides, sweet pea, you really don’t want to go back to that fucking apartment with those god damned roaches, do you?”

Carrie smiled in spite of herself. She always thought it funny when her father used such colorful language when talking about things that didn’t appeal to her.

“Now that’s what I like,” he said. “a smile from my little girl.”

She looked around, wondering if she could move to another seat, but they were all taken. “Honey, I know I haven’t been the best of fathers lately, but I’m clean now. I haven’t touched a drop of liquor since last year, and I won’t ever again. I’m going to make it up to you. From now on, we’re going to have the best of times, just you and me.”

Just you and me? What did he mean? Was she going to die right here and now? She remembered something her mother said. The preacher at the Baptist church believed that people like her father went to Hell, a place that was always on fire, where there was wailing and gnashing of teeth. Was that where her father was taking her? She pictured herself being consumed by ugly, yellow flames.

“No, I don’t want to go to Hell,” she screamed, trying to stand and pull herself away from him.

He squeezed her hand. “It’s gonna be okay, honey. Daddy’s right here.”

He said those exact words the night her appendix nearly ruptured when she was seven, as she lay in the emergency room, tears streaming down her face, gripped by pain. He told her everything would be all right, and it eventually was. It was one of few kept promises.

A squeal of breaks brought her back to the present. She felt a jarring crash, then nothing.

***

The above appears in the Samhain edition of The Writer’s Grapevine, a magazine featuring stories, poems, articles, and news by authors and business owners who are clients of TELL-IT-TO-THE-WORLD Marketing. You can read past issues here and subscribe by sending a blank email to:  writersgv+subscribe@groups.io  This story was also published several years ago in Magnets and Ladders, another magazine, featuring work by disabled authors.

By the way, for those of you who use the National Library Services for the Blind and Print Disabled, The Red Dress is available for download from their site here. No matter how you read it, please be sure to review it wherever you can. That goes for all my books. Thank you for stopping by. Stay safe, happy, and healthy.

New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

Front cover contains: young, dark-haired woman in red dress holding flowers

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.

***

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The Other Guy #Poetry #Tuesday Tidbit

Oh, little bee,
as autumn approaches,
you hover on my porch roof,
between life and death.

One day, you fall,
land in my hair.
Thinking you’re just a bug,
I brush you away.
In one last effort to survive,
your stinger latches onto my eye.
In pain, I manage to somehow extricate you,
but the damage is done.

Now, I must tell people,
“Think this looks bad?
You should see the other guy.”

***

The above poem, inspired by something that happened to me last year, was published in this month’s issue of The Writer’s Grapevine. To read past issues of this free, online magazine featuring poems, stories, essays, and some advertising, click here. If you’d like to receive this publication by email, send a blank message to:  writersGV+subscribe@groups.io  You can click on the Play button below to hear me read the poem.

By the way, for those of you who use the National Library Services for the Blind and Print Disabled, The Red Dress is available for download from their site here. No matter how you read it, please be sure to review it wherever you can. That goes for all my books. Thank you for stopping by. Stay safe, happy, and healthy, and may you always have positive experiences.

New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

Front cover contains: young, dark-haired woman in red dress holding flowers

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.

***

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My Amazon Author Page

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Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

Memoir Pays Tribute to Country Music Icon #Thursday Book Feature #Reblog #Friday Fun Reads

Today, I’m offering you an oldie but a goodie from a few months ago. This book review can also be read in The Writer’s Grapevine. To read past issues of this wonderful, free, online magazine containing fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and more, click here. To subscribe, send a blank email to:  writersGV+subscribe@groups.io  Happy reading!

 

Via Memoir Pays Tribute to Country Music Icon #Thursday Book Feature

 

By the way, for those of you who use the National Library Services for the Blind and Print Disabled, The Red Dress is available for download from their site here. No matter how you read it, please be sure to review it wherever you can. That goes for all my books. Thank you for stopping by. Stay safe, happy, and healthy, and may you always have positive experiences.

New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

Front cover contains: young, dark-haired woman in red dress holding flowers

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.

***

My Books

My Amazon Author Page

Facebook

Website

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

THE LATEST EDITION OF THE WRITER’S GRAPEVINE IS NOW AVAILABLE! #Advertising #Articles #Essays #Shortstories #Poetry #Tips&Tricks #OnlineMagazine #Reblog

I’m pleased to announce that a poem and a book review of mine have been published in the latest issue of The Writer’s Grapevine. Please click the link below to learn how you can subscribe to this wonderful, free online magazine.

 

Via THE LATEST EDITION OF THE WRITER’S GRAPEVINE IS NOW AVAILABLE! #Advertising #Articles #Essays #Shortstories #Poetry #Tips&Tricks #OnlineMagazine

 

By the way, for those of you who use the National Library Services for the Blind and Print Disabled, The Red Dress is available for download from their site here. No matter how you read it, please be sure to review it wherever you can. That goes for all my books. Thank you for stopping by. Stay safe, happy, and healthy, and may you always have positive experiences.

New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

Front cover contains: young, dark-haired woman in red dress holding flowers

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.

***

My Books

My Amazon Author Page

Facebook

Website

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.