DSC00850

Shredded Heart

The blood tears flow down my face
The scarlet stains expose my fear of abandonment and shame
This shredded heart bleeds from the claws of your wrath

The boiling fire from inside me has ruptured with anger
Flames spew from my shattered shredded heart
Your conditional love poisons me

I fear no longer being alone as long as your love burns my soul
The scarlet stains are memories of all the pain
I will no longer fear abandonment or shame
I will put out my inner boiling flames as I watch you walk away
Take your conditional poisoned love
leave me to heal my shredded heart as I bleach these scarlet stains

DSC01207

Ain’t no time for a cowgirl that always has to go…

Recently I had to travel back home to see my family.  My roots are all the way back in a small town of Oklahoma.  I grew up country, not just your run of the mill one acre yard country. Nope, I lived in a small farm-house with horses, dogs, chickens, pig, goat and sheep.  I have to say I didn’t love my living arrangements, but there is some charm to just being back on the farm.

The first day, my son and I helped my brother-in-law feed the horses.

Then we get to feed the jackass.  No, not the jerk that cuts you off Highway 1 in Princeton, New Jersey or Lincoln Tunnel.  I’m talking about the real jackass, the one you pinned the tail on at birthday parties, but this one of course is alive.

Next, I ran like Phoebe from Friends into the house with my legs and arms swinging because the cold air is burning my nose hairs. Time for breakfast before we haul cows to the stockyards, hmmm, there is bacon, coffee, cereal.  I forgot to mention I have a horrible, rotten, absolutely, ugly stomach. I am on one of those strict diets of fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, nuts and 12 servings of water a day. I sit eating my nuts and drinking my water as I watch my sister and her husband sip on their coffee. I wait till they are not looking and grab a little bitty, tiny, cup of coffee with milk.  Oh mother of yum yums, this coffee is hot, creamy and awesome. I hurry up drink my forbidden coffee and put the cup in the dishwasher before my sister catches me.

Now, I am in the truck with my son, my brother-in-law, a former professional bull rider, and another cowboy I went to school with. This is when a cowboy begins to do what he is famous for, he sings.

We drive down a steep hill. “Hoot-Hoot!” I holler.

“Did ya mean, ‘Hee-haw?’”

“Oops, I forgot.  Hee-haw!”

After a long country drive, our first stop was to a man’s farm who wanted to sell only two cows. The two cowboys get the cattle in the trailer in one attempt.

Then we drive another twenty minutes to the next farm to pick up more cattle. I get adventurous. I get out of the truck and being to snap pictures of my son and I near the cows.  Outside of the truck, I can smell the dropping of the cows, but that does not stop me from taking pictures.

I get chilled so I jump back inside of the truck.  GRRRRRR! My stomach begins to roar.  I try to ignore it. The cowboys are taking much longer this time, because they have to separate the herd of cows some are coming and others are staying.  GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR! Ruuuuuuuuuuuugggggggggggggggg!!!  I hunch over holding my stomach.

“Mom was that you? Did you fart?”

“Noooo, it’s my stomach…Don’t talk. I think I need to go.”

“Seriously?”  He looks at me like I’m an idiot.

GGGGGGGGRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Roars my stomach again.

“I can’t hold it.” I jump out of the truck.  The owner of the ranch is standing at the gate.  Holding my irrational stomach, I stumble up to the old man. “Excuse me, Sir. Can I use your bathroom?”

He shakes his head and mumbles something. “Fine, follow me.” He leads me to a garage with guest quarters and small bathroom. He leaves.

I get comfortable in the bathroom but now my stomach just stops. I can’t do anything. I literally put myself together and go back to the truck. Everyone is staring at me. I get in the truck. “I couldn’t do it.”

“What?”

“I couldn’t go. I had to go, but I guess I had performance anxiety. I don’t know.”

“I tell ya what. We’ll head up to the diner. You can use the bathroom there, eat a salad, drink water and then we’ll head out.”

“Sounds good” I reply. Sure enough at the diner, I did my duty. Talk about relief. Everyone was eyeballing me as I walked to the table. Talk about awkward…Then I ate my grilled chicken salad without dressing and drank my two glasses of water. Then we went to the stockyards.  This is where the two cowboys unload the cattle.

Leaving the stockyards and after drinking my required bottle of water, plus two glasses of water at lunch I got to go pee.

“Excuse me, I think I need to go.”

“Again?”

“Yes, but the good news is this time it’s only number one.”

“Fine” my brother-in-law responds. We pull off at a small gas station. I use the lady’s room and purchase two bottles of water. I pop back into the truck. We begin heading down the highway.  The problem is Interstate 40 in Oklahoma is bumpy, I mean real bumpy like you are driving with a flat tire, yet we didn’t the road is just bad. After about five minutes of bouncing in the truck, I have to go to the bathroom again.

“Can we stop again?”

“Whatcha need?”

“I think I need to go.”

“Talk about high maintenance. How about I call your sister to pick ya up at the next ranch? At the rate we’re going we’ll never get the next load of cattle delivered today.”

Sure enough, my short-lived experience as a cattle hauler ended.  That’s ok. I enjoyed my time laughing and hauling cattle but there just ain’t no time for a cowgirl that always has to go.

(P.S. I know ain’t, ain’t a word but if you ever want to use it you are welcome to in Oklahoma. Hee-haw!)

100_5088

One Lovely Blog Award

I want to thank Scriptor Obscura  at Scriptor Obscura Writes for nominating me for the One Lovely Blog Award.  Scriptor Obscura is a very talented poet and writer.  It is an honor to receive the One Lovely Blog Award from her.  I am graced that Scriptor Obscura thinks so highly about my craft which is growing everyday.

The One Lovely Blog Award does not have any requirements.

I would like to pass on the love and cheer for other writers who are on a writer’s journey.  I nominate the following blogs:

1. Cat at Catforsly.me

2. Kourtney Heintz at Kourtney Heintz’s Journal

3. Detra at  Trueheartwrites

4. Meghan at Meghantellsit

5. Bella at One Sister’s Rant

6. Micheal at Have A Dream

7. Neeks at The Short and Long of It

8. Thomas at Thomas Goes to Japan

9. April at Whimsy Dreams

10. Rach at This Italian Family

11. Sue Healy at Suehealy

12. Leila Gaskin at Write am I

13. Rosie at  rosierushtonstone

14. Lorna at Gin with Lemonade

15. Mike Drummond at 36ixty5

Genuine Blogger Award

Thank you Micheal at Have a Dream for nominating me for the Genuine Blogger Award!  I am honored to receive this award.  I enjoy being able to write, but it is truly satisfying to be awarded for my writings.  Micheal you have a very positive blog that fills me with motivation for continuing my journey to be a published writer.  Thank you for sharing your wisdom and love for life.

This award has no requirements and more information about this award can be found at http://justramblinpier.wordpress.com/genuine-blogger-info/.

I would like nominate the following blogs:

Scriptor Obscura at Scriptor Obscura Writes

Dark Jade at The Written Word

Bella at One Sister’s Rant

Kourtney Heintz at Kourtney Heintz’s Journal

lscotthoughts at LSCOTT POETRY

Canary

I apologize for my absence from the world of blogging. 

 Last Friday, my grandmother passed away. 

 I dedicate this short story to my grandmother.

There once was a little girl named Sara.  She lived in an apartment building in Manhattan overlooking Central Park.  Her mother was busy with social engagements while her father worked many hours as a pilot. During the war, Sara’s father flew commercial jets for the military transporting soldiers to the battlefield in the Middle East.

One day two pristine dressed military men arrived at the apartment.  Sara’s mother sat solemnly in the living room talking to the two men decorated with ribbons and medals pinned to their chest. Sara was curious, but she stayed in her room till the men left.

Over the course of the following week Sara attended her father’s funeral, assisted her mother with packing all their belongings and moved from New York City to a small cabin in the Rockie Mountains of Colorado.  The house had no internet, no cable or satellite television and no telephone except for her mother’s cell phone.  It was summer time so Sara spent most of her time coloring or playing with her dolls, but she missed her father, her friends and looking out her old bedroom window watching Central Park.  New York City glistened with lights, sidewalks were full of people and streets are adorned with rows of traffic.  Now, in the mountains Sara was feeling incredibly lonely without her father, the quietness of her mother and her new view from her cabin window.

One day from Sara’s window she watched humming birds dance around the flowers.  Attracted by the small birds Sara went outside to play near the rocks of the Colorado River.  She tossed rocks into the water, chased a frog and watched birds play.   As Sara was getting up to walk back home, something glistening in the grass caught her attention.  She walked over to the object.  It was a very small bird egg.  It was partially covered by broken pieces of what looked like a bird’s nest.  Sara looked around for a mother bird.  There was no sign.  It was getting late so Sara picked up the little bird egg and gently wrapped it in some leaves to carry it home.  She showed the small egg to her mother.  Together they  made a small home for the egg in an old shoe box.  They borrowed a heat lamp from the veterinarian to shine on the small abandoned egg.  Sara and her mother were  now busy taking care of the small egg. One day they noticed the egg beginning to hatch.  The next morning a baby bird was born.  Sara and her mother fed the bird with food drops from the local veterinarian.

Before long the small baby bird began to walk in the box.  Sara and her mother bought an antique bird-cage from the flea market to make as his new home.

“Momma, the bird’s feathers are turning yellow.”

“Let me see.  Hmmm, they do look rather yellow compared to the gray they used to be. I’m still not certain what kind of bird it is, but in time we will know.”

Over the following days the baby bird grew more and more yellow feathers.  “Momma, I think the bird is a Canary.”

“Sara, I don’t think Canaries are native to Colorado.”

“Can I name it?”

“Sure.”

“I’m wanna name it Lemon Drop.”

“That is a very odd name.”

“I know, but It’s yellow feathers remind me of daddy’s favorite candy, lemon drops. Will that make you sad?”

“No honey, I think Lemon Drop will be fine.”

Lemon Drop grew in to a strong beautiful Canary.  Through out the year, Lemon Drop sang songs,  talked, and perched on her Sara’s shoulders.  Lemon Drop brought joy back in to Sara and her mother’s life. The two of them were once again happy.

The following fall, Sara went to bed with the window open.  A rain storm with gusting winds blew into her room chilling Lemon Drop.  The next morning he had a cold. Lemon Drop sat at the bottom of his cage looking ill instead of singing, talking or perching. All day long he did not eat or drink. Sara and her mother took Lemon Drop to the veterinarian.  She prescribed him medicine drops.  The following days Sara and her mother gave the medicine to Lemon Drop, but his health was not improving.

“Momma, is Lemon Drop going to leave us like daddy did?”

“Sara, daddy did not leave us.  He passed away.”

“I don’t want Lemon Drop to pass away. I miss daddy.  I’m going to miss Lemon Drop.”

“Lemon Drop is not going to leave us.”

“Then where is he going?”

“Lemon Drop is going to shed his wings for larger wings. His new wings will be so grand he will fly above the clouds and among the stars and back down to us.”

“But, I won’t get to hear his song.”

“If you listen closely you will hear his song among the whistling winds.”

“But, I won’t get to feel the warmth of him perched on my shoulders and the tickles of his feathers on my neck.”

“If you go outside the rays of the sun is the warm touch of his love.”

“Momma, I’m going to miss Lemon Drop like I miss daddy.”

“Sara, Lemon Drop might be fine.  Give the medicine time to do its work.  Your daddy never left us.  Your daddy like Lemon Drop has grown wings to soar the sky and stars.  His love is in the warm touch of the sun’s rays.  Daddy’s voice is scrambled in the winds.  Daddy never left us, he ascended. He is above us.  Daddy is here and will always be here for you.  Let’s go to bed.  Tomorrow Lemon Drop may feel much better.”

The next morning, Sara woke up to find Lemon Drop perched on his swing singing.

Fort Withers

                The Colonel his wife and two sons Timothy and William loaded into the car destined to Fort Withers.

                “Dad it’s not fair we have to move now.”

                “Anything for the Commander In Chief, if he says move, we move.”

                “What William means to say, is that it’s not fair we have to move during the school year.  We’ve never moved during school before.”

               “Timothy, you and William are second to my career.  I have to go where the President sends me. Moving during this fall break is a good thing.  You two won’t miss any school days.”  The Colonel had been reassigned to Fort Withers to plan for the reopening of the base.  Due to country’s deficit the Defense Department had to shut down the base for the last twenty years.  With recent terrorist threats and bombings of across the nation the President wants to reopen it.

                 The Colonel drove all Sunday up and down the winding hills of the north.  The hills were decoupage with tree full of fall foliage.  The Colonel reached the installation gate at almost midnight.  The gate was made of iron with concertina wire on top attached to a fence that went around the post. The guard shacks were damaged boarded up structures.  The ostentatious guard sauntered up to the car while the two other guards walked as though they were possessed back and forth the entrance to the post.  On leashes were German Sheppard dogs with muzzles on them, yet somehow they still managed to growl at the car.

               “Good evening, I’m Colonel Abbot.” He handed the guard his military identification card.

               “You’re the advanced party?”

               “Yes”

               “Welcome Colonel, I’m with Stronghold Security Forces.  The post is still vacant. When do you expect the troops to arrive?”

              “Well, since most of the houses and structures on the base were built during WWII.  It’s going to take awhile to get things up to date.”

               “I’ve taken the liberty of procuring the key to your residence.”

               “Thank you, but no need for such formality when addressing me.”

               “Granted, but to not speak in such matter would undermine my demure.  You will notice many of the windows of the structures and residences on the base are bordered up. The only new facilities on the here are the museum, commissary and gas station.  Those facilities are regularly frequented by the retirees from the neighboring community. Words of wisdom Sir, keep your boys home so no one gets hurt.”

                The following afternoon, Timothy thirteen joked with his younger brother William that their newly renovated house was haunted.  William, only ten, was a little skeptic of the historic two story colonial style house that was to be their new home.  While the boys were busy upstairs unpacking there was a thumping sound coming from the attic.

              “Timothy did you hear that?” 

              “Yeah, it’s squirrels running across the roof.”

               “Nuh-huh”

               “Ok then believe the other story.  It’s an old civil war ghost, boo-hoo-hoo!” Timothy taunted.  The boys began to throw boxes at one another.  Bam!  One of the boxes dropped from upstairs walkway to the downstairs entry. 

                “You broke something.”

                “Did not!  It was your fault Timothy.”

                “Boys what’s broken?” asked the mother.

                “Uh, I’m not sure.  William did it.”

                “That’s not what I asked.  Can you please see what’s broken?”  The boy’s mother was kind and gentle.  She loved her boys dearly.  She understood that boys would break things, fight and get into trouble. 

                “Go Willie!”

                “Noooo! You go”

                “I’m not going down there by myself.”

                “Scaredy cat!”

                “Man, that’s not cool.  Come on Timothy!  Come with me!”

                “Fine twerp!”  Timothy was the first to walk down the stairs.  William stayed close behind.   At the bottom the boys noticed the floating smoke filled bubble the size of a basketball.  The boys stood still.  The orb first moved towards Timothy.  Then it moved in front of William. 

                “Ahhhh, ahhh…” stuttered William.

                “Mom! Mom, come here!” shouted Timothy.  The orb continued to float between both boys.  Their mother made her way towards them. Then the orb just vanished into thin air.

                “What’s wrong?”

                “There was a ghost right here.” Timothy pointed.

                “There’s no such thing as ghost.”

                “Yes mom! I saw it too.  It floated here. First it went to Timothy and then in front of me.”

                “Boys, I understand this old house can be ominous.  The empty post can seem eerie too, but the house is not haunted.  I think you two just need some fresh air.  Timothy why don’t you take your brother to the museum?  The walk could do you both some good.   I hear they have lots of new displays.” 

                Timothy and William nodded in agreement.

                “Here’s five dollars so you can get a drink.  Your father will be home by five so be back by then.”

                “Yes mom.” Timothy said.

                “William, obey your brother.”

                “Yes mom.”  He kissed her on the cheek.

                Both of the boys were still a little shook up.  “Timothy do you think it was a ghost?”

                “Na, mom’s right.  The house is not haunted, just old.”

                “But what’d  you think we saw?”

                “It probably was just some smoke.”

                “But there wasn’t anything burning.”

                “Maybe it was just smoke from the box hitting the closet door.”

“Yeah, maybe” The boys continued to walk across the base towards the military museum. The shrubbery was unmanaged.  Sidewalks were cracked.  The streets were crumbled.   The sky was getting dark with storm clouds.  The winds were kicking up.  The fall leaves were blowing around. They were crunching under the footsteps of the boys.  Kkk-iii-ccc-bbb-aaa! A loud thrash of thunder went off.

                “Come on Willie!  We need to cut through the cemetery before the storm hits.”

                “I want to go around.”

                “By the sound of things we don’t have time to.”  Timothy grabbed the arm of William’s sweatshirt and led him into small Civil War cemetery behind the museum.  Rain drops began to sprinkle.  The boys jogged the rest of the way into the museum.  At the front desk sat an oversized older man.  His hair was in a long braid down his back with a feather on the end.  He wore a white cowboy shirt with a skull and cross bones bolero tie with a black leather vest embellished with many army unit patches sewn on it.

                “Sign in here” grumbled the old man.

                “Uh-um, Sir I forgot my new address.”

                “Put your old one.”

                Timothy wrote down: 101 North Main Street Fort Riley, Kansas.  He sat the pen down.  William was distracted looking at an Indian medicine stick leaning on the desk.  He was just about to touch the eagle feather when the man glared down upon him.  The man guffawed so hard his belly shook with mirth.  “Haa-haa-haa!  You’ve boys are in for a real treat. You’re not in Kansas anymore. Haaa-haaa-haaa!” 

                Timothy grabbed William’s sleeve pulling him towards the exhibits.

                “What’s wrong with that dude?”

                “Shh, just ignore him.  He’s probably some old war veteran that likes to scare kids.”

                The museum was dark.  The exhibits were of the military infantry units from the Civil War to the invasion of Iraq. BBBAAAMMM!!! Lighting struck again.  Then the rains began to pelt the roof.

                “I want to go home.”

                “We can’t now.  We have to wait till the storms gone.  Let’s check out all the stuff.” The boys were soon were distracted looking at the displays.  The boys glanced through the Civil War and WWI exhibits.  Then a case caught the boy’s attention.  They noticed weapons used in their video games. This weapon case had a MG42, MP40 and the Luger PO8. While William stood there gazing upon the weapons Timothy heard what sounded like the whispering of a Gregorian chant coming from the floor.  He didn’t want to scare his brother more than he already was, so he led him towards another case.

                “Look at that hat.  It looks like dad’s hat but it has the skull and cross bones.”

                “Yeah, it’s a Nazi.  Creepy, huh?”

                “There is a lot of Nazi stuff here. I feel like we’re in a Nazi museum instead of Armor museum.”

                “Come on Willie, let’s go look at the vehicles.”

                The two boys were getting inside the helicopters, jeeps, humvee, ambulance and armored personnel carrier.  Suddenly, there was a loud crash. This time it sounded like a bomb went off. The boys were shook so hard that William fell and hit his head.  It started to bleed.  The lights went out in the entire building.  The reflectors inside the Personnel Carrier lit the cabin up enough so the boys could still see.  “Are you ok?”

                He shook his head in agreement. “I can hear people talking. I thought us and the Indian guy were the only ones here.”

                “Shhh…” Timothy searched around the vehicle.  He saw a two feet by four feet footlocker. He leaned over to whisper to William. “I’m going to put you in this footlocker.  You’ll be safe in here.  Just hold your sweatshirt on your head to stop the bleeding.”

                “What’s wrong?”

                “I’m not sure, but until I find out,  you need to stay safe.  I’ll come back. I promise.” 

                William nodded his head in agreement.  He got inside the footlocker. Timothy locked it and put the key in his hand.  That’s when the smoke bombs went off.  Then the men began to holler.

                “We know you are in here!  We’ll find you!”

                Timothy slid out of the bottom hatch and quietly locked it back.   Then he low crawled to the next vehicle.  The men popped smoke.  Timothy had never been in a gas chamber before, but he knew without a mask he would not be able to breathe.  He began to cough.  His airways tightened.  The mucus from his nose began to run down his face. It felt as liquid pepper was running down mouth and throat.   He wanted to vomit.  His eyes and skin was burning. He began to gag along with coughing.

                “Found him!  He’s here!”  A tall muscular man with a gas mask on pulled Timothy out from under the vehicle with the neck of his shirt.

                “I think this boy will do.”  The group of masked men began to laugh.  Timothy tried to fight off the men.  He was swinging his arms and kicking.  One of the men punched him so hard in the gut he vomited.  They began to drag his almost lifeless body down a set of hidden stairs.  There was a wax statue of Hitler with the Nazi flag in the front of the room.  There were some chairs.  Most frightening was a large bronze bull in the center of the room with firewood underneath it.  Timothy had learned about the brazen bull from the Pergamon Alter.  It was a torture device used for executions in ancient Greece. Now, Timothy was being locked inside.  He managed to keep the key to the footlocker hidden in his fingers.  He hands were bound.  His head was forced into the head of the bull.  The CS gas was still affecting him so he could not smell.  He was shaking with fear.

The blackout affected the entire base. All the buildings, traffic lights and street lamps were off.  The Colonel left the office and went to the new house.  His wife was sitting on the porch.  She was upset. 

                “Where’s the boys?”

                “I sent them to the museum over two hours ago.  If I’d known the storms were coming I would have never sent them. Can you go get them?”

                “I’m on it. Stay here, in case the boys come home.”

                “Honey, I’m scared.”

 “It will be ok.  The boys are safe. I’m going to bring them home.” He kissed her on the lips and left.  The Colonel parked in front of the museum.  The doors were locked.  The lights like the rest of the base were off.  He worried the boys were locked inside. He called the military police. The fire trucks and police came with sirens and lights on.

                “Colonel, what’s going on?”

                “Chief, I fear my boys have gotten locked in here.  We need to open it up. Do you have access?”

                “The retirees run the museum.  Have they given you a key?”

                “No Chief, otherwise I would have open the damn door myself.”

                The Provost Marshall intervened. “You have no warrant to open these doors.”

                “My boys are in there!”

                “Chief, this a hunch, no evidence points otherwise.”

                Then they heard what sounded like a shot from a handgun.

                “Is that evidence enough?” hollered the Colonel.

                The provost Marshall nodded his head in agreement as the Fire Chief signaled to the firemen to break open the glass doors.  CRASH! Glass shattered everywhere.  There was smoke coming out to the door. 

                “Men, that’s CS gas!” 

                The firemen and the police officers put on their gas mask. The Chief tried to stop the Colonel.

“You can’t go in there! We don’t have a mask for you.”

                “I’m a Colonel. I can handle a little gas.  My boys need me!” He ran in the building.  There was a large blast.  BBBBAAAMMM!!! KKKIIICCCCKKKBBBAAA!  Lightning struck the building again. Afterwards, the electricity came back on with all the lights.  The search party looked in all the rooms, bathrooms and cabinets for the boys.  They were nowhere in sight.  Then the Colonel heard the noise of metal against metal.  I sounded like a distress call “. . . – – – . . .” again and again.

                “SSSSHHHH!!! Everyone stop and listen!” shouted the Colonel

                “. . . – – – . . .”  “. . . – – – . . .” “. . . – – – . . .” Timothy struggled to focus his mind on creating the distress call on using the key from the footlocker he locked his brother inside of.  He heard his captives leave running up the stairs when the glass shattered.  His only hope of escape was to grasp the attention of the newcomers.

                “It’s SOS! Find where that call is coming from!” directed the Provost Marshall.

                “It’s over here!”  A military police officer pointed towards the floor.  Everyone rushed over there.  Clearly the signal was coming from below.  “Look for a hatch!  The boys are down here.”

The search party was panic stricken now they knew the boys were down below. 

                “There’s a secrete passage under the wing of the Stuka.  Come help me push this airplane.  Everyone gathered around the wing of the airplane and they pushed it just enough to get inside the hatch.  The Chief lifted it. Inside was a staircase leading into an underground bunker.  The Indian man from the front desk was lying on the floor at the bottom of the stairs with a bullet hole in his forehead. The SOS call was louder.  It was coming from the inside of bronze bull statue.  The Colonel opened it.  Inside was Timothy.  He was crying. “Dad, you saved me. These men locked me in here. They were going to light a fire but stopped when they heard the glass shatter. Dad they were going to kill me!  They said they were going to sacrifice me to the Devil!” He continued to cry.

                The Colonel embracing his son said, “I’d never let that happen.”  Where’s William?”

                “I hid him upstairs in a footlocker inside the Armored Personnel Carrier.  He’s safe.”

The search crew went upstairs to look for William.  Sure the footlocker in the Armored Personnel Carrier remained locked.  The CS gas was unable to get in the seal of the vehicle. Timothy handed his father the key that was still in his hand.  He opened it.   William was unconscious, but ok.  The minor cut on his head had stopped bleeding.

                The Colonel had his two arms around his sons. “Come on boys were going home.”

                “Dad the house is haunted.”

                “That’s why were going to pickup mom and drive back to Ft. Riley, Kansas. The Defense Department needs to reconsider opening this base.  The safety of my family always comes first.”

Daddy’s Lips

Vern’ s father looked frantically around the house. He just could not find it. He called Vern at work. “Daddy, this better be important. It January, busy season, I don’t have time for phone calls. There are people staring at me as we speak.”
“Screw them. They can wait. It’s going to take more than a few minutes to lose weight. I’m suffering here. I can’t find the chapped lip stuff.”

“Lip balm?”

“No, the stuff I use on my lips when they are cracked.”

“It’s called lip balm daddy. You probably left it in one of your pockets. The doctor is coming, I’ve got to go.” She hung up the phone.
Vern’s father licked his lips. The dry cracked skin burned from the salt of his saliva. He looked around the house. He tried lotion, but that burned too. Then he used ice but as soon as he removed the ice, his lips burned again. Then the cold from the ice started to make them throb. He went snooping around the bathroom cabinets for anything that could make his lips better and using it.  At last, he found some eucalyptus spearmint lotion. He rubbed a hefty amount on his lips.  At first, his lips tingled then as seconds turned into minutes his lips began to burn even more than before.  He used the sleeve of his robe to wipe it off. Frustrated he called Vern at work again.

“Dr. Slim’s office, how can we help you tone up and slim down?”

“Vern, Vern”

“Daddy, what are you doing? I told you I was slam busy.”

“It’s my lips Vern. They’re killing me.”

“Again, you are calling for the lip balm.  I’ve already told you I don’t know where it is.”

“I give up. I looked everywhere.  Can you come home at lunch time and bring me some?”

“Noooo! The house is almost an hour’s drive.  Are you kidding me?”

“Vern, you’ve got to help me.  I’ve tried ice. I’ve tried butter. I’ve tried conditioner and your eucalyptus lotion.”

“You put all that crap on your lips?”

“Yes, and they still hurt. That smelly lotion makes my lips feel numb and burn at the same time.”

“Daddy, how about you walk to the store and buy some medicated lip balm?”

“I don’t want to. I want you to bring it to me, plus, you know what I need. I’m clueless.”

“Noooo! I’m working. I have to get off this phone before I have another outburst from new clients in the lobby.”

“Fine.” Daddy hung up the phone. He decided to heed Verns advice and walk to the store. The sun was shining. It was fifteen degrees above normal in the small New Jersey town. He walked to the gas station. He felt good from the walk but the wind made his lips burn a little more, so he went to the refrigerators to get a cold soda. He stood there gulping down his 20 ounce when he caught a glimpse of two of his friends from the VFW. They were standing at a counter scratching off lottery tickets. Daddy waved to them.  His lips were so dry that he could feel the skin cracking more when he was talking to Vern, so he did not feel up to talking to his friends. He walked up and down the aisles looking for the lip balm. He did not want to ask the cashier, because he did not want his friends from the VFW to know he wore lip-gloss or whatever Vern had called it. He paid for his soda and left without anything for his lips.

Outside the store, daddy thought about just walking home, but if he didn’t get something to soothe his lips he would not be able to attend tonight’s VFW nacho dinner. It was once a month. It was one of his favorite days of the month. Vern would never approve of him eating a plate full of tortillas piled high with cheese, beef, chicken, jalapeno peppers and lots of salsa. Damn it! I’m going to have to walk on base. It’s my only option to find something to repair my cracked sandpaper lips, or I just won’t get to go to the nacho dinner.

The base store was only a mile from the gas station. He was a little out of breath once he got inside. When he walked into the store, he caught a glimpse of what looked like a medical counter. He could not see well because he forgot to wear his glasses. He found a woman wearing a  white lab coat over a dress. She looked like a pharmacist. He walked up to the counter.  His swollen, cracked, burning lips were throbbing and he did not want to open his mouth full when he talked so he mumbled.

“My lips” He said while pointing to them.

“Excuse me Sir?”

“I need something for my lips.”

“Ok, our lip products are over here?”  She led him to a bar stool at a countertop with mirrors. “Is there any color you are looking for today?”

“No, I need it for the puffiness.”

The woman smiled. She pulled out a small tray of samples. “I know exactly what you need.” The woman put on some lip-gloss on daddy’s lips. He felt an odd sensation, but it was better than it felt before. “Do you like it?”

Daddy shook his head in agreement. Then he took the container to the cash register. The cashier looked at him with surprise.  Daddy shook his head. “My lips…”

The cashier nodded in agreement.  Then she handed him his change. Daddy walked back home. He made himself a sandwich and played video games till Vern got home. Vern came in the door as usual with her hands full of groceries. Daddy continued to play his video game. After Vern sat her bags down in the kitchen, she came into the living room.

“Daddy, I got you some lip balm.”

“You’re too late.”  He looked up at Vern.  She started to laugh.

“What in nation’s name is on your lips?”

“Lip stuff from the store on base.”

“Lipstick?”

“Noooo, I got it at the medicine counter from the nice girl in the white coat.”

“Did you wear your glasses?”

“Nooooo”

“Did you tell the girl you are color blind?”

“Noooo.  Why are you asking me all these questions?”

“Because, you look a little draggy”

“Draggy”

“Yes, like a drag queen. Where’s the tube of lip stuff?”

“In my coat pocket”

Vern went to get the lip product her dad bought from his coat pocket. “Daddy, you bought red raspberry  lip volumizer lip stick.”

“That explains a lot.”

“What do you mean?”

“I thought I heard the girl helping me chuckle. Then the cashier was a bit surprised when she saw me. Then I thought I saw the mailman blow me a kiss.”

“Daddy, the store does not have a medicine counter. It was a makeup counter. I hope you learned your lesson.”

“Yeah, you should stay here and take care of me instead of sending me out into this sick world looking for lip stuff.”

Dear Friend,

Dear Friend,

I have been thinking about how I want to start this letter. I guess I will begin by saying thank you for always being there for me. Thanks for taking walks with me, dealing with my bickering, watching me type away on this computer day all the time and always forgiving me.

The problem is that I am a little concerned about you. I want to start 2012 in the right direction by addressing all my conflicts.

  1. I think you sleep too much. I think you might sleep more than you are awake. What could you be dreaming?
  2. How do you maintain your figure? Seriously, you eat cookies for breakfast and have a ginormous dinner. I have never seen you eat a veggie in your life.
  3. I do not like how you beg to people. It makes you look very desperate.
  4. You should learn to cover your mouth when you sneeze. Not everyone wants your germs.
  5. Why do you always like to take breaks when we go for walks? Sometimes, we hardly make it down the block before you want to stop and look around. This habit is very annoying…
  6. I find it odd that you always get to get to have someone else to do your hair. Come on you are no superstar.
  7. You really should stop smelling everything; some things should not to be that close to your nose.
  8. Learn to control your hair. It sheds everywhere. Would it trouble you to use hair gel, mouse or hairspray?
  9. It is embarrassing when you have to hang your head out of the car window, even during winter.
  10. It really irks me when I see you rubbing your bottom on my carpet. Can you just learn to use tissue?
  11. Stop licking everything! I do mean everything. It is not very lady like.
  12. Your bed is for you, not just your toys. It would be all right if you ever wanted to sleep there.

Overall, you are my best friend. I made this list to bring our relationship closer, but if you choose not to change, I will love you just as you are…my dog.