Whisper lived in the countryside of Oklahoma with her mother. On Sunday afternoon she was helping her mother on the farm. Then her mother called out to her. “Whisper, clean the spider webs off the house.”

“I thought you were going to spray them?”

“I should of, but I forgot.”

Whisper took the broom and swept under the window and door trims around the house. She noticed a very large daddy long leg spider. She didn’t scream, because she knew he would not hurt her. When she finished she went into the house. Her mother was now making dinner. “Whisper, I need you to sweep up the leaves on the porch. Every time the door opens the leaves come in. That Sooner wind.”

“I thought you were going to fix the screen door.”

“Well, I should of, but I forgot.”

“Fine, I got it.”

Whisper went back outside. A huge wind gust came. She turned her back against it. The wind was so forceful that rubber band on her braid came off. When the wind slowed down Whisper’s long red curly hair was in her face. She was so distracted by her hairs flying about she didn’t notice the small black spider that landed on her red locks. When she finished sweeping she went back inside to eat dinner.

“Thanks for doing that. Those leaves are such a mess.”

“It’s fall. They’re supposed to be everywhere. You should of just fixed the screen door.”

“I’ll get to it soon enough. You need to do your homework.”

“I wanted to shower first.”

“Well, you don’t want to be a procrastinator like me.”

Whisper didn’t say anything. She finished her dinner and then went to her bedroom to do her homework. She was sitting at her desk when her head started to itch. She scratched it. She finished her algebra. Her head was starting to hurt, so she rest in bed. Her mother came in the room to check on her. “I thought you were going to take a shower?”

“Yeah, my head hurts. Can you look at it?”

“Later, go shower.”

Whisper took a shower and then went to bed. By now the small black widow spider was safely resting under her pillow from when she had lay down before. Not knowing about the spider Whisper went to sleep for the night. In the morning her scalp warm to the touch. “Mom, look at my head. It really hurts.”

“Ok, ok” She looked closely at her scalp and sure enough she noticed the two small red humps. “I think you got bitten by a mosquito. You’ll be ok.”

“What if I’m not?”

“If it’s not better tomorrow, I’ll call the doctor.”

Whisper went to school. All day she had a throbbing pain on her head. When she came home she did not do her chores and went to sleep instead. Her mother came home. She was upset. “Whisper you need to do your chores.”

“I don’t feel good.”

“You said that this morning. I told you I’ll call the doctor tomorrow.”

Whisper did get up and finish her chores. Then she went to bed without eating. In the morning her head was warm to the touch. Now instead of two bumps she had three. “Mom, I’m really sick. I can’t go to school. Look at my head.”

“I told you I will call the doctor today. Go to school. I’ll get to it.”

Whisper went to school. Her teacher could tell she was ill so she sent her to lie down in the principal’s office. The secretary called her mother, but Whisper’s mother never called back. Whisper went home and lay down in bed. This time her head, neck and back was hurting. She fell asleep in aching pain. When her mother got home she saw her. “Whisper, you look terrible. Are you ok?”

“No” She was too weak to talk or open her eyes.

“I was so busy at work I forgot to call the doctor.” Her mother noticed the bumps on her neck and back, but thought it was more mosquito bites. “I promise tomorrow I’ll call the doctor.”

“Ok mom, love you.” Whisper went to sleep and never woke again.

Sick by Flu Toots

“Whatcha doing?”
“I’m sick.”
“You don’t look sick. Why are you playing video games?”
“Because I’m sick!”
“Why do you think you’re sick?”
“I went to the movies and someone farted on me. One of those bad flu toots. They just kept floating into my face one after another.”
“Gross! That didn’t happen.”
“Yes! Yes it did. I sat for two hours behind three sick tooters.”
“Why did you sit there? Why didn’t you just get up and move?”
“My parents made me. They paid for the movie and they made me stay. I had to put my dad’s coat over my head and look out the sleeve. I was about to vomit.”
“You’re sick.”
“I told you.”
“No, you are sick and in a real sick way.”
“I know!”

Is it really the end of print publishing?

           If you said yes, why every time I step in the local bookstore it looks like the Post Office during Christmas? I am not talking about the amount of people in line for a coffee or the stray shoppers licking the corners of magazines. Every time I step in the bookstore, I am shelling out over $40 dollars on books and magazines along with the other readers lined up at the cash registers. 

              I am a reader and writer. I blog online and have a dream of being published. The problem is my job is real estate and my hobby / pipe dream is writing. I would like to say I am a good writer. I have even had publishers tell me my work is great. The real problem is that publishers are not willing to take risk on new or unheard or writers. I am not just speaking for myself, but many good, funny and great writers are producing stories online free in the blogosphere in hopes of being published only to receive the same response, “We are currently only representing known authors or celebrities.”

            I think the publishers are getting it wrong. What if publishers were like homebuilders? What if a customer could go into the local bookstore and select a book with a genre just for them? Today, I noticed a woman in the bookstore that was totally stumped looking for a book. Finally, the woman with the blank stare on her face looked over at me. She asked me what book I was getting. I told her. Then she asked for suggestions. I gave her a few and she thanked me. If this woman were shopping in any other business there would be a customer service person helping her with a ready product or offering her the option to build her own. Maybe in the publishing business the bookstore cannot build a book for the customer in the store, but maybe the publishers need to start watching the blogosphere, take surveys or watch patterns of behaviors online. The truth is this woman was sick and tired of having celebrity biographies and diet books thrown in her face. She wanted an intelligent, thought provoking book. Many of print publications books and periodicals are mainstreamed and full of advertisements pushing products.

           Granted, there are still lots of great books and editorials being published. I just feel the publishing world is not taking the risks to create a profit. The first goal of any CEO of print publication should be to wrap the products in plastics. Stop allowing customers to read your products for free.  Monthly, I purchase an international magazine that cost three times of the local brands. I pay that because I like the editorials, actually I love them. I do not mind that it is wrapped in plastic preventing me from previewing it. My own teenage son purchased a computer magazine from the United Kingdom, because it had more products reviews.  It also included an indepth look at concept technologies as opposed to the American magazine full of advertisements. The American magazine was about the view of one computer giant compared to all the competitors while the other magazine gave an unbiased look at all technologies available. 

            Over all, this article is my firsthand experience of the products I see publishing world placing in my local bookstore. I have to hope that maybe someone in the American publishing world will seriously consider this article, push the envelope, and create great editorials and literature. Take risks. Stop feeding the readers with advertisements. Take chances on new writers. Print facts. Take aim at silenced topics. There is more to publishing than advertising.  There are new artist like the Fitzgeralds and Hemingways alive today writing free articles in the blogosphere. Give more writers (and me included) smaller publishing contracts. Get more books on those shelves where you have placed those homogenous celebrity books. Readers want to read. Writers want to write.

The affair

“Danny…” The woman pauses to cry.

“Julie, what are you doing” You shouldn’t be calling me.”

“I needed to. I need to talk.”

“To me?”

“I trust you. I have no one else. There is only you.” She cries out loud. “Please, just listen to me. You’ve always been my best friend.”

“I know, but our friendship is secret and Keith is here. You know how he feels about you. It’s eight in morning.”

“Danny, put me on speaker phone. I don’t care if he can hear my problems. I just need your advice.”

“Go ahead,” Danny put the phone on speaker phone and places it on the kitchen counter.

“I caught him.”

“What? Nooo!”

“Danny, who’s that on speaker?”

“It’s Julie. She’s upset.”

“Go figure” Keith mumbles as he pours himself a cup of coffee.

“Jules, what happened? Are you sure he really did it?”

“I’m not sure.”

“Did you walk in on him?”

“No, it was nothing like that. I came home last night and found another woman’s shirt in the guest room. It was blue, ripped and smothered in perfume. It was laying flat on the spare bed.”

“Have you asked the maid?”

“Danny, I’m poor. I don’t have a maid.”

“Sorry, I forgot. That shirt could belong to anyone. Just because you found a shirt does not mean he’s cheating on you. Could it be a friend’s?”

“No, the shirt was a short sleeve blue cotton shirt with poloyster side panels. It was worn. The tag was faded and the front was ripped. That shirt was too cheap for any of my friends to wear.”

“Did you confront him?”

“Yes, he was already sleeping in bed. He blew me off. Then this morning he turned it all around on me. He said I had to keep my mouth shut or I would just humiliate myself, again.”

“Again? What does he mean by that?”

“He was referring to my ex. The infamous male slut I was married to.”

“Oh my…”

Julie begins to cry again. “Danny, will someone ever want to be with just me?”
“Of course you will, but give him some time to tell you the truth. You guys have been together for six years now, and you’ve been through a lot. This will pass. Just don’t jump without knowing the truth.”

“What if I don’t want to know the truth? M ex left me feeling ashamed and like I was less of a woman. Then there was that boyfriend I had in college that couldn’t keep his pants on. I was the laughing stock of the campus. Then you left me.”

“Julie, I’m gay. I was always gay. I loved you. I still do, but you can never give me what Keith can.”
“I know. I love you and respect your choice with Keith. At least you were always honest with me. We were never exclusive. That’s why I’m calling your instead on anyone else. I can trust you.”

“Julie, you are loved. You might feel dark and unloved right now, but you are not alone. You will find that one that only needs your love. You might have already had, but until you give him a chance to explain you are not going to feel better. Don’t walk away from him based on a cheap blue shirt. Your relationship deserves more than being torn apart from a ripped shirt.”