Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Short Story That Wont Go Away

The Short Story That Wont Go Away

Hello Gang,
I was going to post something witty and insightful. Ya, know, like I do. But it occurs to me that I have a short story floating around my head. It won’t go away. So I think I am gonna have to try and write it. Scary! So, what this means is every time I could be posting here, I “Should” be writing the story.
So I am putting my toe in the water and hope a big wave of insecurity doesn’t drowned me. But, listen I wouldn’t even be trying this if you all hadn’t supported every thing have posted so far. You’ve given me courage. Even with all my grammar and spelling mistakes you have been lovely warm friends.
Now, I am still going to be out here commenting on all your clever doings. But this blog may be quiet for a week or two. It should take me that long to find out if the idea has legs.
I’ll keep you posted when I can.
Love to you all until then.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

A Sound At My Window



What was that sound? A scratching? A soft but intent scratching coming from the window. At this time of night? Look, the cat hears it too. Is it a branch from the Hawthorn tree outside my window, rubbing in the breeze against the glass? It must be. But there is no breeze. I can see from my bed that the branches of the tree are not moving. It has been still and hot all day. When I finally fell asleep a few hours ago the air was stiflingly thick and hot. What I wouldn’t have given then for a cool breeze. What I would give for one now, but for another reason altogether. If I could see that branch move in the moonlight and hear the wind in the night, I could forget all this and roll over. I could fall back asleep. Fall back asleep. What an odd term. That to sleep is to fall. Like losing control, to let go of consciousness and drop into a well of darkness. To take for granted that I will wake, that I will land somewhere in that abyss of sleep softly. Do we only let go because we are too exhausted to stay awake? Will I lose my grip simply because I cannot hold on any longer? Or will I forget to care? Is it that I will let myself acquiesce once I have become distracted enough by some lithe and yielding thought that comes to me with arms out-stretched to hold me in the embrace of sleep? Now, that is a vivid, albeit Victorian image of sleep. Like some midsummer’s night wood nymph, come to seduce me into sleep. That might be pleasant. Enough! Stop thinking and let yourself sleep. It‘s not as if you don’t let yourself sleep every night previous to this one. Relax and stop thinking. Stop listening to that scratching, and stop looking at the window. It is nothing.
Too high up from the sill to be a mouse. The sound comes not at any rhythm. It is inconsistent, yet diligent - as if it is working away at something. Something like the paint and putty that holds the pane in place. And when that pane lets go, will I hear it fall softly on the carpeted floor? Or will it be held in place for a moment and then turned and pulled through the window and carefully dropped to the grass below? Would I hear it from the bed? Would it shatter from this height? God, what is holding him up? Does he float there? Or is he clinging to the clapboards with long and bony fingers? Are his toes curled under each board just enough to allow him to work with one hand?
The cat sits up and continues to stare at the window, her ears pulled back. She suddenly hisses. No! Don’t think about this. Don’t let go. Don’t give in to panic. Think about some thing else. Better yet, take action. Stand up and walk over to the window. Check out this phantom for yourself. Discover for yourself what this unremarkable sound is and just what is causing it. Or, if you cannot bring yourself to do that, get up and leave the room. Perhaps if I pretend to be thirsty, and act as if I am just getting up for a glass of water, will I fool him? Then I can make a run for it. But to where? The front door? Outside? That’s where he is. Could I make it to the car? No, the darkness is his domain. One step outside and I would be his. His embrace would not be that of some sprite, but of some other thing, with long and oh-so-cold fingers on my skin. I would be warm and slick with sweat and paralyzed with fear in his arms. Would his eyes be red like they are in horror movies? No, his are yellow like a wolf. Yes, there they are. I see them through the glass. Wait, are they real? If they blink they are real. Yes, there they go. Not once but twice as if to answer me. Yes, they are real. They are lovely, really. Fringed with sooty lashes. Not yellow at all really, but golden and great. The paler cheekbone angles sharply in and then there are his lips; full and gently parted, whispering something. Yes, I've been foolish. I am going to the window. It is such a hot night. I need the air.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Murder On Heartbreak Road Part 2

Murder On Heartbreak Road Part 2

My name is Izzie McNeill I am a thirty five year old widow with three daughters. My husband Sam had died three years ago in a car accident that was interesting only because it was stupidly avoidable and that it had broken my heart.
It was raining, his tires were worn, and he skidded into another car. The other driver was unhurt and my Sam was dead. A simple, boring story, as death so often is, to those it doesn’t directly effect. And I guess that is how it’s supposed to be.
I live in Ipswich, Massachusetts, A small coastal town founded way back in the 1600’s. It’s a typical picture postcard New England town, filled with little shops and antique homes. Yes, Washington slept here, although whether or not he had fried clams is unknown. Everyone else has. We’re famous for our clams here. That and our beach. Cranes Beach is one of those white sand beaches that is just big enough to fit all the tourist willing to pay the rather exorbitant price to swim in it’s pristine freezing waters. Ipswich has had a witch or two in its day, a few famous authors, and one Puritan poet. We have a few great restaurants and more then a couple of bars that each cater to it’s own select crowd. If you’re of Greek extraction you go one place. If you’re Polish you go to another. There’s a place if your rich and another if your just folks. It’s the same with the town’s churches. Everyone’s welcome to visit, but whether you’ll be considered a regular is another matter all together.
Our town has Mansions and row houses and everything in between. The liberals think there are too many conservatives and the conservatives think just the opposite. The nice thing is that there seems to be room enough for everyone. The one thing we don’t have is a lot of big crime. I swear to you the most interesting thing in last week’s police notes was the report of a duck crossing Main St. at midnight. Hold the presses. Not that I am complaining mind you. Nor am I naive to the oddities that must go on behind closed doors. Ipswich is full of regular people, just like any town. I know that there have been a few murders and acts of violence committed here in the last four hundred years. But when they happen here, the town stands still for a moment in time. The idea that such a thing has happened is so tangible that you can almost feel it like an electric shock reverberate through one citizen to the next. In Ipswich it is more likely two guys will get into a brawl outside one of the pubs. A few times some clammers have been caught catching more bales of marijuana then clams. Perhaps the one factor keeping most violent crime from our shores is the town’s love; no strike that, it’s pure, guilt free love of gossip.
I really can’t imagine anyone from our town getting away with murder with out everyone finding out.. They would what are you doing? What are you up to? What was that chainsaw noise they heard last night at midnight coming from your backyard? And hey, why haven’t we seen aunt Bertha in awhile? The one that we all know is leaving you that small fortune when she dies. All I am saying in this town not many people get away with much. It’s very Yankee. It’s kind of Puritan Pilgrim too. But without all that witch burning and more martinis. For the most part it works.
This time it didn’t.
For the sake of full discloser you should know I didn’t do it. I know just were I was at the time of Linda’s death. Although it would not be much of an alibi had I ever been considered a possible suspect? I was in bed under my covers. Trying to hide from another migraine. This one was building like thunderclouds. It threatened to become one of those rare headaches that not only incapacitates me, but actually frightens me. The bottle had read take one tablet every six hours for pain. I had already taken three in the last five minutes. For months now it had taken more and more Vicodine to even make a dent in a really bad one. It was beginning to become a problem. Of course that wasn’t what I was thinking. I was thinking what if I hadn’t taken enough pills. What if the pain still came roaring in?
I could already see the stark white flutter of wings at the periphery of my vision. Those were my birds of prey. This was my particular apparition. Migraine suffers often see flashes or hues of light. For me it was angry, panicked white wings. Occasionally there might be shadow of violet or a bright yellow streak when I closed my eyes. But that for me were only seen as the migraine was passing. Or more likely then not, it when the narcotics where kicking in.
On that sunny afternoon in June, the world for me was slowly becoming warm and sweet. I was falling in love with everyone in the world, and those white birds were becoming angels.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Murder On Heartbreak Road

Murder On Heartbreak Road

You see the thing about Linda was, that she was stupid. And like a lot of stupid people, she was also loud. Yes, Linda Reynolds was a loud, blousy, over bleached blonde, who had no idea how dumb she was.
Not being bright alone is fine. Everyone is stupid when it comes to something. Now, I don’t know this for a fact, but I like to think Albert Einstein had no rhythm. He understood the workings of the universe both on a technical scale and also a hypothetical one, but when it came to Salsa dancing he was a mess. Lucile Ball was a genius when it came to comic timing. But she couldn’t drive stick. Again, these are not facts, but for me the idea brings a certain fairness and order to the world.
The only natural gifts that Linda’s possessed were her breasts. They were large and they were real. Not so big as to be thought comical. Or even so big as to not be taken seriously. Which might have been a blessing considering her intellect. No, she had none of that Marilyn Monroe charm. But it was enough to get her married to a lawyer and moved out of her blue-collar town and into the house across the street from me.
Ted Reynolds her husband, was going so be someone someday. They both knew it. For Ted, Linda fit the bill for his plans perfectly. Someday he would be senator Ted Reynolds and there she would stand next to him. Being, pretty, blonde and thinking everything that came out of his mouth was brilliant and original. All this while, at the
same time having big breasts. He would someday soon give her a behemoth brick house crammed onto one and a half acre lot in a new town. A better town. One where new money would waft in the air like the new car smell in the leather interior of so many of her better friends shiny and always new SUVs. In return she would give him good-looking children and not ask too many questions. They were perfect for each other.
That is, right up until Linda was found dead. Bludgeoned to death on her spotless kitchen floor.
Linda had lived on my street for the past four years. I was one of her best friends and I never liked her. But she never noticed. For the sake of maintaining order in our peaceful neighborhood, I never brought it up. It was always so much easier to let her babble on for a while, then excuse yourself because of the kids, the dog, or anything that you could think of, not to make waves. I mean it wasn’t like she was going to catch on. So you can imagine my shock when I had heard that someone had bashed in Linda’s head. Especially when it had occurred to me to do it myself on so many occasions.
I know how this makes me sound. Sure I was stunned. I was upset. When you think of something like that happening right across the street. I mean when you really stop and think that a person passed right by your house, on their way to commit murder. Well, it’s horrible. Linda was annoying, but certainly not evil. She didn’t deserve to die violently and alone.