Saturday, December 03, 2016

In the Beginning



I like to travel. I want to travel more. I want to tell you all about it.

A big part of traveling involves what I take with me when I go places. I have a huge bag addiction. I have spent a fortune on briefcases, tote bags, messenger bags, suitcases, purses and backpacks. I have found it difficult to find perfection because I hate not having what I need with me when I need it. But, I also don’t like being encumbered by too much stuff. So, like with clothing, layering is the key.

My absolute minimum list of must haves:

Cell phone - I have the large Apple iPhone 6s Plus because it’s beautiful. I take pictures and videos, read, watch movies, write, check-in on all of my social media platforms, listen to music and books, and map out my routes
Cash and cards - good food and drink costs
IDs - drivers’ license, passport, medical card, etc.
Small notebook and felt tip pen - sometimes I just need to go old school
Lip balm - it’s not likely, but I might kiss someone (it could happen, I’m not dead yet, you know and travelers are a friendly bunch, so it pays to be prepared)
Tissues - speaking of being prepared: for napkins at dives, wiping away tears of joy and potty breaks on the side of the road
Contact cards - I’ve got to promote, market and connect
Keys - the Silver Bullet gets me there and everywhere (it’s a pretentious name for a minivan, but I live large in my head.)

After much trial and error, I found this bag. Whether it’s going to the grocery store or a two week trip to Europe, this leather Passport Wallet holds all of the above. Light-weight, small, sturdy and convenient, it’s a perfect fit and low cost. It has a very long and strong cord that adjusts for tucking in a jacket for security. I’ve used it everyday for several months and decided it’s a keeper.

Saturday, November 05, 2016

yin and yang



Emma kicked the marigolds that grew along the crumbling sidewalk. She scowled at the dandelions growing in her uncut lawn. They were half mustard yellow and half faded white. She plucked one up and crushed the head between her fingers.

The front porch screen door slammed as her daughter, Sara, struggled out with her suitcases. Her turquoise capri slacks caught on a protruding nail and ripped. Sara ignored the damage, dragged the luggage across the dirty planks of the deck and down the stairs, bumping and banging the bags as she descended.

He leaned against his beat up jalopy, smoking a cigarette. He called it a classic, but he drove it everyday to his minimum wage job - if it started. He threw his butt on the ground. He smashed it out with the toe of his worn boot so it wouldn’t light the trash on fire.

Sara tripped in a concrete hole. Emma held out a hand to steady her. Sara leaned in to kiss her other on the cheek. Emma turned away, eyed the peeling paint around Sara’s bedroom window devoid of curtains. Sara’s lips fell on flaccid skin. She turned away from her mother and towards him.

He popped the trunk jangling the tin cans tied to the car’s bumper. He got behind the wheel, cranked the motor several times before it caught and started blowing black smoke onto Sara’s shins.

Sara lifted her bags into the cavernous compartment and slammed the lid. She climbed into the passenger seat. She waved to her mother as he pulled away from the curb.

Emma watched her daughter’s reflection in the dirty windows across the front of the house. Her image grew smaller as she moved right to left, then disappeared at the corner.

~ ~ ~

Sunshine filtered through shear lace curtains glinted on crystal wine glasses, a set of silver ware for twelve and two china gravy boats. Emma sorted through the gifts, placing them in bubble wrap and totes so they could be taken to Sara and John’s new home when they found one. Sara had plenty of space in her family room to store the items while they looked.

John moved the containers off of the table as Emma filled them. He smiled when Emma showed him items from her relatives: electric foot warmers from Uncle Bob, his and her back scratchers from Auntie Anne and yellow ducky sheets from cousin Mary. John held up a decorative figurine of the three monkeys. His brother Manny signed the accompanying card.

They took a break when the Timothy Mason longcase clock in the corner of the formal dining room chimed out three o’clock. They waited for the echo of fifteenth ring to still before the moved outside.

Sara brought warm chocolate chip cookies to them on the front porch after they finished their cataloging of the presents. They rocked in Emma’s chairs, inherited from her grandparents. Ruts marked the wooden slats. Sara sat on the swing like she always did.

A tear rolled down Emma’s cheek when she looked at Sara and John’s luggage stacked near the railing. Pink hearts covered Sara’s ID tag and smiley faces decorated John’s.


John handed Emma a crisp, cloth hankie. She blushed, got up and went to smell the coral tea roses growing by the stairs down to the sea shell covered path. Sara joined her, placed an arm around her mother and led her back into their ancestral home. John followed carrying the suitcases up to Sara’s childhood bedroom.

Friday, October 28, 2016

tightened up

Light flashed across my bedroom window. Magic bloomed.

Ectoplasm wafted over my naked feet. It formed a bat, larger than normal. It’s claws gripped and ungripped the wood of the foot board to the beat of my racing heart.

“Dracula greets the Green Witch.”

I touched my chartreuse hair. “What’s up, Drac?”

“The Beast bursts from the Netherworld.” Dracula took a breath. The air passed between his fangs and he whistled. “He hunts you.”

“Not new news, Drac.” I hefted my dead legs out of bed and touched the power points on the outside of each knee. Energy sizzled. I stood. When I faced Dracula, he appeared in his elegant vampire form.

“Gorgon fractured the prison of the House of Mirrors.” Dracula slashed his long fingers in the form of a “Z.”

I raised an eyebrow.

“He shocked his guards into oblivion.” Dracula stroked my white unicorn stuffed animal. “He captured Rust.”

Rust. The town of my birth. The place of my ancestors and my descendants. Ten generations in both directions.

My magically animated legs moved me closer to Dracula. I took the unicorn from his lifeless fingers. I touched the silver horn. It transformed. Ignis Fatuus, the sword of illusion, deception and confusion - Fool’s Paradise. I kissed the rainbow blade, slid it into its sheath. I rolled my shoulders, remembering its weight.

“He will crucify one person a day until you meet him in the mountains.”

“How do you know all this?”

Dracula blinked. There was no reason for him to blink. His eyes turned red, the black pupils fading to scarlet. Dracula wanted my blood.

“He sent me.” Dracula’s incisors elongated. He lunged in my direction. I thought of Rust. I moved a hair’s breadth in reality, folded space and time and flashed out of hiding.

the TWICE as LONG version

Friday, October 21, 2016

Fool's Paradise


What just happened?

A dog barked. Birds twittered. A cricket called from the other side of the wall.

Light flashed across my bedroom window. I lay on top of my blankets unable to sleep. I didn’t toss and turn, or tangle in the sheets. I was just too tired to sleep. I closed my eyes. Light strobed against my lids.

Magic bloomed.

A wisp of ectoplasm wafted over the foot of my bed, hanging over my naked feet. It thickened to form a solid bat, larger than normal. It’s claws gripped and ungripped the wood to the beat of my racing heart. Bats looked weird right-side up. Random thought. Not important. It ruffled its black, leathery wings, settled lower on its tail and spoke.

“Dracula greets the Green Witch,” Dracula said.

I touched my bright chartreuse hair. “Trite, baby,” I said. “What’s up, Drac?” I sat up, plumped my pillows.

“Dracula brings news of import.”

“Do tell.”

Talking to the vampire in his bat-form caused a stabbing pain behind my left eye. He slurred his words and had an accent.

“The Beast bursts forth from the Netherworld.” Dracula took a breath. When he converted to a mammal, he needed to breathe. Just one of those odd things about magical creatures. The air passed between his fangs and he whistled.

“He hunts you.”

“Not new news, Drac,” I said. “Gorgon has been grunting through the various planes of existence looking for me for several centuries.” I hefted my dead legs over the side of the bed and touched the power points on the outside of each knee. Energy sizzled and I stood. When I faced Dracula, his stood in his elegant vampire form.

“Gorgon fractured the prison of the House of Mirrors.” Dracula waved his elegant, long fingers in the form of a slashing “Z.”

I raised an eyebrow.

“He shocked his guards into oblivion.” Dracula lifted my white unicorn stuffed animal from my granny square quilt. He stroked the soft plush.

“Can you feel that?” I asked.

“You know I can not,” he said. “My skin has no nerve endings. None of my senses function in this form. I am dead.” He frowned.

“But, hey, you get to live forever,” I said.

“Droll.”

“No one says that anymore.” Some old creatures had a hard time adjusting to current times.

“He has captured Rust.”

I stopped smiling. Rust. The town of my birth. The place of my ancestors and my descendants. Ten generations in both directions, past and future.

My magically animated legs moved me closer to Dracula. I took the unicorn from his lifeless fingers and touched the silver horn. It transformed into my sword, the metal of the blade a mother-of-pearl rainbow, the hilt wrapped in soft white leather. Ignis Fatuus, the sword of illusion, deception and confusion - Fool’s Paradise. I kissed the blade, slid it into the sheath that materialised on my back and rolled my shoulders, remembering its weight.

“He has imprisoned the entire town and will crucify one person a day along the perimeter until you meet him in the mountains.”

“How do you know all this?”

Dracula blinked. There was no reason for him to blink. His eyes turned red, the black pupils fading to scarlet.

I moved a hair’s breadth in reality and saved my life. Dracula was starving. I don’t know how he had hidden it from me. He wanted my blood.

“He sent me,” said Dracula. His incisors elongated. He lunged in my direction. I thought of Rust. I folded space and time. I flashed out of hiding.

Friday, October 14, 2016

i don't belong


The narrow opening sucked me in. Bricks in shades of cranberry, pomegranate and plum laid in alternating patterns of Flemish bond and herringbone paved the ground and curved up into walls and archways that cradled dark, tinted windows three stories tall to form a cul-de-sac canyon with a waterfall on the butt end. The air was heavy with moisture. Breathing the thick air slowed my movements. I strolled among empty tables covered in blazing white cloths.

I sat at the very back, my back to a vine-covered backdrop hiding wireless speakers. Aaron Neville crooned through lush, mottled leaves, “...Life is too short to have sorrow, you may be here today and gone tomorrow …” I smoothed my hands across the clean, linen surface in front of me. The stiff fibers scratched my fingertips. The bartender placed a Virgin Bloody Mary in the center of the circle, an open wound in perfection. Heat stung my tongue, as I sipped the sharp, bitter cocktail. Ice cold condensation soothed my irritated palms. I wiped the wet onto my jean-wrapped thighs.

Couples meandered into my secret garden. The women in white silk blouses and jeweled skirts, toes peeking from strappy sandals, hair sleek, unmade-up make-up. The men wore collared polo shirts and Palm Beach slacks. Wrinkle-free. Stainless. Relaxed. Nondescript waiters addressed the invaders by name. They chuckled at quips. They anticipated needs. They provided the usual. They waited. I watched while I ate butter-tender sea scallops and golden potato hash, I absorbed fluttering fingertips, deep-throated laughs, crossed ankles and slouched postures, arms that rested around shoulders, fingers that plucked at loose necklines, lips that brushed at wrists and cheeks and whispered into ears. They felt my stares. They glanced my way. Their eyes slid off to the pool on my right. The fountain with its dancing water didn’t hold their attention, either.