THINGS I LIKE

Our prompt for today on Writing 101 is:  Make a list of 10, 25 or 50 things you like.   So here goes:

10 Things I like 

  1.  The smell of rain in the air
  2. Thunderstorms
  3. Smell of fresh coffee perking
  4. My cat/cats curled up in my lap
  5. Reading a good book
  6. Eating popcorn while watching a good movie
  7. Walking with a light breeze blowing
  8. Sedona at any time of year
  9. Smell of bread baking
  10. To complete a story I am writing

4th of July

50 WORD STORIES

The explosions were going off all around me!

The dogs were whining and the babies crying.

I do not have to be here but I could not refuse.

Can not hurt feelings.  Especially my best friend.

Thought it would be fun.

I am going home and taking my entourage.

Mr. Pauley’s Undoing.

We are supposed to write in the first person, using the voice of a twelve year old.  And use the neighbors, M. and M. Pauley to fill out the story, with Mr. Pauley dying and Mrs. Pauley being evicted. 

It was a challenge for me but I think I came through it okay.

 

I was sitting on the swing on my front porch. It was dusk and I loved to watch the passing parade of people going by. There was old Mr. Jones walking his dog, and right after him came a young couple that I didn’t know. They were holding hands and looked to be about 17 years old or thereabouts anyway. The young guy was moving his hand to the girl’s waist and then it started creeping lower to her butt. I heard a giggle from the girl and had to smile to myself.

I was only twelve but looking forward to the day when I would be able to date. I was already getting advice from my older brother, although I was not sure the advice was any good. He was only fifteen and had only been going out with girls for a few months. Mom wanted us to wait until we were sixteen before we started dating and then she only wanted us going out maybe once a week. Like that’s going to happen.

Oh, there’s Mr. and Mrs. Pauley out on their porch doing pretty much the same as I am. They lived across the street and she was friendly with mom. They had coffee with each other a few times a week. She’s waving now. Guess I better wave back or she will think I am rude and tell mom.

They have six boys but they are all grown and gone now. Don’t think I’ve ever seen them since they never seem to come and visit. There’s a rumor going around the neighborhood that Mr. Pauley is having an affair with some young chick. Wonder who would be interested in that old fart? He is certainly nothing to look at. Guess they are well off, at least that’s what I heard mom saying. Not sure Mrs. P. knows about the affair. If she does, she is certainly keeping calm about it.

Two Months later:

I heard fire sirens coming down my street as I was walking home from school. They stop at the Pauley’s and the ambulance follows with the cops not far behind. Oh my God, I wonder what’s going on there? A small crowd of neighbors gather near my house and I join them as mom comes out and we stand on our porch watching. The ambulance guys come out with Mr. Pauley on a stretcher and put him into it and take off, with sirens screaming.

We later heard that Mr. Pauley had a heart attack and died at the hospital.  So much for his affair I thought.  Wonder what Mrs. Pauley is going to do without him.  She’ll probably be better off, my mom said.  What with his carousing with young women and her not even knowing anything about it.

So mom and I went to the funeral.  I only went under protest as I really didn’t like the man.  But when mom says go, you go.  Most of the neighbors went and came back to the house later for refreshments.  Mrs. P. actually seemed to be enjoying herself.  Strange though, not one of their sons came to see dear old dad put into the ground.

Mrs. P. later told my mom that she was being evicted because of back taxes, so she would be leaving soon.  She told mom not to worry though as one of her sons had invited her to live with him and his family.  She also told mom that she knew about her husband carrying on behind her back.  She thinks it was the reason he had the heart attack!

Growing Up continues…

Scan 2

I was fourteen years old when Father left for the last time, at least we hoped it was the last time. Life resumed its normal rhythm and we managed to get through that Summer in much the same way that we were used to. Although, Anna who was sixteen now and had quit school in tenth grade to work full-time, decided to go back to school and graduate. My Mother was glad even though there would be less money coming in now; she thought it was more important to graduate. I was a freshman now and considered myself quite grown up and should be able to do whatever I wanted to do. My Mother, as easygoing as she was, had other ideas about that. I was not a problem in my teens like some other of my peers who were and since I was responsible and helped out at home, my Mother trusted me.

I was still working at the coke and jukebox place for the rest of that Summer and paying for my expenses at school, so I was pretty independent. One day as I was working with the one other waitress who was also on duty, guess who walks into the place with a big smile on his face? My Father! I hadn’t seen him since the big blow up between himself and my Mother a few months ago, when he stormed out with my Mother’s encouragement. That was over Anna having her sixteenth birthday party in our basement, which he was adamantly against. We hadn’t heard from him since that time and he had never even said goodby when he left and here he was waltzing in here to see me, I supposed. Not sure what he was after but I was having none of it.

He sat down at the counter and I anxiously tried to get Trudy, the other waitress, to wait on him but she said she was too busy. So I got the honor. I went to the counter and without even saying hello, I asked what he wanted. He had a funny smile on his face as though he knew I wanted to slap him, now that I was big enough. He was only about five feet, six, with a slight build although he had a lot more muscle tone than I did. He was always exercising and lifting weights and I am sure even though I was five feet, five at the time, not much shorter than he, I was in no shape to be challenging him.

He said he would have a hamburger and french fries. “Oh crap” I thought, “he wants me to cook for him.” I really was angry at him and now I had to cook something and serve him. I went into the kitchen and started banging around and making a lot of noise. First of course I had to pour him a cup of coffee, which was stale and I knew how he liked it freshly made or he wouldn’t drink it. So I got some satisfaction from that. He didn’t say anything about it. He just sat there with that sickening smile. I continued banging around in the kitchen and finally I came out and slammed the plate down in front of him. I walked away and went over to Trudy and she was looking at me with a, “What’s the matter with you,” look on her face. I couldn’t explain who he was to her, not while he was still sitting there.

To be continued next Wednesday.

A Day On The Inpatient Unit Continues…

Light of the full moon!
Light of the full moon!

The stories I am going to tell you are based on real events. The names have been changed due to the confidential nature of the subject matter. Also, some other changes have been made to make the story flow. These events happened during the late 1980’s through the early 1990’s. I worked on the Mental Health Inpatient Unit as a Clerk. I was working a three-day weekend, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. It was a twelve-hour day for three days, totaling thirty-six hours. The hours were grueling but we had four days off which more than made up for the long hours that we worked.

My story begins on a bright October Sunday afternoon. We got the call that a patient had gone AWOL, which I promptly told the Charge Nurse who then told me to announce it over the loudspeaker. This was standard procedure, first the announcement, then everyone who wasn’t busy would gather at the Nurse’s Station, which was right behind my station. Both my station and the Nurse’s Station were enclosed with sliding glass windows which enabled us to see out into the Day Room and beyond. This was important so that we could see all the activity and interaction between the patients.

The Charge Nurse would decide who was going to go after the patient. The patient who went AWOL was male and a regular on the Unit. Most of the people chasing him, knew him well as he had been admitted into the Inpatient Unit on many occasions. So a few of the HT’s, PT’s and sometimes the Charge Nurse herself, would go after the patient if we were shorthanded. This time the Charge Nurse decided she was going to join the others to go after the AWOL patient. Security was also alerted, usually consisting of one person who patrolled the parking lot for patients who may be wandering around. We kept in touch through walkie talkies then, since it was the early 1990’s.

There were four people plus security looking for the AWOL patient. He was spotted running through the parking lot, heading towards the ER (emergency room). The hospital was a short distance from the Unit and the ER entrance was the first door you came to from the parking lot. The patient was running at a pretty good clip and had almost reached the door to the ER, when Jennifer, the Charge Nurse, who was the closest to the patient, fell down on one knee.

She threw her hands down to break her fall and let out a cry as her knee hit the pavement. Blood started to spurt out of her injured knee when all of a sudden the patient, instead of running into the ER as he intended, stopped in his tracks, turned toward the injured Charge Nurse as though he wanted to help. He said, “You better be careful Jennifer.”

He then turned back towards the hospital door which opened automatically and disappeared through the ER entrance with the others following closely at his heels.

25th Day of NaBloPoMo/The Laundromat Continues

The author

THE LAUNDROMAT

When John awoke his tongue felt thick and fuzzy and smelled like a small animal had taken a dump in there.  His head was throbbing to beat the band and it dawned on him that he was not at home in his own bed.  The walls here were a stark white and a large woman was standing by the bed frowning down on him.  “Do I know you, he croaked?”

“”Not yet you don’t but will you will soon learn to not only know me but to love me as much as you love your own Mother.”

John doubted this very much but wasn’t about to argue with this large, formidable looking woman .

“Hmm, he mumbled, can I possible get something for this God awful pain,”he asked?

“This is where the love comes in.”  This woman had a sense of humor but you could not tell that by her facial expression.

“It was touch and go whether you were going to wake up today,” she was smiling now for some reason.

“Really,” he croaked.  ‘Can’t seem to get my voice under control,’ he mused to himself.  “What exactly happened?   I know I was driving  last I remembered and now here I am.”

“The doctor will be in shortly to talk to you.  So in the meantime, why don’t you try to get a little more sleep and then I will wake you for breakfast.”  Sounded like an order to him even though she was being pleasant now.  “But I can tell you that you were in an accident and the other fellow is just fine, a few cuts and bruises is all.”

“Of course,” he muttered under his breadth.

John tried to remember the accident but everything was a blur and his head throbbed when he tried to recall things.  He did remember that he was thinking of Alice right before the  crash. ‘I wonder if she’s been notified,’ he thought. ‘Oh of course not, how would they even know her name or number to call her; he had not listed it anywhere in his address book and he was out of it up until now.  He had better call and let her know as soon as possible.  She would be wondering what happened to him.  At least he hoped she would.

John fell asleep after getting something for the pain and when he woke, the doctor was there.   After John’s questions about his broken and fractured bones the doctor explained what was broken and how long it would take to heal.  He would be out of commission for some time so the doctor gave him some referrals of people who were caregivers until he could get back on his feet, literally.  He would be needing someone to live in, clean and cook his meals and also drive him to doctor’s appointments etc.  ‘God what a mess,’ John thought.  ‘Why did this have to happen to me?’

After a few days he felt good enough to call Alice and let her know what was going on.  She was very concerned and wanted to come to see him right away but he made her promise to wait until he was in a little better shape and wasn’t just a moaning blob of flesh crying for pain medication.  So when she did come, he had just found out he would be released in a few days but that he needed someone at home when he got there to make sure everything was running smoothly and could take care of him properly.  So while his arm was in a cast and he had a few ribs taped, he still had one good arm and he could walk.  So he wasn’t completely disabled and he knew he would recover quickly.  Alice was making a fuss over him and seemed very concerned that he was comfortable.

“Now John I don’t want you to take this the wrong way but I would like to come over and take care of you while you are recuperating.  I checked at work and they are willing to work around me if I am off for a while and I can do some phone work from your house but I will be there whenever you need me.  What do you think?”

“Well Alice, it’s a great offer, but I don’t want you putting yourself through that.  You have your own life and I don’t want to interfere with that.”

“You would not be interfering with anything.  I would be more than happy to take care of you during this time, at least until you are back on your feet and can do everything for yourself.  You know in Real Estate we are usually never in the office anyway.  We do a lot of our business over the phone and computer and meet people at the property to be sold.”

So two days later when John was released from the hospital, Alice was there to pick him up.  She drove him home and got him settled on the couch with pillows and a blanket and then set about making him some lunch.  She had gone to the grocery store and got in some provisions the day before.  Within minutes it seemed, she had a bowl of hot vegetable soup and a turkey sandwich on a tray in front of him.

“You know Alice I could get used to this real fast.  Better not pamper me too much or you’ll create a monster.”

“Is there anything else I can do for you John,” her voice cracked and there was a tear rolling down her cheek.  He could tell that she was really concerned about him.

“As a matter of fact there is,”  He motioned for her to sit next to him on the couch.  With his good arm, he pulled her closer and kissed her.

“Well you are certainly feeling pretty frisky Mister, for someone who is just out of the hospital.  You know I think I will charge you for nursing you back to health but I’ll throw in the kisses for free,” she smiled seductively.

John thought to himself, ‘maybe having that accident wasn’t so bad after all.’

-FINIS-

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24th Day of NaBloPoMo/The Laundromat Continues

Merlin and Lady
My cats, Merlin and Lady. Merlin has his head turned away.

THE LAUNDROMAT

The decor was elegant and her love of art apparent in the many seascapes and still life paintings adorning Alice’s walls.  They sat on the couch and sipped coffee to which Alice had added a little brandy after John agreed and the conversation turned to Gloria’s Father.  John had wondered about him and Alice seemed anxious to tell John  that she was divorced and not on very friendly terms with her ex-husband.  Alice told him that she had been divorced for five years and was doing just fine with her job as a Real Estate agent.  The ex lived in another state and neither she nor Gloria had seen the “bastard” in several years.  And what’s more, they liked it that way.  Seems he was a big drinker and when he was drunk he became violent and abusive towards both Alice and Gloria.

“Sounds like you’ve had a difficult life with him,” John said.

“You might say that,” Gloria replied.  “For the first few years alone, it was extremely difficult.  Chuck was never an easy man to live with and he made it as hard on me as he could.  Gloria was only a teenager then, so it was doubly hard.”

“You seem so self-assured and together now Alice.”

“Thank you, it took me quite awhile to get this far but I am doing great now.  Real Estate has been good to me and I am considered one of the best agents in the office.  I have been able to buy this house and provide Gloria with a good education.  With practically no help from her Father.  Of course therapy did help me more than I can say.”

John was getting a little uncomfortable with the conversation and tried to change the subject.  “An attractive woman like you must have a lot of men friends,” he said.

“Not as many as you may think.”

“Really, I find that surprising.”

“Well I am very particular about who I go out with and when you get to my age the pickings are very slim,” she joked.

“You certainly don’t look that old Alice.  What are you, about forty?”

Alice laughed and said, “try adding another ten or more years to that and you would be closer to the truth.”

“You are joking,” he asked?

“Not a bit,” Gloria said.

John was strongly attracted to Alice and learning that she was closer to his age, he thought that he may have a chance with her after all.  So he jumped in and asked her if she would go out with him to dinner sometime.

“I’d like that John,” she said and kissed him impulsively.

He was a little startled but not so much that he didn’t respond by kissing her back.

On the drive back home John’s thoughts were filled with Alice and how soon he would see her again.  He was in a rosy glow and wasn’t paying as close attention to the road as he should have been.  So as he rounded the corner near his house, he didn’t notice the oncoming car until it was too late.  The crash was so loud it brought all of the neighbors who lived close by out onto their lawns.  One of the neighbors called 911 and they arrived soon after.  As John lay bleeding on the side of the road, with the red lights swirling around, the thought dawned on him, that he wouldn’t be able to keep that date with Alice.

To be continued.

23rd Day of NaBloPoMo/ The Laundromat

cultivate-for-illo-friday1
The cat who loves books.

THE LAUNDROMAT

As the ceremony began, John felt a lump in his throat as he watched Gloria take her vows.  She was radiant!  Paul looked happy but very nervous, which was apparent from the perspiration shinning on his face.  The lace and chiffon dress Gloria wore clung gently to her slim figure.   For some reason she  seemed very vulnerable to John.  He noticed tears in Alice’s eyes and could hardly hold them back himself.

At the reception Alice introduced him to everyone as Gloria barely had time to kiss him on the cheek and greet her other guests.  If it wasn’t for Alice, he would have been completely lost.  When he was getting ready to leave Alice came up to him, clasped his hands and told him how happy she was that he came.  She even suggested having lunch together at a future date.  He didn’t know what to think of that, but he agreed.

A few weeks later John was just settling in to life without Gloria.  Oh he’d probably see her now and again in passing but it would never be the same.  The phone ringing startled him out of his musing.   He picked it up and said, “Hi this is John, it’s your nickel.”

“Hi John, this is Alice, remember me?”

“Of course how are you doing Alice,” he tried to keep the surprise out of his voice.

“I’m fine John, I was just wondering if you would like to go to lunch next week?”

“Why um, well, I, that is yes that would be great!?  Where would you like to go?”

“There’s a little Italian place not too far from where I live, called Giovanni’s.  The food is great if you like Italian.”

“That sounds good Gloria, I love Italian, what day and time shall we meet up?”

They set the date for the next Wednesday about one o’clock, and they would meet at the restaurant.   John was flushed with excitement over the thought of meeting Alice for lunch. He couldn’t fathom why he was so excited.   ‘I must be getting old,’ he thought, ‘it’s only a lunch with Gloria’s Mother.  I don’t even know if she has a husband or she is just trying to be friendly to a friend of her daughter.’

Still, Alice was an attractive woman and still young and she seemed to like him.  When Wednesday rolled around, John was still trying to calm himself down.     Alice was more his age he thought and that calmed him some.  He told himself Alice either had a husband or a boyfriend.   ‘Attractive woman like her wouldn’t be just out there.  Would she? Here I go again’, he thought.  I got all excited about Gloria and where did that get me?’  So as he was driving to the restaurant, he had himself under control and just said to himself that he would have a nice lunch and that was it.

Giovanni’s proved to be an ideal meeting place for Alice and John’s first date.  It was very informal, with red and white checkered tablecloths and candles burning on each table.  Even sawdust on the floor to make it more authentic.  John ordered the best red wine they had and Alice was impressed.  The food proved to be delicious and since they both were good eaters  they ordered  more than they enough food.  So they each had doggie bags when they left.  They had chatted about mundane things during lunch since they really didn’t know each other.   And the afternoon passed pleasantly with no glitches by John due to nervousness.  In fact they got along great and especially for a first date, if that was what this was, he thought.  Alice invited John back to her house for coffee and dessert.  And of course he accepted.  He wasn’t ready for what happened next though.

To be continued.

22nd Day of NaBloPoMo/The Laundromat

MY Workplace
Where I do my writing.

THE LAUNDROMAT

As the weeks went by, John helped Gloria fix leaky faucets, squeaky doors and other odds and ends.  They met for breakfast frequently and he looked forward to their time together.  On one of their breakfast get togethers, Gloria seemed more animated than usual.  “John I have the best news, wait until you hear,” she blurted out.

“Out with it, you look like you are going to burst if you don’t tell me soon.”

“Well, I didn’t tell you but I met someone a few months ago, his name is Paul.  We’ve been dating pretty frequently lately and he asked me to marry him.”

John put his coffee down slowly.  His heart was hammering in his chest.  He understood now why people used that expression.  He tried to stay calm as he answered her.  “Why that is wonderful Gloria,” he said.  “From the look on your face I’d say that you said yes.”

“I certainly did,  he’s a wonderful guy John and I know you are going to like him when you two meet.  I want you both to be friends, just like we are.”

“I’d like that also, when is the big day going to be Gloria?”  John’s heart was still hammering but not quite as much.  He might be able to pull this off and not say anything foolish like, ‘I thought you and I might be thinking of doing the same thing.’  After she told him the date, he mumbled, “Gloria, what do you think of that?”  He managed to keep his thoughts to himself.  John’s appetite had strangely diminished and after Gloria left, he sat there sipping his coffee and gazing into space.

Gloria and Paul had decided to get married right away of course  and John found himself wishing he hadn’t agreed to attend the wedding.  He had met Paul and liked him well enough but considered him an interloper.  He knew it was silly to feel this way but couldn’t seem to help himself.  He rarely saw Gloria anymore except occasionally at the laundromat and then she usually rushed off afterwards, not wanting to go for coffee as they usually had done.  She was busy with her wedding plans.

The big day arrived and John found himself standing at the back of the church.  After arriving at the church, he paced nervously in the vestibule while waiting for the ceremony to begin.  He was still thinking of leaving when a pretty blonde woman came up to him and asked if he were John, Gloria’s friend?  “Why yes,” he was a bit startled.

“I’m Gloria’s Mother, Alice, why don’t you sit with our family?”

“That would be nice.”  John was struck by her resemblance to Gloria.

“Gloria’s told me so much about you and all the help you’ve given her.”

“I was glad to help, she is such a great person.”

“Well, I hope she’ll be happy with Paul, they haven’t known each other very long.”  She sounded anxious.

‘Funny I was thinking the exact same thing’, John kept these thoughts to himself.

John wondered where Gloria’s Father was but hesitated to ask.  Gloria never talked about her family much in all their time together.  And as other relatives and friends started arriving, Alice was swept away in a maze of chiffon and chatter.

To be continued.

20th Day of NaBloPoMo/The Laundromat Continued

THE LAUNDROMAT

After they had finished their laundry and since Gloria had no car, John drove her to Marino’s Market.  He then drove her home and insisted on helping carry in the bags of groceries.

“Come in John and have a drink.  It’s the least I can do after all you have done for me today.  Unless of course your wife is waiting dinner for you at home?”

“No, I am a widower Gloria.  My wife passed away.  I usually cook my own dinner now” he said.

“Oh, I am sorry John, I didn’t know, please excuse me.”

“No way you could have known now is there?”

“I guess not, I just feel embarrassed, shooting my mouth off like that.”

“Let’s just start out all over again and yes I would like that drink.  I am a bit thirsty.”

“Okay, would you like a beer or some coffee?”

A beer sounds fine right about now.  That grocery shopping is thirsty work, don’t you agree?”

Gloria opened two beers and after putting her groceries away, they settled down on the couch with their beers.  By the time they had finished two glasses each, dusk had settled in.  John was feeling warm and mellow.  He hadn’t felt this good in a long time.

They talked for a long time.  John about his wife and their hopes and dreams, now cut short.  Gloria listened sympathetically.

When he was leaving, Gloria gave him a peck on the cheek.  He didn’t even remember driving home, he was in a rosy glow from being with a pretty woman and sharing intimate things.  And then, the kiss or peck, was enough to put him in this rosy glow.   Meeting Gloria had brightened his life and he hoped they would be friends.  She was young, in her mid thirties, he guessed, but who says an older man and a young woman can’t be friends?  She probably has lots of boyfriends.

The next morning John rose at his usual 5 a.m. and walked two miles, then breakfasted at Martha’s Breakfast House.  Upon arriving there this morning, who was sitting in his usual booth but Gloria!    She called him over and asked him to join her for breakfast.

“This is a surprise,” he said.

“I just started coming here since I get up early and do a run and then get showered and dressed and go out looking for work.”

“Well, my lucky day,” he was beaming as he took a menu even though he didn’t need one. “What looks good?”

“”Well I’m having hotcakes.  What do you like?”

The waitress moved in and filled their coffee cups and took John’s order of two eggs, over easy with the works.  He had a big appetite after walking for two  miles.

“You have a very hearty appetite John,” Gloria said.

‘Yes and I better cut it down as I am gaining a few pounds and a pot belly.

“Oh you have nothing to worry about, you still have your boyish figure.  Were you an athlete in school?” Gloria sounded interested.

“Well I did play a little baseball in high school and then again in college, so I manage to stay in shape, even if I only walk now.”

They ate their breakfast and chatted away as time was passed.  Gloria jumped up and said that she had to get home and get dressed to go on her job hunt.

“Anything I can help you with Gloria?”

“Oh no thanks John, but it was nice having breakfast here with you.  We will have to do it again sometime.”

“I would love that,” he said.

John continued his walk home in a very good mood indeed.  He really liked Gloria and he hoped more than ever that they could continue to see each other.  He would enjoy having someone to eat breakfast with, even if only at a diner, and maybe go other places with.  One never knew.  He wasn’t all that old.

To be Continued