Monday, June 6, 2011

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Agony and The Irony

There was something missing in his eyes. I couldn't make out the color or the shape. Lucas' might have been green, blue or gray, but they weren't vibrant.

"How long have you been fixed?

Lucas took two steps toward me. I saw his large hands clench his slender waist.

"Six years. I went through some personal issues. I became desperate so I tracked Anson Cluber and Connor Bulas down through my Air Force contacts. The technology is very advanced. I decided to upgrade everything, including my heart and nervous system. My quality of life is impressive."

Lucas' ooze of self satisfaction angered me. Pain shot through my shoulder, My knees buckled and I dropped the folder he had given me. The papers spilled over the asphalt. He didn't try to help me pick them up.

"Caleb, of the other five, you are the best candidate. I tried to get Bruce to get worked on last year. His habits and his stubborness have rendered him to a poor condition. We ceased contact last year."

I got the folder together and gritted my teeth in frustration. I spit my words at him.

"Dude, their are five people involved. We are all worthy of being corrected!"

Lucas didn't change expression as he dropped his hands and shook his head, disapprovingly.

"Don't you think I checked on all of you before deciding who to contact? Lena has female problems stemming from childbirth. Clare is a twice institutionalized bi-polar, and Breann can't...."

My eyes lasered towards his expressionless face.

"Breann can't what?"

Lucas stepped away from me, put his right hand over his mouth and tried to find different words to speak.

"Discretion is important in this situation."

I couldn't tell if Lucas was an actual misogynist or good at pointing out my blind spots with women.

"Breann is a reporter, Lucas. But she wants to live a good life. She deserves that chance."

Lucas turned his back toward me and began to walk away.

"Everything you need to find Cluber and Bulas is in that folder and that drive. My hands are clean now, Caleb. I have a family to get back to."

I suppressed my temper and took one last shot at getting Lucas to explain himself.

"So, you have a wife and kids, Lucas?"

He stopped walking away and turned back to me slightly.

"Yes, I've been married 14 years. My sons are 12 and 9. I called you because of them. Your family needs their leader for as long as they can have him."

It was a weak connection but I reached Lucas. I tried one more question.

"Is it worth it. Being what are you are?"

For the first time since talking to him, he smiled. It was slight, but definitely more than a smirk.

"It feels amazing. Knowing you are better than everyone else is relieving. Caleb, we were experiments. We weren't meant to live. If you go through the surgeries, you'll never get sick. You'll recover from injury quickly. Most of all, you'll be guarenteed to be around for your family for a very long time. The agony of sudden death is turned into the irony of almost eternal life."

Lucas' words were stunning, yet I didn't feel like talking to him anymore. I turned around and walked out of the dark parking deck into the sunshine.

*blogger's note* - This is another episode of the story I am writing. The other ones are here:
1) Synchronicity
10) Drown
11)  Toyed
12) Fever
17) Numb
18) Cage

Today's song reflects the title. The agont and the irony is a great phrase. Harvey Danger is another 1990s one hit wonder band with a kooky looking lead singer. The lyrics of Flagpole Sitta are like a theme song for me since I suffer from anxiety. The voices inside my head, I swear to God they're's Flagpole Sitta

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Something Zen

A tall, thin man; Lucas Bonner looked younger than 40. His suit fit him perfectly. It was gray, conservative, devoid of personality with a gray tie knotted in the center of his neck. Lucas handed me a manila folder and a zip drive.

"Caleb, this will be our only contact. I am neither hungry for answers nor starved for attention."

I looked around the isolated parking deck, experienced a moment of zen, and asked my first question.

"How long will you live?"

Lucas smirked and replied.

"I am a hybrid. I will be well over 100 years when I expire."

*blogger's note* - This is another episode of the story I am writing. The other ones are here:
1) Synchronicity
10) Drown
11)  Toyed
12) Fever
17) Numb
18) Cage

This is in the form of 100 words for the great 100 word challenge at @velvetverbosity 's The one word prompt is STARVED.

Today's song is what has been playing in my head all day. The first lines are awesome: "There must be something we can eat. Should find another lover? Should I fly to Los Angeles, find my asshole brother."
Gavin Rossdale wrote this song about his new age philosophy spouting friend Perry Farrell (then of Jane's Addiction). To me, for this story entry, the song represents Caleb's exasperation with logical answers being hard to find and grasping the bigger truth. Here's Bush's Everything Zen...break out your best air grunge guitar.

Monday, May 23, 2011

I Want To Play Lady GaGa in Scrabble

"The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what we share with someone else when we're uncool." - Phillip Seymour Hoffman as the late great Lester Bangs in Almost Famous - 2000.

The thing I like the most about personal blogging is I can be myself. This is the place where I can tell you how much I dig superheroes, music snobbery, and my anxiety disorder.

I have another aspect of my personality to reveal. My favorite board game is Scrabble. I really really really like Scrabble. A lot. I would watch people play it on television. I like it so much, that getting beat by my wife yesterday 238 points to 231 points didn't upset me because I spelled aqua and adorns . I was happy.

My word nerdom and Scrabble romance started young. My grandparents bought me a reference book set of encyclopedias, dictionary and thesaurus. I would go into my room and look words and subjects up just to entertain myself. This is the first time I telling anyone.

What I enjoy most about Scrabble isn't the accumulation of points, it's the moment(s) you come up with a word that requires thought and planning. Any numbskull add drop and S on skate and hit a triple word score and get 50 points. The best is pushing tiles on the board that spell quixotic. That geek time of the big smile and fist pump combined with the look the opposition give you indicating you belong in a dork asylum is priceless.

My favorite memory of scrabble is right now.

 I'm playing my wife again. She's trying to trash talk to a second straight win while I'm working on spelling zephyr.

*blogger's note* This is my entry into The Red Dress Club's RemembeRED writing assignment. The prompt was this:

Today's song is the first repeat in the history of My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog. Last year, in writing about people listening to each other and being careful of the words they use, I referenced Missing Persons. As you can tell, this song is versatile. Also, Lady Gaga has NOTHING on the great Dale Bozzio. Dale looks like a piece of candy in this video. Here's Missing Persons Words....go die your hair blue.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Everybody Here, Comes From Somewhere

The breeze lessened, curiously. I didn't say anything immediately to Lucas. I thought about how to get in touch with Breann or Ava.

"Caleb, I know this call is a bit of an odd surprise. I didn't think I wanted to be involved with my past. The more I thought about the five other people who have went through what I have, I felt I owed you a conversation."

Owed me? That line seemed so arrogant. We're dying from expiring robot parts. I wondered why he and Bruce were so elusive. The closest I had gotten to either was an email exchange with Lucas' former Air Force Academy teammate. I kept my cool.

"Lucas, thank you for calling me. So, how are you, you know, physically?"

I turned my phone to find the mute button so I could record the call and text Breann and Ava. Then he turned hostile.

"Caleb, you and I are going to talk privately or not at all. Whatever you just did with your phone, undo it. This is non-negotiable."

I recoiled at the weirdness. How did he know what I was doing?

"Lucas, I apologize. I was just texting one of the others to let them know we'd found you. I am so excited to hear from you."

Then a glare from the building to my left caught me, causing my eyes to shut.

"You're notifying Breann Lucos, the New York Post reporter. That will not work for me. The information you two have gathered isn't accurate and some people do not want to be involved with it."

I was annoyed and angry. The lack of personality was forgivable. He obviously wasn't going to hang with Breann and I socially. But, Breann, Lena, and Clare had been open and honest and enthusiastic. Even Ava was willing to identify the players and problems.

"Lucas, let's meet in person. Sometimes a phone call doesn't do a subject justice. Your area code is Tacoma, right? I had a friend stationed there after college."

I tried to text Breann again. Lucas yelled into the phone.

"Stop what you are doing! Listen to what you need to know to keep yourself alive! I can see everything you're doing!"

I turned 360 degrees, staring into every window. There were video cameras on every rooftop including my building. I slowly put the phone to my ear.

"Caleb, you are depending on others for your future. I can tell you how to save yourself. Knowing who the real enemy is, technology, not death, will keep you alive for a long time."

Now, I was mad. Getting lectured by a dispassionate creep was making me paranoid.

"Who are you? Where are you? and why in the hell do you care so little for the others?"

There was silence.

"Answer me Lucas, or whoever you are!"

I looked at the glare coming from the building to my left. I remembered that high rise belonged to a private jet leasing company headquartered in Seattle. I put the phone to my left side and raised my right hand like a salute to my eyes, trying to make put the silouette in the window. I put the phone back to my face.

"Is that you, Lucas."

He sighed and started to speak.

"Yes, Caleb. I walked over to the window. I've been watching you on a closed circuit tv inside this office. I'm in town for business. Now, do you want to talk on better terms?"

I never wanted to be able to leap tall buildings in a single bound more in my life.

"Yeah, go. I'm dying to know what you've got, Lucas. Literally."

The silouette moved away from the window.

"There were six. Two doctors named Connor Bulas and Anson Cluber developed robotic hearts that sent synapses to the brain and nervous systems.We're not all the same. The parts, the operations, the effects, were done in twos. Bruce and I were the first. We are the most alike. Lena and Clare are likewise. Thus making you and Breann the most related. The surgery you need can do more that save your life. It can extend it beyond your normal life expectancy. You need to pursue your own care and needs."

I started thinking that Lucas knew all of this because he had had the surgery. he wasn't sick and thus didn't care about the rest of us.

"Meet me in person, Lucas. Let's do this face to face, like men."

After more than 20 seconds of dead air, he spoke.

"I'll do it on one condition. Nothing is recorded, photographed, or put in Breann's newspaper or the internet. I don't want to be involved with the others. You agree and I'll give you Anson Cluber and Bruce Nolans."

I was dumbfounded by his demands. I played along.

"Deal. Name a place and time. I want to know where I come from."

This is another episode of the story I am writing. The other ones are here:
1) Synchronicity
10) Drown
11)  Toyed
12) Fever
17) Numb
18) Cage
23) Just
24) Called Out

Thank for reading.

Today's song is mostly atmospheric with a slight lyrical nod to the story where Michael Stipe says "he's alive, he's alive" and the opening riff and line "everybody here, comes from somewhere". I was listening to R.E.M.'s Accelerate album earlier (it's good, you should own it) and thought the music matched the sudden turn of events. Plus, I wanted to include something relatively new, this song's only three years old. Dig the guitar and get into the feel. It's R.E.M.'s Supernatural Superserious.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Leaving Town

People watching is an underrated pastime. Taking an inventory of your surroundings can bring you upon the most interesting types. While watching my daughter cheer for her high school football's scrimmage I kept seeing this girl who reminded me of someone. Her makeup was slight but sophisticated. She was completely distracted. She played with her iphone incessantly. I never saw her acknowledge her friends. Then, it struck me hard, this girl was kind of, sort of, like me, at age 17.

Her insouciance was intriguing. I never caught her name but she looked like an Allison. Allison was convinced she was meant for bigger and better things. I was like that. At 17, all I thought about was journalism. I wanted to be in New York covering sports or news. While her friends were gossiping and being silly, Allison smiled occasionally and kept her face buried in the iphone. Every once in a while, she would daydream.

I like my life right now. I never think about what might have been or what never happened, unless it makes a good blog post. Allison's dream gaze and her indifferent body language were so familiar that I wanted to sit down next to her, and say "dude, take in these simpler times. Life is a bout to get really friggin hard."

I see some of this with my daughter. Tay wants to be an investigative journalist. She wants to college in Boston then take over the world, one byline at a time. Tay has 3 more years before she is in Allison's position. Allison looked so eager to fly the coop, she was clucking with anticipation.

I doubt I'll ever see Allison again, unless she decides to grace her soon to be old high school with her bound for better glory self. I hope she takes in her good times, keeps a positive attitude, has humility, and plans for not making it, in case crap happens. When she was leaving I heard one of her friends mention New York. I assumed, for the sake of this blog post, that's where she was headed by the end of the summer.

The entire time I people watched Allison, and thought about my Tay, I sang Dexter Freebish's Leaving Town to myself. The lyrics are ideal to how I was taking in Allison and my daughter, Tay.

Today's song is from one of the best one hit wonder's ever. Dexter Freebish is from Austin, texas. They are named after a roller coaster. Their lead singer is just named Kyle. This song won the John Lennon songwriting award in 1999. It also fits every girl and/or guy we've known or we have been ourselves that has huge dreams, beyond their small town. I hope Allison hears this song and finds humility. It will help her find the success she dreams about. Here's Leaving Town.

P.S. for us Christians, this song serves as a theme for tomorrow's unlikely occurrence that I am unable to mention for fear of offending the "enough about The Rapture" crowd.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Called Out

The damage I caused at home was extensive. The chasm between happiness and anger made communication between everyone tense.

I avoided Ava and endured Shane. Breann bravely acted as liason between my conflicted doctor and hurt wife.

The magnet's results were immediate. The lone side effect were hot flashes caused by fevers. I escaped to the cool breeze of my office's rooftop.

While finding comfort in a sweet tea and a turkey sandwich, my phone vibrated. The number started with a 253 area code. I swallowed hard and answered, curiously.

"Caleb Runson? This is Lucas Bonner.  It's time we talked."

*blogger's note* This is a another story episode in form of  a 100 word challenge by @velvetverbosity aka The one word prompt is CHASM.

Blogger is giving me fits. Please go to the post before this one - Just - and see the other episodes.

Today's song is the one playing in my head as I wrote this. It's probably playing in Caleb's head as he east that sandwich. Here's Pink Floyd's underrated Learning to Fly.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


Her breath against my skin was more overwhelming than the medication coursing through me. Ava opened her mouth and ran her lips over mine, grazing them as she spoke.

"There's a reason why you haven't stopped calling me over the years. It's more than me being a doctor. You need, You always have. We're connected, just admit it and let's find a way to be together."

I pulled away and closed my eyes. I hoped I was asleep and Ava was another bad dream. I reopened them and there she was, running her hands over my chest as she dropped her bags to the floor.

"Av, we're married to people who deserve better. I'm sorry for leading you on. I'm scared. I'm dying. I'm a damn robot or something."

I put my hands over my face, thinking about the phone call I should make and the fallout from the nuclear bomb that would be my life over the next few hours."

Ava picked up her bags. She curled her lips and furrowed her thin blonde eyebrows. I knew the look. It was the same one she gave me when I rejected her years ago.

"Caleb Runson, you're a coward. You live inside some box that you think is moral and good. It's a lie. It's a prison. I'm your ticket to freedom from the slow death inside of you. That heart isn't the only thing going bad. I'm across the hall. Two doors, that's it."

She left, slamming the door to my room. I sat on the bed, and choked back tears. I dialed my phone and waited nervously for Shane's voice.

I felt I was walking in slow motion when I got to the diner. It was the same spot where I met Breann days earlier for the first time.

"Dude, you look awful. Did you sleep at all?"

I hadn't. Hours on the phone being yelled at by my rightfully indignant wife then a few hours of worrying about how to talk to Breann and Ava the next morning left me with perhaps an hour of sleep.

I wasn't speaking at first. Breann and I had developed a chemistry. It was as if we'd known each other all of our lives.

"Look, Caleb, I know I've only known you for a 3 days, but we're dying together so we might as well do it with maximum effort. Did you sleep with Ava?"

I looked at her with shock, then looked down at my eggs.

"Caleb, we're related here. I mean, you know, like by parts inside of us and by some far out circumstances. I would never judge you. Ava is a snake. I've seen her kind all my life. I know women really well and I don't like most of them. So, just tell me where your head is and I'll be here."

I felt nauseous from my guilt and anxiety.

"No, I didn't sleep with her. I've been on the phone with Shane all night. I told her every minute of the last 24 hours. Three of those minutes included Ava and I kissing. her kissing me. Plus, her spending the night 50 feet away from me. I mean, I should be more concerned with finding the others, getting a new heart, and being with you. Instead, I'm worried about you hating me, my wife leaving me, and how to sit on a plane with Ava."

Breann reached across the table grabbing both of my hands and looking at me in the eyes. Browns meeting browns. It was like looking in the mirror. It was the most comfortable I had been in days.

"Dude, we will stay together as much as we can. I'll call Shane, introduce myself. I can't promise you that you won't be in the nastiest doghouse in Georgia for a while, but I'll help you and your wife understand that this is an impossible situation. Just stop going off and dealing with Ava alone. She owns you. I've had a person or three get over on me through the years."

Breann and I talked in the cab ride to the airport. She walked me through the airport. When I left her I felt better physically and mentally. Then I saw Ava in the terminal. She held two cups of hot chocolate. Then looked at me sheepishly.

"Hey. I didn't sleep much but coffee would just make me jittery right now. I got us a couple of these."

Typical of her. Act like nothing happened to protect herself.

"Ava, you're right. I need you. I don't trust anyone else with this crap inside of me. But I'm married and I love her. From now on we meet with my wife or Breann in the room. It's professional and it's with perspective. I know this is my fault. I take that on me."

Ava took a drink of hot chocolate then sat her cup down next to her bags. She glared at me then composed her thoughts.

"Years ago, when you got divorced and we had chinese at our old favorite place downtown. I gave you a similar speech because I was getting married the next week. You were flirting. It was ok, you were single but I wasn't. You were so screwed up because of your ex and the stress and your disorder. I went home that afternoon and told my fiance I couldn't marry him. Then the next morning you wouldn't answer your phone so I went back to him and made up some crap about cold feet. I told him to give me a do-over, like we were 10 years old playing in the backyard."

She was crying. Huge tears streamed down her face. I believed they were real. I sat two chairs away but made peace.

"That's what we have here Av. Let's call this whole thing, The Do-Over."

She stopped crying quickly, looked at me and smiled suspiciously.

*blogger's note* - This another episode in the story I am writing. This post is inspired by the good people at @Studio30plus aka by their writing prompt "THE DO-OVER".

10) Drown
11)  Toyed
12) Fever
17) Numb
18) Cage
22) Threshold

Thank for reading. Things are about to get crazy.

Today's song was way too easy to lay down. It played in my head and on my computer the entire time. It's from my second favorite band of all time, Radiohead. The words are Caleb. He does it to himself. Here's one of the most brilliant songs ever written....Just

Sunday, May 15, 2011

My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog Birthday Party

A year ago I took some advice from my wife.

"You should write. Do a blog. People should read what you put on paper."

I know, she's my best friend, my partner, she's supposed to stroke my ego. The thing is, Bobina is usually right.

My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog is a year old this weekend. My first post was something about music. I was about to attend the Butch Walker concert. Over 210 posts later, this site has evolved into my creative outlet for the book I'm writing, and connected me to some amazing human beings. There are actually folks kinda sorta, almost like me out there. I have discovered men and women with voices in their head, mental illness that drives them and scares them, who have talent that aren't appreciated enough.

I don't have a title or an ending to the story I am writing. There will be two to three fiction posts a week until we get to the end. Right now, the story is about 40 percent posted and 80 percent written.

The greatest thing about having a blog is the community, yes I mean to use that word, that I have become an excited part of. Last July I stumbled across Velvet Verbosity. Through Velvet's unique 100 Word Challenge I met Tara, pronounced Tar Rah. She lives on the east Florida coast, has two almost grown kids, and writes and photographs amazingly. I also have gotten to know talented people like The Sluiters - Katie & Cort , Marsha and Michael and Jana and Leah and Aimee and Kat and CDG and Chopper Papa and Alan and many others. One of the fellow bloggers I have really enjoyed as much as the ones already mentioned is Lisa aka Randy from Random Girl Blog.

She gave me a blog award called:

So here are the rules: 
Our fellow bloggers present us with a lot of opportunities for furthering our blogs, and gaining followers.  Here is a way to Pay It Forward to them. When you have been bestowed with the honor of the Pay It Forward Award., insert this award at the topof a blog post along with these rules, and find FIVE fellow bloggers to bestow it upon. Thank the person who awarded you, mention them in your post, along with a link to your favorite post on their blog, and a short blurb about why you liked it. Next, comment on their blog to let them know you are bestowing the award on them, and that they should do the same. And remember: Good Bloggers Pay It Forward.
Here's the deal. Everyone on my blog roll is a must read. I'll follow the rules and name 5 but know this, if I'm taking time to read their stuff, they're awesome.

1. Actually, I'm going to cheat. It's the internet. There are no rules. I have anxiety. I write about it often. Reading about mental illness is important. These 4 ladies write about what's in their heads with grace, dignity and honesty - Maasiyat, HedHaven, and Holly aka Blackbird.  

2. Canada is more than hockey and beer. It's about good bloggers. JenO and Andie not only talk funny, they are funny. You should read them and follow them on twitter. Your life will be more entertaining.

3. I don't call myself a daddy blogger. Neither do Chopper Papa and Alan. They are dads who blog. Their humor, realism, and advice are just straight badass. They are also fellow music and comic book nerds too, so go read them.

4. Love rules my life. My beautiful wife and three gorgeous daughters give me all the l o v e I will ever need. If I ever need more, I know where to go. Judy, aka J, writes positively every day. She has a running blog topic called The Love Project. It will brighten your day just by clicking on it. Go there now.

5. I can't decide who to end this blogger's award deal with. Karen is hilarious and a joy to read. Girlatrockshow has great musical taste. Mollie is from Oklahomabut lives in the UK and likes all the same tunes I listen to. But CDG is a huge fan of my fiction and an aspiring novelist too. Her blog is excellent.

Thank you to anyone who reads this blog regularly. Everything put on this site is either part of the book I am writing or honest details of my unique, satisfying, but crazy life.
Happy One Year Anniversary to My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog. It's made my life better.
Today's song is a guilty pleasure. Since I am posting a happy, feely, lovey stuff today, Supertramp has always been outside of my music snobbery. I like their 1970s stuff a lot. Here's Give A Little Bit...

Saturday, May 14, 2011

THOR-oughly Good Movie

I'm a comic book geek. I'm also a superhero dork. The glut of action films, specifically from Marvel Comics, is in my wheelhouse.

The disclaiming paragraph written, it's now imperative that I tell you non geeks and not so dorky why you should go see Thor, The Mighty God of Thunder, currently making an otherwordly amount of cash.

Kenneth Branugh, Emma Thompson's ex husband, the dude who was Hamlet, the arrogant teacher in Harry Potter, and the villain in Wild Wild West, directs the latest Marvel Comics property. He brings a lot of emotional heft and character depth to the project.

Thor is a comic book character taken from Germanic mythology. Wait, I'm losing you.
Thor is played by this guy:
Chris Hemsworth, a 6'5" Australian who talks EXACTLY like Heath Ledger. His voice is uncanny to late actor. Hemsworth gives weight, both in physicality and acting ability. He is Thor. You get it.

Anthony Hopkins plays Thor's dad, King Odin. Natalie Portman, easily the worst character in the film, plays Thor's love interest, astrophysicist, Jane Foster. There's a lot of action, a good amount of humor, and plenty of story to set up sequels, and tie ins to the other Marvel properties, The Avengers, Iron Man, Hulk, and Captain America.

You won't need to be as versed in the comic books as I. There's plenty of exposition to lead you through the Gods, realms, villains, supporting characters - great work by the females Jaime Alexander as Sif,

 Thor's childhood female warrior pal, and Kat dennings, Jane Foster(Portman)'s wise cracking scientist friend.

I am was pleasantly surprised by how it all worked. I saw it in 3D and usually, anything that gives me a headache, I bash. This, I gave a pass to. It's that good.

Oh, comic book nerds, I have this to tell you. There's a cameo by a Marvel comics character. He's played by The Hurt Locker's Jeremy Renner. It's a bow (all pun intended) to a future film. Then, stay around for the post credits scene where Samuel L. Jackson's Nick Fury shows up. The plot twist will make you happy.

The last good piece of news is also today's song. Foo Fighters contributed their new song, Walk. When Thor can't get the hammer out of the desert, Stellan Skaargard's doctor character, Erik Silvig, takes Thor to a bar for boilermakers, and Foo Fighter's provide the sound.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Two Blondes In A Bar

I don't like the genre, but my fate is the stuff found in a country music song. There were two blondes, years of circumstance, and a story.

Over twenty years ago, while in college in Alabama, I came home for a weekend to visit friends in Georgia. We decided to go to a country music bar, despite my disdain for the style. I was sullen, ironic, and angst ridden years before it was cool. Playing the role of put upon friend, I sat at the old wooden pub, nursing a beer. A tall blonde with curly hair and a loud, twangy voice sat down next to me and asked "what the hell are you doing here?" Her candor made me smile. Being twenty years old and having a girl talk to me first; I ran with the moment. Minutes turned into more than an hour when a man's voice over a microphone called the tall blonde with curly hair to the stage. 

"Folks, let's give Trisha Yearwood a big hand!"

One of my friends walked over and leaned into my ear. "Dude what's with the big blonde chick? She's all yours."

I caught eyes looking at me. They were glaring with a shrewd intensity. It was another tall blonde, but very young. She was underage, early teens, so I assumed she was waiting for a babysitter. I looked away as much as I could. Younger girls weren't my thing.

Beer bottles lined the saloon. Cigarette smoke danced over my sight lines. Suddenly, I felt like I was in a situation that had control over me.

After her set, which ended in thunderous applause, the singer rejoined me. By then, my friends were angling to hit another place. Since I didn't want to be there to begin with, my plea to stay fell on deaf ears. With her hands on mine and her blue eyes distracting me from the young girl in the corner, I blew off my chance, and left.

A year later, the tall blonde with curly hair and a big twangy voice became famous. Country music superstardom was hers. I had a cute story to tell my friends. What happened seventeen years after that was just incredible.

I met me wife 3 years ago, today, May 13th, at a Chili's restaurant at the Mall of Georgia. A few dates later she told me about her family members that ran a country music bar where many stars cut their teeth. One of those stars was the tall, curly haired blonde with the big twangy voice. Then my wife asked me this.

"Did you go to the Buckboard with your friends many years ago? I swear I remember this guy who looked like you talking to this girl and I wanted him to stop. I was only thirteen so my family wouldn't let me near the bar, I had to sit in the back."

The girl in the corner glaring at me was my wife. Start the steel guitar and pick a fiddle. My life, whether I wanted it to be or not, is a country music song.

*blogger's note* - This is a writing exercise from my blogger friends at  The Red Dress Club. The prompt is the picture of cigarettes located in the story. The story is true. My wife and I are weird. But we were meant to be together.

E Blogger has been down lately. Please revisit my #100words piece, Threshold. Ava made her agenda known to Caleb. I will write more fiction This weekend, if Blogger behaves.

Today's song is NOT country NOR from Trisha. It's back to the prompt and back to my taste. Here's Oasis' Cigarettes and Alcohol...great song

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


Breann and I were exhausted. We planned breakfast in the cab ride to my hotel. I took a call from Ava. Breann shook her head when I finished.
"Be careful with her Caleb. A necessary evil is still evil."

I smirked and waved goodbye, then turned to see Ava in the lobby. We rode the elevator together to the fourth floor in silence.

"Do you need anything?"

I shook my head no and opened the room door. My phone vibrated. It was my wife. Ava approached, crossing the threshold.

"You're forgetting something Caleb."

She pressed her lips against mine.

*blogger's note* - This is my entry for @velvetverbosity 's 100 Word Challenge located at her site . The one word prompt is FORGETTING. This is also a story episode of a book I am writing. The other eps are here:

1) Synchronicity
2) Personality Crisis
3) Serendipity 6
4) Hot Dog Harbinger
5) Goodbye Stranger
6) The House of Irony
7) Connection
8) Dead Man's Party
9) Hope Springs A Turtle
10) Drown
11)  Toyed
12) Fever
13) The Girlfriend Experience
14) Sympathy for the Devil
15) Tomorrow, The Green Grass
16) Possession
17) Numb
18) Cage
19) Bullet Hits The Bone
20) Shut Your Eyes
21) Lone Justice

Thanks for reading.

Today's song is something I heard on the radio on my way home. It seemed to fit Ava's agenda and the story's mood. Here's Chris Isaak's Wicked Game.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Shimmer in the Sand

I ran away from home for the first and only time when I was 36 years old. It was Thanksgiving, and I didn't feel thankful. I felt lost, resigned, and alone.

I packed two bags and wrote a goodbye letter. I left it on the kitchen counter of the house I rented from my family. I was hoping they would come by unexpectedly, without calling, find the note, and thus allow me to have an excuse for leaving my life.

Two months earlier, I sat in a courtroom and watched who I was, die. When the judge rendered her verdict, I left that person and wandered aimlessly, disconnected, for weeks.

Thanksgiving came quickly and I accepted an offer from a longtime friend, to meet in Key West and do as Ernest Hemingway did when he resided there; drink.

The day I left, my friend called and said he couldn't make the trip. The person I left in the courtroom would have unpacked his bags, felt sorry for his loneliness, and sulked until something ridiculous came along to distract him. The purgatoried me got in my car, and drove 13 hours.

I stopped at a gas station near the beach in Miami. While my car took fuel, I walked a hundred yards and stood in the middle of the shore and comtemplated staying there or even going back home. I realized what those choices would be a metaphor of and I kept going.

I made it to the Keys. The motel shanty I chose, for price, was pathetic looking. It was dingy and unkept. The screen door was broken. There was a grill outside on the tiniest patio you could imagine. The beach, though, was just 30 feet away.

Two days later, Thanksgiving came. I had grilled a steak medium rare, which was apropo for my zombie state. I ate while the waves rolled in and the sound calmed my anxiousness. By my third beer, I decided to walk the 30 feet and try the cold ocean water, despite the 55 degree temperature. Before I reached the tide, I noticed how warm the beach was, so I removed my shoes and socks. I sat down on the berm, and felt the texture of the tan grains. I had a beer in my left hand and I poured a tiny amount into the ground and then ran the pebbles over the wet spot. The symbolism made me smile for the first time in two months. I let go.

A little beer, a good steak, a cool breeze, and some warm sand changed me. I changed myself. I went home the next day and tore up that goodbye letter. I've never written another one.

I'll never forget that Thanksgiving. I became thankful for who I was, and who I am.

*blogger's note* - This is a writing exercise inspired by blogger friends at Sluiter Nation. The matriarch, Katie, has a writer's blog, called The Red Dress Club - I, nor my wife, have a red dress, but I do have a sand memory. She asked for me to write about it.

Today's song is special to me. It was playing during when and on the day this memory occurred. The "she" in the song is what I call my conscience, my morality, my essence. She spoke to me a lot that day. Here's one of my favorite songs, Shimmer by Fuel...

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Lone Justice

Pain spread throughout my chest and shoulders. I was so dizzy that I fell back in the chair when I tried to check on Breann. Ava's long, straight blonde hair fell around me as I was straddled while she checked my eyes with a pen light. Her smell was more sophisticated than when we were together.

"Caleb, I need to lay you down on the exam table. You have 40 on me so hold my arms as tightly as you can. The dizziness will subside in a few minutes. Breann's already improving."

The table was cold and hard. My vision cleared. Ava sat next to me and texted.

"Oliver is looking over Breann in a room down the hall. You both kind of blacked out. Probably a reaction to the magnet. It's centralizing the metal poisoning and acting for or against the other metals parts inside of you. Once you get more balanced we'll go to the hotel and rest."

I thought about Shane, the girls, my job. Tomorrow was Friday, I could get off, but Juliet had volleyball practice and Esme had something at school.

"Ava, I have to get back home. I haven't even spoken to my wife today. She's probably furious."

Ava looked away and stared at her phone. I looked down and caught the name "Gavin...something".

"Who is that Ava, One of Anson Cluber's people?"

She tossed her hair to the left and smiled.

"Kind of, Caleb. It's the doctor in Dallas we've lined up for Lena Cosburn and Clare Bunsen. I'm telling him how to implant the magnet and what to expect from his patients. They'll be worked on tomorrow.

I rolled my head back and the lights caught me, doubling my vision again.

"What about the other two Ava; Lucas Bonner and Bruce Nolans. There were six of us? Are you taking care of them?"

Ava finished her text, got up, ran her right head over my fore head and frowned.

"Your fever is still high. We need to try and break it before you go back to Georgia. I don't know about those guys. I asked Oliver and Gavin Todd, the doctor in Dallas. They're clueless. I want to stay focused on you. If we can improve your condition, we can get you a new heart before any of the others."

I rolled over onto my stomach. It seemed to help the dizziness. Ava moved her chair to the end of the table so she could see my face.

"Why do you care so much, Ava? I mean, I don't believe Breann's conspiracy theory that you, Wicks and this other guy want to glom robot glory for medical fame. You aren't patient enough to wait for that to play out."

Ava moved her face within a couple of inches on mine and ran her left hand over the three day scruff. She seemed resigned.

"I care about you. I always have. You were the one.....  Caleb, we're friends. You need a doctor you can trust. I know you trust me. It's why you always call when you need me. You're different and I know why. Most of all, I like why you are different. I know who and what you are. You let me know that. I feel like the least I can do is return that trust."

The pain was starting to lose intensity. I sat up without losing balance. I knew I would regret engaging in nostalgia, but the song in my head was from a memory we shared and I had an idea

"Remember that Maria McKee concert we went to right after we started dating?"

Ava smiled and started murmring the lyrics to Sweet Sweet Baby. It was the Lone Justice song in my head. Maria McKee was their singer in the 1980s.

"Yeah, well, I tried to convince you for two days before the concert that the song was from when Maria was in Lone Justice. You argued that it was a new song from Maria. We had a huge fight. At the end of the concert, she played Sweet Sweet Baby as an encore, introducing the song as 'something I wrote when I was with Lone Justice a few years ago'. You looked at me and said 'Justice. Forgiveness'. I gained a lot of respect for you because you dropped your always have to right personality and showed some vulnerability. I need for you to do that now."

Ava smiled and mouthed the word "okay".

"I'd like to see Breann, call home, then we can go to the hotel."

Ava smiled, bit her lip and held my hands as I dropped to the ground and gained my bearings.

'Av, what am I; really?"

She didn't respond right away, We walked through the exam room area and took a right turn. Inside a small room with yellow walls and a bed in the middle, Breann stood on her own while Wicks looked at a laptop. Ava closed the door.

"Caleb, Breann, you two are robotic. But when Oliver and I and hopefully Doctors Cluber and Bulas are through with you in a  few months, you'll be full robot-human hybrids with long, beyond normal lives."

*blogger's note* - This is another story episode from something I have been writing. The other ones are here:
1) Synchronicity
2) Personality Crisis
3) Serendipity 6
4) Hot Dog Harbinger
5) Goodbye Stranger
6) The House of Irony
7) Connection
8) Dead Man's Party
9) Hope Springs A Turtle
10) Drown
11)  Toyed
12) Fever
13) The Girlfriend Experience
14) Sympathy for the Devil
15) Tomorrow, The Green Grass
16) Possession
17) Numb
18) Cage
19) Bullet Hits The Bone
20) Shut Your Eyes

Today's episode is inspired by the prompt; Justice. Forgiveness. by @studio30plus aka .

Thanks for reading.

Today's song is the one references in the story by Caleb. I was a huge Lone Justice fan in college. They were very underrated. Maria McKee should be making records today. Here's Sweet Sweet Baby....

Saturday, May 7, 2011

A Big Bang

I have three story episodes in my que. After back to back posts with story eps, I wanted to give you all a break.

It's been a busy weekend at my house.

Today was Woofstock, the dog park social event at the Suwanee Georgia square. Bobina works for an animal clinic so she took Tay, Tay's friend who is a boy and Goose. Later I joined them with Buddy the golden retriever. That took most of the day. Combined with yardwork, getting Bobina's car emissioned, and hitting the gym, I've had no time to throw together a non fiction post. So, here I am, reduced to pedestrian blog fare. I promise I'll be better.

I have written the entire story. Of course I am rewriting all the time. I haven't come up with a title or an ending I like. The point is, the whole book is done, for the most part.

A few things before I go write and rewrite .

Time and my anxiety issues limit how much television I watch. I keep up with sports, but you can do 47 different things at one time and still watch a ballgame. For me to devote 30 or 60 minutes to something, it has to be good. Recently I started watching Chicago Code with Bobina. It's good, but it comes on at the same time as something Bobina watches with our teenager, Tay, so we DVR Chicago Code. We looked up yesterday and noticed we were three weeks behind. That's 3 hours. What part of three daughters, a real job, writing a book, and paying attention to Bobina does my DVR not understand? The Chicago Code is no longer being watched by me.

Two shows I do catch each week are The Big Bang Theory and Law & Order SVU. SVU is in it's 11th season and it may be time to stop. This past week's show featured the great John Stamos, Lori Singer aka the preacher's whore daughter in the Devil red boots in Footloose, and an absurd storyline about Stamos' character  being a "reproductive abuser". He played a Wall Street lawyer who poked holes in his condoms and impregnated dozens of women then sweet talked them into having the children. It was written and produced by someone called "Speed Weed". The character was killed with an exploding diver's knife. My six and seven year old daughters do better writing and acting on Thursday evenings when they perform for Bobina and I. This SVU was the worst I've ever seen. After 11 seasons and several Emmy wins, it may be time for Benson and Stabler to go away.

The other television program I never miss is The Big Bang Theory. In it's 4th season, Sheldon, Leonard, Penny, Raj, and Howard have been joined by Bernadette and Amy Farrah Fowler (you have to say all three of her names or you aren't a real fan). The show has never been better. I laugh out loud throughout the 22 or so minutes. This week's episode, The Wildebeest Implementation was so good, I'm almost afraid to watch next week for fera of disappointment. It's consistently funny, and the acting, especially from Emmy winner Jim Parsons as Sheldon, is excellent.

Earlier in the week, my blogger friend, @jana0926 aka Jana from tweeted that it was her goal to learn every word to the Big Bang Theory theme song. It's written and performed by the usually crappy Barenaked Ladies, but I make an exception because it's a television theme and it's about smart people.

Today's song is by Jana's request. I need to learn it too. My kids are getting smarter than me. I need something that makes me competitive with them. Hope Mariska Hargitay watches The Big Bang Theory. She'll know what a good show looks like.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Shut Your Eyes

I looked straight ahead as Wicks clumsily removed the counter from my left side. Ava was inches from my face as her hands were ready cut my right shoulder.

"I'll put this near the cut you got on my family farm's barbed wire fence. We had fun stitching that one."

The irony of my scars was lost on Ava. I looked into her mischievious eyes and smiled. Breann stared at me, disapprovingly. The magnet's intense warmth sent pain through me. I shut my eyes.

"Done, Caleb. Need to get you lying down."

Ava's whisper reopened my eyes. We were alone.

*blogger's note* - This is another episode of the story I'm writing. The one word prompt is FAMILY and the style is courtesy of @velvetverbosity aka 's 100 word challenge.

The other episodes are here:
1) Synchronicity
2) Personality Crisis
3) Serendipity 6
4) Hot Dog Harbinger
5) Goodbye Stranger
6) The House of Irony
7) Connection
8) Dead Man's Party
9) Hope Springs A Turtle
10) Drown
11)  Toyed
12) Fever
13) The Girlfriend Experience
14) Sympathy for the Devil
15) Tomorrow, The Green Grass
16) Possession
17) Numb
18) Cage

19) Bullet Hits The Bone

Thanks for reading...

Today's song is fromn Northern Ireland's Snow Patrol. Their song Open your eyes is probably more suited lyrically, but not musically. Shut Your Eyes has that haunting guitar and piano combination that suits this mood.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Bullet Hits The Bone

Breann held my right hand with her left and leaned into me with most of her body weight.

"This migraine is horrible, Caleb. I need to sit down."

The exam room was brightly lit. Breann winced.

"Ava, can we dim the lights and get her something to lay down on. Whatever you're going to do to us, do it to her first."

Ava turned off the lights to the front part of the room and found a large, black, desk chair. I sat Breann down. I could feel her heart beating as I held her still.

"Ava, tell us what's going on."

From a hermetically sealed container that looked like fancy tupperware. Dr. Oliver Wicks, removed a small, oval grey object that looked like a bullet. Then turned toward us.

"This is a magnet. Magnetic therapy is used on mostly on animals. There's been some success with humans that have joint problems like arthritis but never with something like metallic poisoning. In theory, this magnet will draw the metals from your heart area, central nervous system, and brain stem into one pool, thus reducing the radiation effects until we can, well, see, if a new heart can be transplanted."

Ava was staring at Wicks, as if to telling him to shut up with her eyes, and get his stuff done. Wicks stopped talking. Ava had scrubbed her hands and arms and was putting on surgical gloves. Two scalpels were next to Wicks on the stainless steel table. Ava stood between Wicks and I and took over the conversation.

"Breann, Caleb, I'm going to make an incision. As long as the magnet is placed away from your heart area and above your waist the metals sould find their way to the it. You can choose where we put the magnet, for scarring purposes. I suggest one of your shoulders. There's plenty of tissue and muscle to take a cut."

Breann rubbed her temples and looked up at Ava intently. She mustering strength.

"How do you know this will work? I mean, these things could cause infections or our bodies could reject them, right?"

Ava hated being questioned. She picked up the first scalpel.

"You have a choice, Breann. Take the magnet and buy yourself some time and health or have that headache and that heart palpatation that's slowly kill you. As I told, Caleb, I am your your only hope right now."

Breann wasn't going to be controlled. She looked ready to fight until the magnet was put in her body.

"I want to know that Dr. Anson Cluber is going to help me, Caleb, and the other four. Band aids are temporary. I want something permanent. I also want it in writing."

I had seen the look on Ava's face before. We were 23 years old, at a wedding together, and my drunk cousin, Helena, told Ava what she really thought of her. Instead of slapping Breann, like she did to Helena, she looked at Wicks' and nodded to him. Wicks removed a zip drive from his sports coat and walked over to Breann.

"Inside of there are emails and phone calls between Oliver, myself, and Anson Cluber setting up yours, Caleb's, and your friends Lena and Clare's heart surgeries for the first of the year. Of course that depends on how sick each of your hearts are in January or February. We'll need the three months or more to get these magnets to work, centralize the metals, and set up other logistics. The deal is, Oliver and I are yours and Caleb's doctors. Lena Cosburn and Clare Bunsen are being set up with a another doctor in Dallas."

Breann wasn't through. She had found comfort in poking Ava with a stick.

"You've been watching us, haven't you, you stalker. Lena told me she had some anonymous internet attention since I started talking to her. You and your boy Oliver Wicks want in on the guinea pig robot babies, don't you."

The storm inside Ava was swirling. She gripped the scalpel forcefully, and sat down in front of Breann.

"Show me where you want the magnet or I'll put somewhere where you won't ever be able to wear a bikini. Not that you should anyway."

Breann smiled and leaned back in the chair.

"Just tell me I'm right Dr. Ava. You looked up your ex boyfriend, got him to call you. Then tracked me and Lena and Clare over the computer. Now, you want your name in the New England Journal of Medicine or your own Dr. Blondie show on the E! channel."

Ava breathed in and curled her dry, pinkish lips. The scalpel was making it's way toward Breann's throat.

"If you shut up, I'll make a vertical incision in your unfortunate small B-Cup bra line. That should be really easy for you to cover."

Breann smiled and nodded okay to Ava. Breann unbottoned her her purple blouse, and moved her white bra strap to the side.

"Caleb called me. He always does when he needs me. Right, Caleb?"

I ignored her and shrugged at Wicks, who was preparing to put the magnet inside Breann's shoulder.

"Breann, you need a doctor, locally, that can keep a secret, have your best interests and his close to the vest. If it were up to me, you'd rot with your migraines and decaying heart. But, to Caleb, who really matters here, you're important. So I called Oliver. He's a very good physician. Don't worry, you don't have to say thank you."

Wicks moved over to Breann and implanted the oval magnet inside her shoulder. I couldn't see much so I talked Breann through it.

"It is good for you Breann? You're like the six hundred dollar woman now."

She laughed then cringed in pain.

"It's not bad. The magnet is really warm. It feels like it's absorbing through my skin down to my bones."

Wicks and Ava looked concerned but said nothing as he moved away from Ava and Ava began stitching the incision.

"You're next Caleb. We'll remove the counter from your side then give you the magnet."

I took Wicks' chair from him. Then sat next to Breann as Wicks finished stitching her.

Breann smiled at me and closed her eyes to handle her pain.

"You can cut me anywhere, Ava. Chicks dig scars."

*blogger's note* - This is another episode of a story I am writing. This one is based on a prompt THE STORM by @Studio30plus - The other episodes are here:
1) Synchronicity
2) Personality Crisis
3) Serendipity 6
4) Hot Dog Harbinger
5) Goodbye Stranger
6) The House of Irony
7) Connection
8) Dead Man's Party
9) Hope Springs A Turtle
10) Drown
11) Toyed
12) Fever
13) The Girlfriend Experience
14) Sympathy for the Devil
15) Tomorrow, The Green Grass
16) Possession
17) Numb

Today's song reflects the title, wneh The Bullet Hits The Bone. It's from Golden Earring's 1982 music noir song, The Twilight Zone.