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Driving in Tennessee: Sleeping is the New Texting?

So I get it.  Tennessee has passed a law that as of July 1st, 2019 no one is allowed to have any cellular device in their hand while drivi...

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Flux Runners



If anyone is looking for something a bit more PG-13 (NC-17?) than Jam Sessions, a friend is running his book at $.99 today.

BUY IT HERE!

I've just started it.  Good stuff.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

StoryADay

Well, I am coming to the end of the StoryADay challenge.




Here is one generated by the prompt (retell a nursery rhyme) and my recent completion of reading The Outsider (now I can watch the series!)

Choose a nursery rhyme. 
That is going to be the plot of your story.
The key with this exercise is that now choose an author whose voice you love.
Write that story with that character, but in the voice of the author you chose.



What Does A Vampire Eat During A Plague?

Ring-a-Ring O’Roses

Johan had seen the stark man the last time he left town.  He was not exactly asking for a lift out of town, but stood by the town’s boundary marker.  Johan considered it an odd place to stand, under the town’s sole elderbush, a half a mile from the nearest home or store.

Original Link

Johan tipped his hat toward the stark man.  The man looked inquisitively at Johan but said nothing.  The only response was a facial contortion that Johan took to be an effort to smile.

In the next town over, Johan confirmed the news.  There was sickness, a great mortality, crossing the land.  Shops who bought his woolen wares were closed to him.  Everyone in the town said that they were not allowing visitors.  He was requested to return home till the sickness passed.

When Johan asked how one might know if they have the illness, an old lady told him from an upper store window, “You will smell it into your system.  It is the odor itself that carries it.  You need not touch nor be bitten.  So protect your nose in these dark days.” 

Johan pulled his team of mules back into Coppertown late that evening.  He had made no money and pondered how he would sustain a family on the meager amounts they had. 

The stark man continued to sit by the elderberry tree.

“You are back early.  Did not expect you for a few days,” came the man’s words.

Johan was startled by the unexpected comment and moreso by the speed with which the stark man pulled alongside his mules and wagon.  The stark man placed a hand on the mule’s neck.  Johan was uncertain, but thought he saw the stark man lick his lips.

“An illness has set in over the area.  No towns want traveling merchants.  Best you stay isolated yourself, if you can.”

“Always do,” came the man’s reply.  He turned and left Johan, retrning to the elderbush.  Johan could not be certain, but he felt the night air warm several degrees as the man moved away.

At home Johan’s wife came outside.  “Johan, you have returned?”

“There is an illness set over the area.  No towns want a traveling merchant.”

“Did you make any trade at all?”

“All I traded was a sore back in exchange for a day away from you.”

“Well, come in.  I have some leftovers you can have for supper.  And go see your son.  The strangest rash has surfaced on his neck.”


 
A Pocket Full of Posies

Johan finished burying his children and wife in the back yard.  His own illness still had him weak.  His chest was tight and he had no appetite.  Not that there was food to eat.  His trip into town was not from desire to be with others nor to report the loss of his family.  He told himself he was returning to his home.  However, as he packed his travel wagon with anything of worth, he knew that he would never come through the threshold again. 

The doctor who had visited had worn the face of a vulture.  A hollowed out beak with leather masking.  He had said it was important to do so.  The odor was the culprit of transmission.  Stuffing the beak with flowers was the best preventative.  Johan made a makeshift version for himself from a beak his son had on his nightstand and some of his wool to trade.

He did not look back at the homestead.  The failed crops, the unmarked graves, and the roof that needed repair that spring.  He would move on to the town of his birth, Taurus.

On the short road into town he saw a lady attempting to dig a grave.  He tied up his mules and garnered a shovel from his collected belongings.  As he put tool to earth, he noticed there were two holes.

“You will save work digging the one deeper,” Johan offered as he moved a scoop of dirt to the nearby pile.

“Can not bury her with the others.”

Johan looked at the body of a teen girl.  She had the festering buboes and the rash.  He adjusted his beak to be better heard.  “She had the illness, same as the others?  The good Lord will surely not mind in such a time.”

“See her neck?  She did not die from fever.  Hers came from a darker villainy.”

Johan walked to the girl.  Her neck had two holes pierced in her neck above the shoulder blade.    There were fingernail marks along her throat.  It looked like someone had pierced her with an odd two pronged awl.   “Who would do this?  What is this?”

“She said a man tall and gaunt approached her.  Scared, she ran.  He caught her and bit into her neck.  She thought her life to be over, but he threw her aside.  Said her blood was foul and tainted.  He could not tolerate it even though he was starved.”

“Sounds to be a man possessed.”  Johan and the woman spoke no more.  A body touched of the devil must not be in a Christian grave.

A-tishoo!  A-tishoo (Ashes, Ashes)

The town center of coppertown was desolate.  Outside the church there were monks filling in another layer of dirt in a mass grave.  He saw a priest carrying a wheelbarrow with two bodies.  He had the tell - tell rash as well and the buuboes festering on his neck. 

The city looked as a snow storm.  Johan almost took off his beak to catch one in his mouth as he had in childhood.  As he rose his hand to the task, he saw it to be ash.  Ahead, he saw the burnt bodies rising up into the air.

Johan stopped by his life long friend’s smithy.  He paused, fearful the man was already in the ground.  Relief came as his wife peeked out the window.  A moment later so did his friend.

“Johan, we prayed for you and your family.”

“You may trade your praeyers for tears, I am afraid.  I buried them all yesterday.”

“We are sorry, my friend.  We lost our daughter.  We are staying inside away from the stench.’

“When this ends, my homestead is yours.  I am going to see if my parents survive.  I will stay and help them or take the family farm to my own plowhand.  Either way, there is nothing left here for me.”

“My son and his bride will take your property under good care.”

Johan nodded and urged the mules forward.   His body was covered in ash.

We All Fall Down

The stark man stood on the roadway.  Johan stopped.  The man gave again his contorted smile.  Johan noticed his two upper teeth were unusually pronounced, perhaps a result of his starvation and illness.  But the man showed no signs of the illness that took Johan’s family.

“Sir, are you sick with the illness?”

The stark man extended a very long fingernail.  “I have not and the illness will not come upon me.  I am, however, bound to this elderberry tree, without hope for future sustenance.  There is nothing left for me in a town consumed with plague.

“I am leaving town.  You were here three days ago and appears you have no other home.  I can not offer you succor beyond the trip, but if you desire you may ride with me.”

Original Source
The man again petted the mule.  This time Johan saw without doubt the man lick his lips.  The pronounced teeth hesitated to return inside the man’s lips as he recoiled his tongue.  “I can not leave the town except by invitation to another.  Some have said it is unto a specific house that we are prevented from entering.  However, that is not the entirety of the truth.  We may enter no land unwelcomed whether it be a homeowner’s small cottage or London itself.  A resident must first extend invitation.  And you are no resident of Taurus, I fear.”



“I was born in Taurus.  I have no idea if they will welcome an outsider, but as a child of the city, I am allowed.  And you are still welcome to the ride.”  Johan patted the seat beside him.  Strange company would be better than none in the two day travel.

The man rose to the seat without use of hands.  “Then I thank you.  The food in this part has turned sour with plague.  Even the sweetest virgin morsel no longer holds succulence.  It is a hard time to be one who walks in the shadows.  As my food falls ill, the normal hunger pains become screams of agony.  But perhaps in your home village we both shall find greater comfort.”

Johan snapped the reigns and the mules moved past the elderberry tree.  The coldness he felt when stopped did not lift.   Johan shuddered.  He looked to his traveling mate.  The stark man, thin and frail, seemed unconcerned with the frigid night.  The two continued on in silence through the night, both carrying within themselves a cursed death.

The Stay-Home Story Summit

Great link for anyone trying to improve your writing! 




Courses on using short fiction to market, setting tone, developing characters, info on doing audiobooks, and what you need to consider for cover designs.  I admittedly also watched one on how to write Romance, but don't tell anyone.  It is all for free!! 

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Are we really surprised Americans Don't wear masks? And other reasons Cops don't have paintball guns.



I have several friends who seem extremely flustered that their fellow Americans aren't wearing masks.  I am not here to promote a political position.  But I am here to remind us who we are as Americans.

- We continue to smoke even though we know it will kill us
- We continue to buy SUV's even though we know it kills the planet
- We continue to text while driving even though we know it will kill us and others
- We continue to drink alcohol in large quantities... and then drive cars, boats, planes, and forklifts...




- We legalize marijuana even though we know it statistically increases your chances of contracting schizophrenia


- We eat fast food even though we know cholesterol and grease will... wit for it... kill us
- We give our toddlers phones, tablets, tv's, and any other electronic even though studies show it is not good for them to be so "plugged in."
- We eat three donuts and a cupcake even though we know our diabetes will kill us
- We often refuse to wear sunscreen, even though the sun will kill us
- We keep animals as pets that really just want to kill us
- We defend our rights to carry firearms even though violent crimes... well... you get the point.

So why are we so surprised that when the CDC says, "Wear a mask or people will die," we do things like this?

Link to original post

Which brings me to my main point: Cops should be allowed to carry paintball guns.  Follow me here.  We are already encouraging masks.  Let's just add on safety glasses.  It will stimulate the manufacturing industry, help keep masks on, and provide the needed protection from paintball guns.  Then let's issue cops paintball guns.

It opens up a whole new world for social distancing.  Hell, we don't ned apps that track where you have been.  If a cop sees you in a group of twenty people, he just unloads a bunch of paintball bullets on you.  And boom.  You are covered in pink dye.  

Now, when I see you at the Ace Hardware, I say to myself, "Hey, Joey over there is covered in pink dye.  Oh wait, he must have not been practicing social distancing."

And I promise you.  If you've ever been hit by those little bullets, you know, people will move out of the way.  Cops can break up groups quickly without any need to write citations.  Maybe we can even have colors like we do with ribbons.  "That guy is pink, he didn't social distance.  That guy is blue, he must have parked in two parking spaces.  The girl is green, she must have thought the"out of order" sign didn't apply to her."  Think about it.  

That's all I ask.



StoryADay - Super Heroes Among Us

The Prompt
Premee Mohammed dug into her a short story stash of ideas to share one with us.
‘Superheroes, community service/non-jail punishment for crime, a secret society. 
In a world where superpowers are real, a convicted criminal is spared a prison term… If he agrees to do community service, enforced by an unknown league of incognito superheroes. But how can he skip town while he’s always under their surveillance?”


---

Sherman reached over and picked up the candy wrapper. He threw it away in the waste receptacle provided by security staff. His partner for the day, Louis, continued to walk along the other side of the can, seemingly oblivious to their task. Sherman pointed to a stray Styrofoam cup and asked, “Can you get that one?”

“Oh, sure!” Louis said. He walked over and got the cup and placed it in the trash can. “This your first run with the MACS?”

“MACS?” Sherman asked.

“You know, Mall Assistance and Correctional Services.”

“Oh, they didn’t tell me the name of the program. Just it was community service. Said I had to show up at 9:00am to clean. Otherwise, my bracelet would alert the police.” Sherman lifted his pant leg to show the ankle bracelet and accompanying monitor.

“Yeah, as far as it goes, this isn’t a bad gig. Walk the mall, check out the hot moms, pick up a cup here and there.”

Sherman thought Louis spent most of his day doing the first two and not the latter. “What did you do to be here? If I can ask?” Louis asked hesitantly. He didn’t know if it was appropriate to ask, but he also wanted the conversation to continue. It was 9:15, and he was with Louis until 4:00.

“Not for anything super, if that is what you are asking. I’d love to have a superpower like some folks. But no, I am just a guy who the system decided to hate on. Yeah, I got scammed. Dumb really. I was selling legitimate insurance products.”

“What type of insurance?”

“Rapture insurance for your pets. You see, lots of folks think Jesus is coming back at any moment. I mean, like right now!” Sherman clapped his hands together hard to emphasize his point. Several shoppers looked over and gave an even wider path for the two men in their county orange scrubs with ID numbers on the back.

“What does that have to do with pets?”

“Well, you see, here is the thing. Let’s say you and your wife believe in Jesus and whatever. Right? And you think he is coming back any day to get you and take you up in the clouds or something. Well, Jesus is only coming to get the good ones. Down here, he is leaving all the bad seeds.”

“Okay?”

“Well, let’s say you have a golden retriever. You love that dog. You know that show, All Dogs Go to Heaven? Well, not in the Bible, they don’t. No mention of it. So, when you get zapped up to Almighty Jesus, old Fido is likely to be stuck at home in his pet pen alone. And who is going to help him? Only neighbors left are the ones who hated Jesus.”

“That would really stink. Never thought about it that way.”

“So here is where I come in. I provide a product. A certified employee who has to confirm every three months that he hasn’t converted to Jesus and all that. A certified pagan. Well, in case of rapture, that’s what they call it, your insurance policy goes into effect. It’s like that cancer insurance that pays out cash the moment you get the diagnosis.” Sherman kicked an old French fry up under a trash can rather than picking it up. “And, Bam!” He again clapped his hands loudly. “You are raptured. My guy drops what he is doing. He goes to your house and takes your dog. He takes care of the dog in a safe, secure environment while you are with Jesus singing Christmas carols and crap.”

“So, you sell insurance to take care of people’s pets if they get raptured?”

“So much more than that, my friend. I sell peace of mind.”

“What if the person dies normally. Like in a car wreck or something?”

“Oh, I don’t want to get entangled with other insurance companies. I only serve my niche market.” 

Louis nodded. Then he pointed to the entrance to Sears and Roebuck. The two walked over where the sign, “Shop the softer side of Sears,” had fallen. Louis started to lift the sign. Sherman just watched. Breathing a bit heavy after lifting the metal signpost, Louis said, “That doesn’t seem like a crime, though?”

“Well, the police came and wanted to see my employment records. Anted to see where I had staff coverage for all the policies I had sold. I tried to explain my indemnity clause. I had forty-eight hours after the rapture event to collect and care for any identified pets. I just figured I would do my hiring in that first twenty-four hours. Lots of people would be out of work since their Jesus-loving bosses would disappear. In fact, I never thought about it. I should sell non-Christians guaranteed employment insurance in case of rapture. Be a tougher market, but I bet I could do it.”

“So, you were just scamming them?” Louis asked bluntly.

“Selling peace of mind, my friend. Peace of mind. But enough about me and how I was falsely imprisoned to community service. What brought you here? Are you a super?”

Louis did not answer. He thought about what he should or shouldn’t tell Sherman.

Sherman continued, “You are! You are! Do tell? What is your power? Man, I wish I had one!”

“Well, mine isn’t anything too spectacular, I’m afraid.”

“What is it?” Sherman pressed.

“I can move things. Not far. Just a few feet.”

“No way! Like you can move something from here to here?” Sherman pointed to two random spots on the floor.

“Something like that.”

Sherman reached in the waste receptacle and pulled out the Styrofoam cup. He threw it back on the floor. “So, like, you can move that into the trash can. Show me!”

Louis hesitated, but Sherman insisted. “Come on, man. We have all day in this place.”

Louis looked at the cup before blinking twice rapidly. The cup disappeared and then reappeared over the waste receptacle before descending back into the other trash.

“Oh, man! That is the coolest thing ever! So, why didn’t you just use it back there to pick up that sign?”

“I don’t know. It is, well, you know how some people get. They get all nervous and such. It has gotten me in more trouble, really, than help.”

“Is that how you got in here?”

“Yeah. You see, I can move stuff, but people are different. My boss came into the lunch area and started yelling at us. I had enough of it. So I moved him back outside the room. There was a glass window, so it should have been an easy teleport. It would’ve been too, if it was a shoe or a Styrofoam cup. But people, well, they are different.”

“What happened? You kill him?” Sherman asked. Louis had piqued his interest.

“No. If I had killed him, I doubt I would be doing community service. That would bring a hard time. No. I moved everything but his ear. His ear didn’t make it through the glass window. It was just sort of halfway between the lunchroom and the factory area in the glass.”

Sherman laughed. The shoppers around them at the Sear’s jewelry counter looked before walking off to shop somewhere else. The counter attendant scolded the two, “You two are scaring off our customers. Keep that up, and this store will close.”

Sherman and Louis took a few steps away. Then Sherman said quietly, “Hey man. Let’s have some fun. That lady, the one who just chided us, let’s play a joke?”

Louis said, “I’m not so sure about that.”

“Come on, nothing dangerous or anything. She won’t even know it is us.” Sherman slapped Louis on the back before Louis had a chance to say yes or no. “Awesome! Okay, here is what we do. You just move her shirt over to the other side of the counter.”

“You mean, make her naked?” Louis said.

“Oh, no. She will still have a bra on and whatnot. But the look on her face will be great payback for how she yelled at you.”

“Um,” Louis said, “I think she yelled at you.”

“That’s right. How she yelled at us. Okay, go on. Do it, and I’ll buy lunch.”

Louis knew it was probably not a good idea. He also thought the lady was very attractive, and it might be great to see her in a bra only. Besides, Sherman was right about one thing. No one here knew him, and he had to be here till 4:00. He double blinked.

The woman screamed. She jumped back, making her breasts bounce as she did. Louis watched as her stunning figure stood nearly naked in the department store. She hid her breasts with her arms as she made her way to the open walkway where her blouse lay.

“That was awesome!” Sherman whispered. The lady grabbed her blouse and began fast-walking to the nearest changing room. Everyone in the store gawked as the tall, blue-eyed blonde from jewelry streaked by. Everyone that is, except Sherman. He walked casually over to the lady’s register, where he collected a handful of bills. Then he pocketed two rings in his scrub jacket. “Lunch money,” he said to Louis. Then he started walking out of Sears and Roebucks. “Let’s get out of here.”

At lunch, Louis confronted Sherman. “You know, what you did wasn’t right. You shouldn’t have taken all that money.”

“Maybe you are right,” Sherman said. 

It was not the answer that Louis expected. He prepared himself to either be told he should not have embarrassed the lady or to hear some excuse about why Sherman was justified stealing the money. But Sherman just agreed. Louis questioned, “What do you mean? You agree?”

“Yes, I mean, you were just doing a joke. No harm in that. God makes you run fast, you should run for fun. God makes you a good cook, you should cook for fun. You should have fun with whatever talent you have, is what I say. You just happen to be a super. But you were having some harmless fun.”

Louis was surprised at Sherman’s resolve to not blame him. “So, you don’t think I was wrong to move her clothes off?”

“Are you kidding me! That woman was a hottie. She will be back behind that counter in no time, and I guarantee you she will sell a lot more jewelry now that she is a mall celebrity.”

“But, you stole from her register.”

“Now that I did. And maybe that was too far.”

“Then, you should turn yourself in.” Louis offered.

“Now, if I do that,” Sherman mused. “If I chose to do that, what would happen?”

“They would likely sentence you to some real jail time,” Louis said matter-of-factly.

“That they would. Now, I am not saying what I did was right. I’m just saying it wasn’t so wrong that it deserves that type of punishment. No, I dare say if I turned myself in, I would again be a victim of the system. I would suffer consequences much greater than I should receive. My punishment would not fit the crime.”

Sherman talked fast, and Louis tried to follow the argument. “So, then do nothing?”

“Why no, my friend. That would not be fair either. For as you have so adeptly stated, I am indeed guilty of the crime. What we need is a punishment that matches the offense. An eye for an eye, as the Bible says. Tit for tat. Like for like.”

“But what would that be?” Louis said.

Sherman sat quietly for a moment in reflection. Then he burst out in a smile. “I tell you what, my friend. I should suffer the same fate as the woman. You should remove my shirt!”

“But you are a guy. Why would that matter?”

Sherman bit his lip as he thought. Then another smile broke out. “You are correct. That would not be fair at all. It should be an equal punishment. I convinced you to take off her blouse. So I must convince you to punish men. Then, I took the money from her drawer. I should, therefore, lose all but my underwear – She did get to keep that dignity after all – and not be allowed to have them back.”

“But won’t the mall security arrest you? And when you tell them it was me-”

“Why I would do no such thing, my friend. This is not your punishment, but mine. Besides, there are kids around who are supers as well. They will assume some teen played a prank on the MACS staff for a good laugh. What say?”

“Ummmm…”

Sherman slapped Louis on the back. “Perfect. Now, let me step out into the main walk area. Then when I turn back around, you do it. Okay? Okay.”

Sherman gave no time for Louis to think. Louis had an inkling that this might not be the wisest counsel. But he also appreciated the fact that Sherman wanted to be punished. Sherman walked a few paces and then turned. Louis’s moment of indecision was overtaken by a desire to please his new friend and bring a bit of justice to the day. That was what supers did, right? Allocate justice? He double blinked.

Sherman looked down. He had nothing on except his boxers. Nothing. Both fists were clenched tight in fists. But he was smiling. “Oh no!” he said at the top of his lungs. “Oh, no! Someone took my clothes!” Then he ran toward J.C. Penny.

Louis couldn’t help but chuckle a little bit at how well Sherman was playing it up. He walked over to the pile of clothes. He figured he would collect them and take them to whatever changing room Sherman had found. Louis scooped up the scrubs. That is when he saw the ankle bracelet. Louis hadn’t worried about it since it was hidden under the pants leg. It should not have been teleported… unless Sherman lifted the pants leg intentionally. Louis then checked the pockets of the scrub shirt. They were empty. Louis looked up but saw nothing. And that was it. He could only teleport what he could see. That’s why Sherman only took two rings. One for each fist, plus whatever cash he could hold.

Louis put the clothes and ankle bracelet on the table. Someone else could sort that out. He pushed the waste receptacle towards the next department store. It was 1:00, and he had three hours of community service left to fulfill.






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Sunday, May 17, 2020

StoryADay Prompt - Write in the collective "We."

The Prompt
Think up a narrative about some form of travel—anything from setting out on an adventure, to a school trip to somewhere, to crossing a border, to an accident on the way, (a train wreck perhaps).
Begin this in the voice of a collective first person: “We.”
How does a group consciousness describe the experience?
Consider both Karen Russell’s “St. Lucy’s School for Girls Raised by Wolves” and Ayșe Papatya Bucak’s “The History of Girls” as examples of this voice. Note that both authors introduce the element of the individual “I” at critical points among the we. See if you can identify in your story idea where the individual “I” might intrude or take over. (500 words and up)
---


We have to get going.  We need to make the bed for sure. 

We have time.  They won’t be up for anther hour.

Unless they came in last night and changed the clock?

Who does that?  That would be mean.

The bed is wet.  Did we pee the bed?

No, of course we didn’t.  It is wet by the pillows.  Someone spilt water.

They will be sooooo mad!  Come over here to the trash can.  We left all sorts of clothes out too.

I don’t understand?  Some of these clothes-

They are children clothes.  You fool, I have said it over and over.  This is not our room.  These are the clothes a teenager would wear.  I mean, underwear with tacos on it and a Rolling Stone t-shirt?

Then whose room is it?

Their kid.  He is like seventeen. 

Where is he?

I mean, look at these shirts with “Ridgeline High School” on them?  They are for a child.  We don’t go to school.

Why are they all over the floor?

I don’t know.  Maybe he didn’t clean up before we got here?

Or maybe he came in last night.  Maybe he was watching us sleep?

Don’t be ridiculous.  Why would a seven year old watch us?

Maybe they sent him.  Maybe he put devices in the drawers?  Maybe we are being watched right now?

I think we may have thrown them there.

We really need to stop worrying about the clothes.  We have to fix this water problem.  What if it wasn’t an accident and there is a leak? 

On the bed?

We don’t know.  That is the point.  Let’s get the cover over the wet spot.

The cover is wet too.

We poured the water there.  To drown out the voices.

If so, where is the cup?

Let’s go check the bathroom.  If there is a cup, it will be in there.

What do you see?

There is a cup in here.  It is wet inside.  It has been used recently.

By us.  See?

But look at this.  There is an Incredible Hulk shampoo.  We don’t ever use commercialized shampoo.  The additives make you droggy.  Someone else has been in here.

Idiot.  You are a freaking idiot.  I told you already.  This is not our room.  It is a boy’s room.  We just came to stay the night.

Then why does the pill bottle have our name on it?

We can’t take those pills.  They make us feel blind.  We can’t see the world clearly on those.  We have to get out of here before they make us take them.

After we make the bed.  You should always make the bed first.

The pill bottle has our name on it.  But so does the picture frame. 

Let me look.  “Our boy.  Charles.”  That could be a coincidence.

I don’t like it here.  It isn’t safe being inside like this.  Too easy to find us.

That is the first sensible thing you’ve said.  Let’s get this bed made.  And we will put a note on the nightstand.  “Sorry we spilled the water.”

Okay.  But write it left handed so it won’t look like our writing.

Do you see the notebook next to the pad of paper?  Pictures.  These are pictures of us!  As a young kid, a teenager.  Look, here is one that looks almost exactly like the person we just saw in the mirror.

Do you think it is a one-way mirror?  I didn’t consider that.  I’m scared.

Look, the bed is made.  We put the clothes that weren’t ours in the pillowcases and folded the openings down so they won’t come out again.  Let’s go.

What about the pictures?  I think this is our bedroom.  Our parents’ house, maybe.

Nonsense.  If it was our parents’ house, we would have our own room.  We wouldn’t share it with some teen boy.

Unless we were that boy?  What if that medicine?  What if our parents will walk through that door and we will know this is our place?  And it is safe?

Only safe place is on the streets.  Keep moving.  That’s how to keep them from finding you.  Look, I packed our stuff.  I took the Brown Sugar Pop-Tarts the kid left.  Two whole boxes.  Can we leave him something in payment?

All I have are a few buttons.

Leave a green one and two blue ones.  That should do.  Do you all mind if we leave through the window?  I want to avoid any cameras that might be on the front door.

So you all don’t want to stay and see if it is our parents?  What if we are sick?  What if we need help?  What if-

I do the worrying for us.  And I say better to leave.  We can find a hiding spot and watch the house a bit from a distance.  See who comes and goes.  Carefully, of course.  Someone might try and follow us.

That’s a good idea.  Did you take the battery out of the phone?

The one on the nightstand?  I don’t think it is ours.  Besides, it has water all over it.

Leave it here, then.  Let’s go.

Bye mom.  Bye Dad.  I love you and we tried.



Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Where's the Beef?


"Where's the beef?" Wendy's commerical
Like Totally 80's

I heard this morning on the news that Wendy's has a beef shortage.  All I can say is Clara Peller would be so very disappointed.

Check out the commercial here: WHERE'S THE BEEF?

Tom Hanks and Daryl Hannah in Splash
Link
I recall this commercial and remember the joy of pulling into a Wendy's.  It was 1984.  The year George Orwell told us that the government would attach cages to our face and let rats eat our nose if we didn't conform to socialist propaganda.

 It was also the year Michael Jackson's hair caught on fire, the Russians boycotted the Summer Olympics in California (how does that feel California?  Someone protesting you instead of the other way around?) and Apple Macintosh computers went on sale.  We had an untethered space walk, a transatlantic helium balloon flight, and Jeopardy was on television.

In film we released Ghostbusters, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Gremlins, Beverly Hills Cop, Terms of Endearment, the Karate Kid, Star Trek III, Police Academy, the Terminator, Amadeus, The Killing Fields, and of course the Tom Hanks cinema marvel, Splash.

Link

All of this got me thinking, where is the best burger today?  My immediate thought is Five Guys.  They have a great burger and are so confident in their ability, they do not clutter their menu with other stuff.  There are no cheese dwindles or chocolate flavored milky shakes or non-existent chicken parts such as "nuggets."  Just a quality burger and some fresh cut fries.

 hear, however, that we are in a potential beef shortage.  If this is true, we must not only embrace the chain restaurant delivering quality and quantity.  We must also look local to potential options.  I remembered my local restaurants.  Here in Chattanooga there are two I absolutely love.  Both have unique burger options as well as your classic cheese.



#1. DUB'S PLACE - Check out their FaceBook Page


Dub's is the home of the Red Bank Crumble Burger.  Think Krystal or White Castle but just loose ground beef, carefully held together with sautéed onions and melted cheese on a slider bun.  Grab a milkshake and a side.  They have BBQ also that I am told is amazing.  I have had their onion rings, banana splits, brunswick stew, and home cut fries.  All delicious.  And if you are lucky, you might find yourself amidst a classic car show in the parking lot or some bluegrass in the back patio area!  As for me, my go-to is the crumble burger.  Not from Chattanooga?  Well, first off, I am sorry.  We are awesome.  Don't believe me... 


CHATTANOOGA IS THE BEST PLACE TO LIVE



But if you are unfortunate enough to not be here, try a crumble burger at home.  I do not know Dub's formula, but I sometimes sauté some onion and ground beef "taco meat style" with some worschire sauce.  Take a big scoop (this is a "Where's the beef!" post after all) and set on a slider bun with some cheese.  Delicious!

-2. Merv's - All I can say here is that this burger is so good that my wife wanted it for her birthday dinner.  Tots, Onion Rings, Handcut Fries, and full length fried okra.  Plus, amazing burgers.  And for those interested, they have a fantastic burger wrap also.

So where's the beef?  Turns out in Chattanooga, it is at your locally owned restauranteur.  Including in my city some honorable mentions:
-Tremont Tavern
-Hillbilly Willy's
-Urban Stack
-Armando's
- That place down off 23rd street in the back of the gas station.

Shop local!