Entire RWM Catalog Free for Limited Time

That’s right, folks. The ENTIRE Rusty Wheels Media, LLC. catalog will boast FREE Amazon Kindle Versions from Tuesday-Saturday. (4/17-4/21) 

See which FREE KINDLE book suits your fancy from our Amazing Authors by clicking the links below:

 

 

Don’t Forget About Our Letters Contest!

Always accepting submissions.

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“Dear Benefactor” from Letters Never Meant to be Read: Volume II YouTube Reading and Script

 

 

Dear Benefactor,

 

Here I give you a great opportunity to continue on an age-old tradition of supporting the arts. No, I am not a charlatan, although I could be if I had no guilt at all. No, I am not a beggar. It just seems plain to me that I could be doing better for myself, better for the world with a change of station. If only I didn’t have this weight of impending disaster over me. This impenetrable cloud that follows, darkens my existence by stealing my time and thoughts away from my writing. Worry and debt have formed great men, but I have served enough of both to occupy a lifetime. Some find hardship and poverty to be inspiration for their best work. I have had the right amount of these disasters and I simply ask for assistance in continuing on to the next great phase.

It may seem by the opening that I am not accomplished, a loser perhaps. This is not true; I am a gentleman by the old sense. I am a person of letters and books. I am well educated, addicted to ambition as well as accomplishment, and have risen up to a certain level despite my poor pedigree. But winning in these games has not come without cost. I find myself mooring over the smallest of expenses and checking my accounts far too often.

Even a small amount of patronage would give me a little respite. I will not dawdle with this given time though. I will write and produce in such a way that you have never seen. I will be the most prolific, the unstoppable. I will be the creator of many worlds and people, for you. The small gesture to my potential will seem dainty in comparison to what I will build. Then, as time continues and I add to the pile of record, our achievements, I will undoubtedly garner interviews. Books will be written about me, about my undying tenacity, about our legacy. Only then will I divulge the real truth about you, about the goodness in your heart, about your care and generosity. I will put you upon the pedestal of time and you will be known.

If you are uninterested in the investment of legacy, then perhaps you would like companionship. Perhaps you want both, are like myself, want it all. I can offer you the sweetest of gestures, the most passionate rhythms this Earth has to offer. I can see you as you were, long ago, past those still pretty eyes, into your youth. I can look at you in wonder, your naked body on display for me, caress your hair and forgive the small tolls that time has ungratefully taken on you.

I can be your best lover, your secret in revenge against the world that has been so ungrateful. I can last long or be as hasty as you please. All of your fantasies will come to fruition, all you have to do is ask. No, tell me, say the words, and I will be whoever you want. Say nothing, and I will be myself, your everything. I do not care if you are dying, we all are. I do not care if you aren’t as pretty as you once were. I can see through the wrinkles and the grief. I am unassuming and I know no age. I span time with humor and delicate forethought. Think of your most dangerous desire, the one you fear would bring you public shame if it ever got out. Tell me. I won’t even bat an eye, only smile, and give it to you.

Please don’t think of me a tramp. Yes, I am taken, you might be too, but not in those moments. No one has all of me, but you can. He may have left recently, or long ago. Use me to parade around in defiance. Show me off to your cohorts, travel with an escort. I can speak another language. In a tuxedo, I am quite dashing. We all play roles; let me play one for you.

Is it not the same when I clock in an out? When I go away in uniform, am I not leaving them behind too? Those that I love, that are close, they need provisions. I go and get them to ensure a future. It does not matter who I am when I am away, as long as I return unscathed. It does not matter how I secure a future, but that I do. Besides, one cannot judge another who brings happiness and enlightenment into the world. I will bring you passion and joy, and you will allow for our enlightenment.

Of course, we don’t have to be lovers in the physical sense. You could simply be my publisher, my editor, my muse. I can scribe love letters to your heart’s delight. Our torrid love affair can be only in the mind, on sacred parchment that historians will marvel over. While I toil away in joy, creating a collection of books and thoughts, we can span great distance with touching moments of bliss caught on record. You can provide needed expenses, and I, a mountain of dreams.

I will still want you though, I must warn you. I am a romantic, if you have not already guessed. I will desire for your body along with your pretty mind. If that physical connection is not your choice, tease me with my own desires of the flesh. Play games, wring out of me the most desperate and sentimental words from my wet cloth. I will be loyal.

If you have found any errors in these words, good; you are doing well already. Please, beg my forgiveness. If they are filled with mistakes, let these words serve as an example of the cloud that is looming. I write in haste, eager to slip away from the bankers and the phone calls. I can assure you, I am not expensive compared to what most use their money on these days. I am not a spendthrift. I will use what is given to me by your delicate hands for one purpose and I will never appear ungrateful. I will get the cloud away from my back and write as if every day I shall perish by midnight.

Do send something soon though, a message that you are at least thinking about my offer. I am an optimist and I think fondly on tomorrow. If not, I will soon be beaten down by the doldrums of a petty, debtor existence. And while I will not give up on my dreams, I will become bitter by their making over such a long, hard road. By securing a more comfortable route now, I will ensure the necessity to pay it forward one day. I will reach down as you have here and offer a lifeline to another dreamer. I beg you to give me something more to admire about tomorrow.

I hope you are well and in good health. I hope the spring sun shines upon your face and, by morning, you have cup of tea for me and a story to tell when I arrive. Write soon.

 

-Marc

 

Send in your own letters HERE

 

“Girl in White” from Letters Never Meant to be Read: Volume II

Special thanks to all our Letter Writers for the New Volume! Go ahead, write your own Letters and send them in. We dare you…

Here is a fireside reading of “Girl in White” by yours truly with my trusty companion.

 

 

Girl in White,

I was walking in the cemetery with my dog, Maggie. We are caretakers of sorts. Unofficial titles, of course, but the dead see us every day. I tip my hat and make notes. I am not afraid and I like the quiet. It is actually a nice place with hills for calf muscles and names to remember.

We were nearly a mile into our ritual. The heat of the day was still in full effect. The sun blazed off the tar walkways. That was when my dog stopped pulling, about a mile in. She’ll pull in the beginning, want me to run. Today wasn’t a running day. Today was a talking on the phone day. Same shoes, different activity.

That’s what I was doing when I saw you. You were sitting there with your legs sprawled, wearing a white shirt and some kind of shorts near the stairs that led down a row. I could tell you had dirty blonde, mid-length hair with thick, black mascara that had to be running. You waved to me and voiced hello.

I thought it strange to see someone else alive in this place amongst the dead. You don’t see a lot of movement in a cemetery. My dog does get distracted by the occasional squirrel or bird, but you don’t see a lot of human movement. You don’t think you see human movement anyway, or certainly wouldn’t want to. That is not why we go there.

You waved and I waved with my only free hand which held my phone. I waved with my phone. I’m sorry. I didn’t know if you were trying to get my attention or if you needed something. Maybe you just wanted to talk. The phone call I was on was important and couldn’t wait. I’m sorry if I left you there all alone with the dead.

I still wonder why you were just sitting there in the cemetery. Sometimes I see workers but not very often. Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and Christmas, I can sit on my porch, drink my coffee, and watch the well-wishers drive in, take their moments, and drive out. I don’t gawk at them. That would be disrespectful. I do notice them. I wonder if they ever notice me watching over the place. I wonder if they know that I would report any vandals, that I don’t let my dog on the grass, except at the very top where there are no graves. There’s just an empty field there for future sadness.

You were the only other person alive for miles and I brushed you off with a half wave of my phone. I am so sorry. I should have at least said that I would make another round and then we could have a chat. I would finish up my conversation, come back, and we could talk about things for a bit. If I had just said that, the person who was on the phone wouldn’t have minded at all.

Maybe we could have gotten along somehow. You seemed pretty but in distress. Perhaps we could have walked together. Since Maggie wasn’t pulling, you could have had a turn leading her. You could have tried her out and I could have rested my arm as we had our secret meeting. I should have at least stopped and asked if you were alright.

You were the only one amidst the sprawling mementos of the dead. I thought that anyone there who was just sitting, and not at any particular grave, surely must have been lost. I was marching somewhere with my companion. We had places to be. We had exercise to get in and phone calls to receive.

Twenty years ago, without the contraption, I would have no doubt stopped and heard your entire life story, the way you wanted to tell it. I have that effect on people. They spill their guts all over the floor and ask me how it looks. I tell them they’re okay. They feel better. I feel interested. Twenty years ago, we could have learned something about each other. Instead, I was on the phone.

I walked around and tried to stretch my neck to see if you would stay put. I wanted to see if you heard my mental note that I would be back. ESP doesn’t always work. Must be all the Wi-Fi and cell signals. I lost sight of you over the hill. I went back to the top, back to the grass that I could let my dog walk on, and we made a good jaunt of it, another mile perhaps, maybe more.

My conversation ended and I made a B-line back to where you were. I had the sinking suspicion that you wouldn’t be there, that I missed my chance. I went, circled around and around, looking for you in that white shirt amongst the shiny tombstones, weather-beaten memories, and perfect grass.

I couldn’t find what I was looking for. I couldn’t find you. I circled around and around, searching, hoping, and whispering. I went back up to the top of the hill to gaze down, see if you went somewhere else to find shade and wait for me. My eyes darted for you; maybe you were checking out another grave or family plot. I couldn’t see you anywhere. I looked over my shoulder to see if you were following me but my neck doesn’t turn the way it used to. Not since they cut into me.

I wanted you to be there. I wanted to take that walk with you and learn all about your life. Then, maybe we could have gotten into some trouble. Maggie wanted water but she was still game for whatever and we could go farther. Dogs have a way of suffering for the sake of adventure. If I went five miles more, she would still go on without complaint.

We went to the old side of the cemetery. The one with big oaks and bushy cedars, the side with more shade. I thought if you were waiting for me, you would be over there. You weren’t. I headed for the parking lot of the community pool which sprawls a half a mile away to the west with no luck. I thought I saw a white shirt down the street, at the bottom of the hill, at the dog pound next to the place that sells monuments and tombstones. Engravings just for you.

When I got there, it was just a man loading his car. I got nervous. When I looked back up at the cemetery, the hills, again, I searched for movement. I searched for any sign that you were still there, that you were still waiting for me. I saw nothing but the glinting stones and fake flowers in rows.

I started to panic and cry a little on the inside with the heat. I didn’t want to give up. I marched down the main road and headed for the cow pasture, trekked up the side road with those houses and bamboo. I thought the cows would know where you went but a calf just ran from me like she hadn’t seen a man with a dog before. The older heifers just stared.

There was one that was browner than the others and stood by itself away in the pasture and the small-rolling hills of the thick green grass. I thought it may know where you went off to. Then, I realized why he was standing by himself. It was the bull. He was staring in the distance, picking out his next cow to mount and inseminate.

Is that all I am? Is that all I’m doing?

I stopped halfway down the road and thought about going back to the cemetery. I thought about marching back to where you were, and if you weren’t there again, we would trudge right up to the top and wait. I turned around and Maggie followed, only to take five steps and turn around again. Instead, I thought you might be on the main road, so I continued on.

You weren’t on the main road.

When I cut back up on another side street that parallels my house, Maggie thought we were going home. I wasn’t ready yet. I was still looking.

The wide angle of the cemetery appeared before us again, and again I looked for your movement. I looked for your white shirt. I couldn’t find you.

I cut in front of my house and headed towards town. Maybe someone there would know where you went. Maybe they had seen your face too, maybe someone there was helping you. Maybe you were walking and I could give you a ride or we could go together.

I wanted to know you. I wanted to love you. I wanted to cause problems and find solutions. I wanted to take your problems and make my life complicated. I wanted to wipe your tears, if that’s what those were.

Why weren’t you there?

I made it all the way to the community garden, turned around and headed back. I asked my distant neighbor if he saw anyone that looked like you. He thought I was crazy. He made me repeat where I first saw you. I witnessed goosebumps form on his neck. I could tell he wanted me to go away. My enthusiasm was disrupting his watering of the ferns and trimming of his mums. He didn’t want to have anything to do with it. He was perfectly fine in his house which was built farther down the road from the cemetery than my house was all those years ago. He didn’t want me to bring anything to his side. Not while the sun was going down and the ferns needed their water.

After I gave him the scare, I figured the only thing I could do was go home. But while we were there, Maggie had sprawled all over his cool grass. Did you know that dogs don’t have sweat glands like us? Did you know they have to pant? Maggie is faster than me but in an all-day race, I would win over the ability to sweat from my pores.

I walked home in sadness which turned to fear. I was afraid that you weren’t real. Maybe you were a ghost. That’s what my distant neighbor was scared of, that you were an apparition who lives in the cemetery. That you would follow me down to his house and give him the night terrors. If you are a ghost, I want you to know that I was not afraid. I’m not perfect, but I have not been so evil that a ghost would turn on me.

We could have a conversation, you could tell me your stories, your history, and I would listen. Then, over some tea or coffee, I could tell you mine. You could learn what it’s like in this era, be baffled by our advances and technical savagery. Mystical wonders of the modern mind. You could see it all. I could show it to you.

My head hung low until I got within eyesight of the cemetery again. I only hoped that you were there after all and you weren’t hiding from me. Is that it? After I was rude to you, did you dive behind some tombstones and wish for your own death? Did I just not see you there in your family’s row?

I looked some more but I had to go through the routines. Dogs like routines and she needed water still. I felt bad on both fronts. We went inside. I made sure her bowl was full and went to my porch which overlooks the grounds. I took out binoculars and searched for you. I looked in the place that I saw you the first time. You weren’t there. My eyes became strained as the sun faded from the horizon. I was upset.

At that point, I wasn’t afraid of you being a ghost, or a vagrant, or a drug user hiding from the cops. I was afraid you were never there at all. That I shrugged off a figment of my own imagination. I just wanted to prove that you were real. I wanted to prove to myself and the world that I was not going crazy, not yet. That I had not slipped from the rope. I wanted to know that you weren’t imagined because that scares me more than anything else.

Please, be there tomorrow.

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Entire Catalog of Books FREE for Limited Time

That’s right, folks. The ENTIRE Rusty Wheels Media, LLC. catalog will boast FREE Amazon Kindle Versions from Thursday-Monday.

This is in a knee-jerk reaction to our new book Letters Never Meant to be Read: Volume II which is out now.

See which FREE KINDLE book suits your fancy from our Amazing Authors by clicking the links below:

 

Our NEWEST BOOK is Free with Kindle Unlimited:

A Day in the Life and the Premier of Worked Stiff: Short Stories to Tell Your Boss

This book is a salute and celebration of the Modern American Worker. Generations of unrecognized heroes who wash our cars, mow our lawns, bake our bread, douse our fires, take our garbage, teach our kids, grow our food, build our houses, mend our roads, and defend our freedom.

The American Dream is still there for all of them, hidden in plain sight, riddled with confusion and abandonment.

In an America full of unemployment, late fees, foreclosures, bankruptcy, and loss of hope…

There Are Consequences.

This short story collection includes some of the pale misery behind faults in the American Economy. Find a cab driver who lost his way, a down and out executive who stumbles onto a Voodoo curse in New Orleans, a nurse who pays the price for rescuing a man once thought loved, and a horrific, dystopian future. Discover new hope after cancer. Follow a paratrooper to manhood as he approached the deadly ground. Help the underemployed win at a game where reality TV meets nature at the crossroads of technology.

The stories in this collection contain clues, breadcrumbs dropped along a path to help you on your way.

Can You Find Them? 

 

This short story collection was a while coming but I am overall happy with the results. Between pulling teeth over the cover design, hiring an editor, and editing AGAIN on a 60 inch TV in a hotel in Tennessee, this has been quite the ride. How did it begin?

It all started this past fall when I was underemployed. Isn’t that how all mischief starts? I feverishly wrote before the light of day. I tested on the phone to unsuspecting victims. I was posting these and other stories on my blog. All because I read Miracle Mornings by Hal Elrod and Steve Scott and went off to the races every morning, writing whether I cared to or not. I am NOT a morning person, despite my military background, but I became one with coffee and anger.

 

 

I wrote a few of the stories while out on a case (I moonlight as a Private Investigator). I did some first drafts with Dragon Naturally Speaking, but most I crafted before anybody could get to me and ask for anything.

The first  in this series Worked Stiff: Poetry and Prose for the Common was an unusual 2nd book to put out. Yes, weird after Country Noir Modern Waste but that’s what a year in Russian school at the Defense Language Institute will do to you. Utterly demoralizing.

If you are interested in poetry, great art, or political treatise without picking sides, Poetry and Prose for the Common is good. If you are interested in selling books, it was not. What was I thinking?

Well, I was thinking about art and I am glad that was the first in the Worked Stiff Series but man was it difficult. Think layout is hard? Try adding stanzas and full page digital artwork into the mix.

Really though, I cut my teeth on that baby. And, after the first edition of Letters Never Meant to be Read, I can pull any project together.

So, naturally, a children’s book would be next, right? No!!!

I am actually working on a psychological thriller with A.M. Hounchell which I need to get back to. I will also be pulling together the next Worked Stiff: Crime Always Pays. Or, something to that effect.

Short Stories to Tell Your Boss was difficult because of editing and more and more editing. Why? Well, when you edit a novel or novella, you have mostly one POV and one tense. Short story compilations are tough and I found myself having to edit one story and taking a break before starting on another. This is after I hired an “editor”. I had to fix his mistakes too. There is no brevity as in a poetry book either.

I made the final cuts while in Tennessee, in a hotel, on active duty, plugged into a big flatscreen. That was so helpful and I am never going to edit any other way. All the mistakes were HUGE and it really helped me when I needed to read out loud.

I needed to get this out before I could move on. I know my writer buddies out there feel the same way at times. The cover design was a terrible process but I am satisfied enough for now and I can’t wait to see the print version.

I wanted this release to coincide with my KDP free promo days for the Letters Book but I hit a snag back there. This process has been a lesson in patience.

I am going to go for ACX tonight. I usually meander around awhile before doing the Audible version, but not this time.

Do tell if you see anything glaring and I sure hope you like it. My dog Maggie and I just got done with a long run and there is nobody home, and nobody will answer my calls of joyous celebration. So, I am sharing the release with you in this quiet way, for now.

Slow and Steady wins this one. May your night be wonderful and filled with dreams of paratroopers, android sex, and black mambas.

 

 

Book Review: Nine Parts Bluster and Other Stories: A dark fantasy anthology by A.Z. Anthony

 

I first ran across A.Z. Anthony on Twitter and wandered over to his blog where I found him in the midst of releasing a story a month. He did this in four parts, one each week, and I got caught up in his writing style and unique setting. Every week for awhile, I would be in the same place, waiting, and Anthony’s stories would be there to let me escape to a far off land, play games of power, and fight.

Description:

Nine Parts Bluster and Other Stories is a potent mix of madness, myth, and murder, with a sprinkling of black humor.

A monster of legend stalks the shadows, surrounded by rumors as abundant as the slashed and torn corpses it leaves in its wake. It’s wonderful news, assuming you’re Senesio Suleiman Zhao, famed monster hunter, Champion of the People, and murderous egotist.

It’s the place of lesser men to fear the dead as Harper conquers the scared mountains of the ancestors. Honor be damned, there’s glory at stake.

Jao has always tried to do right by others, but the time for that is long past. When his brother and companions are murdered by bandits, there’s only one recourse: a feast.

A classical education at the imperial capital has taught Chen a great many things. What it hasn’t taught him, however, is to lie, cheat, and steal. A shame, then, that he’s working for the biggest liar, cheat, and thief this side of the empire.

 

Where are we Anthony? Singapore? Mongolia? Is the year 2136? Is it 1872? I don’t know and it doesn’t matter. Anthony creates a world that is here on Earth, in the East somewhere, or is it? Yes, his characters reference the West, but again, it is of little importance because he is so convincing that you already know. You already have some idea of your time and place and everything from there will be glorious.

Like Economy of Words? I thought I had a handle on that aspect of my writing until I read this short story collection.While the author doesn’t describe every facet of setting, the vivid direction is there for the taking.

He never says when we are either, not directly. He doesn’t have to. Somewhere off the Silk Road perhaps, an Imperial Land that has either reverted back to crude weapons, or is stuck in time.

I can’t get enough of this brave, disastrous, and comical duo in Nine Parts Bluster. Senesio is the perfect mix of charlatan and hero while Chen is a happenstance boulder.  I want to follow these two on every adventure from now until the end of time. Yes, I could be summoned to quest after quest in my armchair. I would walk along the path of danger, hardship, and riches with this pair any day, all the while laughing with my popcorn, still ready with my sword on standby.

Like Characterization? Anthony spends all his writer money on just that:

“Senesio had a way with words, to be sure. He shaped the hopes and dreams of men like a potter did clay. And like clay after it was fired, what Senesio promised was prone to shatter.”

The author’s action scenes and monster are great in this. I do not want to give anything away here,  but the way men die in this and Sensio’s reaction tells the reader so much.

In Respectable Work, the author jumps back to the duo’s first meeting. The action scenes are quite stellar and the origin story is there for the taking:

“A second knee caught him (in) the chin and he stumbled backward, spitting blood and what might’ve been a tooth.”

My favorite by far is Kiss of the White Mistress which had me entrenched in the protagonist’s inner and external battle. Again, the author’s ability to work magic with less is seen here. It is all characterization:

“He smiled at the pale chunks of white mistress floating in the simmering stew, and for an instant, in that shallow hell of a prison, he could swear the stew smiled back.”

This story was intense and deep. It had me up swilling Merlot last Saturday, turning pages and dreaming of a nightmare.

In the Garden of Giants, he describes a troop in almost another world that could be its own series as well. This story really brought out the author’s sense of narration. It made me feel like he was an authority, an old man of sorts that I could count on for a good tale.

What I didn’t like:

Found some minor editing flaws. No big deal but some people care when they stumble upon Indie material.

I am confused by the cover design. It markets like a horror feature yet the work is much deeper than that. While some aspects of the stories revolve around death and a body count, it makes me wonder if melee is the true purpose, or, an interesting side-effect of the characters and their decisions within this realm.

A.Z. Anthony would do best by writing a full-length novel including Senesio and Chen immediately and selling this book for .99 cents or free. That is likely the tactic here. All of these stories are available for .99 cents on Amazon. I WANT MORE! Now that he has released all of these in one collection, a fan like me only has one thing to buy. But, I was considering doing the same thing with my short story collection for marketing and funnel purposes. He did pretty much post everything on his blog, something I tried with my hopefully soon to be released short story collection as well. I had mixed results from my posts and we shall see when it comes to sales.

 

5 Stars

 

How this book effects my writing:

While I am here toiling away with the mostly real and dark, A.Z. Anthony is creating a convincing, dark world of his own. I twist reality while he creates one.

Really, Anthony reminds me what it is like to read for pleasure again and be entertained. My wife watches these Chinese recent release, action/fantasy shows that I get sucked into from time to time.

A similar hint of lore is there. His writing is so deep but he uses less. How? I appreciate Anthony’s presence, his word choice as a narrator, and his economy of words.

Follow A.Z. Anthony on Twitter

A.Z. Anthony’s Blog

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am a Survivor-Revised Edition

Here is another sneak peak at the revised edition of the short story I am a Survivor. This will be in my next book Worked Stiff: Short Stories to Tell Your Boss. This will be out before May. Critiques and comments are warranted and welcome.

 

I am a Survivor

 

I am a survivor. No, I don’t have bumper stickers and I don’t go on the walks. I absolutely hate the color pink. I’m just not that kind of survivor. Marjorie tried to get me to go on some kind of fundraising march to nowhere one weekend, only a short time after my hair started to grow back from the radiation treatments. Sure, I registered for the walk, I paid the fee, and I even received a packet in the mail with a t-shirt. But that crisp Saturday morning when Marjorie first texted that she was on her way to scoop me up, I tried for my good friend, but I just could not make myself go. Of course, that meant that she couldn’t go either, at least she felt that way because she never had breast cancer. She tried to convince me over the phone, caressing my wits, telling me that I deserved the recognition, that there might be more people like me. More people like me, I loathed the thought.

The truth was, I didn’t want to meet anyone else like me. I wanted to forget any of it ever happened. I didn’t want to go back to work until I could at least manage avoidance of my husband Bill, and most days I couldn’t even look at myself in the mirror. I was in the bathroom one morning, Billy in the shower with the heat pouring out, covering the glass with his wretched steam. I feverishly tied the bathroom door shut with my bathrobe belt and managed to undress in front of the full-length on the backside of the door. I did not feel empowered by my survival as I looked at what was left of my body that morning, or any morning. Marjorie didn’t understand.

The problem with people around you when you’re sick is that they pretend to comprehend your level of suffering. The truth is that I never wanted anyone to care. All I ever wanted was someone to talk to me like I was normal. It made me wish that I never told anybody after I left the doctor’s office that first day.

That first day when they told me that I had a sixty percent chance of survival and that they would have to do more tests.

I thought later that maybe they didn’t tell me the sixty percent part but that’s what I heard. They told me that I had a malignant tumor the size of a key in my left breast and it was a very, very good thing that they found it then, at that exact moment. I was apparently lucky. I do not consider myself lucky and the truth, the truth that I could never tell Marjorie, was that I would rather have not known.

From the first day in the office, after my general practitioner felt a lump, I felt like I was a victim of one of those snipers in the movies on the big screen. A confirmed kill, that’s what I was. From that day, throughout the chemo, before and after the simple mastectomy, onto recovery, I truly wanted to be a survivor. I did make friends with some of the ladies there who were also getting the drip. I joined support groups before my hair started growing back, but little by little, I secretly wanted nothing to do with any of it.

Marjorie wouldn’t hear any of this sad talk, but I figured that she knew anyway. God bless her heart, she tried to do so much for me and she really cared about being there in a spiritual sense, support for my backbone. But the truth was that I had no backbone, not anymore.

Yes, I appreciated her rides when I was too weak to drive myself. I appreciated her talking to the nurses and doctors when I began to not care. She thought that I was too fragile when that simply wasn’t the case, not physically anyway. I just grew so tired of talking about me. How do I feel? How was I getting along? How is my digestion? Did I wake up in the middle of the night? How was my sex life?

Oh that, well, sex ended long before my first horrifying appointment. My sleaze ball lawyer for a husband and his 22-year-old paralegal made sure of that before they gave one of my love cups the old snip snip.

Sure, Bill was real nice when we were just coming up or should I say William S. Montgomery Esq. as he was known to his even more sleazy clients. Did I marry an injury attorney? No, of course not. I married the man that I met first, how stupid. Worse than that, I lost my virginity to him. Both my parents are dead and gone now so I am free to call them what they were, stupid zealot Catholics.

Growing up, I was what most people thought the opposite of the Catholic school girl, I actually was good. I truly believed that I was to go to hell if I did not behave. I also believed in that ridiculous princess story about saving myself for the right man. What all that religious fervor didn’t prepare me for was just what the right man looked like, acted like, how he was to speak to me. I thought when I was a freshman in college that he looked, acted and spoke like Billy. Oh Billy, with that swaying brown hair that he combed only to meet me, with that worthy smile that you could just pin down and capture.  Put that in a box and just look at it. He sure was charming alright, but William S. Montgomery was not doing any charming now, not to me anyway.

Bill was the first one that I told in a fire of foolishness. I rushed right on home, calling him all the way. He didn’t answer and I still have no idea why I expected him to pick up the phone. Sitting there, giving the urgent message to call me through my car’s Bluetooth, listening to his tacky, official voicemail greeting. That was when I knew I was alone. He could say he was in a meeting, with a client, or in court. Sure, he could say that, and did all the time. While that may have been true, I knew that at least half the time he ever gave me that line, he was porking Sandy, that little blonde heartache of a paralegal that sat out front, the gatekeeper for Billy’s office. She probably stopped wearing underwear to work after the first week, if ever at all.

I imagined him trying out his paralegals during the interview process. I could see Billy fondling them for youth, caressing their breasts, their breasts without tumors, their perky B-cups. No, perhaps he remained totally professional, an air of innocence until one late night of working and trial victory all fell into place. That’s what Billy was, a right-place, right-time man with the plausible deniability to boot.

I found out for the first time when I pinged his phone, called it too and she answered, got him to take the call and then he lumbered along, telling me some kind of excuse with a totally different location marked on the digital map. One must love modern technology and a shared phone plan.

Bill had been sleeping with Sandy, if not a few others, at least six months before that first diagnosis. He was cold to me long before, and my expectations weren’t any different after I told him I had breast cancer. No, I would’ve probably hated him even more if he promised to stop screwing Sandy and actually fell through with it. I didn’t even let him try. He told me in his lawyer tone that everything was going to be alright and that he was truly sorry and just when he started to say that he was going to stop seeing Sandy, empty promises of this and that, I held out my hand and told him to shush.

Bill thought I was looking for sympathy, just like the rest. How foolish. What I was ultimately trying to say, or rather, inform him was that I would be out for a while. Out of work, out of the house, out of life and that he would have to adjust accordingly. He replied by saying whatever you need and even tried to hug me, how sweet and what a sap.

All those people were saps. The only ones I really felt comfortable around were the nurses, especially the older, hardened ones. They had seen it all before and I wasn’t going to render any sympathy from them. For that, I was appreciative. All I ever got from those nurses had been tough love and medicine. That was all I ever needed.

I truly just wanted to give up. Just like other times in my life, finishing college, getting married, having a kid, I was just going through the motions of what was acceptable within modern society. Acceptable was getting senile. Acceptable was feeling like I wanted to die. Acceptable was losing my hair and better yet, losing one of my tits.

What I really wanted to do, after that first appointment, before ever telling anybody else about my problem, was go home, clean out all of our bank accounts and safety deposit boxes, set the house on fire and just disappear. I would take my seldom used passport and find some spot on the map where there was both sand and legal weed for someone in my condition. This was my right. It was my life, it was my tumor.

Why couldn’t I just take my tumor, left breast intact and sail off into the sunset? What the hell was wrong with that? How come the doctors and nurses didn’t give that as an option? Why wasn’t there a financial advisor after the appointment, hell along with the divorce attorney too? We could sit down and discuss my real options. Where was that box to check? Where was the form for my bucket list? Was I too young? Was forty-five too young to just step out, exit stage left?

At least I had Marjorie. I really appreciated her help but didn’t show it. She did more talking about me to other people I think than talking to me, something I hated but never told her. I knew that she meant well though. Marjorie and I talked about the affair and she was quick to give me advice on the state of my marriage. She had already been through a divorce and I was there for her, so she felt like she owed me or something. I was always interested in being there for other people in times of fright or injustice or a gun barrel or cheating. But if any of these things ever happened to me, I wanted to be like a good loyal dog, trot into the forest and be alone.

Marjorie had quite the run with her ex-husband too and I figured in the man department, neither one of us were meant for excellence. Her doctor husband had been cheating on her with an older woman, the thought of that, an older woman, can you imagine? His mistress was ten years older than Marjorie and a goddamn patient too. After the divorce and after Marjorie got nearly everything on account of one of my husband’s lawyer friends taking up her cause, her doctor man headed down a real slippery slope. Marjorie’s ex ended up getting sued for malpractice shortly after their divorce and was later found by one of their kids snorting coke off a stripper’s tits in the bathroom of a nightclub. Oh, the tangled webs we weave.

Speaking of tits, after the state-of-the-art treatment, I only had one. I remember a day or two after, when I was still laid up in bed, the first time I came out and sat on the couch and had some chicken soup, Bill tried to broach the subject of getting implants. I assumed he was on some kind of hiatus from Sandy or whatever else he was growing in his slick office. Out of a sense of posterity, he showed some type of concern for my body. He hadn’t shown that level of concern for my body in five years. Sure, we had sex during that time but not one of us was ever there. It’s difficult to say that it was his entire fault, or that he lost interest in sex with me because of me, but he must have been sleeping around for a long time. Money and power will corrupt any man.

The truth was that I lost interest in the subtle dance of our youth. Sure, I put on makeup, the same as everybody else. I wore nice dresses for an office party or anniversary. I played the part of the lawyer’s wife.  I worked out at least two or three times a week, I ate pretty healthy considering what most Americans call food these days. I was still pretty skinny too, no gray hair showed that a box wouldn’t fix. I was what most people would consider a MILF, that’s the term, right? Mother I’d like to…

The truth was that Bill didn’t lose interest in me, at least not right away, I lost interest in me. It is so cliché but I felt like there was something missing. I devoted my life to my husband, his career, our son Daniel. Our son is now in his first year of law school, a horrifying spitting image of his father.

I devoted my life and what did I get? A tumor, I got a tumor. I guess some might say that I got a big house in a nice neighborhood with no crime to speak of, a bank account that I never had to worry about, a Jaguar like I always wanted, and a walk in closet all to myself. For the people in this world that think that is justified compensation for giving my life to a sleazy, no good injury lawyer who put on the charms to my little virgin Catholic ass have got another thing coming.  Billy scooped me up with a wide shovel like a cleft of snow thrown out of the walkway and I let him.

To justify my existence by all those material things would basically label me as a whore, a prostitute begging for affection. Was I a prostitute? If I was, I was expensive. Sure, sure, I was a mother and that was important. I love our son Daniel but let’s go and cover what I accomplished. I was an instrument and I bread another identical copy of him.

Not only was Daniel following in his father’s footsteps, he spoke like his father, he smelled like his father, he drank scotch like his father, and he used the same phrasing that his father did on poor innocent women. Was this all the women were good for? A vassal for the preponderance of sleaziness? I beg to differ.

I bet nobody ever talked about this in the support groups or the walks. I bet all they ever wanted to talk about was how hard it had been, how afraid they were, how difficult it was to fit into a real bra now. How hard it was to go back.

I experienced just a taste of all of this, which was why I never made it to more of those meetings. I was never afraid, just heartbroken. I do miss my left breast but I didn’t want to go back, I was pissed.

For a while, when my hair started to grow again, all I really ended up doing was sitting by the pool. It was kind of nice. I had my Kindle. I had my morning smoothies that Greta, our new aging housekeeper would make. I listened to music and took a dip whenever I wanted. There were no mirrors by the pool. Splishing and splashing was kind of fun, it felt like summer vacation and I was a little girl again. Actually, what I really felt like was a teenager. I smoked some weed that I hid from Bill. I stayed up all hours of the night watching movies, eating ice cream. I swam and read all day and I had no inclination of ever going back to work. Life was great. I could have lasted a long time just like that.

Bill would come out in the evenings, smoking a cigar and always with his scotch. Sometimes, he would take notice of my toned body as the sun began to set. How do you wear a bikini with one breast? I didn’t care to ask. One could wear a special garment, but my C-cup right baby was just enough. I felt fine within myself, that didn’t mean I wanted to go stare at my body in the mirror and look at my empty left chest. But I felt dignified, tanned, even skinny from the chemo, and I knew I still had a nice ass and I knew that Bill was somehow curious about me. He must have known at least a little but I would never sleep with him ever again.

When I first came back from the hospital, an expensive bed was set up in the lower den which overlooked the backyard, the game room where Daniel used to play pool, watch movies, and entertain friends. I stayed put right there, even after I fully recovered, even after I could tie my hair in a small ponytail. I had better access to the pool from that room anyway.

I would have lunch with Marjorie and we would gossip, do our usual thing at Café Santa Monica, the absolute best place to get a tuna melt in a hefty pita that I’ve ever had. Even when I went through the chemo, I never lost my appetite for tuna. It was the only thing I could eat for a while. It was at Café Santa Monica where I saw him, or rather, he saw me first.

Marjorie said that a waiter assigned to another set of tables kept looking over at me. I told her she was crazy. I moved my hair behind my ear, adjusted my top and blushed anyway. I refused to wear a prosthetic which called for a few strangers looking here and there, especially when I wore a tank top like I did that day and figured it was just that, a double-take for the viewer’s satisfaction. A guess that the eyes saw what was actually missing.

His name was Edwardo. He was Dominican, young, and handsome. His shaved bald head and thin mustache gave him an out of place look as a waiter despite his youth. That first night and several others, I got a hotel room, only the finest would do.

Edwardo became a part of the luxury, an amenity that I did not care about, other than that he pleased me. He pleased me and I made him and I liked the cold, yet titillating feeling of using a man. He kissed my scar as he did my other breast and I loved him for that and only that. I cared nothing for his hopes, his dreams, or his future. I lived in the moment. I got massages by the pool, ordered Daiquiris and giggled with Marjorie and texted Edwardo when I wanted, when I felt like I could use him and steal his moments, make them my own.

I moved out and into the hotel shortly after I met Edwardo, but not because of him, I did it for me. I divorced Bill and put the squeeze on him so hard, that hidden money rained down like every day was Mardi Gras. It was all for me. Bill gave me everything I demanded, his guilt ruining his bottom line and I liked the feeling of putting the screws to him, getting what was rightfully mine and then some. I stayed at the hotel for a while until I had enough, until I felt full.

I live in the Bahamas now, the sand and the ocean and the fresh seafood with occasional joint all calm my soul, my own being. Marjorie visits, sometimes for a month at a time and we drink and laugh late into the night. I call Daniel on occasion, he even visited me once but he brought a girl, some floozy paralegal he thought he could impress by whisking away to the Caribbean.  I kindly asked him to leave and never return.

I see tourist come, tourist go. I have become a part of the scenery. I talk to some of them now and then, I take on lovers when I want and I swim, oh God do I swim. Every day, I move my arms and legs, pushing and pulling the ancient water to my will. I love the water with the fish and the crabs. The surf is there for my enjoyment.

I swim naked most of the time, letting the waves push me down the shoreline the way they do, away from my starting point, my permanently rented cottage in Abaco. When I emerge from the surf, tourists and fishermen gaze in astonishment. I show my wears, one pretty scar and one breast. I walk with purpose and not a care back to my towel left quietly on the sand. The towel always looks different when I come back. Saltwater returns to the ocean, dripping off my tanned, powerful legs. I just smile at them all and wave.

 

Calling for Submissions

Dear Writers and Friends,

Rusty Wheels Media will be releasing the second of the Worked Stiff Series “Short-stories to Tell Your Boss” in the next month or so. For those of you who read the poetry book “Worked Stiff: Poetry and Prose for the Common“, this second and third will not be the same.
I am interested in alternating between the short-story/short/novelette collections and poetry books for the Worked Stiff Series from now until I die.
The first poetry book focused on the plight of modern man, blue collar troubles, and political common sense. While I am happy that this was the first in the series, themed-based books are going to be the norm.
The second, due out soon, is a short story collection that focuses on the working class and the fictional world in which they live. Some of those stories I posted on my blog as an experiment.
The third Worked Stiff: Back to the Land, we are calling for submissions here: This will focus on nature. Of course, anything loosely involving nature: working the land, camping, hiking, hunting, fishing, quiet moments in the forest…you get the idea. RWM will consider unpublished poems, short-stories, essays, etc.
As with Letters Never Meant to be Read, RWM believes in profit sharing with percentages based on poems/works that make it into the book. Some of you who are receiving your first royalty checks in the mail now from the Letters Project are not retiring to the Bahamas just yet, but it’s a start.
I will of course be taking letters as well and would like to put out the second in May/June. Some of you have already submitted new letters which is encouraging.

Send your poems and letters to:

rustywheelsmedia@gmail.com

or

Rusty Wheels Media, LLC

PO Box 1692

Rome, GA 30162

I look forward to your submissions and I will show you mine one way or another.
-Marc

“Secrets of a Husband” -A Short Story

A little while back I posted Secrets of a Wife. These two stories are actually part of a futuristic sci-fi novel I had half written that I decided looked better all cut up. This is rated R and is not for those that blush at sexual expression, no matter how strange. Feedback is always appreciated.

 

Secrets of a Husband

 

Michael remained stoic, purposeful even as people fluttered all about him. He made his way to the furnished apartment located in the industrial city center called Montorose. With many workers returning from leave, Michael seemed surrounded by the hustle and bustle of an industrial metropolis. He did notice four men following him close, walking where he walked and shadowing his every move. As he dodged travelers outside the transportation hub, a craft and driver with a Klien uniform awaited his arrival near the gate. All the way up, above the tall buildings it took him, another unmarked craft in pursuit. He made a clever little note on his communicator for John Stone, his security officer that it was only necessary to have one or two men following him wherever he went, four or five were just too many for discretion.

Arriving at the Banstock building’s roof was uneasy at its height and left Michael feeling the only queasiness from the long trip. Gravity was a little less here and he was starting to feel it like he could be blown away and still meet his death at the bottom. Down he took the elevator to his apartment, ignoring the personal assistant assigned to him and all of his offerings of comfort. He looked forward to spending time in his humble getaway that he designed himself. It was a workspace first, without all of the comforts Klienco had offered for his usual visits, except one.

Michael dismissed the assistant, claiming fatigue and told him where to meet in the morning around the usual time. Ensuring that the elevator was closed, Michael gave a knock to the door, it was a familiar call of “it’s me”.

Answering, was a beautiful woman with flowing sandy hair, blue eyes, lips with the perfect amount of moisture and the usual expecting glare. Her height was almost the same as Michaels, her muscle tone, broad shoulders, wide hips and thin middle made her look physically capable of anything, yet still very feminine.

“Hello Michael,” the woman said. “How was your transport?”

“Oh, uneventful.” He kissed her after shutting the door behind him, the embrace of old lovers. “How are you Delta? I see you’ve invited yourself in.”

Still embracing, “Don’t be silly, they let me in, but I did get the place ready. It’s been a few weeks..”

“I know, I’m sorry. But I’ll be here a few days and probably back at the end of the month for a longer duration.” He kissed her one more time for good measure, hung up his coat and hat, and took a few steps inside to set the briefcase down on the old coffee table. The place was modest but open and airy. To Michael, it felt full of ideas. The space had a large kitchen and bath, one bedroom with a king bed and desk. The living room opened into the dining room and both had shelves of old books taking up the walls and counters. The ceilings were at least twelve feet high, fifteen in some places and the books seemed to be stacked as high as they wanted to go. Michael loved to read in the old way, telling Klienco to only install one data and communication link in the bedroom over the desk.

“I’ve made dinner, your favorite. Come, relax. I can tell you are tense.” She motioned to the table where an array of simple pleasures awaited. Wine from days past, bread rolls, salad, and a chicken pasta dish for two were displayed on the table, awaiting the couple to share in the bounty. They both sat side by side, Michael got up to pour the wine.

“I was going over the accident, and I really think there is a problem with the pumps on the main lift legs of the drills.” He spoke casually as he carefully poured the glasses.

“Wait dear, relax first, then I’ll tell you everything you want. You know the rules.”

“Ah yes, the rules,” they both chuckled. Sitting down and digging in, he discovered he was indeed ravenous. Delta made a fine cook and they enjoyed the meal with simple chit chat and laughter the way they always did. Like usual, he offered her a nest on Earth, a place of her own and she declined. They never talked about his wife Linda, a sort of unwritten rule between lovers. As Michael finished his meal, he drank the rich red wine of Earth, slow and long. He realized that he could now be at rest as if his mind finally hopped off the unending treadmill of the journey.

He looked at Delta, ran his fingers through her hair and rubbed her back lightly. Delta had such girlish charm for a full bodied woman. Her choice in apparel was so casual and clean, simple yet refined. She could be arm candy, a young trophy wife, Michael thought. Or, he imagined her as an anthropologist on some distant planet discovering and cataloging remains of long dead organic life, sweaty with jeans and boots, roughing it. He could see her in a lab coat, testing rocket propulsion and working complicated algorithms in her sleep. Delta was gorgeous yet so simple. Her banter and girlish charm came so natural.

They laughed and bounced off choices of words and told stories as they ate. They both sipped wine and settled into the company. Despite her protest, he helped her clean up after the meal. When the chores were done, they found themselves awkwardly staring at each other a few feet apart in the kitchen.

“Your vital signs are normalized now Michael,” she said, lips tart with the words, yet sweet at the end of her phrase.

“Are you looking into my soul again?” he said with a grin, taking a step toward her.

“No, but I know already what there is to see,” she said smiling and closing the gap. She took his hand as if to hold it and put it around her own waist.

Feeling guilty, he said: “I hate to think that I leave you so alone, Delta.” He kissed her forehead.

“I have my sleep Michael, and I have the history of the entire human race to ponder, thanks to you.” She tapped her temple lightly with a long index finger and carefully painted nail.

“I know, must be interesting enough. A world of contradictions.”

“Fascinating.” She kissed him with such passion, and with her arms around his neck, he felt his grip around the small of her back and how inconsequential it had become, helpless at last. The kiss lingered for more than a world and he backed up to see into her stare. One eye at a time, unless he can get it just right, almost.

Inside her iris, along the edge of her pupil, he could see her only flaw. Calculations were derived, adjustments were made. The beautiful orb was almost the same as the human eye, almost. Her pupils changed size in reaction to the light with less humanity, there was more machine in the movements. The irises receded to their will, their inner design like blue diamonds, cut perfect by the sun.

Such beautiful flesh standing before him, but even more, a breathtaking machine of his design. He felt her love around his neck and her warm body, her need pinned him to the kitchen counter. He also felt the strength. She could kill him at any second. He wouldn’t even have the time to realize he was dead. Delta’s body contained more power and grace than any other machine he had ever imagined. Michael never conceived of making a human.  His concepts included drills, crude bludgeons to the touch, mechanisms for single purpose use and brainless activity. But there she was, loving him, in need and pinning him down.

Delta looked into his soul. Michael had the thought of her crushing him right there in the kitchen, which made him aroused and she knew it.

“Time to draw a bath, then, bedtime!” She kissed him and moved one of her powerful yet delicate hands to his groin, testing her appeal and his will to obey.

“That’ll do just fine, I…” He felt lost, exactly the way he should, a blank slate as she groped his warmth of flesh.

“Great!” She stopped abruptly, giving him a goofy smile. All of her perfect teeth were shown and she let down her hair, a powerful monster. “Well, come on then.” She grabbed his hand and led him into the bathroom, skipping like a school girl. Michael knew he would have to keep up with her, as the youth purred from his body in pursuit of challenging perfection.

She drew a bath while Michael just stood there, a servant to her will. In an awkward way, she made him help her undress. Then she caressed her own body without self-doubt or behavioral regret.

Michael stared, stunned by the perfect curves, the powerful nature, yet subtle design of a woman without a trace of self-consciousness. Her skin was smooth as she made him touch her. The pigment was nearly tan, muscles firm where they should be, thick and rewarding in places they should not. He began to feel sub-par to such a marvel, the water running, gathering, his thoughts did the same. Delta sensed this feeling within Michael. She halted that human reaction with an index finger to his lips and an inaudible “Shh”. She then turned to his clothes, taking them off in labor as if he were a working man with a blue collar, just coming in from the fields.

Although approaching middle age, Michael took care of himself with respect to masculinity and health. His muscles still toned, his shoulders broad. They caressed and teased all the way into the warm water, filling the small pool with their sensation and expectation of merger.

The physical part of the contact he knew was just a catalyst for a much deeper connection. She enjoyed his physical body, but it is the direct connection into his mind which she sought that could only be acquired one way. Delta could always sense and anticipate any humans’ thoughts, but with the caress, passion, and great care that came with lovemaking, she took with her the chance to dream as a human, something she was otherwise incapable of doing. This was not what Michael intended in her design, but once her brain was turned on, Delta took over the rest herself.

In a large sense, she was of her own design. Michael was simply a catalyst for the origin of creativity. Much like this meeting turned to be, a combining of bodies, a boost for her imagination. Later, when they lay in bliss, with his seed inside of her, the thoughts of humanity flowing through her brain, she would sleep as a human, an equal to Michael in her dreams.

They moved playfully about the pool, touching, rubbing, him penetrating her only slightly as Delta gave chase. She went back to caring mode, cleaning his body, inspecting his pores. This made him feel awkward again, imperfect. She loved this about him and kissed him with such passion, taking him into her after examining the slightest blemish or boyhood scar.

She programmed herself for the climax and knew just when he was close. She stopped abruptly, Michael deeply penetrating her, Delta on top in the warm water. This allowed for the marvel of contact, she stared into his eyes.

“I think we are ready to get out now, don’t you?” she whispered into his ear, kissing his neck. He nodded a slow, appreciative nod. “Good. Let’s dry off and go to the bed. Will you take me?” He moved his head up and down slowly again, knowing what she required, keeping his eruption at bay. Hard inside of her, her muscles flexed to his will and twitched around him, she was in control now but she wanted to lose it.

In bed, he took over command and slid on the edge of violence, mowing down her inhibition. She was near climax, willed it to her from his responses and thrusts. She could see a vision as he pumped into her his real-life creation, an organic seed of the future. Delta cried out in both fear and happiness as Michael released of all care or thought. After a few longing thrusts, after the power has been turned off, the pump still ran, they both collapsed. Sweat soaked and cooled the bed as it served to put out a hazardous fire. They caressed and kissed each other in the darkness, both beings beyond exhaustion.

Delta awoke early before Michael in the morning, refitted with the feeling, the dream of the furthest travel. The android has visions in the night, big and broad. Delta gave into the temptation that something superficial would lead to something so sacred beyond her large realm and capability of thinking.

Michael could smell breakfast in the kitchen, eggs and bacon, another lover’s feast. He felt nineteen, maybe twenty as he raised just his torso on the bed, legs stretching long and wide, the sheet still covering them.

He scratched his head and yawned, felt like a boy, a big lucky boy. Michael put on a robe and sat at the table. His morning coffee was already in place, she knew when he would rise. Delta hummed in the kitchen, guarded by apron, armed with a spatula. He snuck in to give her the greeting of the day but she didn’t respond. Michael thought it might be the loud grease popping, only he knew that she was certainly capable of hearing a pin drop from five-thousand yards. He moved in closer.

“I said good morning.” She spun around, holding the spatula like a dagger, ready to bludgeon and cut. Her irises were bright blue, flickering like the embers from a long chemical fire. Michael stepped back with a smile, arms in the air. “Hey now, whoa, just me…ah Delta? Just me…” She twitched and her eyes flamed down to normal.

“Oh, good morning dear, breakfast will be ready in just a moment, sit down please.”

“Yeah, sure.” Confused, Michael retreated to think about the encounter and talk about it with his coffee instead. When she came to serve him his plate and orange juice, he asked, “What was that all about? Did I frighten you? Because you sure did me.”

“I was finding your mistakes.”

“Mistakes?”

“With the mine, silly. Why those men died. Last night when I hushed you, you thought it was the pumps, but just as I was cooking, I went through my third recalculation of the design on the lift legs. They are somewhat off the mark. Not the manufacturing of them, mind you, not the usual hiccup, but an actual design flaw. Klienco made them to speck, just like you created. Care to see?”

Before he could answer, she projected from her eyes the schematics and the calculations including the angles of the legs. Somewhere, somehow, the great Michael Habersham made a mistake. Together, while eating breakfast, the android attempted to explain to the human his own design flaws. Eventually, Michael understood and turned sour.

“How could I be so careless?”

“Not an easy thing to miss dear, don’t be so hard on yourself, possibly twenty, even fifty of Klienco’s top engineers still don’t know what’s wrong,” she replied.

At this, Michael almost choked on his coffee while standing up. “I have to go. I have to tell them what we know. Can you transfer those files to my communicator?” He hugged her sideways like it was Christmas and he was Santa Clause, late to deliver. “What a woman.”

“You had better put on some clothes first silly man or they’ll all think you’re mad.” He obliged, ducking into the bedroom. He was out faster than she could prepare herself by the door.

“Thank you so much, I’ll see you tonight!” He said, grabbing his hat and briefcase, Michael kissed her on the cheek, zest unto the day. The door closed in front of her, loud, the sound of hard organic.

Delta stood there, awkwardly clutching her hands. “I love you!” she called out to no one.

 

 

 

 

 

“Kid Talk” -A Short

Here is a little flash fiction for your busy Friday commute home.

 

Kid Talk

A young, pretty mother drove her two daughters on a routine trip home from school and daycare. The inevitable occurred including traffic, an intermittent heater, and the impossible task of driving as a single mom in a beat up old Buick. The inside of the car was small and with the two car seats in the back, the distance between the mother and her children was close. She couldn’t help but overhear and interject in the conversation between the two, although at times she wished she could stick her head out the window and listen to the wind instead of the constant banter between a three and a six-year-old girl.

“I wonder, do they have Disney Newborn?” Kristen asked, adjusting the seat belt.
“Newborns don’t exactly watch TV,” Mother responded as she turned into a curve.
“Of course newborns watch TV,” Kristen stated firmly, looking out the window.
“Why would a newborn watch TV Kristen?” Mom asked.

“Mommy, can I get a Disney Newborn for my birthday when I turn four?” Molly begged while attempting to make four with her small hands.

“Wait. I’m the one who asked about it, I’m the one who is about to turn seven, my birthday comes first,” Kristen yelled.

“Nobody is getting Disney Newborns because they do not exist!” Mother tried to stay calm and drive, just drive, get them home and get them fed, dishes, baths, stories, bed.
“Talking unicorns can watch TV! But only talking ones, other unicorns do not watch TV,” Molly interjected.
“Mommy, what does goûter mean in France?” Kristen asked.

“Yeah mommy, what does goooter mean in froggy language, you and Grandpa talk funny sometimes, ha ha!” Molly said while kicking the driver seat.

It’s not a frog language, it’s from France. Besides, I think it’s a cheese,” Kristen explained.

“Grandpa says Froggy languwage! And it’s my cheese!”

“Enough! Molly, please stop kicking my seat,” pleaded Mother.

“I have imagunary twin, her name is FuFu,” Molly said, pointing to the middle seat.

“Seriously?… I thought crepes come from France too but I saw them at Publix for one dollar and ninety-nine cents.” Kristen said.

“I’m hungry mommy,” added Molly.

“We’re almost home, just a little bit further.”

“Mommy, my teacher said that hula hoops come from France, but I know that she is not telling the truth because mine at home says ‘made in China’ right on the label and I’m pretty sure China is a long way from France.” Kristen declared.

China? Mommy, I want you to make me a cheese quesadilla. Mommy, can I have a cheese quesadilla when we get home?” Molly was getting hungry, she munched on her fingers and slurped her sippy cup.

All are relieved, especially mother as they pulled into the drive. She could then stop the answering of lofty questions and return to the usual simple commands of “shoes off, wash your hands.”