Tag Archives: infidelity

Past Due

Past Due

No laundry can remove the lipstick stains from all your collars,
and you can’t buy atonement with all your guilty dollars.
I won’t condone your straying or ease one guilty thought.
My trust in you can’t be restored. Forgiveness can’t be bought.

You’ve plenty of excuses backed up with your regret,
but your tears won’t get you anything but wet.
I’m tired of all your stories, unaffected by your tears.
Fidelity is something you can’t pay for in arrears.

 

Prompt words today are laundry, condone, plenty and collar. Here are the links:
https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2019/04/05/rdp-friday-laundry
https://fivedotoh.com/2019/04/05/fowc-with-fandango-condone/
https://onedailyprompt.wordpress.com/2019/04/05/your-daily-word-prompt-plenty-april-5-2019/
https://wordofthedaychallenge.wordpress.com/2019/04/05/collar/

Burning Your Journals

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Burning your Journals

Who knew fidelity’s even stance
could be mitigated by circumstance?
That a subtle smile, perchance,
exchanged between you at her advance
would wind up in a swift romance
that flourished in that small expanse
between us and her winsome glance.

Who knew that you would go freelance
when love became our ritual dance?
And that I, still in loving’s trance,
would only learn it later, by chance.
Reading your words, caught twice askance.
First by your death, then grief enhanced
as I suffered loss anew
with this further death of you.

 

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The prompt word today was trance.

Jake

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Jake

First thing you think of when you wake
are his fingers scraping like a rake
over your shoulder–sure to make
your toes curl up and fingers quake.

You rise to bake his birthday cake
and choose to pack it up to take
it to him there out on the lake–
your fear of water faced for his sake.

The weight of oars. The sun’s cruel bake
revealing two sure truths as fake.
And oh the pain and oh the ache
of what he’s chosen to forsake.

The boat you row to shore and tether,
foretelling wind and stormy weather.
Love vanished like a plucked-out feather
when you saw your friend and love––together

The one-word WordPress prompt was “Fake.”
https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/fake/

Most of the Time: A Serial Tale, Chapter 4

Most of the Time

Chapter 4

 “And the tea, as always, was marvelous!” What?  What had Marjorie just said to me? Her statement was a complete non-sequitur, for I had been daydreaming about rum and Cokes and it was microwave pizza I had tasted as I bit into dainty canapés selected from a tray at the ladies luncheon in support of something-or-other.

Although I hadn’t been back to see Ninny Ricketts in the month since I’d first visited, she was often in my thoughts,  as was her “zero” quote.  “If you look at zero you see nothing; but look through it and you will see the world. ”I hadn’t been able to resist asking Peter what he thought it meant, but he had just stared at me in that puzzled and somewhat irritated manner that signaled this was not a topic worthy of his consideration, then went back to the fascinations of the Dow Jones Average or stock issues or whatever it is they display on the Money Channel’s report of the roulette wheel-like game they call the Stock Market.

How anyone could find the making and losing of money to be their primary hobby was as much a mystery to me as my humming was to Peter.  How in the world had we wound up together? Marjorie was now going on about something else.  I caught every tenth word or so, but luckily there was an entire table full of women hanging on her every word, so I was absolved of the obligation of following her drift.  “Paisley . . . carpet nap . . . ceiling coves . . . The words faded away.

My hidden adventures had started the third year of my marriage.  It was my friend Sharon who had suggested “slumming it” by going to one of the pool parlor bars frequented by both blue-collared locals and college kids from the nearby University.  We were barely beyond college age ourselves, both disenchanted with our “picture perfect” marriages, though we had not yet admitted it to ourselves, let alone to each other.

We’d know each other since we had scabs on our knees and chigger bites on our skinny shins from rolling in the grass clippings left in the wake of my dad’s hand-push lawnmower.  She’d always been the adventurous one, pulling me along in her wake.  She had helped me pad my first training bra and crammed my first tampon into me, stubbornly insistent in spite of my protestations that it would never fit.  She had procured for us our first fake i.d.’s and explained the logistics of diaphragms and KY Jelly long before we needed either.  With three older brothers, she knew the ways men thought and wasn’t afraid of them—a feat I never have become versed in, despite years of her tutoring.

She knew how to get along with men and was one of those women who, by merely sitting down in a booth in a bar, somehow attracted invitations to play pool or to dance or play darts from whatever close fraternity of men that was pursuing that pastime.  She was the one men sent drinks over to, the one who was responsible for us sailing into packed clubs while others stood in line to do so.  She was my tutor of sin and even though I wasn’t a very good student, somehow some of what she taught me has stuck to me to be resurrected when I needed it most—when I was sinking in, mired by the awful normalcy of life in the affluent suburbs.

That was when we began our twice-yearly other life­­­­­—the shopping trips to Ross Dress for Less to buy slutty tops, cheap skirts and strappy shoes­­—the nighttime trips to workers’ bars and gay bars and V.F.W.’s.  The object was never to find a new man or even to find a man for a one-night-stand.  As a matter of fact, after twenty-two years of such sojourns—first with Sharon and then on my own—I was still a virgin slut.  The thrill was in becoming who I might have become if I hadn’t married Peter, just for a night or an afternoon.  To try to fit in with people who may not have had much else but who still possessed the ability to have fun. To let go. To be what I wanted to be without worrying about what other people would say or think or do.

It is inevitable that we got into some trouble—the one night flirtation that turned out to be the new dentist who had come so highly recommended.  “Don’t I know you?” he had asked, as I prepared to open wide for my first appointment.  He had looked at me quizzically three or four more times during the appointment, and just as I was leaving, he had said, “Aren’t you . . . ?” But I had left quickly and never gone back.

“Why don’t you want to go back to him?” Peter had queried, but I hadn’t answered.  Finally, the fifth time he quizzed me, “Bad breath” I had said. He was surprised. No one else had had that problem with him, he said, and insisted that he wanted to make an appointment with him himself to check him out.  “He hums under his breath all the time,” I said.  “And whistles.”  Peter put down the phone.  Neither of us ever saw the quizzical dentist again.

I squeaked by that time. Peter faded away into the man cave that would one day house my guns as I settled back into my Hercule Poirot mystery.  So many years ago, I was living a vicarious life and therefore had more of an appetite for the literature of adventure. It would have been reassuring to me then to know that one day, I would be less dependent on mystery authors for my thrills and would be ready to write about my own adventures.

The book I have written and the book you are now reading is a saga of stubborn adherence to a belief that adventure is something that can be dammed up but never completely squelched; that revenge need not be executed by violence; and that by looking through the zero, one can sometimes actually see the world that society seems to be trying so hard to keep obscured.

But way back then, over twenty years ago, I was dependent on Agatha Christie to impart fairness to my world. I am both your narrator and that long-ago self as she settles back further on the cushions of the sofa and raises the book closer to her eyes. There is murder in this book, the second most famous in England, but what I intend here is more than a saga of violence.

220px-DavidSuchet_-_Poirot
Thanks to Joni Koehler for today’s prompt, which was a doozie.  It was from Erik Larsen’s “Thunderstruck.” First sentence: “There is murder in this book, the second most famous in England, but what I intend here is more than a saga of violence.” Last sentence: “And the tea, as always, was marvelous.”  Thanks for furnishing a real challenge this time, Joni.  You devil!

If you go backwards for the past three days in my blog, you will find Chapters 1-3 of this tale.

Who will give me the next prompt?  Nope, still not doing the WP Daily Prompt.

Most of the Time: A Serial Tale, Chapter 3

The prompt I have been doing for the past three days involves taking the first and last line of a favorite book and using the last line as the first line of my writing and using the first line of the book as the last line in my piece.  Links to the results of the first two chapters, if you haven’t read them, you can find below.   I’m going to continue so long as people keep providing me the first and last lines.  More info about that is at the end of my Chapter 2.  So, here goes Chapter 3:

Most of the Time

                                                                            Chapter 3

Nothing that is not there and nothing that is.  That is what most people think about.  There were a few of such thinkers scattered atop the stools along the long bar that ran front to back on the left side of the room.  The right side was taken up by three pool tables and a series of plastic beer signs where water bubbled up from deep springs and pristine rivers and, supposedly, directly into amber bottles with labels such as Pabst and Old Milwaukee.

This was the sum total of nature that Ninny had thought to infuse within her establishment.  No fern bar this.  A bit of black mold, perhaps.  And as noted before, the place seemed equally devoid of human nature–the drinkers here like robots with glazed eyes seemingly staring at the mirror behind the bar or the bottles in front of the mirror, or perhaps their own reflections reflected behind the bottles.  Little conversation seemed to be going on.  There was no music.  Even the bartender, an ancient man with unintentional chin whiskers and a small protuberant belly over a tight-cinched bolo belt and baggy Levis, seemed to be muffled–negotiating the world behind the bar without clinks of glasses, or pops of bottle corks or whooshes of the draft beer dispenser.  It was as though I’d entered a “Quiet” zone.

Ninny being gender non-specific, now that I thought of it, I wondered if this quiet gentleman was, in fact, Ninny.  I established myself on a bar stool, ordered a dirty Martini, then took myself and my over-sized bag off to the ladies room where I struggled out of my shooting range jeans and into the diaphanous swirly skirt of the day.  Under my T-shirt was a spaghetti-strap little top that color-coordinated with the skirt.  Let the games begin.

Unsurprisingly, no one seemed to notice my transformation as I sashayed back into the room I had purposefully and sedately left only moments before, but as though I had caused the change in the room, the jukebox immediately sprang to life, causing the Pabst Blue Ribbon sign to blink off and on, seemingly in cadence with the song.  It was familiar, but I’ve never been good at remembering the names of other people’s songs…nor my own, as a matter of fact.  It was something about somebody’s baby being somebody else’s baby now, but that doesn’t narrow down the field much.

I parked my recently-freed shanks on the bar stool, allowing my skirt to hike up as it was wont to do.  The controlling part of my life was over for a few hours.  I looked around the room, seeing what new adventure was about to present itself, and my eyes fell immediately on a wizened little woman sitting at the end of the bar.  She was not, understand, old.  Simply wizened, with sharp little features:  nose, chin, cheekbones.  Even her eyes made sharp little glances around the room, as though she was taking everything in. Me, too, although I could never catch her eyes on me.

After every sip of what looked like a Rum and Coke, her sharp little tongue darted out of her mouth to extract every drop from her lips, as though she was unable to control this “Yum yum” action–every sip duly acknowledged and appreciated.  She had the fiery intelligent demeanor of a weasel or a mink.  Darting, secretive and swift.  I observed this all with my own sneaky eyes as they executed furtive reconnaissance missions in her direction while seeming to be merely surveying the room.  In fact, I couldn’t have told you a thing about any of its other inhabitants.  My long glances in various directions were merely subterfuge.  It was little weasel lady that was drawing my full attention.

She was tidy and trim, in a polyester sea foam green pant suit with a flowered polyester blouse–the collar turned neatly over the collar of the jacket.  On her wrist was a dainty bracelet of fake pearls and tiny rhinestones.  Her shoes were thick-heeled and square-toed-like shoes a schoolteacher might wear.  Her hair, in tight little ringlets, looked as though she’d just ducked out of the beauty parlor for a quick drink before her comb-out.  She could have looked severe, given her sharp features and tailored clothing, but she was saved by a sweet rosebud mouth, the corners of which curled up as she drew her lips into a tight little compressed grin.

There was a plate of peanuts on the bar beside her, and I picked up my drink and moved over to the bar stool next to her, as though in pursuit of them.

“Hungry,” I half-chortled as I took a handful and stuffed most of them into my mouth.  I half-expected her not to answer, but saw her raise a finger at the barman and say in a sweet little-girl voice moderated by a smoker’s huskiness : “Nestor, give this lady some fresh peanuts, please.”  Then she looked at me quizzically, causing two little furrows to pop up over her tiny straight ski-slope nose.  “You want something else to eat?  We have frozen pizzas that are pretty good.  Or sub sandwiches we can also heat up for you.  Chips. Beef jerky.”

“Pizza sounds good.  Are you Ninny Ricketts?”

She was.  We polished off one little pizza and then another.  I switched to Rum and Cokes, which went much better with pepperoni and tomato sauce and cheese than gin did.  We talked for three hours, and by the end of that conversation, I almost understood the quote hanging on the wall behind the bar between the bottom shelf of liquor bottles and the top of the draft beer dispenser.

“If you look at zero you see nothing; but look through it and you will see the world. ”

“What does that mean, Ninny? ” I’d asked her when I first noticed it.  We were only fifteen minutes into our initial conversation at that time.

“If yer just lookin’ at it, you’ll never know,” she shot back at me with those furrows over her nose again.  But then she smiled. “I reckon soon enough you’ll be seein’ through it like everbuddy else at the bar.”  Then she chuckled, and for the next three hours we talked about football (her interest, not mine), politics, recipes for shortbread, the freeing qualities of polyester, the clitoral orgasm, Parcheesi, the Nebraska watershed, stepmothers, the immorality of Christian missionaries in Africa, lawn fertilizer, Walt Whitman, Edith Sitwell, Bob Dylan, Patty Duke, Cheetos, Philodendrons and Richard Nixon’s incredible gall.

I’d left my house at 11 a.m. for my supposed trip to the firing range. By the time I thought to look at my watch again, it was nearly four.  If I stopped at the grocery store on my way home and made a few quick and non-selective runs down a few aisles, I might be able to fill up enough bags to convince Peter I’d had a long leisurely shopping session after my shoot.  I paid my bill, told Ninny I’d be back soon because I’d enjoyed talking to her, and walked calmly for door, breaking into a sprint only after I reached the parking lot.

In the car, I wriggled into my Levis, extracted myself from the skirt by pulling it over my head, pulled my T-shirt from my purse and pushed one arm through the armhole as I turned on the key, the other as I let up the hand brake.  As I drove, I tried to will myself to slip back into home mode.  But as my body got closer to home, my mind seemed to slip further away from it.  And although I was no closer to solving its puzzle than I’d been four hours ago, my final thought as I drove into my driveway was one I’d be puzzling over for a good many months to come, “If you look at zero you see nothing; but look through it and you will see the world. ”

The Prompt: The book suggested to furnish the beginning and ending lines of this chapter is “The Nothing That Is: A Natural History of Zero” by Robert Kaplan. First line: If you look at zero you see nothing; but look through it and you will see the world. Last line (which quotes Wallace Stevens): Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.  My thanks to Robert Okaji for furnishing a beginning and end for me to fill in today.  Please keep those prompts coming in.  Without them, this story will abruptly end.   Judy

See the first chapter of this piece HERE.
See the second chapter HERE.
See Robert Okaji’s blog HERE.

Most of the Time: A Serial Tale, Chapter 2

Well, again, today’s prompt is one I’ve already done, but the prompt I did yesterday involves taking the first and last line of a favorite book and using the last line as the first line of my writing and using the first line of the book as the last line in my piece.  I did so and the results, if you haven’t read them, you can find HERE.  I then asked readers to provide the name of another book and its first and last lines so I can continue the story.  I’m going to continue so long as people keep providing me the first and last lines.  More info about that is at the end of my Chapter 2.  So, here goes Chapter Two:

Most of the Time

Chapter 2

Nothing is an unmixed blessing. The fact that my frequent trips to the firing range furnished me with an easy out any time I wished to leave the house carried certain penalties. For one, I had no permit to carry a concealed weapon, so if I was planning on really going elsewhere, I had to figure out where in the house to stash my guns so Peter would not find them and start wondering why I would be going to a firing range with no guns. It was not an option to leave them in the car. I may be irresponsible in some regards, but gun safety is not one of them. I will not carry concealed weapons. Nor will I take the risk of anyone breaking into my car to steal them.

As careful as I am, I’ve been known to forget to lock the car. What if a child were to enter and find one of the guns and, thinking it was a toy, discharge it? So it was that I purchased the lock box that I kept in a special compartment, also locked, under the gardening box behind the lawnmower shed. I had it made specially, and it was so cleverly contrived that it was impossible to see that there was a secret slide-out compartment under the large chest that held clippers, shears, weed whacker, gloves, various lawn fertilizers, garden pest sprays and powders and about a thousand Daddy Long Legs that had decided this year to use it as their main clustering spot. A padlock secured it against any child getting into the poisons or any prowler making off with our tools, but there was a crack big enough to permit access by spiders, tiny frogs, and this year’s infestation of Daddy Long Legs.

I slid my fingers into the crack on the side of the secret compartment that allowed the lock to pop out, unlocked it and slid my Ruger Mark 4 into the small tray that ran along the left side of the compartment. There was plenty of room for several rifles or shotguns in addition to six or more pistols or revolvers, but it would have been overkill to pretend to take more than one firearm on a day when I had no intention of going to the range. It would be easy for me to sneak a small pistol into the house. Not so easy to deal with smuggling an item as large as a rifle if Peter happened to get home before I did.

I clicked the tray shut, heard the automatic lock snap in place, then turned the key to position the deadlock. Free at last! I sprinted to the car and spun out in my excitement to be off on another adventure. “She cleans closets by night, comes out of the closet by day” ran through my mind, picking up a melody as it repeated itself. No song had written itself in my mind for a very long time, and even this silly line began to acquire a validity that I might have disregarded if I hadn’t felt so elated to once again have the company of my muse. Even so, I had to admit the line didn’t have much of a chance as anything outside of a C&W refrain, but I’m no snob about music. I’m open to pretty much any kind of music that comes to me.

Peter hates it when I hum. He gets this irritated look, first, and if I continue in spite of it, his usual line is, “You’re humming again!” After twenty years of being cutting short by this line, I still feel put down every time he says it. “I am not farting!” I used to say, “—or snorting or coughing without covering my mouth. I am simply revealing my happy mood, not to mention my creativity. It’s an original song I’m humming, Peter. It’s part of my expression of my art.”

Those sorts of arguments didn’t make it much past our first year of marriage. It took me less time than that to learn that such unburdenings of my soul had absolutely no effect on Peter. The next time I hummed, the look he shot me was no less lethal. “Old women hum tunelessly under their breaths,” he once said during yet another putdown. “Can’t you save your humming for private moments?”

I rolled down the window and bellered. Top of my lungs. Top of the morning. I’d reached open country and there was no one to hear me with the exception of the crows and passing motorists, none of whom even turned their heads to check me out. I was noisily invisible. That was comforting, actually. I really enjoyed being the thing overlooked in places where I knew I didn’t belong. I would soon be that person again in whatever place I chose to enter next. I headed out for the industrial part of a very large town merely twenty miles away from the house I called home. That was far enough in this hugest of towns. I had never once run across anyone I knew on one of my little sorties. These little adventures were the dessert that kept me true to the restricted diet I was on in the other ninety-some percent of my life. I was going to have fun. Even if it killed me, I was going to have fun while I still remembered what fun was.

As I pulled off the four lane onto a long straight gray street, I could hear the buzz of the telephone lines, the maddening drone of a weed whacker, the electrical current pushing the street lights off and on, the rhythmic turning of cars whizzing by, the mashed together sound of people talking, TV’s and radios blaring, When I rolled up my window, all of the noises went away; but as I pulled to a stop in front of a little lowlife dive and opened the door, I could hear its neon sign doing its own cyclical hum to join with all the other sounds. “Ninny Ricketts Place” the sign announced without the benefit of apostrophe, and it joined in the humming mesmerizing chorus of that whole grim landscape until the buzz in the street was like the humming of flies caught between glass and the window screen, with no place else to go but here and no way to get there even should they determine to go.

To See Chapter 3, go Here.

Yesterday’s Prompt: Choose a book at random from your bookcase. Use the last sentence in the book as the first sentence of what you write. Then turn to the first sentence of the book and use it for your ending sentence. (I used the ending line of the book I chose as my title, which actually is the first line of a book to my way of thinking. Hereafter, however, I will use whatever prompt I’m given as the first line of the next section of the story.)

Today’s Prompt from Patti Arnieri: My suggestion is from “The Cuckoo’s Calling” by Robert Galbraith (otherwise known as J.K. Rowling). First line: “The buzz in the street was like the humming of flies.” Last line: “Nothing is an unmixed blessing.”

If you would like to suggest a book for me to use the first and last lines of for tomorrow’s writing, please give the title of the book, the author, and the book’s first and last lines in the comments section of this posting. Remember that I’ll use the last line as the first line of tomorrow’s posting and the first line as my last line. Who knows where this tale will wind? If no one gives me tomorrow’s prompting lines, the rest of the story will never be heard, and perhaps that is a good thing. C’est la vie.

P.S. If any of you would like to accept this same challenge, just watch to see what beginning and ending lines I use and use the same ones. If you are a day behind, no problem. It would be interesting to see what varied stories occur given the same beginning and ending lines. Please post a link to your story or poem on the page it corresponds to in my blog—i.e. the one where I make use of the same beginning and ending lines.Will anyone accept my challenge? Sam? Macgyver? Laura? John?

Most of the Time: A Serial Tale, Chapter 1

Instead of the WordPress prompts, I chose this one from the Poets & Writers site. The Prompt: Choose a book at random from your bookcase. Use the last sentence in the book as the first sentence of what you write. Then turn to the first sentence of the book and use it for your ending sentence. (I used the ending line of the book I chose as my title, which actually is the first line of a book to my way of thinking. Hereafter, however, I will use whatever prompt I’m given as the first line of the next section of the story.)

Most of the Time

I don’t remember much of my past. It makes it easier to live the present, that’s for sure. Ninny Ricketts, for example, is hidden so far back that I have to go into a dream state to remember her, and when I do, I’m unsure how much of what I remember is real and how much I’ve made up like people do, you know, when they are inventing excuses to tell their parents or, later, for their spouses.

In the past, I’ve gotten away with such lame excuses as that my lipstick was messed up because I ate an ice cream cone on the way home and had been rubbing my mouth with a napkin or that I have always worn a particular sweater backwards. It’s not that my husband hasn’t had his suspicions. He has been known to go out and sniff the backseat of my car like a German Shepherd, searching for drugs—as though he’d recognize the smell of sex after all these years of substituting fly rods for nookie. Still, even though I’m not the particular fish on his hook, he doesn’t want anyone else rifling through his bait box. Go figure.

I’ve become very good at covering up my tracks, or wriggles, or whatever you’d call this fish’s explorations of new waters. It’s become a sort of game. One that I always win. Which, I think, is okay with Peter. What he can’t prove, he doesn’t have to deal with. And Ninny Ricketts is buried so far back, as I said before, that there is not a person we are still in contact with that I’ve ever mentioned her name to. She is a fish once gone bad who has since faded away into nothingness—no longer an idea even fresh in my own remembrance. She is stripped bones on a pile of skeletons baked clean in the light of a day that only shines dimly in my memory.

With all this fish imagery, you would think I was a fisherman, but that is not a fact. It is my husband of 25 years who is the fisherman. I am the hunter in the family. That rack of guns locked up tight in the case in my husband’s man cave? They are mine. Even if he had a key, he would not have one iota of a sense of what to do with a gun—how to open the cylinder to load it or how to take aim. I tried to take him target shooting once, many years ago when love was new and he was doing anything I asked to meet my favor. But he could never see the point of wasting bullets on something you felt neither angst about nor an appetite for. We’d eaten thousands of fish in our years together, but never one thing I’d shot. I had no desire to eat anything I’d killed. My paper targets went into the recycling bin on my way out of the shooting range to go to the grocery store to buy the meat for our evening meal.

Now I retrieved the bag of raw steaks and potatoes and frozen peas from the back seat. A bit of blood had oozed out from the paper wrapping of the steaks and stained the back seat in one spot. I left it for Peter to discover. It would make his day interrogating me, and I could always produce the stained wrapper for proof. Having him obsess on the blood would distract him from other evidence of my real guilt—the new dress hanging in my closet where dresses had been shoved to the far edges long ago. The strapped dancing shoes and electric hair curler. If he had been the sort who looked at everything—the entire picture—he would have caught me years ago; but I was like that huge fish of legend that swam deep waters, emerging in a leap that defied the laws of gravity and mass every half year or so, far out in the lake where a single fisherman would see it and further the yarn of this Loch Ness Monster of fishes that had evaded the hook for scores of years.

I shifted the bag on my hip as I searched for the right key on the huge hank of keys I carried around with me everywhere I went. It made it easier, to hunt for one huge ring of keys other than to remember where individual keys were kept. It also made it harder for Peter to find the key that opens up the file cabinet where I keep my writing—all of my stories, essays, poems and journals.

“You evil, evil, woman,” he would say if he ever found and read them. But I am not an evil woman. I am merely one who has taken the reins of destiny into her own grip. I am in the driver’s seat of the buckboard of my own desires—fighting off love bandits in fern bars and marauding savages in late night diners. I have learned well the art of subterfuge—adopting the camouflage of ladies luncheon garb and pillow talk about charity bazaars and yoga lessons.

In the trunk of my car is a locked suitcase with a selection of sling-backed heels and dresses with swirly skirts to be slipped into before I wriggle out of the pants and jackets of neat pants suits or the simple streamlined skirts I don to exit and enter my house. These swirly skirts are redolent of the odors of barrooms: martini olives and Dos Equis, nicotine and the very faint skunk smell of really good pot. A slightly-opened bag of dark roast coffee obscures the odors sealed up in that case that my husband believes is my snow-emergency kit: gloves, long underwear, hat, muffler, snow boots, energy bars and water.

To be perfectly clear, most of the time I am the everyday housewife that has been my disguise for the 25 years of my marriage. Like an underground love goddess, I emerge on special assignment once or twice a year, feast on my fill of prurient pleasures, and then go underground again.

That is the sort of mission I was on the day I met Ninny Ricketts. I was on my way to the shooting range, wearing my usual Levis and t-shirt and Birkenstocks. Yes. I had strapped on the holster that usually held my favorite pistol on the days that I chose a handgun rather than a rifle or shotgun for my shooting practice. But on that day, there was just one difference. I didn’t wear my gun.

To Be Continued?

The book I chose was Kindness Goes Unpunished by Craig Johnson. If you would like to suggest a book for me to use the first and last lines of for tomorrow’s writing, please give the title of the book, the author, and the book’s first and last lines in the comments section of this posting. Remember that I’ll use the last line as the first line of tomorrow’s posting and the first line as my last line. Who knows where this tale will wind? If no one gives me tomorrow’s prompting lines, the rest of the story will never be heard, and perhaps that is a good thing. C’est la vie.

P.S. If any of you would like to accept this same challenge, just watch to see what beginning and ending lines I use and use the same ones. If you are a day behind, no problem. It would be interesting to see what varied stories occur given the same beginning and ending lines. Please post a link to your story or poem on the page it corresponds to in my blog—i.e. the one where I make use of the same beginning and ending lines. Will anyone accept my challenge? Sam? Macgyver? Laura? John?

To See Chapter 2, go HERE