This blog is dedicated to the stories I've written over the years. Sometimes I get some time and add a story. Grab a hot cup of something and enjoy!

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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

My Sister

My Sister
            One perfect day back in 1976, I had made all the plans and spent all my hard earned allowance on a picnic in the backyard to cheer my sister, Anna Grace, up for some unremembered reason.  I had mowed the lawn the day before so that sweet shorn smell still hung in the air calling dinner time to all the birds.  The Michigan sky was a deep, impossible blue with a few fat fluffy clouds floating overhead like giant cotton candy pillows of spun sugar.  Tiger Lilies thickly bloomed behind the old white garage, their orange and freckled petals wafting the heady scent of summer.   A clothes line was strung from one corner with half a line full of sheets billowing in the warm breeze.  Down by the grape vines and my small patch of snapdragons stood the big tree, like a guardian angel with wings of boughs spread wide, where the line wrapped around and made its way to the other side of the garage, completing a “V” for “victory” shape for me. 
It was there I spread my beach towel so we could be dappled by the afternoon sunlight.  We were hidden in our own little world imagining no one could see us. From here, we could survey our small kingdom of backyard with the huge garden behind us filled with delicious dinners growing towards harvest.  The garden was sectioned like rooms of a house.  Actually, the whole yard was that way.  A real picnic area, complete with table and a place for the grill, was close by the back door.  We could have had our picnic there but there was white gravel rock was under the table, and I wanted the lush feel of warm summer grass to sit on.  Our play area complete with swing set and jungle gym, had its own area marked out.  Yes, our mother was kind of anal about things and our backyard showed it.
So on our hidden patch of grass, my sister and I sat with our bounty of Lay’s potato chips, French Onion dip, M&M’s, Jolly Ranchers, Milk Duds, and Sprite to drink for both of us spread all around.  Happily we were munching away when out of NO WHERE -SPLUNK! My sister let loose with a chip gobbed high with dip and landed a direct hit on my GLASSES!  Oh it was ON!  Chips and dip flew all over us!  Rolling off of the towel and into the grass, we smeared it all in each other’s hair and on our faces, the both of us laughing so hard and loud that our mother came out of the house to see what was going on.  She said nothing but went and stood by the garden hose waiting until we were exhausted of mayhem so she could hose us off like feral grass monsters.  Cigarette in her hand, she manned the hose like a professional fire fighter with a small smirk lurking at the corner of her mouth.  With all us kids, this was not anything new; we had to be hosed off regularly.  My thoughts drifted back to the day when I first met my sister as the cold water rinsed grass, crumbs of chips, dip, and spilled pop from my hair.
There she lay, not quite a week old, listless from the drugs given to our mother, and exhausted from the trauma of a long drawn out labor and birth.  Her eyes not open and me hoping that when they did, they would be brown like mine.  They ended up being a witchy greenish hazel brown.  Barely a sound came from her.  I was five and did not understand that this listless doll-like creature had been hiding in the belly of my mother.  Over the next few weeks, I found out quickly that things had changed and she was the reason.  No more treats and surprises from my stepfather; she got them all since I was no longer the “baby.”  I was commanded to “grow up” and “be a big girl now,” so I simply tried to ignore them all just as they now ignored me.
            Of course, all her quietness changed as soon as I had to share a room with her.   Every night I would lay awake because I knew that as soon as I fell asleep, she would wake up crying.  No one ever heard her but me.  I don’t think I ever slept through a night again.  She grew quickly and learned how to bite, and even if I were to beat her, she would not release her jaws of razor teeth from my finger.  I’m surprised I still have them all.  It’s not like I purposely would put my fingers in her mouth, but she was always trying to swallow everything that would fit.  I was simply trying to retrieve the items before she choked to death.   Yes, I got into a lot of trouble for beating on her.
            As she got older (and more evil), peace became a stranger to me except for when I escaped to school.  She would follow me around, wanting to do everything I did.  I became creative about where I would go but I don’t think my mom appreciated the time I took her to the roof to jump off.  I was always the “big sister” so I was the one that had to compromise because I “knew better.”   I’m the one who got into trouble when she would make fun of the lady down the street with all the cats.  It was my best toys and dolls; she would get a hold of and destroy and never once got into trouble for it.  As I got older, I learned how to handle her annoying behavior.  No more stolen items or crushed eye shadow.  No more lip gloss smeared over my mirror. I finally had figured out where and how to hide my things.  
            Oh why do we love our little demon sisters?  Why did I at the age of six, change her diaper that time it was so nasty the smell and looks of it made my stepdad vomit?  Why did I not let her, when she was two, drown in the wading pool?  Why did I carry her the five blocks home when she crashed her bike because she was trying to keep up with me while I was trying desperately to ditch her?  Why did I let her, with her ice cold feet, crawl into bed with me on all those long bitter winter nights when the furnace went out?  Why did I spend hours brushing and fixing her hair so she would look like the angel that everyone else thought she was -when I knew better?  Why did I never claim my vengeance by hiding her favorite stuffed clown, Twinkles, when I had the chance?  Was it because if she would scream like a banshee if she did not get her way?  Or was it something else?
            My sister can still be annoying but that something else –that bond of love is there even today.  I know my leaving home upset her greatly.   She told me she felt lost and alone without her protector and hero.  Thankfully she has a more rational and real-life view of me now because I’m not sure I could live up to that.   And I don’t think she has ever realized how many times I could so easily have killed her!  We try to touch base a few times each week, dropping a “Like” or two on our Facebook pages.  We will even take a moment to drop a line of real words or a phone call when we need to hear the sound of the other’s voice.  We are a comfort for each other.   And someday, I have no doubt, we will be once again living in the same house, annoying each other, having chip and dip fights out on the back lawn, being dappled by sunlight, and glorying in being dubbed by the neighborhood children as “those weird old cat lady sisters down the road.”

Viola Bernadette Mons

Viola Bernadette Mons
            God must exist because someone has to be looking out for people like Viola Bernadette Mons.  I met her about thirty years ago when her daughter, Rose, and I were going to Clement High School in Eureka, California.   I spent much of my free time at Rose’s house just to watch in fascination what Viola would do next and with whom she would do it.   See, Viola was a woman who was convinced she needed a man in order to be whole.  Therefore she spent most of her time looking in all life’s cracks and crevices for that “one true love.” 
            When left alone at Rose’s house I loved to sneak into her mother’s bedroom.  A gorgeously laid out room with a huge king sized four poster bed of Teak wood, its luminous drapes of the sheerest purple hung from a high canopy.  A dark purple silk comforter and at least a dozen pillows of assorted shades of purple completed the luxurious scene.  Thick piled dark grey carpet begged bare toes to wade through it.  The rest of the room we barely peeked at, our focus was the large calendar on the inside of the closet.  
            Each week Viola detailed her work schedule in blue with her dates scheduled in green.  We marveled at how many different dates she would have each week.  Rose said that since her dad died, her mom was looking for a “new Mr. Right.”   It was amazing to see all the different avenues this woman went to in order to find “true love” again.   She had Pizza with Paul B. on the first Wednesday evening but his name never appeared again.  He must have been a dud.  Matthew M. appeared on several Saturdays in a row for four months for “brunch” and then once for “Church” on a Sunday but then disappeared forever.  He must not have had a religion that agreed with Viola.  There were dates for dancing and dates for romancing.  There were meetings scheduled for “parents without partners” and “lunch box Sundays” which Rose explained to me was when the woman packed a lunch for two and after church the guys would pick a lunch box from the table where they were stacked up.  He would then have lunch with the lady who brought the box. 
            Then the internet was invented and internet dating became hugely popular.  Mrs. Mons dived in and posted her profile all over the net.   She talked about who she was and what kind of guy she was looking for: “I’d like a man who is like my coffee:  tall, strong, blonde, and sweet.”  Some of the sites she posted on were “Christian” because she wanted a “good Christian man.”            
            By this time, Rose and I were out of school but still in each others lives.  So when Rose came to me wanting a favor, I was happy to help.  It seems her mom was planning on moving out of the country to Australia to live with a guy she met online but never in person.  They were “in love” Viola had declared, so she was determined to sell everything and move by the end of the next month.  Rose had gotten her mom to agree to allow Rose to email this ‘fine’ gentleman and so she did.  The gentleman, whose name was Marcus Welby, assured Rose that he had nothing to hide and she could ask him any questions whatsoever.  So Rose asked him a few questions, like where he lived, his age; seemingly the same questions one would ask anyone who was being considered as a future step-father.  And she brought the information to me. 
            “I want you to investigate him for me please.” She pleaded to me “I don’t want my mom to be hoodwinked or hurt.”
            I’m an insurance fraud investigator -so my reach is far and wide.  It took me less than three hours, because I’ve connections in Sydney through my line of work.  What I found was bad news.  He had been married three prior times to very wealthy women who died suddenly from ‘natural causes.’  Fearing for Viola, I went ahead and composed a letter to Mr. Welby.  It was short and to the point telling him that I knew who and what he was and that he needed to immediately terminate his relationship with Mrs. Mons or I would make his current life extremely uncomfortable.   To give strength to my words, a dead kangaroo was placed on his door stoop by a Walter, a good friend of mine.   Him tripping over the dead carcass born fruit.
            Rose came over two days later and told me all about how Mr. Welby had sent her mother a “Dear Jane” letter breaking things off because he had recently reconnected with his high school sweet heart.  Then she sighed and informed me “Mom already is making plans to go visit some guy in Virginia for a week because HE may be THE ONE.”
            “Well,” I replied “tell her that if he cuts her up into tiny pieces and puts her in his freezer, not to call me because she should have learned her lesson by now.”
Five weeks later:
            “Would you go on a road trip with me to Virginia?  Mom called and needs helps getting away from that Frank guy.”
            “My shotgun is already locked and loaded.”

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Just Another Day

Just Another Day

If I ever have a normal day I will know that the world has come to an end. A “hell has frozen and demons ice skating” end. Today was supposed to be normal. It’s my big FIVE O and I even made a list! Isn’t that what normal people do? It’s a simple short list for crying out loud! Go play with my Grands, get my nails done, a facial, and maybe some dye tossed on the grey girls. That’s it! Is that too much to ask for? Apparently it is.

Oh the Grands were grand! They are at that age where I can teach them all the gross tricks that their parents don’t want them to know, like how to stick fish eyes on their fingers and make dead chicken feet move. And they just love the stories of their ancestors. So while we finger painted, I told them of their six times great grandpa William William Williams the Third on my mother’s side, who rode the family mule into battle with just his grandfather’s saber strapped at his side and a badly made coonskin cap on his head. Then it was all about their five times great grandmama Rosa on my father’s side, that spoke only German and loved to cuss and fuss at her children while she rocked on the front porch sipping her homemade whiskey, smoking a hand rolled cigar, and reading her well-worn bible. I think it should be a few years before I tell them about their super great Aunt Neecy. Yes that will just have to wait.

It was as I was leaving that I knew it would NOT be a normal day. I really must want to blame the puppy. He was the one that chased the ball that my eldest Grand tossed between my feet. My precious Grand is a perfect angel and would never have done that on purpose. So Trouble, that’s the dog; started the chain of events that began with him dashing towards my toes.

Tripping up, I grasped for anything that could stop my fall and my hand landed on the edge of the table with enough force to pop the top off and flip it. Well a bang on the head would have sufficed but it seems we forgot to put the lids on the finger paints tight and so a rainbow of colors arced across the air with several landing on my head seconds before the table top.

I’m sure that while I was knocked out, my precious Grands were simply patting my head and face trying to revive me. They could NOT have been painting me on purpose. Not my sweet angels. Of course, I had to give them big hugs for helping their Gramma. I’m not really sure why their mom was screaming for me to be banned from their house.

I tried again to leave so I could drive home for a shower and some aspirin and scared myself as I caught my reflection in the mirror by their front door. Yes, I’m ashamed to say I screamed. This of course caused my Grands to splash out of the tub their mother had just put them in and run naked to see what had scared their Gramma! And where you may ask, was my dear son –their dad, in all this? Why he was busy laughing and taking video of it all to use, I’m sure, in some future blackmail purposes.

After more hugs, I was finally out the door and on my way home. As I was driving, I noticed that I had broken every nail on my hand that I smacked the table with. I didn’t MEAN to cross the yellow line and I DID scoot back over in my lane super quick. But the cop was quicker and pulled me over. I’m not sure if I appreciated his laughter. He stumbled back to his car and it was not long before two more police cars screamed to the scene. I really did not see why it was necessary for all three of them to escort me home. And seriously, what is it with the camera phones? I slammed my front door in their faces.
They can leave any ticket on the porch.

It was later, after my shower and a hot cup of tea, as I was trying to file my nails into some sort of non-mangled mess that I realized I actually did finish my list, of course just not the way I had planned.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Final Door

The Final Door

“Move it” snarled the guard as I stepped off the bus and into my bleak future. As the last one off, I was semi pushed and pulled across the frozen mud of the courtyard of Re-education Camp #32. One of at least fifty known re-education camps, this one served the lower south/mid-west, more specifically the 53,179 square miles of Arkansas, USA.

The cold grey end of January pulled the heat from my body as we made the short walk from the 9 foot high gates with their razor wire crown towards the thick oak door set into the side of the building. I was still reeling from the shock of the past four weeks after the raid that woke me in the middle of the night from a deep dreamless sleep in my own home. I remembered only the barest whisper from my brother who said “be brave” and then I was taken my family left behind. I hope they still live. I’d seen some of homes that had mysteriously burned down with all family members lost. Since I was still alive, I had to hope my family had been spared. Vaguely in the back of my mind, I wondered just who it was that turned me in. I hoped they choked on their “reward”.

The guard pushed me up the two steps and bellowed “in you go, hurry up I got places to be”. I tugged the heavy door open and slipped inside.

Inside, what can I say about that? I can smell the fear from the other girls as I step to the back of the line. My canvas slippers do little to hold out the chill of the concrete floor. Over the sea of heads I can see the tops of two doors at the other end of the long narrow room and a large glass window between them. I see a Blue Door on the left of the window and a Red Door on the right.

We learned to not speak during the humiliation of all the poking and prodding, not to mention being “chipped” at the local hospital before we were shipped out like cattle. And now here we were at our final destination where the Decision would be made as to what would happen to us. Our Keepers making it clear that if we did not cooperate fully, not only would we suffer but so would our families.

During our stay at the hospital, it was explained to us that we were the world’s last hope for continuance of the species. That all the tests were to make sure we were fertile and healthy. We knew the story; it was too big for any of the world’s governments to contain. How the world wide campaign to educate all women on birth control was paired up with the vaccine against cervical cancer. The new vaccine hailed as the “new penicillin in cancer prevention”. It was their glorious double goal of having all females from the ages of five to fifty not only educated on their “reproductive rights” but also vaccinated, voluntarily at first of course but then over a three year period –by force, that condemned the human species. It looks like they’ve still not learned from their arrogance.

People began to hide their little girls to keep them from being vaccinated, mostly for religious reasons at first but then there were those who did it based on the principle that government had no business telling them what to do.

I watched as the top of the Blue Door as it opened and closed several times. Then the Red Door opened…then closed and the line inched forward.

Far too quickly it was my turn at the window.


“I have no name” earned me a smirk from the nurse.

“Good! You are learning already. Give me your right hand.” So I slid my left hand through the small window and she scanned it. She began to read all about me on the computer screen “tsk tsk tsk! No wonder you are here. I see your family failed to comply with the new laws.” She sighed and sadly shook her head. “Well you will learn soon enough that the laws are for your protection and you have a responsibility to society. After all, we as your leaders DO know what is best. Go through the Red Door.”

I step off to the right and go through the Red Door.

There were six other girls in the room that I stepped into. There was another door to the right but a huge window to the left. The girls were transfixed in terror as they looked through the window. I stepped up and looked. My blood froze and my heart stopped.
The room beyond the window was quite different. I could see concrete block, barely through the bodies of the girls that had been sent through the Blue door. They were packed into the room, clawing at the window and walls as the gas filled the chamber. Their eyes pleading for help as they began to choke.

There was nothing in my room to throw against the glass so I began to beat on it with my own hands and scream. A guard came in through the back door and grabbed me, pulling me away, demanding I calm down.

“Calm down?” I screamed “how can I calm down, they are DYING.”

I had not noticed the nurse come in “they are imperfect so of course they must be terminated.”

“Are you INSANE?” I yell. “They are just girls!” This earned me a hard slap across the face.
“You WILL BE silent and watch or YOU will join them!” Came the threat.

So I watched and I remembered every face and I buried my rage and pain for the time of payback. Yes, I would make sure there would be a Day of Vengeance.

The nurse was rattling on about how privileged we were to have been chosen and how we were the hope for all mankind, blah blah blah! Somehow my mind registered all the “rules” we were now expected to follow as my own plotting began.

After the “show and tell”, the seven of us were taken to a dorm where we joined a group of 43 other “perfect females”. Over the next two months we were educated on our new role in society. Since the vaccine had not only rendered females sterile but also unable to gestate babies, we were the only ‘baby makers’ now. It was our sole purpose to have babies. Very elite donors would be used and we would be artificially inseminated.

Apparently too many girls had committed suicide due to the rape they had been using.

This also prevented any of the male donors from becoming too attached to their off spring and or its mother. It was done in a very sterile and very professional way. We all were confirmed pregnant by the third month. Mysteriously two of the girls disappeared that month. We figure they had not been able to conceive and so were “removed”. How cold and clinical I’ve become. Even my anger was now cold and calculating.

I’ve discovered their weakness, it’s their own arrogance. We had a schedule each day, every day. We had exercise time and study time and even some free time to pursue “acceptable hobbies”. There were no calendars but we had clocks everywhere. A few of us had kept up with the days of the week and months and we would whisper to each other at night what day it really was. We learned who among us would rat us out for slight misbehaviors. I learned who I could trust with my life and who I was willing to die for. There ended up being only six of us who were willing to break free. We became sisters.

I was not really surprised at how many of the other girls bought into the all the propaganda they were spoon fed. They were so willing to give up their freedom and rights for “food” and “security”. How many horror stories had we been told about the fighting over fertile females in other countries and how they were abused and kept in horrible conditions? How many times were we told how lucky we were, and I had to agree, it was a pretty nice cage they kept us in. But it still was a cage and their hands were still covered in the blood of those girls who were found to be infertile. Casually labeled “dead weight to society” and so removed.

This last week has been different though. The staff was getting nervous and snappy with us. We were kept to the dorm room and not allowed to go to the exercise room at all. The only windows in the whole building to the outside were in the exercise room. They had figured greatly in our plan to escape. We knew we had to leave soon since we did not want to be hindered by our bodies as gestation proceeded. And we thought the new alertness among the staff and guards would dash our plan but they seemed to pay less attention to us. Maybe it was because we were locked up in our dorm or maybe it was something else.

We had been squirreling away things we thought we would need. We had no idea of what kind of world we would escape into so we tried to think of the worst case scenario and plan for that. Our stashes were small, just enough to fit into small bags we had made in secret from the scrapes of a couple pairs of ripped pants. We had told the guards we wanted to use the strips to curl our hair at night, using the rag method. And we did. We simply saved a few of the nicer pieces and made small bags for ourselves. There were so many rag curlers that they never noticed, neither did the other girls. We each had a rinsed out pop bottle filled with water that we had salvaged from the waste basket of the staff. WE were not allowed soda pop but they could drink all they wanted. They stopped counting all the silverware after the second month so we each had a fork and knife, the knife having been slowly sharpened on the concrete floor.

Our plan was simple: sneak out of bed, move to the exercise room, go out the door that lead to the exercise yard, and break through the fence! Well, how does one break through a fence? It’s as easy as untwisting it. Few realize that chain link is only held together by each link. All you have to do is “unfold” the top of a link then you can twist it out of the other links, thus you “break-through”.

Well our brilliant plan was shattered the night before we were going to go -shattered by gunfire and hand grenades. The fence was torn apart and our walls breached. We six sisters were determined to take advantage of the chaos so we jumped out of bed and dressed quickly with shoes on our feet. The other girls were screaming and just running around in terror. It was easy to slip out of the room and into the hall, heading for that Final Door. The smoke stung our eyes but we were determined to make it as each of us helped the others and we got closer to our goal and hopefully freedom!

And then we were there, with our ears pressed to the door listening for danger. All the sounds of fighting seemed to be coming from the other side of the compound.

So we slowly opened the Final Door and stepped through.

I look around at the six eager little faces "And that my dearest ones is how your mommies and I escaped!"

"Wow mommy, you were sure brave."