A Collision Course


手紙 Tegami OHZORA PUBLISHING, Co.(2004/1) Origi...
手紙 Tegami OHZORA PUBLISHING, Co.(2004/1) Original story by Lucy Gordon "Farelli's Wife"(Harlequin Romance, 3561) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Someone said we were opposites,

And I say she got that right,

What started out as dating bliss,

Changed when I proposed one night,

 

It all started out so simple,

Neither did a background check,

Romantic love was all we knew,

Head over heels, what the heck,

 

Our worlds were on a collision course,

As we hurried our way through space,

No one warned us of trouble ahead,

As we continued our dangerous pace,

 

I grew up rough from the country,

She emerged dainty from the city,

I raised animals to be our food,

She thought I had no pity,

 

The sky and trees filled my world,

Along with critters of all kinds,

Of course she would faint away,

And think I’d lost my mind,

 

I enjoyed playing all sports,

She said she wasn’t into games,

When I mentioned famous people,

She said she couldn’t remember names,

 

I could never get lost or lose my way,

Whenever I was in the woods,

And she could get lost any day,

When she went shopping for goods,

 

We were different in other ways,

But the other was always to blame,

We even went to counseling,

But the result was still the same,

 

I tried my best to choose movies with her,

She claimed them in a loud voice,

Chick flicks, romance, but nothing deep,

She always got her choice,

 

Beneath my surface my beliefs were deep,

While hers were shallow and wide,

I kept mine mostly to myself,

While she couldn’t keep hers inside,

 

 

She liked bright lights and lots of noise,

I preferred dark nights and quiet,

She thought I was too laid back,

I thought she was too uptight,

 

I planted gardens and fruit trees,

She disliked all the time it took,

She thought I should be inside,

Showing her how to cook,

 

While I wrote stories in sci fi,

Her thing was Harlequin Romance,

I did the Texas two-step,

She wanted to do classical dance,

 

She wanted one child,

I had dreams of more,

Since we never could agree,

It almost came to war,

 

I liked thunderstorms and rainy days,

She enjoyed the broiling sun,

I worked daily both inside and out,

She tanned by the pool for fun,

 

I worked two jobs for fifteen years,

To keep my family fed,

And finally things were looking up,

As we slowly forged ahead,

 

But life was tough for both of us,

She grew weary of being alone,

The world was growing larger,

And she was in the twilight zone,

 

One day she decided to step out of her shell,

And said much to my grief,

“I need some spice in my life,

You’re ordinary, just like roast beef,”

 

As a writer, what could I say to that,

She was hurting deep inside,

Her friends had known long before,

For often she did confide,

 

My world changed quickly,

As it took a sudden turn,

I became a single parent of three,

Still with an income to earn,

 

I kept all the night lights on,

I thought she’d return one day,

But after five years I turned them off,

I had electricity bills to pay,

 

I’ve heard she’s a dancing queen,

As she flits and dips around town,

And I’m still just a common man,

With some inner turmoil I can’t put down,

 

I can’t explain to my kids even now,

Why she needed another plan,

I just go on living my life,

Doing the very best I can.

 

 

“I Don’t Know Much About Women”


Cover of "A Good Woman"
Cover of A Good Woman

Off to the west the sky roiled as lightning flashed,

I thought, “Looks like we’ve got a storm heading our way,”

I’d been out here on the range for weeks,

This job was over and I was ready to collect my pay,

 

Lonesome Jim, I don’t understand women,”

I was down in a ravine but I heard the young man yell,

“They’re complicated and ask way too much,

What they want is confusing as hell,”

 

“Son, there are several things you’ll have to learn,”

Now I’m just a foreman and I don’t know much,

Especially when it comes to knowing women,

But I gave him some ideas, about pleasing them and such,

 

“First, Bill, you need to understand how you think,

Once you have a handle on that, you’re on your way,”

By then Bill had ridden up and looked me in the eye,

“Are you saying that women think different than a guy?”

 

The expression on his face said all I needed to know,

Bill believed men and women always thought the same,

“Son, men can only focus on one thing at a time,

He loses track of the world and even forgets his name,

 

But a woman is ready to do many tasks at a time,

While she builds family ties she’s a planner and a baker,

She’s got a lot more strengths than he does,

She’s a caregiver while he’s a taker,”

 

Bill was disturbed by this, perhaps a trifle mad,

“Are you saying that women are better than men?

Whose side are you on?” he snarled derisively,

I knew right then I had entered a tiger’s den,

 

“Tell me, Bill, what makes you want to cry?

You hide your feelings because you’re a guy,

But women could explain forever and a day,

How feelings are important and a thousand reasons why,”

 

She’ll take you through the day and every mood swing,

You’ll want your ideas organized and each idea filed in place,

She’ll want to share her day and tell you everything,

You’ll want the bottom line, and you’ll cut through the chase,

 

If you listen to her she’ll believe she’s loved,

And always look straight into her eyes,

If you look away like you’re talking to a man,

She’ll interpret what you say as lies,”

 

“Lonesome Jim, if you’re so smart to give me advice,

How come you’re always out here, alone on the range?”

He thought he had me cornered because I hesitated a bit,

I said, “I think your question is valid, and not at all strange,

 

When I was your age I acted like a fool,

I thought love was a feeling I could turn off and on,

I never understood that love should be active,

I was miserable until one day it dawned,

 

Life was not meant to always be understood,

I should have learned that as a boy,

I realized I didn’t need to understand a woman,

So I relaxed and began to enjoy,

 

A woman might be complex but she’s good as gold,

If you don’t try to control her or live in a cave,

Remember to love her forever, to have and to hold,

She should not be your boss and she’s not your slave,”

 

Bill was quiet for a moment as he took this all in,

He could tell by my face there had been hurt and pain,

Quietly he asked, “Did she die or did she leave you?”

But my answer was smothered by the onrushing rain,

 

Bill left that job for another one in town,

And I’m still working on the ranch, come what may,

I hope Bill found a good woman to love,

And I’ll save my philosophizing for another day,

 

I shouldn’t have been shooting my big mouth off,

And making myself to be wise and grand,

How could I give answers about women to Bill,

When it’s clear there are things I still don’t understand.

 

 

Sonia and Her Cat


Can't Forget You (Sonia song)
Image via Wikipedia

Perhaps you can attribute this to fate,

This occurrence was not entirely of my choosing,

So I hope you can relate,

A problem arose with a relationship that I thought strange,

I decided to move away,

And my life rearrange,

I had considered my trip before New Year’s Day,

And my first resolution was to be organized,

In every possible way,

Since I had planned to move to another state,

Everything had to be packed and wrapped securely,

Before the moving date,

Each box had a number and a name,

Then taped to make it strong,

I thought I could make moving to be like a game,

I thought nothing could go wrong if I was organized like that,

But then Sonia walked up and asked,

“Where’s my cat?”

Our relationship was in total disarray,

But we began to search together,

Because we couldn’t leave it that way,

Fortunately I had rented a truck,

With all my worldly goods loaded neatly,

But I still had bad luck,

Time was a factor and I considered that,

Everything could have been methodically checked,

But she wasn’t leaving without her cat,

Boxes, boxes, they were strewn everywhere,

I’d gone through most of them,

While pulling out my hair,

I didn’t know what to think, my head was in a fog,

I couldn’t find her cat,

But I did find my dog,

I’d done as much as I knew how,

She was still crying,

I asked, “What do you want me to do now?”

She glared at me for a moment until an idea hit,

I’d use my dog to find her cat,

My idea was the perfect fit,

I was brilliant but my dog was dumb,

It wasn’t long before the place was in shambles,

And I was just a bit numb,

Sonia didn’t seem happy although her cat was okay,

My dog wasn’t happy either,

He still wanted to play,

Carefully I straightened up the mess,

Then I drove down the street slowly,

It was time for me to leave, that I’ll confess,

When I had traveled a thousand miles,

I stopped to walk the dog,

And remember Sonia and her smile,

There was no way I was turning back,

Too much had happened between us,

We couldn’t even keep track,

While I leaned against the truck and thought about her,

My dog looked at me in surprise,

He, too, had heard a purr,

There just wasn’t anywhere I could unload the truck,

So I just turned it around,

And attributed it to bad luck,

I was tired and hungry and everything seemed so wrong,

When I pulled up to the house,

I heard, “What took you so long?”

Sonia was waiting with a smile and all that,

Then she helped me find the box marked “C”,

Where she had hidden her cat,

It was the best start to a New Year ever,

For we bonded at the heart,

That no move could ever sever.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Coin (Conclusion)


One Pysar Coin from Zanzibar circa 1299 AH (18...
Image via Wikipedia

The Coin  (Conclusion)

Reggie
waited confidently by the river.  There
was no point chasing Vanna.  The coin
would bring her to him.  She would know
it was their fate to meet and interact.
Reggie was sure she would think he was on the run, afraid of her and the
coin.   But she would not know this was a
trap. The coin would not warn her in time.
Reggie knew the coin had powers over people and Vanna controlled it.
That’s why she would be overconfident until it was too late.

Reggie had a
secret.  The coin’s powers would work for
Vanna while it was in her possession unless….someone had control of the rest of
the coin collection.  Fortunately he
still had the collection and it was nearby, locked in his car. He The
collection was nearby so the powers would be stronger. She would walk right
past it and never know.    When
she was least expecting it, the coin’s powers would be turned against her.

Reggie
stayed in the shadows where he was less likely to be noticed.  He wanted to surprise Vanna.  If she was accidentally alerted by someone, Reggie
wasn’t sure how she would react, or for that matter, how the coin would
react.  The situation could get ugly.

Two young
men loitered by a bar on a nearby street.
Reggie wondered if they were looking for an easy mark, someone tipsy or
alone.  He hoped they would leave soon
and be out of the way.  If not, he would
have to take matters in his own hands.

Vanna
arrived later than Reggie expected.  He
was tense and irritable and eager for a confrontation.  The two men were still there, apparently unaware
of him, staying close to a streetlight.
Reggie was tired of waiting and ready to make their lives uncomfortable.

He had
almost given up and was sliding out of the shadows when a bus stopped at a
corner two blocks away.   A woman got off
and the bus pulled away.  Reggie knew it
was Vanna even before she turned and walked towards the river.

A woman
alone was easy prey.  He could feel the men’s
excitement increasing.  He wasn’t worried
because he knew she had the coin and at any time she could unleash its powers
against them.  He was uneasy about
letting others crash his party,  but he decided
to relax and enjoy the show.

Vanna stopped
and talked to the young men.  That was
unexpected. They didn’t follow her which also surprised Reggie.  They stood there for a few seconds surveying
the scene, trying to determine if they were being watched or followed, before
disappearing into the darkness.  Reggie
decided the coin had worked its magic and they wouldn’t be a problem.

Reggie was concentrating on Vanna and the coin
because its power was zeroing in, challenging his authority.  Because his attention was diverted the sound
of  breaking glass never registered, and
he never dreamed that the two young men would ransack his car.

Vanna stopped a few yards away and called out,
“Reggie! I know you’re there.  Come
out!  Don’t make me use the coin’s
powers.”

He
laughed.  ”Vanna, you don’t have as much
power as you think.  The coin is mine and
will do anything I demand of it.”

Her knees
were weak and her stomach was churning.  The
coin was vibrating and she felt her control weakening.

“Just like
before, Vanna.  You’ll do what I want.”

She stared
at him for several seconds and then began slowly gyrating, dancing to music she
remembered from before.  Reggie urged her
on.  “Keep going, baby.  Feel the rhythm.”

She wanted
to resist but resistance was futile.
Unbuttoning her blouse as she danced, she watched Reggie. There was no
change in his expression but she could feel his hatred turning into
indifference.

At first she
was chilled by his expression and the cool breeze coming from the river.  Then a strange warmth began in the pit of her
stomach.  The warmth came in waves, each
wave increasingly invasive.  She hated
him and yet she was beginning to want him, feeling love in spite of her hatred
of all he had done.  She continued to
dance for him until she stood before him naked and waiting, obediently ready
his next command.

The coin,
still clutched in her hand, began to vibrate.
She took several steps back and pressed her hands to her head.  The trance was broken.  Suddenly she looked up and defiantly said, “Where
are your powers, Reggie?  Did you lose
them?”

Reggie
stared in disbelief.  “Don’t even try,
Vanna,” he snapped.  “Do you really want
to challenge me?  Vanna,” he ordered, “go
jump in the river.  It’s time for you to
go.”

She ignored
him and began getting dressed.

Reggie was
losing his self control.  “What did you
do?   Where is my collection?”

He noticed
the two young men standing nearby.  “This
is your chance!” he shouted. “I won’t stop you whatever you do. She’s yours for
the taking.”

“Reggie,”
one man said, “you don’t have power over us anymore.”

Reggie’s
eyes narrowed as he recognized one of the men.
“Karl, where is my collection?”

“I put it in
a safe place for Vanna.  I trust her. She
is in charge now,” Karl responded.  “She
can answer your questions.”

“Vanna, give
me my collection and I’ll let you go,” Reggie gasped.

“Reggie, it’s
too late for you.  You won’t hurt anyone
ever again.  Karl found the collection and
it’s in my possession.  You wanted me to
die in the river.  I’ve decided you can
take my place.”

Vanna rubbed
the coin.  Reggie backed down the levee
bank and stood ankle deep in the water.  “Vanna,
please,” Reggie begged.

She rubbed
the coin again.  Reggie’s hands gripped
his throat and he fell to his knees.  He
gasped twice and then pitched backward into the current.  He was visible only for a moment before he
sank into the darkness.

Vanna turned
to her brother.  “It’s over, Karl.  Now you’ll have to get your life in
order.  You can’t continue being with a
gang and living on the edge.  The coin
will turn against you if you forget. Now you and your friend go home.  No more trouble.  Understand?”

Karl knew
she was right and he knew he had no options.
She would be in charge and life would be different.

When she
returned to the apartment there were several messages from George.  She didn’t want to deal with his probing
questions or even to talk to him.  She
didn’t feel the same towards him. Yet George was persistent and one evening she
found him waiting at her front door.

“You don’t
want to see me, George,” she warned.  “I’m
not the same person you knew.  So much
has changed since I last saw you.”

“I don’t
care,” he insisted. “Whatever you’ve done or wherever you’ve been does not
matter to me.  I don’t want to know
unless you want to share.  All I know is
that I can’t live without you.  I love
you, Vanna.  I always have and I always
will.”

His arms
surrounded her but she pushed away.  His
arms were too confining and reminded her of the humiliation and torture she had
endured and the conflicting moments of pleasure.  Could she forget any of that?  Could she ever be a good wife and mother?  George would expect life to be orderly and under
his control.  She had gained her
independence and it was too soon to give it up.

She looked
into his eyes and said, “I’m not ready to make any commitment.  Give me some time.  You deserve someone special.”

“Vanna, you’re
the one I want.  I’ll take care of you.  Get those silly notions about being
independent out of your head.  I’m
disappointed that you don’t want to have a life together.  You’ll change your mind.” He grabbed her arm
and pulled her towards the door.   “You’re
going with me to the priest right now and we’re going to say our vows.  You’ve been brainwashed by someone.  You’ll be straightened out in no time.”

“Let go of
my arm!”  Her tone got his
attention.  “I said, let go of my arm!”

“You’re
different,” he said, “but you’re mine and you’ll do what I tell you.”

She rubbed
the coin and George fell to the floor temporarily paralyzed.  “Don’t ever touch me again without my
permission. You don’t own me and you never have.  I’m not a possession. Stay away from me
unless I decide you can be in my life.
Do you understand?”

Perhaps the only way he could learn was a
simple jolt that would shake him to the core.
She waited a few moments before releasing the power that held him.

“Go,
George.  Someday we might work as a team,
but for now I have my doubts.”  She would
have preferred a less harsh way of dealing with him.  That door to her past was closed and George
was probably gone from her life.

Vanna knew
her life would be going in new directions.
She was not timid or obedient anymore.
She was ready for excitement and with the coin in her possession she
would turn her neighborhood around and make it safe again for families.  For now, she had much work to do.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Faith I Can Fly


From Dreams or Angels
Image via Wikipedia

My dreams
were big, It was all foretold,

I thought
I’d make my weight in gold,

Life would
be easy if I stayed the course,

I’d claim my
fortune and then rejoice,

Though progress
was slow in my early years,

I had much
to be thankful for, no time for tears,

My family
was growing, my job was secure,

No problems
on the horizon, nothing to endure,

But my work
consumed me, my home fell apart,

I had not
protected things close to my heart,

A divorce claimed
me and I entered the fire,

I thought my
pain could not get any higher,

I was under
a major demonic attack,

I went to
hell and somehow made it back,

My world grew
beautiful as I clawed to even ground,

I became
more humble the second time around,

My demands
for wealth were low on my list,

But life was
ugly and struck with an iron fist,

I cried to
the heavens because my dreams had faded,

My life was
destroyed, my hopes were jaded,

I was
knocked down again at the end of round three,

Life was not
any fun, was there more to life for me,

Somewhere
hidden in the clouds an angel band awaits,

Waiting for
me patiently behind great pearly gates,

I’ve got
just a few years before I get to go,

I’m hoping
and praying that no one says no,

It would be
very awkward to reach heaven’s door,

And find heaven
filled with no room for one more,

Life has
been brutal and under the circumstance,

I’d ask for
a lotto ticket and one slight chance,

I still
believe in miracles and will until I die,

I just need
angel wings and the faith I can fly,

 

 

 

The Coin (Part 9)


Right knee.
Image via Wikipedia

Vanna was
emotionally drained and ready to abort the mission even though two of her
original targets were left.  Reggie was
one, but the other person she didn’t know.
She was afraid of Reggie and she knew something had to be done about
him.  The other man was a mystery and she
didn’t want him killed. Her anger had dissipated long before the judge had
died.

In spite of her reluctance the coin had become
active and was willing her on again.  Its
mission and her mission seemed to be going in different directions.  Where was she heading now?  She didn’t like having blind faith in a coin,
especially one she couldn’t control. She was glad when the coin directed her to
a bus going out of the city.  Maybe the
killing was over.

The bus
stopped several times to pick up riders or let them off.  When the bus stopped at a small mall in the
suburbs the coin began vibrating again.
Vanna was surprised because the location seemed so unlike the bustling downtown
office building or the court house.

She
disembarked in front of a small grocery store and looked around.  The stores and businesses were mostly chain
stores and unpretentious. The parking lots were almost full and people were
arriving and leaving.  Two security
police cars patrolled the lots while two security cops strolled through the
mall.  With all the things that had taken
place Vanna felt safer knowing they were there.

Suddenly two
men burst out of one of the stores, each carrying a bag and waving a gun.  “Get out of our way!” one man yelled.

A clerk
emerged from the store.  “Stop them!” he
yelled.  One of the gunmen turned and
fired but the clerk jumped back inside unscathed.

Vanna
realized the men were running in her direction.
She wanted to dash into a store but she stood frozen.  The one in the lead grabbed her arm and spun
her around.  Vanna’s purse swung out and
up, catching the second gunman by surprise and throwing him off balance.  His head hit the pavement and he lay still.

The other
robber stood there, momentarily shocked by the turn of events.  Without thinking, Vanna drove her knee into
his groin.  He collapsed to his knees
next to his accomplice.  Vanna stepped
back, watching the man, knowing he still clutched a gun.

Recovering
quickly, he staggered to his feet and raised his gun.  His eyes met hers.  Her eyes widened in recognition as one
thought raced through her mind.  “They’re
just boys and this one is my brother!”

“Karl, what
are you doing?” she hissed through clenched teeth.

“You shouldn’t
be here interfering, Vanna!” he snapped.
His eyes hardened and he pointed the gun at her.  “Goodbye, sister,” he said slowly.

She heard two shots and closed her eyes. Expecting
pain, Vanna waited for the agony but nothing changed.  Death must have been swift.  She opened her eyes and realized that nothing
had happened to her.  Karl stood there,
his eyes unfocused and his face pale. Vanna watched in horror as blood dripped
from his arm.

The other
boy clambered to his feet and put his arm around Karl’s shoulder. “Come on,
Karl! Let’s get out of here!”

With a quick meaningful glance at Vanna, Karl warned
weakly, “Don’t say nothing!”  Then he
followed his friend into one of the shops and out the back.

A mall
security coop ran towards her yelling excitedly, “I got him! I got him! I can
see drops of blood!” He was right.  Spots
of blood marked a clear trail, one that the police could follow later.

Ten minutes
later two squad cars and an unmarked car pulled up to the main entrance of the
mall.  While policemen secured the area
and looked for any gunmen or victims, detectives began taking statements.  “Lady,” a detective said, “You’re both a hero
and very lucky.  You could have been
killed.”

She mulled
over what the detective said and realized he was right.  During this whole time the coin had been
still.  It had not protected her.

The coin
stirred and began vibrating.  Her head ached
and her knee was throbbing.  She knew she
couldn’t chase after Karl.  He would only
become angrier.  She would have to wait
until he calmed down.  He might listen to
her then, if he went home, and if he could get home.

Vanna
hobbled over and leaned against a wall.
She noticed the name “Sports Therapy” on a nearby door.  A man came out and looked around
nervously.  “Miss, are you all right?”

“My knee
hurts.”

“Come inside
and I’ll check it out.”  He extended his
hand.  “I guess I should introduce myself
first.  I’m Steve.  I’m a physical therapist.”

Vanna
followed him inside and sat on the edge of a bench.  At his direction she flexed her knee forward
and backward.  “You’ll probably have a
bruise but I see no swelling. Don’t get up yet.
I’ll get some ice.”

Vanna looked
around the room.  Various kinds of
equipment were spaced strategically.
There were weight machines, a stationary bicycle, other benches that
were fitted with sheets and pillows, large elastic bands, and other equipment
she couldn’t identify.

Her gaze
settled on a framed picture on a desk nearby. “Is that your family?” she asked
when he returned.

Steve
smiled.  “Yes.  My wife, my son, and my two daughters.”

As he placed
a towel filled with ice around her knee she noticed a small tattoo. Suddenly
she knew why she was there. Her thoughts raced. “He had helped her.  He had a family.  She didn’t need or want revenge anymore. She
needed to go and find her brother. How could she have forgotten him?”

The coin was
humming.  “No!”  Vanna stated emphatically.  “No!”  This
has gone far enough!” But already the coin was out of her control.

Steve looked
at her oddly.  “Did you hit your head or
get bumped outside?  Lady, I think your
knee will be fine.  I think you should go
now.”

He took the
ice pack and hurried her towards the door.
The mall was quiet.   Yellow tape
stretched around the crime scene and police swarmed everywhere.

Off to her
left a man stepped back into the shadows and she had the impression he was
avoiding her.  Even so, he was vaguely
familiar.

In front of
her a security cop twirled his gun as he told anyone within listening range the
story of his heroic act.  One of the
detectives looked disgusted.  “Put your
gun away, George, before you hurt someone.”

George
twirled it one more time.  The gun
slipped from his hand, fell to the concrete, and fired.

Steve followed
Vanna to the door and as she stepped outside Steve unexpectedly gave her a
push.  As she tumbled to the side the
bullet from George’s gun whizzed by and struck Steve in the chest.

The world
stopped for an instant.  Vanna watched
horrified as the police raced to the stricken man. There was little they could
do as his life ebbed away.

The police
turned their attention to the security cop.
As they led him away he began crying, “It was an accident.  Something knocked the gun out of my
hand.  I didn’t mean to do it!”

Vanna knew
he was right.  The coin had killed Steve.
She shivered as other questions began popping up and nagging her.  “Was Steve the real target?  The bullet had barely missed her. Was the
coin working for her or against her? Was it a coincidence that Karl and the
coin picked this mall?  And finally, was
that Reggie she saw step back into the shadows?”  Vanna had much to think about and she had to
get answers quickly if she wanted to stop any more violence.  Or if she wanted to survive.

(To be
continued)

 

 

 

 

The Coin (Part 8)


Calderilla coin
Image via Wikipedia

Four huge impressive
pillars at the entrance of the Superior Court almost stopped Vanna from
entering the building.  She passed people
in suits, men and women in police uniforms, and a variety of others in more
casual attire.  She asked herself again, “What
am I doing here?”

She was not a risk
taker and had never wanted to be one.
She was just Vanna, daughter of a preacher, who made a habit of doing what
she was told.  She had stayed out of
trouble all her life, was called an “over achiever” by her teachers, and made
the Dean’s list in college before she was forced to drop out in the middle of
her third year . 

“Don’t get even.  No revenge.”  She could almost hear her father’s voice
admonishing her. “Your life should not be ruled by hatred or fear.”  These words had been taken to heart but they
were high ideals in an imperfect world. Two months later he had been shot in
front of his church trying to thwart an attempted robbery. What good were his
words then?  And where was God when that happened? 

Vanna had been
disillusioned and angry, but kept her feelings tightly contained. She decided
she would take charge of her own destiny but her life continued to unravel.  Two months later her mother died from a brain
tumor and Vanna dropped out of school, taking charge of her four younger
siblings.  Her almost perfect life had
taken a nosedive into an abyss.

Jobs were scarce, but
Vanna found a job working as a maid.  She
would rush to her job, rush home afterwards, and then help her sister and brothers
with their homework and listen to their personal problems.  Vanna was overwhelmed by it all but she was
determined to keep them all together.
She thought they were doing well until she learned Karl, her 14 year old
brother, was hanging around the wrong group. She worried constantly, “ What could
she do to keep him out of trouble?”

Now as she moved about
the court building she had the sinking feeling she would be back, perhaps to
keep Karl out of jail. She wanted to turn and run but the coin was vibrating
against her breast, overriding any thoughts of slipping away.  Her world had changed and now she had no
choice but complete her mission. 

Several policemen stood
in front of one set of doors.  They
admitted a few sharply tailored lawyers carrying briefcases and stacks of
papers.  “Miss,” one of the policemen
said, “you’ll have to wait down the hall until it’s time to come in.” 

Vanna didn’t need to
stop there because the coin was urging her on, up the stairs to the second
floor.  She walked past the room
designated for the jury pool and noticed it was filled with people.  Some were pleading with the clerk that they
had hardships and could not serve, others were sitting quietly, and there were a
few who seemed eager to be selected.

 As the coin vibrated, Vanna sat down in an
empty seat and waited.  A clerk held up a
paper and began reading a list of names.  As their names were called, people got up and
headed to their assigned courtrooms. Vanna rose with the second group and
followed them down the hall and into a room.

 When the group was seated the lawyers began
the selection process, which Vanna thought was ridiculous.  She stifled a giggle as she imagined what the
lawyers might be thinking as they began dividing the group. “You take one and I’ll
take one, and we’ll find all the jurors who have emotional links to the victim
or the defendant and toss them out.” She straightened up and listened intently
when the prosecutor asked a young man, “If you believe the evidence leaves
doubt as to whether someone is guilty, could you vote for conviction?” “I
could,” he replied.

 After the jurors and alternate jurors were
selected, the rest of the group was dismissed.
Since Vanna was only pretending to be a juror she went out into the
hallway. While she was at a vending machine she overheard the young man talking
in the hallway with another juror.  “I’ll
vote “not guilty” if the rest of the jury decides against him.  Women lie about being raped all the time.”
Outraged by his irresponsible statement,Vanna glared at him but still said
nothing.

This seemed to be a
waste of time.  The coin had not led her
to her attacker, nor given her any clear directions.  Just when she was ready to give up, the coin
started humming and Vanna returned to the courtroom.  The jury was seated, the lawyers were in
their respective places, and the bailiff was stationed.  The bailiff said formally, “All rise while the
Honorable Judge enters.”  A man in a
flowing black robe entered and sat behind the Bench.  The bailiff faced the audience and said, “Please
be seated.”

Vanna looked around the
room searching for someone she recognized.
When she looked at the judge her heart began to pound wildly. He was one
of her attackers! She knew it even though she had no evidence to prove it.  She stared again at the judge, expecting some
sign of recognition.  The judge did not
notice her behavior or anyone else except for one. His gaze swept the courtroom
and rested on the jury, then on the young man in particular.  A slight nod and then the judge declared the
court to be in session. 

Vanna was shocked.”What
had just happened? Was the defendant going to be declared innocent because of a
judge that couldn’t be trusted? Indignantly she willed the coin into action, expectantly
waiting for the judge to topple over with a heart attack.  Nothing happened.  The coin was allowing justice to be trampled
on. Her anger rose quickly, and she almost stood up. “Kill him,” she
thought.  “Kill him.”

 A lifetime of inner restraint caught her in
time. “What was she doing?”  The coin was
vibrating softly. Then she realized it was working against her!  She glanced quickly around the room.  A pair of black glittering eyes glared
menacingly at her.  A cold shiver went up
her spine! Reggie! What was he doing here?

Her hate. His hate. A
battle was going on inside the courtroom without anyone knowing.  They were mentally sparring, jab for jab,
blow for blow. No one was winning.
Reggie sat there grinning smugly knowing the coin still responded to
him. Vanna was furious yet contained. Suddenly she remembered one of her father’s
sermons. “The only thing that can conquer hate is love.  Love is more powerful than hate. Don’t let
hate win.  Love more and hate will flee.”

Love was not something
she wanted to think about.  She wanted
justice and revenge, not love.  But
slowly she focused her thoughts on her parents, her sister and brothers.  She let her compassion flow to the rape
victim and then to the young man in the jury.
Reggie appeared confused.  He rose
and hurried from the room.  The judge,
seeing Reggie leave, tapped his gavel on the bench.  “There will be a thirty minute recess,” he
announced. Then he disappeared into his chambers.

Vanna sat there with
her eyes closed, still thinking about people she cared about.  When she thought about people who had
mistreated her, and how she forgave them, she could feel the coin’s power
growing.  This time it was following her
lead. 

The Honorable Judge Hudson
never returned to the bench.  An
announcement was made after an hour that the judge was sick and a new judge
would be seated to take his place.  The
jury was dismissed for the day but they were told they would reconvene the
following day.

Vanna waited outside
the court, wanting to get more information.
She thought she saw Judge Hudson rush away, almost as if he were
escaping inner demons.  The coin hummed and
then fell silent for a moment.  Vanna
hurried outside, trying to get one more glimpse of the judge.

Outside a crowd of
people were gathering by the street.  Someone
called out, “Call 9-1-1”.  Most of the
crowd appeared stunned and distraught.  “He
just stepped in front of a taxi,” a woman wailed.  “He didn’t even look at it.”  Vanna knew it was the judge but wondered why
he had done this.  She had already
forgiven him.

 (to be continued)

 

 

 

  

The Coin (Part 3)


Calderilla coin
Image via Wikipedia

After work she was greeted by lightning and
thunder.  The heavens opened and rain
poured down.  Vanna dashed to her car but
she was immediately soaked.  As soon as
she arrived home she peeled off her
clothes and showered.  While she
sipped her tea she thought, “I never would have guessed it.  Storms are so unpredictable.”

The
following morning her work day was lighter.
There had been no parties so she began dusting and vacuuming.  She went in and out of his study several
times wanting to see his reaction.  He
was holding a coin again, rubbing it, talking to it, and then looking at her. His
gaze became more intense. Oddly her temperature rose as he watched.  It disturbed her at first to discover she was
aroused and moist.  She stayed out of
sight for awhile, afraid not for what he might do but afraid of what she might
do.

When she returned Reggie was still holding
the coin.  His gloves were off and he was
rubbing the coin slowly.  He looked up
and she was immediately mesmerized.
Reggie turned on some music.  It
was primitive and unexciting at first but Vanna found herself listening
closely.  It drew her in, her feet
sliding gracefully in time with the beat.

Reggie began rubbing the coin more
vigorously.  The pace quickened yet she
danced on, not able to quit or falter.  Her eyes closed and she was in a dream, her
dream, the one she had the previous night.
Now she danced solely for him, twisting, writhing, spinning.

He sat there smiling, waiting, and knowing.  There was more to this dance and he continued
holding the coin, his very thoughts becoming her moves. He rubbed the coin once
more and wet his lips in anticipation. She looked at him blankly then smiled
and nodded. She began dancing slowly, suggestively, moving closer and closer to
him. With each spin she took off clothing until she stood bare and
glistening.

He rose and beckoned. She followed
obediently and was led into a nearby room.
He gave her a vial of liquid which she drank slowly.  Circles of color bounced about the room and
her skin tingled with electricity.  Her
dream was getting stranger by the minute. Now she was having an out of body
experience. Vanna could feel herself floating as Reggie led her down a long
flight of stairs.  How could she protest
when she wasn’t even in her body?

They stopped before a massive door.  He pulled it open and they entered a large
room lighted only by candles.  “A
dungeon,” she thought. “Why are we here?
Aren’t dungeons for torture?”

She was led to a wooden structure. She was
told to put her hands and her head on the beam. Her life was not her own and
she still had no thought of resisting.  A
wooden bar swung down, locking her neck and wrists in place.

Three men stepped out of the shadows.  “What do you think, gentlemen?” he said
loudly.  “What are you willing to pay for
this fine lady?”  Reggie stood before her
holding a paddle.  He circled behind
her  and swatted her buttocks with a
resounding whack.  Vanna howled with
pain.

Her senses were returning and she screamed a
protest.  “Don’t do that! Let me go or
I’ll report you to the authorities!”

“See what I mean, gentlemen?” Reggie
purred.  “Somebody will have to tame
her.”  He hesitated and then said,
“Unless all three of you want to do the job.
Of course, that’ll be extra. Divide the cost between you.  Pay for two, get one free.” Reggie chuckled
at his own sales pitch.

The three men looked at each other and
nodded.  “Of course,” Reggie said,
“payment comes first and the lady must remain alive.  Other than that, she’s all yours.”

Vanna struggled at first as she dealt with
one humiliation after another.  Each time
she protested other devices were added that stretched, pulled, or penetrated.  In this dungeon there was no mercy. The three
men were devious in their methods. For awhile she protested and threatened as
she endured the atrocities. Then she realized it was pointless to complain or
object. Those tactics worked against her.

At
some point she began aiding her tormentors because they treated her better when
she was compliant. She progressed from one stage to another. Gradually she learned
to beg for pain, beg for new experiences, beg to be degraded. When they stopped
torturing her she rested and waited, thinking she might be released or that she
could find a way to escape.

The Ocean Is Calling Me (Part 3)


Easterly swell at Lyttelton Harbour, New Zealand
Image via Wikipedia

 

Over time
Caleb’s spirit had worn down,

With the
loss of his wife little joy could be found,

He was
filled with conflicts, filled with doubt,

He felt his
heart and soul getting ripped out,

He could
forget the promises he said he’d keep,

Yet in the
evenings he was drinking long and deep,

Only the
ocean gave him reasons to try,

While his
memories continued to make him cry.

Caleb and
the two women drank and talked, exchanging names, dreams, and their stories.  The women, Mary and Linda, were long time
friends who had met and bonded in high school.
They lived next door and shared life together. They scheduled their
workouts at the same gym, worked at the same bank, and were always there for each
other in times of stress or emotional trauma.

Both were
single, but not by choice. Mary was divorced and Linda was widowed. Both had
lost a man to the sea.  Mary’s husband
had sailed off four years ago and had never returned. She waited a couple of years
and then quietly got a divorce. Linda had invited her into her home as a guest,
the least she could do for her friend.
Three months later their roles were reversed and Mary was doing the
comforting.  Linda’s husband died when an
ocean swell, a rogue wave, flipped his fishing boat and he drowned before
rescuers could get to him. As Linda mourned and Mary comforted her, their bonds
intensified.

The women
ignored rumors that they were more than friends.  They needed each other for emotional support
as well as financial support.  Night
after night they had cried in each other’s arms, and often went out to dinner
or to the movies. This night was different.
They were tired of being home, repeating the same routines.  They ventured out on an impulse, just for a
drink or two, and promised each other they’d return before it was too late.

Caleb shared
his story about heading to the flatlands, falling in love, and then losing his
wife.  He explained how he had to get
back to the ocean before he went crazy.
After a while Caleb insisted it was time for him to leave, not because
he was tired, but because he was afraid he would break promises he had made to
himself.

“Linda,
Mary, it’s been a real pleasure sharing this table.  I think it’s time for me to go.”

Linda raised
her glass and said, “One round for the road.”
Then Mary added, “One round to salute your wife’s memory.”

Caleb
thought both toasts were reasonable and well deserved. The night blurred and
faded and with the help of Linda and Mary he stumbled out into the
darkness.  He had forgotten his
promises.  He was past the point of
caring.  He was with two beautiful women
who were his friends.  They had been the
only ones he had allowed himself to share memories of his wife and his
attraction for the sea.  They walked him
back to their house and told him he could sleep on the couch.  He didn’t remember getting undressed.  What he did remember was the tide coming in,
the relentless pounding of the surf, the acceptance of the sand, and the
excited murmurs of the ocean breeze that continued throughout the night.

Caleb woke
with a start.  His mouth was dry and his
head was pounding.  Sunlight streamed
through the windows.  A leg was over his,
an arm across his chest.  He shifted
slightly and then struggled to sit up. He was confused and disoriented.   Where
was he?  What time was it? Was he
dreaming?  Was he back at the flatlands
with his wife? “I’m dreaming,” he thought. “I can feel her next to me just like
before.”  The thought was rather pleasant
and he slowly sank back into his pillow, content and ready to dream for awhile.

Reacting to his movements Mary snuggled
against his chest and sighed contentedly.   The warmth of her body brought back all the
memories of his wife and the flatlands.
His hands and lips caressed her face, her neck, and her breasts. He
didn’t dare open his eyes for fear that this dream would end.  After his wife died she often appeared in his
dreams but he didn’t remember her ever feeling this real.  They made love slowly at first, then passionately.

He rolled onto his side and opened his
eyes.  For the second time he was
confused.  The curtains, windows, and
walls looked real.  His clothes were
neatly folded on a chair next to another set of clothes.  His mind was suddenly alert. “Women’s clothes!”  This was real! It was not his imagination!

Just as he was starting to push himself up, a
woman lay down beside him, pinning him against a body on his other side.  “I was going to make breakfast for us but I
think it can wait.”

She looked
familiar but his mind had already played tricks on him.  Caleb’s mind whirred and he remembered
meeting her.  This woman was Linda. She
was with Mary.  Linda and Mary.  They had drinks with him and he vaguely
remembered walking with them to their house.
Now everything was coming into focus.

Linda was pressing against him, moving her
hips suggestively.  He started to protest
but already he was responding, moving in an age old rhythm.  When their lovemaking was over, he collapsed,
spent and exhausted.  He studied Linda
carefully and then turned to Mary, who was sleeping.  He looked back at Linda, his eyes filled with
questions.

Before he could ask anything Linda said
admiringly,   “O.k., cowboy, how long has
it been since you were with your wife? You were sure needy last night. You
weren’t shy with either of us.”

Caleb
reddened.  “You’re embarrassing me.  I didn’t mean for this to happen.  I apologize for my behavior.”

“Don’t
apologize.  You were what I needed. No,
Mary needed you, too.  It’s just been the
two of us. We’ve kept each other company and we thought we didn’t  need a man.
I think we were wrong. We’ve been shut up too long, away from friends
and family.  You’re like a breath of
fresh air and we’re glad you’re here.”

“I’m not sure
how long I can stay.  I’ll be looking for
a job tomorrow and the next day and keep looking until I find one.”

Hearing
Caleb’s voice, Mary’s eyes fluttered open. “Oh, my!  You weren’t what I expected at all.  I’ll give you five stars. Your wife was a lucky
woman.” She paused and corrected herself. “Oh, I meant with you.”

(To be
continued)

“The Man With the Iron Fists”


John Wayne / Gail Russell
Image by twm1340 via Flickr

A quiet sleepy
town somewhere out west,

Was being frightened
and overrun,

By some mean
son-of-a-guns,

So the city
council sent off a request,

 

“We need a
few men who will stand tall,

And save our
poor town,

From hellions
who’ve put us down,”

There was one
reply from out of them all,

 

It only
said, “A good fight I can’t resist,

I’m headin’
out today,

I’ll do
things my way,”

Signed, “The
Man With the Iron Fists,”

 

A few weeks later a stranger rode into town,

He was rough
around the collar,

Looking like
he had spent his last dollar,

He glanced at
me with a road-weary frown,

 

“Could you direct
me to a place with a bath?

I’m tired,
and I think I might stink,

I hope there’s
someplace to drink,

And then the
bad guys will feel my wrath,”

 

I looked at
him and I started to grin,

“You’re all
alone to save the day,

And make the
bad guys go away?

We were
expecting maybe nine or ten,”

 

“There are no others,” he said,

“I’m mean
and rough,

And you know
very tough,

Those
varmints all took off and fled,”

 

“Excuse me,
sir, “I interrupted to say,

“That mean
hombre that’s on the run,

The one with
notches on his gun,

He’s not
coming here today?”

 

“I said what
I mean,” he spat to the side,

“I warned
them fair and square,

If they
stayed they’d be sucking air,

Anyone left
will have holes in his hide!”

 

“Uh, sir, I
know you’ve got true grit,

But even now
as we speak,

The man with
scars on his cheek,

He’s not the
kind to go hightailin’ it,”

 

“Listen son,
I don’t intend to be rude,

Those
gunslingers know what’s best,

They know I’m
the scourge of the west,

So don’t
bother me, before I get crude,”

 

“One more
question, sir, if you don’t mind,

Did you see
my aunt Grace?

You were
checking out her lace,

Was there something you were hoping to find?”

 

Now this
hunk of a man got red in the face,

I knew he
was rough and tough,

But around
her he was a cream puff,

Because he
was already smitten with Aunt Grace,

 

“Go away,
son, and I’ll give you a dime,

Those
scoundrels might be back,

Slipping
around some shack,

And I don’t
want to waste my time,”

 

“Around
supper time tell Grace I’ll be there,

I’ve got to
check on those fellows,

Make sure
they’re still being yellow,

And tell her
to please let down her hair,”

 

Now Aunt Grace
is the town’s school teacher,

So through
windows and curtains,

Everybody
was watching and certain,

That it was
gittin’ time to call the preacher,

 

Later I confided to them that Grace had been
kissed,

The town
decided with that out of the way,

The marriage
should happen the next day,

Between
Grace and the man with iron fists,

 

The ceremony
went well, including the I Do’s,

The bad guys
stayed away,

They arrived
another day,

But that’s another
story, Part Two.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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