Tuesday, December 26, 2017


In the monitor section that tracks the rovers on Mars, suddenly, a scream grabs everyone’s attention. Sam Adam stands, his hear-gear flopping from his neck. Others in the section watch, dismayed, in horror, as he pounds the sides of his head with both fists, then he slumps to the floor, unconscious.

            The agency director, John Williams, reads Sam Adam’s agency’s medical history, shown on the desk top computer screen. Standing behind him, assistant director, Charles Browne, reads over John’s shoulder, the same information.

            “Nothing here to be an indicator of what caused his collapse,” John says.

            “Maybe, drugs or alcohol?” Charles asks.

            “There’s no suggestion of that here,” John says then asks. “What did the infirmary doctor say?”

            “He is in some type of catatonic state that he is not familiar with,” Charles says.

            “I’ll call Harriet,” John says. Harriet is the agency’s think tank, trouble-shooter, for all situations not involving explorations in outer space.

            “What event was Adam involved in?” Charles asks.

            “The rover found an area with frost on the surface; the team was retrieving information about it.” John says.

            “Did any other team member behave in a similar manner?” Charles asks.

            “No,” John says.

            Minutes later, Harriet sits in the director’s office. “I stopped by the infirmary before I came here, and they’re puzzled about Adam’s condition, so I’m suggesting that our army medical triage unit be dispatched here,” she says.

            In a skeptical manner Charles asks. “Will that be necessary?”

            “Listen, it’s not, at the moment medical, nor can we say it is mental, so we can probably say that it is an intruder,” Harriet says.

            “Oh, hell no, we’re definitely not going there,” Charles says.

            John interjects. “She said probably and that is what we are going on, for now. Harriet make the call. And, I’ll give O’Connor a call and update him.” Jack O’Connor is a retired Senior Chief Petty Officer from the U S Navy with experience and expertise in security.

            After Harriet walks out of the office, Charles says. “Give me time and I could come up with something better than an intruder, I mean it could have been an aneurysm that wasn’t diagnosed.”

            “The infirmary doctor didn’t find evidence of that happening because according to the medical report, it was the first thing that they checked for,” John says.

            Charles didn’t read that. “We need more testing to be sure,” he says.

            “That’s what the army’s triage will do,” John says.

            Jack joins John and Charles in the office. “I went straight to the infirmary after your call; I’m glad that I did because the doctor was about to call the hospital for an ambulance. I stopped him, told him about the army’s triage on the way,” Jack says.

            “Shit. Good thinking,” John says.

            “What was so good about that?” Charles asks.

            “We need to be sure,” John says.

            “Do we really need to be that sure,” Charles asks.

            “Yes,” John says.

            “I had the doctor isolate Adam,” Jack says.

            In a sarcastic manner Charles asks. “Did you swear everyone in the infirmary to secrecy?”

            “No, there is no need for that just now,” Jack says.

            “Damn,” Charles says in an annoyed manner.

            The telephone rings. John answers it. Harriet tells him that the Army triage arrived.  

            “I’ll meet Harriet and the army unit,” Jack says.

            “Okay,” John says.

            After Jack is out of the room, Charles asks. “What about the media pool?”

            “Oh, hell, I forgot about them,” John says.

            “I’ll handle them,” Charles says.

            “No. Let O’Connor do it; we’re needed, to control this situation,” John says.

Harriet and O’Connor sit on folding chairs outside the triage tent. An army medical Colonel and his staff are busy inside the tent examining Sam Adam.

“That assistant director, kind of gets on my nerves,” Jack says.

“You haven’t been here long; you’ll get used to him.”

“If I do, it’ll be by accident,” Harriet says.

“Charles is academically smart but not operational wise; you’ll have to remember that,” Harriet says.

“Sounds like a few Ensigns that I crossed paths with,” Jack says.

The Colonel steps out of the tent; his facial expression tells Harriet and Jack that Sam Adam’s condition is beyond known medical explanations. Minutes later in John’s office.

“Essentially, our patient is brain dead but not from a disease or injury. (He pauses.) There is frost on his brain that stopped all brain functions,” Colonel says.

The office is silence for a moment.

“Then, we can say for sure that we have an intruder from Mars of some kind,” Harriet says.

“Why Mars?” Colonel asks.

“That was the project that he was working on,” John says.

“No one else was affected?” Colonel asks.

“No one else, so we can believe that it is a single intruder,” Harriet says.

“We have to go to the top of the chain,” Charles says.

“I have executive privilege to act for the welfare of the country in such an event, like this, so it stops here for now,” John says.

“The president has to know,” Charles says.

“He will but right now I need to know what we have, avoid a media circus and not to cause a public panic,” John says then asks. “Suggestions?”

“Since I cannot tell you what we’ll find if we open him up, I suggest putting him in a place where he can be monitored,” Colonel says.

“Leave a Pandora’s box closed,” Harriet says.

“His official cause of death then would be an aneurysm,” Jack says.

“Is he married?” Harriet asks.

“Yes, with two children,” John says.

“Does he follow a religion?” Harriet asks.

John taps buttons on the computer. “He’s a non-believer,” he says.

“I’ll talk to his wife,” Harriet says.

“This is a need-to-know situation, so let’s keep it to a bare minimum,” John says.

“Well, then, I have a suggestion, but I would like to, first, talk to the Colonel about it,” Harriet says.

“Okay,” John says.

 Harriet signals for the Colonel to follow her out of the office.

The funeral for Sam Adam is a solemn event from the viewing to the burial; carried out  before the funeral, Sam Adam’s body is laid in a lead container; the container is sealed then placed in a secret place to be monitored by the army.

The intruder waits in the darkness, in the frost that it secreted, for the sun rays to melt the frost so that it can frolic in the waves.  



Wednesday, December 13, 2017


After graduation from a culinary school, Charles and Dolores married, opened a restaurant in the downtown area, delayed being parents until their restaurant became profitable. The restaurant became famous for its cuisine however not profitable. They needed an influx of cash that came from Charles friend, Donald, as a silent partner. Eighteen months later, Charles was killed in what a fire marshal called a freak accident. The love of her life was gone forever however to keep him near her forever, she continued the restaurant. After three years, she and Donald married. However, she never forgot Charles as the true love of her life, even when Helen was born then Frank. Twenty-five years later, the restaurant is a family enterprise.

Dolores wakes, grabs the telephone off the night table. It’s the hospital. Helen enters the bedroom.

“That was the hospital, we must hurry,” Dolores says.

“I’ll call Frank,” Helen says.

Donald has been sick for months, in the recent days he has worsen. This night his expectancy has become hours if not minutes.

The family gathers around his bed. Donald eyes open, looks at his family, stops at Dolores. Weakly, he lifts a hand, with a finger, beacons Dolores to move her ear closer to his mouth.

“I think dad wants to say something to you, mom,” Frank says.

Dolores does so, listens, after several seconds, she straightens, looks at Donald in a stun manner, then settles a hateful glare on him; she punches his face then spit on it. Helen, Frank, and the nurse look on in a shocked, startled manner, as Dolores, crying, runs from the room.

Helen and Frank find her, sobbing, walking along the pavement not far from the hospital. Helen parks the car, stops Dolores.

“Mom, why did you do that to dad?” Helen asks.

“Dad died with your spit on his face,” Frank says.

“He killed my first husband, the only true love of my life; he set a fire to look like an accident. He told me that he did it because he wanted me. He killed my only true love; he killed him because he wanted me to be the mother of his children,” Dolores says.

Dolores does not attend Donald’s funeral. She signs over the restaurant to Helen, then she leaves Donald’s children to never see or talk to them again.   

Monday, November 27, 2017


Marci parks her car in a space on the forest ranger’s parking lot. She and her college classmates, Alice and Andi, walk into the ranger station, to register, plan their hiking trail and to receive a safety packet from the ranger. Afterwards with their backpacks, tent rolls, composite bows, quiver full of arrows, they’re on the trail, hiking to the campsite, enjoying the surrounding beauty, and their get-away from the city. 

            At the campsite, they set their tents, Alice builds a camp fire while Marci and Andi, with their bow and arrows hunt for rabbit and fish. At the end of the hunt, there is enough meat for them to eat a good meal, with vegetables from cans, and packets of condiments.

            “Damnit, did anyone bring ketchup?” Alice asks.

            “I did,” Andi says.

            “Thank you,” Alice says.

            After the meal, they clean up the area, store things in their proper places, then sit around the campfire, chit-chatting about everything except romance, until the stars replace the sunlight and sleepiness makes them to go into their tents for the night.

            In the morning, it is Marci turn to build a campfire while, Alice and Andi, decide it would be better to hunt for fish for breakfast than small animals. They catch enough fish for a good breakfast. Finished with breakfast, they clean up, then prepare their packs for the day’s hike to the second campsite. Once there, they hunt for their evening meal, eat, chit-chat into the night, then into their tents to sleep.

In the morning, after breakfast and cleanup, they prepare to break camp for the hike. The crack of a shotgun gets their attention; they stand still, look into the dense shrubbery, tree, yards from their campsite, to figure out, where is someone shooting. They heard more shots that pinpoints a direction for them to scan. They hear more shots.

“The ranger said that there would be no big game hunting for months,” Alice says.

“Maybe a camper is being attacked by bears or wolves,” Andi says.

“Those shots came from the forest interior not the camping trail,” Marci says.

They listen for more shots but hear none then they hear strange noise from the bush, coming their way fast. Marci grabs her bow, nock an arrow, pull the string back, aim in the direction of the noise that’s become louder.

“Do you think that we’ll need that?” Alice asks.

“Hell, yeah, it might be a wounded bear; shit, it sounds like a car coming fast,” Andi says. She gets her bow, nock and arrow, aims, bow strings pulled back. Alice does that same, just in time because the ant, the size of a full size black bear, breaks through the bushes, at a fast pace. All three arrows penetrate its body then another volley does the same that makes it slump to the ground, dead. It is then that they realize that it is not a bear. 

“What the fuck,” Alice says.

“It’s a damn ant as big as shit,” Andi says.

“Where the hell did it come from?” Marci asks.

“We better call the ranger station,” Alice says.

They hear noise from the shrubbery.

“Shit, another one is coming,” Andi says.

They nock arrows, aim, bow strings pulled back. A man appears, carrying a pump-shotgun. Out of breath, he says, “damn, you got it.”

“Yeah, we got whatever it is,” Marci says.

Alice walks away from them to the backpacks. “I going to activate the thing,” she says.

“Where is she going,” he asks.

“To alert the nearest ranger,” Andi says.

 He shouts, “hey, wait a minute, you can’t do that.”

“Like hell I can’t,” Alice shouts.

He raises the shotgun, points it at her. An arrow from Marci’s bow plunges into his shoulder. The shotgun fires but aimlessly at the ground; he drops to his knees, grabbing at the arrow.

The ranger station was already alerted to the shots by other campers on the trail. But, it took a photograph of the dead ant sent to the chief ranger by cell-phone to convince him of it. The man was airlifted by helicopter to the hospital under guard. The forest rangers gathered, and heavily armed, tracked the trail of the ant and man that led them to an illegal marijuana farm. Where it was determined that the man used a growth chemical on the plants and a few ants were strayed also.

“It looks like he killed them all right here, but we better search the area just in case, one or maybe more got out like the one those girls killed,” Chief says.

“About these dead ones?” Ranger asks.

“Drag them into a pile then set them on fire,” Chief says.

Marci, Alice and Andi decide to never speak of the ant to anyone unless the forest rangers announce it first. Nobody believe the man, claiming that he is too high on marijuana; however, he is charged with growing marijuana illegally on state property, and careless use of a firearm on state property. Marci, Alice and Andi continue their camping trip, afterwards, return to college. Then, one day, three months later, each receives in the mail a certificate of merit for preserving the forest as a safe place, and a free lifetime camping pass, without a mention of the ant.

Friday, November 3, 2017


“I saw your wife’s car at the bar,” his neighbor says.

It is a dark, stormy night that should have made him stay home, but he had to venture out into it. She told him that she had stopped seeing the man that she dated before shacking with him. 

“He’s still a part of you,” he said.

“No, that is not true,” she said.

“I don’t believe that bull,” he said.

“I’m yours, please believe me,” she said.

He walks through the bad weather, worse than the weatherman predicted, stops in the bar’s parking lot, hides behind a tree. He can see in the bar that she is with the man; they’re talking. She smiles the cute smile that’s only for him. He knows now that he has no other choice than to do what he had made up his mind to do if he saw them together. The pistol rests between his stomach and belt, he grasps its handle, wraps his finger on the trigger. A sudden thunderclap startles him; he feels hot pain slicing through his penis; he drops to the ground, grabs his groin, rolls around on the ground, screaming, “please help me, I’ve been shot.” A fellow leaving the bar sees him, calls the police.  Police officers arrive before the fire-rescue ambulance. They assist him. A fire-rescue officer tells the police officers, “the guy shot his weenie off.”

“No fooling,” Police Officer says.

“Damn,” the other Police Officer says.

The fire-rescue officer gives the pistol to the Police Officer. “That’s why I didn’t see a bullet hole in his clothing,” she says.

The fire-rescue officers lift him into the ambulance. He sees her. She is no longer interested in the commotion. She gets in to her car with the man.

“He should be home from work now; you’ll like him dad. I really love him.”   

Thursday, November 2, 2017


The small community of middle class houses surround a large pond that ducks also calls home mainly because Martin, almost every evening, feeds them with bread crumbs, until one day.

“Well, I’ll be damned; where are the ducks?” Martin asks.

“Maybe another alligator is visiting,” Bonnie says.

“I don’t know, I mean; I haven’t noticed any,” Martin says.

“They could’ve found a better feeding pond,” Bonnie says.

“Maybe so but it does seem strange; I mean, all of a sudden, they’re all gone,” Martin says.

“They’ll be back,” Bonnie says.

“Yeah, maybe so, I’ll just save the crumbs,” Martin says.

That night, Old Man Julius, lets his Chihuahua mix out of the house to roam, relieve herself. After an hour, he realizes that his companion has not announced her return so he goes looking for her. After a close call with an alligator, sometime ago, he couldn’t drag her even close to the pond. He walks around, calling for his buddy until near sunrise then surmises that maybe his buddy was dognapped. He will call the police to report his belief.

The next night, Nancy parks her car behind her husband’s car on the driveway. Walking to the front door, she hears a strange noise from the pond. She looks on instinct rather than curiosity, shrieks, runs into the house screaming her husband’s name, Donald.

Alarmed, Donald shouts. “What the hell is the matter.”

“There’s a beast thing near the pond,” Nancy says.

“What?” Donald asks.

“On the edge of the pond, there is this beast,” Nancy says.

“Maybe a big alligator,” Donald says.

“Oh, hell no, this was a damn creature,” Nancy says.

Donald sees that his wife is shaking from fright, so he strolls out the house.

“Call the police,” Nancy shouts.

Donald walks to the edge of the driveway, looks in the direction of the pond, does not see anything or anyone.

From the doorway, Nancy asks. “Do you see it?”

“Not a thing, maybe it was a trick of the heat and night lights,” Donald says.

“Maybe so but it looked so real,” Nancy says.

Because of the heat and lack of rain, the water level in the pond is down. It is Saturday morning, Madison decides to eat breakfast in the living room, watch a show on the television. Before she sets her tray down on the coffee table, she looks out the window at the pond, sees the frog; it’s body the size of a four-door sedan automobile. It lies still in the pond. She stares at it for a moment to be sure that she sees what she sees. A retired non-commissioned officer of the air force, an expert pistol shooter, she hurries to retrieve her pistol. From the doorway, she aims, shoots the frog four times between its eyes. Martin also saw the frog from his house, hurries to the edge of the pond with his pump shotgun, shoots the creature.

“The damn thing is dead,” Madison says.

“Where did it come from?” Martin asks. 

Neighbors, hearing the shots, seeing the frog, hurries to the edge of the pond.

“That’s what I saw the other night,” Nancy says.

“Damn, it might have been looking for something to eat,” Donald says.

Jenkins shows up. “So, that’s where it got to,” he says.

“What do you mean?” Madison asks.

“I was doing some experiment on it and it began to grow unexpectedly; I had it in a cage, but it grew so big that it busted out, looks like, it kept on growing,” Jenkins says.

Madison studies Jenkins for a fast five seconds, fires a bullet into his heart; Martin steps over the body, points his shotgun at the head, shoots. After a long minute of silence, Old Man Julius says, “well, it looks like to me that Jenkins tried to protect his creature that he created and got in the way of the gunfire.” The neighbors agree.   

Tuesday, October 17, 2017


Megan looks at the grandmother steadying her carrying bag with one hand on the ticket booth counter, rummaging through it with the other hand, while taking moments to tell her four grandchildren if they don’t stop their bad behavior that they will not get to ride on the steamboat tour of the Mississippi River. Megan wishes that the woman would hurry.  She glances at her husband, Donald, standing beside her, the reason they’re in New Orleans. It was his idea, a weekend get-away to rekindle the heat in their marriage, chilled by the doctor’s bad news. They agreed to wait to have children but after ten years the wait became unnecessary. The female in the ticket booth using a microphone calls for the next customer. Donald steps to the window. Megan follows, once there, steps to the side, turns her back to the advertising wall, lean against it, looks at the line of people waiting to buy tickets. A young muscular woman, wearing a black tee shirt, with capital letters F B I in red. Megan strains her eyes to read the smaller letters in white that together with the capital letters reads female body inspector. The woman stands next to another woman and they’re holding hands. Megan looks at the woman in the black tee shirt; they’re eyes seems to meet that makes Megan cower, look at the ground. She peeks at the woman who seems to be ogling her halter-top making her side step closer to Donald. He looks at her, smiles.

            At the gangplank, before boarding the steamboat, a souvenir photographer of the moment does her best to get Megan and Donald to do something lovable other than standing next to each other; Megan looks into the crowd, waiting their turn, sees the woman in the black tee shirt who appears to be leering her body that makes her move closer to Donald who hugs her waist.

            On the steamboat, it is in motion. Donald and Megan sit on deck chairs to view the historic sites that the tour announcer points out. During an explanation of a site, Megan leans forward to get a better view, sees the woman in the black tee shirt with her companion coming up the stairway; she seems to peer at Megan who snaps back to avoid eye contact. She grabs Donald hand.

In the steamboat’s dining hall, it reminds Megan of a Tampa restaurant that they used to visit when they were dating. She recalls that it would allow couples to order a meal on a large plate to eat from together. Donald called it their Lady and the Tramp moment.

            “I have to use the washroom,” she says.

            “Okay, I’ll grab a table,” he says.

            Megan leaves the lady’s room, looks over the crowd for Donald. She sees him waving, strolls to him; the closer that she gets to him the more she realizes that there’s one plate on the table. She hurries through the aisle not noticing the woman in the black tee shirt.


Thursday, October 12, 2017


“I’m pregnant,” stops the family dinner time conversation, mother and father smiles become frowns directed at their sixteen-year-old daughter and only child. Parents asks in unison. “What did you say?”

            “I’m pregnant,” Joyce says.

            “Were you raped or did you just ignore all of the advice I gave you?” Sally asks.

            “I was not raped,” Joyce says then shy into silence.

            “Why do you think that I told you all those things to avoid being pregnant?” Sally asks.

             “I did it but Tom, well, he wanted to be natural one night,” Joyce says.

            “I warned you about that shit,” James says.

            “Yes, you did daddy but I was, just, well, it was in the moment,” Joyce says.

            “That damn moment that came to this moment,” Sally says.

            “I told you that those punks out there would sweet talk the shit until you do it just to make them happy,” James says.

            “All those talk that we told you about was to avoid this happening at your age,” Sally says.

            “How far are you? It can’t be that far so we’ll see about an abortion,” James says.

            “We can’t do that,” Sally says.

            “Why the hell not?” James asks.

            “It’s illegal,” Sally says.

During the birth, complications due to an unknown medical condition test the know-how and skills of the doctors to save the life of Joyce and her child until the child’s life becomes the priority.

In their living room, sitting together on the couch, watching a drama on the television, munching on popcorn, drinking soda.

            “That was a good one but I had the ending figured wrong,” James says.

            “Yeah, me too,” Sally says.

            James pushes buttons on the remote to find another drama to watch.

            “I was at the grand market the other day and ran into the other grandmother and she had the baby with her,” Sally says.

            “So, what,” James says.

            “Well, I’m just glad that they took the baby before we signed the adoption papers,” she says.

            “I guess there would be a chance meeting every now and then,” he says.

            “Yes, I guess so. He’s gotten so big and cute.”

            “I could care less.”

            “That is a horrible thing to say; I mean he is our grandson.

            “That you agreed to put up for adoption before that family opened their mouths.”

            “I was grieving then so were you.”

            “Maybe so but I didn’t want that child and that was a for sure thing that still stands.”

            Their attention goes to the movie.



            “I’ve been stopping at their house after work once a week to see the baby for the past five months.”

            Her confession draws his glare upon her.

            “They understood that our decision about the adoption was during our grief, losing Joyce,” she says.

            “We lost Joyce because their self-centered asshole son got her pregnant; that bastard probably did for bragging rights,” he says.

“Joyce is gone from us forever I’m sorry, so sorry that she’s gone but it is our grandson now,”

“Your grandson, not mine.”

They watch the movie without speaking.

“Joyce was our only child and we loved her but she was my protegee until she finished college then that slime bastard caused that to stop,” he says.

“I’m doing what I’m doing so that the baby will always know who his mother was,” she says.

“That will be the bitch that the bastard will marry,” he says.

There is silence for a long time only interrupted by voices from the television.

“They’re bringing the baby here this Sunday and the plan is that every other Sunday we keep him for that day,” she says.

The other grandparents enter the house. Sally asks them to make themselves comfortable as she lifts the baby from the carriage.

            “Where’s James?”

            “He doesn’t live here no more,” Sally says.   




Wednesday, September 27, 2017


"Why does this fellow live so far in the wilderness?" Russell asks.
"Because of what happen to his wife," Driver says.
"What happened to her?"
"A captain of police saw her one day and wanted her but not for housework, cooking; do you understand?"
"Yes, yes I do."
"He used her so bad that when he sent her away, instead of going home, she killed herself from shame."
"The old fellow is a damn good automobile mechanic, after she died he just lost interest in his shop, moved out here with his daughter, to be away from people."

Driver stops the car in front of a house, then pushes the horn button; no one appears from the house, so he drives around it, going to a large barn. The old mechanic, wiping his hands with a clothe, walks towards them.
"He speaks no English," Driver whispers.
"Okay," Russell says.
They get out of the car; after the introductions, Driver says to the old mechanic, "my friend need a fast car to help a family escape the police." Old Mechanic looks them over then with a finger signals for them to follow him into the barn. In the barn, in a line against the wall are three cars, but the Old Mechanic does not stop so the two men follow him. They hear a car in motion, step through the back door, see a car going fast on an oval track, smaller but resembling a race track. Old Mechanic waves a hand and the car slows until it stops. His daughter jump out it, hurries to her father. Old Mechanic tells the two men, "you can have a car but only if my daughter drives it to escape with that family." Old Mechanic walks to greet his daughter.
"What is he thinking? Women are not permitted to drive in this country," Russell says.
"So true," Driver says.
They look at father and daughter in discussion then daughter runs to the house; Old Mechanic steps to the two men. "I want my daughter to leave this country because I fear that want happened to my wife will happen to her."
"I understand," Russell says.
"My daughter wants to go to your country to drive race cars so can you do this for her," Old Mechanic says.
"I will give it my damn best to make sure that she does," Russell says.
"Good then no charge for the car that she picks to do this for that family," Old Mechanic says.
"Thank you," Russell says.
They wait and chat for an half hour then daughter runs from the house to them. Old Mechanic laughs upon seeing her. "My daughter had a sex change," he says. She looks like a young man with a crew haircut, attired in male clothing with no facial makeup.
Daughter says in rough English, "okay, I am ready to be chauffer," that surprises Russell and Driver. "I had smuggled to me how to speak English tapes," she says.

Daughter picks the most durable  and fastest automobile for the run. Afterwards, she drives it, following Driver to the safe house while listening to Russell plans for the escape. In the late night, the cars stop. Russell goes to a house, minutes later, a man, woman and child dashes from it into the car with Daughter.
Daughter looks at Russell, winks with a thumbs up then drives away, onto side streets that will put them on the main highway. The sun begins to rise; the Man curious of Daughter since their handshake, occasionally, would look at her in a sly manner. She drives onto the highway that has no speed limit and opens the motor but not to cause it to shut down.
After an hour, Man shouts, "you are a woman."    
"What?" Daughter says.
"You are a female," Man shouts, wakes his family.
"Yes, of course, that is the plan," Daughter says.
"What is it?" Wife asks.
"This is not a man if the police sees her we are caught."
"The police will not know at a glance," Wife says.
"That is true; how long did it take with your stares," Daughter says.
"Still, it is against the law for a woman to drive in this country so pull over and I will drive," Man says.
"No. It is not the plan," Daughter says.

They enter the capital city and the traffic is slow; however, nobody notices Daughter, not even the intersection traffic police officers. "You must stop so that I can relieve myself," Man says.
"Yes, that is a good idea, for our son too," Wife says.
"Okay," Daughter says. She stops at an establishment; the family gets out but she remains with the car running.

Not far away, in concealment, two officers sit in a  police car.
"I always wanted an American car like that one."
"It is a nice looking car."
"Maybe, it is a car used for smuggling."
"We have to confiscate it to be sure."

The family  returns to the car, woman and child climbs onto the backseat. Man stops at the driver's door, opens it. "Move over, I will drive," he says.
"No," Daughter says.
Man pushes her to slide her from under the steering wheel. "You are breaking the plan," she says. Man shifts the gear to put the car in motion then carefully drives into traffic. "You are breaking the plan," Daughter says. He ignores her.
"If we miss the time to be there, they will leave us behind," Daughter says.
"They will wait," Man says.
"Russell said that they will not if we miss the time to be there," Daughter says.
Man ignores her.
"The police are behind us," Wife says.
Man looks over his shoulder at the approaching police car; he looks forward then begins to shift gears but not moving, hearing grinding noises. "Stop, you are destroying my gears then we will go nowhere," Daughter yells. Man looks over his should at the approaching police car at his wife with a shock realization of his stupidity. Daughter's one hand grabs the steering wheel. "I'll slide under you and you slide onto this side," she says.
Daughter  adjust the gears, powers the motor, leaving the police car in a stand still manner, as she steers through traffic, rushing to the highway. The police car follows but at a distance. The highway appears, Daughter puts more power to the motor. The police stops their pursuit. Daughter lowers the car's speed.

"Helicopter," Daughter says aloud. The family looks out the back window. The helicopter gets closer. Car goes to its top speed, stays at a steady pace. Helicopter flies pass Car then lower itself to regulate Car's speed but Car does not become intimidated. Helicopter stays feet from Car's headlights and that is how both stay for a couple of miles then Helicopter lifts, banks, its engine stalls; it fall into a hard landing. Car speeds away.
The Man and Woman shouts their relief. Son pats Daughter on her head; she laughs. She drives at top speed until she sees the marker then slows so that she can turn onto the designated road. On the road she makes the car go fast until she sees the aircraft, that lift like a helicopter then flies like an airplane. An armed man signals for her to slow to a stop at a point. After she stops, the man calls out for them to hurry onto the aircraft. Once aboard, they're ushered to seats. They hear a bomb blast. The armed man tells them that the car was blown up. They feel the aircraft flying away.    

Monday, June 19, 2017


The family uses Skype to get together on selected evenings since the mother and wife, Helen, is in Afghanistan on her national guard duty. Six-year-old Mark talks about happy events so does Michael, to avoid creating more anxiety for Helen then she needs. Michael, a seasoned police officer, sees a mask on Helen's face that makes him believe that she had a terrible day.

Helen's deployment ends. Michael uses his vacation days for the family to be reunited before she returns to her job at the hospital. A month after returning to her job, she begins to visit family on the other side of the state. It becomes a continuous visit every month then twice a month; she begins to take Mark on the visits. Mark believes something is going on but refuses to think about it. On the last visit, she calls Michael from an aunt's house. "I filed for a divorce; I met someone on my last deployment." Michael recalls the mask that he saw on her face; it was not the pressure of the job that she was hiding; it was someone else hiding in her room. "It just was one of those things that happens," she says. His anger strikes her, "You damn whore, I am faithful to you and you do this to us."

After the divorce is finalized, Helen says, "we can make arrangements for Mark to visit on school breaks since I'll be living on the other side of the state."
"No. I don't want to see you or him again," Michael says.
"Michael, please, Mark will be hurt."
"You got over me so can he."

One day Michael opens his front door. It is Helen's uncle who rung the doorbell. He hasn't seen him since a few days before the divorce. "Hi?"
"What's up?"
"Helen called me to get in touch with you to tell you that Mark is in serious health trouble because something in his system is not working right so the doctors say that you might have the right stuff in your blood to keep him alive."
"I have to get ready for work."
"Did you hear me?"
"Did you hear me?"
"This is your son that we're talking about."
"I lost my son eight years ago." Michael closes the door.

A week later in the supermarket parking lot, Helen's husband walks up to Michael, introduces himself. "How far did you kick your wife and kids to the dirt to get my family?" Michael asks.
"I never had a wife or kids before."
Michael vicious right uppercut knocks Husband unconscious to the ground. "Damn family snatcher," he snarls then walks away.

Helen calls Michael's captain for help. "Get a court order," he tells her.

Two years passes.
At the end of his shift, Michael sits in the locker room, preparing to leave the day's work behind  when a call for all officers to respond to an active robbery and shooting with officers down and injured civilian victims.
Later that evening, in their living room, Helen, Husband and Mark listens to the news announcer as they look at scenes from the event. An employment photograph of Michael appears."Police Officer Michael White bravely rescued an fellow officer and two civilians from danger but lost his life. He leaves behind a sole survivor, his brother." Mark stares at the television for a moment then stand, stroll to his room, closes the door in a manner that makes Helen and her Husband feel his barrier.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017


Circa 1850

In a mansion in the county, in the bedroom of Norman and his wife, Joan, they help each other to dress before breakfast; a ritual that they has done since the second day of their marriage.
"I believe him to be a scoundrel," Norman says. Their daughter, Jane, has confessed a love for man that she's known for two months.
"Jane believes him to be the love of her life," Joan says.
"There is something about him; I feel it," Norman says.
"You have not used your position to search into his past?" Joan asks.
Norman position is an attorney, and recently, administrator of his deceased father's landlord business in the county and city.
"No. I have not done that but it is a good idea," Norman says.

At the breakfast, the parents fill their plates from the cook's buffet then sit at the table with their daughters, Jane, Janis, Josie and Josephine, each already eats.
"Gregory has asked for an engagement," Jane says.
Taken-aback, parents and siblings stare at her.
"It is to soon; two months is to soon," Joan says.
"You mother and I courted for a year and three months before an engagement was announced," Noman says.
"I shall accept the engagement proposal," Jane says.
"Okay, but please consider us, your parents and do not marry until a year and three months from now," Norman says.
"If Gregory will agree then so will I," Jane says.
"No. This would be the only way that we will support your marriage," Norman says.
"Okay, we will wait," Jane says.
"Can we please finish our breakfast talking about me," Janis says.
The  butler enters the room with the morning mail and newspaper.

Jane and Gregory trot their horses after a gallop across the meadow. They stop to dismount and sit on the grass with a view of the creek.
"My father wants us to have a long engagement," Jane says.
"Does he just want us to test our love for each other," Gregory says.
"It is something that he and my mother did before they married," Jane says.
"We are not them," Gregory says.
"I know but I can not dismiss their wishes since father promises not to support our marriage efforts," Jane says.
In a disappointed manner Gregory says, "I see."
"Is there something the matter?" Jane asks.
"I was thinking that to wait for us to be happy together in our nest," Gregory says.
"Our love together will make time fly until we will be surprised that it our wedding day," Jane says.

In the attorney's cigar and brandy club, Norman's invited guest, president of the state's assembly and close of the state governor, Donald to the club.
"What is on your mind?" Donald asks.
"Why I asked you to meet me here?" Norman asks.
"Yes, it usually at the businessmen's club," Donald says.
"Oh, yes, well, I wanted to know why a young gentleman with the resources of wealth wants to hurry and marry some young woman who is wealthy," Norman says.
"Come again?" Donald asks.
"My oldest met a gentleman and already after two months he wants to be engaged to her with an early wedding with no whispered reason just love of one another," Norman says.
"Well, is not love the reason for marriage, mine is," Donald says.
"Most marriages but not all, you see there is marriage for the common law rule that a husband has the power of attorney over his wife's wealth once the wedding is blessed," Norman says.
"Well, this is true," Donald says.
"But, it is common law, an adopted tradition and nothing more," Normal says.
After a thought, Donald says, "that is true."
"It should be overridden by written law," Norman says.
"Why should it be?" Donald asks.
"When my wife and I married, I wanted a son but after my fourth daughter, the attaining doctor took me aside and told me that I should forget wanting a son because another child birth would kill my wife even if the child lived," Norman says.
"That was a very private conversation to tell me," Donald says.
"Yes it was but from my housekeeper's gossip, I learnt that your daughter's doctor told her husband a similar doctor's diagnoses but your son-in-law ignored it and your daughter died during childbirth," Norman says.
It is a sad memory for Donald. "That was a sad day but my son-in-law was just as grief stricken so much so that I believe that your housekeeper gossip is a rumor," he says.
"There is the doctor sitting over there so let's ask him if it is a rumor or not," Norman says.

"Why yes, I did tell your son-in-law that diagnoses," Doctor says.
"But why didn't you inform me?" Donald asks.
"You're not the husband," Doctor says.
"If only I had known," Donald says.

"Where is your ex son-in-law now?" Norman asks.
"He is living well in another county; he has re-married and the children are in boarding schools," Donald says.
"With your daughter's wealth as his," Norman says.
Donald ponders then says, "yes."
"My wife had a cousin whose husband claimed her wealth under that common law as it turned out if she wanted to buy a spring bonnet, she had to obtain his permission to spend her money and that among other things that he had done with her wealth that did not include her took away her spirit to live so she died way before old age should have taken her," Norman says.
"Why this conversation," Donald asks.

It took only three months for the state law to be enacted to disband that certain common law and give a woman control of her wealth and health in marriage however unless it is stipulated otherwise in a family will.

During breakfast, the butler gives the mail to each addressee and the newspaper to Norman. Jane reads her mail then in tears leaves the room. Joan reads the letter. "it seems that Gregory has liquidated all his wealth and gone to that place to search for gold and when he becomes rich then he will send for her," Joan says.
"If they had married I believe that he would have left our daughter penniless somewhere out there," Norman says.
"Do you think so?" The sisters asks.
"I agree with your father," Joan says.
Jane returns to the table. "I believe that I will invest the wealth that grandfather left me in his will in the family business and I will invest my energy also," she says.
"You will be welcomed with fatherly love," Norman says.

Sunday, April 9, 2017


Monique and Eddie met during their second year at the prominent Black university; by the end of their third year, others tagged them as a couple before the engagement ring, until one evening. Monique with other students attends an interracial get together event, sponsored by the two universities. She meets Walter and a hush-hush romance happens until she sits with Eddie at their university.
Taken-aback, Eddie says, " I don't understand; I believed that we were happy with each other."
"We are but I just love someone else; he loves me," Monique says.
Eddie lets out a heavy sigh, then says, "okay, I understand."
"Thank you," Monique says.
"But, I thought we were happy together," Eddie says.
"Yes, but, this love happened," Monique says.
Eddie looks at her. "Okay, goodbye," he says then walks away.
Monique becomes teary eyed, looking at him.
The next day, someone tells her that Eddie dropped out of the university.

After their graduations, Monique and Walter marry. He begins his law career with the county's solicitors office and Monique uses her accounting degree to get employed with the local hospital. A house is purchased and children are born, first a boy then a girl. The children becomes junior high school students and Walter begins his self-employed civil law practice; the hospital promotes Monique. The children graduate to a senior high school and Walter receives a job offer from a prestigious Philadelphia law firm. It is the salary that convinces them to accept the offer, mainly because of the children approaching choices for college. They move so that Walter will be within a suburban train ride to center city Philadelphia and Monique accepts a position with a local public accounting office.

The children lives at their colleges, and one evening, Monique waits in the lobby for Walter, sitting on a bench. Many people passes by her but a man stops.
"Monique?" Eddie asks.
Monique looks at Eddie. "Eddie," she says then stands.
"Yes. I thought that was you," Eddie says the asks, "how are you?"
"I'm fine," Monique says then asks, "how are you?"
"I'm fine also," Eddie says.
"That's good," Monique says.
A second of silence, looking at each other.
"That fellow that you love," Eddie says.
"He's my husband; he's a lawyer with a law firm here," Monique says.
"So, you're married," Eddie asks.
"Yes, aren't you?" Monique asks.
"No. I never bothered," Eddie says.
Monique grins. "Not because of me?" she asks.
"Why yes," Eddie says.
Taken-aback, Monique looks at him and he looks at her.
"I'm one of the city's assistant district attorneys; I came here to give some papers to a slick defense lawyer," Eddie says.
"That's good, I mean your job; I'm here to meet my husband for dinner," Monique says.
"Oh, I see, well, I guess that I better get back to my office; I still have a lot of pages to go over," Eddie says.
They both says "goodbye," but Eddie takes a step then stop. "When we dated, were you happy to be with me?" He asks.
"Why, yes," Monique says.
"That's good to hear," Eddie says then he walk away.
The question woke a memory in Monique of a night with Eddie in an off campus eatery when he told her that his most happiest days in all of his life was one Christmas and a birthday but now his third is every day being with her. Back then, she thought those were his expressions of being happy to be with her; now, it comes to her what he really meant.
"Sorry, I was a little late," Walter says then looks at Monique in a concerned manner. "Why are you happy or sad?" He asks.
"What?" Monique asks.
"You're teary eyed," Walter says.
"Oh, I just got something in my eye," Monique says.

On a Saturday, in a college cafeteria, Monique with a meal on a tray, selects an unoccupied table; she sits, begins to eat and drink.
"May I sit with you?" Eddie asks.
After recognizing him, Monique says, "Eddie, why, yes, please do."
After placing his meal tray on the table, he sits.
"It been quite a while since seeing you last in that lobby," Monique says.
"Almost eight years," Eddie years.
"That long ago," Monique says.
"Yes," Eddie says.
They eat, sip.
"Are you still with the district attorney office?" Monique asks.
"No. I retired, now teaching criminal law here at my law school alumni," Eddie says.
"Thanks good," Monique says.
"Are you here to meet your husband?" Eddie asks.
"No. I just attended an informational symposium on genetic heart disease," Monique says.
"Oh, are you ill," Eddie asks.
"No but it is what made me a widow and it has me worried about my children since it is an inherited disease," Monique says.
"I am sorry to hear about your husband and I hope your children are not ill," Eddie says.
"Well, the disease just creeps up on you without warning and stops your heart beats," Monique says.
"That is a worry," Eddie says.
"Yes it is," Monique says.
"How are your children taking it?" Eddie asks.
"It is not slowing them down," Monique says.
"That is good," Eddie says.
"Yes it is," Monique says.
"How are you taking it?" Eddie asks.
"I  pray that I don't outlive my children," Monique says.
"How old was your husband when it happened?" Eddie asks.
"Fifty-one," Monique says.
"Well, medicine is always getting better about such things," Eddie says.
"Yes, that is true," Monique says.
Eddie studies Monique for a moment then asks her, "you didn't know?"
"I found out from a letter with his will," Monique says.
"He didn't want you to know, to worry," Eddie says.
It is a memory smile as Monique says, "yes, that was him."
They eat, drink.
"How long has it been since your husband's passing?" Eddie asks.
"Two years," Monique says.
"Are you in love with anyone now?" Eddie asks.
After a moment Monique says, "no I am not seeing anyone."
"That night on the bench if you had not told me that, would we be together today," Eddie says.
Monique looks at Eddie, remembers, ponders, then says, "yes, we would be."
"That is good to hear; then, can we begin to be together," Eddie says.
Tears moistens Monique's eyes. Eddie smiles.
"I will be happy to," Monique says.

Saturday, March 25, 2017


"Good morning, boss," his secretary says.
"And a good morning to you," Andrew says.
He enters his office, closes the door. An hour later Mary knocks on the door. "Come in, Mary."
She gives him a folder. "It's a priority from Her Majesty," Mary says.
"Okay," Andrew says.

"Hello Andrew," Her Majesty says.
"I don't want to handle this case," Andrew says.
"I want you to handle it," Her Majesty says.
"I don't give a damn," Andrew says.
Her Majesty snaps, "wait a minute, Andrew, I'm your boss."
"I'm sorry but I just can't deal with this one," Andrew says.
"Well, you have to," Her Majesty says.
"Anything but this one," Andrew says.
"Listen Andrew, this would be good for the firm because it would give the firm a reach across the Mason-Dixie line and that is why, I gave it to you," Her Majesty says.
He sighs, sadness, anger.
"What is the problem with it, any way?" Her Majesty asks.
"Okay, okay, I'll do it," Andrew says.
"You damn right that you will do it; now, your second will be Martin and Alice will do the foot work, and the client will be here for a face to face in two days, so be ready for him," Her Majesty says.

Mary opens the door. "This is mister Peter Jenkins," she says then ushers him into the conference room. He enters then she walks away. Andrew stares at him while Martin and Alice looks at him. Not understanding Andrew's lack of courtesy, Martin stands and introduces the team then points to a chair for Peter Jenkins to sit. As he does, Andrew stands. "I'm not feeling well; my assistants knows what information I will need to handle the case," he says as he walks to the door.
Taken-aback, Martin says, "yes of course, I can do that mister Jenkins."
"I hope you feel better," Alice says.
"Wait a minute, I was informed that the best would be assigned to my case," Peter Jenkins says.
"That happened," Andrew says.
"I need this win because if I don't I'll be in the red for a long time, maybe even bankruptcy," Peter Jenkins says.
"I work primarily for the firm good reputation," Andrew says.
"I understand that but these faggots suing my family business for unfair employment practices."
Andrew interrupts Peter Jenkins. "I know the case and any further information needed, my team will gather it for me," he says then walks out of the room.

Alice stops Andrew outside of the courthouse.
"What are you doing?" Alice asks.
"What do you mean?" Andrew asks.
"Your lackadaisical bullshit in the courtroom for the past few days," Alice says.
"Listen, damn-it, I'm the attorney, okay," Andrew says.
"I'm a retired police investigator after twenty-five years and I've been with the firm for five years and in all those years my notes won cases and you're throwing this case away," Alice says.
"Go to hell," Andrew says.
"I'll go to Her Majesty, ass hole; I work for the good reputation of the firm too," Alice says.

The case goes to the jury and two days later they reach a decision that the judge decides to read the next day.

Andrew and his team wait in the corridor for Peter Jenkins. "Here he comes," Alice says.
"Looks like he has his wife with him," Martin says.
Andrew looks at Jean, after ten years, she's still pretty, shapely. The couple stops in front of the team. Jean shows her surprise to see Andrew. "Andrew, I didn't realize that it was you Peter was talking about; when did you leave Baltimore for Philly," Jean says.
"You two know each other?" Peter Jenkins asks.
"Yes, in college," Jean says.
Smiling, Jean holds out a hand for a handshake. Andrew ignores the gesture, leaves them. Stun, they all watch him go into the courtroom. Martin replaces the lost professional courtesy and escorts the couple into the courtroom; Alice follows.
The jury favored Andrew's summation. Peter Jenkins and Jean celebrate with hugs and kisses. Martin and Alice joins them with congratulation handshakes. Andrew walks out of the courtroom. Jean sees him.
Andrew stands outside of the courtroom, looking out onto the streets through a large window.
"Andrew," Jean says.
He turns, looks at her with teary eyes.
"I'm sorry; I didn't think that it would hurt you that much," Jean says.
Andrew looks at her then sees Peter Jenkins approaching, he walks away. Jean and Peter Jenkins walk out of the courthouse. From a doorway, Andrew watches them wait at a taxi stand. Alice pats Andrew's back. He looks at her.
"How long were you two together?" Alice asks.
"First year senior high school to third year of college and that's when I got the letter," Andrew says.
"How long was it since you last seen her?" Alice asks.
"Ten years," Andrew says.
"There must have been other women?" Alice asks.
"There was but they all came back to her so I just stopped," Andrew says.

In his office, Andrew studies legal papers. The door opens; he looks at Mary.
"What's up?' Andrew asks.
"Remember that case about a year ago from Atlanta, Georgia?" Mary asks.
"Yes," Andrew says.
"The wife is on the line asking for you, sounds like she's crying," Mary says.
"Put it through," Andrew says.
"Hello," Andrew says.
"Andrew?" Jean asks.
"Yes," Andrew says.
"He selected me," Jean says.
"What? Who?" Andrew asks.
"A proxy, I was a stand in," Jean says.
"I don't understand," Andrew says.
"Peter's father despised homosexuals and when he died, Peter dropped me to celebrate by dancing with his queer boyfriend that he kept secret. He never loved me back all those years." Jean says then remembers her reason why she called Andrew. "I hurt you; I hurt you bad," she cries, "I'm so sorry, forgive me, please forgive me, do that, please."
"Please, come back to me," Andrew says.
There is a moment of silence.
"Okay, I will," Jean says.