A Funny Thing Happened...

 

Hello, I'm Steve Shuffle and I just made partner at the prestigious law firm of Scoot, Scoot, Scoot and Associates.  Did I mention it is a family owned law firm? I think the original Scoot was a friend of Abraham Lincoln. Well, maybe not that old but the firm had been around a long time. It was a real accomplishment to make partner in this family driven law firm. There were many associates that had been running around in their briefs long before I came on board. I think even more of an obstacle was the idea that there might be some confusion with Scoot, Scoot, Scoot, Shuffle and Associates. Was it a law firm or country dance lesson studio?

It was very gracious of Milton Slide, one of those associate's passed over with at least fifteen more years at the firm, to have invited me to the formal party for his son's graduation. I wasn't sure if it was college or law school graduation but as a new partner I needed a tux in my closet anyway. It didn't take long to lighten my bank account by six hundred bucks for, basically, a black suit with a frilly shirt that I thought would be more at home in mom's closet. The really important decisions I had to make clouded my thoughts. BMW or Mercedes?

I felt pretty spiffy in my new duds 'I'd say debonair', but was still dealing with the ruffles on my new shirt, when I approached the front door of Milton's home. This clown met me at the door and asked me if I was the magician? I'm not talking about some bozo dude holding four cards and talking full house. This guy had a flaming red ball of hair, painted face with the big red nose, a real clown. I told him no and scooted around him to enter the house. 

A woman welcomes me to her home, late twenties I guessed, so I tell her I am a guest of her fathers. Well it turns out she is Mrs. Milton number three and as I looked beyond her into the living room I realized the eye level of the other guests would hit my new cumber bun. It seemed little Johnny, her son from a previous matrimonial disaster, had successfully completed six years of elementary school. Milton, of course in his glory, walked over in his shorts and Who Concert T-shirt with a broad grin and a 'so glad you could make it'. 

I'm a smart guy and understood that this graciously passed over associate was clarifying that the joke was on me.  Options ran rapidly through my mind with 'score one for Milton' leading them. Actually what was going through my mind was score two for Milton because Mrs. Milton number three was a ten, but beyond the numbers, I was pissed. If I showed it though, he would win. So this smart guy, needing time to regroup, reached out and shook Milton's hand with a thank you for inviting me. Then with the best tooth paste commercial smile I could muster I turned to Mrs. Milton number three and gave her a friendly hug. It must have been my unstable footing causing my hands to accidently slide down below her waste and I still believe it was a moan not a gasp she uttered. The accidental grabbing her ass did force me to reevaluate my earlier thought, she was clearly a twelve and a half.

I reluctantly moved past her in the door way to congratulate the guest of honor for his choice to move forward in his reach for an education over a life on the streets. He was easy to spot in the crowd of waist high party goers as he wore a crown on his head. I knelt down and congratulated Johnny for his distinguished achievement and we spoke about what lay ahead for him. A short conversation and after giving the matter several minutes of serious thought he informed me it was the seventh grade. I made a mental note to get this kid to a poker table one day. 

I noticed Milton had finally stopped laughing at me the penguin towering over his guests and I wandered into the kitchen.  Finding a large glass and bottle of vodka it occurred to me I needed a drink. It should have also occurred to me after accidently grabbing Mrs. Milton number three's twelve and a half and not to mention still dealing with the fu-fu new shirt that just maybe I wasn't in the most stable of conditions. When I accidently tripped at the fruit punch bowl and spilled my entire drink, grateful that I didn't spill a drop on the table cloth, I was convinced it was time to go home. 

Delayed Disclosure (Fiction)

 

The house I grew up in has been vacant for over two years now. It was in May, my senior year at Long Beach State University in California when I received the call from the Phoenix Police Department. They regretted to inform me that my mother, Erin Lewis had been killed in an auto accident that morning. My mother was gone. Some inner strength, I had no idea was within me, pushed me through my inability to breathe to pack a bag and drive home that same day two years ago.

It was in the evening when I pulled into the driveway of our home. I had made the six hour drive in five but couldn't get out of the car once I had arrived. The dark windows conveyed the unaccepted truth I fought on my race to get here, my haven, my dearest and best friend, my mother, didn't live here anymore.  I don't recall how long I sat there replaying the memories of the life and joy she brought to our home when a soft knock on my car door brought me back. I turned slowly to find my Aunt Linda her eyes red and swollen extending her arms to me. I got out of the car and pulled her into and embrace.

"Ben, I'm so sorry for you," she managed to say through deep sobs.

"How is it possible …" my own flood of tears and emotion chocked my words. We held each other silently for at least fifteen minutes but it could have just as easily been an hour.

 "Do you want me to stay here tonight?" she asked softly.

"No, Aunt Linda. I'll see you tomorrow. I need to be alone with her tonight." I released my hold and  she slipped from my embrace.

"We love you Ben," she said and I watched my Aunt cross the street back to her home. Linda was my mother's dearest and lifelong friend and my Aunt through love not the family tree.

When I finally opened the front door and turned on the light her perfume surrounded me.  I almost called out, "Mom, I'm home!" Even that felt strange as she always met me in the driveway when she knew I was coming home to visit.  She called me her world and in my twenty one years I never doubted it. Standing there with that thought brought a sharp pain to my chest as I wondered did she know that she was my world also. It felt as if I was standing in the middle of snow-covered field and suddenly my warm heavy coat was ripped from me by a bitter frigid gust of wind. I was lost with no sense of direction in the moonless dark night surrounding me.

 I closed the front door and for whatever reason ran through the house turning every light on. It didn't help fill the void but rather illuminated the walk in photo album we called our home. These walls and any surface large enough held a specific time and place locked forever in a photograph, our shared world. I fought the realization there would be no more and spent hours reliving each of those windows to our past. She gave me a smile when I held my favorite one. I never knew my father. He left us when I was around two years old. The man in that photo wearing a suit with the dark brown mustache and her long blond hair tucked under a hat for the father and son dinner was my mom.  

 Exhaustion over came me at three in the morning and I headed toward my bedroom. I needed to be closer to her and that night went to her room, kicked off my shoes slept between the sheets she had touched, then the day before.

 I left a week later after my mother's body was laid to rest. Her soul with God and her spirit along with every photo in the house went with me. I remember when pulling the front door closed that I could never live here, raise my own family here without feeling this overwhelming void within these walls.

It took me all of those two years to come back and pack up this house to sell it. Knowing what it had been for me, I had mentioned to the realtor that a happy, young, loving family would have no problem getting a better price from me and mom. The Charity trucks left an hour earlier taking everything I hadn't put in my truck over the last few days. I stayed across the street with Aunt Linda this time while packing up. I did a final walk through which only solidified my decision to sell it.

I was walking through the garage when I spotted some flat boxes in the ceiling rafters. I had to back my truck up to stand on the tail gate so I could bring them down. They were covered with twenty years of dust. The first box held two paintings. I was amazed to find a beautiful two by three foot portrait of my mother twenty years younger holding a new born baby in her arms. Her smile was captured so wonderfully that I felt her happiness and joy as her eyes were drawn to the bundle in her arms. Her long flowing blond hair was longer than I ever remembered on her. The love I had seen in her eyes my whole life was so real it produced a lump in my throat.

The second painting, the same size was of me. I was captured with a grin displaying both boldness and fear as I was letting go of a coffee table on unstable legs, daring my first steps. I was in one of those silly sailor outfits and laughed thinking I probably emulated that proverbial drunken sailor in my first steps. I leaned both paintings against the garage wall and was very eager to open the other box. It contained a second box inside that was heavily taped. I had to pull my box knife from the truck to slice through it. Inside was another painting but not framed as the first two had been. I pulled the canvas out and was instantly very confused.

The painting was far from the maternal feelings in the first two. A young, slender woman, mid twenties on her stomach was lying on a bed facing me. She had short black hair and was not unattractive but fell short of beautiful. Desire was in her eyes and a seductive smile on her lips. Clearly with panties dangling from her foot, she was naked behind that head of black hair. A bottle of Champagne on a tray beside her suggested a celebration of maybe pre maternal passion or at the very least a stimulus for actions leading to that possibly.  I studied her facial features and realized I had seen this woman before. Never spoke to her but, more than once at a glance and always in the distance. I put the painting with her face to the wall and was looking again at my mother's portrait.

"How's it going Ben? You weren't going to leave without a good bye I hope?" Linda said entering the garage.

"You know better than that. I will come visit you," I said turning to face her. "Look what I found! I didn't know my mother ever painted."

Linda moved into the garage and saw the two paintings against the wall. "Your father painted those, Ben. He was very talented."

"Mom never mentioned him. She answered my questions with someday so I stopped asking," I said. Then I felt a flash on anger. "That explains this other one." I walked over and turned the dark haired woman around to show her. "I know I 've seen this woman. Is she the woman that he left us for?"

"OH my God," she gasped. "I've never seen that painting before."

"So you do know her. Is she the woman he left us to be with?"

"No Ben, that’s the woman your father left you and your mother to become."

Watson Manor Eventually and look ahead Watson Manor Unfolding

 

I just received this comment from Rosalyne Bowmile, a wonderful review source of feedback who I have acknowledged in my first book Watson Manor Eventually. She continues to be an invaluable source as I write the sequel Watson Manor Unfolding, currently in chapter 10

Her Comments:

"I really like how your first book was written. The mysteries reminded me of vignettes, each involving Charlie and Jenny. 

What I liked so much is how you immediately brought the reader into the story and the lives of your main characters. To me this is so important. Charlie and Jenny are the heart of the stories. You showed beautifully the progression from love, marriage to the building of a life together with Watson Manor. 

With each mystery, you showcased their personalities, further developing who they are as characters and the love and respect they have for one another. This is wonderful. I know they exist on paper, but to me are so real and friends I feel I've known for years. That is quality writing!!! 

Now with the well grounded first novel, you've moved on so well with the second. Readers will already know the characters of Charlie and Jenny, and let you delve deeper into the mystery as you're doing. The pace is moving along well, not too quickly, allowing time to reflect on Charlie and Jenny. 

You've moved them into the next stage of the relationship, honeymoon over and having their first argument. This is great, and again, gives them as characters more depth. Keep going. You're doing a wonderful write."

What Do You See...from Watson Manor Eventually

 

At twelve years old I didn’t share the excitement of most the other girls at my school, shopping for training bras and learning to turn boys’ heads with well-placed tissues. I’d have given anything to be working in the garage with my father again, who I’d lost five years earlier to a roadside bomb in Iraq. Not long after, my mother, the greatest person I’ve ever known tried to guide me in the use of my father’s wood working tools. As immensely as she loved me, building a wooden box for holding my rock collection was beyond her skill set.

I was riding my bike home from school one day, when I heard the most wonderful sound coming from behind a house three doors down from ours. I parked my bike behind a car in the driveway and slowly walked toward the most alluring sound to me, a saw blade cutting wood. I squatted down and poked my head around the front of his car. I saw a man, had to be six feet tall working in his garage. I guessed him to be 100 years old then, judging by his white hair, but after a few minutes watching him maneuver around, I decided that maybe he was only 90. I watched him run boards across his table saw for at least 20 minutes.

“So are you going to help me or just watch?” he asked.

I jumped back, surprised at being caught, but stayed silent.

When he finished cutting the last board, he turned the saw off and said, “I’m Henry. What’s your name?”

“Nick,” I told him, as I stood up and moved closer. “What are you making?”

“There are a few fence boards that need replacing. Nick is that short for Nicolas or Nicole?” he asked laughing.

“Nicole, but I like Nick better,” I said smiling.

“Well Nick it is then. Do you want to grab a few of those boards and help me?”

“Sure, that would be great!” I picked up 3 boards and followed him to the fence.

“Do you want to hold the boards or hammer the nails in?”

“I can hammer nails in the bottom, can’t reach the top though,” I said.

He handed me a few nails and the hammer then positioned the fence board. “Do you see that row of nails in the other boards?” he asked me.

“Holding the boards into the 2x4?” I asked.

“Sounds like you are skilled labor.”

“My dad and I built a house for Emily, when I was seven.”

“Who’s Emily?”

“My dog. She’s a mix, but looks like a black snowball”

“Emily’s a nice name. Why didn’t you just name her ‘Dirty Snowball’?” he asked, smiling.

“That would be silly, who wants a dog named that!” I laughed. I took the first nail, held it against the board and hit it with the hammer. The nail bent over and, embarrassed, I looked up at him and muttered, “Sorry.”

He was smiling and said, “That nail doesn’t want to be part of my fence. Try again.”

“Maybe I should hold the boards?” I suggested.

He set the fence board down and went back to his garage. He brought a few scrap boards back with a box of nails.

“Ok watch me, then you can practice. You’re just a little rusty,” he said, showing me how to do it. The third and forth practice nails went in straight. “Now you’ve got it!” he said.

After I had driven 20 nails into the practice boards, he picked the fence board back up and held it in place. The fence went up smoothly, having to only pull out one nail.

“Do you live in the neighborhood?” he asked after we finished.

“Three houses down, the green house.”

“Are you planning to come back again?”

“Yes, if you let me!” I told him excitedly.

“Then I need to go meet your parents, and make sure it’s ok with them,” he said. So I walked my bike and my new shop partner to my house. My mom had just gotten home from work and, after a few minutes chatting, invited Henry to stay for dinner. They talked for a long time. We learned that he had lost his whole family; a wife, daughter and granddaughter, in a car accident ten years ago. Now he was retired at 65. Not far off from my original estimate, I’d decided.

As he was leaving he said, “Ok Nick, we fixed my fence today. Think of what we can build for you tomorrow.”

“I will, thanks!” I said. Though I never knew my grandfathers, it seemed that Henry was everything I thought a grandfather should be: patient, kind, wise, and, of course, white-haired and extremely old. “Can I call you Grandpa Henry?”

“Nicole! This is Mr. Miller,” my mom jumped in.

“It’s alright, Stacy. Actually I would like that,” he said and gave us both a hug. “Thank you for dinner.”

The following weeks we built bird houses, picnic tables, a small work bench, and, finally a box to put my rock collection in. I walked into his shop after school one day and found a long rough-looking board sitting up on saw horses in the middle of the shop.

“What do you see?” he asked me as he looked at the board.

“I see a big board. Not very smooth either,” I told him.

“Yes, right now, what do you think it could be?”

“I don’t know, what do you think it could be?” I retorted.

“It could be the rudder of a ship, taking children safely away from war. It could be part of a bridge that lets families visit each other across a mighty river. It could be part of a hospital or a home for someone to live in,” he said.  “It could also be firewood, warming a house only a few days and then gone.”

“Wow, Grandpa Henry, it could be anything!”

“Now you’ve got it. Come back tomorrow with 10 ideas,” he said.

That night, my head was spinning with ideas of what that board could be.  I had a list of about thirty when I saw him the next day. He listened attentively to each one and even helped develop details for most of them.

“I see a frame for a mirror,” he told me after I had finished. He showed me a sketch he had done. “You see we need four pieces: a top, bottom and two sides. How can we do that with one board?”

“Your table saw,” I answered proudly. “Can I help?”

I did what I could but mostly watched him cut, shape and transform that rough board into the most beautiful mirror I had even seen. The wooden frame was so smooth; it shined to where I could even see myself in it. The following day after school I rushed over to his house but couldn’t find the mirror in his shop. Seeing my confusion, he led me into his home where he’d hung it on the wall. He stood me in front of it.

“It’s just perfect, Grandpa Henry!” I said.

“What do you see?” he asked me.

“Me and my grandpa,” I said.

“Yes, that’s you now, but…”

I realized then what he was asking and I thought about it awhile. “I see the captain of that freedom ship saving the kids. No, I see a pilot flying happy people to Hawaii,” I told him excitedly.

He smiled, put his hand on my shoulder and said, “Now you’ve got it.”

Not long after, my mother accepted a promotion and we were forced to move out of state. I cried for weeks. I hated the idea of leaving Grandpa Henry but, when I did, I left with the ability to make things with my father’s tools but, more importantly, the ability to look for new potential in everything, the gift of imagination.

 He never forgot my birthday and sent Christmas presents every year. As time passed I finally yielded to the training bra. I even got to the point where turning boy’s heads wasn’t so bad. At least once a month, though, I was in the garage making saw dust, remembering both my dad and Grandpa Henry.

It was in my senior year of high school when the package arrived from a law firm. I opened it and found the mirror Grandpa Henry and I had made. There was an envelope taped in the center of the mirror with the hand written words, “I see an architect”. Inside the envelope was a check from his estate for $25,000 and a short note. Warm tears began running down my cheeks as I read his words.

“Dearest Nick,

You are so very special. Thank you for your precious gift to me of family. Whether it’s a rudder, the yoke of an airplane or blueprints in your hands, keep looking beyond the present to what could be.

All my love, Grandpa Henry” 

Wanted, Publisher to Share my Fame and Fortune

 

I recently found I really enjoy writing. Maybe late in life at 60 but that is relative I guess. If I live to be 120 then this is a mid life kind of thing. After 60 years I should have learned something to share. Oh I know! Here is one you can keep away from the bank. Start putting money away for retirement at say age six. Tell mom your school lunch went up by a quarter and then put it in a jar under your bed every day.

The whole idea of creating a world and the people that live in it just fascinates me. Write what you know, I recalled reading. I got up five days a week, went to work for 40 years and have two great daughters and five wonderful grandchildren. I think it’s a best seller but I'm new at this.

I chose the saying “Those that can’t do it, teach”, to inspire me. Well, more the implied logical extension of that idea, “Those that don’t live in a Hollywood love story, write one”. If the shoe fits, I jumped into a romantic story. Don’t get me wrong, there was passion in those 40 years. I mentioned I have two daughters and that didn’t happen by hitting 'print' on the key board. My ex wife may have a different version, but it was passion. Where’s that delete key?

I created two people, not perfect individually that overcame some obstacles and surprisingly at the end they were perfect for each other. Yes, I write fiction but it could happen, we will talk about do-over’s and re-writes later.  Down in the lower left hand corner of my word document I see, Words: 45,235. A short story or Novelette, an accomplishment yes, but for someone with less life experience, I thought. That’s not to imply at my age I had a goal of 500,000 words but I needed to get into the real novel length range. I could throw in some more obstacles, I thought, but truth be known, I love these guys and didn’t want to torture them any more than I already had. Conversely, I thought about adding more hot steamy love scenes but my goal was not to be a bathroom book kept next to the hand lotion dispenser.

Then it hit me! An adventure for my new “perfect couple” to tackle together was the answer. I didn’t want to delve further into fantasy, I figured the romance section got close to that line, so it was amateur sleuths’ for these two. I wanted believable heroes saving the day without the need of a phone booth for flight or the rapid green body transition. So these two wonderful people jumped in when the local police didn’t and save a young girl. Words: 61,250 . Over the hump, I thought and started looking for the lucky publisher that was going to share in my fame and fortune.

I saw this on a publisher’s web site “It has been our experience that less than 70,000 words leaves the characters underdeveloped and the readers disappointed, not getting value from their purchase”.  

Not over the hump! I read a lot. I've read some authors that take a ditto approach. They tell you something, and then tell you what they told you. That could work I thought, that may be a solution I reasoned. See it works! That would not help with my second goal of selling more than the one book mom promised to buy. I guess my sisters and daughters would each buy a book, or at least they would accept one as a gift from the author. Either way, a book sales count on one hand doesn’t justify opening a Pepsi, yet alone that bottle of champagne I just happen to have picked up the other day.

Ok, so we take the reader through the romance, solve the crime to save the day, then flash back to our heroes growing up, living through life changing trauma of maybe, losing a pet hamster at age nine. I am talking, the shoe box and the whole family gathered at grave side, always an emotion grabber, and add other tragic stuff.  Words: 83,034.  A respectable novel length, don’t you think mom?

That little voice in my head became a big voice in my little head, “You've got a country song without a cold beer!” The lights went on! I woke up my protagonists with the news they weren’t done yet and presented them with another adventure.

I got a lot of gruff from them in the beginning. I gave Charlie and Jenny the choice of either working together in love, or the Marine boot camp obstacle course before they even shared a kiss. She came around instantly, he was a little harder sell, after all, I created him to be a stand up, take charge kind of guy. The threat and power of do-over, I talked about earlier is mighty. I simply told him, you know that love scene on page 127 and 128? I can make it a one liner or go away completely! Or, I had his full attention at that point, I could repeat it with enhancements in the future chapters!

“What can we do, oh powerful one?” he said, quickly.

I love this writing thing. Well, with their attention back in the story, and a new enthusiasm in them to reach the promised new love scene, they almost got themselves killed reaching 78,150 words. That’s a wrap. Did I think I had the “Great American Novel”?  No, if nothing else, I’m realistic. I created two people, all of America would fall in love with, as I had, and they did interesting stuff. The sequel would be a cake walk, more interesting stuff from the people all America loves.

I reviewed my check list to ensure that I had all the elements. The hook was my only area of concern. Did my first paragraph draw the reader in? It needed some help I realized but I was very satisfied with the re-write adding, “Warning this extremely graphic book is intended for adult readers only. Those with a heart condition should abstain.”  Now tell me you could put that down! It would surely draw the teen age market.

I was ready! I hurried to my local book store and bought the latest edition of “Writers Guide to Publishers that Want to Share Your Fame and Fortune”. I knew I was on a lucky roll, it was marked down in the bargain section. Imagine that.

I had to find publishers that listed their interest in both genres I had written, Romance and Interesting Stuff. I caught on quickly, well it was definitely less than an hour at most, that “Interesting stuff” wasn’t listed by any of them. So I had to find an equivalent genre for it or one that brought them together.  Thriller, that could work. There was blood pumping on pages 127 and 128 and outside the bedroom dodging bullets and car chases. Then mystery caught my eye. It just kind of draws you in. It’s the very definition of interesting stuff you don’t know about but have to get to the source for answers. Like lining up M&M’s and watching a very focused grandson work his way towards the bag.

Ok, that’s it! I wrote a Romance/Mystery/Mystery. They still had the touchy feely thing going while they solved the mysteries so I settled on Romantic Mystery. It occurred to me, the potential reader would think they would have to search for clues to find out why there was romance. I had made that part clear, even before pages 127 and 128, I was just over thinking again.

So back in the book searching for publishers, I'm thinking we have time, it’s only September. I'll have books to send to family and friends for Christmas. You know that excited feeling you have, one number away and the gal beside you yells, “Bingo!”  That’s how I felt when I read over and over in my search for the lucky publisher that was going to share in my fame and fortune, “Due to the high volume, we respond to queries between 6 months and forever. If you don’t hear back from us within that time frame, don’t quit your day job.”

A query is only one page! I know that because I read the book on ‘Writing a Query for Success’. I wanted success and bought it. The book arrived in an envelope and was one page. Teach by example. How long does it take to read a one page query? Apparently 6 months to forever. So maybe this Christmas was out. Then I really got depressed, figuring their reading rate and that I only have another 60 years to live, I wasn’t going to see my book wrapped under the Christmas tree, ever!

To expand my initial advice, start saving quarters at six, send manuscript in before age seven.

"In the Mall" Just for Fun

 

As a point of explanation, I posted this "In the Mall" for fun on a writers website directed to a dear friend and author on that site, Rosalyne Bowmile. Her response follows this post.

In the Mall

“Hello, I’m Steve,” he said as he approached her table in the food court of a large indoor mall.

“Congratulations,” Rosalyne replied.

“I saw you as I was passing by, thought I’d say hello,” he said smiling.

“Mission accomplished,” she said, giving him a quick glance.

“Are you hungry? May I buy you some lunch.”

“I thought you just wanted to say Hello?”

“At first, but your conversation is so engaging.”

Rosalyne looked at him, and a small smile crossed her face.

“I was just going to get a slice of pepperoni pizza,” she said.

“To drink?”

“No, to eat. I probably would’ve washed it down with a Coke.”

Steve smiled and headed to the Pizza World counter. He returned with two plates of pizza and drinks, then set them on the table.

“May I join you?” he asked.

“Your agenda just keeps unfolding. Sure, it’d make eating a little easier, I guess.”

“Yours is the pepperoni.”

“They’re both the same,” she said.

“Wanted to keep it simple.”

“Thanks, so what is the, it, you wanted to keep simple? Your agenda?”

“What’s with the agenda? I saw you, was attracted and thought maybe we could talk.”

“I’m guessing that line has failed you in the past, also,” she said.

“This is fun. Are you a boxing instructor?”

“There’s a pun, Mr. Charming put the gloves on.”

“So, on another note. Are you doing some Christmas shopping?” he asked.

“What gave me away Sherlock, the three shopping bags at my feet or Silent Night playing on the overhead speakers?”

“I’m beginning to think, Silent Night describes your bedroom.”

She laughed. “My bedroom, in your dreams.”

“No, in my dreams, it’s Joy to the World.”

“Like I said, in your dreams, obviously not in your life,” she said.

“Shopping for a significant other?”

“Everyone in my life is significant, until now.”

“This is going well. Do you have a name or just answer to Frosty?” he asked.

“Christmas humor, Mr. Wit? Had me at hello is only in the movies.”

“OK, before it snows in here, I thought the red dress was stunning on you,” he said.

“I tried that on an hour ago, are you a stalker?”

“I didn’t mention when I noticed you. I thought you’d like the compliment.”

“Let me get this straight. You follow me around the mall for an hour, buy me a piece of pizza, complement me in a red dress, stunning I think you said, but there’s no agenda here?” she asked.

“So, I’m guessing changing the music in your head tonight is out of the question?”

“I didn’t say that. Your mom has our kids tonight. Could you grab some wine on your way home, honey?”

Response to "In The Mall"

 

My dearest Steve!

It's time for me to reveal myself. I am none other than Pedicured, Pampered, Princess. It’s a mouthful to say at once, but with practice, you too will become a master of tongue twisters. 

Puckering your lips when you annunciate your P’s, makes it much easier to pronounce.

Now on to more important issues. I understand you’ve been conversing with a friend of mine on FanStory. He has provided you with fables of misplaced thoughts and clouded, confuddled ideas of misconceptions.

Yes, I am aware the word confuddled is not commonly used.  In Canada, we like to use creative expression.  

Ron has filled your head with mutterings of befuddlement.  Let me explain. It all began when he shared the joyous news of Jenny and Charlie’s wedding. What he neglected to offer, was an invitation. Due to such oversight, Jenny and Charlie, have gone out of their way to compensate for his misguided mistake.

As for the bedroom, I must clarify all misjudgments. My boudoir has never played Silent Night, and to think you're offering me Joy to the World. Well, I must say, last night, Jingle Bells, rocked the house! 

Oh, no, did I shock you?  Do I look like the kind of woman who plays Lonely Hearts Club Band? Let me remove my coat to show you. Such cumbersome clothing to wear inside the mall. You Southerners don’t understand cold weather or snow. It doesn’t fall from the ceiling, but from the blue mass overhead called a sky.

Now, that’s better, much more comfortable. Yes, I’m wearing the Red Dress!  Isn’t it lovely?  It was my mother’s. She wore it the same time Marilyn Monroe wore hers, to the White House Birthday celebration.

It’s been lovely having lunch with you, Steve.  I must go, but before I leave, please send my regards to Ron. One more thing, tell him it’s safe to come out of hiding; I've removed the boxing gloves.

Me again here, Rosalyne Bowmile reviews children's books on her blog www.novelsforkids.blogspot.com

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