New Release Franky The Finicky Flamingo by Wanda Luthman

cover
  • Print Length: 15 pages
  • Publisher: Lilacs in Literature (November 3, 2017)
  • Publication Date: November 3, 2017
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B076BT4SXF
Hey there! Do you have a picky eater? If so, they’re going to love Franky, the Finicky Flamingo—a beautifully illustrated rhyming picture book.
I was a super picky eater when I was a kid. No kidding! My Mom fed me a canned pear every morning along with a healthy breakfast of eggs and bacon and orange juice (those were the days right, when Mom’s cooked full breakfasts for their children before school!). Anyway, I gagged on the “string” in that pear. I must have had a very sensitive palate to be able to feel that. Today, I love pears! But, I still prefer the fresh ones over the canned ones! Ha!
I couldn’t drink orange juice with pulp in it—I’d gag on the pulp!
And I loved hot dogs! I ate a hot dog every day in Elementary School. I packed my lunch and would eat a “cold” hot dog (it was cooked just not heated up) with no bun! That’s what I wanted!
I guess my Mom just decided not to argue and was glad I was eating something.
Then, when we went to visit my Grandparents (Mom’s parents), they tried to provide me with the best bologna they knew of (yes, I loved bologna too). So, they bought some German version from the deli. I nearly gagged on it too. My Mom was so embarrassed. We had to go to the Piggly Wiggly to buy the Oscar Meyer version. The only brand I would eat.
But, then fast-forward to my own daughter. She was nearing school-going age and up until then would only eat pepperoni slices. I was mortified at the thought of packing that for her lunch. So, we decided we’d try a sandwich every child loves—peanut butter and jelly! Now, she liked jelly on a spoon and peanut butter on a spoon but hadn’t tried them together. We decided we would put them together on white bread for dinner one night to see if she would like it. We worked with her for an HOUR to just try it. Finally, she tried it and ran to the bathroom barfing. Yep! That’s my child!
So, needless to say, I packed her sliced pepperoni (no bread) for her lunches and yes, I was embarrassed but decided, like my Mom, not to fight that battle. She is 23 now and loves all kinds of foods.
My advice to Mom’s and Dad’s dealing with picky eaters is don’t fight that battle. They will grow out of it and probably sooner than you think.
As you can see, Franky the Finicky Flamingo, was inspired by my own and my daughter’s
pickiness. So far it’s receiving rave reviews. It’s a fun, rhyming picture book that children will soon memorize the words and be “reading” along with you!
Available on Amazon at myBook.to/Franky for only $2.99!!
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A Long Time Coming by Bedelia Paulson: A Featured Fun Guest Post

A long time coming

My eyes were always fixed on the heart monitor. I dreaded the moment the blue line flowed straight and the continuous beep turning into one long siren signalling the end. Heavy rains spluttered against the window, making it impossible to see anything outside. The streetlights flickered unwaveringly, like an ever-present lighthouse, faithfully guiding traffic through the storm. I wondered what the world would be like, when I am all alone. He called my name, tugging at his oxygen mask.
“Take…off…please..”

“Only if it’s for a good reason,” I responded with a light kiss on his forehead while I removed it.
” …or else it’s going straight back on again.”

At first I thought it was the medication; that he was hallucinating. He spoke with a sense of urgency. “Janice, I had an … affair…when I … was in Johannesburg. I … have … a four year … old … son.”

I wriggled my hand free from his, my mind in turmoil. He was not dreaming.

“This can’t be happening,” I whispered incoherently while I tried to restrain myself. “Derrick, you’re hallucinating.”

He reached out to me, beckoning me to come close but I could see it in his eyes. He was fully aware of what he had just said. I ignored the gesture and moved away from him.

“Why are you telling me all this now, Derrick? Why now?”

“You … have to … fetch … him … no one … to take care of …him.”
“I don’t believe this! Where’s his whore of a mother? Why do I…?”

“She died…a…month… ago. Car…accident. He’s… with… grandmother.”

“So? She can look after him. See if I care.”

“She… can’t…she’s… in…wheelchair.”

I left his bedside for the first time, since he became hospitalised. I went home.

The north easterly wind rushed through the hospital’s entrance doors, as I stepped
outside. How could he, my husband of twenty five years, tell me something so devastatingly life-changing at a time when I was supposed to show my love and support? How did he expect me to keep sane? Sort out his mess while I was dying too. A slower death, with no morphine to ease my pain.

I rushed towards my car with the rain pelting down on me. No sign of the storm backing down.

His laptop was still on the couch where I had left it after rushing him to hospital. Faint trails of his aftershave lingered in the passage leading to our bedroom. I stopped in front of the gold-framed mirror on the wall. I was in my late forties, with a body and looks younger models ‘would kill for’, he used to say. Why then, did he stray? We had spoken about my not being able to bear children. He seemed okay. That was the impression he gave me.

Johannesburg seemed so different, except for the usual busyness of a Metropolitan city. Derrick often suggested we come here for holidays.

“I don’t like Jo’burg,” I used to say.

“What’s not to like?” he’d ask. I never answered.

“Where to, madam?” asked the taxi driver.

“Kensington … 46 Unicorn street.”

I kept fiddling with the piece of paper bearing a name and address. What do I say to this woman?
The taxi stopped outside a small, slightly rundown house.
How could he do this to me?

I opened the gate, its rusty hinges squeaked in protest. The front door was ajar.

“Hello…,” said the little boy, barely taller than the doorknob. “…my Nanna’s coming.”
“Marco! Marco! I told you not to open the door for…”

“Well look what the cat just dragged in!” She was staring at me, her one eye wide open, the other one … blinking. I knew only one person, many years ago who did that, when she was mad at someone. My long-time friend, Lynn Wagner. We were almost like sisters back then. She reversed her wheelchair, making way for me to enter. She was mad alright … at me.

I squeezed past her, avoiding her obvious glare of contempt. “I…I…need to sit…please.”
She spun the wheelchair around, swiping toys from the sofa with the back of her hand, straight into a red Lego toy box.

“Excuse the mess,” she exclaimed. “The ‘help’ only comes in twice a week.”

“Lynn … it’s okay … please …you don’t have to apologise…”

“… Oh, quit selling yourself short now, honey. This house is a far cry from what you’re used to. I feel uncomfortable around you.”

“Why are you in a wheelchair? And what’s with the head scarf?”

“Drop it, Janice! You didn’t come all the way here to enquire about my health. What do you want?”

Well! I never expected the red carpet treatment anyway but nothing … nothing could have prepared me for this.

“Lynn, please tell me the mother of this child is not who I think it is.”

“Work it out, honey! You’ve always been good at that. Figurin’ things out on your own. For the good of your own.”

“Where’s Charlotte? Where’s my daughter?”

“‘Aren’t we forgetting’ something Janice? Then allow me to refresh your memory. Charlotte ‘was’ yours, before you shoved her into my arms, one cold Saturday morning, at a filling station opposite Sandton City mall. Shall we go down memory lane?”

I cringed at her suggestion. Lynn was not one to mince her words. Resigned to my fate, with no energy to engage in a ram-battering session, I did the sensible thing. I allowed her to spill it all out. I had it coming.

“You’d landed a modelling contract in Britain,” she hissed, while staring at the photo above the fireplace. “She’d only ‘be in the way’, you said. She was three months old, Janice! Three bloody months! The child you promised me you’d come back for. Twenty seven years later, you have the nerve to rock up here and ask me, where’s ‘your’ daughter?”

“Okay! Okay!” I shouted, cupping my ears with my hands. “I probably deserved that. I’m sorry.”

“That doesn’t cut it, hon. You should lower your head in shame. Charlotte’s gone and this little boy here, is her son. Your husband’s son.”

Well! If I thought Derek’s revelation had left me staggering in the aftermath of an unexpected earthquake, this one left me like a fish wriggling and gasping for breath on a beach abandoned by the ocean, to construct the grand finale. A monstrous tsunami! Destined to leave chaos and destruction.

“How did you find out I was Derrick’s wife?”

“I asked him…straight out. National Geographic’s award winning photographer with the queen of the catwalk by his side? Paris…Rome…Milan. Never a night in one place. He couldn’t deny it.

“ … and Charlotte? Surely she must have known he was married?”

“Oh get of your moral high horse, Janice! Of course she knew. Haven’t we all? You should
know. You’ve been there. But … if it means anything, she didn’t know who YOU really were.”

I bit my lip, swallowed hard. “You never told her?”

“I had no reason to. You weren’t coming back. It was pointless letting her hold on to something that might never happen. I did what I thought was best for her. I changed our names, in case your conscience got the better of you and you come looking for us. Then I burned all correspondence you and I had. Charlotte lived and died knowing she had a mother. Me!”“You could’ve stopped them …”

“You could’ve stopped them …”

 

“ … and then what? Tell her the truth? That I wasn’t her real mother?”

“Please, Lynn. Try to understand. This isn’t….”

“Hey! Listen honey! This is NOT about you! Now I knew … deep down I damn well knew you might come back one day; mess up what Charlotte and I had. But your husband beat you to it. I had no choice. I just wanted him to go the hell away, so I told him. But it was too late. She was already pregnant.”

“I’m sorry,” I stammered, choking on the words as it suddenly dawned on me how this was affecting Lynn. Something I haven’t even thought about.

“Janice! You and I know first-hand, what it was like growing up without parents. Living from one wretched foster home to the other; longing for a mother we never knew. I was NOT going to put Charlotte through that. Now I raised her so you could pursue your dream. I would’ve done anything for you, coz’ you promised you were coming back for her … but you didn’t. You gave up your rightful place in her life. Janice. You … have only yourself to blame.”

I was clearly in a one-way street, heading in the wrong direction, colliding with everything I had so recklessly abandoned. Now there were casualties; people were hurt. Lynn was right. What I should be doing was to hide my face; cower in the sand and wait for the first stone to hit my head.

I nodded … with conviction.

“Derrick said she died in a car accident.”

“Yes. His visits became less frequent. He kept sending money and gifts for the boy. Charlotte wasn’t herself anymore. She thought he’d dumped her”.

“He’s dying. That’s the reason I’m here. He wants me to take care of the child … with your
permission, of course.”

Lynn shifted uncomfortably in the wheelchair, her eyes still fixed on the enlarged photo above the fireplace.

“I know,” she whispered. “We’d spoken about it. It’s … just … so damn hard …” She stopped midway through the sentence, her voice trembling as she tried to hold back the tears, but it streamed down her face. “First Charlotte … now Marco will be leaving too. I understand … I mean … just look at me. I can’t even take care of myself, let alone look after a toddler.”

“Come stay with me Lynn, let me make it up to you.”

“No! We’ll only confuse the boy. You’re gonna have to go it alone this time, honey. For yourself … for Charlotte. I’ll go pack Marco’s things.”

“May I see a picture of her?”

“In the dresser … ,” she replied, swinging her wheelchair around. “…over there…left drawer. There’s a photo album. I’ll be back in a while.”

And there I stood, back-tracking a period in my daughter’s life with every turn of the page, gently stroking each photo of which I should have been a part of. Baptism – Primary school – High school – Prom and finally … Graduation. She wore a cap and gown, sporting a broad smile, with Lynn posing proudly beside her. I kissed her photo, clutching it against my breast. And the walls of guilt collapsed under the pressure of tears streaming down my face. Dear God, what have I done?

“No use beating yourself up now, honey.”

Lynn was back, clutching two small suitcases on her lap, with Marco in tow. I closed the album, still snivelling as I wiped my face. “Sorry … I didn’t realise you were here. I’ll just put this back, then we can go.”

“Keep it! You’ll need it more than I do.” Her voice sounded gentle, almost like the Lynn I knew, back then.

“Thank you,” I whispered, sighing with relief. I had this sudden urge to hold the little boy in my arms. My very own grandson! Exposed too soon to the harsh realities of life, yet he had nothing to do with it.

I took his hand instead, squeezing it gently before I backed down, thinking how this might affect Lynn. “Well, big boy! How would you like to fly in a big aeroplane?”

“Really! Can my Nanna come too?”

I shot a quick glance at Lynn before answering, waiting for some indication that she was coming.

Truth be told, I needed her too. I was not sure whether I would cope. Marco was not used to me.

“Hurry up …” she said, “… before I change my mind.”

Sheer relief swept over me. I almost air-punched.

There was something in Derrick’s eyes I had never seen before when he saw Marco. He kept thanking me; saying how sorry he was; how much he loved me. We held each other, all three of us, unaware that Lynn had rolled out on her wheelchair, quietly.

I was exhausted and must have fallen asleep on the couch while Marco babbled on with his father. In the wee hours of the morning, the dreaded sound of the heart monitor awoke me and by the time the nurse had rushed in, the blue line flowed straight, followed by the siren. Derrick had passed away, with his arm still around a sleeping Marco.

I was hurting, in the core of my soul, for having lived in my own world, overlooking things that were important to him. There was the time when we were house-hunting. He’d go for homes with big gardens; a swimming pool and courtyard where he’d talk to himself; envisaging the perfect spot for a basketball net; a little swing in a corner; bright yellow and red spades and buckets with big plastic balls strewn around.

My reason for wanting a big house was totally different. I wanted my own home, shared with someone whom I knew would always take care of me. Someone I loved deeply. At the time, that was all that mattered. But deep down I knew, I was only fooling myself. My husband longed for us to have a child. I chose not to see this.

Lynn was waiting for us in the courtyard, when we got home. She had a ball in her hand,
contemplating a shot at the basketball net.

“He knew about me all along, Lynn. Why didn’t he say something?”

“I guess things were complicated at the time but he really wanted to make things right, you know. I’ll give him that much. After I told him who you were, he tried to end the relationship with Charlotte. She wouldn’t hear of it. She stormed out, threatening not to let him anywhere near Marco again.”

“So he didn’t get a chance … to tell her about me?”

“I think he just never got around to it. The driver of the truck she had collided with, said her car was on the wrong side of the road. She went straight for him … deliberately.”

“Now she’s gone, not knowing that I was her mother?”

“And what would you have said to her, Janice? That your career was more important, so you gave her up?”

“Lynn, I needed to hear her yelling at me; telling me what a lousy, rotten excuse for a mother I was. I just wanted to ask her to forgive me; tell her how sorry I was …”

“Well … if you ask me Janice, what’s done is done. There’s really nothing you can do other
than seizing this opportunity to make it up to her … with Marco.”

“You make it sound so easy, Lynn. Yet you devoted your life raising my child, while I ….”

“ … Fate handed you the relay baton, Janice. Whether you stay on track and finish the race, is entirely up to you. I don’t wanna have to go into much detail. So please … let’s not go there. I’ll just be opening up old wounds, which is the last thing I want feel like doing right now.”

Lynn refused to talk about her illness, let alone stay with us. She was her cheery old self
when I dropped her off at the airport.

“…better this way, honey,” she chirped. “…and don’t worry, I’ll call you.”

I tried calling her anyway, but her phone was always on voicemail.

The last message I received from her was that she had landed safely and that she was on her way home. Two months later, I received a message from a hospital in Johannesburg. My ‘sister’, Lynn, was being transferred to hospice. I didn’t even know she was in hospital.

I couldn’t stop thinking about Lynn from the moment I boarded the plane until it touched down at O R Tambo International Airport. The sun had distanced itself from the horizon, now speckled with migrant birds returning from afar. I felt like one.
As the taxi cruised along the highway, my eyes wandered intermittently across sleepy suburbs and shanty townships. Both had houses surrounded by stately trees and shrubs heavy with bursts of pink and white blossoms. I was home!

I stood next to her bed, watching her drifting in and out of sleep. She had been given a dose of morphine earlier. I was hesitant to wake her, unsure of what my reaction would be if she sees me. She was propped against pillows, her head shaven, her eyes sallow and tired.

“Honey, this is it!” Her voice was barely audible but she managed a little smile, moving her fingers as a sign for me to clutch her hand. “I’m off … to departure lounge … cancer’s taken over … not much they can do for me anymore.”

I started bawling in full view of everyone, and was promptly asked to wait in the visitor’s room or contain myself.

“You’re gonna have to pull yourself together now, honey,” she bantered. “I’m still here, aren’t I?”

I laid beside her, snivelling while I hugged her frail body. We talked and giggled, like old times.

“Wanna know something, honey?” she whispered. “What doesn’t work for some, might turn out just fine, for others. Charlotte was the light of my life. I must thank … you.”

Lynn fell silent. She never made it to hospice.

I’ve had the not-so- pleasant task of explaining to Marco his involved parentage. Not an easy thing, but it had to be done. He filled a void in my life, which sometimes I have to ask myself, what have I done to deserve this unexpected gift? Not only has it been offered to me in a mysterious way, but it has also led me to find inner peace.
I told him everything, watching him closely, waiting for any signs of resentment. Not once did he interrupt me. He got up instead, went to his bedroom and stayed there for what seemed like a lifetime. I thought it best to leave him alone. I owed him that much.
The next morning, while I was preparing breakfast, he walked in and asked. “Janna, is it okay to call you ‘Grandma’? ”

“I wouldn’t have it any other way,” I replied, ruffling his red curly hair before hugging him.

I have been given a second chance … to make things right.

I miss Derrick. A lot though but I am comforted by the fact that he had died peacefully, knowing that Marco was in good hands. Lynn and Charlotte were happy. That’s all that counts. Yes, there are regrets re-surfacing from time to time, when I wish I could have had my life all over; done things differently. Marco’s existence has made things tolerable. I cannot imagine life without him.

Now if I could only squeeze in one more photo, amongst all those who played a significant part in steering me back to finding myself. Marco … wearing his cap and gown, standing tall beside me, smiling like a Cheshire cat. Perfect!

END

Do You Know Me? by Harlem: A Featured Writer Guest Post

Dark secrets creep in the night

While others are fast asleep

Thinking no one knows

For if they did, some would oppose

When lust gets the best of you while discovering his distrust after realizing how long the cheese line is for his love located at the neighborhood corner “Candy Shop”.  How loud the volume becomes when the little voice in your head tells you he’s no good but you ignore it, stand in line, and slept with him anyway as you foolishly wait your turn?

A Diary of A Single Man: Do You Know Me?

The label on the substandard bottle  🍼  read low quality poison, but you injected the needle into your veins just the same. How eye candy 🍭  blurs the vision leaving the chin of false hope exposed for the knock out punch 🤛 in a third-rate ring . There’s something appealing  about the combination of the one, two sequence from the right hand that never sees the over hand left with an uppercut to follow.  How London Bridge falls down. As you stumble to pick up your pride while laying on the cold canvas in a puddle of 💦 water 💦, you instantly find yourself on your knees scrambling to place back the mouthpiece that fell out your mouth. The glaring lights impair and underline your glossy eyed stupor. You instantly become the proverbial deer 🦌 in headlights. Then you hear the standing 8 count in the distance along with people laughing 😂  in the background. You manage to get to your feet, but it’s too late. Shortly after, the bell 🔔 rings and you discover the party was over after you blew him. He didn’t even offer you a napkin or nut rag to wipe that shit off from the side of your face. So sad, you didn’t get a chance to dance to your favorite song. Meanwhile, someone else holds the belt over their head for all to see. You recall seeing another woman with a familiar coach bag walking in the opposite direction. “I have that same bag”, you said to yourself.  Everything is a little blurry and you’ve become light headed and dizzy. All that’s left after the smoke 💨  clears is a breath mint, food stamps, section 8, and a good looking child which only remind you of, “Him”.  Let the story of shame and the games some of us play, begin. So, I’ll ask you this one question. Do you know me?

A Diary of A Single Man: Do You Know Me?

Yes, girlfriend I’m a liar, a cheat and I steal. It’s all within the organize crime family manual. I lie to you to gain your trust quickly because there’s no time to waste. You know the drill, stick and move. Like a thief in the night I need to be in and out as quickly in a jiffyas possible. No time for cuddling. I must maintain my swag. I’ll never be loyal to you. Trust me when I tell you. I’m cheating on you right now, but I don’t view it as cheating because I’m willy nilly with it. Get it? It has a mind of its own. The ultimate goal is to steal your heart, revolutionize your mind and ravish your body before I move on to the next red dot. Excuse me, did you say something? Oh, I didn’t think so…

 I already know I’m trifling but it sure feels good laying up in your bed while you’re at work. Let me blaze this blunt first before I holla at you. Really though. Lol, who’s the fool? You know how I get down and you know how I roll. Do you know me? Let me reintroduce myself. I’m full of potential which only means; nothing is happening right now. But, I’m trying real hard to get with you because, after all, you got it going on. Meanwhile, Its been two months and I’m still waiting for a call back for a job interview. From behind you seem to have a bright future. However, that hot & spicy 🌶 onion roll says, it all. Such amazing soup coolers you have my dear. Lips like grade A suction cups. I have plans for me and you.  Sweet hallelujah. Hair flowin’, blowin’ in the air. Toe’s glowin’ too. Skin tight. You must be related to spice. Smellin’ like alpine white. Sweet sexy chocolate. Uh!, Jeans faded, so tight they look like they’ve been painted on your body. Look at you girl, ballin’ and postin’ hard in the paint. Dunkin’ on everybody. You keep the race tight like a marathon in Sierra Leone. If you play your cards right I’d just might make you my wife. Sike! You’re cute but not cute enough. Besides, I already have a dog 🐶 (Ruff).

That’s right, you do know me.  I’m that fine brutha equip with a golden tongue and a hidden agenda. Trust me, I walk with protection, now. I prefer casual sex with little to no commitment. I can’t have any strings attached. That would only make me feel like a caged puppet. I only do relationships when I have to.  Just so you know, I live at home with my mother so don’t judge me. Let god do that. I have my own ride but she pays for the insurance. I drive mom-dukes car when mine is out of gas or in the shop. You feel me? I eat her food and I run up her cable bill ordering shit. I kill the electric, gas and phone bill but you know how I do. I got that prepaid though. Call me after 9:00pm. You heard? I’ll pay her back as soon as I can scrape up the money, maybe. No worries babe.

But I’m sayin’ though. So what if I like to play video games. I’m home right? I mean, it ain’t like I’m running in the streets. Look, I work hard all day chatting online and watchin’ booty twerks gone wild on worldstarhiphop.com.  You remember how you met me right? I’m on your buddy list. I.M. me. I’m that guy you can’t wait to show me off to your girlfriends. Little do you know I’ll sleep with them as soon as you turn your back or start acting funny. Which ever comes first. Just because I’m smiling doesn’t mean I’m laughing at you. Trust me, that’s my word. Holla at your boy, Ma! I’m the catch of the day and you would be a fool to throw me away. Muah! I love you boo. Listen, why you be trippin’? I don’t know nothing about any lip-gloss and I don’t be drivin’ no other girl in your ride. Shit gets a little foggy when your lips be moving and flappin’ so fast. Bring it down a thousand. I don’t be hearing anything when you’re like that. You need to stop hangin’ out with your no man having, hot dog water smelling girlfriend, Keisha. Don’t let nobody come between us.  Can I get the car keys real quick?

A Diary of A Single Man: Do You Know Me?

Hold up. Did I mention that I don’t pay rent cause I’m saving up for some rims and some brand new pair of tims? Why you asking about if I got any kids? Do you plan to help me with them? Or are you trying to figure out how much money is not coming into your household? I mean… What I meant to say, I did mention my kids? Yeah, that’s it. Baby girl, I got those but don’t worry cause you’ll never see them. You’ll never see them because I don’t see them because when I look 👀  at them they remind me of their mother and another failed relationship. I’m not a moma’s boy but I do have some rules. There’s three other women ahead of you and you’ll have to respect my stance. There’s my grandmother, my mother and my daughter. They are my lifeline and my priority. You come after them. So respect the order. Real quick, not to change the subject, so you already know I’ll be staying forever with the baby momma drama, and you’ll understand why I don’t have any money to take you out. I mean, you know why babe, right?  Child support. Lol. I mean, I would if I could. Damn, I can’t believe they take out money when you’re on unemployment, but you’ll still love me anyway, won’t you? Give Daddy a kiss. Muah! “A WET ONE.” It’s just me and you boo against the world. You be my Bonnie and I’ll by your Clyde. You be my partner in crime as we paint this town in slime.  Together we’re gonna get through this. So stay true to this.

Do you know me? I’m fine. I’m handsome and you have to deal with my shit because the line is long to get to my love, and guess what, I know it. Hey, a relationship is 50/50 not 100/100 cause I gotta hold back 50 just in case you be actin’ funny and I have to break out. (Cloud bubble to self… Neva give a chick your last especially if she steps out of pocket).

A Diary of A Single Man: Do You Know Me?

Hey Ma! How you doing? I’m that  unclear grainy and shallow type of a guy you love to fall in love with and hate to lose, just because I look good and I throw it down very well in the bedroom. I may not bring much to the table but I know you will jump over 10 good men to get to me. I’ll jump over two flat chested, no butt having, sorry to be you type of woman for some double D’s and a big ole fruitylicous bubble butt. It’s not complicated. All I need is a heartbeat. A dude has to live, babe. Look ma no hands. I normally don’t do cute. I don’t need any competition in the mirror or in the bathroom. I hate a woman that stays in the shower longer than me. That’s why I like’em ugly. Low self esteem kind of ugly. You know the ones that always doubt themselves. They just happy I come home. All I have to do is spin her, bend her and get all up in her and they happier than two pigs in a sack. I can tell an ugly woman, “I going to the moon” and she’ll give me enough money to get there and back. Plus, she’ll have a dinner plate sitting in the microwave when I get back. Can’t do that with a chick who thinks, she’s cute.

Did I mention that I’m tall and muscular? That’s right. You know me. I got that good hair, good skin and we are going to make some fine babies. Did I mention I have a deep dimple plus I got them crazy waves in my hair for days? They be spinning baby. Keep your surf board on deck and be ready to catch the wave.  So, hold on tight cause I’m gonna make your body feel right. Make your shit sing a sweet symphony, girl. Look 👀 Ma, no hands. Just know the ride will get a little rough every now and again. When I’m bored 😐 I’ll flip you over and do anal. Flash back babe from when I was on vacation at the county jail. Feel my pain. But you still like my tattoos though, right? Yep, but anyway, we’re going to have fun making those babies too. I’m that no good for nothing, nevea havin shit, bouncing from woman to woman like a carousel type of a guy. Trust me. You don’t even have a chance when I wear my hair in dreds. If you’re dumb enough to fuck with me I’m smart enough to take advantage of your stupidity. I mean kindness, love ❤️.  I got mommy issues. My mother wasn’t there for me so why in the hell would I trust you? Nah, I’m leaving you with nothing but a Public Assistance check. Could you buy me some cigarettes babe? My unemployment check is a little late. I’ll pay you back. Well, at least let me hold your EBT card. Oh, by the way, I will be sleeping over for the night but I have to be out before the sun comes up. You know how I do boo; job interview and I just know you’ll understand. Hey, tomorrow we can take your car and go to the movies. I got you on the popcorn, extra butta.

– 

A Diary of A Single Man: Do You Know Me?

One more thing my mother been trippin’ lately and she wants me to move out so I am looking for someone to replace her. I mean, someone to fill in and know their roll, play their position, stay in their lane and don’t be going through my shit when I’m not home. Keep your mouth off of my toothbrush because it ain’t that kind of party.  Seriously, that shit is not sexy.  Make sure you always over communicate. I don’t like surprises. No, but on the real, Just don’t play yourself like mom-dukes did.  I need someone with a better attitude; one that will not sweat me for every little thing. I need a chick. I mean, I need a woman, (yeah, that’s right) that will let me do me; you know watch the game whenever and wherever, have fight parties and come home when I come the fuck home. No surprises, that will only get you canceled (Nino Brown Style).

You only wake up when you’re no longer sitting on cloud 9 and the horse blinders finally fall off. Not until after the sun burst into flames and the stars and moon collide. Don’t pretend you’re not dwelling in the lion’s den for a chance to win at love. Once your feet finally touch the ground firmly and you appear to be wide awake, only then will you be able to truly move forward. Baby girl, if this is your man then you deserve everything you get in order to grow up. Just because you’re older doesn’t mean you’re wiser. You should want more out of life. Upgrade yourself from a boy and introduce yourself to a man. Do you want your son to grow to be this poor excuse of a man? Do you wish this type of this so-called man on top of your precious daughter? Why are you with him? Break the cycle my sweet. Look in the mirror and make the adjustments. The choice is yours. Neva eva give or trust your heart with a person whom is looking for a dinner plate to go. Think about it. Your skin should prickle in horror each and every time he looks at you and smiles.

If you are this man then pest control should be called on your behalf. I know who you are and all you pretend to be, ambling through the park in the dark. On the real homie, you’re not a man. You’re simply a sad playboy. Now, unfurl your mind and recite these words with me, “A man accepts responsibility across the board. He takes care of his family internally, externally and he gives back to his community.” It’s difficult to perform damage control behind you and your type. If this is not you then I am sure you know this dude who is not yet a man. He’s part of the reason why she’s the way that she is, doing it all on her own. She represents the F.T. Cubes of the world. Full time parent, full time job/career and full time student. “Man She’s Fine” To think about it there are women whom aren’t women that fit this build as well. You two are meant for each other. Holla at your boy.

A Diary of A Single Man: Do You Know Me?

Harlem, 

Heaven is at the foot of Mother…

HarlemATL

I’m a divorcee, loving father, cook, chess player, concierge, passionate public servant, basketball coach, Executive Assistant, Final Cut Pro & Avid tape editor who stumbled into the music business working for a well-known entertainment cable company for 11 years. 5 years in the music department and 6 years in the news department. The experience was life changing and it made me want to project a voice and create a platform to influence and convey a particular point of view. To simply deliver and revolutionize digital media programming and change the way the world view people of colour and how Black people view themselves.

An Unexpected Opportunity by Mary Lynn Jarvis: A Featured Fun Guest Post

I was nearing the end of The Widow’s Walk League, my fourth Regan McHenry Real Estate Mystery, when it felt like someone tapped me on the shoulder. I looked, but no one was there. The next day the same thing happened again. When the sensation returned on the third day, I spun toward the empty space above my right shoulder and yelled, “Leave me alone. I’m trying to finish my book.”

A disembodied voice replied, “Write fast. I’m eighty-three years old so who knows how much time I have left. I have a story to tell and I want you to write it down.”

For me, writing mysteries is a disciplined affair. I need a timeline so I can remember who knew-what-when. Even though I know the storyline, an outline to help me give the reader clues without giving away the identity of the murderer is helpful. And I don’t have my protagonist do all the talking; I write in third person. But it was clear, if I was going to let the voice in my head speak, all that was going to change.

When I finished The Widow’s Walk League, I stared at a blank computer screen. I had no outline and no idea what I was going to write. It was my turn to speak. “OK, I’m listening. Who are you and what do you have to say?”

Writing Mags and the AARP Gang” was an adventure. I’d get up every day not knowing where the story was going and anxious to find out what would happen next. I’ll let Mags tell you a bit of her story starting with the first words she said to me: “My name is Margaret Sybil Broadly Benson, née Spencer, but you can call me Mags.

“You took so long getting back to me, I thought you forgot about me. I’m not complaining, though. In my eighty-three years I’ve learned there are advantages to being overlooked. Sometimes people make assumptions about the elderly; imagine they know how we think, what we’re capable of, and more importantly what we aren’t capable of. Take me and the AARP Gang, for example. Our mobile home park was about to be foreclosed and we were about to be kicked out of our homes, all political and underhanded what was going on…oh, don’t get me started. Bottom line is it was assumed that at our ages we wouldn’t have any fight left; that we’d just be nice little old ladies and gents and go off quietly to live with family.

“What people didn’t realize is we were already a family and that after a lifetime of living and reaching our eighties, none of us were quitters. No wonder we decided to rob the bank that held our note and pay off our mortgage with the proceeds. We liked the irony of that, besides, the bank was within walking distance, which was handy because most of us don’t drive any longer.

“We devised a masterful plan that made the most of our assets. My cohorts disguised themselves as old people (yes, I know we are all already old people, but they still needed disguises) making the most of the unobtrusiveness of age, while I used my rather formidable-if-never-used-on-stage acting talents to become our distraction, keeping people’s eyes busy so they wouldn’t see what was going on behind their backs.

“I was doing my award-worthy impression of a dear old lady who had lost her wallet and pleading with the people in the bank to help me find it when Melvin, who managed to bring along a rifle that none of us knew he had, got upset with a teller, brandished it, lost his balance, and fired the weapon, accidentally shooting one of the overhead fire sprinklers. That happenstance caused all the other sprinklers to spurt in sympathy and automatically call the fire department. Oh, my! So much for our carefully rehearsed plan.

“Did we get away with it you ask? Well, I am writing from home instead of from a jail cell, but it took quite a bit of complicated maneuvering, a whole novel’s worth, in fact, to get from being soggy in the bank to where I am today. Melvin—oh, he’s a hard man to control—in drag didn’t help my case much, not to mention all the trouble Batty Betty with her early onset Alzheimer’s caused what with remembering exactly what she should have forgotten.”

You can read the whole story about Mags and her colorful friends in Mags and the AARP Gang.

Find Megs on Amazon

Learn more about Nancy Lynn Jarvis from her Amazon author page.

A Father’s Day After Thought by Harlem: A Featured Writer Guest Post.

When you’ve paid over $200,000 in child support and have little to nothing to show from it.

Dad with a lowercase “d” has been placed inside a bottle and put out of sight on a dusty shelf. The unimaginable and excruciating pain that’s felt after a unharmonic relationship has failed, crashed and burned. Another one sadly bites the dust. A fatherless home in search of and in need of a replacement. As the sunset fades to black, a new reality sets in and the process begins of picking up the scattered pieces shattered across the living room and kitchen floor. Another cold dinner plate thrown against a freshly painted wall. The efforts we make, and the different steps we’re forced to take before the white towel is thrown inside the ring. After it’s all said and done we continue to try one more time, before our final call.

How the menu is never filling and the traditional relationship lasting for 50+ years finds its resting place in the graveyard next to a tombstone labeled, “retirement plan”.

Here behind this gate lie’s the stagnant and dormant abyss.  There’s no story here pointing the finger, placing the blame onto someone else.  You will not find this test subject cursing others for his short comings in life. Nor will you find a complaint number, filed. No unresolved issues about an oversize sweater or a cheap tie received. There isn’t an accusation found, just a mere candid observation rarely televised by your local network stations.

– 

I shrink, separate myself from others so I can think. One paycheck for three households serve a disasterous outcome on catastrophic portions. Do the math, her cut, my hole in the wall and if I decide to date, let’s just forget about it. I cram to relate. I Overstand why, some men lie. They lie because they fear the other person will make a final decision for the both of them. How the closing of the candy shop leads to the infamous search for a new lollipop.  To discover how it all translates. The new woman who tries to be in my life pops the question. Do I have a job? Do I have any children and do I take care of them? What she’s really asking is, “How much money is not coming into her household.” Why do women ask about a mans children? Do you plan to help me with them? Is it that important to know what’s left after 17%? Shame on you if you do.

A court order has stripped me from being head of household which is something I can’t control. I’m a man made to become a mouse. For a rat with one hole is a poor rat. 

Child support has become the new welfare. Now I wear the proverbial pink skirt. Call me by my new name; “A Bitch” minus the pumps. I grit my teeth, stay steadily on my grind and contemplate on what I can control, and create in total darkness. For I isolate myself, as my iPhone, iPad and iMac become my blog studio. My bedroom is used as a think tank. I lay in the middle of my empty, lonely king size bed developing concepts and creating characters in a world of my own. No distractions. No complications. The flat screen is rarely used. The blank screen reflect my hearts expression. Another closed chapter. It’s time to bury the hatchet, move on and not take life for granted.

A Diary of A Single Man: A Father’s Day After Thought

How a beautiful flower blossoms in a dark room without any light. From the mixture of organic remains to the blacker the blueberry to the very acid is the soil. Who’s in control? To the abstract principle of territory of a particular nation. The foundation remains black in origin. Dark matter always quite the noise and silence the chatter. Some people have the nerve to say, “Why does it matter?” 

 –

Beloved, life is everlasting; continuous. You can see it if you know how. You can even hold it in your hands. It’s warm to the touch and it gives off light. You’ll discover it has a little weight to it, if you hold it right.  All light surrounds itself around darkness. You are a vessel of sound in the mist of darkness; a shadow which reflects a house of light and insight.

Darkness is a closed door, a lingering illness filled with suffering. It’s damp and lonely. It’s also a cold unforgiving, miserable wind which forever twist and bends.

A Diary of A Single Man: A Father’s Day After Thought

How two people can come to together to procreate and over a period of time find themselves unable to relate.

 –

Balancing The Scales:

 When one works two full time jobs to keep his head above running water while holding his breath with a punctured lung, during a raging storm.

The domino effect and the overall countless total which lies ahead.

From the lives which are lost, to the healing during and thereafter the recovery mission to the part we all partake.

The Paragon Effect:

Behold the awesome weight and the responsibility of a person who’s regarded to be a perfect example of a particular quality of substance. 

A Diary of A Single Man: A Father’s Day After Thought

The feeling of being boxed in and trapped.

How life tapers off at the core. 

A Diary of A Single Man: A Father’s Day After Thought

The six story flat was well below the quality of substandard. Voices in the dark can be heard casually talking in the background.  Meanwhile, the jingle jangling sound of keys hitting against each other echo throughout the 4th floor hallway by an oversize pest control serviceman whom was last seen yesterday with a toothbrush tucked in between his cheek and tongue, while he willy nilly down a flight of stairs not too swiftly but in a jiffy eating sweet & spicy 🌶  chicken 🍗 wings with his partner, Billy who shimmered in a stink of sweat. It was reported he had tripped and missed the last three steps falling flat on his face breaking his nose and chipping a tooth. Black don’t crack until you smoke it. People had mentioned seeing him last week ambling stumbling through the streets, talking strangely to himself and acting awkward in an bumbling manner.  

Over time the texture of a picture on the wall in the hallway became grainy and unclear. A woman screams from a distance. The volume of the static from the television became an unbearable symphony, played off key. Sunny days of yesterday are now shades of grey on a very foggy day. Death has its own distinctive fragrance, something one can’t easily wash off. Christmas and birthdays aren’t like they use to be. A big beautiful ice cream cake with candles melting as unwrapped gifts are found under a swinging body hanging from a steel pipe on the wall. Like a child plucked from a grim foster home the image of it all reflected complete hopelessness. The sight of it would make your skin prickle in horror.  As his stiff body swing from left to right his stress is relieved; chest is no longer tight. The loop-knot tethered around his neck indicated there were restrictions to his struggle. The overwhelming weight of the body made his neck and head spin like a wheel on a carousel. It eventually popped off causing blood to spray on the walls, then splatter on the cake and gifts below once his body hit the floor. Filthy rodents who snack, on their freshly delivered assorted edible arrangementssniff then scurry while other varmints dash and scamper in the dark. The neighbors cat has its feast.

– 

Like a flame to a pot of water which evaporates, I can see his spirit levitate and sail away. The sight of it all made my entire body cringe because it seemed like an awful waste of good cake. Maybe he could’ve exchanged the gifts if he didn’t like them. Why do people judge and meddle into others affairs? Who knows what goes through a person’s mind on the day they decide to end it all? Perhaps, they felt too old to continue to play a role in this kind of caper. He simply became another lonely soul of a passenger desperately seeking to get off at the next stop from life instead of returning to the savage life he once lived. 

They discovered in the right, inside pocket of his tailored made sports coat, a feather of a vintage quill pen encased inside a glass case for safe keeping. Before the auction it was rumored to sell at 2.5 million. Investors say it will go for more now the owner is deceased. I wonder if his children will resurface and claim what they think belong them. I ponder more about the cold hearted greedy people who didn’t call nor came around when he was alive. Who’s to know the things we collect would later accumulate value. Who’s to know he didn’t want to face the truth of knowing you’re only worth something when you’re dead.

Hymns echo in the chamber songs heard recited in the background. Members of his family organized and arranged a closed casket funeral. There, it was mentioned and unfurled he once possessed a unique force of character with a level of determination to be modeled. His mannerism complimented his style, and nerve to match. His moxie best defined his overall swag.

Revelations

There’s a book out there created to paint the illusion of a particular historical story. It’s the greatest story ever told, a guide which attracts the ignorant and the sick at heart like a magnet. Does anyone know the title of this book?

It’s a scripture used to control sheep; the weak. It’s a manual a whole person doesn’t need, at all.

A Diary of A Single Man: A Father’s Day After Thought

Harlem, 

Heaven is at the foot of Mother…

 

Meet Harlem:

HarlemATL


I’m a divorcee, loving father, cook, chess player, concierge, passionate public servant, basketball coach, Executive Assistant, Final Cut Pro & Avid tape editor who stumbled into the music business working for a well-known entertainment cable company for 11 years. 5 years in the music department and 6 years in the news department. The experience was life changing and it made me want to project a voice and create a platform to influence and convey a particular point of view. To simply deliver and revolutionize digital media programming and change the way the world view people of colour and how Black people view themselves.

EURYALE by Stephen Perkins: A Featured Fun Guest Post

Copyright 2017/Star born publishing LTD. This is a work of fiction, a product of the author’s imagination and cannot be reproduced without express permission. Any similarity between the created characters and persons now living or deceased is purely coincidental.

EURYALE

(Iraq, near Mosul, 2003, Operation Desert Storm)


Bullet riddled, brittle and broken, he awoke, prone upon a blood-soaked Iraqi dune. Astonished, Dow found a shepherd girls soft, healing hands everywhere upon him, drawing out the pain. Until, he was magically whole again.

Lethargic lids slid open.

From the zenith of a cloudless blue canopy, a merciless sun scorched drowsy eyes. Possessing some strange power, the mysterious girl had seemingly rescued him from death’s fiery darkness.

“Who are you,” Sergeant Dow said. “Where are you from?”

Slowly, she removed the black burqa, serene smile blooming upon angelic features. Dow’s stubble strewn face riddled with wonder. He felt her soft reply flow into the brain like the waters of a trickling brook. And yet, crimson lips made no attempt to form syllables.

“I am Euryale. You shall soon know where to find me. And, I shall be waiting!”

Up over the horizon, Dow heard the whining rotors of a helicopter, and shielding his eyes from the sun, turned to look.

“But how will I…” he said, turning back, anticipating her sweet gaze.

But, Euryale had mysteriously disappeared.     

***

Flown back to the green zone in Mosul, Dow reported to Colonel Stansfield Booth.

Walking through the office door, steely hazel eyes looked right through him.

It was as if the old man, hat decked with ‘scrambled eggs’, and more medals hung on his immaculate uniform than ornaments on the Sergeant’s Christmas tree back home in Omaha, possessed vision boring right through the skin, straight to the soul beneath.

Sitting in front of the colonel’s enormous desk, Dow felt his parched throat gulp. Blood wildly throbbing, he realized this was the moment of truth. His career in the US Marine Corps was on the line. He knew old man Booth, an iron chinned full bird colonel, wasn’t likely to believe the truth. Or, would he? How best explain the unexplainable, about Euryale, the simple shepherd girl brought him miraculously back from death’s inevitable brink?

Sergeant Dow’s pulse raced, skin growing hot as if he were standing in a burning building. His arid throat gulped again. Now, Dow considered, I must tread carefully. The old man might even decide to throw me in the brig. Maybe, even court marshaled.

Outside, the colonel’s spartan office, night blanketed the sun baked terrain of the Iraqi desert wastes.

The old man’s deep baritone ruptured the thick silence like a fog horn.  

“Alright, Sergeant,” the old man’s deep baritone rumbled. “Out of nine men sent to find the insurgents outside the Green zone destroyed ammo and weapons dumps last week near Mosul, including your squadron commander, Captain Welsh-only you survived,” the colonel detailed.

Puzzlement etched Dow’s rugged features.

The Colonel seemed almost disappointed.    

Dread buzzed in the Sergeant’s brain like angry wasps.

Sweat beaded his darkened brow.

“It was almost like they were waiting for us, Sir,” Dow’s mid-western drawl wobbled. “These insurgents were clever,” he tried to explain, with more urgency. “They had some sniper hiding in the hills. Picked us off one by one. I suggested to Welsh we retreat, and hump it back to recon. Let the helicopter gun-ships turn those hills into a parking lot!”  

The Sergeant fidgeted, wanting desperately to tell the old man what most of the squadron had really thought of Captain Welsh, some high-hat Ivy grad just out of officers training-dressed up to play hero in some Marine recruiting video.

“I tried to tell him, sir, once the action started getting too hot, how we should’ve humped it back here double time,” Dow tried to plead. “But, like I said these insurgents were smart. They seemed to know how to hit us and when, like they had a game plan-knocked out our vehicles, our satellite and ground communications destroyed. They were waiting for us!”

The colonel tapped steel boned fingers on the desk.

“Go on Sergeant?”

“It was like they could read our minds, what we were going to do,” Dow replied. “These weren’t, well, I got a good look at them, sir!”

Dow scraped a trembling hand over his sweat slicked pate. Booth poked a button on the desktop red telephone.

“And, what did you observe, Sergeant,” Booth demanded.

Dow sensed the old man already knew the answer.

“These were no regular insurgents, sir,” Dow stammered. “Their weaponry was anything but conventional!”

The poker faced old man merely pursed his stern lips, steel boned chin bobbing once in acknowledgment. The red phone buzzed, and Dow’s trembling hands gripped sweat soaked face.

“Excuse me, Sergeant,” the old man related.

Dow looked up, cruel shadow casting over. Booth’s ursine frame rose out of the chair to full height. Deliberate and heavy steps tapped towards an adjacent black door.

“Colonel,” a civilian bureaucrat greeted Booth as the door thudded shut behind. “As you know, Operation Desert Storm is highly classified. This war on terror is merely a cover for testing these AI ‘super units’ out in the field. Lately, my Pentagon colleagues are not pleased with the less than stellar ‘collateral damage’ statistics. I’m holding you personally responsible for this glaring failure!”

The old Colonel stood at ease, stone faced while the berating bureaucrat sat half-shrouded in darkness.

“Now,” the bureaucrat snapped. “You are dismissed!”

With his ear settled close to the keyhole, Dow scurried for the office door. Somehow, he had to find Euryale. Sprinting towards the collection of Jeeps, he raced off into the night.

His career, life, would never be the same.

Swirls of dust kicked up in the wake of the racing Jeep. Now, well outside the Green Zone, he jammed the breaks and skidded to a stop.

There she was, Euryale, illuminated in the spill of the headlights

“Are you ready to come with me?”

The words floated like butterflies in the mind.

Softly, he took her hand, basking in her angelic smile. Rainbow funnels of light descended from the dark sky, and together, they were swept up.

Stephen Perkins is the author of Raging Falcon and American Siren as well as his latest book Escape To Death. All three books are available on Amazon. You can read more on his blog Newsspellcom.org Watch for his new release coming soon!

Destiny Revealed by Cris Pasqueralle: A Featured Fun Guest Post

  A fantasy series that’s soon to be a feature film!!!!!
Product DetailsProduct Details

Twins Jack and Maddie Austin have just turned 13 and have been given a mysterious gift of two necklaces by someone they have never met. The gift comes with a message in the form of a poem, but before any explanation can be given, the twins and their family are attacked by an evil wizard named Tardon.

    Tardon kidnaps the twins’ parents and, led by their Uncle Benny, the twins must travel to an unknown magical realm of wizards, gnomes, and hidden secrets to embark on a rescue mission to save their parents. Along the way, the twins are led on a path of self discovery that takes them on a quest to destiny.

    On the surface, The Destiny trilogy may appear to be another fantasy adventure with teen heroes, and it is, but it is a bit different, our heroes are not alone. The family in this story is very much intact. Mom and Dad offer guidance and a loving hand, there is also a sibling love and rivalry that is explored, and the magical creatures are not your standard fantasy fare. Yes, there are dragons and fairies, but there are also Sasquatch, and Keeluts, and Gici Awas, and Thunderbirds, all taken from Native American folklore.  So if you like your fantasy with a twist, take a look at The Destiny Trilogy and ride the new wave in fantasy fiction. Available on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01LXRLRBJ
   I have been asked many times what has inspired me and why I choose to write fantasy. First, the inspiration comes from my daughters. it was their love of the Harry Potter books that made me a fantasy fan, and, when that series came to an end, my children clamored for a wizarding story. After much discussion with them, The Destiny Trilogy was born.  I write fantasy fiction because I like the no boundaries approach to writing, and fantasy allows an author to build his own worlds and make up his own rules.  Plus, it’s a lot of fun.
  Author Cris Pasqueralle is a retired NYC Police Officer who lives on Long Island with his wife and two daughters. Cris enjoys writing for a younger audience because he believes that through reading and imagination, kids build a brighter future for themselves and all of us.
Follow Cris on Facebook  at www.facebook.com./authorcrispasqueralle
  Keep checking his author page on Facebook for news about the upcoming film versions of The Destiny Trilogy.