A collection of short stories and journalistic commentaries depicting my simple life
and how I fit in with the modern day universe of our times




At the Port-au-Prince Airport, the mummy-like figure of Cassie Chattenoire, Henri's mother, screeched a parting curse at Miriam M'Guba. "You will not escape. When you are alone and ill-prepared, I will send my sign to freeze the blood in your veins. Then these fingers will still your treacherous heart."

"I don't believe in that mumbo jumbo, you foolish old witch," answered Miriam with as much bravado as she could muster. "Go shake your stinking chicken bones elsewhere."

When Miriam arrived in Chicago she rented a room in a seedy, transient hotel, which when compared to her old quarters in Haiti seemed like the Hilton. Moreover, it was conveniently close to 'The Loop’, the downtown area where many of the large stores were located, and where Miriam sought to employ her talents as a shoplifter. She was a consummate thief, unable to resist the thrill of the pettiest larcenies.

For airfare, she used the money given her by the Ton Macoute, Baby Doc's secret police, for betraying Henri, leader of the anti-Government revolutionaries.

Henri was subsequently tortured and killed by his captors, but that was of small concern to Miriam. He once told her that he loved her, but she never swallowed his gibberish of freedom for the masses. Some called him a saint, others an idiot. Perhaps he was both, she decided.

She just wished to escape the poverty, the despair, and the stench of the Island for a new life in the United States. Of course, the retribution vowed upon her by Henri's friends and his occult mother was only one more impelling reason.



Miriam found the brightly trimmed package at the perfume counter as irresistible as a gaudy bauble to a jackdaw. Dropping her jacket over it, she scooped it up and headed to the washroom. There, she plonked her bottom on the stool, tore loose the wrapping paper and peeked into the box.

Her blood froze at the sight of the juju conjured into the old white woman's package by the Priestess of Obeah. Then, she felt the cold, bony fingers of Cassie Chattenoire glide into her heart and silence its ticking as if it was a Grandfather clock pendulum. With a low moan she slid off the toilet, dead before her body finished slithering on the terrazzo floor.

Mrs. Nesbitt, a frail, white haired lady, placed her gift wrapped box on the perfume counter of Marshall Fields store on State Street, and requested a bottle of Shalimar perfume.

"Oh, do sample our newest essences from Paris, madam," gushed the salesgirl. Mrs. Nesbitt good-naturedly allowed the persistent young lady to dab perfume samples on her wrists.

"Yes, they are lovely," she agreed, "but it's not for me, you see, it's a present for my niece, and Shalimar is her favourite." After charging the item and placing it in her purse, she proceeded to the confectionery counter to buy a box of Frangi Mints for her grandniece.

During some pleasantries with the clerk she had a familiar gnawing feeling. What have I forgotten now? Suddenly she remembered the box she left behind, and hurried back to the perfume counter.

When she got there the box was gone.

"I put a box here," she stammered to the young lady who had attended her. "Perhaps someone has handed it in?"
"No, sorry, madam," said the salesgirl," allow me to buzz security."

In a few moments a tall woman in a dark dress appeared and introduced herself to Mrs. Nesbitt as Chief of Security.

"Would you describe the package, madam?" she asked. Mrs. Nesbitt obliged.
"And the contents?"
"I'd rather not say," Mrs. Nesbitt replied. "Please, must I?"
"Well, now," the Chief hesitated, seeing the tears welling in the old lady's eyes. "It would be helpful. A thief invariably unwraps the goods as soon as possible so a description of the contents is important." However, she called the Security Office on her cell phone, and asked them to immediately check the washrooms.

When a young guard entered the ladies' washroom on the seventh floor, she found the sole occupant in a cubicle from which protruded two bare legs. She opened the door to discover a large woman lying on the floor in an apparent faint. Sealing off the washroom, she paged Security to summon medical aid.

The Chief, with Mrs. Nesbitt in tow, was the first on the scene when she heard the call for assistance on her open telephone line.

"Stand by the door, Betty," she directed the younger guard. "I'll take over till the medics arrive. Direct any customers to another floor. This washroom is closed until further notice."

"Is that your property, madam?" the Chief asked Mrs. Nesbitt, pointing to a shoe box lying near the prone woman, its wrapping loose, and the lid slightly askew.

"VOODOO," the old lady wailed. "OH, VOODOO."

She picked up her box and slid the lid back over its contents. "You see," she rambled on absently, "I live in a tiny apartment on Lakefront Drive, and my niece, Florence, has such a lovely home in Lake Forest with a large garden and she said that I could..."

"That's quite all right," interrupted the solicitous Chief, stifling the incoherent babbling by firmly grasping old lady's elbow and ushering her out the washroom, as the paramedics arrived with a stretcher.

"Please allow me to have your box properly rewrapped," the Chief insisted. "We wouldn't want it to become undone on the way to Lake Forest, would we?"

"Oh, dear, but I mustn't miss my 11:37 train, Florence worries about me so. She will be waiting at the station for me and..."
"No problem, Madam, it won't take but a jiffy, and I'll have one of our drivers get you to Union Station on time for all your trouble."

"But that poor young lady...?"

"In a few moments she will be in an ambulance. Please don't concern yourself. There is nothing more either of us can do."

Mrs. Nesbitt beamed, as she relaxed in the back seat of the company limo and patted the box, now resplendent in Marshall Fields green wrapping paper and neatly tied with gold cord.

"What nice people they are," she whispered. "Well, we've had quite an adventure today. I shall miss you dreadfully of course, but Florence says I can come and visit as often as I like."

No answer came from the shoe box that contained Voodoo, her prophetically named, late, black cat.




VOODOOSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend



When Joe was first wed, he was only nineteen.
And he said to his wife - “Listen Flo!”
“You don’t ask me, where the heck have I been -
And I won’t tell you, where to go.”

He’s lived by this maxim, for eighty five years.
That makes him a hundred and four.
And now we’ve found out, why he’s always in tears.
He can’t chase the girls any more.

                                                  
Our Joe won’t be with us much longer.
Might be a week or a day.
He said to the vicar, “I can’t come no quicker -
So just put your hymn book away.”

Said our Joe – “I’m a wee bit deficient -
I keep getting boiled ham every meal.
It’s not the long queue that keeps me going on cue
It’s the fine lumpy stools I can feel.”


Our Joe won’t be with us much longer.
He’s twenty three stone with a cough.
He’s exercise mad, but he’s such a big lad.
And we can’t get his Hoola-Hoop off.

Last Friday we all thought he’d snuffed it.
Heard our Jack say to our Lil.
“He looks healthy and good.” Said our Mag,”So he should -
He’s just had a fortnight at Rhyl.”


Our Joe won’t be with us much longer.
The doctor said “Sshh - don’t make a row -
He’s asleep full of dope, but we mustn’t lose hope.
But do you think you could pay my bill now.”

The insurance man called and said “Joseph -
You’ve been out when your premiums were due.
But it wipes the slate clean, if you see what I mean.
You’ll be out when we call to pay you.”


Our Joe won’t be with us much longer.
It looks like his bolt has been shot.
It’s the love life he’s led, there’s been three that he’s wed.
And at least half a dozen he’s not.

I won’t say it’s boozing that’s done it.
But where you’ve got blood, Joe’s got gin.
You can tell – Last October, our Joe came home sober.
And his dog, wouldn’t let him come in.


Our Joe won’t be with us much longer.
Get “Best oak,” says our Joe, “some good stuff -
And see when I go, I’m on top of our Flo.
She was on top of me, long enough.”

We’ve made the arrangements for Friday.
With the lilies they’ve started to call.
And if he’s not gone. By a quarter to one.
The hearse goes without him. That’s all.




OUR JOESocialTwist Tell-a-Friend





We had quite a shock in the family last week.
Well, it’s shaken us all to the bone.
We’ve been that upset, we’ve been frightened to speak,
Well you do, when it’s one of your own.

It’s very hush, hush, so you’ll have to use tact.
I’m sorry to carp, but I must.
It’s quite confidential, top secret in fact,
So only tell those, you can trust.


Our Maggie’s going to get married.
She’s made up her mind to get wed.
Her bottom drawer’s bulging, so much it’s divulging,
The quilt that she bought, for the bed.

It’s well known, she’s not one for rushing.
Well she’s ninety when all said and done.
And some body’s told her, if she gets much older,
She’s going to miss most of the fun.


So our Maggie’s going to get married.
With presents they’ve started to call.
There’s a book from Aunt Sis, all about wedded bliss,
With a do it yourself kit, an’ all.

Our Jack said,” I’ve brought you this statue -
Can you tell, it’s antique filigree?”
Mag said, “I should do, it’s the one I gave you -
And I can’t think, who gave it to me.”


But, our Maggie’s going to get married.
She’s got the whole house on the run.
When she happened to say, “Who could give me away?”
Our Fred said, “Why, what have you done?”

Our Albert said, “I’ll play the organ -
I can play ‘Roll Me Over’ - no fear.”
As the newlyweds leave, “I’ll play something naive -
Like the ‘Loveliest Night of the Year’.”


So our Maggie’s going to get married.
She’s having six bridesmaids, in pink.
With the dresses she’s chosen, they’re going to be frozen,
God knows, what the vicar might think.

The honeymoon’s booked at Lime Regis.
Our Mag’s found a flat, that’s to let.
She’d get married our Mag, but our Mag’s found a snag,
You see - nobody’s, asked her to yet.


INDECENT PROPOSALSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend




Testing, testing, one, two, and three.... AAARRGGGHHH!!

Unaccustomed to public speaking as what I am, I’d just like to take this opportunity to thank all my American, Canadian and German or should we just say, Global followers on the ~Olde Google Buzz~. You Buzzstards!!!

Let me just publicly state right here and right now, that there is nothing more totally un-natural, than sitting in front of a camera, all on your lonesome, and trying to hold a conversation for the benefit of others. Especially when having a bad hair day.




Having said that, I have now said it, and the ‘Oh so frightening’ consequences can now be witnessed on the attached video clip. Being the opportunist that I am, you might have also noticed I took the opportunity to plug everything I try to do. To DEATH!

“And why ever not?” I say, (preferably not in public). If only you knew what you have all put me through by asking for this.


On reflection though.... “God, what a minger!! And check out those hands, they’re huge!! What’s that all about?” Well, rumour has it ............. large hands – large gloves .............. and  .............. an even larger .............. no, larger than that ............. and that .............. Typewriter – Oops - Keyboard!

Anyway, thanks for taking the time to hate me...

“And er, while you’re there, leave a few comments, good, bad or indifferent, and er, don’t forget the donation button at the bottom (Huge grin). Cheers! Thanks a lot, see you all later, bye...”

“So there – Bollocks!!”






PUBLIC SPEAKINGSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend





WARNING – Please heed the comment on the above photograph. This story contains some explicit adult content. It is not for minors, the faint of heart or the prudish amongst us.
 If you feel that you fit into any of the aforementioned categories, please by-pass this story and check out some of the archived others. Thank you for your patience in this matter.


Entering into her early forties, Julie had by no means, had an easy life. Hers was a constant battle in making ends meet through long hours of waitressing at the various burger joints around town. It was a hard and thankless job she did, with hoards of impatient and ill mannered customers coming and going throughout the day. They were very long working hours which carried a relatively low pay rate to reward her for all her efforts. But she muddled by and made the best of her lot.

When she finally got home in the evenings, her life consisted solely of a regular diet of books, television and taking the internet by storm. And it was there that she met a man. Not through design mind, she had never been on a dating site in her life. That was not her style and who needs a man anyway, she often laughed to herself. It was purely by chance, that their paths later crossed through a totally innocent means. It was simply a normal networking site that they had both used. They were simply burning away the midnight oil in different parts of the world and that was how their lives first intermingled.

She had never known a man like this before. It was as if everything he typed, he had typed for her and her screen alone. It was the first time in her life that anyone had stimulated her mind, her body and soul in such a manner. The more she heard from him, the more she wanted him. Somehow, unbeknown to her, he seemed to know exactly how she thought and he pushed all the right buttons for her without effort. Every night she had fantasies of knowing him better; being with him; living with him. Quite often it has to be said; this arousal of her emotions simply got the better of her.

At forty two, she had done well to retain her good looks. She had a happy, round face, with a broad smile and dimples where her lips met her cheeks. She had a cute button nose with a spattering of light freckles around it which instantly led one to her eyes. Those deep and welcoming brown eyes were what she considered to be her best feature, they seemed to demand everyone’s attention and this whole pretty picture of her pleasant face was framed by a glorious mane of long, loosely curled fiery red hair. She worked out too. Her body was good. And, even if she thought so herself, she knew it was true. She had a great figure, all the right curves in all the right places, unspoiled by childbirth, and so far, touch-wood; none of her womanly, 38D charms were heading south. It was little wonder then, that when the two of them fist met, it was love at first sight for the both of them.

That was nearly eight months ago now and after many sleepless nights of networking, instant messaging, and web-camming through the wee small hours; they finally took the plunge and arranged for a proper meet. They have been living together as partners ever since. The relationship was a perfect example of peace and harmony. He lived for her like she lived for him. They were a real team. Theirs was a marriage made in heaven. Many a time Julie would laugh at her past existence, not knowing just what she had done right, to deserve her present luxury of a good home with a good man and finally, such a good and happy life.

She was a housewife now, and proud of it. Every day after morning cuddles and breakfast, she would lovingly pack her man off to work, tend to the household chores and patiently await his return to the family nest.

Today was to be no different. After completing her daily routine of the cooking, cleaning, washing, shopping and ironing, she finally looked forward to a long glass of chilled iced tea and a good hour wrapped up in her latest book. Sitting in her favourite chair under the window that poured copious helpings of daylight into the room, she sipped at her drink and flipped through the pages of her book to where she had previously left off. While basking in the warm afternoon sunshine, within the next half hour of reading she was now soundly asleep. It was half past two.

Julie woke with a start to find her man towering above her as he bent down for a kiss. It was half three and after finishing work early that day, he’d rushed his way home just to be with the love of his life.

“Hello, hello, hello, slacking off then are we?” he laughingly enquired of her, as he gently bit at her neck while cupping her right breast.

“I was j-just,” she started with a huge welcoming smile.

“Declaring war on my manhood again, no doubt?” He finished, while gently rolling the previously spotted hard nipple, seen protruding beneath the skin tight top she was wearing, between his thumb and forefinger.

“Stop that,” she laughed at him. “It’s turning me on.”

“Really?” he grinned, “Well that will never do, will it?”

In no time at all he was on his knees in front of her. As he kissed her once more, he placed his arms around her and ran them slowly down her back. Gripping onto the waistband of her jeans, in one swift and effortless motion, he pulled her to the edge of the couch and had the jeans and her knickers around her ankles. Releasing her feet, he looked her straight in the eye. It was a dirty mischievous look and she loved every ounce of it.

“What are you doing?” She giggled, just as he sunk his tongue between the lips of her womanhood. He never heard her speak again as she quickly leant back with a huge sigh. “God, this really was heavenly,” she thought, as once again he was working her, and she loved every minute of it. Her writhing body violently confirming every stroke his probing tongue was making. She was instantaneously launched into a world of pure ecstasy and regardless of how hard she tried to prolong and hold onto the sensations, her resistance was futile. Her whole body heaved an enormous explosion of mixed emotions and vibrant energy as she climaxed into his wanton mouth.

He stopped, looked up and patiently, he awaited her return from whatever part of the universe it was that he’d just sent her to. Once again his eyes were permanently fixed onto the now widely dilated pupils of hers. It was as if he were asking her: “How’s about that then?”

Flirting with his eyes, she whispered, “Not so fast mister!” as she reached for his belt. She hurriedly undid his trousers and pulled them down to his knees.

“Please sir, I want some more, I want some of this,” she giggled again as she took his penis in her hands. Toying with his balls and licking at the tip, she felt him quickly harden. She guided him towards her already moistened pussy and demanded, “Take me!”

Lifting her feet onto his shoulders, he probed her neatly trimmed bush with his now rock solid member. She let out another huge sigh as he slowly slid every last inch of his manhood deep inside her. He could feel how wet she was as he lay within. Motionless now, he gripped at her bottom and pulled her as close to him as he could while he waited for her to catch her breath. Already her body was violently trembling.

And then the party began. Slowly at first, he took up a gentle rocking motion. Her breathing deepened through flared nostrils as she involuntarily pushed against his gyrating hips. Their pace gradually quickened and within minutes they were fucking the lives out of each other for all they were worth. Every thrust sent shivers through her and her breathing quickened into a short and shallow panting accompanied by the occasional cry of exhilaration. She knew she was nearly there and moved herself harder and faster towards him with every push he made. She wanted release from this mental anguish. Her whole body fought for satisfaction. Within minutes she was on the brink and all at once she collapsed in front of him. The fireworks that were long since lit had finally exploded. She had come like never before. She was out of this world for what seemed an eternity. Her whole body was now fighting his erection with an uncontrollable spasm after spasm of sheer delight.

Sensing that she had well exceeded her point of no return, quickly he changed his pace to a more deliberate slowing barrage of long drawn out insertions and each time he moved, her body convulsed with an everlasting gratitude. His job now done, he looked at his partner. She was lying prone in front of him, her whole body glowing, she was now fully satiated. Calmly he withdrew and reached over to kiss her once more, this time it was to be a long, lingering, and meaningful kiss.

After a couple of minutes in each other’s arms, he moved back and re-focused on her eyes. “And let that be a lesson,” he joked, as he clamoured back to his feet. “I need to take a shower. I think I need to be taking you out for the night.” And with that he stumbled across the floor towards the bathroom with his trousers still wrapped around his ankles.

“Wait for me sonny Jim,” she cried out after him. “You and me, have some unfinished business!” She wanted - no needed, to return his favours.

Like Groucho Marks complete with cigar, he turned and smiled at her. “Chase me!” he said, by way of a challenge and continued out of the room.

As she watched his perfectly rounded butt cheeks clumsily disappearing from the room. Feeling totally flushed in the face, and with her body still recuperating from its earlier hammering, she stood up awkwardly, collected her clothes and slowly followed him to the bathroom.

“God, I adore that man,” she thought to herself.

And so began the evening.


AFTERNOON DELIGHTSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend





Kaitlin was quite an interesting thirteen year old girl; she’s not regarded as being one with good social skills. I mean, let’s be realistic here, her favourite class in school is sign language, and even then the teacher practically has to kick her out every day. She’s the type of person who would rather spend time by herself than hang out with what few friends she has. Normally she would come home from school, pop a DVD in the Blue Ray and watch a movie or just hang out reading books.

Kaitlin always told her Grandfather that one day, she’d be as great as he was in producing movies, I mean let’s face it, her all time favourite movie was Star Wars.

That Monday morning as she was leaving her first period class, she noticed Vincent and Dominic talking at the end of the corridor, pointing and giggling at her as she gracefully walked to her next class, she just smiled and kept going.

"Do you understand Dominic?" Vincent whispered.

"Yes Vincent, We’ll get her Friday on her way back home from school, she usually cuts through the woods and takes the back way home, so it‘ll be perfect."

"Are you gonna get the Halloween masks from your brother so we can scare the crap out of her when we jump out from behind the trees?" Dominic asked.

"Yeah, it’s going to be an awesome practical joke, she’s going to piss her pants for sure when she sees us." They started laughing, then turned and walked away from their lockers and headed towards their next class.

Dominic nudged Vincent’s arm and leaned in just enough to whisper in his ear, "do you think we should get a couple of capes to go with the masks?" he asked "or is that overdoing it a little bit?"

"No man that’s cool, we can borrow a couple of sheets from our Mums." he replied, and then walked into the classroom.

"Yeah. Good idea Vincent!" 

Friday finally came and the two boys waited patiently on the narrow pathway behind the trees for their prey to come along.
 
"Do you see her yet Vincent, because I need to pee?"

"Go piss behind that stupid tree, Jeez, I told you to go before we left anyways!" Vincent shook his head in disappointment.

"Wait, wait a minute, I think I can see her coming!" he whispered.

The two boys crouched down behind the trees and waited anxiously for her arrival. Then from out of the blue, a dense fog started to creep up around the boys and slowly move towards Kaitlin.

As she walked ever closer to the boys, who were getting ready to spring the trap, she heard a rustling noise coming from the woods. She turned and looked nervously, a loud growling noise came from behind one of the trees and then what appeared to be a werewolf of some sort, stood up and charged directly towards her, its eye’s were a glowing, deep ruby red, it’s huge arms with long razor sharp claws flailed at her.
 
The boys looked up and saw the terrifying creature now charging at Kaitlin; she let out a blood curdling cry, right before Dominic wet himself. Vincent looked up and saw blood pouring from out of the side of her neck as the creature delivered a second huge blow across her head. She fell to her knees, then to the mist dampened ground beneath the dense fog. The creature screamed with a self-gratifying victory wail over the fatal blow to Kaitlin.

Vincent stood there in sheer shock for a good while, he sensed a wet heat running down his left leg, and then went to where Dominic was using the fog as a cover to reach him without being seen. He grabbed him, and then started to back up until he bumped into something. Suddenly, he felt a warm breathing on the back of his neck, and felt something moving towards the side of his face, hair brushed up against his cheek, panicking now, he started trembling with real fear.

He could feel the intensity in the warm air as the creature’s mouth opened up beside him.

"This is it" he thought, resigning himself to his pending doom. Waiting with his eyes firmly closed for what seemed an eternity, for him to draw his last breath. And then it spoke, ever so softly in his ear.

"Boo!" the voice said.

Turning he saw the grand-daughter of George Lucas, Kaitlin, standing next to him.

"But, but how? I saw you being attacked by that fearsome creature!" he said whimpering.

"Who, my grandfather?" then she giggled. "Come on Gramps, you ready?"

Lifting his mask off his face, he replied "Just getting the fog machine love!"

"How did you know?" Dominic asked her.

"Two years of sign language courses, stupid." She replied. "My specialty is reading lips." Then she laughed and gave her grandfather a high five, leaving her two would be assailants just standing there in wet trousers.



ONCE BITTEN...SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend


My mum was in my dreams that night. It felt so real. I didn't know any better. I thought that she was alive again. It seemed like my life was back to the way it should be before she died and I was so relieved. For the first time in a long time I felt happy. I felt like myself again.

When I woke up, that's when the tears came. That's when it hit me that I had been tricked! The happiness was gone. A tremendous pain tore up my insides. There was nothing I could do to stop it. It was uncontrollable. It hit me so deep, so fast. Tears just came out of my eyes, and I was unaware of them because all I felt was her sorrow. They came like someone had just pushed a button. It was that fast. She was here one day, and now she's gone.

I lay in bed and tried to make it go away. It all seemed so unreal. It finally occurred to me that it was only morning, the beginning of a new day. Oh, how it seemed so long already.

If it weren't for the pain killers left over from my mum's stash just a month ago, I would never have moved out of bed. I would've let my creative soul drown me to my own destruction. I had always been seen as a strong person, and I wasn't ready to give up that strength.

I made my way down the stairs. I could hear the voices of my family already at the kitchen table. My grand-parents voices were so recognizable and clear. I heard my grandma laughing at one of her stories again. I used to look forward to hearing their voices, after I woke up. I didn't see them too often. Every morning they would sit and drink their morning coffee, and wait for everyone to wake up, and we would hang out at the kitchen table. However, I had never felt so irritated than to hear them all sitting down at the table, laughing over their coffee this morning. They were sitting there, one person less. One significant person less, but they were still laughing. Was she not the one who got up and made their coffee every morning? Was she not the cheerful one of those mornings? I suppose it was just me waking up to a harsh reality, but I felt an overwhelming sadness, and emptiness. And I supposed they hadn't.

For that reason, I usually never made it to the breakfast table. Whenever possible I avoided my house in general. My grandparents had become my worst nightmare. They used to seem so sweet and caring for us grand kids. Now, there seemed to be bad blood in the house between the different generations.

This month has been crazy here in the town. With all of my class graduating high school, it's seemed a never-ending party, like Mardi gras, where the parties get better and better every night until the "Fat Tuesday". It was June, the beginning of summer. I had always loved June because of the long warm nights, summer freedom, and the life that spring had just created. Summer always reminded me of my childhood.

My best friend, Andrea, decided to take me out for a meal on Sunday. She told me she was pregnant. She was keeping the baby. It was a complete shock, because we had been through everything together. At times, I thought we were of the same soul, but of different families. Our lives had seemed so similar until this point. Though, I knew she had always wanted a child. She hadn't exactly planned this out, but she said that timing didn't matter when it came to the love of her child. She would do absolutely anything for it. She was one of the strongest people I had ever met. I knew she would love that child, and promise it the world. She was ready to give up her life, to offer another one. I knew this child would be special. And in some ways, I felt a bit pregnant myself, like I was expecting. I felt the same way for the child as she did.

Grandpa would constantly be irritated with us. Whenever I or my younger sister would do something for our selves, he found it troublesome. He would get so irritated sometimes, and make comments to us, like "you girls shouldn't trouble your father like this. He has so much to deal with right now. You are adding to his stress!"

Grandpa had lost his wife also. He and dad would go outside and smoke, and they would talk. They would smoke about a pack a day. In our grand-parent’s eyes, we girls were to help around the house. We were supposed to be home and not spend any money, for "It adds stress to the household." Mum would've let us go. She would never let us be tied down. I slept over at friend’s houses usually to get rid of the hangovers. My household never allowed sleeping in. So If I wasn't there, who would stop me?

My grandparents became more and more perturbed at my behaviour. They sleep in the old guest room now; I knew they heard me sneak out at night, being right next to the door outside. That was the door to my freedom. I continued to sneak out almost every night of the summer, trying to enjoy the summer as much as possible. Andrea would come sometimes, but wouldn't drink. She was getting bigger and bigger. Time just seemed to slip away.

I went out shopping for the baby with Andrea. I wanted to get out of the house. Any ways we were both excited about the baby. I picked out a little track outfit for the baby, and it was so small. It was all so unreal. Andrea and I ran track together for the last 7 years I've known her, and now she's giving up her life for this baby.

Andrea's mum was too upset with her to go shopping with us. She was really too upset to even talk to her anymore. Andrea planned to get her own apartment in the fall and raise the baby, mostly on her own. Though everyone in town cringed at Andrea when they looked at her, I admired her. She was willing, already, to devote herself to another being. She was ready, and I could tell that the thought of being a mother to a new child inspired her.

I felt it too. I felt that special bond that only a mother can share with her child. There is nothing better in the world than that feeling of giving; giving everything you have, and everything you don't to make someone happy. There's nothing better besides one thing, and that is the feeling of receiving that love. The baby made me think about my mum even more now.

I was learning more and more about my mum from before she had me and my sister. She gave up so many things to have kids. She occasionally drank and hosted parties, which she never did after we were born. She had to get a full time job, and she spent the next 18 years of her life driving kids to soccer and track practice, or helping us with school. I had another dream of my mother that night. That night the whole family were at the cabins in the countryside, at our regular holiday spot. I was just turned 12, and my sister was back to being my best friend. I begged my sister to come exploring with me. She didn't want to get in trouble. I ran to mum and pleaded to go exploring. I needed to be released so badly! I had to go, or I would just be distraught, and she knew it. She smiled at me, and in her loving way whispered to me to be careful.

I felt like she knew my excitement to go and find something exciting, something new! Poor mum had to be stuck back at the cabin with dad. I was so glad not to be there. I ran through the fields, and felt so much energy like I was on an adventure or something. I jumped over almost anything there was to jump over, just to see how high I could jump. We ran around the river bend. It was deep in some spots, and low in few. We stood in the water, and enjoyed its coolness. We drank from it, and it was so clear and fresh. It was fresh mountain spring water. We pretended to be mountaineers, on an adventure, and we drank it just like rough natives had to do when they got thirsty.

There was a bright red patch of wildflowers that really stood out. They seemed so rare, all together, yet at the same time, all alone. The big ones and the smaller ones were all dependent on each other. But still, all alone in their existence. Their beautiful colour fought for our attention, we hadn't seen that kind of flower before. It was new! It was a natural source of beauty. They made me think of my mother, Mum loved flowers like that! We picked them and would give her these beautiful wildflowers. I hoped that she would enjoy them! It was a way of thanking her for letting us go, in spite of what dad wanted us to do, to stay in and help unpack. That would've been terrible!

We ran back to the cabin. But already it was too late. We couldn't give mum any flowers. We couldn't even thank her. Mum was dead.

I had reached my emotional peak. I was sick of taking pills, I was sick of feeling alone. I was sick of feeling guilty from my grand-parents. All I wanted was to see my mum. I felt sorry for Andrea. I wanted life to be back to normal. It had gotten so hard all of sudden. It was the toughest time of my life, and I was alone. I didn't know what to do. I wanted to give up. The pills and alcohol couldn't even help me now. I needed strength that I didn't have before. My mum was always the strongest person I knew. She seemed to never have a negative thought in her. I wanted to be like that so bad, but I didn't know how. Doing the dishes one night, I was cleaning the pots. I was overwhelmed, and dazed, emotionless. I took pride in the meticulousness of the job I was doing on the cleaning. It was something I was doing well. It was something I could control. I scrubbed at the aluminium pots, until I could see my reflection in them, until I saw my sombre face. I stared at that face until I was forced to turn away to wipe away tears. Then I would move to the next pot and do it all again.

I remembered how my mum would inspect the job me and my sister would do on the dishes, back when it was our sole responsibility. She made sure there were no spots on the pots. She even wanted us to shine the bottom of the pans, and make sure the copper was clear. She had known a trick to get them especially shiny. She would clean the copper with baking soda, and when I was a child, it fascinated me how clear the copper would shine. I thought it was pretty. I liked doing the dishes then. Now, almost 12 years later, I stare at the pots, amazed at how clean it really got them. I felt a sense of pride. I wanted my mum to check the job I did. I wanted her to be proud of me.

After I did the dishes, I just needed to be alone. I went to go sit outside at a place I usually went to go think in the neighbourhood. I sat underneath a tree, and leaned against it. There was an amazing sunset that evening. There were violent streaks of red, and a huge over-casting blue cloud covering most of the sky. The sun lit up only a part of the sky, but it shined so bright.

Such beautiful colours are often created when a day is especially hot. I felt such a comfort in being outside at that moment. The grass was like a blanket I was sitting on, and I began to play with the blades of grass, like I used to do when I was a kid. I was so familiar with that place; I used to go there all the time as a child to think about those problems of the past. I kind of laughed at the things I used to be stressed over; those problems I thought were so devastating and would change my life forever. Now I was laughing at them. It seemed silly to go off and try to fix my problem like I had in the past, by trying to solve it here. I knew I couldn't fix this one. Either way, I was finally ready to confront her death face to face. I felt the wind pick up, so I pushed my sleeves down, but I was happy to be out there, alone with my memories.

When I walked back in the house, dad asked me to run upstairs and get his wallet. While I was looking for it, I saw that he had already cleaned out mum’s wardrobe. I couldn't imagine how hard it would have been to have to go in that every day, seeing it half empty. And out of all the flowers we had received, in sympathy from other families, he had kept a spray of red roses, mum’s favourite flower, and he put them in a vase, on the table. There was no water in the vase. They didn't need it anymore, like my mother they were dead. It reminded me of the mortality of all life forms, no matter how powerful their strength is. Those flowers reminded me of my mum because they were absolutely beautiful. My mother’s strength was the most beauty I'd ever known.

I walked downstairs and handed him the wallet, and the phone rang. It was Andrea's mum. She was finally having the Baby! She said Andrea was still in labour, and probably wouldn't be ready for a while. I could hear her mum almost crying in excitement. I couldn't believe it was finally time.

I yelled to my dad, and started to get my things together to get to the hospital. I couldn't wait to see the baby! Andrea's life was about to change so much, and she would finally get to meet the love of her life today.

My mum was always the one to think to bring flowers or a card for someone; however I recognized that it was my job now. I was responsible for being the embracing one of the family now, and make everyone feel loved like she always had. I got Andrea the most beautiful flowers I could afford that day. I got to the hospital and she was still going through her labour, so we all waited in the recovery room for her. There were already dozens of vases of flowers in the room. I set my beautiful red roses next to some of the stuffed animals.

The baby was born December 11th, and all that was left in the vase were the wilted stems of the roses. I knew then that through the birth of Andrea’s daughter, my mother was with me again.




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From the moment I entered my e-mail address linda1038@bizzazzle.com, I felt that I was not alone anymore since there are 1037 Linda's like me connected to Bizzazzle, and for the first time in my life I experienced a sense of belonging to something really big and important. I was excited and ready to embrace my new cyber-life.

My first e-mail was from Vernon University offering me a Bachelor Degree in Law Enforcement within 6 months instead of the usual 4 years - and for half the price. I was overjoyed. Not that I was looking for a new degree. I don’t want to be a policeman. I have been quite satisfied working as a bookkeeper for a plumbing company for 20 years - but, I asked myself, what about all those years at school, and the money I spent getting my Accounting degree? All for this? I looked around me at all those pipes and sinks and taps and, excuse me, even toilets, and I began to feel like a fool. A nobody. And lonely, too. I couldn’t go on like that. I just couldn’t do it. That’s when I plugged into the Internet for myself. I opted out of the company’s e-mail and began on my own personal e-mail service. Who-ee! Look what’s happened.

Of course, I don’t want to be a cop. That’s ridiculous. But, hey, there’s so much more out there! I have a whole family of Lindas - one thousand thirty-seven Lindas - somewhere in the world, reaching out to me.

My e-mail messages were thrilling. I could hardly keep up with them in between doing my regular job, sending out invoices and purchasing orders. ‘Dear Linda’ I would read - and my heart would beat faster even if I were being contacted by some foreign company.

For example, a Canadian drug company came right out and offered me pills for depression without a prescription - at 75% off market price! They must have ways to get your medical records, right? So they knew I might need some. And how easy it was to get these pills - no need to become a Canadian citizen. I could stay in England. No problemo. Not that I have ever been seriously depressed. Don’t get me wrong. I do have an occasional mood swing, especially now that I’m seeing a wrinkle or two when I look in the mirror.

Every morning I wake up excited to start a new day of my improved life. I have become more stylish and aware of my looks, which are not bad, if I say so myself. I now walk proudly between the cubicles in my office, flashing my newly-whitened teeth and my replica Rolex watch and fake Prada bag. And, best of all, my new designer shag me shoes which everybody knows simply scream with sexiness. That first week of my new life among the Lindas, I really don’t think the men in that office got a lick of work done. Nada. Nish, glish and not even a frosty flake. I was on a roll. I felt unstoppable. I refinanced my house - twice. In both cases the banks qualified me even with my bad credit score, which, because of my new shoes, I’m sure they ignored.

Meanwhile, my mailbox brimmed with messages from Lindas who live as far away as Timbuktu, if you get my drift. For example, how about this one: "Dear Linda, I am Olga from Russia. I am 21 years old and want to meet you to share experiences."

At first I was not sure what Russian Olga wanted: to visit my home in Scunthorpe, Lancashire, or to invite me to come to the cold Siberian mountains? Both sounded promising, but to clarify the situation, I went to her web site. I was in for a bit of a shock. What was this? Porn? This Linda was no lady, maybe a man in disguise? All she - or he - wanted to do was discuss certain erotic situations and practices that I had never even heard of! And although I think of myself as being very cosmopolitan. I couldn’t help but wonder was this a can of worms I was opening?

Which reminds me of all those messages offering ways to increase the size of the male organ - though why these Lindas would think that I - a woman - would require such information, I can’t imagine. I’d be much too embarrassed to pass on that sort of thing to a male friend. In any case, why would I want to give a boyfriend of mine a leg up - so to speak - with the chicks in the local nightclubs?

On the other hand, the woman next door might welcome such a tip since she is constantly complaining to me about her husband’s lack of prowess, down there. And he has confided in me that she beats him in frustration. He doesn’t know what to do. I could do him a favour.

As for me, I now feel that I am in the middle of things, you know, finally connected to my own Reality Show - with me as the star. I’ve sent out my own message, again and again, but when they ask for a photo, I don’t send. What if they don’t like my eyebrows or my chin? I keep my message short and sweet:

"I am Linda from Scunthorpe. I am pretty. I love dogs. I like to shop. I want to meet you."

Weeks are passing by. After the first flurry of e-mails, my mailbox comes up with only a few nibbles now and then - mostly from, I suspect, cross-dressers and other quirky folks in disguises I tell myself that maybe I should send a photo, after all. But, maybe, not a picture of me. Oh, no. I’ll have to think about this one. Does anyone really send a photo of herself? I mean, unless she is really beautiful?

Anyway. The thing is I’m connected. I feel it every day. My Manolo Blahnicks have made my feet a real asset - the minute I walk into a bar, I am spotted. I chatted up every night. All because of my new shoes and my sense of self-importance. I’m not a nobody anymore. True, I still send out invoices to customers who have called on our company to fix their plumbing issues.

But I now have a secret life that makes me smile to myself as I open my own mailbox (when the boss isn’t looking) and watch to see which new Linda wants to meet me next.

I wonder what would happen if I changed my e-mail address to Ingrid or Josephina? And sent a photo too. I could pick a really gorgeous picture. Right? Yeah. Then I could join Facebook or YouTube or start Twittering.

This is only the beginning!



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The Xerox machine squats silently in the corner of the office, a testament to many a “butt” and “boob” joke that inevitably follows an office party, leaving many a red face in the morning. 

She was no prude, but at fifty-six years of age, she’d seen many an office caper end in tears.

Take her boss for example; she had worked for Mr Richards since she left school early on at the start of the 2nd world war. Things were much simpler then, you had a code of ethical standards to live by.
 
Mr Richards had lately asked her to call him Steven, but she was set in her ways and found it hard to let go of her values. It’s a pity, because she had been in love with Steven for a long time now.
 
Only in her thoughts, of course she was an old spinster with nothing left to give.
 
She knew he was a bit of a womaniser, but his ex-wife was a real bitch, she took his home and his children away from him. Of course he flirts with the office girls, but it is all in fun. And Karen didn’t mind as they rarely lasted long.

Who am I to judge? She thought. Her fiancé Ted had just 48 hours left before he left for France. He wanted them to get married straight away, but Karen wanted a full church wedding. That last, heady night of his leave, she gave herself to him openly in a field full of poppies. It was such a sacred moment, she felt they were already married and nothing could separate them.
 
Two months later, Karen knew She was pregnant, she wrote to Ted, but got no reply. A few months later she had a telegram saying he had died in action. Her only link to him now was the child growing inside her.
 

Her parents stood by her, although they were horrified. The only condition was that Karen gave her child up at birth.
 
Before it became too obvious, Karen was sent to a convent for “Fallen Women”. Her daughter was born on a cold, blustery February day. She was allowed only one glimpse of her tiny face and soft downy blonde hair, before the nurses whisked her off. How she longed to keep her, but after three days, the nuns said she had died of bronchitis. Karen wasn’t even allowed to go to her funeral. She was in disgrace.
 
Her last link to Ted had gone forever.

News travelled fast around the neighbourhood, she never had the chance to marry or have other children, she was “spoilt goods”. Steven kept her job open for her and Karen eventually became his private secretary. She reminded him of his wife and children’s birthdays and often went out to buy presents for him to give. When his wife divorced him, Karen stood by him, secure in the knowledge that he had no idea of her feelings for him.

Then came the night of the office Christmas party. Normally, she would slip away quietly, but this year Steven persuaded her to join in. The combination of the alcohol, which Karen never drank and the nearness of Steven, allowed her to let her hair down. She remembered little of that night, except for a long dance with Steven, followed by a gentle kiss. 

The party must have moved on, because Karen woke from a light doze to find herself all alone.
 

Still feeling happy, she downed some more punch, never knowing how lethal it was.
 

She had vague memories of shedding all her clothes and doing the unthinkable deed. Yes, she visited the Xerox machine.
 
Close up, it seemed much larger than normal, but her head was still fuzzy with drink. Pressing her cool naked body to the warmth of the machine, she became engulfed in a bright white light. It was so peaceful; she must have gone to sleep again.

Imagine her horror when she woke up the next day in the office, fully clothed in a short skirt and a clingy top. This was not her at all. Could she still be dreaming?

The clatter of high heels on the staircase convinced her she was awake. A hurried rush to the Ladies only confirmed what Karen already knew. A quick splash of cold water showed her face as she had been at sixteen. Is this what hangovers do to you, or had some fool spiked my drink? She thought.
 
She could not stay in there until home time, Hurrying to her desk, she was stopped by Steven before she got there. Catching hold of her hand, he rushed her into his office; Karen was too puzzled to do anything else except go along with him.

“Mary”, he said, “there is something really important I have to say to you.” although we have had some good times together, our relationship must end. I am tired of playing the field; I need to settle down again. I’m sorry if I have hurt you, but I’m going to ask Karen to marry me. She has stood by me all the years I played the fool, and now I want to make her my wife”.

Mary tried so hard to gasp out,” it’s me, I’m Karen,” but the words that came out of her mouth were quite different. “Steven, don’t leave me, I’m having your baby, and I love you.“

A long silence filled the room. At last he said, “Mary, I’m so sorry but missing Karen this morning made me realise how much I need her. Of course I will pay for the baby if you want to keep it, but there is something you don’t know. Karen lost her fiancĂ©e in the war, and her child was adopted, it was her choice. Surely, as a modern woman you can do the same.“

Not one word escaped their lips, in that moment, Mary and Karen fused together. Inside she was still much of Karen, but outside she was the cool, calm sophisticated Mary, the name she chose for the daughter she believed was dead. 

In that moment, all her love for Steven died. How could he abandon his child so easily? 
She owed far more to her beloved daughter Mary. Where and how she got here doesn’t matter. 

They had a second chance at life and they would not waste a second of it. 

As for Steven, Karen now knows the secret of the Xerox machine, and soon, Karen and Mary will have their revenge.



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Its my own fault really, its all about what I see in the world, and how it all translates for me.

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